Non-ADHD spouses: When your partner finally "fixed" his/her behavior, what was your experience in letting go of all of the previous stress and frustration?
I'm an ADHD wife; my husband is non-ADHD. (We do not have children.)
After having driven my husband absolutely nuts for years, I finally figured out ADHD was to blame six months ago, got myself diagnosed by a psychiatrist, and have been on medication and having biweekly psychotherapy sessions ever since. At the time of my diagnosis, we read The ADHD Effect on Marriage together and felt hopeful about our future. I've been committed to working to resolve my ADHD symptoms that have caused him constant stress, and he has been loving and supportive to the best of his ability (though still sometimes exhibiting non-ADHD spousal failure to understand).
It's been a slow but steady process of undoing all of my bad habits, but I've been recognizing substantial improvement in myself along the way. Despite this slow improvement over the past six months, many of my habits have still fallen short of his expectations -- the main issue being a general lack of dependability (e.g., neglecting my share of domestic responsibilities, failing to run errands I'd promised to do, losing things) but also my tendency toward unwarranted bitchy remarks.
Three weeks ago, however, I made a sudden, significant jump in my progress. The thoughts and strategies I'd been working with for the past six months all came together, and I finally became capable of operating at the level of a fully responsible adult. I've been ecstatic to feel (for the first time in my life) compelled to keep up with household chores and other functional, dependable duties. My improvement in the past three weeks has been consistent, and it is finally dramatic enough that my husband has noticed the difference. He has expressed that he is very pleased with the change.
So now I just want to move forward with these positive changes, be free from the struggles my ADHD has caused us in the past, and be able enjoy the amazing experience of our love, happiness, and connection without any of the frustration.
But husband says, "This is the 'now/not-now' way you view time that we read in the book. I can't just flip a switch. It's been three weeks with you as the dependable partner I've always wanted you to be -- after years of stress and frustration. I had come to view you as an undependable person, and I can't change that entire perspective and get over all of it in an instant."
I realize I have caused him a great deal of pain over the years, but thankfully, my ADHD did not cause any other long-standing problems that we will need to continue to face in the future (we have stable careers and finances, so no debt/legal problems that are going to keep jamming us up). We have had lengthy discussions in which we have tried to sort through every feeling on every level, but he still feels he needs more time to let go of all of the stress and frustration I have caused him in the past. And I don't know how to handle that in the meantime. And I feel stifled by the fact that I'm "fixed," but he still holds a "broken" view of me.