Is there any hope?

He got diagnosed 3 months ago and I just want him fixed. I'm so tired of lame excuses and want this to end. If I knew he had a brain disease I would never have married him. I am so angry! His medication is not doing its job! He does better at work and with chores around the house but he isn't better otherwise. I found this site looking around for a different medication or something to try. I can't believe what I've been reading about ADHD, I can't believe I married someone with a brain disease that makes him uncaring, lazy, irresponsible, selfish, messy pig! I just want him to get better and be a real husband. Be a man. I feel so stupid and duped. How could I have married a monster and not know it? I feel cheated and lied to. He must have hidden his "symptoms" from me until I was trapped. I want a real man, not some pathetic baby who can't remember what day it is or where  his keys are. I HATE this ADD crap and I want it to go away. I want what my friends have. I think its fair to want to have a normal husband and a normal life! He keeps talking about how things are going to get better and we will have kids and la de da. KIDS? Why would I have kids with a grown baby? Why would I have kids with a man who would give me sick babies with a brain disease that makes them stupid and lazy? I hate this. I want out. I want this ADD gone. I want it fixed or he can leave. Go home to his mother or live on the streets I don't care. His brain disease has ruined my life. How dare he ruin my life with his sickness? I've worked hard all my life, put myself through school and built a career ... all so I can take care of some sick little man baby who can't clean up after himself or pay his car insurance on time. I am so sick and tired of his crap. I didn't ask for this. I'm sorry but I am so angry. I wish I knew about this ADD sooner and then I could have run away before we bought a house and got married. Now I am stuck with this man baby who is not the man I married. I married a nice man who was fun and sweet and loved me now I am trapped with a sick man baby. I feel like I ma living with a monster a Frankenstein. I am smart and educated, I can't understand how I was so stupid to marry a crazy person. I am so mad at myself I can't forgive myself for being that stupid! Please tell me he will get normal. I NEED to hear that he can be fixed! I am loosing my mind!

He can't be fixed

He can't be fixed, he will never be normal.  He may, over time and with help from people who care about him, improve tremendously, but ADD never goes away.  But if you're projecting this level of anger, this level of disgust, he will never get better so long as you're in the picture.    This attitude is toxic to both him and you, and it's YOURS, not his, so it's your responsibility to deal with it.  You want ADD out of your life?  YOU can leave.  He's stuck with his ADD, and from the sounds of it, stuck with a partner who can't help him.  

I'm not usually so harsh but calling your husband a pig, less than a man, diseased... there are people on this site whose partners refuse to take meds, make changes, or even get diagnosed.  Many would be thrilled if they saw a noticeable improvement in their spouse's work life and household contributions.  It sounds like your husband is actually taking this seriously and making an effort.  It's really too bad you can't appreciate it. 

We cannot be fixed...

I certainly don't know anything about your husband, but I was undiagnosed for 43 years and I can tell you that after this discovery, ADD Meds and a lot of study I am a much improved version of my former self. Many ADDer's don't accept the diagnosis or are unwilling to do anything to improve things. Our brain work differently because we lack chemicals in the brain for "Normal" brain function. Many behaviors look bad or appear like we are selfish, forgetful or neglectful. These behaviors seem intentional because we make these decisions with our brains half asleep and walking in a fog. When we Hyper-Focus on one thing or one person we are capable of pretty impressive results, then exhausted by this focus the rest of the day can be full of poor choices or forgetting to most basic tasks or requests. ADD symptoms are the monster here, not the person. We have had an entire life of knowing how we had disappointed the ones we love, failing at tasks, forgetting to do things or prepare for some ones birthday and with each failure the self-esteem drops. It may look like we have an excuse for each event or something to blame for the failure because we don't want to add another failure to the list of ones we could have prevented. I used to go silent in confrontation and appear like I could "Give a $hit", but quite the contrary, I had a thousand thoughts in my mind but could not pluck the right one out, fearing it would be the wrong one. ADD is exhausting.

