Sharing and giving

I would like to better understand what aspects of my relationship with my ADD husband are parts of his personality and what aspects are connected to his ADD.  My husband does not "give" of himself, gifts or reciprocate.  I tell him it's important to me. I share that not giving me gifts and telling me what gifts he wants and expects from me is hurtful. He thinks that buying something he wants and saying it's for me (when whatever it is is the last thing I'd want) is a gift.  He does not make love to me anymore (a handful of times in the 3 years we've been married). I fell in love with a man who was giving, attentive and enjoyed regular love making. That man is gone and blames me. It seems as if I want or need something and ask for it, he withholds the very thing I say I need.

DF's picture

Hits home

I was the caring, giving, loving one in the beginning.  As Melissa has in her site here and in her book, ADD(HD)'ers tend to just drop off the planet.  I'd like to address the gift thing from my side.  My wife has a history of not paying bills in order to give gifts to her family.  I knew this and I hated myself greatly that I had no money to offer most of the time.  I rarely ever asked my wife for anything because I hated that I could not afford anything for her or the kids.  There were exceptions of the years, but the norm was that I gave nothing.

I never told my wife how absolutely horrible I felt if she got me something for Christmas.  Horrible.  It affected my reaction and I'm pretty sure I came off as though I was unappreciative.  It made matters worse.  I bought a winter coat for my wife years back.  Spent every dime I had.  She came home one day to show me the same style & color jacket that she had bought for herself.  I was devastated.  I gave her her present that night in utter horror that I had gotten something so important wrong.

Last August is when I really noticed my wife's anger.  It's when she completely detached from me.  One of the things i wanted to change in my life are the things I hated about myself.  My wife always supported me before so my efforts just dropped to the wayside - not anymore.  So for our anniversary, she got nothing and I stewed in my self loathing.  I worked sooooo much OT and saved very cent I could and I bought her something very expensive that she had wanted since we first met 12 years ago.  I was 4 months past our anniversary, but I got it in there.  I got a hug, which is the most she had acknowledged me in 4 months.  My pleasure I received from doing something right was destroyed by her effort to buy me something I wanted for Christmas.  I know she didn't want to do that for me and I've never taken that gift out of the box.  Is it something I wanted - yes, but she bought it out of guilt and I feel bad about that.

As for your emotional needs?  In my case it's self esteem.  Could be your spouses case too.  Self esteem makes for a lame duck bed partner.  Pre-intimacy and post-initmacy have always been my weakness.  I always felt I wasn't wanted ( pre ) or wasn't good enough ( post ).  During intimacy I felt wanted and loved.  It's so damn miserable to live that way and my wife really tried hard to help me with it ( me not knowing that's what it was ).  I've made a lot of changes since last August, the biggest was finding out about my diagnosis recently.  I'd like a chance to see if I've learned enough about myself to not have the pre/post issues, but alas, intimacy is not in our lives together right now. She's still angry, but I love her so very much.

Hi DF

Thank you for sharing your perspective. You seem very different than my husband. My husband says he's fine, likes himself as is and that I'm the one with the problem (getting hurt by him and angry with him). I'm his 4th wife (5th long term relationship) and the only woman who has not cheated on him. He still states that he keeps marrying the wrong woman. Nice.

As I said, he sounds nothing like you. In my humble opinion it would have been kinder to share your thoughts with your wife rather than  do nothing. Loving is being brave enough to face our fears to protect the one we love. My husband either can't or doesn't want to do this. I realize that I can't accept this.

DF. ..Hate to sound like I am

Hate to sound like I am picking on you today...but....you DO NOT know that she got you the gift out of guilt...and if you are wrong, which I suspect you probably are, you leaving it in the box is a rejection of a possible show of affection (buying you something nice). Stop assuming you know what she's thinking...stop questioning her motives...you're just creating issues vs. Fixing them. :-/. (((hugs)))

Wish there was a Like button

I wish this forum had a "Like" button as Facebook does because I would have "Liked" Sherri's comment to DF.  I have been saying the same thing to you in the past week or so...STOP ASSUMING YOU KNOW WHAT SHE IS THINKING!!!  AND STOP ASSUMING SHE KNOWS WHAT YOU ARE THINKING!!!

