very frustrated with adhd husband, especially over money

If I could get some insight here on my situation that would be great.'s just adhd..and sometimes...i wonder if it's just someone who is just selfish and anti-social..  that seems harsh but the following should explain everything.  I don't know what to do now.  I'm trying to weather through this....but stupid things keep happening and when it effects finances...what do you do???  that is what I need suggestions on.  I already am taking over the utilities.

I have read several of the posts over the months here but not all of them.  I see a theme of people who have add or adhd...who do not pay attention to detail and the non add/adhd partner feeling overwhelmed and/or ignored/unloved, etc.  Right now I am more in the category of feeling overwhelmed.  my husband has adhd and takes medicine for this.  He still struggles. He can be very impulsive, doesn't think ahead as a rule, is generally disorganized, and even though he is good with money...he is very bad with practical matters of paying the pills on time.  (too many times utilities have been shut off...and he has been clueless as to why?!!)  yesterday the check book was in the red by 200 dollars....and he didn't know why... He isn't an addict, etc. We have 80 some accounts and 3 houses...  right now it's overwhelming....  With ADHD...the details are lost to him...yet... 

He has a high energy job in corporate sales handling multiple million dollar accounts.  So I resent that he can keep charts at work keeping all this organized and yet fails to do this at home, yet he complains all the time his boss micro-manages who knows what really goes on their. 

This year we had a sheriff at the house and almost lost it.  his impulsive decision last year over a salary negotation almost took away our house.  What was worse was I told him not to take that salary offer.  He makes so much more than me...and we just couldn't keep up with the morgage payments.  He told me he made that decision 7 months after.  (at the time I was very sick and had to be hospitalized...when I got better he told me...)  I still feel betrayed. 

Like I said, I'm taking over the utilities and checking up to make sure he paid this and that..(it's putting me in a parenting role) it's not good.  however, if I don't do this...than stuff gets shut off.  I"m overwhelmed and starting to loose it myself.  I woke up at 4 something this morning sick to my stomach working about the bills and if he is handling them right.  Cause so many times he drops the ball.  I'm so resentful but mostly scared.  I don't sleep well and we argue constanly now about this.  I'm loosing so much respect and trust with him.  We even talk of divorce.  

Anger, Frustration, Money

Here's is what I do.  I pay the bills, and don't sweat it anymore.  I was so resistant to pay the bills and manage the money on my own before because I felt it shouldn't only be my responsibility, and I was right, but you can be correct to a fault.  Someone has to manage the money responsibly, and if that person is you, then that person is you.

I got a separate checking account, and twice a month, when he gets paid, and I get paid, the bills get paid out of my account.  We don't split them down the middle because he is on my health insurance and I don't take anything out of his paycheck for that, but I make sure we both have some spending money for the week after savings, fuel, groceries, donations, etc.

I'm telling you, it's so much better than waking up sick every night because you are afraid to lose everything.  Believe me girl, I was there, it ain't worth it.  Yes, we fight over money, but after 3 months of having everything paid on time, no late fees and having cash in his pocket, he doesn't push it too much.  And, if he does, I just quiz him about how much money is in the account, how much has he spent, how much was this bill and that bill.  After not being able to answer my questions, he lets it go.  I let him know when funds are low and he shouldn't spend, and I always invite him to help pay bills or simply tell him how much things cost.  He listens for the most part, but I think is pretty relieved not to have to have that pressure, and I am relieved that we are financially secure. 

Actually, this arrangement is more common than you might think, I work at a bank, so I see it a lot.  It seems pretty even across the board gender-wise also.  Our married clients always have one person who just more in tune with the  personal finances than the other.  Also, from personal experience working with folks in sales, they don't seem to be detail oriented unless it directly relates to the big picture.  They bring in the business and let operations crunch the numbers.  Sales folks are big picture people, even at a bank.  It's their assistants that add everything up and make sure it gets onto a power point or spreadsheet.

very frustrated by susi78

My husband has adhd, is on medication and sees psychiatrist and counselor.  Even with all of this help, he still struggles.  He doesn't think ahead, is disorganized and bad with practical matters, also.  Of course, I'm just the opposite, which does place me in the overwhelmed category.  My husband can be impulsive but this has improved somewhat after I put our financial crisis down on paper and showed him just how much debt we were in.  It was a tough time for him, he hit 50, spiraled into a midlife crisis, I hit him with the debt situation and he was diagnosed with depression and adhd.  My husband is into the stock market and can tell you just about anything you want to know about the stocks he has invested in and how each of them do on a daily basis as he watches the charts all day long.  Unfortunately, I have taken care of paying our bills, among other things, all of our married life (27 years), so I hesitate to just turn over everything to him, which I would love to do because I'm tired but feel this would overwhelm him even more.  He does help out now by getting online and paying the bills but I still keep track of when they are due, etc.  I find improvement is going to be a slow go.  I hope GOD gives me the patience to endure and I hope that is your case, too.       

