On the Verge of Divorce- am I foolish to still believe there is hope?

First, I am just so glad I came across this forum.  Second, I can't help but be encouraged by how some couples have managed to successfully work through a marriage where one spouse has ADHD and the other doesn't.

My story is very similar to most on here.  I am non ADHD and my husband is ADHD.   He is also a police officer.    Beginning of our relationship was hyper focus, lots of lavish attention unlike I have ever experienced.  We were head over heals in love and to this day, so many of my friends expressed jealousy over how in love we seeemed and are now shocked to hear that he has moved out.   We are also a blended family with lots of kids- 6 altogether and in the beginning we were really "in it" together, we put each other first as a couple and were helping each other to raise young children.  Fast forward 9 years and 2 of his children are grown and out of the house and my husband has settled into a mid life crisis enhanced by lots of anger and common ADHD behaviors (anger, denial, paranoia, blaming).   He was on a large case for 6 months and worked long hours.  He started to drink more and more and the anger and blaming increased and I have tried everything I know to reason with him.   He either wanted to argue all night or shut completely down.  My husband that always bragged to his friends about me and told me how much he loved me started telling me what a bad person I was, how I was ruining our relationship and would routinely tell me to "take my girls and go" or that he wanted a divorce.   Some days he would be remorseful and say he had no right to talk to me like that and then gradually he stopped apologizing altogether.   The person I married is buried somewhere under layers of resentment and anger and my heart is completely broken.   He turned his anger on my daughters and started complaining about them, my oldest in particular.  She had a "bad attitude" (she's 17) and he would complain loudly about them both when he was drinking and they could hear it all.  He's had them since they were 8 and 5 and they are 17 and 14 now.  He has always said that he loved them as his daughters so you can imagine the hurt.  Almost a month ago, we were arguing, he was drinking and lashing out at me and the girls.  I tried to contain the argument in our bedroom, he was becoming enraged and there was no calming him down.  He caught my daughters eaves dropping in the hallway and he started screaming at them, my oldest daughter screamed back at him to leave us all alone and then he and chased them down the hallway.  I was in shock.  I ran after him and got between him and them and me and the girls went to my oldest's bedroom and shut the door.  I saw his face when he was chasing them-  it went blank.  It was like a switch flipped.  I grabbed my cell and called the police.   We were literally shaking.  Police came, and after talking to each of us asked husband to leave for the night.  He left and ended up moving into an apartment 3 days later- he actually signed a lease!   He said I humiliated him and that he will never be able to forgive me.    He said he never wants to see the girls again and blames my oldest daughter for everything!   He's telling everyone that he was "disciplining" my daughters that night and takes zero responsibility.  He has turned into a stranger to me.   My heart is broken- where did my husband go?   Where is THAT person that I fell in love with?   This past month has been terrible.  I cannot believe he is gone.  He stays in anger and continues to blame everyone except himself.  He states that he will NEVER move back in and threatens me weekly that he will redirect his paycheck, won't help with the mortgage or bills.   I ended up filing for divorce and filed a motion to force him to keep his paychecks in our accounts.  Divorce is the LAST thing I want but I have to keep a roof over me and my three children's heads.    He wants me to just foreclose on the house, we have a son together that I have been raising basically as a single parent because of his work hours. 

Husband is furious that I filed for divorce but what did he expect me to do?  He did everything except file.  He moved out, took everything he owned out of the house, changed his address and signed a one year lease!   I have literally begged him to go to marriage counseling and he refuses.  He said he wants to work on himself first... what ever that means??   He says that he still loves me but that he will never be able to forgive me for calling the police.   He brings it up every time we speak.  He won't even try for our son.    I definitely don't want him back as he is now but I am desperate for the loving man I KNOW is in there somewhere.  I am foolish for thinking there is any hope here?






Hope is possible...

