Stressed and confused! Am I wrong in doing this??

Hey very helpful people,


  Well, quick update/recap: my adhd guy and I see each other as the loves of our lives. The kicker of course is our sex life has ground down to near zero [ he's taking anti depressants, which I'm all for, but does that mean everything has to stop?! ] we do next to nothing together, and lately he's been pulling insane all nighers and vampire hours. I've asked, I've written down, repeatedly, how important it is to spend some time together, as a couple, in ways that have nothing to do with housework or his issues. No go. Same for me asking him to take his meds on a regular schedule. 


 I don't want to live without him, but I can't live like this, either. This is horrible. I've decided to tell him tomorrow that this relationship can't continue if things don't change. He has tools - they must be used. Honestly I feel sick and petrified. There are many, many good qualities to this man and he works too hard so the last thing I want to do is inadvertently make him feel bad. 

As if on cue, yesterday I get a message from him saying he's feeling depressed, anxious, frozen, he is getting 'sick' again. I stressed out as I did not want to deal with a psychiatric emergency or severely depressed man again, alone. He has isolated from all friends and family. And then, the switcheroo - he came home with all sorts of little presents and a love note for me, and seems totally fine. 


 I am wondering if I am crazy, or if he is. I feel almost evil and unjustified in telling him our relationship might not make it. I wonder how much patience I should have. I wonder if I am doing the right thing! I feel like I can't tell my left hand from my right any more. 


 Anything anybody says will be most welcome. Bless you all,


rara avis



To me this sounds like he did

To me this sounds like he did a quick reboot. My DH will do this me, be an emotional mess (not crying, just melting down) and then an hour later it is as if nothing happened. Our counselor described this as if he were a pressure cooker...needing to let it all out...and once he does, he is recharged and ready to face another hour/day/week, until the next time. It is exhausting.

You aren't spending much time together for a reason. He's running. He's probably feeling overwhelmed and out of control. He's withdrawing. I have spent many, many years of my marriage living the same exact scenario and am living it to some degree right now, although he wants me to believe it is work keeping him gone 14-18 hours a day, I know it isn't always work. Three days this week alone he COULD have been home, but chose to be elsewhere.

I have chosen to handle it by:

1. not stressing over it. I cannot change it, so if and/or until I am ready to leave, I will not let it overwhelm me and obsess over it.

2. I've already made plans with and made tenative plans with friends and plan on jump starting my own social life. It did me a WORLD of good to spend time with a good friend the other day. It is spend time with people who TRULY enjoy my company and don't feel I am to be avoided but to also realize that my husband isn't one of those people.

It is what it is. If you're truly unable to go another day like things are then you need to be honest with him. Only you know when you're truly done, but I am very familiar with the behaviors/patterns and I know that they have been the hardest part of my husband's ADHD to not only deal with but to make him GET IT that they are damaging to the very core of our marriage. I am giving up more and more with each passing day...but since I am not fighting with him over it, I am sure, in his mind, everything is fine. I've made him very aware of how I feel it is a deal breaker to be married but to have paths that never cross on any meaningful level and I have to just accept that he is making his own decisions, he knows how I feel about what he's doing, and he will have to live with the consequences when all of the decisions add up to the destruction of our marriage. I can't stop him. You can't stop your BF. I would just make it clear to him, very calmly, that the way things are is no acceptable to you and that if he chooses to continue ignoring your needs in the relationship then his consequences will be losing you. Don't let it become a huge ordeal...state your feelings and don't get caught up in the ADHD tornado that he will try and throw at you. "it hurts me when we don't spend any time together. I am asking you to consider what you are doing and how it is affecting our relationship. I am considering splitting up if it doesn't change". Period. I wish you the best of luck. You're not alone, not that it makes things any easier for you. (((HUGS)))

I wanted to clarify one thing

I wanted to clarify one thing about the reboot...I don't hold this against him anymore and I don't panic when he does it either. I accept that this is just a part of who he is the same as my PMS is a part of who I am and he tolerates it (for the most part) each month. It is a very real 'need' of his, it seems, and our counselor felt it was a great sign that when he needed to reboot, I was the person he called. Although I felt it was cruel because I was not able to see it as "no big deal" like everyone else (including DH) I am 95% better about that now and I do not panic when he has his meltdowns. I will say this...they are a lot more frequent and 'dramatic' when he's don't ignore this as 'no big deal' because it could mean that your BF is really struggling with his ADHD and depression right now. He needs to take his meds regularly and seek help.

