Rather Be Lonely Without You

Sorry, that's the title of a song I like.   But that's my question.  How do you deal with lonely?  We both work long hours but when are home, we aren't home together.  He'd rather send me an email from his computer (downstairs) to me at my computer (upstairs) than talk to me in person.  I suggest sharing a glass of wine and 15 minutes of conversation.  He says sure, and wanders away with his glass after 5 minutes.  I prepare dinner and he turns on the television while we're eating.  I suggest a project to work together on, and he agrees, disappearing to "get something" and never comes back.  "Oh, I saw this and realized it had to be done first."  When I point out these things, unfortunately he is still using the Three Stooges to explain them away.  He turned on the TV because I seemed like I "didn't want to talk".  He wandered away from the wine and a visit because I said something that reminded him of something he had to do.  He sends me an email rather than coming to find me because he didn't want to disturb me.  This particular Stooge is called deflect -- bing right back at you.  Whatever I did that you didn't like, you probably caused it.  He says I'm too needy because I'd like 30 minutes a day in his company.  BEING IN THE SAME BUILDING IS NOT BEING TOGETHER. 

So.  Lonely.  Not lonely for the company of girlfriends, or family members.  Not because I'm bored spending time with myself.  Lonely for him.  I'm only able to convince him to do an activity we both enjoy about once a month.  The rest of the time he puts me off, he needs down time, he needs to work on a project (of which he has 147 underway at any moment).  I would like to ask ADDers... is there anything that makes you want to spend time with your partner?  Or does very little go a long way?  Is 5 minutes a day really enough?  I keep getting stuck on why does he stay when he wants/needs so little of me?  Why do I stay when I am so "not required"?  And why in God's name do I still want to spend time with him?

I am struggling so hard this weekend.  LOL it's so much easier to accept this stuff when you're gone from home 12 hours at a stretch.

I would like to ask ADDers...

I would like to ask ADDers... is there anything that makes you want to spend time with your partner?  Or does very little go a long way?  Is 5 minutes a day really enough?  I keep getting stuck on why does he stay when he wants/needs so little of me?  Why do I stay when I am so "not required"?  And why in God's name do I still want to spend time with him?

I was reading this going "did I write this post and forget I did it?"

Struggling with the exact same thing myself. Asking myself the exact same questions. I can only be promised 'attention' when he wants sex. He stayed in bed watching TV with me yesterday evening waiting for the opportunity to have sex. I figure he would have been in the den otherwise...like he is this evening. He works late and I'm usually in bed by the time he gets home. He doesn't ask me to lunch anymore (he stopped doing this when he started meds). The worst part is the weekends. We used to always do something on weekends. Now I don't even ask anymore because I got tired of all of the excuses and rejection. I just don't get it. Inattention has not always been a part of our problem, so it hurts that much worse.

I keep trying to make plans for us...just he and I...and I hope that eventually he'll respond.

arwen's picture

Humor and play helps -- but maybe it's not entirely inattention

My husband doesn't like to spend time with me, because for him, even when we are doing something I would not consider to be work, it often seems to involve work to him.  Let's say we decide we want to take our teeny tiny boat for a spin on a nearby lake -- he loves his old boat, but we have to make sure the trailer is in safe condition and working correctly, that we have all the boating safety gear we need, we take our permit with us -- it adds up to too much bother.  Go to a movie?  we have to decide which one, and where, and what time -- too much effort!  And so on.

My husband is much happier with mental stimulation that is quick and easy to get.  He enjoys reading about do-it-yourself science, has a great sense of humor, loves to play games on his Wii.  I find that when I approach him with humor, with games, or with stimulating hypothetical science questions like "If global warming melts Greenland and the Antarctic, and the oceans rise, how close do you think our house would be to the ocean?", he's much more responsive and attentive, and wants to continue to spend time with me.  And if we've done something he enjoys, and he's enjoying doing it with me, he's more likely to then want to continue enjoying doing something with me while doing something I enjoy.

If I approach him more frequently this way, I also find he's more inclined to initiate other similar kinds of interactions.  He will invite me to join him watching a movie on Netflix -- he'll have a selection of several and let me pick one.  When we're both tired after work, he'll suggest a game of Mario Kart to pick us up.  He'll share things he finds on the internet that he thinks I'll find interesting, or tell an anecdote from work.   But if I've been task-oriented or there are too many logistics involved with what I'm doing or suggesting, no matter how pleasant --  interacting with me is just work, and he distances himself.

I tend to think of it as a packaging issue.  If I want him to want to spend time with me, I have to make spending time with me less of an effort and thus more appealing.  To make a somewhat stilted analogy, if I had a choice of buying a product from two companies, one whose packaging was easy to open and other whose packaging took a crowbar and jackhammer to get through, I'd even be willing to pay more for the product in the easier packaging.

In order to do that, I have to understand his perspective of what's too much work or bother or whatever.  I have to understand how the situation looks from his perspective, which can be challenging to figure out.  But if I don't, I can't figure out what kind of packaging would help and what would hurt.  Each person is different, so what works for me and my spouse might not work for you, but the method might be useful.

I have to admit, a part of me feels like this is pandering, and it kind of rubs me the wrong way.  I'm not the sugar-coating, rose-colored glasses type, I call a spade a spade.  But, as the old saying goes, you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar -- and even if *I* don't think I'm vinegar, how it tastes to the *fly* is also relevant!

Also, Sherri, you mention your spouse's inattention as part of the distancing and rejection.  Not saying that isn't happening, but it might also partly be a reaction to input overload.  In some ways, ADHD acts like a filter -- it makes it easy for the ADHDer to focus on some things and ignore many others.  ADHD medications typically take that filter away.  For somebody who has lived with that filter all their formative years, having it suddenly gone can be difficult to handle, and withdrawal or irritation or other stress responses are not unusual.  My spouse is actually *more* distant when he is *on* medication than when he was off.  I'm sorry, I haven't read enough of your posts to know whether your spouse is on ADHD meds or not -- but if he is, that might be part of the equation.

Hope this helps in some way, or sparks an idea.

"It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be."  Albus Dumbledore

 

Arwen, I missed you

Your voice is a wise one, from someone who's been in the trenches and come out the other side. I'm glad to see a new post from you! This one is full of wise insights, as usual.

arwen's picture

I've missed being here, lots on my plate

Hi, Sueann -- I've been gone about a year, and it has been a very challenging time for me.  You may recall I started a new job in the spring of 2010.  My life got instantly insane.  There was a steep learning curve with the job, so a lot of unpaid overtime, so many many less hours of "free" (ha ha) time than when I was unemployed.  And my ADHD spouse and I had both gotten used to my being on the homefront to deal with things.  We went through some unpleasant re-adjustments!

