Thinking of separating from my husband....I'm done

I have been reading her for quite some time now. My husband has ADD. He was diagnosed as a child. I didn't know this until after we were married. Looking back on our 10yr relationship, I now see all of the signs.
I stay home with the kids. I have no problem keeping the house tidy, but when he's home he makes a bigger mess than they do! He always tells me he doesn't care if the house is a mess. This I know because he rarely cleans up. I can't leave the kids with him for more than a few hours. I thought I was going to have a partner in life, not a man child to look after on top of everything else. He has had trouble holding down jobs over the years and because of this we have had to move out of state several times, and have lived with my parents off and on our entire marriage. I'm really sick of the way my life is with him. He can be sweet, and he loves me and the kids. He plays with them, and all that good stuff, but I fear he will never be able to handle the responsibility of taking care of his family. He seems incapable of it at this point. It seems that his ADD has gotten worse over the years. I emailed him this website and he says he has read some of it....not that it has made a difference. He said he has researched different meds and wants to try them. I know that meds are not a cure, but something has got to give.

We have almost been evicted I don't know how many times. His latest scandal has me feeling completely done. He is in jail for failure to appear for a traffic violation. Seriously! The officer came to our house, and this is not the first time this has happened. He's been in jail for silly stuff like this numerous times. I can't tell my kids where he is, all they know is daddy was here one minute and the next he was gone and didn't tell them goodbye. There is a pretty good possibility he will lose his job over this. Then what? I'm sure he'll blame someone else instead of taking responsibility for his own actions. I don't know what else to do. I'm tired of feeling lonely, tired of mothering him, and feeling like I'm the one who has to do all of the changing to make his life easier. I have to say enough is enough at some point. I don't like thinking of divorce, or even separating, but at the same time I feel I have to protect myself and our kids. I'm not 100% sure I want to leave. I'm so tired, angry, frustrated, and so are my parents. This is not what they wanted for us at all. I feel I will never have the life I want, and I can't be all that I know I can be because he is holding me back. I know when he says we will have a better life, take vacations and have this or that not to actually hold my breath for it to happen. He's all talk. It sounds good, but he can't make it happen. We don't talk about anything important anymore. He seems more like a teenager than a grown man. I'm sick and tired of hearing about his damn video games. Video games don't pay the bills....oh and that's the other thing. He doesn't pay the bills....all that seems to fall on my dad. I don't know what he does with his money. One day we have money, the next we don't.

I'm tired of having the same talks with him over and over, and the same arguments. The thing that gets me is that somehow it always comes back to me. I'm the problem. I know I don't react in the most loving way all the time. I am working on me, but I'm tired of being the only person in this marriage doing the work. He seems to have a free ride. The only thing he does is go to work, and he complains about that. I'm tired of making excuses for him. I'm tired of him not taking care of us the way he is supposed to. I'm not materialistic, but it would be nice to own a home in the future, you know have some nice things. I want to know what it's like to live on our own and be adults! I'm tire of feeling so beaten down, hopeless, and defeated. I don't feel sorry for him this time. He has put himself and us in this horrible situation yet again. I want off this roller coaster. He's either got to get on meds and do some talk therapy or I think I may be done with him. Nothing ever seems to change. I can't keep living like this.
I know he can't help that he has ADD. I know part of his behavior is the ADD and the other part is bad habits/coping skills. He doesn't seem to realize how his actions are affecting everyone around him.  I just don't know what else to do, help please.

My opinion

I think your husband needs to hit bottom before he will change. Mine did. He won't hit bottom as long as he has you around to lean on/blame. If it were me (and I divorced my ADD husband, so take this for what it's worth), I'd take the kids and move back in with your parents WITHOUT him. Would your parents be willing to help out so you can go to school or get a job so you ensure that you can survive without him? That doesn't mean you have to divorce him, just be able to survive in spite of him. You will be in a much better position if you don't NEED him, and he knows that (being in a position where you need an ADDer is a special kind of torture; I was there).

Just watch out that he doesn't get the two of you (since you are married) into serious financial trouble. If he defaults on anything joint (and even some things that aren't in your name), they can come after you. There are some types of separations that limit your liability...look into them. He needs to learn that it's HIM that is ruining his life, not you. Mine learned that and has turned his life around; now that we are divorced, he's the reasonable, responsible man I always wanted (we are dating again, but I'm gunshy about getting too involved).

This is Pathetic

I’m sorry, but the guidance given here in this ‘forum’ is pathetic. Your husband’s lack of motivation is NOT simply his ADD for crying out loud. I have ADD and was married to a ‘normal’ person for 7 years that sounds exactly like what you describe as your husband. ADD is NOT a mental disorder. I have an IQ over 145 (on a good day ;p), I’ve held 3 jobs my entire life and advance quickly in everything I do (aka…hyper focus…something only us ADD peeps have).  For God sakes….bless the guys heart for being married to someone who’s posting forums on the internet about her husband's assumed mental disorder while divulging his ‘dirty laundry’ for the world to see. Poor guy!...

Listen, I’ll share with you one thing I’ve learned through the loss of my marriage. The ONLY way to initiate change is to look within you. Find the fault in yourself FIRST…before you point out the flaws in your husband.

You’d be amazed by the turn around that comes with a humble and patient approach. People WANT to change when approached this way….because they see how much you love them. ;p


Now go give that man a BIG hug! ;p

This is Pathetic by badair

If ADD/ADHD is NOT a mental disorder then what is it?   What was the reason for the loss of your marriage?  

My ADHD husband has a very high IQ, also, but he never seemed to utilize it properly in most of his past decisions and choices. 

I believe you will notice by reading most of our posts that we have come to that point!  The HUMBLE AND PATIENT APPROACH.  Most of us have changed to look within ourselves first.  Now, we are waiting for those same steps to occur in our spouses.  

In regard to divulging "dirty laundry".  About the only difference I see is that at least we are on a forum which helps us cope with every aspect of the ADD/ADHD marriage whereas my husband (I am sure other's too) seemed to want to talk to every TOM, DICK AND HARRY about our "dirty laundry".  This approach is supposed to show me love!!!!!

badair does not understand

This is my first time in any kind of forum at all. I volunteer in the mental health field and ADD/ADHD is a Mental Disorder. So what, I have a few mental disorders myself. Those who have ADD/ADHD, Bi-polar, Schizophrenia, etc have high IQ's. Mine do not have that claim. I hate stigma's and everything about them. Our mental health disorders are no different than cancer, diabetes, etc.

That being said, I have been married for 35 years. My husband was diagnosed late in life. we both were. We were 50. I now understand the problems and issues that involve my diagnoses and his. Life is tough with anyone, i have thought about leaving a million times. Even told him that a million times, my anxiety gets sky high. we both came from dysfunctional backgrounds.  communication and I mean healthy communication is non- existent. I tell my feelings and he thinks I am accusing and attacking, then the deflecting comes in, turns it around. I am not saying that this the ADHD, he had a childhood were he was taught to lie, hide and manipulate or he was left vulnerable and then his family could attack.  I teach classes on mental Health, as hard as I try I cannot get through to him.  Does he not feel that our marriage is in trouble, there is so much pain when you feel alone, ignored, devalued and just used up. Yet why am I still in the marriage? Am I too old to get out? Do I like being a victim? Do I need to go to CODA and get help? Will he ever want to share his heart with me? we have 3 grown children, they too have their trials in life. I am no peach probably but I do know when someone validates me, it is like getting water in the desert. What is it like to have a normal conversation and hear that my feelings are valid? He has constantly lied, spent money like water, pornography, emotional affair, treated me with disrespect in front of the children. I do not have an answer of why I still try. I know that inside he is a hurt, scared little boy that has no clue of how he sounds with tone of voice and how he comes off to others. Am I the mother, in many ways I am. Is this love , I have seen him change in so many ways, I have forgiven the betrayals, yet the past is never the past. History keeps repeating again and again. I hope this is insightful for someone.


You are criticizing HER and tell her to look for the problem in HERSELF?  Isn't this a variant of "shoot the messenger?" Many of us nons have been almost saints with what we have put up with. Poor guy? Because she didn't cover for his abusive behavior? Was this post about you, perhaps? Otherwise, I really don't understand the lack of compassion for her.

Nothing works

Patient and humble, or set limits and say it like it is...nothing works when you are up against someone with ADD who doesn't care. I think they totally get off on the arguments and playing the victim when you do lose your cool. I am not a mental health professional but am convinced there is a pathological component to the ADD mentality. It just isn't worth trying to understand anymore since he doesn't want to do anything about it. I have been going to weekly marriage therapy BY MYSELF for several months now. He went with me once and talked about his mother. Oh well. So much for therapy and this marriage. I'm letting go because this is no way to live.
Resigned2B's picture

Nothing works...

Dear Karig,
You have come to the right place for understanding and empathy. I'm in my room crying at the futility of trying to help/make my husband of thirty years realize what he has done to us.
At the end of me flying off the handle I looked at him and said, "I know this only makes you hate me more. I know you will forget about everything I've said and go on with life unscathed. And, I know you will keep lying to me and there's nothing I can do about it." 
Thirty years, six kids, two boys with ADHD, it never ends. I don't have the means anymore to leave. He's spent all our retirement and savings without telling me. I'm unsure if he'll even have a job at the end of the year. 
On the bright side, he's read 25 action books in three months! Were only two and a half years into a two month kitchen remodel. ALL the cabinets need to be taken off and repainted because they crackling after only having them painted for a month. Every time I think I'm getting a grip on things they slip away from me.
It's my birthday this week. I told my husband if he spends more than $25., it's going back. Now that I know the truth in our checkbook there's no money that shouldn't be put in savings. We'll need food money under that viaduct!

So Karig, you're not alone! Like you, I'm sick of thirty years of trying to understand ADHD. I can't understand my two boys and I raised them, and all the other kids, nearly single handedly. I broke down from all the juggling and with the new financial lies and outcome? I don't have much left to offer anyone.

Tomorrow will look brighter. For tonight we need to just get some sleep! :{

Dear Resignedtob, I am so

Dear Resignedtob, I am so sorry for your pain! I have read back in your posts from 3 months ago and I wonder - did your husband drain your retirement funds at the same time when he was telling you to go ahead and call the attorney? He told you, "you can have it all" and then poured "it all" into his business?

Resigned2B's picture


The short answer is he'd already lied about spending all our retirement in addition to borrowing $120K out of his sister's trust fund. (He had hidden the fact he had taken a 20% cut in pay in January, 2014, without telling me.) The money was used to fund payroll for his company. He did not secure the loan against company assets or even a signature. Technically, the investors don't have to even pay us back. 

The loan on our 401k is now in default. If it doesn't get paid back the money will be subject to IRS fines and penalties for early withdrawal. (About 30% of the total amount borrowed). Even if they pay us back the amount wouldn't last us six months. To hide all these things he has kept our money from contributing monthly into our 401k for YEARS. Hence, there's nearly nothing left.

His 'good ADHD intentions' were that he could get everything put back in the accounts without me ever knowing. Obama stiflingly the economy with 40,000 new mandates in 2013 prevented businesses from expanding. In fact, Obama has virtually paralyzed most small businesses from making a move!  

So, yes, by the time he was telling me to leave a few months ago, and to take everything, there was nothing left to take. It is the 'trump card' he uses to make me feel guilty for even questioning him. He knows I couldn't live for a week without any salary therefore, he has nothing to lose. If he valued me at all THEN he'd have at least that to lose. But he clearly doesn't. 

More lies keep coming out. He now hides his cell phone messages so I have no way to get updated on what's truly happening in the company or our finances. I run the checkbook now but he controls what happens before I even see our paycheck. At age sixty he might not even have a job by the end of the year. I'm keeping my eye out for a good spot under a viaduct somewhere. I'm hoping that my car, having 160K miles on it holds out. I know it will be the last car I own. 

I'm hoping for an early inexpensive death so I don't cost him much more. I've already signed my own DNR. Living costs money we don't/won't have. :{  
There's no ADHD in Heaven.

Big hugs to Resigned2b!

A friend of mine endured a similar situation until she made up her mind not to go down with the ship.

She got a small low-income apartment and works as a lunch lady at our local school.

This isn't the future she foresaw, but when I see her these days, she can smile and tell me the latest happy story about her grandkids.

We must believe that life goes on!

Resigned2B's picture

The ship's already down...

After 30 years, I'm just trying to grab that last pocket of air. 

I sent him a heart this morning in a text. Over it it said, "I thought you loved me". Underneath it was a picture of an eye with tears streaming down her face.

His response was this:

"I do love you, I know I will never make you happy nor will you ever feel safe with me so I have just given up."

So, just like that there's nothing left to save. Nothing here on the earth or for our family relationship in the eternities. 

I failed...



I do not believe that you have failed. Not for a moment.

You are not responsible for him - not for his choices, or for his actions, or for his feelings.

I hope that you will find help for YOU to go through this period of mourning and come out the other side. Even when we cannot see it, that other side Is available to us, I believe. Please seek help for you.

Dear Karig

If you want to share, may I ask what limits you have set?

I also felt that nothing worked, until he lied to our counselor and was caught red-handed in that lie, and I responded by sharing with him that the counselor said he is delusional and suggested the option of legal separation.

Everything  I have read about

Everything  I have read about ADHD, whether it is a book or internet, it is considered a "mental Disorder". Understanding what  mental disorder is, is first and foremost. Having a "mental disorder" does mean people are not intelligent or don't have a high IQ. It only means that a part of their brain does not function as well as it does in people without a "mental Disorder". Depending on which part of the brain this disorder affects is how it will manifest itself or show its self. A person with Schizophrenia can win a Pulitzer Price for Mathematics and be one of the smartest people out there but still have a "mental disorder" which makes him see and hear very clearly people that are not there. 

When you say that we need to look within ourselves and stop blaming our spouses... this sounds like a typical ADHD comment. We have all tried the patient, calm and caring approach and for many of us it doesn't work. I find that most ADHD always blame the other and are unable at most times to see when it is them. it's fustrateing for us.

Tough Love

I so agree with your definition of tough love.  My husband and I work in the yard a lot together.  Well...I work and he plays unless I am asking him to do specific things.  The other day I was in the backyard planting some monkey grass in a flower bed.  I was hot and tired and ready to get things done.  My husband decided to turn the water on while I was up to my elbows in dirt.  Now let me explain here that this is nothing new for him to do, but I have explained many, many times that I need for him to wait until I finish planting so that the dirt will not turn into MUD and make my job impossible to finish.  I watched him turn on the water and felt my anger beginning to rise.  I very calmly asked him to turn it off although I wanted to scream DO YOU NOT REMEMBER THE CONVERSATIONS WE HAVE HAD ABOUT THIS???  He acted like this had never been an issue before and that I was being ridiculous, but he turned it off anyway. I finish up in the backyard and head out to the front yard to plant a few more things.  Does anyone want to guess what he does???  He walked right to the water hose and turned it on less than a foot from where I was planting.  It had been MAYBE five minutes since we had the conversation in the backyard.  I just stood up and said "Go ahead and get it all wet.  Just wet it all down so I can't do a stinkin' thing."  He looked at me like I was the bitch from hell.  I had to walk off to keep from totally losing it.  I have gotten so incredibly frustrated with him that I honestly could not talk to him for three days, and then only for brief periods at a time.  I finally told him last night that I felt like I was his "guardian" and that he seemed "mildly retarded" to me.  To my surprise he said that he FELT mildly retarded.  I do love my husband, but there are many times when I want to jump on my Harley and ride as far and as fast away from him as I can get.  I emotionally detached long ago because it was just too painful.  I stay because I am 54 and my whole life is tied up in him, BUT I live my own life.  I'm going dancing with a guy friend Friday night.  I went riding with my guy friends a few months ago.  I'm sure there are a lot of people reading this that would say "OH...that is so inappropriate".  I say TOO BAD to them and their attitudes.  I don't and won't cheat on my husband, but I'm not going to let him drag me down into the ADD Abyss either.  And amazingly enough, it doesn't bother him that I do.  It all comes down to self-preservation folks.

Tough Love - anyone ADHD male spouses have these answers?


I cannot speak to your decisions or behavior (nor should I or anyone else).  Living with someone with ADHD is so hard.  I was blamed for our issues for so long, and actually sought counseling, medication, and the like only to determine....after 25 years that he has ADHD!  What?? Why didn't that occur to any of the counselors I saw as I described our problems?  Because so much of the time women are perceived as being bitches and complainers themselves.  I have chosen to not leave my husband over the years because of the children and I know he loves me in his own way.  He has not cheated (or I would have left).  I am not saying that was the best decision for me or that I would make that decision again.  I am also in my 50's now and wondering about my life as a non-adhd spouse is almost too much for anyone to go into NOT KNOWING their partner is adhd beforehand.  I did not know but it sure makes sense now.


-  Why would an ADHD male be so disinterested in emotional connections with family members yet sit and cry at commercials & TV dramas (showing more empathy to the TV than real people)?

-Why would an ADHD male be so disinterested in sex (literally since we married...the whole time) yet spend time explaining how much they love you and how attractive you are?  I just don't understand this at all?  (there have been no affairs/no porn)

-Why would an ADHD male not seek help/counseling/read a book/acknowledge or discuss ADHA and still after 25+ years blame their spouse who they , themselves also say is so wonderful and deserving of better etc.?

Thank you for any help.


to Jill

I don't think I would hold my breath waiting for answers from any ADHD's.  You have heard the phrase "they wake up to a new world every day"?  I think they all live in their little ADHD bubble and have no idea the carnage they cause.  It's like this...when my brother and I were in high school, for some reason we went out to a cafeteria together for dinner.  (This was a very LONG time ago.  Too long ago to remember details.  LOL )  My brother had his massive plate of food in front of him and had just sat down to eat when this little old lady walked by.  Her purse was huge and it caught my brother's plate and dumped it all in his lap.  We both just sat there for a minute and then I started laughing.  He didn't say anything to the woman and she never knew what she had done.  Now don't think for a second that I am defending the things that they do because some ADDers are still ASSes, but I honestly think that they forget about 75% of what they say and do.  I think their "consideration" fuse was never installed... along with quite a few others.  You can't think of them as normal people.  EVER!  There are men and there are women and THEN there are ADHDers.  They are not like us and cannot function on the same level.  That is the only reason that I don't completely despise my husband.  I kind of think of it as him being drunk all the time.  Last week he not only drained his checking account, but  drained his savings account and had three over-draft charges and still didn't know he had run out of money until I called him and told him.  We have now gone to a "you only get cash" strategy.  I am to the point that I expect the worst.  Once in a while he surprises me, but not often.  I get very sad very often but there is nothing to be done.  I find my joy in other areas of my life.  I can only imagine what Melissa is thinking if she is reading this, but I'll bet everyone on this blog can identify with me.  


reply to mcCleskey

I think you have found your survival strategy and I bet it still hurts somewhere deep inside that life has to be like that.

I am digging my way up and finding mine too.  I am reading Melissa's book now......I have to get my anger in control!  It's at an all time high.  I sort of have to slap myself (just an expression) and say ".......put the wall's easier.....just go for a long run.....don't try to converse or reason".  Then keep finding hobbies and give up hoping for the love/intimacy/friendship that will never exist with an ADHD spouse (who doesn't see the issues in themselves nor want to seek counseling nor meds).


Me too :-(

At least we know it isn't US, and we have other people to discuss it all with.  For 29 years he had me convinced it was me.  I was in hell.  His diagnosis freed me from that, but I know that things will never get better.  It hurts as much as you can imagine that "life has to be like that".  Jogging, gardening, friends, the gym, cycle riding all have saved my sanity.  Put your wall up and move on.  Sometimes I pray that at some point in my life God will bring me a normal person to love, but then I think it is awful to ask that.  It is a day to day thing.  I'm tired of feeling like I have wasted my life.

Linsy's picture

'Getting over' anger

The only way I could 'get over' my anger was by separation. My nerves were shot, I was shaking with stress and panic, and my fuse was very short as a result. It has taken me nearly three years to repair all the damage to my reactions. I cannot have been an easy person to know, as I was so nervous.  It is such a relief to feel normal. I realise I have not felt normal for years. Getting through my own sorrows (two miscarriages, deaths of parents etc) and major life stresses (being made redundant, dealing with his huge debts etc) without support of any kind, and actually with the opposite, would reduce anyone to an angry wobbly jelly. BUT and it is a big but, I am grateful every day for what I do have, most particularly my beloved children and my own health and abilities. I was, like nearly every other non ADHD wife on here, blamed for everything and bewildered by the mysterious baseless 'problems' which were difficult to pin down. It is such a relief to have some peace.

Thank you!

Thank you, thank you, thank you! Dear God, I need some peace! after 3 years of major life crises, no support but in fact critisism and destruction from the DH in my about all his needs, I just want some peace!!!

Linsy's picture

I feel for you

Any chance of you kicking him out? I am now bumbling along, making my own mistakes and rectifying them, and not having to clear up after anyone else. I was driven somewhere by him the other day, and it was such a relief not to have to worry about anything - I kept saying to myself, it is not my responsibility. When my mother was dying, he said: You cry too much, as I wept into the kitchen sink. He completely failed to support me through that awful trauma (she was the only responsible supportive adult in my life) and made us as usual completely financially insecure by his horrible lack of work ethic. I am much happier on my own. You don't need any criticism. You are an adult. You have your own needs. Make a list of what they are. Make a list of his 'needs' and separate them. You could even show him his list and say to him, these are yours to get on with. These are mine. This may not be good advice, I don't know. But please find some peace in your own adequacy. Love from Linsy

No chance

Hi Linsy,

the more I delve into different mental disorders the more I recognize that life is just life. I volunteer with NAMI and teach people who have it worse than me. My husband has changed quite a bit. I have retired at 56, going through bankruptcy is a good thing for him. For 5 years the court monitors us. I don't need it as much as him. I retired because my anxiety is worse. He works three jobs, of which I am grateful. I have found that I don't put up with his crap anymore. I stand up for myself, I call him on his bull. I also have found other things in my life to fulfill my needs. He try's and if he was still doing the same bad behaviors I would leave. Leaving is always an option. I can work again and I often wonder if there is any peace in being away from him. As I said life is a process. 

MagicSandwich's picture

Practiced ignorance

Yup I identify with you. Sometimes I wonder if some of the ADHD-ers in my life DO indeed have an idea of the carnage they cause and for this reason, retreat into their bubbles. Practiced ignorance is a pretty good way of avoiding responsibility while simultaneously controlling others, you know?

I have a friend who struggles with bi-polar. The thing with her is that after getting to know somebody new, she makes a point to explain her diagnosis and how sometimes her manic states can break through the drug regimen. Long ago she told me that if I though she was behaving erratically I should not take it personally. Her out of control behavior meant she needed a drug "tune up."  This friend did some psych inpatient time back in 2006 and after being discharged from the hospital, she sent flowers to the mutual friend of ours who had taken her to the E.R.  Can you imagine an ADHD-er showing gratitude like that?  For anything? I'm sorry this sounds so harsh, but my frustrations are running very high today. Grrrr.

Linsy's picture

bi polar

One of my dearest friends, a huge source of support, is bi polar. She recognises the difficulties it causes those who love her best, and explains and apologises and is nearly always in fact great fun and wonderful. And she NEVER complains about it, just gets on with her life. As you say, v different from the nightmare that I stayed with for so long.


Along with the husband, my oldest grown child has ADHD, my two grandaughter's have it. I will stick all this out because they can be teachable. Although my daughters behavior lately is so dangerous and does impact not only her but her children. I out of 4 of us have a mental disorder. This is inherited. I am going to fight and help as much as I can. I am exhausted and believe me ...suicide is always in the back of my mind. I just don't think I can discard my whole family. 



I can identify!

Except that ADD/ADHD are normal people. They are wired different in their brains. My disorders are biological. my husband has both. Neurological and biological. I have been there with the money. At age 56 we are going through bankruptcy, it is hard. I am glad you are finding joy in other areas of your life. I too, I have a passion to volunteer in the mental health field. I come from a long line of crazy women. I am glad I do not have ADD/ADHD, I think I will keep what I have.

I'll take a stab at the questions...

I may not be any help on these, but I'll try...

1 - TV/Movie/Commercial Emotions, without any in the real world: I don't know about this one in terms of my ADD. I was a very emotional kid and would cry often. My A-Hole Step-Dad (for 10 Years) would ridicle me and call me "A Big Fat Sissy", his favorite Go To insult. At age 13, he did it for the last time and I was so enraged by the cycle of hurt that I vowed to never again show Any kind of emotion which made me look weak. YYZ Persona 1.0 was officially set. I am 46 and have cried 2 times since age 13. Movies/TV or Real Life. I think the answer may be with "Not Knowing How to react to Emotions" in real time. I struggle with this to this day. I guess some ADDers don't feel the emotional pressure when things are not real and just let it out.

2 - ADD Male Disinterested in Sex ?!?!?!?: This truly baffles me... I have NEVER not wanted sex, Ever. I believe sex was my #1 ADD Addiction, Food was #2... My DW is the only woman I did not end up cheating on, because I ALWAYS knew it would be the Marital Death Penalty. After about 4 years of marriage, we pretty much got to the "Room Mate" situation and there was always some "Good" reason why it would not work out each night. I eventually all but gave up trying, except for date nights when I "Thought" I had reasonable odds. I've posted my tales of no sex on several other posts. I've Never had a porn issue either, because the pictures are not a Real Woman. Sorry... I'm not much help with this one.

3 - ADD Male Not seeking Help:  I don't understand this either... I've always been proactive about my health, especially since my DD's came into my life. I've gotten an annual physical every year since I was 35 and gone to every doctor my GP sent me to. The sexless marriage eventually took it toll on me and I eventually reached out to a female friend (My DW's worst nightmare), nothing ever happened with her as I was asking for a female perspective to my problems at home. My DW eventually searched my phone and found an email, then the "Rock Bottom" moment happened about a week after my ADD diagnosis. The diagnosis explained SO MUCH about my life. How could I ignore the means to correct so many things in my life. I could be 2X productive with the rest of my life. The answers were right in front of my face and I finally noticed them. I believe so many guys live in denial without ADD, so coupled with the low self-esteem they don't want to get their hopes up or they think they have made it This far, so why would they Need help now???? That would mean you are Weak, right??? I didn't really believe ADD was real, until I actually read my life in the first book.

I don't know if any of this helps, but I figured I'd give it a shot...




Reply to YYZ ---

Thanks for the've given me an interesting perspective on the TV/emotional question.  I will think seriously about that.

My husband does believe he's ADHD but also defends every action and places blame (mostly on me).  I have great relationships with my family, his family and friends he has practically no relationship with his family or my family or friends.  And, I have noticed that with some of our friends/his friends he's totally different.  It's like one way with me and one way with others yet no one is really that 'close'.  

Thks again.

You are welcome...

The blame game seems to be a REAL Common theme and a real poor coping skill for ADDer's. The Double Personality is also quite common. Only people the closest to you see the "Real" you, but I also believe this can be true whether you have ADD or not. In my DW's case, she shows the world a confident secure unflappable personality, while I know the very self-critical and insecure woman at home. We are actually pretty similar in what we each show the world and how we really feel about ourselves.

Thank goodness for Adderall, ADD Books, counseling and this website :)

You are right about the

You are right about the double personality thing.....

did adderall make you become "really nasty" "meaner" and "VERY closed off"?

I am glad that as an ADDer you are seeking help, meds,  and education!  That cannot/should not go unnoticed! :)



Adderall moved me out of being oblivious to the things around me, like facial expressions and body language. I noticed that I was in a better mood overall, especially at night when I used to be completely exhausted and more apt to be cranky. I've heard that some ADDer's get mean on Adderall, but it was not the case for me.

Thanks for the "Pat on the Back"... It has been a roller coaster for the last three years, but we keep moving along.


Linsy's picture

Blame and split personality

Yup, very recognizable. Also not getting on with people, falling out with people, people avoiding him including me and some of his children. Poor man, it must be so painful. No wonder he has built a wall around himself many many feet thick composed of denial mortared with other people's money.

one person's response

First I should say that I am not an untreated guy with ADHD, though I believe I am still under treated (partially my own fault) and still have a ways to go.  Here are my takes on the three questions you posed above, though none precisely apply to me.

1) Emotional connections are messy, and whether your partner may admit it or not he likely has a lot of guilt and hurt that is associated with those connections.  He knows that he has contributed negatively to the relationships, and is afraid to face it.  At the same time he does not want to be demonized for being the sole catalyst in the creation of the current situation and fears being seen as the only one who has done wrong.  The cheesy phrase "it takes two to tango" is somewhat apt, I believe, and is at the heart of most conflict.  It may be my own desire to deflect, and in no way am I saying the blame goes 50/50 (might be 90/10), but it is incredibly demoralizing to see yourself as the only person that has continually made the problem worse. 

2) This is tough for me, as I think my past disinterest in sex was largely pharmaceutical in nature.  I have been on anti-depressants for years (long before I even thought about ADD as an adult), and have had to slowly increase the potency over that time.  What I can say is that this is an issue that is often complicated with other factors (such as weight and age), so pointing to ADHD in this case may be a mistake.  That said, if your marriage has been sexless for a while (regardless of blame) it can be daunting for your partner to plan out the romantic setting that he feels you deserve and require for you to engage in sex with him.  It can also be hard for him to overcome his feelings of shame and unworthiness for him to get up the steam to engage in sex.  He needs to feel safe, and while I have no idea what your home-life is like I do know that when you feel like you are the cause of all the family's problems it is very hard to feel safe enough to put yourself out there like that.  My wife and I have been on the precipice of divorce for more than a year, and tender affection has only recently started to be palpable between us.  The very idea of planning out even a simple night together, that is not going to exacerbate financial issues, and that will put her in the mood for what we once had, feels insurmountable to me.  I try to picture it or plan it and nothing comes.  I feel like she deserves that in order for her to not feel all the resentments which cause other interactions to not feel safe.  I hope that makes a little sense, but it very well might be way off the mark for your particular situation.

3) This is another question that is very specific to your personal situation.  My situation was very different in that it involved substance abuse that I acknowledged, but had not been able to get much progress on.  For that reason, and a few others, I was desperate for any answer to why I seemed incapable of change or normal human responsibility, so I was looking for help.  Even then, though, it was a daunting thing to do as it requires a lot of drive to get any attention with regards to ADHD, as it still has a lot of baggage even for medical professionals, and many people dismiss it.  After I got pharmaceutical help, it still took more than a year for me to pick up a book, and I only did that because the people around me seemed to treat ADHD as something that the pills should have fixed.  For me, all it took was to read the first chapter of "Driven to Distraction", and I was hooked because I had never read anything in my life that described me and my thoughts so perfectly.  Your partner's reasons are his own: It could be that he feels unfixable, or that he does not truly understand what things are myth and what are reality with regards to ADHD, or perhaps it is as simple as it constantly slipping out of his mind.  It is very hard for me to say.

Why it feels like he blames you, is another issue, and I kinda eluded to my thoughts on the subject in answering question 1, but essentially I think he doesn't.  I am obviously guessing based on my own experience, but it can be impossible to admit to the culpability he feels due to to not wanting to feel like the only person contributing to the problem.  Again, it is about feeling safe in the discussion, and even if your culpability is miniscule in relation to his, acknowledgment of it and discussion of solutions as part of the conversation can make your husband feel safe enough to admit to his dysfunctional contributions.  Don't let it turn in to a conversation only about where you are to blame, because that is dishonest and continues to unfairly put you in the hot-seat- it also does nothing to address the problem.  The conversation needs to be about the problem, and how each of you contribute to it, not about blame- you can work on blame and hurt feelings later, but you need to begin on some safe ground.  The conversation must also end in a plan, even if it is a plan to have another conversation tomorrow night.  If there are no concrete steps planned soon, then the ADHD brain has a hard time tackling the problem and nothing will get accomplished.


That all feels a bit "rambly" to me, so I hope that it makes a little bit of sense to you, Jill.

An ADHD male would not do any

An ADHD male would not do any of those things, as I am one and they do not apply to me whatsoever.

However, someone with many OTHER mental problems could do those things.

Your first question made me

Your first question made me gasp - it's like you are in my house. I have asked my husband that same question, and there is no answer. It's not that he doesn't want to answer. He doesn't even know.

barneyarff's picture

water hoses,etc

I spent an hour looking for our post and signed onto this website in order to reply/

I so identified with what you wrote about the water hose.  I told DH about your post last night.  I told him it's like his snoring and refusing to put on his mask so he doesn't snore.  many times a week I will wake up with the TV blaring and DH snoring like some kind of thunderstorm.   I ask him gently to put on his mask and he mumbles.....  I poke him harder and ask again, then turn off the TV....   he mumbles.... etc.  You know where this is going.  It's not until I poke him really hard and yell PUT YOUR MASK ON  that he does it and then gets angry at me for yelling at him.

So last night before bed I explained to him about how I really try to talk to him quietly about this issue even during the day so it can be taken care of but it doesn't change.  Last night I read your post and it kind of shook him up but not enough to  put his mask on.  Later that night I was woken up by his snoring.  I handed him his mask and said "Put his on.  You are snoring"   He snarled at me  "I'm not even tired"  So I asked  "So, you are snoring while awake?"   He rolled over and said in a patrinizing tone "I'm not going to argue with you"


I just can't win.  I don't have an extra bedroom to move to.   He did mention that he "only" does it 2 or 3 times a week anymore.   Does he not know about the stress of random feedback as opposed to consistent feedback?  And now he is starting to say I'm nuts because I'm still complaining about his snoring.


So you and your post have been on my mind all day.   This is a tiny example of the things that happen at my house.  I think all of you know the drill though.  Milk put on top of the refrigerator instead of IN the refrigerator.  Leaving dishes everywhere.  Fantastic messes.  Fantastic ideas with no followthrough.  Undone projects.  Plus a hoarding compulsion.  OMG!!!!!    One of the biggest fights we ever had was when I found 2 mechanical pencils in the pen jar in the kitchen.  Neither worked and they were dirty-nasty.  I threw them out and had planned to buy some pens, since all of ours dissappeared.   WELL!!!!!  Those 2 pencils were very important to DH because they represented some memories in his life.  You would have thought I had thrown away his first born.  I asked him  if they were so important to him, why were they in the pencil jar in the kitchen and not framed and up on the wall in his room.  Ok, there was some sarcasm there, but for pity's sake.....   he  grabbed his 2 holy pencils and stomped off to his (Extremely messy.  Could be on TV) room where I guess they are still there.... somewhere.....     


And what I really love is that I'm supposed to not be mad anymore over this stuff because he's moved on.  Off course, he still refuses to put on his mask, and his pencils are lost in the mess of his room  I have no resolution.

To Barneyarff

Oh the hoarding.  I can't tell you have much milk has been ruined by exactly what you said...leaving it on top of the frig.  And the garage!  3/4 of the junk in the garage is useless.  I am a minimalist.  If I don't use it I get rid of it.  He knows that I throw stuff away, so he goes through the trash, just like your husband, and brings it all back in.  He keeps asking me to "help" him clean out the garage, but the last three times I tried, we just moved all the stuff around to a different place.

My DH still believes that he is going to Europe to ride around on his motorcycle.  He is 61 and can't balance a checkbook or keep from losing his wallet, but he is going to Europe. 

I had the snoring problem with him too.  I finally gave up and we started sleeping in separate bedrooms.  That just pushed us further apart. 

If you and I were to meet face to face to discuss our problems with our ADDers, people would most likely think we were talking about the same person.

I have one other thing for you to share with your husband.  All of this stress from my relationship caused me to have migraines and almost daily nosebleeds.  The migraines have been going on for years, but the nosebleeds were new.  I finally threw in the towel.  I couldn't take any of this anymore so I filed for divorce a month ago.  The day he moved out, the nosebleeds stopped.  (I am not making this up.)  I have had one headache that I had to take my meds for, but other than that, they have stopped also.  I don't know how long you have been married, but it sounds like you are a few years behind me in this process.  My DH has gotten MEAN.  I can deal with a lot, but I can't deal with MEAN.  There is never a break from any of it.  There might be a lull, but it always comes back.  When the MEAN factor came in I refused to do it.  Now my house is clean, my garage is clean, and my health has improved significantly.  I have a chance at a decent life now.  And most of all...I'm happy.  I hate divorce, but I was just pushed too far.  I will pray for you Barneyarff. 

Linsy's picture

The stress made me ill too

Familiar stuff this. I could bear anything but MEAN. He was mean intermittently in the past, but the last few years he was mean all the time, including to the kids. That was it for me.

Hi Old Friend

I returned to the site for the obvious.....thigs NEVER change.  I see you filed for divorce and are probably done and over by now.  I am sooo happy for you and so jealous.

I hope one day I can be free...or happy with my loving "connected" husband.  Since we know which one will happen....I guess you can figure that out on your own ;)



To all the repliers......

The response of badair indicates what we, as non-adha spouses, all have lived.  His defensive, place the blame on someone else, lack of empathy response only nails down the fact that if you are married to an adhd spouse you are used to receiving that kind of treatment regardless of the love between you as husband and wife.

The one point I do agree with is that the spouse (in jail) probably does have other issue in addition to adhd.  Taking a long break, away from him, and getting your own life together, on your own feet will help you survive and be there for your kids.  Tough love isn't mean and spiteful it sometimes is a means of survival.

best of luck....


Badair, your response to this emotionally tortured woman is beyond insensitive. You use the term "pathetic" to describe people who are sharing their wisdom, which has only come from repeated emotional abuse from a person with this disorder? And it IS a disorder. If you are going to throw around judgment, at least get your facts  straight first. Also, FACT TWO is that she never said he was not intelligent. She said he could not hold a job. This is obviously going to be an issue in a RELATIONSHIP, which by definition, means TWO people have to each do their part to make it work.

Humble and patient? Can I begin to tell you how humble and patient I was for the years that he was throwing out words like "b:&*", and phrases like "I hate you," because I had the audacity to ask him to follow through on a simple promise to me? I wonder why your marriage failed...did you ever think about YOU?? Most of these nons have been so humble and patient that they are beaten down by the time they finally decide to leave. I was humble and patient for years, and guess what? After his ADHD was diagnosed, he was prescribed meds, and I was working on myself in therapy and taking meds, he said he did not need to change anything, that he was just selfish and immature, and I would just need to deal with it. So your theory needs a little work.

logicalfather's picture

agree but disagree

I agree with you completely, that the umbrella term ADHD is often used as an excuse for just about anyone who is not a good spouse. But as a Christian man who used to be like many of these men described, I take what in today's society would look at as a controversial view on it. My most feminist friend gave me surprising advice when I was trying to figure out what was wrong with my marriage. She stated that "my wife is a reflection of me." After deep self-reflection, I found that was true. As the man of the house, I quickly noticed that as I fixed myself, my dissatisfaction with my wife quickly went away. So I sympathize with the women on this board who have husbands that don't have either the knowledge or desire to fix themselves to heal their families. I don't know if women being "patient or humble" will do the trick when a husband is truly not carrying his load. I would go with the direction my wife took, creative and strong. She's led my family from a submissive role, until I was able to fix myself. 

"God breaking me down over Christmas break has provided her with the husband and family that she has deserved for so long. I now intentionally work towards being the strong Christian leader of our household, and my wife has shown relief that she no longer has to burden so much of our family’s responsibility. I have imposed several rules on myself to keep my mind on the right track of being a better husband" (Broke Down & Loved Up, pg 98-99). 

The first time I read through these post were while I was struggling with coming to the realization that my brain worked differently than others, after a year and a half of living differently, I look forward to looking at these post from a new point of view. So I agree that having ADHD characteristics does not make someone a bad husband in itself. 



Hyperfocus is not only an adhd trait

"hyper focus…something only us ADD peeps have"

Umm, no.

"Conditions associated with perseveration include neurodevelopmental disorders, in particular the autism spectrum (especially Asperger syndrome), and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)."

It's not an ADHD exclusive trait at all. I have a personality that gives me the ability to hyperfocus and I do not have ADHD or autism (I have been psych tested and have anxiety disorders and hypochondria, though.) I do not see hyperfocusing as some kind of excuse (when it's negative) or gift (when it's positive.) It just is something that many people do. In "normal" people I believe hyperfocus can be associated with the natural ability to become engrossed in something past distraction. Like when you read a book and everything else disappears -- you're so focused you don't hear or see anything around you.

ADHD IS a mental disorder, actually.  It doesn't matter what your IQ is (mine was 140 when I was 12 but who's counting, right?;) You can have any IQ and still be affected by it (or other mental disorders.) I don't think we are debating whether a person is intelligent or not as that's simplistic thinking.

Finding the fault first in ourselves -- when a husband puts a bill down and ignores it, covers it, forgets about it and has to be reminded over and over only to attack his wife for her "nagging" while your electric company is calling -- that's not a situation where the wife should look at her own faults first. The problem there is, the man's name is on the bill, it is his responsibility between them to pay that bill, and he is not living up to his share of the partnership. Looking at what the wife does wrong has no bearing on what the husband is doing wrong. the bill must be paid or the electricity is shut off. I don't think the electric company cares who is smarter or who has more or less faults.

Hyperfocus is Real

ADHD and autism are genetically related disorders with overlapping traits, which include hyperfocus.  However, there is a chasm of difference between hyperfocus and the type of focus you describe.    When I am hyperfocused, even when I can physically pull myself away from the previous activity, I leave part of my brain behind, so to speak.  It is not something "many" people do.  Part of paying attention is also shifting attention.  What you describe is getting lost in your work, which all people do.  This is different.  I can do this, too, sometimes.  However, when I hyperfocus, I actually FEEL different, like there is a tractor-beam on my brain and I can't control it.  I don't say this to absolve myself of my responsibilities; quite the contrary, it is my job to find a way to extricate myself from this feeling.  I sometimes need to do something like exercise to shock myself into a different level of consciousness and out of hyperfocus.  As a teacher, I can see it in my ADHD/autistic students eyes when they are hyperfocused, and as a mother to an ADHD child, it is the same. 

Resigned2B's picture

ADHD IS absolutly a mental disorder!

ADD and ADHD is covered under 'The Americans with Disabilities Act'. Please, look it up before you post your 'opinion' on it!

Resigned2B's picture

ADHD Mental Disorder

No way to know who reads this. ADD and ADHD are both covered under the 'Americans with Disabilities Act'. Both are grounds to be unemployable and will NOT be accepted into the US Military unless they have outstanding consistent grades and have NOT been on ANY ADD/ADHD meds for TWO consecutive years.

Having lived with a spouse for thirty years who has it AND two of our many children were diagnosed BEFORE my husband was - I can personally guarantee it IS a significant mental disorder and learning disability. Twice as likely to divorce as the average couple. 

Now, come give ME a hug, poor thing!

Hyper-focus and Mental Disorder

I'm in a weak place to argue whether ADHD is a mental disorder or are definitely correct as far as the DMSV description and's listed as a disorder. The big difference with ADHD and many other inherent disorders is that all the symptoms that are most commonly associated with it can be improved on and even mastered with work.  It takes the will and the courage to do it but it can be done.  All of my symptoms have dramatically improved for the better and the work I've done is starting to pay off exponentially.  Many of the comments in this thread sound suspiciously anecdotal.

Also...... the US Marines have a test they give to new recruits during placement testing that tests for a specific thing for a specific job.  They don't tell the recruits what they are testing for...but it's for ADHD.  The job they are looking to fill is for long range snipers and they found that people with a great capacity to Laser focus over long periods of time under extreme conditions and chaos make the best candidates for this kind of work.  Fighter pilots and formula 1 race car drivers also can benefit from this kind of ADHD and this is a proven fact.  I have this ability and it's one that has served well in many aspects of my life including my career where staying cool "under fire" is essential for success.

I've never heard mention of ADHD being a learning disability either?  I never experienced any trouble in school, (3.6 grade average in college) I'm very good at problem solving,  critical thinking and am self taught in dozens of skills and applications bringing  them to a high degree of proficiency.  These don't sound like traits associated with learning disabilities?

And at least one book I've read on subject....theorizes that ADHD is an adaptive trait.....and during the hunter gatherer stages of human development appeared as a strong survival benefit for tracking, hunting and situational awareness.  It also theorized that this trait became less important as humans moved more towards an agrarian society into present day.

I would concur with this analogy for myself.  Friends, co-workers and competitors in sports have all commented on my ability to think on my feet, move and react extremely quickly and as I mentioned the go to guy when all hell breaks loose.

I think there are many factors and related issues when talking about people with ADHD it really depends on what combination of these factors a person has as to the kinds of generalities that you asserting here.


Resigned2B's picture

Mental disorder...

As a non-ADHDer, wife to one and mother to two boys with it, I could give you many details. For the purpose of this thread I need not.  I have other children with a different birth father who have ZERO problems with organization, attention, focus, and need no meds to function as a wife, mother, and as a husband, father. Between those two adult children there are a total of five grandchildren.  The oldest of those grandchildren is in high school. That line of DNA has ZERO issues with ADHD. The ADHD birth father, my husband of thirty years, has it and has had it forever - undiagnosed. Two of OUR two boys were diagnosis with it from age THREE and FIVE.

To be honest, I didn't know what in the world hit me when those two were born. I was a good and successful mother to every child - but this ADHD child threw every parenting skill I ever had into overdrive! This was the first child I had, who by age three, I was having to remind him constantly who the mother was in our family!!! When my older sister came to tend all of them she told me, within two days, THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG!!! He's been in timeout 10 tens for the same behavior and it's only NOON!

Fast forward to adulthood.  Same child was vice-president to the entire student body of his university. SO, he's smart as a whip. And he's typically hard as nails to LIVE with!!! He focuses on something, ie., school, and NOBODY else exists!!!  Great for him, bummer for his future wife! It doesn't make for a well rounded husband or father. He will laser focus on her and she will drop from his radar of importance as soon as his brain becomes bored. And she will be left to wonder what the heck happened?!?

THIS is an issue! It doesn't take them long to get bored and on to something else. This leaves EVERYONE in a quandary of what they did wrong. Meanwhile, he's oblivious to even having a problem. He's quick to blame everyone else for not adapting to HIM!

The US Military turned my other ADHDer down!  SPECIFICALLY because he had ADHD.  They WILL NOT accept them on these meds - period! He was interested in being part of special forces.  They wanted his medical records from THE DAY HE WAS BORN!  They would not consider him until he had been off any meds for two years.  Another friend had the same thing happen to her boy when he applied for ROTC to get into the military.  HIS father is a police chief... Same story. No ADHD meds for two years.  He needed to provide them with ALL his back medical records as well.

