So glad I found this forum! I'm an Non-ADHD wife that needs advice!

I am so glad that I found this forum! I have so much to say so forgive me if this is long. My husband was diagnosed with ADHD about 7 years ago but should have been diagnosed much earlier in life (elementary school). He has been on medication since then but has not had any type of counseling/therapy. We have been together for 15 years and married for 11 years. He also suffers with components of OCD and there has been suggestions that he may display signs of Asperger's. He was very motivated when we were first together and was able to go to school, have a job; etc. He quit a very good job less than 2 years after we were married and has not been employed since (except 2 jobs that he worked at for about 6 months each and decided to quit). He does have another chronic medical issue that he is being treated for which did contribute to his inability to work. 

His ADHD and OCD issues have become a huge difficulty and I find myself becoming more resentful and angry. I am in the Medical profession so I am aware that individuals with ADHD have brains that are wired differently and that there are biological reasons for some behaviors. I try to keep that in mind when we are having issues but sometimes it feels like he is just being a jerk.  These are some of examples of what I am struggling with:

1) He never finishes any project he starts. I realize that this is part of ADHD but our house has been a construction zone for almost 6 years. He has been trying to refinish the kitchen cabinets for the last 5 years. He decided that he wanted to re-texture the ceiling in our kitchen/breakfast area 4 years ago. He started that project by tearing off the texture on the ceiling and that's where it ended. Been staring at bare sheetrock ever since. 

2) He is so OCD when it comes to doing things and he is not happy if there is one tiny flaw in his work. I have wanted to paint our bedroom for the last few years. He doesn't want me to paint because at "some point" he wants to replace all the sheetrock, redo the electrical wiring, and possibly remodel the layout our bedroom/bathroom. Because he wants to do all this, he says that it doesn't make sense to paint the walls if they are just going to get torn down at "some point". I don't even know where the logic lies in that one. 

3) I never understood what "hyperfocus" was until I started reading this forum. He goes from one hyperfocus to the next. He goes from cars, guitars, cameras, computers, remodeling projects, etc. He will talk for hours/days/weeks about one subject and give me every minute detail about that particular topic. He can remember a conversation that we had 13 years ago and expects me to remember exactly the way he does. He said that he started making himself remember every detail of a conversation when he was a teenager because his parents thought he was lying about everything and he wanted to keep mental notes. I have explained to him that my brain does not work that way and it is not fair for him to expect me to be able to do the same. I start to tune him out and not pay attention to the conversation because I get to the point of information overload. That just gets him pissed off and he accuses me on not caring about what he is talking about. He then gets on the kick of wanting me to repeat everything that he says back to him to make sure that I "understand" what he just said. That can be very tiring and annoying. I am really trying to be present and engaged in our conversations but it is a work in progress.

4) He honestly makes me feel like an idiot sometimes. If I don't understand what he is trying to tell me or they way he is explaining it does not make sense, he will make comments about how I am not smart or just don't understand the subject. I am an intelligent person and would never have been able to survive in my career if I was an idiot. My job is extremely intense, demands a complex/detailed knowledge base, and is many times emotionally exhausting. 

5) He constantly over-analyzes my facial expressions, tone of speech, or our conversation. He is always asking why I made a certain face at him (this is usually when I am squinting because I can't see) or tells me that I am being short with him (this is usually when I have had a sh***y day at work and dealt with someone dying). It is perfectly acceptable for him to have a bad day, be grumpy, get pissed off, get overwhelmed but God forbid if I ever display those emotions. Phone conversations are sometimes very painful because he wants to go into such detail about a certain subject and I often don't have the time to talk because I'm at work. He gets upset that I don't have time to talk to him but I nicely (sometimes not so nicely) try explaining that I am at work and will call him back when I get a few moments. 

