What do you do when you can't rely on your spouse?

I've been asking myself this for years (even before we knew he had ADHD), but I go through periods when I am obsessed with it, and now is one of them. I try to find advice to single moms, because I figure I am almost (but not entirely) like one. I search for every possible way I can set my life up so that when I get sick or super busy/stressed, I can have everything under control without having to turn to my husband for help, because he won't be there for me. For several years now, he has been responsible for providing dinner two nights a week, and lately, he keeps flaking out on one of those nights, but I don't know until the last minute, so I've started searching for recipes for freezer-to-oven meals (no time to thaw when you find out at dinnertime that your spouse isn't making dinner!) or super-easy but healthy meals (our family is tired of fast food and Lean Cuisines -- sad, isn't it?).

I fear falling into a serious situation like cancer, because I know he won't be there for me.

It's not that he is evil. He just can't be relied on, and when I have complained, he has gotten upset. So, I've stopped complaining. I have done my best to give friendly reminders, but even they don't seem to work. Case in point, this past Sunday (a night when he is supposed to provide dinner -- this has been his chore for YEARS): He left for an event around mid-afternoon. Before he left, I asked, "Are you still making dinner tonight?" He said, "Yes." As it got closer and closer to 6, I wondered at what point I should call him and remind him he said he was going to provide dinner. I was poaching chicken for one of those freezer meals I mentioned. He walked in, and I said something to him about the fact that I wasn't making dinner, I was cooking ahead for another night. He said something like "Okay," and went into the garage. A short while later, I heard him using the circular saw. I gave him a while, and then stuck my head in the garage and asked, "When are you making dinner?" "Oh!" he said, "I'm sorry. You must be hungry. What sort of Lean Cuisine would you like?" So, he was sorry, but honestly, what am I supposed to do? Chant "dinner dinner dinner" constantly at him? 

He is obsessed, completely obsessed with the project he is working on in the garage. He will be in there for hours. He asked me to order drapes for our windows, and they have been sitting there for months, waiting for him to put them up. He tells me not to wash the dishes, he will do them (they are another chore of his), but they will be all over the counter, in my way, or we will run out of spoons, and I will go ahead and wash them, because otherwise who knows WHEN they will be washed. If I am stressed or sick, he isn't going to step in and pick up the slack for me. He might tell me not to do things, but he won't actually do them for me -- and I don't mean things like dusting (I hardly ever get around to dusting; I don't have time and it isn't a high priority), but things like laundry or taking out trash (actually, when he SEES me taking out trash, he'll jump up and say, "I'll do it," but if the can is overflowing, he will just ignore it). Speaking of trash, we have talked about how I would like him to throw his trash away, but he will make himself a microwave popcorn every night and INVARIABLY leave the plastic outer wrapper on the counter. I was recently on vacation with my mother and child (without him -- he doesn't like to travel), and he had a cold while I was gone. When I came home, there was a used Kleenax on the bedroom floor next to the wastepaper basket -- he had missed and not bothered to pick it up. Ewww.

Earlier this year, he had a minor medical crisis. After it was over, he thanked me for being by his side, and I appreciate that, but I was hurt (especially because he knows my love language is words of affirmation) when, a few days later, we were with some of his friends, and he told about his crisis, and instead of saying something like, "And my lovely wife was there for me," he said, "And when she drove me to the ER, she drove up to the wrong door, and I was in SOOOO much pain, but I didn't get mad at her." Gee, thanks, honey. A few weeks later, I had a cold (and yes, it was just a cold), and I had to work despite the cold, and I'd come home from work, and he didn't offer to do a thing to make the evenings easier for me, like make dinner that night. I know I should have ASKED him to do it when he didn't volunteer, but I get so TIRED of always having to the initiator (and then having to follow up and follow up and follow up if my request is actually going to be taken care of). Can't he just once see a need and actually offer to meet it on his own? 

He takes Adderall, and that helps, but he refuses to get counseling, either couples counseling or for himself. He also won't acknowledge that his ADHD has a negative effect on me. My problems are all supposed to be because I am depressed (and I am, and I'm being treated for it, and the treatment is helping me, but it doesn't change my overall situation with my husband or desire to be cared for as well as being the one who does the caring).

I periodically throw myself pity parties, wishing I had someone who had my back. I can't afford regular household help, and anyway, what I really need is someone to pick up after my husband or keep on top of the dishes or deliver a last-minute healthy meal (where we live, you can't order restaurant meals for delivery, like you could in, say, NYC). My mother, who lives nearby, is entirely unsupportive. She thinks I need to be firmed with him. What she doesn't know (because I haven't told her -- I don't think telling her would help the situation) is how close we have come to divorce, because I am a "nag" who "always wants my way." I don't want a divorce (well, the sane part of me that realizes that (1) life wouldn't exactly be a party without my husband, no matter how unhelpful he can be, and (2) I'd feel like I'd cut off a leg if I divorced him -- we've been together so long, and I do believe I still love him, even when I think I want a divorce), so I just take care of things myself now. Single moms are told to have a support network they can rely on, but who would that be? Am I the only person whose friends are frankly busy enough with their own families that they don't make much of a support network? They are emotionally supportive, but really -- my closest friend, geographically speaking, is disabled, so I can't count on her for practical help, and my other friends live half an hour or more away. I just have to do for myself.

I confess that I fantasize sometimes that my husband and I won't be together any more someday, and I'll meet a man who cherishes me and whom I can lean on in tough times. Someone I can truly trust. I know that isn't good for my marriage, but I am having a very hard time not going there mentally. (This someone is not an actual man I know, but that doesn't make my thoughts good.)

Has anyone successfully managed the "I wish someone had my back" issue? How did you do it? 

I totally get where you're

I totally get where you're coming from.  I regularly say and think that I wish my husband had my back.  Approximately 5 years ago, I wrote a health-care-power-of-attorney document for myself (I'm a lawyer so I knew basically how to do it), and I asked my sister to be my "agent" (i.e., decision-maker) in case something happens to me.  I know my husband would feel hurt at being left out but I don't trust him to make decisions correctly or quickly!  It is very sad.  

I think of myself as a single mom. My closest friends and family know what's going on and understand why I feel that way and, I think, treat me accordingly (in a good way).  It's hard, though, at work, where I feel as though people see me as a typical married parent: yeah, I have some extra responsibilities, but I have a husband to share them.  But my husband doesn't share them. So I feel like I have to play a role (of person who is not breaking under the stress).  

I had a slight emotional

I had a slight emotional breakdown at a Dr appt when she asked me about a health directive. I knew I couldn't rely on my husband, and in that moment, it shattered me. 

I already know that I can't rely on my H if I were to become ill

When I was pregnant with one of our children I became seriously injured and was completely bed-ridden. For the first couple of hours after the injury, my H did the right thing, took me to the Emergency Hospital, but once I came home, it was like he realized that while I was injured that not only would I not be able to do things for him, but he'd have to do things for me. Well, that triggered an outburst. He refused to do ANYTHING for me, using the excuse that I wasn't asking "nicely enough". I wasn't' ordering him around. I was in extreme pain and needed assistance with EVERYTHING. Because of the pregnancy, doctors were very limited to what they could do for me and what they could give me for pain relief. I learned a huge lesson then and other times that I have been sick. I once threw up in the middle of the night, was dizzy, and couldn't get to the bathroom. H refused to help me, wouldn't help clean it up, etc. The next day, he left for work, didn't call, didn't ask if I needed anything. When he came home, he didn't bring anything to eat or drink (the kids still needed to eat).. Nothing. Again, he was annoyed that I was not 100%, so I couldn't do things for him. Thankfully, I have been pretty healthy for most of my life, but I suspect that I may need to have some surgery soon to correct a "women's issue." That will have a 6 week recovery. Of course, I won't be bed-ridden during all that time....maybe just for a few days. But, even if I needed to "stay in bed" for a day or two, I would not be able to rely on H. I strongly suspect that some or many with ADHD also suffer from "neediness," anxiety, and depression....along with Executive Function Disorder. So, they like to "latch on" to someone that they think "has it together'. Once that person shows signs of "needing help," then that alarms/threatens them and they'll have a meltdown.....like a small child will do if he thinks mommy is leaving him.

Me too!

Exactly a page out of my life! I am seriously thinking about ending this marriage.

Trying to Reply to 20yrVet


I swear you are married to my husband... one difference through is that mine cannot even get out of bed in the morning. This site is making me really upset today. I definitely need to make a consult with a lawyer.

Does your H also drink and/or is he depressed

For a few years, H would struggle to get out of bed and I didn't know why. Then I found out that along with ADHD, he was suffering from depression and he had become an alcoholic. He is trying to get his drinking under control. He is drinking far less in amount and in frequency. He is able to get out of bed most mornings. Only when he's had a meltdown the day/evening before will he have a hard time getting up the next day.

i feel for you ladies but..

you need to stop comparing yourselves to single mothers. yes, it may feel that way in your mind but the fact of the matter is that you're not single. you have husbands. when you actually have to do everything BY YOURSELF, ALONE, without someone to say "oh, hey i'll get that" to, without any help whatsoever ESPECIALLY financially then you may call yourself a single mother. your husbands may be doing terrible jobs and hardly anything at all but it is something and they are there at the very least. you do trust them enough to be around your children right? if so, then he at leasts covers the baby sitting tab, or day care, or nanny expenses. and if we don't think that's enough maybe we should look up the average cost of fulltime daycare (about a fulltime job's salary if it's somewhere decent). do NOT compare yourself to any single mother struggle because you do not know of them, your husbands are simply lazy and/or worthless. when you file for dissolution of marriage then and ONLY then may you call yourselves single mothers. hate to sound harsh and i can relate to you but it just struck a nerve. and no i do not have children yet and am not a single mum myself. however, i am married and we are expecting one in a few months but even when i feel the most alone, i wouldn't dare call myself a single mother.. or compare myself to one. also melissa and ned, if you want to use my post, you may ask my permission not just throw it into the terms & conditions.

This was

A completely unnecessary rant. I hope you feel better by trying to make others feel bad. No one said they were single mothers. There is nothing wrong with a little comparison. Even some single mothers get help from their family and friends.  I get financial help only from my husband who is a day's drive away, but NO help from family or friends. I do just fine, but I could COMPLETELY relate to the original poster. She just wants support. She is LOOKING for support. None of us needed your rant. I hope any of your future posts are more supportive. Otherwise, why be here?!

On ADHD marriage and single moms

Hi, rgarcia,

I'm sorry that I upset you by what I said. I did say that I searched out advice to single moms, because I felt almost, but not entirely, like one. I do know that I am better off than a single mom. In my more selfish moments, one of my reasons for staying in my marriage has been financial. So, yes, I do acknowledge that I am better off than a single mom.

That said, there really is a lot I can learn from single moms. How do you parent virtually alone? How do you keep up with work and chores virtually alone? How do you handle Mother's Day (my husband never did get the "even if you say you don't need to do anything for me because I'm not your mother, you should still take leadership in helping our child do something for Mother's Day" bit)? The thing with those of us who are married to husbands who are only partially invested in the marriage and family -- whether the reason is ADHD or something else -- the people around us usually aren't looking out for us. Everyone assumes your husband has your back. I'm NOT saying that puts me in a worse position than a single mom -- I'm still better off -- but I am saying that sometimes I wish people in "normal" marriages understood what it's like to not have that reliable partner, and that they'd have been doing me a favor when my child was younger if they'd taken her shopping to get a present for me for Mother's Day or if they had offered me practical help from time to time. So, while I again acknowledge that I'm NOT a single mom and in some ways have it better, I feel a lot of kinship to single moms. I get lonely. I feel like everything in our household depends on me (it doesn't, but so much does, and my husband is so unreliable, that that is close to the truth). I have to look out for myself, because my husband isn't going to think or remember to look out for me. I so yearn to feel cherished and supported, to feel like I have a partner. I don't feel like my husband is my partner; I feel like he is a roommate with (occasional) benefits.

I feel like I touched a nerve with you, though I know you are not a single mom. I apologize for coming off as not considering what it is really like for single moms. I do ask you to try to walk a mile in my shoes, and especially of the other women who have said they feel single (I have acknowledged in other places on this board -- many women have described situations that are far worse than mine). From what you said about being able to relate, I'm guessing you deal with ADHD in your marriage, too, but each of us faces slightly different situations. Maybe your husband is higher functioning than many of our spouses. Maybe you just haven't seen how awful it can get once you add a kid to the mix (I hate to alarm you, but that is when things really went downhill in my marriage -- it's easier to be married to someone who isn't all that invested when there are no children to care for, but once you add the demands of parenting, that can be the straw that breaks the camel's back). There are, indeed, women here who are concerned that their husbands are actually endangering their children -- they cannot leave the children with their dad. At that point, if one of those women tells me, "I feel like a single mom," I understand. She can't even leave her kids with their dad to get groceries. So, hats off to single moms, who do indeed deal with things I haven't had to deal with -- and who can teach me a few things that I can use on my own lonely journey.

I totally get what you mean

I totally get what you mean here.  I know how hard single moms work and I have all the respect in the world for them (and am terrified that I am most likely joining this group soon), but one of the problems with being married is not feeling I can ask others for help everyone would assume I would get from my husband.  My dad fixed our front door and garage this week (we were in serious danger of not being able to get into our house at some point as everything was not working or sticking) and he was just so annoyed about it because he felt my husband should do it.  He commented I needed to find a good handyman because of this, but then said I shouldn't waste money on a handyman because he could do it.  But I felt so guilty that my dad had to fix these things.  And there are other situations where something just doesn't get done because I don't want to ask someone else to do it and my husband doesn't want me to hire someone to do it.  Plus, there are all the situations where my husband creates more work for me (like making huge messes in the kitchen to cook things just for himself and not cleaning them up - and as they often involve raw meat, I have to clean them up to keep our kids safe).  So in some ways, being a single mom just sounds so tempting sometimes.

"Making huge messes in the kitchen"

I just had to let you know that I almost laughed out loud when I read your description of your husband's kitchen messes -- not that it is really funny, but it is so much like what I experience. We have a double-basin sink, and when my husband cooks, he often leaves all sorts of things, including trash, in one side of the sink. Remove a wrapper from a turkey? Throw it in the kitchen sink! Shuck some corn? Do it over the sink, and leave the husks there! (He seems to have a real problem with getting trash in trash cans. He actually does use them sometimes, but if they are anywhere out of his way, he won't take the steps to get to them. Maybe if he wore a trash can strapped to him...). I have talked with him about the importance of keeping the kitchen clean, but in general, I just assume I am going to have to do some serious cleaning after him. Last night he cooked Mother's Day dinner, and he actually threw the wrapping the salmon came in away (woohoo!), but he left the empty couscous box and seasoning packet on the counter, along with a ton of dirty dishes. I just started my "happy music" playlist and cleaned up, and I felt fine about it, because I like having a clean kitchen, so that was a gift from me to me.

Thankfully, he only cooks a couple of times a week (often less than that), and our daughter has become a pescetarian, so we are having less meat these days, which helps with the grossest, scariest messes.

My turn to laugh out loud..

My turn to laugh out loud...at the garbage in the sink thing!  I thought my husband was the only one who did that, it is so bizarre and gross. He used to do it when we were dating (and the garbage can in his house was literally beneath the sink!) and I eventually weaned him off of it with my incredulous reactions (this and putting his feet on the kitchen table...while people are eating...were things that I just couldn't believe were actually happening!).  He does it every now and then still, but my reactions usually keep it from continuing.  Seems like maybe I need to be totally disgusted by a bunch of things that are going on to get anything to change.  But yeah, garbage in the sink can't be an ADHD trait can it?  Just a really crazy coincidence, I hope.    


Not a naturally neat person, but that is nasty.  That's where you CLEAN dishes.  Yuck.

Wait a Minute...!

Wait a minute...! I'm the one with ADD, but it's my husband who leaves the garbage in the sink!  Meat wrappers.  Ugh!  And if he then needs to use the sink before I've cleaned it?  Just add water!  Ewwwwww!

And what is it with the trash cans?  "Near" is just the same as "in", right?  And they should never be emptied until overflowing.   It's like some sort of "conservation of trash bags" rule that women don't know about.

I think this one is Y-chromosome linked, not ADD.  :)

Garbage in sink!

Mine too!  Why? Why?  It is the exact same effort, and not even 1 extra step to open the door and throw it in the real garbage. I think its because he can't think ahead 2 steps, takes the first option that presents itself.  Sink. 

Linsy's picture

A handyman is much cheaper than a husband

Don't be scared. I am so much happier now without him. My handyman is great, and much in the same way that I got rid of my car and now use hires and a car club, it is  great stress saver.

HI, YorkshireLass

Who is the "you" in your question? I'm still with my husband. It's definitely not easy, but I'm just not ready to throw in the towel. I'm not sure if I'm the person you were addressing, though.

The You in my post

Hi 20YrVet - it was directed to Linsy above who appears to have left her ADHD partner. Her statement was interesting to me as she's clearly acted on what all of us probably think about alot.  Leaving.


Linsy's picture

I left more than five years ago

To begin with I went through a period of mourning, which I realised was for 'what might have been' but never really was. Then I began to recover. My new career has been supporting us, and I have had no help from anyone of a very substantial kind. His family remains in that river in Egypt alongside him, and he has found a new girlfriend. So that is that and good riddance as we say this side of the pond.


You go girl.  I so know what you mean when you say "what might have been".  I romanticize how things could be, but never are. The eternal optimist, but I am getting angry and bitter.  That was never me, I was -left to my own devices- a curious, creative, problem solving and helpful person. I don't see much of that person anymore. YOu must chortle with delight thinking of how the new girlfriend must be discovering the delightful behaviours of your ex.

I had an ex of 15 years before this one. I left him and he found someone else and they made it seem so wonderful as they told it. I began to think maybe I was the difficult one, but then they blew up as a couple in a disastrous way and I heard through the grapevine the very same issues were at play as I had left for. Sadly, it was pleasurable  - esp. as the new girlfriend had delighted in making sure I knew just how happy and perfect things were. 

I laughed for weeks and still do!  I wish you the very best as you deserve!

Linsy's picture

Happy, optimistic creative turned into screaming harridan

Well yes indeed. Also she is small and fat and has lost her looks, but has plenty of money so that probably works well for him. I am not small or fat. In fact right now I feel more attractive than I have for years as something within me is rising up like a phoenix. The decision to divorce had an extraordinary psychological effect, very freeing. The main thing for me is I have no regrets. I have three wonderful children, and given the ambivalence with which most men treated me when young (and I am not ugly but 'too clever') it was a miracle that any man ever got close enough to me to make me pregnant! So I sail into the second half of my life, hopefully having learned something or other, but determined to be myself and happy. I have books to write, a living to make, children to support and love and maybe, just maybe, a healthy man who will love me out there somewhere. Not banking on the last one.

Best wishes to you, Yorkshire lass. I recommend leaving it all behind and becoming yourself again. x


@ Linsy - Happy optimistic creative - screaming harridan

Good GRIEF your subject line could be me!   Yes, when I left husband #1 I was destroyed and unanchored for about 6 months but then pursued all my interests when I wanted, as I wanted and unfortunately found #2. But I hear you - I went from pudgy misery to a slim, lively and attractive woman. Amazing - all attitude. Its like the picture of dorian grey in reverse.  I hope you are well and happy!   Tell us more happy stories of freedom from ADHD partners, please. 

thank you

That's amazing. This message made me want to join this forum just to comment. Good for you. I'm so impressed.

WOW!  Eleanor Cats - I am so

WOW!  Eleanor Cats - I am so glad you commented, because that made me read this post!  Makes me feel like I am so not alone in this, and that there IS HOPE for me when its all said and done.


I have mourned for so long about what could have been, what SHOULD have been... I feel like there isnt anything left in me to mourn.  Just putting in the days until he leaves.  Its not what I wanted for this relationship, but it is what is.  My life will be good, I will be stronger than I am now, and I will rise up like a phoenix as well.  This is very encouraging!

I can relate to this

<<< but one of the problems with being married is not feeling I can ask others for help everyone would assume I would get from my husband >>>>


For several years, my dad would fix things for us because he knew that H would either never fix it or wouldn't learn how to fix it. I know how to fix some things (learned from my dad). Dad was great about fixing all kinds of things....cars, household appliances, painting....you name it. I stupidly didn't tell my dad to insist that my H "assist him" so that H would learn how to fix certain things. I just (wrongly) assumed that my dad would always be around to fix stuff for us. Well, dad passed away suddenly from a heart attack a couple years ago. slowly things that need fixing are "piling up" around the house. H doesn't want to "waste money" on repair people, and he says that he'll "fix them".....but it's been over a year for some of these things and it's annoying. I need to call a plumber, but H refuses to let me. I could kick myself for not learning more how to do stuff from my dad and for not having him insist on H learning. H would not have refused my dad like he would easily refuse me.

So sorry

It's annoying when your husband won't do things that you can't do yourself (or simply don't have time to, because you're already doing so much!) but won't allow you to pay for them to get done.

My husband is good about crises (if a toilet is clogged, he will unclog it), but if something isn't a crisis, he forgets all about it. We had a bathroom sink that was clogged and draining very slowly. I tried to take care of it myself, but I couldn't, so I asked my husband for help. He unclogged it, but in the process, he had to remove the sink stopper, and there was something wrong with it. He said, "I'll get to it this weekend." That was about two weeks ago, and I'm sure you can guess what hasn't been fixed. There's also the screen door we bought, which he installed (with much grumbling), but he never added the latch. There is the quilt hanger I asked him to put up years ago and occasionally remind him about. These things aren't critical -- it's just annoying, because he doesn't like me to nag, but he never gets around to them. At the same time, if he wants to do a non-critical project that needs my help, he wants me to drop everything and do it RIGHT NOW. I read somewhere (probably on the ADHD Marriage blog) that folks with ADHD have only two concepts of time: now and not now. I believe it.

I've been working on an alternative gift registry for the next time people ask me for gift ideas. I've put a gift certificate for a handyman's time on my list. If someone gives me that, I'll have a list of little projects all ready to go.


I totally get this. I have a live-in partner co-parent I have no interest in marrying because once our child hits kindergarten, living alone sounds sooooo appealing. Not because I don't like him or think he's attractive. Because I am the one who makes all the money, cooks, cleans, and does most childcare anyway.


I have been a single mom for over 5 years in the past though that child is grown and I now have 9 year old twins with my current husband. Having experienced both situations, I personally have found that in many ways (not all) it was easier being a single mom because I did not have to suffer with the daily frustrations of someone "There" living with me but not being able to count on them. I didn't have to cover chores that were someone's else's, a lot less dishes and laundry to do. So both ways can really suck but the frustration level for me is way higher when a grown man is sitting there not capable of loading the dishwasher on his agreed upon day to do so.

Hands down easier

I was a single parent for 13 years. Married three years ago to a man with ADD. So much easier to be a single parent. You have zero expectations that anyone is going to help you out without paying them. You don't have to explain to your child why there are two men who could be her father in her life, and yet... I am still doing the work. And working. 

Reading through the post and

Reading through the post and I came across your response, it made me tear up. This is exactly how I feel. I was a single mom for 12 years, I recently got married and am 8 weeks pregnant and absolutely miserable.Im so sick from this pregnancy and have been bed ridden for days on end, and he wont help with anything. I feel so guilty, like ive let my daughter down. Shes always seen me working and providing for us and her father was absent which hurt her deeply. My H seemed to be wonderful at filing that void in her life and she adores him, but he treats me so poorly now and I just dont get it. He told me having a child of our own would complete his dream and make him so happy, at first I was hesitant, I was afraid because of what id been through with my daughters father, but once we got married I eased in to it. But now hes so cruel and hateful, hes even tried to use my daughter to manipulate situations and make me cave to his demands and selfishness.He isnt working and refuses to lift a finger around here. My daughter has never lived in mess or opened an empty fridge until now, we have no family close by so I cant rely on anyone to help me out. Again ive been so sick from this pregnancy i cant drive without throwing up or my nose bleeding. Literally as i sit here on Xmas eve he has completely ruined the holiday, my daughter is with her grandparents thankfully, but I dread what is to come. Ive tried to suggest counseling and even changed how I react to him or his demands, but he flat out says, "im not changing, it is what it is just deal with it." I feel so stupid for marrying him and conceiving this child. I am terrified of the future struggles i have to face now, i gave up my beautiful home, my amazing career and all my friendships. I thought I had married this amazing guy with so much potential and promise, but I feel duped. 

I am so sorry...

What an incredibly difficult situation to be in.

So many of us here, even the calm, smart and wise ones, have experienced that same sense of feeling duped. Please to do not feel guilty, please do not feel shame. One of the things that was most helpful for me in finding this site, was the fact that if so many people could make a similar mistake, then maybe something terrible wasn't wrong with me after all. 

I hope you find some way to clear your head, makes some space for yourself, try to do one tiny thing for yourself a day. Please, please, please, rest. It does not appear that investing time and energy in this relationship right now is the best thing for you. You have one child and another one on the way. It is time for extreme self care. 

Is there anyone who can help you, even a tiny bit? Is there anyway you can backtrack to your beautiful home, your amazing career, and all your friendships? 

I am so sorry. I felt trapped, by my own mistakes and my own failures for a very long time. Two to three years. The only thing that helped was taking an entire week, just to myself, away from my husband to straighten out my head and break the cycle of hope, disappointment, anger and shame. From there, I have slowly been able to dig myself out of the hole I was in, and find reasons to be happy, to have hope, and peace with myself again. 

Any chance you could go home for a bit and let your parents take care of you for a week? 

This morning was yet another

This morning was yet another crushing blow, on Christmas he is still the same monster i have known him to truly be. He slept on the couch (not my choosing but his) so without hesitation this morning i wrapped my arms around him and kissed the back of his head only to shoved away and told to STOP! He hasnt uttered more than that one word to me all morning. I really am realizing more than ever the need to get away, regroup and recoop. Im going to hold onto hope that there is something far greater to come from all of this heartache and pain and try to make my life my own again for me my daughter and this unborn child. Thank you for the words of encouragement. Sometimes even when we know what we must do we just need to hear it from others for it to settle in. 


you and your daughter are very much in my prayers today. There isn't anyone here that isn't wishing for you the strength and determination to see the value of YOU and YOUR Daughter. We only know you through the pain you express and WE care. You are SO deserving of more than your H appears to be able to give....that is his problem to see. You do not have to DEAL with it as he says....the WAY he expects you to. You deal with it how YOU determine to. He IS NOT the end all be all. 

My prayer?.....that you see the validity of your life and your daughters and unborn child. And you find a safe, viable way away from your H for starters.

There is something far greater

What a sad and difficult start to your day. Children are a blessing, regardless of the difficulty they are born into. Child raising is relentless and not something to be romanticized, for certain. 

You can choose, in small ways, to invest the time and emotional energy you once would have spent in trying to create something (that couldn't be) with your spouse and instead invest it in creating good things for yourself and your children. 

I was actually pretty selfish this Christmas, I think in a positive and healthy way. I slept, read books, drank wine, and ate food other people prepared. I was rested, and happy, and able to give back. I like myself more, and amazingly, my husband likes US more. 

I wish you the best of luck. You don't have to make any big decisions (ie. divorce, separation, moving, massive life change) right away. You can just take small steps to make your own life better and let the rest of the pieces fall where they may. You may very well find that if you don't go looking for him and to be the one constantly making the repair attempt, he may come looking for you. Or not... It's not easy. But it does get easier when you choose your own health and happiness every time. 

I still find myself regularly repeating the mistakes of my past, but when I do, I just try to forgive myself and think of all the positive things I have been able to change. My husband has noticed a big change in me. I am starting to notice it too. I did have to go through a huge period of mourning, of real grief first, to get there though. 

Anyhow, I am just ranting about me now. You and your daughter and your unborn child are also in my thoughts. I wish you health and happiness for 2016. 

Are you OK?


You haven't written anything for a few days. Are you all right? Do you have a friend near you that can help you?  I read your posts and I am worried about you. 

against my better judgement

against my better judgement i came to FL, he was coming on this trip regardless, warning sign was what type of husband would leave his pregnant wife to come to FL, now that ive met the rest of his family i know.  And its been nothing but utter hell and stress, after a 20 hour drive ive been subjected to his mothers ridiculous religious beliefs, her rude comments and his parents public arguments. My daughter has also had to endure the same constant stress. his family is as rude and cruel as he is, its an entire tree full of bad apples. dysfunctional in every way possible. ive been threatened with divorce twice since ive been here simply because i need to "pull it together" as he puts it and fake smile in front of his family and other relatives that im meeting for the first time. tonight at dinner he screamed at me and told me i ruined everything in front of our table of 9 family members because i was uncomfortable about the atmosphere my daughter was in and so was she, ( flame dancing and men in thongs and belly dancers) i also declined being brought up onto stage, im tired and pregnant and self conscious and didnt want to be made a spectacle of. and his family says nothing about his antics, in fact as we left his uncle pointed some barely dressed girl in a tight white dress right in front of me, i felt ​humiliated that my husband didnt speak up for his wife and SD standing right there. on the way home he forced my daughter to go with his parents bc he wanted us to go out for NYE, again im not feeling super great, he then proceeds to attack me as a parent and say my daughter will never survive without me and why cant i just force her to enjoy shows and his family. absolute and utter craziness. yesterday his mother advised me to get used to it because the men of this family do not apologize, clearly shes grown to live this way, I REFUSE. tmrw is the last day here then its back to VA, and ive had enough threats about him leaving that im just going to allow him to walk. im so done trying to "fix" and apologize and cower. this isnt a marriage its a prison sustained on threats. thank you all for continuing to reach out and help me through this all. 


Hmm....rgarcia, if you've never been a mother let alone a single mother, then sorry hun' you have no right to be judgemental about it.......until you walk a mile in these women's shoes, don't assume to know.....thank you .......

Linsy's picture

Live is vastly happier and better without him

Frankly, I  agree with all these ladies, we are all single mothers and we have one huge rather unpleasant adolescent who will never grow up. I decided my two sons, who both have ADHD but have the potential to do very well now they are getting the right help, deserve my time and attention far more than the man who refuses to acknowledge the effect of his behaviour on his family. And he insisted I had full time daycare for my youngest for 4 years, while he sat at home bringing in no income whatsoever.

I have now been a single mother for four years. It is bliss in comparison to dealing with the daily, deadening let downs, big and little. The vile mood swings, the incompetence, the loss of friends, the endless endless repeated 'mistakes' (getting things stolen was a favourite, including two cars - he left the keys in the ignition or close by), the endless cannabis abuse. And, worst of all, the terribly parenting of our youngest, who was in a very bad way by the time I pulled the plug. Within a few hours he had gone from off the scale oppositional, to easy and loving. I luckily knew I had done the right thing immediately.

Since then we have weathered all kinds of storms. My shattered nerves have gradually steadied, and all is as well as it can be. Of course there is no one to share the success with, but in many ways that is a good thing. As for a 'support network' - I don't have one either. Good friends with issues of their own for which I offer as much support as I can (disabled children, health issues etc). My family is not a help. I have no parents. I do NOT feel sorry for myself at all. I just feel glad and grateful that I have children and a brain and my health (including robust mental health) - although I never take anything for granted. Deo gratias.


Thank you for sharing this. I

Thank you for sharing this. I am in the process of separating from my husband...we have been through financial hell (not all his fault, job losses out of his control) and all of the small things that everyone is listing here has made it 100x worse than it would have been otherwise. I am not a nagging wife naturally. I HATE it. I HATE asking him to help. I hate reminding him of things that are normal duties of a partner and coparent. The last straw was his ADHD decisions putting our small children at risk, his forgetfulness put my oldest (5) in a very dangerous place once when he forgot my pick up instructions from school. One of our daughter's is special needs. Dealing with EVERYTHING and being the adult in the house is too much for me. I feel guilty, oh so guilty for quitting on him. But honestly, I don't know what else to do! All of this is costing me my health.

I'm scared of what is on the other side of being a single mom....its gonna be stressful. But I'm hoping to establish routines that are able to continue and be peaceful. I just want a peaceful house. Not his focused, intense jabberings that are interrupted by our children. Children need to be heard too. I feel like I'm a talking traffic cop. Heaven help if I have something to say....he doesn't hear it most of the time.....I'm just so lost and done with this roller coaster.

Linsy's picture

You will feel so much better soon

I am more than four years on from getting to the end of a tether that had been fraying for most of the 20 year marriage. The following year was a weird mix of appalling unhappiness at a feeling of failure at not being able to make it work, and huge relief as children's behaviour was transformed by his absence. Since then we have been on the up. I can say I feel better, achieve better, am better than I have been really since that difficult first year of marriage. I am free and self determining, and no longer at risk from his wild mood swings and occasional violence if I dared to challenge him. It was horrific. It has been made worse by the condoning of his family, they give him rent free accommodation and silently blame me. I am glad they accommodate him, I am also glad that he has a rich girlfriend, who I know has witnessed him assaulting my older son - clearly she is an idiot but I am not the one who is going to warn her. She is one of those women who wants a man however damaged at any cost. I am happy on my own.

Being organised, or not organised. Spending the day doing what I want. Working incredibly hard without being undermined all day long. All blissful. Right now I am working in bed as my youngest is out, and I can relax. There is no fear of him coming in and being a pain, shopping wildly and irresponsibly, crashing my car, or any of the other horrors he went in for daily. My nerves were completely and utterly shredded. Now they are healed.

Be selfish. Your children need their mother to be her best self until they are grown up. Not distracted by a man child. I send you very good wishes for a happy Christmas and solidarity from one who has been there and escaped.





Hi I was a single parent for many years. I am now in a very similar position to the original poster. I think that comparing how it feels to being like a single parent is perfectly legitimate. I find in some ways it's harder, as being let down constantly can be more arduous than just doing what needs to be done because there's only you to do them

I sometimes wish I could be.

I sometimes wish I could be. When my daughter was born, my husband made many statements about how I would never see her again if I left. He said he would say anything he needed to and, if that didn't work, he would take her and run. Of course, now he says he would never do that and I exaggerate, but I know what he said and I know what he is capable of. I have lived for four years with him since then and it hasn't been all bad, I guess. I still love him, but I am much more disconnected from him now. My daughter is the only thing that has always made me happy. I could never risk losing her. I'm terrified of him seeing this. But I just feel helpless and I needed to reach out.

You're in the right place

I am so grateful for this community. It's one place where you can share something, and people understand. 

I am really sorry that you feel tethered to your marriage due to your husband's threats. I wish I could offer help, but all I can do is offer my sympathy. Feel free to vent here anytime.

I can't say for sure your husband would never find your posting, but I know that if mine did, I'd be shocked. Honestly, even if he did, he might not recognize himself in my posts. Our husbands are pretty forgetful and don't always notice what they are doing! :) That said, if my husband read my posts and knew it was me, I hope that maybe reading my side of the story would get through to him about what I go through in a way that my trying to tell him has failed to do. I realize that I can fall into the typical non-ADHD spouse trap of getting being angry with him for his behaviors and that isn't a very productive response, but heck, there's a REASON I get angry!

Single Mom

I agree completely. Having been a single mom, not by choice, and now married to a man with ADD, but unknown before the marriage, I can say that I have never been so lonely as a single mom as I am now. The hurt is far worse, constantly being let down by the person who promised to love and cherish me.

I was a single parent

I was a single parent for 11 years. My boyfriend left me for someone else when I was 4 months pregnant. Over time, I healed and we now have a good relationship. Fortunately, he is a good dad. I am now married to a man with ADHD. I think I knew what I was getting into, but I didn't realize how bad it would get. I agree with you OrganisedPauper. It is harder than single parenting in some ways. My husband no longer contributes anything to our household except bringing the kids to school on time. I have never been more saddened and let down than I feel right now. There is no doubt that it will NOT change anytime soon. I've tried to help him get on a better path, but he's resisted my attempts. He doesn't think he needs help. Everyone else is at fault. I've given up on him. I no longer believe in him. Instead, I am doing everything I can to keep going, keep the lights on and food in the refrigerator. I'll do this until I figure out what to do next. I have never felt more alone in my life.

Resigned2B's picture

A Single Parent...

I am so sorry you have gotten into this. I'm not sure ANYONE really 'knows' what they're getting 'into' with an ADHDer. Because they think in a different reality than do most people it's nearly impossible to second guess what life will be like together. The more children you add to that, who will have a good chance of inheriting the ADHD gene, the harder and more stressful it will become. More responsibilities will be left up to you. Until there becomes the inevitable question; WHO here is the partner with the disability?!?

Should that time come for you it will dwarf ANY loneliness you feel today. Your own sanity is on the chopping block. Be careful who you hand the knife to!

I agree with the other post....

No one really knows what they're getting into when they marry someone with ADHD.   



My husband no longer contributes anything to our household except bringing the kids to school on time



In your case, you may not have realized that he wouldn't work, and also do so little around the house.  Why do you let him stay?  


You're struggling to make ends meet, but surely you'd have more money if you weren't having to feed and provide for this "do little" adult.   Do you pay for his cell phone?  Car?  gas?  Do you provide spending money?  access to bank accounts?  


I would give him 3 months to be bringing home a regular paycheck, no excuses.  

thank you

Thank you. This is how I feel.

Actually, some may have it worse than single moms

Luckily, my H does bring in a good income. But there are women here who are burdened with essentially lazy/unable/don't want to work husbands who are a serious drag on the wife's income. At least a single mom has control over her income and isn't usually fully supporting a deadbeat. believe me, my heart goes out to single moms. They are "doing it all". But there are also some married women who are "doing it all" and taking care of "an extra child" who can spend without approval, etc. There are married women who can't trust their H's to babysit. I couldn't trust my H. I tried and it was a disaster. Because of his ADHD, he got focused on what he was doing (watching TV, surfing the net, etc) and one of our kids ended up in the emergency room because H wasn't paying any attention. I know someone whose child DIED because her ADHD H wasn't paying attention and the 3 year old got outside and into the street....and hit by a car. So, no.....some with severe ADHD H's who may also have other disorders may not really have "another adult in the household"....at least not one that they can rely on. Again, this shouldn't be a "single mom" vs married mom with ADHD war. Each has back-breaking challenges. All need comfort and support.
Linsy's picture

That is terrible

That gave me a real jolt. I left my four year old with H one evening at a resort, as I was exhausted and wanted five minutes off (the little one was diagnosed finally with ADHD at 12). He ended up fully dressed in the swimming pool. We were very lucky not to lose him that night as he couldn't swim... Has also left him in the street with a friend on a snow day, unsupervised, and at a swimming gala, and in a park... and on and on. I think I was unconsciously waiting until it would be slightly less dangerous for him to be alone with his father before I finally left him. 

I had almost the exact same

I had almost the exact same experience. We were at a resort, and my H left our 3 year old alone in a swimming pool, no life jacket or swimmies. His excuse was that he "didn't think she'd leave the shallow end."

We're finally divorcing. I also wanted to wait until the kids were old enough that their lives wouldn't be endangered by being alone with him. Finally, at 7 and 10, I feel like it'll be ok.

Linsy's picture

We all feel the same way more or less on here...

Good luck to anyone who can mend a marriage to one of these men, but I couldn't - however hard I tried. It made me ill, critically endangered our financial security, my children were vulnerable to all kinds of trouble, and he himself had an 'accident' that ruined a whole year of our lives and cost 1000s out of terrible judgment. He made choices that no normal person would make throughout our marriage, such that when I look back I cannot understand how I went along with it, and I am just so relieved that it is nearly over. Even when confronted with the possibility that there was a reason although not an excuse for his behaviour, and forgiveness available, he went deeper in to denial and became even more vicious and irrational. He lost something precious, not just me but the respect and real love of his children (they are kind and forgiving, but they don't trust him in any way) but he would rather be in denial than accept his own issues. It was hell. It is over I hope and pray.

Thrill Seeking mind make's it Double Bad....

What makes this even worse is the thrill seeking over confident attitude many w/ this type mind possess. I'm married to one; I have to constantly be on guard when's the grand babies are around...

So alone.'s picture

Creeper alert

First off, WHY are you trolling a site for married people?

secondly, when your in a marriage that forces you to do what a single mother does PLUS deal with the fact that you arnt single, the father of your child/children actually signed up for this, he asked to be a parent and a husband and provider, it's a hell you can't imagine, single mothers have to take responsibility for laying down with a man they didn't plan a life with in most cases, not all but over 98%. You'll get no sympathy from me, if you weren't out having sex before marriage , or with sleaze bags that you obviously knew weren't father worthy, and unprotected sex at that, then you wouldn't be able to  cry about it. Troll on the single mothers website, married women that do it all and take care of a grown a** man too THEY are who know struggle, we have to deal with stress you couldn't imagine...... Your holier than though attitude speaks multitudes, IDE be willing to say us married working class mothers pay taxes to support in one way or another single mothers in this country, food stamps, medical cards, k-tap or cash  the free Obama phones we pay for if we have a cellular contract, , heating bill programs, daycare programs, and hundred other so called programs for single mothers......I could go on but I won't , you get the picture 


Resigned2B's picture

Creeper Alert...

I can figure out what post you're responding to???

ADHD or Whatever the issue is .

I have been married for several years, and I do consider myself to have single handley raised my children.  I've been a single mom before as well.  The difference between my current situation and before, is an extra paycheck, and an extra child (my spouse).  While everyone has a perspective to add, I don't think it is fair to condemn, until you walked a mile in someone else's shoes. 

My husband is like another child.  While I am not complaining for sympathy, as I am now aware, I am in complete control of my choices, these women's experiences cannot be dismissed.  I could understand why I was stressed and overwhelmed when I was a single mom.  However, it is a complete violation/humiliation to feel overwhelmed and alone, when you are married.  There is no way to explain how worthless you feel, and the amount of energy and emotional labor it takes to give to your children, and adult child (husband), who is obvious to the needs of others in the family.  If you haven't been there, you don't understand.  I have heard single women say to me, at least you got somebody... yeah they are right.  I got a body.  A paycheck, another person to take care of.  It distracts from the children, and leaves you as a women feeling empty and worthless.   As far as the babysitting, well my husband's idea of babysitting was sitting on the couch watching TV until I came home.  He fed the kids Ding Dongs and milk, unless i prepared meals ahead of time that the kids could warm up on their own.  They even made him a plate. No chores were done at all!  I worked close to home and came home from during lunch to check on things, and it was utter chaos.  He had no clue ever what was going on.  No homework done, nothing!  One time, my teenage daughter was making out with her boyfriend in his car, right in front of our house, while my husband sat on the couch watching tv with no clue as to what was going on.  They walked right past him to go to his car, and he never paused to think why are they gone so long.  I opened the door to find my daughter pulling up her pants.  

While I respect your right to your  opinion, I feel individuals who have experienced issues first hand have a clearer perspective.  I've been on both sides of the coin, and at this time, I'm choosing divorce.  I'm choosing to be a single mom of 5, rather than 6. It is much easier, and the extra income is not worth the hassle of taking care of a grown man.  Think of it this way.  If you invest in stocks, and there was no return, in fact a loss ,would you continue to invest in that stock, year after year?  Not if you are smart.  Your expectation is that at some point you will yield a return, and if after a decade there is no return, it's time to move on.

Linsy's picture

Absolutely right

He bled me dry and was so ungrateful and mean too that there was no return on that investment. I stuck with it because I thought it was the 'right thing'. Well it wasn't, but we are where we are, and I am nearly free. Best of luck to you and all your real children.

Resigned2B's picture

ADHD Whatever the issue is...


it's HUMILIATING and DEMEANING to be in a marriage and be alone! I tried to copy any paste your post to show my own spouse but my iPad's new operating system is STILL having troubles. 

We celebrate 32 years of marriage in less than a month. I know he's now trying to be better. I do see a number of improvements. But there isn't a doubt in my mind that it isn't his 'hyper-focused hobbies' that are his true hobbies. No, six kids later, all adults now, I have finally realized that I am the hobby for him. The obsessions he has are his focus and his real life. I guess they always have been...

Too little realization about his reality and much too late for me to do anything.

Vouching for the relating to single parents--

Having been a single mother for over a decade- I can vouch for women living with these spouses (even though they may have not been single parents). I was the sole provider for my children as a single mom- no family support, no weekend daddy visits to allow me a break from parenting, long distance friends, isolation, zero child support.

Years later I married my husband thinking I would finally have a modicum of support. What happened was more of burden. I wound up with what equates to having a forth child. 

I feel that if you have any level of support from the absent parent, you do not have the right to call yourself a single parent. You would be a co-parent. If you have support from family or friends, you would be community parenting. So, if you want to quip and quibble over meanings behind labels and who has the right to identify with who- we can do that- but I think it would be more apt for you to recognize that single parenthood is in varying degrees.

Vouching for the relating to single parents--TO RGARCIA

Having been a single mother for over a decade- I can vouch for women living with these spouses (even though they may have not been single parents). I was the sole provider for my children as a single mom- no family support, no weekend daddy visits to allow me a break from parenting, long distance friends, isolation, zero child support.

Years later I married my husband thinking I would finally have a modicum of support. What happened was more of burden. I wound up with what equates to having a forth child. 

I feel that if you have any level of support from the absent parent, you do not have the right to call yourself a single parent. You would be a co-parent. If you have support from family or friends, you would be community parenting. So, if you want to quip and quibble over meanings behind labels and who has the right to identify with who- we can do that- but I think it would be more apt for you to recognize that single parenthood is in varying degrees.

sympathy is always good

I think sympathy is good and necessary, especially within a supportive group...  Actually having an ADHD spouse can be so overwhelming at times that we dream about being a single mother. The grass always looks greener on the other side and it might be or not, we will never know until we experience both sides.  There are days I wish I only had to deal with my son, even though my husband is a very loving father and a good person, yet he drives us nuts! Why we can't express our feelings, frustrations and wishes??? I know some single mothers who are very happy, off course they probably have issues, just like most of people do. Why one can't wish to be a single mother, gay or whatever???

Wishing you all find comfort and a reason for smiling and hoping that we will have less and less judgment and more compassion!



Resigned2B's picture

I feel for YOU!

Well, rgarcia, I'm guessing you've had your baby by now. How are you doing as a 'single mom'?




I think you clearly do not understand where myself and these women are coming from. My husband is not just merely "lazy", he often refuses to get out of bed or even care for himself due to what I assume is his major depressive disorder. My husband does not work, so I support my kids as well as him. I think that the comparison to be a single mother is accurate. Honestly, I believe I often have it just as hard as a single mother because I am raising two kids, working, and maintaining a household on my own, just as a single mother would, AND in addition to that, I am supporting a 32 year old man financially and in every other conceivable way. So your response definitely stuck a nerve with me. You do not know what situation everyone is in, so please keep that in mind before you write your responses.

Well my sister was a single

Well my sister was a single mom for almost 20 years but lived with me and my mom and had us taking care of her. My mom worked, my sister didn't. My sis got welfare and then went out and had another baby when the welfare was almost up. She sapped the life out of us. I worked but she didn't, and I am 2.5 years younger than her. The whole apartment was kids crap and toys and she ran the place. So I can't say it was all that hard for her being a single mother since we were doing most of the work. Her second kid she did not even want and I took care of most of the time. I was 16 when she came home pregnant and our father had literally just passed away the week before we found out she was pregnant. And now I have a husband who has a dinky job because for years he refused to work at all and even now he expects me to do the majority of everything because I have "life experience." You sound like you kiss the ground single moms walk on for some reason. they're not saints, you know. And I know for a fact that a lot of single mothers use the heck out of people around them. I've been through it enough times and seen it happen to others. How many times we get suckered into babysitting for FREE while the mom goes and parties or finds a new guy to bang? I brought in groceries for my sister while she was out there screwing some new guy.


I was a single mother for 12 years. I then married someone with ADD when my daughter was 13. It was WAY easier to be a single mother. I knew I was on my own and made my own decisions and planned my own life. It is harder thinking you have someone to help, or counting on them to help and having them bail last minute. I stopped wearing my wedding ring and I certainly don't count on him to care for my child. When I travel for work, my mom flies from a different city to look after my daughter. Even if she isn't going to school. Because otherwise, she will just be alone 90% of the time. Solo is easier. 

Resigned2B's picture

I feel for you ladies...

Oh brother... : / Whoever wrote that we’re NOT single probably is an ADHDer.

Venting is good but I'm looking for strategies

I have checked this website from time to time over the years but never felt motivated to join and respond until I read this thread. First of all, how amazing that it started three years ago and is still going. Most of these comments sound like struggles I have with my ADHD husband but some of them seem to be from women in abusive relationships. To those women (like the one whose husband didn't help after she was recovering from a hospital visit) I suggest that she gets the hell out. I know it is difficult financially and psychologically but this is your life here, you deserve better and your kids need to have a mom who respects herself enough. I've read too many memoirs by kids who grew up in households like that to know that the impacts go way beyond you.

As my subject line says, venting is good but I'm looking for strategies. There has been a lot of great insight into the minds of ADHD men that I find useful. There have been fewer examples of "I did this and it worked." I'll keep looking for them, though, because I bet they are hidden here somewhere. What have I done that has worked? #1) I made myself the priority and told him I need to do things I enjoy. This included going back to school and getting an MFA in Creative Writing that I always wanted to do. #2) I told him frankly "I do everything." It caused a fight but it felt good to tell him how I really felt. #3) I have accepted that he is never going to take the initiative when it comes to cleaning so I write on the dry erase board every Saturday what needs to be done. It isn't every single thing but the three things I need help with. #4) I remind myself why I fell in love with him in the first place. We met while traveling overseas and we both love to travel so I plan as many trips as we can afford. I see the man I fell in love with when we are traveling. #5) I have come to accept that my house is never going to be pristine. When it starts to get too bad, I tell him and our two kids (preteens) that the chaos and mess are making me crazy and I need everyone's help.

This doesn't make everything perfect and there are days when I Google "10 things to do before getting a divorce" while at work. But for right now, it is working. If I have learned anything from my ADHD husband, it is to live in the moment. He has an almost Buddhist ability to Be Here Now. I'm just trying to make my now a little bit better to Be in. Being honest with myself and with him is an important part of that.

Strategies that work?

Strategies that work? Getting a divorce (three months ago); and trying to erase memories of the 33 years we spent together.

I have no strategies that

I have no strategies that work.  My husband is leaving me, and I did everything I could.  I followed the concepts and ideals Melissa wrote about, I educated myself about issues he is facing (CSA, ADHD, Depression), I changed my perception, I altered all my expectations (to NONE other than no lying), I forgave and moved forward.  On paper - I did everything i was supposed to do.


The whole time - he had already come to the conclusion that it would not work (magical thinking with a predetermined outcome), and only pretended to do the work.  He lied to me.  He didnt read the books, he didnt do what the therapist asked.  He didnt follow through when he said he did.  he gave up, and just went through the motions.. for what I dont know.  Most everyone who knows us says it was for the lifestyle I was able to provide (HIS friends, the same ones he runs to and puts all his faith and trust in  - they are the ones who have said this, and he never confronted them, and never ever held them accountable for that... No - *I* am the one who had to suffer for that).


When someone believes something to be true - and they put their faith into it - all their actions fall inline with that believe.  And where I put faith into US making it - he put his faith into US not making it.  And the only way to ever get through the challenges he faces is to work together. 


SO he is leaving, and I am ok with it.  I am picking up every single peice of me that has fallen to the ground and shattered.  I am glueing it all back together.  I wont let his monsters, and his magical thinking determine for ME what my life will be.  I wanted to share with him adventures, love and support - he wanted "stuff" and wants to hide in a video game - so he can miss out on the REST of his daughters childhood.


There are times when I hate him, but I know its not him that I hate, but the mask he wears and the choices he makes.


The only strategy that I can recommend is letting go.  Let him fall, let him fail, and protect your self and your kids.  Do not work towards his future, work towards your own.  And if he cannot keep up - the take flight with out him.  This struggle never gets better until the ADHD partner steps up, and because they rarely can even SEE the issues, the likely hood of that happening is pretty slim.  Especially if you are HERE... because if you are, you already are dealing with someone who is out of touch with reality.

Ausinite.....You Asked For Strategies

There have been fewer examples of "I did this and it worked." I'll keep looking for them, though, because I bet they are hidden here somewhere.

And as you started out by saying.....Venting is Good but..................

From a man who has ADHD...who is with a woman who is suspected of having ADHD....here's something that I working on with my wife...and it seems to be working.  When it comes to anything....communication is the first step in finding ways to work around ANY issue I feel that is important or worth talking about that involves...a problem?  It's where things start to fall about sometimes...just talking about the problem itself.

My wife has a great deal of trouble differentiating her feelings from her emotions and generally speaking...can't articulate them well at all.  What I've discovered mainly...is she doesn't understand the differences between: judgments, opinions, statements or reporting, educating, relating experiences, and expressing emotions and simply knowing the differences between an emotion and a feeling and what she's actually talking about.

  When we talk sometimes...or better...when she talks to me about anything....many times she says something...but expects an acknowledgement to come back to her when the acknowledgement itself if difficult to determine what she's after or why she said what ever she said?  Many times...she will say a string of disjointed statements or opinions as if she one were talking to themselves rhetorically.  Pondering I would all them out loud.  More like a play by play commentary of what she's doing or thinking about.

If you can picture yourself (by yourself)....talking to yourself in the moment it might sound something like this:.....

"now...where did I put that paper....I know I put it somewhere....I wonder??????"  This is rhetorical...and it does not need or require an answer right?  These little pondering...get sprinkled in with other things she says which makes it difficult to follow or know how to acknowledge?  If it was said by itself...it wouldn't be difficult but in her case...they alternate back and forth and get mixed in with other things so by the time she's done....I don't know what to say?

The other thing she does is the play by play as I call it.  It's more like reporting out loud...how she feels in the moment.  Again....this is just reporting out loud a real time accounting of how you feel.  As the listener...it leaves you waiting for the punch line but no punch like ever comes?  These are just statements and reports and not really a basis for a conversation.  Yet that acknowledgement is still expected and you are still going....I really don't know what to say as in ...having a conversation about anything or any topic since there is NO topic to talk about?

And mostly....what I hear from her on any regular basis is venting.  Ventilating her emotions in a form that comes out....not in the form of telling me anything...but instead, doing it in a way that causes a negative reaction from me in one form or another.  In those cases.....she is getting the acknowledgment whe wants...but the acknowledgement is not the one she is looking for which only upsets her each time that happens.

An excerpt...from an article on venting explained it this way...."Yet ventilating, when it’s confined to repetitively self-vindicating messages, can also be self-limiting. And misused in this way (which is all too common) it can link to prematurely, and self-defeatingly, claiming “victimhood” when what’s really called for is actively behaving in ways that could potentially rectify a situation. As such, it can become little more than an excuse for not acting to resolve a problem or confront an issue that requires confrontation."

My wife is conflict avoidant and being up front about the way she feels about anything..is very much like her to do this very thing.  And any acknowledgement or feedback I can give her when she does this....is very limited in what I can actually say in response to this.  It leaves me few options other than to say what I really feel,...or say nothing at all?  And mostly....if I say what I feel about what she said...it's not going to what she wants to hear?

Anyway....I realized an opportunity staring me in the face.  What my wife wants is an acknowledgement back from me in things of she says....but more often than not.....my acknowledgement comes back to her...and it was said to me in the form of "feelings" or "opinion" which is not what she wants and this only leads us to getting no where in the conversations we have many time about difficult topics that require negotiation, compromise, problem solving, critical thinking or anything else that would lead to an ultimate resolution in the end of the conversation.

This simplifies this for me... by applying this clear and easy to understand popularized saying and what it suggests;  "Opinions are like assholes.....everyone's got one...and they ALL stink."

"Feelings....are personal"....if you are talking about your "feelings"....you are implying an opinion right from the get go.  You are also stating things in a judgmental way since you can't have a value judgment...without including your personal feelings to it within the opinion itself? Right?

So....no feelings....no implied judgment.....no opinion.  Lately...what I have been doing...is acknowledging "What" she is doing....but doing it in a way that actually tells her without being judgmental myself.

Saying "I don't agree" or "you're wrong" is not good and ineffective.  That's not teaching her the difference that she is not able to see and she will only get defensive if I do that.  I typically don' use "right and wrong"  as a concept when I speak to my wife anyway...but she wil try and re-interpret things into ...right and wrong anyway so I stay as far away from judgment language as best I can and keep my opinions and personal feelings to myself.

