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.
Submitted by Gladiola on
I like that you put it in an email so you can reference it again with him, if needed. I started this tactic with my husband (like he was an employee- haha) when my eyes were opened and I realized he kept misremembering or denying that we had any conversation regarding important subjects. It didn't make him remember more, or more accurately but it shortened the conversations when I would just refer back to the email in question. No more he said she said.
I bet giving it one more final Hail Mary pass, different strategy, trail separation before divorce will help you work through any regret that you may experience if it can't be worked out. You can then walk away with your head held high, knowing that you truly did try everything even if it delays things. I know when I laid out my 6 month plan to my hubby that was my intent. Hopefully, though, the message will come through and he'll get it. Crossing my fingers for you.
Gladiola - you cracked me up
Submitted by SpaceyStacey197... on
Gladiola - you cracked me up with calling it my "Hail Mary" play- that is exactly how I described it to my friend and my DH's mom when I told her what was going on.
Your post is encouraging - did your tactic work? Was he able to finally make the connection and work to manage himself?
Submitted by Gladiola on
It's Super Bowl weekend coming up-right? ;-)
Yes, no, and so far so good. We actually didn't know about the ADD when I put it out there. I just knew neither of us were happy and something was very very wrong and I didn't want to be around him anymore . I couldn't deal with it anymore and we had been through marriage counseling where he laid all my issues at my feet, I changed what I could and he stopped wanting to go. Fast forward two years and I'm so miserable that I needed to do something that I told him- "you have 6 months to figure your issues out. There is something at play here that neither of us can get a handle on, make an appointment with a therapist and figure it out" He did the typical adder thing and procrastinated and didn't make an appointment. We didn't separate bc of the kids but I moved to another room. I kept a calendar and circled the 6 month date and reminded him, what he did with the time was up to him. This seemed to make him spiral, and it wasn't until I started seeing a therapist for my issues (wanted to make extra sure it wasn't me) that she suggested ADD. I researched and found an ADD specialist in our area, read Melissa's book, made him an appointment,wrote him a very similar email and reminded him that he had burned a month and a half, and this is the specific things I needed to see from him. He exploded a couple more times and I set additional boundaries, and so far he's been diagnosed (very severe in attentive with very poor impulse control) and started meds a week ago. So far 4 months in, it's looking for the first time in years- hopeful.
The List is a Little Ambitious for a Depressed Person w/ADHD...
Submitted by ADHDMomof2 on
As a person with ADHD, I think your rules are very clear, but there are simply too many of them.
Your husband might be enthusiastic now, but in a few weeks, he may not remember the details, find it arduous to sort them, and even if he does, have great difficulty acting on them in real time, even if he carried a printout with him everywhere.
I think a Top Three list is far more realistic. Finally, these are your goals, not his priorities, necessarily. My best changes have been the ones I have initiated. I hope that I am wrong, and that he wants to change of his own volition.
ADHDMomof2 - thankyou so much
Submitted by SpaceyStacey197... on
ADHDMomof2 - thankyou so much for your comments, especially coming from being an ADHD person. I was worried about that initially - but I have found that with DH, I have to be VERY specific and step by step. Even on the simplest tasks. So some of that is flavored because of that. He has a hard time really understanding and interpreting things, something we learned in therapy. As long as I am very clear about expectations and deadlines he does pretty good. If there is any wiggle room at all- forget about it! ;-)
Really the top 3 are 1. make the effort to manage his ADHD, 2. Keep his promises to me (about betrayal and certain behaviors), 3. choose his OWN path. Everything else in there is just defining those 3 things at a more detailed level. I think maybe when we sit down and talk about it tonight - we can re-write it together and make sure he understands and make sure that he can follow it (taking your suggestion in mind). I want him to start slow, and build on good habits, hoping that other things fall in place after.
Part of his problem is that he has no ability to define priorities. They change with the weather. :-) And even when its something he loves, he can see something else and his priority is forgotten. He seems eager, and he genuinely seems to want to make changes, and like the pattern you defined - he is enthusiastic right now with a history of loosing interest, not remembering and excuses of "I dont know". Because of going to therapy for all these years, and having this diagnosis for 2 - its me saying ok, time to DO it or I am moving on. Its a short amount of time, and I am asking alot - but its the exact same things I asked for 2 years ago. He has run out of time to do it in our home. Now he has to condense alot of that and show some improvement. Please keep in mind - improvement to me is him showing a consistent effort and responsibility to take his meds and believe it or not - brush his teeth. :-) If in 6 months he is still making mistakes, but is doing what he can, showing real effort - to me that is success. If he looses interest in a month or two, and only goes through the motions - well then I will know that its time for me to move on. Its scary and a risk for sure. But I love him for who he is. Even his ADHD side- when he is in control. It makes him who he is, all those good things aboug ADHD people that I admire. Fun loving, spontaneous, forgives easy, laid back... its only when those negative traits come out that its a problem.
I hope you are wrong too ! :-) But I wish you all the luck in the world, and admire your commitment to initiate the changes you need to make and to stick with it.