I feel so much better know and I am fighting to improve things. I have improved things and I know my new performance levels will take time to be perceived as how I am and not a temporary hyper-focus behavior.

If you are this angry I suggest further reading at this site. I have learned so much from the many good, understanding people here. Everyone has their own version of this situation with ADD and ultimately you will have to decide if your marriage can survive. ADD is a disease, not an excuse for behavior and is hard to deal with for both involved. I can throttle my ADD affects, but they never go away and remember ADD is part of the personality you fell in love with concerning your husband. If he can work on himself and improve things in your marriage, then there is a chance you can end up with more of the good person and way less of the bad ADD effects.


thank you

Reading each of your responses gives me such hope and insight. Thank you, thank you, a million times thank you for sharing your story here. I logged on looking for something I can grab on to right now to help me deal with a situation that happened today between my husband, myself, and our two daughters, and your explanation here is just what I needed to begin to get a grasp of things and how to deal with it respectfully. Thank you again for the good reminders!

I would agree that ADHD

I would agree that ADHD cannot be "fixed," as in there is not a "cure." The symptoms however can be mitgated or minimized with proper treatment. There IS hope...if you are BOTH willing to walk the hard road of getting there. Many here, including me, can relate to your sense of being duped--you didn't get who you thought you married. Frustrations run high and energy to stay the course runs low sometimes. The measure of whether your marriage is worth fighting for is different for everyone. It helped me to relate the condition to some other scenario that I could see and understand more plainly, such as a fall or a car crash or a brain tumor. If my husband got a bonk on the head which caused him to not be himself, would I try to be there and support him? I find ADHD is so deceivingly "normal" looking, it makes it hard to find compassion at times. It took me a long time to get to that point, and I still loose sight of it now and then, especially when the hurt creeps in. ADHD is so easy to write off as a$$hole-ish because it wraps itself into the intricacies of day to day living. If ADHD caused a physical malady such as a shriveled useless hand or crooked legs, I might find it easier to remember that it is something my spouse needs help with. I'm not denying the pain and angst an ADHD relationship causes, but just sharing some perspective that helped me through my experiences of denial and periodic unwillingness to bend. I sincerely hope you can recapture what you you loved about him when you married.

Hermie, if she's like me...

she fell in love with the hyperfocus. It is the most special feeling in the world to be hyperfocused on. Then when it's gone, you feel like you got run over by a truck. I think that's what this lady is feeling. I think all of us have felt like that sometime.

He's never going to be normal. I'm coming to terms with the fact that my husband is never going to be normal, probably never going to be able to work at a job that will replace the alimony income I lost when I married him, probably never going to care about me now that the hyperfocus is gone. He appears to have replaced the hyperfocus on his job with hyperfocus on computer solitaire. 

I am done. My daughter is a divorce attorney and she can best help me with this. The person I fell in love with doesn't exist any more. I can wish all I want that he did, but wishing does not make it so.

Ashedollar's picture

So True

"she fell in love with the hyperfocus. It is the most special feeling in the world to be hyperfocused on. Then when it's gone, you feel like you got run over by a truck. I think that's what this lady is feeling. I think all of us have felt like that sometime."

I have never read any truer words

As someone with ADHD...

While I fully understand the validity of your emotions and frustration (having inflicted it upon others, believe me I understand and the guilt is unbearable), what you write is beyond insulting and underscores the fact that you are completely ignorant of the forces at play here. I guarantee you your attitude and reaction is significantly contributing to your own misery as well as exacerbating his symptoms. If the disdain and resentment that you communicate in your post is how you treat him, then as bad as you feel, you're actually making him feel a million times worse because he has had to deal with people like you all of his life and those scars run very very VERY deep. On this path your marriage will fail and although he will bear some of that responsibility, you bear an equal amount of responsibility in this.