To make matters worse, my spouse took a lengthy business trip in northern Europe during the summer, where the additional sun exposure created huge and unexpected impacts on his Seasonal Affective Disorder throughout the summer and fall.  It made him less able to focus and much more impulsive, and the effects went on for months.  With my new job, I didn't have enough time/patience/sleep to accommodate his ADHD, and for a while we fell back into the anger and shouting routine, with him deciding that there was nothing amiss with *him*,  our problems were all *my* fault.  (And he didn't mean, because I'd gone back to work -- he very much wanted me to -- he just wanted me to not change what I'd been doing at home -- llike the two were unrelated in any way.)  To be sure, some of the problems *were* mine -- but just because I have problems doesn't automatically mean he doesn't have any!

Fortunately, over the past spring, some measure of sanity eventually took hold, and we got back to interacting in more positive ways, using most of the same approaches that have worked for us in the past.  However, at that point I began having serious problems with sleep apnea, which produced a number of other medical problems, several serious and all of them significantly impacting everyday life.  In treating the various problems, my doctor  could see that I had become acutely stressed, and suggested I also start taking an anti-anxiety medication until we got my health back under control -- I agreed I was starting to unravel, and started on a low dose of Zoloft, which was later increased.

Being on Zoloft has been an eye-opener.  It has not only helped a lot with the problems it was intended to, it has also helped in dealing with my husband's ADHD behaviors.  In a nutshell, they bother me a lot less.  I still notice them, and we still deal with them, but I just don't get so upset as I used to.  I certainly don't mean to suggest that no matter what he does, I just smile and don't mind!  I still get irritated -- occasionally I even still shout -- but I just don't have the anxiety that always went along with it, of "what NOW?" or "oh no, not AGAIN!".  We just deal with it and move on.  It's incredibly liberating.  Quite a lot of food for thought here, which I'm still digesting.

Over the summer, we've also had a wedding and a hurricane to cope with, and I was intensely grateful for our stabilized relationship -- both events were difficult but we actually managed them better than I'd hoped or expected.  And that made me realize that I once again have the wherewithal to contribute here again -- even without being unemployed, lol!  I won't be able to post as much as in the past -- still short on hours! -- but definitely will be checking in on a regular basis.

 

"It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be."  Albus Dumbledore

I've always been very in and out

but it is great to see you back!!  I always laugh to myself because when you come back from a break it's usually because your family was going through a rough time, ADD got worse, and you were needed to be doing something else instead.  Which I applaud btw.  But when I return it is usually because something has changed and my husband's ADD seems to be acting up and I need to come here to find the patience to deal with it :)   Then I remember how much I like this group and catch up with the stories and stick around a bit till I go drifting away again LOL

Yes, he is on meds...and it

Yes, he is on meds...and it is worse when he is on them. But getting better. But then again...so is my attitude. Making my "packaging" more appealing. ;-)

Thank you Arwen

Very helpful ideas, and I can see where in the past this has been successful without my knowing why.  You say : I have to admit, a part of me feels like this is pandering, and it kind of rubs me the wrong way. and I admit a had a little of that feeling reading your "packaging" ideas.  Yet on the flip side, I sure appreciate it when he considers my "preferences" for not doing things that involve bugs, wild animals and no bathrooms.  So it seems fair I would consider his "preferences" for things that are not work-like.  Thanks, again.

I would still like to hear from those with ADHD as to whether "a little goes a long way" .  I know that a 10 minute conversation about a serious topic feels like a 9-month Iranian prison term to my guy--am I going to have to settle for a couple of 30-minute times together rather than a whole evening once in a while?

I can totally relate

My husband doesn't do anything with me besides sit in the same room and watch tv.  He will talk about what is happening on the tv, but nothing else.  He never brings up our relationship, plans for the future, or the kids.  I told him recently that I am so lonley and it would be nice to do ANYTHING with him that doesn't involve sitting in front of the tv.  To his credit, he has brought up some things but he never follows through.  If he mentions doing something, it's up to me to make it happen every time.  He asked me to make pies with him, but he didn't buy any of the ingredients! 

It would be so nice to have someone who enjoys my company and wants to do things with me. 

Then do it. Make plans..make

Then do it. Make plans..make arrangements...buy pie ingredients. If it means that he'll spend time with you, then do it. Melissa made a good point to me recently...time together is time together no matter who plans it..so just DO IT. :-)

You're right

It shouldn't matter who buys the ingredients as long as we spend time together.  I just get tired of him not following through on anything.  It makes me feel like he's just giving me lip service and doesn't really want to spend time with me.  If he wanted to do it, he would make it happen.  Every other thing in his life that he has wanted, he has gotten.  He hyper focuses on the things he wants and there is no stopping him.  I can tell when he wants something because that's all he does, thinks about, or talks about.  It used to be me.  It's so unfortunate that he can only focus on one thing at a time.  He can't spread out his attention over more than one thing at a time.  It's very lonely to be his wife.

Needhope

Does he have somewhere to go if you said you were tired of taking care of another kid? You are already a single parent. You do everything. He's not working, is he helping with the kids, does he help cook, clean, or change diapers? What if you just said "I'm tired of living like a single parent amd taking care of you" "either make some changes or move on" i need help, not dead weight. See if he says anything? I have said for years and years "do the work" "figure yourself out", please! And he only took a pill.... Now, i completely was done this summer and bam-10 years later he is NOW doing the work.... Can you wait 10 years?

Yes.

He cooks, cleans and changes diapers.  The cleaning isn't as consistent as it should be seeing as how he doesn't have a job right now.  Yesterday he cooked dinner, but he didn't clean up anything all day.  It's very frustrating to work all day and then come home to a messy house. 

He's currently looking for a job, so he isn't just sitting around doing nothing.  We have twin boys at home and they are a lot of work.  That said, I'm still tired of doing all the financial heavy lifting as well as taking on the responsibility of preparing any meaningful time with him.  It gets overwhelming.

i'm glad to hear that he does

i'm glad to hear that he does help with the kids and dinner and house sometimes. Twins must keep him really busy! Really, really, busy!

First, let me say I'm not

First, let me say I'm not condoning his failure to work and help support his family. The load you're carrying is HUGE. My heart goes out to you.

However, if it would bring you some happiness to spend time with him then I would ask you to see these issues you mention as two separate things.

Yes, when something catches their eye or gets their attention, they will become creative in many ways and jump through flaming hoops to get what they want. That is part of the impulsivity...instant gratification...no ability to think past 5 minutes from now (is this reasonable? do I really need this? can we afford this?)...and hyperfocus. All the 'ugly' parts of ADHD.

