So tired of this ADHD marking..

Today was just one of those bad days. I've been having some problems with my DH lately with communication, basically how I see it from my side is that he doesn't listen to me. And he seriously doesn't. He's on some kind of autopilot that makes him register half of what I say and then I end up having to repeat things about 3 times. This has been building up my frustration and even though I am trying so incredibly hard to control myself, to sound positive, to be nice it is causing huge problems.

I have been taking stimulants for my ADD for about 3 months now and they are no picnic. My DH does not understand what the medication does to me, even though I clearly tell him as it has a huge impact on my life. I am constantly nauseated and every time the medicine goes in or out of my body I become uneasy and really easy to build up anxiety. The worst thing about it though is how he doesn't.. really.. care? How come he isn't asking? I don't know, who knows.

Anyway.. today I washed our bed sheets, this is something I do once a week as I am very paranoid about dust and bedbugs. It is kind of my thing so as oppose to most ADD people I clean a lot. But the weather here is really bad right now, even though the sun is out the laundry dries very unpredictably and there is no real possibility for me to hang our laundry indoors, I completely have to depend on the weather and sometimes things turn out like the did today - by 11 pm the sheets are still not completely dry. They are a little damp and will need an hour in our living room with the AC to dry up completely. Before they do I can't make our bed, we do have spare sheets that I could put in instead but it's only 11 pm and us waiting one hour is not going to kill us.

But we've been arguing a little bit over the evening, not fighting at all but it's been a little tension in the air because of mentioned problems, he doesn't listen and it's is seriously driving me insane. Soon I don't know what to do, what if I hurt him? Of course I know that I never will but you understand the frustration I am trying to express. Doesn't matter if I stand in the middle of the room screaming and crying he doesn't acknowledge me. Anyway, by the time we come home from eating dinner outside we are still discussing. Basically we're trying to straighten out the misunderstandings we had right before dinner and during. My DH is available for these kind of discussions and very interested in solving things right away in a calm grown-up manner but as he lately hasn't been listening this is seriously just a waste of breath for me.

He wanted to go and lay down on the bed and I got him a blanket from the living room as I don't want him to use our comforters without sheets on them, now he starts mutter and this is where my point is with this post, I AM SO TIRED OF THIS ADD BULLSHIT HE PULLS ON ME. I HAVE ADD. YES. BUT THAT IS NOT WHY THE SHEETS AREN'T DRY. MY ADD DOES NOT AFFECT THE WEATHER, I AM SORRY. Still he goes "why didn't you wash the sheets sooner, hmph". He was not picking a fight and I know he was tired and grumpy plus he had two glasses of wine on an empty, sensitive stomach so he was a little tipsy (not a lot but enough to count it in here) but I've just about had it with these remarks.

Not everything is my ADD. Some things are normal human related things. Some things are because of other people and circumstances. Some things are... you know... NATURE?

I'm just tired of getting to hear all these comments and remarks and getting all these lectures for things that I know wasn't because of my ADD. Why do I have to get picked on ALL THE TIME?

He doesn't care about how I am suffering with the medication. How I suffer with us. How we are clearly having communication problems due to how we use our time. I have suggested we go to couple's therapy but he doesn't really want to. And I ask him, "why do we have to be on the verge of getting divorced for you to agree to therapy?". I don't see anything wrong in dealing with a problem in a very early stage so that it doesn't become THE problem.

I'm just so sad right now.


(((HUGS))) I'm so


I'm so sorry...days like those, when every.little.thing seems to just add up to a big flaming pile of crap really do suck.

First off, my husband had a very similiar experience with the first medication he took. Obviously, I'm going to suggest that you consider the possibility that it isn't the right medication for you. He had 'bursts' throughout the day (it was extended release) and he would never know when they were going to hit and he would be EXTREMELY anxious and irritable. Then he would be nauseous if he ate, nauseous if he didn't was horrible. Nearly zapped him everyday. Please consider this option. You don't need to be suffering like this for no good reason. All of the meds don't do this. He now takes Vyvanse..and I do think at first he had some anxiety issues, but everything seems to be finally leveling off after about 6-8 weeks on the meds.

Are you certain that he's assuming/insinuating that it is your ADD that made the sheets not dry at 11 p.m? One mistake we always make here is assuming we think we know where the other person was coming from. He is certain that anything I said, that can in any way be taken in a negative way, is most definitely negative..coming from me. Is that what you take isssue with? That you feel he thinks your ADD is to blame for everything?

Can you talk to him about his not listening to you? I know that sounds hillarious, reading it back...but seriously..can you ask for his undivided attention when you're speaking to him and just insist that if he's not listening, you aren't willing to waste your energy talking? "we can talk about this when you're ready to listen"...???

My situation is a bit

My situation is a bit complicated, I only have this one medication available to me so it's either this one or no one. I feel just like your husband though, I don't really get easily irritated as the anxiety more is making me sad I guess. I still feel like I can cope with it and just breathe through it as it's only for about 40 mins, 2 times tops a day. I keep a clear communication with my husband and I have no pride, I don't count the times either of us say sorry either so if I feel it's over loading I simply just put my hands up and excuse myself. He understands it pretty well and gives me space until it's over. I've just finished adjusting the dosage so I am willing to give it a few more weeks to see what happens and then if my side effects don't change then I will decide whether it's worth it or not.. the food thing is the exact same. I just don't want to eat anything. It's the best diet I've ever been on, but jokes a side it's not too great not being able to eat.

I'm clinging to my meds almost a little hysterically but I worked so hard to get them and they are such a huge blessing. I guess what I just feel hurtful is that I hadn't eaten a proper meal in almost 3 months and then one evening just about a week ago he reacted and said "You barely ate anything.. are you okay?". I seriously dropped my jaw. After daily saying "I can't seem to eat today either" KNOWING I don't sound whiny etc just out of concern for myself, even though I had pointed it out it took my intelligent husband that long to react. And I didn't say intelligent there to mock or be sarcastic, he is. This is a smart man.

I know he meant my ADD. I am young but done with misunderstandings, so I always check and ask. We argued a little back and forth after that comment. But yes that is what I take issue with, why is everything I do wrong always my ADD. I know non-ADDers have more control but they're not flawless, we're all human. Sometimes it's a human mistake I make. And sometimes the weather is just so bad that the laundry takes over 12 hours. 

No I can't reach him with this communication problem we're having. It is actually so severe that I have felt concerned, worried about if he's okay. This is not a thing he's always been doing, this started suddenly so he kind of turned 180 on me one day. I've been trying to see if he has some kind of stress, maybe work but I can't get anything out of him and usually he always cracks and tells me everything on his mind. We've always been able to talk. I have brought it up at times when he's in a good mood, for example during dinner that we always eat together, it is my house rule that dinner is a social event. I've asked him straight out if he feels right now I'm not that interesting because that is the vibe I've been getting. I know I asked it in a proper way and I know he really understood that it wouldn't bother me if that was the truth because we all feel like that at times. But he said that wasn't it and I believe him then. I seriously don't know what way to go.. I have never been through this before with him because as I said he is really intelligent, he is open minded and can say I'm sorry. We have always been able to talk things through and we've been doing good. Now suddenly it's like he went off to space?

I have noticed that I am raising my voice (not the yelling way or angry way just louder) and changed my way of talking because of the impact this has had on me. By the end of the day recently it hasn't been weird for my throat to be soar. It's just.. that bad.. that I am starting to adapt and change around it without knowing it. I just think a counselor would help...

Sounds like my ADD husband

Are you sure you are the one with ADD? If he wanted to lie down before the sheets were dry, why couldn't HE get the spare sheets and put them on the bed? That's something that always bugged me about my husband; he'd complain about things, but he would never come up with the solution himself.

My husband went through a large variety of medications. I'm not saying you do, but he often used them to excuse his mistakes or horrible behavior. After a while I didn't want to hear that he 'forgot' to do something because his Adderall didn't kick in, or fell asleep and got fired because of the Straterra, or he was vicious and nasty because of the Celexa. Sometimes, when living with an ADDer, the non-ADDer has to take on so much of the burden (that should be shared) that they just don't want to hear about any more problems.

About the communication; that was a constant problem for us, too. I actually started 'discussions' with a dictionary in front of me, as we couldn't agree on the definition of common words. Communication is hard between any two people; an ADDer and non-ADDer have such different ideas and views of how things takes real effort on both sides. I like Sherri's idea of asking him to pay attention, but then come to the point quickly. My husband could stretch one point into a half-hour ramble. I DID get bored listening sometimes.

I know right? But yes I am

I know right? But yes I am very sure, I see a lot of my husband in the husband stories here on the forum and I think some things are more the Venus and Mars thing more than ADD and non-ADD. I should clear this sheet situation up though. My husband doesn't care about the status of the bed when he is tired and wants to sleep in it. He laid down before the bed was made and I hurried there to remove the comforters and give him a temporary blanket. I don't want anyone to sleep in the bed when it's not made simply because of hygiene. My husband is also really good at drooling. I asked him over and over again to please not fall asleep like that and just wait a little for the sheets and I'd make the bed but he was tired and really whiny. Then he went "why didn't you wash the sheets earlier?". We had also been going at it back and forth before this so I was a little disappointed in him, it's all too long and I think boring to write it all down here but I feel confident that I didn't over react and I know he was attacking my ADD directly.

