Starting Marriage Counseling - help me find hope!

I want to find HOPE. The hardest thing for me to say is "help me". Not saying it is prideful and vain and won't get me any help, so "Help"! Remember - I want positive things. "I WANT" them. At the point I am at now, I have no self confidence, self loathing, failure beliefs, ADD etc, etc... but I want to change and in my past when I get to this low point - my saving grace has been to listen, really listen to what people who love me are saying and take the advice offered. So... a little background.

I am an adult ADD man married over 3 decades to a wonderful women. I have some bi-polar tendencies but in recent years, its raging ADD that has engulfed me and my relationship with her. She asked for us to go to counseling over 1 year ago, this spring, and now recently. I can't fake it and say Oh - I forgot you asked for this... because I remember. My awareness of time however isn't really linear, but that's an excuse, eh?

For many years I've been feeling more distant and have done things like withhoding affection, secluding my emotions, forgotten  important dates (not just for her but for us). I wish I could place a finger on the reasons, but they fail to surface. She tells me she can't live like room-mates, because she loves me too much and it hurts too much for her. And I feel at fault, and lost. I don't express much, like I'm stuck in amber. She interprets this as I don't care - but it's a deeper emotional wall I built to avoid "the problem". I just need help in discovering the problem. I know this but I am afraid.

A few days ago she asked to have her own space, and I told her I would do whatever she wants at this point but it's hard. We still live in the same house and brush shoulders. Prior to this, I attempted to 'play' and show some affection and that blew up real bad. Because I have isolated her for so long, she was almost in shock and couldn't deal with it. I understand that, logically but not emotionally. I know that when she says these things my mind spins a future reality with out her, and I break down. I can't believe that what we have together is so fragile. But my mind has avoided the truth. I now know it is much worse than I was aware of, or was able to be aware of. I said to her that my best coping strategy at this point is to look away and forget - to only go forward. Sounds positive, doesn't it.

Well - to a non ADD spouse, her point of view; is that yeah, that's been done before and things change for a while but then it drifts slowly back to the same, lonely and isolated world that I create and she doesn't want to live that way. I totally understand. So - I am afraid that I can't put it together, to get back to my huge love of  her that has carried us up to this point. It is hard to put this down on digital paper - over 1 hour of typing here - re-typing, head holding, OMG!!!!! S!#+!.

So we start counseling this week. I am, geesh. ugh, OMG, etc... etc... ADD... Help.

ebb and flow's picture


I guess if you want to stop isolating you should try to find out how to spend more 'quality time' with your partner.

So that would mean sitting down with your counselor and asking your partner (in a neutral environment) how much quality time she needs to spend with you per week, or what 'healthy quality time' looks like through her eyes (so as not to feel so abandoned anymore).

Your partner can then express how much time and even some examples of quality things you can do together (ie:walks, dinners, movies, sitting and having coffee together chatting, etc--whatever you both like!). 

Whatever it is she expresses, you write down!

Set a timer if you have to to remind yourself of the events and/or times throughout the day/week to show her some affection. You don't even have to let her know you're doing it that way (as it sounds sort of robotic... it almost takes the romance out of it) ;) After a while it may become habit so you may not have to schedule her in, you'll just do it naturally.

This is the next issue my partner and I will be working on in our therapy sessions. 

If my ADD partner did this for me I would be walking on clouds!!! I'm all about quality time spent together... It makes me feel emotionally connected to my ADD partner and makes me feel loved. When he and I spend time doing something nice it reminds me of the good we have between us.

Maybe you could try it and see if it helps! :))

You want 'positive' things,

You want 'positive' things, and you seem to understand that it isn't going to come you're on the right path.

You will be stepping outside of your comfort zone. You will have to REALLY listen to what your wife needs, for possibly the first time in many, many years. Counseling has helped me and my husband communicate where we were once unable to. She helps him 'hear' what I'm saying when he takes what I'm saying in a way that is completely wrong. Hopefully she will be able to help you 'hear' what it is your wife is needing and help you put into place some real, concrete ideas on how to make sure you are fulfilling her needs.

Medication also may be in order to help with the chaos in your head. I'm glad you've agreed to go to counseling. I hope you are going into it with the mindset that things have to change. Many times the problems ADHD causes in marriages are compounded by the reaction of the non-ADHD spouse (anger, resentment, etc) which is just as deadly to the marriage as the ADHD is.

There is hope in the fact that you recognize what you're doing...and that you're agreeing to get help. Just hang in there. Please keep us posted.

Hypr1's picture

Heading into our first session tonight

@sheri: First of all thank you for the great comments...

I do understand it won't come easy. My inner child really wants easy - a softer way. <sigh> Forgive and forget. I guess it is easier to forgive then forget. For me being ADD I have a tendency to forget "conveniently" one way, or another. So with that said you are spot on - my comfort zone is wwwwaaaaaayyyyyy over there, no wait -- over  t h e r e ... ;-) (humor helps me cope too)

I am all ears. I do believe that I/we will need a third party to help us communicate. There is much anger and frustration (more for her?) and seclution or withholding and resentment (for me?). That is what I pray a counselor will help us deal with. Deal with it, and move on to the quality communication? Does that make sense or am I back to, just forget that stuff honey? Because that's my comfort zone?

Did I mention that I started Adderal last week. With all that is going on I think that the meds have made me feel rushed, in a way that I am "rushing into oblivion". Maybe that medication has a tendency to make things more intense. Feeling maybe too high a dose so before our 1st session I am seeing my doctor for a discussion of that. First time I've felt that I need "less" medication... <another sigh>. I do feel that I've been more able to concentrate and the chaos whirlwind between my ears is less noticeable.

@ebb: Thank you also!

My very recent attempts to generate quality time however sincere have been met each time with what I would call a backlash. She is so hurt and alone because of this that everytime I try it only appears to her that I am working to hard at it. Does that make sense? I'm not trying to put a negative on it, it's just what it is!

So - she has expressed that we act as if we just met, day 1. At this point I don't know what that means. Listen - it's been a long time since I dated, and I've forgotten. I fear that if I do actually write down something she is expressing, it will not go over well. Kind of, well -- why are you writing that down, don't you know what I want? In many ways I do, but at this time I don't know nor should I presume what she wants as "quality time". I pray that our counselor will help her understand that I need to know in very, very specific terms when and what I can do to breach the chasm. And I really want to know, or to have again the self confidence to do that and not in a robotic way. For me it will take practice, even repetition. And if I'm perceived as "working to hard on it", I fear for us.

So - our first step is this evening. I hope it works out as a starting place and a better one then I can imagine, since my imaginings are sometimes skewed in a negative way. So thanks for giving me some insight!

Hypr1's picture

1st session behind - whats ahead...

Hi - keeping you posted...

We had our first session, and I think my wife was waiting for support to really unload. And unload a lot did she. Many hurts and resentments we had already talked about - told to the counselor in detail, horrid detail to me. I really hate my ADD, and my personal telescope into the past. I struggled to recall and put together a time line in my mind of everything she mentioned. She unloaded a couple of things stating that 'ever since we have been married'. Those things really hurt and really caught me off guard. Because I couldn't argue with them, or rebuke anything. Not that I should have but they hurt. Some guy pride involved, yes. But more of a feeling of or a thinking that we had previously resolved those things. I was speechless, I was speechless because I didn't want to strike back. At that point I did not want to make it all about me - I just want to know where we stand, what her needs are and why. I got an earful.

Sorry if I ramble but I'm still pretty shook up. She told the counselor one of the same things she told me,  which is hard to hear. It is that she hopes that in the worst case - I get better even if we separate or get divorced. I really was stunned, because my whole thrust is to get help and get better - together and I said that I didn't think that was a fair statement. Sounded to me like a predetermined outcome in her mind. Anyway - I think she is so deeply hurt by me that she doesn't know if she can love me again as she did. I don't know. The counselor is asking that just for now - we take divorce or separation off the table. I said yes. She said yes.

Hopefully she got everything out on the table. I know there are things that I missed, and I pray the counselor is taking good notes cause I really really have a hard hard time remembering sh!t when I am stressed out. I HATE THAT. But - we came up with a mode for staying out of each others space - a simple hand signal like a wave that says "Please not right now". I still gravitate towards trying to hang out with her, she is my best pal (always was). We also got one simple task. That is to share ONE thing each day after I get home for a few minutes. A neutral non threatening non political non personal item from say the paper. Just that one thing.