Second...if he will spend time with you if you plan it, then stop focusing on the 'whys' or assuming that you know what he's thinking and just DO IT. I have made many, many mistakes in my marriage by assuming that I knew what he felt or was thinking and that caused me to not do things or react in ways that would have maybe benefited the marriage. HUGE mistake to assume you know what he's thinking and feeling and reacting in accordance to your assumptions.

Third..."he would make it happen". Not happening. Another "ugly" part of ADHD. Planning and carrying out a date night with the wife is far less appealing than buying the new video game/guitar/cell phone ever thought about being. However, it doesn't mean that they don't enjoy us or want to be with us and spend time with us...it just means we sometimes have to do all of the work when it comes to time alone.

One main regret I have is not planning enough alone time with my husband and myself. I felt the way you do for a very long time. It is not only detrimental to the marriage, it is shooting yourself in the foot. MOST (not all) of the times when my husband and I go out, he's so attentive and makes me feel like a princess. I don't know why I didn't make more of an effort.

I agree

I know you are right, but it makes me feel unloved as a woman.  I have a deep seated need to be cherished by my husband.  It's not enough for me that he just *thinks* about me or *thinks* about doing nice things for me and with me.  It hurts me that he never takes any initiative in our relationship.  It's frustrating to me that I feel like I'm always taking the first step in anything that has to do with us.  It's as if he does not care.  And I understand that he probably really does care, but he's not caring in the way that makes me feel loved.  I just feel lonely and neglected all of the time. 

Terrific question! I am SOOO

Terrific question! I am SOOO struggling with the time issue with my husband (add).  Our problem seems to be that he will hyper focus on me for a day or a week and then totally cut me off for weeks at a time. The computer is a HUGE distraction for him and he LOVES it!  Really anything that he remotly enjoys is enough of a trigger for him to just get lost in whatever he is doing and ignore the rest of the world.

So this weekend I brought up that I was lonely and that I need attention from him. How I feel when I am not receiving attention makes me feel unloved and quite like domestic help. That I NEED quality attention time on a consistent basis.  Here is my question: He claims that he needs me to REMIND him that he isn't spending enough time with me or that I need his attention. I say people have to be reminded of a dentist appointment or an oil change - some thing that they don't really want to do and would rather "reschedule" to a later date. In addition, I was a mothering/nagging wife (gave THAT up and glad its gone) for years and I don't want to go back to that - don't want to go any where near that again!  So should I remind him that he needs to spend time with me or not?  Curious to hear everyones imput...we have settled it for now - but open to new ideas and thoughts.

 

 

Hey stranger!! Glad (but

Hey stranger!! Glad (but sorry?) to see you around! Ahhh...the computer...the ADHDers bestest buddy!

I say YES. Tell him. If I could tell DH that I needed him to spend time with me and he was concerned enough to ask me to 'remind him', then hell yes I would remind him. Don't look at it as a chore or in anyway indicative of what he feels about you. He has ADHD. He has no sense of time. If you ask him he might say "we just spent time together the other day" when realistically it may have been weeks. Same goes for "last time we had sex" , "last time we watched a movie", "last time we went to dinner and a movie". Accept that he just isn't able to keep track of it and that it isn't personal and just say "I would really like for us to do something together in the next couple of days. Would you like to plan it or do you want me to?" and 'remind' him (gently) if he says he'll plan it.

 

Reply

Thanks Sherri - and I know what you mean Glad (sorry) but at least here, we all find support and understanding.  Ok, so funny thing, after the post above we had a counseling session. DH brought up that he wanted me to "remind" him needing to spend time with me. I did not say one word or make any facial expressions. Our counselors reply was "why do you think that she should remind you?" See that isn't her job to do. In the beginning (if I were to agree to such a thing) it would be okay, but then as time goes past, the reminders will begin to feel like critism and nagging. Then you (DH) will begin to resent her attempts to get your attention/reminders. This is a complete ADD thing (he needs to own it) and the counselor felt that since DH is able to remember other events, outings, and able to excel at work then he does have the tools/ability to remind himself - he just needs to work on actually doing so.  I was speechless.

So the upside was that DH is able to remember to do things like this (has the tools and capability to do so).  Now I am just praying that he is able to develop a method that will work for him when it comes to remembering to spend time with me. Also, it was a good to hear that it was an ADD thing, not his deliberate choice (for the most part, anyway).

  

I like your counselor. LOL

I like your counselor. LOL You know that coming from a neutral party that he might actually listen too. I agree that ideally it comes from him without any reminder from him...but just don't let things go so far that you're ready to choke him before you say "Hey, I'd like to spend some time together." In other words, don't hold your breath waiting on him to get it...it may take a while, but I agree with your counselor, and I just said it here recently, I do not think they are incapable of stuff like this they just aren't as motivated because we aren't as exciting as a video game or any other various things that stimulate them. BUT, if they had the right attitude (that making their wife feel good and loved is as important as any task they might have at work...and if they don't want to, someone else will), then it WOULD spark their interest and be something they'd do consistently. I feel this is more of a "taking things for granted" issue than an ADHD issue...honestly. "why bother spending time with her, she's my wife, we're married, and it just simply isn't necessary". Look at how many guys here admit to ignoring their wives for so long and then lost them...and regret it. Now they'd hand them the moon and stars on a silver platter if they could, and it's too late. If they can and are willing to do it NOW, then why not then?

Appointment reminder that you exist

Needing a dentist appointment reminder is one thing, but asking you to remind him to give attention to his spouse (i.e. "you") is hurtful.  Lonelywife40 - if you are feeling objectified and embarrassed that the private part of yourself shared in marriage is given the priority of an oil change, you are reacting correctly.

LISTEN UP gentleman ADHD-ers out there: please do not ever ask your sweetie to remind you to "like" her. That's disrespectful to her and shows a lack of integrity on your part.  If you must, please program your Google calendar to deliver a bi-weekly reminder saying, "Hey loverboy turn off the computer. It's time to cuddle, talk & have sex with ______ & remember not to rush the foreplay" or a message of similar effect. 

Does he like card games,

Does he like card games, chess, backgammon, or rummy? When I play games it seems to break the ice.

Thank you for your

Thank you for your suggesstions. DH is very caught up in his own mind/world. He doesn't care for games much - he LOVES the computer and will spend hours just surfing.  Apparently, the surfing, fulfill his dreams (to move to another city, buying a motorcycle, new car, ect) and that dream just grows and grows while on the computer - an escape from reality.  He tends to occupy himself with things that are activities for just him.