What  found that works...is simply saying...."that's your opinion"....and leave it right there.  I didn't say what my opinion was...but acknowledged her accurately...by saying that I heard and opinion without interjecting my own into the mix.

Each time I identify...each thing she says accurately and stating what I hear as the acknowledgement that she does want....the feedback I'm giving her....tells her what she is actually doing in one form or another.  She's not able to differentiate these things when she says them....but I can.  And I can tell her that each time without putting ....my "feeling" and "opinions:" and "judgments" into it even if she's doing the same with me?

As I know for myself...these are triggers or can be...so I'm eliminating those possibilities...and still acknowledging her just the same as I acknowledges what she says to me so she can "hear herself."...as she speaks to me in the moment.  This way....I'm leading her....she's not leading me.

This I have found....works to avoid conflict and keep the conversation moving even is she is doing the same thing with me....that I don't really like myself.


can relate with you

JJamieson, I could relate with much of what you said. My husband has ADHD. I do not. For 16 years, I could not figure out what was wrong with our communication. My husband is a retired teacher, so I assumed it was "I" that did not articulate very well. Here's what's funny... I knew he had ADHD when we met eighteen years ago, since he told me he had trouble concentrating in college. But neither he nor I understood the characteristics or traits (symptoms) of ADD/ADHD. So many things were a mystery to me as to why things seemed so difficult. We've had many family tragedies, including the deaths of two of my husband's adult sons from a previous marriage. That's when things seemed to magnify. It wasn't until I met a girl at my workplace who suffers from ADHD, that I realized what was going on. Fortunately, we are both trying our best to understand each other, now and work on better communication. We are realizing that we have both been living together, physically, but totally apart in our mental perspectives. So, we are now attempting to "undo" sixteen years worth of "learned" behavior that we adapted to in response to our own respective frustration, confusion and anger. Not easy, for sure! What you say that your wife seems to be doing, I can relate to. I have done the same. I have come to acknowledge that we are in different realms, and I cannot take for granted that my husband can "read between the lines", notice social cues that others react to, or because of auditory problems(CAPD), does not interpret comments, appropriately. So, I have to be patient, and try to understand what he is perceiving. We are spending much time trying to articulate ourselves more adequately. This takes work. But, above all else, I have much empathy for my husband. I cannot even imagine what it was like for him throughout his life, trying to manage. I have had to learn how to forgive and move on, because I know he truly did not intentionally do anything thoughtless throughout our marriage. I can totally relate with many posts on this site. I was in a horribly abusive first marriage and was lucky to survive. I have three adult children who I was absolutely alone raising, while working 60 plus hours a week, fending off an angry ex-husband who stalked me for years, never payed support, was in trouble with the law and remarried several times to many women. He is now utterly alone and miserable. Too bad. My children all have emotional problems, as well as I. Through my study of the Bible I have come to understand the root cause of mankind's hardships. Our world is a mess. I have a real hope for the future, now. I know things won't always be this way and that God's original plan for us was not what we see going on all over our world. We are so far removed from perfection. None of us are perfect. In trying to apply love and understanding, my husband and I are doing our best to really understand what we are needing from each other and working on verbally expressing ourselves. I can understand everyone's anger. But for me, I had to let go of my anger in order to move ahead. Much easier if both parties are on board. All we can do is our best. And taking care of our selves and our own self esteem is essential. I think that I got so absorbed over the years trying to solve this "mystery" of miscommunication, that I got lost and forgot who I was. Even became co-dependent for many years. So, don't give up. I think the advice from the founders of this site is very good. It's just hard to apply sometimes, when there is years of resentment, anger, damage, frustration, etc. Hang in there.

Can relate with tou

I know this response was done a few months back but I can't tell you how helpful it is. My h and I have been to three counseling sessions with a Christian psychologist who has basically said short of a miracle and a lot of work on each of us there is little hope. He hasn't used the exact words little hope however I believe that's what I'm hearing. My h who used to say he would NEVER give up on us is now beginning to give up. He said we would go to our next visit however did not resched for another. He said if I can't stop talking to him the way I do and let him talk then it is done. I have come to the conclusion that I must take care of the things I'm responsible for and let the rest go. If he fails then he will have to figure it out even though it will effect me. I need God to help me do this without completely disengage omg. The only way I can do that is to let go of the anger and forgive. So it's comforting to hear that you have been able to do that. Thank you and God Bless 

Don't lose hope

Dear anteight,  Sometimes things can seem hopeless and bleak, I can certainly relate to that feeling.  Everywhere you look, it seems as if people are struggling to communicate in one way or another. Jesus instructed his followers to keep on seeking and you will find. (Matt. 7:7) So, don't give up.  The fact that you are attempting to work on your issues using Christian based direction is, in my own opinion, a wise decision. A Bible based website that has helped me tremendously is "jw.org". I went to it today and found, on the bottom of the home page, an article designed for couples, entitled: "How to forgive".  From what you have related in your post, I think you could get a lot our of it.  Awesome article!

Revisiting Your Comment......Reasoning One

When I reread your response to me, I went back and looked up CAD again with a little more to work with this time?  More noticing things and trying to pay closer attention to them.  It is said that people with ADHD have this problem as it can associated with a number of different things as well as a co-morbid feature ( if that is said correctly in this case? )  When I read the list....I realized this is the problem my suffers from in that...she has said a number of things about herself in the past that did not go together with anything I recognize myself having ADHD and the things that she mentioned....fit the list to a T.  Now that I can see all these things together at once?

Ironically....which is just one of those things I guess?  I do remember and even to a slight degree...have this problem in that getting verbal instructions sometimes is harder for me to understand however, my comprehension is really good ( actually above average ) in language, foreign language, phonics and overall comprehension.  Always my strongest features in school and in English?  Go figure? But sometimes I would reverse things occasionally and get them backwards thinking this must be dyslexia....but that was never a problem in school.  I always managed to correct this or notice it even after the fact with the usual  "I mean......" and make that correction while I was still talking after reversing things sometimes when I would say them out loud?  I did great on test so....I know that somehow....I managed to get the right answer anyway so obviously....this was not anything that really causes trouble but there have been a few times where I really got the wrong answer in my head...only to find out later I was wrong since I put the wrong thing first....which was usually in the math department?  Word problems....always a problem in math but not in English?

But....enough about me....I just wanted to say that even with having ADHD.....this has never been an issue with understanding and getting the message ( or reading in between the lines? )

When I saw this list ( again since it was a while ago when I was looking this up for me....back then )....it suddenly clicked now applying it to my wife?  Here's the list I looked up:

Difficulty hearing in noisy environments

Frequently misunderstands oral instructions/questions

Says “huh” or “what” frequently

Often needs directions or information repeated

Difficulty remembering spoken information

Difficulty with reading, comprehension, spelling, vocabulary, writing, or learning a foreign language

Difficulty with phonics or distinguishing speech sounds

Difficulty with organizational skills

Difficulty following multi-step directions

Difficulty maintaining focus on an activity if other sounds are present or child is easily distracted by other sounds in the environment

Difficulty following long conversations

Difficulty taking notes

Difficulty with verbal (word) math problems

Check...all the above...except I really can't confirm the last one without any input from my wife?  All I can say is.....the only one I can really apply to myself at all is the last one as I said? ( and organizing my thoughts around what is said sometimes but I don't understand...I ask?  And what is really odd for me to look at here is my ability to take notes?  I am a fantastic note taker....truly.  I recently found some old college note books and read them again after all these years and they not only made sense....but I would even go as far as hand them to someone else and say here....just look at this?  Weird huh?  It seems....everything on this list ( aside from the one ) are all the things that excel and why I made it through school aside from my actual hearing loss which actual is.....sometimes not hearing things right which is just hearing it wrong since I couldn't actually make out what was being said or heard the wrong word due to my hearing?

That being said.....I get it.  This is it...and this is the WHY...answer I have been trying to figure out?  This just happened too...with me giving my wife some directions ( simple ones while I was in the car with her...pointing at every single direction she needed to do to follow me home from going to get my car only a mile of two from out house?  I literally...was pointing with my fingers at each way back home and then told her where to turn and told her where I would be while pointing right at each step while I was explaining them to her.  Literally....waiting for each step and then showing hear visually where they were both at the same time.  Saying...DO NOT GO HERE.  GO HERE INSTEAD.  I REPEAT....DO NOT GO HERE...GO HERE INSTEAD.   So there I was...waiting for me wife to do this simple instruction and  NOT GO HERE.....but where I was?  The point in doing that was because the way we came had a difficult re-entry point and the way home actually had an exit designed so you didn't have to go back the same way we came?  ( 10 times easier than before ) I spent the entire trip going through this...telling her this at least  3 times...and then showing her what NOT to do...and then showing her what to do?  DO NOT DO THIS...I said repeatedly.  And there I was waiting for my wife since I had to pull over since she said she would follow me and I thought she was right behind me which at first she was.  Literally following me ....and then she wasn't there?????  So I'm sitting there looking in my rear view mirror ( pulled waiting for her ) ...wondering where she was....and all of a sudden...there she is....coming back the same way we came which was where I said  DO NOT GO HERE....GO HERE INSTEAD.  So where does she go?  Right where I told her....NOT TO GO ....and there I was...waiting for her to come behind me since she said she would follow me?  I always thought she was just ignoring me completely and not listening at all and just deciding to do what she wanted and could care less what I said?  Actually...that part came from her when ever I asked why she did this since she would actually say that....I don't care what you said...I'm going here...was her answer which might lead you to believe her....which now I realize....I can't in this case?  If I had been more explicit or and done anything more to correct this situation...I would have had to stop...get out of the car....walk over to the sign post and stand there and point and yell....DO NOT GO HERE.  And then get back into the car....and go to the other exit ..get back out of the car....walk over to the exit and point to the sign and yell.....GO HERE INSTEAD.  Literally??  I did everything BUT that and asking her to repeat what I said...is only met with hostility so I can't do that one as suggested?

But this is all very helpful and it explains a lot for sure?

All I can say is......know ONE person with ADHD....and you know ONE person with ADHD?  I can't even use myself and try and apply it to my wife which really is only helpful in a general sense?  This is a specific group of issues that my wife fits like a glove aside....from the ADHD symptoms that I am familiar with?  Thanks again....it took me a while to be able to put this all into a list like this and recognize what I am seeing? :)



Something that I found that was interesting in my research of ADHD was the somewhat similar condition that is sometimes  misdiagnosed as ADHD is "aspergers syndrome".  Affects same part of brain.  Affects communication, but not I.Q.

I'm Totally Open in Any and All Suggestions??

And yes, I have wondered about this one too?  There is something...not quite right in the ADHD diagnosis but my wife has not been officially diagnosed with anything which makes it difficult for me since...I am only an expert on myself, putting it that way?  And I mean that sincerely.  I've spent a great deal of time...figuring myself out and all that goes with me that is. lol  You can see the dilemma here since I am not an expert on anyone else for sure?

I've even gone as far as taking as many tests as I could on myself, as far as self testing goes.  You name it: Borderline, Narcissism, Aspergers ( yes ) and every disorder you can think of just to narrow it down and when the dust settled....I'm right back to ADHD again with....a little OCD in there for good measure! LOL  The OCD part is minimal or just a side effect of anxiety but I actually corrected that on my own before I went into therapy.  Actually...it was what brought me to therapy since those were the symptoms I recognized first a long time ago and thought that was a thing of the past?  My OCD was short lived in that ( I said this before )...I thought it was "creepy."  (as I thought at the time)...and I needed to do something about it..which I did.  Cold Turkey...and just stopped ..all at once?

The reason I brought this up was from what my T said to me a long time ago about that?  As he said  "Well...it wasn't bad enough, that you couldn't deal with it yourself which you obviously did?"

"Bad enough, huh??"  Mmmmmm??? Makes me think of severity and also applying it to my ADHD?  And I think that the case with me?  Not....too bad after all?

But the troubling thing now is....I do remember when I was younger...( as a kid )...and it was BAD then....but it slowly faded to annoying habits and tendencies not chronic issues cemented in there with no change?  For me...I was just a little behind but I caught up eventually?

But if I apply myself to my wife...and apply, how I was then...to her now.....that scares me a little!!! LOL  Honestly...if I had to be with me.....back then...as I am now?  Hoo boy!!! LOL All I can do is laugh but it really isn't funny?? LOL ( still laughing at that last statement!! LOL )

And that's exactly what I see sometimes??  Me...at age.....mmmmm???.......14 or 15???  Yikes!!!  And no...not necessarily the maturity level exactly...more my ADHD level and what I know about myself back then?  I'm referring to just the ADHD symptoms and my capability at the time?  That list and the CAD....appears to be all about capability or capacity and this is where this is both helpful ( so to have compassion ) and not misread what I'm seeing?  If you over estimate a person capacity in these areas....it is really easy to mis judge which I know I have done?  It is why I think....that she has accused me so often of "judging her?".   I'm not necessarily "judging her".....I'm misjudging her and giving her more credit than she has to give?  But as I know....this is something I do understand ( from the inside in having it? )  just not to the extreme...and some of these things don't apply for that reason?  I have blips....on the radar screen occasionally which are easily managed...and those things really are subtle and are hardly noticeable?  More just annoying to me too...and many times....only I notice them since I've learned to manage them successfully already?

I have to say that this CAD collection of traits.....really does look like someone who is of low intelligence especially as I pointed out in my latest experience....you can't get any more explicit...even I got out my car and walked to the sign and point my finger at it and yelled...."DO NOT GO HERE!!!! " lol  Know what I mean?  That doesn't look very intelligent does it?  But I have been extremely allowing and part of that is the compassion I have for myself?  I can let a great deal of water under the bridge and I have for the most part...but this explains a lot in me not over reacting either?

I have to share one time when this really applies which might be good for others to see too?  My wife expressed wanting to go swimming one time in open water like a lake or river and where I live...there are many options to choose from?  She told me what she had in mind..and I told her the options I knew of and explained to her in detail and even showed her some pictures? So...we spent an hour getting there and it was a beautiful day and everyone was on the beach sun bathing and swimming and I was all pumped up and ready to roll. ( looking very much forward to it )  But when we got there my wife looked around and didn't want to swim?  WHAT??  After all of that...getting ready..spending the time preparing her and her saying yes that sounds great?  So I asked....WHY??  it's perfect and just what you said ( having been three many times before??? )

She said...it's not what I pictured...if I had known it would be like this....I would have said no?? I won't even get into all the reasons why...but it was so far from what I said..and even the pictures..that I was left scratching my head in disappointment.  This was one time I give myself a lot of credit.  We left and never went swimming and left behind a perfect day at this beach and you couldn't have asked for more?  What it boiled down to was...she pictured no one there?  As if...we would have the entire place to ourselves ...on a sunny summer HOT afternoon...in a thriving metropolis no less?  I had never considered that one...because that was just too unrealistic?  So....we tried it again at another place with less people...and I prepared here for that?  Another hour on the road...packing food and drinks and all of that...and then when we got there....she wouldn't go in???  Now what??? lol

Well...the beach area was rocky ..and it didn't have a big open water like a lake because it was a river?  You know rivers...they are long and skinny...and are not like a lake?  She wanted the river to be a lake...and it wasn't....so we didn't go swimming again!!!! LOL  This was exasperating but I learned all of this early in our relationship....but I never had an answer for it until now?  Anyway...I let these go even back then ( at the time ) and didn't let it ruin our day together?  I'm not getting in Sorry's in these moments explicitly....but she has said she is sorry in a general which I feel is connected none the less?

So thank you...for including that bit of info here....it just helps explain this so now I understand it better?  I am still keeping my conclusions open...until I have someone more knowledgeable than me tell me what they think?  My T doesn't diagnose....so her is not likely to say unless he spent more time with her but....right now..she not saying NO....she's just saying...she ( thinks ) she has heard enough...and she doesn't need to hear any more?  That my be absolutely true for now......until she had a chance to take in what has been said already?

Honestly.....she has mentioned that she has trouble following him..and I think, she is embarrassed to say....that she really doesn't follow ( or has followed ) most of what he's said...and doesn't want to admit it because of this very reason?  I think from her past rejections ...and what has happened before...is that I will be the one who leaves which she doesn't realize...that that is not going to happen unless she makes it to the point that there is no other way?  I'm like a Labrador retriever......loyal to a fault ? LOL  Hell and High Water would both have to happen....and I'm not counting on that?:)


A Christmas Gift of Hope and an Answer

I'll give thanks to Reasoning One to start, for directing my thinking along the lines of CAPD ( central auditory processing disorder ).  This is now in reference to myself since I had severe ear infections as a child until I was about 6 years old but they were at their worst before I can remember as an infant?  Since my mother has passed away and my sisters are the only ones alive in my immediate family....I decided to see if they could fill me in on anything I didn't know about myself?  My sister found some medical papers and things my mother had saved in them...the doctors reports about my ear conditions and the analysis and what they came up with?  As it turns out....there was some damage done to my middle ear...but not my nerves which was really what they were worried about but the one kind of disheartening thing my sister recalled was how my father was really upset about how much money all this testing was costing him and with that....I can fill in the rest.  My mother use to tell me repeatedly that she wished (they) could have done more for me...and now it all makes sense.  The final conclusion to the chapter of me and what this is all about?  Money...all said and done and my mother had no control of input into what was spent and since my father ( The Narc ) placed more value on money than me ( or anyone ) my mothers inability to admit or face this fact caused her own denial of this as in the ( we )......since she could do nothing about it and was not allowed to continue any further than was absolutely necessary and without all the ( many many things I could reference....on a more positive note....my mother devoted her life in trying to compensate for this without being able to admit this to me or anyone else but she knew it none the less?

My ability to communicate and even ( write here as obvious )...has been affected by the damage done to my hearing in conjunction with Hyperactive type ADHD which means...I have two impairments not just one?  One on the outside of the Brain...and one on the inside and put together....this is what I've got?  That is the conclusion I've arrived at through years of personal search....mountains of research and reading every journal and document that I could dig, everything that was ever told me I can remember, the culmination of all my experiences and now...this new validation in this medical report that puts all this data and research together and using myself as my own means to do this without the real verification that as yet ( as I have researched about this )...as yet to be medically determined or substantiated due to lack of research and limited evidence to connect these all together which seems to have left me to do this for myself?

The bottom line:

Hyperactive ADHD  ...impulsive ( too much awareness ) vs inattentive ( not enough or too little )....exacerbated by hearing loss and ear damage but no nerve damage or processing disorders which lead to a early learning disability or SDI...that put me behind 1 or 2 years that I eventually grew out of?  As said....you either grow out of it.....or you grow into it with me....NOT being the latter?

This hearing loss itself...is easy to track and well documented and I have and had all of these things as said ( mild to medium but not severe )  it is also said...that your visual perception can be increased especially in peripheral vision which again...is me?  My peripheral vision is almost like having a 3rd eye behind my head or being able to see past 3 and 9 o'clock....to 8 and 4 o'clock with no problem in the sense of part of my normal visual range of awareness?  My eye's when I was younger showed 20 /15 vision which is above average according to the records I found?  Which was also included in the report?  When I said I had a hunch...it was more of a feeling and this pretty much tells me exactly why that is?

It also recommended that I continue on with speech therapy which was probably why my mother buried this...because she knew that would be impossible since my father would have refused to pay for it....which was where those cryptic comments my mother would say to me out of guilt and regret that never made any sense to me?

So the White Rhino here.....finally came to the surface which explained to me so many things that I haven't really got into here on this forum?  It is good to know and good to finally come to a place where I can stop looking in the wrong place for the right answer...and look else where in finding some solutions that are only specific to me?  Once the damage or injury to your ears is done....it's permanent and can't be repaired and other means are necessary to correct this?]

It is also confirming about the diagnosis for my father being a Narcissist?  When you put money or a price tag over your own child health and well being ...in service of himself and his own best interest....it might tell you something there....just to mention it?  I am sure my mother asked or pushed for this knowing here....but I also know my father and know the expected answer which is exactly the one my mother got?  It explains so much of my mothers behavior...and her devotion to me in doing everything in her power and what she was able to do under the circumstance?  She had no say or power or control of the money what so ever...and was put on a allowance herself that my father decided for her and no one could get a dime from my father...unless he approved of it...which was usually no more often than yes.....unless you were in the Hospital on your death bed.....or near death?  Nothing knew under the sun there....but that speaks more to the Love my mother had....which is part of that Christmas gift I received just in time?

So for what it's worth...and all due apologies to this forum.....I have another condition it would appear....included in my ADHD diagnosis and really explains why in some ways I a little different than most who come here without this particular issue and how these things tie together?  That fact that I have so much difficulty being concise...is not related to ADHD and with that...I have some investigating in finding a different solution outside of the ADHD diagnosis?

But thanks to the ReasoningOne and this mention....did put me back on this trail once again....but this time for me!!  It was a nice gift.....right on time for Christmas and a blessing at the same time!!

Merry Christmas everyone...and thank you for your patience and sorry for the inconvenience it just took me a while to figure out?  I guess I've got some more learning to do...but I will be looking more into this now for sure since it fits now like two peas in a pod for me that is?  Oh....CAPD for me...is definitely not the problem!!  It's all in the Ears ( and what comes out after the fact ( speech )...you might say? Thank God!!!!


totally get you (edited)

20 Yr, I feel for you and I am sorry for your situation.

Your post sounds like a summary of my marriage, lol. I completely understand how you feel, from the not getting help to the not traveling to the taking Adderall but refusing counseling to unfinished projects to my spouse being defensive and bewildered that I kept insisting how significantly his ADHD affected our family life. I unfortunately was not ok with him not getting treatment after years of asking and left him last year. 

My advice is for you to find a way to get some relief for yourself as soon as you can. I know that my misery caused me to isolate myself. I too said that I couldn't afford help. And my friends were busy, and I had no family closer than 250 miles. These are all very good reasons. The truth was that it was hard to let someone I didn't know very well into my strained situation. It was more for me to decide and more work. You know what? You can't afford not to get help. After deciding to just DO it, I found a gem of a college student who came Saturday mornings and watched my toddlers for a few hours. It allowed me to stop being so mad that my spouse wouldn't get out of bed on the weekends until very late and was great for my sons, who still love her. Can you figure out a way to pay a student to pop in and clean or make a few meals and freeze them for you? Is there a teenager in the neighborhood looking for a job who can take out the trash and do a few things around the house for you? I KNOW:-) he should be doing some of this, but for the time being? Can you cut back somewhere so that you can just know these few things will be taken care of? It is tough to get stuff like this started, but once they are rolling, they take on their own momentum. And it is great to have one or two numbers in your phone that you can call if you really need some help. 

At any rate, my best to you. There are lots of posts on this site and you may find that looking through the history you will find more input. Take good care of yourself.

You've given me an idea

Thank you. There may be at least one young person I know that I can pay for help.

By the way, I see that I've interacted with both you and Rosered before when I was concerned about my husband's drinking. The good news is that it did seem to be an obsession which has recently dialed down a bit. Of course, he's replaced it with the project in the garage, but at least he doesn't seem to be developing into an alcoholic.

barneyarff's picture

Wow   Are you living at my



Are you living at my house?  To be honest I don't know if it's ALWAYS ADD or if a majority of the time it's "IcangetawaywithitbecauseIalwayshavebefore"

Personally I think it's the last.  After being married for a long time and if the husband comes from a family where the Mom was "in charge" of the house and the dad sat on his behind and watched TV after work, then that's what our husbands hope to get.  I mean, who wouldn't want a wife who even threw away your empty popcorn container?


If they don't want to change I think your only recourse is to put up with it or leave.


What if I died?

Have you guys ever worried about who will take care of the kids if you pass away? My husband doesn't actually have ADD, but he was diagnosed with several processing and memory disorders, and it looks a lot like ADHD, so I hope it's ok that I'm here. The incident that drove me to get him tested was that he'd left our 3 year old alone in a swimming pool with no life jacket because he saw a basketball hoop and decided he'd rather shoot. He told me later that because she was in the shallow end, he thought she'd be ok. I found her in water up to her armpits, heading in deeper. I can't even tell you how scared I was, but I'm sure you can imagine.

He's never been good about the kids' safety, but that was the worst thing he's ever done. Since then, I've tried to avoid leaving him alone with the kids. But I'm terrified that if something happens to me, the kids won't be safe. And then beyond their basic safety, he doesn't participate in parenting them in any meaningful way. If we were to divorce and I had custody, would he automatically get them if I died? Or could I identify other guardians for them? I'm just terrified that he won't be a capable parent if something happens to me.

Good question

First off, I think you are completely welcome here. Your husband may not have ADHD, but he certainly behaves like he does! I would have been terrified in the circumstances under which you found your three-year-old, so I can certainly understand your worries. My husband has never done something on that level (when he was finally tested a few years ago, he was told he was high-functioning, possibly because his very high-IQ enabled him to somehow work around his ADHD). He just has never put much effort into raising our child, leaving (as he himself admits) the vast majority of the work to me. I confess that when we talked divorce (which I think I will end up posting about on this board in a while), I told him I wanted full custody of our daughter, and it was largely because he just sort of ignores her. Not in an endangering way; he just doesn't bother to invest in relationships if they aren't "shiny" and all fun all the time. I really had to insist very firmly that he show up for her last school concert, because he usually doesn't get around to coming to school concerts or, when she was in a sport, games, and it does matter to her. He sometimes means to show up, but he doesn't organize his time so that he can make the event. When he finally showed up to this most recent concert, I found myself praising him over and over again, almost like you would with a dog or a small child, to try to reinforce the behavior, because I know he was bored to tears, since the event involved sitting and waiting for the concert to start, and then sitting through several performances that didn't involve our child. I can manage it just fine, but he, of course, can hardly stand it. I felt bad, though, that I was laying on the positive reinforcement as thickly as I was. I think both of us realize that I go through a "good dog" routine with him sometimes. :(

Anyhow, at one point, I was sure that if I died (or left him and he had joint custody of our daughter), his mother would move to our area and take charge of things with him. She treats him like he his helpless, which in my opinion has just made things worse. Now, with my mother-in-law getting increasingly frail, my mom living near us (she didn't when my daughter was younger), and our child getting older, I think my daughter could somewhat take care of herself, and my mom would step in to help.

I'm no legal expert, but I think if you were divorce, you might not get full custody. Despite my telling my husband I wanted that, I really wouldn't have gotten it unless he agreed to it -- I think you REALLY have to prove the other parent is a serious danger to your child. You have a good argument given the swimming pool situation, I'm not 100% sure it would be good enough for a judge -- it would depend on the judge, I think. Anyhow, even if you had full custody of your children, I don't know that your husband wouldn't get custody once you died. Again, he'd have to really look pretty terrible in court to not have any rights to them, even if you were dead. The question is, could you make arrangements with trusted friends or family members -- your family or his -- that they would step in and help with your children should you die. This, unfortunately, probably wouldn't mean that your children would always be in the presence of another, more trustworthy adult, but it might help. And I guess this is a great reason to invest in your health, so that your chances of dying young will be slim!

Hang in there.

Legal assistance needed..

If you are in the US the laws may depend on your state so what you read about one state may be totally irrelevant to your position. You would not be paranoid if you found a way to spend an hour on a legal consultation, then set about putting in place whatever paperwork is required to have your wishes heard if the worst should happen. Please find a way do it, it need not be expensive just to find out your position (and considering what's at stake it's important to learn what the law has to say so if you can afford it *at all* then do it now, or look for a free 1/2 hr consultation).

Omg, my husband has put our

Omg, my husband has put our baby in several dangerous situations. It can keep me awake at night worrying that he isn't safe with his own father. I'll just have to stay alive lol. He gives no meaningful interaction either. 

Oh, I left mine, but he is relocating to be near us. I hope he has changed. 

Linsy's picture

Understand your fears

I left my four year old with husband at a holiday resort for five minutes so I could have a break (four year old hyperactive ADHD and I was exhausted). The next thing I knew, the child, who could not swim, was in the swimming pool fully clothed. Luckily he likes water and was not scared, so did not gasp as he entered the water (which is how small children drown). Thank God he was OK. Husband appeared not even to understand what he had done, or what the problem was. In retrospect of course I should have left him years ago.

Please don't worry about dying. It is vanishingly unlikely, and you can appoint guardians and take out life insurance on yourself to help things along. In your custody petition you can detail his problems, and make sure the judge understands what should happen in the event of your death. But you won't. Time passes very fast and soon they will be big enough to look after themselves. You will be so much happier without having to deal with the horrible nonsense of this behaviour. For one thing your own health will improve as you will be less stressed. My stress went off the scale, the doc put me on beta blockers, and that worked a treat. I have no mental health issues thank God, so am now calm and happy.

Best of luck. Please do feel free to ask me about any single mother strategies. Honestly it only occurred to me very recently that I was a 'single mother' and I left him four years ago. The improvement is just so enormous that I just felt normal - plus his issues meant I was always a 'single' mother.

Linsy's picture


I left my non swimming adhd four year old for a few minutes with husband at a resort, where everyone was dining around the pool. I thought I would have a few minutes 'off'. Mistake. Child in pool fully clothed before you could say knife. Husband had simply not looked after him at all. I was furious. He couldn't see what the problem was. I gritted my teeth but the end came when child was 9. I had to let him be with his father after that, hoping for the best as he was living with family and I thought they would keep an eye on things. But no, 9 year old wandering alone in big public park on a winter evening. I only found out by chance. I was so shocked that I didn't shout, just quietly requested that it never happen again. It didn't. At least he is big and strong now, and his older brother is much taller than their father. Although that didn't stop their father from slapping him so hard his ears rang when in bed, because he had decided not to go to his challenging job (husband hasn't worked for years) looking after children with special needs. It was the day after his grandmother died, and he was feeling a bit shaky so work had suggested he take a day off. Writing it out makes me feel helpless misery all over again. Elder son now back with me. ADD with bells on, but trying so hard. Unlike his father who denies he has it!



That's what I like about these boards

That's what I like about these boards: the fact that we can relate to each other (and commiserate and maybe even help out).

There is always the question: Is it really ADHD or something else? Before we knew my husband had ADHD, I wondered if he was a narcissist. I wondered if he really loved me. (I still struggle with that.) I blamed his parents for not teaching him to do his share around the house (his mother did everything for her boys, even when they were adults, and while her husband sometimes worked two jobs, a full-time job and farming, when he wasn't farming, I thought he should have been doing more around the house, since his wife also worked) and for modeling selfishness in their own marriage (which eventually led to the breakup of that marriage). I still think the way he was raised comes into play. But once I knew he had ADHD, some things fall into place. I don't enjoy waiting in lines, but he HATES it. Now I know why. He used to do things like start folding laundry and then leave the task partially finished, and I wondered if it was some sort of passive-aggressive way of treating me. Now I know that he will be folding laundry, start wondering about something, stop to go look it up on the Internet, and then forget all about the laundry. The ADHD explains a lot. Certainly, other factors do come into play, but the ADHD is a huge factor.

There was a point just this past winter when I decided I couldn't put up with it anymore. I have to put this into context. (1) While I'm generally not going to judge people who have gotten a divorce, (in part because I've nearly been down that road myself, so who am I to judge someone who went the rest of the way?), I believe divorce is really an option that should be embraced only under extreme circumstances, such as abuse or affairs. Part of that is because of my religious faith (I believe that marriage is a school that can help us become more Christlike, though I confess there are plenty of times I feel like I'm DONE with trying to be Christlike, let me be selfish now!), and part of it is because I think we often overestimate how happy we'll be after a divorce. So, while I can be TEMPTED to get a divorce (and boy, can I be tempted), that's not a path I truly want to walk down. (2) When this happened, a lot more was going on in my life than just dealing with a husband with ADHD. It was winter, and a very snowy one, and I HATE winter and I HATE commuting in the snow. I had planned a girls' getaway to Florida with some friends, and then my work schedule and some other things were spinning out of control, so it was getting hard for me to find a time that would work for me to go, and one of the two friends I was going to go with was treated to a girls' getaway in Florida as a birthday gift by some other friends of hers, and she couldn't really take more time off to go back. So I was miserable and jealous of that friend and just in a bad place mentally. So, keeping those to things in mind, here's what happened. I am embarrassed to show what a b... I was, but this is a story I think I have to tell (maybe it will help other people?): I walked into the house, or tried to walk into the house, after work one day during this horrid winter, very soon after my friend got back from her LOVELY Florida trip, and I had trouble opening the door, because my husband kept kicking off his shoes in front of the door every time he came in the house, and he had at least three pairs piled in front of it. That was just the straw that broke the camel's back. I threw his shoes into another room, grabbed my gym bag and went off to exercise without saying a word to him, and as I left I thought/prayed, "Okay, God, I'm about to leave. I'll go exercise, and then I'm going to go to a bookstore and buy myself a book and a treat, and during that time, I need my husband to call and apologize for being inconsiderate All.The.Time, or a friend to call me and talk me out of this, or even a complete stranger to ask me if I'm okay -- I'll take that as a sign that I should stay. If none of those things happen, I am OUT of this marriage. I canNOT take this anymore." None of those things happened, so I piled a bunch of my clothes in our guest room when I got home, with the plan of getting up early, packing a suitcase, and just driving south (I was going to call in sick to work and worry about the whole what-to-do-about-my-daughter thing later, really immature and selfish, I know). That's how completely horrid and crazy I was being at that moment. I went to bed, and my husband and I still hadn't spoken to each other. I'd just left him and my daughter to fend for themselves for dinner during my total tantrum. I had no dinner myself, just my bookstore treat. Anyhow, I decided I needed to have it out with him, so I got up, and he told me he was tired of my acting "this way" (angry, hurt), and I told him that was fine, because I was leaving him. And he said, "Yes, I think we should get a divorce." At that second, everything drained out of me. Frankly, I was hurt. I wanted him to be disappointed. I wanted him to fight to keep me. I also realized how much this would hurt our daughter, and how I might not be so happy about it after all, and how it went against what I believed. And I found myself actually arguing him back into us staying together.

During the argument, he said some things I disagree with, including that I always want to have my way (I feel like he always wants HIS way and doesn't mind me having my way if it doesn't conflict with his way -- in other words, we can live like two housemates with separate lives, and that is fine with him -- but if I insist that I want to have something my way that would require him NOT to have his way, he gets upset). But I also saw myself through his eyes, and it wasn't pretty. I have become a real b____, and I wouldn't want to be married to me. I'm not saying I don't have reasons to be angry about the state of our marriage. But I can be a pretty miserable person to be around, and that doesn't exactly inspire change in one's spouse. Anyhow, the argument wasn't totally fair -- I agreed to get counseling for depression, he refused all marriage counseling or ADHD counseling, because, he said quite plainly, he didn't want to change. I made the agreement, because I decided I wanted to stay. Is that crazy? To some people, yes, but like I said, when I weighed in my beliefs and my daughter and my wondering how wonderful things truly would be without him -- I mean, he may not be all that helpful a lot of the time and can be selfish, but it's not like he is NO help -- he shovels and does heavy "man" tasks when they are needed, which tends to be irregularly vs. the tasks I tend to do, but they are something, and he usually works (like many ADHDers, he has had a spotty job history) and brings in approximately half the family income.

So, I agreed to counseling. He did not. But he did show a willingness to make things work. The next day we tip-toed around he each other, and he was the first to extend the olive branch by talking to me about an event that we had planned to attend in the future, then giving me a hand up off the couch (something he never does) and, at the end of the evening, asking me for a goodnight kiss. He started wearing his wedding ring regularly (it's a long story, but he hadn't been wearing it largely because he had once left it at his parent's house when they were still together, so, afraid he would lose it, he just stopped wearing it, and he knew I wanted him to wear it, so he has started wearing again, which is a very strong symbolic gesture of love). Goodness knows he is trying, and I am, too. But when I feel like I can spend all of my time picking up after him, when he could easily just throw things away or put things away himself, when he lets me down again and I think about how I can't count on him to come through for me, when I think about the many things I do without any help for him, so that it feels like I could really almost do without him, at these times, I can feel myself falling back into the anger and resentment that have been a part of my side of our marriage for many, many years. This is not the marriage I want (shall we talk about the very infrequent sex life? no, let's not right now), so it is tempting to throw it away, but when I was looking down that corridor, I didn't REALLY want to go there. What I'm trying to do is find ways that WILL inspire change in our marriage -- change from both of us, and, if worst comes to worst, to be happy in a very dissatisfying marriage. But I do often think wistful "what if" thoughts, imaging the marriage I wish I had. :(

20YrVet, there is so much in

20YrVet, there is so much in what you wrote that I relate to. If we had no kids, I would certainly be gone. But, we do, and I don't want to put them through that. That worst part for me is that my H just makes me feel crazy (and angry, I'll get to that!). I still don't know whether he lies on purpose or because he really is confused or really has forgotten our conversation, but either way it makes me feel crazy. We were just living in his home country for a year (an international marriage, another strike against us, because some of our problems are cultural barriers I think), and I was late. My boobs were sore, evertyhing smelled and tasted funny. I kept it to myself for a bit, but finally I told him I needed him to buy a pregnancy test. I coudln't myself, because I don't know what they're called in German. I thought he would freak out, but he says, "No, you can't be pregnant." Mind you we used withdrawl for birth control at this point! And I reminded him that indeed I can, in fact that's how we concieved our first. So he finally agrees to get one "if I really want one," and he goes to the drugstore while I take the kids to the grocery store. Then we get home and I ask him for the test and he said, "Oh I totally forgot it."

GRR!! How do you forget something like that?!! And I've wondered the same thing; is he just passive aggressive? And sometimes I just get so mad at him. I know anger doesn't get me anywhere, and I'm really working on it. I've read Codependent No More and a bunch of other relationship and self-help books. Codependent no more really taught me that I can't let his behavior affect me. That does mean disconnecting, but hopefully at some point we'll reconnect. I don't know, honestly more likely I see us going on disconnected and then divorcing when the kids are out of the house. 

We're back in the US so I will see an attorney. I do the same thing though, sometimes fantasizing about the marriage I wish I had. I know no one has a perfect marriage, I just want a husband instead of another child. 

Oh, and we can talk about the very infrequent sex any time! 

barneyarff's picture

Some really good stuff has

Some really good stuff has been written the past few days.

I've been thinking a lot about what was written and thought I would try to put a thought or two "on paper"

1)  If my 16 year old daughter told me about her boyfriend the way I complain about my husband and some of the stuff I read here I would encourage her to drop that boy like a hot potato and wonder how she learned to think it was OK to put up with that kind of crap.

2)  What am I teaching my children by staying in a marriage that is so full of stress?

3) I've worked hard lately at having no expectations but I've figured out that if there are no expectations, then I have no obligations either, which is rather freeing. (Why don't the books talk about the giving up obligation side?  I swear they are all sexist pieces of crap)

4) I've disengaged as much as I can.  But how are 2 disengaged, no expectations, no obligations people in  any kind of healthy relationship?

5)  I'm pretty sure that if I left the marriage, DH would do nothing to try to win me back.  That hurts me on a level I can hardly look at but I need to finally admit that if I dropped the marriage ball no one would be holding it up.

6) "I just forgot" is just as injurous as not doing something on purpose.  Forgetting means I wasn't worth the effort to remember.  "On purpose" means you weren't worth forgiving.

I didn't do it on purpose still means there is a problem that needs to be fixed.  So fix it instead of expecting me to clean up your mess.

7) I spent many years NOT being angry or upset at the messes, the "forgetting" etc and it did not get better.  When I finally saw how badly I was treated I got mad.  That is a normal reaction to being s#@! upon.  Don't leave the shoes in front of the door so I can get inside on a cold winter day.  Don't throw nasty kleenix on the floor.  Don't start another project while 33 projects lay unfinished about you and I might cheer up a bit. 

8) The stress and anger have and will continue to compromise my health.

9)  I'm less inclined to think that this is ADD.  I'm thinking it is men taking advantage of women because of the culture we live in and we let them get away with it, bad habits, bad manners and yes, the "L" word, laziness.


"I'm pretty sure that if I

"I'm pretty sure that if I left the marriage, DH would do nothing to try to win me back."

I filed for a separation three months ago.  My husband's only comments on the issue have been "what happens to the property" and "what happens next."  No, "But I want to stay married" or "Are you sure" or "You stupid jerk.  I'm glad we're splitting up."  Nothing.


I have to say that my

I have to say that my husband's reaction helped to decrease my feelings of guilt.  

It's so hard to know what the lack of response means.  But I decided that it's not unreasonable for me to expect that even a person with ADHD and passive aggressiveness and and anxiety and depression should be able to say that he wants to stay married if that is what he wants.

So alone.'s picture

Very sorry Rose , I know your

Very sorry Rose , I know your pain, the children in my marriage are not my biological children, but I'm the only mother they know, and all the typical ADHD depression anxiety stories an then some apply here, I told my husband I want a divorce and he said OK, just as matter of factly as you please..... I'm sorry but I do envy you bc you'll finally be free from the prison...God Bless

Hoping it gets better, Rose

Those posts from women who finally divorce and then write back after a while about finding peace are inspiring yes? You've been so generous in your posts; I know a lot of us are sorry you are hurting and are rooting for you in our hearts.. 

barneyarff's picture

I'm spending more time on

I'm spending more time on this than I should (does anyone feel just worn out with all the time and thought the ADD spouse wrings out of us?) but while writing how I don't see much empathy, or politeness in some of the spouses I read about, something I read came to mind so I looked it up.

It has to do with boy's behavior and goes something like this

age 4---grabs a girl's hair   It means he likes her the adults say.

age 11--- grabs a girls arm and she screams for him to leave her alone   That's just how boys are the adults say.

age 18--- grabs her arm (etc) and now it's not OK.   How would she know she has any say over her body when for 18 years "he" could whack on her.  How would he know to not "whack" when for 18 years adults thought it was cute.

I think this goes for ADDers too.  As children they are "just kids" and their rudeness, bad grades, messiness, lack of manners, no empathy, etc etc etc are excused.  Then when the ADDer grows up they have no understanding how to act because they were coddled or considered cute or they were hard headed and wore out their parents.  And I think as nonADD spouses we are asked to give them lots of leeway.  I'm starting to think that what they need is no leeway at all.  They behave like spoiled brats because they got away with their behavior for so long.

Yes, it's hard and exhausting to raises an ADD kid (I've got one).  But guess what?  The moment I took everything away from him except what I have to provide by law, he straightened up.  I even took away his college money. (why waste $250,000?  I could go on many vacations with that kind of money) Told him it was obvious he wanted to be a WalMart greeter so I was not going to spend anymore time or effort trying to help him be the profession he says he wants.   He now gets A's and B's and he is slowly earning back some of his stuff.  Of course I've given him lots of hugs and praise.  Don't think I'm some kind of monster. But I can't give in even a little because he will try to get away with something.  I can't give him one bit of leeway.  Not one.  It's exhausting but it's my job, I'm the Mom.  He is much harder to raise than my daughter who does NOT have ADD.  I get to let my guard down with my daughter sometimes and have a little fun.  It is a relief.

   I am determined that he is not going to treat a woman like my husband has treated me.  I would be horrified if I played a part in that. So everyday is a battle.

I think if I had drawn the line like that with my husband when we first got married, we would have either separated quickly (sigh, what a relief that would have been) or he would have realized he was not going to get away with all the crap his Dad did.  Ah, but I was young and dumb and I thought my husband was going to treat me like an equal.  And that was my fault.  I was young, dumb, in love, and I assumed many things.  And my denial was that he would grow up.


I also think sexism is part of the problem

I mean, marriage has been a way that men controlled women for thousands of years. A society can't just jump from that history to full equality in a few dozen years. I think many men have this expectation that their job is to work, and a wife's job is to work plus do everything else. In my situation, my H comes from Europe, and I see a lot more sexism there, especially in his home country.

I also think that the idea of an improved marriage consisting of two people who are totally disconnected from each other and have no expectations of care is just depressing. I just keep reminding myself that until my kids have a stronger sense of self and identity, the family unit is going to be very central to their lives, and that's what I'm working so hard to keep together. I'm hoping that 10 years from now, it'll feel like I've made the right decision.

Also, thanks for welcoming me here!  H's cognitive testing showed a really high score in concentration, which is why we know it's not ADHD, but I'll bet the general processing, dyslexia, auditory processing and memory disorders also go along with ADHD a lot. Does anyone know? I thought I read something somewhere about dyslexia and ADHD... And that part has been so helpful to identify. Like, I had to come back to the US early because I was deported (I know, ridiculous), because H thought he read that I had six months to apply for a visa, but I only had three. I just trusted him on that, which was stupid, but we (ha, I mean I) were doing SO MUCH to get ready for the move, and I was overwhelmed. But I have to say to my own great credit, I totally didn't get mad at him. I was mad about the fine, because I can think of much better ways to spend $750 (MUCH better ways!!!), but his dyslexia specifically manifests as a reading comprehension problem. Actually, sometimes I feel like I'm a borderline high functioning ADDer, because I can be flighty. Hopefully though I'm still in the "normal" end of the spectrum. That's my gut instinct, that I have some of the characteristics but not enough to qualify for a diagnosis. Still, I'm doing what I can to work on me.

Finally, yes, worn out. I just feel so tired all of the time. Well, I also just got over being horribly sick, so that doesn't help. 

barneyarff: could be on to something


I think you could be on to something when you mentioned about parents possibly overlooking the ADHD behavior in the children, and coddling them or thinking they were cute. (especially us older folks) I TOTALLY SAW THIS in regards to the relationship between my ADHD husband and his mother. My husband was his mother's "favorite child", even though he had STRONG adhd behavior. Her other two children had terrible behavior issues and later became drug addicts/alcoholics. But, my dh was the "good kid" who got good grades, and "stayed out of serious trouble like the other two". But, her exaggerated praise on him was over behaviors that are considered just "good manners" and "good behavior" for the rest of us. (no offense to the adhd'ers out there, just explaining what she did)

     I KNOW this led, in part, to him having an "exaggerated" opinion of himself, which was running contrary to the ADHD thinking that he was somehow "different" and "above others". But, she did this ALL his life, and it took some doing on my part to explain the difference between doing something nice for someone is also good for YOU, and not always the means to getting HEAPS of PRAISE. 


Tired of "boyish" behavior myself

When I met my DH over twenty years ago, he was independent, with a house and a good job. He was also very attentive to me. All that stopped once we actually tied the knot. I have to agree that some of it was my "allowing" him to get away with things--not helping around the house or with our 3 kids, for example. On the other hand making messes/hoarding, forgetting things, ignoring me for days seem to be more ADD. On top of that, we are not partners as I had hoped. Up until 3 months ago he had a full time job and I worked part time while raising our three kids essentially by myself. He kept his full paycheck and after paying the necessary bills spent the rest on himself, not me or the kids (I pay for all of that). I always worried about his money handling since he refuses to follow a budget. And when we were first married he had racked up a huge credit card bill and took the equity out of our house to pay it off. Now he has lost his job and has been doing little to find a new one. He refuses to even apply for unemployment insurance, which would help a lot. But he still goes shopping, buying things like new tires for a bike he doesn't even ride. Needless to say the stress is bad. I am trying to be patient but today for example, he wanted me to go spend money with him. I watch every penny and I have tried to do fun things (free if possible) to alleviate some of the stress for both of us, even just walking the dog, but I had to say no. I calmly asked that he apply for unemployment instead and his response was to storm out and slam the door as hard as he could. I guess not being told no as a youngster has led to some of this and it's not cute anymore (if it ever really was). I don't like feeling as if I'm a parent to my DH--we have a son who has just been diagnosed with ADD and I have my hands full there. I just want him to take responsibility and I don't know how best to do that.

Any advice would be highly appreciated : )

We have been married 28

We have been married 28 years.  We have two adult daughters, both in their early 20s.  I've written a lot about my situation in other threads on this forum, but this topic (not being able to rely on the partner with ADHD) is probably the key to my unhappiness in my marriage.  We have had many problems over the past several years, and they're certainly not all my husband's fault, but the fact that he can't be relied on to help us get out of our problems has been a huge strain and stress.  My health is shot.  I need distance from my husband to survive.  And if I don't survive, my family will struggle mightily, because I'm the main breadwinner, my job carries health insurance, and I do 90% of the challenging duties of parenting and household care.

Linsy's picture

Mine quickly found a rich woman to keep him

And his family gathered around and enabled him too. So no hope for us at all. Like in addiction, some ADDers need to hit the bottom of what their natural behaviour has created before they seek help. So he will never hit the bottom.

The pain was ghastly, but necessary. I hid away and licked my weeping wounds in private. I kept my very British stiff upper lip mostly in place, and tried hard not to bore people with my misery. And then one day I felt better. Most of the time I feel fine now. The less I see of him the better, as I get a horrible stress reaction from him as I am now so unused to his bizarre and unpleasant way of addressing me. He is basically a bully and a coward, I was mistaken in thinking that he shared my values as he came from a similar family. But he does not. He is thoroughly dishonest about money - taking it from people without shame, and thinking that it comes from somewhere 'over there' and not from hard grind.

The great difficulty for those of us who believe in love and marriage is being forced to think poorly of the one person who is meant to be our partner for life and the one person who should love us more than anyone or anything. This means we can live in denial and take any amount of abuse for years and years. I look back now in astonishment at the broken promises and dreadful carelessness, the complete lack of shame, that he demonstrated every single day that he did not get up with the intention of doing the best he could for his own little family (he would do anything for his parents). So that was every day, when he would indulge in a sneaky joint, and become useless, angry, frightening, incompetent and unbelievably lazy once more.

Sorry, bitter still, and angry. But it only comes out on here.

Linsy's picture

Left mine 3 yrs ago

Realised I have been single parent all along, but to four children not three. Down to three now husband has gone, one adult, one getting there, one still young. Responsibility without agency is appalling. Sole responsibility far preferable. I too have NO family support, loving friends with their own issues, etc. But I had to be strong, so I was. He was also extremely nasty with terrifying mood swings, and I was a physical nervous wreck (although not clinically depressed - just unhappy with a marriage gone very very wrong) so I had to recover physically from an over stimulated stress reaction. You are strong, you have got this far. In the end we only have ourselves to rely on, and we have our own backs. Anything else can be seen as a lovely bonus. And I have had lots of those from the least expected people, total strangers who came into my life and reminded me that relationships (friendships - no lovers) could be fully reciprocal and satisfying. Good luck with it all.

I&#039;m So Exhausted's picture

Aha moment. . . . .

Hello 20YrVet.  I am reading your post and realizing that I too confess that I fantasize sometimes that my husband and I won't be together any more someday, and I'll meet a man who cherishes me and whom I can lean on in tough times. Someone I can truly trust. I know that isn't good for my marriage, but I am having a very hard time not going there mentally. (This someone is not an actual man I know, but that doesn't make my thoughts good.)

I am lonely in my marriage.  I am stuck trying to decide what to do.  Go?  Stay?  Go?  Stay?  I have done many sorts of counseling over the past 20 years.  Personal counseling for my own struggles with eating disorders.  Al-Anon to find peace with growing up in an alcoholic home.  Self-Help books.  Dr. Phill's Relationship Rescue.  The ADHD and Marriage couples course offered here on this site.  2 specific courses of marriage counseling with-in 3 years  with two different ADHD experts.  

When our daughter got engaged in January of this year, my ADHD spouse and I sorta-kinda made an agreement that we would put our marriage struggles on the back burner until after the wedding - thus being able to focus on our daughter and her joy in planning her wedding.  Our marriage struggles have been on-going for many years, so it was easy for me to allow the focus at this time to be my daughter.

 My daughter adores her Daddy - and that makes me happy.  My daughter and I have a great relationship - and that makes me happy.  My spouse is no more reliable to his daughter than to me - but a Father-Daughter relationship is a whole different thing that a Husband-Wife relationship when it comes to reliability and being there for someone.

And time, as always, has marched on - and in 7 days, the wedding will be here.  I have been literally fighting off the cloud of doom I feel lurking in the background - fearing the shoe-to-drop squarely on my head.  

How hard it is to not be able to rely on someone - I suppose it might be different if there was empathy from  my spouse on his inability to be reliable.  However, all I feel is his anger in response to my hurt/disappointment/over-burdened life.  

I have been working on putting an end to the child-parent dynamics in our relationship.  Not as easy as I thought as I am a care-taker nurturer by God's design.

I have taken on a temporary part-time job in the evenings.  Last night, amidst the working,  waiting in the afternoon for an appraiser for refinancing our house, and all the wedding planing, I had totally 100% forgotten about a 9:30 pm gathering of my friends - I  myself had called another friend this past Monday to remind her of us getting together.  

So I got a clear look into how a brain can totally forget something so important.  And it did stir empathy for my spouse - as he always in pounding his forehead with the palm of his hand saying, "You DO NOT KNOW what it is like to live inside my brain."  

I did feel embarrassment and shame  and silly ness that I had forgotten - and I apologized to my friends.  And right there - that apologizing, that understanding, that realizing that I caused disappointment to another, that frustration at how the other felt - - - that is what I am missing from my spouse.  

And there within lies the dilemma. . . . . .  

barneyarff's picture

Something rather amusing

About a month ago we bought a used Rainbow vacuum cleaner.

My ADD husband cannot get enough of it because of it's instant feedback.  (It has no bags.  It has water and all the dirt goes into the water)

I hear him upstairs now vacuuming again.

Rainbow should make an advertisement out of this.  It's great.  I  would have happily paid the full amount for a new one had I known the response it would get.

Now if they could only make the vacuum so it would put itself away because, yes, you guessed it, it sits in my living room quite a bit.

this is totally me

I have a similar (bagless) vacuum cleaner, and it totally provides instant gratification. THEN I got a hoover floor mate (spearates the clean water from the dirty!), and OMG it's the same thing. I certainly have a bit of ADD tendencies myself (fixation, forgetful, and I seldom put away the vacuum cleaner), but sometimes they're just so enjoyable. :-)

After his diagnosis, mine

After his diagnosis, mine stopped apologizing and started saying, "oh, I got distracted", like it was no big deal. 

Mine is moving in with me temporarily until he finds a good job. I feel like someone with ptsd right now. I'm still angry after 6 months completely apart. And honestly, he is a good man. The ADD and laziness are just too much to bear for my personality and needs. 

Sounds so familiar

It's been a long time since you posted this.  Was wondering if you are still in the same situation.  I find that my situation mirrors yours.  I can't decide whether to stay or go.  Leaving is scary and would be financially ruinous for both of us.  We can enjoy each other's company sometimes.  The other times is what scares me.  It's so emotionally draining and painful to me.  I just don't think he has any idea of the toll it's taking.  I see my hair falling out more and more- I'm not going bald, but maybe it's normal for my age.  I've lost over 15 pounds since the episode with the emotional attachment.  I find it hard to eat, but I know I use food to feel like I have some control of my life.  I know it's wrong, but I still can't help myself.  Some of the things he says makes me feel like I need to lose weight and I would feel better, thinner.  There are now other issues coming up and I won't tell him.  I have to see what some of these physical symptoms mean for me.  There's a lot going on.  He shares with me that his boss has given him a firm warning that if he continues on his path, he'll be fired.  It makes me feel afraid and insecure.  He's had such a successful career so far, but he's putting it all on the line for integrity and what he feels is right- for another female coworker.  Not the same one he had the "almost emotional affair" with.  Even the counselor asked if he had an emotional attachment to her too.  I don't think so, but who knows anymore.  Who's willing to give up a 26 year career for another coworker for principal?  I guess there are people like that out there and I can see some of his points, but he may be damaging this coworker's prospects at this job as well, but he won't quit.  It's all for the good of what's right.  His most respected mentor has told him to back off and cut it out, basically.  He won't listen to him either.  I feel like I'm living on the edge and cannot count on my husband to keep me from falling over.  I think he's going to pull me over instead.  It's scary.  He even told our teenage son what was going on, which I wish he hadn't.  Even my son has said for him to maybe lay low until things boil down, to see if he can still do the right thing.  He won't listen to that.  He thrives on the conflict and danger.  I think that's part of the ADHD. With my background, I need security so badly, safety so badly.  I feel sick and insane.  He says that I am.  I need to face reality.  What's reality anymore?  His reality.  He cannot comprehend that his reality may not be acceptable to everyone or that's even okay.  I just don't know how much more I can take.  It's been over 25 years.  I realize that he has a problem remembering and he admits to it, but I always feel like it's still my fault when he forgets because I'm not understanding enough.  I don't give him enough credit for trying.  Maybe that's true, but at some point.  I think I've made allowances- I NEVER mention the piles of clothes he leaves in our bedroom anymore or the office.  I do all of the bills, all of the other things around the house such as oil changes, tire rotations, safety checks, registrations for all of the cars, anything with the kids- physicals, dental- everything!  He does what I ask him to do and what he is interested in doing.  He never has to remind me to do the bills or anything with taxes etc.  Kids get their regular check ups, forms signed. I do my part time jobs, go to school full time and pretty much everything around the house.  He says he appreciates me doing everything.  I ask him to remember 1 date night in 60 days and its too much.  I get blamed because I'm expecting too much of him. 