I really understand what you are saying though. I get annoyed of ADD being an excuse, my husband is blaming it way more than me though. But I understand that he is tired of it too, there's been a lot of doctors and medications and symptoms lately as I have pretty severe ADD and it was getting out of control causing me to have other health issues though I've done my best to tone everything down and just been letting him know the basics so I am aware that it's been a lot.

I asked him about that actually. Because I know how I ramble. I have actually had full conversations with myself that have been so long that my husband has interrupted me because he was so impressed and just wanted to tell me. But apparently it's not that either. He said that yes it's true that sometimes I talk a lot but that he has no problems of letting me know so (and I know what he means because there are times when he tells me it's too much). I don't think he notices. I don't think that he knows that this is going on. I don't even think he is noticing how I am getting more angry with him. But now we're drifting further and further apart. I'm actually not that excited about spending time with him anymore and it makes me sad. I don't want to go out to dinner with him because what is the point. He won't listen to me talking and I'll just be sitting in an ADD hostile environment that will exhaust me. I want to grab this NOW before it's gone so far that our feelings will be affected. This is not helping with the sex problems we already have and that I've written about on here too. 

sullygrl's picture

Oh Kippei

I wonder, like Lynn asked, are you sure he doesn't also have ADD? Seems like you are the one trying for the communication and he is shutting down, when it is usually the other way around. I am not one to give advice at this point, my marriage is basically down the toilet, but maybe you could ask him to sit down with you on the weekend, when it's not 11pm, when both of you are well fed, not tipsy etc. and have a discussion about it. Tell him "look, I am trying to do my part, I am taking the medication, which has some nasty side effect, but I am trying to do all this so I can be a better person and partner to you. But I need to be met partway. You probably feel put upon for the times I forgot things and did "insert ADD-related pet peeve here." But I am working on it and I can't do it alone. "

And if he won't agree to couples counseling, go on your own. It sounds as though he has done a number on your self esteem. But we ALL have issues, and bravo to you for taking them on. You are brave and strong, but you don't have to do it alone. A good counselor will help you get through the fog of issues, medication and more to help YOU get healthy in a non-judgemental way.

Best to you... 

Thank you for your reply. I

Thank you for your reply. I know what kind of vibe my post must give off but I am very sure that he doesn not have ADD. He is a very structured, focused man and I know that the distraction toward me is a decision he has made on some level. It's not because he simply can't focus. Why I don't know, if he is stressed about work, too tired, I talk to fast, I talk about boring things, he's just enjoying other things right now etc he won't pay attention to me asking so it's hard to figure it out. I have sat down and talked to him about it in different times during the day, in different states but he just won't listen to it. He is kind of giving me the attitude that I'm a little girl telling him about his My Little Pony so he just smiles and "mhms". Not that he sees me as a child, it was more an example to paint the picture.

Since I have ADD I am already in counseling and seriously don't think I could get any more help with myself. We need to go the both of us because this is not me, this is him. For some reason he is unable to deliver a message to me, it is building a wall. I have done my best to get an answer out of him and the only option left is that he snaps out of it and lets me know. And I think he needs professional help with that as he wont acknowledge this as a problem. I want to stress that my husband is very nice to me, he is not angry all the time or anything. And when he is ignoring me while I talk he still smiles and pretends that he's listening. But he is spending less and less and less time with me mentally not physically. He wants to go places and go out on dates etc all the time but I am lately refusing too as it's just not worth it. It's such a hassle for me to go out with my ADD, if he's not going to be present at the dinner table and talk to me then I don't want to go. And with this we're just drifting apart but without the angry arguing part. It makes absolutely no sense. But I'm sorry that was not what my post from last night was about.. it's just upsetting me so much and there are few wives out there who I know that can actually say anything useful, you guys here are all understanding and working hard for love.. seems so rare nowadays.

sullygrl's picture

well honestly with the talking

I read your post Kippei and I could very well be your husband! :) I KNOW a lot of time because my husband talks non-stop about things that I have no interest in (car motors and gas mileage being two favorites) I have pretty much stopped contributing to the conversation.

WHY? 1) Because I have nothing to say on topics that don't interest me that are best saved for his friends who are into the car motors and gas mileage and on and on, and 2) When I do try to contribute or have a conversation about other things (and I try my best not to make it about makeup, fashion and girly things I know HE has no interest in) he pretty much ignores me, interrupts me frequently and  forgets what I have said within five minutes.

So now I smile and nod (okay, I am not smiling anymore, truth be told). Like lonelywife I just add noise to the conversation that he is pretty much having with himself. And often the times he chooses for these conversations are when I am trying to do other things, like work on the computer (not just surf, I run 2 websites), before coffee and after bedtime. Like I have shut the lights out and he begins a 15-minute tirade.

I want peace and quiet so much I often fantasize about taping his mouth shut.

BUT - if you have been working on yourself, you have been getting counseling and medication and trying then he needs to meet you partway. Have you talked to him about how it makes you feel? As you said, not like a child, but it is like he is just humoring you, and that is not an adult partnership.

Why is it "not worth it" to

Why is it "not worth it" to you to go out with him? You withdrawing from him in this way because he is withdrawing from you will only make things happen (drifting apart) twice as fast. You're, in a sense, giving up. Go out with him.

I know that communication is such a huge problem in ADHD relationships....and the reality is that your version of what is happening and his are probably two completely different things. I agree that he needs to go to a few sessions with you. I hope you can convince him to go. As a non-ADHD wife, I struggle to 'make myself understood/make my point/ask my question in a way that my husband 'gets it'' sometimes. Our counselor is very helpful.

Have you tried to put into writing what you are feeling? Have you tried to catch these incidents as they happen and say "I am not sure, are you listening to me?" You have to be very clear about what it is you're experiencing....saying "you just don't listen to me anymore" really is hard to 'fix' because it is a broad generalization. Saying, in the heat of the situation "I feel you're drifting off somewhere else..." is, in my opinion, the best way to deal with this situation. Otherwise, tell your counselor what you're feeling and see if he/she can help you figure out what is going on.

ebb and flow's picture


I think the problem, a lot of times, is that we (non-ADDers) do not clearly understand WHAT IS THE ADD and WHAT IS NOT ADD.

Just when I think I finally figured out what is considered a symptom of ADD, my ADDer says, "stop blaming everything on the ADD! It's not the ADD!!!".


Like, for example, his irritability moodiness and emotional outbursts I THOUGHT were part of ADD's 'lack of impulse control of emotions". My partner keeps saying that, no, it's because he's hurt that he thinks I'm accusing him of being something that he's not. And that it's the past frustration between us that automatically makes him think a fight is coming so he automatically switches to abrupt and defensive! Then I take it one step further and say, we've gotten this way because of the ADD symptoms-- IN THE FIRST PLACE. He says I'm wrong and I blame everything on the ADD---which, in his mind, means I'm blaming everything ON HIM.

I don't know what to think anymore.

To be perfectly honest, his explosions, I would chalk up to him being a jerk who's verbally abusive if I didn't have the ADHD symptoms to fall back on. But, because I know NOW that ADHD can cause emotional irrationality at times I think I finally get it.... But then I'm told 'no' by my partner who has it. SO, Im confused!!!!

So, being someone who has ADD, Kippei, what is the ADHD and what is not ADHD?

When do we, as non's, "blame" ADHD? And/or when do hold the person doing/not doing the action, responsible??? ( I learn here that you shouldn't blame ANYONE--but holding the person accountable for poor behaviours, yes!)

Just wondering... :/ I'm confused!

This is a hard question but

This is a hard question but an important one. I think it depends a bit on the ADD person too. For me, I can feel when something was my ADD and when it wasn't. ADD feels a certain way, it's like mensuration pains we all know what that feels like and we can separate it from any other pain such as head ache. ADD doesn't physically hurt but it feels a special way, usually for me if the ADD is the reason for something I will have unstable memories of the day (such as I can't really recall what I did and it all seems a bit blurry) my head will also be very foggy like when you're hung over, have a fever.  Every thought that I will have will be slippery and impossible for me to grab and by grab I mean a physical action that I need to execute, such as getting out of bed. When I don't have these symptoms (whether it be all day or just during that time when I was supposed to THE thing) then I clearly know what happened and that it wasn't my ADD. Like with the bed sheets, I wasn't in a foggy state yesterday until the evening and I got them out on the balcony on time. But the non-ADDers can't feel this and that is where it all falls apart. And I also don't know whether your husband can feel his ADD, I have been in therapy training since the beginning of my teenage years and a lot of times I might be more aware because of that than those that have never had any counseling help or that are just right in the beginning of it.

In our house, we try to deal with it by toning down the whole level of the house. We both made a huge effort and completely shut down our prides. If I have to say I'm sorry two times in a row I don't care because I have realized that marriage is not about taking turns about being sorry. This has helped a lot cause we both stepped down and looked the other way when we did something the other didn't like. After a while with no arguing we could start small again and point out the things that we thought were worth it. Then both me AND him became less defensive and I didn't feel directly accused. But still there are times like last night when he belittles be because of the ADD, saying a comment like that and things like "you can't think for yourself".

I don't really recognize this verbally abusive part that a lot of you wives here on the forum express, it's hard for me to talk about it without accidentally stereo-typing but I have never behaved in that way. Mood swings are a part of ADD yes, but I don't know if I think it IS ADD. I think it's a side effect from ADD exhausting the brain, just like when a woman has a newborn that keeps her up constantly she is very likely to snap at just about anything, cry and throw tantrums. Because she is exhausted. My ADD is a newborn that never grow ups and it exhausts me, when I get exhausted I break down and go off on just about anything like a teenager because I don't have the energy to deal with it.

