Recently married and everything changed

I've been reading the forums for the past couple of weeks and often I'll get halfway through a response to someone who is going through so many of the same things and I'll stop and have to erase it because I'm not offering advice, I'm venting. I have the intention of offering advice but lately it all turns sour.

My husband and I have been married for just over 5 months, and we've been together almost three years. It was true love when we finally got together. I knew he was ADD but I had a very limited understanding of it. I slowly learned what it meant, waiting for him to come around after he'd finished work as planned, but he would forget, or for the call he promised to make after finishing up with some or other task but never got around to. Those things weren't enough to dissuade me, and after seeing how he upset me when he stood me up he started leaving himself reminders and that kind of thing. We moved in together after about 9 months or so and about two days before we were getting the keys he lost his job. I was mortified but he assured me he would get himself sorted, he would have the rent money and all that.

Living together was great but him being unemployed was hard... I knew it was temporary so we got over it. He taught me a lot about ADD through long talks, we discovered ways to overcome problems, I was learning how to 'cope' and to understand the motivation behind certain things, or rather the lack of motivation. we recognised trends and how he reacted to my stressfful times at work and we prepared ourselves and put little things in place to work through them. He started doing a government funded course so that he could eventually start his own business, and worked a couple of shifts here and there. I was willing to accept his lower income and therefore contribution and having to occasionally cover things and buy things when he couldn't afford it. we worked through this and we got engaged. We learned more about each other. My super organised level headed ways were the complete opposite of his impulsive and gregarious nature. We complemented each other beautifully. I learned about codependancy and being in control, and made myself give up that control. We had our hiccups but we learned through them.

Then I started having a really hard time at work and all the stress and anxiety I'd been ignoring for years reared it's ugly head. I was miserable, and he wasn't helping with anything around the house. I had a massive panic attack whilst we were on holiday but he helped me through it. I went to the doctor and he diagnosed the anxiety. He mentioned that anxiety could breed anxiety (after I mentioned my fiance was ADD) and I brushed it off. I found the root of that anxiety and quit my job, the job that I had loved a year before, that I was excellent at, a place where I was extraordinarily successful. I had enough money to get me by for 6 weeks so I continued planning our wedding, feeling amazing for having cut out the spreading stress and anxiety. I had some bad, dark days but the light was at the end of the tunnel. I don't blame my husband for the anxiety I was suffering, but I often wonder whether it was inevitable or whether our domestic life set it off.

I got a job and things were looking up for me. Things kept getting better after I was head hunted and offered an amazing opportunity with a hefty increase in my salary (and responsibility) in a role I had thrived in previously. I organised an amazing wedding, and there was anxiety around that too. getting married is a stressful event, but we adored the pants off each other. Around this time it was the same problem of us not having enough money, with my fiance dropping down to one or two shifts at work and aditional wedding expenses that I was paying with every last cent that I earned.

We got married and it was amazing, we honeymooned in the country we both loved. Shortly after we came back my husband quit his job - it would only be a couple of weeks and he would be employed again he assured me. And his employer was becoming harder and harder to deal with, it seemed the right thing to do. This was just before Christmas.

Let's fast forward to today and finally my husband has a job again, but he's hardly making his rent. It's ben almost 6 months and I'm ashamed to say they have been the worst 6 months of my life. he did nothing in January except play computer games (that was nothing new). He was looking he assured me, and he had a job in February. Come February he worked half the month. We spoke about what would happen after that job finished and he said he would just take whatever he could to help pay the bills and so we could start paying off our accumulated wedding debt. Beginning of March he would get something, whatever it was. Come April - nothing. Come May...

Meanwhile we've paid nothing off our debt, the plans I had for paying off my car and hopefully getting a holiday in before the busy season are completely ruined. He would power through his medication and then be without for 2 weeks, and then I would pay to get his next prescription filled so that he could get his head together and get out of this funk he was in. Over and over.

This amazing job that I took was always going to be stressful, but I wanted the challenge and I remember we spoke about it and I said it would be good because I'll be doing what I love plus I'll have money to splurge on some massages and relaxing fun things. I remember saying to him that as long as he was also working we would be fins. This was last October.

I have tried everything, from being the loving supporting wife, trying to figure out what the root cause is, to being encouraging. And then being angry and offended that my new husband would just expect me to support him without mentioning the fact it was rent day and that he wasn't going to be able to contribute, yet again. I was offered no apologies, no assurances that he was working things out, that he was applying for jobs and going to whatever length to get a job. Mostly what I got was anger and blame. We have had sex about 6 or 7 times since we've been married. When I asked him why he said I never initiate it but I'm always the one who does. Most of the time he wouldn't even come to bed with me at night because he was in front of his computer playing games.

