Someone with ADD help me understand-he forgot to eat lunch while I wasn't home

Poor time management is a common symptom of ADD. I think that's one thing that lead to my husband's recent firing. But we are looking at really changed circumstances and I don't know how to help him manage it.

I was gone all day yesterday and he was home. I wasn't off having a good time-I went to a job interview in the city where my daughter lives, about 90 miles from here. Spend morning dying hair, pressing suit, etc then left. Now we have agreed that if one of us doesn't find a job this month we are going to split up; I'll live with my daughter (whether I get this job or not, she lives where the most jobs in my field are) and he'll live with his mother. No way we can keep up the rent on our place on $239 a week in unemployment.

I would think this looming disaster would kick-start him, but when I came home he had been playing cards on the internet all day. He said he looked at a website my daughter recommended for jobs for him, but he wanted me to help him with it, so he did nothing constructive. He also didn't eat, didn't do the dishes, didn't walk the dog. We also need to start packing. I'm a physical mess, I can't do it, and I can't see paying someone to do it when we have to move because we can't afford the rent. If I am not here, he won't do anything.

So if I get a job, how in the world is he going to find one if I'm so far away? How can someone who's medicated, counseled, etc. be so forgetful he forgets to eat?

Eat when you're hungry

Drink when you're dry.  Part of an old Irish song.  But accurate.  Maybe stop being so attentive?  He can figure out how to eat.  That might be part of the reason why you're exhausted - no need to focus on the small.  If he really needs help on the job board, maybe that's something that you can do - though honestly, they're not usually complicated.  I know that with my ADHD, I will often skip eating for a meal (1) because there's just no one to share it with, and since I don't like to cook if there are dishes to be washed...I won't add to the dish pile unless I intend to wash them.  So - in my case - if I'm procrastinating, because the task of getting a new job and moving, coupled with the loss of my spouse and my hopes for the future, are all too much, then I'm not going to do anything for a bit.  It can take me anywhere from a few hours to a few days to adjust to whole new mindsets, and something like the loss of job, living space, spouse, etc.  might take me a bit more time than that.  I can imagine being pretty depressed if I had all that at once.

So - me ADHD to you non-ADHD: I wouldn't worry about lunch; you've decided to split up if an apparently likely condition persists, so there are vastly bigger problems...  Press on regardless; if you're leaving, well, you need to take care of yourself.

He got ugly and snappish because he didn't eat

My mother-in-law let me borrow her car (air conditioned and it was 98 degrees) to go to my interview. He pretty much melted down when we had to go to her house to return the car and that was when he realized he forgot to eat. He always wants hand-holding when he does something. Usually I wouldn't worry about whether he eats or not. He is an adult. But I find the idea of forgetting to eat so foreign that it confused me.

I do eBay sort of semi-professionally and so I spend a lot of time on the computer. It would be nice if he'd do dishes, walk the dog, etc. without me being right there beside him. It would really be nice if I could count on him to pack up if I do get this job and I am 90 miles away during the work week. I'm not trying to leave the marriage, just a house we can't pay the rent for (because his ADD cost him yet another job).

I'm really worried that without me to hold his hand he'll never get us out of this house. I don't know what to do about those times when I'm not there to "supervise" him. I don't want to be his mother, but I do want a partner. We have to do so much.

For Sueann

Hi again, Sueann.

I think I mentioned in another posting that my fiance hasn't been speaking to me for about two weeks now. You see, he has a very long history of not following through on things he has promised to do. Two weeks ago, he promised to stop by my condo and make sure that my dog was ok. It was a day when alarms were sounding in my building--all of them false and due to a malfunction. But, anyway, the alarms were really loud and my dog was petrified when they sounded. I had to get to an appointment. My fiance swore he would come to see about the dog. After my appointment, I phoned him. He claimed he was in pain and hadn't been able to get to the dog. When I got home, all the alarms were sounding. The dog was really upset, and I was FURIOUS. You see, he does this to me all the time. He offers to help (or promises to do so if I ask), but he doesn't follow through. I've been so very, very disappointed in him that I actually have heartache. Now that I'm getting the silent treatment for blowing up and telling him off, I've had some time to think. No, I'm not sorry for being angry. He made a promise and broke it. And it was an important promise--not like forgetting to pick up some milk or something. However, I do blame myself: I knew he wasn't dependable, so I shouldn't have counted on him or put my dog in the situation where she was dependent on him. In fact, if we survive this issue--and it's beginning to look dicey--I wouldn't ever count on him to do anything for me. Instead, I'd do as much as possible myself. It would be hard, but at least I'd have some control over my life. I don't mean for this to sound cruel or disrespectful to my fiance (or former fiance???), but it's just a case of facing facts. Also, I think that, if I would have come to this conclusion earlier, our relationship would have been an easier one.