Maybe in your case and in mine, what we on the ADD side need is for you on the other side to higher your tolerance with certain things and always keep your understanding with you as a support and comfort whenever your own feelings get hurt because of the ADD. But there is really no need to verbalize it, to point out every time that you know it's ADD like it's a pop quiz named "what of this is ADD". That is what I'm so tired of, all those sentences my husband utters that go "I know that you have ADD (but)...", every time I hear that I develop a mental allergic rash.

Spot On!

You are spot on correct with your reasoning of the outbursts for ADD.   Our counselor explained the outbursts that come out of nowhere is a direct result from the effects of all the days thought/implusivities/frustrations, ect. that the ADD person has tried to deal with throughout the day, but yet they are still being assaulted by the thoughts and out of frustration they lash out trying to stop the onslaught that is occurring in their brain. Which to those standing by, are left wondering WTF?  Once our counselor explained this aspect of ADD I was able to take his outbursts with a very large grain of salt and not let it have such a huge impact on me.

As for your DH short attention span to you, Im wondering if maybe he is trying to tell you that he is needing more.  Let me try to explain myself.  Often times, my DH would talk non stop about things that were really petty or worse, go on and on about all of the things that he wants (expensive cars, shiny boat, lavish vacations, ect) but would go on and on at length about them. And I would listen and add in when i could.   Of course, I also was waiting for when it would be my turn to talk - that time rarely happened since Dh would jump from subject to the next without so much as a breath.

I ended up where I was just adding in sound effects to his conversation because I felt like (1) I was never going to be able to really satisfy his wants of expensive things, (2) I knew that I would not get my turn to talk (about important things like the kids, house, ect) because those things were boring to him. (3) DH really likes the sound of his own voice going on and on.

So as the non ADD spouse, I became frustrated with the constant rambeling and never being able to get him to stop talking and listen to me.  I wish I had an answer for you, but I still haven't found a way to stop his mouth from moving. 

Maybe try setting up a daily meeting (30 mins)  and spilit the time so that each of you is being heard.

Best wishes!

Hm! You have me something to

Hm! You have me something to think about! My husband is not very talk-active but he is not quiet either. Thing is when he is home and no one is talking I tend to ramble on like my life depends on it. Maybe I should try and really hold myself back, bite my tongue during what I think is eternity of silence and see what happens. Very interesting. It's nothing new that we view time differently and maybe he just need more time to get going himself with what he needs to and wants to talk about. As he does talk to me frequently about things that happen at work and tell me I am a good listener (which I find so hard to believe but he really thinks so) then I kind of thought he was able to take up his own space.. but like you say about you maybe he isn't really. I will try this, thank you very much for giving me a non-ADD angle. I do love to talk, I don't care much about listening to my own voice (haha) but I do love talking.

About the outbursts, yes. When I have them I feel like I am so tired that when someone says ONE MORE THING to me I get full and pour over. I think we all experience this when we are really, really stressed. So for non-ADDers it's very rare and maybe only happened a hand full of times. But for me it can be like that daily and even though my DH is just saying "Hey how was your day?" I just don't have room for more and I just snap like a teenager, it seriously sounds like "GRAAAWWRL!!".

Thank you!


I think that your husband saying "I know that you have ADD (but)..." is his way of telling you that he understands that it is difficult for you, but he needs more from you. I think most spouses of ADDers have a LOT of tolerance, or they wouldn't stay so long in those relationships or try so hard to make them work. But there has to be something in the relationship for the non-ADDer as well. Being understanding, trying to meet the ADDer's needs, picking up all the slack in the relationship, constantly trying to keep the ADDer on's exhausting. It's like pushing a large boulder up a hill alone, and often the ADDer is on the other side, pushing it back down. Non-ADDers have needs, also, and can't go on forever without getting THEIR needs met. I think your husband is telling you that he needs something from you that he isn't getting.

I think you are totally

I think you are totally right. I understand that too and I know that I would have gone crazy already if our roles were switched. Thing is however that it's too much. Every time he says it I think in my head "if he didn't know I had ADD he wouldn't even reflect on this". I do laundry, vacuum, dust, cook, fold laundry, work part time, go to school part time, do paper work that we have to do (tax, pension etc), tidy up, go grocery shopping (we buy weekly groceries and meat separately), buy things for the house, clean the toilet and shower etc, etc, etc. The way my ADD shows it's face is that all these things are done in a little special way, preferably 3 or 4 things at once progressing at a pretty slow, synced speed, very messy and the order can be really strange. I am also very attracted to deadlines and mail, paper work etc will take a week or so for me to get started and finished, the kitchen look like a war zone while I cook.. But I do it. My husband doesn't have to run around after me fixing my mess. He just sometimes feels like he has to remind me. Like sure the sheets were not dry.. but they were washed? Did he plan on washing them on a perfect dry schedule that was so well planned and not effected by like nature or fate? I don't think so. That is why I think it's so uncalled for, and this ADD marking I seem to have on my forehead is making me so sad :(


It sounds like you handle the things you need to. My husband couldn't finish anything, and wouldn't even start without a major prod from me (it was easier to just do it myself than nag him, then redo it when he screwed it up or left it half-finished). Can you perhaps re-negotiate the things that bug him most? Agree that you'll have the house back together and little projects done by evening, so you can both relax? Or point out that you DO get paperwork done, so he doesn't need to remind you (doing things at the last minute makes me a nervous wreck; we always did the mad dash to the PO to get our taxes in on, without him, I file early and have my refund before he has even filed)? Does he understand that you just have your own way of doing things?

Also, if he didn't know you had ADD, he'd think you were doing it all on purpose. I felt that way for over 20 years, before my husband was diagnosed. I thought he was just plain rude, selfish, and lazy. It took a long time to even start changing that view, and I still think it sometimes.

Your last paragraph is very

Your last paragraph is very realistic and very true...even for me, the non-ADHD wife. Thank you, I needed that this morning. Ironically, I have PMS..just dawned on me, I'm due to start in a week so that is why I'm so 'sensitive' to everything today (and yesterday), and I really needed that reminder. It was, I feel, God's way of saying to me "look, you're being drug around by your nose by PMS right now, have more sympathy for what it feels like for your husband to have ADHD this morning griping about having to take around the garbage. Just have more sympathy." In the end, it really doesn't matter to me that he doesn't like taking the garbage around...I just want him to take around the garbage. I do a LOT I don't like (pretty much everything else!) so that's Ok. I guess I just wish he wouldn't comment on you said..keep the comments to himself! :o)

Thanks! I just hope he can have the same sympathy for me right now...and the same sympathy for me next week when I do start and my emotions are all.over.the.board!! Getting old sucks!

ebb and flow's picture


Me too! I'm due in a week as well and I woke up to the cat licking herself and I wanted to throw my pillow at her to make her stop!!! I didn't because that would be cruel and wrong so instead I put my head underneath it! lol

I am aware of why I feel so cranky so that helps me to stop acting out-- a little bit. It's still just best for me to say little and steer clear of most others around me for the next couple of days!


They might see my fangs! ha ha ha

sullygrl's picture

It sounds like you

It sounds like you two have mostly negotiated a good give-and-take when it comes to that. In reading some of your past posts it wasn't an easy road, but you committed to it and stuck to it and have dealt with a lot of the issues you had with your husband's ADHD.

That being said, chores are not fun for anybody, we all do them. Do you cook? Do you say every night as you turn the stove on "but I just cooked last night? Why can't you cook" or do the laundry, or dust, or vacuum. So yes, it shouldn't be too much to ask to take out the garbage without griping. And buy you chocolate for the PMS! :)

ebb and flow's picture


I remember in a past relationship when my ex partner would bring me something salty and something sweet when he knew my time was coming!! lol Or, this ex would see me driving down our street, notice the look on my face and run out to greet me at my car in his sock feet to help me carry my purse into the house-- because just by seeing the look on my face from the front window, he could tell I was having a bad day!!!!!! LMAO that would NEVER happen now!!! NEVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That is such a foggy, distant memory now!!!

My current partner (with ADD) doesn't even know when something is up in my world! I don't even get greeted coming home after work... Sometimes yes, sometimes no. I maybe get soup/tea when I'm sick and it feels forced on his part. LOL!

It's strange how it never feels 100% normal but, you do sort of become numb to it after a while. Like, you don't miss small considerations like that anymore---but you do...

ebb and flow's picture


"ADD doesn't physically hurt but it feels a special way, usually for me if the ADD is the reason for something I will have unstable memories of the day (such as I can't really recall what I did and it all seems a bit blurry) my head will also be very foggy like when you're hung over, have a fever. Every thought that I will have will be slippery and impossible for me to grab and by grab I mean a physical action that I need to execute, such as getting out of bed. When I don't have these symptoms (whether it be all day or just during that time when I was supposed to THE thing) then I clearly know what happened and that it wasn't my ADD. "

I didn't know ADD feels a special way... At times my partner says he feels hung over and general malaise. He still doesn't think it's the ADD though because nearly every time he has it, lately, he asks me what I think it is. I tell him I don't know but he feels like this almost everyday, maybe he should tell the doctor. He says he doesn't want to. Maybe this is his way of expressing he's having an ADDlicious day! heh.

"Mood swings are a part of ADD yes, but I don't know if I think it IS ADD. I think it's a side effect from ADD exhausting the brain, just like when a woman has a newborn that keeps her up constantly she is very likely to snap at just about anything, cry and throw tantrums. Because she is exhausted. My ADD is a newborn that never grow ups and it exhausts me, when I get exhausted I break down and go off on just about anything like a teenager because I don't have the energy to deal with it."