I ask myself everyday

Since the non ADD spouses all seem to be stepping up to the plate and are taking care of all the bills, children, housework, going to work/school etc then what exactly are we all doing with these ADD spouses that are doing nothing in the relationship and doing nothing in the area of daily living responsibilities?? Love only gets you so far..

I ask myself the same thing on a daily basis

I ask myself the same thing all the time. Why do we stay in such unhappy marriages with people who can't or are not willing to step up and make it work. I am almost at the point to throw in the towel. Up until now, I have thought that "we" could "fix" or "overcome" the problems in the marriage caused by both of us. I've realized over the last 4.5 years, that is not going to happen. It seems like he just doesn't care. I've had mental health professionals tell me that he is still in denial about his problems and wants to blame the rest of the world. With that mentality, we cannot successfully manage our problems. I often balance with my happiness and the fact that I am wasting the best years of my life unhappy against the fear that my children will suffer after a divorce. I fear the life they will live when with him (i.e. pig sty house, no real meals, absent-minded father...) answer your question, I stay because of waning hope and fear of the future.

Why do we stay?

I don't know why all non-ADD spouses stay, Anon. Everyone's reasons will be different.  Perhaps, like you describe, there's a general theme of personal investment.  The roller-coaster that is this disorder (or the appearance of it) involves lots and lots of apologies and lots and lots of promises to do better in the future. So, you believe - for another few months or maybe another year. And then things don't ever get better - and then you get abused more. You wonder if you hang in there long enough that all that pain will be "worth" something "when" it changes.

Perhaps many non-ADD spouses share a part of my story; they get so battered down with someone else's warped reality that they're not sure what else is out there.  If this disorder really does exist, I wouldn't be surprised if it comes in clusters, just like addiction can.  You know, when someone raised by an addict finds the behavior of another addict to be "normal", so they marry that new addict? Maybe it's like that. Maybe the non-ADD person has no idea what it's like to engage with people who actually act like grown-ups. Speaking for myself, I really don't have any idea what it's like to be in a close relationship with someone who doesn't expect me to carry them through life. My mother was like that. A huge chunk of my close friends were like that. My husband is like that.

Maybe many of us just spend our lives being "The Responsible Ones", so we don't question when our spouse just can't handle life.

Now that I have a child I see what it means to have someone be genuinely dependent on me, I have zero patience for an adult who expects me to carry him through adult life. I resent the fact that my husband's negligence subtracts from my time with my son, because I have to spend additional time and energy working around his sabotage and doing all of the things he will not do.

I see a lot of non-ADD spouses posting here who have young children. I often wonder if they came to the same epiphany I did once they were parents. Maybe they too carried everyone else in their lives and never questioned it until they had to carry someone who - literally - could not walk on their own.  Now, they're beyond their patience limit with those who simply refuse to walk on their own.

I'm just like you. I stay because I know just how bad and dangerous things will be for my son if he EVER had to stay with his father.  I know the "intent" to pay child support will be there. I also know that it will be several months late several times a year, so it would be best for me to never count on it arriving.  I know that I will need to earn a GREAT deal of money covering the hire of other people to do all of the work I used to do when I was the one organizing my home.  It's not like my husband will ever be responsible for any of it.

So, just like many non-ADD spouses here, I have my own educational, career and financial plans that had to be made around and in spite of my husband's chaos.  Those plans will take some years and my son will be of a safer, older age

If my husband gets better, then he gets better.  If he doesn't, then at least my son will be old enough to assert his own needs that my husband will "not be able" to arrange.