Glad that you have found a way to communicate and spend time with your special person - and how lucky your special person is that you understand them so well (:

Thanks lonely, we don't do it

Thanks lonely, we don't do it often and I am still not in a great place, but, when things were good, i did like to challenge him and tell him I was going to beat him at something - just the competitive thing would get his attention. Sometimes! Forcing (bugging) him to play a game every now and then with the kids helped too.

Arwen, I think you may have some insights into my situation.

In the year since you've been on here, I have graduated but not been able to find a job. My ADD husband lost his job in May. (I hadn't worked since late 2009.) I found a job, not doing what I studied in school. I work from home, and I'm making a lot of money. However, the job carries no benefits and is entirely commission, so the income is not to be counted on. I still want my husband to work, of course, and provide insurance and some definite income we can put down on, say, a rental application. I can walk, but have a certain amount of disability and it is very hard for me to maintain the household.

My husband does not feel, even though I am supporting him and spending significant time working every day (7 days a week), that he is responsible to do housework. It is not a matter of being distracted or "I don't know, I just forgot", he specifically feels that he should only have to do half of the housework and his definition is half is more like 10%. I have no idea when it is I'm supposed to do it, maybe while he's sleeping in the middle of the night. I feel like I'm losing my mind.

I am reluctant to blame this on ADD, because it is not a distraction issue. He is specifically refusing to contribute.  I hooked up a laptop for him so he could do job searches while I am working. But all he does is play solitaire. We went to see the movie "The Help" yesterday and I feel like the maids in that movie, I work and he gets taken care of, without having to do anything.

This hurts. I can't rent a new place and move because I can not put my income on a rental application. He contributes nothing either financially or housework-wise. I feel like dirt beneath his feet.

How do I get off this cycle?

 

arwen's picture

determine your ground rules and stick

Sue Ann, I haven't been ignoring you, but your situation is very tough and your problems always require considerable contemplation.

My spouse never had the attitude that "he shouldn't have to" share the workload, thank goodness -- or even that certain work was "women's work" and other stuff was strictly for men.  We've pretty much split the work along the lines of who is most willing or capable.  Granted, his idea of how much work he should do was always different than mine, but it was never a function of a "fair share" problem.  Mostly, it was that he didn't recognize how much total work needed to be done -- he only sees 10% of what's needed to begin with, so he'd think he was doing 50% and I'd think he was doing 5%!

When I realized that this was the problem, I saw that I had to lay out and quantify for him the total work picture and effort.  This was a huge eye-opener for him, he had no idea so much was necessary.

While your partner has a different attitude than mine, giving him this kind of education could still be helpful in getting him to do more.  Even if he doesn't think he should pull as much weight as you think he should, he may be able to see that his contribution is far less than he thought, and he might be more willing to do more.

But I don't really think this is the main issue, it seems to me that the crux of the problem is boundaries and ownership.  My husband used to have the unconscious modus operandi of thinking that what he determined he needed to take care of was his problem, and *anything else* wasn't (or to hijack a term used by Douglas Adams in his Hitchhiker's Guide series, everything else was in a "Somebody Else's Problem" field).  He didn't understand the basic concept of sharing responsibility in a partnership.  Since he couldn't remember, plan or organize the work, he couldn't be expected to be held accountable for it and accept it as his responsibility (he felt).  Of course, even after *I* remembered, planned, and organized the work, he still wouldn't do it half the time because he just couldn't reclassify it in his mind as his problem to deal with.  In his mind, it was *my* problem to get it done, and he was just helping out as he saw fit.

I can't believe in retrospect that I put up with this for as long as I did, but I had erroneously concluded (before he was diagnosed) that he was just a closet chauvinist who was giving lip service to sexual equality and that he would eventually come to understand the real necessities as we pressed ahead in life -- he would eventually "come around".

Ultimately what I had to do, and I suspect you may too, is define clearly and in minute detail *in my own mind* what was fair and what was not, and *refuse to budge* from that position without overwhelming evidence that it might need adjustment.  What you do with those determinations will depend on your specific circumstances.  In my case, with my concept of basic chore fairness firmly  in my mind,  I drew up a spreadsheet of routine chores, and estimated how long each task would take me.  Based on observations of what tasks he *had* done at times, I figured he needed about 2.5 times as much time as I to do most tasks.  Then I sat him down, told him this was the weekly work that had to be done, that he could have first choice of the tasks, but that we were going to apportion them  out so that we both worked the same amount of time.  (Since we were both working outside the home 40 hours a week, there was no impetus to bring that factor into the discussion in any way.)  I pointed out that I had allotted him far more time for each task than I gave myself, so that he was going to be doing less total work than I was, which could not possibly be unfair to him.  I explained that once he had picked out his tasks, we would work out a schedule for when he would do them, and I worked it out so that the vast majority of his work was scheduled for the same period of time that I was doing chores, so I would be moving around the house and able to keep an eye on his activities.  I told him if he didn't pull his weight, I was going to have to take drastic measures (but didn't specify what -- which I think was actually scarier to him than if I'd outlined consequences -- he'd already had a taste of some of my drastic measures when I gave away to our local library the books he wouldn't put away after months of reminding and warning that I'd pitch them out, or the clothes I threw out when he wouldn't pick them up under similar circumstances -- "drastic measures" conjured up all kinds of perfectly fair but frightful possibilities.)   But it was necessary for me to figure out what those drastic measures might be, in case they became necessary -- so I had some consequences planned and ready.  (And I'm truly sorry, but at this late date I can't remember what they were.  Probably something along the lines of, if he didn't deal with the dishes, I couldn't prepare meals.  In your shoes, I might put the solitaire game from the laptop into an encrypted zip file.)   When my husband drifted off task, I would redirect him matter-of-factly -- no nastiness, but also no special sympathy.

This actually worked.   He didn't particularly like it, but he couldn't find any grounds for objection.  It certainly required a lot of supervision in the beginning, and we did ultimately renegotiate here and there a bit, but by and large it's still the basic concept we use today.  (Fortunately, it no longer takes him 2.5 times as much time as me for most tasks!)  It's true that he still doesn't accomplish as much total *volume* of work as I do, but our *effort* is more nearly equal.

I have to be honest -- whenever I hear people (with or without ADHD) say that they don't think they should have to do what is necessary to pull their own weight, it makes my blood boil.  I have no sympathy or patience with this attitude.  Letting yourself off the hook that way is immature and unacceptable.  I understand that some folks have problems that have contributed to this immaturity, and that they may be fearful because of their experiences with their problems -- but if you want to be treated like an adult, you have to behave like one.  There is a difference between an adult with a disability who is courageously trying but maybe not always succeeding, and a pseudo-adult who makes demands on others without themselves putting forth equivalent efforts.