"His brain disease has ruined my life." As another poster said, YOU can leave and based on what I've read here you'd be doing him a HUGE favor HOWEVER, I must work under the assumption that the reason you're here is because you want to salvage your marriage, and that you still love him. With that said, here is my advice:

1. YOU need to see a psychologist ASAP and not just any psychologist, a psychologist that specializes in ADHD. Ask the psychologist if he can refer a psychiatric consult. This is not an insult, just a simple fact of how the brain works. Sounds like you've been miserable for a long time. After a while this will literally change the neurochemistry in your brain. The fix is psychotherapy but the brain is very plastic and without the right balance of neurotransmitters (serotonin is a biggy for women) you have probably learned and reinforced so many forms of negative thinking that it might take A LOT of psychotherapy to undo that damage, long enough that it might be too late for your marriage. The right medication can help to rebalance the soup in your brain, making psychotherapy more effective (meds WILL NOT change your emotions, they will however help you get to a functional state where you can take a more logical and rational approach to your recovery (yes, you need to recover) including whether or not you want to stay with your husband).

2. Read as many books on ADHD and relationships that you can find, including Melissa Orlov's book. I 100% guarantee you that once you start reading these books you will starting looking around your home for hidden cameras and microphones.

3. The two of you should see a therapist (again, one that specializes in ADHD) together

4. Was the psychiatrist he saw a specialist in ADHD? Doesn't matter if they've "treated" ADHD patients before, if they are not a specialist, then they are most certainly not qualified to treat your husband. His dose may be incorrect, or it may not be the best medication. If there are co-existing conditions I can almost guarantee you a non-specialist either missed them, or mis-diagnosed them.

5. Meds alone are often not enough. HE needs to see a psychologist who specializes in ADHD.

Finally, I find that most people don't know the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist. A psychologist is what you traditionally think of in terms of talk therapy. A licensed psychologist will either have a PhD or a PsyD in psychology. While some psychiatrists do talk therapy, that is pretty rare these days. Psychiatrists are qualified to prescribe medication and will have an M.D., thus you need to see a psychologist for your emotional treatment and a psychiatrist for your medical treatment.

Best wishes and good luck.


Well, I guess you told ME!

My husband lost his job because of his ADD symptoms. It was a job in mental health and he as a peer specialist, which means someone with a mental-health issue who is treating it to the extent he can function. He was fired because of typical ADD stuff-late to work because he lost his keys, lost his debit card, phone, couldn't consistently do notes. They hired him because he has ADD, then fired him because he could not control it perfectly.

I have begged him to look for work in his field, he won't. I have begged him to work at retail or some other field where he has worked before, he won't. I have suggested that, if he can't do a job set aside for the mentally ill, he might want to consider applying for disability, he won't. I have begged him to help me run this house (I am handicapped; housework is brutally hard for me.), and, you guessed it, he won't. I exist to take away the unpleasant parts of his life-working, housework, etc. so he can focus on what is important to him-computer solitaire and TV.

I have a part-time job working from home. We only have one computer and I have to fight him for it. After all, there are important card games to be played. Our total income is only $600 more than our rent-how in the world are we supposed to do all the things you suggest with no insurance and no money? We have to have internet for my job, and phone because we are job hunting (at least, I am), electricity, water, gas for our car and food. The psychology clinic at our local university will see him, eventually, but it's been 2 months since he had his intake and they haven't called yet. They are lovely people but I have clothes older than them. Experts they are not.

My point was that being married to someone with ADHD stinks. You fall in love with the hyperfocus, then find out that the person you fell in love with doesn't exist. He was a creation of the seratonin high of falling in love. Yes, I've read Melissa's book and it does talk about that. Reading other books is impossible. We can't afford to buy them and my husband ran up such a fine at the library that we will never be able to use it again.

Please do not think you know more than we do. My husband IS a psychologist, but I diagnosed his ADD from stuff I read on the internet (since confirmed by doctors, of course). I believe the thought patterns, so different from my own, feel so normal that they never dream there is anything wrong with them. I know the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist, and neither is available to a person without money or insurance.