Thanks FabTemp

Thank you for your words.  You understand me perfectly.  How sad...  So sad and so true.  I deserved a better shot at love and marriage than this.  I can only blame myself though...  I'll be in this marriage for a few more insane years but them I'm out as soon as my children are old enough in my mind.  I can't live like this forever...and it doesn't seem like he accepts and desires to make a change in his life that will improve ours.


The advice of the person who said "see a lawyer and find out your rights" is very good.  So is finding out what you need to do for supervised visitation with your kids.  Will it be better that the child is 12, sitting on top of the car (out the sunroof) going 60?  (True story I heard recently) because it seems "cool"?

Don't take control of your spouse's life...but DO take control of your own.  You owe yourself that much... it's easy, when you are feeling beaten down by events and perhaps depressed, to convince yourself you have no control.  Wrong.  You do.  If you want to start brainstorming ideas here on that topic, that might help a lot of people (and you would get lots of good support, too.)

I fall into the category of

I fall into the category of the medicated ADHDer who can't manage money if my life depended on it and bills don't get paid---its overwhelming to me to handle finances and pay bills ON TIME. And if you think YOU are overwhelmed by it, trust me your husband is 100x more overwhelmed by it. I don't know what the division of labor is in your family regarding household work (maybe because I missed it in the post) and who does what...but if I were you and were of able mind/body to do so then take over the finances and give him one of your "jobs" instead. I know that none of my partners even want me touching the bills, and I'd much rather clean the house in return (less overwhelming to me). Focus on his strengths. I don't think that he should have absolutely no responsibilities at all though, thats not what I'm trying to imply. But I agree with someone who posted earlier and said just take the finances into your own hands and stop making yourself sick over it because its probably just not going to get any better.

I ask myself the same thing on a daily basis

I can totally relate! I stay for the exact same reason! I am terrified of what would happen if my husband had visitation with my three children.. I can't even imagine leaving them alone with him for more than an hour or so. I feel so trapped and helpess because of his ADHD. He has destroyed our finances, our relationship, and he is starting to have a bad influence on our children. I just don't know what to do! He is still in denial about his condition and blames the rest of the world for his problems. And he has flat out admitted that he is incapable of ever telling me the truth... he is a pathological liar. And, ironically, all that I have ever asked from him since we dated - was honesty! I feel so angry, hurt, betrayed, disappointed, frustrated... this just isn't fair. He won't take his medication regularly - so he is on a constant spiral.. when he blows up (usually from being caught in yet another lie) it is always in front of the kids... he has no sensor that tells him what is right or wrong... he has been convicted of embezzlement.. thinks nothing of check and tax fraud.. as long as he doesn't get caught or go to jail - then he is good with it. I fear for my children's wellbeing.. as a stay at home mom - I am trapped - he has told me before that if we get a divorce - he will go back to the UK - so that he isn't required to pay alimony or child support. He has given me these three incredibly beautiful (and so far ADHD-free) children, and he seems to love them, and says he would do anything for them, but yet he will just walk away from them if we get a divorce? I don't want to end up homeless or on wellfare! I think that ADHD should be tattooed across each diagnosee's forehead, like a disclaimer, so that innocent people like me don't get sucked into their world! It is so, so unfair!

re:daily basis

You DO have options. I would suggest finding a lawyer (many give free consults) and asking them about your rights, ask about visitation-especially with the history he has and criminal activity he may only get supervised visits, ask about child support and if he should flee the country, what are your rights. Ask. You feel powerless, but you are not powerless. You and your children have rights. Good luck!

Small, incremental improvements

I stay with my husband because no one on this planet will love and care for our son as much as we do and because we are genuinely are compatible in just about every way except for those functional things that everyone has to do regardless.  Who else is going to come home after a 10-12 hour day at work and play trains and read books with my son?  No one.  There is no one else that I can enjoy South Park, Nova, NPR, and radical leftist ideology with all at once on the planet.  After I got on my gardening kick, he got all excited with me and is looking into raising goats.  No one else really gets my desire to live on a sustainable farm somewhere in the wilderness with wireless internet and a satellite dish so we can keep up with our favorite sci-fi shows on fox.  I have never met someone with so much respect for women who isn't also a slight sycophant.  We're a smorgasbord.

Also, it's important to remember and recognize the small, incremental improvements.  He is about 60% better than he was before the therapy and medication, and he really does get better at it every day.

re: small, incremental improvements

Having read so many posts like the one you're responding to has made me want to be a better husband and father and I think this forum should be required reading for any people with ADD who are in a position of being a spouse and parent. However, the forum is becoming increasingly churlish in some respects.

