Requests - the sweet spot between 'ignored' and 'explosion'

Non-ADD spouse here.  I'm out of ideas on how to communicate.  I'm rather frustrated at the moment.  I'm stuck without a way to effectively express any needs or complaints.  My attempts fail in two ways.

My polite, earnest, repeated, gentle, feeble, whatever, attempts don't get any results.  I then have to decide if it is important enough to escalate.  I have to give up minor requests or bottle up minor complaints - which would be tolerable if they weren't so many or they didn't remain indefinitely.  That gets old.

The ones I choose to escalate always end up in an explosion.  There is no middle, no understanding, no discussion.  I feel that she punishes me.  She fights unfairly, acts childish, lashes out hatefully, and holds grudges.  Her behavior ensures that I thoroughly regret it.  That gets really old.  I don't like having to set off a bomb in order to get anywhere with anything - and any benefit gained be temporary.

While I love her, I don't particularly like her anymore.  The love is fading too as my relationship with her degrades into "moody inconsiderate roommate".  She is losing me.  I cry as I watch my two boys play in the room here because more rides on this than just my personal happiness and I care less for her happiness every day.

She believes that things are fine between us at the moment.  This is not some ruse on my part.  She is oblivious and things have returned to the usual.  Things work as long as I don't express anything that can't be ignored.  I'm afraid that I could lose hope, escalate everything at once, and blow it up so bad that we would be finished.


Does anybody have any ideas on how to get through without breaking through?

Miss Behaven's picture

Could you please give us an

Could you please give us an idea of what you are trying to communicate? As in, what topics?

You can be clear and polite. The best way I have found to communicate with an ADDers (myself included) is to keep it short and simple. And non accusatory.

"Hunny I really need the oven cleaned by 5pm or I can't make my famous casserole. Thanks."

"My hands are full, can you please grab the door? Thanks!"

"If you get me that necklace for my birthday you'll be my hero!"

that always works best for

that always works best for  me short and to the point. And for me you  know i got when i repeat it or say wait let me write it down.

I Wish

Damn - I WISH my wife would repeat it or write it down so that I know she heard me.

blueroses4me's picture

short and to the point...

--without being rude or accusatory--is the key.  While I try (I have ADD) not to let them see my eyes gloss over after going on and on, I do tune out after about the third "um, um...". Yep, concise, clear objectives to whatever the problem is helps especially, BEFORE the discussion heats up.

i find just the opposite

When I am short and to the point (the word I would use is "direct") it usually feels to my wife like I am ordering her to do something.

Saying "would you please turn down the TV?" feels like me telling her what to do.

I think she would rather me say something like: "Gee, the TV is awfully loud, don't you think?  It's really bothering me that it's that loud.  I wonder if you would be willing to turn it down for me since you have the remote?"

After years of this type of communication

I've become very detached and independent. I express or share very little and do whatever I can on my own. When I first realized that this is how things would be for me (as he was unaware of my feelings, dismissing me if I tried to express myself) I mourned and wallowed in my newfound loneliness and self pity. I have struggled with depression and hopelessness. Yeah. It sucks. But after some time, I did adjust though, it feels like I am no longer my true self. I had hoped for a friend or partner but this relationship is really revolving around his symptoms at this point. Separating myself from him emotionally has been a good way to help me cope. I also occupy myself with hobbies, spend more time at the gym and rely on other friendships for that sense of understanding one another. I don't think that sticking it out helped my two grown kids much. We certainly were not able to model a normal relationship.

Is there no medication or therapy? It does make a difference. The meds helped here but it's limited without therapy. You're definitely not alone...


In your post, I really appreciated your comments about coping, because that's what it really comes down to. Although my husband takes his meds, he won't follow through on counseling so I've resigned myself to the fact that this is the way it is and I'm the one who just has to learn to cope. I've adopted a lot of the same coping mechanisms and it does help. I wish there was more info on coping, too.

thanks db

That's why I'm here looking for ways to understand what's going on and how do I make the most of it? I like to take care of or fix things but I've been pretty fruitless. Good thing I can vent a bit here and feel like I'm not alone! :)

You aren't alone

I don't find it very comforting, but alas, you aren't alone. I am in exactly the same boat, as I look at my adorable son who idolizes his ADHD dad. I make very simple requests, such as "Can you please come in and vacuum to get ready for our dinner guests," and although he agrees to, he never stops watering the flowerbeds. So, I end up doing everything myself. Then, when I tell him I'm mad, he tells me to "shut up" in front of my son and angrily stomps off. I absolutely hate it and while I still love him, I don't like him very often and never even consider having sex with him. I'll be checking this post for suggestions...


I am in the exact same boat.  I try to be nice and say things and he says he understands or "yes dear" but it's like it falls on deaf ears.  So after repeating the same thing over and over again until I feel like I am talking in the same circle - I  get mad and the "nagging" escalates.  I feel like I am the bad person all the time cause he is so laid back he just don't care.  I have just started to realize that he is ADHD, I have asked him to go with me to counseling and to perhaps get some meds. so we will see if he follows through with it and if it helps.

He is a wonderful man in so many ways and that is why I stay - he has a great heart and would do anything - if he can remember or something else more interesting to him comes along. 

What I have explained is he has to want to change cause meds are not like magic beans.  He can't sit there and wait for a magical change to happen it will require work.    This weekend was almost the breaking point, I started packing my stuff while he was out of town, I told him I needed a partner and to feel like someone cares other than it being me all the time - his way of showing me this was to ignore me for two days cause he was having fun and busy.  He saw nothing what-so-ever wrong with it.  He called me when his day was over and the bright and shiney things weren't around anymore. 

God I pray counseling and meds help!!