Not home 14-18 hours a day,

Not home 14-18 hours a day, always on the phone txting/interneting/"work emails/texts at all hours.. Hotel charges (!) a few months ago on a crdit card that he thought was secret (and states now it was for a friend...spending a lot of money, ignoring me, acting like I am a big selfish nuisance that deserves little respect. Hmmm adhd, mlc, abusing of substances.. And possibly affair (he swears no on the last one)..I am moving away into self protection, going to warmer places of support too, and making clear without arguing that this is not cool. I am not a fool, doormat, or nuisance. I am valuing myself more- and pursuing avenues that I and my kids have been enjoying immensely. We (kids and I) are having our special times- movie night, dinners, friends coming over, snuggling- all without a Dad.husband who is so self absorbed right now. It is currently his decisions driving this and most definitely his loss. I'm done being the only one trying everything- but will treat him civilly and with the respect that I continue to expect in return (but clearly do not always get)...leaving some things out, but you get the gist?!


I do not have time to respond...but wanted to offer ((((HUGS)))). I will respond when I get time...I am feeling your pain and right there with you. Getting ready to leave to spend the morning/early afternoon with my daughter and leaving him at home. He cannot make it home until after bedtime every night this week (3 were HIS choice and not work related) then I really don't have much to offer. (yes, my anger is getting the best of me today...doing a lot of praying..for us both!)



This weekend was tough...but some good things happened too. Had a two hr conversation regarding the " story of us". Patience, communication, deflection of the "crazymaking", requesting for fun talk/ and hugs and physical touch (no sex). DH probably thinking this was the worst ever, but then maybe not. Work in progress...

Some brief thoughts: • it's

Some brief thoughts: • it's appropriate for you to explain how this affects you and that it puts your relationship at risk. Be clear about how grave this and how freaking out or getting more depressed moves it further in the wrong direction • do your best to be very specific about what actions or things you need • once we found the right counselor my wife and I were able to dig into things we never could address ourselves • depression is bad for sex life and antidepressants are often bad for libido. This seems serious and coaching from a counselor would help if you two can find a way to do this

Re-boot, that sounds

Re-boot, that sounds fascinating. Makes sense.

 I have taken us to a counselor, and mentioned another adhd psych. [ recommended by a friend with adhd, the psych. himself has adhd! ] but the counseling session was a disaster, and no response on the other option. 

 Part of me wants to ignore the issue today, but I know I can't live on this whirlygig forever. Or even for another month. I wish I could teleport into the future where I could be past this horrible juncture! I'll stay calm as I speak, but inside I feel torn to shreds.

 Okay, enough self pity! Thanks everybody for your support during this time!!!!


rara avis

counselor option

I understand that the counselor visit that was a disaster ... it has to be considered a journey.  When you get a good fit between you two and the counselor, having a 3rd party (and an expert one) help you illsutrate the patterns that  you both are living in and how they might not be really moving your relationship upward, is really helpful and productive.  I am 30+ years married, and hooking up with a great counselor (started with help for my child) has been an amazing influence in our relationship.  He really knew how to poke at all the unskillful things we were doing.  He too is ADHD himself, and not only understands it deeply, he lives the handicap himself.  Not a bad thing, ADHD must never be an excuse, only a factor.  

If you and BF are saying to each other that you are really interested in making it work, then you and he should be able to commit to keep trying to understand and break your patterns.  You are not ADHD but you might be failing to set and manage boundaries you need to keep yourself sane.  You might be having expectations or dreams of change that are unrealistic.  You might be allowing yourself to be manipulated (and his manipulation might not be intentional or malicious but rather just learned or a coping pattern).  

My counselor is a "behavioral restructuralist" - not so much interested in how you got here, but focused on what is happening and what to do about it.  (kind of like a good car mechanic)  I keep pressing this because the experience has been so important to my wife, my children and me.

Maybe this is not in the cards for you now, but you should keep in the back that having a *really good* expert counselor can't be beat!

On the other hand, maybe things are too crazy or your BF is in substantial psychological trouble and you just don't want to live this life... you don't have to.  You should only take it on if the majority of factors are really good and you are up to living a life with an ADHD guy who will always be that  - only hopefully a bit more self aware and active in applying the tools that can help make it more livable.  Please don't think it can go away!  My wife says I am so much better now, yet I still certainly frustrate her at times!