This is also a very helpful point about mood swings. That it is a byproduct of feeling just an overall exhaustion! You see my partner complains of these things... general malaise, feeling "off", not being able to work, exhausted, even moments after waking.... I don't think he even understands this to be ADD completely! Maybe he does... I don't know...

It also helps me to develop compassion towards him when I hear stuff like this! I wish he would share this stuff with me, like you just did above! Maybe then I could feel with him instead of against him!!! Oh, there I go again blaming him for not doing something so that we can be more peaceful. Ooops! ;)

The higher tolerance on my part would come with compassion for his ADD, though, truly. If only he would openly talk to me about ADD, about how he felt, so on... But instead he walls up and almost mans up to try and cover it all. So, what I see is someone acting like they're fine.... so, if they're fine then why aren't they taking out the trash? Doing the dishes? Helping me hang pics/decorating? Pitching in for things around the house? More interested in our home? etc etc etc... You know?

It's a vicious cycle and I wish it would just stop! I wish he would trust me enough to open up about how he feels and let me feel compassion for him and more tolerance. I think his pride doesn't let that happen. He FEARS me seeing him as stupid or incompetent or like he's not got it under control. God forbid he open up to me about all this turmoil going on inside... It's killing us. It really is.... :(

It is hard to have compassion

It is hard to have compassion towards someone/something that is

My compassion comes from seeing him try. From progress that is tangible and obvious. It comes from him 'getting it' that his ADHD (or behaviors..or whatever he wants to categorize things as) do hurt me and our marriage and his efforts to stop doing them. He storms out of counseling early Dec madder than a hornet for me telling him and the counselor both that I'm mad that they're acting like I'm crazy for saying that the meds were making him a jerk....but he made an appt that afternoon with his doctor and went off of the meds. Only after being off of the meds did he admit that they were making him constantly irritable and that he was irritable because they made him feel extremely lethargic. He had NO energy at all. They also gave him 'spurts' (extended release) throughout the day and these spurts sometimes caused anxiety and nausea. But, I was the "crazy" one for saying he needed to switch meds. LOL I have compassion for him because in spite of the fight he put up, he proved he cared enough and went off of the meds.

I have compassion for him because once it got SO bad with the new medication (he was being distant, irritable, and having a conversation with him always ended up in him being mad over something I said) that I finally said "look, I cannot even talk to you anymore..I want to just sit and say nothing" he cared. I see him everyday working on controlling himself. He finally gave me some insight (during counseling) that made me understand what he was going through with the meds...whole new way of thinking, adjusting to having a 'normal' mind...and I had compassion and an understanding I didn't have before.

It is much easier to show and FEEL compassion when you see the other person doing the same. He felt horrible that my blood pressure went up everytime we had a he's working on it. I don't know how, I don't know what he has done...but it is better. I am thankful.

Don't beat yourself up about struggling to feel sympathy for him. Hopefully it will come in time when, with the help of your counselor, he sees what he's doing and makes efforts to stop doing it.

So why don't they have compassion for us?

Non-ADD people are not without challenges. Many who are married to someone with ADHD have depression or fibromyalgia or some other kind of stress-related disorder. I myself have physical challenges from long before I knew my husband, caused by a car accident and bad genetics.

So why do we have to have compassion on them, but they don't have to have compassion on us? Why shouldn't I expect my husband to understand what it's like for every step I take to hurt? Why don't they have to understand what it's like to be pregnant, or hungry and there's no food in the house or money to buy it, or cold,  or any of the other things for which they might be at least partially responsible?

Sherri, you write very eloquently about why you love your husband and how hard he's trying. I am not such a saint as you.

No, no one HAS to have

No, no one HAS to have compassion for anyone...but in a marriage where there is happiness and love, compassion is vital.

My point to my entire post was that it is HARD-if not impossible-to have compassion for someone who shows you none, I guess I wasn't clear enough. My husband does show me compassion, I am EXTREMELY thankful that he does, and therefore it makes it a lot easier for me to show him the same.

Recently we had a unique opportunity to see things from the other's point of view....and he GOT IT just as much as I did. I was struggling with the silence at home all day long, because his previously frequent phone calls and texts has ceased. Medication had made his focus better, but unfortunately for me that meant that while he's at work he focuses ON WORK, VERY fortunately for him and his job. When I first mentioned it, he got mad...felt like I was 'smothering' him...I just simply told him I felt like he was ignoring my texts. I just didn't know what was going on. Why couldn't he text me during the day like he always had. A few days later, while trying to study for a test he was texting me and it was really throwing me off of my train of thought and making it hard to study. Then I had an a-ha moment...he is now LIKE ME. I cannot have the TV or radio on when I am focused on something...and someone texting or calling me (or even talking to me) while I'm studying has even so much as made me mad and irritable before. A few days later I had my first Bible Study session in our new series and he was left here alone with our son. (autisic, doesn't talk). He texted me and said that the silence in the house was unbearable and that he hated being here alone, without me, and that he missed me. So I said to him in our next counseling session..."God showed each of us what it is like for the other so we could better understand". I was just so perfect how it all worked out.

I'm not a saint...I am just trying to be the person, wife, mother that God wants me to be. I truly feel that I am blessed in so many ways, ADHD and everything else aside, but I certainly DO have enough compassion for others to understand that it is NOT easy. There have been times that I had no compassion for my husband..because the way he treated me made it feel impossible.  I get it. I don't know how to make spouses that 'don't get it' change, I wish I could. All I know is what worked for me.

I also want to add that I'm

I also want to add that I'm not 100% convinced that many of these men don't have a deep sense of compassion for their spouses and remorse for their actions...but the ADHD (being left truly untreated) keeps this from ever being seen. When they refuse to get help, I would find it hard to have compassion as well. I LOVED the way a new poster said it today...she doesn't assume she knows anything about what her husband does or doesn't feel or think because much of the time she's wrong. Actions don't match words. There is a lot of shame and guilt (from childhood all the way into adulthood) that makes people who they are and there is often a pattern of consistent negativity in many ADHDer's lives. The shame and guilt can sometimes strangle any efforts to be 'different'. "why bother" Maybe their compassion is there, it just isn't easily seen. It doesn't help the here-and-now much, I know...but it is something worth thinking about.

For these things alone, I have compassion for any human being...but I know first hand how hard compassion comes for those who treat us poorly.

Maybe for now you just how to

Maybe for now you just how to go along his thing, call it being "hung over" or something like that. Then he feels good that you acknowledges that he feels weird and doesn't like it which results in him talking about it. Even though the best thing would be him to just accept it and hop on the ADD train maybe for now a de-tour is better than nothing.

ADD definitely feels a special way. I can wake up in the morning and just say "Today is going be a bad day..". We call them "Bad ADD days" and my husband understands what they mean. When I have them he expects less from me (practically nothing) and will cover things like dinner that I have a hard time grasping when I have a day like this and in exchange I always inform him that today is a bad day and make sure I deal with it a correct way. I make sure I don't overload myself with more things than necessary, whatever I can cancel I will cancel and I focus on my routine. Three meals a day and 2 snacks. No discussion. If I am able to then a nap around 4 pm. So that when my husband comes home I will be pleasant to be around.

I already described pretty much what it feels like. I look very carefree and relaxed where I sit during these days, lazy even, but it's not like that. If you open up google chrome or whatever web browser you use and open up 15 tabs with different content. Food recipe, social contact, house work tips, hobby, your bank, work, potentional night classes, etc fill up 15 of them with normal daily things. Then take the mouse and randomly click between them, fast. Ask your husband to do it and then you have to try and read as much as possible on each side. Approx. 1 sec per site. I think that might be a pretty good simulation of what it's like in the end when ADD is the worst. Normal better ADD days, the tabs are only 10 and time 1.5 sec per site.

Try different angles. Who knows, just calling it something different might be the key?

I don't think you have to have ADD to not be doing the things you mentioned though, my husband would rather dust the kitchen fan filter with a toothbrush that spend 10 mins in a store picking out couch pillows with me, hahaha.

sullygrl's picture

Does it matter

Does it matter if it is ADD or not? Moodiness and emotional outbursts are not helpful in a relationship. We all have our moments, but if it is a regular thing then it is some sort of issue. ADD also tends to come along with other issues, like obsessive compulsive behavior, anxiety, or other mental health issues. And for a person with ADD to feel "pushed down" constantly can lead to depression, which can show itself in nasty tempers.

So he should be held accountable for whatever is causing the outbursts...doesn't matter. He needs to find a way to express himself without them.

ebb and flow's picture


I agree with you 100% BUT have you ever felt emotionally drained or exhausted to the point where you are just plain out cranky and miserable?

Take how worn down and exhausted you feel by your ADD partner, as an example....

Because of feeling this way all the time--everyday, have you noticed yourself acting like someone you're not? Maybe more angry, intolerant, snappy, bossy... whatever?

I know I have... DEFINITELY! :(

So, though I agree that NEITHER of us should act this way.... I do understand how just being mentally exhausted CONSTANTLY off and on can contribute to being snappy and not like yourself.

This kinda makes me feel hopeless though because it seems that without my partner learning how to recharge his internal battery, I fear this will be one of those symptoms that's a constant... and I'm not sure I can live with it.  :((

It's like perpetual crabbiness due to perpetual exhaustion.... I get it---- I'm just not a fan of being around it! :((

sullygrl's picture

Oh I have, believe me

I have definitely felt cranky and drained and snappy and miserable. I am aware of when it is happening and try to either warn "this is not a good day to be in my face" or i will realize as I snapped (too late, I know) and apologize, saying I blew up out of proportion. But I also am really careful to not get into a fight with my husband, who is causing my exhaustion, and then go yell at my daughter, who is not.

