20+ years of marriage to an ADHD spouse who was just diagnosed about 3 years ago. We have 3 kids who are all teenagers now and still at home. My husband was unemployed for about 6 years and has been employed in a good job for a few years now. He is very smart, creative and talented, and his contributions at work are really appreciated. We have a lot of very typical dynamics in play in our marriage, most notably what I have seen termed the "pursuit-retreat" pattern. This pattern is typical for *anything* that is asked of him outside of his job. He does not do things around or outside the house that were formerly in his wheelhouse (he is very handy and good at repairing things and getting good deals). He spends his time outside of work resting in bed, playing with the kids and overwhelmingly on screens. No exaggeration, nothing in the "adulting" category gets done unless I ask about it, repeatedly (which no longer works at all), he just pretends it doesn't exist. He is very protective and defensive of his downtime and will hurt me verbally if I say anything about him getting up at noon on the weekends and starting his day at 1pm or bringing up stuff that needs to be addressed while he's 'resting'. So we have a couple of cars literally on the verge of breaking down because they are never maintained and another broken down one blocking the garage door so we can't use the garage!! We also have a front yard fence that's falling over, a deck that's falling off the side of the house, mice in the house, etc. This is not the way I would ever choose to live! I find it embarrassing also as we live in a wonderful, close-knit neighborhood where people lovingly care for their homes.
When I press him on something he will say he doesn't feel like doing it and will get angry, make some cutting remarks, and will quickly retreat with his online meditation and headphones to bed. He's very fragile and his world has really shrunk to the size of his safe zone. He is essentially a hermit who talks to almost no one outside the house (and he works from home full time....). He will go to great lengths to avoid having to talk to anyone and is extremely suspicious of people. This is despite him naturally being a pretty upbeat person who formerly showed a real interest in talking with people! The kids and I are very involved in a few different groups/communities and despite being invited, he chooses not to participates in any of it. So it's always me and the kids outside the house while he stays home.
It's gotten to the point where there is literally no way I can ask that results in him doing the thing, despite him being adamant that it's the way that I ask that is the problem. In other words, it's MY FAULT actually that nothing gets done. He does not admit to his deficiencies, ever. He acts like he is infallible which is a big part of the problem. We have certainly not raised our kids to be like that so he's like that literally in the midst of working through disagreements, apologies, grace, etc. in our household. The kids are now old enough to see the irony and all I can do is say, everyone makes their own choices and we all make poor choices sometimes. They now are beginning to really understand the impact of mental health on everyday life and relationships as they bear the brunt of the dysfunction of the ADHD and RSD quite frequently and they lived through 6 yrs of daddy being out of work while they were old enough to really know what was going on. It's nothing horrible or abusive, just Daddy not acting according to the standards that I have set for their behavior and generally acting more childish than they do!
I spent way too much time and energy thinking about his problems and deficiencies (like loss of family ties and friends).
This is all to paint a picture of where we are at. Yes, he is employed and for that I am deeply grateful, every day. But this guy is a shell of a person. He has no hobbies, no zest for life, gets increasingly isolated as time goes on, and above all, will not hear about any of it, no matter how lovingly communicated, from me. He has shut me out completely. His top priority in life, based on his actions and emotions, seems to be the pursuit of comfort. And the avoidance of anything hard, challenging or unpleasant.
I have to focus on what *I* can do at this point. I starting reading "Codependent No More" and am very excited about it. I so badly want to be free from these feelings of anxiety and worrying about him. I want to learn how to "lovingly detach" from all of this while still living in the same house. I have to think that others have experienced this. I would love any advice on how to proceed in a HEALTHY manner. I do not want to get divorced at this point, or really at any point. Although I'm not excited about our marriage, I don't feel that feeling of having to get out, either. It would destroy our family and our kids are doing remarkably well, all things considered.
What does detaching lovingly look like on a daily basis, when you are stuck in the house together most of the time? How do I start to carve out my own healthy space and remember who I used to be apart from all of this?