I feel so so sad, useless, confused and used. Like I was always just a meal ticket. I cannot fathom why he even married me, and then I think well I'm the one who organised the entire wedding, and he did nothing. It's like it was no skin off his nose.

I know in my heart this isn't true and I know how madly in love we were, and what a wonderful time we always had with each other. I've said this to him and we both know things are so pitiful and awful now.

I can't understand why it has taken him so long to get off his ass and get a job - I put my foot down (again) about two weeks ago and listed a bunch of places for him to go and apply. The same places I'd been mentioning for months. I somehow spurred him into action and he did it. Of course he was hired straight away and there's light on the horizon, but still it's like I'm the one in the wrong.

It's making me physically ill and the anxiety is coming back. I start crying when I pull into the driveway when I get home from work because I know the house will still be a mess and he'll be in front of his computer. I try not to, I try really hard to work through my GAD and my 'obsessive worrying', but someone has to think about how we are going to pay the bills, and plan the expenses. When he tells me not to worry about paying this or that I try and explain that if I only pay half the rent this week they will want to know where the other half is. They are not the enemy here. And who will pay it then if I don't? His favourite line  'It'll sort itself out' drives me crazy because I keep saying no, when it comes to paying bills it won't just work itself out. Someone pays it. Now it is me, but it used to be your mother or your friend or someone helping you out. His mother has been coming over and giving him money when I'm at work (which he will use to buy himself a supply of softdrink and cigarettes. He has never once offered me any of it and has always, every single time lied about the amount. I wouldn't take it if he offered it to me but I would take him grocery shopping.)

I'm reading and researching as much as I can about how to deal with my anxiety and also his ADD. The last few weeks without his medication have been so hard for me, and when I ask him a simple question like what days will you be getting paid or how many hours are you working this week I get anger and frustration thrown in my face. I know it's because of the ADD and hey, it was never going to a walk in the park married to someone with ADD but how about working WITH me on this? I'm not the bad person here, hell I've been providing for him for the entire time we've been married. I have been paying the internet bills so he can spend all day online (don't worry, i addressed that one and made him change the billing details to his own bank account). What could/should I have done? I've wanted him to leave so many times and I've told him to because if I leave who will pay the rent? And when it doesn't get paid who will they be calling? Me.

He has his medication again now and he's sorting out these jobs and locking in hours etc etc. I've been waiting for him to get back on his meds so I can sit him down and have a frank talk with him about what has been happening and how I'm not going to stand for it. It's so hard when you know you are doing everything you can and the other person still blames you. He won't accept any responsibility.

I know I know, it's the ADD and I should have done this or that differently but I'm so tired of letting this ruin so many other aspects of my life. No money over the last couple of years so I stopped going out and catching up with friends, the anxiety has somehow developed into a social phobia and GAD. I don't want to see my friends and family because I'm ashamed that this has happened and I don't want to tell them about it, and let's be realistic, a lot of people don't have the first clue when it comes to adult ADD. And I don't want to have to explain why I am so miserable. I want to have the energy and motivation to do my job again. I feel guilty because I'm in a high level executive job with a handsome salary and I know I'm not giving it my all. I hate myself for not being able to help him get through whatever he was going through sooner. I hate myself for being so angry with him and for making a list of his half of the expenses I have had to cover in the last 8 months. My self confidence and self worth is down the toilet. I want to be happy again, I want us to return to living that joyous union again.

I purchased Melissa's book a couple of weeks ago after searching for information on ADD in marriages but I've been too angry to even pick it up.

I know I have to be patient and I have to do this and do that but I couldn't MAKE him get a job (and let me stress that it is not like there are NO jobs where we are). I tried really hard to help him and support him but I reached a point where I just couldn't anymore. If we hadn't just got married I would have left him.  I haven't been able to help him understand what it is doing to me, how it makes me feel, the effect it is having on me. I didn't change when we got married. I know this is all centered around him just not getting off his ass for 5 months. Is it wrong for me to say this? I refuse to believe that I facilitated this. That I caused this. What should I have done? Was I supposed to kick him out after the first month to teach him a lesson? When I agreed to ensuring our bills were paid (back when he had  a job and was giving me money) was I adding to this situation? We worked out this money situation which would work well if he was consistently earning. He claims he always gives me all his money, but he doesn't understand that when I'm putting in the same amount each week and he is sporadically making payments of paltry amounts it does not add up. It is not equal.