Consider applying this philosophy to your marriage. I know that you want your husband to be different, and I hate to say this, but it looks like your husband will always be dependent on you. Try to take control over whatever you can. It will ease some tension. And then try to find what things your husband does contribute to the marriage (companionship? a sounding board? etc.) and count on him for those things.

Good luck and best wishes on the career front!

I woke up this morning very sad

My husband was fired a week ago. As of yet, he has not filled out any applications. I have done 6 and had an interview that basically took me all day (because it was so far away). It looks like he's not trying even though the stakes are so high.

It also looks like I did not get that job. They have not asked for references and not contacted me (although they promised to, either way). It does look like because of his ADD, we are going to lose our house and have to split up. I am not sure if, after his ADD has forced me to sell everything I own or put it in storage, if I can ever go back to living with him even if he does get a job.

He rejects the idea of applying for disability, even though in my opinion, if he can't do a job set aside for someone who is mentally ill then he is disabled. He takes meds for depression and ADD faithfully, and without insurance, counseling is not available to him. I do not know what is going to happen to us. I am not sure what he contributes to my life.

My sister acts like your fiance, always has a reason why she can't do what needs doing. She has schizophrenia and bi-polar, and spends most of her time whining about non-existent physical symptoms and that's why she can't do the dishes and the laundry and expects our 86 year old mother to take care of HER. Please don't marry him until this gets resolved in a way you feel good about.


I read once that somatic

I read once that somatic delusions can occur with schizophrenia- it's actually a subtype of the disease "somatic schizophrenia". The delusion is basically centered around things like hypochondria- but in extreme cases can extend to a belief that there are worms under their skin or that they're being exposed to excessive environmental toxins, etc.


RE: I woke up this morning very sad


Often jobs suddenly appear. I'll pray that one pops up for you soon.

In the meantime, I wonder if you haven't just been given a blessing in disguise. I realize that marriages are sacred things, but yours seems to be in a bit of trouble at the moment. You also require some freedom of movement to regain employment. More important, you need to regain some control over your life. So ........ perhaps it's not altogether a bad thing if you and your husband were to keep separate residents at present. Maybe this is an opportunity to regain balance.


That's just it

There will be no freedom of movement for either of us if we have to split up. I'd be living with my daughter and he'd be with his mother. He'd have no car of his own, because his died from all the driving the job required. I am glad we did not replace it. It would suck even more to have a car payment now, without his job to support it.

I'd be living with my daughter with a 20-year-old car with a bad transmission. My son-in-law isn't working either and spends most of the day occupying the TV playing video games. Video games are just no fun to watch someone else play. He can't have some of my favorite foods in his house because of allergies. I'll probably spend most of my time in their guest room. All the things I love to do will be gone. My son-in-law can't stand my husband and he can't stay there.

I can't get my husband to face this head-on. He seems to think "something will come up." I thought kids were supposed to get out of magical thinking around 6 years old. I finally got him to do his first application yesterday, 8 days after he got fired. I also can't get him to face the fact that everything we own will have to be sold, given away, thrown away or packed and stored. He will need to do most of the packing and hauling as I am handicapped. When we moved here, he dropped a bookcase on my foot, so that is not a pleasant prospect. But if we could pay someone to do the moving for us, we would have enough to just pay the rent instead.

I also feel like if we get comfortable this way, he'll never look for a job. This week is probably the last week one of us could get a job and get paid in time to pay the rent next month. He's asleep. He usually is.

I wish I knew the answer to this. He just won't admit there's a problem.