How does anyone keep doing this????  I don't want to feel lonely, rejected, forgotten anymore.  He says it's because that's what I choose to focus on.  Is that true???  Is it all my fault?

Hey, Lost

Please, please get help. The fact that you are blaming yourself, that you are having trouble eating, and that you are feeling "sick and insane" means that you need help. Not because you are sick and insane, and not because you should never question your outlook, but because you NEED support in this marriage. Please do whatever you can to see a counselor. You do mention a counselor, but I'm not sure if it is yours or his or someone counseling him at work. If you mentioned your own counselor, should you switch counselors? Is this person helping you?

If you can, it would be good if you could also see a counselor with him (if you aren't already). 

You have EVERY right to be able to have some expectations that your husband carry part of the burden of your marriage with you. He probably will never carry an equal share, which sucks, but he should carry more than he has in the past -- whether that be organizing date night or (I'd say this is the most important change he can make) changing what he does at work so that he does not threaten his job. I'm not clear on exactly what that thing he is doing is, and it may be that he really is trying to follow his conscience, which is very important, but his conscience should ALSO be telling him to look out for his wife and how his actions affect her.

We spouses of people with ADHD deal with a lot. One thing I continue to work on that I think we all need to do: Be able to request changes from our partner. We won't get everything we want. We probably won't ever have an ideal marriage (but who does?). We may always yearn for the seemingly supportive marriages we see around us. But if we are going to stay, we need to be able to ask for more. And if our partners must have everything on their own terms, than we need to ask ourselves at what point we will stop putting up with this and leave. I say this as someone who believes strongly in trying to make marriages work... but at some point, if you are the one doing all of the giving to the relationship, I think that, if for no other reason than the sake of your health, you should be able to leave with your head held high, knowing that you tried. An alternative that allows you to stay but not put up with this: Start doing what you want to do, with or without him. Not cheating (just go ahead and get a divorce then), but not taking care of him anymore and not concerning yourself with how he treats you. That's hard to do (because many of the ways we take care of our spouses also takes care of us -- like paying all the bills or picking up messes if you like a clean home), but it might be another way. I will say, though, that I don't think being a martyr and allowing stubborn, selfish behavior is good for anyone in the family -- not you, not your spouse, not children.

Please post and let us know how things go as you look for help and ask your husband for some changes on his part.


<<< I can't decide whether to stay or go. Leaving is scary and would be financially ruinous for both of us. We can enjoy each other's company sometimes. The other times is what scares me. It's so emotionally draining and painful to me. I just don't think he has any idea of the toll it's taking. >>>> This is what I face...divorce would devastate us financially and we don't have time (age) to recover from that.

My heart breaks for all of us

Rosered, I'm glad in some ways that your husband's attitude helped you when you decided to make the break, but I'm so sorry for you, too. I know it must be hard after investing 28 years.

And barneyaff and polkadots, I totally get that sexism might play in, though I do believe in ADHD -- I've seen men on these boards talking about their ADHD wives, and I know that part of my husband's problem is forgetfulness, which was sort of cute "ha ha, isn't he so forgetful" thing before things really went south.

And that's the thing... part of what keeps me hanging on. I'm not saying we had a perfect marriage in the beginning, but it was a mighty good marriage, and I loved him madly and generally felt loved by him. Housework wasn't supposed to be a problem for us, because when we did our premarital counseling, he believed (on paper at least) as I did in sharing the housework equally. But when we first got married, he was working an average of 60 hours a week, and I was working 40, and we lived in an apartment, no kid, so it made sense for me to do pretty much everything. And for a while, when we lived in our house (but still had no child) and were working about the same amount, we actually did pay for help, since I was doing most of the housework. We were paying a seminary student who needed a little extra income. It worked out well, but then she graduated and got a position, and that came to an end, and we could never afford "real" help.

When things were bad with my husband, which wasn't awful, I found that when I put some extra effort into the relationship, which I wanted to do, because I loved him so and loved us together, he responded, and all was well. He has so much going for him, and when I compare him to some of the husbands I read about on these boards, I should feel lucky. He is smart and hard-working. He isn't an angry person; in fact, he avoids conflict (and that isn't always good, of course, but the point is, when we fight, it's because I start it). He generally doesn't spend unwisely; he was raised in a frugal family and has pretty much stayed that way. He hasn't cheated on me, and while I was worried he was headed toward becoming an alcoholic for a while, that, too, seems to be under control now.

The problem is, I feel unloved and unsupported, and I can almost exactly pinpoint when the slide downhill began: when our daughter was about five months old. The setup came before that: before I was pregnant, a friend of his at work (I'll tell you, sometimes I hate his work friends, because the things they introduce him to never seem to be good for our marriage... maybe if he didn't obsess over things, it would be different) was a police reserve officer. My husband ended up doing a ride-along with an officer, loved it, and went into police reserve work, too. Of course, having ADHD, he couldn't just sort of go into it, he REALLY went into it. Feeling neglected, I picked a fight with him over this at one point, and because I unfortunately seem to come up with very cruel things to say, I accused him of playing out a cops and robbers fantasy. He never forgets these things I say (so why does he forget things I want him to remember?). Anyhow, eventually he decided he wanted to go into work as a police officer, and while it took me a while to get on board, I became supportive of it, and I spent a lot of time helping him, because he has terrible grammar, spelling and handwriting skills (hello, ADHD), so I helped him with many an application, even when our baby was little and I wanted to go to bed after putting her to bed, but he needed help. When she was two months old, he landed a job as an officer. We were so happy, and I was so proud of him. As an added bonus, I wanted to be an at-home mom, and given the escalating pay scale of his position, we figured that when she was three-and-a-half, I could quit my job.

Up until then, he had bounced from job to job, but he had always carefully lined one job up before going to another, but with the police job, his job history changed. He was on probation for three months. At the end of that time, the police chief called him, said he was doing a good job but seemed to be having trouble memorizing the locations of things, so he wanted him to stay on probation a while longer. I guess, looking back, my husband really does have a fragile ego, and what he heard was, "You are a failure." At any rate, he came home, told me about the review, and said he didn't know if he'd be on the job much longer given that. He said NOTHING about quitting his job. A couple of days later, I came home from work, and my husband greeted me with, "I quit my job today." He felt that he was not a good officer and a danger to the public by not being one, so he quit, though the chief tried to talk him into staying. He told me that he had warned me this might happen, but I had not understood what he had told me to mean that he would actually quit. I was so angry and hurt. He got a position back in his old line of work (computer help desk) within two weeks, but for years, I carried around a lot of anger and bitterness about his throwing his job away after all we had invested in it. I shouldn't have done that, but I did. I also became quite bitter about the unequal distribution of household and parenting tasks in a way I had never felt before, because having a kid, of course, makes everything more difficult. My husband's career became quite shaky -- he was laid off of one job when the dot-com industry crashed and unemployed for six months. He tried to move up during that time but ended up feeling grateful to get a similar position at a large company as a contract employee. He spent some years there, never able to move up due to the nature of his position, always under threat of layoff, sometimes taking paycuts. In the meantime, I moved up in my own career. He finally moved to another place, but that place was dysfunctional, and he was fired after a very short period of time (not his fault). He was unemployed for a very short time, and got another position. This lasted a while, and it started out good, but that workplace also became dysfunctional, all the good people left, he got depressed and eventually I gave him my blessing to quit without having another job lined up. He wasn't eating or sleeping, for heaven's sake! It was scary, because it was during this past recession, but in two months, he had another job. That lasted six months -- his boss kept telling him he was forgetful and made him write an essay on how he would improve his memory. Finally, I started to worry and used the internet to research memory problems. I was sure it wasn't early onset Alzheimer's, because, remember, my husband has always been forgetful, it just rarely affected his work performance. I found out that that was a hallmark of ADHD, begged him to get tested, and he did, but it was too late to save that job. He was unemployed for another eight months before finding his current job, where he is doing well. They are encouraging him to try to move up, but he complains of being too tired at the end of the day to study for a higher-level position, though he has energy to work on his project in the garage.

I tried to "stand by my man" during this time. I even wanted to. But I also kept building up resentment -- over the police job, over the unequal work around the house, over the fact that he seemed to have permission to quit, while I never did, over the fact that even when I told him I'd like him to express some appreciation for my hard work, at home and at work, he never did. Not once did he say, "I know these times have been hard on you. Thank you for working so hard for us." And somewhere during that time, I stopped wanting to try anymore. And I'm sure my bitterness has seeped through and made me hard to love, so we've been on a downward spiral for some time.

But I want to have hope. I want to believe we can spiral upward again. I remember that, once upon a time, I was madly in love and if you asked me, I would honestly have told you our marriage was good. I want to try for that reason, among others.

And yet... I also feel SO hurt, SO hopeless, SO uncherished, that I want the fantasy man, even though he doesn't exist, and might never exist. I know realistically that, while there are people in situations where they'd feel happier out of their marriage, I won't necessarily feel that way. I could very well feel even worse.

So I'm torn. Torn between throwing in the towel and wanting to keep going. In the meantime, whether because I am at midlife or the medication and counseling are working, I'm feeling a new interest in investing in myself, and maybe that, too, will help. I've decided (though I've told no one about this) that this coming school year and summer are my year of "no" -- as much as possible, unless I feel very strongly that saying yes is absolutely necessary or good for me -- I am going to say no to requests made of me, with the hopes that will free up some time and energy. We shall see.

Anyhow, like I said, my heart breaks for every one of us, but I think this is important for us to be able to discuss with other people who are going through similar things!

barneyarff's picture

What you wrote was something.

What you wrote was something.  

So, my DH is trying to get his ADD under control.  He is now on meds and after my telling him to get counseling or leave, he has gone to counseling but it is such an uphill battle for both of us and frankly after 39 years I'm out of steam. 

So this morning I get up and going and find out that DH has bought a whole box of doughnuts.  And my ADHD son was up during the night eating them.  This is not the 1st time this has happened.  This is not the 5th time this has happened.  Each time I asked DH not to buy doughnuts and explained why it wasn't a good idea.  I used soft tones and did not blame anyone.  As usual, asking nicely and explaining why had no affect.

 So this morning I yelled.

His first response?  "I couldn't help it.  The boy had his own money."

 Are you kidding me?  He finally admitted that he is the parent and he should have said "no"  and because I yelled, he finally caught on and agreed that he did something stupid and he won't do it again.

But I am already annoyed.  I've lost my temper.  The adrenoline is flowing.  I've been on a walk.  I told him that if he was the only one stuffing himself with doughnuts, I'd just let him and hope he died an early death but he cannot do this to a kid.

Seriously, the experts don't talk at all about what the ADDer is supposed to do to act responsibly.  I'm fed up with being told what I'm supposed to do.  I'm tired of hearing how I'm doing EVERYTHING ALL WRONG.  When does the ADDer need to grow a pair?

When does he become responsible enough that I don't have to lose my temper just to get the kids raised right?  (I'm just waiting for some expert to tell me that I need to let the ADD spouse feed the ADHD kid doughnuts because that's his parenting style)


You know, last week,  I had a rather scary mammogram (don't know the results yet)  My company lost a big contract and I probably will lose tens of thousands of dollars in income because of it.  My son did something hugely stupid on Facebook that needs to be addressed immediately.  Yes, I've had my hands full.  My DH has a big project he is working on but he had a 3 day weekend.

He did not ask about the mammogram.  He shrugged off my loss of lots of income like it didn't count (and it was the fun part of my job too) and he has informed me that he can't think about our son's behavior right now because of what is going on at work.  I finally pressed him for a date that we could talk about it and he suggested after labor Day.



That is one of the most sane things I have seen written here.

The ADD spouse should not have to be responsible for themselves AND a child/parent AND the bad effects on the children after the childl/parent has had their way being irresponsible. People are built to have adrenaline and anger when things are WRONG,  It comes out as a viable emotion OR it gets stuck and stuffed and drives a person crazy.   After over 35 years of trying every way possible, giving, supporting,....I have adrenaline fatigue and dh still acts like a happy puppy whose main goal in life is to have a good time and rebel against authority.... ANY authority...The expected promises of marriage, a place in his own family, being a role model for children, earning a living, keeping a budget....All these sorts of things he sees as burdens of authority and he chooses to turn away from them and "do his own thing".

I am married.  My husband is not married.  But I have been married.....nothing to celebrate because I have been married by myself.

I appreciated your comments, barnarff.  You are right.

Linsy's picture

Being married by yourself

Arrgghhhh! I was married for about 22 years. In that time I think under four of those years (middle period, not early or late) resembled in any way a marriage. The rest of the time I was doing it ALL by myself, constantly undermined by his ghastly behaviour. Now I am on my own, and am still doing it all by myself, but without the fear, the eggshells, the violent moodswings, the broken and stolen things, the terrible, unerring wrongness of his decision making, the irresponsible behaviour towards his children, the crazy spending from the joint account, the mad accusations, the parking tickets.... Wonderful. 

How are you?

What you wrote was something.  

Yeah, I can get wordy, especially when emotional. 

You know, last week,  I had a rather scary mammogram (don't know the results yet) 

Any news on this? I've been there with the scary mammogram stuff. For me, it turned out to be nothing (just a cyst), but I know what it is to have your heart in your throat, so if you don't mind posting about it, please let me know if all is well.

barneyarff's picture

Ya, got the results last

Ya, got the results last night.

No cancer.  Just annoying cyst or infection or something.  Whew!  With my history it is really really scary stuff.

And..... thanks for asking.


Linsy's picture

Stupid stuff stresses us out

It is maddening isn't it? I was made redundant twice, and he didn't even seem to notice. And I was paying the interest on business debts he ran up through poor judgement (and very poor support from his financial adviser).

I had a lump too

I ignored it, then the lymph nodes in my groin on the same side of my body started to swell, and that was really scary. I told him and he said, "Huh, that's weird." Not, "Please go see a doctor TODAY," just "huh, that's weird." But I went, even though it was scary, and the lump was just a fatty cyst but the lymph nodes were a mystery, so the doctor ordered some bloodwork. When I got home and told H, he said, "Well what's the bloodwork going to cost? You're not going to do it, are you?"

I didn't even bother responding. It goes like this every time something wrong. I'm pregnant and bleeding? Well that's weird. Do we have to go to the doctor? He's really busy today. How much will it cost? Then if I call him out on it later, "no that's not what I said, that's not what happened." Every time. Finally if I could get him to admit that he did indeed say that, he'll switch to "well you should know that's not what I meant to say."

I'm glad everything is ok with your health and jobs now!

Wow, every single paragraph

Wow, every single paragraph here is familiar to me. From 20yv's experiences to the lack of empathy. I woke up early on my birthday, middle in my pregnancy, with contractions. I calmly told my husband that I thought we should go to the ER. It was a Sunday, about 6am. With no emotion except annoyance, he said, "are you sure?". I had to convince him to take me and push him out the door. I spent the next 2-3 months on bedrest and a few weeks in hospital here and there. 

I may never fully get over the resentment, but at least I don't have to be with him anymore. That gives me some peace. 

OMG--my DH NEVER remembers a

OMG--my DH NEVER remembers a single word that comes out of his mouth or anyone else's mouth.  every time we have a disagreement I get the exact same phrasing even--that's not what I said, that's not what I meant.  I am to the point that I don't argue about anything because nothing is his fault EVER and nothing gets remembered accurately anyway, so why bother.

regarding the childish responses to things--do you know how many times I get told "I'm an adult, I can do whatever I want and if it hurts feelings, that's too bad."  That's all true, just not too conducive to a nice friendly healthy marriage.  In the past month I have come to grips with the fact that I am totally on my own.  After 19 years of variations on this theme, I am on my own.  It actually feels kind of freeing in a strange way.  If he can do whatever he wants, so can I.  I took my end of the year bonus and spent the whole damn thing ($200) on myself. he doesn't even know I got a bonus.  passive aggressive on my part?  maybe, but I am SO SICK of being in charge.  it felt great to just go get stuff I wanted.  I spent the whole thing at Sephora-make up, perfume, lotion--and it makes me happy every time I use one of the things I bought.  Money well spent.

OMG,  it's not just me.  I

OMG,  it's not just me.  I feel like I'm in the twilight zone sometimes.  He says one thing and later says he didn't say that or that I make it into something else. I've never felt so much like I'm going insane.  

Really - Freaking - Spooky!

I just went through this.  And I'M the one with ADD!  But it was H who picked a fight that I didn't even understand the cause of.  (Normally he refuses conflict of any kind.  I'm the one who forces a fight when I absolutely can't stand something any more.)

It was H who ranted and raved and reduced me to tears - and then later claimed not to remember having said any of it.  He says that I must have had a psychotic break because I'm remembering things that never happened.  ("Twilight Zone" is exactly what I said when I told the marriage counselor!)

It's H who went through four iterations of, "OK, yes, I understand your objection, but even though that what I said, it's not what I meant."  And then said something new.  (And when I answered him, said, again, "Well, that what I said, but not what I meant.  I actually meant..." etc.)

He works, he holds a job, but I am the one who does everything else.  The bills, paperwork, housecleaning, child rearing, getting his car's oil changed and my own, getting the taxes done, etc.  And now I am the one considering divorce, because after six years of marriage counseling - twice a month for six years - he has just told me that I am the mean, inconsiderate person in the relationship.  I am the person who is incapable of considering that anything is my fault.  (Yeah - I have ADD, can't remember what day it is, leave the laundry half done, and am always scrambling to keep track of things that other people just remember - and I'm not willing to consider I'm part of the problem?  Ha.)   

And he's not going to tell me what the fight was about because I am "incapable of understanding what he would say".

Um, I have ADD, not a low IQ.

What the heck is going on with these men?!  I'm not so sure it's ADD that is the problem... unless he has it worse than I do, and neither of us ever noticed.


So maybe they really are self-centered and insensitive and we're just excusing some behaviors by chalking it up to ADHD. Not that ADHD isn't real, just that maybe it isn't as much of a reason for their behaviors as some of us (like me) like to think. That's actually a little depressing....

Really - Freaking - Spooky!

I just went through this.  And I'M the one with ADD!  But it was H who picked a fight that I didn't even understand the cause of.  (Normally he refuses conflict of any kind.  I'm the one who forces a fight when I absolutely can't stand something any more.)

It was H who ranted and raved and reduced me to tears - and then later claimed not to remember having said any of it.  He says that I must have had a psychotic break because I'm remembering things that never happened.  ("Twilight Zone" is exactly what I said when I told the marriage counselor!)

It's H who went through four iterations of, "OK, yes, I understand your objection, but even though that what I said, it's not what I meant."  And then said something new.  (And when I answered him, said, again, "Well, that what I said, but not what I meant.  I actually meant..." etc.)

He works, he holds a job, but I am the one who does everything else.  The bills, paperwork, housecleaning, child rearing, getting his car's oil changed and my own, getting the taxes done, etc.  And now I am the one considering divorce, because after six years of marriage counseling - twice a month for six years - he has just told me that I am the mean, inconsiderate person in the relationship.  I am the person who is incapable of considering that anything is my fault.  (Yeah - I have ADD, can't remember what day it is, leave the laundry half done, and am always scrambling to keep track of things that other people just remember - and I'm not willing to consider I'm part of the problem?  Ha.)   

And he's not going to tell me what the fight was about because I am "incapable of understanding what he would say".

Um, I have ADD, not a low IQ.

What the heck is going on with these men?!  I'm not so sure it's ADD that is the problem... unless he has it worse than I do, and neither of us ever noticed.

calling him on it

RE: "you should have known that that isn't what I meant to say"   I finally gave up trying to explain to my H that sometimes his LOGIC isn't LOGICAL !   Also, that there are two sides of every subject in a partnership and that I'm not being belligerent to have an opinion that differs from his. He really can't empathize, period.  Intellectually, I understand, but darn it, I seem to be talking to a brick wall.  

I feel like I wrote that...

wow, it's amazing to read my life in someone else's words. I have been living with this type of like for 4 years now. I won't have a baby because I'm so unhappy with how my husband is. When we first met, he was extra responsive, very helpful, came up with great ideas and stuck with them. He has great intentions, but always forgets to follow through with things, pretty much everything except for his Jeep. I moved for him, away from my family and friends and I'm very depressed. If I tried listing the things that he doesnt do, I would be here too long and and start sounding like a nag (which he love to point out to me). I've got to the point where I want to hire a man to help me out with the heavier things that need to be done around the house. I'm 32 years old and I think I'm getting althritis bc my hands hurt and it makes everything so much harder to do. Last year I had stress related migraines from him all the time, it was so horrible, but now I can recognize the symptoms and I just leave the house and try to get away before it blows up into a migriane. I dont believe in divorce, but after 4 years im convinced there is no changing him. He gets very offended if I mention that he has an attention disorder, which makes perfect sense since his mother suffers from that as well. He is manic sometimes (super excited and very happy) so I feel like I'm living on a rollercoaster. He gets angry and downright defensive if I tell him what bothers me, and I'm not a confrontational person, it's hard enough just to even bring it up. When I do mention what the problem is,, it's usually because it's weighing so heavy on my mind that I just want to break down crying and leave for good. I've have left before but came back. He just doesnt understand because he comes from a family that blows up, yells and screams over tiny little things then just shrugs it off. In my past if I wasnt happy with a man that I dated I would just dump him and move on, yeah I know that is messed up, but I always felt that people just dont ever change - he would be happier with someone that suited them well and I would be happier with someone that suited me better. Like I said I dont believe in divorce but I fantasize ALL the time about finding someone more suited for me that would be CALM, kind, patient and focus on our tasks, like paying off debt, household maintenance, chores, doing things together. I tried bringing him to counseling a couple times, he has good intentions, but he just CANT focus and remember. I'm

A grain of hope

Your message got cut off at the end. If you want to follow up with the rest of it, I'd be interested in hearing your story.

Although it always helps just to know you're not the only one going through things, I thought I'd try to offer you slightly more substantial hope through where things are now in my marriage. Now things still have quite a way to go -- on both his end and my end. I still frequently feel uncherished. He forgot our anniversary, though he attempted a pretty good save. He had reminders: we talked about going out to dinner to celebrate nearly a week before, and two days before, he saw me bringing a box into the house. He asked me what it was, and I said, "A secret." He asked "For Christmas?" and I said, "No, for our anniversary." The morning of our anniversary, I left a card and his gift for him on the kitchen counter (I leave for work before he gets up). He texted me a little later and said, "Instead of a card, I'm sending you a poem: Roses are red, violets are blue, I love you." He then said my gift was to choose between going to New Orleans or Disneyworld for a winter vacation. Now that is a pretty great gift, except he had already told me before our anniversary that he wanted to take me to New Orleans before our anniversary, so he just sort of reworked it and polished it up. Because it was awfully nice of him to want to take me on a vacation in the first place and because he was trying, I gave him credit for all of this and was thankful instead of angry, but I was well aware he forgot. And it did hurt a little when later we determined it would best for us not to take that vacation, and so now I have no present at all. I know gifts don't matter all that much, but it hurts to spend time thinking of a gift to delight him and then, in the end, not to get a gift at all. Still I'm trying to focus on the good things and not spend too much time dwelling on this.

Also, I'm still doing the lion's share around the house (after more than 20 years, is that really a surprise?), and I can get resentful when he spends time working on his latest project (a new one has replaced the one he was working on -- which he actually carried to completion!, but completion meant something he could try out, not something that could actually, say, contribute to our family's well-being in some way) or taking naps or going on the computer or watching TV and I would like more time to chase my own dreams or just relax (or, sometimes, even go to bed on time).

As a result, I am still spending a LOT of time daydreaming about my fantasy man.

BUT there have been baby steps. First of all, because I've been dreaming about another man, I decided what I needed was to up the romance with my husband, and I specifically picked one thing -- sending him a loving text everyday we are at work or mostly apart, regardless of how I feel or what he does -- to do. Sometimes my text is just "I love you," sometimes it is a compliment or a "thank you," sometimes it is just "Hope you are having a good day," but no matter what, unless we are at home for most of the day together, I send that text. At first, I wasn't getting a response at all. Then, I was getting "Thank you" as a response, which was almost worse, because it was like he felt entitled to these texts without returning the favor, but I reminded myself that I was going to do this no matter what his response and kept on. And then finally he began actually saying nice things to me occasionally or saying he hoped MY day was going well. He has even initiated the occasional text. He doesn't always respond, and sometimes his responses are still just focused on himself, but he has actually started being a bit warm that way toward me.

We had a weekend away together at a sci fi convention. These weekends have always had the positives of the occasional dinner out together and actual sex at least once (which is so rare that has to be celebrated), but the trade-off is that I spend a lot of time alone, because he wants to stay up until five drinking and talking with people, and I physically cannot do that, and then I spend hours alone the next day while he sleeps in and hangs out with other people or does other things, and he has occasionally forgotten that he was going to do something with me at a certain time during the weekend. So there isn't a lot of togetherness -- not like a romantic weekend should be in my mind -- but at least there is some. Anyhow, on this weekend, I asked him to take a dance lesson with me in preparation for a dance later that evening. He hates dancing, but he actually said yes, and he danced with me. Honestly, he came to bed so late (or rather early in the morning) that I didn't think he'd make the dance lesson, but he did, and that was a HUGE deal to me for him to do something HE didn't want to do for ME. Wow.

Finally, he has been making small efforts to care for me. Can't say I'd say I feel like I can rely on him, but when I had a cold recently, he actually offered to provide dinner, and a couple of times when I've recently come home from a brutal commute (I have a lot farther to go to work than he does), he has made hot chocolate for me after I came home.

I feel like our marriage has come a long way in a short time, even though, as I said, I still have frustrations I wrestle with that push me back into my fantasies.

Here's what has helped on my end (not in order of importance):

-- My commitment to the one small change (in my case, texting).

-- My commitment to try to be pleasable, not easily angered (so when he forgot our anniversary, I just told myself, "Great save on his part! And I'll enjoy going on vacation with him.").

-- I've also started investing more in myself. I still have trouble getting that time I want to pursue my dreams or relax, as I said, but I've been investing more in my appearance and self-confidence, so by giving more to myself, I'm less focused on what I'm not getting from our relationship.

-- I've spend a ton of time praying about our relationship, including laying my specific needs before God and asking God to work in my life and change me, not just my husband.

Here's where I need to grow:

-- Confrontation. Oh, boy, that is going to be a hard one, but I know I need to do it. Neither he nor I are good at this. I was taught in my family growing up that if I stood up for myself, I'd be punished, and it is VERY hard for me to do now, so I tend to stuff things, grow resentful and then blow up (I know that is often typical of the non-ADHD partner anyway -- we give and give and then get angry). But I NEED to find a way to talk to him -- not yell at him -- about doing more around the house. I have to admit, I'm afraid. I'm afraid I'll lose him or at least the progress we've made. I'm afraid he'll say "no" or will do what he did when I was a graduate student and offer to do one additional thing only, and I'll take it because, hey, it's one thing, without pushing for more fairness than that. I'm afraid if he does take on something more, he won't follow through, just as he often doesn't follow through on the dishes, which are supposed to be his job, or on picking up after himself. I'm afraid I will not be able to communicate calmly and will blow up again, which isn't good for our marriage. I'm afraid we'll get in to an argument and he will win (I ALWAYS lose any argument I am in -- I am terrible at arguments) and then I will end up apologizing to him and he won't apologize to me (a very typical pattern for us). So, I don't know how I'm ever going to get to the point where I can confidently and assertively say, "I need for you to do more around the house. Our current division of labor is unfair," but I know that I need to work toward that.

-- Improving my ability to focus on the positive and not on what I lack (so that hopefully I can kick those fantasies to the curb -- seriously, I hate how much time I spend imaging life with my fantasy man -- while driving, falling asleep or wrestling with insomnia, doing anything that doesn't require my full attention).

-- Continuing to find other healthy ways to meet my needs (Who, other than my husband, can I ask for support when I need it? How can I continue to develop my self-esteem so that if I don't feel cherished by him, it doesn't matter so much?).

I can't promise these things would work for every relationship, but I feel like my decisions to invest in both the relationship and myself have put us on an upward spiral, and I feel far more hopeful about our future now.

Good luck!

And then there are times like this

It's not so bad, but there are rocks in every road, and tonight I am discouraged.

Our daughter is at a sleepover, so it just me and my man. A great night for a date, and we actually are normally good at taking regular dates, but we haven't had one in weeks due to hunting season and out-of-town guests and feeling under the weather.

It was be a REALLY great night for sex. It's been more than a month.

He hasn't completely ignored me, but he is pretty much acting like I am a housemate with whom he is on friendly terms.

I could tell him these things -- that I'd like to go out, that I'd like to have sex. But here's the thing: I do virtually all of the parenting tasks -- tracking grades, listening to speeches being rehearsed, giving my feedback on papers, driving child home from school every day, long talks about things both deep and trivial, shopping for clothes, shopping for gifts for her friends, shopping for school supplies, and so on and so forth. For seven years, I put in our required parent volunteer hours at our child's school, and then I stepped aside and told him he could do it, and he has volunteered for maybe two hours (we are supposed to be putting in 20 hours a year) in a little more than a year. I'm not going to worry about it; I was a very dedicated volunteer for several years, and no one is going to track us down if he doesn't put in the hours now.

I do the lion's share of the housework, and I get so overwhelmed when I see messes he has made (we have a bathroom I leave to him, and the times I have to go in there, I feel like screaming -- likewise with the computer room, where we have our printer... I have to shove stuff, his stuff, out of the way to print). I make most of the dinners during the week. I do most of the Christmas present shopping (I told him to buy a gift from his mom, and what he bought her was absolutely laughable -- a print (not painting) on fabric, reminiscent of Thomas Kinkaide, with little LED lights inserted, and the lights change color... the sort of gift that is hard to take seriously). I do the wrapping and the decorating and Christmas meal planning and much of the meal prep. I am not doing cards this year, and I won't miss it. 

I initiated sex last time

I want not to be responsible for this. I want him to take initiative. So, yes, I am being childish, but I don't want to initiate sex or a date tonight.

I guess I'll get a pint of ice cream and watch a romantic comedy. Not healthy, not mature, but tonight, I am just tired.

little LED lights inserted"

I laughed so hard I thought I would wake the house! My husband has purchased a few of these types of gifts, where I look at it and think Oh...my....GOD!  He thinks its a "secret" that hes getting "me" a microwave for Christmas!  We have already been jointly looking for one for a couple of months. {how thoughtful}  Hes been all excited telling my mother and daughter, "he already has my gift".  I always vacillate between guilt, that im just an ungrateful &^%$, and deep seated anger. Overall feeling of sadness for years of loss, and what " could have been, for all of us.

Our anniversary was a few weeks ago, he picked me up some roses at either Wal Mart or the grocery, as I know that is the only place he would have gone. Yes we had been fighting all week, we always do around holidays. Our anniversary approaching always makes me sad, anxious, and more lonely feeling than ever. Most of the time, I try to bury the pain, but anniversaries and holidays magnify them and they cant be ignored any longer and I blow up! He doesnt have a clue. I cry pretty much every holiday. I've raised and homeschooled  5 children alone for 25 years, still have an adhd/learning disabled, 15 year old son to homeschool and support, as well.  Overall have been married to husband, 35 years.

I've been reading many of these posts tonight,{just signed up], and have been through much of what others have, for so long.

I'm emotionally, mentally and physically sick.

Thanks for reading


I really applaud your progress

I think it's great that you have a game plan and are seeing some positive results from it.  Be careful not to attach too much to whether or not he responds - try to do things because they are important to YOU inherently (for example, sending him texts because you feel it's important to express that you are romantically interested in making your relationship work vs. sending texts because you think he'll respond...there is a big difference in terms of what's sustainable if his response is tepid.)  Which is not to say you need to carry the weight of the relationship - it doesn't work that way, but simply that the best/easiest way to sustain things is if they are motivated by your own needs, rather than by trying to create a specific behavior in someone else (manipulation of a sort.)

I especially like your vow to 'be pleasable.'  This is an EXCELLENT relationship builder.  It's so important that your partner be open and positive to you and your ideas...you can't control whether he is this way with you, but you certainly can control whether you yourself respond to him in this way.  I know one of my husband's frustrations is that he thinks I ding too many of his ideas.  It's hard to remember to stay open and pleaseable, but well worth the effort.

To confront your husband, I suggest a few things.  First, don't think of it as a confrontation.  Think of it as joint problem solving, which is actually more accurate.  You might consider trying learning conversations or something like that to talk about difficult topics (see ADHD Effect on Marriage for more on that).  Also remember to talk about your own needs, rather than his problems.  So, for example, "I'm not getting enough sleep at night and would like to talk with you about how we might create a night routine that works for us both" is a better approach than "You keep me up at night and I'm exhausted."  My next book, which is going to be released in April has a who section on communication skills and "good fights" that will be particularly relevant for you - please consider getting a copy when it's out.

Hope this helps a bit!

Thank you

Thank you so much for your personal response. I agree that I need to not concern myself a lot with my husband's responses to my texts. I tell myself not to, because this is something _I_ have chosen to do as a commitment to the growth of our relationship, but sometimes I do take things personally anyway.

And I really appreciate seeing things as problem-solving vs. confrontation. That makes it sound much easier. I have read ADHD Effect on Marriage -- I borrowed it from the library, and it was good enough that it is now on my Amazon wishlist. I will definitely keep an eye out for your new book in April.

Again, thanks!

Anniversaries, what do they mean?

25 years seems like something to celebrate.  I made reservations for dinner somewhere. He told me to cancel it because we should go to our sons' end of year wrestling pizza party.  Okay, our boys are important to us.  I was disappointed, but not really hurt.  Well, we sit by another couple who said they wouldn't be having any pizza because they have their anniversary dinner to go to afterwards.  Yeah, that  was lousy.  He never even said anything about it.  He sent me a dozen red roses to work that day.  That was nice.  I don't know why I was expecting a gift.  I remember giving my parents a gift for their 25th, an engraved silver platter.  Nothing.  I bought myself an anniversary gift for my 20th because I didn't get one then either.  I was thinking of doing the same.  I saw a really pretty Tiffany's bracelet with one tiny diamond.  I think that would be very appropriate because I've felt very lonely for most of the 25 years of my marriage.  I'm debating getting it for myself.  It's been almost 6 months since my 25th.  At the time, we weren't doing so well because he was getting his "emotional needs" met by his coworker.  I wasn't really that supportive of him for many reasons (mostly because of her- his "very very good friend" in his words).  I thought now, since he's given up his "friendship" he would maybe make some gesture.  I wrote to him in an email that maybe we could have just a personal ceremony for the two of us, renewing our vows.  He thought that was a good idea.  Neither one of us has followed through so I can't exactly blame him. It's been up and down for the last 6 months.  He hasn't given me a piece of real jewelry for over 10 years.  It's not surprising considering our history.  He used to give me all sorts of gifts early on.  Not so much anymore.  For my 40th, he hadn't gotten anything for me so in an email (since he was out to sea, he told me that I can go buy myself a car- I don't think he thought I would do it.  Guess what-  I DID!  Except, he took it over after he came home). 

I always just left too, and I

I always just left too, and I left this one when there was no change once the problems had a name. I would date someone for ten years before I re-married. 

I'm sorry things are up and

I'm sorry things are up and down like that, 20yrvet. It's now been a year since my H has been formally diagnosed with his issues, and things are totally unchanged around my place. I'm increasingly frustrated that he won't make the effort to improve. I mean, we all have things going in in our brains or histories that are challenges, but part of being an adult is learning how to address those issues. And my H, at least, won't even try to seek out techniques for compensating for his problems.

I'm frustrated too because I came home from work on Wednesday and my girls, 5 and 8, were home alone. H was supposed to be there, but one of the dogs had run off, and he was out looking for him. I know there are no hard and fast rules for leaving kids home alone for 15 minutes, but our 5 year old especially is not the kind of kid you want to leave alone. And it's too much responsibility for the 8 year old to have to watch her. On top of that, my dad was home right next door, and he would have gladly had the girls at his place or come over.

So, more of the same here. Thinking of getting childcare for the girls on days when I'll be home late instead of leaving them with H. That's what us single moms have to do, right?

So glad I found this post

I'm so glad I found this post and website.  My husband was diagnosed w/ ADD (inattentive type) in the Spring.  While it has helped to know why some of the behaviors happen, it doesn't stop the behaviors.  he does take Aderall and sees his Dr regularly.  He does not follow through with therapy.  When he does he does not work on his anger issues, which is the main reason for the therapy.  I have felt for a very long time that I can't rely on him for anything.  He does not see it.  he forgets everything, doesn't listen to me, I have to repeat everything I say 3 times and he still doesn't remember-this is everyday conversation type stuff not even take out the trash type stuff.  I've stopped talking to him unless I have to, I just don't see the point.  I can't rely on him to follow through with anything, unless it is something he is interested in.  We have two kids and they are starting to see that they can't rely on him either.  As bad as it is for me, what does that do to a child to know he/she cannot rely on their dad?  I'd leave him but like others I do feel I took those vows, plus we can't afford it.  And he is such a bad parent that it would be so devastating for the kids to be with him only for 2 or 3 days a week or whatever the custody would be.  Sometimes I wish I could find a way to divorce him where he would never see the kids again but that won't happen and that would hurt the kids too.  He is so charming and funny in public, no one sees his anger, no one understands that when I say I can't rely on him or that he forgets everything that I really mean that.    I feel very alone and this is not the marriage or father I wanted for my children.  Everything I have read involves the ADHD spouse recongizing the effect of their behavior on others.  That is the key to all my problems.  He does not recognize that he is hurting us.  I tell him how we feel when he yells at us, he thinks he isn't yelling so it's not a problem.  I tell him we feel like we are not important to him, he says that's not true so it's not true.  I really feel he will never change, the meds don't seem to be helping although he thinks they are.  But without therapy nothing will get worked on, the meds won't magically change this behavior.  I am going to look into counseling for myself just to deal with the stress of this.

This: I have felt for a very

This: I have felt for a very long time that I can't rely on him for anything.  He does not see it.  he forgets everything, doesn't listen to me, I have to repeat everything I say 3 times and he still doesn't remember-this is everyday conversation type stuff not even take out the trash type stuff.  I've stopped talking to him unless I have to, I just don't see the point.  I can't rely on him to follow through with anything, unless it is something he is interested in.

And this: He is so charming and funny in public, no one sees his anger, no one understands that when I say I can't rely on him or that he forgets everything that I really mean that.    I feel very alone and this is not the marriage or father I wanted for my children.  Everything I have read involves the ADHD spouse recognizing the effect of their behavior on others.  That is the key to all my problems.  He does not recognize that he is hurting us.  I tell him how we feel when he yells at us, he thinks he isn't yelling so it's not a problem.  I tell him we feel like we are not important to him, he says that's not true so it's not true.

I live this:/

Staying together for the sake of/because of the kids

One of the reasons I had on my list for staying with my unreliable husband is that when the kids were young, I was not comfortable with them being with him alone even for weekends.  Another reason was that I didn't want to have sole responsibility for the kids's and a home's finances.  How could I afford to work, provide a home, drive a car and pay a sitter?  I am in awe of women who have done/are doing this with kids.  

Foreword your life 30 years from now staying in your current situation.  You might think, that when the kids are older you will leave then or that things will be better later - just trying to get through each day for now is all you can handle. 

Now, after being married for 40 years, I am not proud of my compromises, strength, patience and sacrifices.   No.  I am ashamed of my weakness, compromises, sacrifices. Here is why:  My children did not see a model of strength in the face of difficulty...they saw dh getting his way and me being a tired workhorse.  They saw how hilarity and denial and letting others take responsibility is more fun, easier and works if you can find a partner to resentfully do the work and take responsibility.  They did not see ALL the work I did or know the workings of our finances where he worked an played and I worked and then worked some more.  I yearn to tell my children how to stand up for themselves and have pride and vision and strength. I don't think they respect me after all my compromising, work and frustration. After all, I am unappreciated and tired - a failure in my marriage trying to keep up energy and purpose.  I was someone who wanted to be "loving", not a diva.  There should be a school on how to manage not just a house but a lackadaisical spouse/partner.  How to kick an uncommitted spouse to the curb and be able to survive.   BUT...here is the thing.  When there are children, the one who loves most is the giver. The one who has fun and won't communicate while denying facts is the one who is the physically healthiest...no worries - someone else will take care of things.  Living by the seat of his pants seems to work better for him than "executive planning".  But if I do some executive planning for us, he resents me and rebels and sabotages.

After 40 years, my Adder does not remember or appreciate the facts as they were.  He has fabricated a past in his mind that he can deal with.  That he gave and gave and I was not appreciative.  Let your children see your strength not in how much you can compromise and sacrifice.  Let them hear your words of clarity and strength

I started to make a list of exactly how I would do this.  But, I realised that it sounded like nagging words no matter how I phrased it.  Trying to get someone to do their responsibilities.

You can't change another person to your liking.  Trying to do so is being a manipulator too.  My only advice is to find all the outside support you can and don't rely on someone who is unreliable.  Find and spend more time with family, friends, support groups etc, to take the place of where your spouse is not able to give you the care and support you NEED.  And people DO NEED this.  Without it, trying to get it from someone unable is to be sick.

Relying on reliable people is more sane than trying to change someone.  Maybe, if your support/family/friends groups is big/strong enough, you will find the strength to let the sleeping dog lie in his own chaos that he has found ways to cope with but you have not.


For jennalemon

I really appreciate your writing about looking back at the sacrifices you made and your regrets about making them.  I hope that as you reflect on this you will also forgive yourself for making these choices...you did what you thought was the best at the time.  As for what your children see or don't see, as they are adults you should be able to talk with them about some of what you have learned - without specifically demonizing their father (which would backfire, most likely, in a number of ways) you can still communicate to them (individually) that you have learned more about co-dependency and how you did not provide as healthy an environment for them or for you as you wish you had.  You still have time to provide a strong example for them (what that example is, exactly, is up to you...for me it would be communicating what you have learned...)  You can still reach out, still make your life what you want it to be, still encourage your partner to be more independent of you, etc.

Your behavior, as you can now see, enabled your husband to underfunction in your relationship.  That doesn't mean that he must continue to do so.  I would ask you to consider learning more about overfunctioning/underfunctioning and about co-dependence.  Two good resources for this are Codependent No More by Melodie Beatty and The Dance of Intimacy by Harriet Lerner.  And think about yourself - who do you want to be?  What do you love about yourself?  How can you be that person to the fullest?

In a way, you gave your husband a gift for many years - you took care of him and allowed him to not have to face up to his lack of responsibility in the home and with the family.  Unfortunately, as with any gift we give, we a never guaranteed that the receiver will appreciate its worth, nor its giving.  I'm sorry that your husband has not recognized your sacrifice more overtly...please learn from this and start to focus on yourself more now.

Over Function and Under Function

Over Function and Under Function.  I did some searching and learning about this.  The way to NOT over function in a relationship with someone like my dh is to "let the chips fall where they may" and let the negative consequences of his inattention and inaction happen.  That means the I have to also bear the negative consequences with him since we are married to each other.  I am "Mrs. Him".  So if the bills are not paid, or we are late and unprepared, or the kids aren't disciplined/parented, or he drinks too much ...  I get share in his negative consequences by association with him because these are the things that happened if I had not taken over.  He seems to have no guilt or shame.  I have standards that I have lowered since I have been with him, but how much of myself do I have to give up to be with him - to be a family?

I enabled him.   I thought that was what love was. (I still do believe that is the core of a relationship - CARING and ATTENTION to the well-being of someone or something)  When you care about someone, you give of yourself so they may be better - so that the marriage and the family may be better. He has not much to give....he just gets by, by the seat of his pants, just to survive (himself singularly) and tells lies to himself so he can feel good about himself. He tells lies to himself so much that reality has become blurred and he lives in a land of his own lies.

I was/am codependent.  I stayed, and tried everything I knew how.  I am letting the chips fall where they may now.  He is very independent and secretive...not communicative or sharing - in isolation other than alcohol and nicotine and PBS and crossword puzzles. We live separate lives since I have stopped trying to get him to share himself with me, since I have stopped trying to "nurture" our relationship.  His inattention is total.  I thought after a couple weeks of my "stopping trying", he would approach me, not being able to tolerate total isolation in the same house.  But I was wrong.  It has been 2 months.  He has not made a single attempt to connect with me other than asking for information I might know about the grandchildren.

He was a traveling salesman who didn't wear a wedding ring. I don't know what he does or where he goes during the day.  He is never home. There is no other office. He says he is making "calls" but he does not make a living wage.  He survives by his "personality" and lies.  Yeah, I have been stupid trying to be loving. I write so young couples might see and relate and have a picture of what might happen to them if they have patience and forgiveness and try too hard for too long.  40 years is a long time to be ignored by the person you are trying to love by the person who was supposed to be your "other half" - it changes you to the core.


Thank you for sharing

I want to thank you so much for sharing your experience so openly. I've oftened imagined my husband and myself in 20-30 years when the kids are gone from the house.  We would probably be the same, living separate lives and only communicating when necessary.  But of course, we are like that now.  I worry a lot about how this will affect my kids.  They don't really care for him now, so I try to tell him that they will want nothing to do with him when they are older but he doesn't believe me.  Even though his sister and their dad did not have a good relationship, and didn't talk for 6 months. 

I've been reading too about setting boundaries and having the spouse suffer natural consequences for their actions, but how do you do that? Like you said, it still affects you and somethings you just can't let the chips fall where they may.  You don't want to get financially ruined so your spouse can learn responsibility.  We do end up looking like the mean one and our spouses look like the fun one.  I feel others probably see me as being very hard on my husband, and truthfully in some areas I am, but in other areas they just don't know what it's like to live with someone that can't remember anything, doesn't follow through with anything, tells lies to make himself look good or look like he knows what he's talking about, and has a terrible anger problem.  All that is kept inside our house.  No one notices the lieing because they aren't around long enough to figure out that what he said isn't what happened.  It took me 2 years to figure out that he wasn't always telling the truth when he talked about something that happened.  I know he can pay the bills, clean about after himself, and empty the garbage because he did all this when he lived alone before when we were dating.  He always took care of his house, when something needed fixed he did it right away and did it the right way.  Now, I have to give him a time limit and tell him to fix it or I'm calling a professional (and the money for that is coming out of his cigarette money).

I can go on forever.  But thank you so much for your posts and your insight.

I feel the same way....

<<<< One of the reasons I had on my list for staying with my unreliable husband is that when the kids were young, I was not comfortable with them being with him alone even for weekends. <<<<



I think this is a common feeling. ADHD parents are often neglectful, selfish with their time, not "clued-in" to the needs of little ones, not willing to really watch their kids, etc. I have known kids to get seriously hurt and even die because their ADHD dad was distracted by "his things" (one young child got outside and was hit by a car....dad didn't even know the child was outside.....mom was at work. I know another ADHD dad who wasn't paying attention and his child almost hurt himself with an appliance he shouldn't have had access to. I know another ADHD dad who "propped open" a pool gate while he was cleaning the pool, went inside for some reason, and a child got into the pool and drowned. ) For these reasons, I would NEVER have wanted my H to have visitation with our kids if we divorced. Even now, when I run to the store and leave them with him, often I will come home to some HUGE kid mess because H wasn't paying attention to them....he was watching TV, playing video games, etc. ) Also, because of the "selfishness with time", my H gets very angry with the kids if they're cranky because he doesn't want to deal with any of that....it takes time away from "his stuff". he once took the kids for a day of "fun" and then complained that they were cranky. I asked him if he fed them (no), and did he let them have a nap (no). Uh.....what do you expect? They're hungry and tired. I think some/many ADHD people do not have the patience to understand age-appropriate behavior and that little ones will get cranky when tired and hungry!!! The above is why I think some divorced ADHD dads often either leave their kids with their own mothers to watch them while they have "visitation" or the dads stop even doing much visitation....come late, return kids early, etc. I have a brother-in-law who has ADHD and when he had "his weekends," he would pick the kids up and take them to my MIL's home. My brother-in-law would spend a few minutes with his kids and then leave them with my MIL so he could do what he wanted.


>>>>>> Another reason was that I didn't want to have sole responsibility for the kids's and a home's finances. How could I afford to work, provide a home, drive a car and pay a sitter? I am in awe of women who have done/are doing this with kids



I think that women who are able to successfully do this either have jobs that are flexible or have a support system (parents, siblings, friends) who help out when needed. They may also live in a low-rent area.



l >>>> Foreword your life 30 years from now staying in your current situation. You might think, that when the kids are older you will leave then or that things will be better later - just trying to get through each day for now is all you can handle. Now, after being married for 40 years, I am not proud of my compromises, strength, patience and sacrifices. No. I am ashamed of my weakness, compromises, sacrifices. Here is why: My children did not see a model of strength in the face of difficulty...they saw dh getting his way and me being a tired workhorse. >>>>



Totally true! The kids see poor ADHD parent role models. My H's dad had ADHD but LIED about how he was a hard worker. So, the kids got a lot of mixed messages. They saw someone who pretended to work hard (he didnt') yet made little money....so the kids got a sick message that working hard doesn't yield any money. The truth is that the dad rarely worked. He would leave the home, and be gone for MANY hours, claiming to be "working hard" , but he was really goofing off. So, the kids got a poor message that hard work doesn't mean good pay. (their mom shared this with me a few years ago. She knew her H wasn't really working but she allowed the "lie" to be told to her kids). >>>> They saw how hilarity and denial and letting others take responsibility is more fun, easier and works if you can find a partner to resentfully do the work and take responsibility. >>>    





so true!  








 >>> They did not see ALL the work I did or know the workings of our finances where he worked an played and I worked and then worked some more. >>>


Very true!



>>> Living by the seat of his pants seems to work better for him than "executive planning". But if I do some executive planning for us, he resents me and rebels and sabotages. <<<


absolutely. I could write a book about H's sabotaging the plans that I've made.          




>>>> After 40 years, my Adder does not remember or appreciate the facts as they were. He has fabricated a past in his mind that he can deal with. That he gave and gave and I was not appreciative. Let your children see your strength not in how much you can compromise and sacrifice. Let them hear your words of clarity and strength >>>>      




My H has invented his own history. it doesnt' come close to representing facts. Our kids are now old enough to "correct" his "revised history" and that also makes him angry.

he can change...

Those with ADHD can change - but they have to internalize that they need to do it.  Since you are considered a biased party in these conversations, would you consider signing up for my couples' course?  It's 8 weeks, and by the end of the 8 weeks most couples have a much better understanding of how important ADHD is in their relationship - and what to do about it.  Many ADHD folks who are resistant to considering the impact of ADHD start doing so, and many non-ADHD partners who are resistant to considering the negative impact to 'taking charge' also start changing that, too (I talk about the issues that both spouses contribute, not just the issues of the ADHD partner.)

Let someone else (me) do the dirty work for you...information about the course is here - I strongly recommend the live version when one is available.

He can change

I know this was written long ago and I may not get a response but my h and I did the seminar. I finished it he didn't. He got mad at me because I didn't fully agree with something on one of the episodes, don't remember what it was. But he decided it was no use since I wasn't taking responsibility for my part. He fully admits to being ADHD and takes meds and says things like "I know I have trouble procrastination remembering finishing things BUT you have all these issues too and I'm not nearly as bad as you think! We've seen a psychologist three times who keeps telling him he needs to do everything possible to be the best man and husband he can and quite possibly things would turn around and he'd start getting the respect he wants so much. He says he gets it but I don't think he does. 

Thanks, and my shared sympathies

I can see why you'd consider getting childcare for your girls for times you'll be coming home late. So sorry you had to deal with that! And I completely get wishing one's spouse would look at ways to compensate for the problems caused by ADHD. I think pickles in her comment above has it right -- it would be very helpful if the ADHD spouse would acknowledge that the ADHD causes problems for us. I think my husband has tended to look at it as a problem for his worklife, but he doesn't address the problems it causes in our marriage.

That said, I have to share the end to my story, which is a mixture of a happy ending and a head shaking moment and a need for both me and my husband to grow.

After I posted, I fixed dinner. When my husband sat down with me at the table, he asked, "Should we wait for [our daughter] before we start?" I was a bit taken aback. We had discussed her sleepover two nights before when I had asked him to pick her up. Before I had posted, we had briefly talked about when to see The Hobbit as a family, and I said, "If we go to the 4 p.m. show, you could pick our daughter up before then and then she could do her homework after the movie." On top of that, to me it was obvious that she wasn't at home, though I guess I can see, since she is a teen who spends lots of time in her room, how he might not notice her absence. Anyhow, apparently he had forgotten about the sleepover (shouldn't have surprised me) and somehow failed to register that she was somewhere else and not at home. At that point he said, "I'm sorry. I would have taken you out to dinner," and I acknowledged that I had delayed starting dinner because I'd sort of expected something along those lines. He did say something to the effect of "this darned ADHD of mine," which is the closest he's come to acknowledging that it causes problems for our marriage, and we did have an at-home date after dinner.

So, yes, I should have said something and then I wouldn't have had my pity party. On the other hand, I still feel that part of the problem is that I feel like way too much rides on my shoulders. If I had said something, I would have spared myself some pain on one level, but on the other hand, I still want not to have to be the responsible party time and time again. When I sit back, like I did last night, it isn't a good thing for either of us. But I want to feel like I can let go of things and not have things go wrong for my letting go. I want to be taken care of as well as being a care-taker. I know I did not contribute to the health of our marriage with my refusal to act last night, and I'm glad that things ended up okay anyway. What I wish I knew was how to get to a place where I feel like our marriage is more equal, that I am not the main person who has to make sure it "works."

you are living my life

Wow, you just described my life with my ADD husband in a nutshell.  I also suffer from depression for which I'm being treated, and for which I believe the stress in our relationship is partly to blame.  It has gotten so bad, the negative cycle of him dropping the ball on something or being irresponsible or undependable and me reacting with critisism and anger/despair. W don't have any children, but he has a teenage son from a previous relationship that only adds tension to our already strained relationship. When his son is over it's like I have two kids in the house to feed and clean up after, and have to be a mother to them without the joy of being an actual mother.   Now, he has dropped the bomb on me that he wants to separate because nothing he can do makes me happy, and that he shouldn't have to try so hard in our relationship, "it should be easier than that" he says. He absolutely refuses to do marriage counselling and just wants to call it quits.  We will be married for 5 years in April, together for almost 9, and we just bought a house together exactly 1 year ago. Despite the problems in our marriage I still love him very much, and I'm devastated that he wants to walk away, and it hurts that he blames my depression for me never being happy, and really has no awareness of his contribution to our problems.  Good luck with your husband.  Let me know if you two work it out.


Just checking in...

Hello everyone. Things here are pretty much the same as always. I got a $700 tax bill a few weeks ago because when H opened my IRA for me, he didn't actually open an IRA. So I claimed $5,000 went into that, when it turned out it was just in a regular account. On top of that, he told me he'd stuck it into a mutual fund, but he didn't. And worst of all, he opened this account 3 years ago, and I've claimed the deduction for 3 years. I'm afraid there are more back taxes due, next time with a fine. Including the interest I didn't make, this could end up costing over $10,000. Anyone else's H cost them a lot of money?

