Think fiance has ADD- may cancel wedding

I'll try to make this brief but this site has been so helpful!  I met a wonderful man, 50 years old (I am 40), 1.5 years ago, we got engaged about 6 months ago and the wedding is in 8 weeks.  We are both divorced, have children.  He is a brilliant man, skipped grades in school, a surgeon with his own practise. 

I *suspect* he is ADD and I have been feeling overwhelmed about getting married.  I have been a working single mom for the last 5 years, very efficent, but very busy making ends meet.  (I had a short, horrible marriage to a narcissist.)  I really LOVE my fiance, more than anyone I have dated before and he is fun, caring, charming, romantic (or is this just the intense stage?). 

Things that make me think he is ADD:  he is always late, no concept of time at all or how long it takes him to do things, says he will do something then totally forgets ever saying it, his house is the worst mess I have ever, ever seen, even the outside is an eyesore and I thought it a red flag when a neighbour mowed a portion of the front of his lawn and fiance was irate saying him and the kids had planted some plants there that were starting to sprout (yeah, but who could tell in all that overgrown mess???), Christmas tree was taken down in April but now is still shoved in the fireplace inside, he is totally disorganized, had one staff quit mostly b/c she couldn't deal with him being late all the time and patients being upset, very slow at everything he does (I don't notice the jumping from topic to topic and even his driving is slow).  Although he makes a good wage he has had to pay his wife a significant amount of money over the years and is in significant debt but that doesn't stop him from wanting to go on trips, anything fun, etc.  I didn't know his financial situation until a few months ago.  I know he had trouble organizing and thought that I could work part time and spend time managing things at home.  Knowing the financial position he is in, we will still need to both work full time if we marry.  Fiance says we will both chip in, we will take turns cooking, grocery shopping, doing chores.  We are doing premarital counselling and in one of our sessions I said I was feeling that I would be overwhelmed b/c of having to work full time, look after my daughter, and have to do extra things with extra people living in the house.  Fiance was offended and said that it should be easier with us splitting things/chores and that he has managed just fine without me all the years so didn't know what I was talking about.  If you were to see his house, you would NOT think he was managing.  His 9 year old daughter will not have friends over to his house b/c of the mess.  Half his table and kitchen counter is covered in 3 ft by 4 feet wide of papers and the rest of the kitchen counter is cover in dirty dishes.  He was "supposed" to move into my place and rent his and this was supposed to happen by August 1st.  He is at work long days but didn't have his kids AT ALL for the last bit of June and all of July- so far HALF of the stack of paper on the kitchen table has been cleaned up and THAT IS IT.  I have already cleaned out my place, sold furniture to make room for his and painted some rooms in addition to what I normally need to get done in a day.  Fiance says he can move in in only a few days if needed b/c he can hire a company to pack up all his stuff (yeah, right, and all the junk comes here).  When I first met him he had started painting a room in his house; about a year later it was done but there was paint marks that he make all over the ceiling that he just left.  He is probably the least handy, worst painter I have ever seen. (I am not that great but a million times better at painting than him!) 

He "forgot" to pay someone we had do work here ($700) for 4 months after he got the bill, said it was b/c he didn't have the money but spend $3500 on a kayak in that time period  b/c he felt it was too good a deal to pass up.

We were planning a medium sized wedding, fiance was looking into honeymoons when I discovered he had no money and was wanting me to pay half of everything (he makes4X more than I do).  Even though we have zero money he still keeps sending me links to various vacation spots (we agreed to do immediate family only for the wedding though to keep costs down). 

We needed to do pre-maritial counselling worksheets and he lost his, I gave him another copy that he was going to do on the plane in June (we've had these sheets for 6 weeks!)- he still hasn't done them.    

Fiance has told me at least a dozen times that "he doesn't like to be told what to do".  I don't tell him what to do and I'm not usually a nag but OMG I can see myself being overwhelmed with having to do EVERYTHING.

Fiance also told me that "he cannot guarantee he will not have an affair when we are married".  We talked to our counsellor about that one b/c I was ready to end the rlsp but fiance said that in his heart he knew he never would, loves me dearly, but doesn't think that anyone can say they will never guarantee something b/c no one can 100% predict their behavior.

This man is an amazing lover, so romantic, but will really leave anything to have fun (go on trips, go to concerts, etc.).  I am quite responsible and like to get work/chores done first.