Don't know if any of this helps -- hope so!

"It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be."  Albus Dumbledore

I didn't think you were ignoring me, Arwen

Your reply was thorough and thoughtful and well worth waiting for. i knew you had been through some of the same issues when you went back to work after a while off, and we are of similar age, so I thought you might have some ideas for me. Thanks so much.

I'm really struggling right now

As I said, I'm working. It's from home but it's a real job. The more I work, the more I make, and he's not working at all. We've been talking about this housework issue. He feels that he should only have to do 50% of the housework, although I am beating my head against the wall with work and he has none.

So he expects to have leisure or free time and I'm struggling to do all I have to do for work. He thinks, I guess, that he should be able to just sit and watch TV and watch me to make sure I do my 50%.

It's tempting to say "throw the bum out" but he won't go. Why doesn't he acknowledge that what I do is hard and takes a long time. It's 1:30 in the morning, I just finished working for the night. He's been in bed for hours.

Why isn't my 50% that he gets to live in a house I pay the rent on and eat food I buy and play with animals that I feed? Why do i also have do 50% of the housework?

I don't think this is an ADD thing. I just think he's being a jerk. Can some of you guy ADDers explain what's going on in his mind?

 

Struggle No More!

This is a response to I'm really struggling right now. Please don't think that what I'm about to write is rude nor mean... but truth. I have ADHD type 2&6 which means my energy levels are at zero. I HAVE to take meds to create dopamine. Meaning I'm a Adderall taker. Without it I don't do shit but eat & sleep. I use to have chronic mood swings, zero drive, & zero motivation to do anything. Get him on meds pronto! If he already takes them... & it is a narcotic fill his script or get him to the doc to change his dosage. Every ADHD person needs guidelines & rules & schedules & lists & well sometimes I feel like a Space Cadet & my hand held! Buuut with all that said... I got MYSELF on meds, I put MYSELF in ADHD management, I bought ADHD & Marriage book MYSELF, I became a member to this website MYSELF! What does he do HIMSELF? HE is a grown ADULT he got through his life how many years before you... sounds to me that you are enabling him! I'm gonna take a risk & bet that ALL this didn't happen in one day that you just didn't wake up & he is standing there hopeless. You allowed him to push the line soooo far to his own advantage that you are now lookin like a fool. Will you be my Sugar Momma too?! Sadly now this is gonna have to take a lot of doing on your end... but you're already use to that aren't you?! It's ultimatum time. You need to grow some big brass balls & be a bitch that you know you can be! You are the bread winner, you are the alpha, YOU obviously make your relationship! This is going to take some Woman Mind Voodoo/Tricks & your knowledge of ADHD. I'm an author & currently writing my book on men so ha I would like to say I know a thing or two about the hairy beasts. You need to go out & buy a brand new pair of sexy pants, the most girlish apron you can find, a duster, & a Betty Crocker cook book. Make doc appt for him. Make appt at local employment agency for him as well (after his doc appt). The one thing that ALL ADHD people fear the most is failure! He needs a reminder of this fear & what he's currently failing at. While you are wearing your new pair of pants ask him what he thinks then tell him you got him a present & give him in a gift wrapped box the apron, duster, & cook book... with a serious big grinned face & tell him to play his part! If he doesn't catch on by then he's a dumbass. Since you obviously wear the pants in the relationship he needs to be domesticated & take on that role of doing ALL chores, cooking & shopping & tell him that's his new job & if he dare touches anything you bought you will call his mother (or father)& tell her to pick up her baby cuz you are done babysitting! Or tell that lazy bum to get the hell out & if he doesn't like your new rules either get him self a new job, hit the road, or call the damn cops to escort him out. It sounds drastic & far fetched but this is what has to be done. Good luck! p.s. You seem like you have a huge golden heart... don't let it hurt any more & be wasted on someone who doesn't appreciate you & all the wonderful things you do! Girl Power :)

This is what I get...

for marrying a man who'd always lived with his mother before he married me. He is on ADD meds but can't get his anti-depressants until his next appointment on the 12th.

His mother just moved and has nowhere to put him. I'm thinking on the street corner with a sign "Won't work. Will you feed me?"

"this is what I get for

"this is what I get for marrying a man who'd always lived with his mother before he married me"

Until you can say that and place ZERO blame on him, you will always stay stuck exactly where you are today. You're stuck in the "victim" role...I pray you can find a way out at some point. It is so liberating.

So you think....

I should find some way to do all the work and totally give him a free pass? Support him AND do all household tasks in great pain while he sits and watches TV? Really?

What kind of marriage is that?

What I think...

Sueann,

What I think Sherri is trying to say is that you need to remember that his actions are a result of the ADHD, which he didnt ask to have.  Be mad at that ADHD and possibly his mother for enabling the behavior but not at him.  No one should get a "free pass", but until he chooses to make the changes in himself nothing will be different with him.  I just came to realize this, but the change has to be in you....you cant change him with any amount of yelling, threatening or manipulation.  He has to be responsible for himself and  his decisions and you have to let him sink or swim on his own.  Hope this helps...  ~~HUGS~~

 

I am OK with letting him sink or swim but...

Not with ME sinking. I am, after all, doing what I'm supposed to do. I'm working at a job that's not in my field and paying the bills. I do as much housework as I can. I am not OK with not having clean dishes to eat off of, not having clean clothes, not having the dog walked, etc. I could do these things or pay someone else to so them, but why should I? I would work less and make less money if I did all the cleaning. Isn't it better for me to do the money earning things, since I have a job, and let him do the house things, if he's not going to work?

And I don't care whether he changes so he likes housework or not. I don't like what I'm doing, but I do it because we need to eat. I can't kick him out. He signed the lease as well, so I've no legal right to do that. My job is commission and I haven't enough history to convince a new landlord I could pay the rent every month, so moving myself is out of the question.

I know he didn't chose to have ADD, but there are enough examples of productive citizens with ADD out there (including Dr. Hallowell) that I don't think it's an excuse. I didn't ask to be born with defective knees or to be hit by a car either, but I do what needs to be done anyway, whether it hurts or not.

I undertand your problem and agree with what you are saying

but the problem is that he either doesn't understand the problem or doesn't agree with what you are saying.  In my opinion he should take care of the house because you are doing the working (I think this also works vice versa so it isn't a gender thing...it is a do what needs to be done thing) The problem is that he is not in the same mental place as we are.  I think since you might be stuck in this situation at least long enough to qualify to rent another place, you should spend some time and effort getting him to understand the situation.  Could you engage his doctor in making this issue clear to him?