Also last month, I got home from work and my 5 and 8 year old daughters were home alone. One of the dogs had taken off, and H had left them to go look for him. I disagree that they should be left home alone, and I tried to tell him that later, but he just made a bunch of excuses. H works from home and I get home between 3 and 4, so sometimes it's just him and the kids. Now I'm not sure if I should put them in an afterschool program, or if at 5 and 8 they're ok to be alone with him. Ugh.

Hi, polkadots.  I'm sorry to

Hi, polkadots.  I'm sorry to hear about the IRA fiasco.  That would make me really angry!  I don't think my husband would make that exact mistake, but for someone who prides himself on his great intelligence and his knowledge of economics and the stock market and such, he's not a good money manager.  He doesn't regularly deposit income (he is paid in cash by his father for providing caregiving services); he doesn't pay bills on time; and he would cheat on our taxes, if given the opportunity (I don't give him the opportunity; I fill out the forms now).


Sorry that this (and most of my posts) are long...

This situation is just so tough, and when there is no foreseeable end in sight, it can be hard to keep going. I definitely got to the point where I couldn't take it any more. Left my spouse after 12 years last year. We had some serious issues, one of which was his untreated and unaddressed ADHD. He admitted he had it and took lots of meds for it for years to focus at work, but would never consider therapy or work to change any of his behavior at home. Also, his serious, emotionally abusive anger management issues grew and it got really, really stressful. I started to fall apart and have all sorts of health issues. And it just wasn't working--my kids needed me. 

Unfortunately, I think many spouses with ADHD get along pretty well in the world on their own when they are young adults and it's tough to anticipate what family life will do to the chemistry. Mine seemed pretty great when I met him, functioning well on pure charisma and a limited work and commitment schedule. I also found out later that his family had been helping him out financially well into his late 20's. He and I did ok our first two years or so together (hyper focus is a heady thing), and we were long distance for part of it. Also, I admit now, that I didn't really listen to my gut when we got married. There were already some compatibility issues there, but we loved each other and his charm and commitment to me made up for it. I always believed that love could conquer everything. I was young and had a lot of energy and starry eyes. 

Fast forward about 7 year later. Two children, me pretty much doing everything while working full time and suddenly the bottom drops out when I realize that I cannot depend on him at all and I am utterly alone. We live far away from family or much support. There were long months where he would play with the kids in the evening, and go to work, but that was about it. His job allowed him a flexible schedule and he worked three days a week. He started sleeping until well after noon on the weekends (bad insomnia) and didn't shovel a walk, make a meal, shop for groceries, walk the (his!) dog, wash a dish, talk to a teacher, pay a bill, wipe a counter top, buy a gift or plan anything,...or say anything nice to me for a few years...he would forget things, and be late for absolutely everything, driving 90 miles an hour to get to work in 8 minutes, and then brag about it...you get the drill. He also had a crazy anxiety control freak thing going on--for example, he would never, ever plan a budget or buy food but would criticize me if I spent extra money on pre-chopped broccoli instead of buying the cheaper bulk kind (which hurt terribly). I think he was worried about money but he had that ADHD no filter thing going on and would say it in the worst, bluntest way. If I had known more about ADHD at the time, I wouldn't have felt quite so resentful and just flat out furious at his dropping out like this. I would have understood that part of it was that the added responsibilities of house, little kids, job, etc. had overwhelmed him and the stress made his coping ability disappear. I would have realized that he literally could not sleep and that attending to all this stuff was almost insurmountable for him. That he actually was having a pretty hard time functioning at life and some of it wasn't laziness or a choice. 

Of course, that didn't make it any easier, me being left to fend for myself and keep everything going and take care of his messes as well. His denial was pretty incredible--it wasn't his ADHD, it was that I was just an unhappy person (that can do a number on you if you let yourself believe it). Mine dug in his heels and gas-lighted me, and became more bitter and angry with every attempt I made to get him to "see." I would advise anyone going through this to accept the fact that your spouse is going to be like this, and you cannot make him or her change--he or she has to do it and internalize it. Some describe the spouse hitting "rock bottom" in whatever form that takes, be it losing a marriage, jobs, friends, family, or worse. In the meantime, do what you have to do to help yourself. Take over the money. Hire a teenager to help with your kids--after getting super mad at him not getting up on the weekends, I realized that nothing I did was going to pry him from bed at 6 a.m. I hired a college student to come over and help on Saturday mornings, which kept me from going nuts. Only you can decide how long you can give the person to make some changes. I gave mine five years and he only got worse, insisting to this day that our problems weren't from ADHD. He still won't see a doctor about it. I knew the exact moment that I had had enough. 

Now he lives alone in total squalor in our old house that he destroyed in a botched "rehab" attempt and lives on disability (physical issues I think stemming from stress from the fallout of his ADHD). He does pretty well when he has the kids, but I have to call him and set everything up every single time, packing them clothes like it is a sleepover (forget the separation agreement, he contributes what he can when he can and that's how it goes. Fortunately the kids are pretty resilient.) I am not an advocate for easy divorce, ever, but for those out there who worry about leaving because they can't trust their ex's with the kids--after a lot of bluster about joint custody and 50/50 visitation, mine has ours maybe 1 -2 days per week, and that's all he does or can handle. Time with him is "fun," movies and outings and games, and time with me is more homework, school, practice, and structure, but funny that the kids still prefer to be with me most of the time. I know that they are happier and better off. Whatever you do, don't live in misery, furious that things won't change. Accept what you can't change, and deal with the rest. My best to everyone. I wouldn't trade my kids for anything, but if I knew then what I know now...

Thank you all

Finally people I can relate to - thank you all for sincere comments and sharing your frustrations.  When I read Melissa's book I was amazed at how exactly she described what I am going through.  My situation: late 30s, married over 10 years, 2 young children.  My DH is really a loyal, wonderful guy who has been with me through so much and loved me despite all my own imperfections.  I know he loves me and tries to make things better.  He is medicated but has not tried therapy/coaching.  I didn't notice his ADHD (inattentive) early on, but after awhile I noticed he never remembered anything and just seemed to process information differently.  I told him he needed to get checked out and that's when he was diagnosed.  Pretty much since we had kids, the enormous responsibility has been too much for him.  He has the best intentions, but he just never remembers, cannot prioritize, doesn't understand what's going on, doesn't pay attention to me (except when he wants to wake me up for sex knowing that I am a light sleeper and cannot go back to sleep once awake), we either argue or speak another language to each other.  We both work full time, but I do pretty much everything around the house, including taking care of the kids, except cook - he is hyperfocused on cooking.  Most people would say - how lucky!  Until they understood that's ALL he does...it takes hours...every night.  He is an attractive guy that takes care of himself, but I am absolutely not attracted to him at this point.  I really don't even want to talk to him most of the time.  I tend to attach to male friends - I just love male company!  Probably because I don't get it at home.  Of course now I am completely smitten with one (who is unavailable anyway) and it makes it harder to want to stick with it.  We are essentially housemates at this point.  I am so lonely...and I know he doesn't want me to be, but I fear it's too late.  I am now also taking medication for depression (like so many others here).  Sorry for the unorganized rambling...just felt liked I needed to vent.  Some of you have stuck it out for decades...I don't want to stick it out!  I want to be in love and supported!  It doesn't seem natural to be anchored to so much work.  How do you know when you're trying to fit a square peg in a round hole and enough is enough?

That's exactly where I am right now

I know I'm responding very late, but it's a wonder to me that so many of these postings feel like someone has been reading my mind or knows my story so well.  I'm considering taking an antidepressant.  Maybe St. John's Wort.  I want to feel in love again and to feel cherished.  He says that he can't understand why I keep choosing to focus on the negative and that he does everything to show me he cares and can't understand why I can't feel like I'm loved or cared for.  WHY??  He makes it sound like it's all my fault. I feel lonely because I choose to be.  I WANT to feel loved and safe.  He's not a bad person and I know he tries so hard.  Why isn't that enough?  Maybe if I take medication, it'll be better. I fear that we will never be happy.  I think he can be happy, even if I cannot.  I don't think I can be happy if he is not.  I wish we could both be happy, but as long as it's on his terms, I don't think it's possible.  He wants me to ignore any instance of him forgetting, him saying something inadvertantly hurtful, him not paying attention.  All that should matter is his intention- even if he doesn't voice it and I don't even know what it is.  He things that it's unreasonable for me to feel disappointed and sad or angry because he's forgotten 2 out of 3 dates nights and even though he didn't say he was thinking about it, that I should have known.  I'm supposed to read his mind that he had thought about it, but he was stressed and busy so he didn't follow through.  That should be enough.  Am I being unreasonable?  I keep asking the same question on so many threads, hoping to get an answer.  If everyone tells me that I'm unreasonable, then maybe there is hope that I can be happy.  I would just have to change myself.  If I'm not unreasonable in my expectations, then there is no hope.  He will never see that it is his actions causing me pain; it's not of my own choosing as he says it is.

Don't worry about long posts

Goodness knows I post huge essays all the time. Honestly, if you are like me, there are few people to talk to about this. I have never been able to find a support group for people who have an ADHD spouse (except for one group that meets during the day on a weekday -- what's up with that? Don't most of us have to work to hep support or totally support our families?). For reasons I don't want to get into, I don't feel comfortable talking about the issues I have to deal with with my own family (though they do know that my husband has ADHD and that affects our family). I have a few close friends I can talk with, but most of them tend to be very busy people at this stage of their lives, and I don't want to spend too much of our relationship whining about my marriage difficulties. I can't just post about this on FB -- it's not something that needs to be blasted publicly with my name on it for lots of people to see. That leaves this place as someplace to go when I am ready to tear my hair out. So, I get long posts. :)

On top of that, your story is actually helpful to the rest of us, so that's another reason not to feel bad about long posts.

I'm certainly not one to blame you for leaving your husband. While things are looking up for my marriage right now, I know my husband is actually easier to deal with than many spouses I've read about on these boards, and even given that I've come mighty close to calling it off. It's hard, and when the spouse will take no responsibility, it is often impossible to make things work.

One question I asked myself when I had my big fight nearly a year ago with my husband was "Would I really be better off without him?" In my case, the answer was no. It sounds like things are better for you. Am I reading that right?

Hanging on to Hope

Your post is something I think about all the time, I feel single. My husband is a nice man, loyal, affectionate, funny, attractive. BUT, he is unable to maintain work, forgets to do almost everything he agrees to and gets mad at me when I remind him to do things that will impact myself or out two kids. I have stopped berating him, encouraged things that work, helped him to build routines, supported "free" time so he could exercise and get enough sleep (he reports needing ten hours a night to sleep), used strategies with him that theoretically help manage ADD. Over and over again I am left doing everything, for similar reasons - he just forgets or can not manage to follow through if he remembers and refuses to ask for help. 

I feel super alone and sad. No idea what to do. I already do all the housework, finances, childcare, social management etc. My husband is employed now but has received his final warning  - if this is anything like his other jobs it is just a matter of time till he gets fired again. I have stopped relying on him in every way but like someone asked before what kind of marriage is that? 

He takes meds, goes to therapy, takes copious notes (ha!), and then never activates anything that sticks. I am exhausted and ready for a change. What would the change look like? Do I get divorced? Will this help me feel better? 


This sounds sooo familiar, but he is just starting out treatment and he has held his job for several years now (which he had not done previously). How long has he been taking meds and going to therapy? I ask because despite my hopes, I can see this pattern happening with us too, and I wouldn't be willing to live with little or no progress. 

Hanging on to hope

He actually just started taking meds and going to therapy. Ironically, my husband has been telling me for about a year he thinks he has ADD. We went to couples counseling and after a few weeks the therapist asked if my husband had ADD. I finally agreed to read some literature about ADD, up to that point I just thought it was another excuse on the part of my husband. So, after a lifetime of struggling he just got diagnosed in his mid 40's and started meds and therapy shortly thereafter - he initiated both of those things. In the end though, this is his third or fourth therapist since we have been married, he is always told no-one can make the changes for him and he has to do it himself - which he really struggles with doing. 

In my heart I am not clear on what to do. Right now I stay in my marriage because we made this commitment to one another and our family. I feel like leaving because we have hit hard times makes no sense. On the other hand I sincerely want to believe there will be improvement. Things were better before my husband took the promotion at work (this is always his path to getting fired, he takes jobs that are good for him and he can maintain and because he is smart and likeable he gets offered a promotion and then he can not keep up, forgets very important things and looks like he is spaced out so much of the time because of stress - this all leads to job loss for him). Before the promotion he was not working as many and as erratic hours, we maintained a schedule where he did all the food prep and cooking, the trash and recycling, the vacuuming, and he woke with our older son and got him up and ready every morning (I nurse our younger son so I still woke with him and got him ready). Since this new position we hardly ever see him and he hardly has time to do any of the things he was doing. He is working to get the other position back and step down and I think this week he finally got permission to do so and we just have to work out the details. I do think if he goes back to a position he can do without that added stress and he is around more to help out things will feel better - but is it just a matter of time until that balance slips again? Because of this question I feel obliged to keep trying to work together and figure this out...but I do not know if this is just my inability to see the larger patterns and accept the truth or if there is really truth in having hope. Time will tell - right?

MaineMama, what you describe

MaineMama, what you describe is so similar (though my husband doesn't seem to have problems at work)!  I laughed when I read all the things you do to support him especially his free time to exercise!  I basically take both kids everywhere so that he will have free time to exercise or get dinner on the table at a reasonable hour (since it takes him 2-3 hours to make a meal that the recipe says should take 45 mins).  My husband has been really trying lately because we finally has some good honest talks about our relationship.  Although he recognizes the problems he has, he basically says I'm the one that can't tolerate it and so he'll try to meet my standards.  I'm not sure that attitude is going to help us get through this, but at least it's got him trying.  I've been telling him for yeeears things needed to change and he basically ignored me (one time told me I was being dramatic).  Now I wonder if it's too late.  I fantasize about being a single parent but I'm not sure how great that would actually be not mention I don't think I can afford to live on my own.  I feel like money and afraid to be alone are not good reasons to stay in a relationship.  Staying for the kids is certainly a better reason.  I'm just so tired of living a lie.  How did I get here??

I do everything in the

I do everything in the mornings. I get dinner going in the crock pot, breakfast for me and the girls, lunches for us, everyone dressed and out the door. H lets the dogs out. He works from home, so no schedule, no need to be anywhere at any time. Now that it's cold, I ask him to please scrape off my windshield while he's out with the dogs. I remind him every day, of course, or it doesn't get done.

Ok so this morning, I glance out the window 30 seconds before we're out the door, and my windshield is frosted over. Just a huge wave of disappointment, I'm sure you all know exactly the feeling. Not just disappointment, but way out of line to what's happened crushing disappointment. And I said, "I thought you were going to scrape the ice off of the windshield for me?" And he said, "Well that's on the inside."

Do you know those moments, where you just feel like, yes, this is my life. This is really how I live. And it's just so overwhelmingly depressing. And now I"m going to be late to work because I have to de-ice the car from the inside, but if he'd just started it 10 minutes before, it'd be warm, clear, and ready for me.

Ugh, just feeling so hopeless today. Need hugs. :-(

Hugs to you!

I wish I could send you some sort of rescuer -- a dinner fairy or something like that! :) Yes, I do know the crushing disappointment of "why can't I count on you?" I'm sorry I can't do more than sympathize and wish for a magic wand that could make things better.

Hi Polkadots, so sorry to

Hi Polkadots, so sorry to read about your crushing disappointment...I constantly experience the same and it SUCKS!  It's funny, I think if someone were to read your post out of context they might think, what is the big deal?  When I occasionally vent to people that don't know what life is like with ADD I think they think I'm being a jerk.  They just have no idea how it consumes your life!  I also have no advice to give because I'm trying to figure out what to do next!

I know, it's hard to explain

I know, it's hard to explain to people how these little things add up if they haven't lived it. I live next door to my mom, and when we first moved here, her response to my complaints was to look on the bright side, not make too big a deal out of it, etc. Now that she's seen how my life is day in and day out, she tells me to try to hang on until the kids are big.

Totally get it, unfortunately.

Argh, I wish I did not understand your disappointment but I do. This is something I have tried to articulate before - little things add up and become one big pervasive problem. My husband and I often have that exchange, he wants me to give him credit for little things he does randomly that may or may not be associated with what the family or I need but he feels "beat up" if I express concern over the millionth time he has forgotten something/most everything that relates to us.  I try, he tries.....not easy. 

Reading through all of these

Reading through all of these posts I can relate with so much but I also realize that I need to appreciate my husband in some ways that I probably don't. 

On the negative side (this is what I constantly nag about and get so depressed about) he can be irresponsible, forgetful and in our 7 year marriage he hasn't had a reliable income.  I have lived under constant stress having to provide for us (and for a year and a half his son from his previous marriage) as well as do 90% of the work around the house.  It gets so tiring and I find myself longing for a "normal" marriage where I can depend on my spouse and not have to feel like I have to supervise everything all the time.

But then there is the positive side (which I admit I don't recognize very often due to the anger and frustration being caused by the negative side) and I felt I just needed to put it in writing so I could see that my husband does have some very good qualities.  He is not the inattentive type so I feel fortunate when I'm reading what so many others have to deal with.  My husband is always trying to do things for me (actually too much) and he is very thoughtful when it comes to certain things.  The problem is the things that matter to me the most are not the things he does for me so I don't appreciate his attempts as much as I should.  He does things I'd prefer to do for myself and then doesn't do the things I really need help with.  Another positive is he is very affectionate and sexually driven.  Unfortunately my anger and resentment has caused me to not want to have an intimate relationship with him anymore.  Of course this has also caused problems in our marriage because he feels I'm not doing my "wifely duty" yet I don't feel he is meeting my needs so why should I have to meet his.  I guess it's a vicious circle and I should just be grateful that my husband still shows interest in me and wants to be with me instead of ignoring me and never wanting any physical touch.

So what I'm getting at is there are some areas where i need to do better and try to appreciate him in the areas where he is trying and to see myself as fortunate because I'm sure there are many of you who would love to have a husband who paid attention to you and wanted physical relations on a regular basis.  I guess we all want what we don't have.  I see posts where the husband is a good provider and I think I would trade that in a heartbeat for the affection and sex.  I'm so worn down from trying to make ends meet that I don't have the energy for the physical relations anyway!  But then if they were taken away from me would I feel the same way? 

There are days I don't see any good in my husband but there are days I think I need to be more appreciative.  I'm trying to make today an appreciative one. 

My heart goes out to all of you who are having difficulties!

Not even sure if it is ADHD

I googled what I'm going through and got onto this forum. My husband has not been diagnosed with ADHD, but I've had an idea that it might be a fact. My son has been diagnosed with sever ADHD and takes Concerta.

My husband (not the father of my son) is a fantastic person, but he can never be wrong. It is as though it makes him feel less in charge. It makes me feel so out of place and not knowing what to do. He would also start several projects and it's left half done all over the house and yard. He would also make promises, but never remembers to keep them. And loves dishing out punishment towards my son like 'you'll never watch TV again' or 'I'll never play cricket with you again' ... things both my son and I know by know that would not last forever.

The latest project is he bought a yacht. He expects all of us to be equally excited about doing the sailing thing every weekend and for every spare (and not so spare) dime to go towards this.

He is extremely clever and can do any work with machines, but seriously lack in knowing how to deal with people.

I love him too much to consider leaving him, but I sometimes feel he'll be better off without me and that I'm just a handbrake in his world.

He is a very good stepfather and loves teaching my son things, but would give up if my son doesn't grasp by at least the second try ... and then this no second chance.

Please help me understand what I'm going through and how to make a success of my marriage.

Yacht Widow

Is there any way you can get your husband to agree to go in for testing for ADHD? I convinced my husband to get tested when his job was on the line due to memory issues he had. I showed him a couple of web pages on ADHD which outlined symptoms similar to his behavior, so he agreed to see if he had it. That would really help. It has helped me understand my husband, though it doesn't always make things easy to deal with. The one problem is that now I see people with similar behaviors and start wondering if that person has ADHD, and I'm sure they don't always have it. Husband's uncle buys lots of expensive toys and then tires of them? Must be ADHD! But maybe not. Maybe he just has a spending problem. Good friend forgets my birthday and doesn't get around to returning my phone calls until several days later? Must be ADHD! But maybe not. That may just be the way she is. So, I read your description of your husband's behavior and I think, "That could be ADHD!" But it might not be. So do try to encourage him to get tested.

The other benefit to him being tested is that he will (hopefully) get on medication. Not everyone is willing to do this; my husband is. This should really be coupled with counseling, which my husband will NOT do, much to my disappointment. I think it would be helpful (1) for him to get someone to coach him through behaviors that will help him manage how his ADHD affects his life and affects others, because the medication helps him concentrate, but it doesn't magically make everything better, and (2) for us to get counseling together, because I have been seriously hurt by his behavior over the years (and it continues to hurt me), and I have reacted in very angry, unhelpful ways. 

If he won't get testing and help, you are going to have to do your best by yourself, which is hard. There's a reason the divorce rate in ADHD marriages is so high. I highly recommend you read Melissa Orlov's book "The ADHD Effect on Marriage." That is very helpful in understanding the dynamics of such a marriage and in helping you see what you can do from your end to try to improve things. I also recommend you start looking out for yourself. When you have to clean up after another adult and act as their brain (because they lack executive functioning skills), often while holding down a full-time job and taking on the lion's share of household responsibilities, it can be hard to see how you can take care of yourself, but it really is critical that you learn how to do this. Let a lot go. I tell myself that I will only do one household chore a day outside of preparing dinner and cleaning up after myself. So if I make dinner, clean the kitchen after dinner and do one load of laundry, that's it for housework for that day, even if the floor needs to be vacuumed. Take care of yourself physically (adequate sleep, eating well, getting exercise). Pursue a dream (mine is a writing project). Make sure you are spending time with supportive friends. Invest in your appearance for your own sake. When you do things like housework, do them for YOU, so that you don't feel resentful. I hate living in a pigsty, so when I clean, I'm doing it as a gift to myself. Also, somewhere on one of these boards, someone recommended starting a secret stash of things that disappear -- a genius idea! I routinely find that things like scissors, packing tape, rulers and sharpies go missing, so I've been buying those things for myself and hiding them. (As it turns out, I can't blame all this on my husband -- my daughter, who does NOT have ADHD, has 'fessed up to sometimes using things and not putting them away. So I have TWO very disorganized people working against me.) My husband has been throwing his muddy boots on the floor of our closet lately (a nice hardwood floor). So, if he isn't piling them in front of the door, he's ruining the floor. I've given up trying to tell him to remember things like wiping his shoes off, and I get sick of picking up his boots and wiping them and the floor off, so I plan to buy a mat and put that where he throws his boots. Again, this is for me.

Finally, I recommend investing not just in yourself but also in your marriage. Have fun together. Do things for your husband because you love him, even if he isn't doing things for you. I've found that as I soften and act loving toward my husband, he has gradually returned the affection. He still drives me batty in several areas, but I can see improvements in our marriage. Also, I don't know anything about your beliefs, so you may or may not want to take this advice, but I pray a LOT over my marriage, and I truly believe that has helped.

I'm hardly perfect at all this (especially the physical self-care, though I keep trying), and I certainly won't say I don't get fed up and just want to leave, but slowly, very slowly, things have been improving.

I wish you the best, and please post anytime you need vent or update us on where things are.

I'm thanking you from deep

I'm thanking you from deep down in my heart for your reply and valuable suggestions.

I've given up on looking after myself and partially on keeping the house clean, but your suggestion in "doing it for myself" has given me hope to try again.  I'm a Christian and this is something I pray about a lot.

I'll keep you updated.

r u talking about my husband

My husband is the same way. Its so fustrating. He gripes when he is off from work because he has nothing to do. When I think of things to keep him busy he might start off doing 1 but he gets distracted. Example I ask him to pick up his mess in the living room because he tracked in dusty dirt n his clothes were all over the place. He starts cleaning and realizes that he dont like how living room is rearranged. So he starts doing that instead. Then half way through when the room is all in a disarray he gets a fire call or a call from a friend or boss n takes off. I get a kiss n he says I will finish when I get back. The living room cant be used till its back in order so 3 hours later I finish it. He tells me he is doing dishes or laundry b4 he goes to bed. So I go to bed early and bam he forgets n I have no clothes. Or he talks me into going n doing some activity he wants and tells me just put off my cleaning till we get back and he will do it with me. Then it takes so long doing this that its late in the nught b4 we get home and then he gets a call from his fire chief telling him to go fix something at the station. He seems to have all the time in the world to help others just not me. He also has started taking on more and more things for himself outside the home like a christian biker club,fire officer classes, n his work hours will be picking up in like 3 weeks n I will only see him 1 day a week cuz of work and then that day will be spent mostly at fire department working On trucks since he decided to take a maintenance position. All in all he knows 9ur son has started having issues. Our son is severe ADHD and aspergers and avasive pervasive disorder. His teen hormones have started to fluctuate at age 10 but hes still regressing. Now he got homebound I have him 24/7. He is gone so much and home so little. He has a sex drive but he lasts at the most 2 min. He dont ever worry about my needs. Now he has started talking to me like I am a child cuz I constantly ask for help cuz I am stressed to the max n his spending problem dont help at all. He keeps his word to everyone but me. I told him it seems like he keeps his word to things he loves.

Me too

I thought I was alone...

Thank you for the forum and for the people who share their story!!!!


You perfectly described the

You perfectly described the problems I'm having in my marriage as well. My Husband and I don't have children and we have only been married for 2 1/2 years (together for 4 years) though. We are so close to divorce and I don't feel like I have any support at all either. I wish I knew what to tell you, but I still don't feel like I'm able to rely on or trust my Husband. I especially get scared when he is driving because he tends to speed. I thought medication was supposed to help though. Maybe your Husband needs to try a different medication if it isn't working properly? My Husband isn't on medication yet, but he is going to the doctor next week to get a prescription. If he won't get any therapy, then you should at least have therapy for yourself. Does your Husband believe that you're ready to leave him if he doesn't try to improve the way he treats you? Perhaps you need to tell him if not. I think it also could be beneficial for you to temporarily go away on your own to stay with a friend or family member if you can just to give you both the time apart. I intend to stay at my Mom's house this weekend cuz I recognize that I need time away from my Husband. Also, it may help if your Husband learns more about ADHD and how it affects your relationship. There are several books available on the subject.

This Sounds Like My Life

I registered with this site specifically because your post sounds so much like my life.  I worry constantly that my husband won't "have my back."  I'm so emotional about his behavior and lack of presence in our relationship (in any interpersonal relationship he has) right now that I won't leave a long comment.  Just know that you are not alone and that I feel like a single mother much of the time.  Thank you for sharing your situation.  I will need to do some research on ADHD to see if this is something my husband struggles with (though I've recently decided with my limited pop-psychology background that he might have narcissistic personality disorder).  Either way, it is frightening to go it alone within a marriage.

Thank you

It's always good to hear "You're not alone." I hope you find some answers to why things are the way they are with your husband and that things improve for you.

Hope this helps! Sorry it's long. But worth the read!

You know, I feel for you guys. I'm not married, but the majority of you are describing my parent's marriage. Have any of you looked into Asperger's Syndrome? I should add that one should extensively look into it, as to have a full understanding. My mother seems like you guys- tired of an unsupportive, unappreciating spouse. I can completely understand. I have three brothers. All of them have ADD/ADHD and so do I. My older brother, though, also has Asperger's. It is similar, but different in so many ways. It's hard on my mom to try and "deal" with my dad. She is a wonderful woman- knowledgeable, intelligent, kind, loving, and beautiful. It is even harder though, to see all that he puts her through. Especially as she does not deserve it. The space-mindedness, lack of remembering things "we" say, insistence on being right, several dozens projects unfinished (some from when I was a toddler), doing anything for someone else outside of our home, but not seeming to be able to do anything but serve himself once back in our domain. The incessant expenditures on things in which he never uses for those so very important projects and the complete lack of interest in the things his children do. ....unless he needs some attention (he seems to be quite the attention addict) in which he manipulates one of my brothers to spend time with him (usually through undue bribery of food or money (great lessons for children, eh?)). A great majority of his behavior I have noticed can be attributed to his parents. (So thanks you guys!! Great job!) They obviously had their own problems from their youthful marriage and my grandfather obviously has whatever on earth my father has. I only presumed it was Asperger's Syndrome as opposed to ADD because of the three other "subjects" in which I can compare him to. As well as my aunt (on my mother's side) and her two children (one girl and one boy) whom of which have somewhat recently decided to diagnose themselves (denial). And may I add- she is glad they did. They all are. My younger brother does not like going to school without out taking his medication. I was the last of my siblings to receive a diagnosis and take medication, especially on a regular basis. (I only took it on school days. Now its an every day thing.) I think its possible its less strong in females than males. That is what it seems to be in my long quest to comprehend this irritation to fully control my own mind. I noticed it in myself (the not being able to focus my thoughts (They would wander about like none other. Which is great for a curious and eager to learn mind. But I found it an abnormality and an irritation. It is my own mind. Should I not be able to control it??)) at a very young age. The not being able to sit still (as someone mentioned about sitting in at a concert or a game) part is difficult. I am restless. I want to constantly do something that intrigues me. Though I am not sure this part applies to all with ADD, for my family is one that stressed learning early in life (and by that I, of course, mean my mother). The intriguement must somewhat be an intellectual one. Anything that occupies the mind fully, I suppose. These things are not all the same for one with Asperger's Syndrome. My brother shows great skill with technology and is proficient at whatever currently seem interesting, then moves on to his next project- putting off school, family functions (other than ones that inquire a guilt that not showing up would bring upon him due to a disappointed aunt or uncle (mother's side) that he respected highly when we were children), anything that doesn't seem to attribute to his comfort of bed and pleasure of the internet and all the wonderful things it can entertain oneself with. (Truly entertaining the internet is.) (Sorry. Grew up with nerds and geeks for siblings. If you didn't understand the last sentence was a movie reference, then pay no attention. ;] ) He constantly needs "baby-ing" to do what he suppose to be doing in his classes and what not. His work he goes to, excels at, and got promoted quite easily for his skill is great indeed. (As opposed to my father whom of which has not seen the like of a promotion or a raise in years (not like his co-workers).) He is better in many ways than my father, only de to the great attention and constant work my mother has put into his life. As well as the affect my siblings and I have had on him. Not saying he is perfect....my younger brother and he have been at each others' throats many a time before... He may be four years older than my little brother, but..... he doesn't act like it. Only when it interests him or the 'praise?' (recognition for his work and proficiency in what he has done) he gets does he get around to doing his "duties". Though if I need anything tech related, he most certainly tries to attain whatever it is that I am looking for, especially when I happen to mention that my best friend's brother did something for his sister- he then must top that. Immediately. Otherwise, it might get done with occasional daily reminder. Or never. I appreciate his trying, but I have learned that when it comes to something big, his word is not one I can count on. Now I should add that he listens to me at times. My opinion means something to him. We kind of went through schooling together. We have met each other, learning wise, in many ways (like two siblings growing (One grows, then the other. One Always catching up or equal to some degree until they just pass you by. Like my little brother. :} )) throughout our childhood. Just as one tends to listen to their siblings when older as they begin to respect their opinion. My older brother and I have kind of always had that. It has been my entire life that I have looked out for him and the ways he acts around people. The ways he treats people. The ways he explains things to people (tech people are not always good at that). The ways he makes messes around the house- just for my mother to clean up. (I don't think so!) It has been my entire life. When he was diagnosed, we were not to tell anyone as to not have other people treat him as lesser. Which made it hard to explain his behavior at times (to friends and such that were just kind of put off by his actions or humor). But I understand why my mother did not want us to tell people. It amazes me to see people treat others as diseases when they do see people labeled (as whatever). And for that I feel a bit bad for my brother. But my brother is not -in any way- my father. Do they share characteristics? Sure. What father and son don't? But my brother has the ability to learn. My father is is insistent that he is right and so narrow minded, that he can' t possibly understand anyone else. And compromise? Ha! He actually, seriously, does not believe that a couple should do so. It might teach children a wrong message. He has gone to counseling throughout the past few years with my mother and alone. He was very opposed to the idea. That my mother was "accusing him of such" to have something wrong with him. Though he does love to complain about his many other health issues. They have gone to many christian counselors (they both share the same faith by the way) that he has chosen, which end up being wack jobs that basically agree with my father. Some happen to have very sexist views. Others he had seen several times and basically bad mouthed my mother to no end. He ended up going alone for a bit. (Again. Loneliness thing. I call it  the "attention wh**e" factor.) But to each their own. Eventually they did find a marriage counselor they both agreed on and went for a total of seven (nine?) months before coming to the conclusion that my father does not want to change and my mother does not see this marriage going anywhere. They did not get divorced, but that don't talk to each other..... I should say that my mother attempts to ignore him and my father talks at her. (Usually in monologues of a loud voice bickering about...well.... just attacking her really. Verbally.) They sleep in separate rooms. This was due to his constantly waking her up in the middle of the night bumping the bed or other wise going to the bathroom (he is tall and rotund, so he could easily knock the bed waking someone up) and his insistence on not doing anything (of course, the first step was admitting he had something) about his snoring. So he ended up purchasing a new bed and moving into a different room. Nothing says 'I love you' like moving into the room next door. Not that I thought it was a bad thing. My mother could use the relaxation of his constant annoyances. (You can still hear the snoring through the walls, of course.) As for the mentioning of absence in children's lives- he mostly never showed up to my older brother's basketball games, my little brother's soccer games (until my mother basically forced my father to take him), or my recitals (dance, ballet, etc.). We were all in 4-H as well. (A youth organization in which was a great way to show children leadership, citizenship, and life skills. No, I do not own a cow. Yes, there are amazing opportunities involved that taught me many a thing that did not involve ever milking a goat.) There were a million opportunities for him to participate. He might show up the latter years of our lives to the end of a meeting or occasionally go to one of the bigger events of the year. Though it was not like he was really doing something else that he couldn't make it or participate more in our lives. Don't get me wrong. I really don't care. I personally don't care much for my father. I can't say the same for my brothers. I learn most of my lessons myself. When I was probably twelve, I began noticing that he wasn't just not around much, he didn't seem to be caring like I remembered him to be. As a kid, yeah, I loved him. He was my father. But him seeming absence made it hard to know him. My fighting to be able to join him at his work when he went to "work out" (watch cable (we didn't ever have cable) on a bicycle machine) with my older brother was one of a million things that made me question things. I really just thought that he was sexist. (His father, my grandfather is when it comes to tasks and work. Such as when we would go to visit them, my brothers would go off to work at their business cleaning up and such and I was subjected to going grocery shopping with my grandmother, whom of which is severely depressed. Anyone who couldn't see that must be brain dead. (She has seven children.... none of them.... ><  And guess how many have these symptoms!!! That's right! Six! The last was severely depressed but now finally has gotten a hold on her life and is taking it for all that is has to offer her. Yay her. All I have to say is- who wouldn't be depressed with seven children that have something a bit off about them, a husband that starts up new jobs/business deals thus being absent, living in the middle of nowhere (not kidding) and doing it all on your own. Okay. No nanny. Nuh-uh. Good luck.) Where was I? Can you tell yet that this is written by someone who has ADD? Yeahhhh..... Just can't help myself. If in seems important to the perspective I am giving you, then it seems necessary to tell you all. I thought my father was sexist, because I saw it in his father. But I don't know. I fought to be with him. To prove somehow that I was worth being around. But it was something that needed to be proved. It seemed easily proved to anyone else I was around, but my father was oblivious to us when we were not interesting enough. I eventually saw that he was never going to change, he was who he was, and that I couldn't do anything about it. I saw the way he treated my brothers- he abused their affections for him to get what he wanted. The way he treated my mother- like she was constantly doing something wrong and at fault for their problems. And the way he treated himself- to have so little self-respect that he couldn't possibly take responsibility for any of his actions. Most of my childhood I don't recall having that many memories of him. I realized that it had to do with his disinterest and my mother's every attempt to busy us with learning at every corner. I'm talking science fairs, every museum around, lessons in life, and every kind of class from libraries, schools, universities, or otherwise that you can think of. It was fun ( the good type of learning) and I see now that maybe it had to do with more than just learning. Maybe it had to do with (which, of course, I saw) my mother giving us every lesson and opportunity, every happiness in life. Which is what mother's tend to do. But at what price?? Her own? Her happiness was ours, as she has said before, and it was plainly obvious. But it hurts to see the people you care about hurt. It hurts to see how he affects her, and everyone else he is himself around. It is sickening. And I have always said that I would never wish this (type of person) on anyone. Noone deserves this. The only one thing that came out of her marriage to him, aside from the first couple years of blind bliss, was us- three of her children. (Her oldest son came from a previous marriage. No need to factor that into this situation. My father adopted him. All a big happy, happy family....from the outside.) As for the dyslexia and trouble reading numbers, my older brother has had trouble reading when he was little (which is why we ended up learning together- My mother would teach him, I'd listen and began teaching myself and then my mother just decided to start teaching the both of us together.) and just the other day, strangely enough, was telling me he still has problems with that. He never has had dyslexia diagnosed, but he said that he has long suspected it. I'm not sure how helpful this will be for you all, but some people you simply cannot change. No matter the want you have to "compromise" as a marriage is filled with it. But it takes two, not one and wishful thinking from the other., or that the other will come around. If you want to try though, as you should if you are in it for the long haul (You are already in a relationship, if not married- so why wouldn't you?) then I wish you all the luck in the world. A lot of it has to do with the way one is raised, and the other the state of one's minds. That applies for you too, though. If you want o work it out, you have to have an open mind. No. A gaping whole. All the patience in the world. And most importantly, an outlet- verbal and physical. Yoga, boxing, running, raising children, etc. (Though Yoga is great and boxing is too, especially if you just want to punch things out.) And someone to talk to. Whether it is online, your mother, a therapist, a support group (great idea), or an understanding friend (only helps if they can comprehend the situation in its entirety. Not just that there are problems, but that the friend really knows what the meaning of ADD or Asperger's or otherwise mean.) Really the person you are talking to should understand "the entirety" no matter what. Really. It makes all the difference. Not that you can't talk to more than one person. If you actually read this thing the whole way through, I applaud you. I know I have been writing for at least two hours. I kind of felt like I should contribute though. I randomly fell onto this page and it was funny how it seemed everyone was describing my parents' marriage and my father. Disclaimer: I am not married, nor do I claim be. Though I have a good sense of the matter. I believe in happiness, but I also believe in persevering- to not give up until all options are exhausted twice over. I have experience with ADD/ADHD and Asperger's Syndrome among other things- enough to last for a life time. My mother and father were married in their early thirties. They both come from big families- six siblings and seven siblings, respectively. They both have had their fair share of family problems which I think can allow a person to learn and grow in their peace seeking skills.  (At least it did for me, and my mother's side of the family. They seem to learn from their mistakes. Not to say they are perfect. Noone is.) My oldest brother has a family of his own now with children. (Adorable.) My older brother, myself, and my younger brother are all two years apart and live at home. I am nearly twenty. Could you tell it was written by someone so? I have seen a lot and learned even more from it all. I do not claim to be an expert, but I do know quite a bit about all ADD/ADHD and Asperger related subjects.  Again, I wish you luck. But in the end, make sure that it is all worth it. I love my mother dearly, I want nothing more than for her to be happy. I have no respect for my father other than human decency. If I had a say, they would have gotten divorced years ago. It wouldn't have taken such a toll on my mother, but she stayed for the long haul. For us. The effect it would have on us and our ability to see it for what it was. Things would have been harder on her as a single parent, and I don't think I would have gotten it until I was seven, but past that- she deserved happiness. And to me, as well as the rest of my family, he is just her (and our) stressor. I think my brother's are more affected by my father as they came to full realization of who he simply is much later than I. I was thirteen. (I am more mature than most for my age. Don't age discriminate. Open mind now.) My older brother though was around twenty. Though I think it was because he was away for college for awhile. (He wasn't around him to remember all that he is....) My father does have anger issues though. So this contributed to our disliking of him. Don't worry. I factored that into the situation. It doesn't help to have children, whom of which see things differently, tell a man with one view point a different way of seeing things. Or to disagree with him let alone tell him he's wrong....oooo no. Things tapered down a bit when we were older though. He become less enraged and more plain annoying (all the things you all were describing). This I found out was due to his being impotent. In other words, he had less testosterone- lack of sex life. (Fun discussions with mother! Next up on life talks with the people that raised you.) So, maybe thats a thing. Not something I ever thought to think of seeing as the two people that have this around me are my older brother and my father.... Things can work out though. A family friend of ours (husband, wife (amazingly, wonderful woman), son, and daughter), happen to make things smoother. The males in their family have Asperger's and it is painfully obvious. More so than my brother. My brother is on the high end of the spectrum. He has his issues but he, aside from being smart, is able to socialize well- as well as anyone in college does really.... The family friends though- the son is more affected on the spectrum than my brother. He is smarter (though I think they have the same capabilities- just push and drive) but his quirks and "side effects", aside from being more obvious, are more obvious. Needless to say, they have had their problems, and still do- like any family. They have been in family (and individual, at times) counseling for years. They make it work, a lot in part by the aforementioned wife. She puts a lot of effort into everything. I hope my rambling come to some avail. I feel like without a clear perspective of where I'm coming from, my words mean nothing. So I hope my perspective is clear and it provides assistance. Oh, my older and younger brother and I take Vyvanse. A lot better than Adderall in my perspective, but each person is different. Vyvanse is less a lot less able to be abused (fyi). It can make a person irritable though, so it takes a while to get used to. (Three months? for you to feel like it's really doing some good.) Since it is a stimulant, it can be like drinking a lot of coffee- to the average person that it. (Coffee puts me to sleep, sugar doesn't.) (Just awesome when you are a college student! ^^) So my brother takes something to counteract it. I don't though. A lot of ADD has to do with what you put in your body, how you exercise (answer should be often- daily even), and your mind set. That is where your drive comes from, and your ability to overcome the obstacles. My oldest brother has ADD and he has a great marriage, three kids and one on the way, is constantly doing projects around the house (and finishes them), and exercises constantly as well as spends quality time with his kids. He knows it takes effort, (he's always wanted a family though) and that its a team effort. To each their own though. (I chalk it up to great parenting though.)

One more thing...

Narcissistic Personality Disorder is often misdiagnosed as Asperger's Syndrome. It really sounds like most of you all (not all) are describing this. Its worth looking into it. Find a local support group (if you can) that talks about this. If nothing else, you will just have a better understanding of this. My mother found it amazing when people starting talking about all the things other people were saying. It was precisely what she needed and she got all the guidance and support one needs in that sort of a situation. Or just keep looking around online. Its surprising what you can find when you start looking. Good luck finding your answers. :}

Aspergers and divorce

Thank you for your point of view as someone from a family with lots of ADHD and some Asperger's... especially as the child of a father with ADHD (and possibly more). 

Speaking only for myself: Could my husband have Asperger's? Maybe. I also played with the idea that he had Narcissistic Personality Disorder long before his ADHD diagnosis. These things are hard to tell: As you know, I'm sure, ADHD isn't exactly the same in every person. My husband certainly didn't seem to have poor social skills when we were dating, and he does well with friends. He has trouble with being a husband and father. Is this because we, the members of his family, aren't "shiny" anymore (ADHD), or because of some other problem? And is the problem just the way he was raised (you mentioned possible sexism in your father, which I would say would be the way a person is raised, not part of a disorder, so to speak), or is it something else? It's hard to answer these questions. I could ask my husband to go in for testing. He responded positively (to my surprise) when I asked him to get tested for ADHD; however, his job was on the line at the time. If it was "just" his marriage on the line, or nothing at all? I'm not convinced he'd care. He certainly let me know he was willing to let our marriage go during our big fight last year. And in the end, when I read the description of Asperger's, some things do make me think "so true" (he talks at me, not with me, going on and on in long monologues... but more about that later), but many others aren't. The ADHD description, when I read it before he was tested, was so true to him when I read it that it inspired me to urge him to get tested (and I sent him the description, and that may have helped prod him toward testing, too).

There are just so many dynamics that go into interpersonal relationships! My husband brings his ADHD and the way he was raised by his parents and who knows what else to the marriage. I bring my depression and the way I was raised by my parents and who knows what else. Everybody brings something. That is something I keep in mind when I'm feeling discouraged. Having only been married to my husband, I have no idea if marriage to someone without ADHD would necessarily be all that much better. I certainly dated other guys before I got married, and of them, maybe only one is someone I might have been better off with, but even then, I'm not sure. As I know I've mentioned, sometimes I find out about something a friend is going through in her marriage, and I actually have it better. Sometimes I feel very envious of other women who seem to be in great marriages. All marriages, I'm sure, go through rough spots where one or both people want to give up. It seems like our rough spots have been an awful lot of the time we've been married; that's what has sometimes been discouraging.

Since my husband is not abusive, nor does he cheat or put me in horrible situations through substance abuse or problem gambling or anything like that, I feel strongly that I need to try my hardest to make this work. I don't believe that anyone needs to put up with things like abuse, but I believe that sticking through difficult situations can help a person grow. Yes, I play around with the idea that I'd be happier out of the marriage; that's why I talked divorce with him in our big argument. But I don't know that I would be any happier. I confess that he was away visiting a relative recently, and I had a great time NOT having to pick up after him, but I also missed him a little. Life would be easier, in some ways, without him, but it would be harder in other ways. Financially, for instance, it would be extremely difficult -- if he were one of the folks with ADHD who doesn't ever seem to be able to hold onto a job, that would be another thing, but even though he's been in and out of several jobs, most of the time he is working and contributes about half of our family income. Would I find "real love" if I were free to pursue it? Maybe, but maybe not. There is no guarantee. Is it cold and calculating and maybe even stupid to, on my bad days, talk myself out of leaving for reasons like money and the feeling that I might not find anyone else? Maybe, but it keeps me trying, and I value trying. And I do try to analyze situations rationally, not merely with my heart, which can sometimes deceive me. What kind of example am I setting for my child? Good question. I hated watching my mom let my dad walk all over her, but he was out and out abusive at times. My daughter recently asked me why I married my husband. This was not a sweet, "Oh, tell me all about what attracted you to Daddy." It was a "why on earth did you marry him?" question. That makes me sad on so many levels. It says a lot about her relationship with her dad and also a bit about what she must think of me for being married to him. But even with my own parents, it was a bit traumatic for me when they split (I guess losing the stability, even in a family in which there is lots of anger and drama, is upsetting). I keep that in mind when I think about things like divorce. All that said, I would never judge a woman (or man) here who felt that they couldn't deal with their ADHD spouse any longer. I've been there.

Going back to my child, I think the best example I could set would be by the ways I can grow in the marriage. For instance, lately I've been face-to-face with my need to be more assertive. Because my father was abusive, and because I was a geeky kid who got made fun of by many of my peers, I learned to be unassertive. The more "invisible" you can make yourself, the less trouble you find. My marriage has helped cement those habits in place. I have been the fixer who would just blow up when I'd had it "up to here" with taking care of everything. Because my husband can be gone, physically or mentally, for hours at a time chasing after his own projects, we frequently live in separate worlds with no communication at all. But then I find myself with my husband, and thinking, "I hate how he talks AT me and not WITH me. He goes on and on and on about things and never asks me anything about what's going on with me." Well, that is a lousy way for him to relate to me, but I need to take ownership of how passive I am and start asserting myself more. Maybe that will drive us apart, but maybe it will bring us together.

Sorry. I don't mean to sound like I'm smacking down your points about Asperger's and divorce. I think you raise valid points, and it is good to hear your perspective. I'm just noting where I am with thinking all of these things through.

The more that you say, it

The more that you say, it seems that your instincts were correct. You have obviously done your research. It seems like ADD/ADHD. The talking thing- I completely understand. It can be frustrating at times. Though as someone with ADD, I have to say that I have had conversations with my brother in which we were both talking at the same time about different things though somehow still relating back to each other having a meaningful conversation. It might not make sense, but it is something I have only been able to do with another person in which has ADD. Some of the other posts did seem like it would be worth mentioning the Asperger's thing. I personally think whatever someone may have, it really has to do with the way they were raised and who they are comfortable being, along with admitting and working out (or on) their "kinks".

I know I have asked my mother the same question- "Why did you marry him?" Subconsciously, I know that there must have been some reason, otherwise... why would she? She answered honestly- that he seemed sweet and like a (good person?) I can't quite remember what she said. I was just more curious. I didn't think poorly of her- noones perfect. I am only slightly glad they did marry for one reason. Me. Otherwise who knows what family I would have been born into with who knows what other type of problems... I am where I am and I can only learn from my experiences. (I have to admit though, it was good to get that out yesterday.) The thing that makes me respect my mother and not my father is that her word means something (among a million other things). Someone mentioned in an earlier post that their husband makes grandiose promises/punishments and doesn't follow through with them. It is my mother's word, her character, wisdom, and resilience that I respect about her. I'm sure your daughter can see that. Or I hope that she does. You don't sound like you were smacking down my points either, by the way. You sound like someone who is trying to find happiness where you once sought it. It just takes lots of time. Most importantly- communication. I'm sure you've heard that though. Whether by a therapist, or as I call it- "a referee" (of sorts), or by just sitting down a few times a week for an hour and actually, really talking. Or not. Just spending time together. I hope that you find some answers. Your head is in the right place and you are fighting to stay. Yes, noone can truly know their own future; but it is up to you to make the best of it. I just hope that you get the needed peace of mind you are searching for. :] Have a good day! 

You two have problems

You two have problems compromising. I am a stay at home mother of 4. I have ADHD as well as 2 children with it so far. What this looks like is your husband gets away with his ADHD symptoms and you've stopped saying anything for fear of getting your head bitten off. You cannot take on every responsibility for your family just because he has the disorder. Just like you shouldn't expect him to function like a normal person. You have to meet in the middle... or at least as close to the middle as you can. I can't tell you exactly why he calls you a nag but I will assume that it's because he feels like you're blaming him personally. You both have to approach ADHD symptoms in a way that separates it from his personality. He needs to understand his symptoms are unpleasant to you but that you know it is not necessarily him you are "blaming." You also need to give him a little push towards being more responsible around the house etc. He will not make any progress if you are doing everything for him or just letting him run wild with his disorder. Approach the issue and take it head on together. If he is on medication, he also needs treatment to learn the tools to get around his symptoms and be more productive. That will relieve a lot of stress on both ends and will help you both get on track. I've been in his position before and I'm sure he loves you regardless of how distracted he is. I'm a stay at home mother of 4 children and I manage to keep my house decent. There might be an occasional kleenex or two and it's gross but not the end of the world. He's got bigger problems. His standoffish refusal to believe his ADHD doesn't effect you would be one of those. It may affect him significantly on the inside but he needs to know that his distraction makes you feel less than important. I know he can't help it because I'm the same way, but just because it's not his fault doesn't mean it shouldn't be acknowledged. Actually, it might do him some good to inform himself as much as he can about ADHD so he can target where/when/how his symptoms are affecting him and you. Self awareness has changed my life entirely.

...and to whoever is saying

...and to whoever is saying narcissism... people who have adhd come across as self centered unintentionally because they are stubborn, defiant, and don't like to feel bossed around (I say feel because usually they explode when a symptom is pointed out and it isn't necessarily criticism). Learn about the disorder before you come out with some sort of other issue. It's very common for a spouse of someone with adhd to feel abandoned and ignored not unlike the partner of an narcissist spouse. I was married to a psychopath narcissist. There is a huge difference between the two. Personally, her husband has no clue how ingrained his adhd is. If he got some kind of therapy or treatment aside from medication he'd figure that out.

... and whoever is saying

Well squirresarefriends, with all due respect, you are jumping to conclusions a little too fast: Why would any of these husbands have EITHER ADHD OR another mental issue? See, clinical research is my job  and data are quite clear on that point: a vast majority of ADHD patients have also one or more of what is called a coexisting condition.

According to CHADD as many as 47% of Adult ADHD patients have depression for example, and medical literature reports large incidences of Bipolar disorders, Borderline Personality Disorders and Antisocial Personality Disorders (that basically have a LOT of overlapping symptoms with ADHD...) Hence, most of the time it is NOT ADHD OR something else BUT ADHD AND something else ( if not several other mental issues).  Therefore, considering the high incidence of co-occurring disorders in ADHD patients, chances are that, at least 60% of spouses on here are not only dealing with their spouse's ADHD but ALSO with theirs spouses' symptoms of ASPD, BPD, NPD, Depression, etc. Since we are on a thread where obviously spouses are not dealing with the easiest cases, I would go for a higher percentage of "complications". (It could also be a personality disorder, not ADHD because wrong diagnosis happen).

Now I don't want to scare anybody but, so far, I have not heard about ANY cure for ANY of the major personality disorders... Bottom line these disorders are making patients VERY unlikely to attend therapy, VERY reluctant to seek evaluation, VERY reluctant to comply with treatment, VERY insensitive to whatever consequences there are on anybody else than themselves. The problem is that IF the apparent lack of empathy comes from ADHD (distraction), it probably can be managed, now IF it is a true lack of empathy due to ASPD, BPD or NPD then no treatment for that! Oh, just so we ALL know here, according to the DSM-5 (which is the "bible" of the American Psychiatric Association) this empathy impairment symptom is present in all 3 Personality disorders I have evoked (and yes I DO have the DSM-5) 

Now let's go back to what has been said: odds are that "whoever is saying narcissism".... Might very well be completely accurate! Now since I know that some are going to respond aggressively to something they do not want to read, here are some Medical literature (i.e results based on clinical studies where biases are more likely avoided by a thorough review of the protocols by the FDA) that you might consider reading before jumping onto any high horse:  http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/731723_5

Lots of seasoned professionals struggle to figure out whether such symptom comes from ADHD or from another condition; so trying to figure out what comes from what by yourself.. . Forget it! Typically, and according to the DSM-5, what you all describe could be ADHD but could as well be NPD or ASPD.

I have paid dearly to understand that ADHD and its co-occurring disorders, require to be assessed by someone who does that as their CORE activity and on a daily basis, not just by whatever psychiatrist or psyD (let alone Social workers or counselors with a MS degree!) who treats whatever mental disease comes through their door.  

So to the ladies here who are struggling with their spouse's temper/behavior/abuses, I say: trust your guts, if your gut tells you that there is "something else" there might very well be something else! So, do your homework (as you spouse will NOT do it), search psys' profiles on internet, if this person has published several studies on adult AHDH and coexisting conditions, that is a good start. Do not listen to any of these "specialists in everything under the sun" (who most likely will master in... Making your wallet lighter) that you will find on your road. Some professionals will tell you that they "know ADHD"; OF COURSE they know ADHD! It is part of their basic training! But the right question is "How many ADHD cases do you see each week?" If they start to stutter "Huh you know it is not something that anybody sees very often", cut your loss, take leave and move on to someone else. What is CENTRAL is making sure to get an evaluation from someone who treats ADHD e-v-e-r-y . s-i-n-g-l-e . d-a-y. Just whatever psychiatrist will NOT do the job and what is dangerous is that they could come up with the wrong diagnosis (it is exactly what happened to my husband who has been treated for something he did not have for... 14 years). Also a good evaluation does not take a couple of 15-min appointments. It requires to take several surveys, the family has also to fill questionnaires, etc So anyone who comes up with "yeah it is ADHD" in 15 minutes tops is not the right one either. Be stubborn,network, get informed, it might take months if not a year to get your evaluation but you will find someone. THEN make an educated decision.

Now if they come up with a personality disorder diagnosis with a list of symptoms such as "lack of empathy or concerns for someone else's feelings", think twice before saying "I can beat that". Inform yourself again (look up on DSM-5 for the list of symptoms). Then, take a pause and think again.             -First question: are YOU willing to put up with abuses, lies, debts, rage outbursts, threats, wheeling and dealings and well...PERMANENT LONELINESS ? -Second question: Do you want to live with someone whose main symptom is "Incapacity for mutually intimate relationships, as exploitation is a primary means of relating to others, including by deceit and coercion; use of dominance or intimidation to control others"? Well just so you know this is a copy paste of the DSM-5​ for one of the personality disorders,                                                                                                                                               -Third question do you think your kids deserve to put up with all of the above ALSO.

