Soon to be married to someone with ADHD

I just stumbled across this site today while googling something else. The ADHD part caught my eye, and I clicked the link. From the first sentence I read, all I could think was they are talking about my fiancee.

We've been together almost a year and a half. We have so many interests in common and hit it off from the first day. After a brief, whirlwind we moved in together. It was then that I found out about the ADHD. He doesn't take medications for it. He says that he felt like a zombie whenever he tried in the past. Instead, he smokes marijuana and says it helps him to relax and focus.

He is the sweetest, most loving and devoted man; outgoing and spontaneous, loving and tender. He works hard and supporting the household is important to him, but he is also irresponsible with money and will spend it all right away without realizing it until after. When he walks through the door it's like a tornado hit and becomes messy very quickly  He also has anger issues. Sometimes he'll be critical of things I do or don't do. If I can tell him calmly I don't like that, he'll usually realize what he's saying and apologize. If something bad happens, like a big argument with me or his family or the death of someone, he'll walk down to the bar and take several shots, then come home yelling. This doesn't happen often, but it is very hard to deal with.

The end of last year, I became pregnant. I didn't think it was possible for me and we were both so happy. When I developed morning sickness he didn't like seeing me feeling bad so he would visit with the neighbors. I was emotional and wanted more time with him and it became a cycle. He would leave, and I'd get upset. The more upset I became the more he would leave. Eventually at seven months we had a huge argument and I went to stay with family until after the baby was born. We were working on things and going to avoid stress during the rest of the pregnancy.

Unfortunately, two weeks later I had a complication. The baby didn't make it, and I almost died. When he got to the hospital he was frantic and upset. He was told that he couldn't see me until he calmed down because of my condition. At that point he also became angry. Someone in the family, I'm still not sure who, told him that the stress probably killed the baby, and they weren't going to let him kill me also. The complication was totally unrelated. At my request, he was allowed to visit a few times and then it was cut short saying something about my blood pressure and health.

Everything was a blur at that time and there's much I don't remember, but afterwards something had changed between us. After the funeral we were finally able to talk and I found out that he was being kept away. Our grief brought us closer together and we started spending much time together. A few weeks later I moved back home with him. It's been rough at times, but we are able to be comfort to each other. We communicate better and our relationship has been grower stronger and better.

In the few months since we have had one fight and it was the worst one yet. While drunk and angry he said something that led me to think he might have cheated during the month we were living apart. I tried questioning him later and he would become defensive and not want to talk. All that he would say is that he was miserable and depressed while we were apart and didn't do much of anything other than work, and tell me how much he loved me. I left it at that until this week. A friend of his broke up last weekend with his short term girlfriend. While cheering up the friend, said that his friend could always look at it as being free to start seeing someone else that was interested and that might be the best thing for him.

That comment just brought it all back for me. After his friend left I asked him if that was his attitude when we were apart and told him that he hinted at cheating while drunk and angry. He said that our circumstance was different, and that he loved me and that wasn't how he felt. He then admitted that he did cheat once. He said it was after our baby died and he was being kept away from me. He thought everything was over. He said that he was depressed and in such a dark state that he got messed up on drugs and alcohol and went home with someone for the night. We talked and cried after that. He said that he had broken one of his moral values and could never again tell anyone he would never cheat on them. He said he would always feel guilty about it; that he messed up and it would never happen again. That night when we went to bed he asked if I would still marry him.

I couldn't answer him right away. The next day I told him that when I married again, it would be for life (We were both married before. Him briefly when his wife left him and me for quite a while). I told him that I would expect complete fidelity. I told him that I wouldn't put up with threatening to leave or throw me out when he was drunk and angry. I expected that we would always work on communication and making the relationship better. He was so afraid I was telling him I wouldn't marry him at first. He agreed with me and said that was he wanted also.

Under the circumstances, I understand what happened while we were apart. I don't like it and I'm having a hard time dealing with it, but understand it. It might be petty, but I feel like I need him to vow that he won't cheat again. He's said it won't happen and he'll be faithful, but the comment that he couldn't promise again just sticks in my head. I know he's said the same thing in different words, but...

I'm thankful I found this site. It's given me a better insight and a few aha moments. It's kind of a long post, sorry, but I needed to vent, ask for advice.



Welcome to the board. For the

Welcome to the board. For the most part, we have a pretty good group of folks here that have ADHD spouses, so we all can relate. There are a few ADHDers here as well, so they are good to listen to because they can give you advice from the perspective of your SO.

Let me first offer my condolences on your loss. What a traumatic time on its own, without the addition of your SO's ADHD. For the most part, it sounds like he was at least there for you when he was allowed, which is very important in my book. He definitely has issues with impulsivity, as you mentioned the spending of money and then the issue of cheating that one time. Cheating is bad under any circumstances. It shouldn't happen, but in my mind, I find it a little easier to understand given the situation. It wasn't a everything's happy and he's just a cad type of situation. It was a everything's really screwed up and sad and he doesn't know what to do type of situation. Some people find that they cannot forgive infidelity, while others find that they can forgive (but probably not forget) and give their loved one a second chance. Serial cheaters, however, a major problem. It doesn't sound that is the problem though.