 

It appears that he doesn't ever and hasn't ever felt much in the way of consequences for his actions or inactions. So far you or his mother have taken care of whatever needed to be done for him, so his mind may say 'why stir myself? Someone else will handle it'.  Honestly I would be very frank with him and this is coming from a place where the Bible says the substance of 'let him that doesn't want to work, neither let him eat' &' he that doesn't care for his own household is worse than a man without faith'. 

1.  I am working and you are not working. 

2.  I am not willing or able to both work and take care of our home.  Here is a list of the things that have to be done in our home weekly and monthly. 

3.  If we are going to remain together, you will either be working enough to support our family or you will be taking care of our home in a matter satisfactory to both of us. 

4.  What can you do to make this situation workable for us both?

Set a time limit and if he doesn't get on board one way or another, get your own place or move in with your daughter and save up for your own place.  I am not into breaking up marriages, but most of the time you talk about how this is no marriage.  UNTIL it was the time where you had to separate due to him losing his work and then all you could do was moan about having to separate.   I could never figure that out AT ALL....at a time where there was finally going to be a resolution, you couldn't stand the idea of it.

 

Sueann, what do you seriously want out of your life?  You emotionally seem to stay stuck in the exact same spot.  You are doing different things........graduating and finding work for which I applaud you wholeheartedly.   But as far as I can tell when it comes to your husband, you hate to be with him and you hate the idea of being without him.  I don't understand this place you are in.  I desperately want to encourage you and help you, but nothing anyone can say here will make him any different.  You say you will be miserable with him unless he is different because he is stomping all over your boundaries.  I don't blame you, but I can't understand why you keep accepting it.  I do believe that ppl treat us how we allow them to treat us.  YOU HAVE TO TAKE A STAND AND DO WHAT WILL MAKE YOU HAPPY.  You have been far too miserable for far too long.

 

As far as him, he is clearly under-treated for his issues.  Could you wait it out and try to see that he gets help and see if he gets better?  Sure you can.  It may be the best options for many.  My husband's ADD is controlled well enough that we can both be very happy together.  What would it take for your husband to get to that point?  Be honest.....if it is never gonna happen, it may be time to let this one go.  

What does he contribute to the marriage?

 

 

It isn't like I want to live with my daughter

I gave up significant alimony to marry my husband. He was working then and, with the dopamine spurts of new love, we didn't realized he is chronically depressed and has ADHD. But living with my daughter and son-in-law doesn't sound like a picnic either. My ADHD grandson does nothing right in their eyes and I don't think I would either. I thought seriously about moving in with them last winter since, even with him working, we could not afford to heat our house. But it's far from an ideal situation.

I love him, and we are happy as long as we aren't dealing with this one issue that he doesn't expect to do anything at home. It is just so hard to deal with my handicap and my job without input from him. Maybe it is unsolvable, and he's just a jerk and there isn't any treatment for that.

I was really really surprised to read you say you're happy

with your ADHD husband.  I mean stunned.  In the time I've been reading your posts here, I never picked up on you being happy with him at all, and I may be remembering incorrectly but I thought you'd posted several times that you didn't think you loved him either.

If you love him and are mostly happy with him that changes many things.  Number 1 thing you are going to have to give up is thinking about all that alimony you gave up to marry him.  I know this is true, but that money is long gone and is never coming back.  You have to work with what is without the resentment from what isn't going to happen constantly poisoning your dealings with your husband.

I never thought living with your daughter would have been a picnic, but what I was saying is that you have options.  Granted they are not ideal options, but since none of them are ideal. you have to pick the ones that are going to work best for you.  So far you are choosing him as your best option.   If you want to get him on board with helping, I really think you are going to have to get across to him how much needs doing and what specifically he is going to need to help with.  I am sure you have done this, but if you are married to a loving man and he is still not doing it, then I bet you anything he thinks you are nagging about nothing and doesn't really 'get it'.

You can't make him help around the house any more than you can make him get a job.  No one can make him do anything.  But a chronically depressed man who had ADHD and recently lost a job that he loved....this man is easily able to think he is doing a lot more than he is.  Perhaps even thinking that he is doing all that he needs to do.  Maybe he knows he needs to do more but is just too depressed to get there.

His doctor may be able to help you talk to him in a way that he will listen to and not tune out right away.  As long as this situation continues your resentment is going to build and I honestly don't see how your marriage or your peace of mind can survive the resentments you have over this.  It really needs to be resolved.

Choices and Tradeoffs

I haven't posted in a while here, and plan to because of some major internal changes that have helped me move forward, but I was compelled to comment on this thread.

Sueann, I think what Sherri and Aspen are trying to get through to you is that you ALWAYS have a CHOICE.  You have a CHOICE to remain in your situation, or to leave it.  Any choice will involve tradeoffs.  To determine what is the best choice for you, you must first become clear on your goals and priorities, and the tradeoffs you are willing to accept given your situation as it stands right now.  You have to take ownership of your own goals and priorities, and take steps to reach them.  It is always great to get the help and cooperation of a partner in doing that, but since you CANNOT CONTROL ANYONE BUT YOURSELF, if you do not have the help and cooperation of your partner, you have to choose how you will move forward, alone.  This is scary, and it often forces us to confront some deep fears about ourselves -- of our ability to be alone, of failure, to take care of ourselves, whether we are lovable, whether we have intrinsic worth, to name a few.  But it's important to realize that it is these fears -- and not anything that your husband or anyone else is doing or not doing -- that keeps you paralyzed, stuck in a cycle of blame, and under the illusion that anyone or anything outside of yourself can be responsible for your happiness or experience in life.

I recently read this post from a blogger names Barrie Davenport, who reflected on the movie 127 Hours, which is about a hiker who gets trapped with his arm under a boulder.  He decides to cut off his own arm in order to escape.  You can imagine that neither of his options were "ideal."  He could either remain trapped, and die, or use his pocket knife to saw off his arm, which would be extremely scary and painful.  However, you can also imagine that if he sat there forever, complaining about his situation, that the rock should not have fallen on him, that he "deserves" to live, that someone should rescue him (all of which could be true, and with which we might sympathize)...he would be talking into the wind because one, five, and ten hours later, his situation would be *exactly* the same as long as he took no action.  The rock wasn't going to move just because he wanted it to.  The truth is, the only person who could help him is HIM.