Response was to the original poster

For clarity my response was not to you Sueann, it was to the original poster. I found nothing wrong with your post. Sorry if there was any confusion. This forum doesn't do a very good job of indicating response hierarchy.

Actually it does do a good

Actually it does do a good job (although it's not perfectly clear if you reply to the original post). So for future reference, responses directly to your posts will appear nested underneath your own (like the string of responses here). :-)

OK, thanks for clarifying that

I think the original poster was just venting, furious about the damage ADD caused to the person she thought she loved. I've never seen her on here before or since, so I think she might have given up.

I do agree that it's hard to see what responses go to what posts on this forum.


Hi all. I have only just discovered this site so bear with me if I am replying to the wrong post.

I was in a brief relationship with a man who has all the makings of ADHD - I have read a considerable amount now. When we first met, I felt overwhelmed by him, his attentions, his love. I felt like the centre of his world - like the most important person in his universe. One evening, we went out, had a lovely night, he bought me a gift, and an hour after we got back to his place he announced he could 'no longer do this'. He had what I would call an emotional outburst. I was shocked and took a taxi home. He ended it - as quickly as he started it.

We have since been in contact a few times and he has expressed his sorrow. He said he suddenly realised he was not ready for a full-on relationship and the stresses that come with committment, that he wished he had realised sooner and never meant to lead me on, and that he loves my company and wants my friendship.

While I accept his apology and honestly believe he made a mistake, each time we get together he is affectionate and amorous all the while STRESSING he does not wish to lead me on and that his decision is not retractable.

Can someone explain, please, how I can go from being everything to nothing in an hour's time, and why - if he does not wish to revisit a relationship - is he so incapable of keeping boundaries?

Sometimes when he speaks he is all over the shop. He is quite a jumble of emotions and unconnected thoughts.

Should I just let the friendship die? I want him. I love him. But I feel bereft whenever we spend affectionate days together and part. It makes me feel like I don't actually matter to him - not even as a friend.

Keep "friend"ship

Isnt it about being stimulated? They enjoy the rush. The thrill.... I would keep the friend part. Maybe you can just have fun with no strings. If he is this strung out dating, then all that would transfer on to you in a relationship/marriage and you both will be strung out forever after. Make a life of your own including other dates. No reason to wait around for him to change or get better because that will take years and years and years. Just enjoy life and keep at a distance committment wise. He can be a movie bud, or a dinner date bud. Or, you could also take this opportunity to be a friend and help him see adhd for himself. He has to see it and do the work for HIMSELF...just be a friend, not a girlfriend or relationship friend... He already knows he is not ready for a relationship if he cant figure himself out. It wouldnt be fair to let him take on the responsibility of a relationship when he already carries the burden of himself. Everyone suffers then.

Even though his words say one

Even though his words say one thing, his actions are making you feel another. Go with your gut. He most likely knows exactly what he's doing and the 'reminders' of how he does not want a relationship are exactly that. Take him at his word and if you cannot keep the status quo then, for your own protection, cut the ties.


Hi all. I tried to reply earlier but my comment got lost in space. PJ, the problem is that we have got together three times since he finished with me and each time we ended up in magical lovemaking. Yet each time he stressed he didn't want to restart anything, that he had made the best decision, that we are probably not acting in the best possible way by keep having sex and that it's a stupid thing to do if we are to preserve a friendship. Each time we agree to have boundaries, and each time we end up in each other's arms. I don't blame him. I am equally at fault.

I have never been in this situation. I feel I have to walk away from him completely - forget he exists. That will pain me. The other alternative is carry on this way and feel bereft every morning because it will never be what it was once before.

I've never seen a horrendous side to him - a truly horrendous side. I have seen extreme volatility and stress - either euphoria or down in the dumps. I don't understand how he could have gone from being so over the top about me to everything crashing in a few hours. I don't understand.