New Years eve is coming up and I am pretty sick about that. I hate being alone for things like that. We've always been together that night for 30 years. I'm really not doing good with this, so I'll just try and deal with that. Thanks you guys.

Through your pain you are

Through your pain you are providing some great insight into the mind of an ADHD person and for that I want to thank you.

You are not alone. It is painful for my husband to hear me say "I was miserable" ... and the irony of it all is that he was too, he shut me out completely, and cheated. Point being, if you're honest with yourself you aren't/weren't happy either. You've learned to 'cope' by staying in your own world of self-loathing and shutting out any type of meaningful interaction with her to avoid facing your own demons. This is the hard work. This is where you can do some serious self-reflection and decide you want something different for you and your wife from here on out. I know it sucked for me (non-ADHD wife) to admit that I had issues I had to resolve if my marriage were to be successful, and most of us can appreciate how much harder self-reflection and change comes to those of you with ADHD, but it is NOT impossible.

I admire you for listening to her and letting her 'vent' all of the years of hurt and pain she's endured without being angry and defensive...or blaming her. You really should be proud of yourself for this...most ADHDers would have been angry. I would like to suggest, no matter how hard it is for you, to share with her your feelings about what you heard as you have here with us. If you communicate better in writing and can express more clearly what you're feeling in an e-mail or written letter, then do it...but she needs to hear exactly what you're feeling...and you need to own up to the pain you've caused. The next step is to find out what she needs from you...what changes she needs...and you work together to give each other what you need. I don't think it sounds like it is too late for your marriage...and she has taken divorce off of the table. She is right though, you need to make these changes for yourself...with or without the marriage...but since you still have a chance with the marriage, then listen to what she's needing and give her what it is she's been missing all of these years.

Step outside of that comfort zone of yours...throw yourself into it like you never have...and don't be afraid to be vulnerable. I have a lot of hope for you guys! :)

Keep us posted!


Hypr1's picture

To go through something you will be in it for some time...

@SherriW13 -- thank you very much for your words of encouragement, and truths. I do communicate better with the written word. I don't get that. Since I started on ADD meds (plain ole' adderall), I have found that I can put together 3 minutes of coherent speech... and it is great. Our counseling got derailed as the day of our 2nd meeting, my wife had to fly off suddenly to here Dad's bedside. He's 90 yesterday. Thankfully she stayed back only 6 days and I've scheduled 4 more sessions. My wife has "vented" more, but seems to be setteling down a little bit. I mentioned that I freeze up under stress. I've told her that I am listening, and I repeat back what I think she is saying so that she can see I am hearing and validating her hurt. My brain s.u.c.k.s. at recalling the specific time-line of these events. I even sometimes feel that I am being bamboozeled (I love that word). Paranoia I guess. But I get over it. She says that she felt she needed to shake my tree, before I would take her seriously. Funny thing about that is it worked. It worked wonders. Now - in my time honored ADhD tradition, I'm ready to make up and go on with life. But that seems like an "ignore it" and it will go away solution. We both need to improve our conversational skills. I am keeping a crappy little journal. When I feel prideful anger coming on about something, I write down the way I feel. But - sometimes I read those things later and cross them out. The intent is to take it to the sessions, when it is a real issue, and not just me being pissy. Oh a butterfly... I am rambling. The skinny on this post is that I am scared sh!tL3$$ over this, I am working so hard to hear, and understand, and not be paranoid that I feel like I am about ready to burst. We are holding hands, and sitting together a little every so often. Even though I've hurt her greatly, I still need to be close. I told her I feel like I can't be me, no touchy, no huggy -- unless she is up for it. I guess that is the price I pay for the rock I made her drag. She says she needs some time... I just scream (inside my head only) -- how freakin much.... uuuughhh... I could keep going to novella length -- but I'll stop. I hope you see this post...

Hey, thanks for the update.

Hey, thanks for the update. Again, some very expressive insight. Amazing.

If you communicate better in writing, then be willing to open up to her in writing. I know it hurts that she's still venting, that anger didn't come over night and it won't go away over night. Be patient. Keep writing in your 'crappy' journal when you feel a moment of weakness. The venting she's doing will stop eventually, when she starts to trust your efforts. Again, I urge you to share your feelings with her, even if in writing, to give her an idea of the struggle this is for you. She must understand how your mind works, as much as possible anyway, and you must learn DIFFERENT ways of showing her you love her, giving her what she needs, and communicating with her. If you freeze up under stress, ask your counselor to help you figure out how to make the best of your time when you're not under stress. This is all very complicated, but very manageable.

To me, you recalling the time line of events isn't as important as just knowing that A, B, and C behaviors are hurtful to your wife and you need to come with with X, Y, and Z ways of doing things to make A, B, and C better. The past is important, we all know that who we are today ties directly into that. There is a time and a place for venting and letting out the hurt. The time will also come, soon I hope, when your wife will want to move past the hurt and into a better place. If she knows you're hearing her pain, but that it is not productive for you to analyze it until the cows come home (EXACT same situation with me and my being the analyzer), maybe she will be more willing to focus on what you can do, here and now, to start doing things differently. As your counselor to help you with you explain this to her. I do fully believe that it clutters my husband's mind with useless information and impedes our progress to discuss the past. He's, as you said, one to 'ok, let's move on now' ..forgive and forget in 2 seconds.

I think you have SOOO many strengths and so many things in your favor here...if you could just articulate to your counselor what you're feeling, what you need, and have the counselor be able to sit down with you and your wife and have you understand what you need to do to help her heal...and help yourself move into the future.

Please keep us updated!!


Hypr1's picture

ABC and XYZ and let's ride bike!

Thanks for the talk. I really felt what you are saying is from my wife's perspective. At least thinking that it is helps me. I still get stuck (frozen) while talking to her about my feelings. I'm trying to hard to formulate the "CORRECT" thing to say. Sometimes to avoid sounding like "poor me" or "you bitch" for lack of better words. Sometimes just keeping my mouth shut to avoid spewing anger, resentment and fear. In so many words I've said this to her, and she tells me to just be me - but I am still trying to find me. Our past does bring us to who and what we are today - oh man I just backspaced out a whole paragraph of negative crap... whew that was close (I hope you get that).

Right now I am just crying and aching. Sorry -- what a sob story - that's what I feel like. Last night we went to a movie. She reached out and held my hand and I about flew out of the chair. In a good way. We sat close. It was great. But when we got home that was over, and we kind of became room mates again. I don't get it because I am fully aware of ABC and have some XYZ's to fit it. But the most important one, "A" - is taking so much time for me. I know it's only been about 5 weeks since "I became aware" (boy that sounds like  crap to me now) -- anyway - I know not much time has passed but it feels like months. So, in the spirit of ABC and XYZ:

A: I've withheld affection and intimacy and hurt her through this rejection

>>> X: I don't want to do that anymore and I want to act on it - but this is not giving her the "space" we talked about last session - I hover and impose and it defeats the "space" rule.

B: Housework - Paying bills (or not overdrawing bank)

>>> Y: I have been consistently keeping the kitchen spotless and doing our laundry - not so good on banking but I'm giving up

C: Working on my ADD/ADHD and marriage

>>> Z: Reading the Doc's books, books on marriage stuff and seeing my Doc and staying on the meds

So, the most important one, A; will probably be the hardest, longest road to trek. I am looking for those strengths, and trying to be positive in these posts. I think I'll bring a few of my and your comments along to our next session so I can remember them and move towards a better future. I sure am ready to dish out, and deal with the past.

Hypr1's picture

Missed 1 session - now 1st of 4 more completed. Whew!

My DW's father was (we thought) on his deathbed. So my DW rushed 1000 miles on the day of a session - unavoidable we both agreed. He is making we hope, a full recovery. In my opinion this did set us back, at least in a timeline sense.

Thursday was intense. She is still needing to bring up my past behaviors. This is so hard for me - especially one of them. The specifics aren't important here, but OMG - I can't hear it anymore, it is crushing. How do I deal with something that is so devastating to hear. I was getting more positive. I felt we were going forward. My brain (and heart) just sink like a rock when this and other "pasts" are talked about. I can't figure it out... but I have to.