I have gone through a thirty year marriage with a man who has NEVER mowed our yard ONCE!  NEVER been able to clean out our garage. He can do a two hour job on it, get frustrated and leave me with a 14 hour mess to organize, every six months for thirty years. He is a WILDERNESS FIRST RESPONDER. Good for him.  He has and will lie to me about ANYTHING and always has. Not a great quality to have in a spouse. He can climb mountains and hunt like nobody's business.  When it comes to organizing his checkbook, taxes, bills, personal maid, belongings - I have to do it ALL.  Not so great to have a 'child' in your spouse. But if I need a tourniquet  - he's the man. He can shoot a fly off a coke can and never touch the can! If we're in a shoot out - he's my guy!

I don't think there is one person on this thread, who has an ADHD spouse, man or woman, that can not understand just how paralyzing this mental disorder is and to have to 'circle the wagons' around them. Yes, they can learn different behavior. One wife who had ADHD lamented just how HARD it was to pick up her bath towel in the morning. It took her TEN years to 'learn' that behavior. And she was SO proud of herself that she could FINALLY do just that ONE THING!  She wanted her husband to be 'more understanding' of her plight. All I could think of was what her husband must have feeling and thinking when a full grown adult could NOT pick up ONE towel after she showered??? FOR TEN YEARS!?!

Throw a few kids into their marriage and there would be complete bedlam! Throw six children at them and that husband would have left her.

I hope my boys can find wonderful, patient wives that are willing to coach them through much of life. And be able to laugh about it when she's ignored. I hope they understand that they will NEED coaching from someone for much that they will do in life.  To catch all the little details that they leave behind - ie., real life. That someone will be left to write every 'post-it note' to remind them their head is in the closet and they need to put it on before they leave the house.  Make charts and then give them stickers for every job they have done well. And things they simply don't see around the house that needs to be done - she'll have to be flexible and skilled enough to do it herself or say 'oh, well' and laugh. 

As a wife of thirty years and mother to six (not including my spouse) - that gets really old, really fast. To say nothing about the constant wondering if I were only a better wife, or prettier, or better cook, did the vacuuming and cleaning faster, a better lover, that SOMEHOW  - SOME WAY I might be able to hold his attention. Maybe if I took meds things would be better... The truth is that NO human being can compete with the adrenaline high that he gets from teetering on every mountain of life.

For me??? I'd like some traditional security in a marriage. I don't want to wonder or worry if he's lying about finances or his pay check or if our taxes have been filed or if our checks are going to bounce or if he's going to have a job next year. Call me old fashion but I don't enjoy 'flying by the seat of my pants' every minute. Especially now that we're older and NEED a sound retirement.

Good luck. It sounds like you are at least aware you need to work at it and that's a big plus. Maybe when you read the accounts of people here you will know what to watch for so you don't fall into the same abyss. It's easier to avoid creating bad memories than it is to forget they ever happened. 

It is not easy to get the US Government to acknowledge a disability. It is costly for them to do so. In the case of an ADD/ADHD diagnosis - they have - and in my opinion/experience - they are right...


I So Do Appreciate Your Candor

I also want to say that I hear the distress and frustration in your words.  That is what brought me to this sight....not to defend my ADHD ( or anyone else's )....but to hear what it is like from the other side so I can gage myself better as compared to someone who doesn't have ADHD and what they would be like to live with.  The comparison to your own children was especially helpful to me so I can look back at myself as a child and see my parents side of things more clearly than I could back then.

I loved your description of your husband and his skills as a hunter and with a gun....especially the shoot out part . ha ha

Guns aren't one of my specialties ( even though shooting them I find highly stimulating.... yes the ADHD) but if they were I'm sure I'd be the same as your husband.  That is one of the big problems with having ADHD.  You can be so good at some things ( sometimes great.... even spectacular!) ...and be so bad at others.  It can be a curse and a gift all in the same day depending on your circumstances.

No one likes to think of themselves as having a disorder, being defective, causing pain to others etc.....and to dwell on things like this can only make you depressed and feel helpless.  I'm here to take my lumps so to speak...and hear the plight of woman like yourself to help me understand better what life is like to live with us ADHD I can keep the things I'm hearing in these post fresh in my mind as soon as I start down my own path of self righteous thinking and defensive attitudes.  On one hand.....I think we have to do this out of self preservation.  On the other hand.....we don't have a leg to stand on when we do.  There is a balance to be found and better ways do it and I do believe for myself that this is possible.  I've experienced this for myself so I know it is possible.  You just have to want it bad enough.

To be completely honest......I believe that being with us for most people can be a nightmare.  This is what I am hearing here in these posts.  I don't think it is this way for everyone for sure.....and just like for us.....finding the right career and being put into situations where our ADHD are an asset......we excel without limits sometimes.  Finding the right match for our qualities in a spouse is a whole different story and one that is not easy to find.  This has been my experience.

In fairness to the other spouse on this sight......I see they got much more than they bargained for when they married their spouses with ADHD and I can see easily how difficult that would be when you finally come to the realization you have an unwelcome house guest that will never leave......and he can be a real A-hole sometimes too.  I'm referring to the ADHD as the house guest in this metaphor because I know for isn't who I am but more what I do.  For us...the ADHD is an unwelcome hitch hiker who can be just as much an A-hole for us as it is for you.....and in the same way.......he won't get out of the car. My new relationship is much different than my pasts ones specifically because I went out of my way to talk about my ADHD right from the start so there would be no regrets or misunderstandings in fairness to her more than anything else.  This does change the dynamics in every respect when you don't feel ambushed by someone elses issues that they didn't' mention or weren't aware of doesn't matter in either respect for the other person as the net effect is still the same for them.

I have come to the place for myself in all my dealings with other people that there is a good possibility that they may find me unacceptable for all the reasons I already know and that I have to accept a great deal of the responsibility for this on my end.  I do know that there are many people out there that don't have as many issues with my particular brand of ADHD for their own reasons  as others who do.  Finding fault in the ones who do in an attempt to defend myself is the wrong way to look at it.  Simply accepting that you can't please all the people all the time is a good place to start. 

But I completely understand things from the perspective of those who do not have this kind of choice.  I see how helpful this sight must be as an outlet to vent and share horror stories too.  People need to this this with others sometimes to preserve themselves as well.

I do not want to leave you with the impression that I don't see these things in reference to my response in this post.  I think it is also very helpful to just say your side and put it out there too for others who are looking for answers and trying to keep perspective.  I sincerely hope you find your own path to a happy life no matter where you find it with or without your husband.  I'm trying to give myself a fighting chance to do this with someone else and if he won't do this for himself, you do not have to take responsibility for that much at the very least.

Take care.

I hope everyone reads your post

JJamieson, you are way ahead of the curve. What a wonderful post, you seem to have so much insight and I heard your heartfelt words. You are trying, that is what matters. My husband is trying, let's not forget that people with Bipolar, schizophrenia and anxiety, depression do not make life cheery for those around them. I hope some people that read your post will find that it is worth it to help their loved one. Relationships are hard, but they are the mist important things in our lives. Thank you for your thoughts and feelings. Loved, loved your post!


What you said about relationships being the most important thing can get easily lost until you wake up alone and realize the errors in your ways......that's the part I mentioned in "wanting it bad enough."  It's amazing how much you can surprise  yourself when you put your mind to it as if your life depends on it.  I like to use "gun to my head" as a reference for myself.

What we want is the acknowledgement and validation of the fact that there are aspects of our behaviors that we have little to no control over at times.  100% is an unrealistic expectation if that's what is expected.....but 0-10% going the other way is setting the bar pretty low.  I can see in the posts that I read from the accounts within it....that it would appear that many who have ADHD who feel like 10% improvement is a big deal and should be awarded with a parade in their honor.  I think this is Bovine Scatology.  I'm at about 50 -60% and I feel there is still more room for improvement.  If I can get to 80% in all aspects of my issues I might become a little more self righteously indigent in the face of criticism.  Until then...I've got my work cut out for me.

In the reality of things.....if I was required to be 100% all the time (or at least, the same as everyone else who don't have ADHD) I already know how difficult if not impossible that would be for me...and to try and be that way would mean that I would be miserable most of the time.  At that point....being alone and living without hope of having the gifts of being with someone would have to be an acceptance of living without given the choice.  You can't beat yourself up all day every day and the days you need a day off are the days when your hitch hiker will start showing himself ( A-hole!!!)  But there are times when he is a necessary evil in order to relax and take a day off from trying so hard.  It's the best that can be done and why 100% is just not an option.  I think 80% is still close enough to be palatable however....those who can't accept us then probably have a fair amount of their own issues to work on and trust me.......we have enough on our plates to deal with already!  lol

Thanks again for the caring words.

Resigned2B's picture

I must say...

J., you appear to be way ahead of the game. My hat is off to you and others who have come to this site to see the other side of hell. I can only imagine that these posts are as hard  for you to read as they are for us to write. I'm impressed that you even want to read them. That speaks volumes in and of itself!

Congratulations, you have overcome one of the biggest blinders that accompany the 'hitchhiker' of ADHD! Admitting how it affects your relationships. The unfair expectations it puts on a marriage partner. We, on the thread, seem to be willing and anxious to help. But the definition of insanity is doing the same thing hoping that the outcome will be different. So be patient. I'm sure your wife loves you.

The good news this Sunday??? There is NO ADHD in Heaven! ;)

Thank you/Mothering questions

Dear Resigned,

Please know your candor about your struggle brought comfort to another middle-aged wife of an ADD husband and mother of two ADHD sons (one of whom is also an addreneline-rush outdoors guy who could save your life in an avalanche but can't be trusted to put the milk back in the fridge).

I come to this site whenever the day's events chez moi are so bizarre I need reality therapy. Or when, like last night, I feel so sorry for my ADHD husband (separated) that I think, even now, after so much, that I should/can save him.

Right now, I seem to be transitioning from accepting the painful limits of my somehow finding whatever strength/grace/insight I can bring to mothering my ADHD man-children. I will always be their mother. I will always love and care about them. Divorce...separation...not issues. Nor is "rescuing" them.

Just when I am so exhausted from my marriage to this man...I need to find a way to be the best mother I can to my ADHD young men.

IF you ever have the strength, would you consider speaking to any of these questions?: How do your ADHD sons see their ADHD father? Are they mini-me's of him? Do they prefer being with "cool" dad vs. "harsh my mellow" mom? Does ADHD dad enable them for his own reasons? Or do they see the devastation their dad creates and feel scared they have the same wiring? Does dad react to sons the same as Mom--ignoring/dismissing/smirking--and if so how does that make them feel about their own ADHD? What can  a mother do when a son is so hurt by his Dad, and their common ADHD is at the root of it? Does she do the son a disservice if she doesn't encourage a forgiving attitude toward dad? Does she do her son a disservice if she doesn't acknowledge dad's ADHD destructiveness, especially since son is trying to own his own ADHD and its consequences in order to figure out how to live? And are the three ADHD manifestations--dad & sons--significantly different, further complicating one's understanding?

I used to come here and post whatever modest "answer" I'd discovered. At this point, I'm humbled to the point of having only questions. Questions. And gratitude for what you and others share here.

Best wishes to you on your journey.

Resigned2B's picture


Dear Cosmic,

Your story is all too familiar. I want to take some time to answer you thoughtfully. I will login later today when I've had a chance to consider your questions.

Until then, hang in there and be gentle with yourself.


All very good and yet very sad questions....

I have one ADHD son, one "normie" son, and a husband who is my "Tornado in a Jar," with ADD and the hyper part is his mind. We only recently told our ADHD son that his dad has the same problem, and that was not met with a positive response as I had hoped it would be.  With this son, whatever I hope for is in vain, and my wishes seem to turn into their opposite.  What I thought would unite him with his dad in a kind of "we're in this thing together" comraderie has instead seemed to have turned our son away and into his own little world where no one is like him and boo-hoo, he just isn't going to have a life like the rest of us (which in a perverse way he seems to revel in).  I have tried everything I know from when he was diagnosed at age 7, to give him tools and strategies, which he has refused to use or try, and refused to try to find/make his own tools.  He just seems to want to live with a black cloud of failure over him.  I don't understand it and I will never understand it.  I think he's depressed and I am in the process of putting my foot down for him to see a counselor. 

Anyway, since this thread has lots of branches coming off it, all posted at different times, I just wanted to say that I read your response and can relate so much to your questions.


(the wife of the) Tornado in a Jar

Tornado, thank you

I've been mulling over what you shared for nearly 2 weeks. Would you understand if I wrote that I so related to what you posted that I couldn't find the strength to reply? My ADHD son also seems to toss aside every coping tool he's given; sometimes with a kind of perverse pride. He's about to turn 21 and I love him but am also letting go--he'll only fix it when he realizes for himself what's broke.

Part of me wants to ask for advice from Moms because the coping tactics I'm gaining to deal with my husband don't apply to my child.

But part of me is so burned out. Some days, thinking there's an ADHD answer seems right up there with believing in the Easter bunny.

Please know I appreciated your generosity in putting a bit of your heart and  your pain into your post. Apologies for not writing a "better" response--just get too emotional thinking about my oldest son...


Resigned2B's picture


Dear Cosmic,

     I'm still trying to respond to one post here but yours came in tonight and I wanted to share my thoughts with you.
     I have two sons, 24 and 26 who both have ADHD. I vacillate between love, frustration, and resentment for them. I have been taken advantage by their behavior so many times. Yet, I love them dearly and want SO much for them to happy and successful.
    The older of the two is my most challenging. He has, forever, known the right buttons to push to evoke the maximum level of horror.
    We had a situation come up a year ago that required a level of maturity he simply didn't have. I was doing the laundry while he was talking to his older sister on the phone. I wasn't trying to eavesdrop but his voice was carrying as if he was on a PA system.
      I was disappointed in the words I was hearing and hurt as well. My first instinct was to run into his room and correct him for lacking ANY empathy. As clear as day I could hear the Spirit direct me. It went something like this: Step back - you cannot teach him this - I will show him - you've done what you can - he's mine now.
      I teared up. I knew in that moment that God loved him more than I ever could. I also knew what these words meant. God has a way of bringing us into situations where the only way out - is through... It is almost always hard and painful until we bend to see where we must change our hearts.
      He was now in The Lord's hands. I had done EVERYTHING humanly possible to help him. It was time to let him go and let God show him a better way. I had no more coping skills to offer him. There were no more analogies, no more books, no more lessons. No amount of words were left in me to fill this gaping compassionate void. 
      It was literally time for life and God to teach him the rest. I realized this in a profound way that minute, standing there, in front of the washing machine. I understood there was no way I knew what he needed to grow and progress but God had told me, my son's mother, to step back.
    I did not argue with the Spirit that day. I had no retort or a desire to take back my rightful place as his teacher. After all, the teacher of us all, had spoken to my heart. I knew those words that had come to me were the answer to my prayers. I 
felt relieved and peaceful knowing how much our Father in Heaven loved my son; as he loves me.
       Prayer and a relationship with God has always been front and center in our lives. I would encourage you to pray for your own answers. I can promise you this: God loves us and our  family more than we can possibly understand. He will be there for you...listen for that still small voice that is your right to hear, both as a mother, and a child of God.

Best of luck to you...



I loved your reply to CosmicJoke.  I've experienced one of those Holy Spirit interventions and there's nothing like it!  It removed my almost lifelong resentment of my sister and replaced it with compassion, something I had been unable to do no matter what I had tried.  What a miracle!  I knew it was God-granted because the resentment I had carried for decades was simply gone, no trace of it, and it's never returned in any fashion.  I wasn't even praying for such a release, but God granted it through His grace.  I'm glad you have peace about your son's care now.  We all need that.  God's love is bigger than any of us can comprehend.

Yes, I do understand

And I'm giving you a hug through the internet.  I can say so much about my son - he just turned 21 chronologically but he's got a long way to go when it comes to mature thinking and awareness.  I fall into despair at times, thinking that I have done everything wrong in raising him the way I did.  But that doesn't help - whatever we did, we thought it was the best thing we could do at the time.  He's had every advantage that we could afford, and perhaps that is the root problem for him.  Some people do better with adversity to struggle against.  I think of the butterfly that needs to struggle against its chrysalis, so its wings can dry properly, and that perhaps I tried to help him too much along the way rather than letting him beat his wings so they can support him properly. 

Let's keep talking.  I think it helps, and maybe it helps others who read here but don't post.

Linsy's picture

Not my experience

No amount of love, comfort, care, providing, problem solving, breadwinning, more love, more care, more unselfishness, more burden lifting, until the tank was empty, made the slightest bit of difference to my husband. He just became worse. I looked and I looked at myself, and found a decent, hardworking, dutiful, conscientious, menopausal, super-stressed, honest, exhausted, ratty woman at the very end of a long frayed tether. So I cut it.

Resigned2B's picture

'Not my experience...

Oh Linsy,

I have to hold my breath when I read you've left. It's just not an option for me. It sounds, from your other posts, like you are doing so much better. I feel like there is simply no getting off this 'adrenaline-fed' mountain ledge. I'm counting on things being different now that I am not getting 'chemotherapy' when it has been my husband all along with the cancer. I'm NOT perfect by any means. I have my own issues. But I do think, had I known, that I could have been so much more in this earth life of ours...

I am trying to forgive and grieve the loss of what could have been. Let go of the anger and resentment; swallow hard and just hit the restart button - again. Wish me luck... :{

Thank you for one of the best

Thank you for one of the best descriptions ever of my life with my spouse with ADHD:  I'm the one getting chemotherapy when he is the one with cancer.  (And if I don't like it, he and the experts tell me to suck it up, anyway.)

I hope you have a good day. 

Resigned2B's picture

Thank you...

Thank you Rosered,

There is one more thought I didn't share from Nelson Mandela. "Resentment is a poison you drink yourself hoping it will kill your enemy..." 

We need to think hard before we swallow it.

Have a peaceful Sunday friends.

Linsy's picture


I had to stop myself by using meditation from brooding when I woke up too early in the morning. Being a bit forgetful in middle age is a help! I can switch off much more easily and concentrate on the things in the present that really matter! As long as he does not get in touch with his declaration of 'love' which still give me a severe stress reaction.

Linsy's picture

Wishing you luck

Adrenalyn, very bad. Half killed me. Whatever you do, put yourself and any children first.

made me angry

I know that this post is old, but it made me furious. My ADHD husband ALSO has a genius IQ of over 160, but it doesn't mean he can function with just plain "common sense". He can do ANY academic book work with straight A's and never even study, which I was NEVER able to do. I had to earn every a I ever got. But, the strange behaviors that come with ADHD can have the most rational, level headed, independent and strong person turn into a bumbling idiot while trying to make sense out of nonsense. I found this particular post disturbing and very condescending. I hope the first person didn't takt it to  heart. Most of us have tried everything under the sun to appease and work with our ADHD spouses with little to no change, unless the ADHD person, themselves got into treatment with meds and behavioral treatment.

The guidance is not pathetic. You are being defensive.

There are two people in the relationship and although the ADHD person certainly deserves help and consideration, he does NOT  have the right to destroy this woman's life. She is not airing his dirty laundry, she is crying out for help!  Being ADHD does not excuse narcissistic behavior. It does not give one the right to abuse their family emotionally or financially. 


Sometimes all you you can do is save yourself. Or drown with him.  Not every marriage can be saved 


the fact that the ADD. was not revealed until after the marriage is very telling.  I would save myself and my children. 

lonelyspouse's picture

Uh, No

ADD and ADHD ARE classified as mental disorders. That is not a derogatory term, it is what it is.

Having an high IQ is different than emotional IQ (maturity)- which is necessary in healthy relationships.

As a non-ADHD spouse, I appreciate the shared struggles others have with their partner. It's not about airing "dirty laundry"- it's about sharing our struggles and our frustrations as we try to cope with what many others would walk away from- as quickly as they could. We aren't saints on earth- we're people with real  needs and struggles of our own!

I don't think anyone here thinks they are without flaws- if they were, they'd have all the answers and would not be looking for help. And we can't support our spouses when we are worn out physically, mentally, and emotionally from having to accept more than our share of responsibilities in our marriage for extended periods of time- or even forever. 

I'm sorry, but being patient and loving did nothing to motivate my husband to change- he saw that devotion and kindness as a ticket to be selfish and self-indulgent. He does NOT want to change- regardless of my loving him for over 30 years.


Resigned2B's picture

No... Yes!


"Is ADHD included in the ADA?

Yes. The ADA provides for "mental" conditions or mental illnesses, but as with physical impairments, the diagnosis of a mental illness or mental impairment is not sufficient to qualify an employee for protection under the Act.

The following conditions must be met for ADHD to qualify for coverage:

It must cause significant impact or limitation in a major life activity or function
The individual must be regarded as having a disability
The individual must have a record of having been viewed as being disabled.
The applicant must also be able to perform the essential job functions with or without accommodations to qualify as an individual with a disability under the meaning of the Act."

I have never known ONE nonADHDer that can't attest to this!

ヽ( ´_`)丿

Me too

"I'm sorry, but being patient and loving did nothing to motivate my husband to change- he saw that devotion and kindness as a ticket to be selfish and self-indulgent." 

Yeah that about sums up my experience.

rock bottom

I so agree with this. Take care of you take care of your kids, let him fight his own battles. Stop trying to fix him or his issues b/c you can't he is the only one. For 3 years after having our first I tried to fix my husbans financial woes (mostly b/c we could not find daycare in our small town and I could only work part time) he finally screwed us so bad financially. We were days away from packing up and moving into his mother's basement  I was 7 months pregnant with our second. Miraculosly we got through this, he pulled it together paid off all the money we had to borrow to live and he has been straight and narrow since on the finanical scene at least with paying the house bills first. He gives me a set amount of money to go towards bills and that is his priority. I am not sure if he pay his biz bills or not I am guessing only some b/c I regularly get bill collection calls as I used to pay them. I now ask them to take my phone number off the account b/c I am not involved with his business any longer. He almost made us homeless and that changed how he does things, for two years now he has given me the money I need to keep our basic bills paid or his "half" of the bills. Let him fly and just take care of you and the kids. You already take care of the kids just fine without him, this is an epiphany I just had when I decide to take my kids camping by myself and did an amazing job! I do it all already so admit it and have fun in life! If he chooses to make a mess of his life so be it!. Also seperation is different from divorce, you are basically seperating your finances. 


And to that person blabbing on and on about "look within yourself" since you are the add spouse how the hell would you know what it is like to be constantly ran over by someone you thought you were entering in a trusting relationship with. and if you don't have kids you have no room to comment on her feelings. this is the only place we have as add spouses to vent and find union. no one gets being the woman/man with two brains taking care of everything for a household. i hear some of my non add spouse friends complain b/c their husband did not take out the trash, yet their husbands babysit kids on regular days, do all the budgeting, and do the grocery shopping. forget the trash. seriously i have done everything for 4 years now and it is exhausting. maybe if you lived the other side you would feel the same.


AMEN AMEN AMEN... From my heart of hearts... amen....


This hits me so much:  "And to that person blabbing on and on about "look within yourself" since you are the add spouse how the hell would you know what it is like to be constantly ran over by someone you thought you were entering in a trusting relationship with."  


I am no longer bothering with the relationship side (after all - he cant be, and decided a long time ago it wasnt worth it to him to lift a dammed finger to improve things between us - all he ever did was talking about it and "think" about it and not do anything that would have made a real difference).    And while he FINALLY has stepped up some with the houshold stuff... 3 weeks out of 7 years isnt a "turn around" just yet. 


Soon he will be out of here, and my heart can heal.  I am not too worried about doing it all - I did it all for many years before he finally opted to start doing some of his part.  In fact, it will be good to have the distraction of projects and household work to keep me from concerning myself with him.  He can go spend his life how he wants - but it will not be on me anymore.  The well is dry... and with as much money as I have to spend on his "habbits" (smoking alone is about 500-600 a month), and him loosing things, breaking things, and I STILL have to hire crews of people to do things beacuse I trusted him to work on stuff bit by bit and he never did.  I would be better off hiring a cleaning person, a gardner and a pool guy  - it would be CHEAPER.  Hell for the cost of his cigarettes alone I could hire all those people.


Its amazing what you can find in yourself - finding that inner strength.  For those of us who have endured the emotional neglect, the apathy and the complete and utter disregard and disrespect for ANY length of time - the sorrow of letting go is NOTHING... at least that part ends.  Eventually you wake up one day and have had enough, and then soon... when you least expect it... you wake up and your first thought is not of them, and that punched in the gut feeling is just... gone...  It takes time.  But it WILL happen.


Its just so galling to see all this hurt and pain be dismissed because "they didnt intend to do it".  You are NOT JUDGED by your intentions....  you are judged by your words and actions...and if those dont match - you will be judged by it.  Like EVERYONE ELSE.  The ADHD/ADD doesnt give you an OUT from bad behavior. 




Legal Separation and finances...a good solution

You can legally separate (at least in CO) and still be married, can use your spouse's insurance and they can still be beneficiary if you die (not that the ADD spouse would do what's right with this money I suggest setting up a trust that releases money per month or some kind of plan if the money is to help provide for your children like making sure there is a regular housekeeper and nanny onsite! LOL) but it gives you complete financial independence from the ADHD person, while remaining married. Colorado set this up this way for those of religion who cannot divorce but should not be hurt by their spouses misuse of finances.  I have looked into this as a way to not be taken down. I have not been totally taken down yet but I feel the storm coming and it is scary. Also I too have been working on financial independence. With the birth of two children very close my career got put on hold then I pretty much found whatever job my admin skills could get me. I am now learning to code for free (many free bootcamps and courses out there) and trying to learn new Software to get me some side work to build up my bank account. I have not left H yet or actually don't know if I will am trying to find some boundaries for myself that allow me to deal with the person God for some reason put in my life but I am not discounting a divorce b/c I refuse to live my life unhappy and always the doormat of someone else's life.

BuTTUgLee's picture

I'm Done

My heart just breaks for you.  

I have lived through so many of the experiences you have mentioned in your post above.  The more I read, the more I learn about ADD, the more I see how the non-spouse stories are the same.  All his actions are text book.   I have lived through "hoping things will change."  THEY NEVER DO!  Only on those rare occasions when the ADDer realizes things must change and is willing to do the work.  Usually the trust, by then is gone for good.

You need to do what is best for you.  Take a leap of faith and make decisions on what is best for you and the kids.  He is taking you all down and doesn't care.  

I learned the hard way.

In a matter of 6 years my husband never held down a real job.  We lived off my entire life savings and the $$$ I made as an artist.  I supported him and all of his crazy ass business "ideas" for years.  All doomed to fail due to lack of clear planning and having the ability to stay focused.  We lived off all of my retirement, my daughters college savings of $100,000.00.  And lived off MY credit cards racking up debit of 136,000.00.  He had no $$$ and had filed for bankruptcy many years before we were married.  He buried me.  All the while I held on hoping the next big business idea would pay off.  It never did.  It never would.  

I had enough.  He made me sick and had ground my spirit down to a pulp.  In the end he became very angry and scared me ... even in my own home.  He drank way too much and put me on edge.  I knew it was time to go.

I filed for chapter 7 in June of 2010.

Put my condo on the market in August of 2010.

Packed up my entire life into 2 relocubes 6'x7'x8'  and drove to Pennsylvania to live with my sister and her family in late Sept of 2010.  I had lived in the state of Colorado for 23years.  I left my college age daughter and two cats of 10 yrs behind.

Filed for divorce in October of 2010.

As of today ... march 14th, 2011  .... I just received my final divorce papers and I'm awaiting an offer on my condo in the next 24 hours.  

I left my entire life as I knew it behind.  I had to get away and this was the only way I could do it especially after a Chapter 7.

I wish I had done it years sooner.  I tried to be sooooo supportive.  I did all of the counseling and coaching and everything else I was told to do to help him.  I ended up destroying my own life.

I gave him every opportunity, every warning, every ounce of flesh I had and he just crapped all over it and ended up blaming me in the end for not going to marriage counseling.  He thought I just gave up too fast.  He didn't remember or comprehend the years of therapy, doctors and counseling we went to together!  

So .... You need to do what is best 4 you.  Don't count on him to change.  

If you have family near by let them help you.  I had to move 1500 miles and totally uproot my life.  If I can do it ... you can.  You are worth it ... and so are your kids.

All the best to you

I wish I could of done it years ago

I did the same, gave much support, prayed, believed things would get better. What trust I had in him is gone along with any hope of a future together. Reflecting back on thirty years of this unending struggle, there are few fond memories. Now, I'm embarrassed to find myself in this mess even though I tried my best to avoid it!

LilacRed's picture

I'm Done

I think Lynnew. Said it best.  Most ADHDs go through their entire lives with no consequences, and always having someone to take up the slack. Why buy the cow if the milk's free, right?  But it's enabling that prolongs and worsens a lot of these problems.  The trick is, each ADHDer has an individual threshold where consequences are concerned.  Some don't value ANY consequences, while some will be motivated to make changes or improvements when faced with a consequence he or she finds unacceptable.  That being said, it's up to us to discover what those unacceptable consequenses are...and use them as leverage.  Have you discussed leaving with your husband?  What was his response?  If not, and you choose to leave, I highly suggest following Lynnew's advice with an addendum:  Do NOT give him money, no matter how much he begs, and do NOT let him have visitations with his children, until you work it out in court.  As long as you give him a bone, he will simply adapt to the situation and continue his behavior.  Rock bottom means rock bottom.  It will be very hard, as your conscience will get in the way  (ahh...if we could be a sociopath for ONE day.....just kidding).  But you will see results immediately, and see what his key motivators are right away, or you will see the end.  God Bless and good luck (My husband is ADHD).

Consequences and motivators.....

LilacRed....your response is truly fantastic. I've been through a very similar situation...there's never any accountability, and then I would feel guilty and accept that he needed someone to simply take care of him and I was that person. I definitely took on the side of the enabler, and when I tried/started to change that up, he became more angry, hostile and downright mean to me. Our relationship is over now, and for some reason I still feel guilty! I REALLY appreciate your saying "It will be very hard, as your conscience will get in the way"....that really hit home with me, as we are STILL in communication and that probably shouldn't be because my conscience is working over time and it can't be healthy for either of us. I thought he was the man I was going to marry. I just really appreciate reading similarities, especially with those who don't bash ADD(HD)'ers, but also "get" that the other side is just as difficult. Thank you for that again LilacRed....

Can you legally keep him from

Can you legally keep him from visitations? If I left, my husband first scheme would be to fight for visits in anger, just to spite me, and perhaps as a means of regaining control of the situation. To make it incredibly difficult for me to try and make me regret standing up for my life. It's happened many times before-- it's happening NOW. He is rather emotionally/psychologically abusive and very manipulating. I decided I am done and have been standing up for myself, not letting him get away with blaming me for things and accusing me and trying to guilt trip me...  well, since I've put my foot down, he's making it a point to be incredibly rude to me whenever we cross paths in the home. He doesn't realize that he can't scare me into giving in and submitting, subjecting myself to another term of psychological scars and fear of ruining his happy life by speaking up for myself... I'm not doing it anymore.

Linsy's picture


What happens to prevent a husband from reaching rock bottom, is often his birth family picking him up. If they are affected in similar ways (and it is often rife in families) they will all get along just fine. If they can afford to keep him, he will not reach rock bottom and begin to climb out back to adult dignity and a decent relationship with his wife and children. He will continue to be the 'child' just in a sibling relationship, not a marital one. Just like NA and AA these guys need to become conscious of the havoc, and then commit to removing their issues from the equation, for anything to change. The non ADHD wife risks emotional damage if she merely becomes a doormat.

Response to the idea "they never do"

I'm concerned about your comment "I have lived through "hoping things will change."  THEY NEVER DO!"  This just isn't true...what is true is that if the ADHD partner doesn't take responsibility fo the ADD, and the non-ADHD partner doesn't take responsibility for his/her role in the marital issues THEN they never do.  It's time for the original poster to stand up for herself and demand that her husband look his ADHD in the eye (so to speak), and take treatment seriously enough to change his (and her) life.  If he is incapable of doing so, her path ought to be fairly clear.  But to tell her that "things never change" is just misinformation.  They do, indeed, change - read my book if you want proof (as well as some concrete ideas about HOW to affect that change.)

Thanks for this, Melissa

I need to look my DH in the eye again.  He stopped going to therapy in December and needs to go back.  Thanks for the encouragement to tell him.

What is the difference

What is the difference between ADD and ADHD? Are they interchangable? I think I read somewhere that you will use them interchangably on this site, but are they technically? Just curious.


As I understand it, DSM-IV (the diagnostic manual with symptomatic criteria for psychiatrists and other health professionals) has recently started putting both ADHD and ADD under the same umbrella (ADHD).  Both have overlapping symptoms (inattention, carelessness, difficulty following through), but those with ADHD have motor restlessness and those with ADD tend to be restless in their brains but without the need to move.  I myself have the combined sub-type (a hybrid).  I can space out while sitting still but need to move around a lot more than others when I'm not sitting still.  I also talk fast and often, and have only recently been able to improve my tendency to interrupt. 

I heard on "ADD and Loving It" that there are 4 different genes that have been discovered so far that are involved with ADHD, which probably explains some of the similarities as well as differences from person to person.

Where does the line end

Where does the line end between enabling and helping? Why should anyone have to live in fear of being financially, emotionally, and physically ruined? It seems that staying in that type of relationship is like playing Russian Roulette.

Yeah, what she said!

I have the same question as annab522: where is the line between being a loving supporter and being an enabler?  I certainly don't want to watch the utter demise of my ADDer, but I'm really tired of the double-standards and of being completely drained MOST of the time.  Sure, it's up to me to set my boundaries, but just because I set them today does not mean they will be remembered tomorrow. 

Linsy's picture


We can set boundaries until we are blue in the face (as we say here in the UK) but your ADDer will just ignore them. In an earlier phase when I was still sad and hoping for something better, I wrote this poem:

I gave my love a crystal bowl

Full to the brim with cold clean water

With hands of dust he let it go

Fell to the ground to bounce and shatter....



So, it's odd to go back and read my old posts. My husband, who I thought was just dealing with ADHD, was actually a raging alcoholic. He admitted that to me only after he completely flipped out, and I was the courthouse and lawyer to file for divorce and a restraining order. Our marriage counselor told me that he showed signs of anti-social personality disorder and/or even a lingering conduct disorder. Scary stuff! Apparently, about 17% of people with ADHD suffer from those two things. It basically means that they are willing to wipe the floor with people who get in their way, which includes in the path of their anger. My hubby made big promises, seems to be sober, and I gave him another chance, but the old behavior seems to be creeping back in. I have realized how strong I am through all of this but I am beginning to wonder how much is going to be enough.

Linsy's picture

Addicts - ADD

There seems a lot of correlation between these states, not just in the spelling. Cannabis is my ex's weapon of choice. Both my older children asked him not to smoke in front of them (after we separated). He ignored them. Laughed it off. Was an hour late for the psychiatrist and turned up stoned (I didn't notice which of course indicates that he was stoned all the time and that is all I knew - rendered him completely useless and very angry). The psych noticed though. Hopeless. Literally no hope.

Resigned2B's picture

No hope...

Dear Linsy,

There may be no hope for you and your husband right now. But there is hope in God. You are loved in ways that can't be known. Your nature is Devine by inheritance. Your Father in Heaven knows you better than ANYONE and He sees the pain your heart is in. Please don't ever give up hope in Him.

People on this thread care deeply. We know this pain and desperation all too well. You are not alone my friend. Today is a new Sunday. I hope you can find some kind of peace even just for a short time. You truly deserve it...

God bless you...

Mine couldn't understand that

Mine couldn't understand that drinking a jug of rum every few days is unacceptable. Bringing it up caused anger. Between the alcohol, the energy drinks, the cigarettes, the poor food choices, the weight problem and lack of exercise, and the melanoma on his back that is still untreated, he's going to leave our child fatherless:/

I had to leave. I only have one child. I refuse to father a grown man. Unfortunately, we have to parent together. 

Resigned2B's picture


Dear Lauren,

It sounds like you won't have to parent together long. I have melanoma, too. When they took it off my back they told me had they waited two years it would've been too late to change the death sentence.

I hope he has life insurance! 

God bless your heart...

After I left him, I got a job

After I left him, I got a job with a dermatologist. Six months after I left, I let him move in with me temporarily.

One day he asked me what I do at work, so just for fun, I gave him a waist up exam. I found several atypical moles, but the worst one was dead center of his back. It had nearly every marker for melanoma. I took a picture and showed it to our PA. He said melanoma. He sent the picture to our doctor who wrote back, "melanoma-excision asap". My husband seemed to take this very seriously. He had a one week window to have Tricare pay for it, but he gave up after a few calls. He said he'd let the VA handle it. This was months ago and he's been in the VA healthcare system for several weeks. My husband spent five years active duty military. What kind of doctors do they have that can't even tell a regular mole from an atypical one? They get regular physical exams! 

I'm done forcing him to do stuff. I got him the diagnosis and got him to understand how serious this is. I'm tired. 

He said that he plans to transfer the life insurance and add to it, but I don't trust anything he says. He probably forgot right after he told me. Again, I'm done forcing him to do things. I may just buy extra life insurance soon, just in case. 

Resigned2B's picture

I understand you're tired...

This life insurance thing is simply too important to YOUR own life to give up on. Follow-up, get the documents he needs to sign, put it in front of him and tell him you'll stand there until it's done. Take him to the bank to get things notarized if needs be. He may not care about his own life and choose to die but, when all is said and done, you will be left behind with your child. That will be bad enough. To know you could have had his life insurance to help you live, and chose not to, is a decision you will FOREVER regret!

Please, take a deep breath, and take the next few days and try to focus on situating his life insurance and the beneficiary (you!) so everything is signed and sealed. I know you must be at the end of your rope with him. But THIS effort will not benefit him, it WILL  however, benefit you and your child for decades to come.

People have died waiting for the VA Hospital to treat them. I'm sure you've heard this as it's ALL OVER the news right now. See if you can make the phone calls, just regarding his life insurance, for him. If he doesn't care to save his own life you don't need to go down with him (at least financially)!  If you don't get this part taken care of, I can promise you you will look back and think 'it couldn't have been SO hard'. The longer you put it off (which is the classic ADHD characteristic we ALL hate) the more likely it is you won't get a dime when he dies. And at this rate, procrastination WILL kill him! Don't let it kill you, too...

Please, please, pray for the strength to do just this ONE thing for yourself. Just one foot at a time... Good luck. Would you mind posting to the board and tell us when his life insurance is secure? I know I'll be waiting to hear from you! ;)

I'll be spending a week with

I'll be spending a week with him and his family very soon. I'll get it all done by then. I'm moving closer to him and his family for the benefits to me and my son. If we didn't have a kid, I'd be moving farther away lol. 

I really do appreciate your concern. I promise it's not wasted on me;)

Resigned2B's picture



Don't forget the life insurance!

Do not make excuses...give them a ultimatum...

I am reading these and am annoyed and dumbfounded and supose to be doing some work and yes got side-tracked.  I am adhd and am 53 and have my own business and run the home and so-on and so on besides teaching for a major company. I have had this since I can remember as a child always a nun or teacher or parent telling me, What is your problem, can you not listen? I knew I was hyper and always loved to keep busy and do for others due to the fact that,then they would not get on to me. I  was given valum to calm down did not work, I went into hyper-mode really bad. Mom took me off, my mom in the medical field did not want me to have ridilin for who knows. I then got into people-please to leave me alone. But my mother had strict rules for me because I worked for her and I was her wife so at 12.I kept a family of 7, cleaned, cooked supper and I followed her rules to give me the paycheck to do what I wanted. No blame to her I convinced her to let me do this, it was a challenge, I did it and good at it, but I was truly smart but no one wanted to help a frustrated little one who did not get it right off the bat. ADHD it gets frustrasting not to get it at first, brain hurts, just frustrating. i wanted to be something do I made myself memorize for high school and made b and a's. BETTER ONE ON ONE with school if possible. But college I just never thought and I got so much trouble in school for not keeping my mouth shut, my brain went so fast and what I had already filed they you guys just were processing it, nothing meant just the difference. I went to into Cosmetology school, in the end to  put me thru college, funny my aunt and uncle had 5 salons and doing better than any college student I knew. I continued and long story short, I did so well funny I make money with my mouth and can out do hours of anyone I know.Due to the variation and never boring and working for a great company teaching along w/ my business I am the opposite, unorganized, yes alittle I got diagosed when I was 40 and had my daughter diagnosed so she could handle it if she had it. I got on medicine so I can listen, focus and I love to hyper-focus and just leave me alone cause I think it is rude to try. My daughter is o smart not as creative as I , a my parents did not think I would make it till I was 10. The risks I took as a little child, I am amazed myself, kinda fun. So now I run a successful business, teach and love what I do but I married twice and both had not worked and let me tell you I would rather marry someone like me than a BPD narcisstic and amazing how they can beat the ever living emotional hell out of you. Now he wants to get me for prescription drugs of adderal one a day and he wants to prove I am addicted to prescription drugs. So sad, he never even has read about it. Hello, you guys of no add or adhd the thing is not just medicine to help the key is routine and disipline and consistence along with prescription if they need to. It makes me so angry to hear parents just want meds with nothing else, so ad cause parents have no desire to give what it takes to guide us but we also are accountable until we get it. Complaining does nothing they need help of therapist and they have to continue and keep routine at home, give them specific duties, do not assume oh whatever give them and make them accountable and all needs to be clear. They are creative,smart, reliable loving and caring but do not enable it only hurts all. My sister could and loved to watch bugs, birds for ever dhe iss add and not a great CPA. Do not pay for them to do stuff they need to earn it, but love them and encourage the challenge. if they whine about adhd or whatever, give them the whys, the needs of jut needs to have participation, and be ready for tough stuff. As kids if we screw up hell to pay you learn to think of consequences, the loss is if you  enable, it is just nota good idea, we are smart weirdos oh issues well live on the responsible we are too talented, need not sit at a desk,ugh and no one will ever stand in my way to make whatever I wish. It is up to me.... read more no excuses but love joke I forever laugh at me, but laugh with me,not at me and do not blame me if you assumed you thought I should,would, or if you give me so much space, it might be easy for me to go oh well. So if we can come to some great decisions, make sure they are written down, we read better than listen, cause we can re-read and no mis-assumptions all down in black and white and just cause you have love and hopefully a great future both sign it. No exceptions and creative in how the outcome, don't be controlling ugh and allow them to go and if they fail to complete well love you and you agreed so what and how can we continue. IT IS tough on all but therapy and if needed meds but even well-brutin is great cause this i not easy but it is so over-rated in enabling, I am so amazed at parents with children and if you have children please be patient, but as for discipline with no let down and see and read how they learn best. It takes willingness, love, accountability and takes us doing it in a way that keeps us focused and works for us but it will also work for the best of the family. If I keep failing I will get up but excuses get old, I AM   really smarter than you give me credit for so do not except excuses except the alot form us..............adhd forever,send

Resigned2B's picture


Please Becky, could you update us?

As someone who was the

As someone who was the non-ADHD spouse and probably enabled some of his behavior. I thought that I was making life easier by alleviating him of some of the responsibility associated with household chores. Although we didn't live together, I would always offer to help him in his home because I knew how much energy it took for him to do household chores. MY then ADHD spouse took his meds, which probably helped him focus but everything else was in disarray - especially our relationship. Unlike a lot of the couples, we weren't married and hadn't been dating long. Because of this forum I picked up on a lot of his ADHD traits, some I don't think he is even aware of that are problems for him. Maybe I should be counting my blessings that he did break up with me before we pursued marriage. I told him that he really needs to read this site and see how his ADHD affects the relationship but he would consistently say, "I've always had ADHD and I've had relationships before you. It's not the ADHD." So how can one change if they aren't willing to accept that ADHD really is the problem. Gosh I wish I could have gotten him to read your book but he was totally against me being involved in anything that related to his ADHD and his life. Now we aren't together, he's still convinced that I was the problem which led him to believe I wasn't the one for him, and  now we're not even speaking. Why am I still even posting to this forum? Who knows... I guess I just care too much.

forgot to check my spelling




I'm a little bit confused by the advice given

Three thoughts.

1.) Maybe I'm reading this wrong, but it seems like you advise suffering partners to stop enabling the ADHD person and top that off by suggesting your book has ideas on how to affect the needed change. How does one forgo the habits of enabling while still affecting change in their partner?  That's double-speak.

2.) In this post you encourage the original poster Black_Butterfly to stand up for herself which I believe she had already done. This is evident in her statement, "He's either got to get on meds and do some talk therapy or I think I may be done with him." There is no error on her part for not following protocol.

3.) I wish you weren't so quick to silence BuTTUgLee who said abusive ADHD-ers never change, because that seems to be a major theme upheld by many people writing on these pages. Saying "No you are misinformed. Read my book" to a person who was recently bankrupted and emotionally destroyed doesn't really cut the mustard. A suggestion that along with their ADHD partner's refusal to change, she too didn't "take responsibility for his/her role in the marital issues" is the very VERY last thing a person in BuTTUgLee's situation needs to hear. Perhaps a better way to frame the "they don't change" accusation would be to restate it like this, "Just as the alcoholic is always an alcoholic even after many long years of sobriety, the ADHD person is ALWAYS an ADHD person even after many long years of medication and therapy." Another idea would be for you to provide some validation by saying Yes - many ADHD people do not change, but some do. 

About "confused"

Hi - thanks for following up with your questions.

In response to 1.)  you misread what I had written.  I was not advising her that she can affect change in her partner.  I was saying that she needed to make it clear that he needs to take treatment seriously enough to change his life for the better if he wishes to stay married (as the current situation is untenable for her).  I'm a strong believer that a non-ADHD spouse cannot affect change in their partner.

2.)  In my interpretation of what she has written in her post she doesn't actually say that she has told him to get on meds, only that she feels that way, hence my comment about standing up for herself (see her last paragraph).

3.)  The "never change" comment was about making a gross generalization, not about shutting someone down.  Plenty of people with ADHD have trouble getting out of their own way - I don't disagree with you.  When you are a spouse in distress, the amount of time it takes can simply be too long.  However, to take that comment and say "they" (all) never change" is to distort the facts to a point at which I am quite uncomfortable and perpetuates a stereotype that isn't true.  For some perspective, here's a quote from Russell Barkley's new book - "Studies show that ADHD medications can:  normalize the behavior of 50-65% of those with ADHD; substantially improve the behavior of another 20-30% of people with the disorder."  In other words, not only is "they never change" incorrect, it's very incorrect.  (So would be the statement "some change" for that matter, as it implies "very few".)