Fiance has never mentioned ADD and by his comments (things will be easier for both of us when married b/c we will be sharing chores, getting mad at the neighbour for mowing the lawn when his place is an eye sore) I don't think he has ANY CLUE as to what his reality is.  His mom thinks he is perfect and in her eyes, could do no wrong.  (To her he is a brilliant gentleman doctor.)  I need to be in court mid August with my ex husband and told fiance that I would rather have him and kids move in AFTER that b/c I would be stressed that week.  He was OFFENDED and said he felt like I felt that him and his kids would be a burden instead of being a joy to have there and he would be able to support me better that week by making all the meals.  (Actually, it WOULD be a burden to have them here then b/c I know nothing would get done- fiance would probably cook but everything would most likely be a mess.)

Fiance is divorced, blames his ex for a lot.  It does seem that she is a liar but with other things I can emphathize with her.  Fiance says she was high maintenance and complained she couldn't cope with 2 small children even though she had 2 cleaning ladies and someone to help with cooking- neither have family here, they got married after only 6 months of knowing each other and I am certain she must have been at her wit's end with his lack of motivation or ability to get ANYTHING done.  Ex wife has called fiance a wimp and not a man and after reading stuff on this site I think that she probably felt like a lot of you and that although he held a steady job and earned a good wage, he was unable to contribute in any other way.

Unlike some of the other stories on here, fiance does not smoke, drink to excess, take drugs, gamble, or watch porn.   He knows that I am scared about getting married this Sept, and gets very emotional and upset when the subject comes up.  He is extremely sensitive and then I feel terrible about hurting his feeling like that.

Do I make a run for it even though I deeply LOVE this man?  I love so many things about him that I have never found in a man before, his brillance, his love of reading, his ability to make me feel so good around him and feel so loved, beautiful, and special.  Do I even tell him what I suspect?  As a physician, I don't think he'll appreciate my insight somehow..... What do you think?

 

 

 

If you read my story above,

If you read my story above, please respond~ I am feeling very anxious and confused about all of this and really need some help/advice.  Thank you!

You could always have the

You could always have the wedding later. That would give you more time to weigh it all out. The financial issues sound like trouble for sure. If I only knew then what I know now... and you've recognized enough behaviors to question the possibility of ADD. Have you talked with him about it? Heard of any family history? Maybe he'd be interested in the work Dr. Amen is doing with brain scans... 

It's all up to you...

Lily,

I think you haven't gotten a response yet because it is hard to approach your story and none of us like diagnoising when we are not doctors.

I am not a doctor but in my opinion your fiance has ADHD/ADD. He actually sounds very much like my fiance (and his mother). Can hold a job, doesn't drink, no drugs, no porn etc but lives not in reality.Because of this I am scared for you. I should let you know up front that I am actually in the process of leaving my fiance. Even with his diagnosis this January and him taking meds, he hasn't made any real progress, mostly becuase I don't think he really deep down wants to help himself. Furthermore, when he moved in over a year and a half ago I let him very clearly know that I am not betty house wife and this would be a joint/team effort. It is not. I take care of everything. Simply because if I don't take care of it, it doesn't get done. We have tried all the tips and techniques that people say to do when dealing with a ADHD-nonADHD household and he never, ever follows through for more than a week. I refuse to let him drag my life into debt, etc so I instead take care of it all.

Despite his ADHD, I am not leaving him becuase of it. I wrote a post about a week ago titled something like "Suprisingly in the end, it's not about ADHD". I encourage you to read it. I now understand that ADHD makes it almost impossible (for me at least) to be with my fiance everyday. But his inability to let me into his life and his heart and be my partner and actually live a life with me is why I am leaving. The ADHD just made the process quicker.

You will have to make this decision yourself. Listen to your heart. I won't lie, I am sure the majority of readers/posters in this forum (including me) in their head is screaming at you to run far away and fast and if that is what you are looking for, then you will find it here. But don't take our word for it because if you don't make the choice yourself, you will always wonder. I encourage you to read up about adult ADHD (sometimes hard information to find) and read the posts here. They are mostly pretty discouraging but Melissa Orlov and another poster "Elizabeth" have relationships that work and usually have some good insight.

Good luck!!!!

Thank you for your

Thank you for your comments.

I have some questions for you:

I do feel my fiance has let me into his heart/his life and if anything, I am the more reserved, introverted one.

Before you moved in with your fiance, did he agree to do his share of housework?  Was he respectful that way when he was in your home or was he messy then too?