You are right, Sueann

You are right: The transportation issue certainly poses a challenge as does your husband's resistance to the reality that decisions must be made--and made fast. The only thing I can offer in terms of encouragement is this, based upon my own experience, some advice I've gotten via this forum, and (don't laugh) Oprah:

1. From the forum: You can't change anyone's behavior but your own. You can try 24/7 to make your husband change, but if he won't, he won't. YOU have to get moving. He'll just have to come to his own decisions.

2. From Oprah: Sometimes you have to shut the door on a bad situation and walk. (She did that, ended up in Chicago, and the rest is history.) Now, I'm not saying that you need to divorce your husband, but maybe you do need to pack up what is most valuable to you, put it in that old car, and drive away. You've given your husband fair warning about the need to pack and move, pay the rent, and find a job. What else can you do? Stop torturing yourself.

3. From me: Go back and examine your postings. The frustration just drips from your words. You seem so riddled with anxiety that you are making yourself sick. The first thing I'd like to see you do is to admit that your husband is probably a little oppositional-defiant. The more you push, the more he pushes back by doing absolutely nothing. You get more frustrated and push even more. He gets more oppositional. In short, this is a vicious cycle that is hurting you (the one I'm most concerned about here). Look, on some level I think he knows you are both in trouble. He just can't bring himself to admit it. So...he pushes back reality by pushing you back.

Just stop. Stop. Don't keep doing this to yourself. Yes, you want him to pack up, but he's not going to do it. You can't do it on your own, so the best you can do is to pack what you can.

You want him to get a job, but he won't. So stop trying to get him a job. Focus on you.

And about the move-in with the daughter: Yes, you will be uncomfortable. Your son-in-way sounds a bit challenging. So, yes, retire to your own room, where you meditate, pray, and calm yourself. Think about what you really want. Develop a plan. Rebuild your world--with you at the center--and then--and only then--will things begin to change for you, a little each day. I'm even willing to bet that your husband will slowly begin to realize that he needs to get up and move when he finds that  you aren't going to fix things for him. In that way, you have empowered him, too.

There will be a few rough parts, particularly at the beginning of your journey, but you will pull through. Keep posting here. One day, you'll look back at your postings and find out just how strong you've become and how much better life is.

Thanks for thinking of me

I appreciate it, and you are probably right.

But most of the "stuff" in here is mine. Heavy antique bookcase, bed, etc, all mine. I had a fully furnished house I could pay rent on before I married him and he just brought a few bags of clothes from his mother's house. So everything in here is mine, and I can't move it, and I am so frustrated by the idea that when I do find a job and my own place I am going to have to replace it all. I hate that I am selling my loom on eBay, after I sold the previous one to pay the rent when he wasn't working. My car is not only old but tiny, none of this stuff is going in it.

I am also concerned that if, as I fear, he just walks away from everything in the house and goes back to his mother that I will be sued for the clean up. (That's the downside of a legal background.) It really sucks to be dependent on someone with ADD!

My husband does not 'worry'

My husband does not 'worry' like I do, and sees nothing as important until it is right in his face in crisis mode. That is ADHD, it will never change. There is no way humanly possible that you're going to evoke 'panic' in him...and most likely, he's not panicking because you're panicking enough for you both.

Re-read your most recent posts...count how many times you say "He" and are referring to making him do things (fill out applications, worry about the unemployment, pack, care). This is a fundamental problem in your marriage, from your side of things. I know this because I am the exact same way...but I am working my ass off to change this. I don't expect him to worry about the bills/finances..he never has and he never will. I'm not beating myself up wondering why. I know why..he has ADHD and lives in this very moment right here, and no further. Actually, I recently realized, after a series our preacher did on the Lord's Prayer, that my husband actually has it right and I'm the one who needs to work on my constant state of worry. "give us this day our daily bread" means that we ask daily for God' provision and we do not worry about tomorrow because we have faith that God will provide. I know you're not exactly spiritual, but thought maybe there might be something you could take away from this that could help you understand that worrying solves nothing.