Thank you for providing some sorely-needed balance and perspective here.



Welcome to the desert of the Real

                                       -  Morpheus


I like your word churlish I haven't heard that it a while. I would have to agree in some respects there seems to be churlish. At this time  I'am reading the book superparenting for Add BY DR.Hollowell. In a chapter he writes about how adhd children and adults were treated in history. Talk about anger and the awful things that were done It made me cry. I know its difficult on both sides of the Adhd spectrum. I don't think anger helps anyone I should know I was there too long. Thats were boundaries really helped me and to know that I don't need to let the anger take me over. I'am a non Adhd spouse and I'am seperated from my Adhd/depressive alcoholic husband. Its much more peaceful now but I have to say how sad I'am for my family and myself. I miss the man I married 13 yrs ago. There are no easy answers but venting with a lot of sarcasim and anger is certainly not a good outlet. I believe  Love conquers all and that is in the end the most essential attribute we can do to each other and for each other. Keep writting I like reading your posts . Cheerio!


You aren't angry because your adhd spouse is gone.  You are separated from him.  We are still sticking it out.  There is a big difference.

 let me say that my Point was

 let me say that my Point was that anger destroys life! Do you think my husband has disappeared from my life? No, I still see him because we have children and a house we own together,and bills and 13 yrs of stuff and we are only seperated not divorced!!!. I will say that I'am angry at Adhd and what it does to my husband. to say that I'am not angry because my husband is gone I hurt deeply because he is gone.I refuse to let the sun go down on my anger anymore though. Is it more peaceful well yes.We have tried to stick it out and it was a lot of anger, arguing etc...we saw how it hurt our children and even how it was effecting them and us. Is there a big difference between my life and yours well yes I wouldn't expect you to have the same life. If you mean my life is peaches and cream now I don't think so. I will be losing alot and my children miss their father living here and oh yes I'am having surgery next week and I may have cancer. I wish all of you the best on this forum. I don't think I will be coming back for a while (I'll think about that). I think there is a little bit much of like David said churlish. God Bless you all I truly mean that and will be praying for you.... I'am Optomistic and will be till the day I die..

your point was made

Optomistic -- I'm sorry that you were hurt by my reply.  I don't think that anyone on this forum wants to spread any more hurt.  I believe there is a lot of frustration, anger, pain and sadness in all of us.  For many of us, this is the only place we can really vent, and relate to others being raw and honest about our similar situations.  To proselytize about anger and how we should not be angry is condescending, hurtful, and hypocritical in your case.  I don't think you meant to hurt, but you did.  I only wanted to point out that it is easy for you to tell us to stop being so angry and that love conquers all after you have left the spouse with adhd and have achieved more peace in your personal life for doing so.  Many of us are still trying to make our marriages work and struggle with all of the emotions involved -- including being honest about our anger and frustration.  This is a much healthier outlet than letting that anger out at home, in front of our children, and demoralizing our struggling spouses even more. 


Ya, there is a need to vent.

Ya, there is a need to vent. In some cases anger and frsutration have built up for years and this is one of the few, if not only, places where it has a place to come out. Especially those here whose spouses refuse, even in the face of all the destruction, to see someting is wrong and is determined, it seems, absolutely determined to drive the last nail in the coffin - "Its not me...YOU take the pill" !  I see it and see myself through your eyes. But bitterness and seething resentment are destructive to everyone, especially, of course, the children.

I recall an online forum where people were dealing with their spouses various types of infidelities. You had the full range - people wanting to understand why, people right in the middle of it frustrated in their attempts to get their stuborn spouses to stop their destructive behaviours and those of us who were trying to move forward, to come to terms with what had happened and pick up the pieces; same as here.

We all had to go through the various stages - and anger and resentment were definately part of it. But there were a relatively small minority of those that - I can't really explain it - they seemed to revel in it. The sardonic sarcasm and bitterness had morphed into a cartoon caricature of itself. They were vulgar and would lash out at anyone who had the audacity to suggest they temper themselves or look at things from a different perspective or look for solutions. Eventually, they ran off everyone else and it just became a 'Hee'Haw' of fish-wives ( and husbands ).