Reading this particular forum makes me so despondent because I don't want to be miserable, I want us to work this out. I want to be posting in the Joys of marriage forum and talk about how much we enjoy each other. I keep seeing posts by women who have been married for 15+ years and they've battled with their husbands spending and unemployment, racking up hundreds of thousands of dollars. I didn't even realise this was a 'trait'. Is it selfish of me to want to be with someone who will be my equal- who will equally contribute to household expenses and maybe even buy me  Christmas present? Someone with whom I could buy a house and start  a family with? Someone who I know would be able to step up if and when we have children? My husband desperately wants children and though I have never been the maternal type, I think I would like to one day have children with him but right now I couldn't think of a worse decision - and it breaks my heart.

Sounds familiar...

Wow! I can't even begin to list how many of the things that bother you are happening to me. Everything from the embarrassment to lack of intimacy to finances to computer games.  I just posted for the first time here a few days ago.  We've been married since last year, and it breaks my heart to read your story because I can relate to much of it so well.

I wish I had good advice for you, but its too early in my relationship for that.  What I can say is, make sure you take care of yourself.  A few months ago I had an attack of symptoms that seemed to be physical manifestations of anxiety.  It took me 2+ months to admit they were stress-induced, particularly by our situation at home.  Try to find compassion within yourself - you've tried to be compassionate toward your husband, that's obvious.  But remember to have compassion for yourself.  No, you didn't cause this. And no, you weren't an ADHD expert when you got married.  I know its hard, but try to remember that you've done the best you could, and keep yourself open to improvement in the future.

I know that I personally walk a fine line with being co-dependent.  Have you researched co-dependency at all? It might help you understand your own feelings, actions and decisions.

My husband wants to have children soon too. But all I can think is, I already have a child.  I told him I need him to be more of a partner before we can have children.  Just letting you know you're not alone.  Good luck with all of this.

Codependent No More by Melody

Codependent No More by Melody Beattie is my 'bible' these days. It helps you detach from these situations so that you aren't so negatively impacted by

As for the original poster...sorry, I cannot remember your name...let his internet get cut off if he doesn't keep the job he just got. He really does need to suffer some real consequences of his refusal to work. As long as his mom is giving him money for his cokes and cigarettes and he's got his internet and food and a roof...why would he be motivated to work? Any chance you could speak to his mom and get her to stop ENABLING HIM? the bills you have to pay and let his 'fun stuff' be cut off if necessary. You have every right to expect him to help contribute to the household by maintaining employment.

My heart goes out to you ladies. Work on taking care of yourselves and staying strong, but lovingly detached (Melissa talks about this in her book too) so that the ADHD doesn't take you down with it. ((HUGS))

My husband did this too

I am middle-aged and was divorced, and getting significant alimony from my first husband. My husband married me and everything changed, just like you described. He started hanging up on customers and was fired, and spent the next 2 1/2 years playing computer games and getting/losing a series of jobs (for reasons we now know were ADD). I finally said, you have to get treatment or go back to live with your mom. It took a year (a miserable year) after he started treatment, and he finally did decide to work again. He loves the job he has now, and is happy.

I'm still miserable because we can't live on it. But he is so devoted to his job that quitting is not an option, so I need to decide how to proceed. Do I support him while he spends his money on the car/gas/maintenance to support his job? Do I leave him? Do I somehow MAKE him get a job that pays a living wage?

I do think marriage changes things for ADHD folks. They feel secure and know that they will be supported. You sound like a take-charge person like I am and they must know we will not let ourselves get evicted, even if they don't pay their share.

I don't know what the answer is. Threatening to leave is a "big gun" and you don't want to use it casually, but it's the only thing that worked for me.

Thank you

Thank you Christie, SherrieW13 and Sueann

Christie, when I first read your response I just cried. This whole experience is horrible and it makes me so sad to know that it's not uncommon. I was/am reaching the point where I can't even comprehend why we are together, but you are right, I have to keep myself open to improvement in the future.

SherriW13, I have just bought the book you mentioned, thank you. It's like there are a whole realm of things that I did not even comprehend that I am now having to research. better late than never I suppose!

As for his mother - I called her for Mothers Day last weekend and we got to talking about him. She doesn't believe he is actually ADD - my response to that was: well then what is the explanation for all of this? She has been wanting to fund this course that he wanted to do, but he has never actually gotten around to getting her any information on it. She told me she wants to pay for this - I told her she has to stop doing this because she is enabling this behaviour. I'm paying the bills and if she's paying for this course then WHY would he get off his ass and get a job? I can see the benefits of him completing this course - he could get a Monday to Friday job, which will be hugely beneficial. But I told her he first has to pull his finger out, work in some crap job to pay some rent and start paying off our debt and then in 6 months we can look at this course. I think it is really important for him to realise that he cannot continue like this, and for him to start contributing (financially and other) to our relationship. After a 2 hour conversation she was still going back to this course, she even said she would pay his half of the rent whilst he was doing it to make it easier on me. I, of course, don't want her to be paying his rent - how will he ever learn?