My advice would be to not marry this guy until he seeks treatment for the substance abuse. He may not always be at the bar getting drunk, but the fact that he turns to alcohol (and drugs) in times of trial is definitely an issue. It leads to bad decisions as you are well aware. I don't know when the last time he saw a doctor was, but if it's been awhile, he needs to see one about the ADHD. Preferably one who is experienced in treating it, if available. My husband (who's ADHD) has complained about the zombie effect as well, particularly when he was on Adderall. He's on Vyvanse now (again...finally!) and has had a good result. It could be that your SO was on the wrong med and the wrong dosage. It takes trial and error. If he's absolutely adamant about not being on meds, then he needs to at least see a counselor/psychiatrist/psychologist who can teach him some coping skills. Treating the substance abuse and teaching coping skills go hand in hand, so it at least he could see one person for that. If he balks at that, you need to point out that even his recreational marijuana use could result in him not being able to provide for you and a potential family (should it come to that). If he was randomly tested or was up for a new job that required drug testing, he would be toast. I know a lot of people don't think of marijuana as a real drug, but the powers that be do, and therefore he's setting himself up for failure at some point.

I would definitely recommend pre-marital counseling as well. Not that the touchy feely YAY we're getting married type, but intensive we're in this for life type. That was the biggest mistake that I made with my hubby. We counseled with the pastor that married us, but we should have seen a professional. Marriage is hard work on its own (as you both probably know) but adding the ADHD makes it tougher. There are those that don't think so, but I disagree. Even when the ADHD is controlled, there's a whole different dimension out there because an ADHDer doesn't think like someone without it. It's not wrong, it's just different, and your ability to cope with that is paramount.

Best of luck to you.

Thanks for the advice

Thanks so much for your kind words and insight. It has been a rough time, but we are getting through it. He's gone to a counselor a couple of times and it was very helpful. He's also gone to AA/NA meetings with a coworker. Problem is, it's really hit and miss. When he's down or things are a bit rough, it's the thing to do, but once they start looking up he doesn't think he needs to anymore. I realize this is common with any sort of substance abuse or counseling in general. It's been two steps forward and one step back. I would like to see someone together. I think a neutral third party would be very helpful in teaching us how to communicate better and get through issues without turning to drugs or alcohol. The marijuana use was a contributing factor in us splitting up before. I have never liked it and with a baby coming the risks were even greater.

The information about your husbands meds was very useful. I'm hoping I can get him in to see someone. I've almost gotten him to agree a couple of times, but once again, it's two steps forward and one step back. I feel we've made progress and that gives me hope. I realize there's still a ways to go though.

For me cheating is a deal breaker. Were circumstances different, I would have ended things. As it is, I think your comment "can forgive (but probably not forget)" sums it up perfectlly. We have a ways to go in terms of re-establishing trust. Him, trusting that I'm not leaving and me, that he'll be faithful and a good husband. We've both had doubts, but want to make things work. Often times, it feels like a roller coaster. Right now it feels like riding the ups and downs and approaching a goal that's just out of sight.

Do you keep alcohol in the

Do you keep alcohol in the house? It doesn't sound like from what you have said, but I've found that there can't be a drop in the house. My parents have often struggled with this concept. My mom can drink and know her limit, nor is she dependent upon it. My stepdad is not that way. He was drinking to excess everyday. So much so that his heart had become enflamed. He has a mild touch of ADHD and I think the substance abuse is a resulting feature.

My mom likes to keep a bottle or two of wine in the house and used to keep liquor as well for mixed drinks. It got to the point where she had to hide it to keep my stepdad from drinking it all in a day or two. And then when she cracked open the wine, he wanted some too. I finally sat her down one day and told her that his drinking would never change if she was keeping it in the house. She got rid of the liquor though she keeps wine still. We had a "come to Jesus" moment with my stepdad over the ADHD and told him that he needed to take his meds (he was on Wellbutrin). It seemed to work because he's been on the meds and barely drinks anymore. He still struggles with smoking though, but at least there was progress.

Anyway, I definitely wouldn't have any in the house and if he's bringing it home on his own, then you should encourage him not to. If he really wants a drink, he'll go to a bar, but at least that's an extra step that may give him time to think.

I understand about the two steps forward, one step back. It was like that with me and my hubby for a year or two. We still have our ups and downs. It's been downs lately, but then I get a glimmer of hope here and there. I think it's God intervening when I need it the most!

Hang in there.

In the beginning there was

In the beginning there was alcohol in the house. It disappeared almost as fast as it appeared. Now there usually isn't any here. Occasionally there will be beer in the house when we have company. Small amounts with company seem to last unlike before and doesn't lead to more drinking.

I hope that you start having more ups in your relationship. Everyone needs those in life.

Please don't marry him

I am so sorry.  I have to say from the deepest part of my heart that I don't think that you should marry him, based on what you have described here.  I know there is more to the story--but based on what you have said here, I would not move forward with him. . I have read many of the stats and realize that some of the impulsive behavior you have seen is due to the condition.  1. He does not want to be medicated- Zombie or not, he needs to do what is best for him and for others that have to live with him. 2. If he cheated once, he will again.  After you lost a baby he cheated on you?  No matter what he felt or what your family was saying to him, you did not say it to him.  He did not hear it from you.  There is no excuse for cheating in that or any other circumstance.  Now if infidelity is not a deal breaker for you, then that is different.  It is a deal breaker for me so If I were you, I would not marry him.  ADHD is a life long situation that is not going to go away.  Please do your research and really think about what you are walking into.  I know that love or no love, I would not have chosen this life lightly it I would have known about it before I got married.  You have a chance to choose.  Please make the choice with very very very sober judgment.

"No matter what he felt or

"No matter what he felt or what your family was saying to him, you did not say it to him.  He did not hear it from you." I've said these words so many times. Problem is, I've already committed.