very conflicted

I need some advice.  I am feeling so conflicted.   Let me give you a little history.  I have been married to an ADHD spouse for 13 years.  He takes his medicine when he wants to trying to ration it out knowing that I have said it is a non-negotiable for him to take it.  He spends a lot of time, I feel like, self medicating with alcohol.  Alcohol is a big issue in our relationship.  It always has been.  I don't like how much he drinks, and he refuses to quit.   On top of that, he has an incontinence issue when he drinks so he wets the bed or on the couch and generally I am left with the mess to clean up.  He has gotten better about cleaning it up, but still leaves it for me a lot of the time.  I feel like that is totally unfair but he refuses to see or admit that there is a problem.  We have been to counseling more than once, but he doesn't do the work that the therapists or counselor asks of us both.  He knows he needs to take his medicine but says if he takes the afternoon pill it makes him unable to sleep.  Unfortunately, in the afternoon is when I see him most, after I get off of work.  I am in the middle of the book The ADHD Effect on Marriage, and just yesterday I ready about how it must feel to be the ADHD spouse...only wanting to please your spouse but constantly screwing up.  I understand how that could be so frustrating and belittling, which leads to my confusion today.  So here is the scenario:

Yesterday, I started a load of laundry before I left for work.  Also, there were 2 birds that, for whatever reason, had fallen dead outside my back door.   He was still in bed, but awake, and I asked him before I left if he would clean up the dead birds and, if he thought about it, switch the laundry to the dryer when it was done and off I went to work.  He decided to come and have lunch with me since he was off of work.  When he came, I asked him if he got the dead birds and he grinned, which I knew instantly meant no, but we just laughed it off and he said he would do it when he got home.  I also asked him if he switched the laundry.  He said yes.  I said, "really?  you did?"  to which he replied "yes" again.  Not once, but twice.  We went to lunch, had a good time, and he dropped me back off at work.  I got home from work last night and not only were the birds not picked up, the laundry had not been switched. 

I have dealt with this kind of thing for 13 years.  I honestly didn't expect the laundry to be done when I asked him that morning.  I have come to expect that.  What really makes me upset is that he lied to me...not once, but twice.  I understand that he did it with the intention of coming home and getting it done without me ever knowing the difference, but he didn't and I did find out, and this is not the first time things like this have happened.   About 2 years ago, he lied to me in front of a bunch of people and I made a complete fool out of myself because I got so excited, and it turned out to be a lie.  We almost split up over that one.  It was the straw that almost broke the camel's back because it had happened so many times.  I told him then to not lie to me anymore.  Just tell me the truth.  I would have maybe shaken my head if he would've have said he didn't do the laundry earlier in the day, but instead I blew up because he lied about it.  It ruined the whole night.  If there is something I can't stand, it's a liar.  I would rather someone tell me the truth and take the repercussions than lie and think in doing so, the outcome will be better.  It never ends up that way.   Then to top it off, he drank several beers and guess what happened?  He had an accident all over the couch.  He did get up and wash it before he left for work, but I have to put it together when I get home.   

So, after reading up to that point in the book, I feel like I want him to know that I still love him, but he needs to realize how big of a deal this is.  The alcohol, taking his meds correctly, etc.  He thinks I blame everything on him not taking his meds, and honestly, a lot of the time I do.  I think the reasoning behind that is that we were married for about 5 years before he was officially diagnosed and I saw what a difference the meds made in our relationship.  Now I can tell instantly whether or not he has had his pill.  I feel like I am trying to learn about ADHD and would jump in to try to help him with it but he just gets defensive.  I hurry and put the book away when he walks in because he will get irritated if he finds me reading it.  I find it's better just to avoid those kinds of battles.   I am just at a loss today.  I feel like I am made out to be this ogre of a person because he didn't intentionally forget to do it, or intentionally lie.  I know that, but I feel like it is unfair for me to just pick up and be ok with never being able to rely on or trust  what he says.  I am really trying to put myself in his shoes and think about how he must feel today.  I know he feels bad.  I know he feels unloved and incompetent and worthless and that has got to be horrible.  I hate it that I am the person that makes him feel that way, and I hate it that I have become this bitter, untrusting person.  So, I want to tell him that I love him, but I also want him to understand that something has got to give.  Meds have to be taken.....CORRECTLY.  I am so frustrated.   I have been telling him this our whole marriage.  Things gets better for a while and then everything goes back to normal. 