One insight came out of it maybe. Sh!+ -- I really just had a great thought but it's so gone now... I'll repost when I get over this temporary brain block. It seemed important -- I have to laugh... train of thought just went off the bridge...

We are sticking with it. I am trying to keep a positive outlook. I am starting to have a better understanding of what my ADHD has done, to her, to me and to US. It's not pretty. So I am back into a rut. Maybe I like it there... not. But, we wouldn't be doing this if we didn't want to be together.

Hoping still and climbing

Sunday: After the train of thought wreck - I am still unable to remember the "flash of insight". The rest of the day went down hill for me. ADHD inflicted depression reined to the end of the day. What are the triggers? Recalling (and beating myself up over) past behavior? Facing past behavior averted for a dip in the pity pot? My DW and I have some activities planned for today so my motto will once again be "moving forward", without forgetting the past (and pray to face it)!

I REMEMBERED!!!! MIRACLE OF MIRACLES: My wife, in response to something I was saying, said "I don't have a future to draw on, so I'll talk about the past!". If this is an insight for anyone else please respond. In other posts of mine I state that I can spin out futures that usually end in sorrow or other negative aspects. I told her later that I DO seem to have a future to draw on, and it is mostly involuntary. A facet of my ADHD - hopefully. A good quality - rarely (oh yeah, in case of asteroid attack I'll have a plan!!!)!!! THANK YOU.

confused60's picture

Don't you hate that?  When

Don't you hate that?  When you have a thought that just occurred to you and before you can jot it down -- it's gone and despite your intense efforts to find the darn thing, it has floated off into space. 

We all have a future to draw on.  Can't imagine what she was referring to unless it pertains to your future together.  Maybe that's just a little bitterness leaking out on her part; don't think you should read a lot into it.

Got to get back to working on my project plan for work.  True to form I have procrastinated until Sunday afternoon.

Sorry to hear about your DW's dad.  I hope he is OK.  Bringing up the past and throwing it in your face forever is something my DW does also.  When she is pissed at me about a single thing, she reaches into her bag and throws everything I've ever done wrong at me.  I always ask her what that has to do with what we're talking about but shes never has an answer.  She is just trying to hurt me or protect herself.

Is that Mighty Dog? I'm just a puppy...

Hypr1's picture

Back to the future part duece

I do hate that. I am just trying to find a way to reverse the gears when it happens so I can recreate the moment.

I think my DW is hurt and pissed. But we've been at counseling and dealing with starting counseling for about 1 month. Heading towards session #3. We've had a half dozen good talks which I think we've aired out some hurt feelings. I just cringe at the amount of effort that may be spent on this particular process, hence - I just made a future to draw on. That's what she is talking about. We can only do what we can do in the moment of now == and we can't predict the future. So... I think she was referring to my ability to head trip on multiple futures and really worry about and discuss them. It ain't happened yet - so she doesn't have a future to draw on. I think she is also fearful that the future will contain the ME that has been so detached. I fear that too, and can really get deep into what ifs over it.

It has to stop at some point. I have to just keep trying to stay focused and hope for the best. I want to be the consistent fun person she fell in love with, not the brooding depressed one I have been. I think she still can strike out in hurt and anger. For me - that won't work anymore so I am not doing it. Maybe that is stuffing it, I don't know -- but all I want is a better future than the one that has passed my by in the last few years.

I have some work to do to. Should have done it Friday PM... HAH! Get back to work and good luck. Oh-- its not Mighty Dog, it's UnderDog. Kinda what I feel lately. My previous avatar was "Lost in Space", so this is a step up! 

confused60's picture

Ah yes, Underdog, now I

Ah yes, Underdog, now I remember.

I'm having a mini-meltdown tonight, mind if I vent?  I just want to type my feelings, you don't have to read it. 

My DDW fell asleep on the couch so I had to go sleep in the master bedroom, something I haven't done in a few years.  She left the bathroom light on and when I went in there was this new cell phone charging on the countertop.  It was an AT&T phone, and I know that her boyfriend, the "love of her life" is on the AT&T network.  Last week I asked her why we didn't have the usual 3,000 text messages/month on our VZW account and she said she and he were still in touch but they had found another way to talk.  Guess I found it too.

Am I wrong to be upset about this?  How could I be so stupid as to think she had rethought her feelings for him and was beginning to accept my ADHD self-diagnosis and becoming more understanding about why I act the way I do.  She has deliberately kept this a secret from me which, to me, is tantamount to lying. 

I am livid, probably frothing at the mouth.  I think I'll cancel her cellphone which I pay for (900$ for the past two months due to her excessive texting with her boyfriend) and let him pay for her phone.  Sitting here at the dining room table are the signed contracts for her apartment and checks I wrote for security deposit, application fee, and the first months rent of 800+ bucks!  I have told her I would pay all her expenses for a year.  Maybe he should pay them.  Ok, now I'm not sure I'm doing the right things for me or her.  Ya think I'm being ADHD impulsive?

Aw, indecision, indecision.  How does one know if they're doing the right thing?  Oh f it.  Who cares? Since this marriage is going to end in divorce I might as well cut to the chase.  Will still need the apartment so might as well go through with the contracts as I'll end up paying for it, married or not.  I will give her a month to transfer her phone number over to this new phone provided by the boyfriend.

Thanks, I feel slightly better and see things a little more clearly now.  I like having a path to follow.  Tomorrow I'll inform her we are divorcing and that the apartment is her's for a year, after which she or boyfriend must pay her own way in life.  Mr. meal ticket is leaving.  She can pay for her own health benefits, rent, oh and the car.  She owes me 3 years of remaining payments.  And the house: she never owned this house.  I alone have paid the monthly mortgage for the last 18 years. She can have her part of the downpayment back.

Ramped up again.  Come back down to earth.  If you divorce her she will have no health benefits or insurance.  She can take you to court and you'll lose big time, remember pal?  Have to sleep on it.  Bah!  Feel like walking away.  Got to get control of me.  Can't control the situation.

Hey Hypr1, thanks for letting me vent.  It will be interesting to read my ranting in the morning light.

confused60's picture

Second Thoughts, Introspection.

Unable to sleep.  Meds eating a hole in my stomach.  Coffee tastes great and I've reconsidered my ranting.

I think, first of all, I need to emotionally divorce myself from my DDW.  I need to take DW down to W and move on.  Second, the apartment is a good idea since physical separation will help accomplish #1.  The old cell that I'm paying for can stay since the early termination fee is heavy duty and my daughter is on the same plan which facilitates them talking to each other.  Finally, I have stated in earlier posts that I want to "take the higher road" so I need to pony up and pay for everything and provide health benefits, life insurance, auto insurance, and whatever.  Legally the house is 50% hers no matter who paid the mortgage and property taxes.

Likely some of you who happen to read this will think I am crazy and should hit her with a divorce but there are two reasons for my approach: the 25 years we had together didn't suddenly vanish from my memory, and, I have to live with me.

No, not divorce but

No, not divorce but boundaries would be a good thing. She has destroyed those lines in your marriage and that is not fair when you are still married - regardless of your history (the good and the bad). One thing that keeps hitting me bet the eyes in all our posts is that whether you are the ADHD partner or the non-, the horror that can happen with this neurobiological disorder can EASILY be matched sometimes by the way relationships can become mean and hurtful -adhd aside. When, in lifes eyes, does it become an even playing field? When one of two things happen: you divorce (so you each have the "freedom" to each date whomever you want) OR when you set boundaries to behave in ways that are agreeable to both of you. Neither is happening here. So while I commend and appreciate the love and concern clearly generating from your posts, i feel for the amount of pain you seem to be feeling. Think about what it is YOU need to really deal/want/expect from this relationship. Either way, it sure seems you deserve more in life than this.
confused60's picture

Deserving more in life

Hi Lulu, for sure I am the ADHD partner and I've been able to identify many instances throughout my life that clearly match the clinical indicators.  I've taken the online tests and the WHO 18 question standard test and score very high on the ADHD side.  This behavior goes back as far as I can remember and explains a lot to me.  I do agree that my particular marriage issues could be confused with ADHD behavior and I think my own ADHD is making the issues much worse than they need to be.  I'm just glad I caught it (identified my ADHD behavior) but it is too late to save my marriage by changing my behavior.

