So like many non-ADHD spouses on this forum, I struggle with acceptance. My counselor and I have been working on this a LOT--how to accept my ADHD DH for who he is-period. Not who I wish he would be-after all, he has been this way for the entire 20 years of our marriage, so why is it bothering me so much now? (side note--I think it's bothering me so much in the past two years because very little has changed about him and his capabilities and we have had some MAJOR life events happen in the past two years that we have not been able to handle very well and it really hit me how low-functioning he is--just my opinion). In any case, this acceptance thing--if I accept how little he is capable of and don't expect anything more, how does that work? We all have expectations of everybody--you email a friend to make plans, you expect a reply or you can't see them. Why would I ever email a friend if I had no expectation of them getting back to me? I would likely give up and we would no longer be friends. So in a marriage, how can you have no expectations of your person? I don't, and it sucks, and it's not sustainable, and I worry for what it's doing to me as a human. Some examples: my DH rarely if ever lets me know if he is running late from anywhere, so I have stopped even retaining what time he says he will be home. If I call to check on him, he may or may not answer his cell phone--he tells me he can't talk on it if it is plugged in, charging. I know full well this is a lie-he has the newest incarnation of the iPhone, paid for by his work. If my crappy Samsung is able to be in use while plugged in, I gotta believe the iPhone can do that. Once he was four hours late and told me there was an accident about 5 miles from our house, on a road I know. How can he think I could possibly believe that an accident on a road I know with tons of exits (Lake Shore Drive, for those of you familiar with Chicago) could hold him up for 4 hours???? So I no longer have the expectation that he will be home when he says, I no longer call to check on him when he is late and I no longer even ask why he was late. So that part of my own humanity is gone. In a normal marriage I would imagine you would want the other person to be worried about you, to care if you are late, but that is not the case in my marriage. Another example: on Saturday we were at oldest sons water polo tournement and there was two hours between his games, so I wanted to go get some lunch out, not sit in the hot pool stands for 2 hours. DH didn't want to go, so he sat there alone and I went to lunch alone. When I got back, he didn't ask where I had gone. So that part of "couple-ness" has dropped away-he would just as soon sit alone than be with me AND is not even interested in what I did in the interim. Another example: I don't talk about my work at home-he has told me on many occasions that all I do is complain about my job, so I now when he asks how my day was I just say fine and that is the extent of it. Really, there is a TON going on at my job. I was appointed Assistant Principal in March and we hired a new principal literally last week, so I have a lot to do in addition to full time junior high teaching, so it's a pretty exciting time for me, but I don't talk about any of that. It took me about a month to negotiate the Assistant Principal deal--salary, duties, etc., and I didn't say a word to him until several days after I had signed my new contract. I had other friends that helped talk me through stuff, there was nothing useful he would have contributed, so why bother? So that is another part of my humanity that has dropped away--the ability and desire to share a huge chunk of my life with my person. Another example: he travels Monday through Friday for work and I often don't know where he is--he may or may not put his locations on our family google calendar. Sometimes someone will ask where he is and I used to say I didn't know but people look at you funny when you don't know where your spouse is so now I just make up a place he does business-who would know that I am lying. And he may or may not call at night when he is gone, so I may not speak to him for several days while he is away. He claims the time change is why he doesn't call, but all his business is in areas that are only an hour difference. Another thing that has dropped away--even knowing where your person IS in the world. Another example: when I ask him more than one question about pretty much anything, he says I am interrogating him. So now I ask maybe one question and even if the answer is unclear, I leave it alone. Another thing drops away--being able to ask for information/have a give-and-take normal conversation. The alarm clock is on his side of the bed and if I have it set for something he will turn it off and not nudge me if I don't hear it. I cannot tell you how many things I have missed or been late to because he feels no responsibility to me if I don't hear the alarm. I have asked him why he doesn't nudge me and he says that's not his job. So now I set my phone alarm and put it under my pillow. Another thing drops away--no one has my back for even a small thing like getting to the hot yoga class I love on time. He got home Friday night and left again Monday afternoon and in that time LITERALLY didn't touch me once. I don't mean we didn't have sex, I mean he literally did not touch me. That has been happening more and more when he comes home-we just kind of dance around each other and I count the minutes until he leaves again BUT every time I ask how he thinks we are doing he says fine. So yet another part of marriage has dropped away-physical contact.
So my question is this: how much normal human stuff can I live without?? how much more can drop away and I will still be sane? I listen to friends talk about their husbands and I am blown away. My pastor (DH doesn't go to church with me very often) asked if DH was happy and I had no idea. How would I know that? I am so lonely I could break in half, but if I am accepting that this is all DH is capable of, then what? I would divorce him tomorrow if we could afford it, but who is to say that would be any better? I have an 8th grader and a sophomore who love their dad. And the worst thing is all the stuff I can do without. How would I ever be normal with another man again? Most people appreciate being worried about and asked questions of-most people don't see that as intrusive or interrogating, but I have learned to not worry and not ask. That's not very conducive to a happy relationship. I don't know what I would even call what we have now-it's very business like. Lonely. Empty. But maybe that is acceptance. Everything I listed has been discussed in therapy-DH has a reason for everything, nothing is his fault, there is always an explanation. He is doing the best he can. So how can I even be mad about that? He forgets, he's tired (when he goes t bed early he tells me he has to take care of himself first and if that hurts my feelings, too bad), he's an adult-he can do whatever he wants--these are all the things he tells me and the therapist. And strictly speaking, they are all true, just not all that helpful to a happy marriage.