In the end I told her I first wanted to talk with him and get it through to him that this kind of behavior is unacceptable. I want him to acknowledge what he has put me through and for us to come to an agreement that he is now going to work at making things better. I planned to eventually bring up this course but I am pushing for him to do it early next year - first he has to put in the hard yards, work (like the rest of us have to) and pay off some debt.

I don't think it is unreasonable for him to contribute to our household expenses nor do I think it is unreasonable to expect an acknowledgement of what he has put me through, a sincere apology and for me to expect him to start taking action to rectify it.

I think I made some progress but it is difficult to not be upset. Somehow he has lot the ability to comfort me when I am upset, he just removes himself from the situation.
I was really upset the other night and he screamed and shouted at me whilst I was bawling my eyes out. The next day I told him that was the most unacceptable thing he has ever done, and if he doesn't start making amends I WILL leave him. I cannot allow myself to be treated like this and no matter how much I love him I WILL NOT sit through him screaming at me when HE is the one who is in the wrong. We are in this situation because of him, not because of me. I am sick of handling him with kid-gloves.

Sueann, I know threatening to leave is a big gun, but I realised during the week that I cannot sit by and allow myself to be treated like this. I may have only been 'threatening' before to see what he would do (I'm ashamed to admit that) but this week I honestly and truly meant it.

Have been there...

Hi Lillika,

I have also been in your place; however, I have not faced issues with losing jobs and not paying the bills, all the other things you described, specially being unsupported by someone who used to be your rock and the one you spent the best of the times have been my daily issues for 3 years immediately after getting married. I fought in the same situation you describe in your post, I suffered and cried and got ill due to the daily life stress and I tried to separate from him 11 months after getting married (and after almost 6 years of being together) but I returned since I thought we could fix whatever was going on. We continued 2 years more and then he decided to divorce. This occurred one year ago and I am still trying to overcome this.

The difference is that we did not get a diagnosis timely, so the relationship was damaged for improper conclusions we obtained at therapy, couples therapy and our loves ones points of view, and we are at a point of no return since he is sooooo embarrassed that he can not afford having had something to do he could have had fixed. I hope we would have obtain a diagnosis during "these years of battling to a no-name thing" since being at the other side of the street, looking at your loved one knocking to a wall without knowing he can stop is hard to face. However, as many of others said here (specially SherryW13), this is not something we can manage in the name of them, this is something my "ex-husband to be" and your husband need to be accountable for and in the meanwhile, you (or me) learn how to manage ourselves under these circumstances.

It has been very hard for me since I am in my late 30s, we were together 11 years, he was my only formal boyfriend and being a mother has been my dream since ever and now I feel my maternity is in danger, but I fight everyday to be strong to let him go and finally overcome this. I felt resentful at times for having spent so many years giving chances to him for change and he did nothing, but then I remember that he worked hard also to make things works, and this is the hard part to overcome. I feel good with myself because without knowing what was going one, I tried to do my best.

All the things you can read about ADHD will help you understand what is going on and what might be going on on his head and heart, but keep thinking that this is his decision to find a way to work his life out, you will be his rock as you surely promised but the change needs primary come from his side, being accountable for his ADHD and taking responsibility to treat it as recommended.

Kind regards,



Wow.  I am new here and reading this made me feel ill.  So much of it paralleled my experience but I am now 15 years on with 2 kids, drowning in debt, and facing serious health issues related to chronic stress.

I have only one suggestion.  Put into your mind a peer whom you admire, like and respect.  Re-read your post as though it was written by her.  And what would you advise her?


I have avoided this site for

I have avoided this site for some time, and I'm sorry I did not see Malaba's response.

I had already considered this, but thank you for posting: "Put into your mind a peer whom you admire, like and respect.  Re-read your post as though it was written by her.  And what would you advise her?"

I have left my husband.
He emotionally, verbally and (later) physically abused me.

There is NO WAY I was going to allow myself to live like this.

I am frightened all the time that he will show up at my house, his family all promised to do something and no one has done anything. His mother told me the other day I deserved to by pushed around by him because I slapped him (he was hysterically shrieking at me, bearing down on me with his finger in my face telling me what a stupid <insert every horrible insult> I was. I was so frightened that I slapped him). What kind of a woman does this?
She is as mentally unstable as him.

I thought it was just ADHD, but it's exploded into so much more.

I tried everything, I got nothing but name calling and abuse in return.