I'm sorry to hear about what lead you here, but there are many here on both sides of ADD who can help. I'm an ADDer who has a similar story, at least in the context of the "Shock and Awe" that you are going through now. I was 43 and 13 years into our marriage before I knew what had been wrong with me all my life. I was the "Laid-Back" rock of consistency my DW always needed, we had always had communication issues but nothing too bad. When you mention your spouse being on a huge case, this is similar to my taking a new job for a big salary increase and leaving the job where I had worked with my wife (Different Departments) for 12 years. I jumped out of the safety of the steady job and I was on my own under huge pressure for the new job with crazy hours. There were so many new dynamics as we had worked together since our marriage began. All the stress of the job itself, plus new people to be around and late, late hours with them. Nothing ever happened, but I had always juggled the "Right amount of Oranges" in my life and had been quite successful, but know I had way more to Juggle, so to speak... I confided in new friends that I shouldn't have, then I knew the train had jumped the tracks, panic/anxiety attacks sent me to the doctor and my diagnosis. ADD explained so much, but was no excuse for what I did. It sounds like a similar situation could have pushed your spouse over the edge. One of the WORST ADD fears, to me, was being discovered that I was not that smart or not really good at my job, so I think this could factor into the equation. ADDer's can have enormous guilt about what they have done. Drinking is very common in ADDer's and it is one of the worst ways for him to self-medicate. I did so with food, so I was just miserable and very over-weight. The "Shock" you describe is what messed my wife up the most. I was flawed and she never saw it coming. This loss of trust fans the flames of anger and mistrust that we are still working on today. (2.5 years later)

You did the right thing calling the police... Your spouse must get help and you will need support too. There is hope if both work hard to rebuild the lost trust you had in him...


Thank you so much

Thank you so much for responding to me and sharing your experiences with me.     My husband just recently received his diagnosis of ADD and then tried to minimize it by saying "the doctor said I am not that bad".   I have told him that I have never thought he was "bad" or that his condition is bad.  In his dark moments he accuses me of thinking  of him as "mentally ill" which I have NEVER done. I only asked him to please see a doctor since chemical balance issues run in his family.  His Dad was diagnosed with ADD later in life and according to his wife (husband's step mom), he totally transformed once on the right medications.  He became more relaxed and loving and was always so sweet to me.  My husband remembers him as a tyrant as a little boy and abusive towards his mother.   Our son who is 8 has been diagnosed with ADHD so this is all the more reason for me to understand it better so I can help him as well.   My husband has frequently said that he is "not smart" because it takes him longer to fill out paperwork or write reports.   It's the distraction related to ADD, not his intelligence because he is very smart and I have told him so.   But I get what you are saying, he has been dealing with the negative self talk for years and it will take time to train himself out of that.   He did mention that he is seeing a new psychiatrist but is still refusing to go to any kind of counseling with me.  Maybe in his mind he is in self protection mode and is afraid to reach out.  

You mentioned confiding in friends that you shouldn't have.  I discovered that my husband has gone one line and responded to personal ads, even sending his picture to someone in hopes of getting a response.   He said he did this when he was drunk but it doesn't take the sting out of it for me.   Logically I know it's part of some form of validation he needs that he is still attractive. He's 46 and a little overweight and there is never been a time when I have not been attracted to him.   He said he feels  like I could "find someone better", which crushes me because he is the love of my life.

Would you mind sharing how you and your wife are rebuilding trust?  I will hang on to hope for as long as I can but as you said, it will only work if he wants it to work.

Thanks again,


I'm glad to share...

ADD totally runs in the family... The ones in mine: Dad (Undiagnosed, but I'm 100% sure), Sister #2(Diagnosed), Sister#3(Diagnosed), Daughter#2 (Un-diagnosed, but She is just like me), you get the picture...

Paperwork puts him to sleep... Boring... High intelligence is Very common, just think of all the famous Super-Brain people who seem quirky, the more you read about ADD the more you will notice the traits. So many of us don't get noticed because without the "H" hyperactive, you can easily be over-looked. Many of us develop great coping skills and I became quite organized (To keep from being fired/divorced/discovered) I knew something was wrong when I was finally pushed over my control limit. My wife said exactly as you state "I have never thought he was "bad" or that his condition is bad." My wife was fine with my quirks, unless she got mad about something, which kept me on the "Egg Shell" walk... To this day, she has not thought ADD was a problem and only saw that I got pills that made me lose weight. See my MANY posts about this issue.

Regarding the lost trust... Our marriage had been at the room mate level for years. I had this new stressful job and became friends with a co-worker (Female - Nothing going on At All, we just clicked on the projects) after several months we started talking about our families and interests and eventually I told her that my DW thinks men and women Cannot be Friends, because it leads to bad things. So I was already feeling bad that I had friends at the new job. I talked about my new friends to my DW, specifically to avoid what was happening anyway. My wife did not trust me. Long hours, new friends, so many unknowns... Life got colder at home and I eventually wanted some perspective from someone to improve my situation. My choices were: Guy friends: (Useless, other than commiserating), Female Family: (They would judge my DW and my life would be miserable) or a Female Friend: (Objective, she was happily married) this seemed to be the obvious choice. WRONG Answer... How was I supposed to know this would fall into the category of something I never heard of "Emotional Affair"??? I did not ever do anything physical, nor did I want to... I wanted help to save my marriage. I did not know how to communicate with my wife because she would over-react before I got the words right, proven time and time again.