Hope this helps you understand my intent better.

Well, I posted asking if

Well, I posted asking if things could get better, and I got pretty unoptimistic answers. Is there a trick to getting the optimistic ones?

I HAVE to believe that things can change

I have been living with the consequences of my husband's ADHD for 6 years now and we have a daughter who exhibits signs of the disorder as well. Divorce and Separation is NOT an option in our household because it goes against (i) our vows, (ii) our beliefs and (iii) morals - we vowed to stick it out come what may. So I NEED to believe that things can get better, or I will end up on meds; or worse. I am so distraught over the lack of resources for the non-ADHD spouse who has to deal with raising his or her spouse. My husband's therapist has ADHD. This is both a blessing and a curse, as I'm sure you can imagine. While he is passionate about helping people with this disorder, he's just as screwed up as my husband in a lot of aspects...he's forgetful, flighty, etc.! But at the same time, he understands what my husband goes through at home.

My point is....when I'm the only one in the household, working very hard to make ends meet (because my husband is too busy chasing a dream, or trying a new business endeavor that WILL fail like the others), trying to hold the family together, where am I supposed to find time to learn and deal with his troubles? I'm looking for some resources (quick ones) that can help me immediately change the pattern in our house that is ruining our marriage and our lives. He forgets EVERYTHING, (appointments, our daughter at school at times, important dates) and I don't have the time or money to help him. He's utterly unreliable....doesn't plan...he wakes up and decides he wants to [fill in the blank with whatever] and the whole household is affected by his impulsivity. He spends hundreds of dollars in gas because on his way to do a errand, he will make 15 stops - pure nonsense. I don't have time to babysit him, I won't leave him...I desparately need to learn how to cope HELP!!!!

I would begin with...

prayer, as you must be a Christian. It seems like you are close to a breakdown, though, so that is a concern. You do need immediate relief, it sounds like, from a qualified therapist, and from God. Also, how I found relief right away was when I began to read Melissa's book, "ADHDs Effect on Marriage." It lists the manifestations of the disorder, the patterns, and what to do about them. When I began to understand what was REALLY happening beneath all the ridiculous things, like the impulsivity, it was like a weight was lifted from my shoulders. Then, if he is willing to listen and look at his own behavior and motivations, then you can begin dealing with solutions to the major issues.

For instance, the book gives a sample chart for organizing household tasks, and time spent doing them, ideas for getting things done, like setting alarms so he does not forget important things, etc.

I hope it helps, I think it will. Good luck and God bless. You are not alone.

just some hope...

"I desperately need to learn how to cope HELP"

Lesson One - it is not up to you to 'fix' any of it. You need to draw some lines, and allow him to be the best dad and husband he can be.

Lesson Two - it is a partnership - that means that two people carry the load, and if you both understand that and both bear your share of the load (some days it may "seem" unequal, but that is how relationships are) then life may even out a bit. Know that there are good days and bad days, and within the good days there can be 'bad times' but if you are willing and committed to dig in and stick together - know that there will be times of a distinct  'you' and a distinct  'him'.

Lesson Three - behaviour can be changed, but personality is what is says - it is personal...and so it is up to each of you to figure out how to navigate. We all have good and bad stuff, it is just what we do with it.

Good luck.

demanding husband to "look his ADHD in the eye"

And how in the world can that be done???? I have been married to my husband for 12 years.  He has had no less than a dozen jobs with each ending in him storming out.  I on the other hand have held a job as a registered nurse that is barely enough to pay the bills and take care of ALL of his projects and or hobbies.  Last year I threatened to leave him as I found that he was attempting to initiate an affair.  He pleaded and begged for me to give him a chance at which time he began taking medication and attended 6 therapy sessions.  At present he has discontinued therapy as well as medication use and things have returned to me being angry and resentful and him being downright mean as he struggles daily with his inability to complete even simple daily tasks. His excuse for not treating his ADD is that the medications side effect of bruxism is too much for him to take and he has no time for counseling.  I'm thinking that he may have time to sign divorce papers.  

The problem remains that though I love him and have tried being patient, he seems unwilling to take responsibility for anything including treatment.  Instead whenever I even mention ADD, completion of tasks or simple organization of his wardrobe, I am met with a violent temper tantrum and told he "can't take it anymore" and I "am not fun".  When he was on medication he "forgot" to take it for days on end and if I reminded him he would get angry and seemingly to punish me would refuse the medication.   I am more than willing to participate in his treatment and my own treatment if need be.  My question is how to get him to at least begin treatment without the request sounding like an ultimatum? I'm ready to just give up and try to salvage what little sanity I have left.

*of note: when reading the books it seems that I could have written the stories and my husbands picture should be on the cover.


Response to the idea "they never do"

Melissa I need your help to save my marriage and my family.  I truly feel you are my last hope.  I am an ADHD husband and my wife has lost all her love and respect for me and fear I will ever earn it back.  I have done too much damage and I do not think she can ever forgive me.  I have been trying really hard to change, going to my doctor, going to ADHD seminars, CHADD meetings and actually sat in on a meeting with your partner in New York recently.  I feel I have made improvements however I keep having set backs.  By setbacks I mean recently when we were in an argument I got stuck or get confused I will tend to deflect (not on purpose).  When I deflect it only gets her more angry and the important details of the original argument get lost.   With every set back my wife grows further and further away.  I am not trying to do it on purpose and I do not know how to control it.  She feels that I never hear her and that she does not come first.  I know I have hurt her and I am deeply sorry for that however she does not seem to hear me or believe me when I tell her.  I started to read your book again and is as if you have been observing my wife and for research.  I know there is no quick fix however if you have one please let me at least know where to start.  She feels she has done all the work in our relationship over the past several years and I have done little.  I have been on medication now for over 10 years and I truly have never felt I have had the right mix and am afraid to change doctors (comfort thing).  I have gone and continue to go to counseling.  We have gone to counseling together and separate and I believe we desperately need to go together now and she is not willing. She sees no value in it.  "I am done I have done enough you need to fix you".  My doctor even suggested she come in for one visit so he could her her concerns and issues and she refused.  In the past I have said and done hurtful things that made her feel as if she and our children were not my first priority.  That is so hard for me to hear because in my heart they have always been first.  They are the reason I get out of bed, they are the reason I was put on this earth, they are who I think about when I wake up and the last thing I think about before I go to bed.  I love my wife and children and do not want this family to be ripped apart.  I have seen the effect divorce can have on a person first hand.  On TV today a doctor listed about 10 different ways children are effected by divorce.  I used to believe there was nothing my wife and I could not overcome however I no longer feel this way and that scares me to death.  Truth be told when I look at her eyes they tell me everything, she is done.  She is ready to move on and just does not know how to do it.  I hear and understand her when she talks to me however once the elevation in her voice goes up I get completely lost.  I do not know what to do.  She and the children have been first in my heart from the day I met her and the children from before they were even born.  I do not know if new medication is the answer maybe a different counselor, a coach.  One thing I know for sure is that I do not want this marriage to end and this family destroyed.  

I always try to do what I think is right and believe what I am doing is right at the time only to find it was not and I deeply hurt her in the process.  That is the hardest thing for me to understand about ADHD.  It is like I can not see the forest through the trees.  The last thing I ever want to do is hurt my wife or family however if you were to speak to my wife that is all I seem to be doing.

Melissa I need your help.  

MagicSandwich's picture

"they never do"

Melissa you expertise not withstanding, I think the phrase, "they never do" is a natural non-adhd reaction in the constant struggle to understand why the ADHD-er can be so cruel when they swear they love so much.

"they never do".....reasonable for this audience? in this forum?

I would have to agree with that statement "here on this forum" - where we can talk to folks in similar situations as a non-ADHD spouse.....but I don't say that to my spouse nor to friends or family.  I am trying to work on myself  but at the end of the day, when it's all said and done......we (non ADHD spouses) have to emotionally separate ourselves for our protection, live w/o receiving emotional intimacy (and sexual fulfillment) from our ADHD spouse, be the one always on point holding things together, trying to hold back the growing anger of resentment and loss and blame, and realize it is hard sometimes just to have a civil, adult, serious conversation in some cases.

I acknowledge positives to my ADHD spouse often .... are we always supposed to take?  Keep taking? And, hold it all in?  Where's the help for us if not here...?

May we all find help.....


True, true...

Things can change, IF the ADHDer decided to take responsibility for their issue and get help, AND the non deals with their role in the destructive patterns. That is exactly what I was trying to do in my marriage to an ADHDer, and I saw my path clearly when, as I was working on myself, he decided he wanted to stay in his disorder. This after a doctor had diagnosed him, he was faced with the damage done to our marriage, and I made it clear that he needed to do the work or I was gone.

Well, I am gone now, and he is left alone with his disorder. As I drove away from our home for the last time two weeks ago, he cried and said that he was losing everything he loved. How sad, because if that were really true, he would do what it took to save it.

Linsy's picture

Same <sigh>

'I miss you and miss most of what we had' he says. But he does nothing to get it/us/the children back. Just goes on deep in denial and delusion and rage. I hope this is mostly behind me now.

This - exactly...

This - exactly...


He likes to tell me how I "am the love of his life"  and then the next day its "I concluded a long time ago it would never work"... and rinse repeat.


Funny how they will say how they "tried"  - but yet.... what exactly does that mean?  Did they read a book?  See a doctor?  Give up when the going got difficult and uncomforatble?  Did they just "think" about it?


Yeah  - thats "love".... sure it is.... the kind of love that you have when all you care about is yourself and your own needs.  My ADHD SOON TO BE EX HUSBAND....likes to say he tried.  But he didnt.  He never did.  He thought he could sustain me on little crumbs so I would not give up and he could further get what he wanted - what ever that was.  I would stay with him, I would still support him and do everything I could for him had he actually stepped up instead of choosing to sink down and hide with in his disorder, using his past as an excuse to treat me and others around him like we are his servents - to rescue him when required, but to never ever expect anything in return.


I am not his mother.  I will not play that role.

lonelyspouse's picture


How do you "demand" that they look their disorder in the eye? My husband absolutely refuses to even consider that he has a problem- he thinks he's fine and that we should all work around his "issues". I have begged my ADHD husband to get help, and offered to go with him and stand by him, but he thinks I am just trying to blame him- he does not look in the mirror and see what is really there. He's much more comfortable using me as a scapegoat for anything and everything he doesn't like about his own life. It is so maddening to me to know that things could be different for all of us, but he just can't/won't accept the responsibility for his own behavior.

Resigned2B's picture


I can't see which post you're responding to?

One can 'demand' anything they choose. However, it has to be followed up with a consequence if the demand isn't met. Usually, that ultimately includes leaving. It has never worked for me since my husband of 31 years tells me he'd rather be alone.

The retort that arose just a few nights ago after insisting this year's taxes  be ready for me to sign by April 7th was this:

"I can't think of one thing you've done in the past several years that has enhanced my life."

I am still sweeping up the pieces of my heart... Like Humpty Dumpty's men they'll never be put back together again...

You have to be in a position of power to make a 'demand' successful. Clearly, I'm not...


"I can't think of one thing you've done in the past several years that has enhanced my life."

This kind of comment astounds me. Seriously? He can't think of ANYTHING that you've done? I'm sure there are countless things you've done that he never noticed or immediately forgot about or accepted it as his due.

I was told "I can't think of any good things that you've done although that one vacation we took was fun." Thanks! Glad I made all those dinners and kept the house clean and took care of the kids while he was off taking classes and being social. Always nice to be appreciated!

I gave up on making demands and instead I'm moving on.

Resigned2B's picture


When you say you're 'moving on' what exactly does that mean???


We've decided to divorce. He's been very proactive and found an online place to help file and filled everything out. I think he's hyper focused on getting divorced and that's ok. So far it's amicable and I think it will stay that way. I know he'll just find something else shiny and new to distract him and being married is holding him back.

It's kind of a relief to know that the end is in sight while at the same time I'm sad that things didn't work out the way I hoped. But I tried. 

Resigned2B's picture

Moving on...

I'm so sorry. In the end however, I do think you'll be happier and find more security and peace. 

Best of luck to you...

Linsy's picture

All that, but without any family support anywhere

Nowhere to go except to myself for help. So getting myself back to calm competence was the first goal. Then letting myself rescue myself. It has taken a while and there are ways to go, but it feels just a tiny bit better in my gut now at least.

Total Understanding

I just found this site yesterday and reading your post was kinda of like reading my life story. I have been going through this with my husband for over 11 years. I also am at the point to just be done. Remember to always do what is best for you and your children.

Update....not sure how I feel about my husband anymore.

Thank you all for the responses. It hurts my heart to read over this thread again. I really don't know what to do. We have talked and he says his usual...things will change, he's sorry, blah blah blah....

We'll see what happens. It's sad because we still live with family now. My parents have come to me recently offering for all of us to move into a bigger place together.
Part of me wants to and the other part says absolutely not!
How will my husband ever learn to stand up on his own if we always have my parents to fall back on? Then again, what if we move out on our own and he doesn't get help for his ADD? Then we end up having to move back in with them again, and that is very likely to happen.

They are scared for me and their grandkids. I know my husband isn't a bad person, but I don't know if he will ever get help. I feel I have lost all hope some days. I can feel myself slipping back into depression, and I can't go there. My kids need me. I don't want to be that person again.
I also can't keep going the way I have been. I am tired of being responsible for everything for him. When is he going to step up and be the adult, be the man? We're supposed to move out on our own in August. That's 4 months from now. I don't see it happening. He needs to be working two jobs. Instead he sleeps until it's time to get ready for work. He is still not paying the bills. I don't understand it. Sometimes he makes more than my dad, yet my dad keeps food and toiletries in the house, pays the rent and my husband can't seem to handle the rest of the bills? He always has some excuse as to why he can't give more for food or rent. He doesn't even pay half! Now that my mom is working we fear my husband will slack off even more.
I'm doing some work from home that is starting to pay off, but my money is supposed to be fun money, that's not going to happen.

I can't believe this is my life. I'm starting to hate my life, and hate my life with him. I feel like a phony most of the time.
I don't find him attractive and don't want to have sex with him anymore. He acts like a teenager. All he wants to do is play his video games and talk about electronics. There is no intimacy, and I feel like I'm just a toy for him.
I hate feeling like this. I never ever thought I would be in a marriage like this. I don't know how I'm going to survive this. I don't want to just survive though....I want to enjoy my family and our life. I want to live my own life with my own family, not my family plus my parents and brother.

I can't talk to him either. He either doesn't say anything at all and sits there looking all pitiful)probably because he didn't hear anything I said) or he gets mad and tries to turn it around on me. Then if I get upset and start crying(which I feel like doing all the time lately) he gets mad and stars huffing and puffing, rolling his eyes, smacking his lips, I swear he throws a tantrum.

You know my 4 yr old asked me why I am always mad at daddy. I told her that I wasn't always mad at him, and she said "yes you are, you yell at him and have a angry face at him all the time) I hate that my kids see me as this mean mommy. They don't understand and it has nothing to do with them. I am just so frustrated with him and lately it's becoming more frequent.
I am losing myself and I don't like it at all. I feel little connection to him anymore. I don't want him to touch me. I don't really look forward to him coming home anymore. I know it's going to be chaos instead of enjoyable family time.

I could go on and on. I don't really like this part of me. I feel like I'm just bashing on him. I don't have anyone to talk to though. I'm tired of feeling so hopeless. I wish he would stop talking about how he's going to get help and just do it already!


So what do I do? We've already had one talk where I told him it was time to get it together. That was over a month ago, what happens he ends up in jail a few weeks later.
Do I give him an ultimatum?


Do you give him an ultimatum? 

Yes. But only if you really mean it.

I think you know the answer...

Black_Butterfly, I think you know the answer to your question, "So what do I do?"  Especially if your mental health is being affected.

I think it would be a good idea to get some counseling for yourself.  A good psychologist may help you to care for yourself and to create needed distance between you and your husband.  I don't know you, but given the situation you've presented, it really sounds like you need to nurture yourself first.  You are drained. 

Some of your verbiage is a little concerning: "I'm starting to hate my life, and hate my life with him.... I don't know how I'm going to survive this."  If we were friends, I would be very concerned about your depression level.  (I say this as someone who has depression and knows inside and out the waves it takes us on.)  Please be aware, as difficult as this may seem, you are stronger than this situation.  Please, if you feel anything that resembles the urge to take your own life, make that phone call to an emergency line.  It is not worth it.

Take care of you first, and you will get clarity about where to go with the relationship.


I am guessing that I am not alone here, but will just speak for myself... I have had the urge to take my own life on a weekly basis (would not do it because it would be stupid and I have a wonderful son that I don't want to hurt).  I have been driven hopeless, lost my self worth, and am just trying to "keep swimming forward" amidst the unhappiness.  I cannot imagine, however, what a call to an emergency line would do to help me, but give someone ammunition to aim at me at a divorce, etc.  If I admitted to wanting to die sometimes, then I would be the one with the problem and it would switch from my husband's lack of help for his ADHD and corresponding abuse to my mental health problem (which is a direct result of riding the ADHD rollercoaster).  You are 100% correct with what you stated in your response to the other person in encouraging that they nurture themselves. I get what you were saying, but I imagine a lot of people have felt something that resembles taking their own lives amidst the craziness.  Hopefully they realize that, like you said, it is not worth it.

Maybe you can give me some insight: how do I start taking care of myself when I am still in the ADHD relationship (eventually I plan to get out, but cannot just pick up and go when I have my wonderful son to consider).  I feel like in a fog and can't find my way out. 

admitting you are suicidal means

that you do need help. There are plenty of spouses of ADHD partners who are not suicidal so you obviously have your own demons to contend with. You can't just blame your partner's ADHD. The toxicity in your relationship will not magically evaporate , even if you partner were to become perfect by some fluke. Get some help. Tomorrow if possible.

Elmstart, you are correct -

Elmstart, you are correct - you are not alone. While Simora may be correct that you have some of your own personal demons...being in a rollercoaster relationship without any of your own places of support can lead to situational depression. It is real and serious. That can lead to unipolar depression (also known as major depression) or at least tendencies toward it. I have it as well, and it can be overwhelming. Can you get counseling ASAP preferably with a counselor that is adhd savvy? You also need to find your own place of support and detach from your current situation in a way that is healthy. There are several things you can do but first and foremost you MUST put your energies in getting healthy and happy yourself and move away from linking everything to ypur adhd partner. You HAVE to while he/she figures things out themselves. Lets talk again. :)


I appreciate your comments.  I really do need to see my counselor again and I think I'll call her after writing this.  My husband bled us dry and we have been living my paycheck to my paycheck every month, which is why I haven't had the money to see my counselor.  I used to be such a joyful and independent person, so I know that this is situational depression.  I just thought I could handle it with support from my friends and educating myself about ADHD, but at the same time just want it to end (not my life...the rollercoaster). I mostly feel trapped because I have my son and my husband will likely go into focused fight mode because he thinks he is the better parent, and I don't want to put my son through that kind of hurt.  This whole situation has really messed with my head.  I am highly educated, a reasearch scientist, but feel like such a fool to be in this situation. 

For Melissa, I think that she was harsh in saying that my thoughts are not normal.  The last thing I need is to feel is like there is something wrong with me (even though I do need help, I am not abnormal for having those honest feelings).  I think they are normal and an unfortunate result of situational depression caused by being a spouse of someone with ADHD.  My husband also used to physically abuse me and I have been beat down emotionally as well.  He snapped out of it for a few months when I was about to leave him, but has now returned to his normal ADHD self - although he is using medication (the wrong type for him though), getting ADHD counseling, and is not abusive (I would never put up with that again).  I originally thought my husband was an abuser and that it had nothing to do with his ADHD.  I have been educated on the subject and realize that I was wrong.  I also have not had the time I need to heal from the abuse because I only had a brief reprieve from riding the ADHD rollercoaster - I think that also adds to my feelings of hopelessness.  So while this may be an extreme case of ADHD gone too far, it is not out of the realm of effects of it.  I just hope most people find Melissa's forum before things get as extreme as my case. 

Suicidal thoughts not normal

You may not wish to contact an emergency line so please call a doctor (your regular doc or a psychiatrist), instead.  I believe that the doctor/patient relationship - and what you talk with the doctor about - are protected by privacy laws.  If you want to double check, describe your situation to your doctor and ask.  The suicidal thoughts that you are having ARE NOT normal for being in these relationships - while people often feel hopeless, few have the kind of recurring thinking that you describe.  So please seek the help you need.

Also, please remember that this IS NOT a medical site, and the advice you get here is from people without medical training (myself included).

Melissa Orlov

elmstart is not alone

Hey elmstart, I am a mentally stable always positive person whose wife and seven year old son have adhd. I have once considered knocking myself off but I couldn't do that to my children and I think it is a selfish act. But listen it sounds like a completely whacko thing to think about if you have never lived or been married to an ADDer, but to us non adders it is perfectly reasonable. all I can say is get your spouse and you some professional help. I saw a psychiatrist today for the first time in my life as an agreement to my wife and her treatment. there is nothing wrong with talking to a professional you will be surprised how good it feels talking to an experienced person about adhd. it can relieve stress and anger for you like it did me. good luck!


get help and get on some medication.

My dear, I feel your pain. I was so close to taking my own life about six months ago, that I had a plan and was just gathering the courage to go through with it. This was a clinical depression, and a natural response to an untenable living situation. I went to the doctor, and he confirmed my suspicion of the diagnosis. I am now on an antidepressant, and have found new meaning and joy in my life. Further, I can now be there for others, instead of being so consumed with my own grief that I can not give any more of myself.

Good luck, God bless.

Antidepressives and suicidal thoughts

Latest research is showing that some antidepressants cause suicidal thoughts much more frequently than previously thought. For now, they seem to say it is more prevalent in teens and elderly. But that doesn't mean it can't happen with any age group. Just be aware. I had fleeting suicidal thoughts when I was taking Atavan.


Just FYI

While it is true that some antidepressants may actually lead to suicidal ideations, this is mostly shown, as you alluded to, in seniors and teens. The warning on the information label of the medication will tell you simply to watch for any increase in suicidal thoughts or actions, and if they are present, to tell your doctor and stop taking the medication.

Ativan, by the way, is a Benzodiazepine/anxiolytic which reduces anxiety, not depression, and would not lead to an increase of suicidal thoughts. It should be perfectly safe for this woman to begin taking antidepressants, as long as she shares anything else she is taking with her doctor, and the medications do not interact.

You are living my life

Coming to this site has been. Blessing and a curse because I just feel frustrated for you guys as well. I also feel like my husband's toy or play thing/ mother/ care taker/ task master because I spend my life trying to compensate for the areas that he lacks in. My husband is eight years older than I am, I was 20 when we got married and three months after we got married he lost his job and didn't even LOOK for a job or clean the house, lift a finger, nothing, for a year and a half. I was working part-time as a cashier and going to school full-time. It came as no surprise when I failed out that semester. He works now but its just more fuel for him not to do anything. The intimacy is flickering on its last flame, I frequently don't find him attractive because of poor hygiene (his whole just go with the flow thing). When I don't want sex he whines like a teenager as well, he is enabled by an ADD mother (not positive but PRETTY certain). I'm just viewed as the uptight wife who nags and can't go with the flow. Plus I too can't leave as Its against my religion, one that he's not and barely respects. Its driving me nuts to live like this...especially with him wanting kids soon. It scares me to think of having a child with him now.
prairiechick72's picture

" I feel like a phony most of the time".

Black _Butterfly,

I can totally relate to your feelings. I too have felt like you do. Sometimes we let ourselves go, while trying to hang on to someone that is drowning. In the end I felt like I went under for years and now struggle to get my own sanity back.  I have lost a huge part of who I was trying to get my own ADHD/bipolar husband to face his issues, however I realize I can't force him to get help unless he wants to. We have 2 boys aged 18 and they have lived in a house that has seen many ups and downs. I stayed to keep the family together, but to be honest I should have left years ago. my kids grew up watching their Dad to smash walls, carve bad words on walls that were finally put up (not by him) after years of not been finished, and call their Mom names, and just be miserable with his life. Hard to rewind the past! 

I hope your story ends well and you find stable ground.

MagicSandwich's picture



Yes you can give him an ultimatum like "You must XYZ or I will have to leave" but you must be able and willing to meet your obligation to the ultimatum. No exceptions.

On empty

My husband and I have been married for 15 (long) years. He owns his own business, very seasonal and he's good at it.....He's also ADD like crazy....he takes meds (I don't think they do anything). I don't think he's ever had the opportunity to learn organizational skills and strategies. I've tried; it consumes me and I've had to back off....little gets accomplished....

Yesterday, I decided to do some gardening and the list of unfinished tasks from years gone by reared its ugly head. Things my husband has told me he would get to....basically, simple weekend projects that have been put off for five years or more. I thought, uh oh, here we go another summer where nothing gets done. And it hit me....I'm tired of this....the broken promises, the procrastination, lack of focus, inability to self manage, etc. Enough. And I thought to myself, why have I let myself put up with this? Who in their right mind would be this patient to let simple jobs go undone for years??????

I finally decided enough and TOLD him that he needs to get his ADD managed medically, see a therapist and find a coach who can help with organization strategies. Oh, and while he's doing that, we need to seperate for 6 months.....I feel relieved....I wonder if it will do any good??? 

Black Butterfly, we were in couples therapy before....I had the same experiences like you said The thing that gets me is that somehow it always comes back to me. I'm the problem. I know I don't react in the most loving way all the time. I am working on me, but I'm tired of being the only person in this marriage doing the work.
....I was treated like it was my fault--too demanding, not coddling enough. I felt like asking the therapist if my feelings of frustration even counted. I thought it was just me who experienced that.

marriage counseling--why bother?

The thing that gets me is that somehow it always comes back to me. I'm the problem. I know I don't react in the most loving way all the time. I am working on me, but I'm tired of being the only person in this marriage doing the work.
....I was treated like it was my fault--too demanding, not coddling enough. I felt like asking the therapist if my feelings of frustration even counted. I thought it was just me who experienced that.


^^^That is what has me hesitant to go to marriage counseling.  One of two things is going to happen: 1) it's all going to come back to me, as described above, or 2) DH is just going acquiesce and accept all blame and guilt, promise to change, but then do nothing.  In the end, neither outcome is acceptable to me, so why bother?

try it

Unfortunately counseling is about as hit and miss as I've heard getting the meds right is. The one time in the past that my DH agreed to counseling it did not go well. He said he would never do that again. Recently I have informed him that I was going to a faith based counselor and he decided to go. So far so good. I had been there without my DH a couple of times and also with. The counselor takes my perspective seriously without saying Im totally doing everything right or even wrongly. I encourage you to try it and if it doesn't work out, try someone else. I wouldn't rule it out completely, I figure somebody in this world has the skills and knowldge that we need to work out some the yuck an ADHD marriage brings. If this one isn't that personk, I will likely look elsewhere. 'Know what I mean? :) Good luck!

I am beginning to think this

I am beginning to think this is the only thing that will work for my marriage too, a counselor who bases everything on The Bible. I know that when I act in accordance to God's will, I am much happier in my marriage and my life in general. We aren't going to counseling together right now because he is back to square one with not accepting any of the ADHD effects on our marriage and saying I am the one that is crazy. I refuse to pay good money to go sit and listen to him try to convince a professional of this. I want a real, hardcore faith based small group (Bible study) has been more helpful to me in the past month than any counselor ever has. Ever. I know it won't work for everyone, but I am finding strength in God that I have never managed to have on my own and in the end, whether my marriage survives or not, I need that strength. I need the self-esteem I get from knowing that God loves me. I need the peace knowing that He is in charge. I can't do this any other way.

I was the one who insisted on counseling, but now I won't go as couple because one session of "it's all her fault...she doens't accept me for who I am" would be about all it would take to cut the thread my marriage is already hanging by. His saving Grace was, for so many months, his willingness to accept his part of the responsibility for the problems in our marriage...without it, we're screwed.

I LOVED our counselor.  We

I LOVED our counselor.  We went two years ago and she is the one who helped us seek a diagnosis for my husband.  She thought he had bi-polar so we were relieved when he was diagnosed with ADHD.  After he started on meds life was wonderful so we stopped going.  A year later we were back.

Even though I really liked our counselor, I didn't feel she was up to date on ADHD in adults.  She would give him tasks that were too much for him and I didn't want to see him being set up to fail (not intentionally of course) so we searched out a new counselor.  He found one that specialized in ADHD and decided he wanted to go on his own first and then we could go as a couple.  That worked until he missed 3 appointments @ $50/appointment and quit going.

We are currently separated.  I couldn't stand having the love of my life live in the same house, yet be so far away & I don't want my boys growing up thinking it is acceptable to treat anyone the way their father treats us (our oldest also has ADHD).  I have to admit - it is amazing what my husband can do when he doesn't have anyone else there to do it for him.

I have just started seeing my

I have just started seeing my husband's ADHD counselor, but am also doubting whether or not they know enough about ADHD in adults.  The counselor has spoken to me in private that, although he thinks ADHD is part of the problem, it doesn't explain a lot of my husband's actions.  He thinks his issues are also a lot from how he was raised.  I can see that, just when I read about ADHD through this forum and my own books I clearly see that 90% of my husband's struggles are due to his ADHD.  The psychologist just seems to think that it is a small part.  My  husband's psychiatrist also does not seem to be monitoring his meds very well or at least gauging his progress well because my husband's meds are not right for him at all.  His doctor has not asked to see me to get a real opinion on his behavior and seems to think everything is going along fine (of course I could be way off since that is what my husband has told me). 

How did you finally make the decision to separate from your husband?  I think I am ready for that step but there is all this guilt surrounding it (we have one son).  I am very unhappy, have tried to make things work for 8 years, and am totally spent of all energy with this.  I do know this though: if and when my son starts to show signs of ADHD, I will get him the help that my husband's parents did not get him. 

My husband is gone a month

My husband is gone a month plus out of every year (harvest) and when he's gone the house is so peaceful!  The kids and I function well together, the house is clean, there isn't any screaming, arguing or back talk. 

We have two children together.  My youngest (just turned 4) mimics my husband yelling at his older brother and telling him he's stupid and he can't do things right.  I've come to a point as a mother where I had to ask myself - is it really better for the kids (and I) to stay in this marriage?  Do I really want my boys to grow up thinking this is acceptable behavior?  My answer was no.

My oldest has ADHD and it scares me to death he will grow up thinking he's stupid or a failure because of the way his father treats him.  Stupid is a bad word in MY house. 

IMO my husband knows what is wrong with him and he's choosing to ignore it.  He's miserable with his life right now and if he can't make himself happy how am I supposed to expect him to be happy with us?  Right now I'm trying to focus on creating a better life for me and the boys.  I hope one day he can rejoin us but for now it is like mixing water with oil.

Thanks for your point of

Thanks for your point of view.  I have started the process of living my life apart from my husband (mentally for now) and creating a happy life for my son and I.  It works about half the time.  My husband is also miserable in his life right now, and keeps playing the victim role to get my sympathy or attention.  I don't actually buy it.  I used to try so hard to get him to care for me, but that's sounds like an oxymoron from my current viewpoint.  How have you begun to create your better life?  Did you or your spouse move out?  or have you just started to not participate in the chaos of ADHD?  Now that I have stopped enabling many of my partner's ADHD traits I cannot see ever going back to that misery. 

elmstart - can you message

elmstart - can you message me?  I'd rather not go into all of the details on the forum.

Yes, I totally understand.  I

Yes, I totally understand.  I am trying to figure out how to message you.  I am new to the workings of this forum.

It's amazing...

I think your "it's amazing what my husband can do when he doesn't have anyone else there to do it" has two parts - first, he's required to be responsible.  But why not be required to be responsible within a relationship, rather than when you are on your own?  Second, he gets to do it his own way (which means you see the results, but are less aware of how long it takes, how he's doing it, etc.)  In that regard, it's actually helpful for him to not have you around...

Anyway, you don't mention whether your intention is to get back together again if he gets his act together, but if it is, then pay attention to the benefits he's gained by having both the need and the independence to do things his way.

It's not that you're the problem...'s just that the only person who's reactions you can control is yours.  All you can do is be your best - communicate in a loving, direct manner, express what you need from the relationship, respectfully set boundaries, and be the better person.  If that does not garner the response you desire, then you have to make the best decisions for you.

It sucks, and it's not fair that you are put in that position.  But that is the bottom line in any relationship - romantic, friendship, or otherwise.  You can't change someone else, only your interaction with them.  In counseling, you may have to accept your part in the conflict, but that does not mean that you should be required to take all the blame.  If it is feeling like that, perhaps you need to look for a different counselor or do private sessions that provide a little "safety" for you to explore what is "your stuff" and what is "their stuff."

Well said

Setting your boundaries is a really important part of this discussion.  (Read the chapter on it in my book if you need help with this.)  Also, some therapists can be helpful...for a list of some who are familiar with ADHD and likely, therefore, to be more even-handed, see the professionals list in the resources section.


I think I could function fine by myself - and while I know you all are rolling your eyes, I hold jobs, I'm not in trouble with the law, I'm not violent, and I don't lose my temper.  I know my ADHD causes problems for my wife, who shoulders the vast burden of the domestic tasks, but I'd always thought that was simple 'division of labor'...

But if I move out, then we have half the money (I have to live somewhere) and it would mean that I rarely see my children - or my wife, all of whom I love a great deal.  But I'm always being ridden down because my brain function is a little different; and the withholding of love and affection of any kind - why be married if your partner doesn't love or desire you?


You are right...change IS in fact a 2-way street.  But what do you do when your own positive changes just give your hubby permission to behave even MORE poorly??? (I don't yell at him anymore, I have lowered my expectations to such a point that my children who are 4 and 6 perform at a higher level than my hubby does, I don't get upset when he forgets my birthday or doesn't apologize for stuff, I have my own life and inspirations, I have not let him hold me back in my development - oh...I am also a psychotherapist). As soon as I did what our marriage counselor suggested....and kept the focus on my own happiness and development...I saw him take advantage of the slack over and over again.  I also stopped feeling like I had a partner and felt like I had a petulant teenager!  As far as I can tell...ADD is so debilitating that we NON-ADDers can't expect much from them or we will be unhappy. Yes...there are some ADDers that excel and find that very specific niche that helps them soar...but that's like saying because 10% of people oversome their mental defect...then we should look at all ADDers as gifted and blessed.  My hubby has an IQ of 158...Mine is a lowly 120...but I have to be the one to manage my emotions, make the changes and manage the LIFE I am building...and he is a weight on my neck.  He is on meds, goes to therapy, goes to marriage counseling...but he does NOTHING.

feeling hopeful...but lots of work still ahead of us

It's been a roller coaster ride, but you all already know that! Things have gotten better, but there is still much work to be done. He has his moments where he is on it, super focused, ya know? He's been doing his own reading on ADD, and made some changes all on his own w/out me saying anything. He's started praying and reading his Bible, we're trying to find a church, and the overall atmosphere in the house has changed.

And then times like now where he's stressed and is all out of's hard to communicate with him. It seems like all he can focus on is himself. he told me this morning that he does everything for everyone else all the time, and he thought I was upset with him for being upset. That wasn't it at all. One of the things he does that drive me crazy, he seems to misinterpret almost everything I say. If I come to him and say "hey babe, I'm noticing you've been forgetful lately" He gets all defensive and says "No I'm not! I've been doing the same things, you don't know what you're talking about."

*Sigh* I'm going through my own mental issues right now, and it's time like these when I need him the most, but he can't be there for me because he's too wrapped up in himself. Looking back, he's always been this way. I mean, he's there for me, but when I need emotional support, he just doesn't know how I guess. It still frustrates me, because it leaves me feeling like I have no one. Then I think that maybe he's helping me in his own way. He'll take the kids, little things like bring me home a soda pop or candy bar. so he does try to help in the best way he knows how. Guess I can't be mad because he doesn't help in the exact way that I want, right?
Then I try to look at things from his point of view, and all the stress he's under with the finances, but he won't let me help. Sometimes I have ideas for how to save money, taking a little out of each check for things we may need, but he doesn't listen to me. That hurts too, like my opinion isn't valid. I am trying so hard to understand that why when I need him most does he always leave me hanging? He doesn't do that to his kids.

He says I make it hard to love me, but he makes it hard to love him! When things are good, they're really good. I love it, and I soak that time up. when things are bad like they are now....I already know what's going to happen. He's going to retreat into himself even more. Spend more time at work to avoid me, even though he says it's to bring in more money. The weird thing is, there isn't more money.

He keeps saying he wants to go back to school, and I support that 100% at the same time, I have things I want to do with my life. I've decided to go ahead with my goals and dreams.
I think we're learning to work together, and things aren't near as bad as they were a year or two ago.
I'm working on things like getting a white board to put his work schedule, the kids activities on. Getting rid of as much clutter as possible - it's driving us both nuts, and the kids too.

I've taken some of the household stuff off my plate. If he leaves things, I leave them for him, and gently remind him to pick it up. Sometimes we even clean the kitchen together. I wish I could bottle up those times we work together, and things are going so well. Then when times are bad, I could sprinkle some of that good out onto us, ya know? I think we'll get there.
I've seen him make more progress over the last 4 months, more than he's made over our entire marriage. I believe he wants things to be better all around. On my end, I've stopped looking at his ADD as something to be fixed, but it's a part of who he is. his brain works differently than mine. It's not been easy, and I have times where I slip back into my old way of thinking. Then I remind myself of how i want and like to be treated when I'm feeling swallowed by depression. I think of how i treat my children when they aren't at their best. We all have our moments. I accept my kids for who they are, so why not my husband? He still pisses me off sometimes, and vice versa....but I do believe we're going to get through our struggles together. I think we're finding a way to accept each other for who we are, flaws and all. We have our work cut out for us, but I'm feeling up to the task.

How is it always about them?

Hi Black Butterfly,

I've read many posts on the site and have begun to realize that (edited out for gross generalization)  I am the non-ADHD spouse of a ADHD husband, who was diagnosed not until about 9 years and 2 children into the marriage.  My husband recently admitted to a 1 night affair from about 4 years ago and has also admitted to a "friendship" with another woman for about 1 year and a half now.  Subsequently, he was thrown out of the house after that.  We had our first Family Court session last Friday, which I'm sure will be the first of many.

What I find odd is that we never seem to focus on the extreme pain that he has caused me and my children by having these affairs.  He says he is sorry, but after all I am so very "mean" to him.  I respond by saying, "Mean?"  What are you 12 years old?! 

He wants to reconcile with me, but frankly I don't think this man is capable of changing.  I'm going to be 50 years old this August, and frankly cannot imagine spending the second half of my life waiting to see if this man is going to cheat on me again.  So far, it's been two months that he's been out of the house, and he doesn't exactly seem to be banging my door down to come back.

My heart is broken.  Not so much for me though, but for my children.  I never wanted them to come from a broken home like mine was.

I realize now, that for people with ADHD, there are so many different facets of the illness that is very hard to treat.  I believe it crosses with depression, OCD, being a sociopath, PTSD, etc, etc.

If there is anybody out there engaged to be married to anybody with diagnosed ADHD, please don't walk ​RUN​ as fast as you can to get away from them. (gross generalization - edited out)  Especially after marrying (him - edited).  Marriage is the ultimate dread and doom for (my husband - edited).  The day to day boredom is too much for (my husband - edited) and soon (he - edited) will start in the computer chat rooms, porno websites, dating websites and then they will be on to their first affair.

If I could turn back the clock, I never would have married this man.  But with all that said, I do thank God for my children.  I am just crazy in love with my kids.  I don't know how I would ever get through the day without them.  I'm just sorry they didn't get a better father.  At least I have my brother, who is a wonderful father, to be a mentor to them.

Well, good night and God bless everyone!!!




Never be able to change...

I think saying that ADDers can never change is a bit insulting to me. I was not diagnosed until I was 43 years old and I have made many changes in my life. Meds, therapy, couples therapy and educating myself have changed my life and also the lives of those around me. I am still married with children (Both most likely ADD) and because of what I have learned, I will be able to get them the help they need before having to suffer from it's effects.

I'm sorry for what you have gone through, but ADD is crappy condition to live with as well. Until the ADDer understands how it affects them, there is not much chance for improvement. 

I have not cheated on my wife, never gone to a chat site, I don't look at porn, rarely drink, never looked at a dating website, I am not abusive and I'm very involved with my children, as long as a pretty good husband. I was all of these things before my ADD diagnosis and have improved since the diagnosis. 

I hope your situation improves and there is a lot of help on the website from both sides of ADD.

Sorry, YYZ. Didn't mean to insult you.

Hearing your comments gives me some hope that there is some capability for change.  I'm sorry, though, I just don't see it with my husband.  I honestly think he is too far gone.  You sound like the kind of husband and father who is very tuned in to their family, as opposed to my husband who is very detached.  Just a quick example.  He came over for a visit the other night, and when I was outside in the yard I could see him through the basement window  sitting at the computer desk looking at porn.  It was dark outside, so he didn't even realize I was there.  All I thought to myself was, "How selfish can this guy be, that instead of spending his visitation time with his kids, he is spending it looking at porn?!  Or maybe it isn't selfishness, it is some kind of addiction or something.,  The steam was coming out of my ears as I was watching him.!!  All I thought was, "What the hell am I doing with this guy?!  Me and my kids deserve so much better than this guy!  And imagine what I looked like spying on him doing this!  My kids could have been inside burning the house down!  This is what I have reduced myself to!

Anyway, I wish you and your family all the best of luck.  I just don't have much hope for change with my husband.  The saddest thing is, which I am starting to admit to myself, is that maybe he just is not too much in love with me anymore and has no desire to put the effort into changing anything.  And that's fine too.  But, I wish he would at least be a man and bow out gracefully instead of tormenting me.




No worries :)

I understand many ADDer's get addicted to all sorts of bad things. Somehow I always feared addiction. Drinking was never to good of a choice for me. Some of my biggest mistakes came after drinking, the initial clarity from things slowing down in my head, but then over simplification of matters and impulsive self destructive behaviors. Drugs... Nope, Way to scared I would like them too much. Porn... Never really got that, fortunately, because of it's ease of access. Food proved to be my biggest addiction. Emotional eating my way to bad health problems. I've lost a hundred pounds and kept it off for over a year and a half. My wife made my adult life possible for success. She had specific boundaries that I knew had no flex. This kept me working on avoiding situations that would get me in trouble, like going out with the guys drinking or to the T-Bars, only bad comes from these places. The homebody lifestyle kept me in check. We worked at the same company for 12 years, then I got a great job offer and took it. The chaos and change in everything lead to my undoing and eventual ADD diagnosis. It has been almost three years and things seem to be mostly trending upwards, but it has not been easy and we are far from that comfortable place that we had. Comfortable was also basically a room mate situation, everything was about the kids and getting by and our connection was all but non-existent. One of the problems has been that my DW seems/seemed to be expecting me to leave. I felt better, looked better and when this happens to a 43 year old, there can only be one reason, right??? Simply never true, so I strive to show her that my improvements are real and that I love her and won't let her push me away because of her fear of being made a fool of by someone she loves. I'm sorry your guy is not getting it and I wish there was a way to tell you how to make an ADDer see. I thought I was about to lose everything and this lead to terrible anxiety and eventual diagnosis.

I wish you well Shunyo... There is a lot of support here if you keep looking around for it :)    

This is so weird

I just about fell off my chair when I read this -- maybe you've said it before, but I don't recall -- :  One of the problems has been that my DW seems/seemed to be expecting me to leave. I felt better, looked better and when this happens to a 43 year old, there can only be one reason, right???  I had already decided your wife was afraid, and that's why your progress wasn't making the "connection" any better.  But I thought she was afraid, as many spouses are, that you would revert to your former untreated ADHD self.  But today, while doing some other reading, I wondered if she was afraid that the new and improved you would just move on.  Or that you only got new and improved because you were getting ready to move on.  Then I read this post -- So, I guess you figured that out already!  If she is an anxious worrier type by nature, she would definitely put the worst-case-scenario explanation on your changes over the past couple of years, rather than the positive explanation.  I used to be a huge worrier (I eventually just ran out of energy for it) and frequently when positive things would happen, I would assume they happened for bad reasons, or that they would lead to bad things.  It's a very different form of "lacking trust" than I thought you were dealing with.  Perhaps she just doesn't trust life in general -- in one way that would be harder, but in another way, it could help you take the lack of trust less personally.  And maybe you need to put different stuff in your trust bucket.  

summerwine's picture

At what point does the

At what point do you decide that the non-ADHD spouse is just impossible to ever please? How long do you have to chase the carrot before you have to admit that you'll never get a bite?

Imposible to please...

I don't even know if I am possible to please... I sold a great carrot that I cannot seem to keep served up enough when compared to what I promised. I chased my future DW and the hyper-focus sold her on me and my quirky self. Maybe she like the goofy quirky guy and not the driven less mellow guy she has now. Stupid carrots... I don't even like carrots ;)

This is right up there with

This is right up there with saying "ADHDers never change"...and it is simply not true...not in my marriage, anyway. In either direction, whether it is the non-ADHDer feeling change isn't possible or the ADHDer feeling that there is no pleasing the non-ADHDer, this kind of attitude is self-defeating and might be something you could give some consideration to when dealing with your own relationships. 

You are right about not trusting in positive out comes...

We both grew up in step-father environments, both abusive, mine called me every name in the book when my mom was not around and my DW's step-dad beat her mom and brother. We never had a home for very long, for different reasons, but no stable home life for sure. My DW is always expecting the worse. People will disappoint, not do the right thing, always have the glass half full. She has told me that my faults were all pretty minor in general and she liked me for who I was. I was consistent and she did not have to worry about me. She knew my biggest flaw was getting in trouble with women in the wrong situation, which has never happened since we have been together. She knew I "was" over-weight by a lot and not threatened by other women finding me attractive. She has told me this... She was not attracted to me after I got bigger. She felt safe and fairly content with our lives. I was so unhappy with the situation at home, but did not know who to talk to it about. So, after diagnosis, improvement in health and self-esteem, I do believe she is waiting for me to announce the end at some point, though I have never said anything about leaving or being unhappy. I just don't see how I can apply trust to the distrust of life General Bucket. All in all it is like what drew us together, our personality balance (Me + / Her -) friendship is now only presenting the differences. How does someone stop expecting the worst with most situations, especially when so many things work out? Most of the big leaps we have made are because I engineered them, house, cars, I figure out how to make sense of these big things. She won't believe it until we are riding in it, or moved into it... So I'm the one thing she did not have to expend energy worrying how I would fail her in a big way, know that I have failed her it proves the everyone will disappoint, so don't let the guard down and you won't be surprised when the bad does happen...