So here is the post.  I hope it helps you to see your situation from a different light:

"The very hard truth is this: sometimes we must cut off an arm to save our life.
Sometimes we must do very difficult, challenging, unpleasant things to make our lives better in the long-run. Substantial positive change often calls for drastic measures. Here are some examples of what I mean:

If you want to get out of the misery of financial debt, you might have to sell your house, get a second job, or ask your spouse to go back to work.


If you want to be in a loving relationship, you might have to go through some painful counseling. Or you might have to end your current relationship.


If you want be happy and fulfilled in your job, you might have to accept less money, security, or the possibility of failure.


If you want to feel less stressed and anxious, you might have to cut some things out of your life and make difficult choices about what’s most important.


If you want to feel good physically and emotionally, you might have to stop eating foods you crave or love, you might have to expose your overweight body to a personal trainer, you might have to talk about your problems and be vulnerable with a coach or counselor.


If you want to spend less time in your car, you might have to find a different job or a home closer to work.


If you want to stop feeling guilty, off-balance, angry, or resentful, you might have to have an embarrassing, uncomfortable, or humbling conversation with someone. You might have to change your behavior.


If you want to live a peaceful, balanced and organized life, you might have to get rid of some stuff, organize your home, and stop buying things you have to take care of.


If you want to feel positive and uplifted, you might have to stop watching TV, listening to negative people, participating in gossip, or allowing yourself to dwell on your problems.


If you want to stop feeling drained, overworked, and tired, you might have to cut back on the hours you spend at your job, even if you feel you “must” work that long or hard. You might have to risk the anger of your boss or partners to find balance and fun in your life.


If you want to do something exciting, different, adventurous, bold, you might have to admit that fear and inertia are getting in your way. You might have to experience the temporary discomfort of trying something new, risking failure or looking stupid.


If you want to have want to have a bold, fearless, and happy life, you must take 100% responsibility for your own actions, choices, decisions, and reactions. You must stop making excuses, casting blame, or accepting ignorance."

 

You are right, I know

But, as you pointed out, none of the choices are ideal. There isn't a solution that will make us both happy.

If I do all the housework and support him, I'll be even more bitter and resentful than I am. It would be physically impossible to make as much money as I am now and still do all the housework, so he'd have less provided to him materially. Maybe if I have to do all the housework, I won't be able to heat the house this winter any more than we could last winter or maybe we won't be able to afford cable or whatever. (You're a lawyer, Ren, so you understand the concept of billable hours. My situation is different, but it's still work in-money out, so if I work less there will be less money.

The problem is that I want so badly for him to understand the fundamental unfairness of having a handicapped person do all the labor in the relationship while the able-bodied person luxuriates in bed or on the computer with no responsibilities. He's not the unfeeling, unaware rock in the movie you talk of, he's a human being who's supposed to love me.

 

arwen's picture

the crux of the problem

Sueann, you wrote:

"I want so badly for him to understand the fundamental unfairness of having a handicapped person do all the labor in the relationship while the able-bodied person luxuriates ... with no responsibilities."

This strikes me as the crux of the entire conflict with your spouse, in a nutshell.  You want him to understand (I presume because you think his understanding will make some material difference in the balance in your relationship).  He doesn't.  Why?

I agree he's not an unfeeling rock, but I think there's actually a very good chance he's unaware.  How can this be?

Have you ever tried to have a conversation with a person who didn't speak English -- or better yet, have a conversation in another language with someone who was fluent and you were not?  Mostly these conversations don't go so well.  Many years ago I traveled in Europe with minimal German, and found myself trying to ask if the train in the station was going to a particular town, but my German was so fractured that the people I was talking to thought I was asking if I was in the train station of the town I had named.  They were telling me, no, I wasn't in that station, and I thought they were telling me that the train didn't go where I wanted.  Since it was the only train in the station I was standing in, and the train to the town I was going to was the only train that was supposed to be in station I was in, this was all pretty confusing to me.  I must have gone round and round with the local folks for ten minutes, smiling and nodding but not really understanding each other, before it finally dawned on one of them that we were not communicating.  ( Fortunately, because of this shrewd individual, I did not miss my train!)

You have the same kind of problem -- you and your ADHD spouse do not speak the same "language".  You may use the same words, but they don't mean to him what they mean to you.  As long as you keep using your language and he uses his, he will not understand, even though he may smile and nod, and you may both think you are communicating.  The only way he is going to understand what you want him to understand is if you either learn to "sling his lingo" (i.e. learn to think in the same manner as he thinks, perceive the world through his brain processes), or you somehow find a way to teach him yours.

When I refer to "language", I don't just mean the dictionary definitions of English words.  I'm also talking about the knowledge base and the awareness that a person brings to a conversation.  Even with a million words, it's much more difficult to understand diffraction if you've never seen a rainbow, or how an airplane lifts off the ground without understanding air flow (to be honest, I understand air flow and I *still* wouldn't really believe an airplane could fly without seeing it with my own eyes).    In any relationship, there is going to be a certain disparity of knowledge and awareness, but in a relationship with an ADHDer, you have the disparity in spades.  And that disparity has a profound effect on your understanding of each other's point of view.

"It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be."  Albus Dumbledore

Arwen, I do think you understand me

I wish we could sit down and have a cup of coffee together. You really get it. I love your analogy of the trains and inadequate language. But you didn't just leave the train station, you got someone to understand you. How can I get there?

arwen's picture

I got lucky

No, I didn't get somebody to understand me, I just got lucky that somebody I was talking to was smarter than me, and *they* had an "ah ha!" moment.  The only thing *I* did to advance the situation was be persistent.  (Another of my simultaneous faults and virtues -- it has helped me succeed sometimes where others have failed, but it has also caused me to spend far too much time on lost causes.)

So, to extend the analogy, I'm afraid all I can suggest to you is that you keep hanging around this "station" talking to the "locals" and maybe eventually one of us will have an"ah ha" moment that will help you out, and/or keep working with your guy to trigger an "ah ha" moment in him.  This is something I have been able to accomplish with my own spouse through persistence -- trying different approaches, trying different analogies, trying different strategies,  using every possible situation I can think of as examples, seizing every opportunity to communicate my idea in a different way.  But be forewarned, it can take a very very very very long time, and it takes a lot of reinforcement afterwards, and there are no guarantees that it will ever happen.  There are things I've been trying to get my husband to understand for ten years, and he still doesn't see what I'm saying.

I wish we could have that cup of coffee, too!

"It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be."  Albus Dumbledore

I don't think we are as far apart as we sound

I love my husband, really. He is kind and funny and smart and, if we aren't on the treadmill of work, etc. we are pretty happy with each other.