Update: I had to leave a note

Update: I had to leave a note instead of talk in person, because of a scheduling conflict. This worked better for me at least [ and probably him ] because I am much more collected and clear in writing. With the exception of message boards that I write to because I'm desperate ;)

 He responded well to the note, and to talking to his friend, who came over. He acknowledged the difficulties he's been having, and how he's been neglecting me, and how he'd like to clean up his huge mess, spend time with me, etc...It was a very lucid sounding conversation.  BUT, and this is a big BUT, he went to bed at 6 am. I told him that his priority - cleaning up his stuff - can't happen - really nothing can happen unless he keeps regular hours and takes regular medication! He agreed and listed diet, exercise, etc...stuff he needs to do for self care. He is not doing it...

 In addition of course, my request for intimacy and time together was steamrolled. He says we spend a lot of time together [ 7 all nighters in a row?! ] and he needs to put his stuff away. He said I need to see the world through his eyes. ARG! He has no idea how much I've been doing my best to do that. He rejected the adhd counselor idea, he says he has more than adhd going on so he's not going to try. His stuff is growing and massing all over my new house, and he wants me to help more in helping with the messses he is making. Meanwhile, I guess his things will sort themselves out,  in the middle of the night!  Perhaps we'll be a couple when he magically sorts all his belongings out without eating, sleeping, or medicating properly. 

 I just took a shower and started sobbing.  I feel crazy. He seems so sane, yet so insane. None of my needs are being met. His methods of solving his life are caca. You guys,  this feels like total madness. This is such a nightmare. 

 Thank you for listening!!! I am truly at my wits end. Next step, kick him out?! Waagh. 


Bless you all

rara avis

Ask him what he means when he

Ask him what he means when he says you need to look at the world through his eyes. Really ask. Really listen. Ask him "tell me what it is that you want me to know that will help me understand the all nighters, the relationship void of quality time and intimacy that you are asking me to accept...explain to me what it is that you see that you want me to see" and let him talk. Sometimes just having that voice, that chance to get it out, helps. Don't interrupt him, don't question his 'reality', don't criticize...just listen. I know this will be hard because sometimes a LOT of what my husband says sounds like excuses...but just listen anyway. He knows the things you're unhappy about...the lack of time together, the messes, the lack of intimacy, etc. Maybe it is a long shot but worth a try to just ask him "what do you want me to know about you? what am I missing?" Many times my husband will say "You don't accept me for who I am" and I try to tell him that I accept a lot of things about him that are just common little annoyances (although ADHD related and cause me a lot of work and stress) but I won't sacrifice my own boundaries and accept everything just because it is easier for me to accept than it is for him to change. There has to be a line. There has to be compromise. ADHD does not give them free reign to do anything they want and blame the ADHD...but it also requires our understanding and patience on a level like no other...and yes, some acceptance of things that drive us nuts. I'm sure I have my things that drive him nuts too.

I would insist on professional help...nothing will ever change if you don't. That is where I would start. (((HUGS)))


Yes but then, in a gentle,

Yes but then, in a gentle, non accusatory way- ask him to see it through your eyes too. Having adhd can make it very very difficult to have empathy for others. And with their partners it can be doubly so- thanks to the increase in emotional baggage. Yet in order to truly be mutually respectful, this must go in two ways. "i love you, but I dont always understand what you mean. It is hard for me .... when something like "...." happens. it would be helpful if "...short concise words..". Be specific. Be kind. Be calm. Tall order, yes, but steer clear from the drama (so pick the times for these chats at opportune times).

Those are both great

Those are both great suggestions. I didn't ask for specifics. I also feel like he should see the world through my eyes. My basic needs seem to count for nothing :( 

Two thumbs up on the counselor idea. I've tried twice. Second time I found an adhd counselor, who HAS adhd himself, that a friend with adhd [ and seems to be doing really well ] highly recommends. My BF said that adhd is not the only problem and won't see him. The previous counselor he said didn't 'get' him, and also that we didn't need counseling. IMHO if your sig other takes you to counseling together, you do need it!!

I will use those suggestions, thanks! As for counseling...sigh...cattle prod? I don't think I need to dream about beating my head against a wall anymore, since it seems to be what's happening in real life!!