There isn't anyone here like that. But anyone of us, if not careful, could become like that. ADD's taken away enough - why let it complete the job by taking away all the good things about us, leaving a nasty shell of what were were?


Men and women, women and men. It will never work.
                                                            - Erica Jong


While dealing with my ADD spouse I equate some of the emotions that I have experienced (and from what I've read here from others dealing with ADD or a spouse with ADD )with the stages of grief. We need to not be so judgmental of each other, especially here. Don't you think people already know that feeling anger and resentment isn't healthy for us? We don't need to hear that and be criticized especially when we are only trying to be heard. People move through the stages of grief differently. Some stages we move through quickly, we linger in others, revisit some often, some only once briefly. Regardless of how your journey though these stages is, its your journey. Feel what you need to feel when you need to feel it and express it-here or with a counselor-but express it so you can grow and move on. Don't feel shamed into feeling or not feeling something. Feelings are not good or bad-they just are. Grief doesn''t have to leave you with can develop into a stronger better person.


Points well made. I see many people at many different stages of the process. Some are still angry and need to vent. Others have finally found some peace. Hopefully all (adhd and non-adhd) will find their peace eventually without hurting anyone else -- especially their children.


I would like to reply to the comment about the forum on adultery where people were run off the forum by a noisy group of hate-filled people...

There is a lot of anger here, and I try to temper it when I think it's getting out of hand, because I firmly believe that it is one of the key contributors to the downfall of many of these relationships.  Put another way, if anger isn't dealt with, the couple will divorce...and if they don't deal with anger then, they'll end up miserable even AFTER their divorce.

I have deleted a few (fewer than 10 in 2 years) posts from people, particularly those who post anonomously, whose anger I deem to be very personal towards another poster or destructive because I want this to be a safe place to post and, yes, vent...constructively.  I will continue to watch.  If people here think I should be firmer in my stance about what people say, I would consider that.  (My thinking is that these posts sometimes provide the "shock" value to others who might look at them and say "wow!  That's really ugly, and it sounds just like me...")



I am sorry if my comment hurt someone and was churlish. I feel bad about it and am embarrassed. I'm sorry. I'm not dealing very well with my situation and I'm trying to deal with my anger, and frustration at a situation that I have helped cause. My sincere apologies.

Thank you for posting

Thank you for posting something positive and giving me something to look forward to in my newer marriage of only 2 years. My spouse has ADHD and recently has been able to get health care coverage so I've been on the phone frantically trying to get him in to see a Dr. to get proper help with this. Our first 2 years of marriage have been crazy and I've finally come to realize that I need to be much more in control of finances and getting him the help he needs and I believe he wants as well. I read so many negative postings of people who regret marrying someone with ADHD it makes me wonder if I want to have kids with my own spouse and if he will ever change significantly and it does scare me sometimes. Anytime I feel doubtful I read postings like yours that focus more on the positive and decide to do everything in my abilities to make this marriage work and I am thankful I have a husband who recognizes that there is an issue and that he needs to get extra help for this.

Not trying to be negative

I am seriously not trying to be negative but PLEASE do not have children with your husband until you are absolutely sure that he is doing everything possible to work on treating his ADHD. I am newly divorced. I dated my husband 7 years and was married to him for 7 years when things fell apart. I did not know until a few months ago that he had ADHD. It was after my 7yr old daughter was diagnosed that he realized he had it as well. It explained SO much about why life with him seemed so chaotic. I used to tell people after we separated that even when he was home from traveling with his job, her was never really "there" per say. I always felt like a single parent. He was always running around working, running errands...on the phone...basically distracted. I just thought it was him and that he was a very driven person but I realize now that it was the ADHD. He basically started disconnecting and had an affair when my second daughter was only 2 months old. After talking with my therapist, she said that with everything else he was trying to juggle, adding that 2nd child was just too much responsibility for him. She said that many adults with ADHD find parenting responsibilties to be difficult. I am not saying all ADHD Adults....but many. My husband was one of those. I am now left to basically raise my 2 daughters on my own. Since he left 2 years ago he has only taken them overnight one time and only spends time with them when it will fit into his busy workaholic schedule. Before I knew he was ADHD I really thought he was just selfish. Then I was convinced he was a narcissist. Now I realize that his self-focus and Hyper-Focus on work and what he feels like doing instead of what he should be doing is directly related to his ADHD. My youngest is 2.5 yrs old and the older one is 7.5. It has been a tough 2 years trying to do it all on my own. I love my girls and would not trade them for the world but I would have never had them if I had known that I married someone who was not in it for the long-haul and really could not deal...and did not want to deal...with the real responsibilities of raising children. I wish I could choose when I wanted to be responsible for my kids....just pop in here and there and have "fun time" only. I was angry for so long after he left us...but now to be honest...I really feel sorry for him. Until he really takes his ADHD seriously and gets treatment...he is going to continue to have the same issues in his next relationship that he had in our marriage. And frankly I do not envy the next person that ends up with him if he remains untreated. She better have alot of energy, alot of patience and she better be ready to ride the roller coaster with him.