The real problem is that the choices his ADD causes him to make endanger me-my ability to make a living, my health, my safety. He doesn't have to refuse to work and leave me without insurance. He doesn't have to decide that he shouldn't do anything in the house so that I have to earn less money by taking time from my paying job to do all of the housework.  He doesn't have to be so unaware of his own body and surroundings that he drops things on me. What I want is for him to acknowledge these things and change them. I don't want him to be different. I want him to act differently. And he refuses. He rejects all suggestions that might make my life more tolerable. He rejected all ideas I had for helping him keep track of his keys and cell phone, so he got fired. He rejects any idea that he should partner with me in running our home. It's weird because he's not a sexist pig who thinks that all of that is "women's work."

I gave up a very real thing (enough alimony to pay my rent!) to marry him. I don't feel that I gave up a part of myself to be with him. I don't know what the answer is. But I stay on this board because I think there is an answer if I could just find it. And the answer isn't to be OK with him being a parasite in the house, and expect nothing.

arwen's picture

possible "ah ha"??

I think there may be an implicit conflict in your statements that you may not realize.  You say you want him to act differently without being different.  But his actions stem directly from what he is.  You and I can learn to behave differently about some things without being different, but this is much more difficult, sometimes impossible, for someone with ADHD.

With my own husband, we used to talk and talk about problems and he'd agree with me (because it made sense to him at the time), but then later on he'd continue doing the things we'd agree he wouldn't do anymore.  We'd talk about it again, and again he'd agree that it made sense, and then again he'd go back to doing what he said he wouldn't.  After a very very long time, many years, I finally realized that I was talking to his brain (conscious mind), but he was acting from his "gut" (i.e. subconscious), and his brain and "gut" never communicated with each other.  He didn't *like* what he agreed to, *and he didn't know he didn't like it*, and so obviously he didn't know his dislike was motivating his behavior.  These were staggering revelations to me, since my conscious and subconscious communicate with each other all the time.  Then I spent an unspeakable amount of time trying to teach him how to do this.  I finally realized that it just wasn't going to happen.  Maybe if he went off to a high mountain in the Far East and chanted into his navel for a couple of years, he might eventually grasp how to do it, but he's never going to learn how from me, I just can't bridge that gap.  And he's content with the dichotomy, so he has no motivation to learn this in the first place.

As a result, the only way my husband "learns" to "act differently" is if he either ritualistically executes a behavior as a mechanical habit, like learning to turn off a light when leaving the room, by literally physically going in and out of rooms and turning lights on and off dozens of times until a metaphorical "groove" is worn into his memory, or if he has some *external trigger*, like a PDA alarm, that regularly reminds him of what different actions he should be doing.  But it's never actually *internalized* on some kind of permanent basis, like it is for me when I change my behavior.  Before we were separated, he wasn't even motivated to "learn" to "act differently" in these ways, but he eventually decided that in certain areas of our relationship, it was worth doing.  If he loses his PDA alarm, though, he loses the "different behavior", and then we're back to square one until such time as the alarm may somehow be re-established.

Not everyone with ADHD has this dichotomy -- my son and brother-in-law do not -- but I've known many ADHDers who do, and the vast majority of them don't realize it exists or that it's beyond normal.  It sounds to me like your husband has some of this condition too, although perhaps not to the extent my spouse does.  If so, wanting him to act differently and be the same may, unfortunately, be akin to crying for the moon.  You may have to compromise, as I did, on changing *some* of what he is in order to change some of his behaviors, and learning to live with some of his behaviors to avoid changing what he is.

It also sounds to me like he may have a very serious fear of responsibility.  This fear is also not uncommon in people with ADHD, although perhaps not to the degree that it seems to me your partner may experience.  If his "gut" isn't talking to his "brain", he may not be aware of it.  These are issues that I would raise with a counselor, if possible, it can be a delicate problem (I stupidly tried to handle it myself with my son and botched it -- one of my very few and very great regrets -- thank goodness he has mostly overcome it, but he still has emotional scars I never wanted to inflict).

I sure hope there's some useful to you *somewhere* in all this!

"It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be."  Albus Dumbledore

 

arwen's picture

amputation

I haven't seen 127 Hours -- I know what it's about and the emotional trauma of the situation would tear me up unless I watched it in small pieces -- but I find it most interesting that you and Barrie  Davenport see what sometimes must be done in our life choices as akin to amputation -- because that's exactly what I've called it myself.  Earlier this year I was involved in a very intense argument with my daughter about ADHD and choices -- she couldn't understand why I was still often unhappy with my life.  I tried half a dozen different ways of explaining my feelings, but she just kept saying, "Well, if you know what would make you happier and you're choosing not to do it, why can't you just decide to be happy with things as they are?"  Finally, in frustration, I snapped "If you had to have your leg amputated, would you miss it?"  Quite taken aback, she answered that she would.  I replied, "Well, in order to deal with your dad's ADHD, I've had to amputate part of my soul.  I miss it."   *That* she seemed to be able to finally relate to.

And I wonder if maybe that isn't where some of us get hung up in making the tough ADHD-related choices.  Some of us are in situations where no matter what choice we make, we're going to have to amputate *something* and we know that not only is it going to be painful at the time, but that we are also going to miss it, particularly if we can't find some way to fill the hole it will leave in our soul.  I can stand the idea of pain for a while, or discomfort for a long time, but if it seemed likely to me that any choice I made would result in lifelong pain, I'd be loathe to make a choice -- at the least, I would definitely want to make sure I'd exhaustively examined all the options.

I felt that I had to make the choices I did in dealing with my spouse's ADHD for the benefit of my children.  If it had just been me, I don't know if I could have stuck to my resolve.  Fifteen years later there are still some holes in my soul, and it's not for the want of trying to fill them.  I don't mean to suggest I dwell on them, and I spend all my emotional effort chasing rainbows -- far from it.   Looking back, I'm firmly convinced I made the right choices.  My life is unquestionably "better in the long run".  I've learned to live well enough with my "amputations",  and get on with my life, and even derive some benefit from them via sharing my experiences for the benefit of others.  But even knowing they were necessary, and even though they don't hurt too badly too often anymore, I still do miss them.

Bottom line:  Sueann -- I must say I agree with Ren, Aspen and Sherri  -- you've arrived at "fish or cut bait" time.  (I don't mean to say by that, that you have some time limit to make your choices -- I spent quite a long time in this zone myself.  But it seems you are past the "defining the problem" stage.)  It can be a tough place to be, partly because it requires you to be totally honest with yourself in order to make the best choice.  Good luck and hugs!

"It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be."  Albus Dumbledore

Yep

Yep. He's being a Jerk. You hook up a laptop and he plays solitaire all day long instead of finding a job? No.

Just no.