We have the freedom to date other people now, even though we are married.  I choose not to, but this will change after we separate.  I can set boundaries to guard against what is happening but my DW won't respect the boundary.  She has rekindled her relationship with her first love and they never stopped loving each other all these years (like 37).  So hey, they deserve to be happy and each other.  I'm just going to step aside and manage the transition in the classiest way I can.  I will then move on and enjoy the rest of my life.

Lulu I think what pains me the most is that it all hit me over a few weeks and I barely had time to understand what was happening.  She's been thinking about it for years.  Thanks for saying I deserve more in life than this.  I think my plan to get her out of the house and out of my immediate life is a good one.  We will have to see each other many times in the future because we still have a daughter (and a son-in-law).

My honest opinion is that

My honest opinion is that whatever you decide to do, within reason, is completely justified. I just hope that if you continue to pay for everything...apartment...cell phone...etc...that you do so for the right reasons and not because you are holding out hopes that it'll somehow win her back. This is so painful to read.

I agree with lulu, you need to start having respect for YOU..respecting that yes, you've made a lot of mistakes and caused a lot of pain, but that you're changing now and acknowledging what you've done. You cannot change the past, you can only change who you are TODAY and hopefully that'll last through tomorrow and years to come. You have to accept that the pain you caused might have led to some of this, but this is ultimately ON HER shoulders (the blatant flaunting of her 'boyfriend' in front of the man she took as a husband before God). She cannot justify or excuse her behaviors with anything you've done in the past...but maybe it doesn't matter to her, I don't know.

I will be honest..I think you rolling over and taking this will ultimately seal your fate with her..and not in a good way. Getting mad and breaking her cell phone isn't how you deal with it though. What you are comfortable with and for how long you go on accepting this situation is your own personal decision to make, but I think you are setting yourself up for destruction. My only hope is that during the separation period that you are able to accept things a little more, the pain will ease enough that you'll be able to see this with less emotion, and maybe start realizing that no matter what you did in the past, your life does not have to be dictated by that.  You don't "deserve" this just because of what you've done.

I heard a song recently and the lyrics went something like this.."I am not what I have done, I am what I have overcome"...

confused60's picture

You are correct in your assessment

Sherri, my wife does not believe in marriage vows.  To her, sex is sex and not the same as the relationship you've built with your partner over many years.  That's not to say she has had other affairs during our marriage; she has not.  And clearly, she will dump me to be with this other man who she has a prior history with and loves very much, so she says.  He has proposed to her already; she didn't elaborate any further and I have not asked the obvious question that needs to be answered.  Recently she admits to being a little confused, but I intend to end the confusion as quickly as possible.  I will take care of myself, and in the process I will also care for her. 

I do not intend to sit around waiting for her to come back to me over the next year.  This is a plan to end the marriage by the time the year is up.  Actually, it is ended now, just not legally.  I see no reason to get a divorce ever, unless one of us wants to remarry.  At the appropriate time I'll begin discussions with her about a legal distribution of assets.  Not now, things are in an uproar.  Some months down the road I guess.

Yes the lyrics are very true, aren't they?  I am most proud of the fight I fought to come back from the dead after my accident 10 years ago.  It was more difficult than fighting cancer over the past 2 years.  The aftermath of that accident really defined me to myself.  Since then, there is nothing I can't overcome (well, maybe not cancer).

Hyper1, i know this dejection/anger

I know this dejection/anger feeling from hearing about all the bad stuff from the past- my DH would go into fury when hearing me talk about the crazy s$$t from our past. But how else, could i talk about MY pain and anger -and hopefully finally get the validation I never received from him on his own - so that i/WE could finally move on? That is how I felt. To know that in realizing, i hoped, how nasty his behavior was, DH would not do it again. In reading Melissa's "now and not now" recent blog (thanks Melissa) I guess I understand why that is /was so difficult to hear- its the past, right? And worse, its a past that confirms all the feelings of inadequacy that he has been feeling for, like, forever?! So there has to be a dance of sorts between respecting each others feelings (taking turns?) so that each person can talk about how they feel without triggering all the bad feelings. To HEAR what the other person needs to be heard withou poi ting fingers to either side. Thats my thought any way, and it is a pretty slow and frustrating journey to say the least.
Hypr1's picture

You got it

I hope we are working towards talking about EACH OTHERS feelings and how they affect us. So far I kind of feel like I'm a one way dead end street. It just seems to me that when I talk about my feelings - we go into this downward spiral of the hell I put her in. So Okay, it's the past, yada yada... I just am impatient and don't have this linear sense of what "it will take time" actually means to her. I'm all ears. Slow, frustrating, like standing in line or following some one going 1/2 the speed limit... scream ;-)

I can't stuff my hurt and anger when she talks about her hurt and anger unless I can talk about mine too. OMG === time for bed.

Thanks everyone.

So really, whats the answer?!

So really, whats the answer?! I feel really put down in times like these because i am never allowed to express upset or hurt because then i get dh mad. YEARS of either not saying how I feel cause its a challenge or facing his anger. I end up feeling devalued, invisible, unimportant, and meanwhile i still have to handle everything about our household and kids because i can (And he doesnt want to). How can this change??

Good question...

That's a good question--not sure it can be answered without YEARS of work.  I feel those very same feelings lululove.  Last night, my husband asked me to move out--we were trying to work on things as our last ditch effort.  Well, he ran out of medication for 2 weeks, and I just couldn't handle the arguing, interupting, sleeping, screensucking, so I was too angry.  I was thinking here we go again, nothing is ever resolved on my rollercoaster life.  Although I am a little sad about starting my new life at 41, I'm definitely relieved.  I think it will be a huge help to be separated from the constant battling.  I cannot do it anymore myself.

Good luck.

Sorry it is like this for

Sorry it is like this for you. You may find though leaving will release the angry pressure a bit - for you both. Give it time, take it as a timeout to let how you both feel rise back to the surface, past the anger and frustration, before you make a final decision as to where this goes. Let yourself heal and recover a bit. Prayers are with you js.

Thanks so much

Thanks for your thoughts.  It's so nice to come here and not feel like I'm completely insane.

Walking away

Js, I think I'm at that point of contemplating if my leaving is the best. Dating my significant other for three years- roller coaster of unhealthy communication and now looking in the mirror at someone I don't like- sad, weak, unimportant. I give myself credit for the persistence and patience in trying to build a trustworthy friendship with my s/o. Said to myself that my prayers were answered when he finally found the strength to acknowledge and take steps at his ADD. He started Ritalin a month ago- not sure how consistent he is with it. However, not like his angry outburst are anything new, but the way he responds and ends up treating me seems more disrespectful. And the apology - well now doesn't happen. I feel that the safe place that I Have I created for him has now become an ugly place for me. I'm so deparate for peace and answers to my "why am I the enemy now"- that I find that I'm trying to convince myself that maybe this was the only purpose God put me in his life... To lead him to the first step of healing. I read somewhere on this site that with ADDers that there is never closer b/c they will never see their wrong in the situation. Sad. So, now I'm feeling resentful- that I loved him So much to help him and come this far, but now I have become his enemy. It's like the way he sees me is not even a friend, lover or anything significant to his life anymore as I see him more confident with battling this. All his other relationships seem more positive (his children, work, his mother), which by the way I would nuture their hurt feeling during his miscommunications with them! Just feel like I got dumped to side not needed anymore.


Only you can know how much you can handle.  I have been out of the house nearly a week now in my own apartment, and I feel complete relief.  Slightly sad, but mostly for the way I had hoped things would be, not for what they were.  I see this now...I was too addicted to hoping he would see, hoping he would change, hoping we would change.  Now, all of his problems are just that--HIS problems.  And that is now a complete relief and weight off of my shoulders.  Now, I can work on MY life and make it what I want it to be. 

We've agreed to a 6 month separation and wrote up an agreement together.  I don't know how things will end up, but I do know that cutting the cord was the right thing for me at this point.