6) He has spent years of impulse buying and then lying about it. Our house if full of "stuff" he has bought and stashed away. When I ask him if something is new, he always says "No, I've had it a few years" and tells me that I've never noticed that item. He will also claim that we talked about the purchase he was going to make and that I just forgot about it. (Uhm, no. I think I would have remember if we had a discussion about buying a $300 guitar). He tells me that I am the one that is bad with money and I don't know how to budget. My response is usually that it's hard to budget money that we don't have since he has a bad habit of buying things that are costly and that money was suppose to go for bills. I will say that he has gotten better about it but we are still out tens of thousands of dollars because of it.

7) He is constantly losing or misplacing things. I will typically get multiple phone calls when I am at work because he can't find something. I have had to leave work on several occasions because he is having such a meltdown about not being able to find something that I'm afraid of what things will be like when I get home.  

I am really trying to separate the ADHD behaviors and non-ADHD behaviors. I realize he didn't chose to have ADHD. I also realize that he has the choice on how he can deal with his ADHD. I have spent many years allowing his happiness/unhappiness to be directly linked to my happiness/unhappiness (I am assuming this is probably a co-dependent behavior). I have spent the majority of our marriage being the one that is the sole provider, worrier about money, healthcare, dealing with doctors/medications, picking up all the slack that he can't or won't deal with. A person can only do that for so long.

Any help or advice would be much appreciated.  

I'm kind of where you are at,

I'm kind of where you are at, too. We've been married for four years and while things are gradually getting better, we have a long way to go. I don't know if I can give any advice, only sympathy. I'm the sole bread winner; my ADD husband "works" for $150 a week as a DJ and 9 times out of 10, he doesn't get paid for weeks because his boss is a you-know-what. He used to be responsible--he was a cop when we were dating but he made a bad decision and was forced to resign. It's been itinerant jobs ever since. I've been freaking out about money a lot lately. Not having enough to make all the bills, never being able to count on him for any help. Sometimes he'll hand me money but most of the time, he doesn't. I freaked this morning because we may have to foreclose on our old house where we used to live and I'm worried that I'll never be able to own again because he can't his credit fixed. And then what about kids? We can't afford to have any! I'm up in the air about it still but I don't want money to factor into the decision. I feel like if I ever confront him, he's going to go off in a rage and break things that (surprise!) we can't afford to replace.

It sounds like the Asperger's really comes into play with your hubby. I think they have a habit of saying even more inappropriate things than ADD folks do. All I can suggest is to start selling all of the crap he accumulates, and if possible, lay down a new rule: you can't buy something new until you've sold the old. That's pretty fair and less humiliating than cutting off his access to money. Oh and if you want to paint the bedroom, paint it yourself. I wouldn't let his opinion on future work that won't get done keep you from doing it. Have some girlfriends over when he's gone, pop a bottle of wine, and paint. :-)

Hang in there.

Dazedandconfused, Thank you

Dazedandconfused,

Thank you for your reply. It is really nice to know that I am not the only one that has to deal with these types of situations. I am laughing about the paint comment! I mentioned painting the room the other night and he went on and on about how I wouldn't be able to do it (not being able to tape off everything and do the job correctly). I told him it wasn't rocket science it was only paint and a brush. He rarely leaves the house so I never have a moment to myself. He keeps telling me that he's going to put stuff on EBay to sell but it never happens. His excuse is that he has to have time to take pictures of the items, that the pictures have to be really good quality, and it takes a really long time to post an item on Ebay. Blah, Blah, Blah. Total BS in my opinion. I think he makes things out to be a bigger deal than they really are so he can get out of actually doing them. 

I had never really thought about Asperger's until we met someone he knew about a year ago that has actually been diagnosed with it. They both have the same odd speech patterns and very similar mannerisms. His friend actually asked him if he had Asperger's because they are so much alike.  If he does, then it would explain so many things.

We can't afford kids either and I don't think I would have the mental capacity to handle it at this point. Can't imagine trying to juggle a full-time job, dealing with everything at home, and having to "parent" the husband. And I know what you mean about breaking things. Been there, done that, and can't afford to replace it either.