I was lucky when I was diagnosed with depression to find a really good counselor who helped me "read" myself better. Not everyone is that fortunate. BUT, I am the one that made the phone call, and made the effort to go to the appointments, and to own up to my own issues, and to work on them. Am I perfect? No, never gonna happen. But I am aware and do what I need to do when I find myself leaning towards that state. I have learned how to do what I need to do to be a wife, mother, employee, advocate, etc., but be in tune with myself and know when and how to step back and recharge. Does that make sense?

You see it in your husband, maybe you can help him by saying "you know honey, you are getting worked up a little out of proportion to what is going on. Why don't you take ten minutes and go for a walk, listen to an ipod, have a cup of tea, *insert soothing thing that is quiet or at least not distracting here*. " Basically, a time out for grownups :)

Definitely, ADD makes us

Definitely, ADD makes us impaired in many ways and effects life daily but it has nothing to do with our intelligence and how we mature. We are just like you non-ADDers fully capable of understanding and taking responsibility for our actions. And that's it.

ebb and flow's picture


"We are just like you non-ADDers fully capable of understanding and taking responsibility for our actions. And that's it."

...then why wont he? :(

I'm the one reading about ADD, I'm the one on this site learning, I'm the one seeking out therapists, etc., I'm the one reading about anger...

Why isn't he doing anything about it? I mean, he joins me in counseling and he reads a page here and there about ADD so he thinks THAT'S taking responsibility for it. But, that little bit can only make very slight changes in his symptoms.

I don't get it! Do you know why he wont take initiative on his own???

ebb and flow's picture

...oh, and meds. Yeah, lets

...oh, and meds. Yeah, lets not forget the meds... I know they help with his attention to work, so therefore I cannot say much; but OTOH that's about it. They don't make him happy go lucky 'want to hang out my girl and do stuff that interests the two of us!'. Oh no... They do not fix it all.

I feel the same about my husband's meds

This is one of my pet peeves. He was unwilling to work at all until he had been medicated for a year or so. Then he went back to work, but I see no improvement in our marriage in terms of contributing to household chores or actually talking to me.

Actually, our home lives seem worse since he got medicated. As I've posted before, he comes home and lies down and watches tv and falls asleep. He's stopped cooking and helping with housework at all. I understand his meds are wearing off when he gets home, but I wish I got some of the energy his clients get.

Not all people can deal with

Not all people can deal with things like this in a good, open way. It really depends on how emotionally matured you are. There is also yet a huge part of the population that doesn't believe in ADD. 

I was like your husband when my mom told me to try her new skin product. She said I really should and it would help with the dry spots I had been complaining about. I tried it a bit but mostly just to humor her, to me I already had a way of taking care of my skin that kind of worked sometimes. Then I actually was forced into a proper routine of using the products while staying in her house for 1 week and.. what did I know.. the product worked wonders and completely restored my skin, my skin was beautiful.

Might be the same thing with your husband and his ADD. 

I'm probably repeating

I'm probably repeating myself, I made a similar reply further down (I'm a little confused with how the thread tree works) why your husband doesn't try to find answers, help and read on his own? He might not be mature enough. I find that most people are that way. Any feeling or situation that is not positive they run away from like it's walking herpes. Maybe he doesn't think it is that big of a deal, life has worked okay for him and he can't be bothered.. if you don't like it then, shrug kind of thing. It could be like that maybe? It takes a lot of courage, strength and a certain level of maturity (not saying that he is immature, I don't think maturity is just one scale, you can be mature with different things depending on life experience, education etc) so face this kind of problem, this kind of "bad attribute" or how I should put it. 

Medication isn't as magical as I'd want it to be, sadly. So I know what you mean there. It doesn't solve a single little thing really. Just like SSRI medication it is just a support tool to make it easier for the person to deal with the situation. Even though I take a very strong dose of my medication and am getting a really good effect, I still have to make myself get up and do things, that doesn't happen automatically. I can also very strongly tell that I have been sitting for the majority of my life, I simply haven't LEARNED how to plan ahead, how to schedule, how to.. be productive. Because I have never been able to do it. So now I have to learn this as a grown-up who already have my own habits and way of doing things and a lot of times I feel like an old dog. It's just too late for me to learn "sit".

sullygrl's picture

kippei you make a great point

You make a great point about the maturity level. honestly, my husband IS on the immature side. Always has been. Would rather play than work. as a good example - he had a foosball table (those little soccer guys) in his dining room instead of a dining table when I met him - and he was about 30. A little old for the college decorating, you know?

I just want to say I think you have a good attitude and it sounds like you are working hard to be the best you can be. No, medication is not the answer to everything, it is a tool to be used with therapy and a lot of hard work. But you are doing all of the above. It really sounds like your husband needs to meet you halfway...

ebb and flow, Why won't he

ebb and flow,

Why won't he take the initiative on his own to help himself?

I ask myself that same question almost on a daily basis.  I'm in the same boat as you.  Reading about the disorder, for a better understanding, on this forum as much as I possibly can be, watching what I say and how I say it and GOD knows, with his help, I've learned to let go of most of the anger.  Meanwhile, husband remains in his own "little world". 

sullygrl's picture

has he really

Has he really admitted to having ADD, how it effects him, how it affects you? You say he joins you in counseling (which tells me maybe he has taken a little bit of responsibility), but does he go on his own? Do you guys talk about how the medication may be helping at work but not so much at home (again, at least he's taking something...)  Is he not capable of doing the groundwork for anything, but if you handed him an article, he would read it?

As for why he won't take the initiative, if any of us knew that answer, we probably wouldn't be here....

ebb and flow's picture


He was diagnosed by his doctor back in 2009 and was put on Ritalin then. He knows he has ADD.

He doesn't outwardly admit to having it per se, and he definitely refuses to admit it has any sort of impact on me/others. He doesn't understand how something in his brain can affect the people around him. He cannot piece two and two together. He agrees that it causes his procrastination... but then some days, he says it's just cause he "can't get started"... not the ADD. (he doesn't admit that that IS a symptom of ADD).  You know? lol

He has been worn down by me constantly telling him we need to speak to someone, or else! I insisted that it be a therapist who knows our issues with ADD. I started going without him because his denial of it all was REALLY getting to me! After 2 or 3 sessions with her on my own and some BIG fights between him and I; he agreed to join in the sessions. We've been maybe 3 times and have a session coming up in a couple of weeks. It helps.

He wouldn't have gone on his own, no. I've forwarded him articles but he doesn't respond... I'm not even sure if he reads them!

He doesn't read about ADD on his own and still gets REALLY defensive if I say something may be a symptom of the ADD because he considers that as me blaming him!

His meds are a real touchy subject. I'm happy he's at least 90% happy with how they work. I'm too scared to push too hard in that area because he may do something crazy and stop them all together! Meds are something we can patiently work out with time... The meds are going into his body therefore I don't feel there's much I can say there. The symptoms he has that affect me directly are the ones I try to address with him. That's all...

He doesn't do anything about his ADD on his own, no.


sullygrl's picture

ebb and flow

So sorry, it sounds like he started down the road with you, and then just stopped and dug in his heels. Doesn't want to keep going and maybe FIX stuff, maybe afraid he will have to be responsible for his actions and can't hide behind the ADD any longer?

I think a big part of he ADD that is so hard to see is how very differently the thought process works. Someone here once said it was like tuning in a radio but it got multiple stations and static too. so they are on one side hearing this static and thinking it's just them, but they don't realize everything comes out garbled on the other side too, leaving us scratching our heads and saying what just happened? What did they mean? what did they think I meant?

If the therapist knows about ADD it might help that at some point they will probably have an impartial way to tell him how his behavior DOES have an affect on you. And maybe hearing it from someone else will make the point better than you can? I hope you find a way to pull him along further.

And meds are a touchy subject. I have taken meds for 10 years for my depression, and I have had to adjust, switch, etc multiple times. At first, when they start working, meds are a godsend. But then, if there are side effects, you start to wonder what is worse - the symptoms without meds, or the side effects with them? You can only be supportive there ad tell him there are always options if something is working for him.

Best to you

I just wanted to butt in and

I just wanted to butt in and say that I think there is a difference between KNOWING and UNDERSTANDING the diagnose. Just because your husband knows he has it it doesn't mean he really understands what it is. Maybe because he doesn't even care to find out or maybe he is just too scared to find out (I don't think that's too uncommon). Like a lot of people get fevers but it's shocking how very few people actually understand what it is, why you have it and how to deal with it.

I also want to say that a lot of people in here express how you try to find information and forward articles etc about ADD to help your husbands. What exactly does this mean? Are these articles, articles? The impression and feeling that I get is that you don't really think about that we have ADD. You can't forward an article to me, I can't read an article. I can barely read your post, I really struggle with following these threads. Maybe I am misunderstanding though and I'm not saying that his lack of interest in his own problem is in any way acceptable or understandable.

Please explain that you can't read

You are a brilliant writer. What do you mean you can't read articles?

My husband graduated from college and he reads very well. The only thing is, he will only read a book if he can read it in one sitting. If I interrupt him while he's reading a book, he won't go back to it. That means he's never read Melissa's book.