If the answer to ANY of that is NO, then no need to lose yourself in the irrational and extremely detrimental rhetoric of "I deal with whatever my spouse throws at me because I love them and the poor thing has ADHD" anymore. Realize that he/she does not have ONLY ADHD and odds are, you are extremely unlikely to win this battle against PDs. Secondly, not only martyrdom will not do you any good and will never change your spouse ( because they have a lack of empathy so they could not care less about how much pain they caused to you, so they have NO incentive to change and there is no cure for Personality disorders) but most importantly, seeing you miserable or abused WILL, sure as hell, damage your kids.

This is neither your fault nor maybe your husband fault, and it may be sad but, no matter the reason you will evoke (philosophical, religious, you name it) your responsibility as a parent is to protect yourself in order to be able to be a good parent -not an exhausted one who runs out of time and patience every day - AND to shield your kids from this deleterious ambiance.

So don't feel guilty, if you pack your bags and GO. You saved yourself and above all, you saved your kids, chances are they would copy this kind of miserable life if that's the only example they got growing up. Sure ADHD,BPD, ASPD etc are unfortunate, it is unfair, etc, I agree, but one gotta do what they have to do. We all think that raising 2 kids being a single mom, is harder than staying with our ADHD spouse; this is only true when your spouse carries their weight. If they don't, you are already living as a single Mom of 2 with in addition, some kind of an uncontrollable adult kid who creates a tsunami of catastrophes, whom you will not be able to discipline if they scream their head off or do not do what they are supposed to do and just drain you with their problems ...

Good luck to all. I have been down this road ladies !

Bravo, AgT

AgT, what you posted on co-morbidities and ADHD has not been emphasized enough, I don't think. If this was emphasized more, I think spouses of those diagnosed as adults would be better prepared for what they are quite likely to face: a partner with not only the symptoms of ADHD, which are treatable, but also with symptoms of things like depression, anxiety, or ODD, which can be treated, or things like a PD, which pretty could pretty much kill any chance for improvement in their relationship. They can spend irreplaceable amounts of time trying couples counseling and other methods of improving their relationship, when the most intractable problem isn't even being recognized. DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy) has been shown to be an effective treatment for some with BPD and other mental health issues, but as TTF said, just the nature of PDs makes a person with one unlikely to admit that s/he has a problem and to want to seek treatment in the first place.

I know it's not possible for every psychologist to be an expert in everything, and unfortunately, many of us do not live in areas that are populated enough to have options to just go to another doctor if the first one we try doesn't have ADHD treatment experience. I think that one option we ALL have is to educate ourselves, and not to just rely on what one doctor or therapist tells us. Use whatever resources you have available, from the internet to your library. If you are near a college or university, take some time to go to their library. Depending on what they teach, they might have books and journals that are for students studying psychology, psychiatry, social work, etc. You can see what the research is for yourself. For example, I found a book with treatment guidelines for adult ADHD. It talked a lot about how important it is to not only interview the person with ADHD, but to find another adult in that person's life, like a partner, sibling, parent, close friend, etc., and to interview that person, too, because the nature of ADHD includes a lack of self-awareness and problems with short-term memory, and the thing many of us have experienced with missing information being filled in with totally inaccurate events instead. Also, the person prescribing meds needs to keep in contact with someone besides the ADHDer in order judge whether or not the med is working, because the person with ADHD might be able to tell. My take-away from that would be: if I or my partner was going to a therapist or doctor who didn't do these things as a matter of course, I would know they were not following generalized treatment guidelines, and I wouldn't trust that they would know the best way to treat my partner. And as many have experienced here, the wrong treatment can make things even worse.

There's another topic of AgTs that I'd like to expand upon, and this has weighed on me in my own life, and I think it might resonate with others here. The whole mindset around "Why do we stay?" "I can love him/her out of it" "If I just do x, y, and z, I can have a decent-enough life" "If I just do x, y, and z, I can get him/her to see that (s)he has ADHD/needs to get treatment/that (s)he needs to follow through with treatment/needs to stop treating me this way. After all, it's not his/her fault that (s)he has this!"  

It's not just asking why we stay once kids have entered the picture or once we've become financially entangled. Why were we attracted to our partners in the first place? Why did we ignore our gut feelings when something seemed a bit 'off' in the beginning? Why have so many of us here had such a tremendously hard time ending or getting over a relationship with someone who long ago stopped treating us in any way that was kind, loving, compassionate...anything that resembled a healthy relationship? Why have so many of us stayed despite treatment that is neglectful, abusive, unfaithful, etc.?

Just like in any dysfunctional relationship, there is a very complicated dance between the two partners, based on the issues each brings to the table. I think part of our healing has to include a lot of deep introspection into our own backgrounds, prior to meeting the partner who brought us here. Not that we invited abuse or neglect, etc., but that our own internal dysfunction was attracted to their dysfunction in some way, often on a very subconscious level. Sometimes it's obvious -- you can see things in this partner that remind you very much of a parent. Often, this is the parent with whom you had the worse relationship. Often, if we had emotional abuse or neglect of some kind in our earliest years, we keep trying to get that wound healed in future relationships, and we don't even realize it. We so dearly want to be loved and appreciated by a partner, but unfortunately, we have been 'trained' to think of the opposite as our normal. We mistake that wonderful, heady, all-consuming interest that was shown to us in the beginning during hyperfocus (or love-bombing, for those who have been with a personality-disordered partner) as love, because that's what we think love must feel like. Problems we might have on some level with shame or self-worth cause us to dismiss any misgivings or red flags we experience, because we don't trust ourselves. And besides...for a time, it feels soooo good!!!

And when it ends...then what? For most of us, the first thing we think is "What did I do wrong?" Looking back on my marriage to someone with many mental issues, and a subsequent relationship with someone diagnosed with ADHD (and I'm sure there's more) as an adult, this was certainly my first reaction. It wasn't until quite recently that I had a revelation: "Why in the hell did I not look at this man turn on a dime from someone who intensely pursued me into someone who withdrew, started changing history, blameshifting, gaslighting, invalidating my feelings, etc., AND NOT RUN LIKE HELL???" WHY did I automatically believe him when he put blame on me, or when he told me I was making too big of a deal about things, or when he acted like a victim? Because that's just how my mother treated me. I was used to her criticism, her emotional unavailability, her self-centered behavior, so it didn't seem that bad coming from him. He had good reasons, after all, right? And how could I blame him, when I knew I wasn't perfect, either? (esp when he kept reminding me of that) I wonder if anyone else sees this in themselves and their partner?

I Could Have Written This Myslef....

to the letter....

Just like in any dysfunctional relationship, there is a very complicated dance between the two partners, based on the issues each brings to the table. I think part of our healing has to include a lot of deep introspection into our own backgrounds, prior to meeting the partner who brought us here. Not that we invited abuse or neglect, etc., but that our own internal dysfunction was attracted to their dysfunction in some way, often on a very subconscious level. Sometimes it's obvious -- you can see things in this partner that remind you very much of a parent. Often, this is the parent with whom you had the worse relationship. Often, if we had emotional abuse or neglect of some kind in our earliest years, we keep trying to get that wound healed in future relationships, and we don't even realize it. We so dearly want to be loved and appreciated by a partner, but unfortunately, we have been 'trained' to think of the opposite as our normal. We mistake that wonderful, heady, all-consuming interest that was shown to us in the beginning during hyperfocus (or love-bombing, for those who have been with a personality-disordered partner) as love, because that's what we think love must feel like. Problems we might have on some level with shame or self-worth cause us to dismiss any misgivings or red flags we experience, because we don't trust ourselves. And besides...for a time, it feels soooo good!!!

And when it ends...then what? For most of us, the first thing we think is "What did I do wrong?"

And I'm the one with ADHD.  I can only speak for myself here, but I too was in a marriage with someone with a PD .....and through counseling and education came to the same realization to the connection to my parents and how I was treated growing up.  I was also diagnosed with ADHD at the same time and my first response or reaction to this was one of being almost overjoyed!  Finally...the answer to so many troubling questions and to reasons why that had been plaguing me for most of my life.  From that time on until this day.....everything has been a steady improvement across the board but certainly not without times of disappointment and frustration that it could not be easier or faster especially for the most difficult areas for me.  Did therapy help?  Absolutely!  I look forward to it every time.  Did things like depression or minor symptoms of OCD continue to emerge at stressful times?  Not any more even though they did before I was diagnosed and was stressed out simply from not knowing what was wrong with me.  It was such a load off in all respects to finally get my answers and it has not been the same for me ever since.  In all positive ways.

But I couldn't agree with you more about PD's...in my case my ex was BPD.  It was a nightmare for me and it showed no signs that it would EVER improve...EVER!  And I would also echo the same realizations that I had to go back a trace within myself.....what it was and why I was attracted to my ex in the first place ( aside from the fact that she was drop dead gorgeous ).  I certainly was looking for more than that in a partner and superficiality and shallowness was the first red flag that I began to notice as the beginning of problems after the honey-moon phase wore off.  The hyper-focus thing that seems to be a common occurrence in many ADHD relationships has not been my typical MO in my relationships in the past.....more of a serial- monogamist in my younger days being on both sides of being "dumped" or being the "dumper" in relationships.  I also tried on a lot of different hats so to speak so there was not much left to my imagination that was not tried or needed to get out of my system before I was ready to settle down.  This can be viewed differently by some but for me it was a very good thing.  I have never looked back lamenting that I missed anything or tempted to stray from being with one person for the rest of my life.  None of these things have ever been a concern for me.  If anything.....the normal "honey-moon phase" most people would describe and any hyper focus phase in me and my ADHD seemed to blend and co-exist at about the same rate.

But with my ex and her BPD....I had never had the "turn" happen like with her.  On a dime almost over night, it went from Jeckle to Hyde and back again.  Over and over.  All I can say now is WOW!  That was something I never want to go ever through again!  All I can say is that it would appear that my issues seem to be more in line with just ADHD and any other co-morbid symptom or tendencies going outside of that appear to be just that....tendencies which were the first things to dissipate with my therapy and diagnosis of having ADHD..leaving me with...well, ADHD. lol

I too feel as you do that accurate diagnosis of any kind of issues if there is any doubt need to be thoroughly explored.  The thing you said about not wanting to admit or see the problem or going to therapy might be one big red flag in itself.  The fact that I had the opposite reaction to this might say a lot right there?  Could this be an indicator in itself?  I don't know?



husband is unreliable

My solution was to stay home when our first child was born and not go back to work. We did not have much money to begin with, but it is the only way our marriage works, because he is always preoccupied with his hobby and won't help. I don't think he would help anyway, even if he had nothing to do. Our three children are grown now and things are pretty much the same, except he makes more money and has grown up some.  I could not have physically or emotionally worked outside the home and also done all the traditional women's work and all the yard work.  I work part-time now, but am considering quitting because, again, he still expects me to carry the whole load at home while he does his thing.  What is his thing?  It is a cattle "business" that takes so much time and some of the money from his paycheck but never makes any money.  So, it is just a hobby.  He is not demanding, though, and does not care if stuff doesn't get done.  He doesn't notice if the house is a mess or supper doesn't get cooked.  He just makes himself a sandwich.  If he was demanding, I would tell him to do it himself if he wanted it to get done.  I try to be busy if he is home during the day so he won't think I have nothing to do.  (of course, like all women, I always have tons to do)

Excellent Post, Thanks for Bringing This Topic Up

Chiming in again from the dark side ( if you can't laugh at yourself then you're in trouble. lol)

I was so glad to see someone bring up all the things you said in your post.  When I first came to this site, my intention was to read the posts by non ADD spouses to get a better perspective of what the kinds of things other people see in us who have ADHD.  But after only a short time reading the posts here I realized that I was being compelled to write in myself to say ," hey, wait a minute....the things that are being discussed or speculated don't sound like ADHD...or at least as they relate to myself."

I grew up with an aggressive Narcissistic father so I'm very familiar with this set of undesirable personality traits and yes......there is little hope for change with these people in fact.......I would not waste any time myself existing a relationship that where I believed the person had one of these cluster B character  disorders.......as fast as possible!

I also wanted to comment on Melissa's post earlier in this thread where she said that changing or modifying behaviors for someone with ADHD is possible and I would concur whole heartedly with her on this.  There are some things that are necessary first in order for someone to do this, but with the right motivation and information at hand it is totally possible.

The major caveat to this would be a person with ADHD who also has Narcissism as a co-existing feature.  Good luck.....you're gonna need it!!!

Using myself as an example......I started to develop some classic OCD behaviors showing up in my late twenties.  This was at a time when I knew nothing about ADHD, OCD, NPD or any other acronym you could come up with or disorder associated with it.  I was able to simply stop these behaviors on my own because I recognized them as being "creepy" as I called it, and not wanting to tell anyone out of embarrassment...I forced myself to stop out of shear will power.  My  therapists speculates that my OCD was not too severe which is why I could do this on  own without any outside help but none the less......it would be considered a co-existing condition for me in reference to this discussion.

For me anxiety stemming from insecurity I believe are the root causes of this for me.

Insecurity is also the culprit to a host of other issues including Narcissism as mentioned earlier. It's now easy for me to see the difference in my own insecurities as compared to someone who is Narcissistic but this was not always the case.  People with ADHD tend to act in some very predictable ways but mostly because they do not always realize or see themselves doing these things.  The mechanism, motivation and source of these behaviors are quite different than those with NPD even though sometimes I believe we come across this way at times with some overlapping features.  My therapist uses the term ,"has the flavor of it at times."

But trying to diagnose someone by symptoms alone can go off course in a hurry if you aren't educated with some experience behind it including therapists themselves.  I've had this discussion with mine and this is why he hesitates handing out diagnosis in general for this reason alone.

I just wanted to say that so much of what I read in these post do sound like so many other issues than ADHD when I read the descriptions of the ADHD spouses.  And yes.......I pick up rather quickly the ones where I smell Narcissism.  I am so familiar with this one as well as making it a life long hobby to figure out my father and how he influenced my own thoughts and behaviors, that it's really hard for me not to want to write people and say ," run...do not walk to the nearest exits!!!!."  I have to resist this despite the fact that my NPD radar is set on high.

All I will add to this post is that Narcissism or any of the other lovelies that share the same category of disorders can pretty easily be spotted because of their consistent nature but consistency and seemingly self absorbed or even selfish behaviors are not exclusive to being a Narcissist.  Actually.....successful Narcissist can stick a knife in your back without you even realizing it at first.  They may appear to be quite generous, attentive and benevolent on the exterior.  People with ADHD it would appear to have just the opposite problem.  We're not good at showing the empathy we really do carry with us and appear on the outside as not caring or being indifferent to to others needs. I know for myself....these features come from an entirely different source than Narcissism and I for one am very motivated to find ways not to be like these folks in any way if at all possible.


Excellent post!

Dear J Jamieson,

Thank you for this post, you really are raising an interesting point. I agree with you, a lot of what I read at times, specifically on here, does not sound like ADHD. And to me a lot of people who struggle with their ADHD but genuinely want to move toward a positive life, are suffering from the misdiagnosis of certain coexisting conditions on other patients that are responsible for the distorted opinion some people have of ADHD patients.

Besides, some disorders are more difficult to manage than others and when the disorder makes a patient completely insensitive to the pain they cause to others, what kind of incentive do they have? In your case you have been able to identify the problem and take corrective measures but someone with ASPD would never put themselves through such a trouble because, to them, they are NOT the problem, the others are, above all when they refuse to be used abused and victimized.

I speak from experience as I have 3 ADHD cases in my recomposed family (one false positive). The first is my stepson (now a grown up young man) that we will call B, and the second one being his dad and my soon to be ex-husband that we will call D.

B is "plain ADHD" nothing else, he has struggled with school but no other major behavioral issue. Sure he is forgetful, distracted, sensitive, etc BUT he also is a normal, kind and honest young man, fully aware of his ADHD and how it could affect the others, trying to make things better, trying to communicate a lot, working on himself, etc. I will not say "he has a mild XYW, that is why he can control it". Nope because I KNOW the efforts it requires from him to keep an open mind and stay positive while situations can be challenging. B crossed rough patches in school but always tried to get better, and above all he is the same all he time, meaning that he is NOT more distracted in his private life than elsewhere.

AND there is D...

D has been diagnosed with ADHD after a couple of 15 min consults with a military psychiatrist, he keeps on getting refills and was never reassessed for TWELVE YEARS, but is never or rarely forgetful of ANYTHING that could affect HIM directly (red flag). On the other hand anything that could affect only others (me or my son) and even VERY seriously, is just the LAST of his concerns. He even did not hesitate to deliberately "throw me under the bus" for mistakes he has made with no hesitation, remorse, concern or apology of any kind. He never ONCE tried to repair the damages. He hid this diagnosis from me for 4 years, and held his temper as long as he knew that, being the main breadwinner, I could leave him in a blink of an eye at the first abuse. Until he got me to quit my job to move to a place in the middle of nowhere, where I could not work ( medical research does not recruit much in the desert). Sounds stupid but the agreement was that it was just for 4 months until his retirement from the military ( In order to get a full retirement pension, healthcare insurance and benefits for his kids). He retired early 2011 and instead of keeping his word and seek employment close to a research hub, just took a low level federal job on the same base, we stayed at the same place and with the assurance he got from being the bread winner he stated becoming verbally abusive, emotionally abusive, financially abusive, then physically abusive. Then I called 911 and (since he was afraid to have problems with law enforcement) he stopped the physical abuses until it was too late for me to press charges against him, that is how I forced him to get evaluated. Then the hell resumed (alongside with the destruction, the irresponsible behavior, the reckless driving etc...) 

Now get the rest of the story: I was catching symptoms that were not consistent with ADHD, his reputation at work was stellar (never forgot anything, always behaved accordingly, always on time, never angry, worked in the military for 25 years), he was apparently driven by his own interest exclusively but what was shocking also was that he would be able to control his behavior whenever he wanted...Double face and liar to an unbelievable point. That's why I pushed for an evaluation.

First Psychiatrist "Oh yeah I see ADHD cases, mostly kids, I see adults also but no one gets to see so many cases of adult ADHD." 15 min later D was out with MORE amphetamines, she did not ask me ONE question, I just waited for my husband and then  "Yeah that's ADHD" "But Ma'am he is extremely violent with me and vomits from his rage outbursts, there is a bigger problem, shouldn't it be investigated further?" " Yeah well it is ADHD. it is going to go away with the treatment" ( Suuure anger management issues get better with more amphetamines and ADHD makes you vomit from rage) .

So I pushed for a second opinion and got an appointment with the clinic director at the ADHD department of the psychiatric and behavioral sciences at the Univ of Calif. What a change! She immediately scheduled several appointments, handed us a bunch of questionnaires, long and very precise. Then she told my husband "May I see your wife at the same time too? Anyways, she will have to answer a whole bunch of questions and I will have to see her so she can do that now or later but she WILL be part of the diagnosis no matter what, so will your parents, because I need to know what happened when you were a kid and quite often patients do not see themselves the way other perceive them. I need this input." D got kind of cornered and did not dare to refuse: No more hiding and lying! 

Long story short, we ended up with 3 one-hour appointments, and a bunch of questionnaires that we all turned in... Then the verdict came "Sir this is NOT ADHD, several mandatory criteria are missing to confirm this diagnosis - for example your parents questionnaire showed us that there is no trace of ADHD symptoms when you were young - It is more likely a personality disorder and a mood disorder, so I would like you to go for a consult with Dr XXX for an evaluation. In the meantime, there is no more indication for your treatment and it may very well be contraindicated, so we will slowly decrease the doses until you are no longer under Amphetamines," .

Then she explained what was overlapping with ADHD and could have been misleading ( I imagine that if the other psys had done the job they were paid for, they would have found also that these criteria were missing as they are listed on the DSM) but she explained also that some mandatory symptoms were NOT EVEN REMOTELY THERE.

The very ONLY thing D was concerned about, was am-phe-ta-mi-nes! He argued that they are helping him getting a lot done at work and he did not want to stop. But when I heard the hypothesis of diagnosis she was evoking, it got me thinking real hard and checked the data for such a PD... Pessimistic. I gave him a full year to get things in order, get help or I will leave him. He made a couple appointments, never showed up and never started the CBT, continued his abuses, etc. I gave another warning shot and then moved on with my life being extremely careful because some ASPD will pull ropes, pull the carpet under your feet and end up being violent to seek revenge. Earlier I was attending a court hearing because he was fighting his ex for visitation ( she has a MS in psychology), I did not understand why she picked up in 3 weeks and moved hundreds of miles away when we arrived in her area. But when she took the stand, I realized that he has been abusing her the very same way he abused me and she ran with her 3 kids to save her life. This man was a serial abuser! He harassed her so much that she did not want him near her.

Conclusion: No matter the cost, this man paid a terrible price but did not seek help, on the contrary he searched for someone who would he thought would take the abuses. When he had the same problem with me, he decided to "break me" but never ever put this energy into his treatment. About 35% of the inmates, in prison for serious offenses are ASPD and come back over and over because they are NOT wired to UNDERSTAND consequences.

Some people have been misdiagnosed or have conditions that will NOT go away or improve whatsoever. So to the spouses confronted to that, I say call it quit! No need to hide behind religious, philosophical "reasons" you WILL NOT win such a battle because it is NOT possible with the current pharmacopeia, maybe one day but not now.  As I said martyrdom will change nothing and will hurt your kids. If you get to this conclusion no need to feel guilty for something you CANNOT modify. JUST RUN for the sake of you.


Just Run For the Sake of You

Good advice. 

After 4-1/2 years of marriage to my second husband who has ADHD (first one was a psychologist - from the frying pain into the fire for me!), getting out of this marriage is making it to the top of my priority list.

He is a master manipulator and will use any technique he can in an attempt to "win".  His mother funds his demands for new cell phones, cameras, etc. because I won't.  I feel like telling her to butt out, but she knows him better than I do and it is my own fault that I didn't pay attention while we were dating.  He is going to need her when this marriage ends.

When he gets into one of his temper tantrum snits, it is best just to check out and leave him alone.  I have even wondered at times if he was spiritually possessed...the crap that comes out of his mind through his mouth is unbelievable.  The verbal abuse will get you mentally and emotionally whether there is any truth in it or not. 

Where I live, there is a Safe Place and Rape Crisis Center (SPARCC) for women.  I have been there.  They gave me a handout out on the cycle of abuse called the Power and Control Wheel which includes Intimidation, Emotional Abuse, Isolation, Minimizing/Denying/Blaming, Using Children, Economic Abuse, Male Privilege, Coercion and threats.  He has done them all with the exception of any direct physical abuse.  He has carved gouges in the drywall and destroyed things but never has hit me.  I closed the circle one day when he went off verbally on me.  After warning him for a good 10 minutes that he had better back off, I hit him in the face with my fist without even knowing it.  Sad thing is, he turned pale, his eyes were huge, his voice was quiet and shaky, and he was in a protective position.  What I saw was an abused child whose only defense was a smart mouth.

Now this is a grown 42 year old man.  I dropped him off at his parents house and had him stay there for several weeks while I pulled myself together.  Sadly, again, his parents are the source of his childhood abuse.  He begged me not to take him there that day, but what else could I do?  I was way beyond my personal limit on his problems, there are no close friends for him, and he has no control over his mental/emotional impulses.

 The flip side of the coin is the "I'm sorry.  I love you" saga.  It worked the first year of our marriage and hasn't for the past four years.  There is accountability for actions and a change in behavior when an apology is offered.  Otherwise it is meaningless and the dysfunction continues...which is the definition of this marriage.  He thrives on the highs and lows - extreme mental/emotional stuff that accomplishes nothing at the end of the day.  And that is the way it is always going to be with him.

To him, "I'm sorry" means that all is forgotten with a fresh start...on demand with no conversation about the incident.  Sorry, buddy.  Some of us need to process in order to heal and put things in their rightful place.  It takes discussion, accountability and action.

So, God bless him...far away from me.  I hope he finds healing on some level for the wrongs he was made to endure early in life.  In the mean time, I need some "me" time to grieve, heal and reset from this nightmare. 

Karen P's picture

When you can't rely on your spouse

Wow! It feels good to know that I'm not alone!  My husband doesn't have the ability or simple won't( I don't know which one) to think ahead on anything! The third time he called me to come rescue him because once again he ran out of gas was the last time because I just lost it and screamed at him so bad about making my life hard because of his irresponsibility to stop at the gas station. That was years ago. It happened to him one more time but he called a friend instead. He was really embarrassed in front of his friend and he hasn't done it since. Humm- consequences. So I changed everything I did with him. No clean laundry? His problem. No clean dishes? His problem. No food in the ref? His problem. Can't find his wallet? His problem. Can't find his car keys? His problem. Etc etc etc. To as many questions of his as possible my answer is "I don't know".  When I finally stopped being his Mommy things became less stressful for me. I severely lowered my expectations of him and decided to live and be happy. Not the ideal situation I know but now I'm not mad all the time. I do my thing and he does his. I don't know what else to do. He can't hold a good job, he lives in disorganization. What to do??

I told mine "the only way to

I told mine "the only way to live with you is to expect nothing from you". He decided soon after that he should move back in with his momma. 

Good to know I am not alone.

I can relate to the many complaints about being married to an overgrown, irresponsible, checked out, self-centered, defensive, avoidant child! My husband regularly lies and exaggerates in order to bolster his self esteem or being in the know. Last night we were visiting with a neighbor and talking about recent storm. My husband chimed in and droned on and on about our storm experiences and then blurted out how we had to have our roof replaced and had our cars repainted many times....TOTAL LIES! I was sitting right there when he spewed out this crap...immediately afterward his face got really white as if he had realized, oops, that was a whopper and she just wtinessed it! He recently lied about putting wiper fluid in the car...I knew he was lying and went outside to check. The tank was bone dry. His explanation was that it must have a leak. I refilled the tank and a month later the fluid is still in there...he refuses to acknowledge his lie even in the face of the truth. This is a common occurrance. My children are now adults and have figured out that their father has issues. It is kind of sad to know that my children have no respect for their father and know he cannot be trusted or relied on. A while ago I realized and accepted that he is responsible for his own conduct and choices. He also deals with the consequences. I freely bring things to his attention, call him into account and let it go. I also have an excellent relationship with my children. We speak openly and honestly about isses and him. I have never hidden or protected my children from the truth about their dad. I knew they would see eventually and I did not want them to think that denial was okay. I have tried to use my relationship with their father as a teaching tool for setting boundaries, being responsible, consequences, every action as a reaction, etc. My husband has always been a generous and excellent provider. He is however checked out at home and in parenting. He has MS and carries a lot of repressed anger and resentment about it. We have not had sex in 8 years due to impotence. His life is punishment for his weaknesses,  failures, apathy...he would probably say, I cannot really disagree. I cope by knowing that God is in control of my life and sees every aspect. He consistently provides me with strength, hope, and favor. I am in this for the long haul and live life to the fullest doing things that give me satisfaction and fulfillment-- Do I wishsure. But I refuse to sit around and stay camped out in misery because he is emotionally constipated and psychologically lazy, repressed or in denial. He never has an unkind word to say to me, is never critical. I am praised for my homemaking, I work, my mothering, etc. He has been to therapy,listened to the tapes, been to the seminars, etc. People have to want to help themselves. I am reaping what I have sown through the years and...so is he. I can say that I have no respect for him and have learned to have few to no expectations for him. I have also learned that I serve a faithful God and everything I need in this moment comes from Him. His favor is ever present and that gives me encouragement for this road I am on with my husband. Will he change? I am not holding my breath, and so I go on living.


My husband use to be that way when I sat down with him and I told him that I can not do this anymore. I said I know financially we can not divorce but we needed to start separating our assets and buying another home so when we divorce he has a home and I have a home we both own. Also have two vehicles one we both own. He got very angry but then went out of town for work and got scared. He came back to me and said what do I need to do to keep u. I said to him that I know you have anger issues due to adhd and the abuse you went through but I can not be your verbal punching bag. I know change wont be easy but I need more than I am sorry. I need you to show that you are and I want to see you try and work on controlling it. Well so far we have been through some hard stress and its been two months and only one fit. The fits were once a week minimum. So things can get better if he loves you and wants to get better. The fits is a habit from laziness. Laziness because its easier to fit than to work at controlling it.

I have to chime in here too.

I have to chime in here too. I've been separated from my husband and it was much, much easier than being married to him. So you're right, what we're doing is not the same as single parenthood, because for some of us, it's actually much harder. At least single moms don't have another big kid to clean up after, keep track of, and undermine what we're doing every step of the way.

Honestly, I dont understand the motivation of a person who readily admits that she has NO IDEA what any of us are going through, but that it can't be as bad as what we think it is. Ridiculous.

me too

I hear you. It's not for everyone, but not living with my ex anymore is so much less stressful than living with him was. I was always kind of a single parent, but at least now I don't have a third "child" with man-sized messes and issues to take care of 24/7. My ex kind of demanded my attention at times, not in a healthy way, and I always felt torn between him and my children. Working with my young ones to pick up toys or wipe up spilled juice was just part of life. When he would knock over a soda in the fridge, then just shut the door and leave it because he couldn't deal with it, it felt like an analogy for our life. 

My best to everyone. 

Another "oh, mine does that, too" moment?

When I got to what you said about the soda, thought, "Here's another case where I feel like someone is talking about my husband!" Regarding that knocked-over soda, was it partially consumed cans? For years, my husband would have part of a can of root beer, and then he stick the can back on a shelf in the fridge (rarely in the door, where it was less likely to get knocked over), and then someone would knock it over and spill it in the fridge... often when he wasn't around for me, so I couldn't even ask him to clean it up. I suggested that he get the big liter bottles instead of cans, but he kept saying those didn't stay as fresh. I told him the cans in the fridge really bottle me due to how easy they were to knock over, but he kept feeling like not putting them back for later was wasteful (even though he often forgot to finish them off). I actually realized when I read your post that I haven't seen a partially drunk can of root beer in the fridge for weeks now. Maybe I finally got through to him!

Sayo_mgl's picture

same here

I truly understand you all. My situation as a bit different i have a daughter and i am married for 8 years now. The main difference is that my husband is more concerned for the house cleanliness then me (sorry my english is not native :) Means he also cleans the house and washes the dishes when he has time. He works from early morning till late evening, even tho his salary is really small. I also work full time but only 8 hours per day, so my daughter is mostly on my shoulder. Means we basically see each other only in the midnight, when we are exhausted. I am the one who takes her to and from school, make dinner, play with her, take her out, participate in the school events, even i am alone in her birthday. I am the main earner for my family. And it is really hard when your husband also works but i have never seen his salary. And add on this he is somehow managed me to buy a car for him for credit, which i am still paying. Before taking credit i just didnt had time now i dont have time and money for anything. So basically my leftover salary is just enought to barely provide monthly grocery for my family. Also when he bought car he told me that his company is going to provide his gazoline and he will have higher position with car(main reason i bought a car for him), it has been 1 year past since he bought a car and only thing i know is i also have to provide him gazoline. When i ask him about his salary he is explaining that he uses it in daily lunch and coffee...etc. and it finishes over sooooo fast!!! So there is no romance between us(just dont have time for that), sometimes i feel like he doesnt even know if he has a daughter. It was 8 months since we last watched movie together. On top of that he has a really bad temper, drinks a lot, plays video games, and just love going out withh his friends. Whenever i start complaining about loneliness and his connection with his daughter he pisses off and start yelling. I tried yelling at him, crying, explaining in a really friendly way, then he says he understands and he will give us more attention, but next day it repeats all over again. Maybe he has a short memory or just sooo selfish? I dunno what to think now. And one day when i started complaining after his drinking night, he made a huge hole on the door. So i just stopped talking to him whenever he reveals his bad temper. Oh he even cheated on me, but i do believe that it was a one time mistake that will be never repeated. Now i just dunno what to do? Maybe i should divorce, but i didnt got married to get divorced so fast. Maybe there is a way to make him a home man somehow, and he will understand how hard is it for me now to only relay on myself? I am sorry if there is something that is hard to understand but it is a bit hard to express all my feelings in English as i am not a native speaker. And i totally agree with all the points you have mentioned in your post 20YrVet.

I'm so sorry for you

What you are going through is really rough.

As you know from what I've written, I don't want a divorce in my marriage and am doing what I can to make things better for us. I know you, too, don't want a divorce, but I think you do need to consider that as a possibility, given the way your husband is treating you. For me, the big alarm bells are: (1) You say that he is gone at work from early in the morning until late at night, even though he doesn't make much money. What is this job that is requiring such long hours from him for so little? Could he either be lying to you about what he is doing during that time or  lying to you about how much money he is making? I do not mean to sow suspicion in your marriage, but if he isn't making much, I can't imagine why he should be gone for so long, unless he has a dreadful commute (which would generally not be worth it for a job that doesn't pay well). I feel pretty confident about what my husband is doing when he is away from home -- not that he is never away from home (he often is these days) and not that I carefully track his every movement, but I see actual evidence of him doing what he says he is doing. He goes to work and contributes toward the household finances with his earnings. Sometimes he has to work a little overtime, but not often, and when he does, because he is hourly, he gets paid more. He goes to an off-site location to work on his inventions. He has actually taken me to that location, because it is important to him and he wanted to show it to me, and I saw some of the stuff he was working on (he has also sometimes brought that stuff home) and met people who know him there. He has helped a friend with a public event (I mentioned he is good at helping his friends but not me). I was at that event, and I saw some of the stuff he had done to help out, and his friend thanked him. If my husband were gone for hours saying he was working and never had any money, then I'd think either he was lying to me about the amount of money he was making or he wasn't really at work for that entire time. There should be some sort of correlation between the words you are hearing from someone and the results you are seeing. (2) The financial situation at home. I can't imagine anyone making so little money that they are spending it all on things like lunch and coffee. I am deeply concerned that he has you paying for pretty much everything, including his car and gasoline.


I think you need to be assertive with him -- and I know this is hard. I struggle with assertiveness myself. But you cannot allow him to continue to treat you and your daughter like this. ADHD can make a person appear to be self-centered. It is easy for them to ignore us, and easy for them not to help out. I know that many people with ADHD can be short-tempered, even violently so, and they can be impulsive, having affairs or spending irresponsibly. And it is easy for them to get sucked into video games and spend time with friends, leaving us to feel lonely and unsupported. All that I understand. But some of his behavior seems to be not a symptom of ADHD as much as being out-right manipulative. You should not have to put up with that. When you speak to him about your needs and desires, do it calmly -- don't yell or cry. That will just upset him. And don't do it when he has been drinking. Wait until he is sober, and then let him know what you need. I would do it one thing at a time. Don't tell him all in one sitting that you need for him to spend more time with your daughter, and you need to see exactly where his money is going, and you want him to stop drinking so much. That will just make him feel attacked and defensive. Instead, bring up one item, like "I need for you to be home for our daughter's birthday. It is important for you to be more involved in our daughter's life. Daughters with fathers who are involved in their lives are less likely to use drugs or be sexually promiscuous during their teen years." (You can find information online about the importance of dads to their daughters.) Leave the other issues for another time, but do work on them with him. Really, and I know I'm saying this as someone who has not successfully gotten her own husband to go to counseling, given the seriousness of these issues, I think you need to be very firm with him. Tell him that you two need to go to counseling, or you will be separating from him. Tell him he needs to show you where his money is going -- you need to see bank statements or other evidence of how much he is making and how the money is being spent -- and if he doesn't (or if you discover he is wasting all of his money rather than contributing to the household expenses), then you have every right to tell him you are no longer paying for gas for the car and will be selling the car. Of course, if being assertive in this way puts you or your daughter in danger, then please get out and go to a safe place right away. Do not allow him to abuse you, but also do not let him scare you into paying for everything while he gets a free ride.

Also, I know you are very busy with work and parenting, but if he is spending a lot of his free time at home cleaning, are there things you can do to take some of that off his hands so that he can spend some more time with you and your child? If you had extra money (I know you don't), I'd advocate paying for someone to help out a little. If you have time (and you very well may not), maybe you could wash the dishes or do some other thing that he normally does. You say your daughter is in school, and I'm not sure how old she is, but if she is in school, she can probably do a little around the house to help, too, so you might consider assigning an age-appropriate chore to her.

I'm sorry you are having to go through this. Please keep us posted about how things are going. Hang in there!

Sayo_mgl's picture

Hey there!

Thank you for your kind advice i really appreciate that you found a free time to reply and give advice to me when you have a lot to do :P

I think i should give you brief introduction of our situation here in Mongolia so you can have a clear understanding of what i meant.

So it is quite hard to find a job in here, especially if you didn't finished a special course or have at least a bachelor degree. There is no job where you will get paid hourly, or part-time, so it is complicated to earn money. People who have already graduated from the university will get paid depending on their knowledge(knowledge of English affects it a lot) from 350 USD- 800USD per month. There are a lot of people getting paid less than this but i am talking about medium level.  And add to that i have compared the prices of consumption goods between Mongolia and western countries, and i have found out that actually, the things are expensive here. So i just cannot imagine how we are even alive with this amount of salary LOL.

My husband works as an installation service man in the IPTV, internet company, and to join this work he also had to give exams and go thru many stages etc... In Mongolia this kind of work is a good and clean thing to do and you will be proud that you are doing this kind of work. So in the people's eyes my husband has a good work. Before this he was sitting home and i was the one who was feeding my family. He could try to work in some road companies, or camera installation companies etc, but most of those companies who are getting not professional people are the private companies who are unable to pay to its employees before they will finish the work and get payment. I remember last time he joined such company he worked there for 3 months without salary and he still cannot get it because the company couldn't get their payment from the customer side. It is quite hard to find a job and once you got it you will have to do a lot to keep it, specially if you company is a big and stable. This is the main reason my husband works a lot and the employers are humiliating their employees because they have quite good reputation in the market. And they are financially stable, so there is no fright that you might lose your job one day. Usually their employees are single young people who can afford this kind of work load. So i am sure that he is on the work when he is late most of the time, of course there are doubts some days. Also i have an access to his salary sheet, bank statement etc., and i can see how low their salary is. But for sure if he will cut off his personal expenses a little bit he can help me with the grocery at least. But in his explanation his salary is not enough for him so how can he afford me and my daughter with it?! But you know it seems like he is a thoughtless person, and all i can see is he is spending his earnings for a prospectless things such as an new android phone, car mp4 or such things. Yes i have talked with him many times about this, but he thinks it is very useful and he definitely needs it. 

So i think i kind of used to that he is always asking me if he needs something. Sometimes i feel like a fairy godmother who grants wishes :)). 

As for me i work for the international company in a high position, which pays me double he earns. My knowledge of English helps it too. And sometimes i understand that it is hard for him to pay for his gasoline, car and it is hard to help family with his salary, and it makes me feel very selfish, if i won't help him out in needed time(the main reason i buy him everything). i hate being mean, even with a rude people i try to solve the problem in a calm way. And even thou i feel very hurt, i cannot help my self but to give him what he wants most of the time. And he has a very good skills to make me believe in everything he says.

I am not quite sure what the ADHD is even thou i searched thru internet about it :P There are symptoms of the ADHD in him like playing games, aggressiveness etc. So i am not sure whether my husband has it? Yea, as you said i used to yell and cry before, but for the last few months i just stopped it and just keeping myself shut when i feel like complaining. After i would tell him how i feel and what i need from him in a calm way. But i really can't see any changes, maybe less stressful?

I will try to follow your advise :Don't tell him all in one sitting that you
need for him to spend more time with your daughter, and you need to see
exactly where his money is going, and you want him to stop drinking so much.

Maybe he is feeling defensive when i am talking about everything at once. So i will start speaking one by one. Oh and i will make some research on dads and daughters and read it to him :P Thank you for the great ideas. I am not scared of abuse, you know i am quite strong women (used to play volleyball in national team), and even if he wanted to abuse me he just can't :). So it is ok from this side. 

Oh, of course i do the main cleaning and washing of our house, i just said that my husband helps me with it much often than other people's spouses would do. But it takes a lot of skills from me to make him wash the dishes. As he looooves cleanliness, so i just leave dishes unwashed for a day or two and he would do it by nagging all day about it :)).   And also he cooks once in a month or two, even if his cooking is sooo bad, i would eat it and say i loved it, just to make him cook more often and learn how to make it better lol. And i really appreciate that he helps me with this simple tasks time by time. 

My daughter is 6 y.o now and she joined the school last September. I am trying to give her home chores but it is often so disappointing and i think i would rather do it myself, but trying to control myself and let her finish it :P. For my husband, i think he just don't know how to play with kids and he don't see necessity of having a close relationship with his children because his parents were not playing or talking to him (even now i can see it from his relationship with his parents), he is just communicating with his daughter as he learned from his childhood and don't want to adopt new ways. We have talked about it many many times, i bought a parenting book for him, but he didn't read it. So i was reading it to him once in a while, about the main points where he is not being right and how to make it in a right way, how to understand your baby, what does your baby needs from you etc... Can't see any improvements yet, but i will try different ways and won't give up any time soon. 

And most of the time when i feel exhausted of my life, i would think that there are even worse husbands and mine is not so bad comparing to those who are abusing their wives every single day or doing even worse things. At least time to time he would say "i love you, and i will love you forever" words.

I know that he also feels bad about not giving enough attention or not buying gifts for me in a special days etc... And i understand that he is having a problem with finances. But i believe that if he had a desire to make me feel happy he could at least teach his daughter how to make greeting card for my birthday instead of telling me " you know how much money i earn and can't buy a gift for you" thing.


Sorry it took me a while to respond

I'm sorry I took so long to respond. I've been pretty swamped lately.

I obviously really misunderstood your situation, so I'm sorry I made some assumptions that were clearly wrong. I'm glad you were able to take some advice from my long post that might be useful (like calmly taking one issue at a time with him).

I can see now that, while you are frustrated, there are some good things about your husband, and some of the struggles you both face are not necessarily his fault. Given that, I guess I'd just say don't give up, but keep working on making things better.

It's never clear if these things are ADHD or not without a diagnosis, and even then, there is the question as to whether or not certain behaviors come from ADHD or other things. I'm guessing it may not be easy for you to get him to a professional where you are who could test him for ADHD, and then, of course, you'd also have to convince your husband it was worth it for him to get tested. Regardless, some of the advice you find on ADHD and marriage might be helpful for your situation.

Hang in there!

Newlywed with ADHD husband

this is not giving me very high hopes for my future :(

I just got married last year, we actually just celebrated our first anniversary on a trip to Florida with my husband and his daughter, my stepdaughter.

He's had ADHD since I've known him. We've been together nearly 4 years and I have struggled with him pretty much since day 1, but I kept thinking, I love him enough to accept all of these things, all of him. He'll do things like start the laundry and leave it in the washer for days until it smells bad, and then he'll blame me so I have made a habit of asking him to let me know when he does laundry so I can make sure it gets into the dryer and gets folded afterwards, but he tells me he doesn't need reminders. Clearly, he does. He'll unload the dishwasher and leave the glasses on the counter and leave the cupboards open. He'll pour himself a glass of water and then walk away and leave it there, he does the same thing with milk, juice, anything you can drink. He leaves plastic wrappers from the candy he eats all over the couch so that when I clean the cushions I find piles of wrappers. He is 26 years old. He is not a child, not a teenager, he is a grown man. He'll mow the back yard one day and the front yard two days later. He's not necessarily lazy, he's not out of shape he's very lean. He can't cook and when he does he forgets it in the over or microwave or anywhere else he uses to cook things. He drives me crazy!!

Last year his daughter came to live with us because she was abused in her mother's home and I have since taken out 3 loans to pay for an attorney to help him keep custody. He has neglected to complete the child support paperwork that has been sent to him 3 times, that I have printed out for him multiple times, and this has been going on for a year and because of his lack of initiative, all of the financial obligations that come with having a child like health care and child care costs, have come out of my paychecks along with me re-paying these loans. I am responsible for paying all of our bills because if I don't do it he doesn't do it and then they are late or don't get paid. I have set up all of his daughter's activities, dance, soccer, and set up her schooling and meetings with her teachers. I have basically done everything that he was supposed to do or that her mother is supposed to do but her mother is abusive and frankly doesn't deserve to see her daughter unsupervised (the abuse has continued) and I have documented every single comment made by his daughter or event that has happened while she's been at her mother's, all while my husband is supposed to be doing these things.


It gets really frustrating. I feel like I am a mom to a 7 year old and a 26 year old and this is not the life I had envisioned for myself. I know plans change, I know things aren't always going to work out the way you want, but I didn't think by marrying my husband I'd be stuck having to take care of him like a mother. Or that I would have to step in and be the only adult in our household. I planned our entire vacation for our anniversary and didn't get to relax even once while there because he was always crabby and didn't want to make any decisions, nothing. Not what to eat, what to do, nothing. It was up to me to come up with all of our meals and activities and it's just not what I wanted with my life.

I could've ended up with a sexy tattooed man who owns his own (thriving) business and takes in shelter dogs, and treats women with respect. I could've ended up living with my best friend and having fun. Instead I am forced into this role that I didn't want. Don't get me wrong, I love my stepdaughter and I love being a mom, but I don't love being disrespected and neglected by my husband, and him allowing his daughter's mother to take advantage of me and the fact that I am willing to do anything for their daughter.

He is either really stupid or his ADHD is just way out of control. He takes Adderall for it, his daughter also has it and takes it for hers too. He let her pull her suitcase down the escalator at the airport when we came home and she couldn't pull it onto the escalator and she ended up falling down, and while I dropped all of the bags I had in my arms I was screaming for him to help us and he just turned around and stared at us, completely in shock. Luckily the man behind us helped me get her back up on her feet and prevent her from going down the escalator face first. I was so thankful that man was there or it could've been a really bad BAD situation. My husband just doesn't know how to be a parent it feels like. Or a husband. Part of me wishes we'd never gotten married but I couldn't leave him because I love his daughter way too much.

I feel like I need to leave. I don't want to because his daughter has already been through enough but my husband makes me miserable and lets her mom make me miserable and I just don't know that I can do this for the long haul. It's only been 1 year of marriage but already I have just exhausted myself in every way. I don't want to get a divorce but I feel like that is the road I am on at this point. How many years am I going to throw away into a marriage with someone who refuses to grow up?

Living with Undermanaged ADHD

Hi lizkirbs10,

I certainly can appreciate how difficult it can be to live with your husband's undermanaged ADHD.  Treating ADHD takes more than just medication, as it certainly seems you are aware.  There is a whole behavioral level of treatment that he seems to be missing.  This would mean setting up alarm and reminder systems for himself, for example, when the laundry needs to be moved to the dryer, and creating filing systems that would support him in filling out the paperwork on time for his child custody case.  He is clearly relying on you to pick up the pieces of his life, which is an indicator of a true parent-child dynamic in your relationship.  If you have not read Melissa's book, The ADHD Effect on Marriage, I support you to do so, as well as Medodie Beatty's Co-dependent No More.

I can appreciate how much you care about his daughter, and how much you want to be a good step-mom, yet it will be a long challenging road ahead if your husband continues to be as dependent on you as he obviously is at present.  Melissa's book has a very good chapter about Boundaries.  It's a good place to start.

I wish you the best.

lizkrbs...been there too

Hi liz. I've been there too, in fact, I'm still there.  Your story reads much like my own because my ADHD husband does many of the same things yours does. I wish I could say it gets better with age......it doesn't. My severely ADHD husband (undertreated) and I, have been married 31 years now, and I wish I knew YEARS ago, what I know now..........because I probably would have gotten out a long time ago. Do they change....NO.......Do they watch you and appreciate all the love and sacrifice and attention you give them....NO....and go they learn from your example....NO.   They only change when and if they WANT TO....and if they work on their ADHD behavior. Believe what the experts say, when they tell you that these spouses do not understand marriage or relationship issues like WE do. (us non-ADHD'ers) I'm not saying that we have it all together (I don't), but our brains and minds are very different, and it causes unbelievable stress in a marriage relationship.  It takes medication AND behavioral training along WITH the medication, to effectively bring about the real positive changes that you read about. (from those who have success, like Melissa)

     My husband and I are both 57, and he was diagnosed only about 8 years ago. But, the stress from all the UN diagnosed years and under-treated years has been emotionally hazardous to myself and our girls. He has said that he now wants to go into counseling with an ADHD counselor, and I've found one close by, but I'm so worn out, I don't know what to think. I tried getting help for us years ago, but with no diagnosis, and  A LOT of resistance from my husband, nothing was accomplished. He doesn't see that there's any problem with him, it's everyone ELSE. (typical ADHD thinking) I DO hope he learns about himself and his ADHD, because he knows very little about it, even though he saw a psychiatrist for almost 2 years.

I don't want you to think that I'm just sending you a total downer of a message here, but I WISH someone had really talked to me about ADHD, BEFORE I got married to my husband.( And I wish we BOTH knew about it then) There are several of us here that have had long term marriages with undiagnosed and under-treated ADHD'ers, and our lives have been very, very, very hard. I hope your husband WANTS to get treated.....for ALL of you. I held out that hope for so many years now, and the only thing I've ended up with is disappointment, since my husband took SO LONG to finally agree to get some REAL HELP.  They just don't SEE things like we do. Life is also very hard for them as well, and I sympathize greatly for them, but we can't sacrifice our lives FOR them. We all need help.

No energy left to risk help?

From another long term spouse of ADD (and OCD) hubby.... this is my first time back on this site in too many years...and find myself positively challenged by the shared encouragement for couples to get help as well as the many stories of those who are still trying. After 38 years of marriage, pretty much the only thing that keeps me sane is that I have set my expectations so immeasurably low that even someone with his issues can come close to meeting them from time to time. 

Ewww, how bitter am I? 

Luckily for me, he has never been one to turn his frustrations out. Unfortunately for him, he turns it in on himself and suffers from OCD related anxiety because of it. Had he been outwardly abusive, as so many other ADHD spouses have shared, we would never have stayed together. And yet, his passivity is manipulative too, and I confess that I am a participant in the co-dependent dance that we share.

In my experience, the comparisons made to single parenting in this chain are legitimate - the difficulty for those of us who have done it? We didn't LOOK like single parents. We had to juggle it all, or reveal that we were joined to a well-meaning person who also required parenting. 

So now our kids are raised and are healthy, productive people that make us feel like we succeeded in spite of ourselves. His dysfunction is high enough that he qualified for SSDI years ago, so that has taken some of the financial sting out of his inability to get and maintain employment. But short of a few failed attempts at intimacy, we have lived like amiable roommates for over a decade now -  it is lonely as hell. Unlike the advice I once gave to our children, it isn't OK for me to get what I need from other men. 

When dedelight wrote "but I'm so worn out, I don't know what to think", I found myself exeriencing more emotion than I have allowed myself in quite some time. Maybe that means there still is some energy to pursue some help? Hmmm. Bet I can talk myself out of that - it's so emotionally dangerous to risk raising my expectations.

Yet right now I feel too worn out to even hold tight to the current status quo. 


should I leave the ADHD boyfriend?

I've spent a lot of time reading the posts on this forum and am getting a lot of insight from all the women who have been involved in long term relationships/marriages with ADHD or ADD spouses.  I am 48 years old and have been dating a 54 year old man for the past 20 months who I believe is ADHD.  He has not been formally diagnosed with it but he has all the classic symptoms.  He has an 16 year old son who is mildly autistic and has ADD.  His son lives with him full time but has a lot of social and academic challenges.  His ex wife lives in another state and does very little to help.

Just a little background:  My 20 year marriage ended 5 years ago.  I have 3 wonderful sons who are very self motivated and successful in school.  I was a full time mom for most of my marriage and had to rebuild my life after the divorce.  I now have a successful career, great friends and family and am financially independent. In essence, I'm happy and stable with very few problems in my life.

I met my bf last year and am madly in love with him.  He loves me also. He is intelligent, fun, charming, and good looking. We have a lot in common and get along great. Marriage is not a priority for either one of us but we both acknowledge that we are in a long term relationship with each other.  I love him so much that I can be happy just being with him for the rest of my life.

I started noticing personality traits in him about 6 months after dating that I was not accustomed to and at first just disregarded them. These signs appeared after his son moved in. Then I started googling these behaviors and found him to be an exact match for someone who has ADHD.  He's not violent or aggressive but has a lot of self centered/ self absorbing traits.  His ADHD traits are amplified when he is under stress.  He loves me but as time goes by, I feel like he takes me for granted more and more and is becoming less and less thoughtful and considered. He is very disorganized and can be very random with his thoughts.  His house is a mess most of the time (which is why I hesitate to consider living together).   When we are not together, I get the feeling that I'm out of sight, out of mind.  However, whenever we are together, I can see and feel the love that he has for me.  Since I am very independent and "low maintenance", his lack of attentiveness didn't bother me too much. (Although it's starting to).  He does not handle stress very well.  Whenever he is stressed out, he shuts me out and become self absorbed and retreats into a "cave".   He makes excellent income but changes jobs every couple of years because of issues with his employer. In his mind, It's always someone else's fault.   I also noticed that he is more of a taker than a giver.

All that aside, I still love him immensely.  I believe he feels the same. 

Lately, he is experiencing problems in his job of one year. That compiled with his child's failing classes, I noticed that he has completely retreated.  He realizes he is full of negativity when he communicates with me so he stopped talking to me.  I've always been very supportive and understanding but he has shut me out even though I told him that his silence makes me feel forgotten and unimportant.  Being ignored is a terrible feeling and makes me sad.  I've brought this up with him before. He makes changes but then regresses back to the same pattern.  I don't believe he will ever change.

I'm almost 50 years old.  Life is getting shorter.  As much as I love this man and feel like he is the love of my life, I don't know if I should stay in a relationship with a man that has ADHD.   We are not married, not living together.  I can still get out.  From what I have read on this forum, being in relationship with an ADHD man is 10Xs harder than a conventional relationship.  I'm asking myself is it worth it?  

My question to all of you is this: Without factoring in the children that you have, if you could turn back the clock and knew back then what you know now of what an ADHD husband or boyfriend is like, would you go through it again?  Would you ever date another man who has ADHD? 



If I could turn back the

If I could turn back the clock, know then what I know now about what my husband is like, and believed it, I would not have gotten married to him.  I'm not going to point a finger at the ADHD.  I'm really not sure how big a contributor that is to the problems we've had.  It has had some effect but other mental and emotional health issues have had a big effect, too.  We've been married almost 30 years.  My husband has been unemployed or underemployed for nearly half those years, including now.  He doesn't communicate with me (he lives with his parents), doesn't communicate much with our children, doesn't contribute at all to taking care of the house, claims to want intimacy but has erected great barriers to providing me with emotional support, lies, and has broken the law in ways that he knows are greatly distressing to me.

I'm an ADHD husband closer to

I'm an ADHD husband closer to your boyfriend in temperament than it seems many of the ADHD spouses detailed on these forums. We are those broken men who look like great catches and productive members of society to just about everyone except for the person who has to be around us all the time.

I'm the primary bread-winner and am quite successful (though I get along with people at work and change jobs infrequently)  It should be noted that credit largely goes to my wife for pushing me to update a resume or two as I have virtually no ability to set goals and very little ambition. I have no anger issues or abusive/manipulative traits. My surroundings aren't cluttered but my thoughts certainly are. I don't retreat overtly, but I really identify with the notion of being less thoughtful and considerate.

When you have issues with mindfulness, you tend to send a message that you do not care, and you can become quite a taker without even realizing it is happening. My wife has a really hard time buying the line that it isn't part of some calculated and nefarious plot to lay everything in her lap.
In fact, you ARE a taker, you ARE inconsiderate, but you either default to this state or hide in this state during stress without really intending to be that way. It makes no sense to my wife when I proclaim that I care about her when I've been wallowing in a period of not showing it. It is easy to adopt the opinion that if the ADHD person JUST cared enough, it would overcome symptoms. As an ADHD person it is hard to be sure about the authenticity of these feelings and sense of commitment that I THINK I hold when at times the only objective measure is found wanting. In the end the only definition of feeling/commitment can be evidence through action. Hard to reconcile the pathological inaction.

Time and time again, I have made changes or proposed new organizational methods or gone on new meds, and time and time again as it hasn't worked or as I lost focus, I have reverted back to just living in the moment with blinders on. Posting on this forum was something I got into over a year ago, and that too fell away. I am currently in a major bit of hyper-focus back on posting here and it has only been since about two days ago. In a week I might disappear and drop all of this until months hence, the emotional pain of a disconnected marriage can't be ignored any longer. The shitty thing about ADHD is that not only are your behaviors subject to your rationalizations and lack of awareness, but so too are your attempts to not rationalize and be aware.

