Every single time I locked myself in the bedroom, through tears of sadness and anger, my Google searches have led me here. Every time, I found kindred spirits in all the women dealing with ADHD husbands, and there was some solace in knowing I was not alone. Then, as every other time before, he would make a bid for connection, and I would accept. There would be promises, empty ones for sure, but they soothed me for a while, and he managed to keep it together for a handful of days, mostly until the hurt on my part passed, and then he would go back to the same behaviors and attitudes that brought me to this site. This time, I registered because I feel that there may be nothing he will say or do that can change things. This time, I may be ready to walk, so I guess I may need some support from those who have been through this.
A little background. We have been together for 15 years. Things were never great, but we both wanted it enough that I ignored the red flags and he put up with my displeasure and with me telling him what to do. It was not long before things got worse. He was only diagnosed a few years ago. Instead of it being a source of relief that there was a reason, he took it really hard, did not want anyone to know, and became even more negative about how life is unfair to him. I have a really hard time with people who adopt a victim mentality. I have my own medical issues, but I have never let that slow me down. I am very successful, and I tend to be positive and believe that we can choose how we deal with everything that comes our way. He is currently in therapy, with someone I don't think is particularly effective, and only because I told him he needed to work on this if he wanted to stay together. It has not gotten better, and I don't think it will.
Our problems are both about the everyday stuff and the deeper, more love-related stuff. In terms of the household, he is disorganized, he makes piles of everything, he can't seem to put anything back in its place, he cleans, but not well (bare minimum effort), and it takes prodding and arguments most of the time, and things that are not on his list are just off his radar, which leaves me with the labor of being his mom or manager. On top of that, whenever I have to ask for something or point something out, something I do not get any enjoyment out of and would prefer not to do, he gets activated, and there is heavy sighing, eye-rolling, hunching over like he's been asked to go wrestle an alligator from the swamp from dinner. He complains that he does most of the work, but I work twice as hard as he does, make twice what he does, and pay for a lot of things. Not only that, the labor of managing him is a lot, and he doesn't recognize that. On top of that, I have always been the one to organize anything social, plan all trips, dates, etc., and I can't count on him for help with any of that. He understands what the issue is, but he refuses to consider solutions. Then there is the emotional part. He doesn't initiate anything physical. He will hug when hugged, but he does not seem to have a real interest in a lot of contact. We have not had sex in the last six years and I can't remember the last time we made out. I am a sexual person, but I am no longer attracted to him because I think of him as an overgrown child, a project, and also because he does not make me feel wanted, loved, desired sexually, or seen in any way. He's forgotten my birthday and our anniversary, he has bought me really bad gifts, and he can be pretty cheap. He can also have very hurtful attitudes and say hurtful things. He makes unilateral decisions after making promises and does what he thinks is better regardless of having given me his word. He has lied about just about every aspect of our life together as well. He also lies and minimizes issues in therapy, which means it's all pretty worthless. He is selfish and he makes my life harder in every way. I understand these are all issues that can be related to the diagnosis, but when I see him act like a different person with friends or at work, I am reminded that this is also something on which he can work. I have asked him repeatedly to spend time doing research on how to change things around. There is so much out there in terms of help nowadays. He is a smart man, but he will only put effort when it's something that matters to him...which I guess means me, us, this family, we are just not important.
I am not without blame. I have become the epitome of what I never wanted to be...the so-called nag, and he'll tell you all about that and my fits of anger. He'll tell the therapist plenty. I have become angry, and it has started to affect my other relationships because my unhappiness seeps into everything. I have become more physically unwell because I cope by eating and watching TV as I escape. I yell when I have asked for the same thing for the 500th time. And I can also say mean things. I am not proud of that, and I am working through that in therapy. I am a live wire, though. I am exhausted, sad, angry, and disappointed. I don't want to hurt him. I want him to be happy, and I think he would be happier without me, or at least with someone who does not have as many needs or expectations. I know a huge problem is we both have so much resentment, but I can't see that changing. I tried the strategy of not pointing out mistakes. He just becomes more brazen about them because now no one is getting on his case. It hasn't yielded a lessening of the resentment or more responsiveness on his part. We have seen 6 therapists. Not one has been able to move the needle. My therapist asks me why I stay. It's a combination of things, as everything. I feel sorry for him. I worry he will decline, even if I think he could have a better life without me. He plays the victim when we fight and has the poor me, long face, hunched shoulders, soft hurt voice down-pat. I also worry I will miss the companionship, and thanks to our culture and media, I also worry that I will end up alone, even if I have come to understand that this would not be worse than where I am now.
So, we are at that point again, where we had a huge blowout, I said things cannot hold like this, and he is doing his best impression of a loving man who cannot please his shrew of a wife, even after I remind him of the fact that I have never lied, and I have, for example, never left her to fend for himself in a foreign land so I could go get drunk at a bar or neglected to check in on him at the hospital after an operation. Somehow, I am the one at fault because I can't just leave things well alone and be okay with a dirty, disorganized home, a sexless marriage, and a feeling of not being important at all. I have started looking at places to rent, but the process is rough, and I fear that the nuisance of it all combined with his sorry-for-myself act will make me stay for another few years.
That is all for now. Thanks for your honesty all these years as you write about your lives. It's been very helpful.