Terribly frightened

I'm the wife and I'm the one with ADHD. I was officially diagnosed two weeks ago and am on day two with meds and I can definitely feel a big difference. So that's great. I hope it continues to be that way. But. It might just be too late. It's just so cruel and unfair to everyone involved. I am willing to do anything to fix things. Anything. Which of course my husband has heard many times before and so naturally even though he knows this time actually is different, he is highly skeptical and fearful. He has simply shut me out on an emotional level. He can interact with me just fine but when it comes to couple/relationship stuff, there's nothing there but a big fat wall. And he is incredibly aware of that fact and we talk about it every day. Which isn't much because he works in the evenings and has also taken to staying out until 1, 2 or sometimes 3 in the morning. But I make sure I wake up to get even a few minutes of his time. It's almost as if he consciously decided to put it up. He has no suggestions for me as to what I can do to break through it. His whole thing right now is he just doesn't have any answers about anything or even an inclination in his mind as to how all of this is going to turn out. He is willing to see a counselor, but is also skeptical that anyone will be able to provide any insight or real help. Other than seeing a counselor, I am currently at a loss for what to do next. I do plan to (attempt) to start working on plans to get things running more smoothly with our household and our kids. I do have control over that at least. Unfortunately I can't do anything at the moment on the relationship front if he won't engage me on that level. Right? Or are there things I could/should be doing that might help? Has anyone else dealt with a disconnected non-ADHD spouse? I want to stay together - aside from these issues, we have built a life together that I cherish.

Terribly Frightened

Hi Emily,

Im sure many others with more experience on this forum will be along shortly to advise you, but I thought I would put my two cents in also.

Please read Dr. Hallowell's books (Driven to distraction, Delivered from Distraction and Married to Distraction) I have read the first two and am on the third one right now and they have been very helpful with understanding the situation. Also sign up for WedMD newletter and select ADD/ADHD. You will receive any new articles that get published medically related to this issue via your email....very nice feature.

My next suggestion is to go to marriagebuilders.com (Dr. Willard Harley). Read everything on that site, including the discussion forums.  You can also listen to the audio files and the radio program (mon-fri) one hour.

My info....I am the non-ADD spouse. I'm 52, H is 50 we have been married 24 years, three kids. He was diagnosed about 15 years ago and is on Adderall when he feels like taking it. By most accounts I would say he has a milder case but still has the main symptoms. So I am on the other side but I he did to me what your husband is doing to you. I employed Dr. Harley's advice for improving the marriage, make sure there is no affair going on, as the process is different then, and the suggestions and information from the Hallowell's and these forums.

We are 90% better today, than a year ago...we have a little further to go, but huge difference. These are simple things that you can do, but you MUST, MUST be consistent. If you need to write lists, get a day planner, put the reminders on your phone, anything to keep you on course. Some of it will feel awkward at first...but keep this thought in your mind 24/7 - " I will do this regardless of my spouse's reaction"

They are the right things to do...so your not doing anything that would be manipulative or wrong. The biggest thing from my perspective was that I thought that he didn't care, that I wasn't important, so tell him to ask for what he wants...what makes him feel like he is your top priority, and that you care. Even if that isn't what you would want or need, everyone is different. So if he says well if you gave me a hug three times a day, that would make me feel like I'm important... then do it, everyday, make it a habit.

Trust me, the longer you follow some of the things laid out there and here the easier it gets, until they are habits that will make him happier. Also, you can respectfully ask for what you need as well. I always thought my H never heard me when I said stuff but about 3 months ago I asked for something (just once) that I would like and that I missed. I let it go and didn't bring it up again and about two weeks later he started doing what I had asked for.....it was an eye opener.

I and many others on here really do feel your pain and my best suggestion is to take a deep breath and see this as a long journey...Do not, do not do anything rash, make threats and resolve to never argue with your H again....There are better ways so that you don't have to.

I wish you luck and hope things work out for you.