The biggest differences are that I'm younger (30), I have been diagnosed, and my wife and I are about as tied up in one another's business as it is possible to be. We just built a new house and we have 4 children (two who are on the extremely high functioning end of the autism spectrum). I work from home 95% of the time and she home-schools. We never, ever get away from one another.



So for me it is work things out or prepare for a complete upheaval of our life plans and a hell of a lot of misery. For you things are a bit different. What I would say is this (and feel free to start here, ignoring my long-winded back-story):

You love this man. He can more or less function in the world. The truth of his feelings for you, when he is keyed in, is not in doubt. What you need to determine is:

1. To what degree are you willing to live with his imperfections, which will exist in some form for the rest of your lives. Perhaps they can be made to be milder, but those dynamics are part of what you buy into.
2. To what extent do you estimate that he is dedicated to addressing the challenges he faces.

#1 is just reality for anyone; #2 is your critical factor.

If he sees that there is a neurological disorder at work..
If he can admit that there is serious problem with the health his brain's executive function..
If he is willing (Note: not necessarily able; not necessarily succeeding) to work the problem..


Are y'all able to work as a team to be as happy together as it is possible to become? Can his working on his ADHD be understood by him as an expression of his love and respect for you? Can the love he feels be the fuel that drives a dedication to being the best version of himself? Is the loss of that love scary enough? Can you live with sometimes(often?) reminding him that he wants to be on that course?

I hope he can, and I hope you are willing to chip in what hopefully isn't quite 10X the work. I'm a hopeless romantic who is mostly a complete failure at being romantic. In my heart of sometimes-tuned-in hearts, I'm rooting for all of this forums' fragile, oft-broken relationships. Melissa seems to have pretty much one of the only "in recovery" ADHD spouses on this board (Part of that has to do with the fact that people stop posting under one of two conditions: 1. They get divorced  2. Their ADHD spouse gets better). Perhaps she can weigh in on what exactly is the relationship difficulty multiplier in the rosiest of cases.

my adhd boyfriend

Hi Jackrungh,

Thanks for providing me with a glimpse and explanation of the spouse who has ADHD.  I can see the sincerity in your words.  Based on your acknowledgement of having ADHD and willingness to deal with it, you will have a successful life with your wife and family.

My Bf is much older than you and comes from a generation where people just live and deal with their mental issues, whether it is bi-polar, depression or ADHD.  More men from that era tend to be in denial over what they deem as a "weakness".  His son has been diagnosed as having Asperger and ADD but my BF seems to be in partially denial of that and wants to treat him like he's a normal high school kid.  He puts his son in regular classes, hires tutors while he is still failing most of his classes.  My bf is very stressed and frustrated that his only child will not be able to pass high school and function in society.  Stress is a trigger that heightens his ADHD traits.  I am a believer of boundaries and will not get involved in the decisions that he makes pertaining to his teenage son.  That is between him and his ex-wife. 

Bf has not been diagnosed with ADHD.  I seriously doubt that he will ever admit that he has it although I know that he is 100% ADHD.  He has admitted that his mind gets cluttered sometimes.  When we first met, he was much more affectionate and attentive but as time past, I realized that he has had to make conscious efforts to be that way.   I'm not sure what I will do.  I do love him very much but I love myself also.  He is not an abusive or mean person.  He is not needy or dependent. He has a soft and vulnerable heart that has been broken before.  He's been divorced for over a decade and had many failed relationships since then.  He's messy but not clutery.  His home reminds me of a frat house - dirty dishes in the sink, unfolded clothes, and messy bedroom.  He makes a great impression when you first meet him because he is successful, attractive, articulate, smart and funny.  A seemingly "great catch" until you become intimate.

At this point of my life, I'm not opposed to marriage but not seeking to re-marry either.  I don't want to work my butt off to make a relationship work either.  I'm up late at night posting on a forum trying to figure this out.   I love him immensely, but am in a dilemma as to how much more time and energy I should invest.  I'm not looking for a man who worships me or puts me on a pedestal.  I want a man who is thoughtful, considerate, and cherishes me.  I want to feel important in his life.  Although from time to time, he tells me he loves me and how much I mean to him, he doesn't display it consistently. Sometimes I think he loves me, sometimes I don't.   I don't think he will improve and I don't want to constantly remind him of his neglect and lack of communication when he retreats into his silent mode when there is stress in his life.  I guess I don't understand how a man can ignore his girlfriend for days just because he is stressed about his job and his son.  A text or phone call takes just a few seconds.  If I'm not worth a few seconds in his day, maybe he really isn't that into me.  I guess I just don't understand how anyone can have such extreme behaviors. 



When I was breaking it off

When I was breaking it off with the new guy, in between trying to lay blame on me too, he asked "why do you think this happened?" There were so many specific instances, but I simply said, "it's because you are not interested in me."

yes you should leave the ADHD

yes you should leave the ADHD boyfriend.  it is not worth it.  I have been married to an ADHD man for 19 years.  on my end, it is all work and very little pay off.  don't do it.  as other posters say often, my expectations are practically non-existent.  what kind of partnership is that?  we started seeing yet another counselor and at the end of the first session he asked us to think about what we want from the other person.  I thought about it all week and I could not think of a single thing except to be left alone.  sad.  I feel like someone is LEANING on me all the time and I just want to shake them off and say STAND UP STRAIGHT for gods sake.  be an adult.  stop needing me so much.  and what's worse is the needs don't stay consistent--what is helpful one day is controlling and nagging the next.  what is loving care one day is smothering the next.  reminders on Monday are harping on Thursday.  it's crazy making--I have no idea how to act or what to say or how to say it or when to say it or how much to say such that something might actually get retained much less acted upon.  

so in answer to your original question--RUN don't walk away.  it's not worth it.  if I found myself single tomorrow, I would NEVER be under the same roof as a man ever again.  I might date just for companionship, someone to go to theater or dinner with, but live under the same roof as a man again, ADHD or not-not a chance in hell.  I've done my time.  



nothing i could add

I share dvance's view. No way and never again. This isn't a union, it's a takeover.

left the ADHD boyfriend

This forum has been extremely informative and insightful. I want to thank everyone for their stories.

I came onto this forum to seek advice about whether or not to stay with my ADHD boyfriend.   We decided to break up after 20 months together. It was a mutual decision in the end.  He recognizes that he has issues and is dragging me down with him like a whirlpool.  It was sad. When we broke up, he said that he can never fulfill what I'm looking for because he has these "disconnect" issues.  He still will not admit that he has ADHD even though he has 95% of all the signs and symptoms.  I feel really bad for him because he says he cannot control the way his mind "disconnects".  As much as I love him, I cannot sacrifice my happiness and sanity anymore trying to figure him out.  Then I realized there is no way I can ever empathize how his brain functions.  It hit me finally that the man may love me, value me, and appreciate me.  But he does not Cherish me and never will because he is unable to.  Sometimes, I think he lives in his own alternate reality.

It's been a couple of weeks and although I was very broken hearted at first, I am starting to feel a sense of relief.  I don't have to listen to all of his ramblings, negativity and constant complaints and go into his messy house anymore.  I don't have to drive myself crazy and figure what he's thinking and doing anymore or whether or not he is going to do what he promises.  Often, I felt like I was free falling and could not get my feet planted firmly in the relationship because of his instability. His life was so unstable and he couldn't focus on anything that didn't interest him.  It was like caring for a child sometimes.  As much as I love him, I cannot work on these issues on a daily basis for the rest of my life.   I love him but I love myself more.

Good luck to all of you on this forum.  You all are very loving and courageous people.


I feel you!! I never want to

I feel you!! I never want to live with a man again either lol. I finally got rid of my add ex and it feels amazing!!!

I dated a man recently who ended up having a lot of add symptoms. He was worse than my ex. I gave him an ultimatum and he did the deny/deflect thing and danced around the issue. So, we are done after only a month or so. 

My new love interest was kind of relevant to your question. I was perfectly happy to date this weirdo on even terms. Nothing too serious. He started out with hyperfocus, which was amazing and drew me in, but barely two months later, he was contacting me late in the evening, every few days. I was not okay with that and stated it. He denied a problem, then acknowledged it and refused to change. So, we parted ways. 

My point. Enjoy him while he's making you happy. When he stops making you happy, demand change or part ways. I'm still very attracted to the guy, but the relationship stopped making me feel good (wanted) and started making me feel bad. 

Good luck to you. I freaking hate ADD. 

I have absolutely nothing bad

I have absolutely nothing bad to say about your new standards and level of discernment. I do wonder though where the dividing line is between ADHD men losing hyper-focus and neurotypical men just being idiots. I get the feeling if you aren't expert at that determination, you will be soon.

Perhaps the best kind of man for a recovering non-ADHD spouse is a divorcee with ADHD who is in stable "remission." Been in those trenches, know those scars. Go forth and find them; there are probably about four to choose from in the continental US.

This guy described himself as

This guy described himself as having "on the spectrum" tendencies. I saw no such evidence. I did see ADD tendencies. I am familiar with those and can tell the difference between an NT a-hole and someone with mental issues;) This guy's coping mechanisms are to not love and not care and to put himself first. Everything out of his mouth was a contradiction. I have honestly never seen anything like it. During hyperfocus, he was phenomenal, but it quickly snowballed into his own self preservation. He wanted me, but couldn't admit it. Plus, he didn't want to be tied down. 36 yrs old, never married, and doesn't want kids. Our chemistry was palpable though. The funny thing is that I agreed about not tying each other down. I agreed to an open relationship based purely on enjoying each other. He couldn't even keep that up, but yet he fought me when I told him I was done. He argued facts, truly believing that I was exaggerating. Once he got it through his head that he really was disrespecting me by making me his last minute plans, he apologized and left. I have never seen the likes before. Push-pull, mixed signals. The guy has issues;p

No thank you on anyone with ADD. I hardly think that would be a match for me at all. BUT....I could enjoy the ride as long as it makes me happy. This guy came in exactly when I needed him most. I told him that. My ex made my life hell one night, and this guy talked me through it and stayed when most guys would have ran screaming. I would see him again if he asked me on a proper date, because we have a connection. I know we'd never last....it's the ride. 

Sorry to see you back. I guess we all come back. At least you are still very self aware. I hope that most of the time your relationship is well. 

That chemistry is powerful.

That chemistry is powerful. My wife and I knew each other online platonically for a few years and met up with no intention of being romantic (no, not even an unspoken wonder about what might happen). It was platonic for a week or so of having fun together; we even had a legitimately awkwardness-free dinner one night with a guy she was seeing at the time. But if you have that thing when you look in one anothers' eyes and there is a knowingness to the look, it is just a matter of time. I remember it as a 4 or 5 month whirlwind of raw attraction and bliss. Mutual hyper-focus seems closest to reality, but what the hell do I know about reality?

Regarding the notion of not being tied down, open relationships, no kids: You remind me of something I was thinking about yesterday. Suppose you have a person with ADHD. Suppose that they are functional enough to sustain themselves successfully. They can hold a job, and they can take care of all their affairs. A functional solo life. Suppose then that they have the ability to be real about who they are and what they can and cannot accomplish. My wife has this talent, which may be impossible with ADHD, but go with it. To me it seems both magical and self-defeatist, but I'm a fairytale dreamer who is full of it. She can consider a behavior change or a situation and very accurately say to herself: "yeah I'll never be able to sustain that" "Sure, I can take that on" "I'm no where near diligent enough"
So for the things she cannot control, she accepts the reality and goes in another direction that has a better chance of success. I digress about my wife's incomprehensible super power. Suppose our ADHD person can do this. Finally, suppose that the ADHD person is not a dick, and is genuine about being as excellent to other people as is possible.

What would be perhaps the best adaptive strategy for this person when going out and satisfying their human need for connection and intimacy?

The only path for them to take that would seem to be ethical is made up of casual encounters. Have fun, be successful, smart, funny, honest, and charming. Go out and use your hyper-focus for good rather than evil, and be up-front about what you are doing so there is no month four let-down. Our totally improbable ADHD adult would be giving the absolute best of themselves during the best of times to the most people, and not indenturing anyone to the latter fallout of their failings. Show up, plug in, dance all night, and bug out amicably before the clock strikes twelve and you turn into a pumpkin. Essentially, our unicorn here should be a young, fun professional with no attachments and no plans to ever attach.

I should note that in no way do I see this as a could-a-been personal road not traveled.
First, my very successful career that would sustain it was born out of the fertile soil of my wife's structure. All but two of my promotions, essentially the ones that didn't just fall in my lap, were the product of usually weeks of her reminders and prods to update and post a resume. I'm smart and my skillset is hella marketable, but any change in the status quo is on that lovely lady.
Second, I do not have the super power I discussed. If someone at work asks me if I can do something unrealistic (remember: this is logical, orderly, very much stimulating and enjoyable master-of-my-domain engineering/tech stuff, so my ability to estimate and plan should be better here than anywhere) my response is almost always, "Sure!" Sometimes I do manage to stop myself and give it a moment's thought before accepting the challenge, but even then I really hate to deliver the bad news of more accurate-ish expectations.
Finally, I'm pathologically monogamist. When that chemistry hits I just want more, and unless things are seriously disconnected I give no thought to greener pastures. It seems like some people crave a higher degree of variability and I respect that when honestly endeavor'd, but it ain't me.

The next bit of dating advice that occurs to me: Non-ADHD people might even WANT to seek out the ADHD partners if their life mode happens to be in this casual, having fun, non-committal place. You don't even have to construct this mythical ADHD ubermensch. You just have to be a normal person who scoops up the joy of their hyper-focus having planned on a dismissal as a feature, not a bug.
It sounds, Lauren, as if you are looking for something healthy and perhaps more, but embracing the happy while it lasts in these relationships that are not sustainable. Casting them off with grace and a spirit of thankfulness is sickeningly healthy. I wonder if you ever expressed that thought to this guy or any others. If I'm the one sitting there at that final, all-cards-on-the-table moment that kind of notion would stop me in my tracks and haunt me. Notions that make that kind of visceral impact are worth collecting.

"Once he got it through his head that he really was disrespecting me by making me his last minute plans, he apologized and left. I have never seen the likes before."
You know what that is? That is when you have the fight with the ADHD person, you have the yelling, the words that do nothing but hurt and divide, and then every so often for whatever reason you just keep on talking. Neither one of you walks out or changes the subject. At that point you have enough fight minutes elapsed; it is hard to keep the flames burning so hot on either side. You start saying real things and saying them sadly. It is then that the ADHD partner has a moment of clarity, and you both maybe gain understanding. The useless distraction that is anger no longer stimulates, and without the strife an ADHD person has a better ability to see where their behavior has been detrimental. You both gain some understanding on things, and the ADHD person better hold on to that understanding for dear life before their clarity fades and their mental defense rationalizes it away or deletes it entirely. Obviously this scene is too specific to not be anything but a direct transcript of my experience, so apologies if it didn't throw down like that and I'm totally off-base.

My estimation is that he apologized, left, and filed the data in a mental archive never to be accessed again. It is the easy dismissal of a troublesome and uncomfortable truth. You don't even say to yourself, "Welp, self, eradicate that heresy!" It is an Orwellian, slippery mind that not only hits the delete key, but somehow obscures that a delete key exists and was pressed. Thoughtlessness: Doubleplusungood. I even tend to brood and mull things over before they fade away. Hell, I chew on these concepts far longer than my wife, but if I'm not careful I gain no lasting benefit.


Being back is better than mindlessness. Even then, I'm totally hyper-focusing on this right now. Like a silly drug addict, I have to admit that this amount of forum activity is totally the hyper-focus, man. We will see if I can keep it up when it isn't the new thing.
Last time I left because I started talking to my wife about posting here, she came on here reading it all, and flipped. Good excuse to bail; perhaps prudent marital justification for bailing (Also prudent: the best kind of excuse to drop something). I was kind of chagrined that she did that, but in retrospect talking about it was essentially saying, "Hey Hon I really like this new journaling thing and I think it is helping me work through some issues. It's nice to have a sounding-board to bounce our deepest, darkest, most troubling issues that are in most social arenas totally embarrassing to both of us. That's why I went to the YMCA and posted the pages I wrote on the bulletin board. Hopefully some other people who go there to work out will have some insight into our dirty laundry."

She isn't one to check up on stuff like this or follow me around, and I do not intend to bare as much so explicitly this time anyway.

As I said elsewhere, next week I might become a ghost, and then we can say Hi to each other in the spring of 2015. I worry that a lot of my rambling here is self-awareness chatter used to distract from real exploration as a person. Endless typing of prolix posts and comments as an obsession unto itself. While the content of what I post here might all be a bunch of bullshit spliced with grandstanding spliced with truth, I do know that actively posting as an activity forces me to keep these issues at the forefront of my mind. It does help my behavior outside this space, which is where it counts.

The major difference between my first appearance and now is the thing that got me posting. My first post here in 2013 was the morning after the biggest and scariest fight we ever had. It went beyond fighting and had more than a few of those quiet, sad moments. Moments where you forlornly say really scary things that lead to filing papers and packing suitcases. The reality hit me like a ton of bricks and I was literally shaking.

Contrast that to this week's return and there isn't much comparison. We haven't had an interchange of pure misery in many months, and we are getting along rather well on the day-to-day. This morning was positively sappy between us, and if it were like that more often my disappearance from this forum might be for good reasons. We've moved into this house we built custom that makes our lives so much less stressful, and my wife is enjoying the hell out of decorating it as tribute to the Pinterest gods. We are house-poor but stable and rebuilding reserves, and the practical outlook on the having-a-marriage, raising-a-family front is rosy. If you spied on us on Facebook it is just ideal all the way down.

I got the trigger to come back because I feel like there is virtually no love between us. Even as we are sometimes even daily quite affectionate toward one another, there is no self-sustaining relationship contained within the committed marriage. All those stories of even neurotypical couples who set to the task of raising a family. They drop the romance for a decade or more and then realize there is nothing left to pick back up when kids start to venture out. I'm 30 and I see that happening and I don't want that future.

I was thinking about dedication to more date nights, and telling her I love her more (and figuring out specifically what in the world I mean when I say those words). My mind was churning miserably over having to confront the really ugly possibility that there may not be all that much there between us apart from the family we've created, and any connection was only the passion and brain chemicals of the early relationship. The idea that the holy "mature love" grail --driver for decades of joyous, gratifying monogamy-- may just have no foundation to grow on is terrifying. So is the thought that at best what we have now is a fondness for the memory of a romance. My wife can be so practical and matter-of-fact that I worry she has just committed herself to the very valuable and meaningful pursuit of raising our children, and has essentially written off our lost bond as just, "What happens when you have young children." I've started to really try and stress in our broken manner of communication how much I'm longing to connect. How the disconnect alone secures in me a daily unhappiness (A goddamn annoying kind of mindfulness). We do not have any kind of framework to talk about these things directly, and she is so preoccupied with life that this project has no room. I see that slowly changing as we settle in and establish some routines.

So really I wasn't being fully aware in my trigger for coming back. I came with heartache and found some of my old ADHD behaviors. Didn't see those dynamics there. Oops.

So spot on!

So spot on!

I will write back fully after work;)

I will say that I am in a place in my life where I can date someone with serious flaws and quirks because I will not ever be living with them or having children with them. As long as there is happiness, I can handle flaws. There were far too many problems with my marriage. 



Oh right, I've procrastinated on this forum on a Friday and now there is a pile of work to get done before COB.

How interesting that I've built a mountain of obligations that I now get to tear through in a fury. Almost like the only way I can amass the will to get it anything done is by generating a challenge or manufacturing a crisis.

And adhdmarriage.com is now fuel for the symptoms. The unhealthening is complete.

 Mutual hyper-focus sounds

 Mutual hyper-focus sounds right to me;)
"Suppose you have a person with ADHD. Suppose then that they have the ability to be real about who they are and what they can and cannot accomplish."
Alright, so my new guy knew there was something off about his personality. He tried to be straightforward at times. He said he didn't want to get serious, so I agreed with it. He kept reiterating that as if I didn't get it, but I obviously did. I was in it for the human interaction, emotional and physical. I didn't even want something super serious, but honestly am not the open relationship type. He even mentioned polyamory at one point, but the heart of polyamory is communication, and I lost more communication by the day.

He remembered things differently and when told to just go back and review our conversations, he said "there are too many". No, not lately there weren't lol. 
After I confronted him and finally got it through to him that his mixed signals and faulty memory were the problem, he agreed and stated,"I wish I could learn from this, but I won't. I never do". 

This guy I dated absolutely thrived on human interaction. He has literally hundreds of friends who probably think he's pretty great. I'm thinking his exes are still shaking their heads;p

"What would be perhaps the best adaptive strategy for this person? The only path for them to take that would seem to be ethical is made up of casual encounters."
I think my guy was aiming for this, but I got in the way. He actually liked me. I could sense him fighting himself about it by the things that he said. He did hyperfocus for over a month, but the frequent daily texts turned into one text, late at night, every few days. That in itself wouldn't bother me, considering the casual nature, but he couldn't even make plans with me anymore. I became someone he contacted last minute when he could find nothing else to do. At least, that's what it felt like. 
 I'm a monogamist too. After our second date, I told him I was happy to see him exclusively. That unnerved him and he suggested that I don't put all my eggs in one basket. I have never experienced that before, but I agreed. The chemistry that strong and my loneliness that long. 
You have a good point about seeking out the excitement of adhd hyperfocus. I figured his need for an open relationship would work for me because the last thing I wanted was another serious relationship. But truly, I prefer to focus on one person at a time;) I need to feel wanted and he stopped providing that. Even if we only see each other once a week, I need to feel wanted in between. I think most people would agree. 
I wish I had direct advice for you. You really need to talk to your wife about your thoughts. She's a smart lady. 

Grrr, my phone won't let me

Grrr, my phone won't let me copy/paste. I realized I missed several paragraphs when responding. 

"embracing the happy while it lasts in these relationships that are not sustainable. Casting them off with grace and a spirit of thankfulness is sickeningly healthy."

My extreme resilience is my greatest trait. I am a happy, happy person. My ex was the exact opposite. Another reason why we didn't work. 
I posted a comedy photo on fb the other day that said "Not sure if I'm emotionally strong and I can handle anything, or if I'm a heartless sociopath." I do wonder at times haha. I am ridiculously strong, if I compare myself to most people that I know. 

"I wonder if you ever expressed that thought to this guy or any others."

I did. I let people down easily, so in my first attempt to end things with this guy, I included a heart felt thank you for his being there through my tough time. When he arrived at my house to talk it through some more, I told him that he was one of the few times that I believed that "people come into your life for a reason". I really, really needed him and his hyperfocus at the exact moment I got it. By the time he lost interest, I was more than stable again. My chemistry misses his though, and as people, we hate to lose. He is the first person I've lost in many years. I have a personality and way about me that draws people in. This guy fought it. I assume he has been very hurt in the past. I would've hurt him too because I couldn't live with his bs long term. There is no way. He said himself that "I don't compromise and that's why my relationships don't work". I guess he wants a submissive type? A total pushover? Doesn't compromise, smh...that is what life is all about. 

"If I'm the one sitting there at that final, all-cards-on-the-table moment that kind of notion would stop me in my tracks and haunt me. Notions that make that kind of visceral impact are worth collecting."

I hope it does haunt him. When you tell a girl that you don't do relationships and she says "OK" and you still can't keep her, something has to change. 

"It is then that the ADHD partner has a moment of clarity. You both gain some understanding on things, and the ADHD person better hold on to that understanding for dear life before their clarity fades and their mental defense rationalizes it away or deletes it entirely. Obviously this scene is too specific to not be anything but a direct transcript of my experience, so apologies if it didn't throw down like that and I'm totally off-base. My estimation is that he apologized, left, and filed the data in a mental archive never to be accessed again."

No, you are right. Once he gave up and realized I couldn't be emotionally manipulated, he specifically stated that the fight was a waste because he doesn't learn from his mistakes. He forgets the why's of the problem and then is doomed to repeat it. And his coping mechanisms suck. He fought so hard to turn the blame around and then when I successfully turned it back to him, he states, "well, I actually don't believe in blaming". Say what?! Lol! He was the master of confusing, manipulating conversations, back tracking, and mixed signals. He has 10 years on my ex husband. Lots of experience;)
I told him he is the most confusing guy that I have EVER met! He said he confused himself. At one point he tried to say that it was ME that suggested an open relationship. 
What can you possibly do with a person who can't remember anything they say? This guy was actually rude sometimes about not wanting a relationship, yet acted like we were in one for several weeks before he slowed it way down. 
The mental acrobatics. The denial. 
Again, I have never.....
I am still shaking my head;)

I'm not driving my wife out

I'm not driving my wife out of her mind at the moment. My ADHD hasn't been specifically the target of her frustrations in several months at least. We are too busy with young kids, new house, and life in general. When it has been her main source of torment, dvance's comment would most assuredly be her take on the question.

Reading this comment makes me feel like my own suggestion is so hopelessly naive and makes me wonder if I'm just in another huge trip away from reality in all my thinking here. The reason? I have absolutely no particular point of disagreement with the logic presented by dvance. I want to believe that both my comment and hers can be true. That the particular circumstances of her situation and of mine dictate what the right answer is for each of us individually, and that neither of us can really know the best truth for Et. Then again I just realized that this is one question in one comment within a much more comprehensive thread, and the overwhelming sentiment from a large number of non-ADHD spouses paints a grim picture for my silly little hopes.

There's an echo chamber here,

There's an echo chamber here, you can probably think of another phrase. Most of the time this is a bad place for a person with ADHD to be, even the resilient few who have posted here over the years seem to give up. Many of the issues seem to be relationship and personality issues and not specific to ADHD, notwithstanding that there are very difficult ADHD cases with attendant other disorders.

Your hopes are not silly.

A forum online for support

A forum online for support with ADHD in the context of marriage. ADHD people have trouble with mindfulness to even sometimes see there is a problem. It makes sense that it is mostly populated with the half of the ADHD-impacted marriage that is more likely to see a problem and follow through on reaching out for support. A community that self-selects for a certain side of an experience ensures a dominant narrative. There isn't anything wrong with that.

I've interpreted this site as a safe space for non-ADHD spouses under stress, where the smattering of ADHD spouses who somehow wandered in need to engage with respect and empathy. I feel like there is a real opportunity for the few of us here. It is a target-rich environment where most people commenting share some understanding of the side we do not live. The side whose experience is most foreign to our understanding, and the ideas from whom we most need to repeatedly bash into often-thick skulls. It's also a place where you can be reliably challenged. My wife is good at calling me out when I'm being ridiculous, but can't see our forest for my trees. Most of you good people can do it without anger, without resentment, and I can float concepts without risking doing even more damage to my relationship.

Non-ADHD spouses can come here and get support. They can share stories and tips for how to improve things, live with things, or move on. I can come here, present my perception, get it beaten to a bloody pulp, and be told exactly how to make it better. Nothing about the dynamic here gives me the sense that I should disengage. I have seen a few people here try to hoist up the banner of "team ADHD" against "team non" and be adversarial. That is an example of an unhelpful perception being beaten to a bloody pulp.

If I go it'll be because I got a divorce, got happier, or saw something shiny.



"Your hopes are not silly."

I may have been just a tad melodramatic in that comment.


"I feel like someone is LEANING on me all the time and I just want to shake them off and say STAND UP STRAIGHT for gods sake.  be an adult.  stop needing me so much.  and what's worse is the needs don't stay consistent--what is helpful one day is controlling and nagging the next."

This statement is exactly how I feel!  And my husband blames me for being too emotional (hormones) and too stressed.  Well maybe if I had a little help I wouldn't be so stressed!  I did the same job before we met, and was actually busier back then, and I wasn't nearly as stressed as I am now.  It's because I have someone LEANING on me all the time!  I have to always be on top of things like with a child.  I have to remember everything, handle everything, pay for everything, clean everything...It's all on me.  What is it like having someone to help you out?  Someone you can rely on?  Someone who can take a project and run with it without me having to always nag about getting it done?  I'm exhausted!

if it weren't for the kid(s)...

In response to Et (should i leave my ADHD boyfriend?)


if my husband didn't have a daughter, if we would've met and he was childless, i honestly think we would've made it a good 5-6 months before i would've called it quits. There was a lot of other stuff going on at that time, beyond the ADHD, he was doing a lot of flirting online and by text message...i saw some really upsetting text messages on his phone and was thisclose to ending it then and there, but then his daughter's face entered my mind, what it would've looked like when he told her that I wasn't going to be around anymore, and that hurt me more than anything I have ever felt. I knew then that I could never be out of her life.

the ADHD isn't the only problem in my marriage...but it is the problem which causes me the most struggle and the most pain. Not only is he constantly distracted and not paying attention to what is going on, he doesn't seem to care that he doesn't notice anything around him. He is just oblivious. He floats through life believing that I am going to take care of everything, do everything, for him, and for his daughter. And I do. Because somebody has to and if I don't, nobody does. I do believe that makes me an enabler, and I truly think that I am. I am not sticking up for myself enough to demand that he start being accountable. I need to start putting my foot down even more if I am ever going to get any happiness out of this marriage. I am 27 years old and I am ready to start a family, I would love to have a baby because I want to experience that since I have not yet and I already have a stepdaughter who I am raising, I would also like to see my features in my child and know that I helped create him/her. But I am terrified of having a baby with my husband, because I just don't know that he is capable of taking care of one, since he hasn't shown much of that to me with his daughter. It's a scary feeling to have.


So...should you leave your ADHD boyfriend? That's entirely up to you. It's a lot of work and takes a lot of patience, but there are groups/forums like this for you to be able to vent/get advice should you ever need it and believe me, this helps me a lot. It feels good to get all of this out since I don't want to go to my family or friends with this stuff, I don't want them to look at my husband differently because he really is a good man with a good heart...even if his ADHD makes him damn near impossible to deal with lol

should I leave the ADHD boyfriend?

Thanks for all the replies and advice.  I have a lot of thinking to do.  I have spent days looking at the posts on this website trying to get a real life understanding from people who have had to live with ADHD.  Part of me tells myself that I should be doing all the things that put a smile on my face instead of feeling sadder and more helpless knowing that I can't change who my bf is.

I have been in relationships in the past where I was treated with love and consideration.  Although those relationships didn't work out for other reasons, I know what it feels like to be in a "normal"  relationship where my significant other was considerate, loving, and attentive.   I am struggling with this relationship because I really really love this man more than any other man in my life.  I would love to make it work because he does make me happy when we are together.  My heart lights up whenever we are together.   He is a good man with a sensitive heart and has good intentions.  But now I'm starting to struggle with his inattentiveness, self-absorption, self- centered, hyper-focus, lack of communication, inconsiderate, and narcissist traits.  Those traits are subtle and manageable when things are normal, but when he is under stress, those classic ADHD traits come blaring out like a bull horn.  He has disappeared for days in the past without contacting me when he's under stress because he needs time alone to think out his problems.  He seems to be faithful.  I don't see any signs of him cheating.  However, that would be the deal breaker for me if he was to be unfaithful in any way. 

I have never put this to the test but I wonder if he will come through for me if I was to get sick or get in trouble?  He can barely take care of himself.  I've bailed him out in countless of situations.  I took his son to the Dr when he was out of town; saved his house and cat when he left town forgetting to leave enough food and shut the door to the room where the litter box was; Helped him clean his disgusting kitchen just to see him mess it up within minutes.  I caught mistakes in his resumes and emails; listened patiently to his ADHD son ramble and vent for hours because he didn't have the patience to....  I sat for 3 hours one day helping him with his homework.  I've never sat down for that long helping any of my own kids with their school work.  I know he appreciated all of that because he told me so but he's still a narcissistic self absorbing man at the end of it all.  I have raised 3 kids and do not want to take care of any more "children".

I haven't seen or spoke to him in almost a week now because he is engrossed with stress relating to his job and his son. I have never seen anyone in such denial of his son's mental problems.  I'm not even on his back burner and have been put in the backyard BBQ pit.  Out of sight and out of mind apparently. So I'm searching for answers.  This is the longest we have ever been out of touch and if the vacancy continues, this might be my Q to get out of the relationship.  I do feel sad because I love him. 

I can't tell you how good it feels to vent this out to people who understand what I'm going through. 



Still here, still fighting

I appreciate all the encouragement I have gotten from my post.

It's 4 months later, and we are still dealing with a lot of the same issues. I don't know if I've just numbed myself to it or just learned to lower my expectations or what the deal is...but I seem to be in an ok place in accepting this as my life, at least for right now.

I am nowhere near perfect, I have battled depression and anxiety for the past 10 years of my life, at one point I was given a PTSD diagnosis from a past abusive relationship. I have gone through years of therapy and I am in a pretty great place now as far as my issues go. I am no longer on medication and I feel wonderful, but know that if it ever starts to feel like I'm slipping back into things again, that it's okay to go back to medication and therapy. I am not ashamed of that if it comes down to that. My husband has been by my side these past 4 years and helped me get through my issues and I feel like he is a big part of the reason I was able to overcome it all.


He is still having the issues with the laundry and the dishes. I have pretty much just taken it upon myself to do those things to avoid the headache of another confrontation. He skips his adderall frequently and you can just tell when he's not taken it that day...he's flighty and forgetful, he doesn't listen to a word I say even if I repeat myself for him at his request. It's just bad news. My marriage is definitely not ideal. I know no marriage is, but I at least hoped I'd be happier than this in my marriage.

His daughter is THRIVING. She is doing amazing with her ADHD and her emotional issues stemming from her being abused last year have gotten SO much better. We're having some problems with her being a little behind her grade level for math/reading, but I enrolled her in a special before-school class twice/week to get extra help. I am in constant contact with her teacher and we meet often to discuss her progress in school and what I can help out with at home. Since I am the only "real" adult parent she has in her life, I have just taken the initiative to make sure I cover all the bases, medical care, dental care, therapy, school, diet, activities, etc. I feel like a machine when I step into my "mom" role and it's a role I absolutely love. It helps distract me from the troubles I have in my marriage I think.

I keep hoping that it'll get better. I bring up ADHD behavioral therapy to my husband about once every 2 weeks and I just get the brush off. I just keep thinking that if I bring it up enough, eventually he will decide to do it, but I know it has to be his decision. It's tough, all of it. I don't get enough respect or recognition for what I do, but I chalk that up to being part of the roll. Moms are typically under appreciated, especially until their children are grown.

I haven't given up hope yet! I haven't used the "D" word yet! I am just pushing ahead and still fighting for my marriage. I just hope that my fight isn't all for nothing.

I am sooo there

I feel like everyone on this post. I feel all your pain, sadness, frustration anger, bitterness and hopelessness. It's amazing how many people post on this forum each day about almost identical experiences. Like we could be writing each other's stories to some extent. I put off having kids because I was waiting for my spouse to grow up and be more responsible and reliable. I waited too long and now I'll never have children because I already have one - her. We are going to the ADD counselor tomorrow at my demand, and honestly I don't know if it will do any good, but I feel like I need to give this relationship one last try. I think its because I'm in the mental health profession that we've made it this long. I've tried to be so compassionate about her illness, but it seems like I'm always the one paying the price.

I want to beg and plead this counselor to do something, anything to make my wife really listen and make real changes in her life. I so scared of giving up the last 15 1/2 years, but I'm more scared to live the next 15 like the last. My mom recently died and she was a character to say the least, but the sad thing is I don't really miss her. She isolated herself and was never really a pleasant person to be around, she was always so pessimistic with no sense of humor. What I've realized is my dad is now free. He's free to live his life, have fun, go places she would never go. He seems to be having the time of his life and almost thankful for his release, even though he loved my mother for some unknown reason and still visits her grave every Sunday after church. He's like a caged bird that was finally set free. I don't want that to be my life. Waiting for my spouse to die, so I can live. It's like watching my future life playing out before me. I feels so torn, I just don't know what to do. Hopefully, tomorrow will be turning point for us otherwise I think I'm going to have to leave her.

Should I stay or should I go??

Hello, I was just reading previous posts and they have been a wake up call too me. I have been with my partner just over a year, he has ADHD, so I thought I would do some research, and came across this website. The similarities are astounding! Unreliability, inattentiveness, INCREDIBLY messy, lacking personal hygiene, very bad with finances.... But now I am wondering whether to continue this relationship, or break i off??

Should You Stay or Should You Go?

To get more responses, try starting a new topic (under Anger, Frustration will likely get the most views) and tell us more about yourself and your situation.  Some people will say stay, some will say go. I won't tell you whether to stay or go, but I will share my experiences with you so you can get a sense of what life in a long-term ADHD-affected marriage is like. 


I have read all your posts and to be honest they brought me to tears, just because I have been in the same boat for over 30 years. First let me tell you all neither of my husbands had ADHD. My first husband I was married to at 18 and had 2 beautiful children. He was a military man who loved to take orders at work, loved his job, but loved more to come home and give orders. I was a nurse who spent more time caring for everyone but myself.  Sadly I was too young and nieve and face it in love with the idea of being in love that I didn't know any better than to do everything he asked when he asked and that it was ok not to put up with half the stuff I did. Everything from him coming home ordering me to iron his uniforms and spit shine his boots. Never speak back to him or be faced with him grabbing me by the side of my head and pushing me up the wall or punching me in the ribs. I thought as long as the children weren't hurt or didn't see his abuse I should deal with it because hey they needed a father too not just a mother. I would cover up my bruises and go into work with long sleeves and scrubs on in the summer and always stand in the way of my kids when his anger from his daily work became too much so he would hit me instead of them. As if I was hiding anything from anyone other than myself. But we sure can deceive ourselves if we try hard enough. But after 10 years of his drinking and ordering and hitting, the children finally saw him abusing me one night and I finally saw the horror in their faces and decided enough was enough. After all what was I really losing it's not like he ever did anything for me or the children other than to make our lives a shell of what they should have been. So I divorced him and no easy task as you can imagine he started stalking me, breaking into my house and even raped me. So when the divorce was final I moved out of the province as far away from him as I could. My children still petrified by what they saw refused to sleep alone they would always sleep together huddle up like their lives depended on it. And being a single mom of 2 was not easy to say the least. Instead of working only 1 job I now had to get 3 jobs just to start from scratch with my children in a safe place. That means up at 5 am getting the kids stuff ready for school and breakfast and them out the door so I could go to my 2 daytime jobs. Be home at dinner to feed the kids all the while helping them with schoolwork and then off to the sitters so I could go to my night time job. Home at 2 am to clean house do laundry and an hours sleep before my day started all over again. And if they were sick yes that meant loss of income added expense but that's what a parents does. I worked 7 days a week doing this because face it I was mom & dad for my children and they had no one to rely on but me. My then ex-husband only wanted to be their father when he wanted bragging rights. He never bothered paying support even though it was court ordered. He never bothered seeing them or talking to them. But face it mom's when we have children we are a mom from their birth to our death and beyond in the good times and the bad cause they are our children regardless.

So I met this wonder man a year later. Intelligent, caring. It took me a year to introduce him to my children because I didn't want men coming in and out of my children's lives to mess them up any more. A year after that we were married. My children loved him and he them and everything seemed to be fantastic. We uprooted our lives to go where he lived/worked. I gave up my work, moved away from my childhood friends and family and emerged my life into his world. He said he loved my independence and how I could have so much compassion for others. Life seemed good. And the little things like honey can you take out the garbage not getting done or honey can you shovel the snow not getting done I let just drop. After all I was an independent woman I had done all this on my own. So I took his duties and mine even though his friends would tease him after seeing me out in my housecoat and boots shovelling the driveway at 4 am so he could get the vehicle out to go to work. I was never one of these ppl what needed very much. No fancy hair salons or nails done or new clothes every season. In fact I still have alot of my clothes that I have worn since before my children were born. But being in an isolated town of 500 with no proper medical care, nothing but a small grocery and a post office with the closest town 2 hrs away if the highway wasn't closed due to snow really started to put a toll on me mentally and physically. My health deteriorated, I was always alone my husband was only home 2 days a week. Still raising 2 kids who were now bored out of their faces and a new home and husband to take care of. And it all began again. My daughter left home at 15 to live with her biological father because she was just too bored to put up with it any longer to come home a year later pregnant after her father kicked her out. Her beautiful long brown hair now dyed orange, her beautiful face now marked with tattoos and piercings and yes a bun in the oven when she left my innocent little girl. My son isolated himself in his room because his biological father wouldn't have anything to do with him and his new father well to put it nicely pretty much ignored everyone when he was home. So now my daughter has tasted this life of her fathers world of being able to do what she wants when she wants and decides after having the child that she can go back to a childhood and I can raise the baby and away she goes not to be seen or heard from for years and I am back to being a full time Momma or Nana as my grandson knows me with custody of a little rambunctious boy who is now 5 . My son goes off to college far away and I'm here alone with a baby and a husband who I seldom see and when I do see doesn't know I even exist. Things he would say he would do such as take out the garbage just didn't ever get done. Hanging up the curtain rods in our new home still not done after a year. And everytime I talked to him he would just either say I will get to it or ignore me or walk away in a huff. It's been 15 years now and nothing has changed. Except for the fact that I now pay the consequences of his actions. For instance I say to him honey can you dig up the septic to have it drained. And I get the typical yes dear. And yet after 5 months to the point where water no longer leaves the bathroom facilities I am out in the snow and rain in the mud digging up the septic gates myself and bailing out the toilet after my grandson visits it. My washer needed fixed but I had to do that myself as well pulling out the engine etc and fixing it after just getting out of surgery. Meanwhile my loving husband has had me cancel medical specialist appointments so he could go to work instead of taking the day off to be with me and getting me fixed. So I spent 2 years in agony with kidney stones. When I finally get the surgery I get sepsis and almost died and everything I asked him not to have done to me medically he allows them to do. Now I am facing a lifetime of kidney problems and now have to have my gallbladder removed. And yet I still need to have all the physical strength to do my job and his. Never once has he ever stopped to take care of me. Instead I am to care for everyone else even when I am sick, for instance he goes to work on a train for 3 days at a time well he wants me to wake him before his call for work so he can eat dinner I prepare as well as pack 5 meals for him to go to work with and they can't be the same. Clean up the kitchen, take care of the grandson, pay the bills, take care of his 2 dogs, pick up all the shopping for gifts for every occasion because as he says he has no idea what anyone wants including me. And for all this I get the pleasure of him being a husband in our bedroom once a year. When did my life become this. Listening to men make excuses for everything and never admitting to anything or taking responsibility for anything or anyone other than themselves. Now don't get me wrong I love my husband with all my heart even though most of the time I just want to hit him over the head with a skillet. He is the first man I can say I ever really loved and knew what that meant. But why does t have to hurt so bad to love someone else. When I ask him why he doesn't do the things he says he will he says cause HE didn't think they needed done despite my asking. As if my opinion or wishes don't matter to him. He is someone I CAN"T RELY ON. I'm not sure what tomorrow will bring but I do know that I won't be anyone elses doormat. And that my opinion does count. And there is no excuse for the excuses one gives to take someone for granted. As I told my husband he has used up all his excuses for everything including not being a husband. The next excuse he uses will be the last excuse he will need because he will be alone making them to himself. After all these years of being beaten on, verbally, physically and mentally abused, treated like a stupid female I have found my inner woman. I am strong, well educated, intelligent and my opinion matters and if the men in my life can't see that then I am strong enough to make it on my own...single nana and all. After all I have done it before and I can do it again. A husband is suppose to be an equal to yourself. He is suppose to pick you up if you fall, be comforting when you are broken, and stand strong and loyal when you are weak just as you do for him. Don't think you can't do anything you have to do alone to preserve yourself because you can. Ask yourself one thing would you rather have money or love and respect. If your answer is love and respect then if you don't get that from you significant other than you definitely don't need all the crap that comes with his money. Life is short. I know this for a fact, I am the oldest living female in my family at 47. If genetics have anything to do with it I will have less than 7 years before I reach the end of my life and I have to ask myself will I go with a smile or a frown. I t is up to every one of us to reach out, get help from who you can, stand strong, love yourself and love those around you and when you have to be kind to yourself when others can't be. You matter. I matter. And those innocent wrapped at our legs matter. The rest can live with frowns.

Holy wow, I had to check a

Holy wow, I had to check a couple times to make sure I didn't drink some wine and forget that I wrote this. My 5 year relationship is just about like this. Except I do fear leaving our small son with him. He accidentally gave him cows milk when he was 2 months old, smokes in his car that he transports him in, doesn't wake up if the baby is crying when they are taking a nap, doesn't give him the right amount of medications, ect. Then he gets mad at me for getting upset that he does these things. I was a single mom with my teenage daughter and that was soon much better than this. I am not only responsible for myself and the baby, but I have to monitor my husband. And God forbid I remind him of anything. Society makes us feel like we have to make him help and be a husband, but then he says you are destroying him. So much less devastating to just do everything myself.
Linsy's picture

Identical experience

I had a very painful operation. This triggered exactly the same infuriating behaviour. Refusal even to make me a cup of tea, let alone anything else (I'm British). I left him four years ago, and the relief grows each year, especially as the children fully support me, even though both boys have ADHD diagnosed since he left. He refused the diagnosis, and has now found a rich and rather stupid girlfriend to 'look after him'. Without doing me the courtesy of divorce and financial settlement of course. The girlfriend has witnessed his violent rage and assault of our older son too, so is not in any doubt about what he is capable of. I can only assume she is one of those very sad women who will blind herself to the problems in order simply to 'have a boyfriend' in middle age. It is more understandable when you are young and madly in love, and want to have babies, mighty odd when there is no biological imperative!

Much of the worst behavior is not ADHD

My H does NOT have ADHD (he scored really well on the concentration portion of his neurological eval actually). He had a host of other processing disorders (as well as what I suspect are some behavorial issues, but he won't go to therapy, so all that's just guessing). I joined here because my H sounds so much like everyone else's, which makes me think that all the worst case husbands here ALSO have a lot going on besides ADHD. I know a lot of you have tried to follow the advice for dealing with ADHD in your marriage, but when ADHD is only 10% of the neurolgical and behavorial problems in your marriage, I don't think it's going to help much. I'm not trying to be a downer about that, I'm just chiming in because I know how relieving it can be when you realize that it's not you, you're NOT crazy, and there really is more going on than one diagnosis can begin to cover.

I have to commiserate about not being taken care of when sick, too. My H has left me on the bathroom floor at night (do they have some kind of handbook??). I wrote a year or two ago about how he left our then 3 year old alone, without a life jacket, in a swimming pool (she was in the shallow end but it had a deep end). 5 year old was swimming alone in the deep end with a life jacket, H was around the corner, out of earshot and sight, playing basketball. After that, I had recurring nightmares about the little one drowning and not being able to save her. I'd jump in, but she'd just keep sinking deeper and deeper, and I could never reach her. Well, the only slightly good thing that has happened since then is that my nephew (2) was knocked into a swimming pool during a family BBQ and I jumped in and got him out. I didn't even see him go in, just heard a splash and a gasp and I was in there, didn't even realize myself what I was doing. But I got him out in half a second, and he hadn't sunk to the bottom like in my dreams. That was this summer, and I haven't had the nightmare since (and nephew was totally fine!).


I have another really serious marital issue that I need help processing, I'm not sure if I should move it to a new thread though? It's about sex, and H not listening to me when we did have it (we've stopped). Should I make a new thread for that? I've never talked with anyone about this, and I trust this group, so I'd kind of like to leave it buried here. Let me know what you think.

The sex issue

I'd say feel free to post here. I did briefly allude to sex issues in one of my posts, so it isn't entirely off-topic, and I think it is fine to keep this with a group you trust (though, of course, anyone visiting the forums could see it.)

Ok, here goes. After my first

Ok, here goes. After my first daughter was born, sex hurt for a long time. I especially had a hard time with dryness, which my OB said was normal because of nursing, and just to use a lot of lube. But my H would NOT agree to use lube! He would just say that he wanted to get me turned on himself. We'd go around and around and around, with me saying I couldn't get into it if it hurt. Finally he'd use a tiny drop of lube, but not nearly enough. It was really, really frustrating. There were times when I end up yelling at him or physically pushing him away, but I never really put my foot down and said NO SEX unless there's enough lube. Then eventually time took care of the issue.

Well, it happened again with baby number 2, only this time even worse. It was a longer time this time before I could have sex without pain, and again the dryness issue was a problem (though this time there was also just post-baby pain unrelated to dryness, don't you just love having kids??). Same fights, same issues with lube. Finally one night we were having PIV sex, I'm sure we had before, definitely not the first post-birth sex, and I told him he had to stop, it just hurt too much to keep going. I have a high pain tolerance and a higher sex drive than him, so for me to say stop it really, really has to hurt. He didn't. I told him again that it hurt too much and he had to stop, and again he didn't. Then I don't know why, but I didn't yell or push him off this time. It wan't long, he finished, and I went to the bathroom. I was bleeding, and crying, but I have no idea when I started crying. He came in and I asked him why he hadn't stopped. Then he said, "oh my god, I feel like a rapist." Which bothers me even more now than it did at the time, because as ALWAYS, he went straight to making it about HIM and how HE felt!

Then we never talked about it again, he didn't apologize beyond what he might have said that night (I don't remember anything else from that night, this was now about 3 years ago). For some weird reason, I didn't think about it again for a long time, but now it's bothering me that he would treat me like that. I know it won't do any good to talk about it with him, he won't even remember. I'm not sure what good it does to even bring it up here, I just guess I'm looking for some kind of affirmation that that sucked, and I don't know... help?

I'm so sorry you went through this.

Yes, it did suck. And, while you are right to be bothered that your husband turned things around to how he felt, I think in a situation like that, he SHOULD feel like a rapist. He wasn't respecting the fact that it hurt you. That is wrong. I'm so sorry you went through this.

I really can't do more than offer affirmation, but I just want you to know that your feelings about the situation are valid. Hugs to you.

That's worse than what I went

That's worse than what I went through. Sex was super painful for me too. Mine would use all the lube in the world, but he would not stop asking me for sex almost every day. 

He was SO SELFISH!!! He asked to use my body parts to get off when I was on bedrest. Can you believe that?! Some things can never be taken back or truly forgiven.

I felt more like a plastic sex doll than his partner. Eventually I moved out of the bedroom. I have no tolerance for selfish people.


I'm sorry. It is selfish, and

I'm sorry. It is selfish, and I totally understanding not even wanting to forgive it. I feel like it's a betrayal of the marriage vows on par with infidelity, to be honest. One of those things that makes you realize that the person you married is not the person you thought he was.

He put his sexual needs above

He put his sexual needs above my pregnancy. My incredibly hard pregnancy that included two hospital stays. 

This guy had the nerve to tell me he didn't want anymore kids because my pregnancy was hard on him, meaning everything was not about him. If I put the baby down for a nap, he was on me like, ahem, white on rice.

I'll never fully get over it. 

I could never work on the marriage because the resentment was too strong. I couldn't let him touch me at all because he had taught me that any affection would lead to sex. And I love sex. He taught me to hate and resent it, with him. 

Thankfully, I haven't carried this into my new dating life. I still love sex very much, but 100% on my terms;)



I'm really sorry for the way he used you.

You know, I really think our husbands have incredibly poor social skills. I'm not saying that what you endured from your husband was merely a social skills problem. He was incredibly selfish and disrespectful, incredibly self-centered. I've just noticed how often I have to apologize to others for my husband's insensitive behavior and how he often fails to notice social cues. They are just so caught up in their own little worlds. It's beyond frustrating.

I was looking back through

I was looking back through this tread, and it's come up a few times that our husbands here sound like they might be on the Asperger's spectrum or narcissistic. I wonder if it's a mix, or one of those, or if there's another description of this. The therapist we saw briefly said H was "behind a wall" and "in his own bubble," but we weren't in the US, and English wasn't her first language. Plus we were there for marriage counseling,  not some kind of diagnois for H. I have tried to not focus on "what's wrong with him" and focus on what I can do myself, but I do wonder. If there was a name and we knew whether it could be fixed or not, it would answer a lot of our stay-or-go questions. Or not, I dunno, I'm going to go no matter what, when the kids are a bit bigger.


I sometimes wonder if there's other stuff going with my husband on top of the ADHD. I know that isn't unusual. Of course, I can see how absorption in his own wandering thoughts could easily make him oblivious to the social cues around him. Still, it gets annoying for me to have to tell him that his mom is unhappy or for me to tell a family member, "No, it isn't that he doesn't like you. He's just being the way he always is."

Confession: I was at a party recently where a man noticed me shift and look down at my feet -- ONCE -- and he said to my husband, "Take her home. Her feet hurt." He was spot on, and it's really hard not to wish I was with someone that perceptive and caring.

That said, I know my husband is trying to be loving, and he is by no means as bad as many of the husbands on this board, so I'd like to make this work.

I didn't think there was any

I didn't think there was any hope left in me to continue, but I have to say that I do have hope again.  I realize that I've been in this position before and this might all fall apart again.  It's good right now.  He's taking concrete steps to show me that I'm a priority.  It's a little difficult to watch him having to take such elaborate steps in order for him to show me this- I wish it wasn't so hard for him.  I know he thinks of me as a priority and wants me to feel this way, but his ADHD gets in the way.  Now, he's putting reminders in his phone to text me or email me every day so I feel like he's thinking of me.  He's making it a habit to put on our Yahoo calendar a "number" for both of us to rate how we felt for the day before we go to bed, so we both have a better idea of each others' emotional state.  For so long, he really didn't have a clue as to how I was feeling.  He tries so hard to find out why I'm feeling the way I am and wants to "up" the number.  He even acknowledged that I probably feel like this is temporary and that it's okay.  He's just going to keep trying and show me that he's going to make it change. He's made quite a few other changes which shows me that he really wants our marriage to be a happy one.  I can really see changes and I want to believe so badly that it will last.  


That is WONDERFUL! He has a plan of action, he's following through, he's really trying... I am so happy for you! Please keep us posted.

Quote from Overwhelmed Wife -

Quote from Overwhelmed Wife - " Foreword your life 30 years from now staying in your current situation. You might think, that when the kids are older you will leave then or that things will be better later - just trying to get through each day for now is all you can handle. Now, after being married for 40 years, I am not proud of my compromises, strength, patience and sacrifices. No. I am ashamed of my weakness, compromises, sacrifices. Here is why: My children did not see a model of strength in the face of difficulty...they saw dh getting his way and me being a tired workhorse."

     I can say the same thing. I wish my children saw me as a person of strength patience and sacrifices, and they do in part and tell me so, but they ALSO see a person who compromised WAY too much, and lost herself in the process.

     My ADHD husband is trying very hard to change/control his ADHD behaviors, and I am proud of what he's doing. It's just VERY hard for me now to appreciate it as much as I would have years ago. I often wonder why did it take SO LONG? Why did he wait until I was totally DONE with EVERYTHING, and ready to walk out the door, before he "decided to change". I didn't fight with him, or scream and yell or call him  names.....none of that stuff. But, still it didn't make any difference, the ADHD took over so much of our lives. I did tell him a couple months ago that I was done, and I didn't like what his unmanaged ADHD did to me. I learned not to desire anything anymore, not want anything anymore, not get "happy" about anything anymore, don't have any dreams or hopes, because everything was challenged and I was asked "Why do you need that?......want that?......desire that? I stopped wishing and hoping he would change and finally admitted to myself that this was the way it WAS, and it's going to STAY this way. It was very freeing for a while, but I don't like what THIS has done to me either. I hate looking at myself in the mirror, because I don't see a pretty woman (the one I used to see). People used to comment on how much they liked being around me because I was such an "upbeat" person who smiled all the time. But, I don't smile hardly at all anymore. 