Does he/did he actually pay his share at your place?  When you were dating did he pay for you? 

I would like my fiance and I to live together before deciding to get married.  We both have children and he strongly feels that it would not be good for them to do that and while I do agree, it makes it more difficult for me to get a grip on what he will really be like to live with day to day.

He definitely agreed to do

He definitely agreed to do his share and because our space is small and we don't have children, in many ways he really does his share. He was also respectful of the space but that is because he didn't view it as his space as well but instead just my space. It took almost a year for me to get him to feel like this is his house as well...and soon after, the messes came with it. I am not saying he is messy like before but all those unfinished projects have been sitting in their designated corners for over 6 months. I am on the verge of throwing them out. And I have expressed that his projects have been sitting for a while and maybe he should try to go back to them. He always agrees and nothing happens. Additionally, if I ask him to do something, if it doesn't happen right then and there, it won't get done. I have tried to get him to write these things down, like he does at work, but to no avail. He always accomplishes his taskes at work but never his personal life. I think it's because he gets paid to do the other stuff lol.

When we were dating he was in financial disaster. He was paying about $300 a month to a company that was scamming him and owed the bank a couple hundred dollars a month in overdraft fees. It didn't take me long to figure out the scam and also convince him to get a savings account instead of checking so he could only access funds that were available. But I also see he only did this in the beginning because he would have done anything to "please me". Whatever I said was gold...drives me nuts now. I also had a history of spending more on going out whereas most of what he did only costed gas therefore I many times paid because it was more my scene. I look back at credit card statements of mine and the same month we got together and each month after they kept rising and rising and rising until maxed out.

If you feel in your heart you need to live with him first, then I think you are correct in this notion. I am so happy that I did. And make sure that he is not avoiding living with you because he is afraid of what you will discover. For example, if you spend the night, in the same bed at each others houses when the children are around, then he might be avoiding you seeing his ways until after you are married. I know that my ADHDer told me anything he thought would get me to stay. Two years later I now understand that it was all a fascade and that I, as well as him, don't really know who he is. He wasn't the perfect fit for me that I always thought he was. In fact, he has not one fundamental belief about anything...anything. Hard to believe but true. He always just ran with what the "crowd" was doing.

I hope I answered your questions and stay strong!

Run like the devil away from this man

Lily, I will be honest with you, this sounds like my husband. He was so wonderful when we were dating and so much fun. He would drop all responsibility to have fun and go on trips. We did a lot in the beginning, then life sets in and responsibility needs to show up. It never will with this man. The worst part is what it will do to you personally. I used to be a sweet, patient person and now I am the biggest b** and nag around. I know I am but am so incredibly fed up with everyday like with my husband, he just walks into the room and I start biting at him. You will have to take care of everything and he will have an excuse of why he can't help or worse yet, he swears that he does his share. These people have no sense of reality, my husband will say things happen that didn't or will get the story completely mixed up. You will, at first, think that you are the one that is going mad but friends start to confirm that is not how it happened so you start realizing it is not you. This man will make you a terrible person. My husband actually makes more work for me, not only does he not help, but he really makes things worse. The bigger the event, the more work he makes for me. He will start projects while we have company, or will have his tools set out for weeks while he "finishes" a project. Unfortunately, the projects never get completely finished. You will then have to remind him gently at first that instead of watching TV he should finish his project, then after the 15th time of telling him, you start screaming and then you are the nag that is always telling him what to do. His one show will turn into a day of watching. Your relationship will probably be turned into a mother/son relationship. I can't "bounce" any ideas off my husband because if it is about spending money he is for it and if I do decide against it, he is obsessed with it for days. He has all these big plans for the house and, at first, I was scared that he would start it but now I just say "we could do that" and I know it will never happen. This avoids that days of conflict over it and I know he will never get to it. It is going to be frustrating to you to work and never have any money. He will always nag you to go on vacation and he will probably be out buying useless things. This will drive you crazy. You will create a budget and, maybe, go over it with him and he will not stick to it or he will say that he did not know how much he owed in credit. My husband and I make six figures together and before the next payday comes, we have no money to buy groceries. Let me ask you how many times he calls you a day? My husband can call me 30 seconds after he leaves for work and he always has something for me to do. I have to water his plants or be his secretary for something that he was to do that forgot to do. My husband calls me constantly at work. He will be home on his day off and will call me in the afternoon to ask me what's for dinner. They can not do anything for themselves if they have found someone who will do it for them. You will not have a husband but another child to take care of. Let me tell you something about the junk, it will be making its way over to your house and there will be tons more coming. If you try to throw away or donate, it will be a huge battle. I used to park my BMW in the garage before my husband moved in and now it sits in the elements all seasons while my husband's college textbooks and other junk are in my once organized garage. He had to cut a board for a project (started three weeks ago and still not completed) a few weeks back and has the tool to cut it but has so much junk he can't get to his tools so our best friend had to cut the board for him. This is my fault because I will not let him build a work shed on our .45 acre city lot. With what money, I have no idea. That is another thing, nothing is their fault. This is another thing that has made me a terrible person. It drives me so crazy that he can't take blame and even blames me for everything that I start pointing it out when he is wrong. I, at first, wanted him to see that he was wrong sometimes, but he still won't take the blame so now we are in a cycle of constantly showing each other very aggressively when the other is wrong. Now if I know I mess up, I will go to great lengths to cover it so he won't have ammunition. Before, I would say what I did and laugh about it but not know, my husband will use it against me. It is very sad to live this way. I was very happy and positive years ago before the marriage. My biggest advice to everyone is to listen to your inner voice. You already know the answer to your question of marriage but you let the outside world drown out your inner voice. Your inner voice will never lie to you and always wants what is best for you. Listen to it. The stress of everyday life with an ADHD person is brutal. You can't explain it to someone that hasn't lived with it for years. It is an everyday battle of frustration. When you try to discribe what everyday life is like, it sounds petty but everyday makes you crazy.