I don't mean to sound

I don't mean to sound congratulatory for anyone's relationship breaking up, but I do want to say that you should be proud to have found the strength to put yourself first. I'm also glad that you are letting his issues be his and yours be yours. I hope you continue to grow stronger and find the answers you need that are best for you and your future. I'm sorry it came to you having to leave, but I am glad you've found peace. It is so precious to find again, especially when you haven't had it for so very long. I know.



Hello js:

Its been awhile- returning to this website now since I left my s/o as I was contemplating back in February. My reasons for finally leaving stemmed from the on-going emptiness I felt and such a great disconnect from him. I could not feel any significance or sincerity nor empathy from him. I was going crazy trying to figure out what was ADD, character, or conscious decisions made. 

Now that I have left- I see a different side of him. Only now that I am not in his presence? All the questions related to "why only now" after all the hurts and damage that has been done.  It has only been a week... mix emotions of regrets of giving up, but a sense of "relief" that I am not finally facing some truths. I felt like was fighting with the wind. After 3 1/2 years- He admits now that he did not put in the effort or work into our relationship and is talking about couple's retreat/counseling, says he can work on his communication now...

You mentioned that you and your partner had plans for a 6 months separation. Wondering how that is going, if you are seeing positive changes- if you don't mind me asking. 

Hurt and Anger

Hyper1; you sound SO MUCH like my (ex)husband. Could you say more about the 'hurt and anger'? That's something I never understood. My husband would (for example) forget that we were supposed to do something important (to me), and get home late from work. I'd say that it hurt me that he forgot. His reply would be something like "I feel bad enough already; do you have to rub my nose in it?" He'd be very angry and not speak to me for days. He'd accuse me of attacking him, when I was just telling him how his actions made me feel (I didn't harp on it; I'd say it once). I never got how he was allowed to be hurt and angry (why was HE angry at ME??), but I wasn't, when *I* was the one that was wronged.

Also about the past; if your wife is anything like me, it's just too much to sweep under the rug. She wants to hear that you GET IT. That you understand why she was angry or hurt. If you don't GET IT, you will keep doing the same things over and over.  I hope you work it out.

I have this problem at times

I have this problem at times with my husband who is the non-ADDer. Sometimes I really feel like I am from Venus and he's from Mars.

gigs26's picture

Why you're hurt but I'm angry

Lynnw, you ask why your husband would be angry with you when you said he did something that hurt you. I don’t think the silent treatment is ever reasonable, but I have felt, and shown, anger when my boyfriend is the one who feels hurt.


I understand you are hurt. I understand why you are hurt. I probably even think you have good reason to feel hurt. And I understand that I caused you to feel this hurt. So I already feel bad, and now (vs. not now!) that we are talking about it, I remember all the other conversations we’ve had about my doing this very same hurtful thing. You think (not unreasonably) that because I continue to do this hurtful thing, that I don’t truly understand why it’s hurtful to you. So you tell me. Again. And I get frustrated and angry because you keep telling me something I already know, as if I am a child, and I feel hurt that you don’t believe me that I know that this thing I do is hurtful. (Of course, the problem is I remember, now, that it’s hurtful. But I wasn’t thinking about it at the time, and I was not doing it to intentionally hurt you.)

Whatever that’s worth, you are still hurt that I did something you’ve already asked me not to do, and I am angry that you don’t recognize that I understand that I hurt you: impasse. We need some other way of making sure I don’t do the hurtful thing anymore (or as often), some way that works for both of us.

Some fixes are easier than others. Take the common suggestion to stop interrupting – we both agree that you’ll raise one finger to signal you aren’t done speaking if I interrupt; it’s easy, immediate, uncritical, and allows our interaction to continue comfortably; and it silently confirms that we both agree that interrupting is disrespectful (and since we both understand that, there’s no need to have that conversation for the millionth time). For the harder stuff, it’s more than fair to ask me (or your husband/etc.), what steps I will take to make sure this hurtful thing doesn’t happen again. Maybe that is setting an alarm to go off 15 minutes before I have to leave work in order to make it on time; maybe that is just calling to tell you when I’m leaving, so you won’t be stuck waiting and wondering whether I’ll make it; maybe that is keeping a (better) calendar or talking over evening plans with each other every morning.

I am so thankful my boyfriend started asking me this question. It keep the responsibility on me to take action not to hurt you (i.e., saying you should feel less hurt is not a fix); it helps me focus on solving something, now, when I am staring down the consequences, instead of just feeling badly (or feeling sorry for myself in my ADHD-addled world); it tells me that he knows I want to change this so I don’t hurt him (i.e., he knows I “get it”); and it is empowering, because the question assumes I can change. For him, I think, he can see whether I take this seriously enough to actually do something about it.

Not that the changing part is easy. “Don’t try harder, try differently” is a nice thought, but when it comes down to it I still have to try really, really hard to try differently.

Seeing the "get it"

Yes for me that's the clincher too. Do they "get it" and and say as much while also making sure to adjust their behavior to reflect it? So many counselors fail to make this a necessary part of the ADHD-er's deal. An ADHD-er must not only Talk the Talk, but Walk the Walk too. 

A lot of ADHD-ers  in denial have managed to get by for years using highly practiced manipulations. When they encounter somebody with a good BS detector who refuses to be treated poorly, the result is worse than watching a fish out of water. ADHD-ers in denial cannot 'see' the reality that most other people live in. They can only see that somebody isn't doing what they want.

When I say, "Ow that really hurt," the ADHD manipulative knee-jerk response usually goes like this, "I may have hurt you yes, but your overly-emotional need to tell me what I may have done is an intentional insult. You hurt me with this insult. You meant to hurt me too, whereas I did not 'intend' to hurt you. My state of being 'insulted' by your reaction means I am more important than you and more hurt than you and angrier than you and actually I'm better than you too. The pain you caused me on purpose is of greater importance than any indirect happenstance thing I may have done that you chose to react to."

For years I was made nearly crazy by this kind of behavior, but I 'get it' now. 


Hypr1's picture

@Lynnw -- I missed your questions on 2/1!

I mentioned in a later post how this was for me. With my ADHD -- I am hyper aware of the fact that I am moving at a million miles an hour but going nowhere. Hmmm... not a real answer. I relate to the way your husband feels. When I've told my DW that I'll do something, or be somewhere -- mysterious forces conspire to keep me from efficiently doing it or getting it done. I will start to feel the pressure long before I am actually failing to do the task. Of course that makes it worse, and then anxiety and anger start to well up. Of course -- that is just my perception. By the time I arrive or finish the task, I am very aware that I've let the other person down. So - when my DW states something along those lines I am pre-set for guilt, and the anxietanger is just like a bobcat in a tree... pounce! OH - I knew you'd say that, I feel bad enough already... blah blah blah ;-) Yeah, I sound just like your (ex)husband... sorry.

Just be assured that this effect is not uncommon for an ADHD spouse. Orlav's book gives examples over and over (I think that frustrates me)... but it is good info.

For me -- starting counseling and then couples sessions was the most difficult, and humbling event in my life of 53 years. I mean that. The only way I knew of to really HEAR my wifes hurt and frustration was to intently listen, acknowledge with a head nod. NOT get distracted and repeat back what I think she said so we could both feel I HEARD what was being said. THERE WAS mostly PAST being dredged up. It seem like a never ending source of hurt. Just me... sorry again. BUT - I NEEDED TO HEAR IT.

I hope you can reconcile your feelings of hurt and confusion a little bit by acknowledging that ADHD in your spouse was a major factor in the behavior. This is not to assume that the ADHD (me) person can just write it all off. Oh no! But it will only be improved by knowledge of and work to correct these brain functions. A long road. I have picked one thing a month to correct. So -- I have a new wall calendar - a pocket journal to write down stuff -- and a cell phone to remind me of important things.

I ramble -- in any case - I hope you can see in my dissertation ;-) that you DH is not just out to get you; that yes he did take some of the conversations as an attack - I can relate - BUT the ADHD does not justify them. Being hopeful I wish that we (us ADHD-ers) will recognize the behavior and attempt to apologize and show our remorse for the behavior. That's a start - going forward changing the behavior is the only real road to progress...

best wishes Lynnw

Thanks for the explanation

Hypr1; Thanks! My husband has said similar wasn't intentional, that he wasn't even angry at ME (but I was the one he was yelling at!). But it's like having a dog who bites. He does it because he's scared, or defensive, or whatever. He does love you, but it still really hurts to get bitten all the time. And it's nerve-wracking to have to tip-toe around, never knowing when you will suddenly get bitten.

