I'm the ADD spouse. Recently I confessed to my wife that I needed to "work" to focus on her when we were out in public. She was/is very upset & angry. What I meant was that I know that my being aware of other attractive women in the room makes her feel demeaned, hurt, unloved, so I consciously focus on her - to protect her.
I understand this as an ADD thing, that what another man would do unthinkingly with the woman he loved, I have to do intentionally because of the distraction issue. Men are generally visual when it comes to sex, so I don't see myself as different from most men - the potential distraction is there, but most men out with the women they love may notice someone else, but it's fleeting thing and not an issue - that's how I understand it anyway. For me, the distraction remains and I have to consciously turn away from it.
I have started reading Ms. Orlov's ADHD & Marriage book and came across a passage where she talks about how information comes in differently to someone with ADD. Most people's brains receive information and unconsciously sort & filter it hierarchically, ignoring things that deserve less focus. For someone with ADD, instead of being hierarchical, everything, important or not, initially receives about the same amount of attention.
That made sense to me in the situation I'm explaining and I sent it to my wife. Her response was OK, she could understand that, but it's not general distractions that are the problem, it's not like I'm focusing on the game on the bar TV, or a conversation at the next table, it's the women, always the women.
I don't have an answer for that. I'm not sexually addictive, don't do internet porn, have never had an affair, can't imagine life without my wife, but she's right, that is what I have to work to shut out the most.
So, it's coming down to is it her, me, or ADHD, and I don't have an answer. I know that if I could stop this behavior tomorrow, rip it out of my life, I would do it in a heartbeat, but it's not under my control. All I can can control is my conscious response, but the effort is obvious.
For us, this is the most important issue in our marriage and has been for a long time. It sabotages her feelings of self-worth and trust, kills intimacy, keeps us from happiness. She says how would I feel if she did this to me, and she's right again, it would make me miserable.
My fear, of course, is that it's me, not the ADHD, and it's not something she can live with. And not something I can fix.
Any feedback on this tale, positive, negative, heartfelt, heartless, compassion, scorn, would be appreciated, because I'm flat out of ideas and the future is bleak.