I am a non-ADHD husband and I am really struggling to find any kind of hope to keep me motivated to stay positive in my marriage. If it weren't for our two gorgeous boys, I think I would be long gone. After years and years of feeling like it's all up to me, I think I've finally reached my limit.
My wife was diagnosed with ADHD nearly 6 months ago and while it was a sense of relief to finally have an explanation for so many years of frustrating and unexplainable behaviour, it hasn't really helped our situation or provided any resolutions to so many ongoing issues. From reading the posts on this forum and so many other ADHD articles, my wife could be the ADHD poster girl. I can't tell you the number of lost items (phones, keys, sunglasses), or forgotten appointments or wasted time or poor financial decisions we have been through or the classic "anti-social" behaviour she exhibits regularly. At times, I feel like I am her parent and she is an unruly, unreliable, self absorbed teenager, only concerned with what interests her.
For so many years my wife has been searching for an explanation for her issues and as a result we have paid a fortune ( tens of thousands of dollars) in counselors, guides, therapists, mentors, social advisors - you name it, she's tried it and we are still paying a fortune now for ongoing psychiatric therapy. This in itself is an issue and a cause of frustration for me, because we are a one income family now, all of my life savings is gone from paying off her debts and numerous therapies and I feel like it will never end. Add to that my wife also seems to have an ever growing list of other needs. It's like after every session, there is a new disorder or challenge and all of which require therapy too. We have dealt with anxiety disorders, depression, unfulfilled birth expectations, unhappy childhood disorders - the list feels like it is never ending.
Our situation is complicated even more by the fact that our four year old son was diagnosed with Autism last year. He is high functioning, but still requires a lot more attention than his younger brother, who is neurotypical. To be fair to her, my wife has been amazing at dealing with that and managing the majority of the work around his needs. Which again is another frustration for me - why can she be so attentive and focused on this task, but completely unreliable and erratic on so many others. But the fact that she focuses the majority of her energy on our son with Autism, means so many other things go unattended and I am just expected to pick up the slack.
Our biggest issue is communication. I feel I can't even have a normal conversation with her anymore. She is so entrenched in the therapy mind set that everything has to be categorised or be able to be given a therapy label for her to put any real effort into it. Even the way we talk has become "therapised". I feel like I've had to try to learn an entire new vocabulary just to speak with her. I think what I find most difficult is the reflection of blame (as I heard it described in an article). She will do something due to her ADHD, it will frustrate me, I will try to talk to her about it civilly, she will dismiss it, I will be annoyed at that and then she will tell me I am just as much to blame for the situation because I have played my part in the problem as well. I will admit that I am sure there have been times where I have enflamed the situation out of pent up frustration, but I find this "you're just as much to blame" routine, so unfair and to a degree, irresponsible. I feel like it would be like the alcoholic husband telling his wife he is fed up with her chastising him about being drunk all the time.
I just feel like this is my life now. Until the day I die, I will have to contend with all of the repercussions and symptoms of her ADHD and expect that I will be made to feel like I am equally to blame for those situations, while the entire time, making sure that our home life is maintained.
We have been to marriage counseling, but stopped when she started taking Ritalin. It was like someone flipped a switched inside my wife. She became this unbelievably attentive, hyper-focused and responsible woman and actually commented about the fact that so many things I had raised with her, that she couldn't see or comprehend before, she could totally understand what I meant and acknowledged how frustrating it must've been for me. I felt like I was the luckiest man in the world. Unfortunately, it only lasted around 7 weeks and then things went back to the way they were. She doesn't seem interested in going back to marriage counseling or trying an alternative medication, because in her mind, I am just as much to blame for all of our issues, the ADHD is not the cause and besides, now she is on a new crusade - a journey of self discovery. She says she feels like there has always been something missing from her life and she needs to find out what that is.
I really just need to know our marriage is worth fighting for, that there is light at the end of the tunnel. I came from a broken home and I always swore I would do everything in my power to not put my kids through what I went through when my parents broke up. At the same time, I don't want our children growing up in a home full of misery, arguments and uncomfortable silence and right now that's exactly what it is. My friends and family have all expressed concern over the changes they have seen in us and in particular that I never seem happy any more. I feel like I have so many other things to contend with right now, that happiness just doesn't make the list.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.