Emails were discovered the weekend after I got my ADD diagnosis. I Never miss my meds and I keep on working on this, even though my DW thinks ADD has nothing to do with any of our issues. I can only fix me and do things better going forward. The trust is still not there... Only consistent behavior and time can eventually re-fill the empty trust bucket.


It's clear how hard you are trying

I only wish my husband would admit that he needs to work on himself, "fix" himself as you say.  He refuses to face anything, including me.  He literally will not even see me.   He knows I filed for divorce and has told me that he does not want to go to marriage counseling, that he wants to work on himself first to see how he "feels"and not address any of his  behaviors.   I am glad that he is finally seeing a psychiatrist, ( I saw the co pay charge come out of our bank account yesterday for a psychiatrist) and I can only hope that he is being honest with him or her about everything.  I found a counselor who specializes in adults with ADHD but he is not available to see me until December 7.  The counselor I was seeing told me to just give up and asked why I bothered to care about such a relationship!  I love my husband and do want to work things out but I cannot do it alone.  I need support, he needs support and we need  to talk to a counselor together.  It's not impossible but it feels totally so when he refuses me all the time.  I am not proud of this, but I ended up sending a nasty email to him last night... hanging on to my anger, refusing to let go of the past.  I know this does absolutely no good but my self righteousness took over because I allowed it to. He is gone.  He moved out.  I keep hoping that if he loved me, he would want to change.   I am trying hard to just let go, like Sherri has and I am struggling.  Trying not to beat myself up.    

Your wife is still living with you, she has not given up by virtue of her presence.   It has to be hard though, to be close but so distant.  We lived like that for a while too.  I was distant because he became so cold and his hateful behavior towards me and my children wore me down.  Then, right before he moved out, I tried to literally physically hold on to him.  I did not want him to go!  I know he does not understand his behavior and is blaming me instead.  It's so, so sad because I truly feel that with a little bit of help, we could steer ourselves out of this hell.  Each day he is gone, I feel lessens our chances of getting back together.   I am going to try my best not to lash out anymore.  I think what set me off is the fact that he is not communicating with me at all anymore and our son said that my husband won't be able to pick him up until Saturday.  I immediately jump to conclusions and believe he has a date Friday night.  My self esteem has taken a beating through all this and maybe the separation is God's way of telling me to work on myself, so I am no longer co dependent.  I deserve more than what he has given me. 

I believe that if you keep trying, your wife will soften to you.  I feel your pain and if you keep loving her, and keep your heart open without expectation you will receive great love back. I have faith in that!   I need to do the same myself. 

Hugs to you!

Good sign...

Your spouse going to the psychiatrist is a REALLY good sign that he knows something is wrong and out of his control. You filing for divorce may have been the "Kick in the Pants" he needed. I know it is hard to believe that being completed ignored or shut out by the ADDer does not mean they don't care, believe me... It is a paralyzing feeling knowing your spouse is angry and you know what you have done got you to this point (Poor communication a large part of the issue) and now you need to say something to improve things, but there are 500 things going through your mind, as usual, which thought will help? which will dig the hole deeper. The ADDer could shut-down now or have an outburst to the internal frustration / anger at him and "Anger" wakes up an ADDer. What could make all of this worse? I don't know... The distance can be good and bad. He could compile his thoughts while there is less pressure/guilty feelings seeing you upset with him at home, but separation can also be bad if he does not grasp the ADD mentality of "The Great Escape", which is easy to get to when things seem hopeless. I've thought this at times, but fought through the thoughts of it being easier to just be by myself with nobody to answer too/disappoint and how much less chaos would be around me, but how lonely is this place? Not seeing my girls everyday would kill me.

I know the anger is just what is on the surface of you, with so much pain and sadness deep down inside. In full ADD mode it is really hard to just see the anger for what it is and know it because of what the ADDer has caused. Trying to hold back the anger, just a bit, can help break the ice. You have a right to be angry for sure. Really understanding you have ADD is a big shock and takes a lot of processing to see that you can correct the bad stuff and repair your relationships.