Interestingly, he reads much less since he's started taking ADHD meds.

I love to read and will sometimes read a book in small bits, like on breaks at work or on the bus or in the doctor's waiting room. He says he can't do that. Can you explain that? (he can't).

Thank you, that's very nice

Thank you, that's very nice of you to say :) I can read of course. What I mean is that my attention span is so short that the article can only be a few sentences long (short, hah) for me to be able to read it, focus through and understand the content.

My ADD is pretty severe so I can absolutely not read about and I never have. I have "read" a book but I'd never survive a pop quiz, I am usually confused a lot of the time, don't remember key hints and have to re-read a lot. It has basically never been worth the trouble. The interruption thing I really recognize, if the flow is interrupted it is lost forever, I feel like that with most things I do. Most of the time my ADD is the thing interrupting me but sometimes it's other people. I own Melissa's book, I bought it as a precaution and an investment in my marriage. I haven't read it though and I probably won't be able to but my husband can help me and I am able to skim read!

It is a little funny how he reads less, I am surprised about how long things take when I actually complete them. Without meds I might not complete a lot but I can do way more than with meds.. not that that makes any sense, hehe. So maybe it's the same for him. He needs to find time.

I can't do that, the two biggest reasons are 1) it is such a short time, it's not enough for me to focus and be able to storage what I am reading to remember it 2) during bus rides, waiting, breaks at work I need to just sit, I am working or I had to GET to the waiting room or am on my way somewhere on the bus. This takes a lot of energy and there just isn't enough spare to do something as energy craving as reading. I simply need to sit and stare and just try to remember what I was doing in the first place. I do not know how individual these answers are though, so it might be good to ask your husband again maybe tell him about my two reasons? And see what he says?

ebb and flow's picture


I know what you mean about knowing about it and understanding it. 

The problem is that it's not just a fever... There's more to it, you know? It seems that if he doesn't understand it, it will lead to our demise. There's a lot more riding on this one! Reason being, it affects how he behaves towards me, it affects how he functions in every day life, and it affects his interest levels and follow through on everything! Those are all important things when it comes to having a HEALTHY relationship. I wish he could just see that clearly... but he still cannot or will not connect the dots.

If it didn't affect so many areas I'd probably leave it alone, like we would an occasional fever with no real repercussions.

I wish.

I can't say anything but... I

I can't say anything but... I know. I know exactly how you are feeling. That is one of the problems I have been venting about in here.. how my husband doesn't acknowledge that the conversation problem we are having is very, very bad. And my husband doesn't have ADD. He just doesn't get it. I am having a hard time finding anything that is more frustrating and sad.

Even though it is so different from a fever like you said, I still don't think it is different.. knowing and understanding wise. I hope you will find a way. Keep trying and when you feel like giving up, give up for a little bit and then come back stronger (that's what I do! 5 minutes of dramatic "giving up" is really recharging!). You will find a way. It is just so sad that it is so common in marriages that one is more than the other in every single area.. but that kind of is what marriage is. I try my best not to count how many more times I try than him, because in the end I can't help but thing that it is not relevant. But it is NOT easy, I can't fix things alone!

sullygrl's picture

I see what you mean

 I think you are spot on, knowing and understanding are two very different things. And a lot of frustration stems from the fact that I KNOW my husband knows something is not right, but won't try to understand it or do anything about it. He always says "we" have trouble communicating. Well guess what? HE has trouble communicating with most people and I do NOT have a lot of trouble communicating with people. I do it for a living, so for him to place blame on me is extremely stress inducing. I have a lot of faults, tell me I am messy, tell me I go shopping too much, fine, but don't tell me I cannot communicate.

I know reading anything lengthy is going to be a challenge for someone with ADD, I get that. My husband cannot read a book, and gets mad that I read at least one novel a week in what little spare time I have. He can maybe get through a magazine in the same time period.

I suggested an article, or maybe if you have Melissa's book to highlight a paragraph here and there. Or you could place bookmarks where you think there might be something helpful. Heck, read it TO them. (when on vacations we would bring travel books but they are so cluttered with pictures and tiny paragraphs my husband cannot focus on them, so he would drive and I would read aloud about where we were going.) Yes, it is harder, and handing someone with ADD a novel or a fistful of articles is going to be overwhelming and an unfair expectation that they can get through all that. But maybe one at a time? I don't know, I am no expert, I know what I wish my husband WOULD do that I think would help. And I am open to any suggestions, and happy to hear if I am way off base and why, and what might work better.

What do they say, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result? :)

Haha, your last sentence put

Haha, your last sentence put a smile on my face!

I don't want to ruin hope or say something that isn't true. I have a little sister with ADD and she is more functional in a lot of ways than I am. For ME though, articles are just.. there is no reason even trying. That just won't happen. Books won't happen. Highlighting and so on is very clever and a huge help, however someone needs to do it for me. I can't do the highlighting myself in order to do that I need to read and pick out what could be helpful and interesting. I have a very, very short attention span and I don't know much about other's diagnosis, do you know your husband's measured attention span? How many minutes?

In the end we are still individuals and there are many ways to figure out what works best for you, for your husband, for me. I happily share what I have learned and figured out, maybe they will work for you guys too, maybe not but there's nothing like trying too much!

It seems like the husbands mentioned in my thread here are yet to have their eye opening moment. I have not always been accepting of my ADD. After I got my diagnose I was offered help and support but declined and went a year just recovering from the shock of the results, from the relief to KNOW, from finally getting rid of the depression I had, etc. Things were kind of alright for a longer period of time but then I started going to a new school, advanced in my studies and switched from an ADD supportive school to a regular one and ADD came slapping me across the face. At that moment I came running back to my doctor like a scared little puppy peeping "Help me, help me!"

Explain the difference

Explain the difference between reading an article or a chapter in a book vs. a conversation with your spouse. Could you stay on track and carry on a conversation lasting through dinner? Do you not have the 'hyperfocus' ability that many ADHDers do? I'm just wondering, if you really have a hard time staying on task with anything for more than a few minutes, how this might be effecting the marriage and contributing to the communication issues you're having? I am asking from a place of concern, please don't feel blamed or attacked. It is best when BOTH partners consider all possible sides of an was just something that came to my mind as you talked about your husband not seeing the communication issues, but yet you talk about truly being unable to focus on anything for more than just a few minutes, it seems. Any chance you're zoning out and he's seen this so he's just responded by not even trying anymore? Just some food for thought.


This is a good question.

This is a good question. There isn't much of a difference. Going out on a girl's night with a friend is a suicide mission for me. I asked my husband about my way of talking last night, if I talk too much etc that he's simply given up. He hadn't really thought about it that way before but it was pretty spot on. I'm still working a lot on the listening part, my husband is actually fine because he is a man of few words and whenever he tells me about something he is asking for my input or advice which means I get to do most of the talking. But if he talks for longer than my attention span can cover I will interrupt him, break eye contact, start doing something. When I talk I get side tracked a lot, tell unnecessary detail and if I really don't watch myself I can tell a new story WITHIN a story. It's just awful.

He pointed out though that he doesn't feel that I am not listening, he said the opposite that I am a very good listener and always engage in what he's saying and giving feedback. But I can admit that it's not easy and the chances that I will remember what he talked about afterwards are slim. I hate that about me, it makes me feel horrible. With friends this is a big problem as they get offended, you can tell me your grandpa passed away and that you're going to his funeral. Next time I see you I will ask "So what did you do this Saturday!?". My husband is annoyed by this, but I don't think he really see the connection between the communication issue (well if there is one.. )

I forgot to answer about the

I forgot to answer about the hyper focus, I don't recognize this symptom at all. I don't hyper focus.. I do get "phases" when I get really into one thing and wants to do that. I get those "phases" a lot BUT I am never able to focus on them. I'll basically go shopping for it or internet research for it but never follow it through or get started. Which from how understand is different from the hyper focus.. if I did that I should be just hard core focusing on that thing right? And forget about everything else?

sullygrl's picture

well I'm glad

Glad you got a smile out of that one. It is one of my favorites. I seem to do it a lot - expect different results from the same old thing.

And when I say read highlighted parts of books I mean I would do the highlighting for him. I understand that because it is hard to read that much, it is hard to pick out what to highlight.

My husband won't get tested or admit he has an issue, so I can't tell you what his measured attention span is. He watches tv ok, but if he is trying to read he usually looks up every minute or so. he interrupts me very quickly in a conversation. I can't get out more than a sentence or two. he has put laundry in the washer and asked me within 5 minutes if I am doing laundry.

Now honestly, I think he also has a brain injury, and this has made things much worse. So it is hard for me to say what is the "old" ADD and what is the new, improved with brain injury ADD :)

I don't know what type of school you are going to, but most colleges have a disability resource center. they might be able to help in some of the studying and going to school issues...

Do you feel that he might be

Do you feel that he might be scared? That is just too bad that he won't deal with it and get it checked out, there is no reason for him to struggle more than necessary. Has he ever expressed if he has any fear of the depth of the injury (if there is one) and how he feels about how he might have ADD?

My university offers ADD support to some extent, mostly just by acknowledging it. I live abroad so just ADD acknowledgement is a struggle here and medication is very limited. School feels okay though, I'm finally accepting that school isn't for me. I have no interest in studying on such an advanced level and it feels great to accept that finally. It's been hard as the social pressure to get an education as a woman is so big.

sullygrl's picture

He probably IS scared

I can't think of why else he would not try and help himself. I think he must see on some level how this effects him.  He has never expressed a fear about the injury though. He pretty much tells me I am crazy. He admits to "a little" ADD. But to him it's not that bad because it doesn't effect his work so much.

