So, I posted earlier this week that I decided to end my relationship with my DH of almost 3 years because of his lack of effort to maintain and work on his own condition. His ADHD has made life very painful for both of us, and I finally cracked. It has become a choice of spend time with my mother in another state because she has stage 4 cancer that isn't getting any better, or stay with my DH and work on our relationship. I have been on this treadmill for 2 years since his diagnosis but he still wont even take his meds. Here are the details if you want background:
The past few days have been brutal. On one hand, there is some relief that I can now move forward and not have this hurt anymore, on the other hand - I love my DH very much. And I hate to see him go down like this. He is spiraling into deep depression. He told me he hated himself, that he always had. He went to get his hair cut by my friend and she called me when he left and told me that she was worried for him, that he seemed like a zombie. That he was lost and seemed empty like a shell. Between that, his admission that he hates himself and then his care free, chipper attitude, I have been very confused about all this. He has shut down - that much I can see.
I haven't slept much, reading everything I can in this forum. What hit me the hardest was reading about the ADHD spouses and how hopeless so many of them seem to be. It breaks my heart. I know that if I pick up now and end things, DH will revert to the bad habits, and shut down even more. I could see him becoming a very lonely and sad person and that just breaks my heart. I decided to try something - I haven't seen many people post about this, but I read about one non-ADHD spouse who basically ran with the whole parent/child dynamic and laid down some very specific rules and very specific consequences that you would give a child. It WORKED for her. Her success has inspired me.
I sent an email to DH last night (so he would read it this morning). I told him that I didn't want to divorce right now. That I wanted to do a trial separation. These are the rules (copied from the email I sent):
Here is my offer (we can clarify any of this stuff with your input and what you want to negotiate on if you agree to this)
I will stay in this house for six months.
I will help you find a place to live during this period of time ASAP.
I will help you get settled into your new place.
I will pay for all medical, prescriptions and therapy.
I will again provide you all the tools you need to gain control of your ADHD and address the very deep depression you are in.
I will keep <your dog> here to help you find a place to live for this 6 months.
I will expect you to come stay at the house when I have to travel for any reason.
I will expect you to come at least once a week to visit with the dogs and to work with <your dog>.
For me to do this:
I will require that you have weekly individual sessions with our therapist, attacking your ADHD issues with a vengeance.
I will require that your go to your doctor to adjust your medication before you move out and again, minimum 3 months as long as you see some effect from the meds. If you don't have any effect, you need to go back to the Dr as soon as you know your are not benefiting from your meds.
I will require a minimum of couples therapy with our therapist every two weeks in addition to your one on one sessions. After the first 2 months we can reevaluate and increase or decrease those apts.
During this 6 months, I will expect you to be doing the work to take control of your ADHD.
During this 6 months i will expect that all promises made will be kept.
During this separation, this doesn't mean our marriage vows are over. We will simply be living apart so that each of us can self correct. I will be working on my own issues and doing my own sessions with Clarissa.
I would like you to consider working with an ADHD coach to help you handle perception and routine and priorities etc. I would pay for it.
I want you to read the marriage ADHD book I bought and sent to you're work before you move out. It's short and you can easily get through it in a month.
I want to keep our communications open, no lies, not betrayals etc. we will have to be completely transparent. Just like we are now.
I want you to gain control of this, not just to try and save our marriage, but also so that you can have a better life and not hate yourself anymore. Your ADHD is very severe and what I hope is that when you can take the time to work things out on your own with out the preasure of fear of failure and hurting me more.
It might be that by the end of the six months, we part and go our separate ways. But we will be better prepared for it, and we can end things on a more positive note. It might be that as you take control, your awareness and empathy builds and helps you make changes enough for us to start new. I want you to learn to love yourself and to build good habits of self reliance and care.
As we go through this separation, if you truly do love me like you say, you can court me again, but this time it can be sincere. I don't expect it, but I would not say no to dating if you get to the point that you want to be with me. You will have to give me reason to believe it other than words.
I want to take away the enabling that I have done which has not helped you grow. I am handing you the tools, but it is 100% your choice to follow through or to not follow through. It will be very obvious if you do these things, and i know that the first step is meds. It's going to be up to you to decide with out interference from me on what to do and how to handle routines.
I cannot do this for you, you have to be the one to decide if you are going to determine your own fate, or if you are going to let ADHD determine your fate.
As for me, I plan on getting control of my health, my sleeping and my hurt and anger. I also plan on getting back on track eating and working out. I want to regain my confidence and self worth.
You may hate yourself, but i don't hate you. I love you fully for who you are, and. I think you are pretty great as a person, but I don't like ADHD and what it does to both of us. I think this separation will help us handle what ever the outcome is better and with less anger and strife.
The ball is in your court. I am not saying that this will save us and our marriage, but it might save you and help you conquer your issues and it will help me deal with resentment and anger. And if we can make that's progress, then we can evaluate at the end of six months and either move on and divorce, or move forwards in retraining how we handle ourselves together.
I see this as what do I have to loose , especially compared to the gains.
I know that this will be hard, and will require a ton of trust. But I think that I can at least detach my self safely, gives me more time to work on my own issues and it might help him. We will separate financially etc - so I will be protected as will he. He will have to be responsible for everything on his own now. I also would require proof that he is taking his meds etc, the only way I can see that is if I tell him he has to text me or call me every morning to tell me he took his pills. He isn't opposed to taking them - he just doesn't.
He replied with in minutes of reading the email saying it was a good plan, and seemed very intent on wanting to do it. We plan on talking in detail tonight about it. Today, he came home, got his Dr. number and is planning to call him at his next break at work. Yesterday - he came home and for the first time ever, just started doing some chores around the house with out me saying they needed to be done. he went into our bed room and I thought he was packing because of all the noise and the drawers opening and closing. I went in there, and holy smokes.... he was cleaning and sorting laundry. I was so shocked I just started helping him and told him how nice it was that he thought about doing it. Told him that it was a great idea and that we can work on it together and get it done. The whole time we were friendly, even joking and it actually was a GOOD time. DOING LAUNDRY! haha The whole night was relaxed and good. And that what inspired me to consider a trial separation.
I definitely know that this could be the end, just being dragged out. And really - its likely that is what is going to happen. But it will at least give me time to recover, and to give him one last chance to work on himself with out the fear of failing me on a daily basis. And I will be able to walk away with a clear conscience, knowing I did everything I could to help him succeed for himself, not just for our marriage.
I would be really interested in advice, suggestions - anything to help this be successful.