Paying Bills

Taking over the bills isn't the same thing as parenting.  All it is is taking a sensible look at where your strengths lie and where his lie on an issue that is critical to your marriage.  The fact that he can do it at work doesn't mean that he can do it at home.  He has different support systems there, I suspect.  And, managing lots of accounts that big may well take a different skill set than paying small, boring bills.

NOT paying the bills, and the stress of thinking your spouse might not be paying attention to them is doing a lot more damage to your relationship than paying the bills would.  So while it would be more work for you to pay the bills, ultimately it sounds as if it would be better for your health and for your relationship.

That, of course, is a slippery slope.  You can't take over everything that he forgets or doesn't do, or you end up in a mess.  But I do make an exception for the financial side of things because lack of financial steadiness can take a marriage down in no time at all, particularly in these high-stress, uncertain times.  The trick will be figuring out a way to talk about it that doesn't create resentment on his side.

If it makes you feel any better, I pay the bills around here.  And it's a good thing, not because he pays late, but because his filing system is so disorganized that we would never know WHAT was going on if I didn't pay them.  Plus, he's only interested in the big bills, not the little ones, nor all the "coordination" stuff, like census forms, town requests, etc.


I AM MARRIED and i have ADD and my wife pays the bills. Its not that i dont want to. Im just disorganised. I find it very hard to concentrate on anything. I work 2 jobs and im actually getting a 3 rd one. Im not a bum. I work hard and provide. I dont cheat. I am loving. I cook in my house everyday and i treat my wife like a queen. Im trying to rejoin college again for a 3 rd time. I know this time ill finish. I just cant focus on anything unless I try veryyyyyyy hard. Its sad to see people condemn us. You should be strengthening your spouse through prayer and love. LOVE DOESNT GIVE UP. My wife gets upset with me cause she also doesnt understand i have ADD. Most people just think you are irresponsible or dont want responsibilities. So what ive started doing is making sure when she does the bills im there. I have to force myself to be there. If anything was to happen to her, id want to know how those bills are paid. I have a generous heart and i will always be feeding the hungry or doing some social work. ADD is just a disease or weakness like any other. Id hate a spouse who is not understanding. You non ADD sufferers think its very easy. ADD is not a decision we make. It stresses us too.

another ADD "sufferer"

I'm brand new to this site.  Hello, my names is... and I have ADD.  The first thing I want to do is affirm jerry123's comment that "ADD is just a disease or weakness like any other."  Of course, it is perhaps more accurate to say unlike any other.  But I think his point is that we are all human and, therefore, imperfect.  The hard part, I think, is that, unlike many diseases, ADD is not very well understood, even by those who have it; much less so by their loved ones, friends and business associates who don't have it.  I know that I am difficult to live with in some (perhaps many) ways and some of those ways are a result of ADD.  On the other hand I know that I posess and share generously many positive qualities.  And like jerry123 I do a good share of the work that needs to be done around our house and I am loving, honest, caring and faithful and have a good work ethic.

Whether ADD exists in a marriage or not, it takes commitment and hard work on the part of both spouses to make it work.  I like what someone said, "Marriage won't work if both spouses put in a full 50%, they both have to put in 100%."  Either one believes in the marriage vows or not, "to love and to cherish, in sickness and in health for richer, for poorer," ...  I think part of our problem in our culture is that we somehow bought into the ideal of Ozzie and Harriet as a happily married couple.

I hope all of you can find the strength, endurance and patience to work through your problems - even with maddening ADD spouses like jerry123 and me.