I am also fully prepared to get my graduate from college in the next year or two and return to the workforce and let him stay home and pick his rear end if he wants...because the stress of worrying about him losing his job or quitting his job is about to kill me. I'd rather support him than to have to deal with it for He has ADHD..he won't treat it, he doesn't see it as a problem, and I love if at all possible, I will create solutions to the issues that it causes...or I will divorce him. Either way, he's a grown man and I am tired of carrying his load on my shoulders. You're carrying your husband's load too and it's killing you. You're wishing, pushing, suggesting, and trying to force him to be something he JUST IS NOT. There is a reasonable expectation in all marriages that things be done 50/50...that the man feels obligated to provide for his family...that he fights tooth and nail to keep from being separated from his wife...but you and I, lady, didn't marry 'that man'. We married a man who has a disorder that makes them do things and behave in ways that are as foreign to us as speaking French. When they are in denial and treatment is limited trying to 'get them to do' anything is like trying to change a leopard's spots.

This is a very crucial time in your marriage...and he's seemingly willing to let you both drown. You're struggling to hold both your heads above really do need to ask yourself why? Maybe this is divine intervention and your chance to finally make a life for yourself, become independent again (get a job and save while staying with your daughter for a few months) and then re-examine the marriage in a few months to see if you really can accept him for who he is...and most likely always will be.

I understand where you are coming from, Sherri

I really do. I am not trying to make him change who he is. I am just trying to get him to solve a crisis, namely that we can't pay July rent.

I do not like your idea that one should never expect to depend on one's spouse if they have ADD.  He married a woman with a serious handicap, and he knew it. What if I can't find a job? I haven't in 6 months. What if no one wants to hire a  57 year old beginner with obvious medical issues? Should I live by collecting aluminum cans from the side of the road? (Remember that, in my case, I would have enough from my alimony for the rent if I hadn't married him , but that's gone because I married him.) Should I suffer economically because I married someone with ADD?

How can you never depend on your spouse? I suppose Ended Wit could drive herself to the hospital after work on a Friday and get induced, have the baby on Saturday morning, leave the hospital Sunday night, put the baby in day care and go back to work on Monday.  (I went back to work when our younger child was 3 days old, but I worked at home.) Does she deserve that because she married someone with ADD?

Spouses need to be able depend on each other. My daughter hasn't put her husband out on the street because he got fired. She just works harder to support him. He went through brain surgery and radiation while she was in her first semester of law school-should she have dumped him?  Spouses should be there for each other when they are in trouble. I don't think ADD means that isn't true.

I am just trying to find techniques for getting my husband to do what he knows he needs to do. I don't want to lose my home and everything I own because he lost his job. I'm not angry at him, I feel very bad that he lost a job he loved more than life itself. But he is taking meds and I don't know what else he can do.

I won't post any more if it bothers you. I just thought someone here or their spouse might have had this problem (or some variation of it) and found a solution. I know job problems are prevalent in people with ADD.

No one should suffer in any

No one should suffer in any way simply because they married someone, but reality is that it happens everyday.

I did not say it bothers me, didn't mean to make you feel that way at all. I just think since I've been here and known you that you're just not willing to 'accept' some fundamental realities about your marriage/husband and it keeps you 'stuck' in the same exact place. YES, you should be able to depend on a spouse...but there has to be a point where you accept the reality that there are things about him that are just not 'dependable' and you have to decide if they are important enough to you that you cannot remain married to him if he cannot somehow provide these things for you.

I am extremely sympathetic to your current situation...and although it seems he may have unfairly lost his job, the reality is that he did lose it and he should be busting his ass to find another. I would be extremely disappointed in my husband if he did this. I hope he makes it a priority very soon.  

   Red Flag Isabella


"However, I do blame myself: I knew he wasn't dependable, so I shouldn't have counted on him or put my dog in the situation where she was dependent on him."

The fact that he did not check on the dog is in NO WAY your fault, and you should not ever blame yourself for something he did not do.  You are accepting responsibility for his actions (or inactions).  You are beginning a very dangerous cycle here, and it will only grow deeper and more complicated if you allow it.

I've been there, and I've been blamed for too many of my husband's actions.  Please do not fall into that trap.


Thanks. I will certainly try to remember that.

Best Wishes!