Trying again?

I was married to an ADD (inattentive type) man for 26 years. It wasn't too bad until we had children, very late because of his reluctance. I needed help and a real partner, and he was just one more 'kid'. We live on a farm, but he refused to do any farm work, but also couldn't hold an outside job, either. He did a little cooking, and little childcare (when he felt like it). I basically did 90% of all the work. He was depressed and miserable and made all of us miserable. I finally couldn't take him dragging us all down, so I kicked him out and divorced him.

He moved back to the city (he's a city boy), got a good job, and seems to be happy. He comes back often to see the kids, and after 5 years of divorce, we've started 'dating' again. Things are good; he's here every weekend, and much nicer and more attentive. He still does stupid ADD things, but he apologizes and does what it takes to repair any damage (he NEVER did that before). I don't ask anything of him, but he buys some groceries when he's here, and helps out a little around the farm.

We haven't discussed it, but I'm sure we are both thinking about him moving back here when he retires. Part of me wants that, but a bigger part remembers vividly how bad it can get. I've been instinctively backing off and keeping it from getting too serious. Is there any way to know if he's really changed, or if this is just the 'hyperfocus' period, with just fun,  no responsibility or pressure, and if he moves back in I'll eventually once again become a non-entity/housekeeper to him? Prying him out of here the first time was SO hard...it took a full year and a lot of angst. I don't want to go through that again.

sullygrl's picture

Wow Lynn

Lynn, I have been reading some of your posts, because it looks like you have gone through what I am planning to go through with divorcing your ADD spouse. And it seems like you have come out on the other side as a strong woman, a good role model for your children about expectations in a relationship, and more.  You already know what life was like with him, has he changed enough? Is he doing anything to manage his ADD (medication, cognitive therapy, etc)? Apologizing might be enough for a while, but tying to fix the things that make the majority of mistakes happen in the first place would be better. 

Obviously only you can know what is right for you, but I would draw up a "contract" of sorts before allowing him in the door permanently. Let him know there are expectations, don't change anything legally so it will be easier to move him back out if you need to. Tell hiim it's a "working test period" :)

Sullygrl, Thanks

What worries me is that he ISN'T doing anything for his ADD. He stopped the medication because he thinks he's better, and he never liked counseling (he's been to 5 or 6, not counting the many marriage counselors). When the counselors started asking the tough questions, he bailed out.

He's really behaving well, but it's just weekends, and there's no pressure on him (I make sure there is very little work that needs to be done). Our dating is still new and exciting to him; I wonder what will happen when the newness wears off. He's functioning very well at work, but that's a different setting than home.

I'm not sure he'd go for a 'contract'; he always hated anything in writing because he couldn't deny it or twist it like he can a conversation, but I'm in a position where I can insist and hold him to it.

LynnW, I'm happy for you

LynnW,

I'm happy for you and your ex-DH!

I understand your concern and hesitation when it comes to your Dh's behaviors. You make a very valid point in that is his only around on the weekends, there isn't a pressures of day to day life with a partner and kids, and he isn't treating his ADD.  But to me the most telling is when you mention that when counselors begin to ask the tough questions, he bails. 

I maybe overly warily right now but honestly, when my DH took himself off the meds, gave up his calendar/schedule and then refused all counseling - he jumped ship on our marriage.  So I feel that while he can "run" his own life without all of the above, I question how long he will be to keep up (his room is a mess after only a week). And there is that hyperfocus thing.  

I think I saw a post of Melissa's here to another poster that had recently moved in with an ADDer (not married) and the poster was questioning where their relationship was going due to the ADD.  Melissa's advice to her was - to not intertwine their finances.

So perhaps if he moves back with you, then the finances stay separate and you have very firm and specific boundaries for yourself and him.  Maybe knowing prior to him moving in what you are willing and not willing to accept from him. 

I truely hope things work out for the best - you have worked so hard to get where you are.  You deserve all the happiness you want :)

PS Love that he DID remember you for V-day - and that he worked hard to make it special. 

Finances

My ex and I lived together for many years before we got married. I owned the house and he paid me rent. I handled all the bills. It worked out so well that way. When we married and had children, I quit my job to stay home with the babies. He took over the finances, and that's when all the trouble started. He liked the control, and gave me money in tiny little bits, like $20 to grocery shop for 4 people. I had to beg for bus fare (I didn't have a car, with two little kids). He wouldn't give me access to his checking account, but was pretty slipshod about paying bills (which were still all in my name). Putting my life and credit score in his hands was a mistake. I won't ever give anyone that kind of control over me again.

I thought having a man take care of me was what marriage was about, and couldn't understand why I didn't feel safe and secure (cause I wasn't, and he would have thrown me under the bus to save himself). I don't know if that part of him has changed, but I don't need him to take care of me anymore. I think we are both happier that way.

Update

He emailed me and asked me to go out to dinner at my favorite restaurant for Valentine's Day. He even made reservations. Awwww...he remembered.

sullygrl's picture

Awwww

That IS sweet. It certainly shows he is trying, and paying attention, and that is really what matters, isn't it? Ok, I will give him points, lol! 

Valentine Update

He took me out last night for Valentine's Day (he won't be here on the 14th). It was very nice. He had it all arranged, opened the car door for me, and was very polite and attentive. Today he is even doing a little home repair job that I asked him to do (but didn't really expect him to get around to doing). It's kind of scary to see him so nice and attentive; I'm waiting for the 'gotcha'. I hope I can get over my issues with the past and see that maybe he really IS changing. It's SO hard to forget...

sullygrl's picture

awww that sounds so nice

And thoughtful! That he arranged it AND remembered you had a chore that needed doing is pretty impressive. planning and follow through are the toughest things and it sounds like he is adapting to handle both. While people can't change their personalities, they can change their  behaviors.

I'm soooo happy for you (and jealous, I will admit). I hope it continues!

Asking the ADD monster that

Asking the ADD monster that lives inside of me .. it might be that the farmer life is not stimulating enough for him. In the City there is a little bit more going on, it's a little more impulsive like him and much more stimulating. With this he recovered from the depression that developed from being under stimulated. I am absolutely not saying that life on a farm is boring but  it's not for every one. It seems your husband didn't care much for the farming chores.
I myself have suffered the mental consequences from being under stiumlated from the ADD and it's awful. 

Wow Kippei

You hit the nail on the head! He's a city boy. At first he said he wanted to move to a farm (he even picked the location), then years later said he only did it to make me happy and he could never be happy anywhere but the city. He didn't do me any favors by moving here with me; he made the whole family miserable and almost cost us everything we ever had with his financial negligence. He now lives in the city again but still calls this 'home'. I've been thinking that it may be better to keep this weekend arrangement forever, rather than have him move back here when he retires.