My fiance and I do not live

My fiance and I do not live together but he calls me daily to tell me he loves me but rarely asks me to do anything for him.  He thinks I do too much already, I think (I am a bit type A) and actually will give up doing something for himself and offer to look after my kids to give me a break.

That may change if/when we live in the same house, I'm not sure but he doesn't ask me to do things for him now (except the odd thing like get us tickets for something if he is in surgery and can't do it when the tickets come out).

In terms of project, fiance is NOT handy at all so I doubt he'll be starting anything like that.

The mess, yes, I AM concerned about that and the inability to see what is really there (his mess which is mostly boxes and boxes of paper stuff and piled up paper- his house is not "dirty" just messy).

We have already spoken about a prenuptial agreement and keeping our finances VERY separate.

So, it is the slowness, the fact that he can live in such a mess and think it is normal that really concerns me.  He is not overly forgetful when I consider how busy he is and that in 2 years he has only forgotten a few things.

I am NOT trying to make excuses- please tell me if it sounds like I am.  The difficulty I am having is that I never really dealt with my divorce 4.5 years ago- my ex and I never went through the legal system and I was just thankful to be out of that marriage as he was so emotional abusive, a true narcissist, who actually speaks all over the world on health and wellness and made me feel like I was insane.  I am dealing with all of that NOW for the first time as I deal with the legal issues with him (lying about his income since we split so he has not paid even a tenth of what he should have in child support and I am having to take him to court to get that which is very expensive and stressful).

I am trying to make sure that I am not seeing my fiance in a more negative way because of what I am dealing with with the ex.  As a narcissist, my ex idealized me before we were married, then devalued me right after (classic narcissist pattern).  Reading about the ADHD hyperfocus it really freaks me out as it sounds so similar but fiance does not seem to be losing interest and in fact seems more attracted to me and more loving with time.

Argh!  I wish I knew for sure what I should do. 

To touch on this my fiance

To touch on this my fiance never asks me to do anything either but in the end, it because he won't let anyone in or ask them for help and in turn, he takes on too much, shuts down and nothing ever gets done. I know a lot of this is because he thinks I "do too much" for him already. It's hard to form a pertnership with someone who is too prideful to ask for help and you just have to sit by and watch your and their world crash all around you. Even when you are constantly asking them to let you help them.

Thank you for the responses! 

Thank you for the responses!  I have been reading whatever I can about adult ADD and am still not sure if fiance fits the symtoms.  He does not talk excessively, can read/concentrate without difficulty, does not interrupt me (if anything I interrupt him), does not drive fast, does not figet.  Basically he is just slow at getting done anything.  Since I met him he has done a lot for me, offering to take care of my kids even though he is busy so I can do errands or exercise, offers to clean up dishes after he has had dinner here.