If he has a schedule he knows he MUST stick to he will get up with the alarm. He knows not to turn on the computer or the tv before work. On days off he will tell me he is going to do something, and if I am watching tv (even a really girly show) he will stop and stand and watch. I will tell him, usually a few times "you were going to do something" until he can finally shake it off. He makes lists constantly, so he KNOWS he will forget things. But he won't admit he forgets things that much. He thinks it is a normal amount. In fact, he LOVES when I forget something because then he can say "See? You forget things to. So it's not ADD, people forget things." But of course it's not the same because while I have forgotten one thing that week, he has forgotten ten things a day.

Unfortunately, he misses a lot more of the social cues than he used to. So if I am with him at a family dinner I can see the entire table getting a look in their eyes that says "Is he going somewhere with this story?" "I can't believe he interrupted me again. " or "the rest of us finished talking about this five minutes ago, why are we talking about it more?" Same with our friends.

I understand what it is like to be scared. I have had depression issues since I was a teenager. I resisted taking medication at first because I was scared too. I did not know what it would do to me. I didn't want to be a zombie. BUT I went to the therapist who told me "you really need medication or you won't be much better" So I have been on medication for years because I know if I don't, I will not function. I also go to therapy regularly, and try to eat foods that will help, do Yoga, get massages, anything I hear that is helpful with depression, I do. So MY frustration is that he will not do the same for his issues. He won't admit to a problem, he won't go to a specialist even just to prove me wrong (probably because deep down, he must know I am right).

It is good that you made a decision about school that makes YOU happy. Why do something that is not enjoyable at all just to make others happy? Kippei, it sounds like you are really learning what works for you and what doesn't. And what is helpful to you, and reaching out to do what you need to. You should be proud of yourself.

ebb and flow's picture

Hmmm.... My ADD partner


My ADD partner reads almost everyday.

He's also part of a discussion group and has been FOREVER where they discuss very intellectual topics in depth and at length (online arguments, and such). So, me passing him a one pager is not really a big deal for him.

The difference is, he doesn't give an eff to read the ADD articles I pass him! lol Kind of insulting, really...

I don't care if he reads or doesn't read, watches seminars/attends seminars, whatever it is... I just want him to own up to how his ADD impacts our relationship and then fix those things. And then we can see if that makes a difference. If no difference is made then we walk away... no harm done.

Simple. Right? lol


sullygrl's picture

Not simple at all

I guess if he were willing to work on it he would read the articles and more. He would ask. But you can't make him do it. You can't do it for him. I don't know what the answer is. I was talking to my mother about it today because while I know my father does a few things to make her crazy, he also does a lot for her. And though I hate to keep score, the crazy comes when the scales are tipping so far over I feel us crashing down with them, you know?

By the way, my mother suggested duct tape. At least for the mouth :)

One of the first things I

One of the first things I did, when I found this website, was forward several of Melissa's Favorite Blogs to my husband. He said he read them and actually discussed some information in some of them (I didn't send only the ones that said "your ADHD is bad for your marriage" LOL).

I think that hearing/reading/seeing from others how they have been effected by ADHD in their marriage is a really helpful tool in helping the ADHDer understand that it isn't just something that can be ignored. It is always easier to see behaviors in others than it is in ourselves. It is also easier to see our own fault when someone else points it out other than our spouse. (i.e. "the enemy") I would be very hurt if my husband wasn't interested in knowing how his ADHD effects those who live with him and love him and trying to change that. How is he going to learn? Me simply pointing it out isn't always the best way to make him 'get it' can lead to defensiveness and an immediate shut down on his part.

Ebb and flow..speaking from my own experience, going to counseling ANY LESS than every other week leaves us in a bad spot. Going every week really helps keep things on an even keel and helps us both stay focused on the marriage and what we need to do. I know you said it was a long drive for you guys to go, maybe that's why you aren't going more often, but with things are critical as they are for you right now, I was really wondering if more counseling wouldn't help a lot. When we didn't go for 4 weeks, over Christmas break, I literally about lost my mind...not having that sounding board and that voice of reason (for both of us) every week/other week just about did me in. We're not ready for that.

Since you cannot seem to get anywhere otherwise, is there anything you can do to increase the frequency of your visits? You said the counselor wasn't exactly giving you a great feeling, so maybe one closer? I figure you've probably exhausted many options before deciding to go 2+ hours away for a therapist, but just thought it might be worth a mention. Without counseling, my husband and I would probably not have made it. It worries me to think that we need it so much, but God willing eventually we'll be able to stand on our own, together. With the co-dependency, issues with our kids, and his ADHD, we just really couldn't do it without the frequent visits.

You felt so positive about things when you first went...I just wonder if you couldn't keep up that 'mood' by going more. I do feel they 'get it' more coming from a neutral party than they do from us. I believe that 100%. It might be a big part of the puzzle for you, to get some outside help...and keep it consistent and frequent.

ebb and flow's picture


Well, our last visit seemed to sort of put our therapist off, I guess. My partner and I showed our true colours and with raised voices I think we scared her a little (?). She didn't book a session with us saying something along the lines of, "I'm gonna let you guys figure out if you really want this and then maybe I'll just let you guys book when you want". 

I didn't quite get that at all...?

The session made *me* quite upset because my partner went on and on about how "mean" I am the whole time.

The original issue brought up *by me* was about us not spending "quality time together" and how that makes me so incredibly lonely (one of my main issues is the inattention). In the next moment he had turned everything around and said that he WOULD spend time with me and do kind things for me if I wasn't so "mean" all the time. I kept trying to ask him if I was always like this in the relationship or if he thinks maybe 'something' triggered my anger? The therapist kept turning to me and telling me to "shhh... calm down". I was really upset by this! It went on and on that way. By the end they were both referring to me as "mean" like I wasn't even in the room. She was advising him that, "even though I am mean, he should still just continue being his kind self and continue doing all the wonderful things he does for me normally and continue trying to spend quality time with me..." He nodded in agreement. I tried again towards the end of the session to ask him to give examples of these "kind acts" and of the "times he tries to spend with me"... and SHE kept cutting me off saying "calm down", not allowing him to answer.


I couldn't defend myself in the session at all. I didn't like how I felt disrespected by being called "mean" the whole time, and that it was all just pure lies on his part. I couldn't even get examples out of him (proof he was lying 'cause there wouldn't be any examples!) because she wouldn't even let me ask!

So, from that:

I concluded I am a "mean" person.

He concluded I AM a mean person because the therapist agreed and that he DOES DO everything, I just don't see it. Totally the opposite of what I thought would come of our session about me feeling INCREDIBLY lonely due to his inattentiveness and him not being able to see it therefore address it as one of the ADD symptoms I can't live with.

At the end she gave him a card with the three things he should work on written on the back.

1) get a coach

2) follow the white board

3) continue being nice/trying to spend time with me even though I'm being "mean" to him.

Yeah... Her star patient does none of those things! LOL

He yells whenever I *JUST SAY* the word "coach"... The white board never gets followed and he isn't nice or attentive---> That's why it was suppose to be the topic we were going to work on that session! 

We drove home in silence and I held back the tears the whole way.

Other issues with her include: When I cry she gets up and walks across the room saying "I'll give you a moment" and turns her back to me... Why? 

We were going as frequently as she suggested. I thought we needed weekly sessions, so she booked us bi-weekly lol... Then we had that session and she didn't want to book us again. lol Maybe we are THAT hopeless! (of course, because I'm mean...)

I called her up because there's no one closer that we know of.... this is it!

sullygrl's picture

ebb and flow you NEED a different therapist

A good therapist will do NONE of the things you described. A good therapist will not choose sides as yours so obviously has. A good therapist will not tell one half of the couple that you are being "mean" A good therapist will get to why you are angry in the first place. Obviously you are frustrated. I do not know you, have never sat in a room with you but even I can see that. And when people are frustrated they snap. A good therapist will make sure they get both sides of the story. If she keeps interrupting you and telling you to "calm down" and turning away when you are crying she is not a good therapist. A good therapist will let you say what you need to say. They might say something like "ok, I see you are frustrated, but maybe he feels attacked when you express that frustration. Is there another way you could say it? If it is a ongoing battle is there a signal you can give when he is showing this behavior before it makes you so angry?"  SOMETHING. A good therapist will actually sit and wait it out while you cry. That's why they always have kleenex in their office, that is where you are supposed to cry, supposed to get it all out. When I have cried with my therapist he will wait a minute, and then bring up what triggered the tears in the first place and ask me why it made me cry. He will never tell me I shouldn't cry, or he will wait while I "calm down"

I know you are already traveling a couple of hours to get to this one, but is there any way to find someone else? If a town has one, chances are they have more than one. If your insurance is covering it you can call them and ask them to search within a certain radius of your house. Just like medications, therapists are not one size fits all. Don't give up. And don't put up with someone who is supposed to be helping but will TURN HER BACK ON YOU. That body language speaks volumes. It says "I can't or I won't deal with it". But that is what she is supposed to be doing, helping you deal with it. And she can't if she is not willing to deal fairly with both sides.

Sorry if I butted in, but I feel angry FOR you with this "professional" acting that way....