    I did SO MUCH WORK all these years, but funny thing......DH didn't notice it. He only noticed things when they weren't done. But, he didn't know how much WORK it took to have a clean house, shopping done, cooking done, yard kept up, cars washed and waxed, vacuuming, dusting, keeping the kids school work together with projects and CLOTHES and everything else. Plus, I was the one who was my husband's BACK UP PERSON, for his jobs. I took him stuff he "forgot" every single week and would have to drop whatever I was doing and run "whatever" it was, to WHEREVER he was at. That alone, took tons of time. Plus, I also worked as a full time musician. At one time I was working for 6 different music groups at the same time. And, we've had a sexless marriage for years now. But, with all that, the past 3 years have been so hard on my body because  I wore my body out, and now I live in severe chronic back pain and am facing another back surgery. I too couldn't rely on my spouse to cover for me when it came to the kids, and I get scared to death sometimes when he watches our granddaughter out in public because I'm afraid of his distraction. He IS getting better with her though.

    And 3 years ago, when I almost died from a mis-diagnosis at the hospital, and my colon ruptured giving me peritonitis.......where I spent a month in a coma, I was scared to death he was going to put me away somewhere and leave me there. I couldn't tell WHAT he was thinking because he DOES NOT TALK TO ME. I guess that is the number one problem I have with him and with our marriage. We cannot TALK about our lives or marriage. He just won't do it.

      Yes, my husband is trying really hard now to do the things he didn't do before. How do I change how I FEEL NOW? I think he's getting discouraged because he doesn't see me praising him with heaps of praise. I tell him thank you and I appreciate EVERYTHING he's doing, but my feelings haven't caught up to my head yet. And yet, I STILL don't want to discourage him. I just don't know WHAT I'm supposed to feel right now.


You nailed it in the last paragraph

I think that in a marriage, it can get to the point where so much damage has been done that it is really going to take extra effort on the part of one spouse to win the other one back. He can't expect immediate results; unfortunately, I think many people would like that, and people with ADHD especially so -- they have little patience to wait things out. That, however, is exactly what he will have to do. You've had too many years of garbage to put up with. If you buy the concept of the love bank (and I think the idea of "deposits" and "withdrawals" through one's actions makes sense), he is deeply in debt, and it will take him awhile to get to the point of having a positive balance!

Also, I didn't see you mention that the two of you are seeing a counselor, but I think that things can sometimes get so messed up that the only way to fix the marriage is with help from a third party. If you want to try to stay with your husband, you might want to suggest to him that it would be helpful for both of you to bring in a counselor who can help you both sort through the pain and damage done by decades of a broken marriage.

20yr vet..not seeing therapist

You asked if we are seeing a therapist. No, we presently aren't. We have been in marriage counseling before, and also in ADHD counseling before. DH spent 2 years with a psychiatrist who "specialized" in ADHD, but he didn't learn ANYTHING about what his ADHD was doing to himself OR to me or our marriage. Plus, when we have gone before,  DH is a genius at deflecting questions so that he doesn't really ANSWER questions about himself.

     He talks about his job, his co-workers, how rotten my parents were, how bad his father was, how much he liked college, how bad our girls were/are. You name it, he can deflect like a pro. I caught one therapist (in couple's therapy) totally off guard when I asked her "Do I get to talk today in this session?" She was blown back in her chair, because she realized that he had "totally taken over" the conversation during the last session.

    I don't know why he absolutely WON'T talk about himself. I'm sure a skilled counselor could break through that and get some insight. To tell you the truth, I don't know if I want to go right now, either. I don't want to waste money if he won't be honest.

I understand

No sense in going if he won't cooperate with the process. I'm sorry.

Just reading your post helps in some way.

I have just entered another log in my daily notes on life about how my wife is never there for me. Well, correction, I write down when she is but that is rare. She offered to make breakfast for me today. Normally I make hers 100% of the time. She will offer to do something like this about 2-3 times a year and never when I actually NEED it. Only when it's convenient. 

So I 100% get where you are coming from. Unlike you, I actually snapped and we became swingers. I call that my 'soft divorce'. It was my way to find a new leg without cutting one off - in reference to you feeling like you would cut a leg off by divorcing. It was both wonderful and terrible. It took 2 seconds with a normal non ADD person to feel so loved and connect. I could actually make love instead of have sex, which I don't even want to do anymore with my wife.

The terrible part was that I knew what it was like for a moment to be seen and cared about. Sure, it was artificial but it was still infinitely more than I had ever known with her. 

I know how you feel in regard to never being validated for dealing with it too. If your mate were in a wheel chair, everyone would have to pat you on the back for taking care of your mate. But no one sees or believes you now because they can't see or comprehend it. 

You can either fight day and night to get your mate to be there or you can give up and solve life without them. I don't let my wife EVER commit to something like making dinner. I just do it now. Yesterday, I got up and got groceries, planned all the meals and made two gourmet meals for her. Oh, I forgot, I served her breakfast as well. She helped for 12 minutes on the dinner dishes only. 

One thing that has helped some is playing board games. It's something we can do that somehow works. I think it's because it can by it's nature be in the moment. No planning needed. S she can't ruin it with spacing it out. 

I'll bet you NEVER feel connected to your man and sex is a mechanical action you use to have a moment of psuedo pleasure. If that...


Sorry I am not helping, other than to say, yup - I get it. For me, I just minimize her ability to be part of my life. I drive places in my own car as she drives hers so I can be done in a reasonable time to get home and do the things she won't get to because she is at the store/place too long. I just keep removing her piece by piece. Maybe one day she will simply be gone and I can breath again. Who knows... until then, I just watch her cut into me and not care anymore. Let it bleed.

"I just minimize her ability

"I just minimize her ability to be part of my life." For quite a while now, my husband has been irrelevant to my life.  Not because that's what I want but because that's what he wants.  I thought that as I took on more tasks and reduced the burden on him, to accommodate his ADHD and other disorders, the tasks he had left would be done better and with less conflict. What I discovered instead was that having ANY responsibilities for this joint enterprise that is our marriage seemed too much for my husband.  At this point (we're living apart), I will contact him if either of our children has a big issue (diagnosed with a life-threatening illness or in an accident; fortunately, neither of those has happened), if either of the children is going to be home to visit, or if a decision needs to be made about a major expenditure (more than $1,000 or so).  And even with these topics, I'll try to figure out a solution first and then ask for his input, because the communication required to make decisions seems too burdensome for him.  

The name I use when blogging is "marriedwithouthusband."  Says it all, I think.  

I understand

I do not feel I could make the choice to stay married and see another man on the side -- at least, not as a thought-out thing. I don't think I've said this above, but sometimes I've worried that it would take very little pressure under the right circumstances for me to cave. In fact, I know I mentioned being emotionally touched by a man who noticed that my feet were sore at a party I attended recently. What I didn't mention was that I overheard him tell my husband, "Your wife is beautiful," as we were heading out. I heard my husband agree with him, but what kills me is that my husband made no effort to say anything to me about that. When we got home, he gave me a chaste kiss on the lips and said goodnight. Does he think a compliment will spoil me? I'm middle-aged and honestly don't feel very beautiful most of the time, but after hearing what the man said, I left the party feeling smoking hot, and I have had serious problems with mentally lusting after him ever since. I had seen him a few times over the years at parties before, but we had never spoken until that night, and I am determined NOT to go out of my way to see him or reach out to him, so I'm hoping this feeling will just die away, but wow! The attention really did a number on how I'm feeling -- about that man, about myself and about my marriage.

In some weird way, the hardest part is that my husband isn't that bad -- he's just sort of living like he is single even though he is married to me and we have a child. I can think of little ways I know he is trying to be a good, loving husband, but I find I want so much more. I don't want small efforts at being a better husband -- I want a partner. I'm tired of him not even thinking to consult with me before deciding on something that will affect me, I'm tired of him leaving me alone to do the housework and parenting for far too much of each week while he does his thing, I'm tired of not very good sex a few times a year.

I need to ask him again to try counseling with me, but I keep putting it off. "Not now, he's tired and won't respond well. ... Not now, he's just been so nice to me. ... Not now, he's on his way out the door. ... Not now, our child will overhear." What I think is really stopping me is knowing that if he says, "No," I'll have to decide what to do with that "No." And if he says, "Yes" -- Like another person here mentioned, I'm not sure I believe that he can change.

I think the comment that they live like they are single is it.

My wife is a wonderful person. Caring, giving, creative, fun... but just not with me. I think it has to do with the ADD novelty aspect. As long as she can pop in and out of someone's life, she can pour into them. But the closer her friends get to her the less of her they get. Multiply that times a thousand and you have our relationship. If I continually apply massive emotional pressure I can stay on her radar. The moment I relax and assume good behavior will persist, I'm just a tool she uses to get what she wants. I no longer exist as a person. I hate the habit I have fallen into of applying that kind of pressure. I don't even know if I can turn it off now. It's such a survival thing that it's like breathing. I do it so well without thinking.

The other day she brought in my work boots so they didn't freeze in the garage. I was so touched that she noticed anything about me and furthermore did anything about it. Then I was furious with her. That incident made me realize how little she does and how little I exist in her mental world. Perhaps if I lived 300 miles away and she say me once year, she would treat me like she does others. 

As far as feeling like you could cave, this is very true. You are always hyper vulnerable to falling for someone else because you live in such a vacuum of a relationship that even a selfish non ADD person is a step up in terms of how you are treated. 

After my wife had an emotional affair and compounding that with the general neglect you get from ADD people, I was an affair waiting to happen. I don't believe in affairs or cheating but on the other hand, it's so damn hard to be treated well and not leave your spouse. That's like having a terrible job that actually costs you money then this amazing company comes along and offers you a million bucks a year to work half as much. Wow, that's actually a pretty accurate description. Half the work for 10 times the return. That about sums up what every relationship I had as an affair. 

I watched a movie where Cameron Diaz cried because a guy made her eggs in the morning. Wow, I've made my wife breakfast thousands of times and she has made mine a few and then never when I need it, only when she is under emotional pressure to remember I exist.

She says things like 'you don't need me' a lot. How can I? I tried but you get so punished for needing an ADD person. You are putting to much pressure on them. I asked her once if it was a good time to start her eggs for breakfast and she scolded me that I put too much pressure on her. The same thing with sex. Asking at all is too much pressure. Don't interrupt her crafts or shows. But then she is mad when I stop asking because I don't want her. I give up. You can't win.

How on earth can you live with that and not become damaged yourself? No matter what you do you are caught in a catch 22.


I know exactly how you feel.

I know exactly how you feel. A friend picked me up to go hang out with some mutual friends one night a few summers ago, and when I got in the passenger seat, it was warm. He'd turned the seat heater on earlier so it'd already be warm when I sat down, because even though it was August, he knows I get chilled easily (evenings in the northeast can be in the low 50s). I was shocked by how touched I was. Then I was sad, because I thought in 10 years of being with my H, small thoughtful gestures should happen at least once in a while and not be so shocking. At least I'm not spoiled, right?

I also understand your hesitancy to go to counseling. For me, there's also an element of just being so worn out from trying and really fearing that no matter what H did, I'm not capable of loving him again. Sometimes the unknown is just so much less scary.

I hear you, codrdave and polkadots

Although it can be a good thing for us to count our small blessings, it is sort of pathetic when we are overwhelmed by small acts of kindness and consideration because they so rarely happen. My husband I went out on Monday night. Normally, he tends to charge ahead of me, leaving me several steps behind, which really annoys me. The funny thing is, it's not because he's a fast walker -- if we actually go on a walk together, I have to slow my pace to stay by his side. It's just that if we are going someplace, he is so focused on wherever it is we are going or whatever it is he is looking for that he just forgets about me. On Monday night, he actually walked WITH me to our destination. And I thanked him for it. Again, it's good to have gratitude, but that is completely pathetic. How many people fele the need to thank their spouses for walking beside them instead of forging ahead? :(

Codrdave, you are very kind to your wife. I have to say, although the chores, errands and parenting still land largely in my lap (on top of my full-time job), there are things I won't do for my husband. If I make him breakfast or a hot lunch, that is a rare treat. We are all responsible for our own breakfasts and lunches (my teenager included, though of course I buy the groceries for making things). I also got tired of trying to put my husband's laundry away, because he was shoving things any old way into drawers, making it hard for me to even put his laundry away, so I finally decided enough was enough, and I got each of us a laundry basket. I do the laundry -- it really isn't a big deal for me to do the laundry for the whole family vs. myself or myself and our child -- but then I put each person's laundry in his or her basket, and everyone is responsible for putting away their own laundry. Saves me the frustration of thinking "Why did you just wad up your jeans and stuff them in the drawer instead of hanging them up in your closet like you normally do?" I don't care how he puts his own clothes away, as long as I don't have to deal with it.

What about the catch 22's

Does anyone else have to deal with complete contradictions? My wife gets mad if I interrupt her for sex but she's never not head long into something. Then she gets mad because I don't initiate sex anymore. If I actually need her to do something she goes off on me about how SHE doesn't need that specific thing and don't I care that she has more important things to do... then when I never ask her for things I get 'you don't even need me do you?'. 

There is literally no way to exist in her world without her getting mad about one way or the other. Is this just my world or do you guys experience the same thing?

BTW, I shove my clothes in the baskets in my closet. I draw my own line there I guess. I also don't put anyones clothes in their drawers. I do use a tshirt folder however :)

Here is a question for the women. I want to be delicate but frank. After 15 years of pretty much being absent from my wife's mind... begging her to buy at least the same level of gifts for me that she does her parents or sisters, then followed by her emotional affair, we became swingers. I think I snapped and lost all sense of my self. I can't say it wasn't fun, but it's also outside of the kind of person I want to be. I tell you this because I don't know what to do with the fact that my wife cannot remember anything about what I like in bed. When we were swingers, women I would have sex with once would remember EXACTLY what I liked 2 years later. It's hard not to long for swinging when the contrast is that I don't exist in bed. 

We're talking about the small details that you count on and enjoy about being lovers for so long. Speed, position, etc. Factoring in how little she brings to the bedroom for lack of memory and effort and how little I exist in her world anyway, how can I feel like making love? I can't connect and kissing gives me this really repulsive response. That is because I am not close to her that way. I try but there is nothing I can do. The catch 22's, the selfishness, the fact that I have to fight to be considered in anything... Do we stop having sex? She gets mad because 'sex isn't about her'. It CAN'T be. She brings nothing to it. Do you know how many years I had to fight... and I mean FIGHT to get her to wash up before sex? Even now, she forgets. She wears a pad all day and it gets so bad that I can't even be in the bathroom where she disposes them. So how am I supposed to initiate sex in this ultra sensual way with all of this going on?

There have been dozens of times that the smell has made it impossible for me to keep an erection. She has to wash up then wait an hour or two then wash up again before I can get by with it most days. Do I ask her for sex, tell her she needs to wash up, set the timer then remind her again? By the time I manage all of that FOR her, I want nothing to do with her. The bad part is about being a guy is that losing desire for one woman doesn't abate the desire for sex overall. I think women are lucky that their entire sex drive shuts down. 

How am I supposed to give in 100% to what she wants with all of this and still have any desire for her?



"How am I supposed to give in 100% to what she wants with all of this and still have any desire for her?"

Why do you have to give in 100%  Isn't it supposed to be 50/50? I say this, but I don't live it!  Ha!   My fiance was the same way with his desire for over 1 year.  By the end of the year, I was so tired of being the only one to initiate it, I had my iud removed, and went on the pill to kill my drive completely.  Low and behold, 1 month later, he started asking for it as though it was never a problem.  It was great for 3 weeks.  Then, he didn't want it again.  I ask what happened, and he said he was too busy with other things to even think of sex right now...  Ok, I'm busy with stuff too...  But it seems like he's not able to concentrate on more than one thing at a time.  I only get it when HE wants it.  I only get it the WAY he wants it.  There is only one speed for him.  If I have a desire or need for it, I'm out of luck.  I've asked for him to spice it up, but it's not on his mind, so it won't happen.

I truly don't believe he means to be selfish - I truly believe this is all part of his ADHD.  He does it with other areas in his life too.  It's really not fair to me (or to you if she's like this), BUT if they are not capable of fixing it - I mean, truly do not have the capability to see/fix it - can we hold them responsible for it?  For myself, I don't know how much longer I can live like this.  But you have a lot more time invested, and you may want to take a lot more time to consider everything involved before making a decision either way.....


You hit the nail on the head.

You hit the nail on the head. She has these huge dry spells then all of a sudden she will have a short spurt of desire as if it's been that way all along. I'm supposed to just turn it off for months and then in an instant, without one tiny shred of mood building I'm supposed to have desire for her. 

We went 4 weeks without, then had it sorta twice. I say sorta because how good can it be when she's mostly checked out of sex... then after those two times she went 5 weeks, then we had sex once, then 4 more weeks without. Finally I snapped and had to get on her. It's one thing if you she simply had no sex drive but I'm supposed to start and stop abruptly like she does. I get whiplash from her sudden changes. Then she is mad because I don't want to be all kissy. No... I'm pissed and am being used so why on earth would I feel like making love. If you want to be that way, you get sex and barely that!

But the real kick in the teeth is when we sat down and did this couples worksheet about our needs. One of hers was having surprises. Of course, one of my higher ones was sex, being a man and all. She also put down she needed sex 3 times a week. Sure, right... 3 times a week once a year maybe. So I outlined a plan where I could bring up sex in a way that didn't rub in the fact that this is yet another thing I have to manage FOR her. Her reply was, 'I don't want you running around with a hard on all the time and interrupting me'. If you look at the rarity of our sex life, just exactly what constitutes 'all the time' to her? Well, after 30 years it means that her ADD gets to run the show and don't try to alter it. 

So, yeah, I think she just spaces sex out and then when she does think of it, she can't comprehend that she had me on hold the entire time. I had an old friend call me the other day. He is the same way so I removed him from my life. Right in the middle of the conversation he said 'hang on a minute' And for 3 minutes he talked to some other guy in the background. I know him very well and he would have kept me on the other end for 15 minutes. I hung up. when I told my wife the story she was furious that someone was like that. But she can't grasp that SHE is like that. 

Oh, well... (pours another glass of wine)

She can't change. I get the feeling I'm the idiot here for staying. I want so much for her to just function in a loving way. But, it will never happen.

huge dry spells

codrdave, I couldn't help thinking when I read your post, that 4 weeks of nothing followed by 2 days of sex, then 5 weeks of nothing, 2 more days, then 4 weeks of nothing, etc. sounds an awful lot like a woman's cycle.  In addition to the ADD could there be unaddressed or unacknowledged hormonal issues?  If a woman is ovulating (not on birth control pills) many of us feel a strong desire right around the time we ovulate (about halfway between our periods).  Otherwise, the desire is not as strong (but could still be strong -- it is just MORE strong at the time of ovulation).

I'm new here. Just finished reading ALL of the posts on this fascinating thread. Thanks so much. I have been married twice, first time to a narcissistic man with OCD tendencies (and abusive) and second time to Mr. ADHD, a nice man but withdrew from me emotionally after a short time.  I have been a single parent, and my experience was that as hard as the work was, doing it all myself as a single parent, it was less emotionally stressful to be the only parent, than to also be married to someone cruel or someone emotionally absent from the relationship who also was so distracted he couldn't help around the house (I too have shoveled deep snow all by myself while he stood there and watched or played video games) and would forget important deadlines or bills that were do, and I had to keep track of absolutely everything.

I'll comment back later with a more detailed story, but for now I just especially wanted to point out the possible hormonal cycle connection and also to say that these are tough things to go through, especially my heart goes out to those of you who are so lonely in the relationships and are experiencing attraction to people outside your marriage. I went through these feelings and can definitely relate.

"THEN, he would orgasm in

"THEN, he would orgasm in about 30 seconds and apologize saying "I'm sorry, it's just been TOO LONG"......"

Mine told me (never with the "I'm sorry") it was because I moved too much during sex...either it was over in 30 seconds, or I'd have to play dead, which wasn't any fun, either.

Lynnw...This so funny!

Us men need to get into a Rhythm to have lasting Sex....My W was in her mid 40"s when we married, and only a year from Chemo/Radiation from C...which forced her into metaphase and killed much of her sensitivity...But, as long as we kept our love making from going past 2 or 3 days...I usually could hang w/ her until she could get there...

Then because of the effects of ADD it got to where it would be a month between times or more...And even then she acted like she was doing me a favor, and would be saying hurry before we even started...but, usually after a few minutes of me hurrying...She will start moaning and saying, slowdown....Can make it last?...I'm like REALLY?.....

So during our separation of 11 months, she developed some kind of Vaginismus...The old saying if you don't use it, you loose it...Well it's true, So now she says's its on fire when we try it, so I guess at 53 she's done....She's not a candidate for some treatments due to C...And she's so add, she want us Replens or dilator's at least not regular enough to help....I've tried to help remind her about it the day she is due to use the replens,...But, when she gets mad about something, she tells me all I want from her is sex...So, it's just not worth it...I do feel for her, but, I refuse to offer my help, if it's going to be used a weapon against me. So,under the circumstance's there is nothing I can do...Except with out...Never thought I would say this, but, it's going to be OK either way....God is good....

True believer that there is

True believer that there is some type of a cycle in ADD.   Learned to time the frequency of my husbands meltdowns and could predict when the next one was about to happen.   Anyway he can hold out on sex for a long time.  On occasion I am agreeable to going somewhere together, and he will talk in the car about how much he has been thinking about it and wants it.  When we get home, nothing. He is tired, hungry, doesn't feel good, needs to use the bathroom, has to feed the dog...whatever.   Feels like I annoy on his radar at all on most days.   All I can say is that I really a glad that I don't have to leave be in his skin.   It is miserable enough just hanging out with him.  Sad, but true.  

You hit the nail on the head

I know we are not in a competition, but when I read your post I was jealous!!! 4 weeks without sex? I think I had sex 3 times last year! once on this first quarter and it lacks romance so badly that I feel like saying "fiscal quarter"  My libido is somehow gone and I learned to live this way... Now entering menopause it is hard to cope with it. I see my life going by without the affection and intimacy  I would like to have. I dream about my 20th ....

Wishing you well and may you find reasons to smile or whistle or anything fun and beautiful!


codrdave and jenna..much the same here

" It was great for 3 weeks.  Then, he didn't want it again.  I ask what happened, and he said he was too busy with other things to even think of sex right now...  Ok, I'm busy with stuff too...  But it seems like he's not able to concentrate on more than one thing at a time.  I only get it when HE wants it.  I only get it the WAY he wants it.  There is only one speed for him.  If I have a desire or need for it, I'm out of luck.  I've asked for him to spice it up, but it's not on his mind, so it won't happen."


      This is much the same for me with my ADHD husband. He couldn't keep his mind on sex long enough for both of us to enjoy it. Putting on music with words was too much for him, and we could only have music that was instrumental. He said the words distracted  him.

       I too, only got sex when HE wanted it, which wasn't very often. THEN, he would orgasm in about 30 seconds and apologize saying "I'm sorry, it's just been TOO LONG"......like it was MY fault because it had been too long since the last time. He had a low sex drive, premature ejaculation and sex was always over in less than 5-10 minutes, with him asking me..."Did you come?"  Uh...no..there wasn't enough time to even get aroused. The hard part was, I was VERY attracted to him physically, mentally, emotionally and such, and would try so many different things to spice it up, but sensory arousal was WAY TOO MUCH for him. He hated to be touched in a LOT of areas, including him NEVER allowing me to give him a back rub.  I always tried to look nice, smell nice, and be "visual" for him, but it just didn't work very well. It was even harder because he would NOT talk about how we could make it better. So, suggestions wouldn't work either. When I went through my "sexual peak" around 30...which lasted about 10 years. I was going out of my mind wanting sex, and I would ask him to please "help me out". (so to speak) .......nothing. IMO..when a marriage partner cares so little about your sex life, (which is a vital part of marriage) they shouldn't be angry and upset over obvious consequences that will obviously take place. I never had an affair...(not that I wasn't tempted). Guys used to come on to me ALL the time, but I didn't take them up on it. (but don't think I didn't THINK about it) But, I just couldn't GO THAT ROUTE. I valued my marriage vows, and I didn't want to do that to my spiritual self, and before God. After several years of very little sex and/or physical intimacy, it took a SEVERE toll on how I felt about myself. I didn't feel attractive anymore, didn't feel desireable anymore, and ESPECIALLY didn't feel much like a WOMAN any more.

     Then of all things, HE ended up having a 3 year affair, and since then we've had sex only twice. That was just over 7 years ago. So, now we have a TOTALLY sexless marriage. I had to accept the fact that "this is just the way it is"........but have I liked it?....not so much. But codrdave and jenna....I know how you guys feel, and it's a tough thing to have to handle in a marriage, where sex IMO is a beautiful and wonderful way to enhance one's marriage/relationship.

"Can't he just once see a

"Can't he just once see a need and actually offer to meet it on his own? " Wow; I've asked myself that question a million times. Virtually everything,from chores and repairs to relationship problems. I have to recognize there is a problem, come up with a solution, ask him to do it, and ask, and ask, and remind. Then do it myself..At least I learned lots of skills, having to take care of everything.

I've turned a corner in my attitude...

I have lists a mile long of all the things I do that never get reciprocated. I feel most days Like I have to take care of my wife. I am mostly unrewarded for the effort I put in to things. But, honestly, I'm sick of feeling this way. Indulge me for a minute. 

I've recently picked up a hobby I have liked since childhood. Board games. Yeah, I know, it's a silly hobby. In fact, it's a great hobby. The nicest people, enhanced brain exercise for me and a lot of good socialization. In this hobby, I have found a few ways to help others out with small things. Game designers that need parts made, friends overseas that can't get games that I find for them. Things like this. In engaging in this hobby, I have realized a few things about my attitude. Firstly, it sucks. Justified or not, it sucks. 

So my new outlook is that if I am willing to help someone in need, then why is my spouse excluded. Big flipping deal if my needs are never met. I'm smart and creative so I can find new ways to get those needs met. And I can stop whining about all the inequalities.

In short, I'm sick of hearing me bitch about this. From now on, I simply do all that I can and refuse to see what I'm not getting and instead, see what I do get. I have great friends, amazing kids, a good job, family that loves me. I am blessed and it's high time I take stock of what I have instead of inventorying what I don't have.

Life is short. I'm done being miserable. I'm bringing my own silver and nailing it to the lining myself. 

nuf said.

I think it's good to have a

I think it's good to have a good attitude. But I also think you should imagine yourself 10 or 20 or 30 years in the future and ask yourself if your future self will be satisfied to have spent decades in a marriage without a spouse.  

That's the thing. I'm not

That's the thing. I'm not thinking like that anymore. I refuse to. This is out 30th anniversary and maybe that is why I feel like I'm done whining. I'm already 30 years in. I've had opportunities to marry some amazing people over the last 12 years. For whatever reason, women pursue me. I'm here and I'm doing this. That's all I can say


I'm 30 years in and I can't

I'm 30 years in and I can't see getting to 50 years in with a spouse who can't give me the time of day. My life outside the marriage is great, and I'm not willing to settle for nothing inside the marriage. I still help out my husband but I'm not going to stay married to him.  

I can't believe it's almost

I can't believe it's almost 11 years for me. I'm so mad at myself for not seeing this for what it was 10 years ago. I found this journal that I tried getting us both to write in before we were even engaged, and it was the SAME SHIT! Why was I so determined to make it work? He NEVER treated me well? I feel so sad for myself, that my self esteem was so low that I didn't even think for a second that I deserved better. Ugh. And now that I see it all, I have to choose between breaking my kids hearts or continuing like this. I wish there was a better choice.


I love that attitude.

Honestly, I'm in a mood lately where I am emotionally unattached to my husband, mentally one foot out the door, so I have a special admiration for what you are doing.

Semi-related to what you are doing, but not quite as selfless, I am looking for ways to just make more friends/spend more time with others, so that I simply don't have to deal with the pain as much. I'm also trying to reach out to other hurting people more. It seems like the best way of dealing things right now.

Detaching Is Good

If you keep from getting emotional... don't react to your frustration and remember who you are dealing with -- life is more pleasant.  Just detach. 

They will not change.   The only one you can change is YOU.  One of my best friends always tells me.. " If you can't catch the fish, change the bait".

Don't get mad...  Just find your own happiness where you can.........You got the right idea, 20YrVet..... Keep cool.  Great advice.

Would you do us a favor?

Somewhere down the line, would you please post how this is working? It would be valuable for the rest of us to hear your experiences as you work on adjusting your attitude. Thanks!

Yep, It's Pretty Frustrating...............

I could have written any one of your notes on this forum.... I am you.  But you know what? We all have choices..  Maybe we didn't know who we married at the time and found out about it later -- but now it's got a name.  We can either accept that our partner is "different"....... and compensate for it..  Or we leave.  I have thought about leaving MANY times... but then I remember all the good things about my husband and realize he didn't choose to be the way he is and that life is just as difficult for him as it is for me.   He doesn't mean to aggravate me, ignore me, neglect me, or make me mad..... he just has that talent.    Those of you who have made your lives happier by doing for YOURSELVES have the right idea.  No, they will never be there for you -- they don't have the capacity.  Would you scream at a person with no leg because they can't dance??   These ADHD people have limitations -- and we either accept it or don't.   Venting on forums is great .... It's wonderful to have kindred spirits who understand where we come from.  

But I know I better have someone else handle my affairs when I die.... I better expect to take care of myself if I get sick...   ( I recently had surgery .. Where was my husband? "Working" out of town and finding a new girlfriend... )  Ok....now he's back - I am healed.. and I refuse to let this stuff get to me. 

He's an extrovert.. loves a party... is a hard worker but is EXTREMELY hard to get out of bed in the morning...  the alarm goes off 5 times and wakes everyone up - at 5 am - along with everybody 3 states over.   He never stays in a bad mood -- He has tons of friends......... He has great intentions...  but we all know the downside of ADHD. He drinks too much - spends too much and is totally focused on himself.   Oh well............. So that's when we make our OWN friends.. get our OWN job... our OWN interests... fulfilll OUR lives and stop expecting a person who is incapable of doing that FOR YOU.......be someone he/she isn't. 


Hugz everybody.

Yup my husband is back to

Yup my husband is back to making me all kinds of promises he can't keep. Our 5 kittens are due for their final shots at the vet. Problem is, our vet is only open 9-1 M-F and the vaccine clinic where the shots are 20% off is only Tues and Thurs from 9-11. I've taken 2 days off in the past 2 months to take them to get spayed and get their shots. I work from about 7:30-4 and as of last Thursday my husband moved to 2nd shift which is 2-10:30PM so he can now take them to the vet instead. Well last week I tell him that I'm going to take them in that week and just go into work a few hours late. He says "No, no, no. I start 2nd shift on Thursday so I'll take them in Thursday morning". I say "Are you SURE??" He says "Yeah, it's just up the street right? It's just a matter of doing it". Yup, it IS just a matter of doing it which is why I want to do it to make sure it gets done! So Wed. night I remind him that he's taking them in tomorrow. He goes "What? No, no, no. Let me get acclimated to my new hours first and then I'll take them in. I'll take them in next Tuesday." Wait, why did you assure me you'd do it tomorrow then? Oh and on top of that, he didn't even go into work on Thursday...or Friday...or Monday. Oh he assures me that he will go in today because he texted his new manager. I look at his phone when he's not around and sure enough he has lied to his new boss (who he hasn't even met yet!) that he injured himself on Thursday and had a doctor's appt yesterday and couldn't go in but he'd be there today. How does he get by with this crap? He doesn't even call or text anyone on Thurs/Fri when he's out and gets no reprimand for that (probably thanks to the stupid FMLA leave that he abuses the hell out of!). Then says he injured himself 4 days prior and is just NOW going to see a doctor?? Wouldn't you go the day of?? On top of that, a doctor's appt which takes less than an hour and you can't go into work AT ALL because of it?? And this appt couldn't be scheduled prior to your 2PM start time??? He gets by with this crap ALL THE TIME and now he hasn't even worked with this new crew yet and is already starting up with the fake injury/sickness stories.

So he's supposed to take the kittens in this morning. Well I highly doubt that will happen. He didn't come to bed until 12:30 last night and then was up for about an hour this morning before I left and laid back down. I'm sure he's not going ot be able to pull himself out of bed to go to the vet and most likely won't be able to get to work today either. Today's excuse will probably be a text to his boss saying "Doctor scheduled a phys. therapy appt for this afternoon so can't come in. Will be in tomorow." Oh he'll PROMISE me he'll take them in on Thursday. No way! I am not relying on you to do ANYTHING! I am still waiting on him to call a locksmith to replace locks on his car and trailer from a break in that happened on New Year's Eve. I'm still waiting on him to call an electrician to put up the new heater in the garage that he said he was going to call in December. Oh wait, but now he thinks he can do it and went to Home Depot 3 weeks ago to buy the needed items but bought the wrong breaker and I knew he wasn't going to go replace that for at least a month. Still hasn't gone to get the right one. Still waiting for him to send his daughter's Christmas presents which are sitting in a box on our kitchen table and are now 6 weeks late. Oh but wait that's my fault because his daughter won't return any of his texts or phone calls and I'm the one who should text her and make sure she is still at the same address! Really? I'm sure they have not moved! Send the damn box! I am just so utterly pissed off at the fact that all he wants to do is play his video game for 8 hours a day and then take a 2 hour nap and then eat a bunch of crap and drink.

Empty Promises

My marriage has been built on EMPTY PROMISES...   Just let them go in one ear and out the other... Do it yourself.  Less stress.  :-)

Mapper, I am amazed

Mapper, I've been reading your posts for a while now, and I must say......I am AMAZED that your husband still has a job. I don't know of ANY business that would let an employee not show up for work most of the time. Even if he has good excuses, most employers don't allow so many absences. He must have one incredible boss, or his job isn't important enough to the company to cause them a huge loss of money. And then there's the trips, and the cats and everything else...wow... I'm sorry it affects you and your family so much.

I seriously don't understand

I seriously don't understand how he still has a job either! Especially when his previous manager didn't like him much. It all has to do with the FMLA and the union. As long as you have something to back you up, even if it's bogus illnesses and doctor's appts then you keep your job. The thing is, he tells me he only gets 4 days a month off with this FMLA. Yet for whatever reason he can take 2 weeks off a month and not get in trouble for it! How in the hell does that work??!! Now he's already not shown up in his new area for the past 4 days and has no idea who is manager or coworkers are yet. I mean who purposely doesn't go into work, for 4 days no less, when starting in a new area? He didn't call in on Thurs or Fri, texted his new boss on Mon saying he had a bogus injury on Thursday and had a doctors appt that afternoon and couldn't make it into work but would be in the following day. Then the following day texts his boss again saying he has ANOTHER doctor's appt that day followed by phys. therapy appt and won't be in until today. Really? Who believes this crap?! You have a doctor's appt 4 days after you "injure" yourself and then you have to go in the day after your previous appt for yet another doctor's appt. AND phys therapy? I mean if he doesn't go in today what excuse is he going to use? I wish he had to show notes for EVERY single bogus phys therapy and doctor's appt he has! I mean the occasional once every 3 or 4 months when I call into work saying I can't make it in because I just want a day off, I feel horrible for lying about it. Yet he can lie day after day and not feel bad about it. I know his new manager is going to ask about his "injury". He is going to get himself caught up in so many lies.

Mapper...amazing again

Yep, it is truly amazing. A lot of bosses I know require a doctor's note if you've been out a certain length of time. He may get himself caught one of these days, and I know that would be even more terrible for you. I had a lie a LOT for my ADHD husband in the earlier years. He would use my pain condition as an excuse when he didn't feel like going in to work or go to some event, etc. Until, I told him I didn't want him using me as an excuse anymore. Thankfully, he did stop, but I know not all ADD spouses will do that. It does amaze me that so many people with ADHD (and people who DON'T have it) are so comfortable with lying nowadays. I have never been a good liar, and try not to ever lie because I just feels it's wrong. That doesn't make me "better", it's just what I believe is right. Anyway, your husband's tax returns must be quite revealing. Hugs to you tonight.


Why not leave garbage in the sink?? Easier than loading the dishwasher and you know who ( us) will always clean up the mess.

Sometimes it is like living with a 4 yr old.  Do you find yourself having the same arguments,  pleading for cooperation from the ADHD person -  and

NOTHING ever changes??   We have to choose our battles..  Choose the hill you want " to die on"........... and some of these issues we have to let go.

Otherwise.. all of us will meet in the Looney Bin one day ....   (Unless you've lived it - nobody would understand)....   We do..  Hugz.


Well, my story's taken an

Well, my story's taken an unexpected turn. H and I were discussing an issue last night (long story, but one of the typical things like we all share), and I brought up (again) how I just don't feel treated well, and I don't feel like that's how a person who loves their spouse acts. And he finally said, I don't love you. I asked him how long it's been and he said he didn't know, a long time. Years. He just didn't want to admit it becasue it made him feel "like an @sshole." (Again, how he feels about himself matters more than any pain he's putting me though.)

So, wow. One the one hand, I feel infinitely less insane now. On the other, I am lost. I can't type much more without losing it, but I think it's important to add that I don't think this is necessarily generalizable to anyone else here, because along with the inconsideration/neglect we all share, my H hasn't for a long time done anything actively to make me feel loved. Because I wasn't, I guess.

polkadots...I'm so sorry

polkadots....All I can say, is I'm SO SORRY....that your husband said that, and that he hasn't been truthful with you. I know how much it hurts. Hugs to you today.

How painful.  It falls into

How painful.  It falls into the category of "that explains a lot," but still, so hard to hear the words from the person's mouth.  

Dear polkadots....

I'm another one who feels some of your pain; who maybe gets it. So sorry.

Is it like this for you, I wonder?: My husband's ADHD is so severe that I think of it as a mental illness. I've gotten to the point where whatever he says in a conversation that's longer than a sentence or two, I take with a grain of salt (a boulder of salt, actually). That's because he never initiates the conversation, merely reacts impulsively. Sometimes, it's to fend off his feelings of guilt or responsibility. Sometimes it's because, no matter how grave the topic, he's not fully listening. Sometimes it's because a conversation has devolved to the point where he waits for my lips to stop moving and then says something--anything--containing a word from what I just said. Sort of like a game of "telephone" played in hell. It could be over something as simple as what to eat for dinner or as big as the latest financial disaster.

You were talking about love. You were feeling hurt. Hurt feelings are not fun for him to deal with. Maybe he would never be the one to bring up something so complicated and emotional and important? You expect him to reply somehow to what he's hearing. He responds with a sentence using the word "love", because you seem to be using that word. He's not totally thinking about the impact of his words. He blurts out what he did. Maybe the "having to deal with word stuff from wife" will end for a second for him, if he says something/anything..

Now, he can't take it back. Maybe he doesn't take anything back, even if it's a lie about taking out the garbage, so now that he said something about "love" he's gonna stick to his statement like a dog with a bone. Maybe even convince himself he means it, though he'd never have said it except for this word loop he's found himself in.

And it is all about him, whatever the topic...so the next part of the conversation spirals into his feelings, his fending off judgment..."I don't want to feel like an a-hole"... If you were really having a conversation with a partner, a peer, a grown-up...this talk might go in a lot of possibly painful places. But it's doubtful it would go straight to his fear of being judged an a-hole. That sounds like a 13 year old boy's response to getting caught doing something naughty. That's the ADHD tip-off.

Is that any comfort? I dunno? Maybe? We all deserve to be seen by our spouses, to be honored with true communication, even if it's not always what we wish to hear. And being big girls, we can take it. But this is something else. Something simultaneously painful and random. If a person is so inside his head that he cannot truly interact/share/give-and-take with his life partner...then what do words even mean? Love. What does a declaration of love...or saying he doesn't love...even mean? It's about you, but in a way it's not. Maybe the true revelation, after an awful exchange like that...is that nobody's home.

I bet you are pretty darn lovable, given all you've done to try to understand him and to make a life. Whether he could truly love anybody might be the real question.

I'm separated from my ADHD husband, but circumstances force me to be around him a lot. Recently, I caught him in a devastating lie. A lie so big it would've been laughable, except it wasn't because of what was at stake. I saw him get cornered; grasp for the first out that might end the conversation; realize for a second that it wouldn't fly; and then, unable to admit he spoke impulsively, I watched him embroider that lie until he'd convinced himself he meant it--just digging himself into a bigger and bigger pit. Once he put himself in that position, he couldn't, couldn't, couldn't stop. It was the first time I had enough distance from him to truly observe the whole ridiculous process. It was a shocker. I had to rethink 20 plus years of marriage, because I had to admit to myself how many other lies there'd been--not because he "misunderstood" or "meant well", but because his life strategy is to say anything to get through the moment, to shield himself from facing the consequences of his impulses, to not admit he's an "a-hole".

If this doesn't ring true for you, I apologize. But if it sounds right, maybe you're married to ADHD. And you're not insane. And you never were. And now, you have clarity. And like so many of us, your next challenge is to absorb this and then figure out what to do with this clarity. Hugs to you.


My husband has developed the

My husband has developed the interesting behavior of being willing to tell me the entire truth, including things that make me feel very uncomfortable (joking about killing his parents, who he takes care of; telling me about his mom getting hurt and that he didn't call the doctor; etc.) but not telling these things to other people, while telling the other people things that are not true that make me look like an asshole.  

Rosered, mine is also a

Rosered, mine is also a different person when other people are around. My family thinks he's a great guy. No one will understand why we divorce, and I don't feel like I'll be able to explain it. Plus, I wouldn't want the girls to hear anything second hand. I have no idea how to deal with that aspect of a divorce.

Oh my God, yes. Yes, this is

Oh my God, yes. Yes, this is my life. This is what he does. And what you said is what I've always been afraid of--that he never loved me in the way I think of love as being.

I feel like there's a 2-way mirror in between us. I look through it, and I see him. He looks through it, and sees himself. Can someone like that have ever loved me? I think I've know this for some time now.

Thank you for this and your kind words. I'm still feeling more shocked than I thought I could. Where do I go from here? Can I go back to pretending for the kids? Do I divorce? My girls are 6 and 9, I don't want that for them. I don't see my therapist for another month, maybe I should call her and ask if she can squeeze me in?

and those words "I

and those words "I misunderstood," or, "No, that's not what I meant to say, I misspoke." I've heard that so many times... for fifteen years!

I can't write more or I'll start crying.

"Oh my God, yes. Yes, this is

"Oh my God, yes. Yes, this is my life. This is what he does. And what you said is what I've always been afraid of--that he never loved me in the way I think of love as being".

      This was one of the hardest things I had to come to terms with about a year or so ago, that my husband didn't "love" me the way I think of love either. I believe he loves me, but it feels more like a comfortable love, than an "I love you with all my heart", kind ot love. It was also devastating to know that he could leave me and leave me behind so easily.....and move on to someone else. (like changing a channel) THAT was ESPECIALLY HARD to admit to myself. But, I've read SO MANY other people who have said this same thing about their ADHD spouses...........THAT......their ability to "leave you behind" and move on to another person was so easy for them, and they didn't feel any remorse for doing that. It sure is a cruel reality. It's just something I can't do to someone else. When I LOVE THEM, I love them with all my heart, and mind and body and soul. It's not just a "surface" kind of love. I guess for many ADHD'ers, it's the damaged brain thing that is involved here....(I guess)

      I do know that love changes as the years go by, and it deepens and matures, but I always have held the belief that a couple could "stay IN LOVE" with each other if they felt that, and continued to tell each other that......and MEAN it.  My husband HAS been changing lately, and it's been an incredible thing to watch and experience. He is acting more like I prayed he WOULD.......years ago. I now wonder why he's doing it now after SO LONG.......but I appreciate that he is trying hard.

I'm so sorry


I just wanted to add my voice to the words of comfort here. I'm so sorry you are going through this. I think it would be a good idea to see if your therapist can squeeze you in. Prayers and virtual hugs for you.

Finally, people who can relate

I feel like the OP wrote about my own marriage.  I love my husband and, when I'm not frustrated and overwhelmed, adore him.  Our 8th anniversary is tomorrow and we've been living together for almost 12 years.  We have a 6 year old and a 3 month old.  I work from home full time and go to school (online) for IT.  I chose to work from home when I gave birth to our first son.  I'm expected to do literally everything.  I don't just go to work outside the office where I can focus and get stuff done - I work from home where I take care of the baby, our son (when he's not in school), family stuff (doctor's appointments, insurance stuff, bills, etc.), and sit amongst the mess that is our home.  It's beyond frustrating, because I feel like my life would be EASIER if it was just me and our sons.  I hate that feeling.  I wouldn't necessarily be happier, but my life would be easier.  It's beyond frustrating when you ARE married and you DO have a "partner", yet you still do everything yourself.  For example, today my H called in sick from work.  He's mildly sick - I know he just wanted to finally use a somewhat valid excuse to call in.  Fine, whatever.  He's "doing laundry" which means we'll have mounds of clean laundry that may or may not be folded at some point and will NEVER be put away, so it will wind up BACK in the dirty laundry because no one will be able to tell if it's clean or dirty.  I'm the one who is sick.  The baby and I have been sick for nearly a week now (it'll be a full week tomorrow) and he's gotten a smidge of it.  His ear hurts, as does mine.  He can take medicine for it, but I can't since I'm nursing.  I'm up all night with the baby since he's coughing throughout the night, as am I.  So, I'm really tired.  Anyway, he goes upstairs to take a nap and is pissed off when I don't cheer him on (he'll interrupt my work to tell me that he's going to nap and then stands there.  I give him a thumbs up and he keeps standing there and expects me to...I don't know what.  Give him five?).  He finally wakes from his nap like 2 hours or so later and goes to his computer to play his game.  The baby starts crying and I'm trying to work on something that needs to get done NOW, so I'm trying my best to do what I can while I'm trying to make the baby happy (or just not unhappy).  He never comes in to offer his services.  Instead he comes in after about an hour of this and says, "What are we doing for lunch?"  I have no idea!  I'm too busy to think about what my stomach wants.  Just go get food and bring it to me!  He finally goes to get food, brings it, and takes the baby.  Does he take the baby nicely?  Oh no, he basically yells at me to give him the baby (I've said nothing at this point - just steadily working and trying to soothe baby at the same time).  He takes a dose of something and then comes to me to tell me that he's not going to go pick up our son from school because he whatever he took MIGHT make him drowsy.  Really?  You couldn't have waited to take something later?  He has no cough, no congestion other than his one ear, no runny nose.  Nothing.  So he opts to take something, as I see it, just to get out of picking up our son.  That means I have to load the baby into the car to go get our son while he stays at home and continues either with his game or another nap.  I can't tell you how angry I am.  So, I had him give me the baby so I can nurse him as much as possible before we leave (or else I'll wind up in the backseat nursing him until my son comes out in carpool - it happens more than I'd like to admit).  

When I get back, he may help our son with his homework while I get back to working for another hour or so.  He'll get frustrated with our son, who only does wrong in his eyes ever since the baby was born.  Does he do this out of stress?  I have no idea how.  If I were him, I'd be as relaxed as a sloth (which is actually his nickname from childhood...it's pretty fitting).  He won't offer to cook dinner.  He'll come ask me about it.  I have homework to do tonight, myself.  But he won't care.  He'll play his game until bedtime.  

This is his norm.  Even if he's available, he's not available.  He sees his time away from work as his free time.  It doesn't matter that I never have free time.  His free time is my busy time.  My busy time is my busy time.  This means that 24/7 is my busy time.  I'm so fed up!!  We have a counselor (well, *I* have a counselor) and we have seen him together recently because I've had enough.  He helps to a certain extent, but he gives me this thing about how men and women are by nature.  OK, so men think that they are done for the day when they've hunted what they needed to hunt while the women continue to care for the children, cook, make baskets, and make clothes.  Well, we've evolved enough that he can use his brain and figure out how to be another adult in this house rather than another child.  A child who is not as disciplined as the 6 year old!  I have OCD, so living with this isn't helpful at all.  I'm frustrated beyond compare by the state of our house.  I have to sit here and accept that my home is embarrassingly messy, because I am the only person who will pick up after themselves.  The 6 year old will if I remind him, but the husband won't and will only fight back if I ask (even nicely) to clean up after himself.  After 12 years, you'd think he could figure out that I would like him to wipe up his coffee spills...

I will not divorce him.  I love him and want this marriage.  But, I'm resenting him and it's pissing me off.  Yes, he was diagnosed with ADD when he was a kid and he definitely has it.  But that's no excuse.  I've grown leaps and bounds since seeing my counselor.  I've suffered sexual abuse and rape, which has led to issues in the bedroom and I really, really improved.  I feel shafted and disrespected because I've improved myself for the sake of our family, yet he can't be bothered.  

I just had to share that.  I could go on for days, but I have to pick up our son while H naps again.  I'm just so glad (in a bad way) that I'm not alone in this.  No one else I know understands, because they either perceive they're in the same situation (my mom...she's wrong...my dad does a lot around the house and she has never worked) and aren't or they have a very helpful, involved husband.  Grr!

I feel you.

Ps. I have "a very helpful involved husband" that I love.  ....but he was EXACTLY like that before.

Kick his ass.

 this may help, this may not help… But I remember explaining to my husband that My j.o.b. was watching the kids while he was at work, and that ended at 5:30p! ...that  our family and our joint marital relationship had to work TOGETHER  after that until the end of the day, until everything that needed to be done in our home for our family was done!...and Only then do we BOTH get to relax TOGETHER. … But having a young family was a full-time job around the clock and required all of us, helping out ALL of the time!

hope that helps

god I feel your pain

by the way just because some of the details are different don't think that other people can't get it, or haven't been through exactly what you're going through are at least enough of it to understand!

so sorry darling so sorry!

I would help you if I could!!

I Relate....

I am sorry you are so frustrated... Frustration is screaming at us and I really, truly, understand how it is for you. I've been with an ADHD man for l0 years - we have no children but

he does have two spoiled dogs that demand constant attention and a brother who just moved in with Asperger's.  Talk about stress.  

I know they don't help but their intentions are the best in the World.  The fact that they do have ADHD IS an excuse... a reason.  We have to realize that we will take the responsibilty

they don't want to - clean up the messes that they make -- and choose what battles we want to engage in.    


Best advice I got was to accept the good parts.  These are good guys -- they just have some issues that will never go away.  They are not bad people and the last thing they

want to do is make their wives mad !!!  That is my husband's worst nightmare.. that he's made his wife "MAD"...  

Celebrate the good things -- In my case, my husband is outgoing, an extrovert, never holds a grudge and can't stay mad for more than 6 minutes. He is home with me

every night and does not hang in bars. Yes, he has to spend hundreds of hours in the garage but at least I know where he is.   I knew what he was when I married him and

decided to throw the dice.   I have fantasized a thousand times about divorcing him but I love this man with all my heart.

Try not to get angry and start blaming with resentment.  They cannot change but you can help them by being patient -- and giving them more time than you would require to get

a task done. They do not have a timetable like we do.   They lose track of time and are so easily distracted.   If you need to remind him - do so.  Otherwise - he will most likely

forget.   I've learned to let alot go.. and know that I just have to get busy with what makes me happy and let him be who he is.   If we start nagging -- that is a downward spiral to

nowhere and accomplishes zero.   Do what makes you happy.  Bubble baths.  Lunch with girlfriends.  A movie.  Anything -- and center yourself.   If you want a date night - ASK for it.

If we wait for them to suggest it - we may wait a LONG time. 


I wish you good luck -- and I would suggest you seeing a counselor for YOU - to learn how to cope with this man.   My husband and I go to joint counseling -- it's helped alot but since

your husband won't go - I would strongly suggest YOU go..  And if you can afford someone to come in and help you clean -- hire someone.  Maybe a high school girl who would like

to earn a few bucks.    I would have suggested not having a 2nd child since your husband is no help to you -- but, again.. I'd encourage getting a high school girl to come in and

be a Mom's helper -- for a couple hours a week to give you a break.


No, it is not easy.  It's the most frustrating thing I've ever lived through..  but like you.. I will never divorce my husband.  He smokes too much, drinks too much,

spends too much,  but I had the presence of mine to keep our finances separate.  That way I will never resent him for spending the money.  Life is never dull with this man.

NEVER.  (If we'd been young and starting a family - I wouldn't have married him.  He is a FULL time job.. )  lol  Hugz

No ADHD or ADD, but could've written every word

First, I apologize because I have no idea how I ended up on this site, having NO ADHD or ADD in our family...  Being very disgruntled about how our morning went, I simply did a search on" why do I do everything in my marital relationship while my husband does nothing?" I immediately became obsessed with the entire string, knowing I could've written every single word.

I've studied both sides of the equation, being "happily married" but with a thriving divorce fantasy where I only have to take care of my children part time and have plenty of life left over to pursue my own interests and where the love in my life actually makes  loving gestures and loving holidays truly loving like every other relationship I've had in my life except this marital one...............then there's the other side, other phases where I was able to focus on being grateful, realizing  The things about him that I appreciate that I saw from the beginning and that even though he is incapable of parenting or multitasking a household like I do, he is trying and he does love us and we all have our limitations... or when under threat of looming marital failure, my husband actually cared enough to start doing some of the things listed already here as effecting help or initiating partnership in some way, or 'the heavy lifting.'

when I was completely outdone with the cultural situation I found myself in, like generations of women world-round before, I found myself at a fire pit with nine others, and it was very enlightening to realize after my angry rant that every single woman at the fire pit felt the same exact way irregardless of whether they decided to divorce or stay in their "happy marriage".

two words of encouragement:

1.  The wisest thing I ever heard was don't believe anything you think or feel until your youngest is at least 4 1/2 to 5 years old. If you can make it white knuckling to that point, it does get so much easier, and you do have a chance if there's love.

2. The wisest thing my mom ever said to me was, "oh honey, we each have to train our own." I see a lot of women wanting not to be seen as a bitch, not to feel like a bitch, to be bitchy, or angry, or resentful, or pushy, or Naggy.... But the truth is, from my experience at least, that our guys aren't going to figure it out on their own, every bit of work you're willing to put in forms your 'partnership' agreement...   I too spent my time frustrated that H's mother didn't complete his upbringing, but it's the same all over the world, with a few exceptional domestic geniuses, Whether it's chromosomal or societal or cultural doesn't matter… (except of course in my being adamant NOT to raise sons like this!) ...what matters is realizing how to make our own situation better and that is, sorry to say, but just like training a dog, a horse,  relationship of any sort…consistency in our expectations, fairness, and superfluous positive reinforcement.

there are other types of relationships that I yearn for of course, but I'm committed to making this one work for all of us and that seems to be working even though it's a constant struggle.

 It's crazy how hard it can be though…i've been in the military, I've been to law school, I've worked till 3 AM in start up companies, but that was all fun and easy PEZ Adventureland compared to raising  kids like a single mother not a single mother with another big adult man-child and no funds for help and no community support. It damn near killed me.  It took me to the end of my wit… Completely excavated my spiritual strength, emotional strength, physical strength, mental fortitude, nervous system, humor, and general ability to be around other people...I don't know how I made it, and I'm sure I didn't make through the same person that I started out... Doesn't sound like anybody you'd want to be married to  anymore does it? Crazy what we put each other through. Thank God I've had some recovery time since putting the kids in school. I spent almost all of it at chiropractors putting my body back together, in group therapy, and doing community service for a DUI I never thought Id be one to get… are you getting the picture yet? Train wreck. Necessary train wreck. Things are really looking like they're going to come back together quite nicely in the end. ...Against all odds it seems.

good luck ladies. I feel you. I'm sorry for all of the ones of you that I'm sure I just offended and I'm grateful for all the ones of you that were brave enough to share and help normalize my own experience.

just remember and it helped me to realize… That we all have our own row to hoe so to speak... That it's not any easier for the dudes sometimes…that even though they have their feet up and it looks like they're taking it easy right now when we are breaking sweats and running around the house with screaming children and dirty laundry and shoes blocking the door... They probably get their's at another time or place when we don't see it. ...at least that's what I tell myself when I pick up his shoes and his dirty Kleenex and his f**king clothes on the floor by the bed for the hundred thousandth f**king time!

finding my way to make peace with things, but I damn sure know which sex I'm going to be next time around! (JK!)

-The Constant Gardeners


Found this thread this weekend, and it

Found this thread this weekend, and it continues the eye-opening experience I'm having about so many parts of my life. I am reading Sari Solden's book about women with ADHD, and wow! does that fit my life. And now I'm reading things that all of the people here are posting about their spouses, and I'm realizing, wow! does that fit my ex-husband! Like many here, I thought that he was just being passive-aggressive when he somehow could not remember to do simple things like hang up his towel after his shower so that it could dry. I have a severe mold allergy, and I always asked him to please only put dry things in the laundry. Never happened. Not in over 10 years of marriage. Same with just carrying his dirty laundry downstairs with him and throwing it in front of the washer, which was right off the kitchen. Never happened, even though he came directly to the kitchen first thing in the morning to get himself breakfast. And on and on, ad nauseum.