Did your partners/fiances expect you to clean up after them?  Mine does not and promises to keep his paper mess to one room in the house which would be one we wouldn't need to use for anything else and we could keep the door closed if needed.  We have been together almost 2 years and he is usually at my place and has always been respectful about cleaning up after himself and never leaving things around.  He also does not spend money really on anything except trips really and he has bought a kayak recently.  Aside from that I don't see him spending money compulsively.  But I am concerned knowing his financial situation and him thinking that we could afford a larger wedding, etc.  A lot of his financial difficulty stems from legal fees and agreeing to pay his wife more than what was fair because she was withholding access to the kids and his lawyer advised him to pay more b/c that is what the ex wanted (it did work).  Before getting divorced he always had ample money to buy/pay for whatever he wanted without having to think about it.

I talked to fiance more last night about his previous marriage and his ex went through a major post pardum (sp?) depression after having children and he said he did everything around the house (cooking, etc.) except while he was at work.

I mentioned examples of forgetfullness in my original post but after reading more about ADHD, maybe I am making too much of it?  He has never forgotten to pick up his kids, or forgotten a date with me or plans that we have made.

I don't know- I appreciate the words of caution and need to think about this some more.  I think postponing the wedding is a good idea.  Ironically, in the last few days fiance has done more to get his house together than in the last month! 

   

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Lily,

You might not have an ADD partner.  I would be very worried about your finances and the legal ramifications of being married to a person that can't manage finances.  Did you pull his credit report yet?  My husband did help at first then, gradually, he stopped.  The mess was confined to one room then it took over the house.  My husband is not dirty either, just paper everyway.  He use to not even open bills when he lived on his own.

My advice would be to postpone the wedding and live together for one year.  Tell him that you are going to go to counseling to straighten yourself out.  It is really not fair to your future husband to carry the past problems with you to the new marriage.

BTW, my husband is slow with everything and he does not fidget either.

How do I do a credit report

How do I do a credit report (I am in Canada)?  As far as I am aware, he is honest and everything (debts and assests) will be listed in our premarital agreement.  His account manages most things for him and will forward all the info to the lawyer who writes up our agreement.

Also keep in mind that the

Also keep in mind that the talking fast, fidgeting etc is more of the hyperactive side of ADHD. Some ADHDers are also just inattentive ADHD or have very mild hyperactive tendencies.

wedding

Lily,

Your husband may or may not have ADHD. However, it sounds like you are still dealing with your previous marriage, legally and emotionally. I don't know how you are able to think clearly about your current relationship when you are still figuring out what happened in the last one and how you are going to deal with the ramifications of the legal battle. I would suggest seeking counseling to really hash out what attracted you to your ex and how you can determine whether or not you are making a good choice for yourself in this next relationship.

It also sounds like you have some serious concerns, such as finances. PLEASE don't take those lightly! The important question to ask yourself is, if NOTHING changes after you are married, will you still be happy to be married to this man? You need to marry the person who is standing before you today and not the idea of who you hope he might become.

If your husband does have ADHD, I would be wary about the promises to keep the mess to one room and the extra efforts he is making right now, before he has you. My husband doted on me before he got me. Once he got me, a lot of his focus turned to other aspects of his life and things changed quite a bit. ADDers tend to by hyperfocued on things and that focus can shift to new things. Not to say that your man will do the same, but it's something to think about.

There is nothing wrong with taking more time before you make such a big decision to marry someone. As you know from your current legal battle, unraveling a marriage is much harder than breaking up a relationship. I wish you all of the best in your decision. I broke off an engagement 3 weeks before marrying that man and I have never regretted it, despite having to send out notices that the wedding was cancelled and returning gifts. Take all of the time you need. If he is worth it, he will wait for you to sort through the multiple issues that are clouding your decision. Good luck!

take time out

Is it possible to schedule some time away - just you? It sounds difficult for you to think clearly right now - how can you give yourself the headspace you need to decide?

I am dating a wonderful man but will not think about marrying him until I am happy with the systems and processes in place to manage his ADHD, and his comfort level with maintaining them. I also need to be sure that our path of growth together in the relationship is strong and positive. My guy is doing all the right things but we're not there yet. However it doesn't sound like you have this - if he is happy with his status quo, where is his motivation to change? You need therefore to decide if *life like this* is OK with you. 

If postponing the wedding so that you get your head clear about this "upsets" him, no matter how upset he gets, that is a really important message about the way he works.