Another factor is that we have a daughter who is 9.  She and I are very close.  She sees how much he drinks, she sees me frustrated, and she sees how unreliable he is.  I am concerned for her because I don't want her to think that this is how a man should treat a woman.  I don't want her to see me unhappy.  Fortunately, she missed the blow up last night because she is visiting her grandparents, however, she has seen it before.  I really try not to fight around her because she gets very upset so I try to stay very calm, even when we are "discussing" an issue.   He, however, does not.  All of this has just come crashing down on me today and I am just very overwhelmed right now.  I don't know what else to do.     


this story terrifies me

i have so much empathy for where you are at... i understand the lying thing - i have just discovered today that my partner of 2 years has been watching pornography online, using my business computer.  and not just any porn but ones that are violent with women, and of young girls.  i'm horrified.  i've known he had a porn collection which he told me he threw out but i found it yesterday, and now this.

what i'm discovering through reading posts on this site is that several "themes" are consistent - abuse of substances, lying, hiding, defensiveness, thinking there is nothing wrong, blaming the partner for their behavior rather than taking ownership of the adhd behavior... reading stories like yours is helping me realize that i can't marry this person or have children with him.  i'm terrified of living this life any longer and am thinking it wise to get out before i'm in too deep.

i love him though - and see so many positive traits - but the negative are far outweighing. and i'm exhausted. i don't have much hope left.

one thing i have always said is that i would rather be lonely on my own, than deal with bullshit. and i know there's always bound to be some from both sides, but when it outweighs what you're putting in, for far too long well... and yes you do need to consider what your daughter learns to be acceptable behavior from a partner.  a tough situation and i send you much love and hope though i have none for myself. hugs.

Thank you.  If nothing else,

Thank you.  If nothing else, sometimes it's nice just to know there is someone out there who understands.   I hate to be the Debbie downer, and sound like a shallow person, but I would tell you not to get married to this person.  At least right now.  Not until you KNOW that he will take medication and will be an upstanding citizen and partner.  Something else you need to think about is your children.  You can monitor their medicine and behavior much better than you can your spouse, but your chances are high that you will have an ADHD child and you need to be prepared for that.  I do not have that and I am thankful, though I know I would have loved her no matter what.  It's very different if you are the actual parent rather than the person acting as a parent to what is supposed to be your companion.  I think it is something to consider before you marry him. 

After re-reading your response to me, I also agree that these traits are very consistent with ADHD people.  They aren't all the same, but the traits are very similar and consistent.  I feel like if there is a medical condition with help available and a person chooses not to get treatment, there is only so much you can do. 

Hugs to you too :)

There needs to be boundaries

Especially if you have a child in your house.  let him know he cannot get drunk and wet the couch in front of your daughter.  It's not ok.  It is VERY traumatic, I can tell you, for a child to see her father drunk.  Also, the incontinence may be a medical issue.  Tell him to ask his doctor about it.  Maybe even get some adult diapers if he refuses to stop drinking.  You should not have to clean up the mess.

I admit I've lied about things and played 'catch-up' so as not to get caught.  I do all of the housework, laundry, cooking etc. for our family of four, so it's more related to stuff like remembering to log my earnings for my freelance business into my tax files on the computer etc. or remembering to deposit a paycheck.  The last time I lied about anything was when my husband asked me if I logged my earnings for the week, I said yes, then when he left for work 5 minutes later I immediately logged everything in because i know i'd forget and get 'busted' if i waited.  Of course what I SHOULD have said, and what I would say today, should he ask is, "No - but i'll do it right now."

Your husband should ask his doctor about correct dosage etc. so that he can take an afternoon pill without it resulting in insomnia. If he can get back on the meds, it will help  A LOT.  Any chance he'd be willing to read the book with you?

I agree with everything you

I agree with everything you have said, and I'll admit that I have told lies like that too, but then I make damn sure I take care of it!!  I know that's what he intended to do also, but he does that all of the time and then doesn't remember to take care of it! 

I have told him about wearing adult diapers.  He gets really pissed then but I don't care.  He knows I'm right but won't correct the problem.  My daughter doesn't know that it's him, unless she has figured it out on her own, which is possible.  I have tried to protect him and say that it was the dogs or something when she gets up and the couch is all torn apart or I have the bed torn apart.  Only one time that I know of I couldn't get away with it and had to tell her he had an accident.  I know he was embarrassed, as was I.  