YYZ's General Bucket :)

NOTICE:  There is a summary at the bottom in case you get bored or lost part way through.

 This phrase jumped out at me:  know that I have failed her it proves the everyone will disappoint, so don't let the guard down.  Now that you have failed her.... by losing weight?  By taking medication for a condition she wasn't bothered by before?  (You must have been one highly-functioning ADDer!)  First, why do you think you have failed her, and next -- and this is the important question -- Are you positive it is true she believes you have failed her?  You might be looking at the "evidence" and reaching that conclusion, but please remember eye witnesses are frequently wrong.  You had better make sure she believes you have failed her before you go any farther (further?) down that road.  Even with all of the struggles in my marriage, even if we can never work things out to both our desires, I have never and will never believe my guy has failed me.  If you believe you have failed her, and that's how you would describe it, using that exact word, failed, you are allowed to believe that and act on necessary repairs.  But unless you have facts, evidence and testimony that she feels that way... you could be making a mistake by how you respond to her if she actually doesn't feel you have failed her.  You might be looking for and finding evidence that isn't actually there.  See below.  

Back to the other thing - the General Bucket.  When you or someone you loves gets discouraged, remember that people who aren't paying attention (aren't self-aware) tend to create situations that reinforce the beliefs they already have.  I.e., if I believe my child is stupid, I won't help him with homework, won't make sure he gets enough sleep, won't get involved with school... because I already know it won't do any good.  Yet I have "created" the conditions for my belief to come true.  Ye old self-fulfilling prophecy.    If I believe my boss is an idiot, I won't do a good job on the projects he assigns me, won't take his advice on how to improve my performance, won't take his warnings .... and eventually my idiot boss will fire me, proving he's an idiot!    My dad left home when I was a young teenager, with very little explanation and no divorce or "end".  The first ten years of my marriage I was very insecure that my husband would leave me, and was alternately clinging (don't leave me!) or withdrawn (you'll eventually leave me so I'll get ready) -- I was creating the exact conditions in which one spouse might decide to leave another!  It was only through my husband's patience (and his ADD tendency to just not get things done! :)  that we survived long enough for me to grow out of it.  When anyone in my family falls into "doom and gloom" glass-half-empty kind of talk, I ask for the evidence.  I don't do it aggressively (i.e. PROVE IT!), but with compassionate curiosity.  My Adult Child:  we want to go to X next summer, but it will probably never happen.  Why do you think so?  Well, anytime I really want something it never works out.  Really, like when?  Oh, well you know.  Me:  I can think of many times when you wanted something and worked to make it happen.  Remember when you saved for 18 months to buy a car?  Remember when you decided to change majors and went to summer school?  That worked out great!  Remember when you ...  I have done this with my guy when he falls into the "wanting everything at once" mood, then gets bummed because you can only spend $100 one time, not six times.  Then he starts to feel poor.  I'll remind of the things he wanted, and waited for, and now has.  He "forgets" about all the successes and focuses on the things he doesn't have or doesn't get to do NOW.   ALL people can fall into the focus on the negative trap, but some personality types and some people with certain backgrounds do it as a habit.  It is very possible to be a positive person around these folks (here's your trust bucket deposit, in case you were waiting for it).  DON'T tell them to think positive, or look on the bright side or that crap.  Nobody can take in the meaning of those phrases because we've heard them so many times.  Instead try these:  for worrying aloud, ask, is there one small thing we (or I or you) can do right now to feel better about this?  OR "right this moment, we are okay.  This moment is all we have.  When the moment comes that you are concerned about, we'll be okay then, too.  We can handle it."   When people get down on themselves or predict failure, I ask "where's the evidence" that that is likely to occur?   It's a fair question to someone you love, who is predicting your joint life will go badly or never get better.  Sometimes I even ask "If a stranger were outside looking in on your life would they see evidence you've done okay?  Or would they think you're right to predict failure?"  

Wow what a meandering, almost-pointless piece of work this post was.  Summary:  1.  don't assume your beliefs are accurate just because they are "logical".  2.  don't assume others hold the same beliefs just because you have "found" or "seen" proof - you gotta ask.  3.  You can make deposits in your partner's General Life Trust Bucket by pointing out "true" evidence of good things in their life or your shared life -- these should be reminders of good things your partner has done or you have done together, not reminders of things you have done.  Sadly, that always sounds defensive, even if it is true.  And now even the summary is too long.  

Just from MY experience

They are NEVER too far gone, if you love them, and want things to work.  Keep trying counselors, psychologists, social workers, and keep reading!!!!  Try a psychiatrist or even your family GP to get him on medication.

I walked in your shoes not too long ago, and for a very, very long time.

I wish you the best.

Dear Husband,

I am so grateful to you that you have accepted this process of looking at yourself, and accepting this diagnosis of ADD.

I am so grateful to you that you so whole heartedly want to make these positive changes so that we can stay married.

I am sorry for all the times I have focused on the negative and not the positive.

I am sorry for not being able to truly understand what it's like inside your head.

I am sorry for all the times I've told you I felt like you weren't trying, when you honestly were.

I love that fact that you are Always Ready For A Hug, even when I am not.

I love that you can look at a problem that I have absolutely no answer for, and you are able to instantly solve it with your "outside the box" thinking.

I love that you Always Make Me Laugh.

I love that you are able to almost instantly forgive me for my wrongs.

I am sorry that I have not been able to instantly forgive yours.

I am sorry that you're struggling so hard to get these symptoms under control.

I promise that I will always be here to hold your hand when you need strength.

I promise that from now on I will actively seek out all the positives I see, and make you well aware of them.

I promise that I will be a shoulder to cry on as you wade through the hurt and pain.

I promise that I will be here by your side as your cheerleader as we go through life together.

I promise that I will snuggle with you more, even if "I'm not feeling it" because I know it's not just something that you need, but is essential for your emotional survival.

I am grateful, I am sorry, I am in love with you, and I promise you - forever.

Love, Your Wife.

Melomom, your post stopped me in my tracks

I don't even know how to respond, it's late, the meds are gone and you have written something that I did not know I needed to hear. If my screw ups had not emptied the trust bucket and put her in self-protection mode, I might hear her say some of these things.

What you wrote was beautiful. 


YYZ, you're welcome. I gave

YYZ, you're welcome. I gave my guy that list in the form of an email, so I hope he 'heard' it the way you did. I have said some of these things verbally to him, to some extent, in different ways, over time, but given our consistent high emotional turmoil, he has not really 'heard' it. I was hoping (and still am) that the format in which I chose to lay it all out at once, finally made it sink in.

When I wrote that and put it on this site, I was hoping that I spoke for some of the wives here that may have been having trouble putting together their true, undying, unconditional support for their husbands in way that they could understand. I'm glad it struck you in a good way.


AMAZING....AMAZING.....AMAZING is all I can say.  I need to print that out and give a copy to my husband (with your permission).

I wish you the strength and courage to continue on the good path you are on.  I am in the same point in my relationship as well.

again, thank you.


Absolutely, but only if you

Absolutely, but only if you mean it! I'm teasing, but please go ahead and use it (and anything else I've submitted here on this site) - my only caveat is that you only give it to him if you truly feel those things (feel free to cut/paste/edit your own thoughts into it). When I first started going through this process, I was taking advice and just blindly doing it, with poor results. I have since realized that I need to really buy into those things that I'm going to try, and only those that I will take to heart. Only then will the results really mean something, and only then will it have a chance of being a lasting change.

Thank you for recognizing my strength and courage (didn't always have it). And I am so glad to read that you are in a similar place in your relationship - and congrats on your own strength and courage! Yay!

Thank you

Of course I  mean it.  My husband and I will be married 25 years on April 4th.   He was JUST diagnosed with ADHD last summer and began Adderall on January 6th.  Our lives together have not been this good in many, many years.  I have worked very, very hard to do my part in his management of this disorder.

I didn't think I used to have strength and courage, but the mere fact that I held on as long as I did, despite the fact that things were just awful, speaks volumes.  We are stronger than we ever knew.

Thank you

Thank you for this post. It made me cry! This is what I needed to read today. I have been so frustrated and overwhelmed with my husband's ADD symptoms that I started losing site of his truly amazing qualities. Especially when you mentioned the part of his being able to give forgiveness more easily than you. He forgives me for anything as soon as I do it and almost never brings it up again.  I don't do that at all for him, and your post reminded me that I could stand to learn some things from my husband, ADD and all :-) 

summerwine's picture

The research says that this

The research says that this is not true. There have been some very good studies on the treatment of adults with ADHD mostly done by Dr.Barkley who is the top researcher in ADHD. The studies show that ADHD can be more debilitating in life than depression or anxiety and other neruoboliocgical disorders. BUT that ADHD is MORE treatable than those other disorders ADHD is considered to be the most highly treatable out patient disorder. Really! Try the book "ADHD, what the science says" by Dr. Barkely to see for yourself.  So your claim that we never change is totally and completely FALSE. I get that it probably feels like its impossible I feel like its impossible sometimes too. Some days I just wan to give up. It takes so much work and way more time than people are willing to give a adhd person. There is so much that has to be done not just finding a medication that works but also relearning almost everything especially if you got diagnosed as a adult. You learn bad coping mechanisms and you learn poor self esteem and you learn to be defensive. If you had a parent who has ADHD they probably TAUGHT bad ADHD behaviors to you as a child! Alot of the work that goes into treating ADHD is all in your head you have to train yourself to think differently and learn new brain habits. Thats stuff that people can't see the results of for a long time. If you dont have people who support you or you  are surrounded by people who are impatient with your treatment or who just dont belive in adhd it makes it even harder. In our culture we wants results right now because its a fast food kind of world but that just does not happen with ADHD treatment. We can change if we want to and have a good doctor and loving support system. Be careful of self full filling prophecy. If you keep telling me that I am going to fail and never change why would I try?

Wishing and change in site

Summerwine: Thanks for your input here. It’s so valuable to me. I’m a non-adhd spouse in a 7 year marriage and have been struggling for some time to “hang” in there. I believe, as with any trial in life, “if you don’t have people who support you or are surrounded by people who are impatient with treatment or who just don’t believe it makes it harder”. Everyone deserves to be treated fairly, with love and patience and understanding. What if, as a spouse, you’ve given that support continually without seeing anything close to a change. What happens when the checks keep bouncing and the child keeps being forgotten at daycare and the intimacy never occurs and 90% of all conversations end in “I don’t know” and you are left alone night after night listening to the sounds of video games going on beneath you. What if you’ve tried EVERYTHING you can think of? I have the conflict inside of me that says “If my husband had a physical disability, would I just leave him because it was tough? Am I a horrible person for wanting out and not being able to find the strength to continue?” The truth is, I wouldn’t leave him if he had a physical disability and I’m not so sure about the other ½ of that sentence. The other truth is, a paraplegic can do NOTHING about the fact that their limbs can’t move. There isn’t cognitive therapy, there are no pills, no talk therapy. There are just accommodations and the will to create a positive life. So many of the posts from spouses (myself included) on this forum talk about the complete lack of ownership by the ADHD spouse in this disability and the extreme unbalanced nature of the relationship that creates a draining of the non-adhd spouse to the point of near breakdown.. Detaching is key but how do you detach and allow things to fall apart that will affect your life (i.e. bills that need to be paid, child traumatized by continually being forgotten at school). Please, tell me how a person find the continued empathy, patience and commitment to continue when the ADHD person doesn’t improve, ever. Not to say that they don’t have the capacity for it. That’s not what I’m saying….they just don’t tap into the capacity or do what it takes to help themselves. Do you just keep being patient and chalk it up to “Well, he is ADHD after all and it is a disability.” Can you give me your thought on any of this? It would be so, so helpful.
summerwine's picture

I dont know how to make

I dont know how to make someone decide to get treatment and work at ADHD. I did it for my kid and to try to save my marriage and then to be a good single mom. I have no choice its just what I HAVE to do. Maybe its like with an addict you cant make them get into rehab they just have to be ready and sometimes they will die or go to jail before that happens. Maybe an intervention will work? I dont know what you mean by him not trying? Is he getting medication and seeing a doctor and learning about ADHD and youre just not happy that things are not going as fast as you want or is he refusing to do anything at all? Would you stay with someone who admits he an addict but does nothing? Have you ever asked him what would it take?

I actually had hope for my

I actually had hope for my marriage UNTIL he was diagnosed with ADD.  Now I have no hope.  My husband is depressed as well as ADD and made all the promises about going to a counselor and doing whatever it took to do better.  Anyone want to guess how long that lasted?  I told him the other night that I needed at least SOME attention from him.  His comment was "if you didn't act the way you do, you would get more attention."  All he wants is to be left alone and for me to pretend I am happy.  There is no intimacy at all.  Nothing.  No hugs, one peck when he leaves in the morning.  And his favorite reply is also I DON"T KNOW.  Or the much used WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO SAY?  Most days I wish he would leave ME.  It would end my misery.

To My Friend McClesky

I am so sorry to see this post.  My husband and I were just the opposite, I had NO HOPE until we got the ADHD diagnosis.  It confirmed my suspicion for years that there truly was something wrong with him, and that he wasn't just an evil man out to ruin my life.

Your words were E X A C T L Y  what we were living as well.  EVERY....SINGLE.....WORD. :(  

Is he doing anything at all?  Any medication?  Any counseling?  Any reading AT ALL?  My GOD, I wish I could let him speak to my husband.  There is still so much hope, if he will STOP giving in to the depression (notice I don't say stop being depressed?  That's like saying stop being ADHD....can't be done) and START being relieved that there is a medical reason behind much of the way he is, and HE CAN play an active part in changing it.  He "may" be one of the lucky ones like my husband is, and with us, finally getting the diagnosis was the longest most painful part of all.  Getting him "right", meaning the way he is happy, the way he wants to be and needs to be for our marriage to have any chance at all, has been rather easy.

I want happiness for you, and for him and for your family.  Keep me posted.

I will.  He takes medication

I will.  He takes medication that helps him focus, but there is just nothing there for me.  You keep telling me how great things are for you now and MAYBE I will be able to see a future.  Thanks for your comments.


What medication?  What dose? What time does he take it?  Those are all factors in this mix.

I SWEAR on my life that we were in the exact same horrible mess that you two are, only 10 or so weeks ago.  The distance, disconnect, was horrible.  Maybe he needs his medication "tweeked".  As far as you go, once the right medication helps him, if you really do want things to work, you may find it in your heart to give it all and try again.  TRUST ME...I completely understand you being wary of what I say.  If you had told me this around Christmastime of last year (which is only weeks ago) I would have doubted you too......HELL....I eould have thought you were crazy.

I don't have a clue what

I don't have a clue what he takes.  I have distanced myself so far away that I don't ask him anything, but I will ask and find out what time of day.  He takes anti-depressants and says that they don't do any good.  Nothing seems to work for him.  All he wants to do is watch TV and sit in his chair.  He does still want to ride his cycle, but even in Texas it is too cold in February for that.  I am beginning to wonder if I even care enough to try anymore.  I am not attracted to him physically because he is not in shape anymore.  I think i could fall in love with him again because he was gone for two days and I actually started to miss him, but he called before he got home and made a smart crack about me having the house clean when he got home.  It was such a TURN OFF that I made sure I was gone before he made it home.  I live at the gym to avoid going home.  OK...I'm going to email him and ask him.  I will let you know.

A clue...

Before my ADD was diagnosed I was on anti-depressants. They seemed to help for about a month or so, but then I just felt so flat, it was worse, no passion about anything. I had gotten so over-weight gradually going up since 2001 and peaked at 285 lbs. (I'm 5'-11") not good. After I was diagnosed in May 2009 and began my Adderall, I could not get off the anti-depressants fast enough. I Felt Good, like never before, stopped obsessing on food, started walking, lost 100 lbs and have kept it off since. 

I would definitely find out what his meds are and have them evaluated. I've had/have plenty of struggles at home, but I'm not depressed, and meds that make me flat make it even harder to communicate. 

I still cannot believe how much better I feel staying with an exercise regiment too! 


WOW!  100 LBS???  I am so impressed.  He is 5'11" also.  He got up to 265 which was just AWFUL, but now he stays around 235 lbs.  When we met he was 180-185.  Exercise has saved me.  It is my main stress reliever.

I was miserable...

It started as a "Stress Diet" and I was 43, because I was so stressed at work and home that I just did not eat much. I had lost 40 lbs before the diagnosis, then the rest after the ADD diagnosis. I discovered how much I liked walking after we got a puppy and the habit has stuck. The walks surely help stress levels. 

When my DW and I started dating almost 20 years ago I weighed about 205 and I cycled a lot. Marriage, school, then kids started the upward spiral. 

I'm not doing that again! :)

MUTWINMOM - medication

My husband is taking Byvanise?  10 mg in the mornings.  He said it is supposed to help him focus.  I'm going to Google it, but I thought you might know what it is.  I have never heard of it.  BTW...he actually snuggled with me for a few minutes when the alarm went off this morning.  That tiny act seems monumental.  Ridiculous.


It's VYVANASE.....that will make it easier to find :)

Glad to hear you got a cuddle :)


Good grief.   Yeah...that would make it easier to find.  Do you know anything about it?  


This was the first ADD drug my husband took that actually worked! It is intended to be long lasting, the ads talk about the child being able to focus through after-school time and homework time and so forth. When my husband started taking it, he actually started looking for, and soon got, a job. It was intended for children but did get approved for adults about 3 years ago. It's made by Shire Pharmaceuticals.


I know I spelled it wrong due to a typo...LOL

V Y V A N S E 


I looked it up.  Looks like a very promising drug.  

I decided to do what Melissa said and focus on ME.  AND I have decided that I have waited long enough to re-do my bathroom so guess what?  And when I finish THAT I am going to re-do my kitchen!!!  That is ONE THING that I do love about my husband.  When I want to do something like this, he is always for it if we can afford it.  I pay the bills, so I am always the one holding back.  Well...not this time.  My only hobbies are my house and my HOG!  Since I can't ride my HOG at the moment, I am going to focus on my house.  I'm nervous, sort of, because I don't like spending large amounts of money but I am CROSSING THE RUBICON and there is no going back.  So what do you guys think?  Granite or quartz for the counter tops? 


Definately have to take care of YOU.  Redecorating the house sounds like a good idea.  Alot of work and confusion while it's gong on, but SOOOOOO worth it in the end.

Now, back to the DRUGS.  I love that you said it sounds promising.  That's a very POSITIVE outlook.  Now, not to bring you down, but you said he has been on this for a little while.  The other day you said that all he wants to do is sit and watch TV.  That he has no energy.  That is something that should be helped dramatically by the Vyvanse.  It is a stimulant.  Perhaps his dose is too low, OR it is not the right medication for him.  You also mentioned he us on some additional drug for depression.  Perhaps the 2 are not working well together?

Many drugs we encounter in our lives take time to work, because they need to build up a "blood level".  It is my understanding that these stimulant medications (Adderall, Ritaln, Strattera, Vyvanse) act immediately.  For example, once in the bloodstream, a half hour, maybe a little more with the Vyvanse as it works with the stomach and digestive enzymes, there should be a noticeable difference.

Anyone, please feel free to correct me if I am wrong.  I am a medical professional, but this is NOT my field.  I have learned ALOT only since my husband was diagnosed, and even moreso, since we finally gave in and had him start taking the Adderall.

Granite on the countertops BTW!

Cranky me...

He has mentioned that he is having trouble sleeping on these news meds, and I have been a bit CRANKY lately, so I haven't really been around enough to notice or make any kind of determination as to whether they are working or not.  At this moment, I am hyper-focused (HA) on this bathroom re-do, so I most likely won't care what he does for the next week or so.  If he will just start touching me a little more, it will make all the difference for me.  It has made me feel good that he is on board with the bathroom thing...but it IS his bathroom to begin with.  It's just a mess and a downer so it should make both of us happy.

Time to see the Doctor

If he is not sleeping well, then that will sap all the energy that the medication can give, poor guy.  i was worried about that with my husband as well, but fortunately he has been sleeping better than he has in years. The only thing I would recommend before going to the doctor would be to take the medication earlier in the day if he can, and see if that helps.

What Sue said

Sue described it perfectly.

It's a relatively new medication made by the same company that makes Adderall.  It was released right around the same time as Adderall went generic.


10mg is an extremly low dose. I'm surprised it would have an affect on him at all??? My DD#1, who is 14 was just put on 40mg per day. I take about 50mg of Adderall per day. 20mg early morning, 20mg around 10am, and 10mg around 3pm


Glad someone posted who knows something about Vyvanse.  I am only just learning about Adderall.  I was told everyone reacts differently to it, as everyones tolerance is different.  Some little girls could need 40 mg and a grown man only 20 mg.  All depends on your metabolism, and need for the drug I suppose.

I have also learned that these drugs are NOT "one size fits all", there may be alot of trial and error before the proper dose is found.


I found my sweet spot at 50mg, any more I and I get Too focused and ADD like and Less is not enough. I was scared in the beginning that what I needed would change over time, but in fact the 50mg is still right for me 3 years later. One size does not fit all, for sure :)

Good to hear

It's good to hear that after three years your dose is still the same.  I was afraid that these ADHD meds would need to increase due to the body building up a tolerance for them.  So happy for you, and those around you, that you have found not only the correct medication, but the correct dose.  You are one of the lucky ones!


All I can say is I just feel "More Normal" these days. The ADD is there, but I'm more aware of it. Some days better than others depending on how many oranges I'm juggling ;)

I definitely feel lucky responding to the meds, where others seem to never quite benefit as much.

ADHD double denial - CLASSIC!

You and your partner sound as if you are in the CLASSIC form of dual denial - he denies that his ADHD is a problem (because he can point to your anger) and you deny that your anger (or frustration or depression, or whatever it is that makes him say you 'act like you do') is a problem (because you can point to his ADHD).

Double denial will end your relationship because it means that you will keep doing the same things - reinforcing the behaviors that make you both unhappy.  BOTH of you will do better if you look at your own behaviors and start to focus on yourselves and what you can do to be better in the relationship.  That way when your partner says "it's your fault" you'll be able, with a clean conscience, to say 'no, I've been dealing with my anger' or 'no, I've been improving my ADHD symptoms."  This means work over time...but the way out of your double trap is to focus on YOU. are right.  I'm are right.  I'm going to print this out and keep it with me.  Thanks.  Really...thanks.

This is the same place my

This is the same place my wife and I have been in, and still are.  sort of.  I have come to the realization that I'm not managed like I had convinced myself I was, and have started new steps to recognizing my symptoms and in managing them.  I'm recently diagnosed.  well, about about 7 months ago, and the treatment and management thus far has been slow.

My wife is just angry.  angry she married me, angry I am the way I am, and angry I don't "get it".

Im repeatedly hurt by the abusive things she says and does,  And angry that she feels justified to treat me in such ways.  which give me stress and anxiety to the point that I start to fail to manage what little I have managed.  which makes her more angry, cuz I need to fix it.

I have recently changed my perspective on my wife's anger and hurt.  I still don't believe that the abusive words are ever justified.  and firmly hold my ground on that boundary.(most times in vain).  I have tried to explain my new understanding of my management level and the effects.  I hoped that my communication would start turning things around, but no.  It's only gotten worse.

After the barrage of anger spewed at me today because I communicated something that was upsetting to me. (which was explained to me that my experience of being upset over said behavior was because of my misperceptions caused by my unmanaged ADD, and because of that I didn't recognize that my ADD was the direct cause of that problem, therefore, it was my problem, not hers.  she is sorry that I am struggling with my unmanaged ADD and hopes that I can get it managed soon.) huh?

anyway... I expressed to her after that. "I need an advocate, not an enemy.  I can't fight her and my ADD at the same time."

the reply...  "I'm neither.....  I'm your wife.  Managing you ADD and it's affects on our marriage is your responsibility, not mine.  Please stop putting that on me."

(sigh)  So...  I guess I'm on my own unless we can somehow break this cycle.(which feels like I'm the only one interested in doing)  I'm trying to step out of it by better management practices, but management or not.  I don't think she will even see the difference, or care, being so blinded by anger.

My husband and I were at this

My husband and I were at this same points few years ago. The only difference was he wasn't too interested in learning how to manage his ADHD. He thought the problems in our marriage were solely due to my anger. He believed I was just an angry person. No matter how hard I tried to explain how I felt, it didn't matter. He had good intentions, so he felt there was no way he was guilty of all the things I accused him of doing. Finally, I just gave up. I told myself to just accept the fact that I married a man who would never put me first. I realized my anger wasn't changing anything, so I gave up. In a sense, my anger showed I still cared.  Once I stopped caring, stopped fighting for anything for myself, our fighting all but completely stopped. He thought life was good! Problem was, I didn't feel the same way. I thought my life was mediocre. He never noticed; he never cared.

Then I stumbled across some emails he sent to ex-girlfriends, and I just lost it. I didn't get angry; I cried. I let myself feel the real emotion- hurt. I felt so hurt by his selfish behavior for all these years, and this was just more than I could bear. I cried so hard I thought I might never stop. The effect on my husband? Shame, embarrassment, and a budding belief that perhaps he has some culpability in all of this. Had I gone right to anger, he would have argued with me, told me my anger caused his behavior, yadda, yadda, yadda. 

We went to see  our therapist last week. I made it clear that I would do my part in marriage counseling, but I insisted that my husband go to counseling without me as well. He still has reservations about how his ADHD  has ruined our marriage, but he is willing to talk to his therapist about it. I am beyond convinced that if my husband had gotten his ADHD under control, and admitted that it causes problems, our marriage would have been an awesome one. Believe it or not, we really love each other, in spite of the turmoil. I hope this is the start of a new, happier, stage in our marriage. I just know if I hadn't let go of my anger, we wouldn't have had this breakthrough.

To Donfire

Letting go of the anger is so incredibly difficult because, USUALLY, the ADD behavior has been going on for a long time.  The anger that your wife feels has been building up for years.   I thought FOR YEARS that my husband was just a real jerk and didn't care about anything.  We have been together for 30 years, married for 27.  He was just diagnosed a few months ago.  A friend of mine asked me if the ADD gave him a "free pass" for all of his past behavior. The answer to that, for me, is NO!   You didn't mention how long you had been married, but you have to give her some time to digest the fact that it wasn't just YOU being difficult and childish all this time.  It was a slow process to get her so angry at you.  It will take a long time to get her over it.   There is no quick fix for all of this, but I think the KEY is letting her know that you are always trying.  You know...marriage is hard anyway.  This disease makes it almost impossible.  

barneyarff's picture

Why is it always about them?

This is a great question.
Last year I almost died from cancer.  You want to talk about having to "let go"  well! let me tell you!

Even through the worst of the chemotherapy when I could not get out of bed and was entertained by the games channel of TV, I'd get phone calls about bills not being paid.  I'd apologize and explain that I was very sick with cancer.  We had the money but I just could not get my brain to focus long enough to write a check.  I'd give them DH's phone number at work but he wouldn't answer it so I'd get another phone call.   Eventually I'd get the kids to help me find the checkbook and help me read out the numbers to the person on the phone.

I  really could not be without heat or electricity.

I've not been able to do much around the house and I am very proud of myself when I can make dinner for everyone.  It's been a terrible year and I'm usually very energetic, etc.  So, I've not complained all that much about the mess around the house.... until lately.

Lately, DH has been complaining about how much He has to do around the house.  He talks about how hard his life has been.  Now, I understand about how hard being the caretaker is  and I have thanked him profusely many many times for his help but now it's all about him again.  I told him that I'm so tired of all the crap around the house and he yelled that the children and he were tired of me trying to get them to throw away ALL of their stuff and I was not to EVER mention it again.  So, I wrote it on the calendar and try my best.

Now the kids are complaining about all the crap and how their Dad is and they want to move out.

Um, I'm finally well enough that I am realizing that... damn.... I almost died.  Trying to process that big piece of news  and DH is whining about all the work he has to do and how our 2 kids are slobs.   Well, I'm kind of done. 

Goodness knows I wasn't in any shape to parent him for sometime.  Now he complains about ALL the stuff he has to do.   He likes to tell me it's my chemobrain that is making me crazy.   My therapist doesn't think I'm crazy.  She's pretty amazed I've put up with DH for 38 years.

As long as I'm typing.  Our oldest son died many years ago.  At the service we had our friends read what we had written about the 3 days he lived.  I remember being vaguely confused about DH's script because a lot of it was about how he was trying to get more exercise and eat better.  Most of it was about him....   geez

Things are bad again and I'm pissed!

In that short time since my last comment. I've been following the conversation here. It's been interesting. Talking about anger. I'm really having trouble letting it go. I wanted so much for my life than this. We don't have insurance right now so I understand that he can't get on medication, but even if he could go see a Dr, he wouldn't. 
The other day he came home talking about how he was doing his own research on ADD and discovered that he has  sociopathic tendencies....he was all depressed about it. I told him I already knew that about him. We all have something, right? Doesn't mean he is one. 

He says he's willing to do anything, and I told him last year back in October that he had until the end of the year to get his shit together. Wouldn't you know as soon as the new year rolls around he slips right back into his old crap again. When I bring it up to him he says " I can see why it looks that way...I forgot you told me that"
The truth is, I can't leave him, we have small children together. I'm not working, I stay home to take care of the kids.

I've come to the realization that I'll probably never be able to go after my goals and dreams because of him. If it's not one thing it's another. he's always screwing something up for me. The other night he told me things would get better if I started to care again. Really! I need to start caring again....I told him that I'm reflecting back to him what he's dished out our entire marriage. He doesn't like it and doesn't like the way it feels. If he isn't going to care about the house, then why should I? If he can step over a mess 50 times, why can't I?
what's the point of me cleaning only to have it destroyed by him within seconds...I'm not his maid!

I'm back to feeling so alone and depressed. Back to hating my life and feeling like what's the point? Lately I've been thinking of cheating. I'm craving that love and attention. I miss the hot passion and sex. I feel like he's completely stripped me of all that i was, and all that i ever could be. All that's left is a shell, and I don't like what I see when I look in the mirror. I don't like that I'm thinking of cheating, it's not me! I don't think I would ever go through with it any way. It's not like I'm out trying to meet someone.
I could be like him and carry on emotional affairs via Facebook, that seems to be ok in his book.

Why does he have to turn every conversation back around to me? he told me that he can't work more hours to get us out of our financial mess because he's worried about me and the kids. No he's lazy. Yes I'm tired by the time he gets home, but if he needs to be working two jobs, he needs to do it. In the span of three months he's wanted to go back to school to get a 4yr degree to join the Navy, be a paramedic, open his own electronics store,  and most recently get a quick certificate in something health care related. He's never going to be stable, and I don't think he'll ever be able to provide for us. I don't think he's capable. I'm tired of being his cheerleader for nothing, it's not like he actually accomplishes anything. I feel so stupid for believing things could actually get better!

It's gotten to the point where the kids make comments about him now. Unprompted by me, these are things they see and calm him out on. you know it's bad when your children say something. I feel so bad for them, they deserve so much more. I'm tired of having to bend and make everything ok for him, why can't he try to make things work for me, for us? he always says he's trying his best, well his best is terrible.

I really feel completely hopeless.

I"m sorry you feel this way. 

I"m sorry you feel this way.  I'm feeling pretty hopeless right now, too.  The details of my situation are different (the children are at college, I work part time, no affairs, Facebook or other, going on as far as I know) but the feelings are the same:  no chance to follow dreams, no signs of change in other person. 


Please Black Butterfly...don't cheat.  I KNOW how you feel because I was there.  Cheating makes everything worse.  I did it after 12 years and it has colored my world ever since.  Please listen to me.  It makes you feel cheap and tacky even if he doesn't figure it out.  And the heartbreak is almost more than I could stand.  It took years for me to recover.  YEARS.


I told him last year back in

I told him last year back in October that he had until the end of the year to get his shit together. This is like telling someone with diabetes...'you have until spring to get rid of your diabetes'...and furthermore, I truly feel that setting a time limit on their recovery can actually PARALYZE them so greatly that they pretty much give up. If you want to put a deadline on someone, put one on yourself..."if things haven't improved by June 1st, then I will leave the marriage" but don't put them on doesn't help, is probably just a form of manipulation and you trying to 'rush' the process to lessen your pain and give yourself something to look forward to. Forcing an ADHDer, through any means at all, to do ANYTHING..does not work. The ones who truly turn their situations around aren't 'threatened' by their spouses that they will leave if they don't, their spouses just simply give up and leave..even if only emotionally and not necessarily physically. Speaking from my OWN experiences 100% on can read where I have been 'planning' my future without my DH for about a year now...and I regret it whole heartedly. How can I sit here and ask him to give more to a marriage that I was not nurturing myself?

I've come to the realization that I'll probably never be able to go after my goals and dreams because of him. Another common myth and trap that you need to let go of. I have been at home for most of the past 13 years taking care of the kids, including a 19 year old special needs son. I went back to school, will graduate in May, and did it during the WORST time in my entire marriage! My school plans didn't go exactly as I had hoped, but the reality is that if it is God's plan, then God will provide everything I need for me to make things happen...if not, then he won't. My DH and his ADHD cannot/do not stand in the way of my dreams...or God's plan for my life. God certainly doesn't want me to blame others for my fear of letting Him do His job, work on my DH, in turn setting myself free to pursue my own life and goals. You are too focused on fixing your DH, his behaviors, his worries and problems..when would you have time to do anything for yourself? You're like I was, for far too long, afraid to just let your DH go off into the world and figure his own shit out for himself...and turning your focus on you. You're convinced, as I was, that the world would fall apart if you did. will fall apart, no matter how tightly you hold onto it, if that is what is meant to be. I am coming off of 2 weeks worth of anxiety and stress that surpasses anything and everything I've ever experienced with my DH...just seemed like a shit storm of issue after issue and his reactions have probably made things 1000 times worse than they had to be. I have resolved myself to accept that maybe, as bad as it might get (he might lose his job, and I have been humiliated in front of all of his co-workers), it might just be what it takes to make him get the help he so desperately needs. 

he told me things would get better if I started to care again As infuriating as this is to you, are you listening to him...and yourself? if he doesn't feel like you care, this could very well be part of the reason you feel he has 'gone back to the same old shit'. They give up SOOO easily...and if they think we have given up, then there really is no chance they're going to physically and emotionally pull things together for themselves. Are you giving everything you are asking of him or are you, as you admit, dishing out to him what you've received? Are you really in this 100% or are you only trying when you feel he is? Marriage and love are about giving even when they don't deserve it...and giving only when you feel they do will lead to NO ONE giving anything and the marriage is DEAD. Give until it hurts. Give until it feels like you're void of the ability to give...and then give more. Then, if nothing changes, you can walk away knowing that it just isn't meant to be. Don't hate him for not giving...when you aren't giving either. with this entire message...this is based on my own experiences and some revelations I've had recently. Make sure he knows you care...until you're walking out the door or, best case scenario, he is motivated to do the same.

My DH cheated on me for the exact reasons you're claiming you're thinking of cheating...and it destroyed my life, his life, and the lives of our children. I understand loneliness...and being married and being lonely adds a whole other dimension to lonely that sucks big time. However, there isn't a worse way to 'solve' your problems than to drag another person into the mix. You cannot possibly imagine the ramifications and how far reaching they can be. You think things are bad now...cheat and you will be taken to a whole other level of 'shit'. Like I told my DH, "you're not 12...attention and affection works both ways..." If you give your DH 100%, consistently, and you get nothing in return for long enough then cheating won't be your solution...leaving him will...and that's 1000 times better than cheating.

I know it is terrifying to look at their efforts and think "this is his BEST?" but once you start to believe that and take on a whole new perspective about it, you can be a part of the change your marriage so desperately needs. What if it IS that he is doing his BEST right now. How would you feel to be giving, what feels to you like, 100%, and have someone say "this sucks!!!"? How about finding a place of acceptance that this IS his best...for today...but that with the right help, and enough love and encouragement...and less "he's lazy, he's destroyed my dreams, he's not taking care of his family"..maybe, this could turn around. 

I am going to give you the advice I am contemplating giving myself...because lady, believe you me, I saw MYSELF AND MY ATTITUDE throughout your entire post...and I have been stuck in the same 'cement shoe' mentality for well over a year as you are. DO WHAT YOU HAVE TO, but get him help. Don't see it as 'interfering' or 'nagging', see it as an intervention for someone who needs a 'shove'. I've avoiding insisting on treatment for my DH for quite some time...and it is coming back to bite us all in the ass. I am, a year into it, feeling like I gave up on him...and expected something of him that he isn't capable of giving...without help...but will never see the need for help until he GETS help. Ya know? I mean NONE of this to be harsh or mean...just a friendly, gentle kick in the butt to get your mind into a different way of thinking about this situation and seeing the power you DO have over your own life, that if you exercise it, will trickle down to everyone involved.

((HUGS)) Sherri



Forcing an ADHDer, through

Forcing an ADHDer, through any means at all, to do ANYTHING..does not work; and DO WHAT YOU HAVE TO, but get him help.


Sorry, but these two things don't go together. 

Good point...I will try to

Good point...I will try to clarify...

She mentioned not having he cannot go take meds or, I assume, they cannot do counseling. Although she did say that he probably wouldn't go anyway, it still needs to be something they do...go to counseling. 

My husband and I quit counseling (which he was always willing to go to) because I refused to keep going with him. In my situation, he would go if I asked, but I avoided asking because I saw it as 'forcing' or 'wasting my time' for various reasons.

He does need help. Obviously. She cannot force him to get help. Obviously. The "do what you have to" comment was more along the lines of a suggestion to find clinics or some kind of free services not a 'MAKE HIM GO' kind of thing. She cannot force him to go, and should not, but getting both of them in counseling is probably going to benefit everyone. Hopefully, he'll be willing to go if she can convince him how desperate she feels about the situation. If not, I said..maybe it just isn't meant to be. 

Thank you.  I appreciate the

Thank you.  I appreciate the clarification. 

One thing that I find difficult to do is to convince my husband how desperate I am.  If I allow my feelings to show, he says that he feels (take your pick) accused, guilty, lacking in self esteem.  If I don't allow my feelings to show, he thinks everything is going fine (because if it weren't going fine, I'd be talking and complaining about it, right?). 


Seriously, if she is this upset and overwhelmed, I think the first thing she should do is get a job so that IF she just can't take it anymore she would have something to fall back on.  At this moment she is pretty much stuck with no options.  Having a job makes you feel a lot more in control.  

Seems it's hopeless

***I told him last year back in October that he had until the end of the year to get his shit together.This is like telling someone with diabetes...'you have until spring to get rid of your diabetes'...and furthermore, I truly feel that setting a time limit on their recovery can actually PARALYZE them so greatly that they pretty much give up. If you want to put a deadline on someone, put one on yourself..."if things haven't improved by June 1st, then I will leave the marriage" but don't put them on doesn't help, is probably just a form of manipulation and you trying to 'rush' the process to lessen your pain and give yourself something to look forward to. Forcing an ADHDer, through any means at all, to do ANYTHING..does not work. The ones who truly turn their situations around aren't 'threatened' by their spouses that they will leave if they don't, their spouses just simply give up and leave..even if only emotionally and not necessarily physically. Speaking from my OWN experiences 100% on can read where I have been 'planning' my future without my DH for about a year now...and I regret it whole heartedly. How can I sit here and ask him to give more to a marriage that I was not nurturing myself?***

I wasn't asking him to be completely better or else, but I was asking him to get some help of some sort. I don't think that's wrong at all. Trust me, I have been nurturing this marriage for 10 loooong years. The majority of those years, I was doing all the work. I see nothing wrong with putting my foot down and demanding more of him. It's not like I'm asking a 2yr old to do things on the level of a 32yr old. I'm simply asking him to do what he needs to. To act like an adult.

***I've come to the realization that I'll probably never be able to go after my goals and dreams because of him.Another common myth and trap that you need to let go of. I have been at home for most of the past 13 years taking care of the kids, including a 19 year old special needs son. I went back to school, will graduate in May, and did it during the WORST time in my entire marriage! My school plans didn't go exactly as I had hoped, but the reality is that if it is God's plan, then God will provide everything I need for me to make things happen...if not, then he won't. My DH and his ADHD cannot/do not stand in the way of my dreams...or God's plan for my life. God certainly doesn't want me to blame others for my fear of letting Him do His job, work on my DH, in turn setting myself free to pursue my own life and goals. You are too focused on fixing your DH, his behaviors, his worries and problems..when would you have time to do anything for yourself? You're like I was, for far too long, afraid to just let your DH go off into the world and figure his own shit out for himself...and turning your focus on you. You're convinced, as I was, that the world would fall apart if you did. will fall apart, no matter how tightly you hold onto it, if that is what is meant to be. I am coming off of 2 weeks worth of anxiety and stress that surpasses anything and everything I've ever experienced with my DH...just seemed like a shit storm of issue after issue and his reactions have probably made things 1000 times worse than they had to be. I have resolved myself to accept that maybe, as bad as it might get (he might lose his job, and I have been humiliated in front of all of his co-workers), it might just be what it takes to make him get the help he so desperately needs. ***

It is not a myth, it is the truth. I do appreciate your commenting, but you don't live with this man. I do. I'm not exaggerating, or buying into some myth. I can barely leave the kids with him for any length of time. Every single time I do, chaos ensues. He can't deal with anything. Whenever I go out with my friends, he's asking when I'm coming back, and don't I know how hard it is for him to deal with the kids. I'm like...they're your kids to, figure it out! What works for me doesn't work for him. I mean seriously, if I can barely step out for a few hours, how am I supposed to pursue my goals and dreams? he has sabataged me every time I've tried. Knowing I need money for a conference that he assures me I can attend, putting it on his calendar, yet when the time comes...he suddenly forgot. This is why me also sending him reminders via text, email and verbally. He doesn't forget, he just doesn't want me to go!

I'll tell him I need 30 minutes to get some things done online. Please watch the kids when you get home. I let him have his time when he gets home, then ask for my time. You know what he does....he sits in my face with the kids, letting them run and jump, it's distracting to me. Or he won't quit talking to me himself. You know he can't read cues, but if i say to him" I need you to stop talking to me so I can get this done" then he acts like his feelings are hurt, and I don't want him around? Really, grow the F up!

***He told me things would get better if I started to care again. As infuriating as this is to you, are you listening to him...and yourself? if he doesn't feel like you care, this could very well be part of the reason you feel he has 'gone back to the same old shit'. They give up SOOO easily...and if they think we have given up, then there really is no chance they're going to physically and emotionally pull things together for themselves. Are you giving everything you are asking of him or are you, as you admit, dishing out to him what you've received? Are you really in this 100% or are you only trying when you feel he is? Marriage and love are about giving even when they don't deserve it...and giving only when you feel they do will lead to NO ONE giving anything and the marriage is DEAD. Give until it hurts. Give until it feels like you're void of the ability to give...and then give more. Then, if nothing changes, you can walk away knowing that it just isn't meant to be. Don't hate him for not giving...when you aren't giving either. with this entire message...this is based on my own experiences and some revelations I've had recently. Make sure he knows you care...until you're walking out the door or, best case scenario, he is motivated to do the same.***

I may sound like a bitch, but I don't care.....I don't care how easily they give up. I'm not here to hold his hand and micro manage his life. I'm his partner, not his mother. It's not my job to hold his hand all day every day, feeding him spoonfuls of surgary compliments so he can feel good about himself. Where are my compliments? Who's here telling me I'm doing a good job, and that I can do it when I need a shoulder to lean on? It sure isn't my husband!

Like i said before, I've been giving for 10 freakin years. I've given for years when he certainly hasn't deserved it. Some of my friends and family are wondering why I'm still here after all this time.  He's just mad because I'm not cleaning up his messes anymore. He gets out of the shower, leaves his wet towels all over the place, toothpaste all over the sink, hair in the sink. I'm supposed to clean that up? No sir. I have enough messes to clean up with the kids and myself.

He thinks I don't care because I don't. I'm sick and tired of reminding him that it's his turn to do the dishes, I'm tired of waking him up in the morning because he can't remember to set his alarm.

He's on his own from here on out. I can't keep banging my head against the wall. I can't keep being late for my activities with the kids because he's late for work. I can't depend on him for anything. How much longer am I supposed to sit and wait for him to get it together, to take some initiative in his own life?
He saw one of the alerts for this forum in my email the other day and asked me who was replying to me. I told him I didn't know because I hadn't read it yet. Since then he's been all lovey and wanting to be up under me. I'm not feeling it. It's too little too late. I don't want or need someone who can only show me affection and put the mask on when it suits him. I'm tired of getting sucked back in to believing this could be the change this time, and a day or two, or weeks later it's the same stuff.

I can't listen to him when he talks anymore. All he talks about is what some chick said to him at work, or how one of his guy friends is trying to talk to this chick. Or did I see this youtube video. We can't have any conversations about anything meaningful. When i try to share with him the highlights of my day all he says is" oh, that's nice" It's like he's dead inside. I can barely stand to look at him anymore, can't stand being in the same room with him. I have a book on ADD that I'm going to read, and this is my last try. I can't keep doing this to myself. I have to protect myself.

I also think that he needs to realize what him not getting help for his ADD has done to our life. He refuses to see it. He honestly believe if I say there's a problem and he doesn't see it, then it's not a problem.

Sorry for the many typos. I needed to respond as fast as I could while the kids were occupied.


Been there for 27 years...