The quality of therapists

The quality of therapists range widely no mattee where you are- this one is unProfessional I agree (and by now I have a large number to compare to). If there is no one close by, call some farther away and see if you can set up phone in sessions. They shoukd be cheaper, and you might get a quality therapist who is willing to work w you in this way. It may be hard though, so be prepared to call several. Just know that one clear point of couples therapy is to give each person an opportunity to state how feel in a safer and more neutral environment under the direction of a therapist. The big red flag is when the therapist takes "sides" and fails to display objectivity (even when they take YOUR side)...

Ebb and Flow

I agree that this therapist isn't very professional! My ex and I went to 4 or 5. They really didn't do us much good (ex would never do what they suggested), but they were professional. In fact, they wouldn't even take sides when my ex needed a good smack upsida his head.

He'd monopolize the session, talking about any irrelevant thing he could think of so I'd never get a chance to bring up what I thought was important. Once he spent a full 15 minutes talking about the make, model, year, and gas mileage of all of our vehicles (including the tractor!). The therapist just let him go on and on until I finally exploded. See, I'm mean, too. Or crazy. Those sessions often brought out the worst in me. I wanted to solve problems, but he wanted to avoid issues. The therapists just sat and listened politely.


I thought I'd make a small update about the communication problem that sort of also was acknowledged in this post. I really listened to what Sully said to me, that was a real eye opener and as soon as my husband came home I had this in the back of my head. We had dinner where I was trying to be calm and not talk too much, give him space. After we had some food in us I simply quoted what she has said and asked him to honestly tell me if he could relate.

It turned out that he couldn't really relate, or well actually he could! He had just seen it from a different angle and with that never worded it the way Sully did here. So it was a light turning on for him as well. Ever since I have been working really hard on my stories. Whenever I tell him something about my day or such I try to learn what is necessary to tell and what is just my ADD jibber jabber. It is really hard as I would never say something that I don't find relevant but thanks to this I am realizing that my relevant is a lot of different from non-ADDers version of relevant. Sometimes I stop and ask him for help in a story and just the other day he praised me for stopping myself and pointing out that now I was getting on unnecessary detail. It feels really good because what has happened is that yesterday night we spent 3 hours at the dinner table talking the way we used to. About just EVERYTHING. I was still the "main talker" but that is just our personalities, my husband is more the quiet one. But he listened and I didn't feel once that he was drifting off or not interested.

It's still not perfect and now it's time to make sure I learn a new habit from this that sticks but I feel so thankful that I could get this advice. My husband isn't that good at talking.. he is a person that needs to learn what is necessary in a conversation as he leaves out TOO much detail (to the point where you can't get any information out from it and have to ask 15 questions to know what is gonna go down) so naturally when it comes to expressing his feelings in our relationship he isn't very good at finding wording for that either. Usually I am very attentive and I love my husband and I don't look down on my limitations so I can give him different version of how I think he might be feeling. That he can either say yeah that's it or no that's not it. But since I'm not him, when I can't help him like that it really means a lot that I can get this support. Thanks everyone and especially Sully with this one!

sullygrl's picture

Awww I am so glad!

Kippei  I am so happy you were able to have a dinner with your husband and talk about things from each other's point of view. I mean, isn't that what a marriage is supposed to be? And usually there is one person who is more talkative, one less so. But that is not ADD. What is it about opposites attracting? :)

It's hard to tell someone with ADD "would you get to the point already?" Early in a relationship you are trying harder, giving the benefit of the doubt. Maybe it's not right or fair that the understanding dwindles with time, but when you move in together, get married, there are daily things that need to get done, and you no longer have your own breathing space to do them and maybe get a break after. You are constantly dealing with the other person and their habits and personalities.   

I have less time, energy and patience leftover for him now than when we were dating and I could compartmentalize more. When we were dating I put up with everything at once because I knew I would go back to my little house and he would be in his and I would get quiet time to recharge my batteries.  Now it feels like being in the 100 Year's War. I joke with people that we bought a bigger condo so I could have my own room, but it's not really a joke. I had gotten to the point I needed an escape hatch to get some peace from the daily barrage of words. And he still follows me around the house and talks at me when I am trying to do other things. He can't get the social cues that someone else would.

And as a non-ADD spouse, I want to be understanding. I like to *Think* I know what goes on in his head, but you have really helped paint a clearer picture of what that *feels* like.  And it sounds pretty darn overwhelming.  And I am probably not fair in my expecting him to get the social cues because he just can't. I need to tell him point blank "really honey, I'm sure this is all very interesting but I am in the middle of xyz and can't listen to you right now. Can we talk in a half hour when I am done?" I mean, would you understand that? Would you be hurt by it? Is there a better way to say it?

It was great! Today I was out

It was great! Today I was out of control again, I rambled on like an insane person but I know I am making progress and to answer the question you're asking, I know that I am doing this and simply told my husband "Just let me talk, you don't have to answer it doesn't matter, I just need to talk" and he just said "Alright".

Your "job" as the non-ADD spouse is to be understanding but not to baby or do the whole curling thing. The understanding is more about understanding that we are not being mean or selfish or trying to hurt you. But it doesn't mean you have to be understanding like you'd have to be with a 3 year old who's chatting your ears off. You also have to help! If your husband doesn't know the social cues, can you teach him? I am over being hurt and held back by being told I do something wrong or mess up. I appreciate it, I want to learn, I don't want people to think "jeeze, what rock was she born under?". Your husband might not be in that place but that basically just means you have to be a little smoother. I suppose I wouldn't say it in a way that "I am sorry, I am in the middle of something more important than you, please come back when I have nothing to do". That's not how you mean it of course but it could be heard that way depending on your husbands personality and how sensitive his relationship with his ADD is. Treat this just like any other business deal, sit down, tell him that you need a system for talking and teach him a cue. In our house my husband's cue has always been "Ah, alright now I'm gonna go do my thing before bed". It's not said directly to me, usually after dinner and shower and he is just relaxed and talking out loud. I know this means if I talk to him I will be ignored. You can try using head phones as a signal if you don't want to say it, if they are in then no talk. If you take them out he can come talk.

Also one of the biggest mistakes my mom did with us children (two ADD and one non-ADD but that's irrelevant) was to lecture us for interrupting her while on the phone, it was very obvious that it annoyed her. But she always kept excusing herself to the person and responding to us. If you get what I'm going at?

You tell your husband that now is quiet time, no talkie to the wifey. Then you need to be firm. do not answer him, ignore him just as my husband does to me. And don't worry about your husband for that short amount of time we wont get hurt. It is when you get so overwhelmed that you block him out constantly (like what happened here) that we get hurt which you will if you don't get some time to yourself soon.

To me this right now with me and you is the best tool I have been introduced to so far. Uncensored truth about problems that happen in this kind of relationship, you got A and I got B. This is a very bigdeal to me as my husband is sliding away from me and it all happened since we got a bigger house and this bed that is sooo huge. Of course those material things arent the real reasons but they're not helping. Like Shelly said me distancing me from going out with my husband will only make it worse, I need to think about that. My goal right now is to make it so that we lay down together FACING each other and can say goodnight. Have our intimacy back, nothing dirty just holding hands and relaxing with each other.,, I think you know what Im trying to say.

sullygrl's picture

Rambling on

"Rambling on like an insane person", huh? :) But at least you know when you are talking a lot, recognize it, allow your husband to tune it out to a certain extent if you are just talking for the sake of talking. I am trying hard to be understanding, but at the same time, he doesn't try to be understanding of my depression. Can't even begin to understand it. I think he still is of the mind I could "snap out of it" if I wanted to. AND even with that I am trying to work on things and let little things go and take care of myself to be emotionally healthy as much as possible.

And I also try not to get exasperated with the constant interruptions, but again, at what point does he have to take some responsibility for his own behaviors? (Like you are!) But I do see the difference in not saying "This is more important than you, come back later" and "can we set aside a time to talk in a half hour so I can give you my undivided attention?"

I have tried setting some boundaries - not before am coffee and not within a half-hour of bedtime. Of course, time is relative with the ADD so he won't realize it's so close or he'll start blabbing and then apologize and say "I didn't realize it was so close to bedtime" He doesn't look at the clock first. And he still has done the blabbing after I have shut the light out and I'm not sure how much more obvious the "too close to bedtime" can be?

And honestly, we are already to the point where I pretty much block him out constantly. But the good news is he has made a phone call to be tested and evaluated for the ADD and brain injury. It's a start. And agreed to counseling. I don't know if it is too late at this point. I'm beyond mad and beyond sad and now I am more hoping he can at least get some good out of it, but I don't think I will be with him to see the end result. We will see....

It is definitely a step that

It is definitely a step that he has started to do something and it isn't impossible that he opens his eyes and starts seeing what is going on. Sometimes it takes a professional for someone to listen properly. I can be a huge stubborn know-it-all and I think that if it wasn't for my amazing mother and professional training (therapy, CBT etc) from a really young age (early adolescence) I would be ignoring and denying my ADD as well. I don't have a single friend that can step to the side and look at themselves again, understanding that having bad sides, weak points it's not something taboo!

Well how do you feel about your situation and mine? Like you said I allow my husband to tune me out, because I basically just don't need feedback, haha, what about you tuning him out? Does he react to that so it's difficult for you? Does he need to be entertained through the talking?

Are you diagnosed with depression? Do you get any medical help and therapy? That you are saying you have a depression is very serious and now when I've learned this I think that you should drop your husband's ADD completely. I realize and understand that you are living with him and that is kind of impossible to do but a depression is very serious and needs a lot of care. I honestly, seriously, REALLY do not think that a person who hasn't gone through a depression (that means knowing about it) can ever ever understand what it is like. Are you suffering from anxiety as well?