I agree that he needs to see the doctor, and after last weeks blow up, he agreed to do so.  Now, we'll see if he does it.  I am very skeptical.  He tends to smooth things over so I'll shut up and then go on.  If I bring it up he gets all bugged again and sometimes, it's not worth the battle for me so I don't bring it up....until the next time.  I don't know if he would read the book with me.  It annoys him when I read and learn about new things, and especially if it's ADHD.  I don't know what do do with that.  I figured I would get through the book first so I can better understand ADHD and then see if he would read it with me. 


 I don't know what a spouse can possibly do to get an ADDer off his or her duff to get treatment...  For me, I had to get there by myself and realize after smashing my head against a proverbial wall of failure all my life that something was profoundly wrong and maybe I should FINISH the book I had purchased on the subject of ADHD. (Sari Solden's Women With ADHD)  It had become a joke that i'd bought a book about ADHD, but still had not been able to read it 5 years later....  I still haven't read it all the way through and I don't even know where it is, but what kicked me in the head was, "You mean I'm not Lazy, Stupid or Crazy?"  It was such an eye opener and convinced me to try medication.  I'd thought meds were just for hyperactive kids... not so... AND I thought ADHD was behavioral and all my fault and if I could just get my shit together i'd be ok... someday....  When I read that it is neurological and WILL NOT EVER GO AWAY I was relieved that I am not simply an evil, stupid clueless thoughtless f*ckup, the same time I mourn the fact that I am not, nor will I ever be normal.

Sadly, by 9 years old, if your daughter has seen your husband drunk/knows he wet the bed/couch that 'one' time, she's old enough to know it's really him every time.  Maybe point this out to your husband and he may be inspired to get to a doctor.

I have been really aggressive about trying to get better and trying to heal damage to my marriage that I didn't even realize was there.  I read Melissa's book and my husband started it, but he's busy with other things and I know he doesn't really want to deal with any of the 'work' part of it.  I think though, since he realizes that our sex life might improve... or, well, we might actually HAVE one he's considering reading the rest of the book!  we'll see....

I hope things are getting better. 


Ellemenno... What you just posted mirrors my thoughts unlike any other post I have read.

""You mean I'm not Lazy, Stupid or Crazy?"  It was such an eye opener and convinced me to try medication.  I'd thought meds were just for hyperactive kids... not so... AND I thought ADHD was behavioral and all my fault and if I could just get my shit together i'd be ok... someday....  When I read that it is neurological and WILL NOT EVER GO AWAY I was relieved that I am not simply an evil, stupid clueless thoughtless f*ckup, the same time I mourn the fact that I am not, nor will I ever be normal."

That was the first book I had read in ten years and I read it in 4 days. I felt the same way as you stated. Underachiever, mean, bad, stupid decisions throughout my life. I was Elated to find there was a reason for what I thought was just "Me". Nobody was like me, or so I thought. It does Suck to find you have a brain disorder that most people think of as a joke "Excuse for bad behavior" disease too. Your quote is EXACTLY the way I feel and would have written it word for word.

Wow is all I can say...



And though you say it

And though you say it yourself- that you had you be ready and do it yourself.. I ask both you and yyz, did you guys buy the books yourself? What made you do so when it (i assume) had to be the scariest prospect of facing your worst fears- of being that mess up you all seem to feel you are? My DH just cant get past that block, facing his adhd (cant even stand to hear the word, though he takes meds... Still not able to get past his anger, anxiety, and depression). He now states he is not motivated to do much, still drinks too much (out of view of all of us), and continues to blame me if we talk about our relationship (behind private doors). He is NOT happy, says so, and states he is not "in love" with me anymore. But also says leaving won't make him happy either. He states he has fears of what will happen if he stays, but can not seem to say more. He is very depressed. And he is still here (seems to be waiting for me to kick him out). I will not, I am his family, he is mine. At least that is how i still feel. It is pretty depressing around here, but I am pulling myself back and trying to move on with my own growth. I know I can not help someone in this kind of personal turmoil, though I love him. I know that I and the kids need to be happy, and while he is here there is some stability for ALL of us. And yes, I scheduled my own counseling session again because he wont do couple any more. Any other smart ideas, I am all ears... Btw, am really in awe of you both- you have such strength.....

Train wreck in slow motion...

That is what I felt like I was living... I think my DW and I were just getting by for years, like room mates, busy with kids, work and constant financial strain. Events in my life, like the perfect storm, piled up all at once without a break to reset and I began to have anxiety attacks that scared me straight to the doctor. These attacks were new to me at 43, so I had to do something. I met the psychiatrist for the first time and when he mentioned (within 10 minutes) that he knew I was ADD, I was very doubtful... He asked me to get the book, read it and come back and tell Him what I thought. He threw a "Challenge" at my hyper-focus and I think I read it just to prove him wrong. I was not one of those ill behaved kids that needed an excuse for my stupid decisions made through out my life, motivated by selfish needs.