My fiance is hurt by the

My fiance is hurt by the possibility of postponing the wedding but will if that is what I need.  He is hurt b/c he feels like this is a "slow no" and also that his elderly parents are coming and have booked their flights but would probably not manage to come if the date was changed and I know having them there is important to him.  We talked about it last night and he was upset but I am used to dealing with my ex who was always angry about everything and was expecting him to say he never wanted to get married.  To my pleasant surprise, although he was extremely hurt by what I said, he asked me what my concerns were and what was bothering me so much about being married to him/why I was so scared.  I was honest with him and told him.  A lot of the things he came back with were valid and part of my anxiety, I think, really does stem from my previous marriage. 

It is simply not possible for me to take time to myself now- my kids are out of school, I still need to work, and have court with the ex coming up in 4 weeks.  My fiance and I do not yet have "systems" in place b/c it has not been brought up as an issue.  He runs late but has always been respectful enough to call to let me know he is running late at work and when to expect him.  In terms of messiness, he has said he won't be like that in my home but I know that is not realistic.  We have talked about writing out exactly what a week will look like when we are married, who does what, but haven't yet.  I think that would help me.

I don't think fiance is high on the ADHD rating scale if he is at all but he does have some traits and that is what I am worried about.  Not so much him, but that he also has 2 kids that will live with us half time. 

 

Postpone wedding?

Lily - I've been interested enough in this thread that I will post a blog post on it today.  I hope that it will help you pull apart some of the swirl of things that are going on in your head.  Please go to the home page to see it after noon on 7/21.

Thank you

Melissa, your post is insightful and thoughful and I greatly appreciate you taking the time to write it.

How do I voice my concerns to my fiance in a way that he doesn't feel criticized?

I cannot find the Is it you, me, or adult ADD book anywhere (not on chapters online and amazon is sold out)- any other suggestions of where to get a copy quickly? 

Also...

Do you have a link to a list of symptoms that make sense in terms of what my concerns are that I could show him?  Some of the signs and symptoms lists that I have looked at don't fit him in terms of not being able to hold down a jog, road rage, interrupting as others speak, etc.

Time to learn and reflect

This is a very interesting thread and I think you would be wise to reflect on the many suggestions others have provided, namely: slowing down, dealing with your previous relationship, and listening to your inner voice. It might also help to have your fiancé get a professional diagnosis to see if he really has ADHD. This could ease your mind and help you better decide how to approach your relationship.

I would like to recommend Chaper 1 of Russell Barkley’s book: “The Nature of ADHD”. It is a history of the disorder/syndrome. I found this chapter to be very helpful in how to understand what ADHD is and how it manifests in different people. For example, according to him, ADHD is now thought to be defined by defecits in behavioral inhibition and future planning, not just the "classic” symptoms that are widely disseminated in the media. (You can download a PDF of this chapter from his website.)

I think that Baffled very clearly articulated the daily struggle that many of us go through living with our ADHD partners. When it is undiagnosed and untreated, the nature of the struggle becomes chronic and the potential outcome is bitterness, anger, loss of self, and depression. If it doesn’t lead to a split, it leads to years of unfulfillment.

I believe there is a lot of truth and wisdom in the posts collected on this site that unequivocably illuminate the potential for vast struggles with an ADHD partner. I think there is good reason to listen to this collective wisdom. At least, you can be better informed as you decide how to proceed.

Melissa’s posts are also truly wonderful and she brings a measured, balanced approach to the issues of ADHD relationships. She is a good counterpoint to the many of us, myself included, who often struggle to find something nice to say about our partners/situations. She is also an example of someone who has managed to rescue her relationship and thrive in it.

Whether your fiancé has ADHD or not, accept him and love him for who he is. And then decide if you can be happy building a life with him. I don’t know how likely it is to expect that he would or could change. I kept hoping my wife would change and it never happened; in fact, she resents the mere thought of me not accepting her as she is. And I have to admit, it's a good point. Who am I to ask her to be different just because I am not happy? It’s not her fault.

Melissa has helped me think of my marriage as a relationship of two people who give each other the gift of being together. I like that.

I am so incredibly encouraged

I am so incredibly encouraged when I read these calm, reflective responses to other's pain.  I second your observation that Melissa "brings a measured balanced approach".  Your last sentence is what keeps me hoping that I can apply what Melissa teaches here.  How profound to see a marriage as two people giving each other the gift of being together. 

Thanks for such an uplifting response,

brenda