I have to say that I totally and completely understand where you are.  I was there and had an affair that lasted for 5 years because I also missed the passion and the sex.  Not only did it NOT help me, it made my situation so much worse and I ended up looking like the problem in our marriage.  I gave up, about a year ago, thinking that anything would ever change with my husband.  It is like being married to a robot.  I know there are people on this site who have had more positive outcomes than I, but I don't think that is the norm.  My kids are grown so I just do my own thing which right now includes going to the gym Sunday - Thursday to keep the stress down.  Re-doing my guest bath because I WANT TO!  And this weekend I am going on a motorcycle ride with a bunch of guys that also ride Harley's because they are so much fun and I want to have some fun.  I have stopped getting so mad that I tell him I hate him and I want him to move out and I want a divorce because he doesn't realize that those words come from utter desperation.  He just looks at me and says "do what you need to do".   What I need to do is take care of me and YOU need to take care of yourself and your kids.  I would have them screened for ADHD if they show ANY signs.  You have to build your own world to save yourself, but you also have to get a hold of the anger or it will eat you alive.  I never wait on my husband anymore.  If I am ready to go and he isn't...bye, bye!  If he hasn't put what he wants on the grocery store list when I am ready to go, I don't get him anything.  I take care of ME.  And I, ME, am going to re-do my kitchen next year!  Get a babysitter and go do what you want.  The ONE time I asked my husband to watch our kids while I went out, he hired a sitter and took off!  I was so ticked off.  Pretend that you are a single parent (which basically you are) and act accordingly.  Set your expectations of him to NOTHING and get on with your life.  I wish I could hug you.  :-(

MagicSandwich's picture

I'd double-like this post if

I'd double-like this post if that were possible. "If I am ready to go and he isn't...bye, bye!  If he hasn't put what he wants on the grocery store list when I am ready to go, I don't get him anything.  I take care of ME."   Yes! That's the only way. 

Sounds exactly like my life was

You are describing what my life was.  I just started avoiding him all together because we could not have a conversation at all.  He just wanted to talk about meaningless things and then he would forget whatever I had said to him 5 minutes after our conversation.  He nearly burned the house down.  He was constantly making messes and like you said, would literally step over it a dozen times and not see it.  No one can realize what we are talking about unless they live it.  On paper, it doesn't sound that bad I guess, but it was a living hell.  Then he started drinking and it was always "oh, woe is me" out of him.  How bad he had it.  I tried getting him and us help.  Finally he refused to go to another counselor.  He seriously does not think he has it.  And yes, I am going through menopause which indeed may have made me pause on wanting men, but that started before that. Who wants to be intimate with someone you consider another child?  So anyway, good luck to all of you suffering through this, but after years of going through this, the best decision for me and my child was to just get out of the chaos.

I could've written this...

I've just been an observer/reader up until I read your posts.  I have lived this...(sans children, different loooong story).  I am the bread winner so my situation is different; however, my family has helped financially to the extreme (IMHO).  So I get the humiliation aspect of that.  My husband was diagnosed 2 years ago with "severe ADHD."  According to his doctor, he's more than likely had this all of his life.  Since he exhibits every single symptom described on this blog, post, etc., I believe there is some PTSD and anti-social personality disorder as well.  Further, he has an IQ of 155...he's a genius, which has definitely not helped.  I won't get into detail about him, but he is extremely manipulative, and in denial of the impact of his ADHD on me and those around him.  No, he's not taking meds or getting therapy...he's somewhat physically active though.  That being said, I do believe he is a great person, but lousy husband material.  I moved out 2 months ago and I haven't felt this much "peace" in years, figuratively speaking.  However, I spent a long time in the same situation, and still am somewhat, as you regarding anger, apathy, etc.

I've been with him for 11 years, 5 of which while married.  I have had chronic depression (mild) on and off for my whole life, but this bout has been described by my psychologist as "treatment resistant major depressive dissorder."  (and a sleeping disorder, to boot!)  And I'm recently learning that a contributing factor is situational, not just chronic.  I'm on two anti-depressants, see a psychiatrist, see and a therapist.  This is the worst "bout" I've ever had with depression.  Much of it I was in denial (I'm realizing recently) and in denial of the severity of our situation.  I'm generally a very self-aware person, so this came as a shock to me.  I've recently changed my primary care physician AND psychiatrist in the past year - two of the smartest decisions ever made because they were either of no use to me anymore or were ever of any use to begin with.  Since then, my health (physical and mental) have improved by leaps and bounds.

Anyway, my past attempts at begging, pleading, yelling, crying, talking, etc. (you name it) were proven ineffective with him.  In addition to talk therapy, meds, research, etc. we've read the "Distraction" books.  They didn't apply to me - I thought they were superficial and trite.  My husband gained a lot of insight and perspective of my viewpoint, but that new-found compassion didn't last.  (and ultimatums didn't work either, even with the consequences lived up to) His stress level had risen due to outside circumstances as well.  The combination of his inability to handle stress and my depression became a pressure cooker.

When I realized I didn't know who I was anymore or my dreams/goals were, because everything centered around him, things changed.  I realized I was self-destructing (drinking, etc.) because I was internalizing all of my pain - I was literally "going through the motions" every day.    I was tired, angry, and hurt.   I finally "woke up" after the cheating happened ("what was I doing?").  So, I put all of my external worries aside (religion, family guilt/expectations, etc.) and decided to take care of me first for the first time.  (God is loving and believes in forgiveness.  My viewpoint in this regard.)

He temporarily moved out last summer, which helped for a minute.  So I moved out this time.  It was the best thing I have done:  I'm sleeping better, feeling tons better, and seeing everything from a better perspective.  I'm even smiling more.   However, I'm not interested to doing couples' therapy...I suppose I'm done.  I love him with all of my heart, but I can't do it anymore. I know what I've done was wrong....I suppose it's the path I was supposed to take to learn self-respect and get internal strength.  The story's not over - I'm very nervous and anxious to find what the next chapter in our lives entails - whether it's alone or together.

And yes, we both have regrets.

In no way am I advocating or condoning my actions, quite the opposite, really.  This is just  a (very shortened) version of my story...kind of a "what NOT to do."  I take responsibility for my part.

Don't go back!

I've also been away from my DH for 2 months. I have other posts if you want to find them. But I don't tremble anymore, I don't cry anymore, I feel so good without him. We had tried separating for 8 months, he went to counseling, and we got back together and we went to counseling together. It didn't help. Like you said, he didn't make any permanent changes or remember most of what he said he would do differently.

The Bible says a lot about how we are supposed to treat each other. Slaves who were told to be kind even if they had harsh masters were released after 7 years with presents to help with a new start. And there were rules in the Bible about how a slave should be treated. (In some cases, if they were abused, they were to be released.) There is one tiny verse about a wife submitting (following a verse about submitting to EACH OTHER), and a much larger chunk about how a man is supposed to love and cherish his wife (like Christ loved his church).  I just don't think the instructions about how we are supposed to treat each other applies to everyone except wives. I don't think wives are meant to be the doormats of the Bible, and I just saw Melissa's quote, something about how one person can't make a relationship for two work. True, your vows probably said, "for better or for worse." But has he broken his vows, "to love and to cherish?" I think living with some ADHD men is like trying to clap with one hand.  Hang tough!

The one thing I hope all of

The one thing I hope all of you can take away from this is that YOU reacted SOOOO VERY POORLY to your spouses and their issues because there is something inherent about you that causes you to do so and until you own that, fix that, and stop feeling like victims of another person's behavior and choices then you will be repeating the same behaviors for the rest of your lives. 

We are all victims of ADHD at some point...and it is one of the most confusing, frustrating, and hurtful things I've ever had to deal with and face in my entire life, as I am sure it is for the majority of you guys. However, the fact that you "changed" "feel better" "are improving" now that they are out of your lives isn't a reflection necessarily of how horrible they were, it is a reflection of a much deeper issue that YOU need to work on. I say this with all due respect, and with the knowledge that I too am in the exact same boat as you guys (in that I need to fix this about myself as well), but the reality is that you (we) tolerated this kind of behavior to the point that we wound up accepting things that no one ever should. No matter what our spouses did, we still stayed. We still accepted. We still forgave. You can list any number of reasons why, but truth of the matter is...we stayed because we are just as sick as they are and need help just as badly as they do.

If you don't GET THIS and focus on getting help for yourself and growing stronger emotionally (whether you're still with your spouse or not) then those of you who have left the relationships will be back in the same boat 2-3 years from now, but with a different captain. This is my 2nd marriage, and the 3rd serious relationship in my life...and all 3 relationships were with men who I lost myself in and who basically had nothing to give. Their moods became mine. I took personally their poor behaviors. I absorbed the horrible treatment and became depressed, gave up on everything, learned to live half alive, and blamed them for it all. Don't get me wrong, we all carry our share of the blame when a marriage goes wrong, but it is never 100% one person's fault. Even if your (our) fault is that we didn't leave at the first sign of trouble...that is still our burden to carry.

Someone else cannot take from you something you aren't willing to give. 

Ehh...maybe not

I don't think I agree with you Sherri.  Sometimes it is just impossible to deal with a person with ADD.  It's not like they tried for a week or so and said "I'm out of this."  It's like caretakers of Alzheimer's.  The CARETAKERS suffer much more that the "patient", and sometime it is just too much.  This may be YOUR situation, but it is not mine and I don't believe it is theirs either.  I hate divorce, but I am not going to be dragged down into the abyss to die as a person.  My husband is much better since the diagnosis, but if he hadn't changed, I would have had to leave also.

As "impossible" as it is, it

As "impossible" as it is, it is still a choice we make...we have the freedom to make. Alzheimer's patients have no control over what happens to their brains/lives. ADHDers do. They can get help, or not. They can own their part of the breakdown of the marriage, or they can't/won't. We can choose to stay/hold on/wait it out, or not. We cannot be angry, or hold responsible, someone else if we choose to stay and 'wait' and then nothing changes. Well, we can...but it doesn't help us grow and learn as individuals. 

Just as you would have had to leave if your DH didn't change...meaning you have the power to either stay and remain bitter and angry or to go and do what is best for you. Many of us stayed and did what was worst for us, at the time. the only problem is, we blame someone else for the choice to stay. That is wrong and keeps us from being able to keep history from repeating itself. 

To Sherri

I just read your post about going back to work.  I don't know exactly how you got to this point, but it sounds like to me that you have it all together.  My husband lost his job on Friday because he just could not focus enough on the computer part to get it all done right.  I feel so sorry for him.  I have managed to let go of my anger because he has finally admitted that there is a problem.  That was the turning point for me.  Fortunately for us, he was about to retire anyway, so we aren't in a financial bind that we could be in.  We went on a cycle trip this weekend and had a really good time.  Things have turned a corner for us.  I'm not saying there won't still be problems, but at least we know WHY they are there.  God bless you all.


That was the message I was trying to convey:  owning up to my own mistakes, my contribution to the problem.  (see the bolded text)  I'm still in therapy and still see a psychologist to work on "me," not so much the marriage itself, for the very reasons you state.

I learned to "pick my battles" with him a long time ago (is it really worth fighting about sometimes?).  However, as my depression got worse, I forgot to create boundaries and stick with them.  I eventually became co-dependent.  I accepted and became numb to the verbal abuse, disrespect, etc.  I adapted.  I accepted.  Meanwhile, I was becoming angry and resentful that I had to do everything under the sun in the marriage.  All of this was while I was "undertreated" by my doctors - the very reason I switched them.  I was barely hanging on...I was definitely absent in a lot of ways...still fighting for my health, but absent.

I came to an epiphany when I realized I don't have any dreams of my own anymore, or could even think of one that sounded good.  That's when all hell broke loose, so to speak.  That was part 1 of Operation Head Extraction from My Arse.  :P  Part 2, through the help of my therapist, I realized I was co-dependent - something that was very unsettling to me because of what I grew up around.  Part 3, I realized I was being stupid, not handling the situation, worried about what everyone else thought.  Part 4, new doctors, new diagnoses, new meds and treatments.  They asked some really tough questions and made me take a different look at myself.  That's when I realized there were no more boundaries (see above).  Part 5, I re-established said boundaries.  When I realized it was just too late (for me), I moved out, Part 6.  This was a year and a half process.  And, it's still going.

Yes, I feel tons better.  I'm owning up to my part in this.  But the thing that really was a deal-breaker for me (and there were 3), was the denial and refusal to seek help for his ADHD.  To find the new skills and habits.  To take care of me when I needed his help (which never happened, btw).  In fact, this was one of those "boundaries."  To seek treatment (or whatever you want to call it) for his own illness.  To not explode at me and be verbally abusive when things (even external) didn't go his way.  To not have unrealistic expectations of me (my head was spinning).

We actually get along great now; BUT, I honestly think we've both moved on.  We still love and miss each other, but there are things I'm no longer willing to accept...things that he's unwilling to do, unfortunately.  And, he still hasn't attempted to address the other "deal-breakers" that I listed.  (stop dragging his feet and finish school, and be a partner regarding the house and chores)

Oy vey...I could go on and on.

...and the reality is that

...and the reality is that co-dependency is just as destructive to the relationship as ADHD is. Kudos to you for seeing that...because it will help you a lot in the future if you get involved with someone else. If people remain in denial about their co-dependency and continue to blame the other person 100% then history will repeat itself...because they will never see that their own lack of boundaries, their acceptance of being treated disrespectfully, their allowing others to drag them down emotionally IS as much of an illness/condition that needs to be treated as ADHD is. An emotionally strong, healthy person would never react the way many of us did to our spouses ADHD...and a very sad reality is that our reactions make it worse many times. Anyone is going to 'react' to bad behavior...but it is not that we react but HOW we react that puts us in a category of 'needing help too'. I know this doesn't apply to 100% of spouses of ADHDers, but I think it applies far too often. 

Think about would these situations have turned out differently if, at the first sign of symptoms we would have been strong enough to say "I won't tolerate this...either lets figure it out and get help or I am afraid I will have to go"? My marriage might have ended at the 6 month mark...and I do believe if I could go back knowing then what I know now I would have handled things COMPLETELY differently. That is proof that my choices have contributed to my own misery through the years.

However, I must add that my DH finally hit rock bottom a little over a month clean and sober and doing better (emotionally and physically) than I could have ever dreamed. We've barely started down the path of 'a new life' and I'm proceeding with caution but with lots of hope. He's seeing both a psychiatrist and a counselor that he LOVES who is truly helping him identify his poor coping strategies and to fully understand how his ADHD affects him (from a physiological perspective as well an emotional perspective). He is taking non-narcotic anti-anxiety meds and a low dose of an anti-depressant to help him sleep. 

I will never...and I mean never...go back to the denial, deflection, and distortion way of life we were living for so long. He simply came undone when his mother died and, although the process was slow but progressive, it took him a while to finally reach his own personal rock bottom. God works in mysterious ways, it has been a horrible 6 weeks (he lost his job, I am having to go back to work-I start Monday, and he is just now getting to the point that he feels he can handle another job), but it has also been full of blessings and reasons to be very thankful. I fully see where I was as responsible for my choices and unhappiness...not him. That is vital to us being able to rebuild our marriage...because if I continue to blame him and his actions for everything, I will remain the co-dependent (depending on HIM for my happiness) mess I have always been. We may as well divorce today if I don't own up to my own part in everything.

I wish you a LOT of luck...and only the best. You just setting boundaries for yourself and being unwilling to let him (or anyone else) cross them is a huge step forward for you. ((HUGS)) sherri

Life Events

Thank you!  It's taken about a year to be able to put this all into words and express myself.  To accept the role I played.  To stand up for myself again.

My therapist kept asking me one question that I couldn't answer:  If he's had ADHD all of his life, and you married him despite the knowledge of his behavior before diagnosis, what's changed?  Why are you now unhappy?  I just recently have been able to put it into words.

I always knew he was a handful, pain in the butt, in the past.  But I was obviously okay with it because we got married.  However, we both experienced personal traumas at the same time.  He got hurt on the job and went back to school after a lengthy workers' comp. case.  And, I got sick, to simplify.  So, like expressed above, between the two, we were a ticking time bomb.  


thank you for sharing an update... I was following your story and fearing he would lose the job... how amazing you found one so fast!  (I am currently hiring for an entry-level clerical job and got 300 applicants, about half with college degrees, so I know first hand the competitive job market.)  But best of all I am glad something has CHANGED for you.  best wishes.

One more thing

I have a book to recommend "The Self-Centered Marriage" by Hal Runkel-- it helped me learn how to own my own reactions and behavior a little better.  

Bad day...

BB, I hope you're doing better.  I'm really interested to see how you are doing.

I, myself, am having a bad day.  Angry, depressed, etc.  But definitely not surprised.  Bad/Good days come and go.  Hang in there!

not good

Just now seeing this. We're finally out on our own, but it's the same shut different place.

I wanted to add, after going

I wanted to add, after going all the way back to your original post...his not providing for the family with consistency (getting a dose of this right now myself) would be the FIRST thing I would want addressed with his treatment. I admit to being on the fence about this...feeling like I need to take the bull by the horns and get a job myself and NEVER rely on him financially again sometimes and then other times wanting to trust that he will always provide for his family. My DH's ADHD is so bad right now that I am not sure that is even possible. How can he assure me that he'll provide for the family when he is so completely out of control that he wants my blessing to never go back to his current job...and his only response to 'how will we keep from losing everything?' is 'we will be OK'. I never in my wildest dreams EVER thought I would have the worry of employment instability added to my plate of things to deal with when it comes to DH's untreated ADHD...but this last 2 weeks has been a huge eye opener. He claims to have tried to resign...his boss refused to let him. When that didn't work, and his emotions got the best of him, he goes to other people and 'begs' for their help in getting his boss to accept his resignation. We are always one paycheck away from being homeless...I cannot stress enough how I understand the anxiety, stress, and disappointment that comes from having financial security ripped from you...or never provided to you. The options out of the situation are limited...and hard...I pray for both of us we get this kind of security again, at some point, SOON. 

To Sherri

One time I asked my husband to do something "financial" for us.  His comment was "I'll take care of it."  He took care of it alright, and I have NEVER asked him to do anything like that again.  Ladies!  Get a job!  It is much easier to find a job when you don't need it that when you are about to lose your house.  I stayed home for 8 years to raise my kids.  I got them in kindergarten and, even though it was very tough to make the transition, I got a job and am making money.  Not a lot, but I do have a college degree and I work at the university I attended.  If I HAD to leave, I could.  Give yourselves some options!  You have nothing with no job.  I cannot stress this enough. 

Ditto.  Without my job and my

Ditto.  Without my job and my ability to stay employed, we'd be totally screwed.  Now we're just partly screwed.


I have had the craziest day at work today, but will come back and post about Me, the ADDer as most know, has does All of the financial "Chores" in our house. It is possible for an ADDer to take on this task.

I'll be back...

I am going through the same thing

I am going through the same thing..i am tired,frustrated,and bitter i am never happy since i married him..but i do think as mother's we need to do what's best for our kids..END THE SUFFERING!

Wow, this is my life, for the

Wow, this is my life, for the last 18 years. And I thought "I" couldn't remember things, was disorganized and all lave the place. I was just trying to organize and get a hold of bills, finances, the business and the kids and a full time job while he had no job, no responsibilities. He napped while I mowed the lawn... For 18 years. 

Getting Better

My husband  has finally accepted the fact that I am NOT bossy or demanding or impatient or many other things that he used to call me before his diagnosis.  I am amazed, but he is actually listening to me and letting me help him organize his life.  He had an incident at his job a couple of weeks ago.  It was serious and I think it made an impact.  I hope NJTWINMOM is reading this because you were right.  The diagnosis and subsequent events with his job made him realize that it was HIM and not ME.  I was so tired of defending myself when I knew I was not the problem.  I do have to say that I can't be around him for extended periods of time because he just drives me nuts, but for the most part, if the day is normal, we are doing much better.  I have to fight the feeling that I wasted 30 years of my life on this.  And I wonder what kind of a woman I would have been had I been with a "normal" man in a marriage, but that is just a waste of time so I try not to let my mind go there.  I read these other posts and feel so sad for everyone.  I think they "key" is realization on the part of the ADDer.  If they won't recognize that they have a serious problem, nothing will change.  It is a difficult life.  Even with my husband who is very well still just sucks sometimes.


My dear buddy McClesky

YES......I am reading this.  Sorry not right away though.  Have been so busy since about the time you posted that. We were getting ready for a trip to Vegas for our 25th  Wedding Anniversary, which we both can agree, we NEVER thought we would have been celebrating, but we did!!!!!!  Once home, it was Easter Sunday, and then April  12th it was our twins 18 th  Birthday!!!  Sooooo much in so little time.

Just now getting around to look at some of the newer posts here.  Have been having a few "issues" and decided to come back for some insight/support, or just to be able to vent.  He has been doing an amazing job at taking his medications daily, going to 2 local ADHD Support Groups, and really going "above and beyond" in trying to be the best person he can be.  The connections with the kids are not going as well as I had hoped, but they are 18 year old teenagers, and it's hard at that age to get along with anyone really, so letting that slide a little.  Things not worse, so all is good.

Right now, I am just having difficulty because he has lessened the communication a bit with me.  If there are disagreements or '"issues", he is tending a little less to work on it and preferring the brushing it off and saying "well, I am trying." That's OK when it's just here and there, but for some reason this has been a difficult week.  Snapped something at me Sunday, he had no business doing.  Snapped at our son, when it was my husband who actually should have just kept his mouth shut initially and just haven't had time to get back on track to the  "good us" that we were so happy with.  Tonight, Thursday, no kids home, so we have plans to talk things over.  I will keep you posted.

I am glad to know that I was right in your case, as we all know, in many others, I will not be.  I also didn't read all the back and forth between you and Sherri, I am not liking, and never will take blame for any of this, his problem.  I fully accept that with his problem, I have to make  many adjustments and TOTALLY change the way I approach him, react to him and interact with him, but to be "blamed" liking that one bit....seems you feel the same.  We have both (you and I) been through hell and back dealing with this undiagnosed and untreated situation for years.  Have lost parts of our lives we will never, ever get back.  I see what other couples have together, and have shared together after being married and together for so many years, and though maybe, just maybe, there will be time to have some of those experiences, I feel a sadness, knowing that I deserved to have that all along, and didn't get it.  Maybe I should have read the conversation thoroughly, but I did skim through it enough to get what appeared to be the "jist" of it.

So sad that your hubby hit his rock bottom too, like mine, but that seems to be the most effective way to get the point across that YES...THERE IS A PROBLEM.  Have to go get dinner ready.  Hoping to see something from you in the next few days.  Tell me how things are going.


(Beth) <3

Hi Beth! I thought you were gone.

I feel a sadness, knowing that I deserved to have that all along, and didn't get it.  BINGO!  That is EXACTLY how I feel, and things have actually gotten worse.  My husband was forced to retire a few weeks ago because of his ADD.  He had been transferred to a different job in the city, but could not focus enough on the details to make it work.  He will stay at his current job until June, and then he will have to get another job to make up the difference in his retirement and his salary.  Last Friday night we were at a sports bar with about 10 of his colleagues.  Evidently I said something that he didn't like and he flipped me off in front of all of them.  I'm not sure why, but I let it go.  Three days later my daughter was at our house and I said something else to him that EVIDENTLY HE DIDN'T LIKE EITHER, and he flipped me off again.  I waited for my daughter to leave and then I told him that if he no more respect for me than THAT that he needed to find someone else who he could respect.  He said exactly this..."It will never happen again.  Did you eat all the cookies?"  All in one breath.  Somehow I don't think he is taking it seriously and I haven't had much to say to him since.  I used the excuse that he was keeping me up at night to get him out of MY bedroom and into a guest room because I don't want to sleep with him or share a bathroom.  I want us to be as separated, in the house, as possible because I can't deal with the constant crap.  We are going on a motorcycle trip to South Texas tomorrow with some friends from Dallas.  I am looking so forward to this, but I figure he will do something that will piss me off or embarrass me to tears.  Thank goodness I have my own bike and have some space.  My daughter has one more semester in college and sometimes I think I would be better off telling him to pack up and get out.  I have given up discussing anything because he promises over and over that he won't do this or that, but it never lasts.  He went to counseling twice and then said that he didn't think that was going to do him any good.  I have discovered that when he and I are alone, things are at least do-able.  The worst thing he does is pick a fight when he doesn't want to help me with something around the house.  When we are with our kids or in a group, he goes out of his way to put me down or embarrass me and I am sick of it!  It's like some kind of bizarre competition.  I won't be going to anymore after work parties with his friends I can tell you that.  IS THIS ALL THERE IS???  Who wants to live their life this way?  I am living day to day and trying hard not to think about the future.  This is NOT MY PROBLEM.  I don't drink, do drugs, or play around, so I am completely stuck in my reality with no altered states to hide it.  I wish you lived here Beth.  We could start a support group...



What is with them?

"It will never happen again. Did you eat all the cookies?" This is how my husband is too. Unbelievable. They only take seriously what's important to them. My kids are young. Don't know if I can stick it out until they're 18.

Hi Terri...I'm still here


What brought me back here were little "issues" that I was looking for some insight into, and of course the comraderie of those of us going through this all-too-similar journey together.  Now another mini "blow up" has happened here at my home, and to hear your story, things are no better/worse there, and it just makes me so terribly SAD!

I get the same sort of "empty" apologies.  The "I know I F'd up and had better make nice" type of apology.  Late yesterday afternoon he was just plain crotchety with me, so I reached a point where I said to him, "I have errands to run (which I did), and I'm going to do them".  He started finishing up what he was doing and said,  "I'll be done in a minute, so we can go do what you need to do."  I had to actually tell him that while I did have an agenda, I was choosing to go alone, because being around him was bringing me down and pissing me off.  We had been at my family cemetery plot for several hours tidying up, planting flowers, re-seeding, etc.  He did alot of work, it was HIS idea to go, and I was feeling that warmth, that closeness, that "connected" stuff married people are supposed to have.  NOT EVEN OUT OF THE CEMETERY YET, he is getting grouchy.  Apparently his GPS wasn't working.  Now why he was even messing with the damn thing I will, NEVER know.  The cemetery is 10 miles from home and we could both get there blindfolded if we had to...but whatever....then I ask to take one more ride by the plot on the way out and notice that all of the flowers we didn't need just got LEFT there.OOOOPS....he said he didn't see the bright pink Impatiens that HE put there...OK whatever..THEN almost home, he remembers something else he left there, and of course, adds that it kinda was my fault...... SOOOOOO Instead of being able to come home, shower, go out to dinner perhaps, and have a nice normal evening together like normal married couples do because we did something quite sad together, and he was there for me, and I felt that "old feeling".......WE BICKERED. :(  Now this morning, I get, "Want a cup of coffee? and I'm sorry we argued yesterday, it was all my fault.....I'M REALLY TRYING TO STOP DOING THAT."

OK...yeah, I get it......what I don't get is how I'm supposed to continue to live with being all riled up MY ENTIRE LIFE, and just accept a little apology an hour/day/week later, and just drop it and it's all good.  That's the part I can't seem to deal with.  I suppose if these were normal (so sorry to use that word---don't mean ANY harm by it) people who loved us and treated us well and behaved properly ALL ALONG, and all of the sudden due to some freak head trauma accident, they started behaving this way it would be different.  We would know the loving goodness of their core, and be able to overlook some things and work on what we were now dealing with, BUT SUCH IS NOT THE CASE.  We are women (well you and I are, Terri) who have been hurt and embarrassed and used and abused forever!!!  If our husbands DID NOT have ADHD, we would have been told to run, to file restraining orders, to seek therapy and to GET DIVORCED.  It's hard for you and I to have sympathy anymore.  I think we just plain ran out.

Correct me if I am wrong with any of this.....and may I add, things here are better since January 6th ADDERALL day...then they have been in FAAAR too many's just setbacks just bring it all home.  How seemingly futile it is to try to "make" our husbands live in "our world", when clearly they can't/won't whatever.

If Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus, where oh where are the ADHD people from???

Terri, BIG's all I have to give...that an the fact that I UNDERSTAND YOU AND ACCEPT YOU and I walk in your shoes on a daily basis.  Hoping for a change, and SOON!!

Beth <3

FINALLY a good trip!

Hi Beth and everyone.  I think I have finally found a "solution" to my situation that makes things better.  It is really sad that I have to do things this way, but it works for me.  My husband and I both LOVE to take motorcycle trips.  When the weather gets warm, that is pretty much our entertainment.  We  had a big trip planned for the past weekend (April 21) and I was really nervous that something would happen before the trip to ruin it for me so I decided to just AVOID him for the entire week before the trip.  I know some of you can't do that because of children or whatever, but I totally scheduled my week so that we would have minimal contact.  We never have been big on calling each other during the day, so that wasn't a problem.  After work I changed clothes and headed out for an hour jog.  I would come home, take a shower, eat in the kitchen alone (I seriously prefer it that way), do a few things like laundry or ironing, then go to bed.  We haven't been able to sleep together for the last month or so because he bounces around so much and wakes me up, so basically except for a few words in the morning and about an hour together in the evening, we were apart.  It's like I was building up my "irritation" reserves.  I told him exactly HOW we were going to do the trip which basically meant getting everything ready the night before so his farting around and wasting time the next day wouldn't make us late.  We actually took off on time, met our friends on time and ended up having the best trip we have ever had together.  Now...if we had gone ALONE...just the two of us, it would have been a disaster.  But having fun friends around who are NOT ADD made it wonderful for me. solution is to just be very busy during the week and do what I want to do by myself or with friends.  By the time the weekend rolls around, we will be fresh, and with any luck at all, will be able to make it through the weekend without a major blow-up.  Do I feel cheated that I have to do this to stay in the marriage?  Absolutely, but I can't seem to find another way.  My daughter came by to see us about an hour after we got home.  My husband jumped on her out of the blue because she had not been by to see his mother.  She looked at him like he was a crazy man.   I think what it all boils down to is that we are going to have to get our enjoyment out of the other people in our lives.  Our husbands are never REALLY going to be there for us.  We are never going to be a NORMAL couple, and to expect it is to set ourselves up for a HUGE disappointment.  Once I really realized that (and grieved it) life got a little easier.  I still get MAD AS HELL, but I've decided not to let him hurt me anymore.  I see him as an emotionally dysfunctional person and I'm tired of hoping for a different outcome and ALWAYS being disappointed.  Beth...we are going to have good days and weeks, and really crappy days and weeks so just plan on it.  We they start being JERKS, just walk away and call a girlfriend.  Speaking of that...Is there any way to give out personal information to you without it being posted publicly?  If anyone knows, please pass it on.  



Thanks, & Sharing Personal Info Privately For Support

Hi Terri,

I've read these forums a few times and found them helpful, but finally joined the forums today after one of the "crappy" days.


I appreciate your advice "It's like I was building up my "irritation" reserves....I think what it all boils down to is that we are going to have to get our enjoyment out of the other people in our lives.  Our husbands are never REALLY going to be there for us.  We are never going to be a NORMAL couple, and to expect it is to set ourselves up for a HUGE disappointment.  Once I really realized that (and grieved it) life got a little easier.  I still get MAD AS HELL, but I've decided not to let him hurt me anymore.  I see him as an emotionally dysfunctional person and I'm tired of hoping for a different outcome and ALWAYS being disappointed.  Beth...we are going to have good days and weeks, and really crappy days and weeks so just plan on it.  We they start being JERKS, just walk away and call a girlfriend." 

Perhaps that may not be the case for some ADHD spouses who either have lesser symptoms or work to manage their symptoms (kudos to you who do that), but unfortunately my spouse isn't there yet, & I have to accept that he may never be. And I'm really struggling with the lack of empathy, and his denial of his constant flirting, staring, & objectifying women, no matter how carefully I or the counselor approaches the topic. I think your suggestion for building up the "irritation reserves" for an annoying yet lovable personality (as the book says) is probably a good idea, because we're only human, and can only tolerate so much...especially on those times when I am feeling more vulnerable and less thick-skinned. It's helpful to hear other rational-minded people lose their cool too, so I don't beat myself up for occasionally losing my cool and accept that this is a tough, sometimes maddening, situation that we're all doing our best to thrive in. After all, it's a choice we make to stay in these least for now.

In response to your question if there is any way to give out personal information to you without it being posted publicly, I'm not  sure since i'm new to this, but I noticed that my Edit Profile page has an option that says "Personal contact form - Allow other users to contact you via a personal contact form which keeps your e-mail address hidden. Note that some privileged users such as site administrators are still able to contact you even if you choose to disable this feature." I think it'd be great to get others' contact info to form a support network in case we need some live support on those crappy days, so we can text, call or skype them to help us keep our heads in the heat of the moment.

Feel free to message me. If that doesn't work, reply to this, and maybe whoever is interested in this idea can exchange ideas on setting up some kind of support group with private messaging (like maybe a FaceBook group for Partners of ADHD). Friends can be helpful, but I find that their advice and understanding may be limited if they don't understand the intricacies and symptoms of living with a partner who has ADHD when they haven't walked in our shoes. 

Meanwhile, namaste. :)


Thanks;) I just checked the

Thanks;) I just checked the contact box. 

I left, but I still have to deal with some of the bs because we share a child. I'm very lucky in a lot of ways since he has a lot of really good points about him. I can't live with him though. I can barely stand being around him haha. 


I married my husband 7 years ago but NOONE told me he had ADHD.  His xwife ask me a few weeks ago if I knew he had ADHD, and I said "no!". He is now 61 and only has a part time minimum wage job. I make the money to pay the bills.  He has told me for 2 years that there just isn't any work out there for someone his age.

Now that I know about the ADHD, alot of things are making sense.  He can't remember anything and tells me he doesn't remember things we talk about. Well, we don't talk that often as communication with a person that has ADHD is hell.  No real intimacy can they give. We have not been intimate in 4 years. I know he is co-dependent. When I confronted him about ADHD he said yes.  I ask why no medication and he shrugs and says "I don't know".  I suggested he get help with medications. He said he would think about it.  That means he won't do it.  Him not getting help (that would help both of us,) is very frustrating and its now up to him.  He has excuses for every little thing he does and blames everyone for every little thing.  Very negative.  I have read my bum off on co-dependency, and numerous books on saving a marriage before I was told he had ADHD. He wouldn't read any of them either. So, I learned how to detach and not fight with him.  He just started therapy because he has resentment for me. HA! Well, hope he brings up the ADHD. Bottom line....if he doesn't get it together I'm gone!  God helps those who help themselves.

No work out there for someone over 60

This is my husband's song also.  Can our husbands live together and sing that song together in their own home that they share together?  I think someone would find a job. Don't you?

Linsy's picture

My ex can join in....

Then they would all try to depend on each other and the outcome would be a disaster. Trouble is my ex will never hit the bottom and want to make a proper relationship with his children, because he is surrounded by foolish rich women who think he is wonderful (in spite of witnessing some appalling behaviour). Hurrah for freedom.

Tired of his emotional affairs and flirting

He has done this off and on our entire marriage. I do not feel bad for going through his email, text messages, or Facebook. Two years ago I found out he was chatting with his ex girlfriend....the one he was with before me, on our Anniversary! He has signed up on dating sites, has inappropriate conversations with female co-workers, and the other night one of them called our home for him after work hours to ask him a non work related question. I could tell it was a woman he was talking to. When he got off the phone I asked him who it was, and he was going to lie to me.....I know because it took him to long to answer. He used to always have his phone locked, now he leaves it unlocked, but only deletes parts of messages. Like I'm too stupid to figure out what's being said. The latest was his most recent that I found yesterday....talking about wet dreams, and other sexual inuendos with two different women. When I confront him, he lies, or turns it around on me. Saying I'm making things up in my head, I'm paranoid, etc... Last night he brings me home a card saying I'm the only one he wants and to have faith in him and us. That is so fucking laughable! I don't want his bullshit cards. I want him to admit he has a problem and get help. Then he thinks since he gave me a card that everything is all good. He admitted that he has said some inappropriate things, but its never gotten physical....somehow in his twisted mind that makes it all ok. Then he said he wouldn't be upset if the roles were reversed. Twice this week he has left to get juice. There are two stores less than 10 minute drive from where we live. He was gone an hour both times, and doesn't understand why that upsets me. He comes back high acting like nothing is wrong. Then on the very few occasions I go out with my friends, I get the third degree. "Where, who, how long, who else will be there. Call when you get there, call when you leave." I am sick and tired of him disrespecting me, our marriage and our family. Then he wonders why I don't trust or believe anything he says. Sorry, I tried to space, but I'm on my phone. The only good thing is that we are finally living on our own, but while he was excited I was not. Different place, same shit.

these stories make me SO

these stories make me SO SAD... I found the woman I want to spend the rest of my life with. I know I am making great progress and have a great therapist but I know I am already driving her away wiht my crazy ADHD.. I love her so much and who would really want to put up with all the bullshit us ADHD'ers have and take all that abuse or neglect.. Makes me wonder if I will ever have the happy marriage I want so bad... On behalf of all the guys out there doing stupid shit to the ones we love.. We really are not intentionally trying to hurt you and are sorry you have to go thru it.. thanks to those who try and stick it out!

To Mike

Help us non-ADDers understand WHY you guys are doing "stupid shit to the ones we love".  I went out to eat last night with my husband, and the whole time he said nothing to me.  I was tired and hungry and really knew better, but I went anyway.  The plan was to see if he would bother to even TRY and make conversation.  He didn't so I didn't either.  I'm so tired of being ignored and neglected.  I want someone to love me.  I've done this for 30 years and I would have to tear up my whole life to leave him.  I'm dying on the vine.  A very slow death.  I've started having frequent migraines and I KNOW it is because of the stress in my life.  I am trapped and I see nothing in my future.  Once he was diagnosed I knew for certain that nothing would ever change.  I am lost, depressed, angry, and without hope.  And I'm beginning to hate him.

RE: McCleskey,

Get yourself on antidepressant pills,seek medical help,it will help with the depressions,as far as the anger goes, that is something that you would have to work on for yourself,I know how that feels,I have been angry for 16 months now since I met him and got married,the only advice I could give that helped me is,JUST LET IT GO,and you would feel much better,don't even waste your time fighting the losing battle,makes no sense,your health is more important.

good luck!


summerwine's picture

I don't talk when I'm eating.

I don't talk when I'm eating. I have been told that its the only time you can get me to stop talking. I'm the hyper talkative type of ADHD. But food is FOOD! Can't talk now, eating! And making real conversation is hard especially with someone you know really well or see all the time. I mean what is there to talk about that hasnt been talked about before? The weather? Sports? Small talk is torture i mean really torture. The girls at work talk about stupid stuff all the time TV shows and clothes. I just dont understand why thats interesting. But I talk about every thought that goes through my head most of the time and thinks its interesting so there you go. People are boring my brain is way more interesting lol

Hi McClesky

Has your DH not improved at all since his diagnosis? I know every ADDer reacts differently to the meds and diagnosis, but I just don't understand why you are given the Golden Key, which at least explains what is going on in your head, and you do Nothing with this gift??? I have lunch at least once a week with my DW during the work week. We usually talk about the usual stuff, her work, my work, the kids, or whatever is in the Now or Nearly Now. I cannot think of a meal where we never said a word... RED Flag for me! Being better at reading body language and facial expressions there are many times where she looks unapproachable, so I at least try to ask what is bothering her. Sometimes and okay response, sometimes not so much, but I try anyway. The "Eggshell Walk" gets a little old... It also seem to time itself "Perfectly" at the beginning of the weekend, which does not help in the Couple Time area... 

It is like three years post diagnosis and the volcanic issues don't come up too much, but the anger is just below the surface. My fear is my building indifference and loss of anxiety towards her being angry just in time for the weekends. I think it is time for a new round of therapy sessions... I don't like the "Dying slowly on the vine" idea. I'm 46 and have a little kick left in me ;)

It's like he lives in his own

It's like he lives in his own little world.  He has few social skills.  If he doesn't know you really well, he won't talk to you at all.  And it takes a LOT for him to get to know you.  And he is older.  He is 60 and I am 53.  I work out every single day to keep my stress level down.  He doesn't do much other than walk the dogs.  I am very outgoing and energetic and he is not...  The things about him that keep me around are his generosity and willingness to do things around the house.  If those two things disappear, I AM GONE!  I feel like I am married to a very uninteresting, 90 year old man.  Who doesn't give a crap whether I am happy in the least.  This all sounds very selfish I guess, but I didn't sign up for it and I don't want it.  The only thing we really fight about is him getting on porno sites.  That sets me off!  

Not selfish at all!

Is sounds like we are in sort of inverse situations. I'm not a social person, so much, but I can talk to people and end up having a good time. So... Social events (Not my favorite, but okay) seem to be about the only time my DW can let her "Obligation to Others" out-weigh her Un-Selfish Standards of not going out for fun, because there is too much to do and "What would people think?!?!" if we had "Fun" when Everything is not done. My DW is very giving, tries to take care of every one's needs, but Hers and Mine?!? 

I think is is time for me to go back to the shrink, because even though there does not "Seem" to be any major issues, I feel like life is just working 7 days a week and that Sucks... 

It's great that we work well as a management company, but I think there should be more??? 

Hang in there McC, maybe I'll run into you when I walk the dogs. (Burning off some frustration ;)

Back to YYZ

Is it possible that this is just what a long-term relationship is like?  We have known each other for SO LONG and done pretty much everything there is to do that we get bored out of our minds and think every other married couple is having fun and fulfilled, while we are not?   I married my husband because he did not have a temper.  My father had a temper and I hated it.  Now I hate the passivity in my husband!  My good girlfriend told me today that I am in a funk because I just got back from a terrific three-day cycle trip and now it is back to reality which is work, sleep, work, sleep.  I went to South Padre Island with four other girlfriends two years ago.  I had the most fun time, but I was depressed for two weeks when I got home.  Maybe I'm an adrenaline junkie.  Maybe I'm just loosing my mind.  YYZ...wear a pink shirt when you walk your dogs.  I'll look for you.  :-)

No Pink shirt for me ;)

Well I live in the Dallas area, but cannot wear a pink shirt ;) This room mate funk is really the core issue, for me at least, that lead to my near nuclear melt-down and ADD diagnosis 3 years ago. I just cannot believe that two people cannot have fun, when things are in order, no matter how long they have been together??? What's the point? I don't want this management company to be as good as it gets for the rest of my life. Funny you mention temper... My DW had an awful step-dad who beat her mom and brother regularly. He was a monster in her life for 10 years, until her mom left. So, she has a pretty reactive temper, to say the least, but not violent at all. She always feels like people are trying to get something past her, so she jumps when she perceives something is suspicious. I have always been the laid back, predictable, rock that could off-set her type A with a solid type B personality. She has said the she "Never had to worry about me" the "One thing in her life she did not have to be suspicious of". After my diagnosis I became someone else to wonder/worry about. This destruction of her core is the root of everything that follows to this day. My worst ADD traits to "Scratch the itch" as Dr. Hallowell states was Sex and spending $ on toys. (Cars, electronics, computers) I was inattentive/oblivious too, because she I did not notice an issue for too long the blow-up at me, then I shut-down cycle began, repeat, repeat, repeat...

I have slammed the breaks on my spending, I can communicate much better, I notice a lot more before it becomes a problem, I exercise, lost weight, much improved self-esteem and anger control. Sex as a means to "Scratch the Dopamine itch" is fun for a couple, and it's FREE! That is the best adrenaline fix I can think of... So... Long slow death by sheer boredom is not for me. Sex is the the addiction that I feared the most, especially when it was not happening at home. I have avoided conduct leading to the Marital Death Penalty to date, but 6 times a year is not acceptable...

I think maybe I expect too much, so lately I've been thinking I need a follow up with my shrink. If my DD's were grown, I know it would have ended by now :(

Hang in there McC! 

This answer is interesting.

This answer is interesting. At least you are thinking. Beyond that, you said that you married you husband because he did not have a temper because your father had a temper. In all due respect, how long did you think that a love relationship would last if the reason you married him was based on your negative childhood experiences with your father. I would never have married you if you told me this. I am almost sure that you married him under the pretext that you loved him but that was a lie. How can you hold him or ADHD responsible? 

Have you ever confronted her

Have you ever confronted her about this? If I were having sex 6 times a YEAR you bet your ass I would be asking why and demanding answers. It is either A) it is a control/punishment issue for her...she is doing it to control you (or to feel in control herself) or she has punitive motives OR a lack of attraction to you OR a lack of confidence in herself. These would be my top 3 guesses. You need to find out which, why, and ask her how you can work WITH her to make it better. Make sure she knows you're not asking to accuse or blame, but because you love her and want to be intimate with her...and impress upon her your desire to do whatever it takes. 

Discussed many times...

We have discussed this subject many times over the years. She has discussed this in therapy too. I'd say Mostly she just does not relax because there is too much to do at home / work and she needs time to unwind and relax. My DW also is Way too hard on herself regarding how she looks. (I try to compliment often, but usually she thinks I'm after something). There was a time when on top of those 2 giant obstacles she was not very attracted to me because of my weight. That was a boost to the self-esteem... I know she worries about the frequency, which adds to #1 (Not relaxing/stressing), so I don't push her. We talk about little daily connections (No S or expectations of S) hand holding, time together, kiss before work, sitting together to ease things, but I don't believe this has done much. I do believe she is still mad about my weight and thinks I don't really find her attractive. (Not True) And I never said I was more attracted to her when she was thinner. 

The biggest issue is that we don't go out much because of all the things we should be doing, before selfish time together. We had a date night a couple of weeks ago that started well at a work happy hour. I had not been invited to one before and she had not met any co-workers. HH went pretty well, but the office flirty girl (Who just left the company) was there (I've barely ever spoken to her) as there are 200 people on my floor. She was jumping and waving when she saw us arrive, we said hello (I introduced my DW) and moved on. After HH we went to dinner and ended up arguing over some household issue and she said she would just to what she wanted to do anyway. I told her that I thought we were discussing the issue and since she did not like my opinion she ended it. Why ask me then?!? She said we could discuss "The Blonde" if I wanted too... I was just shocked... Perfectly great night for the first 3 hours, then end up like this... For no reason, so much for de-stressing / kids are away formula to end the evening well. 

Anger / Shields are still in place. The next day she felt bad and I told her We deserve some couple time every now and then, because We Need It. She agreed. I was hopeful after the conversation.

If you don't want him looking

(taken out by Melissa.  I simply refuse to have anyone on this site telling women they need to act like whores to get the attention of men>)


I can only speak for myself, I think a side effect ADHD for me is poor self control.. I am so madly in love with this woman that I want to be around and talk to her, maybe even too much. I wish I could give an answer why he would ignore or neglect you. I know an issue for me is being 'selfish' or not flexable. If I don't get my why or if things are not going the way I want I will act out to get what I want. IE run away from her to catch the earlier train. It makes me feel so bad knowing that the one I love is tortured by me instead of feels loved by me. I am not aware of the repercussions of my actions until its too late. I need to become more aware of my actions so I can change them.