Hypr1's picture

Still it is....

Hi Lynnw -- my intent was to just let you hear from another ADHD DH perspective... and it is very very similar. I surely have felt, and done, and hurt my DW in those ways. I wish I could take it all back, but it's done is done. I just heard a great perl of wisdom... maybe it will help here...

yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the "present."

I think that is from a Star Wars movie, but nonetheless -- it says a lot.

My DW and I are in seperate counseling now by mutual (if not hard won) agreement! I know I am feeling better about 'us', and I think she is too, cause she tells me and we are doing more together. I still have to assess my inner feelings over just about everything... one of my tools is to keep my mouth shut... yeah -- a tall order.

Anyway I hope you are doing OK.

I think I might be able to

I think I might be able to help...

My husband (although he didn't see it this way when I asked him to read this yesterday and give me his input) also hates to hear about the past "miserable" I was, etc. Our counselor even said once during a session that the sessions would be a waste of time if all we were going to do was relive the past. There is a time and place for it..and then you move on.

What helped me the most, to be able to let go of the past, was two things.

#1-him acknowledging that he had heard me and understood why the things I mentioned were hurtful and vowing to change those hurtful behaviors. Him saying I'm sorry like he had never said it before.

#2-him allowing me to talk about it, ask questions and get answers, without him being defensive or shutting down. I think his willingness to do this was why he feels he's not like what you describe..the crushing feeling hearing about the past. But, it would depend on which part of the past was being discussed.

The bottom line is that your wife is needing to be heard. Period. She will not continue to do this forever...but she will continue to do this until she feels you hear her and are remorseful. Are you remorseful? Is she hearing that from you?

It was healing for me to hear my husband admit "when you would ask me not to have too much to drink or not to stay out too late, then I had to do both just because you told me not to". It was healing to hear about how disgusted he was with himself for the way he had treated me and to hear him vow to spend the rest of his life becoming the husband I want and need. It was healing to hear him acknowledge all of the sh!t he'd done, all of the times he had no respect for my feelings.

One of our major issues was my relationship with his daughter, my SD. I tried, made a lot of mistakes, but he made the situation 1000 times worse than it had to be by NEVER having my back when it came to her. We got custody of her at age 2004. Most of the damage done to our marriage was because of him never being able to accept why I could not be close with her and respecting that I had tried time and time again to no avail. Once he finally gave me credit for all I had done, accepted that one person cannot make a relationship 'healthy' when the other has no clue what that means, then he finally broke down the last walls I had up and made me feel like a million bucks. How he made me feel about myself for being unable to connect with SD would probably have been the end of our marriage. I thank God he finally realized I was not the enemy...and that I was powerless to do what he kept demanding I do.

Let her pain be heard. Acknowledge it...don't shut down because of it. See it as your chance to look her in the eye and say "my God, I am so sorry for all of this that I have caused you and I am so thankful that my eyes are finally open!! I want to be different. I want to make amends. Please tell me where to start".

Non-ADD Explanation of Past

My ADD husband feels as though I live in the past and cannot get beyond the issues we have faced and some of his actions.  My answer to that is NO, I do not live in the past.  HOWEVER, as a non-ADDer, I fear that the past will become my future.  There has not been a lot of consistency in my husband's actions/reactions in our 13 year marriage; therefore, I do not have a basis on which to expect how he will react in the now or in the future. 

For example, yesterday, I nicely gave him a choice of 2 chores that we had to complete.  Based on his behavior recently, and my nicely asking, I expected that he would say ok and just choose one.  HOWEVER, he argued and battled because he didn't want to do ANY chore, acting like a surly teenager.  This reaction was what I would have expected prior to his getting treatment, not "now".  (See, the past DID become my future in that example)

The past gives non-ADDers perspective on how to approach situations.  "Well, the last time I jumped off a cliff, I broke my leg.  So, I'm not going to do it again."   These patterns shape our decision making and interaction processes.

So, my biggest suggestion, is to LISTEN to the WHY of what your partner is saying, not the WHAT.  WHY are they attached to that particular incident/reaction?

Then, BE CONSISTENT in the "now" so that the "now" becomes the vision of the future.




Excellent point, and that is

Excellent point, and that is very true for me...I've moved out of the past and into the present because he has changed and IS changing and making progress. BUT, just like our counselor said, you eventually become 'conditioned' to respond to a certain behavior in a certain way...and until those behaviors stop, it is hard to let go and move forward. Part of letting go of the past IS seeing concrete changes and the 'death of' old behaviors. You can learn to let go of the anger and choose to react differently, but in order for real progress to be made and the past to be put to rest, it has to be resolved first, either by compromise or by stopping the behavior.

My suggestion would be to address this issue with your husband and make it clear that you understand he doesn't like to do chores but that in order to make the marriage more equal and positive, he needs to start doing his share of things and that includes one chore a day/week. ?? I usually try the "I really would like to see this issue resolved somehow...what are your suggestions?" approach. It might make him feel involved and in control enough that he'll be willing to do a chore.

Hypr1's picture

I'm listening -- but it's hard to face sometimes!

I hear you, really I do. My inconsistent behavior is the basis for our problems, and she has expressed that, and I hear what you are saying, because my DW is saying pretty much the same thing. No buts...

Working hard at it. I am ASKING for chores, little things. To help her fix a faucet (she does it before I get home). Sigh. I can't blame her. She's asked before for help and I'm to busy, or pissed off, or lecturing, or distracted to help. So -- it is what it is.

I just keep asking to help, asking her to ask me for help -- just little stuff. If I keep asking and then do it should get better in the future.


Wow, asking to do a chore?!!

Wow, asking to do a chore?!! You know what would be great? Do a chore that Needs to be done r without asking. Suggestions: make the bed, chNge the sheets and wash Put them away (the follow thru), go food shopping. Sometimed the stress for me had been having to spell everything out.

doing chores

Yes I agree,  I have been doing all the chores for so many years now, that I would be blown away by my husband asking.  I agree totally perhaps keep your eyes and ears open for something that needs doing, or something that has been put off because it is too big for her to do alone.  Surprise her and start the job and finish it.  I would be so over the moon if my husband did something like that WITHOUT asking.  There are so many jobs that I just cannot do by myself anymore, with holding down full time job and handling finances and helping with grown up children's requests for help, that things just get left  until they either fall apart or break....Oh it would bring me so much joy if just one job per week was taken off my TO DO LIST

Please  please do things without asking.....will bring so much hope and joy to your relationship...but keep it going dont just do it once or twice...make the effort and committment to keep doing it...Good luck

Hypr1's picture

I struck a resonant chord!

I have to say , that my one statement of asking for a chore to do really rang the bell! That's good. I want to clarify that I am doing things without asking, but I'm also asking if there is anything I can do for you (meaning her). And because of what you all talk about she is conditioned to wave me off. That to an ADHD'r is actually an insult, but a well deserved one.

I am letting her know that as part of my self improvement I am and will continue to ask out of concern, and because I want to do something (even any little thing) for her. Some things I started doing on my own are keeping the kitchen clean -- OH, no OCD here -- did I mention sparkling clean, yeah like that. I am doing most all of my own laundry. Now don't kick me, she's always been one to go into my basket and dig out my stuff and wash it. I don't ask or expect it, she just says you needed work clothes. It isn't just one sided -- we do things for each other without asking.

So - hearing lots of you (the non'ers) say the same things really helps me see that I am not as unique as I think I am -- and if I want to change my behavior then consistency is the key. I am trying to start ONE good habit a month. If I can keep the kitchen clean for 5 weeks, then I'll think about starting another.

Sigh. Would it be

Sigh. Would it be inappropriate to say I love you? Wow.
Hypr1's picture

Where did that come from?

I do say I love you, all the time. I am just trying to work things out in my head, and that is why I ask questions here. I am taking advice that I read here and attempting to incorporate it. Change is best realized when it is achieved slowly and consistently -- but that's just me. If I said it would be inappropriate to say "I love you" specifically then it was out of context. I say it all the time, and we are doing better. Positive, positive, positive - I just keep saying that to myself, too.

