Sad and scared

Hi all. I haven't posted here in a very long time. My husband and I have been married for 22 years.  He has ADHD (inattentive, distracted, hyperactive, diagnosed as a child), which I knew about and understood when we first began dating. He is the love of my life. But I always knew it would a be a difficult relationship, I went in with my eyes open.

We've been to counseling during the rough times (which he's always willingly accepted) and has been on meds up until recently. Due to medication side effects he's not on ADHD meds any more, and I don't blame him, he went through hell, unfortunately. I won't go into our whole story, except to say that so much of it is echoed in what most other people post here.

In the past few years it's like something inside me is quietly fading away. When I dig down deep for something to help me through -- patience, resilience, understanding, commitment -- it's just not there. This scares me. I feel sad. How do I deal with him talking at me, talking over me, interrupting me -- everything but talking with me? I feel like I am expected to be a professional listener. This is affecting me to the point of wondering whether I should even bother to speak at all. How do I deal with seemingly reaching an understanding about something with him only to realize that the next day we must start all over again because he applied the information to yesterday only?????????? How do I deal with the hyper focusing on his latest interest, which leads him down a path that's going in the opposite direction from me????? Makes me feel like a bore -- like I am expected to be in the audience but not a participant.  The level of companionship I need from my marriage is so far from what I need. It seems like just as I am about to suggest something that would bring some "togetherness" he is already out the door doing his own thing -- and I can't keep up with him anymore.

The "togetherness" issue in marriage comes up often -- not only in this blog but on venues for relationships online, tv and in the newspaper (Dear Abby ran a letter from a spouse on this topic recently). And the advice is always the same: pursue interests on your own, do things with friends, etc., -- that advice always breaks my heart. I do those things. But that's not a substitute for what I need in my marriage. 

So, thanks for letting me vent. I know there are no answers to my questions. 

How will you feel if this

How will you feel if this situation never changes?  I recently (two days ago!) filed for a separation from my husband of 28 years.  I have told him that I don't have an agenda (that is, I'm not dead set on going through with the separation or divorce nor am I dead set on reconciling).  But I can tell you something for sure:  if, during the next several months (while the legal proceedings are ongoing), if my husband doesn't begin to show interest in me, I will definitely end the marriage.  I prefer being alone to being with a person who can't or won't show any interest is me.

I'm really sorry

This sounds like an echo of the thoughts flitting through my mind when he is on his ramblings, or it's another evening gone by and he's off doing something else. That question, what value am I deriving from this, pops up more and more. I try to do the 3 gratefully each day to remind myself there are good things in my life. Oddly dh isn't on the list often, as they are supposed to relate to the last day. I also keep myself busy and have great friends, so why do I need a spouse? Fortunately I still like him when I do see him, as long as he's not doing the rant, interrupt, talk over, etc. I've been trying to schedule more things together. 

it sounds like he knows there are issues with the ADHD. Is it possible to insist that he do the stuff that naturally manages symptoms like its a prescription? Must do, do not skip? Like sleeping, eating well, omega 3s, exercise. They can make a huge difference if made a habit. And routine. Best wishes.

I'm So Exhausted's picture

Mourning a pending death

Marsha5,

I wish I could provide some answers, but as you said, there are none.  Just the redundancy of when and why and how did we get to this point.  

In 2009 I hit several milestones in my life. I turned 50.  It was my 25th wedding anniversary.  My daughter graduated from high school, thus completing - with utmost joy and celebration - one of my lifetime goals of being a stay-at-home-Mom.  Menopause.  

The previous year, in fall of 2008, my ADHD spouse had been diagnosed with a High Grade Sarcoma - a cancerous tumor that was likely to spread.  It did not.  He is cancer free.

Lots of emotional upheaval all at one time.

A person really examines their life at each milestone - and I was examining mine under a microscope.

It wasn't until last September that I became acutely aware that my marriage had evolved into a mother/child relationship.    

I am doing "my gratitude list."  I am attending college.  Both my parents still walk this earth with me.  My daughter is getting married this fall and I am helping her plan the celebration.  Did I mention my marriage had evolved into a mother/child relationship?  Oh, yes I did.

I am working on changing me.   That means backing out of the mothering of my spouse.  I try to stay out of power struggles.  I try to remain calm when the probability of a symptom-response-response cycle is looming.  

I do not bend when he tries to control situations with his anger - and he is extremely angry right now as I have not allowed myself to be controlled by his anger since January 7, 2011.  It has been a long cold 29 months.  The only thing he ever brings up is our lack of intimacy.  He recently, tear-fully, let me know how his new ADHD coach is so sympathetic to him, as he has a wife who will not enter into counseling with him.  Obviously he must have forgot to mention the 10+ counselors we tried - including The ADHD Marriage Couple Course last January.

I believe marriage is a lifetime commitment.  However a marriage takes 2 people - both working at the marriage.  I do not feel I have that - I have a spouse trying to figure out what I am doing wrong.  

LOL!  I spent most of my life trying to figure out why I just could not get this marriage thing right.  Now I know.  It takes an even amount of effort and dedication from both sides - a little more on one side when necessary.  My is very lopsided.  I am empathetic to my spouse's ADHD. I just believe he does not get it.  Can't see how his hoarding tenancies are hard to live with. Can't understand why it hurts to be yelled at and upset when I am forgotten.  

So, a few years ago, while I may have angrily wanted to end my marriage - now I am getting to the point where I have completed most of the necessary emotional work to make a choice to break away from a life of anger, walking on egg shells, and more responsibility than I deserve or want.

If I can find a glimmer of hope that he understood and wants help and realizes how his negative ADHD behaviors cause havoc, I could hang on a while longer.  

My heart is broken, and starting to heal.  That is a very sad commentary.  Am I perfect? No.  I continue to take my own personal inventory.  So does my spouse - he takes my inventory.  I really wish I had a specific timeline as to when a woman crosses the line from being a supportive wife to being a big schmoe.