What to do when DH is denying that he even has ADD?

DH was diagnosed with ADD a couple years ago, but he does not think it's a valid diagnosis.  He was treated with Adderrall at that time and nothing else, so it didn't go that well.  He hasn't taken anything for it in at least a year or two now. 

I am now at a point in our marriage where I have to decide which is worse--being a single mom with two young boys (7 and 1) or being in a marriage with a spouse with untreated ADD.  It's that bad.  Everything I read here rings true for me--shouldering all the responsibility, feeling like a nag, feeling ignored by him, lack of sexual intimacy, he always says he'll change but never does, I sometimes refer to him as my 3rd child, he walks around in his own world, his mood swings are unbearable, he is totally inconsistent in his parenting, I feel like I'm walking on eggshells all the time, he can spout off random facts that he's read but can't remember what I told him to feed the baby for lunch. 

I am very angry and have been diagnosed with depression.  I am taking anti-depressants and seeing my own therapist.  We are not in therapy together.  I have always said that my #1 depression symptom is anger--now I wonder if my anger is in part due to his ADD (I read somewhere here that the non-ADD partner often presents with a lot of anger).

He is finally in therapy (after I threatened to leave) and has mentioned the ADD to his therapist, but it's not being addressed as far as I know.  He probably wouldn't even be in therapy if I hadn't said anything.  He said he's going to save his marriage--he would have never sought it out if I hadn't asked him to go.  Now that he has started going, he is angrier than ever.  I know he's been talking about issues with his mom.  She was just visiting us for a week and it did not go well AT ALL.  He is very upset with her, which is spilling into our life here at home.

I talked with DH about my therapy and how my therapist was helping me to see his behavior and what was going on in our relationship through the lens of ADD.  He was LIVID.  Absolutely LIVID.  He is upset that my therapist is diagnosing him based on what I say (I guess the psychiatrist's diagnosis doesn't count) and resents bearing the brunt of the blame for our marital problems.

I thought we had finally stumbled upon something that would help explain our martial and personal problems that have been going on for the last 7 years (since the birth of our first son).  I had so much hope!  But I am now at the point where I cry everyday and I am having a hard time holding things together.  His denial and refusal to seek treatment are a deal breaker for me.  Being a child of divorce myself, I never wanted to seriously consider divorce, but I CANNOT continue to live like this and still respect myself.

How do I help him understand?

Could you both go to

Could you both go to counseling together?

First he needs to admit that his ADD does affect the marriage. Then you need to admit that your anger affects is just as deeply. He needs to take full responsibility for changing the things about his ADD that are damaging to the marriage and you need to take full responsibility for your part. The blame game is where most people get stuck..."I'm only angry because of your bad behavior" "I only behave badly because you're a controlling nag!" He chooses his behavior, you choose yours. It isn't working. It never does.

It is good that he wants to save his marriage, that is a good start...but until he admits that he NEEDS to go and he needs to address the ADD, it will be nothing but a waste of time and money. Melissa has some very insightful and helpful blogs under her "Melissa's Favorites" here..I would suggest starting there..maybe forwarding him some of the information to read. He has a disorder that causes him to 'check out' of the marriage and do things that are hurtful..and you have (just like the majority of the rest of us) reacted with anger (born out of frustration and hurt typically) and that has made things twice as bad for everyone. The anger is as suffocating as the ADD symptoms themselves. This is managable. It isn't an easy fix, but you both can be happy..together..if you're willing to make some life changing choices and try something different for a change.

You're not alone...it always helps to know that. ((HUGS))


I agree

I agree with Sherri on this, it won't get better until you both admits that you need help. I have a similar situation at home, I also have 2 boys, older than yours. This has been going on for 13 years, except for one year that we were divorced. I went back with him thinking that he had learned his lesson, that everything we had gone through was enough for him to make a change, but it wasn't. He has not only not changed, but gotten worse. He stopped medication completely and his reason is because he doesn't have health insurance (he doesn't work on top of everything else and we are divorced so I can put him on my insurance). He is definitely my third child.

But after I started reading this site and posting here I came to the conclusion (which i knew but was in denial about) that I can only change myself. I need to take care of myself first, be the best I can be. Whether he is going to follow suit or not is yet to be seen, that's what I hope for, but can only hope. I spent the last 13 years trying to make him do something he doesn't want to do. It doesn't work. It needs to come from him.

I was also diagnosed with depression one year after we were married. I cried everyday and couldn't function. It took me this long to realize I have to take care of my depression ( I was on medication on and off for several years but stopped a few years ago). Now I am going to the doctor to get a another prescription and going to start counseling.

That's my advise to you. Hope this helps.

Good luck.