If you were so tired and

If you were so tired and hungry, and knew it was going to be a disaster, why did you go? You had a plan to see if he would make make conversation (which you knew he would not do). Here is a key. ADHD people have no problem focusing on things they find interesting and are not able to focus on things that they do find interesting. He is a really good barometer of whether you are interesting or boring. He is not intentionally dishonest unless he has done something that disappoints others or will cause him to be reminded of how stupid non-ADHDers think he is. Your non-ADHD friends can tune you conversation out and make you think you are saying something interesting. You ADHD person can't do that. If it bores him to tears he will find a way to let you know it. Now, if you say "Well he is only interested in what he is interested in and not what I am interested in. In that case, what led you to marry a person who did not share your interests. What made you want to spend your life with him? Most men a taught to have one track minds and that the freedom to have unlimited sex at will justify giving up single lives. Of course this is not true and the actual truth quickly reveals itself. It is obvious, to an ADHD person that many young women are pressured by their parents and family to remember that their biological clock is ticking and that motherhood is the best thing that could ever happen to them. Every time a woman in her twenties is not married, there are people wondering if she is a lesbian or will they have to pity her for becoming an old maid. Single men are forever called bachelors. They gain value as the years pass and are envied. The single woman gains no value in societies eyes and takes on the despicable title of spinster (or old witch of fairy tales).  Most marry not out of love but out of a terrifying fear that begins at about 14 years of age (probably sooner) that makes them constantly focused on the day that will get the monkeys off of their backs - their wedding day. Their respite is short lived. As soon as they take off the hot stuffy dress, they are ushered a way on a honeymoon in hopes that she will be impregnated. When are you going to start a family, they ask. Is something wrong with him? Is something wrong with you? The fear that was dissipated at the altar, is back.. It does not matter what want. They want grandchildren. The have pressured him to prove that he is not shooting blanks. Bring on the babies. Whether you are financially or emotionally ready doesn't matter.  More money is needed. Focus in work.  Besides cutting open your belly or stretching you out in a way that you will never feel the same to him or to you, children are much more demanding than you ever imagined. They want you all of the time. He becomes a competitor for the little attention you have left. He appears to be another child. He thinks "she never loved me", and is alienated and lonely. All he is good for is money. She knows that she gave into her fears and turns her anger on herself as she has been taught to do. This is depression. He nullifies his feelings as he had been taught to do. This is ADHD. This is a model. This is why we hate and blame each other.

ADHWE. What about love?

ADHWE, what do you believe about LOVE?  Does it exist? Does it exist equally in "hunters" and "gatherers"? Does it affect you?

Love Does Exist

Love does exist but I believe it is rare and may only comes along once or twice i. A life time. It is that time when you don't worry about giving or receiving because you only want to give. If two people find love, the greatest miracle that I know of comes into existence. It does not matter whether you are hunter or gatherer. You have been blessed. I have experienced this. 

"he is a really good barometer"

No, you fall into the same trap as many non-ADHD spouses when the misinterpret ADHD symptoms.  When you state "he is a really good barometer of whether you are interesting or boring" you may be speaking for yourself, but you are not speaking for the larger ADHD audience.  Plenty of non-ADHD spouses have the experience that they are ignored by their partners simply because their partners aren't paying attention to any one thing in particular because their ADHD is untreated.  They are distracted by EVERYTHING and how "interesting" their partner is has NOTHING to do with it.  Sexy clothes and lingerie don't work, fawning over your partner doesn't IS NOT about how interesting you (the non-ADHD partner) are. It is ALL about how distracted the ADHD partner is.

If you ask that same ADHD partner "do you love your spouse?" or "are you interested in being with your spouse?" the answer is "you bet!"  Yet they still can't sustain enough attention so that the spouse feels "attended to."

Also, your comments about society's view of single women???  Come on.  Few are pitying the millions of single women in their 20s these days!  And, BTW, their numbers are growing substantially, (while the rate of marriage declines) which suggests that a whole lot of folks think being single - or at least not married - can be pretty darned wonderful.


Mike - thx so much for sharing. It's hard for me as a non-ADDer to understand thatnthenADDer in our life actually wants a relationship. My ADDer and I are separated right now, and, while the focus needs to be on me right now, it's hard to think that my ADDer never wanted or even wants anything beyond someone to take care of him. This is a nice insight to the mind that wants to be with someone. I wish you the best as well, of course! 

Re: Black Butterfly

Please understand that I am not defending the actions of your husband, I simply try to give answers to your question.

Your husband is partaking in thrill-seeking behavior when he engages in these interactions with other women.  Everyone knows that the thrill of a new relationship is fantastic, and the uncomplicated adoration is just so great for the ego.  Your husband has damaged you and your relationship so much that he feels that every interaction is tinged with distrust and disapproval roiling beneath the surface, so those interactions continue to remind him of his failures.  He likely was not consciously seeking another person, but which his natural charm brought on the attention of someone he had not damaged, he felt a thrill and chased that thrill as a way to escape what he likely feels is a permanently damaged relationship.  It is not fun to fix a damaged relationship, and folks with ADD have a hard time conquering complex tasks, especially those do not have concrete and measurable "mile markers" and are not fun, so fixing your relationship is is neigh on inconceivable to him, though he still craves it as he still loves you.  His thrill seeking is more a symptom of his absent mindedness, than it is driven by any lack of caring for you.

That said you are a human being, and you deserve respect and fidelity.  Just because his actions are not in anyway a symptom of his lack of love for you, does not mean you should put up with the disrespect.  You need to take care of yourself, and not let him whittle down your self respect any more than it is.

Most heterosexual men are

Most heterosexual men are turned on by young pretty women. There are even religions built around this fact. Any man with a big enough bank book can have them. Hefner built a financial empire on that one fact. The internet was built on that fact. The Dallas Cowboys were built on that fact. The advertising, autobile, and cosmetics industries were built on that fact. To ADHD folks this is obvious. (gross generalization). That is why Jesus had to speak in parables. Also, you didn't blame him and his followers for leaving their jobs and walking around the countryside, living off the fat of the land and paling around with whores and gamblers. It is in the Bible. Read it.

What did

Why do you make fun of me? Is there anything in the post that is not true? 



To this point as an ADHDer I would have backed some of the things you have said, but  now I gotta say you are not speaking for me.  

just sayin.   

I spoke for me

What do you disagree with? What have I lied about?

That is why

That is why you need ADHD people. Do you know the risk of saying what I just said. A non-ADHD person would not even think it let alone say it. Yet you pay large sums of money to hear ADHD stand up comedians speak. Robbin Williams, George Carlin, Whoopie Goldberg, Eddie Murphy, Joan Rivers,  Richard Pryor, George Lopez, Jackie Gleason, etc all achieved fame by speaking or pretending to speak ADHD. The Peter Sellers Pink Panther series was a spoof on ADHD by ADHD people. Spielberg's ADHD and his movies clearly show it. Elvis was ADHD and if you didn't pick up was about a non-ADHD nag, the be thankful for a ADHD person to point it out. The Days of Aquarius, the flower generation, the hippies and the anti Vietnam war movement were all ADHD inspired. Lincoln was ADHD. So was George Washington and Benjamin Franklin. Thomas Jefferson was not. Muhummad ALI is ADHD. Kobe Bryant, Shaq, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, and Magic Johnson are ADHD and so are all of the judges on American Idol, America's Got Talent and X-factor.  You watch us, pay us and loves because of our warped thinking, our honesty, and our courage to say what is on our minds. We say what you can't think of. We don't pay the bills, forget our keys and forget to pick up the kids from school. That is because our minds are bending light and concentrating on writing blog comments im the car on Saturday night instead of going home letting people know I am safe. If you find this interesting that neither your ADHA partner nor I can do both. 


ADHWE - What you write is not based in fact, which is not all that helpful here.  Some celebrities have ADHD, one "The Voice" judge has ADHD to my knowledge.  Nobody knows anything about George Washington or Ben Franklin.  Please see if you can contain your comments to your own personal experiences rather than gross generalizations about ADHD or about celebrities or historical figures or...YIKES!

Please stop speaking for

Please stop speaking for those of use that have ADD.  What you are typing sounds like the paranoid disorganized rantings and make-believe connections of a manic or schizophrenic individual.    It is true that people who have ADD often have unappreciated creative minds, but that is a long way from the bizarre justifications you seem to have.  It is hard enough for many of us to find the fine line between taking responsability for our actions and understanding that some of it is just "us".  When language such as yours are portrated as speaking for the rest of us, we all loose. 

Jesus and whores? Really!

"Most heterosexual men are turned on by young pretty women."

Uhmm, maybe that is why they are called "heterosexual"! Kind of a firm grasp of the obvious, wouldn't you say?

Really, since you brought up Jesus and the Bible, it says the very heart of man is evil. Jesus didn't indulge an attraction to pretty women  -- He and his followers traveled (and endured EXTREME hardship, poverty, torture, and death) to tell ALL people (including whores, as you so disrespectfully call them) that following their own pride and immoral inclinations will only lead to sorrow and their own downfall. He taught people to overcome their natural immoral inclinations (that EVERYONE has, not just ADHDers) so life would be better for them and those around them. And he spoke in parables because he said there were those with hardened hearts that would not listen to what he had to say. I think in the same paragraph he mentions something about not throwing your pearls before swine so they don't turn on you and tear you apart (which of course they eventually did).

I think maybe you might want to follow your own advice and read your Bible a little closer.



Why The Attack

Instead of attacking me, why not ask yourself what is this guy really trying to say. Of course I was not at any of the places in history. It stands to reason that it is all symbolic and interpretation. I don't know whether you have ADHD or not, but in my experience ADHD people speak in a more symbolic manner while non-ADHD people operate in a more literal manner. Both have their place. Here is an example: as an ADHD person, I studied hard for a math test. When I took the test I demonstrated the skills for all of the problem. I made "stupid" mistake such as putting a + where I meant to put a minus. The teacher said "I know you knew the work but your careless mistakes cost you and I have to take off for them". If I was working in a job that requires precision, I would not do well. If I work in a job that requires knowledge and insight I would do fine. My opinion is that ADHD people do better with symbolism and non-ADHD people are better at precision. Both are needed but since there are so many non-ADHD people we look like something is wrong with us. That Jesus comment would probably not sit well with people who look at things in a precise, literal manner. I knew that when wrote it. I used it to illustrate what ADHD meant to me. There was no disrespect intended. No long ago I would have been burned for saying it.

I think my husband, who had

I think my husband, who has ADHD, would disagree with you on the precision part. While he does not excel at math, he was a police officer and could write the heck out of a police report because he paid attention to details. His reports were rock solid, his testimony was rock solid; so much so that he earned the accolades of local judges.

As for non-ADHDers being unwilling to say unoffensive things--you're wrong there as well. Many of us call it like we see it, which may be part of the communication gap with our ADHD spouses. We often see things in black and white, well I do, that's for sure. My hubby on the other hand other sees things in shades of gray. True, my ADHDer can be like a bull in a china shop and will say things most wouldn't dare say, but he does know there is a line and when it should not be crossed.

Since you like to discuss the bible, what does it say about porn? I, for one, think it is disgusting and degrading to women. Men who watch it and women who support them in the activity cannot hope to have a positive, functional, or loving relationship. Any man, ADHD or no, who seeks the visual stimulation of porn is someone who needs help. I've spoken at length with my hubby about what I see on these boards, whether it be porn addiction or infidelity, and his comment was, "That isn't ADHD. That's a morality issue." I tend to agree. I think the predisposition has to be there before the ADHD capitalizes on it.

I think the underlying issues with many of the rants on this board is not the ADHD. It's our responses to it as non-ADHDers. There are some women on here that are in abusive relationships; ADHD should not figure into it. I think even if their spouses were not ADHD, there is a high likelihood that the relationship would still be abusive.

For those of us living with the day-to-day hassles and frustrations of being married to an ADHDer, it is hard. We too are trying to fit the square peg into a round hole.  I think empathy on both sides would go a long way.

Pbartender's picture

Porn in the Bible...

If I'm not mistaken, and correct me if I am, the Bible never mentions anything about pornography at all.  There's plenty of passages about lusting after flesh and coveting your neighbor's wife and such, which looking at pornography can arguably engender.  But I don't believe there's anything in there specifically about looking at pictures of naked women, or even watching other have sex.

On the other hand, if you read the Book of Solomon carefully, you'll find a pretty racy love letter smack dab in the middle of the Old Testament.

Now, I don't watch porn...  When I was younger and curious about such things, I poked around looking at porn for a bit.  What I found was most of it was rather...  ridiculous.  Every aspect was exaggerated to the point that it was hardly believable.  It really wasn't much of a turn on.  But I must admit that I also ran across a very few in which a couple, simply, genuinely, romantically made love.  No one was being exploited or degraded, it was just two people having sex in a loving way.

So, where do you draw the line with porn?

There are popular novels and movies that include sex scenes that are nearly as explicit as what you might see in a porn video, but few people think twice reading them or paying $10 for theater tickets to watch them.

I dunno.  Most forms of porn simply don't appeal to me...  I'd rather have the real thing.  ;)  I don't necessarily see any particular problem with watching porn, in of itself.  But like so many other things -- masturbation, the internet, video games, alcohol, gambling, drugs -- when spending time watching porn becomes more important than spending time paying attention to your spouse and family, then it becomes a problem.



Obviously yes, PB. The bible

Obviously yes, PB. The bible doesn't address porn as we know it. But there are plenty of passages regarding lusting after the opposite sex when you are not married to them. That racy love letter? It was a husband and wife thing. I did not mean to indicate that God is against sex because he's definitely not. He created man and woman for that purpose (among others).

Take out the biblical element and I still find porn repellant. As I said, it's degrading. Where do you draw a line? Each person's definition is different. For me, I take a hard line and include movies and literature that are not considered to be true porn (Magic Mike and Fifty Shades of Gray) but revel in sexuality for the fun of it.

I was simply responding to ADHWE's suggestion that the women on this forum should find out what the fuss is about and that they might learn something. I found it ironic that he/she would suggest such a thing when they seemed to be so interested in referring to the Bible. It's preposterous suggestion, in any case. As you said, when someone is addicted to something in that it interferes with their responsibilities, then it is a problem. Porn is an addiction just like any of those other things you listed. Saying that a wife should find out what's going on is like saying she should go out and binge drink just to see what her ADHD husband is going through.


Pbartender's picture

We're digressing quite a bit here, but...

Oh, certainly.  I was only pointing out that the Bible does deal with explicitly sexual -- erotic, even -- material on occasion.  Sure, the Song of Solomon deals with a husband and wife, but why publish such an innuendo-laden passage in a widely distributed, and widely read, piece of religious literature?

Remember, at the time Jesus was teaching, there were, at the very least, the Romans, Egyptians, and Greeks in the region were all fond of decorating their walls with pornographic material of one degree or another.  While they may not have had online porn videos, the ancient world was no stranger to erotic art for the sake of arousal.  I guess it surprises me some that is there isn't any mention of it.  Pornography seems conspicuous by its absence from the Bible.

Now, you're right in that his suggestion in combination with his reference to the Bible is odd, and that indulging to excess in order to try to understand the other's fascination and enjoyment is not a terribly good answer.  However, I do feel like your swinging a bit far in the other direction.  You seem to be saying the equivalent of "You're not allowed to drink a beer, because your neighbor down the street is an alcoholic."

I guess my point is, everyone has their own opinion about things like pornography.  Some like it, some don't, and everyone has a slightly different idea about what constitutes it.  In my very personal opinion, it's not pornography itself that's bad...  How it's made and how it's used is what makes it a problem or not.



I don’t want to feed the troll but…

I don’t want to feed the troll but….

Women are not whores, nor is the expectation that they should act as such *remotely* grounded in reality.  I am by no means an expert but I doubt very much your God expects them to be.  Well-adjusted men really don’t expect their partners to be porn stars, or act like porn stars, and I would say the vast majority of men would be offended by the idea.  ADHD people aren’t Gods gifted with superior anything, our condition does not inherently bless us with greater insight, or make us better or more honest,  nor do we exhibit talent at a higher rate than anyone else. 

You sir have a disability,  it affects all elements of your life, like it does mine.  It is especially brutal on close relationships, accept it, accept yourself and you can work towards healing. And most importantly of all… stop spruiking just to offend and be noticed.  Be reflective and be honest.

You currently sound angry, resentful and more than a little delusional.

You wouldn't feel the need to be saying all these things if you were comfortable with who you are, nor would you  feel that you were being blamed for everything all the while blaming everyone else for not understanding your "true" special nature.   

I can understand you point of view

Well Jon: Thank you for your comment and taking the time to read mine. I see I touched a nerve. The biblical comment was a bit heavy handed but non-the-less true. Jesus comments that He was being criticized by the authorities for being in the company of the wrong type of people. As far as no women being whores is concerned, I think that your anger has clouded your judgment when you negated the "world's oldest profession." Some people sell the use of their bodies for money. Whores exist.

Many people on this site expressed varying concern that their spouses were spending considerable time watching porn and not spending quality time with them. This phenomenon is being reported in many places on the web. The reports did not connect it to ADHD as it was done in many of the forums comments. My theory says that if I am competing for my partner's attention with someone or something else, and I want my partners attention, blaming my partner for being interested in someone or something else, is not the best strategy for regaining their attention. I think a better strategy would be to attempt to find out what is so fascinating. I may learn something.  When I was a child, people did not even say the word sex. A boy's father would tell him about the birds and the bees. My father too about three minutes to tell me to use a condom if I "you know what." I was not taught anything about woman's sexual response. The partners I had relations said nothing. When I actually saw the response in internet porn and how and when that response was achieved, I learned something. You may criticize my upbringing or label my for not knowing but I did not know. My experience was not unique. Anyone can seek information and learn. If someone is unhappy, they may want to see what they are up against.

Many people do not feel the way that you do about ADHD. My research has shown that in parts of India, people with ADHD are seen as being in the last life of the reincarnation cycle and are revered. They are called the old souls. They do not think of it as a disability at all. Recent research that I have read suggests that ADHD equipped early hunters to be successful by giving them the ability to notice or be distracted by minute changes in the hunting environment. When I am in meetings, and plans are about to go forward I am the one to notice the inconsistencies and say "we missed something" or to notice the hidden inconsistencies. I am different. Whether I choose to attempt to try fit my square peg into a round whole, and fail, or find out the benefits of my genetic make up, and use them to succeed, is up to me. I do not have to act out anyone's definition of who I am. 

Before researching ADHD and receiving a diagnosis, I hated who I was. Now that I know what the problem is and after formulating some plans to minimize the negative aspects and capitalize on the positive aspects, I love myself. I am good at some things and not so good at others. That is the human condition. 


Reading through- your posts

Reading through- your posts are kind of amusing me actually...  I don't think you are trying to stir the pot- but I'm not sure you have a firm grip on reality either. 

I think you've had a big struggle and now that you are diagnosed, you've done some reading and used your intuition (sometimes faulty and sometimes not) to fill in the gaps. And you've got a theory now that makes you feel better about things. Like maybe if you moved to India you would be revered. Or maybe if you were born in hunter gatherer times, you would have been totally awesome. But guess what? You're alive now. And clearly some of your crap isn't working in your current society. 

Also- you are off base on a lot of things. 

Like: your parents and sexual partners never taught you about a woman's sexual response- but you found porn and educated yourself.... Ummmm... yeah (crickets chirping) that shit's not real- just FYI. You can't tell me that's working for you- unless it's ONLY with prostitutes who you are paying. Do you know how much damage mainstream porn has done in terms of misleading young boys about what women want? Geez. Let me do you a favour- stop thinking porn is real. It's not. The vast majority of women don't want even a fraction of the crap you've been seeing in porn. There. Favour done. 

You're right that we (we with ADHD) are different in certain ways- from non-ADHD people and from each other (no one's symptoms manifest in the same ways). And you're right that in some cases it comes with (or leads to) creativity, authenticity, and other advantages- but I'm not sure why you deny the troubling or negative aspects that are associated with ADHD. They are two sides of the same coin. Is it threatening to you to acknowledge that some of your behaviors are no good and should be worked on? 

Despite having ADHD and being emotional as hell- I am also extremely logical and pragmatic- and I don't think I can even engage with you again- because you aren't really logical. Your posts are kind of like you grabbed a bunch of catch phrases together and shit you've read and tried to put it all together- but it's not cohesive- at all. And that makes my head hurt frankly.

Maybe get some cognitive behavioral therapy and get some of this sorted out before you post with such authority- because I can guarantee you, you are going to continue getting blasted from all sides (ADHD people and nons) for the crap you are spouting. Part of managing your symptoms is impulse control... Take a little time to read your posts through and think before posting.

And consider the point that maybe if you've had trouble your whole life- that possibly some of the cause lies with you and that it isn't just that you are more evolved, misunderstood, etc...

I wish you luck in sorting everything out. 

Ok how about a slightly different take


Ok how about a slightly different take…  maybe you are in a reactionary state post diagnosis,  i.e. when you find out the thing you hate has a name and it is not you but a condition you have then a great deal of weight is lifted… least to start with.      

So  probably for the longest time you have hated who you are,  now the knowledge of your condition frees you to change your view.  All of a sudden you can turn it around,  you research, you find books by Thom Hartman that talk about hunters and farmers,  you may have read books by dr gordon serfontein  where he talks about all the historical people who exhibited  ADHD symptoms, and how it is revered in India.   All these books are full of anecdotes of people with ADHD who have gone on to change the  world,  so maybe you think you can change the world, what you have is not a crippling disability but a gift.  You rebel against all the pent up shame,  you feel you can stand proud.

Well….. let me tell you,  this doesn’t last.  At some point the knowledge that you have a condition starts to eat away at you….the fact that to be normal you need to be medicated, you still suffer from social dislocation,  maybe anger, anxiety,  depression.   

I know, because I have been there.      

If you want to do some real research that  will put thing into perspective look up some of the book and videos on YouTube  by Dr. Russell A. Barkley.

What we have is a brain disorder that severely impairs executive function.  And I say that as someone who doesn’t sit around moping about it,  and  has somehow managed to be reasonably successful in many areas….And  even getting better at relationships.

Good Luck


To Jon - Connecting

It helps to know the history and thoughts and feelings behind a person's individual ADHD, hearing how much you have accepted, realized, worked and tried.  Seeing how you are working to connect with us and your spouse and sharing these things on this forum toward more awareness, I like you better for reading this and other more recent posts. Your thoughtfulness and willingness to share let's me see how it CAN be if a person with ADD wants to work and accept.  Keep on keeping on.  I can see it takes effort and humility.  You seem to be doing it. If my DH would have done the work you have done, I could accept a whole lot more of his ADD actions and inactions.

Thanks Jenna

Thanks Jenna, it means a lot to me for you to say that.  I am aware that I can be combative at times but I do take on board and value your point of view, and I certainly appreciate that it does not come without considerable valuable experience.  I thought long and hard about your suggestion that I like to be argumentative, and spent some time reflecting on how it may be the case that others may see it that way when I don't  particularly see myself in that light.  I have been trying a technique of seeing myself in the moment as a third party observer, like stepping back and looking at my interactions with others.   So  from that it occurs to me that I can jump the gun and be quick to dismiss, overly harsh in response and sometimes disdainful of a view that I  take issue with. I guess Intolerant would be the best description. And it also occurs to me that intolerance is an impediment to learning new things, which is ironically the very thing I am most driven by,  and so as a consequence I have resolved to try and be more measured. 

Anyway, that is a long winded way of saying that this is by large measure is your doing, so  for that I'd like to say thanks.

And don't  give up on your DH, things can get better, they really can.             


I do that same third party thing.  It is a neat strategy for lots of reasons.  I have also been reminded that I can be I guess that comment of mine comes from my own experience and I too was glad someone said something.  Good luck to you.  My rants are becoming more and more NOT about the condition of ADD itself but of the coping tools and non-acceptance of my DH.  You seem to be trying extra hard.  I have a dear friend who is diagnosed ADD and you would never know it....she tries so hard and accepts it and works at it.  It is the NOT TRYING that is so frustrating to me.  You, sir, are TRYING and WORKING and opening the discussions.  I respect that.

It Has Not Been Easy

Some people choose to win and others choose to lose. I look at ADHD as a blessing and gift. I believe that one person's Heaven is another person's Hell, and that we have the power to choose which one it will be. Whining, complaining and blaming other people or circumstances for my problems does not benefit me, my family or the people who come to me for help every day. ADHD is my blessing. It is a little inconvenient at times but inconvenience is a human constant. That may seem like the long way around to make this point but a more direct route did not present itself.


Do I hear you right ADHWE?

I am going to try to interpret what it is I think you are trying to say here.  Tell me if I am close. You are trying to give your perspective of your experience with ADHD and show your willingness to connect.  You are saying that you choose to accept your ADD as is and the way you are working with it is to appreciate it and yourself just the way that you are.  You believe that working on the ADD itself (meds, lists, schedules, and learning about it) is not going to work at this time but you want to make the best of your life as you can.  You choose to celebrate the good parts of yourself and feel that the good parts of you more than compensate for the inconveniencies that ADD puts on you and your spouse.  I may be reading between the lines with the last part of my interpretation: You are saying that the work you have done is to accept yourself and find your own self confidence and sanity and well-being.  You are bestowing the words "blessing/gift/win/Heaven/power" upon your personhood as a tool to help yourself out of depression or your own personal hell in the best way you can making the most of it that you can.  And that is all you can do right now.


Here is an example, my experience leads me to believe that because of my ADHD, I notice many things that others overlook because they are trivial. I would be a pretty tough person to live with if I noticed every little imperfection in my partner and every little mistake she made. On the other hand noticing little things would come in handy if I am editing a movie or newspaper. I tend to hear every little subtlety, every nuance of a plan, and change in tone of voice. This drives many people crazy but it is probably a trait you would want your eye surgeon to have. At this point, I have a choice, I can look at it as a disability or a gift. My choice is to see it as a gift and to minimize the negative impact of my gift while maximizing the positive. If at all possible, I will work in a position that values my strengths while avoiding positions that do not. The idea is to work with your strengths to overcome your weaknesses. This works for me in many aspects of my life.

 Ok I am going to point out


Ok I am going to point out that you are being slightly contradictory here, on the one hand you  say you are not good with precision,  but on the other you say you have traits that you would want an eye surgeon to have.    You see, I too have this condition, but I am fanatical with precision. There is no margin for error, and like you I look for every subtlety  and nuance in the behaviour of others. My view is that these are not traits of ADHD,  they are instead coping strategies for the deficit.  Much like the hyperactivity is really about a coping mechanism to overcome lethargy,  and conversely and simplistically why stimulants actually slow us down.

To expand on this, our lack of attention naturally makes us prone to be poor at tasks requiring precision,  well I hyper focus on them to overcome that, I become obsessive with getting things engineered exactly.

 Our deficits also make us naturally poor at social cues unless we are hyper vigilant,  I would characterise some of your comments regarding women for instance to display a lack of social awareness/cues.      Now to compensate for that I pay minute attention to other people when I consider doing so important. As a consequence I find social interaction exhausting and tend to minimise it.    But it does make me a formidable person to have a debate with, because I am able to work out the right buttons and due to my constantly churning brain I can structure an argument very well.

Did you ever consider that you "tend to hear every little subtlety, every nuance of a plan, and change in tone of voice." because you are actually afraid of missing these cues and being ridiculed, that it is actually fear that drives this hyper vigilance?

I would not characterise these things particularly as a gift,  they are coping mechanisms, gift confers some kind of divine reward.  Firstly I don't subscribe to the divine, and secondly,  I don't subscribe to unsolicited rewards.  Neurological functional considerations describe these characteristics in a perfectly adequate way without the need for bringing gods and gifts into it IMHO.     

He sounds just like my man.

He sounds just like my man.  He has ADHD quite badly for an adult.  He's  Lovely, sweet, caring but totally lackadaisical and messy.  Can you not get any financial assistance with disability/mental health problems where you live?  I think that this would take a huge weight off.  I receive carer's allowance for my hubby and he gets DLA.  There is no shame in applying if there is anything.  Do what is best for your family.  It takes a lot of stress off of me to have that there because I am a housewife and soon to be Mum and I don't believe that breadwinning should really be a female role.  I think the US you can get disability payments.  If your Husband has recognised ADHD I would try doing this and make sure you totally high-light what his difficulties are.  My Husband is capable of some work but I think that he would find it difficult without me there giving him a push.

I think that life throws some big challenges at us sometimes and I don't believe in divorce unless it's completely necessary.  If your Husband was being violent with you and the children then I would say leave otherwise I say work things out and perhaps put your foot down a little more.

I carry my Husband's debit card most of the time and I have to keep a watchful eye on where he leaves household items etc.  He will leave the keys laying around and on the floor and I will see them and pick them up and make sure that they are always near the front door.  I always strongly remind him when he has left the keys in a silly place and I often check his trousers for keys, cards and coins when he takes them off for bed so that nothing gets lost.  Another problem he has is being extremely messy and sloppy.  He will get food all over the floor and all over himself every time he eats and he leaves rubbish laying around.  I have to remind him to put things in the bin etc.  I can't take him or send him grocery shopping, because he will fill the trolley up with useless items of junk food and won't come back with anything substantial.  He thinks for the moment, not for the future, unless I keep reminding him as to 'why'.  He's a typical man, so I have to make him think that my ideas are his ideas and that they're genius and I make sure that I admire him as much as I can.  I find that he listens to me more and is more inclined to behave sensibly if I do this.  I know that if he lived by himself he would neglect himself.  I have to make sure that he see's the doctor for things and eats properly, I have to make sure that he has adequate clothing to wear, however, I do it because I love him, and he has so many good points to his character and I would honestly be lost without his companionship.  I think that you need to take charge of a few things perhaps to make up for your Husband's shortcomings.  ADHD is a real disability, but still not an excuse for bad behaviour.  Generally though my hubby is a very kind and friendly man, his difficulties are mainly centered around not being able to think ahead very much, not noticing the importance of looking after his physical health or surroundings or organising things.  There have been times when I have lost my patience, or shut myself in the bedroom all stressed out but then I think to myself how much I love him, and that it's better to accept a challenge than to walk away from the people you love and who love you back.

I honestly don't think that your Husband will ever completely change, but I believe you can work at it if you are strong enough.  You need to stop expecting him to know what it is he should do.  Tell him, remind him, constantly until he gives in.  I often have to do this and in the end it works.  Look after his debit card, remind him about it and the keys and you set a pin for his debit card that you can remember.  In fact, it works for me and my Husband to both have the same pin number and internet passwords.  Try not to get flustered, or give him too many commands at once.  This will likely just cause an argument.  If he gets up for work when you wake him up that's what you need to do.  At least he gets up, it would be terrible if he didn't.

In regards to money that is very serious.  I don't know what all of your financial matters are but as a man he needs to be the provider.  Make this issue to clear to him at all times but in a positive fashion.  Let him know that you believe in him and what you admire him for and he will be more likely to do good things.  Be pushy, but in a stern and caring fashion, as I said, do not get flustered.  Encourage him in his job and be positive about it.  Always make sure that you and the children thank him after every paycheck and let him know just how grateful you are.  Also, as I said, if you have those things where you live, look into some kind of help or disability payment/s to take the load off of you.

It's entirely up to you what you do in regards to your own life but I think that maybe you need to be a bit more accepting of him and his problems and you need to find ways to fit around them instead of expecting him to be a certain way.  Marriage can never work if you expect our other half to be a different way.  He's the man you married and you have to make the best made up out of what is there, not what will never be there.

Thanks Sarah

I like what you wrote about how you're helping your man. My Significant Other has ADHD. He was basically diagnosed as a teen yet he's not taking anything for it. He pretty much wants to handle things on his own so he's self-medicating with a variety of things. Some ok, some not-so-ok. He's horrible with money and trying to get him to do anything not related to physically moving his body is a CHORE!  He's great at cooking, household tasks, taking care of the lawn, car, helping other people, etc.  As long as his body is moving, its interesting and challenging...he's your guy. He does landscaping which is right up his alley. He once had a job as a security officer, he was fine until they put him in one spot. He was fired not too long after that. He has trouble sitting still and it has caused me to be offended and to doubt his love/commitment on many occasions. I'm more of a lets-cuddle-and-watch-a-good-movie together type.  He's more of a lets-go-out-and-act-crazy-on-the-town type. Some days we meet in the middle. Other days someone is always pissed off because I'm trying to make him stay in and sit still and he's trying to leave. 

I love what you wrote...."You need to stop expecting him to know what it is he should do"...I get so mad because I feel like Dammit he SHOULD know what to do! 

These days I find myself being clingy and leaning too much on him emotionally. He tells me all of the time he loves me, isnt leaving,etc. 

I hate reminding him of things &/or enforcing boundaries but I feel like if we cant get a handle on things for the future then we're SOL (s**t out of luck)

I also believe that men should be the provider and my SO could be if he was halfway decent with money. He loves to work and stay busy so thats not an issue. Its just that when it comes to the seeking of the jobs, thats me.

SO doesnt pay bills or read his own mail...why?  I think in his brain its just not a PHYSICAL ACT so he cant relate?  I'm still trying to figure it all out.  I've known SO forever but I've only lived with him for a year and its been one discovery after another. He's not "as bad" as when he first got here, he is better....more calm. SO needs structure and balance yet there are days when he's pissed that he needs those things. Anyways sorry for rambling. I'm new here and looking for anyone/anything positive.  

How do we PM folks around here? 

I Never Said

I never said that I was symptom free. To my credit, I have been on the same job for 35 years and have a six figure income, managed a disabilities program, managed a women's program, just finished up a Masters at a State University with a 4.0 (A in every course) GPA and preparing to enter a Doctoral Program, have been a foster parent to hundreds of children, played in a band the provided free concerts to nursing homes and hospitals, created a neighborhood musical school for children that played in nursing homes, own my own home, and take care of my diabetic daughter and asthmatic son. I have ADHD but I am just not crying about it. People can sulk and moan or use their minds to make the best out of the talent that God's given them. I just think there is some talent in everyone.

Separated because he got us evicted

I should've listened to all of you that told me to go back to school or get a job. By the time I tried we had lost our vehicle. He didn't take care of it, it broke down, then he sold it. We had finally moved out on our own and it wasn't even six months before we were put out. I didn't even know we had an eviction notice. I found out three days before and told the kids the day before. Happened on my birthday. So we're two months out and nothing has changed. I'm back to living with my parents, but they moved to a small 2brdm we are sleeping on their couches. I'm getting on more assistance, working on going back to school and getting us our own place. My kids don't know what's going on and I'm not telling them the truth. They just know that daddy doesn't live with us anymore. He has taken them for the weekend one and spent the night a couple of times, but after I caught him in another lie last weekend, I told him he can't stay the night anymore...he can only spend the day with them. My dad us ready to kill him and I can't stand to be around him. Right now my focus is on taking care of and protecting my kids. I am so angry with him and whenever we talk he disconnects if I start to get mad at him. He lied again after lying about our rent situation! Letting me believe that everything is ok...what does that say about his character? All of this can't be blamed on ADHD. There comes a point where someone is just not a good person. I blame myself for marrying him and bringing children into this. He caused this mess and says he's going to fix it. But I see no signs of that happening. He lost his job and I spoke with his old boss...the reason he gave me was a lie, go figure. Now he's working 3days a week for 4hrs at a time....he spends the rest of his time making music videos and riding around looking like a thug. He says it only happens at night, but if you just lost your family, shouldn't you be working 24/7 to get them back? He's living with his family and says he's waiting on insurance to get treatment for the ADHD. I'll believe it when I see it. I never thought one person could suck the life and joy out of me. I feel like I don't recognize myself anymore. Who am I, what do I want for me? This is hard. Whenever I tried to better myself career wise a couple years ago he always sabotaged me. He couldn't take care of the kids, we didn't have the money. mad at myself. Can't believe this is my life. I don't think he's ever going to change. This is his rock bottom and he's not doing anything differently. It's pathetic.

I'm sorry to hear about your

I'm sorry to hear about your husband's behavior, but I'm glad that you have separated from him.  Things will get better.  You're taking charge of what you can take charge of.  Keep us posted.

So hard to hear

I am not yet married to my partner who I believe to have ADHD. He's 28 years old and not yet diagnosed. We've been together for 7 long years and I have literally dragged him through a degree and a masters (by me completing most of his work). Now it is time for him to find a job, which he finds easily, however keeping a job is another story. I'm not sure what happens but he doesn't seem to pass any probationary periods at work. I have always thought if he has his own business he would be fine. But reading the above, I'm coming to the realisation that this may not be the case. Don't get me wrong, he is not an angry person, he is always extremely caring and I believe he tries his very best. His personality is just not very likable when you do not know him, he seems inconsiderate and arrogant. I love him so much and feel his life would be literally not worth living without me around, I'm well aware how this sounds to others but his family are not supportive and I can imagine him falling into a deep deep depression. We are at the stage where we would like to move out from my parents house and begin a life together, but if he can't hold down a job, how will this be possible? I honestly want him to have the best life possible and this keeps me going for a little while, until the next obstacle at which point I turn into the worlds biggest bitch and making him feel very small and like a piece of crap. I don't want to hurt him, but I hurt him when I'm with him and I'd hurt him to break up with him. I care about him so much and wish there was a way to just make it work. The only issue he has is bringing in a steady wage. He does not believe that he has ADHD but has gone to our GP to speak about an assessment, a very awkward conversation as I don't believe she believed him or was willing to send him for an assessment, but she agreed and we are now waiting for a letter. Perhaps we need to go back and ask again. I want to try and live a happy life with him I really do! I just don't want to turn around in 10 years time and hate myself for this decision. I know you all will tell me to run for the hills while I still can but I don't think I can walk away and live a happy life knowing his will not be as noone will care about him or put up with things like I do. I know that shouldn't be my problem but I feel it is. I know if we break up it will take months to years to truly be out of this situation as he will most likely not leave me alone. I don't need anyone to feel sorry for me or even reply. I guess I just needed to get this out there.


You are just like I was before dh and I married.  I loved, compromised, supported, aided, honored, all the things someone who loves is willing to do. I thought he needed me and we would work together and grow together into the future ..... ahead 30 years and 2 children.  He says to me, "What did you ever do for ME?"  His coping with his ADD does not remember or maybe he never saw my love and my help because he thinks he did everything on his own.  He must soothe his ego with the lies he tells himself.  You will not be loved for giving your SELF away to someone who is not willing or able to stick it out at a job to take care of you and a family you might want to have someday. 

Hard to say

Hello.  I just want to encourage you to think of yourself for a few minutes.  I'm sure that your boyfriend is better off with you.  But you are probably not better off with him.  It is not your job to save him if he is not willing to save himself.  It seems that you are already in the caretaking mode, which is not a good start.  Healthy relationships are between two people who can take care of themselves independently but add value as a couple.  I am sure that he would find a way to support himself and grow up if he had to, but as long as you enable him, he will not.  And as you get older and the stresses of life build up, it will only get worse. 

I know this doesn't sound all that supportive.  And I know you don't want strangers telling you that your relationship is doomed.  I am sure that your boyfriend has many great qualities.  I just encourage you to figure out what you want your life to look like.  What do you value?  And be realistic in how you can get there.

Also, not all careers work for the ADHD brain.  Perhaps the types of jobs he's had are not going to work.  Perhaps he needs to reassess how to use his education in a way that's better suited to ADHD.  It should be something that is stimulating to him.  There are lists of jobs better suited to the general ADHD brain, but there can be more if he has particular interests.

Best wishes

hard to hear indeed

Hi there, 

You sound like a pretty wonderful and loyal person. It sounds like you love your boyfriend very much. And none of us here wakes up in your shoes every day and lives your life. This may be completely wrong to say, but I wish someone had said it to me: You CHOOSE whom you will marry or be with, and it is the most important decision you will ever make. 

You mention "putting up with him," and being out of your situation, and worrying about him becoming depressed. It sounds as if, at your young age, you are a caretaker for someone who can't hold a job and needs you to drag him through schooling. I hear some rationalizing in your post. Trust me--there will probably come a day when you just can't or don't want to do it any more, and he will resent you for doing it. If anything, perhaps he just can't conform to the education and work that he has been trying to do. 

I hear you worrying about what will happen to him if he doesn't have you. Of course you do. Of course you don't want to hurt him. You have invested 7 years in your relationship. And you mentioned wondering how you may feel 10 years from now. Well, as someone who spent just over 10 years married to someone who also had some wonderful qualities, that I cared so much about, who needed me, but who had untreated ADHD: marrying someone with these issues, untreated, and having children with him, is something I regret. I would not do it again if I knew what I was in for. Not even close. Mine could not function. Could not wake up before the afternoon. Could not handle any basic household functions. Came off as a "jerk" to my colleagues and friends and I became isolated trying to avoid it. Could not make any serious, deep, emotional connection or have intimacy with me. Would not travel, or talk about life plans, or take care of me when I had surgery. Who would spend hours playing video games or working on his car when we had a newborn with colic. Having a life, and work, and children, and a household, with a person who has this disorder and will not treat it, no matter how much you love him, is soul-crushing. 

I know you wish there were a way to "make it work." Of course you do. But I agree, you do have to take care of yourself before you take care of him. Ask yourself, in your secret heart, in your soul, what you want out of life. Don't sacrifice to an idea that doesn't exist. At the very least, don't stay in it if he isn't being treated. 

And the GP? Maybe find another doctor. I found that there are many who do not really know much about ADHD, and you have to keep looking for someone who does. Or one will be faced with skepticism, or not be treated, or given medication without any other therapy, which is not what one needs. Maybe he has depression, or something else that can be treated? Can he possibly find a neuropsychologist or specialist? 

At any rate, best to you. Hang in there. And don't. kid. yourself. From someone who knows. 

Resigned2B's picture


I was reading one of your earlier posts. You said your husband was diagnosed with ADD/ADHD as a child but you weren't made aware of it until after you married him. I just wanted you to know that this constitutes ground for an annulment. 

"Concealment/ Misrepresentation of Facts or Circumstances" One of the most commonly raised causes for annulment, is if one person has concealed or misrepresented their health or physical condition. 

Check your state laws.

Roller coaster

Hi there, ADHD is a roller coaster relationship. 

Every story is different.  My husband's ADHD is untreated, like most.  The meds make him a zombie.  To top it off, his mother never got him the proper psychiatric care or counseling as a child for him to learn how to cope with the different aspects of his ADHD.

If you have a husband who is ADHD, you must be very patient.  So patient, that most people would think you are nuts.  As we all know...we love our ADHD is not all bad.  The bad a lot of the times outweighs the good, but the good when it is good, is euphoric.

My husband loves me deeply and I know it......this may not be THE way to control ADHD, but there is A way if your spouse loves you enough, it will work.  I did with mine....its painful, it's very "mother-son", but it works, and the end result is a "man" who loves what he has become.

My story is long, so I will make it as concise as possible and will elaborate at a later date.

1.) Early on noticed something was "off" about my (then) boyfriend.  He eventually admitted he has ADHD

2.) I started making "excuses" for the ADHD, and told myself i had to be tolerant.  DIDNT WORK.

*As a woman, I have needs emotionally.  He doesn't meet my needs.  I find myself secretly pining over my good male friends, because they are better emotionally supportive companions, than he is.   I will never cheat, but temptation has often been there to end the relationship and run to someone who has all but professed his love for me, who doesn't have ADHD that I've known for 20 years. And believe me, it's tempting...if our last ditch effort on the big problem he seems to have not overcome yet, does not succeed, I'm turning the other cheek.  I am 27 now, my husband is 32.

3.) I read books upon books about ADHD and started becoming my own psychologist for him because I know my husband, and I know what makes him tick.  I told him he is free to do what he wants.......I had to become controlling though to bring any peace to our lives.

4.) Clear messages were set-up. (If you didn't sign up for it, then why tolerate what you don't ever want in a marriage)  Stop job hopping or I will divorce you.  Stop this or I will divorce you. Stop that or I will divorce you.  It does work in some cases, but note, do not say it unless you mean it, because boundaries will be tested...and if they don't get a clear message that you will leave if they break your "deal breakers" then it will do you no good.

5.) Promote Positivity. If they scream do NOT scream back.  It actually makes it worse.  The ADHD brain thrives on conflict, because it stimulates the part of the afflicted brain.  Imagine they are being "controlled" in a way by these impulses...because the learned subconcious behavior is, cause trouble, get stimulation.  You will often find that ADHD people tend to "pick fights" particularly when they are bored.   Starve that part of the brain in this case.  After many MANY times of the subconscious behavior not achieving it's goal, it will look for other avenues to get its stimulation, and the likely result is a more mellow ADHD spouse.

6.) keep them busy.  Most ADHDers are brilliant thinkers, but do not do well bored and will drive you nuts.  Let them play the video games, its one of the only times they can really rest from the chronic need to stimulate that part of the brain.  I swear video games are how my hsubands ADHD sleeps.  Keep it realistic though with time.

7.) Work.  ADHD people are often consequence driven, or at least my husband is.  If your husband realized that by constantly getting fired meant not just losing a house or a car, but meant losing you and his family, I bet his work ethics would straighten up.  Again, don't say it if you don't mean it.  I meant it....and the problem was solved.  He's maintained a job he doesn't particularly care for for 2 years while he's also going to school full time in Electrical Engineering and achieving a 4.0.

8.) Understanding that ADHD people will not do something they don't want t do. And if they do, they will not ever let you hear the end of it.  You have to find what motivates your spouse.  We are all motivated in some way by our anxious/survival side...but it depends on what.  For example...i'm money driven.  I"m cool and calm, until you screw with my finances.  So I keep a job, I keep a budget, I limit our spending and maintain a nice lifestyle, because that's how I'm driven.  That's not how he's driven, so threatening to take away half of his spending money wouldn't mean much but a minor annoyance.  If your situation is serious enough to where you are considering leaving, but your ADHD spouse desperately wants to fix things but doesn't know where to start, I have one word for you ...CONSEQUENCE.  You have to know what makes them tick. 

9.) Empathy - Looking for empathy?  You won't get it.  Remorse? Want him to feel bad after he's done someting?  You won't get it.  It takes reconditioning for that to even be a possibility.  Hence, the consequences.

I unfortunately have been on the receiving end of a sweet guy who's impulsivity with his ADHD causes him to be verbally abusive on a regular basis, and hs led him to be physically abusive twice and the most recent episode of physical violence was yesterday night.  He has no empathy when I have a bad day so doesn't know how to comfort me...he only knows to react defensively and say "well it wasn't my fault".