Hang in there... This can get better :)


On the verge of divorce...

OMG, my heart goes out to you. I too am married to an ADD police officer. The similarities in our stories are uncanny. I asked my husband to leave because I was just about to call the police during our last fight, but I did not. He left and has not come back. It has been 3 months. I am heartbroken and want to remain married. We are going to counseling separately but he refuses to go together. I too miss that loving, caring man that I swept me off my feet 16 years ago. He has so much anger and is so defensive I don't even know who he is anymore. It breaks my heart.

I am so sorry

Hi Sue,

I am sorry you are going through this too.  It's the not understanding of why this has happened that weighs on me as I am sure it must be for you to. Why do they do this?   He redirected his paycheck today and I am crushed.  We had promised each other that we would not do that to each other and he did it.... said he didn't live in our house anymore and is no longer responsible even though the divorce petition says he has to.  I feel like he is only interested in punishing me and it has felt like that for months.  I am not sure if the anger will ever soften in him.   Such a waste and a shame and it's hurting everyone.  It does not comfort me when family and friends say "one day he will realize...."  or "he will be so sorry".   I spoke to him this morning and he still views himself as the victim.  I hang on because I miss the "old" him so much.   He sounded medicated this morning.  I know he  is seeing a psychiatrist and understand it takes time for any progress but he is still saying I "showed my true colors" and that's why he left.  We've known each other for 14 years and married for nearly 9.   It is heart breaking and I wish I could just fast forward through this painful time.

If you ever want to direct message me, please feel free to send me an email.  I would love to talk.

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And there's also this...

Through the field I work in I've known and worked with cops most of my life, though I am not in law enforcement.  Marriage to a cop can be extra challenging, even without ADHD.  And by needing to have the police come to the house, you now have the extra difficulty of "the job" being aware of the problems.  This will be very challenging for him to overcome... You know cops go to domestic calls all the time, and he's got to be feeling shame about it happening in his own home.  If/when you are able to seek counseling, I hope you can find someone with experience working with law enforcement families as well as ADHD (sounds impossible, but who knows.)  The "true colors" comment might be that he feels you somehow let him down or didn't support him when his behavior was revealed to "the job".  And that can blind him to any acknowledgement of his responsibility.  Best wishes and take good care of yourself.

Believe me, I know...

I appreciate your comments. My last counselor I went to actually had experience in working with couples where one was a police officer.   She said that she found that when most cops "flip the switch" like my husband did in terms of their anger, they rarely go back.  Incredibly discouraging to hear as you can imagine.  I need someone who understands both ADD and the ego centric aspect of being a cop.   It's such a large part of their identity and I totally get that but.... working with cops you must have heard about plenty of dysfunctional, crazy stories about marriages.  I sure have and thought we were solid enough a couple to be insulated from that.   Now with all that said, my Uncle is a retired cop and was acting police chief before he retired.  He was also the liason for the Employee Assistance Program for his officers.  He told me domestic situations involving cops was very common and for me NOT to feel guilty for calling (like my husband tries to do... every time I speak with him).   Yes, I called the police.  So 9 years of marriage has to end?    His ex-wife cheated on him for years.... with his own Captain!  They divorced and ended up reconciling for a while.   He forgave her but not me.  He said what I did was worse.  Like I said, no accountability for scaring the girls. For scaring me or for his escalating anger and harsh words for us all.    I agree his true colors comment is really about him and not me.  Still hurts to hear that.  I told him he needs to look in the mirror.  I know he is getting support from his friends and family who have all turned their back on me.  The difference between my support system and his is that mine is willing to support him as well.   I do hope he keeps up with the counseling, for his own sake.  He still sends me texts about what a "terrible" person I am.  Sigh.   I look forward to my next counseling session.

For Sue, if you are still reading this, I have started to draw boundaries for the first time since all this happened.   I had been allowing him to dictate to me what he would take out of the house, when he would see our son, etc.    He's had our son every weekend since he moved out a month ago.  I decided to keep him home with me this weekend which made my husband furious and he is now accusing me of preventing him from seeing our son.  This is just the way his mind is, he automatically goes to me being the "bad" person.  I have had enough of that.  I miss spending the weekend with my son, that's normal and we both need that. 

We are not bad people at all.   Trick is to actually believe that and move forward.




Cherron, try accessing my profile...hopefully you can get to my email address from there. Would love to chat...