Lastly, I think he is hyperfocusing at the moment and don't want to cause him more stress. Should I just back away or be as normal? I don't know what an ADHD needs when hyperfocusing.

Realistically, although he's

Realistically, although he's technically not being dishonest or flat out leading you on, what he's doing IS in a way a 'bad' part of ADD. Wanting his cake and eating it too. I have to say, him being up front about not wanting it to be anything more is a bit surprising, but at the same time you stated previously that you had dated, things seemed to be going well, and then he just flipped the switch. That is a huge red flag.

I'm really not sure what you're asking...yes, it will pain you to walk away from him completely...but nothing like 6 months down the road. Hyperfocusing isn't the up and downs you're is full on, nothing in the world makes him happier than being with you and nothing will keep him from it.

I don't know

Thank you for your comments. They're immensely helpful. I'm not sure myself what I'm asking. I think I am having a hard time because I don't understand him. When we were in a relationship he described it as feeling like a hamster wheel. It caught him by surprise (his feelings) and he went with it until the nagging feeling that it was wrong got in the way because he was making promises he knew he could never keep. His explanation was honest, and I can't reproach him for that.

It's the now part that I am confused about. Why is it that everytime we see one another he becomes affectionate? We hug and stroke - like two people in love. And then he tells me constantly he doesn't want to hurt me, he's terrified he'll hurt me, knows we should have more restraint but he is very attracted to me. Then we make love (and he always makes sure I'm OK with it). He's sweet and tender and loving, as always, yet he doesn't want a relationship.

If I am honest, I hope he'll come around and realise he misses me and maybe change his mind. And then some days I feel like he is using me because I have made myself available. But then I know he's not the sort to lead someone on and I know he is fond of me. I've never met a man like him, where the word no is sometimes yes.

He is hyperfocussing on work at the moment. He stoppped hyperfocussing on me about two months ago. I suppose it's only a matter of time before he starts to focus on some other woman?! And then I won't exist. I think that's what I miss. The feeling of being the most important person in his world. The feeling that I was wanted and loved and needed. And now it's empty.

He IS the kind to lead

He IS the kind to lead someone on...because he says he doesn't want to hurt you but his actions are doing all of the wrong things to show that is really what he's thinking. Can you not see the contradiction in his words and actions? If he were really 'the kind' not lead someone on, then he wouldn't be coming back to you for sex. Honestly, I know you're already emotionally invested in him, I can see it in your words and it pains me greatly to know that there really is no easy way out of this for you. I think you know the answer here and I think you know what the right thing FOR YOU is. You know you're going to end up getting hurt and left behind...yet you're conflicted by his actions of having sex with you and what you think you're feeling from him when you do. A) he's a don't really 'show' love during sex they show it by their actions outside of the bedroom more than inside of the bedroom. B) he's got ADD...what his reality is and what yours is are probably light years apart. I once dated a guy (he wasn't ADD) who made me feel like I was the most beautiful person in the world by the way he was gentle, romantic and giving in the bedroom...and I TRULY thought that was love...what I was feeling from him. It is what we all want, right?  He walked away without batting an eye as soon as someone else came along. Don't mistake sex for love...and protect yourself. This is your heart we're talking about. In my honest opinion, he is using you. Stop having sex with him and see what happens. If he hangs around, then maybe his feelings are deeper. It is the only way you'll know. Put yourself first and demand nothing less than what you need to be happy. If he cannot give you that, move on before you're in too deep.

I know

I do know. You are right, and I'd say the same to any friend. I know what needs to be done. I know I deserve better. I've never done anything to him or anyone to warrant being discarded this way. I think he lacks genuine empathy, despite the intense emotions he is capable of displaying. I know you are right, and I honestly feel quite disappointed in myself at the moment. I allowed myself to be used. I do know better.

Thank you. 

