Just joined the forum last week after reading posts from lauriejs and many others, and wishing I had found this place a long time ago. I've suspected my husband might have ADHD since last summer; suspicions increased when I found out his 13 y.o. daughter from his first marriage had been diagnosed with the same.
We've been together almost exactly 10 years (and married for 7.5 of them), and our divorce should be finalized sometime this month. My decision, not his - but he sure hasn't done much to make me regret the choice. He's been unemployed or underemployed for 5.5 years, which is almost the entire time we've been living together. When we met, we were both very successful, I thought, in our respective military careers. He was charming, intelligent, and always the life of the party - a classic ESFP, if you follow Myers-Briggs theory. I'm an INFJ, and I've always been attracted to people who are spontaneous, fun-loving, and ambitious. Anyway, military/school-related geographic separation kept us apart for the first couple years. As hard as I thought that time was, only getting to see him every 6 months or so, it was the best time of our marriage. We video-chatted on Skype constantly, he was so emotionally supportive, and we had no financial entanglements. Everything went to hell in 2008. I dropped out of my PhD program because of depression memory problems from what turned out to be untreated PTSD, and made plans to move to San Antonio to be with him. Then he failed out of an exclusive training program that was supposed to move his career in an exciting direction and take us to Japan. [I had already gotten our cat medically certified for the move, and had been learning Japanese in preparation - it was that "sure" of a thing.] Then he had to leave the Air Force entirely. I'm not going to say why the program-failing and eventual departure from the military happened, because I really don't know what to believe anymore. At the time, it was presented like a horrible vendetta some people had against him; now, I honestly think it may have been because he was kind of an unreliable screw-up. But I believed him then, and I wanted to support him. I worked through my own issues and got a decently-paying contract job, while trying to give him time to deal with his situation. Actually, he scored me the interview with someone he knew through work, which was very helpful - give credit where credit's due. Then he spent the next nearly 2 years mostly ignoring me, smoking out on our apartment balcony while reading blogs, or playing video games. And he spent lots of money. Tablets, phones, other random electronic toys. I spent lots of money too, on things for him that I hoped would make him happy and motivate him to reengage with life again. Like a new Jeep Wrangler, motorcycles.. an actual COMPANY that he said he wanted to work... I tried every method of support I could think of, but nothing worked to get him to a place where he was actually willing to work on getting functional.
Um, since this is my 1st post, I'm going to gloss over most of the details, but around that time we had a major argument that became the beginning of a repeated pattern: I lost my temper that he was doing so little, he agreed to do more, then slowly and inefficiently did exactly enough to shut me up for about a year, at which point I'd lose it again. Fast-forward to last August - we had moved into a house that he wanted, he was unemployed again, and we had just had a terrible summer visit from his daughter where he was just a worthless parent most of the time, and she had cried almost every day because of something he had said or done. And I asked for a separation, for us to figure out what we wanted from life, and to get counseling. To his credit, he quickly agreed to the counseling. Unfortunately, that was the only positive thing he did. I gave him $2,500 cash, and access to our debit account for EMERGENCIES only, until he could get a card from the new account he set up with our bank. By the time he got that card, he had taken another $1500 from that account - over only a 2 week period. He moved in with a manager from the part-time job he had at one point that he managed to get back. The guy's married with kids, but has 2 other renters in addition to my husband staying in his house - it's a weird situation, but he's only charging him like $200/month for rent. Nothing but broken promises and unrealistic dreams from him in the counseling sessions. I had a breakdown from, among other things, the stress of watching the marriage fall apart, and ended up taking a few months disability leave from my job.
There were a few "last straws," but for the most part, I just broke from the accumulated disappointments of 5 years, plus the growing realization that he had misrepresented himself to me the entire time I had known him. I still like him as a person, actually. He was never "mean" to me in any of the ways I've been seeing some people talk about - not a yeller, no physical abuse, no cheating. Possibly he knew that that sort of thing is an absolute deal-breaker for me. He always stayed right on the line of what behavior I was willing to tolerate. But without him making some efforts to change, I finally came to the conclusion that I can't fix the relationship by myself. For the record, I did tell him that I thought he might have ADHD, like his daughter, that it was okay if he did, and that I really wanted him to talk to a professional and see if there was anything we could do to work with these issues - but he never really followed up on any of that.
I filed a petition for divorce in early December. The 60-day waiting period required by Texas law is over in about a week, and then I can actually submit for the divorce decree. I thought my life was over for months, but I'm finally starting to feel okay about it. I feel like I wasted so much effort over the years trying to support him, and I got so little in return. Many of my family and friends have described him as a con artist or a charmer, and I think that's unfair. I know he loved me. I know he *wanted* to achieve the goals he said he had... he just wasn't willing or able to put in the sustained effort required to do any of it. I can't blame him for being the way he is... but I am sad that the loss of our marriage wasn't enough to make him push past his comfort zone and at least seek help. I still want to - as a friend - encourage him to look into ADHD treatment, because I think he'd make someone else down the road a fine husband if he could learn some methods to compensate for his weaknesses with his many natural strengths. But I can't go back to him. There's far too much damage, and I feel like he's so deep in a rut now that he may never be able to come out. I wonder, if I had done something much earlier in the relationship - given him an ultimatum (which I hate doing) or left after a year or two instead of 5, could it have made a difference? That's my main regret at this point.