Too aware of other women

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.

not sure if others will agree wit me, but...

If you love your wife and want to stay with her, you need to continue consciously focusing on her and trying to avoid looking at other women when you are out together.

AND- don't tell her that you're making this effort and that it's hard for you. Keep that to yourself. I know you thought honesty was the best policy- but people don't need to share every little thing... this probably hurt her to hear that paying attention to her is an active struggle...

I find certain topics of conversation or hobbies of my husband's boring as hell- but they mean a lot to him (hockey, home decor, stereo equipment)  He has told me he feels unloved when I don't ask him about them... So now- I have trained myself to ask him about them... I make the most neutral face I can and I ask- even though I couldn't care less about them... because I DO CARE about him. I try my hardest to listen to his answers and sometimes even throw in a follow-up question to show him I was listening or to show him I care enough to get the details... even though I am often completely uninterested. FINALLY- I don't then tell him- I was having a hard time listening because my ADHD causes me to be bored to death by that topic. Instead I just suffer through the moment doing the best I can and then we move on...

I suggest doing your best to not look at other women and if this is hard at first, avoid places where there are lots of attractive young women (restaurants that only hire young hot girls), etc... while you practice this. And if you have to look, wait until your wife is in the bathroom and make sure that by the time she's out you are studying the menu or looking on your phone or whatever... just not talking to or ogling at another woman. And then, finally- don't talk about this and how hard this is- unless she brings it up- and even then, think hard before admitting you are constantly distracted by other girls.

That's my honest advice. But some people may disagree with me.

Good luck!

Other women....

Well,I am the non-ADHD wife with this problem from my ADHD husband..I did not know of this problem until one day he was at my work place helping me cash when suddenly he started to stare down this girl"one of my customers at the time"and then I realized..wow!!! we have a problem here...I really never thought that it was an issue until he did it again to the same girl and then on and on to some other's...we would go out and he would gaze,in the grocery,in the dance club,in the casino, everywhere we went he did it....I confronted him about it and he denies it of course,then he continued to oogle no matter what I did....he is indeed a sex addict,addicted to porn,sex,women and the likes...I have a really hard time dealing with this.....

When we talked about the porn thing,he confessed that he watches porn a lot, so he would not cheat on me and that he would be able to stay faithful because he is so sexually active and we don't live together so he needs to do that...okay I would admit that I did in fact had a breakdown b/c of this, and the woman thing I am learning to ignore that by now....I am doomed to say ,and I would be damn that it's either I accept this and move on with him,,,,or don't accept this and move on without him...I am at a lost either witch way I try...makes no sense,,,,I hate this very very much....hunts me,trust me...

I have been dealing with this thing since I know him now 1 year and 7 months...I love this man,and that is the only reason why I am still with him...any one else...and I would be long gone by now trust me.......

I can't give you any advice on this,but I would say this much,it will bother your wife,it bother's most of us,it's normal to be aggravated,angry,mad and then it's natural to have a sex breakdown after that in a marriage,but if you really love your wife and want to make it work,just be clear and honest with her and let her know that you would never do any thing to hurt her like that....I wish you all the luck..

from:lovehurts....

VERY late post to this

This post really is what I've dealt with for almost 30 years that I've known my husband.  We recently went on a Caribbean vacation and had this problem.  I've tried to work on this myself by telling myself to give him the benefit of the doubt.  It's normal for guys to glance at attractive young women.  But it still HURTS!  He doesn't do it a lot, but it has caused a number of problems over the years.  The entire trip was fine.  He's very active and so he does his activities while I sit on the beach. He'll come back now and again.  I knew there would be women in bikinis and so I prepared myself and we didn't have a problem.  If I don't SEE him looking at other women and their body parts, then it doesn't bother me; but I do think it's rude to do it right in front of your spouse.  I definitely think that his problem has contributed to my lower self esteem.  I actually felt pretty and relaxed. He was very attentive and caring - until the last night there.  A pretty YOUNG girl came in wearing a VERY short romper to a restaurant.  I noticed her and noticed my husband noticing her.  Then we sat down to dinner.  I saw him look at her as she and her family left the restaurant too.  Even up to then, I wasn't super bothered.  But, we go to another place for dessert and there she comes again with her family!!! I saw that he watched her come in.  EVEN at that point, I wasn't super upset.  We were with another couple.  I didn't want to say anything in front of them and it was a small eatery.  I would have been mortified if he said out loud that he wasn't staring at the girl in the romper (believe me, I've learned that lesson the hard way when we were first married).  I started getting pissed when he turned his head completely away from my direction to look at her standing at the counter giving her order!  Then when he turned back to me, he could tell I was MAD.  Didn't say anything but he could tell.  Sure enough, when she leaves, he WATCHES HER AGAIN!  I thought I controlled myself and gave him the benefit of the doubt the first 3 times!!!  After talking to him about this he says he remembers the girl, but doesn't remember she had long blond hair (yeah, he was focused on other things); but he remembers what she was wearing.  (I'm sure he does).  But, he says that he wasn't thinking of her in any lascivious way and that he doesn't even know what he was thinking.  I told him what he SHOULD have done.  I guess my point here is that because it may be due to his ADHD, this will always be a problem for us????  I too felt that if I did this to him, he may understand how hurtful it is.  I actually think of his feelings ALL the time and wouldn't disrespect him in that way.  But, my husband's life mantra (which I gave him, not something he has chosen) is that Intentions are what matters most.  Well, I don't think so!!!  Even if someone's intentions are not to hurt someone, is it STILL okay to hurt them repeatedly because you don't do what it takes to make it LESS likely that you will unintentionally hurt them?  He has boundary issues and he's been made aware of that problem after YEARS of problems with it, so maybe the ADHD and boundary issues make this problem unsolveable. I don't know.  Just gets to the point where I don't want to care anymore.  Hurts less if you don't care.  We got through a HUGE hurdle in our marriage a couple of years ago (almost ended the marriage) due to his boundary issues.  HOW common and normal is it for a spouse to be unable to look at other women when they are sitting right next to them?  Has anyone ever been able to get their spouse to change?