Just one more thing...

I don't know Dr. Harley's advice, but to add to the wise words of Queenie, I think you might also need to work on regaining your husband's respect along with the trust. I would also make sure those late nights don't involve another woman. Assuming they don't, I think I might just have a little talk with my husband in a calm, sweet tone and tell him you are so genuinely sorry for the chaos you've been responsible for, that you understand why he's shut down and you don't blame him, and if he ultimately decides to leave, you will be very sad but will understand. I would then go quietly get myself a make-over, honey, and do whatever you need to do to be your very best self...and like Queenie says, be consistent. Work your program and be diligent at it. Make the Decision that This is IT. Actions are all that count right now. Stop apologizing...you've done that already and you've meant it. Now it's time to go be the dynamite woman you are. and as Dr. Phil says, "Do it Until...." I think if you take this approach, you'll eventually win him back over time, once he sees that you really mean business. If he doesn't end up coming back, you still have your New You!

Thank you

Thank you both for your thoughts and advice. And your encouragement! I don't believe there is another woman he is seeing. He has lots of friends that he hangs out with and he often just goes riding around on his motorcycle at night too. But nothing is impossible. I'll probably ask him just for peace of mind - I will say we've both been very open about all of this, so I don't fear him lying or getting offended. I was lucky enough to get a counseling appointment next Tuesday evening. I am fortunate to have an EAP that will give me six free sessions. And this practice takes my insurance should we decide to go beyond that. So that gives me a little something to hold onto for now.

Terribly Frightened

Hi Emily,

Please read everything from Dr. Harley's site and check your local library for his books "Fall in Love, Stay in Love" and "His needs, Her Needs" and "Lovebusters". Please keep in mind that marriage counsolers in general are not very successful, make sure you have one that is pro-marriage and not one the is pro personal growth.

Also, almost all people when confronted with a question of someone else or cheating WILL deny it. Please do your own snooping for your own peace of mind. I asked and snooped hard, luckily found nothing. Hopefully that will be the case with you as well. EA's (Emotional Affairs) are just as destructive as Physical Affairs so snoop his email and social websites.

You have a good chance of having not just a good marriage but a great one that fulfills both of you...but it is work once the "in love" feeling has gone. But he is still there and start today to be kind, REGARDLESS OF HIS REACTION.

Keep up updated and wish you well

Yep. I snooped. At first I

Yep. I snooped. At first I didn't really find anything. Then I did. Emotional affair. So that changes things considerably. Right now I feel more anger than sadness. I can certainly understand that I have driven him away, but the lying is still unfair to me. Especially considering everything I've stood by him through over all these years. I at least deserve his respect.

Same issues

Hi Emily,

Other than the fact that I'm a dude, our situations are the same.  I have ADHD, my wife had the affair.  She's distant, "fed up" etc.  Very short answer: stop focusing on the relationship, start fixing you.  If that gets his attention and he wants to engage again great.  If he doesn't, well, then, at least you've been working on you.  Most of all, DON'T. PANIC.  You're in for a long, hard process.  Be the tortoise, not the hare.  Pick ONE aspect of your ADHD driven (mis)behavior and focus on improving that.  Real change can happen.  Real success can come.



Update and more thanks

A lot can change in not even two days' time. I have certainly been on an emotional roller coaster. But - I am certainly happy/relieved to report that there is hope. This relationship, upon being discovered and confronted by me, is now over. I actually did not expect a resolution to this piece so quickly, but it's a massive relief. I feel like it will much easier to concentrate on moving forward. Queenie - thank you thank you thank you for referring me to marriagebuilders.com. It has been so enlightening and seems to me to be the perfect external structure/aid I need to support my efforts to rebuild my relationship with my husband. Absolutely there is a long road ahead and it's up to me. But that's also the good news, right? That it is up to me.

And yes - one thing at a time. Quick band aid fixes need to be a thing of the past. They've only ever done more harm than good.