We had a talk, because he doesn't want me to divorce him, but I'm at the end of my rope.  I"m 27, in my prime, and dont' want to have children with him because of his yo-yo moods, and abusiveness.  I didn't grow up that way, and wont' raise children that way.  He won't have forever to fix this. I told him I have established consequences, for certain actions that he does, that very in intensity, and if he screws up and does not complete the consequence, that it will end in divorce anyways. I can't leave room for him to say no for his "punishment" shall we call it to be carried out.

1.) Touching me inappropriately ever again will involve a call to 911, a protective order, and divorce.

2.) Each time I am "criticized" over a house chore or something being out of place, instead of nicely asked (even if I have to be asked 3-4 times), he will have to sleep on the couch for one night for each occurrence.

3.) Each time I am disrespected by him always getting defensive when I am addressign something that's bother me, he loses his Xbox, Ipad, and TV for a week for each occurrence.

4.) If he ever tells me to shut up again, he will sleep on the couch one night for each occurrence.

5.)The next time I am called a name, particularly "bitch", or "cunt", the consequence is divorce.


If he screws up on the "forgiveable" ones that have consequences, and refuses to carry out his consequence, the consequence to that is divorce.  Regardless of the severity.

I know how I want to be treated, and I know how I should be treated.  I have set clear boundaries now on what I will and won't tolerate.  Why would I settle for less?  He even agrees.  He thinks they are a bit extreme, but acknolwedges that this may be the only way to get through to him.  He wants help learning how to control this, so he agreed.  Fingers crossed.  we've been married almost 4 years....and I'd hate to see it end, especially since we just bought a house....and were thinking of trying to get pregnant next year......We shall see.....and advise I can give anyone, please email me at kdrich85 at hotmail dot com


barneyarff's picture

I like how you have it all

I like how you have it all mapped out and are very rigid about the boundaries.  But I must say, Wow!  if a relationship is that much work (I mean, come on, who doesn't know name calling is not a good idea??)  the person causing so much drama had better be filthy rich and very talented.   Even then..... maybe long enough to get a fancy car..... no, not even then.


This was a wake up call for me.   Why or why would anyone put up with this?  Why oh why have I put up with this?

Thanks for pointing it out.  ADDers are just too much work for too little profit.  At least for me.  At least right now.  

The ADHD brain thrives on

"The ADHD brain thrives on conflict, because it stimulates the part of the afflicted brain.  Imagine they are being "controlled" in a way by these impulses...because the learned subconcious behavior is, cause trouble, get stimulation.  You will often find that ADHD people tend to "pick fights" particularly when they are bored."

I am thinking about this.  DH doesn't pick most often comes to a fight after I try to communicate something and he does and says nothing other than "yup." and I know that he will do nothing and say nothing.  I want to scream...."Is there anyone in there?" He tries to get away with doing nothing all the time.  Just "yup".  DH is ADD inattentive.  But since our conversations this year get to the point of us both raising our voices, I am going to pay attention to HOW it turns that way because that isn't my is my reaction to his defiant, chin-jutting cutting remarks and the look of FIGHT in his eyes...his attempt to make me "go away" so he doesn't have to do anything. Sometimes he actually stands up and sticks his chest up like a fighting peacock at me. 

This doesn't sound like love, does it? kdrich, what you describe, doesn't sound like love from your dh either, I am afraid.  You have had to put so much into TRYING to have a relationship with your spouse....what does he do to show YOU that he WANTS a relationship?  Other than obeying your threats, he seems to be a little naughty boy or a trained animal that must be conditioned into acting like a good pet.  People (most people) need to feel loved from another from the heart, not because they are MADE to behave.

dh DOES do a LOT of teasing.  He is always following a sentence with, "Just joshin'"or "Can't you take a joke?" or "Did I get your goat?".  I always knew these were sort of manipulations but I think I can also see them as toying as conflict for his own stimulation.  It is hard to know when to spar back lightly and when to hold a boundary.

You say some people are bored and pick fights for their own stimulation.....cause trouble, get stimulation.  I have ALWAYS wondered what could be the stimulus for people to consciously cause trouble.  This is new information to me.  I will watch for this from others.  What is a good response when someone picks a fight and you realize they are just toying with you to "play"?  And how do you KNOW when they are toying and when you need to be aware that they are getting the upper hand to control you?  This reminds me of "Swimming with the Sharks".  These are games I HATE.  They seem stupid and a waste of time that COULD be spent supporting, and working TOGETHER to build something to be proud of (rather than spatting about who is stronger or nastier or less sensitive).  But I know I must stop being naive and at least know what I am dealing with. So many people I know seem to like to "cause trouble". dh has said (and is proud of) that Everyone has a little imp inside of, not someone that I could trust and depend on and have a loving partnership with.  Yes, someone that I could laugh at from afar.

Thanks for your entry.  It is giving me new things to consider about difficult people and dysfunctional relationships.


Hello.  So I like the theory of your plan.  I would love it if ADHD folks could remember that there are consequences to their behavior before they commit the transgression.  I do absolutely agree that you have to be willing to follow through if you make a threat.  It won't work otherwise.  I just caution that when the symptoms are in control there is little chance that DH will be successful 100% of the time.  Really the trick is to keep DH in control, not the symptoms.  Perhaps different medication than the stuff that creates a zombie.  Counseling.  Good life habits (sleep, eat well, exercise).  He has to learn a new path on how to deal with the condition.

Also, think very hard before having children.  It seems that the ADHD spouse usually worsens once children come.  Stress is hard on ADHD, and the symptoms seem to multiply.  Also, there is a very high probability that the child will have ADHD as well.  Raising an ADHD child with an ADHD dad has many stumbling blocks, and then divorce becomes more difficult, and you will always be tied to him.

Good luck.

logicalfather's picture

be careful about the meds

I feel for you completely, and see a lot of your frustration in my wife's eyes when I acted somewhat like that. I agree with some other post though, your parents are paying the bills? That has to stop immediately. I hope that you guys try tough love before you quit the marriage. Cut him off, make him grow up. Throw his video game system in the trash or develop a schedule of when he's allowed to play (as immature as that sounds on his part). Go take a Dave Ramsey money class and stick to it. 

The part that struck me in this post is how you mention that he thinks your the problem. That's what I felt as well, until I realized that the wife is a reflection of the husband. Maybe your father could sit him down and put some rules in place since he is still supporting ya'll? If he doesn't abide by the rules, then your father help you out until you can support yourself and kids? I can imagine how hard this situation is for you. Every husband/father can change, it's just a matter of whether they have the desire and knowledge to. 

Self Preservation

I'm new to this site, but it has been sooo very resourceful for me. I've been married to my ADD Spouse for almost 20 years. He is a good father and for the most part tries to be a good husband. He is considerate, giving and he doesn't really have a selfish bone in his body. He does however have ADD and was diagnosed over 10 years ago. He has all the classic symptoms, but inconsistency, forgetfulness and procrastination are the BIGGEST. 

I have been there for him through thick and thin good and bad, but I've had my fill. The issues we have gone through financially, emotionally and the like all stem from the fact that I can't manage it all; kids, work and his life too. He goes missing in action a lot - just falls off into another world. I usually don't know he's gone (mentally) until I am left with a mess to clean up. As I said earlier, he was diagnosed 10 years ago, but decided he didn't like the way the meds made him feel so he stopped taking them. He didn't ask me my opinion he just stopped. Maybe because I have him an ultimatum and so once he thought things were fine he stopped complying.

I've just recently told him that I want a separation and filled him in on my plans to leave. He is grasping at straws again, he has made an appointment to see a doctor again, wants counseling again (we've been 3-4 different times throughout our marriage) and has vowed that he recognizing that he needs help. This seems to always be the case once I declare that I'm fed up. Nothing he does is an original thought of his own, only a repeated version of what I've said. At the end of it all I realize that I don't trust a word that comes out of his mouth. I am chronically angry, tired of seeking personally mental counseling because I think something is wrong with me and taking anxiety meds because I am nervous and stressed all the time waiting for the other shoe to drop. Most of all I am sick of arguing/yelling, especially in earshot of my kids.

I've made the decision to preserve what is left of my life, happiness, hope and love for my kids, myself and God. Just hate feeling like because I am choosing me I am being selfish and that the reasons are petty.  

Could you start a new thread instead?

I see you have added onto a comment that was originally started over 2 years ago.  It was hard to find your comment after scrolling down through all of the other material.  Could you delete this one and start a new comment of your own, so people can find and respond to you?  This happens on other forums I belong to and it causes a great deal of confusion.

I'm new here too!  :)  But sorry to hear about your situation.

Edited:  I see that you DID start a new thread, so perhaps you can still edit your comment here?  If not, then we'll just let this one die back out!

Resigned2B's picture


Just get out while you still are young enough to make a life for yourself.  This never changes unless you want to parent him through nearly EVERYTHING.  It's always there.  One day without the meds and he'll be back again asking you to balance everything.  

I just told my husband tonight that I needed acknowledgement about what I've gone through and given up for 30 years and six kids (two boys with ADHD) and he told me to find someone else.  He offered to live here with me while I found someone else and then, when I did, he would step aside.  REALLY???  So THAT'S how much this relationship means to you???

I've locked him out of our room and I'm here, crying on this site.  I'm nearly 60. I would never be able to 'find someone else' and I don't want to. I just want him to acknowledge that I have gone through 20 years of 'chemotherapy' and all along it has been HIM who had the cancer... I want him to try and make our kids understand that I wasn't the crazy one who fell apart. That ANY woman would have under the circumstances.

i don't know why I think that my adult kids would care or be understanding anyway. No one is except for the people here.

Good Luck...

Find an Al-Anon group

My heart goes out to you....Your husband sounds pretty narcissistic - as all ADHD people are prone to, but some are truly personality disordered and your husband may be one of those.  Even though you didn't mention alcoholism or substance abuse, your story could be swapped with the spouse of an alcoholic who has neglected her own life to try and keep life somewhat normal for her family.  A 12-step program like Al-Anon can help you detach with love from your husband's attitude, problems, and emotions, and live your own life.  I DO NOT mean that you need to separate from him!  You can have happiness and serenity for yourself.  YOU must give yourself the acknowledgement and know that you have done the best you could with the tools you had.  Even if that acknowledgement from your husband never comes, you have to be at peace with your choices.  You made sacrifices, and perhaps you gave up too much, if you are asking such a cold-hearted person for some emotional warmth, but you did the best you could have done. 

The spouse of an untreated alcoholic usually gets the blame for being the "crazy" person, as they try to do everything the alcoholic or addict is NOT doing plus find a way to get the person sober.  This *never* works and turns us into what looks to the world like raving lunatics!  We're so desperate that we give up our entire lives and beings for the other person and/or our families.  It never works!

Paradoxically, the less you beg your husband for approval, the more approval you *may* end up getting.  I say "may" because I don't know if your husband has more than ADHD and it's a personality disorder.  If that is the case, he will likely never give you any emotional support at all.  But in any case, YOU must work on your own self-esteem because no one is going to do that for you.  The reason I suggest Al-Anon and not a therapist is that Al-Anon is a support group, where you will hear stories similar to your own and can connect with other people, which to me, is more helpful long-term than going to a therapist.  A good therapist can help, but if you choose that route be sure it is solutions-oriented and not just endless rehashing of the past.  That won't help you today and will only send you back to the wounds of the past.  Real, live people in a support group can help you get out of your misery and start to want to live in a way that makes more sense.  And again, that doesn't necessarily mean leaving your husband.  One day at a time, and you'll know when you know.



Resigned2B's picture


Thank you...

My husband really can be very caring. I see it in him often. It's just not usually directed towards ME. He is willing to drop everything for other people. When it comes to me, the only way I can get his attention is to breakdown completely. I have asked/begged, "How do I get you to understand just how important these things [like not constantly lying] are to me? Do I have to flail on the ground crying for you to get it?" To have to don that behavior [which eventually comes after frustration overload] simply to for him to see it's important is so demeaning.

He still doesn't see it though. He himself, feels demeaned - he feels like HE is the victim! He just CAN NOT see it. When he does get a glimpse, and I think he's making progress, he forgets all that he's said and reverts back to, "it's your fault" mode. He will say the cruelest things and then FORGET that he's said them. I DO NOT forget. Those sound bites replay constantly in my mind and can hurt me for years to come. 

Now that I'm off all mind numbing drugs (After 24 YEARS!) I just shake my head and wonder how it got THIS far. I have zero desire to go back on anti-depressants.  ANYONE would be depressed putting up with so much dysfunction! A magic pill for me will NEVER change HIM!!!

Thank you and everyone on this site who, with their owns words and stories, have given me some way to put this mess into perspective...

Thank you!

I wish this site had a way to flag a post as spam!  I tried to put a message about it, but the message ended up somewhere else in the thread instead of as a reply to that spam!  Frustrating!

How are you doing now, Resigned2B?  I am thinking about going back to counseling myself - I've been trying to get my son to see the counselors on campus but then I started to think about it, and I might be in need of some help again myself.  I'm at a phase in life that I'm not equipped for, emotionally - the "empty nest."  I love my husband but with his ADHD, I find myself overwhelmed with his energy and drained to the point of complete exhaustion.  I don't want to live the rest of my life like this!  I also probably need either a new antidepressant or a bump upward in dosage, as I am on the verge of tears too easily, and am also prone to discouragement and isolation, which are in my list of warning signs for depression. 

Resigned2B's picture

Tornado in a Jar

Wait! Before you bump up your meds to better handle your spouses ADHD let me repost what led me to this site in the beginning...

"I am 58 and I have read many of your posts and could not stay quiet another minute. Thirty years and six adult children later, I've been there and done ALL of that.  No magic pill exists, no being "more attractive", there is no amount of "being a better mom" "tidier housekeeper" or a "better, less nagging wife", that will touch this issue. No amount of "understanding" or "meds" for you will change your spouse. I even went so far as to have 14 ECT treatments! Doesn't work unless he wants to change or even has a clue how crazy his ADHD is making you!  I even get SSD over it because I am now THAT dysfunctional. Hospitalizations, a myriad of diagnoses and the docs keep giving me all the meds when if he would work on (or even recognize) his own ADHD issues - much (not all) of my 20 years of life with psychiatric care and every med known to the planet would likely have been much less or perhaps never happened; if the doctors had taken him aside and diagnosed HIM, too. Instead, it was me who took on the responsibility of EVERY problem (like a depressed person expects themselves to) because it was me who couldn't handle it.  What were my problems were mine and what were his own, were mine, too.

He will not accept ANY responsibility and to change when I showed him my response to you (after I, personally have gone through 20 years of therapy, meds, hospitals, and ECT), his response to me was this--just minutes ago: "You seem to be indicating that you have no issues at all and it’s me and my ADHD that has generated all your issues?"    Really?  I guess we'll never know since he won't get any treatment now--will we?

Hence, my life will go on as it has now for all these years...because he can come up with ANY excuse for him not to see a need for self- introspection. Therapy, for all it's costs, will give you listening ear and maybe some coping skills. However, psych meds for yourselves are not the answer; because meds you ingest will never change his ADHD. In addition, they were NEVER meant for long term use.  Please, look into their warnings on the labels.  I have had nearly every one and their side effects, including Tardive Dysconesia (from one med) and fecal incontinence from 15 years of Prozac. Both are healed now but for 50% of those who get it from a medication, TD can be an extreme muscle movement disorder sufferers will endure FOR LIFE! There is NO treatment or cure for TD even after you stop the offending med."

I'd hate to see my story repeat itself to anyone here. You truly would be better off leaving. He is literally making you sick!!!



I'm in agreement with you.

Without medical insurance, I never felt able to pursue treatments or medications beyond the blood pressure pills which became necessary to prevent me from stroking out. I now know that that issue, too, was brought on by anxiety. I'd always been an anxious person, but trying to survive my marriage was destroying me. Finally, with my neck locked into extreme pain, I sought a chiropractor, who treated that problem successfully and referred me to a counselor, at my request. That was the beginning of a new perspective for me. I began to stop feeling like a victim.

I don't know what might have happened to me if I'd been able to seek out other prescription remedies or some other method of self medicating, but I'm most thankful that was not an option for me. I have a sense that long term medication only covers symptoms, instead of bringing about a new view.  I would certainly use such aids in a crisis, no doubt! But I think that once the brain chemicals have simmered down so that good counseling can get through to what's beneath, it can change everything. Thank you for this reminder/warning about something that can become a dangerous roadblock to progress.

Thank you.

I understand your perspective and I appreciate the advice.  There have been times when we were really struggling, and I wondered if we were going to make it as a couple.  We're doing OK right now.  My depression started long before I met my husband - My mother died when I was 10, and I trace the beginnings of it back that far.  I really have very little memory of the entire year after she died, but I started to "play sick" to stay home from school because of anxiety and fears.  Middle school was torture as well, and I missed a LOT of school every year (I still got good grades and I hid my absences from my father).  Anyway, I didn't get treated for it until I got PPD after my 2nd son was born.  And I found out that my father had had panic attacks off and on his whole life, especially in crowds.  So my mental illness goes back a long ways....Can't blame all of it on my dear Tornado!

Resigned2B's picture


Bless your heart. 

You must realize you relive the pain of being abandoned by your mother at ten when your ADHDer does his thing. That must make it it even more uncomfortable. You didn't understand it when you were ten and it's even harder to understand it when he's physically there but emotionally unavailable.

Good luck. It sounds at least tolerable for now...

Even temporarily being left

Even temporarily being left can have long-term effects.  My mother was hospitalized for postpartum depression after my birth, and another family took care of baby me for several weeks.  I definitely trace my very negative reaction to my husband's emotional and physical abandonment of me to this early-life experience.  I have always feared being dumped.


Yes, I've done quite a bit of therapy over the years.  The first time was with a very good psychiatrist, back before they were merely medication managers, whose name was, and I kid you not, Dr. Lazarus.  :)  I had never really grieved for my mother, because back then, what you did was get on with life, and there weren't any support groups or counseling as there is now (1963).  So when I did my first therapy, we went back and revisited the grief I never got to express.  It was the most painful time I've ever gone through, but also very healing.  I know many of my own insecurities come from losing my mother at such a young age, as well as my depression which has come and gone throughout my life.

My husband is a child of divorce, and frankly, going through the death of a parent is an easier process. 

Have a good day, Resigned2B!

Linsy's picture


Never took them, wasn't going to medicate myself when I wasn't ill I was just suffering from his horrible behaviour. Gone now.... after a few months on beta blockers to stop the over reaction and vigilance I am fine.

You equate his ADD with

You equate his ADD with cancer?

ADD may mean a person's brain is wired differently, but it's not on par with Bipolar, Schizophrenia, Psychopathic, or a host of other mental disorders.    Many ADD people function perfectly fine themselves, but only have difficulty dealing with so-called neurotypical people.

It's kind of arrogant and insulting of you to ask him to acknowledge the fact that you had to "deal with him" for so long.   

Talk about a way to make him feel utterly worthless.

Resigned2B's picture


"Neurotypical or NT, an abbreviation of neurologically typical, is a term coined in the autistic community as a label for people who are not on the autism spectrum."

THIS is the only type of people ADD/ADHD have trouble dealing with??? They have trouble dealing with ANYONE who even expects them to be on time for anything. That's nearly EVERYONE they deal with!

Please explain!

Uhh, NT describes anyone who

Uhh, NT describes anyone who doesn't have any sort of disorder, it applies to far more than just non-autistic people.

And actually I'm impeccable at always showing up on time, usually slightly early.   Or at least I was, until I got married to someone who is NT, and now I'm consistently late everywhere...

Honestly I fail to see how ADD is even related to showing up on time to somewhere.    

Resigned2B's picture


You're new here. Before you make sweeping accusations I suggest you press the person's name (in blue) and see what their story is. Since you clearly didn't do that in my case, let me re-post my first post ever here. Maybe THEN you will understand.

Well ladies, I am 58 and I have read many of your posts and could not stay quiet another minute. Thirty years and six adult children later, I've been there and done ALL of that.  No magic pill exists, no being "more attractive", there is no amount of "being a better mom" "tidier housekeeper" or a "better, less nagging wife", that will touch this issue. No amount of "understanding" or "meds" for you will change your spouse. I even went so far as to have 14 ECT treatments! Doesn't work unless he wants to change or even has a clue how crazy his ADHD is making you!  I even get SSD over it because I am now THAT dysfunctional. Hospitalizations, a myriad of diagnoses and the docs keep giving me all the meds when if he would work on (or even recognize) his own ADHD issues - much (not all) of my 20 years of life with psychiatric care and every med known to the planet would likely have been much less or perhaps never happened; if the doctors had taken him aside and diagnosed HIM, too. Instead, it was me who took on the responsibility of EVERY problem (like a depressed person expects themselves to) because it was me who couldn't handle it.  What were my problems were mine and what were his own, were mine, too.

He will not accept ANY responsibility and to change when I showed him my response to you (after I, personally have gone through 20 years of therapy, meds, hospitals, and ECT), his response to me was this--just minutes ago: "You seem to be indicating that you have no issues at all and it’s me and my ADHD that has generated all your issues?"    Really?  I guess we'll never know since he won't get any treatment now--will we?

Hence, my life will go on as it has now for all these years...because he can come up with ANY excuse for him not to see a need for self- introspection. Therapy, for all it's costs, will give you listening ear and maybe some coping skills. However, psych meds for yourselves are not the answer; because meds you ingest will never change his ADHD. In addition, they were NEVER meant for long term use.  Please, look into their warnings on the labels.  I have had nearly every one and their side effects, including Tardive Dysconesia (from one med) and fecal incontinence from 15 years of Prozac. Both are healed now but for 50% of those who get it from a medication, TD can be an extreme muscle movement disorder sufferers will endure FOR LIFE! There is NO treatment or cure for TD even after you stop the offending med.


I cannot help but asking, and

I cannot help but asking, and perhaps he feels the same.

If he was nothing but a giant pain in the ass to you(which it very well sounds like he is).

Why in the world did you bother to stay with him?

Generally speaking people marry someone for their own benefit.    Not to benefit the other person.

Resigned2B's picture


Curious? Why are you on this site? You clearly don't want to learn about how your ADD/ADHD effects others so, why bother?

I'm still checking it out.  

I'm still checking it out.    

So far I'm not seeing ADD people gaining self-awareness, so much as I am seeing NT people complain about how bad ADD people are and how much of a trial it is to deal with them.

The fact is ADD has a great many positive aspects to it too.    Many of the problems I am seeing complained about here are NOT ADD-related, they're related to the fact the ADD person is just stupid and/or an asshole.   ADD didn't make them that way.

And honestly, if this is just a board where people can "Vent" and nothing else, then there's no point in anyone with ADD coming here, because that isn't constructive information.  

After all, You  haven't addressed anything I've said, and I suspect that's intentional.    


Resigned2B's picture

You're new...

And you're wrong...

If you want a rebuttal please read my posts by pressing on my name in blue.

I owe you NOTHING...


From what I'm seeing your

From what I'm seeing your husband has FAR FAR more than just ADHD.

Hell he almost sounds like a sociopath.  

Edit - yeah.   The more I read, the more I see someone who's ADD is really only a minor problem compared to every other issue he has.   I mean holy shit, He's a fucking mess.


I just found your posts - this thread is ADD as heck, with posts all over the place, from different people with all sorts of problems, posting at different times.  :)

I have to agree that some of the spouses being discussed sound like pathological narcissists or perhaps even true sociopaths.  They may be using ADD or ADHD as their justification for abuse or malicious treatment of others, and unknowingly, their partners assume that ADHD is the problem.  From the behaviors described, these people are much more dangerous than just run-of-the-mill ADHDers.  People with ADHD can be difficult, and a challenge to live and work with, but it is not an excuse for or justification of outright abuse.

My dear husband, as challenging as he is to me (and many people) has no qualities of a sociopath.  He has lost his temper at me a few times in our 25 year marriage, but never been abusive in any way.  No matter what their excuse is, an abuser is an abuser, and people need to learn to see abuse for what it is.  If a spouse or partner is emotionally or physically abusive, it's time to get out, regardless of the supposed diagnosis of ADD/ADHD.  Yes, sometimes a person with ADHD is self-centered, but many are very empathetic toward others since they have gone through a lot of problems themselves.

The I don't think ive ever

The I don't think ive ever seen anyone use The adjectives you used to describe the ADHD'er in their life. I know I have never referred to my closest ADHD'er with those adjectives.

Well, have you had them

Well, have you had them  professionally evaluated yet?     

I'm on other forums with many ADD people, and most of them aren't anything at all like I see people here describing.  

Which either means that the people with ADD you're dealing with have far more than just ADD, or your own perspective is skewed.

I'll address one of your

I'll address one of your topics.  What are some of the very positive aspects of my husband's ADHD?

"Generally speaking people

"Generally speaking people marry someone for their own benefit.    Not to benefit the other person" I have to disagree with this highly. It's my opinion that most people go into marriage thinking they are going to benefit "each other". NOT EITHER/OR. Your statement seemed like very ADHD black and white thinking to me.

I feel for you

I'm struggling too and I'm new to this, so I don't really have advice for you.  But I will tell you that I totally understand what you're saying about it always coming back to you.  I have my own problems (PTSD, OCD, anxiety, trauma) but I'm working on them, I admit to them, I acknowledge how they regularly affect our relationship.  He knows he's ADHD but still somehow that's never the problem.  It's so hard always being the one to bend, always being the one trying to get better, when I'm doing it alone.

I'm sorry you're going through this.


I understand fully where you are coming from and how you feel. I am always the adult in the house. I am usually alone, watching my own tv shows or movies. His children say he has been emotionally absent for their whole lives, my daughters think men are useless. I wish like you I had a clue of what I was dealing with 36 years ago or even 15 years ago. Because of my own anxiety and depression I was clueless and what did they know about ADHD then. Nothing. I will tell you that divorce is also an option, but as long as he is trying I will. It's not something they can just stop, like my depression. My mother was a Narcissist, cruel women . I guess I did not have the self esteem to leave him long ago. Helping with NAMI has made me understand mental health disorders. While you can divorce a mate with these problems, I cannot divorce my daughter and grandauughters. There are medications for him and me. I did not tell you that he also is bipolar2 and has PTSD. The ADHD with anxiety just makes him a selfish asshole some days. On these days I get up on my high horse, when he accuses me of treating him like a child, I tell him that is in your open head . I was not saying that. If you have got out I support your decision. Now when something goes wrong, it was your own doing and that gives piece of mind. I would not ask anyone to stay in a relationship where they are verbally abused, not treated as they should be and I know also being driven slowly insane. The books driven to distraction, etc were a great help to me. I do not know what the future holds, but I will survive one way or the other. You will too...I hope you find someone who will notice you are in the room, who will come home and say it is great to see you. Who will tell you about their day and then ask how was yours....there is a shocker. Who won't blame you for their problems, I hope to hear soon that you are getting stronger and stronger. I know that even staying married for me, I am getting stronger whether he wants to or not. I have a girlfriend in France, who knows...I might end up there in the future. But to both of us, I hope our journey improves and we find peace.



Resigned2B's picture

So Tired...

Thank you for taking so much time to post. If I couldn't read how closely my life lines up with all of yours I really think I would have lost it completely by now. And to be honest, I'm still not sure I won't... Just for today I'm doing okay. No promises about tomorrow... :<

I'm so sorry

I can't begin to tell you how much reading your post reminds me of 50% of what I am dealing with. I'm already planning and preparing for a trial separation and we have NO kids that live with us full time and he has never been in jail. I am almost 100% if that was the case, I'd have left years ago instead of after four years of marriage. I will say this, your situation is volatile and for the sake of your kids, it may be the best option to leave. What I have learned with marriage counseling and my own therapy sessions to deal with all this craziness is that, the ADHD/ADD person has to be willing to take that first step. They have to acknowledge there is a problem and be willing to do the work to repair it and fix it once and for all. It all boils down to "ACCOUNTABILITY." Your spouse and mine lack accountability. My husband has always had "mommie dearest" to bail him out of trouble financially and to make excuses with and for him, and it is ingrained in him to consistently blame others for the issues he has with life, work, ex wife, and even myself. It's always someone else's fault. I sympathize with you and I know your dilemma. Take care of YOU and YOUR children first. It is time for him to man up and if he can't, then you need to be the strong woman you are and have been now for years.

It is a Challenging Life......But no one said love was easy....

I'm one of them....a man 50 years old with bad ADHD symptoms and other MI (likely a result of the chaos of ADHD). I have read many of the comments here and find your experiences with ADHD chaos consistently the same as my own experiences. I have had many of the same symptoms that many of you cite as irreconcilable differences with your ADHD spouse. Those symptoms (symptoms of a mental illness caused by genetic code and interaction with the environment) make living very challenging and a living hell in some ways for those with the disease as well as those who live with them. I was married for 13 years, got divorced, and got custody of my 3 kids, all who had ADHD. I successfully raised all 3 kids. After divorce, I was in a relationship with the person I would call the love of my life off and on for 15 years. At times we lived together and at times we stopped seeing each other for periods of time. She was a Narcissist. Needless to say, the relationship was very rocky with her being what she was and me being what I was.  We stopped seeing each other about two years ago for good....I finally could not take any more of her Narcissistic behavior. She was toxic to me in every way. So I understand about....getting to the end of the rope and giving up. 

But there is one thing missing from many of the comments I have read.....most of them show no understanding of what it is like to walk in the shoes of the ADHD person. You have no idea how hard it is to deal with this condition. For the ADHD person, to try to be like normal people, I can't explain how mentally and physically exhausting it is. It's like the ADHD person has to put 100 times the effort into things....and they get burnt out and used up very quickly. I have a 150+ IQ and completed my BS with a 4.0 in 3 years. Even with a high IQ, you have no idea how hard it is to do that for a normal person, let alone someone with ADHD. But it was ADHD that allowed me to do that...because of hyper-focusing and a photographic memory. ADHD made my life a ADHD allowed me much great success in my career as well as eventually always crashing my career. I worked in the financial and computer development areas for many years and made lots of money and enjoyed spending it all. I lost several jobs, but was always able to get another good one. I was a hard worker, not lazy, but had the ADHD symptoms still. My personal life was the same way, many great highs....but always the crash came thanks to ADHD symptoms. I had never heard of ADHD until I encountered with my children. I quickly learned I had all the symptoms that were even confirmed by brain scan imaging. They say my brain is basically wired backwards.

Being diagnosed with ADHD doesn't change anything gives your symptoms a label and you a chance to work on improving them with meds and therapy. I did improve my symptoms, but they never went away no matter how hard I tried and I tried so very, very hard. I also have OCD and I have the type of OCD that demands perfectionism. You can't image the hell it is to expect yourself to be perfect and you try to be perfect to only be sabotaged by your own symptoms that you try so hard to control, but can't. The years of the rollercoaster ride led me down the path to finally becoming bipolar with major episodes of depression. ADHD destroyed by self-esteem and took away my dreams. I tried killing myself several times, but failed at that as well. Dishwalla had a song a few years ago that said it all for how I felt about the love of my life:
"I wish I could be every little thing you wanted all the time...."
"I wish I could be every little thing you wanted all the time some times...."

I'm a giver, a very kind and loving person....a perfect match for a Narcissists to use and exploit. Our relationship didn't start out that way...for the first few years, we were very much in real love and in many ways soul mates. She changed and I changed. I blame myself for her changes. She became more and more a Narcissistic over time, a true self-centered taker willing to exploit anything I was willing to give which was everything. Maybe she became that way because of the failures and chaos of my ADHD made her think she had to take whatever she could when she could get it. But I couldn't take it after realizing what the situation was, I broke off all contact with here. I lost the love of my life and my best because I can't be normal and give her the security she wanted. I so very much wanted to be....what I had the potential to be. But ADHD and MI keeps me down. I had a breakdown, went into total seclusion for two years, doing nothing.....NOTHING but thinking about how to die because I was so worthless.

Finally....when I was writing my goodbye notes to my now adult children....I realized as bad as I wanted to end my agony, I couldn't do that. I couldn't destroy life that is so precious. I couldn't set such a bad example for my children to give up. My dad had gotten Parkinsons many years earlier and had passed away right before my breakdown. He gave me an example of never giving matter had bad his symptoms got, he never gave up and fought to live up to the day he died. But I was broken, I had no purpose in life and ADHD had taken away all my dreams. Until I realized....perhaps what my real purpose in life was to give and to help use my hard earned life experiences of living and surviving a life of hell to help others struggling with the same situations. I was motivated to get help, get back on meds, found a great therapist, and worked hard to recover. My recovery included volunteering at a drop in center for the homeless and MI. It seems I have a very natural ability to work with MI people....I reach them when others haven't for years. I no miracle worker or anything....its just I understand what it is like....and how hard it really is. I became a full-time MI health professional about a year ago. I  love the work and feel my life has purpose. I still have ADHD around my neck....but I try so hard every day to make a difference in the world. 

Maybe there are some people who use ADHD as an excuse, but for those who really have the condition, it is a curse that you have no idea how hard it is to deal with. If you are at the end of your rope with your ADHD spouse and ready to give up, I challenge you, would you feel the same way if they had cancer and had to keep having limbs cut off, leaving them helpless and hopeless. Would you abandon your "for better or worse" vow? Don't let your idea that the ADHD person can just stop it and fix themselves to justify you giving up on them. If they could change, they would. Just like if they had terminal cancer, they would want to live. There is good is almost everyone, unless they have been taken over by evil. If they truly are evil, you can tell. For those not evil, try to help them find the good in themselves and celebrate it and help them use it to not only help themselves, but to help others. I don't have magic words on how do you learn to tolerate the ADHD symptoms, but then again, how would you learn to tolerate cancer symptoms?  Dig deep in you and give, rediscover what made you fall in love with the person and recognize their good with their bad. Many ADHD people have outstanding qualities; givers, loving, creative, caring, and emotionally available. Never forget, they really would change if they could, don't focus on trying to change them to what you want them to be because you never will and both of you will be miserable; you are dealing with their self-esteem, their worth. There is a difference in your Spouse's ADHD symptoms causing chaos in your lives and them being toxic to you.  If they are toxic, you have a different situation as they are likely taken over by evil and lost. I'm not saying ignore their symptoms, but work together to make things the best you can and stop blaming them, but instead inspire and challenge them....there is a great difference.

What they really need is for you to be the greatest fan of their life...and to love them for what is best about them and learn to forgive them for the worst in them. I'm still looking for someone who is special enough to love for who I am and to inspire me to greater highs.....


Dr. your post

Dear Dr. ADHD, I love your post. It described in detail the pain of having such a difficult condition. My husband is ADHD, and I wish he could share with me (like you have) what it is like to have ADHD, and/or just talk at ALL about it. I got to the point where you got, where, you had no self esteem left, and thought you were worthless. After 31 years with first, undiagnosed ADHD, and then 8 years with under-treated ADHD, and him not willing to discuss ANYTHING about our lives together, as well as a long term affair, I couldn't even look myself in the mirror anymore. He left me to handle everything there was with his condition, with no help from him....and I couldn't do it alone. I WANTED to know what was happening with us, and tried getting help in many different ways, but my husband didn't think anything was wrong with him.

      He wouldn't even read about his condition until just a few months ago, let alone DO anything about it. But, he would blame me and our daughters for everything under the sun, it was devastating to me and us. Lately, he has truly been trying to be different and be a good husband and father. But, it only came after I told him I was done. I couldn't take any more, because I didn't like what his ADHD did to ME. I was in such a mental, physical, emotional and spiritual state, that I had no hope, no joy, no love, and no future. I never could choose the option of suicide though, and I"m glad you didn't either. I was like you said......EXHAUSTED. I had tried everything else, and didn't know what else to do, or where else to go.

      I'm sorry your wife was narcissistic. There is very little a person can do who is married to a narcissistic person, I've read from Dr. Vaknin (expert on narcissism). But, I"m SO VERY GLAD that you have found a new life, and purpose and now are helping others in their lives, as well as the lives of your children.

     Thank you for posting, and I hope you post more. Those of us who don't have ADHD NEED to hear what you have to say. And you are right....we DO need to KNOW what it is like to HAVE ADHD, and what those like yourself go through every day.

     You sound like a wonderful, caring and compassionate man. Thank you again for posting. Hope you continue. I pray life continues to get better for you and your family.

Dr ADHD...nice name!

I like your challenge to Non's about being the greatest fans of their spouses...But, I would like to add to it, if it's OK...If you suffer w/ Add/Adhd, OCD, or Bipolar disorder etc...And you have an understanding loving spouse....Make them your biggest fan also...

One other thing I will add here since I've been to the motel alone to end it before...Never make your spouse...Adhd or Non...your identity...That's what sends us over the edge when things end...Always have your identity in Jesus...His love isn't performance based...

Dr....Your life as a servant is awesome and encouraging :)....I pray I can be the same....

Blessings Friend.....

My first post

Dr. ADHD -- Your post moved me finally say something on this forum after reading for months. You seem to be quite rare among the ADHDers who post on this forum. I'm not sure why that is. I'm still in the process of really trying to learn about ADHD in adults and children. My son is currently starting evaluation through his school. I recognize symptoms in my exH, as well, who was treated for several different MIs, but never really responded to meds or therapies. It makes me wonder if he experienced the very common situation of having his co-morbid MIs treated, but none of the medical professionals considering ADHD. I guess those symptoms probably never came to their attention.

One reason your post really struck me, though, is something that intrigues me about the stories I've read on this forum, and the way many of them contrast with the hopeful stories in Melissa's and Gina Pera's books for ADHD-affected couples. While I understand that ADHD varies widely in the types and severity of symptoms, it seems there's more to it than that. A few nights ago, I found several studies which found that adults with ADHD have much, much higher rates of Axis I mental disorders (e.g., major depression, bipolar disorder, phobia, anxiety disorders), and/or Axis II mental disorders (borderline PD, narcissistic PD, etc.) than the general population. I know there are threads on this forum and another ADHD forum where some posters vehemently denied that this was even possible, contrasting ADHD and narcissistic PD or traits, for example, but I'm afraid the actual science doesn't agree with those posters.

I wonder if the differences non-ADHD partners see with their ADHD partners who refuse or don't follow through with treatment, or who become abusive or otherwise dysfunctional, are more a result of these other MIs, some of which may have developed over time as ineffective coping skills to 'help' deal with undiagnosed ADHD as kids. In adults who have ADHD without these other MIs along for the ride (or who do, but maybe not to a very severe degree) they might be more willing and able to see the benefits of treatment and the negative effects of their untreated ADHD on their own lives and the lives of those they love? They seem to put a priority on learning about and working on their interactions with people, even more than becoming better organized at home or at work. I also wonder about the combination of ADHD with differences in temperament, or whether a person was raised in a home where chemical dependency or mental illness was present in a parent -- would those things affect the way someone responds to a diagnosis of ADHD? 

It just seems that there are few 'success' stories such as yours, Dr.  --  thank you for taking what you have learned and using it to help those who will really benefit from your experience and insight and concern.  You sound far more empathetic, compassionate, and introspective than many of the ADHDers we hear about here.

ETA:  I am not in any way trying to say that people with ADHD are not in general unable to be empathetic or compassionate or introspection. I'm just referring to those who have written here about their very difficult relationships in proportion to those not having those difficulties.

Poignant post

It breaks my heart that your struggle has been so epic. ADHD can be so debilitating because the world is set up for the majority and we do a very poor job of accommodating the minority. I would like to see less emphasis on curing ADHD because to expect an ADHD person to become a non is ludicrous. I think there needs to be a greater emphasis on developing ways to incorporate the positive aspects and mitigate the negative. I recognize that many of the reasons I fell in love with my husband are ADHD symptoms; quick wit, energetic, adventurous, etc.  They didn't become a problem until bigger adult life stressors and poor coping habits led to compounding issues.  Now he is working on developing new, healthier, strategies to work with his ADHD instead of against it. And I am working on accepting the ADHD associated challenges and appreciate him for who he is. He is a good man and I want him to thrive with the wiring he has. 


I am so sorry you suffered for so long and I think it is terrific that you have found fulfillment in your new career. Thank you for sharing. 

It's not you who caused your partner to be a narcissist

That person didn't become a narcissist because of your ADHD, trust me.  You may have hooked up with her because your need to give (codependency?) meshed so well with her selfish ability to only take.  But in NO WAY did you cause her personality disorder.  Also, you must know if you've done any further training in mental illness that ADHD is frequently co-morbid with other mental illness although it is, IMO, NOT a mental illness but more a series of very human and normal traits, although it can be dysfunctional in today's society. 

Please don't blame yourself for your ex-girlfriend's personality disorder.  And thanks for the honest POV from the side of the ADHD spouse.  Good for you for raising your kids!

Resigned2B's picture

"ADHD is a neurobiological

"ADHD is a neurobiological disorder. Symptoms are thought to stem from underactivity in the frontal cortex—the brain's control panel for attention, self-control and executive functioning. People with ADHD typically show a decrease in blood flow, glucose metabolism, and levels of the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine in that part of the brain, Murphy says.

Despite the name, the syndrome is far more than a deficit of attention. "Research shows it's a disorder of executive functioning," Barkley says. Executive functioning involves five areas of daily behaviors, he explains: time management, organization, motivation, concentration and self-discipline. He and Murphy recently reported in the Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment that 89 percent to 98 percent of adults with ADHD are impaired in all five areas.

"There's no domain of your life that this disorder does not interfere with. It produces more significant impairment in more areas of life than other outpatient disorders," including anxiety and depression, Barkley says. "School, occupation, money, credit, sex, work life, raising children—it hits them all.""

Thank You Resigned2be

For siting these distinctions.  I don't know how many times I use to mention my ADHD  to someone in passing and watched how the comments about being "distracted" or a belief that I have trouble being able to "pay attention" start to emerge when they did not before....even at times when I might be just looking out the window or contemplating my navel!  For this reason alone.  ..I am selective on who and when I need to tell anyone......and not from being ashamed or embarrassed about having it myself.

Again...thanks for pointing this out.



I Agree T/J

Throw in the fact that a person with one personality disorders under the heading of Narcissism also specialize at keeping you unbalanced and making you believe things are all your fault .....and combine this with an ADHD person's already compromised ability to be consistent and the need for structure and routine and it becomes the "perfect storm" which makes us easy "pick'ins" for a person like this. I'd say I was not so much co-dependent (in some ways yes...others no) before I got married to my ex , but I did become that way after I we were married for a while for sure.  So true.

I've also felt that so many times that it's not that everyone does not have their own ADHD moments so the behaviors themselves are not highly unusual by themselves...but only to the matter of degree and the chronic consistency of these "normal traits" especially the negative ones that a non- ADHD person might only display once in a while. 

Nicely put.


The Same

Not the exact story except for a Narccisist/Histrionic/Borderline- ish ex wife (undiagnosed)...but the emotions especially the times of despair.  I've had my share of these for the same reasons you mentioned.  Very well said in all accounts.



To Be Honest

I think that most non-ADHD people are dull and boring. They have no imagination. Isn't that what you married us for? We were different. We added excitement, imagination, and vibrancy. Now, you want us to be different. You want us to be like you. We thought you were like us. At one time you were like us. Life was young and fresh and anything was possible. That is the person we married. We despise who you have turned into. We despise that life. We try to explain it but you call it blaming. We may soar to the heights or go down in flames, but at least it won't be boring, and that's what you've become: boring.

Interesting.  I'm much more

Interesting.  I'm much more interesting than my husband, who has ADHD.  I think anyone who met us would agree.


There are so many comments about ADHD husbands.My question is what was it about you that caused you to choose to marry a man with ADH? You did make that choice.

That is easy. 

That is easy. 

For me, it was the hyperfocus that I mistook for being the real him. He even admitted later that he "felt like I tricked you into marrying me".

Once I realized what was going on, I asked him to get help. He believes he is a special snowflake with no need to change. So we parted ways. 

He blames anything else for our split, but not himself. 

I am so much happier without him, but still have to deal with his bull regularly. Our child suffers in different ways because I shield him from what I can control. 

That Would Suck Lauren07

That would suck.  Oh....I did have something else to say. lol  My mother had to do the same with me......that in itself is a slippery slope.  You can't be with your kids the whole time and when they are with you get his version  and how you're the one who's messed up.  I can't tell you how confusing this can be when your the kid in the middle of this....and my parents weren't divorced.  The only advise I have for you with your (son/daughter?) are smarter than we think sometimes.  If you don't do what your H is doing (blaming) and you hold your course.....that by itself speaks volumes. 

Don't play ball and your kid won't play either....that just leaves what's left.  I picked up on this pretty early.....around 12 years old if I remember.  Be yourself and hold true to what you believe....that's the best things you can do by your child.  Speaking from experience (my two bits).....I never believed my father when he told me how great he was (special snowflake) either..... no ne needed to tell me that and my mother did her best not to get pulled into that game but she did answer my questions as best she could with compassion for my father.  It's where I learned how to be that way myself:) 





Linsy's picture

Enjoying 'special snowflake' he he

I was boring Mrs Drudge who couldn't see that if only I 'relaxed' everything would be lovely: 'You like putting your make up on and going out to work don't you?' (this when I actually wanted to be at home with my baby, for whom I was paying full time daycare) 'I contribute! I drive you to the station!' (then he went home and did goodness knows what, but nothing in the slightest bit useful.) 'You ruined the family summer by taking a job!' (we were running out of money after he had injured himself so I had to take time off to look after him) 'We never go on family holidays...' (this last because I did not take the whole summer off like his wealthy parents and go and stay in Italy for 2 months, but did organise good two weekers elsewhere, including Thailand and France... (not noticed). So much happier without him and so are the children.....

Linsy's picture

Trouble was lack of support from anywhere

The only person who stood by my side and talked to him realistically was my mother, but alas she died when I had two small children. It was awful but looking back so much worse than it need have been due to his appalling lack of empathy and the chaos in which we were living (because he refused to get a job). We had to live in a flat over an undertakers (you couldn't make it up) and I soon found he wasn't paying the rent.... 

Resigned2B's picture

'Special Snowflafe'...

I'm stunned that so many here have given ADHWE the time of day. What he has proposed is simply ludicrous. When he offers up to pay for everyone's counseling bills for apparently 'craving' the exciting life of an ADHDer (never knowing when your bank accounts will overdraw) I'll pay attention.

Until then, his arrogance is underwhelming...

Love this and your other

Love this and your other comments;)

His last comment to me didn't warrant a response. I think it was some kind of compliment, but it made no sense. 


Our child is too young to

Our child is too young to really get it, but he definitely prefers to be with me. 