I think she was asking "would

I think she was asking "would it be inappropriate for me to tell you that I love you?" saying she loves all of the efforts you're making and wish her husband was doing the same...I think.

ebb and flow's picture

I thought that too but wasn't

I thought that too but wasn't 100%.... hee hee....

Funny how we can read into things differently.

Hypr1's picture

Double wow -- see, I do hear things differently?

Sheri, oldman, and especially lululove... the night I posted my reply to lululove, well it was a tough night for me. My DW asked if we could put off marriage counseling for a now, while she (and I) continue to see our separate counselors. This shook me, since she was the one who wanted to start couples sessions before I had thought we were ready. Now I feel like who gives a crap. And that is very dangerous for me. It's a trap and it comes out in anger. I hope I heard incorrectly, the statement of the prior post. NO - it would not be inappropriately for you to say I love you, meaning me... I apologize and hope this just goes to show me, where ever I go -- there I am. I think too much, and too much of it is thought wrongly. I love you guys, too! Now I have to try and deal with this new change in protocol between my DW and myself. OMG - low low low. Thanks again all 3 of ya!

Yup.  The daily on purpose

Yup.  The daily on purpose passive "tell me what chore to do. if you would just tell me" thing never resulted in a positive outcome. I remember coming home at eleven from work one night and finding an overturned plant and that a landmine had apparently detonated in the kitchen. Why was ADHD-er just sitting there bewilderedly? Because I had not yet given instructions on what action to take. Seriously. 



I am new this site.  I am a non-ADD. Not married. Dating a man for 3 years. Beginning of the relationship- swept me off my feet: so I learned it was only his hyper-focused mode. We have had a long roller-coaster ride with communication. My s/o finally opened up about possibly having ADD- in the past year has attempted meds (on and off again). I want to pat myself in the back for my patience and genuine care for him. He is having a difficult time accepting it- says he sees it as if he has a defect. Many times when I share with him that I am reading about ADD and try to tell him I understand why he reacts the way he does, I am shocked that I got a negative response instead: "stop reminding me that I have a disorder- I know! I live with it".  I thought he would be appreciative that I was taking the time to learn about ADD and only see how much I loved him and was only trying to learn how to change my behaviors FOR HIM". Needless to say, I am hurt by this. But it is his ADD, right?

I am struggling as the non-ADD on how much should I blame his ADD for his behavior. I find myself doing this now- because it just hurts less than to think he really meant to hurt me. I think that the abandonment and ignoring my crying is even more hurtful than the words or actions that caused me to cry in the first place. Is it true that with ADD, that they just cannot be see the hurt caused? I only want to know your opinion or thoughts so that I can some how rationalize if my significant other's hurtful behavior is ADD or intentional. I scrape for peace b/c he seems not to acknowledge a need to say sorry to me. 

I read you last comment and it gives me hope. Prayers sometime feel hopeless. I know it there is a difference in dating for three years and your 30 years of marriage. Your wife does love you. She would not be there in counseling with you if she didn't. I really hope things work out for both of you.  It seems you understand all the hurts she has went through. You are brave and wonderful to share yourself on this site. I am sure it helps with your own healing but it also helps me, the non-ADD as I try to find answers that I thought my s/o only has- but at this point I know I cannot expect that from him.

First go around, I read it

First go around, I read it just like you took it. Always good for me to read more than once when the original interpretation makes no sense. Just like you I wondered why she would say that...then and only then I did a don't be too hard on yourself.
Hypr1's picture

On again -- Off again

I thought I'd add this update to the root of this topic. My wife told me that we needed to stop the couples sessions and each continue on with our own counseling. That after some time, if "I wanted to"; we could continue the couples sessions. Her reasons stated were that she feels worse after a session then before. So have I. That the counselor just sits there, and offers little other than how to help her understand me or to focus on me and my issues. She acknowledged she needed to deal with some childhood abuse and abandonment issues that this whole thing had brought up, and that we first needed to take care of ourselves. I should be thinking of this as a positive move. I need to deal with my issues realted to US, and she does too. However - I just feel horrible about this and didn't want the sessions to turn out bad. They have.

So -- I am sitting here trying to reconcile MY feelings of abandonment. My feelings of less together, and more apart. A grown man crying like a child - because I don't want to lose her. God - I just am so low right now, and all the great comments this thread has generated seem so far away. I am sick of being depressed, sick of not acting, and now I feel as if I can't act on our problems, just mine - again. Damn damn damn. Sorry -- just venting but really despondent right now.

I'd like to hear of anyone who has any minor similarities to what is happening to me and to us. Feeling pretty unique at the moment!

I am in my marriage , God

I am in my marriage , God willing, for the long haul. However, recently I had to stop going to couples sessions with my husband because I, too, felt worse about our marriage after..and I could not handle feeling worse about things right now. It felt more productive to me..and made me go and work on myself for a while. I got a lot out of individual sessions that makes me feel like I can be a better wife and a healthier person emotionally. This is hard to do in couples sessions..especially when feelings and emotions are with you and your wife right now. Can I ask...has she given you any indication that she plans on leaving you? I apologize if you've said. I really do not think this is something you should take personally or as a sign that she doesn't care about the marriage. Would it be possible for you to express to her your fears? Ask her if there is anything you could do (new counselor? New approach during sessions) to make her want to go to couples sessions? I know if all our sessions were about was me needing to understand him then I wouldn't want to go either. Our counselor has even pointed out a couple of times that it was about us BOTH understanding each others differences. I stopped going as a couple until recently because the meds made him revert to his old "it's all her" default argument for everything. Just talk to sounds like she is being very honest with you about why she doesn't want to go and you, true to your ADD are trying to convince yourself it is surely something more sinister. Ask if there is anything you could change or do to make her want to go..and if not, then justmaccept her at her word and continue to work on you. If she tells you something that would make her want to go then be fully prepared to listen and give her what she needs..assuming it is reasonable.
confused60's picture

Hypr1 you cannot help each

Hypr1 you cannot help each other if you cannot help yourselves.  She needs her own private counseling and probably you do too, before any group counseling can even hope to be effective.

Yes, sometimes you have to be more apart, even if you fear it.  You need more confidence in yourself and when you exude that to your DW she will be more attracted to you.  The roller coaster of feelings is only natural and why are you surprised that you're down, man??  Be brave little rabbit -- you'll do fine.  When you're sick and tired of being depressed you'll either make a change or change the way you look at your situation.

You're absolutely not alone and not unique to be having the feelings you write about!

Hyper1 -Sorry!

Ok, millionth lesson I just learned about how my silly attempt at humor can be misread! It was my attempt to give you compliment on your efforts to reconnect with your wife. Please take it as that- I know firsthand how horribly stressful this is, both for you and her . And to comment on the holding of the couple session - i would personally take it as it was apparently offered. Your wife needs to work on some of her own stuff, to then refocus on you as a couple. Let her have that timeout, please, and take it not as a "negative point" for either you or your relationship. Lets face it, if this was going to be a quick process to resolve NONE of us would be visiting this site as much as we all do, lol. And couple counseling IS stressful and sometimes a little too "real" when hard feelings are there. Take a break, read more about AdhD and ask your wife to do it too. Its one of the best ways to head down the "path of understanding".The support here is great, for trying to reconcile these feeling can take seemingly FOrEVER with our partners.

Ok, millionth lesson I just

Ok, millionth lesson I just learned about how my silly attempt at humor can be misread!

It took me a couple of reads...but I got what you were saying. I'm sure now that everyone understands, it brings about a little chuckle. :)

Hey if I can make you all

Hey if I can make you all laugh for a moment, well then, great! Sometimes I think we all take life too serious, even with these heavy feelings it helps me to think of the things that bring me joy: my kids, my friends (the support!), the many blessings that God gave me...the laughter and beauty of life itself! I know it sounds corny but I do believe it...And try to keep some part of this joy even through dark moments...! Sending positive thoughts to you all guys!!
Hypr1's picture

My Uniquivityness abolished - thanks to you guys!