Leading with sex

Dear veryconfused,

I must agree absolutely with Sherri on this. The one difference between your situation and mine, is I have held back on the sex (please, I am making NO judgement here.) I desire him so much it is painful. However, I have learned throwing sex into the mix (for us women, at least) really confuses the issue. I truly want to know and trust this man before I invest this most intimate of actions and I know, for me personally, I cannot separate sex from my emotions. If it turns out that this man truly loves me, he will understand and wait with patience and love.

Make sure you have seen him in his interactions with other women. If you read my previous post to you and went to my story, you will see why it has been prudent for me to wait. I have read a lot on this site about similar behaviors.

May I suggest that you follow Sherri’s advice and forgo the sex for now. You might even explain to him why. I think you will get your answer. If it is not the one you want, you know in your heart you will be better off and, as painful as it will be, you can then move on.

Blessings to you.

Thank you

This blog is quite convoluted and doesn't allow anyone to reply to a theme. My comment above was meant for you too, Thank you

Yeah, you may have to walk if

Yeah, you may have to walk if its too painful the day after. Hard to go back once you cross the line. Im sorry. You need to take care of you. You can be a friend later down the road, after you have dealt with your feelings, or not. He may seem more attractive to you because he seems to be somewhat of a challenge, or you may want to help him, and/or the pushing you away always makes us want what we cant have. You'll figure it out. be good to yourself. : )

Dear Very Confused

Dear Very Confused,

You are me, exactly. Thank you for so perfectly describing where I am with my ADHD “friend.” Here is my story ( up to the time of writing it (I never did send that letter.) Since then my friend is back in my life (with no initiation/action on my part, I had stopped contacting him entirely).

He has come to help me with heavy lifting chores several times, telephones me about every two-to-six weeks, is full of loving words and expressions. I have set boundaries for him via email, including asking him which I should believe: his actions or his words. (I am following the example of many here by telling him my deepest thoughts/concerns in emails—including my affection/admiration/encouragement, he seems to handle these so much better; maybe time to think about /process what I am saying?) Some issues he briefly addresses in our phone conversations, some he seems to ignore. He still hasn’t answered the actions/words question! In the end, I think only I can answer that one.

When he has come to help me, he is very nervous, and does not stay more than five minutes to talk, despite long, sharing conversations on the phone. This is the action of a man who is not interested.

He is embarked on a new career, similar to Sueann’s husband’s job that he just lost. I know he is hyperfocusing on that now. He is wonderful at it.

I go around and around in my mind. Why do I hang on? I think I am leaning more and more towards Sueann’s idea that maybe I am hooked on that beautiful hyperfocus stage, the memory of it is incredibly sweet. However, I also care deeply about the good and loving man who I see step outside of his severe (unmedicated) ADHD symptoms once in awhile; it rekindles all of the hopes and dreams I had.

This relationship, which has offered so little, has impacted my life so tremendously that I am now in counseling for it. This is helping me a lot.

Should you stay? Only you can answer that. As time goes by, I find that I am in no hurry to resolve this relationship because he is forcing me to slow down. But then again, I am 63 (he’s 66) years old now, so maybe I don’t have the urgency that youth might bring to the scenario.

Please, you ADHDers out there, can you lend us some insight into these puzzling behaviours on the part of ADHD men towards women that makes them APPEAR to care deeply for/attracted to them?

Very Confused, thanks again.

I don't care?!?!

Cheryl I found your post very worrying. You wrote:

"I want it fixed or he can leave. Go home to his mother or live on the streets I don't care."

You seem to feel a lot of contempt for your husband because he is not the picture of normality and perfection you seek - or thought you had. Get out. GET OUT of that marriage. Your views are more diseased than his ADHD because you harbour hatred and vitriol. Your post is full of bile. Some day you may have a child with an alergy, Asperger Syndrome, Autism, ADHD, Cerebral Palsey, Downs, Dyslexia, Dispraxia, Celiac, Social Phobia, OCD - any number of ailments/diseases. What will you do? Drown your child and it's imperfections. You lack empathy and humanity, and this is very worrying.