I read the book in 3 days and highlighted all the things that were me! I could not believe it...

I was lucky and reacted well to the first med I tried. (Adderall) I knew what it was like to feel good for maybe the first time ever. This feeling drove me to want to understand more and kick this ADD thing's A$$! I always beat anyone or anything that made me feel bad or look stupid. I knew what I was dealing with and began my study of how to make things better for me and the others who have had to deal with me. (The real hard part) It is really hard to realize how my inattentive ADD has hurt the ones I love the most. It was going to take a lot of time to make things better. Once you set the impression, it is REALLY hard to reset this impression and I'm not the most patient guy in the world. My post diagnosis ADD life has really been the roller coaster, as I never knew I was on the ride.

Please give yourself a ton of credit by standing by your family. You are obviously trying very hard to help your husband through this difficult diagnosis. He has to figure this all out and I'm sure all of us ADDer's have different methods. Maybe you can tell him that YYZ and Ellemenno know what it's like to feel as he does. I used to think I was the only person who felt the way I did, because of my self-driven choices. ALL ON ME, no excuses... This simply is not true.


We have lived the room mate

We have lived the room mate marriage for so long, and it seems we are there again. The hardest thing now though is his directed (at me) indifference. He goes out to have fun with his friends, acts sweet with the kids, and looks and acts towards me like I am a big nuisance. I was/do fold under the strain because of my innate tendency towards low self esteem... And that makes this killer. I dont know how much, truthfully, that I am acting in strength, stupidity, or fear by letting this continue on. I work, but we still relie on his much bigger salary and benefits. If he were gone things would be hard on the kids and me from a financial standpoint. The emotional aspect is huge too obviously - I do think that even if and when I get a selfsupporting career (thank goodness kids are slowly getting old enough, which for me is the self limiting factor to going full time), I would NoT end it with my dh. My daughter adores him as does my son- and yes, I love him too. That is what keeps me in "trouble". He gets mad when I talk relationship- that is what triggered his last violent outburst..he wanted to go to sleep and i wanted to continue our conversation of our dynamic and how to improve it. He had an all out angry scary tantrum-- including slapping himself, throwing a plastic cup of water at me, and yelling. I know that is nuts, and perhaps I am suffering from some form of ptsd (i dont think so?!)... Since then, we are standing back though doing activities with the kids jointly, and having better conversations - he tends to make comments that sounds like he feels I am calling him lame, stupid but that is coming from within himself. I see it as bizarre and unhealthy behavior that says something is wrong - (duh!) and yet he has to figure it out himself. But he is also an alcoholic (I feel) and though has been not drinking as much around me or kids (1-2 f glasses tops), he is going out often. He frustrates me, I admit, because it is so blatant that he likes to party and hang with his friends (am sure he is NOT fooling around, at least yet!). In the meantime, I will stand back- and try to grow on my own, work on my finances and sanity. Dont know wht else iI can do... Thank you, though, for your support. I can not tell him about this site, unfortunately, due to his anger about all conversations about adhd.

Room mate

Sorry to hear about the struggles... There are two sets of low esteem in our house too, so I understand some of the difficulties. Indifference is hard to deal with too. I think it is worse than anger, because there is nothing to talk about and things just move along stagnant and very sad. I'm not sure what qualifies for PTSD, but dealing with an angry spouse can be so deflating. Like you are supposed to figure out what you are doing wrong to cause it and end up trying to not bring up issues that cause the anger, when That's exactly what needs to be discussed.

I know with my ADD, drinking nullifies the effects of my meds, which I don't like, so I don't drink much these days. Partying and hanging out with friends, drinking, sounds like classic ADD escapism and adds to the indifference at home.

Sometimes working on yourself is all you can do, as you know, if the ADDer doesn't want to do something, like accept his part in your marriage troubles, there is nothing anyone can do to persuade to participate.

Hang in there, but take care of yourself too...



Yes! The lying because he's

Yes! The lying because he's afraid to tell the truth that you'll be mad, but when you do find out, it's much worse. I deal with that all of the time. And I know what you mean about that smile... everytime I ask him a question and I see that smile... I know he's hiding something. Glad to know I'm not alone.