Thanks, everyone!

rara avis

No, no cattle prod- no point.

No, no cattle prod- no point. Look, everyone has a right to go or not go to counseling. If he is NOT READY, not comfortable- pushing him to do it will only serve to stir up more resentment. If you went together, feeling how he feels- it could just make things/his anger and feeling of impotency worse. Been there done that. You might go to counseling on your own though, but save the adhd counselor for when he ia ready. Sounds like a really good option for when and if that situation arises. For now, I would work on the 90billion ;) other things we can work on. Take it slow, this is not an immediate fix kind of thing (if you could call any optimal resolution a "fix" even)...

But there comes a point when

But there comes a point when you either are at a 'sh!t or get off of the pot' point in your relationship and waiting around until they are 'ready' to go to counseling may very well NEVER happen. Since I am a firm believer that without it, nothing will change, then it is a deal breaker for me. We aren't going right choice. Now that the kids are back in school and I have some time to breathe I am going to get us back in again. He's on meds again and seeing a psychiatrist for that...he's confirmed the ADHD the next step.

If you can 'wait' it out, great...but so many of us aren't strong enough to just sit back and wait and hope that they decide someday that they might be ready to think about going. Ya know? He has a right to refuse to go, that's very true. I also have a right to refuse to stay married to him if he does.

I agree with Lulu, he needs

I agree with Lulu, he needs to understand the world through your eyes too...I didn't mean (by leaving that out) to imply differently. I have become the queen of "yes, I understand that is how you feel but you also need to understand that I don't see it that way and we need to just agree to disagree". Accepting that our realities are so very different more often than not is very hard. I am sure it is very hard for him too. But it is the truth...they often just simply do not see what we see...AT ALL.

Getting them to actually physically spend quality time with the family has been one of the most difficult struggles for me. Trying to accept that it just (enough) is very difficult too. I am being avoided/ignored right now. I have my theories as to why, but know nothing for sure. Add this to my (very valid) trust issues and you can only imagine how hard day-to-day life with him is right now. I KNOW he isn't aware of any of this. I am understanding of the work he has to do right now, the long hours he's having to pull, but he takes total advantage of that by spending 3 of the 5 nights last week away from home for personal reasons not related to work at all. I don't know if he doesn't think it matters, is trying to slip it in with the long work hours hoping I won't notice, is intentionally avoiding me and feeling that it is the lesser of the two evils for me to just be mad at him for not being home...I honestly don't know. Hell will freeze over before I will mention it again...about how he never spends any quality time with his family anymore..about how family day as suffocated and died at his hands (every excuse in the world to lay in bed all weekend long). Like I told him last night...his decisions..his consequences. I spent a lot of years pounding this into his head, that his family needs him. I need him. I need more than what I'm getting (which is pretty much nothing...unless he wants sex). It doesn't work. He is in the 'run/avoid' mode like your BF and Lulu's husband. Best I can do is create a happy environment at home (he's blaming me of course...he said "who would want to be around you, listen to you" when I was complaining about how he had spent 3 nights last week away from home for personal reasons) and hope for the best. His choices...his consequences. The consequences are going to be very real...soon. Life is too short.

Oh I was joking about the

Oh I was joking about the cattle prod! :) Nobody can control anybody, really. 

Seriously though, I gave him a loose ultimatum and he just blew right through it. I WROTE DOWN that our relationship COULD NOT CONTINUE if things kept on as they are. I was absolutely not kidding. Credit to him for not getting pissed. But he completely bypassed the entire point.  It's all about his needs, his needs, his needs.  If it's not about his needs, you see, he might REALLY go downhill. 'Wait for the miracle', he says, implying to wait for him to get his act together and THEN maybe he'll pay attention. By the time this supposed 'miracle' happens I'm going to be a total head case. He says he heard me.  Meanwhile he keeps coming up to me showing me new gadgets he's buying, new projects for his car, etc..etc...I feel utterly demoralized and unimportant. I think the value I have for him is the roof I put over his head and that I'm an ear for his talking. 

 Sorry I had to vent!!! I simply cannot seem to get him to see the gravity of this situation. I've been very calm outwardly this whole time, but I feel like screaming and throwing things [ will not ] 

 Appreciate the ears and advice, folks. I'll still try the suggestions. Just venting helps. xo


rara avis