For now, I always tell him how great his dad is and how much I like him, if he asks.  

When he starts to understand things, he will know to come to me for everything because his dad is forgetful and won't keep a calendar or to-do list. 

I Really Hated Not Being Told the Truth

The BS stories I was told were just's not like kids don't remember the stories later and go.......huh?  Nothing wrong with saying dad has ADHD and is just not willing to accept this fact and do anything to help himself and this is what happens with people like this.(when they're ready as you say)  It's the truth.  It doesn't have to be embellished with a lot of negatives either.  Straight up.  That's all I ever wanted and still want to this day...including from my wife but then again....I'm not in denial.  The real world has the other half of just the good parts and it's a lot more interesting when you see everything instead of just the 1/2  that is nice to look at.  Putting a bow on the world and calling it good is pretty boring indeed....even for a kid:)





When he is old enough and starts asking, he will get the truth from me. He will see it for himself, so he'll know it's true. 

If he inherits this inattentive add, he will be given tools and I will not accept excuses. Hopefully he will want to be better than his dad and not cause me constant heartbreak. 

I Don't Think You Will Need to Worry

Hopefully he will want to be better than his dad and not cause me constant heartbreak.   He's already ahead of the game because he has you to learn from along the way and you know more than most people already.  I can't complain about my life because I've been lucky to have good people in mine who have been there to help but it would have been so much easier back then if I had the leg up to start with.  I think many of the problems stemming from ADHD start with no information, no education and no understanding from their parents.  Like I said....he's got you and all of these things from the beginning  I think he'll have a great head start. 

If he is anything like I was for my mother....possibly a few moments of cardiac arrhythmia not so much is your heart anyway;)? lol



Haha, thanks;)

Haha, thanks;)

Every one has their own personality. His dad's influence may undermine mine if he enjoys wallowing in self pity. I never did. I do not have loving parents. It was a rough upbringing made softer by one grandmother. I also idolized my best friend's mother, but they moved away when I was 12. I found out at 16 that is was an hour and half away. No one had ever taken me to see her, so I figured she lived too far.

Anyway, my point is that my personality was not one to let having bad parents ruin me. I don't think most people do that. No matter how bad it was, I stayed positive. Many stay negative no matter how much good is in their life. I hope my son is just like me. 

I Share Your Optimism

I could easily retell my growing up as a horrible experience based on just the bad parts too. Life is too short.  I just choose not to dwell there even though...I had to up to a point to revisit the places that have cause me trouble down the line....part of self awareness and not being in denial of what really is.  You have to face it some time but I still focus on what's good and less on the bad.  Optimism or pessimism are both infectious I think...too much negativity just breeds more of it.  It's really hard to tell Narcissism from someone who is just always in a self absorbed state of pity, depression, negativity and denial.  They do tend to look the same from the outside but I do know that there is a fundamental difference.  The latter does not completely lack the ability to empathize.  That was my father and it is distinctly different from someone who looks the same and is just self absorbed.  I can totally see why we (ADHD) appear Narcissistic especially if you are in denial and feel persecuted and picked on all of the your life.  That would tend to put a chip on your shoulder and make you dig in and be selfish but that still doesn't mean you lack the ability to have empathy, compassion or feel love and it's completely missing. That is what was completely absent with my dad and it is such a hard thing to wrap your head around to understand what that must be like.

  I totally get what you are saying about your friends mother.  For me it was my long time swim coach who I did have direct daily contact with from age 6 to 18.  I even had him for a teacher as a Sr in high school....he was really more of my dad than my father and he was a passionate and compassionate human being and liked by just about everyone..  I'm sorry no one made the effort for you to see your friend's mother:(

I really believe at this point that the way ADHD gets manifested into other issues like NPD, OCD and the other likely candidates has everything to do with being positive and staying optimistic versus going the other direction and just permanently burying all the positive qualities that can go missing with other disorders.  I don't think ADHD itself makes a person this way unless life just beats it out of you even if ADHD predisposes someone in the first place?

What I said about being on a team and around others ( or anything like that) really made the difference for me.  I think being isolated is hard for anyone no matter what and can tend to make you feel less hopeful and less optimistic in general.  It sounds like this is not the case for you and your son.  I wish you both well:)



My  ex is not truly

My  ex is not truly narcissistic. I do believe he has that oppositional defiance disorder along with his add. He is eat up with depression. He grew up with very selfish parents. They loved him and showed it, but always always put themselves first. 

He is trying to always put his child first and mostly succeeding. I have to give him credit for that. 

Yes, Having ADHD Can Make You Incorrigable...

and definitely set you up to oppositional and defiant.  I don't think it has to be to the level of disorder either to be a problem.  I put myself into this category without question at times when I feel hurt or disrespected.  Thinking of it in terms of numbers here.  If you're only 5 out of 100 people in the room and you keep getting singled out, the tendency is to be protective and defensive when you see how other people are treated compared to you.  I think this is the hardest part about having ADHD to get past and accept in the first place but in is what (we) have to accept.  It's not everyone else's problem.  Being oppositional and defiant only pushes other people away which only makes it more difficult on yourself when you do that.  I have to watch this all the time because I've become so good at being a smart ass and passive aggressive.  It's just comes naturally.  My only saving grace here is my ability to make people laugh at times but that's just another excuse to keep doing it.  My defense for my defense! lol

I think the other thing that might be something that (we) tend to do is to confuse sympathy with love.  If no one is going to love you then sympathy can be a poor (but maybe only replacement) you have to work with.  Attention is attention right. Sympathy really is just feeling sorry for yourself because you don't feel loved.  It just becomes a vicious circle and no one else is going to respond well to this.  Why should they?  And why would anyone (including us) want to put up with someone who just wants to be a victim all the time and for you to feel sorry for them all the time.  Sexually speaking....this is not what I would call a "turn on". lol

That's why I believe so strongly that you have to learn to really love yourself.  Liking yourself is a good place to start at the very least.  Trying to explain it all a way and making statement to everyone else about how much you love yourself kind says you don't in my mind.  If you really shows and you don't need to say it to everyone else.

What (we) really want underneath it all is for people just to cut us some slack and be more a little more compassionate but, it you are so rooted and rigid in your thinking in terms of protecting your wounded heart, it just makes you incorrigible and difficult if not impossible to be around after a while.

I can totally see these things in my self and I know I've got my work cut out for me in these areas.  Coming to this forum has really forced me to work on this because the last thing I really want is to push people away.  It's really difficult to see how you project yourself to others and the only way to improve is with practice and self awareness.

But if you can't even get yourself to this stage as I have....I can see where being married to (us) can become and impossible situation to have to be around us everyday for the rest of your lives.  This thread is discussing the reason why you spouses leave us isn't it?  I'm trying really hard to be someone that anyone would want to be with because I do know I have lot's to offer and lot's of good qualities but this incorrigible thing is just impossible to live with at times.  I know because it is the very thing that makes my wife so hard to deal with.  If anything....I can see myself better than ever by seeing the same thing in her.

This is where is where I can be compassionate and use this as the way to break  down this barrier in my wife.  Knowing everything I said....I can give her the very thing that I have wanted all my life and could never seem to get from others so many times having be accepted and feel validated so I could stop being so oppositional and defiant and let the love and compassion I know is there come through and be able to receive it from others at the same time.

The problem with entitlement is after a forget that you still need to earn other peoples love and respect.  You have yours and I have mine.  You don't owe anyone who hasn't earned your's from you and the courtesy that goes with it if all they do is push you away and disrespect you.  I think you miss so much of what other people are actually giving you and being kind and loving if all you are doing is pushing them away out of fear and protecting your wounded heart.  There's also no appreciation or gratitude when this happens as well.


Lauren... Get Over It ;)

you said...He is trying to always put his child first and mostly succeeding. I have to give him credit for that.  I have to give you credit for reminding me of the word "incorrigible" a child.  That was the first word that came to mind.  Then I thought of that song by the Eagles, Get Over It  "I'd like to find your inner child and kick it's little ass"    I hate when that happens!  The blissful ignorance of what life would be like not to have a memory!  ha ha ;)




I may download that one. The song I most relate to with him is Puscifer's Undertaker Renholder remix haha. And also Sweet Nothing with Florence Welch. 


You are the first one (that I've seen) to admit that you made the mistake. In other words, it was you and not him. Even though you negated it with his feelin of having tricked you, your admission is refreshing.

Resigned2B's picture



MEN OR WOMEN: Will everyone here who married, knowing your spouse-to-be had ADHD and what it was, please raise your hand?

That's what I thought. NONE of us...

You speak for all ADHD people?

Using "we" instead of "I" makes me think you might have just a touch of ego tied up in your self-image...Those other people are "dull and boring."  Well, speaking only for myself, I have been left with a lot of the "dull and boring" chores and responsibilities that my dear husband just can't be bothered to deal with.  Yeah, I guess I am boring, to someone who has trouble focusing on anything but the ideas in his own head.  Does he really care about anything I think, do, or say?  Hard to tell, really.  I can appreciate him for his energy, although being around him is sometimes akin to standing in front of a fire hose at full blast.  I don't really know if he appreciates me very much at all.

All I can say is that if someone didn't do the "dull and boring" chores and take care of responsibilities, the excitement would quickly turn to chaos and would interfere with all of those magnificent ideas the ADHD people generate. 


Why would you take a metaphorical we and turn it into an accusation of egotism? That is what we (I) face with many non-ADHD people. Their thinking is so straight-forward that there are things that they don't see. It is painful being lonely and alone, and never feeling that you are the same as other people. It is painful making mistake after mistake, and knowing that other people's criticism and frustration only makes it worse. It is painful when your family doesn't accept you and you know that you are responsible, and can't do anything about it no matter how hard you try. So I find a way to live alone. I try to enjoy my own company and leave it at that. You don't want to be around us (me). So leave, and maybe I can find some peace within myself.


I do very much know how you feel.  I have ADHD too and most of the things you've expressed have been the feelings I've had at different times most of my life until I stopped myself from expressing them to others and doing something about those feelings in ways to make them go away for good.  I know hare difficult it is to feel isolated from everyone else at times when all you hear is what you are doing wrong or what you are doing to cause other people to reject you just because you're saddled with ADHD and the symptoms that create this reaction in other people.  You're right in the sense that's it's not something you can do much about in many ways and it won't really change.  Thee are things you can do which it sounds like you've done already but for the rest of's just what we have to live with.  What you don't have to live with is the pain you are talking about.  You can change that but no one else can do anything about that either.  Repeatedly telling other people the same thing over and over isn't going to take that pain away because there's nothing they can do for you there.  All they can do is listen. 

  I can tell you from experience (and especially here on this forum)  They've heard this all before....many times. You aren't telling them anything new. You saying it again is just the 10,0000,001 time for them and still....there is nothing they can do to help you take your pain away.  You can't not have ADHD but you don't have to live with the pain you are feeling but only you can do anything to stop that from happening. 

I would start by not sharing your pain with others as much as helping them deal with theirs. They have their own to deal just like you and I, but you can help them find better ways to change that pain into something that is more bearable to live with if you reach out and let them which will be helping yourself at the same time.  You can't take theirs away any easier than they can do this for you but people are more willing to help those who can offer the same help in return as an exchange. In a very real are not alone.  We are all in this together in one way or another.  Everyone here either has, is married to or have children with ADHD or they wouldn't be here in the first place.





Thank You ChrisChris

I also want to thank you again for your concern for me the other day.  It was a rough patch and I was not sleeping well and doing lots of thinking.  It was very kind.  Much better now thank:)


I never said

I wanted to leave. By the way, I'm not your wife, or your children, or anyone else who knows you.  I have my own challenges and have made my own choices, and I accept the responsibility for those choices.  Your comments spoken in 3rd person come across as arrogant and rather condescending, as if you are judge and jury and pronouncing great wisdom for everyone else from your higher vantage point.  You criticize normies as being "dull and boring," yet refuse to see it from the other side, from the POV of someone who has been left to pick up the "dull and boring" tasks of life that you either refuse to do or simply do not see as important.  Yeah, I'm a little defensive about this attitude.  As someone else pointed out to you, your role models all had either servants, doting wives, staff, flunkies, etc. to help them achieve their success. 

Not looking to shame anyone with ADHD. I can empathize and try to help from a loving POV.  There are a few ADHD posters here who can do the same from their own POV.  I don't see that from you.


Why would you take a metaphorical we and turn it into an accusation of egotism? That is what we (I) face with many non-ADHD people. Their thinking is so straight-forward that there are things that they don't see. It is painful being lonely and alone, and never feeling that you are the same as other people. It is painful making mistake after mistake, and knowing that other people's criticism and frustration only makes it worse. It is painful when your family doesn't accept you and you know that you are responsible, and can't do anything about it no matter how hard you try. So I find a way to live alone. I try to enjoy my own company and leave it at that. You don't want to be around us (me). So leave, and maybe I can find some peace within myself.


Why would you take a metaphorical we and turn it into an accusation of egotism? That is what we (I) face with many non-ADHD people. Their thinking is so straight-forward that there are things that they don't see. It is painful being lonely and alone, and never feeling that you are the same as other people. It is painful making mistake after mistake, and knowing that other people's criticism and frustration only makes it worse. It is painful when your family doesn't accept you and you know that you are responsible, and can't do anything about it no matter how hard you try. So I find a way to live alone. I try to enjoy my own company and leave it at that. You don't want to be around us (me). So leave, and maybe I can find some peace within myself.
Resigned2B's picture

You speak for all...

Tornado in a Jar,

Yes, someone certainly does have the boring job of 'stirring the oatmeal' of everyday life. Because, guess what ADHWE, if someone doesn't 'stir the oatmeal, of life? It BURNS. And if some 'boring' person doesn't take the 'burned' oatmeal off the stove? Your ENTIRE life BURNS down. 

Hard to be 'happy' with that 'exciting' ADHDer when everyone is DEAD now, isn't it...

I'll take 'boring' and 'stable' and 'trustworthy' any day of any week... So would my kids...

If I could file for an annulment I would do it in a minute. If I could leave and take half of our assets with me I would. But half of nothing is still NOTHING.

I warn my ADHD kids, if they don't tell their intendant that they have ADHD before they marry, I will be the FIRST one to help whomever they've deceived to file one..

Honesty, or lack of it, is a hallmark sign of this disability. Denial is the next. Just ask ADHWE...

Stirring the perfect

Making the meals, cleaning the clothes, cleaning the house, buying food, planning menus, fixing things, taking care of children (the very day-to-day drudgery from day 1 going forward), getting their shots, medications, dealing with homework, teachers, books, uniforms, supplies, school trips, friends and enemies, making sure cars are gassed up, working properly, registered, etc., planning trips, buying necessary clothing for trips, purchasing tickets, getting rental cars, making an itinerary, cooking for children with food allergies while on trip, monitoring health of allergic/asthmatic children, paying all bills, budgeting, buying all Christmas presents, all decorating, cooking for all holidays, sending cards to all relatives including HIS.  I know I'm leaving a few things out along the way.  I did all of those "boring" chores willingly but one does like a bit of support and appreciation now and then, for taking on all of that "boring" stuff of life so that the happy ADHD person can just live and have brilliant ideas.  I do get some of the same arrogance now and again from my husband and it hurts, but I know I can't blame him for taking what I so willingly gave.  I'm sure he finds me boring but I kind of burned myself out, and I can't regenerate myself like a starfish.

Resigned2B's picture

To Be Honest?


Spoken as a true ADHDer.

Better boring than living under a viaduct homeless for the rest of my life...

Linsy's picture

Not boring at all

Life is much more exciting when filled with contrast. When the rewards come from having done whatever it is that needs doing first, and then having the fun bit. I noticed my ADDer getting more and more depressed and smoking more and more cannabis because he could not understand the rewards of a day's work well done, of expectations fulfilled, of children cared for and guided, of the intellectual stimulation that comes from a sustained creative act. He just wanted it now now now now, until I was climbing the walls with frustration. And 'it' was unearned money, status, holidays, travel, fine foods and wines and endless attention and sympathy for his neurotic 'problems'... etc etc. But you can't have that without the other bit, and that is why we parted. I could not be the only adult in the house, I also wanted to have fun, cut loose, go dancing, drink wine, write poetry, wear pretty clothes, but all my time, energy and joie de vivre were stolen gradually by the child man I married. He has found a very rich foolish playmate now, who doesn't ask him to don the dignity of a real adult ever and believes all his stories. I have been left with all the actual grown-up satisfying stuff of teen wrangling, money earning, house keeping and the rest of it. I am highly creative and mentally agile luckily, or I would have been driven right round the bend. He was fun when young, he never bored me, but he gradually became abusive when I wouldn't join him in Neverland.... Peter Pan had ADHD you see and in retrospect Wendy was very intelligent to marry someone normal and only visit PP once a year (to clear up his mess).

Where Would We Be

Where would we be without Columbus, Edison, Fulton, Eienstein, Elvis, and all of the little boy dreamers who were laughed at for their "big ideas" and forgetfulness? Einstein forgot his keys a thousand times and was dismissed from school for not paying attention. Sometimes we win. Sometimes we lose. It is just who we are.
Linsy's picture


Never underestimate how much of the sheer boring slog of life was done by servants in the past, allowing these creative geniuses to get on with being creative and geniusy. Also wives in subordinate roles....

This is very true!

And, 25+ years ago, secretaries at work often helped keep their bosses organized, on schedule, on task, etc.  

Yes, I was one of those

before they were called "Administrative Assistants."  :)  Man, I wish I could have someone who would do all my chores and let me just swan about having brilliant insights and being important!


The secretaries did the filing, the organizing, the reminders, etc.

Resigned2B's picture

Where would we be...

Guess what?

You, lose... And so did everyone of us who were deceived...

Why we said yes...

Several ADDers on this site have recently posed the question: "Well, why did you (women) marry (us) in the first place?"

My first thought is generally that the question would more profitably be asked of the actual woman this man married. That question, asked sincerely, might open up a dialogue that is specific, that matters, that might, if asked in sincerity and with an open heart, even lead to understanding and healing and progress. Really, take a risk and ask her. Look into her eyes. Talk to her. And if you'd instead rather ask strangers, perhaps because they will give you more sympathy, think on that.

There is an ADD man who posts regularly here whom I've come to admire. He introduced me to the ADD mantra: "Deny, defend, deflect." It has helped me immeasurably as I've tried to clean up one marital mess after another, largely for the sake of my children. Bless him.

Since you asked: In my case, I didn't marry my ADHDer because I was boring. Quite the contrary, if my friends are to be believed. When I met a kind, energetic man, I assumed, since he was a grown-up, that he was also responsible and dependable. I didn't know some saw those qualities as an either/or binary system.

Yes, there were warning signs I didn't read correctly. His living situation was chaotic, but I thought that was due to his very cool job that kept him largely on the road. Ditto as to why he didn't own property, as I did, or have other adult responsibilities outside of work.

He'd been married before, but according to him, his wife was so awful that his entire family called her the "monster". He was so kind to me, so interested in my professional life, so witty, so in pursuit of me, that I took what he said at face value. With another man, I might have delved more deeply, though with empathy, into what a failed marriage had taught him. But again, his pain was so palpable, that seemed cruel. And again, he was so loving. Only years later, do I see this pattern---accept no responsibility for what goes wrong, learn nothing from it, repeat the same mistakes, while seeking the complete sympathy of strangers.

I made many compromises as we built our life together. Partly because woman are taught to nurture, partly because it brought him such joy, partly because he seemed to take such pride in my own accomplishments that I never felt the things that truly mattered to me were at risk--certainly not in danger at the hands of my beloved.

The first major F&%$-up occurred when I was 6 months pregnant with our first child. It was entirely his fault, entirely unnecessary. It cost us about $20,000, I remember, like it was yesterday, thinking two things: 1) I am carrying this baby and if I let my system be flooded with adrenaline from freaking out, it will damage this unborn child--I must will myself not to react. (Am I crying as I write this? Yes, and startled by that.) 2) Because I do not have ADHD, I remember thinking that this disaster was certainly a fluke, and so awful that my husband would feel bad about it for the rest of his life without me saying much, and if anything, would now become hyper-responsible to make up for this. I had yet to learn that this was only the beginning, and my husband would never take responsibility for anything for more than a day.

Years later...years...I learned that many of the things my husband told me when we met were wishful we boring women might call them, lies. The people that mattered so much were actually using him. That broken leg which slowed him down enough to court me? It was the result of drunken stupidity, not an accident. In fact, I only learned years later, that he courted me impulse. I had broken up with a mutual friend, which gave him the idea. He was at his personal rock bottom. Rather than look in the mirror, he took on a project--chasing a young, professional woman to "start" over by starting a family. Do I feel stupid writing this? Yes.

By the time I diagnosed his ADHD I had two little kids, a tax audit he'd triggered that I had to contend with, more money lost from thefts, the growing realization that our kids also had ADHD and needed my help....and I was all alone in this....and my freelance career was morphing from lucrative to impossible to juggle... "Why did I stay?" Every day there was a fire to put out and every day I was the only one with the sense to find a bucket of water. It never got calm enough to even contemplate divorce.

Plus, it was never "really" his fault, because he always "meant well". But now that we're separated a couple of years, and he's back to the angry pothead he was before chasing me, I am now the "monster". And I have finally seen, with my own weary eyes, that he will flat out lie or say whatever comes into his head to avoid taking any responsibility for any adult task that a husband or father would manage. It doesn't look like fun to me. I do more to keep his sons in his life than he does. But any passing whim rates more highly than do we.

I went to a therapist. I cried for months. I blamed myself for "staying" with him. For agreeing to marry him. Trust me ADHD reader, non-ADHD spouses spend a LOT of time working to understand how we got here; to take responsibility for our part. Frankly, to take responsibility for the whole thing if we're not careful. And my therapist raised his voice--the only time--and shouted at me to stop it. He said this wasn't my fault. He pointed out that I was a responsible, hard-working, caring person. That I was not a victim, that I'd managed to elude my share of alcoholics and womanizers and other men who were bad news. That my previous relationships had all had value and tenderness, and had run their course for understandable reasons. I could not blame myself, he insisted, because I had never met a person like this. I had never had any experience to prepare me for ADHD hyper-focus...for this particular molatav cocktail of apparent caring and tenderness masking a confused, damaged, needy soul that acted on impulse and could not face the magnitude of his mistakes and their devastating effect on others.

Not everyone has this degree of ADHD. I pray my sons do not. But I hit the marital jackpot. Maybe that's why vampire stories hold some appeal to me, since the protagonist cannot change, yet tries, again and again, to love, only to wear the beloved out and, true to his nature, move on to survive. I don't know much about the personal life of Columbus, or some of the others mentioned. Einstein had a brilliant wife who held it all together for him during his early years of struggle. Elvis died on the toilet, an addict living in a mansion full of impulse distractions like junk food and the company of hangers-on...  

Linsy's picture

How beautifully you write....

So familiar. Angry pot head, exciting job, no property, failed relationships, ADHD children... and the whole nine yards. I am a published novelist with only two books out there as all the others died in the water due to endless firefighting. I had to earn my living doing something rather duller to keep the family afloat... The debt in our case was 250K.... announced a month after the last baby was born, with the expectation that I would 'take care of it'. So with you sister.... I did see signs, but I have the additional issue of this clearly in my own family. I did not know any healthy normal men well, and found the normals I met dull and unattractive. I thought he would grow up, he certainly did some interesting things, but it turned out that he had had so much help, where I had none to do what I do. He has talented siblings, and siblings with diagnosed ADHD, and he is blameless, perfect, wonderful and lovely - and the new woman believes all of it and bankrolls him (thank goodness).


Two novels. That is an accomplishment. Wow. It's anonymity, of course, that frees us to express our truths, yet part of me wishes we could meet. It would be comforting to be around someone who gets it.

Given the sexism and ageism and random challenges that are part of a creative life, I work so hard not to blame my husband for my career stalling. But there are, of course, specific moments when I turned down opportunities because of chaos at home.

A memory: I gave a party one New Year's Eve, about 4 years before I met him. I'd been earning a living as a screenwriter for about a decade at that point, was on the verge of having the juice to start doing my own projects on my own terms.  Collectively, my guests would go on to win two Tony Awards, five Emmies; two Pulitzers; score Academy-Award winning films; become CGI pioneers; and get tenure at a major Arts School.  At times that night seems like something I hallucinated. I lost touch with all of those people as I turned my attention to tax audits and grand theft auto and small claims court and moving and my husband getting fired and suing the Board of Ed on my kids' behalf and car accidents and driving him to the emergency room when he almost severed his thumb using a chain saw and...

I suppose we should both get back to those unfinished manuscripts. No shortage of "shoulds", eh? And such exhaustion. My dreams are modest at this point. I'm working toward finding some peace. I'm starting to think that goal may be attainable.

I wish you the same. Peace. And with it, what Salman Rushdie calls the great gift, "the ability to think new thoughts".    


Linsy's picture

I thought I spotted a fellow pro...

I gave up my career just as it was taking off to work in his 'family business' - his brilliant original ideas very poorly executed, and when I finally protested and tried to help him plan and organise he threw me out for 'trying to take over'. I went home and looked after the children, and worked freelance and was miserable. The freedom of being my own person now is incredible in comparison. I published my second novel myself last year and it is doing just fine. I had the focus and energy to get it properly done (first was trad published but they went non fic). People seem to love it, and I have two others boiling in my head. No regrets, and plenty of 'dark materials' too.... Well done you with screenwriting. One kind of writing I have never tried. I earn the family's keep in online consultancy/copywriting. Yes, sigh, we can never know who we are or where we are even though we are sisters under the skin.

You've inspired me; thank you!

I started commenting today because a post irked me...debating whether to even engage...while passing the time in between waiting for a phone call having to do with an ADHD-created problem (of course).

And the result, Linsy, so unexpectedly, is to know that you are writing, publishing, recovering.

Congratulations. It couldn't have been easy.

I am so grateful for the hope that your success has given me.



Linsy's picture

Engage without getting cross is the key I find

When my first book was about to be published - many years after the first draft was written as I don't write obviously genre books - I was so delighted. It seemed like my dream of being a 'proper' writer was coming true. While I was out at my first meeting with my publishers, ex had a horrible 'accident' at home which kept him in hospital for two weeks, and then wiped out the rest of the year, stunting my ability to publicise my book and make the most of this opportunity. The worst thing was that it also wiped out my empathy and any ability left in me to be loving and kind. The accident happened because of a cascade of bizarre wrong decisions, a perfect storm of poor judgment - almost poetic in its mathematical illogical idiocy. I was of course to blame for this, as I had mentioned as I left the house (after he had engineered a row) that maybe he should get a job and even possibly grow up. By this time, the strong suspicion that ADHD was the mysterious problem that blighted our marriage was very much to the fore. But no, denial is not just a river in Egypt.... Not nice, me.

you sound very human

My marriage has taken me to emotions and experiences I'd gladly have lived a lifetime without ever experiencing. Wiser spouses on this site have commented that only those who have experienced this can understand. For what it's worth, I'm sorry you had to endure so much; happy you are doing better now. Thank you for all you've expressed here. I'll be savoring having "met" you as I sign off now.

Choices and leaving things behind

I married in my early 30's. Had 2 sons and was quickly overwhelmed by the responsibilities of having children.  I freely sacrificed my own dreams and interests in favor of nurturing and raising the next generation.  I am fairly certain women have made this choice from the beginning of time.  I have never been ambitious, never had driving goals in life, so I suppose I fit the definition of "boring" that ADHWE (or whatever he calls himself) so readily dispenses.  I didn't have a career per se, just a series of jobs, so I made the choice to stay at home with the babies rather than go back to work.  I know that's not always available to those with an ADHD spouse, so I feel lucky in that regard.  My husband has always been able to generate an income from his profession and I am very grateful for that. 

Long, long ago, I used to do some writing, but there is no spark of creativity left inside me.  I admire those of you who still have a spark and can still create a fire from that spark.

I am still very traumatized

I am still very traumatized by my marriage and mostly because he takes no responsibility. Mine was so selfish during the pregnancy and well, ever since. I may never get over it since he doesn't see a problem. 

He is so full of excuses and never truly at fault for anything. Slate wiped clean the next day and if you bring it up, he acts like you aren't talking. Literally stands there ignoring it, not speaking.  It really does make me sick. 

Linsy's picture

I was traumatised by it too

It was so completely illogical in every way. So I tried and tried and tried to make it work. Realised I was doing marriage by myself and being taken for a ride. I left him five years ago. Recovered from the trauma and sailed on. Everything is better in my life and that of my children, and I revel in my independence.

For what it's worth...

...I've been following what you've shared over time. You seem clear and brave and your child seems fortunate to have you as a mother. All best...

It's worth a lot;)

It's worth a lot;)

I am doing extremely well right now. I have a great job and apt. We co-parent fairly well, considering. I love this cold, strange city that I moved to for our child. But the best thing is reconciling with the man I love. The one without any issues haha. I am looking forward to him moving here very soon. 

I am currently doing what Linsy just mentioned. Learning to engage without getting cross. Also known as having low expectations. If they can't do better, just feel sorry for them and move on. They can catch up. I have him in my phone as a whole slew of funny things. It gives me a laugh to see it when he texts. 

Not Looking For Sympathy

Maybe we take marriage a little too lightly and should really get to know a person before we make life-long commitments and bring children into the world. I know it is old fashioned but I think it is true.

It just sounds like blaming

It just sounds like blaming strangers to me. 

YOU married them. YOU had children with them, but shouldn't have. 

Nothing helpful going on. 

Old Fashioned?

I remember sitting in class while I was in was a Business class on corporate  finance of all things...and the professor gave a 1 hour lecture on choosing a spouse and getting married.....  remembering his comment that we spend more time deciding which new car we will buy (researching features, mpg, maintenance costs etc) than most people spend thinking about who they will marry.  I don't think he was wrong and I don't think he was giving that lecture to a bunch of 20 yr olds for no reason either.  I think he had the right idea personally.



But we are also taught to

But we are also taught to accept people the way they are, despite their flaws. We are taught we are being too picky and made to feel badly about it.

You can't win. 

He was my first marriage and I was 29. I had done plenty of dating before him. He fooled me good. 

Not Looking For Sympathy

Maybe we take marriage a little too lightly and should really get to know a person before we make life-long commitments and bring children into the world. I know it is old fashioned but I think it is true.

Linsy's picture

I took marriage very seriously

I had known my husband for a good two years before he proposed. I had run away from him to go travelling, but he followed me. I thought it was terribly romantic, but of course it was because he had nothing better to do. The trouble is there is a bit of a biological rush to get that first baby born before we are thirty, so I wanted a baby not long after we did get married. He seemed to take it all seriously too, agreeing that we both would work, save and so on. Only as soon as we were married, I went off and got a new job (having been working on our flat etc while we were engaged and working freelance) and he just sat at home smoking cannabis. It was nearly over right there, but I was too proud to pull the plug and he did get a menial job after a few months... Things were always limping along really, but I have no regrets. I have my three children, and with a work ethic and a good brain, I have been able to rescue things from the wreck so far....

What will this summer bring?

I just read some more non ADHD spouse posts about their ADHD or ADD husbands...Mine of 2 1/2 years is per my estimate over 75k in debt, hasn't earned much in over 9 months (self employed), didn't pay his taxes yet this year.... let the insurance lapse (got it reinstated yeah!)...  follows me around, 'loves me' all the time.  Does anyone know what it looks like or what it means if someone is addicted to his ADHD meds?  Do they ever stop taking the meds or should they?   He drinks coffee all day, and I found severe cold liquid nyquil he drank last week and he isn't sick.   Haven't confronted on that.  Worried about his health.  mental and financial too... 

I was thinking. 

I was thinking. 

Old fashioned makes me think of marrying young and having a brood of children. Not saying it was smart, but THAT is old fashioned. But then, I am also a southern girl. 

You have written this so well....


Several ADDers on this site have recently posed the question: "Well, why did you (women) marry (us) in the first place?"

My first thought is generally that the question would more profitably be asked of the actual woman this man married. That question, asked sincerely, might open up a dialogue that is specific, that matters, that might, if asked in sincerity and with an open heart, even lead to understanding and healing and progress. Really, take a risk and ask her. Look into her eyes. Talk to her. And if you'd instead rather ask strangers, perhaps because they will give you more sympathy, think on that.

There is an ADD man who posts regularly here whom I've come to admire. He introduced me to the ADD mantra: "Deny, defend, deflect." It has helped me immeasurably as I've tried to clean up one marital mess after another, largely for the sake of my children. Bless him.



I had not read that mantra before, but it is sooooo true!  



Since you asked: In my case, I didn't marry my ADHDer because I was boring. Quite the contrary, if my friends are to be believed. When I met a kind, energetic man, I assumed, since he was a grown-up, that he was also responsible and dependable. I didn't know some saw those qualities as an either/or binary system.



I, too, assumed that because my H was a "grown up" with advanced degrees and a very good job, that he was also a very stable wrong I was.



Yes, there were warning signs I didn't read correctly. His living situation was chaotic, but I thought that was due to his very cool job that kept him largely on the road. Ditto as to why he didn't own property, as I did, or have other adult responsibilities outside of work.



H's living situation wasn't chaotic, but in hindsight that was because he had a very responsible "take charge" housemate that managed everything....collected H's share of the rent, etc, right after H was paid, paid the bills, fixed whatever was wrong with the home they rented, etc.  



He'd been married before, but according to him, his wife was so awful that his entire family called her the "monster".



My H hadn't been married before.  He hadn't had very long relationships before....something that I had been misled about.  H had led me to believe that he had had a 2 year relationship with a young woman that ended about two years before he met me.  In truth, I found out 25 years later, that relationship only last 4 months!  lol  If I had been aware that H had never had a long term relationship, I would have wondered why....and it would have been a red flag.


I truly think it can be (not necessarily be) a red flag when told that someone's ex "is a monster" without some unbiased back up sources....not just family and friends who are just merely repeating what they've been told.  Having been the victim of that with H's family (who have only seen me 6-8 very brief times in over 30 years....and each time was very cordial/pleasant).  


Over the years, H rarely spoke with his family, but if he happened to be angry at me during a conversation with them, H would surely give them an earful about how "evil" I was....telling them some half-truth, half-story, or outright lie.  He once told them that I had an affair!  I've never even held hands with another man since I met H!!!!   He claims that he later told them I didn't, but I don't believe it because HOW WOULD YOU SAY THAT??  "uh, remember last year when I said that my wife had an affair?  Well, I made that up so that you would hate her." ....or......"I found out that my wife really didn't have an affair."   (Huh?  how would one find that out?? )   There is no sane way a person could "take back" that crazy claim without looking like an idiot, so I doubt that he ever corrected that lie.      H's family lives thousands of miles away so they really didn't know any better about that claim...or any other claim.   Oh, H told them that I have THREE mink coats (to make me look like some kind of spoiled princess.)   I have ONE mink coat that H bought me (surprised me) after I had a miscarriage several years ago.   Of course, H never corrected that story, nor did he ever tell them that he was the one who bought that coat.

Again, H's family has little to no contact with us, so they really didn't know much.  The exception is one of H's sisters who lived near us for 2 years.  We saw her and her family regularly during that time.  I was very friendly to that sister who was very appalled to witness some of my H's outbursts at me and one time at her and her H (and they were totally innocent ...completely innocent).  


the only glimpse that most of them have had in the last couple of years that H is the problem was 3 years ago when H left and stayed with a brother.  At first, they believed his crazy tales.  They knew he had become an alcoholic (H told them) but they naively believed that I "made him drink" by being so   They made all the phone calls to encourage him to file for divorce, and he went along with it....happily living in their home, letting them "call the shots."  They had him go into rehab, but again, since they believed that I caused him to drink, they naturally believed that divorcing me would mean, "no more drinking."   lol...oh were they so wrong. 


Over the last three years, they have come to realize how wrong they were, and how dishonest H was with them about me.  They have cut most of their ties with H.  They too, were very naive....but they really had little excuse. THEY KNEW what he was as a child and young adult.  They had info that I was not told about until after I had been married for 25 years!!



He was so kind to me, so interested in my professional life, so witty, so in pursuit of me, that I took what he said at face value. With another man, I might have delved more deeply, though with empathy, into what a failed marriage had taught him. But again, his pain was so palpable, that seemed cruel. And again, he was so loving. Only years later, do I see this pattern---accept no responsibility for what goes wrong, learn nothing from it, repeat the same mistakes, while seeking the complete sympathy of strangers.



Yes, seeking the sympathy of strangers.  H had spent the last 5 years telling his tales of woe to people who did not know better.



I made many compromises as we built our life together. Partly because woman are taught to nurture, partly because it brought him such joy, partly because he seemed to take such pride in my own accomplishments that I never felt the things that truly mattered to me were at risk--certainly not in danger at the hands of my beloved.






The first major F&%$-up occurred when I was 6 months pregnant with our first child. It was entirely his fault, entirely unnecessary. It cost us about $20,000, I remember, like it was yesterday, thinking two things: 1) I am carrying this baby and if I let my system be flooded with adrenaline from freaking out, it will damage this unborn child--I must will myself not to react. (Am I crying as I write this? Yes, and startled by that.) 2) Because I do not have ADHD, I remember thinking that this disaster was certainly a fluke, and so awful that my husband would feel bad about it for the rest of his life without me saying much, and if anything, would now become hyper-responsible to make up for this. I had yet to learn that this was only the beginning, and my husband would never take responsibility for anything for more than a day.



Wow...what was it?   A drunk driving arrest?  a car accident caused by recklessness?  


I totally understand your words, "never take responsibility for anything for more than a day."   That is a common theme.  When my H admit fault, it is short-lived....and soon he'll have the story twisted in a way that makes HIM the victim, or at least innocent of any wrong-doing, or just the victim of "bad luck".



Years later...years...I learned that many of the things my husband told me when we met were wishful we boring women might call them, lies.



Oh my, so true.   

I was so used to people correctly describing themselves.  I am outgoing, creative, intelligent.  I can be shy in new settings, but I quickly adapt.  I have no musical talents. I can't sing at all.  I was a very good student.  I am terrible at many sports, but I'm a good swimmer and skier.  I can be bossy because I was an oldest child of a large family, so I was used to taking care of others and making plans.   I have a great long-term memory, but my short-term memory can be an issue.   I know my limitations.   I think most people know their limitations.  When I meet people, most can describe themselves quite accurately...their pluses and their minuses.  


H does not know himself.  He does not know (or admit) his limitations.  When we met, he told me that he was easy-going (not), he told me many things that simply aren't true....but he believes that they are.  I think he believes that those appealing traits belong to him because those traits are desirable.  H is a terrible dancer, simply horrible, but he thinks he's fabulous.  After a few horribly embarrassing episodes, I had to avoid any situations where there may be dancing because he would make an absolute fool out of something out of a comedy movie.  something Jim Carrey would do in a hilarious comedy.  

I made the mistake, early on, of believing what he said.  



The people that mattered so much were actually using him. That broken leg which slowed him down enough to court me? It was the result of drunken stupidity, not an accident. In fact, I only learned years later, that he courted me impulse. I had broken up with a mutual friend, which gave him the idea. He was at his personal rock bottom. Rather than look in the mirror, he took on a project--chasing a young, professional woman to "start" over by starting a family. Do I feel stupid writing this? Yes.

By the time I diagnosed his ADHD I had two little kids, a tax audit he'd triggered that I had to contend with, more money lost from thefts, the growing realization that our kids also had ADHD and needed my help....and I was all alone in this....and my freelance career was morphing from lucrative to impossible to juggle... "Why did I stay?" Every day there was a fire to put out and every day I was the only one with the sense to find a bucket of water. It never got calm enough to even contemplate divorce.

Plus, it was never "really" his fault, because he always "meant well". But now that we're separated a couple of years, and he's back to the angry pothead he was before chasing me, I am now the "monster". And I have finally seen, with my own weary eyes, that he will flat out lie or say whatever comes into his head to avoid taking any responsibility for any adult task that a husband or father would manage. It doesn't look like fun to me. I do more to keep his sons in his life than he does. But any passing whim rates more highly than do we.

I went to a therapist. I cried for months. I blamed myself for "staying" with him. For agreeing to marry him. Trust me ADHD reader, non-ADHD spouses spend a LOT of time working to understand how we got here; to take responsibility for our part. Frankly, to take responsibility for the whole thing if we're not careful. And my therapist raised his voice--the only time--and shouted at me to stop it. He said this wasn't my fault. He pointed out that I was a responsible, hard-working, caring person. That I was not a victim, that I'd managed to elude my share of alcoholics and womanizers and other men who were bad news. That my previous relationships had all had value and tenderness, and had run their course for understandable reasons. I could not blame myself, he insisted, because I had never met a person like this. I had never had any experience to prepare me for ADHD hyper-focus...for this particular molatav cocktail of apparent caring and tenderness masking a confused, damaged, needy soul that acted on impulse and could not face the magnitude of his mistakes and their devastating effect on others.

Not everyone has this degree of ADHD. I pray my sons do not. But I hit the marital jackpot. Maybe that's why vampire stories hold some appeal to me, since the protagonist cannot change, yet tries, again and again, to love, only to wear the beloved out and, true to his nature, move on to survive. I don't know much about the personal life of Columbus, or some of the others mentioned. Einstein had a brilliant wife who held it all together for him during his early years of struggle. Elvis died on the toilet, an addict living in a mansion full of impulse distractions like junk food and the company of hangers-on...  




Are you getting a divorce?

Hello Overwhelmed Wife

I have to smile when I go on this site and find the  threads have gotten so tangled. So appropriate for ADHD dialogs, eh? 

If I've read correctly, I think you asked me about divorce. And reading your post, it appears we have in common Senior Citizen aged spouses. I am trying not to divorce, since we are blessed with two residences (city/country) and since I gave up so much of my own career/business to try to keep our kids OK and husband's disasters at bay. Plus, I helped him build up his business and retirement funds. To quote my old therapist, "Don't give up another thing!" I'm still in the tuition years with my kids, so I'd rather what's left not go to lawyers. Plus, well, I'm looking for peace, not another relationship.  (Unless that guy who keeps posting on this thread is available...)  :)

Sometimes my spouse does some weird stuff with money, but so far, it's cost less than lawyers. I factor these losses into the budget. I am all too aware ths could change for the worse, but after considering the cards I have to play, after much thought, I think a holding pattern is best, for now. Am also aware his health may fail, I may become a caretaker, etc. Again, the crystal ball is cloudy...he is the father of my children, so I cannot abandon him. I worry about him more than he worries about himself, or about me, that's for sure.

If you are wrestling with similar questions, you have my empathy. 

Thanks for explaining about "extinction outbursts" in your other post. Very helpful...insights like that keep me returning to this site. I will definitely try that. (But cannot walk out the door in exactly the same way as you, because I still have one child at home...instead, I finally got my husband to leave...which is somewhat less ideal.) 

Oh...and about that time he lost us $20,000? Once upon a time, I had money in the bank. I used some of it for him to buy us a new car, in cash. He went alone, because I was pregnant and under the weather. He was too antsy to wait for the guy who handles insurance to return to the dealership, Since we paid cash, the dealership didn't care if he drove off the lot without insuring the car for theft--it wasn't their property to worry about. He never told me what he'd done. He never went back to insure the vehicle. He did park this brand new toy on the roughest possible street, was stolen about a month later.

Rest assured, the circumstances around this discovering the theft were as awful as possible. And, because every disaster seems to require a subsequent ripple effect of humiliation...the contempt on the part of the police when we explained where the new car had been parked...and the fact it was uninsured...will stay with me forever. Fun fact!: Police look for stolen cars largely because the banks holding the car loans put pressure on them to solve cases. The minute the police heard we had no could just see them lose interest in giving a damn...



If you are going to leave, why don't you just leave instead of moaning about what a martyr you are? The whining is sickening!


Dear ADHWE, 

I know you are fond of saying "ADHD is my blessing." Maybe it's time to go enjoy your blessing somewhere else. Hurtful words hurt.

Respectfully, ChrisChris

It's OK

It's OK to leave. It really is. 

I'm Joining With You Chris Chris.....

and forgive my sarcasm and my sometimes bizarre sense of humor up front (it is who I am:)

"There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission. If we wish to make it louder, we will bring up the volume. If we wish to make it softer, we will tune it to a whisper. We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical. We can roll the image, make it flutter. We can change the focus to a soft blur or sharpen it to crystal clarity. For the next hour, sit quietly and we will control all that you see and hear. We repeat: there is nothing wrong with your television set. "

Who's this we? have a turd in your pocket?  Who needs to give you permission to do anything aside from yourself? 

If breaking my marital promise to God, country and family is the worse sin I ever committed I should be so lucky.  For me (saying only here)....staying unhappy and using this as an excuse was just another form of denial.  I've committed far worse atrocities in the eyes of the lord by feeling trapped in a place where I was betraying myself and who I was on a daily basis (and the horrible offenses that I managed against the other person who was with me at the time from my own failure to see this).....instead of just getting up the courage to leave and make a better life for myself and giving that same freedom to be happy to the person I was with at the same time. 

Who's to blame if this is what you are doing by forcing another person to endure your mistake in this kind of thinking?

 Funny thing  however.....

The more prepared I am to leave and walk away from anything on daily basis no matter where I am or who I am with......the more I choose to stay.  Funny how that works?

I agree with you CrisCris.  It's always OK to leave, you don't need anyone's permission and no can take that choice from you except for you. But just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should.  I'd rather work out my difference with other people and stay with them instead of being alone all by myself unless they  simply refuses to respect me or try and deny me or take my choices from me.  That's the deal breaker

Staying in that case is like living in the Outer Limits :)  I guess the question here in my mind is.....if you feel trapped and unhappy where you it because you forgot that you always had this choice all along and just didn't realized it?  ( are you still living in Kansas Dorothy? )

If not, who's fault is that anyway? ;)



Black_Butterfly, are you still together?

Your post sounds almost identical to mine, posted a couple days ago called "Ten Years And I Do Not Think I can do Another". No replies yet but seems a whole lot of us are in the same boat. I hope things have really turned around for you!

leave him

Maybe he has ADHD, but for sure he is irresponsible. And since he cares not to attempt to be a man, pack up his video games, kick him and his junk out, turn the page and forget him.  Get a job and rely on yourself.  Actually - do that first then kick him out. That is true freedom - and be thankful you have parents you can rely on to help you out with the kids. You cannot solve him.  Its hard to do but it is the antidote to the poisoned feelings you have.