Hello to all. I've been reading the site for several weeks. What incredible validation (!!!) as I have read so many stories. I'm so glad this site is here!
I'm the nonADHD spouse. My husband hasn't been officially diagnosed, but after our kids were diagnosed... well, you know how that story goes. Right now he's supposed to be reading about ADHD at my request, to see if he can see himself. It fits so much of our life that I sat there with my mouth open, experiencing epiphany after epiphany! And yet of course, there are the various things that aren't ADHD, but are his own personal sets of issues that complicate things. He is his own unique person. Yet, reading here, I can see that he isn't the only one who has many of these extra issues. (Your posts have all kept me sane lately! When I feel down and mentally clouded about things, I come here to read, and voila -! Clarity again.)
The first few years, I tried getting him to do things, to be a help with anything... the kids, an occasional chore... That never worked. So I eventually gave up, and then I only focused on trying to get him to pay attention to me and the kids. I finally quit trying. It took awhile, but he eventually noticed that I wasn't trying anymore. And now he says he is willing to put in the work that is needed. Eh, I'm not getting my hopes up, because there's more than ADHD at play here. Instead, I'm trying to figure out how to live with him in this mostly empty relationship. If one day it gets better, then great, but no matter how long it takes or doesn't take, I have to reclaim my peace and my emotional health.
One thing I am wondering - do your ADHD spouses have almost no recollection of major parts of your lives together? Significant parts? He can't remember our older children's small years at all. He remembers none of the times (plural!) where we almost divorced. How does he not remember telling me that he was longer in love with me? How does he not remember how the separation came to be when we were separated? I could go on and on. It's all stuff that I don't understand how anyone, ADHD or not, could forget. The only things he can really remember with much clarity are related to his career, almost without exception, though there are a few.
Oh, and do they go to extremes when they are upset? Like, he had one of his own birthdays not go as he had hoped, so he told me that he's never celebrating another special day of any kind ever again. Or one of the kids will do something small that he finds upsetting, so he says, "You're grounded for a two months!"