I made this same mistake this week myself!!!  My DH reacted to something differently than I expected.  I got angry and hurt and assumed he was upset with me or maybe worse, didn't care at all.  He was oblivious to my feelings BECAUSE I DIDN'T TELL HIM.  When I finally DID tell him (in anger!), I discovered that he had a totally different perspective on the situation, and that once he understood my feelings, his reaction was EXACTLY what I expected, wanted and needed!  

I must say that I was a little frustrated that he did not ALREADY KNOW (shouldn't he know me better after all these years!?).  But in reality, I suppose it is not fair for me to expect him to read my mind.  I admit that it still hurts a little that he can't, though.  But can I really be mad about that when he almost always responds very appropriately when I just TELL HIM?  After all I've put him through for 23 years, (4 dating, 19 married) I don't see how I can honestly hold it against him that he needs me to communicate what's inside my crazy brain!? :)

Anyway, enough about me.  You keep reacting and behaving according to all kinds of ASSUMPTIONS.  You know what happens when we ASS-U-ME, right?!  If my DH had no idea what I was thinking (as hard as that is for me to believe...and I DO believe it now), it is very possible...if not likely...that you have NO IDEA what your DW is thinking too!  You know she is angry, and you THINK you know why.  But do you REALLY?  Are you SURE?  I think it was Sherri who said you are working so hard to fix your problems, but what if those are not actually the main problems TO HER?  

Someone else said today that they ask their spouse on the weekends what are the main 3 things she wants him to accomplish that weekend so that he can concentrate his efforts on the things that are actually bothering her the most, rather than all the various things that genuinely need to be done.  What great advice!  There are a multitude of things we need to do and problems we need to fix about ourselves.  But as you know, ADDers do not usually PRIORITIZE well or the same way as others would.  So what you or I may think is the "biggie" is what gets most of our attention, when maybe working on something ELSE would give us the biggest "bang for the buck" with our spouse!  It's profound when you really think about it.  

(Reminds me of Melissa's index card box system for chores--similar concept but I have not implemented it yet.  They can identify the things that need to be done and then prioritize them FOR and with us so we work on things in the "correct" order.  Genius!  Maybe it would also be an effective concept for behaviors they want us to work on too?)

New "Like Button" now available

Good idea.  I just added a "Like button" to both posts and comments.  This is only a "local-to-this-site" like button - it does not link to Facebook, so you don't have to worry about this site showing up in your Facebook stream for all your Facebook friends to see.  If you want to add any blog or forum post to your Facebook stream, you will want to click the "share/save" link, where you can add the link to the post to any number of social media sites.

You have to be "logged" in to access this feature, just like many of the other advanced features of the site.

After we get a few "likes", I will add a block to the front page to highlight the "most liked" posts and comments, just like we now have most read.  I may even add a "most commented" block.

The gift thing: not necessarily ADD...

My husband is not a 'giver' either.  The last time he bought me a birthday gift was 2003.  Christmas gifts are usually $10 or less, and the only reason we buy anything for each other on xmas is because it's embarrassing on xmas morning to have nothing to open from each other in front of our families...  Mother's day - forget it.  Anniversary - forget it.  I used to push him into going out to dinner, but he is uncomfortable eating in restaurants so having any kind of meaningful conversation is impossible because he is afraid other people will be listening.  So, 3 years ago after spending an yet another anniversary dinner in silence in an expensive restaurant I decided I'd stop pushing him, and i just say, "Happy Anniversary" each year and that's the end of it.  I don't get offended anymore - this is just how he is, and a huge part of it is that we just don't have any money (my fault for having only very part-time work) and that every second of the day when he is not either asleep or spending time with the kids he is working, working, working, working, working.

I've posted about this somewhere else where gift-giving was the subject, and at the risk of over-generalizing I'll say that I think it is a common Mars vs. Venus problem.  Otherwise TV shows, comedies, reality shows and movies would not be able to use the same "oh no!  My wife's gonna kill me!  I forgot our anniversary/her birthday!" storyline over and over again.

Also:  my husband is 'normal.'  I am the ADHD spouse

Thank you

Thank you for responding. I really appreciate it  It's a mute point. Every time I get angry at him, he tells me he's divorcing me. This time I agree. No more emotional blackmail for me. He buys himself things all the time and says he has no money to spend on me. I guess it's not his ADD, just who he is. Of course this is very disappointing. Again, thank you very much for the feedback. It means a lot.