My feelings of uniqueness have been dissolved. Thanks to you guys. ALL of the points you three have written about are making sense to me. OMG - SherriW13: EVERYTHING you said was spot on - about taking time to work on ourselves, seperately. The fact that you said almost verbatim what my wife tried to say. If she has indicated at all that she wants to leave me, then it is only in honesty. For her to acknowledge if I keep going down the dark path, that she can't live that way. For her to say that hurt her immensly and was hard for her to say. But she needed to say  it. Do I blame her -- no way. Does it make me hurt and angry and paranoid... I'd be lying if I said it didn't, as you said "true to your ADD - more sinister). I am working to identify when this happens, and so when I go to my (was our) counselor - I am going to require some action and tools from him. Without direction I am lost (metaphorically). <-- humor

I asked her last night at supper to clarify what she said is what I thought I heard. And as usual, many things were not clear to me. She didn't say when "I" want to go back to couples session whe would go, she more accurately told me that she said,, "IF WE need to go back after some time she is all for it". I hate my ADD/dyslexic audio processing system... aka brain - sometimes. After telling her my feeeeelings that this felt like a step backward and some what of an abandonment to me - she reassured me that she needed to work on her, and hoped that I would take it as a chance to deal with my stuff. Hard to discuss but turned out AOK.

Confused60 - you don't sound confused ;-) Thanks for talking about the roller coaster - sometimes I like the rush, other times it's a "I am gonna die"!!! Yeah, like that.

Lululove -- thank you for your comments and understanding. For me I think I need to THINK and then think again - my ADHD brain seems to twist things into what I think I want to hear, or not ;-).  It took me only a few reads of the comments after that post that I got it. Thank you! Whew --- wow indeed!

With all that is going on, I too get joy and fond feelings of all the good times that I have had with my DW and family. They mean the world to me, and I need to concentrate on ME to get back to THEY. I've been sick at home the last four days as a bad chest cold is kicking my butt. I have breathing issues to it knocks me out. Wheeeeze - hack.

Tomorrow I am off to my counselor so I will either get an idea of our plan of action (that is his plan for me), or I'll find another that can handle that request. I don't want to concentrate on the crap, I want to create a path forward for me, back to the light so to speak.


Don't feel so bad about that,

Don't feel so bad about that, I do that all the time myself. Not sure if it is HIS communication or my hearing...or both. It is OK to ask to touch base on certain issues that you aren't clear on or are needing some clarity about. Our counselor tells me all of the time "Stop assuming. NEVER assume anything. Just ask. If he doesn't answer clearly, ask again". It really is hard to 'listen' when such high emotions are involved anyway, so take it for what it is worth, you're doing great.

I hope that your counselor has some concrete ideas and suggestions for you. What specifically are you going to ask for help with? (if you don't mind my asking).

Hypr1's picture

Winging it for now...

Don't mind you asking, and thanks for doing that!

I will ask my counselor for tools, so I can hopefully find efficient ways to keep tabs on my feelings, such as why am I angry right now, why am I depressed, why am I frozen. How to tune into (or out of?) those body sensations that try to tell me when to put the brakes on (verbally) and such. I have such shitty annoyed-ness indicators (when I am annoying others ;-), and find it is so easy to self loathe and crank myself down into the muck. I asked him for some tools such as those.

There are some childhood issues that I have that may explain some very personal issues (that I'd not need to talk about here). But they basically revolve around sexuality and abuse. Nothing huge but I've been thinking about them a lot since this all started(*). Which is an issue in my marriage. I just need to drill down into those for a session or two.

That's about it so far (tonight was my first 'alone' session in the past month). I want to explore ways to help myself hear more correctly, speak less abundantly, and recall more correctly the reality I find myself in. I've already explained to him that when I write things down (as now), I can put many more coherent thoughts down than when I open my BFM (that's big fat mouth <grin>). I call that thinking OUT LOUD. It can have really nasty repercussions.

(*) Oh, and there is that reality - based - time experience of an ADHD mind. My wife said Sunday that she realizes that "this" all started for me fairly recently. I was relieved to hear that. Yes - I have vivid cinematic recollections of our problems going back for (I've been told) years. BUT - in my world those things all have the same weight relative to each other, in time and importance. And also in my ADHD mind, since they all seem like they happened yesterday, or last month; and they are hard for me to look at::: what better way than to just forget about them... so -- for me to head back into counseling is a good thing I believe today.

Gotta stop now -- none too soon. Thanks!

confused60's picture

Checking in

Hypr1, how's that chest cold doing?  My DW has been hacking for at least 4 weeks now, despite a round of antibiotics.  I seem to have escaped whatever the bug is, but it has latched onto her big time.  She always chastises me for getting annual flu shots and I think that or the H1N1 shot have protected me.  My place of work makes it too convenient to pass up a free shot.

Good thing about the counseling you mention; I wish I could find someone in my area that I can connect with.  The last one was a nut case of a PHD.  Guess I continue down my current path of self analysis. I also plan to start meds by consulting with my PCP.  Not sure I want to try uppers so will go for something like an antidepressant.  I pay careful attention to the side effects; I work for a big pharma company and know all too well that the benefit must outweigh the risks.  After all, these things are mucking with the brain and who knows what the long term side effects can be.  Ah, I'm too old to care about that.

You said I don't sound confused.  I'm not any more, but hooo boy was I ever confused when I first learned about ADHD this past Christmas break, hence the screen name.  Since then I've learned quite a bit about me and I am relieved to see that there may be a biological foundation for my strange behavior over most of my life.  Ye gads, what a relief-- and a challenge to fix, no less.  It's interesting that I've followed many of the recommendations for dealing with ADHD by simply trying to compensate for my personal difficulties.  Things like tracking spreadsheets and endless post-it notes.  Only thing is I need to apply those same tools and techniques learned at work to my personal life.

Yep, tools and a self-analysis of how to know when I've entered what I call "the zone".  I know I'm entering it because I can feel my whole body fill with heat (probably high blood pressure) and I get very assertive.  Not aggressive, assertive.  I'm basically a non-confrontational kind of guy so when I become very assertive I've entered the zone.  I think the word obnoxious is probably also applicable here.

Well, time to go puke up my morning coffee.  Kidding (half), Lyrica plus meloxicam plus tramadol and coffee = upset tummy.  BTW all you nerve ending pain sufferers, I find the Lyrica is pretty decent for controlling fibromyalgia.  Works most but not all of the time, at least on my small dose of 75mg 2x/day.  There are multiple strengths available but I'm fearful to take anything stronger.  Need to eat something fast...

Take care of yourself.

Hypr1's picture

Doing better!

Yea, chest cold. Still sick but back at work yesterday and today. This one is highly contagious, for sure. No antibiotics yet. No flu shot for me so far... dang it. My meds for ADHD are just Adderall XR so far and it is making a huge difference. I also take Lyrica, more than you do but it works. I take it for general overall pain  I.E. FM - but I don't think I have FM - just lots of joint pain. It is also a good mood stabilizer and helps with anxiety without the stupifying effects of other meds I've had. I'm glad you found out about ADHD. I was diagnosed for years with mild bipolar. Always thought that was a fairly accurate diagnosis until I delved into ADHD and my life. I may be mildly bipolar but I am a raging ADHD'r! My career choice of Computers and IT always played into the skills that ADHD people have - until the last few years. THE ZONE... oh yeah. I hear the assertiveness. That is a good diagnoses Dr Confused! I also am working on recognizing the force of feeling that I know I can learn to sense when I am getting hyper. I had a counseling session last night and we are going to work on identifying "things" that get me going or modes of being that start distraction. If I know that something causes me to be distracted because of myADHD maybe I can derail it, instead of getting derailed by it.

Oh -- coffee... well, after starting the Adderall, I've had to lay off the coffee. So, I have a tea in the morning... seems to work well. Tramadol -- I was on tramadol for years, until I sttarted the ADHD med Adderall. Now -- don't go by my experience, but the day I started my first dose, I forgot (hmmmm) to take my tramadol and have only taken 25mg three times in over 1 month.... I don't get it but I am going with it.

So -- thanks man. I'm going to keep reading the ADHD effect on marriage... and the other books. I think that both my wife and I are calmer now that we have started working on ourselves individually. Only 1 week on now, but if it works I'm gonna work with it.

Ginger ale - always works for my tum tum... Take care of your self too!