When we were packing up for a cross-country move shortly after marriage, I had to force myself to allow people to help me. It was really hard due to the expectation of humiliation because I had a lifetime of stuff in a small 1 BR apartment, which my ex also moved into upon our marriage. Of course it was cluttered. But as I feared, I heard the dreaded sarcastic remark -- from my new mother-in-law. "Well, I had hoped you'd be able to help him become better organized, but I can see you're no better."  Gulp. I'd forgotten all about that -- and yes, before we got married, his place was as bad as mine. Wow. Our poor son inherited more from us than our big feet, poor kid. :\

So many things make sense now -- endless hours of him seemingly 'addicted' to a video game. Times when one would expect a husband to be there for his wife (like post-surgery or post-miscarriage), and instead, he simply forgot about her. Like, literally forgot.

I know he has more than just ADHD. When I started therapy after my ex said he wanted to divorce -- no counseling, no separation, nothing -- my therapist heard a lot of what had been going on and mentioned personality disorders, which I'd never heard of before. He certainly has some disordered traits. It's making it difficult to co-parent with him, as for example, he doesn't want 'his' son to be 'labeled' by ADHD -- even though DS has had problems for years, and they're getting worse and worse. Finally, I think I have enough people on my side that we'll be able to do everything that we can do shy of needing his permission, too. I hope it's enough. But as far as when he's got our son?  I was shocked to see ex and his gf taking my son our bike riding in our town without a helmet. If they choose not to wear them, it's stupid, but their choice. My son has trouble remembering to do things like looking both ways when he crosses the street. To know that he does that on his bike without wearing a helmet...it terrifies me. I've purchased multiple helmets and given them to my ex, and they keep getting 'lost.' I just don't understand it. He used to be really careful with our son's safety, and now it's just like he wants to be ...oppositional?

Like others here, I've been both a married person with undiagnosed ADHD in my house (both of us, it turns out), and I've been a single mom. No family closer than 1200 miles away. When I started out, I had 2 co-workers that I considered friends, though I rarely saw them outside of work. And I'd developed too much shame to ask for help. Oddly, being forced out on my own also forced me to learn what I needed to do to survive for my son. I had to do my absolute best to be the healthier parent. A few years later, I'm just now starting the diagnosis process, but I have already been doing some of the things recommended, I just didn't know it. I am luckier than some in that my ex is a mostly-responsible parent. For the first time, I do have friends -- wonderful friends who have been there for me through the kinds of things my ex-husband was not. I have been able to pretty much start my life over. While it hurt like hell when he had multiple emotional affairs (at least) when we were married, and tossed me aside and took up with someone new before my side of the bed was cold, I'm totally comfortable with it now. He and his gf are surgically attached at the hip, and they can have each other. He and his issues ran our lives, and there's no way I could have gotten to this place while married to him. Hell, I was suicidal with him! 

I just wanted to say thank

I just wanted to say thank you for your story, and I'm glad this thread is still going strong a year and a half later. I hit such a point of frustration with my husband this morning that I googled something about "how do I get my husband to help without having to ask every time," and voila. Your story (along with so many others' here) could have easily come directly from my mouth, with the ONLY difference being my husband's garage time is actually xbox time. He's not officially diagnosed with ADD, and I think he's joked on occasion that he might have it, but neither of us have put serious thought into it. I probably will from this point forward, though.

The details of my situation are a perfect reiteration of what everyone here has said... husband has to be asked several times to do simple, "obvious" tasks, though usually doesn't until he sees me give up and do them myself; plays video games after I get home from work (and long long into the night) instead of helping with our toddler; only works two or three days a week, so has little excuse to NOT be helping with chores (again, video games are more fun than chores); doesn't take serious talks well, but complains that I never talk to him (he wonders why, but he doesn't realize he gets hyper-defensive and blows up every time I try to talk with him about serious issues between us); watches as a wear myself to shreds dealing with a difficult child, then only after I break down and cry will he say, "Just tell me you need help and I'll help!"; thinks a tummy ache constitutes not getting up and helping get a toddler ready when I'm short on time, though I do the same and more with full-blown flu and the like (though usually the excuse is he's exhausted (because he stayed up until 6am playing on the xbox)); and on and on and on. 

I usually take the single mom approach, though I have to be careful and not be too headstrong about it or he'll notice and get upset with me, because on those occasions I'll basically pretend he doesn't exist and concentrate solely on myself and our child. Right now I'm trying to find a balance between knowing I can't rely on him, trying to rely on him anyway, and keeping everyone happy. In my house, the saying is "Happy HUSBAND, happy life." My happiness almost seems irrelevant, but I have worlds more patience and ability to put up with crap than he does, and my anger isn't apparent until I've reached my wit's end. Husband has a short fuse and the filter between his brain and mouth is nonexistent. He rarely says anything hurtful, but as an empath and an emotional sponge, any anger and frustration he experiences, I also experience. As a peaceful person, it's agonizing to feel anger and frustration over something that doesn't even affect you.

Despite all his flaws, I love him very much, and I truly feel like he's worth my efforts... almost like my soul knows something I don't and will cringe at the thought of leaving him. Could be Stockholm, but I like to think I'm sound of mind enough to know these things. Plus, I always have my mom checking in. Her first marriage was a bad one, and my husband reminds her very much of her ex, the only difference being that my husband prefers cannabis to alcohol (which I'm honestly okay with, because the worst he does when he's high is talk too much, and he becomes more patient and sweet with our son if he happens to wake up).

I think I've lost my original train of thought at this point, and I need to wrap this up and go back to work anyway, so I'll end here. To sum things up, thank you to EVERYONE for your stories, because it's offered me a great deal of comfort and peace, and the knowledge to help my husband feel that I don't absolutely hate his guts for not being as helpful as I'd like him to be. 

I can't believe I found this!

wow I can't believe how much I feel the same way about my husband!  I was so upset with my husband who has ADD.  This morning he didn;t want to wake up for work bc he stayed up too late last night, obsessing over something he was doing in his tool/work room.  He took some of our sons adderall this morning and when i confronted him he lied about it.  He has been on ritilin but after loosing his job last year, lost his insurance and stopped getting perscription.  well now he has a job and insurance but isn't even responsible enough to make a doctors appointment for himself!  we have been through hell in our marriage and we have only been married almost a year.  I was a single mother before marrying him and when things get bad( there are times when things seem ok, and times when things get really crappy) I have thought, what have I got myself into!  if i were a single mom again i wouldn't have to deal with all his issues and messes!! he never cleans up after himself. anyway, i'm glad i found this site on a day like today, and I will be bringing up his ADD at marriage counseling again, next time we go.  oh and I will never forget 5 months ago when we had our daughter. it was so bad.  It was my due date, I went to sleep, my H was still awake doing somthing.  I wake up at midnight and he is gone!  i'm freaking out thinking "what the hell where is he? what if i go into labor?"  i call him and after few attempts he picks up.He tells me he went to a friends house. he will be home soon. i'm like ok, what the hell? thats wierd. so he finally comes home about 2:00, and I was upset with him and he turns it around on me and getting pissed at me!  he ends up going crazy throwing things and dumping cans of food and the ground he threw a knife at the ground.  I was scared so i call him mom and ask her to come pick him up bc I am scared.  Long story short she doesn't end up coming, acting like this was all my fault, so i had to leave with my other 2 kids at about 3 AM on a school day and go to my parents house.  The next day his mother and him are fighting with my parents over the phone. I mean it really made me sick to think his mother would join in on this arguement and defend him and attack me while im 9 months pregnant.  So anyway i went home a few days later and went into labor, had our beautiful daughter, and later that day he calls me after he left the hospital and tell me I should call his mother and appologize to her for arguing with her the other day!!! WHAT??! then the next morning I ask him to come pick up me and baby bc the hospital is sending us home and he says he doesnt know when he will be there to get us bc I didn't apologize to his mother!!  Crazy right?  Thank god we are going to counseling now and things are not as bad, especially since I do not have to see his mother as often anymore.  But we still have lots of work to do. 

Needing Some Perspective

After seven years of marriage, working full time, three pregnancies and two live children, and supporting a husband with ADD I feel completely exhausted. This is not even close to what I signed up for when I got married. I had so many dreams and prior to marriage I had a great career, traveled a lot, was healthy and financially sound. Since I have been married my career has suffered, I have incurred so much debt, and my health has worsened and of course I travel much less (this one I am not resentful about as we have small children and it is normal to travel less with such littles!).  My husband was diagnosed with ADD in his 40s, he took the initiative to get diagnosed and seek psychiatric medication and counseling.

He has never sustained full time paid work and he suffers with low self esteem and a lack of confidence. Every single day I feel so overwhelmed with working, taking the lead of household, social, childcare etc. He does work part time and has sustained that for a year, he does provide childcare for our children (who are not old enough for school yet), and he does do some house work. I create detailed schedules that are visual and direct in nature and after years of fighting about him forgetting things and shirking his responsibilities he will now follow the schedule. He even is in charge of creating the schedule on his own now and I review it to ensure accuracy. This slight progress took so much debating, fighting, forcing and effort on my part and finally he has been doing this for over a year and things operate smoother when he uses this technique. It sounds good right? Some success?

The price of this slight success feels like it is killing me. I am not saying that to be dramatic, I literally feel exhausted emotionally and physically all the time. I have to do 10 things to his 1 thing and I have let go of so many "non essential" things to focus on just what I can manage. How will we ever climb out of debt and be able to provide for our kids? How do I feel anything positive towards him when I can hardly rely on him and do not respect him at all? How do I sustain being in a marriage where my husband's actions hurt me so much yet I have no control over positive improvement? I am a problem solver who has tried everything I can think of to solve our problems....I just do not think I can solve a problem I have no control over.

Do any of you have any experiences with improving financial situations? My husband brings in so little each month, and I work extra hard and long hours to bring in more and more and more. But, I can only do so much. I have cut every "extra" cost and have found a boarder for our "guest room" for different times of the year, minimized any paid childcare, we use cloth diapers and wipes, made all our own baby food, grow a garden and can, do not have cable, gym memberships etc. We both have student loans from graduate degrees and we have credit card debt that we incurred every time my husband lost another job. I have sat with a financial planner who told me to consider filing bankruptcy - but I can not see that helping us and the process is too expensive for us to afford right now anyway! Any success stories will greatly help me - even if I just gleam one or two additional strategies to try.


Hugs mainemama (I'm in Maine

Hugs mainemama (I'm in Maine too btw!). I think all of us here know exactly how you feel. It's bedtime here but I will write more tomorrow. 


Another "Mainah"

How wonderful to find another person from Maine here. Good to meet you, although the circumstances could be better. Thanks for your kind response, it has been rough lately.

I'm trying to think of more

I'm trying to think of more money-saving tips, but you've really got things covered. Line-drying laundry, short showers? I keep our electricity bill to about $40/month, but we also have a small house. I cook vegetarian a lot, lots of beans in the crock pot (which my girls LOVE, so that makes my life even easier!).

My H was just gone for 3 weeks visiting his parents, and it was so wonderful. I think I'm going to file for divorce very soon. I just can't do it any more. :-(  I'm so scared though.

Resigned2B's picture

Rely on spouse...

Please, can you tell me what has happened to you? I've been in this 31 years and today I want to die...

Resigned2B's picture

Rely on spouse...

Please, can you tell me what has happened to you? I've been in this 31 years and today I want to die...

Resigned2B's picture

Going on...

Too much, too little time, too hopeless to change...

Resigned2B's picture

Help you...

Thank you Rosered,

I've just invested so much time to my husband and six children (now all adults) that to realize that none of them understand what it means that half of them had/have ADHD and what that takes for a nonAdHDer makes me feel hopeless.

My chronic liar ADHD husband has spent all our retirement without telling me. Yet, when anything that points to his guilt comes up he is ALWAYS the injured party. With all I've been through (with everyone deciding I was the problem) I feel humiliated and hopeless. I will be 60 in a week. My husband, 61, has recently been diagnosed with diabetes. We don't have the money I was counting on to take care of our needs as we now age. 

And all of that would still be okay if I thought any of them even cared about me or cared to understand what actually happened over 31 years as a result of my husband's undiagnosed ADHD. Last night my husband so generously pointed out how/why they all hate me. I just give up...


I don't think anyone really understands unless they have a good grip on how ADHD can rip families and people apart. I'd get help but our insurance company has a co-pay that we can't even come up with. In addition, not ONE of the 13 docs that were given to me by CHADD is on my insurance company's paneled doctors. So, it's not like I haven't tried to help myself out of this endless hole.

( ´_ゝ`)


Resigned, I'm so sorry you're

Resigned, I'm so sorry you're feeling this way. I know what it's like when everyone thinks it's all your fault. It's awful. You need someone, a friend, who can validate you right now. It makes all the difference in the world to not feel so utterly hopeless and crazy. What your husband has done is probably financial abuse. Can you contact a domestic violence shelter? They can help. Big hugs.


Hugs to you



First and foremost, my heart goes out to you. You are going through a lot. I like polkadots' suggestion about getting in touch with a shelter. Also, I don't have it in front of me, but I believe it was Rosered who encouraged you to get some emotional support from friends, and I second that. Also, do you have any family members (like nonADHD children, siblings or siblings-in-law) who understand some of what you're dealing with from also having to deal with ADHDers like your husband and half your children? I would also look into any social work and low-cost legal resources where you live. I know that we have at least one university in our area that has a low- or no-cost clinic that offers counseling, help from social work students, and help from law students for people who qualify. If there's anything like that in your city, you may qualify.

If you have any money at all and can establish a separate bank account, I'd advise doing that, too.

If your initial question was directed to me, the answer regarding what happened is that things are continuing more or less as they were. I tend not to jump out of unpleasant situations (I've taken forever to change jobs when I was unhappy at work), and things are not worse for us. There were times when I thought maybe things were getting a little better, but honestly, the last year has been hard, as our child is struggling in school and has been diagnosed with a laundry list of emotional and mental disorders. Since helping her has been such a high priority for me, and I still work full-time and carry the lion's share of work around the house with no notion as to when I can actually count on my husband to do what he says he'll do, I just don't have energy right now to invest in improving my marriage. He did agree to ONE session with me and my counselor, and we talked about how I wanted to feel like he cherished me and to feel like we were partners, and he actually did seem to listen -- he didn't really get all that defensive (a little, but not much) and said in general ways that he would try to change things. That wasn't all that long ago, so maybe he really will, but so far I've seen no real results. My counselor thinks he has something else going on besides ADHD -- he may be on the autism spectrum or have an attachment disorder. He doesn't do relationships well beyond being a good "buddy" to friends, probably because that only requires sporadic commitments.

I keep reminding myself that he is a man of good will -- not really a bad person -- but it can be so stressful to live with someone who may never change, and sometimes I do fantasize about getting out. I frequently feel like I'm drowning because of the stress, but I am hoping that if we manage to successfully launch our child into the adult world in a few years, maybe it will get a bit better. I also confess that I've been alone so frequently as he's gone off and done his own thing that I find myself preferring my own company to being in his company. The fact that I feel that way bothers me.

I don't know that that gives you any hope. I wish I could say that everything was improved, but it just isn't. The good news is that it isn't any worse, except for the fact what we've (I've, really) had to deal with with our daughter.

I know it must feel utterly hopeless right now. Please hang in there. Keep up your search for whatever emotional/financial/legal help you can find, even though I know you've gotten some discouraging results. Keep us posted on how you are doing. It is incredibly difficult to be in a relationship with someone with ADHD, especially if is untreated or undertreated, and you're right: people who aren't going through this don't understand what we're dealing with. But we understand, and we're listening.

Did you just find this out?

<< My chronic liar ADHD husband has spent all our retirement without telling me. Yet, when anything that points to his guilt comes up he is ALWAYS the injured party. <<


Did you just find this out?  What did he spend the money on?  


My H spend a chunk of our retirement without me knowing.  Since then, I have my own accounts.  I will never let him screw with me again, money-wise.  


Do you both work?  If you work, can you start a separate savings?  

Resigned2B's picture

Find out....

I found out in April, 2014. He had been printing out fake 401k statement and would make loans against it in minutes. He put the money into paying his company's payroll without protecting it. He negotiated a 20% CUT in pay without telling me and then told me we were running out of money because I was spending too much.

Rather that to talk to me about finances tonight he, again, just wanted a divorce. Then he calls ME childish. I locked our door and told him to go file if he wanted to trash 31 years. This is a tactic he would use when I was drugged up on antidepressants, tranquilizers, and pain meds when HE was undiagnosed! Now I'm not on any of them and I call him on what he does and he HATES that and tells me we don't have a 'chance' of making it.

He knows this will hurt me as he follows it up by I haven't ever 'enhanced' his life. It really is quite depressing as he is the one who has lied to me and is SO childish he can't talk about finances with me EVER. He borrows behind my back to pay taxes and has unplugged us now from our 401k completely. I never know what's true and what is him just covering his butt. What I do know now is when he is THIS indignant, he is covering something up. There's just no way for me to find out what since he's the CEO of the company...

Out six kids were always led to believe, as was I, that it was ME who was depressed and simply out of my mind. I had ECT treatments because of my husband's undiagnosed ADHD. I was blamed for my kids having it.  Now they won't listen to any other explanation. Well of COURSE I was depressed. Who wouldn't be picking up all the slack and NEVER being successful at herding 5 cats!!!

First, I am so sorry.

First, I am so sorry.

second, I want to reiterate that this is abuse. Yes, your husband had ADHD, but that's far from his biggest problem. He's probably a narcissist too. You really need to see a therapist. They will be able to help you see what's normal and what's not. I know when you're lied to for years, it can destroy your ability to trust your own judgement. Look up the term gas lighting, I think it will explain a lot to you.

and then, protect yourself! And try to find a network of support. Is there a group for women who've left long term abusive marriages? 

Resigned2B's picture

So sorry...

I'm very sceptical of therapists.  I've seen a few over the past 20 some years. One thought I should have an affair with him and the others never caught who the donating DNA was for the ADHD. Even though they knew my first two children were from a different birth father, and  they showed NO signs of it. It the docs had just listened to ANY of my stories they should have caught it. Instead they were more than happy to give me the chemotherapy when it was soft-spoken my husband with the cancer.

You are right about gas lighting. His need for adrenaline will prompt him to feel justified in watching a fire when he's the one who has the matches in his pocket. Then, much like an arsonist, he can sit back and watch the meltdown. I'd take half the money and run but now that I've found out all of his lies; half of nothing is still nothing. At 60 it's not like I'm marketable or can start a 'career' with no education. And to be honest, I really don't want to. I don't see what's so hard about being honest and treating your spouse like a partner.

Yet for him, as I suggest that concept, he's ready to file divorce papers. What a waste...

Thank you so much for all who have tired to help me. I'll come back often. For any who want to know this entire story just hit my name and it will bring them all up... :{

Does his company have value?

Is this a company that HE owns?  If so, does he realize that if he divorces you, he will owe you half of the business?


Usually, info like that will stop someone in their tracks.  


Depending on where you live, there are courts that would punish him for fooling you with fake documents, etc.  

Resigned2B's picture

Company value...

Unfortunately, in the Obama economy, there is no value any longer in the company. So half of nothing is still nothing. Had I known he was lying earlier, I could have taken steps to protect the assets we did have. But, those years are over now...

It's sad any way you look at it. If only I had known I would have done MANY things differently. I could've not had so many children. That way I would have had the strength to pick up the slack for his disability. But to try to do it for so many of them, I just gave up after 20 years. I thought I was just a failure as a wife and mother and my husband was more than happy to encourage that belief.

There's no time to financially recover at this age. Now they want to lower what everyone gets in the SS checks and what Medicare will even cover. And that's all the money we'll have to retire on... We were supposed to have 1-2 million in the company and another 1 million in our 401k. We now have zero... It's quite a shock. And to have him act like the injured party is such a slap in the face!

You're in a really tough spot

No doubt about it -- your situation is really difficult and really tough to get out of.

Given what you've said, I think it comes down to either being miserable where you are or to fight like anything to get out of the situation. I can't promise that the things you try will work. It will be hard. But you may find yourself in a better spot (even if not an ideal one), and if nothing else, you'll know you've tried your best.

Your husband is truly abusing you. He should behave like a decent human being, but I don't think his behavior is going to change. Given that, I suggest sitting down with multiple blank sheets of paper and a pen and brainstorming about ways to make things better for you. Consider what will help you financially, what will help you feel happier, everything. True to the notion of brainstorming, don't censor your ideas, even they seem crazy or like they would never work or like they'd be unpleasant. So that means that you might include getting on antidepressant, turning a hobby into a job, seeing a different counselor (even though you've been burned before), establishing a network of supportive friends, starting an exercise program (if you haven't) to boost your mood and lower your stress, finding a pro bono lawyer to help you divorce your husband and require him to work and send you alimony, checking out self-help books like The Dance of Anger from the library, telling your children (at least the ones without ADHD) firmly, "This is what's going on. I need your support. If you can't support me, while I'm not cutting you off, I need to limit contact with you and seek out people who will support me. I need to take care of myself now, and if that means spending less time with hurtful people, I need to do that." Some, maybe much, of what I'm throwing out there won't work for you, but right now just write EVERYTHING that occurs to you down. Next go through the list. If you've tried something, you may want to cross it off your list, but before you do, ask yourself, "Did I give things enough time to work? If I was burned by two counselors, does that really mean all counselors are crap, or can I find one who can work with me?" (You can ALWAYS fire a counselor who isn't working.) If something truly is not feasible (and I do mean absolutely not, like there are no libraries that you can access for the idea about checking out self-help books), cross those off, too. Then I'd start with the easiest things, try those, and keep working my way through the list, tackling more and more difficult and/or unpleasant things, seeing what works, until you feel like you are in a better place where you can feel happier and more secure.

This situation sucks. People should never be treated the way you've been treated. But you can't change what's been done to you, and you can't change other people, no matter how awful and unfair they are, so the best you can do is figure out what you can do for yourself and do what you can -- for your own sake.

Hope this makes sense. We're here for you.

Resigned2B's picture

Tough spot...

First, let me say thank you for taking so much time and thought into your counsel. 

To give you an idea, this is what my married 32 year old son without ADHD (They have one 2 year old daughter) said to me when I had a (handful of pills) suicide attempt a couple of years ago; prior to me finding out it was my husband's ADHD all along. I had sent him two links that explained how people close to the suicidal individual need to respond to someone who has felt this desperate. I could have pulled the same information from ANY suicide hotline site. And to be honest, so could he have. Here's what he wrote back to me when I was begging him for support:

"Neither of your links were written by doctors and both were meant for primary care givers of the person with depression, not their adult children with families of their own." (In other words, he was too busy for such tripe.)

His email went on to berate me for even thinking about talking to him about this or any other part of my life... 

Now that I'm off all meds (for a year and a half) I have bent over backwards to make up to him the mean things I had said while in a virtual drugged mind-spin. For the past 18 months I have been wonderful and patient with all of my family including him and his wife and, now two, children.

Here's a small part of what he texted my ADHD husband (his stepfather for the last 30 years) just a few months ago:

"My feelings towards Mom remain unchanged; she is not welcome here unless she has been invited." 

You see, I had stopped by for five minutes to give something to our newborn granddaughter. Everything was very pleasant, no problems etc., but I guess this 'dropping by' had caused a huge issue.

When I read his text, written to my husband, I wanted to run so far away that no one would ever have to deal with me again. Nothing I had done, no apology I had made, no effort over the 18 months had softened his opinion of me in the least. I realized then that nothing ever would; not on this earth anyway. No explanation of ADHD would suffice. My kids would simply see it as their mom trying to blame anyone but herself...

Counselors, good or bad, are a luxury we can't afford anymore. If we can get our house paid off before my husband retires we'll be lucky. If we can take care of our own financial/medical needs on only Social Security (that the government is making every effort to CUT right now) it will be a miracle.

All the things that we had ever dreamed of doing in our golden years have been reduced to acquiring good cat-food recipes. All our other friends are retiring, going on cruises, enjoying their grandchildren, etc.. So, even if my husband were perfect from here on out, our life as I (we) had planned is over.

My doctor has apologies for me all over the place. He's been our primary care for 17 years. He has my husband, recently diagnosed with diabetes, on ADHD meds. At 61 however, they can only give him so much. Then, without counseling and coaching I can only expect so much change from him. My adult kids, on the other hand, for the most part won't discuss anything with me. But they will talk endlessly with their 'hero' dad. All they remember is that I was the problem, I went into depression, I was on meds, I had ECT. The 'whys' of that are of no interest to them.

I have one extended family member still living. She's my sister. She has her own problems and really doesn't know how to help me anyway as her knowledge of ADHD is so limited. And all these years, she herself, thought it was my depression that was the issue. She thought genetically the ADHD had come from me; NOT from my 'angelic' husband. She's just starting to even understand the scope of the sacrifices and loss of self I have endured.

Our friends all like my husband. They don't have any interest in getting between us. Not even our Bishop will touch it. After all, my husband is a successful CEO and good friend to all our friends. He has ALWAYS cared more about what other people thought about him than he has ever cared what I think about him. If there is a person alive who is better at pretense and parsing their words--I have yet to meet them! They have generally all felt very Kerry for him that he's had to take care of such a 'fragile and sick' wife.

YUCK! That's what I think when I know he's set every fire! But others? They wouldn't even believe it. Nonetheless, I have stood my ground from the minute I went off the meds and put this all together. I am truly a very strong person. I love my mom but I was raised by guilt (as was she) and my husband prayed on that and got exactly what he wanted. Back in the day, I was a model with Christie Brinkley. And even at near age 60 I can rival nearly any other 60 year old model, including Christie. 

I was educated at one of the top ten college prep schools in the country. I never got my degree because I got married and started having my family. I think both these facts upset my husband in some ways. He knows e married up and wants to make sure he has the upper hand... Had I known the end from the beginning, I could have been such a better wife and mother. I would not have had so many kids knowing my husband's DNA would create what amounts to raising five kids for every one human body. Instead of always being in survival mode I could have gotten a handle on the issues and been a true help to the man I love with this disability.

The ONLY place I can come to spill the truth is this site. Thank The Lord you are all here!







I highly recommend the

I highly recommend the following website and organization for anyone in a marriage to or relationship with a person whose behavior has crossed over into neglect or abuse.  It's particularly relevant if you are religious or a member of a church but even I, an atheist, find it very helpful.




Just wanting to add a little humor here, I think we all should invest in online singles services. They are the ones making all the money.

Think theres something in our food causing all this with all the chemicals I can't pronounce?   Thanks FDA

You've definitely been abused

I'm glad we provide understanding if nothing else. You've definitely been abused. Hopefully sources like the site rosered posted will also be helpful. Hang in there.

What type of business is this?


Unfortunately, in the Obama economy, there is no value any longer in the company. So half of nothing is still nothing. Had I known he was lying earlier, I could have taken steps to protect the assets we did have. But, those years are over now...



The economy is improving.  Are you saying that there is no hope for the future of this company?  Has it been closed?


Are you sure that your H isn't playing games to make the business look worthless (now and in the future) so that he won't have to buy you out?  I would be concerned that during the divorce proceedings he would make it look like the company has no value, but then magically after the divorce, it makes him a comfortably living.


If you do divorce, I would make sure that there is some sort of claim on any future income from this business or any new similar business your H is involved with.  (You don't want him doing an "end run" and just get involved with a similar business while letting this one go into the toilet).


Linsy's picture


After I got ex out of the house, I was invited to a group for abused women, and the leader in a one to one, gently explained to me that I had been in an abusive relationship. Emotionally, financially, physically abusive. Endless picky criticism, absolute refusal to earn and pay for anything, hitting and slapping, rage and shouting when I objected. His 'coping strategy' was to drive everyone else around him completely mad so he could feel better about himself. I used to feel sorry for him, not any more. Because whatever it is, it is a choice to be vile and horrible and make those who love you miserable and frightened.

How has it been going?


Curious....I wonder how these types do after they get kicked out?  Do you know how he's doing?  


How were you able to get him out of your home?  Some won't leave.


Glad to see that things are going better for you!

Why do we endure this?

Sorry single complaining lady but its worse than being single, I know because I compare my situation before and after marriage and my life is a bigger mess and worse NOW because I have Mr. "no executive functioning, slob, perpetual promise to do something then fail to do it" to think for and cleanup after too, now. While I sometimes didn't get the garbage out in time and had to figure out the blocked sink on my own when I got home from work, these things I always got around to.  My house was tidy and I could find everything - such as a hammer, or scotch tape or camping gear and my household was organized in a logical ORGANIZED way where I could find everything and everything was in its place. Good luck now finding a hammer or a headlamp.  My organized stuff he has relocated or misplaced and can't remember where he put it, and I am an outrageous cu next Tuesday for suggesting he should put it back where he found it or not touch my stuff. The garage is packed to the gills with GARBAGE and stuff in boxes that is his JUNK he won't part with and YELLS AND FREAKS at me if I suggest 1800 junking it ...even though it attracts pests and he'd have to go buy a hammer if he needed one as he'd never find the ones he has already.

When single I could do my own basic home repairs and still can, but now it seems I'm blowing up because he's done something so downright idiotic (after beating him about the head with words to get him to finish doing something he insisted I should not pay someone to do, he finally did MONTHS later, but mounted the shower arm at floor level because I said I'd also use that shower for the dog.  Did he think the dog was going to adjust the shower arm?  I don't know what to think, to me this is a human who Darwinian principles dictate should not have survived past adolescence, but society and me have somehow managed to keep him alive through no small effort.

And while I know I would be happier without him I can't seem to make the move. Fear of change? The neighbours like him. He helps the elderly widow shovel her driveway in winter. He's sometimes a nice guy, with a warm heart -when he's not belligerently debating that I am a beeatch because I want to garbage a box of 5 year old mold and mouse poop stained magazines that have been attracting rodents in the garage and that he hasn't looked at in 5 years.  A pack-rat and ADHD.  Kill me.

So THAT was a rant.  


Linsy's picture

How are you doing?

I do hope you have found, as I did, that living without the madness is far less stressful? After I left him, I was careful not to attract further criticism from his family by sharing youngest whenever he wanted him (which wasn't often). Then I found he was allowing youngest to roam around in a huge public park alone, with no phone, on winter afternoons. I was so shocked I didn't lose my temper, just pointed out calmly that I could not allow this. It worked. Youngest is now 14 and able to look after himself. The next thing is making sure that husband's cannabis habit does not infect youngest - but he is aware of his father's addiction so is unlikely to follow him down that path. Particularly as he is doing brilliantly at school now he is on medication himself. I am now divorcing him, after streams of texts asking for money drove me slightly bonkers. Good luck to all of you. You don't need to go on caring for these people. Your children are far more important.

Does this sound familiar to anyone?

Hi all, I am floored by the amount of posts in this thread. 

My husband had an alcoholic mother who drank till she delivered him. On the surface everything seems fine. There are just some very annoying things that I have had to deal with, which I am not sure are a result of FASD or something else.

For some reason he does not know how to problem solve. I have to explain everything to him so he will follow through, because if he is not sure about exact details he does nothing. Then... When I ask if he has done something we've agreed he do, he gets mad at me. But sometimes he forgets the process, that he has been using all along and we discussed.  It seems to me that if there is a change somehow in the situation, he just starts a new process without consulting anyone or knowing why he is doing that for some reason. I do all the financial stuff, vehicle and insurance. We have a business which I also run, and thank god my kids are on their own... Still under our rental roof so to speak. 

There has never been in our 25 years together, a time when I could just rely on him to do something within his realm as a responsible parent. I have always parented him and had to explain why things happen, cause and effect kind of things. He plays online games for hours a day, will do laundry and cook on occasion, which he Believes is a vital contribution to our marriage. It is as far as I can see from the above posts. If I was not around the ship would sink. I think, or is this just a ruse he plays. 

When I met him,  I would make excuses for his behavior and lack of motivation. Now here I sit, with my life mostly finished... We do get along, like the same things for the most part, but it has been a huge struggle. We all have them... Trying not to sound like a school teacher is my biggest battle. I wish I could relax too.... But chaos would ensue.   Depression sets in... I have given up ever being sexually and emotionally intimate with anyone in this life. All of our sexual efforts are for stress reduction for him.

he is a very loving guy, and would never leave me, even though I tried to make him leave when we were first together. Some things he is very good at understanding, and other things, common sense -wise he just doesn't get.  

The problem for me is the stressful feeling that he might miss something very important, but I can't ask because he will get mad at me for assuming he has forgotten.  It's a double edged sword. The other thing that has happened is that I am really not that attracted to him, for a very long time now, because the relationship is so parental in my view. I also look after my bipolar 84 year old mother, which complicates my life even further.

I fear for him, I love him like a sister would her brother, so leaving would kill him literally. He does not see my point of view, nor can he. Just wondering if any of you out there have had the same experience in that regard.

The problem for me is the stressful feeling that he might miss s


The problem for me is the stressful feeling that he might miss something very important, but I can't ask because he will get mad at me for assuming he has forgotten.  It's a double edged sword. The other thing that has happened is that I am really not that attracted to him, for a very long time now, because the relationship is so parental in my view.



This seems to be a common problem.  I've had to tackle this in a few ways...


1)  When he reminds ME of something that I haven't forgotten, I say:  "Thank you.  I did remember, but I might not have, so I appreciate the reminder."   << This teaches them the CORRECT response, because likely they learned the WRONG response by some sort of poor modeling while growing up or because they were yelled at about forgetting things when they were younger.


2)  I will wait until it's obvious that H has forgotten something...like when we're in the car and he's OBVIOUSLY leaving without doing something or bringing something....and then I'll ASK if he did/brought the missing item/chore.  At that point, he can't LIE and say, "I was going to do/bring that, you didn't need to tell me."  

 I do the same with reminding him of driving directions.  I wait until it's OBVIOUS that he isn't going the right way or is going to miss a turn (because he's in the wrong lane and it's almost time to turn), and then say that the turn is coming up.

   Or...I use the "casual indirect way":  I'll just casually say, without directly talking to him, something like, "wow, we made really good driving time, I can't believe the street we turn right on is up next."   This way, if he REMEMBERED the turn, everything is fine...and if he FORGOT the turn, he can't pretend that he remembered and then yell at me for reminding him.


I had to devise these "work arounds" because I would get blamed if he missed a turn (for not helping him) and I would get a snotty comment if I reminded him of upcoming turns.  Same with other non-driving things.   I couldn't win either way.   H would not be honest.  If he truly was about to miss a turn, but I warned him too early, he'd lie and rudely tell me that he "knew" and that I didn't have to say anything.  So, now I wait until he obviously is going to make a mistake or I use the "casual indirect way" mentioned above.


One thing that I will NOT bend on is potential car accidents.  If I think he doesn't see another car (or person!) I will say something.  I have told him that he "cost" is too great for me to let a possible accident occur.  

My best friend has a sister who likely has Borderline PD.  Her sister gets VERY angry if my friend makes any comments while sister is driving (like mentioning an upcoming turn, or a potential accident).  Her sister will yell at her during those times, insisting that she doesn't need any help.  WELL, ONE DAY....my friend was in her sister's new car, and sister was driving.  It was OBVIOUS that her sister was going to hit a wall while backing up.  Knowing that neither they nor anyone else would be hurt, my friend said NOTHING....and sister plowed into the wall damaging her new car.  Afterwards, my friend told her sister, "I saw that you were going to hit that wall, but you always claim that you know what you're doing and you get angry when I warn you, so I said nothing."   Well, I'm sure that paying for the repairs was an expensive lesson for her sister.  


yes! I am having this experience. It's like my partner is an alien. He feels no shame at let me pay 85% of the bills and do 85% percent of household chores, take care of the cars, everything. And he never seems to remember how to do anything properly, or neatly. He's good natured and sweet and listens, but nothing practical sticks, except in his dealings with his musical instruments, and he's even careless with them sometimes. We have always gotten along, but our harmony depends on me taking care of most things. It's embarrassing. 

Linsy's picture

So familiar

Hello - my ex gave me drying up cloths for Christmas once. I remember going out and buying myself some nice knickers to compensate. Every Christmas was an ordeal as the life he wished to live was so utterly different from any kind of mutually supportive and loving family that I had envisaged. But, he overstepped the mark when his anger and violence went from occasional aberration to every day occurrance. I got him out of the house, took two years to recover from the terrible chronic stress, and worked my socks off to bring our boys up on my own. Now I am divorcing him when he can't stop me. I stayed with him for 23 years, but I would say the last 9 were injury time. There were patches of great difficulty earlier too, and I left him once when my mother was still alive so I had somewhere to go. No regrets because I have my three lovely children, and a skillset that earns me a living and keeps youngest fed and educated. It was hell but it is nearly over, and now I can't wait for my proper legal freedom. I don't know what you will get from this, except I know every day, even at my loneliest, that it is far far better than living with someone else's chaos and destruction and having all the energy sucked out of me by a dysfunctional man. 

I'll listen

hang in there. There can be lots of pain here, there can be wisdom and caring too.

HA! I just posted about this

HA! I just posted about this as well! I agree. loved your comment (has a minor typ)  "you all seem quite certian that only a [man] can screw up a marriage...wives are victims" LOVED THAT. thank you.

Resigned2B's picture

Crappy wives...

It appears you have done little research on ADHD or you would understand this 'crappy' and 'dreaded' behavior from this mental disorder is not gender specific. However, your comments (and one of another here) do seem to indicate you are struggling with accepting your challenges. Until that happens there is little hope for your current marriage or any future ones.

Linsy's picture

Gender, marriage and ADHD

I am afraid that the chief difference I have noticed is that women stick around their ADHD spouses, trying to solve the mystery, where men tend to detect something is wrong and ditch their ADHD wives much faster. I stuck around for 23 years.
Resigned2B's picture

Gender, marriage, and ADHD

I agree Linsy!

I've stuck around close to 32 years now. Maybe WE'RE the saps that should have our heads examined!


I agree!

I think some of this is because men expect women to be nurturers and have good domestic skills, and when those are lacking, they move on to someone else who has those qualities.


However, I think women have CHANGED in what they'll accept....maybe because so many women are wage-earners.  During times when women didn't want or expect to support their households, they never would have accepted relationships where the man didn't show a good history of job stability and wage-earning.  In fact, many parents would not have "given approval" to their daughters even beginning relationships with "undesirable men," who showed poor signs of being stable wage earners.   


While I certainly support women's rights to work and have careers, it never should have back-fired into a situation where women feel forced to accept able-bodied men sitting at home playing video games or ???.

Your long (missing?) post

I have both a long and a short post from you in my email, but only the short post is showing up on this board, so maybe you took down the long post. I'm responding to the long one.

If you had read this thread carefully (and it is long, so I don't blame you if you did not), you would notice that, although mostly non-ADHD wives are here complaining about a lack of support from their husbands who have ADHD, there are also posts from a couple of non-ADHD men with wives who have ADHD. There may also be some women in same-sex relationships (I didn't reread this thread, so I don't remember for sure if that is the case). I even used "spouse" in the initial title to this thread -- NOT husband. Gender may complicate the issue, but the main issue here is ADHD, not gender.

I can't tell for sure if you have ADHD or not. You do mention occasionally going through "rough patches" where you forget things. If you do have ADHD and haven't read The ADHD Effect on Marriage, please do. You may then begin to understand what your wife feels. She feels unloved, unsupported and exhausted. A typical response of a non-ADHD partner is to get angry, and if you have ADHD, that may be what you're feeling. I'm not saying the anger is okay, but I am saying it is understandable. After a while, we non-ADHD spouses just hit the wall. Again -- it's not okay, but there are reasons why we get angry at our spouses with ADHD. 

If you do have ADHD, you probably feel like you can never do things correctly, and you probably have low self-esteem, because you've been told you are a screwup by teachers, relatives, romantic partners, etc. from a young age. You feel like a failure. That's one of the reasons why counseling is a good thing.

If you do have ADHD and are not getting treatment, I recommend that you do so -- both in the forms of medication and therapy (the therapy should be for both of you). Your wife is going to have to learn what she can realistically expect of you, and you are going to have to hear her point of view and find ways you can realistically support her. What you should not do (I say this because I've seen this from some folks with ADHD) is simply expect her to accept you the way you are; one reason non-ADHD spouses get fed up is because they feel they are doing all of the accommodating.

You listed a lot of things that you do (cooking, cleaning, fixing, building). I am not there to witness your marriage, so maybe you are doing your fair share; I don't know. It is also possible that you are overestimating your contribution to your marriage. That does happen. You and your wife will have to work that out between you. Do remember that people often fail to give each other credit for "hidden" work, such as arranging doctor's visits for your child, meeting with teachers, making Christmas "happen" (if your wife is feeling overextending in this area due to her own expectations, she needs to lower her expectations -- but if you have certain expectations about Christmas, it isn't your wife's job to meet them), making sure you have enough stamps around the house, etc. Either you, your wife or both of you may not be giving each other full credit for the work done. Also, if you have ADHD, your wife may also be serving as your "brain" -- reminding you about about things, waking you up when you fail to set the alarm so that you make it to work on time, etc. Speaking as a non-ADHD spouse, this gets really, really old after a while, because it feels like I'm doing all of the giving in the relationship. Again, it may be that you are, indeed, doing your share. I don't know. But be open to the possibility that you are not. Also, I am a little concerned about your "rough patches" when you forget things and neglect your duties. It would be interesting to hear your wife's perspective on those rough patches -- how long do they last? How often do they occur? What happens? Have you ever endangered your child by forgetting things? Some people here have experienced spouses who are so unable to focus at times that their children are in danger. That's a serious problem.

In a nutshell, it may be that your wife is just a nasty person, in which case, I'm sorry. But if you have ADHD, you need to understand how your ADHD affects her. Whether or not you have ADHD, you need to be open to her point of view. Why is she complaining? Is there something you need to take responsibility for? Finally, you to take off your "they're just a bunch of women bashing men" blinders and notice that this is a discussion about ADHD in marriage. You are welcome to contribute from the point of view as a spouse in a marriage where one or both people have ADHD.

What You Said Here 20yrvet

"In a nutshell, it may be that your wife is just a nasty person, in which case, I'm sorry. But if you have ADHD, you need to understand how your ADHD affects her. Whether or not you have ADHD, you need to be open to her point of view. Why is she complaining? Is there something you need to take responsibility for?"

I'd like a chance to answer this in what I have discovered for myself.  The ADHD "effect" as Meliissa has named this....I now have a much better understanding of this.  Do we have something that we need to take responsibility for?  It's this effect.  We're the ones who have it and bring it along with us whether we like it or not......everyone else does not.  5% as they say currently?

That means....we don't have to do anything.....literally.....but just exist and come in contact with other people and we will have this effect of them no matter how hard we try to mask it or hide it.  No way......it comes out in ways that I had no idea before.  To the point that it was overwhelming to me once I finally started seeing it.

My T once told me (when I was feeling good about this and myself at that time and coming to him and going...."OMG!  I had no idea!!!!" )  He looked at me and said......"don't you feel a little bit ashamed now after the fact"   Yes! I certainly did.  Humbling to say the least.  I had no idea....that's the problem at first until you really take a hard look for yourself.  Not an easy thing to do.

On the lighter side in the moment he said....." I could use you as a litmus test for my patients who I suspected having anxiety disorders.  All I would need to do is put you in a small room with them and lock the door and  then go observe through one of those two way mirrors.  I don't think it would take that long to see any reactions that my patient would have only after a short time."lol

I told him..."Gee thanks.....are you hiring?" lol



Accepting the Effect...

Heartening and enlightened as always, J.

I am still struggling to help him understand that his behavior DOES have an effect on others, even after our relationship is over.

The only response I can still get is "I have a mental illness, I can't change my anger outbursts, that's like asking someone in a wheelchair why they don't just get up and walk. And it isn't as bad as you think it is anyway, you inflate it with your anxiety. The real problem is that you shouldn't react with anxiety or fear, because you have no reason to be afraid".

Trying to teach a grown man that his behavior DOES impact the people around him emotionally and negatively. Sigh. Still feel that if I could help him to see this, it would be so beneficial to him in daily life. But it's like talking to a wall. "The problem is your reaction, which you shouldn't have".

Try saying "most people would feel anxiety/fear around someone who is storming, cursing, throwing & slamming things". Answer : "no they wouldn't, unless they had a real reason to be afraid of THAT person. And I have never and would never hurt you, so that reaction doesn't make any sense, and you need to work on not feeling that way".

Guess it doesn't matter anymore, but feels like utter failure not to be able to help him to see this, even after the fact...

Only If Jlhrva

This is at the heart of it right here Jlhrva. Your H's responses aren't him being contrary or even that he doesn't believe you....it's to the DEGREE that this effect has that is not getting understood. I am no different.

My wife said recently (when we were discussing this very thing objectively without being in conflict) "if you could just experience what this is like ONCE.....you'd get it immediately and you'd know exactly what it is I'm talking about. Only if????"

I said "You are absolutely right....if only that could happen I would know exactly what this is like for the next time but.....that's the MOST important part that's missing for me.  It's not from an inability to have empathy God No!  But I have no gage, barometer or base line to measure from..... or any ability to know HOW MUCH or HOW BAD it really is to weigh that against anything I know myself. 

This experience just simply does not exist in my repertoire of experiences or if I do......I didn't know it was because the person who I was with having ADHD and attributing it to that instead of doing exactly the same thing that you do.  Even I can't know that and I'm the one who has it?  I can't have that experience so I can't know what this is like (exactly). I can think of things that are similar in my own experience and apply it by means of comparison....and that's about it."

In everything I just said to my wife concerning this....this is all absolutely true. When she has come to me in the past and complained about something and then immediately tells me how this made her feel....all I can do is hear the complaint (what ever it was...event, or example of these moments) and then hear how much it affects her and how intense this is for her....and then try and connect the two together and relate it to something that I know or have experienced in order to show her the proper concern or to the DEGREE of what it is she is experiencing. When I hear the offense and try and connect the DEGREE I am seeing and hearing from her....it doesn't make any sense?   Only because....the thing that happened is not matching up with how upset she is when looking at it from a single event...one time basis. Even if I know that it really is more just this one time she is talking about....to the point....no one is ever going to point these things out you EVERY TIME it happens and I don't even realize probably the majority of times it does (what ever IT is in this case?)....possibly even more than that, in fact....all that I am really aware of are the times I am aware of???  If you think about this last comment right there.....this is why the degree or inability to place the effect that you see (the reaction from others) compared to what you are actually aware of even when you are trying to pay attention to it. This scale is so thrown off because of this is why it appears to look like there is just no way we cannot see these things yet.....we do, but only glimpses or isolated moments.

So either you accept that these things happen A LOT and all the time even if you can't see them or are aware of them....or you don't. Once you accept that much at least....you can start listening to how much they affect you and forget about the parts that you just can't see and you can't prove to us any different since they are some what invisible. Now you see it....now you don't. That really is what it is like and you just have to take our word for it.

In turn.....we have to take you word for it and believe you when you say how bad it is for you. Saying it's your fault because of your anxiety is not fair or accurate...BUT, it is if you only see 10% of the things we do and that is all you can see but don't understand that to the point......that we aren't going to see most of these moments since.....that in itself is the problem in the first place.

Not being able to see them or if we did......the problem would take care of itself once we could...IF we could?  As my wife said..."IF only you could..... even just once." Yes!!!!!!....That would solve everything right there and would change everything if that were possible. Coming in the form of a complaint, how it makes you feel, how wrong it is, how bad it is or any other explanation that is common from other people....doesn't tell us this ONE critically important piece that is missing in what we need to be empathetic and compassionate not some inherent inability to have it that is caused by ADHD?

So the problem exists and yet the question remains. How do you get someone to see just this much and believe it even if you they can't see it themselves and never will the same as you....yet, there is no way to prove it.  You can't prove a negative and that is extremely frustrating on both sides of this issue.



"I have a mental illness and can't change..."

While that idea may be the easiest route, it's actually not true.  In fact, the research on ADHD suggests that:

  • emotional lability - i.e. a quick trigger to anger - is a core component of ADHD for many people
  • 70-80% of adults with ADHD can find a treatment that significant improves their symptoms

The issue isn't whether or not a person with ADHD can change - most CAN, and in very meaningful ways.  I've seen it happen again and again.  The issue is usually whether or not the adult with ADHD is willing to put in the effort.  The milder the case of ADHD you have, the more likely you are to be able to affect genuine change.

So it's NOT like the person in the wheelchair.  ADHD is changeable specifically because it is a mental illness - and one of the singly most treatable of all mental illnesses.  (And, yes, with a prosthesis, perhaps that person in the wheelchair could walk, too...it has happened...)

Your partner's idea that it's okay to storm, curse, throw and slam things is way off base.  There is a bottom line to being a good partner...and what he asks you to adjust to doesn't pass the test.  It's his responsibility to be a 'good enough' partner.

If either of you is interested in more on treatment, go to my online treatment guide...he really can do better.

Thank You, Melissa!

Thank you, Melissa, for your kind response. 

Unfortunately, my relationship with my former partner, who was the ADHD member of our relationship, has ended. He was not able to accept any accountability for any portion of the disagreements that existed between us, and I was simply not able to accept that every aspect of our differences was due to me and my behavior and/or perceptions.

I can honestly say that after 6 months of therapy, 12-step work, and a brief but happy relationship with another man, I would never go back to a dynamic like this again. Having a partner who I loved deeply and passionately tell me that all of our problems existed because of my reactions to his bad behavior, ad that further, the behavior isn't even "bad", because its related to mental illness and therefore can't be controlled, was abusively damaging to my mental state. It took a LOT of hard work to get through the first few months, but now I am on the other side.

It seems serendipitous that responses to my posts from last fall/winter are starting to hit this site over the past week, because my ex has been back in my life, and we have discussed attempting to reconcile. These responses and re-reading my old posts have made me realize that as much as I miss him, I CAN'T go back. Nothing has changed on his part, and we will end up right back at the same old spot...me crying my eyes out at work and posting on this forum, and him believing wholeheartedly that all of our problems are due to me and my reactions. 

Thanks to everyone on this forum for being there when I needed you all, and for being there now, to remind me of how much I have to lose.

It sounds as if you ended up where you needed to be

Relationships can get back together, but to your point, your partner would need to make the kinds of changes that you feel you need for the relationship to be successful for yourself.  It sounds as if you've ended up where you need to be and that you will have a full and happy life ahead of you.  Best of luck!

Resigned2B's picture

Missing Post...

Thank you 20 year vet,

This a very thoughtful post and very well said. I haven't had the time or energy to respond much to this topic. I'm glad you've taken the time to.

*Interesting note: There was one man on another ADHD site who finally left his ADHD wife. The last straw for him was that his wife simply could NOT remember to shut cupboards. Of course we all know what he had put up with to get him to that point!

Funny, since I read about that 'cupboard' problem I've noticed just how MANY cupboards and how OFTEN my ADHDers leave them open!!!


I never close them unless the kitchen is clean!

Both me and my husband are ADHD and we never close cupboards. Well, the only one I close is the one with food. I close the rest when the kitchen is completely clean, but that's rare. I've never thought about that annoying someone. Hah. 


My hubby leaves the cabinets and everything else open all the time and it absolutely drives me insane!! How hard is it to shut the cabinet that YOU opened?!? We waste so much food too because the packages are left open. I have switched everything to plastic canisters thinking that would help because no bag to fold down but nope, just leave that open too :)

Resigned2B's picture


Now times this by your husband and 3 out of 6 kids! And they think I'M the crazy one?!?

Here's WHY they do this. They simply do NOT notice the cupboards are open. Period! I let our bathroom vanity go THREE weeks without being cleaned just to see if he would say something. Now this was VERY difficult for me to see but I resisted the urge to clean things up. After three weeks I cleaned everything. It looked like a beautiful hotel bathroom/spa. He did not say ONE word. Not a word about how filthy is was nor a word about how spanking clean and beautiful it was.

A week later I presented this experiment to him and asked if he had noticed. He innocently said he had not noticed either way! So, I'm guessing, whether he had married a pig OR he had married a white tornado he would NEVER have cared! Some good things about that, I guess, since he doesn't complain about sloppy. But, neither does he notice or praise the effort it takes to clean the toilet, sinks, mirrors, vacuuming, dishes, etc.. Basically all the 'stirring the oatmeal' that real-life brings with it. 

I guess it's simply not exciting enough. Guess what? I'm not too excited about DOING it either. On the other hand being on "Buried Alive" as a hoarder doesn't sound at ALL attractive! LOL

Resigned: I did the EXACT same thing

I thought I was reading my OWN STORY. You wrote my exact life and MUST have been in our bathroom. LOL. My husband does/did the same thing with the "experiment" I did too.............JUST to see if he would notice EITHER way. HE DIDN'T. We have a long bathroom counter and mirror with 2 sinks. His side is ALWAYS filthy dirty, with stuff all over it, and NOTHING ever gets put back. No tops put back on the deodorant, or even something put back in the drawers. I don't understand it.

    What was funny also, was that, he was using my sink for a while, which I had to STOP. So, I put ALL his toiletries and things around one sink, for His side, AND then put all of MY toiletries around the other sink for MY SIDE. I thought he would NOTICE this. HE DIDN'T. The next morning he completely destroys my sink getting ready, and I was floored. So, I explained to him about HIS SIDE and MY SIDE..........where each other's belongings were. He said, "Oh, I didn't SEE THAT". DUH!!!! once again, I was floored. How can you NOT NOTICE something like that?  It was just unbelievable. He took the stuff from his side, and came all the way over to MY side to clean up. (there's quite a distance between the 2 sinks) and left my sink a total mess, leaving all his stuff on my sink. 

    But, I TOO, let bathroom completely go to heck for about 3 weeks, (it TOTALLY GROSSED ME OUT) but he didn't notice, NOR, did he say anything after I cleaned it all up, and made it look spic and span. (nothing, and nothing said)  It can get discouraging when your spouse doesn't notice ANYTHING you do for them. But, they EXPECT you to do things when THEY NEED something "right now".    He does this a lot, especially when he can't FIND something. Then he demands I drop everything and FIND whatever it is he can't find. arrrrrrggggghhhh. I'm sick of it.

    He is a total mess, all the time, and it is exhausting to pick up after ALL THE TIME. I can follow his "trail" of clothes, keys, shoes, coats, hats, wallet, and extras, ALL AROUND THE HOUSE, in every direction. It's an entire path. The shoes come off at the front door, coat on the sofa, belt on the chair, or railing, tie on one of the doorknobs, shirt on the floor in the bedroom, pants on the floor in the bathroom. IT IS CRAZY MAKING. This is toddler behavior, NOT the behavior of a grown up, but I've never been able to get him to do anything different. The only thing I was able to change is get him to put his KEYS on a KEYHOLDER by the front door. After 10 years of "mad search through the house every morning for the keys" with him yelling at me, that he's going to be LATE, because I "HID HIS KEYS ON HIM". (yeah, I do that just for spite) i never have.    I nailed up a key holder by the front door and he DOES put the keys there, but it took over 10 years to teach him to do that. whew. But, haven't been able to do anything about the REST of his stuff. It just goes anywhere and everywhere. yuck.

Relatable, but I'm ADHD also.

My husband and I are both ADHD. I'm high functioning and been dealing with it for years. He was diagnosed in the last year. I know he wants to be helpful, but it's a struggle. I have had serious medical issues and have for the most part felt like I was on my own to maintain health and the house. Its comforting knowing that my situation isn't isolated, but it doesn't make it easier. I don't know how to create the motivation in him to want to be proactive and/or contribute to running our life. Superwoman is sick... So what happens? When is love no longer enough? I have sympathy to an extent bc I struggle with ADHD, but maybe I'm a harsher critique of him due that fact also. Not sure. 


My "new" old boyfriend has

My "new" old boyfriend has been such a joy to have around the house. He washes dishes so much that I have started doing them RIGHT AFTER dinner or before I go to work. I'm trying to keep things equal because I feel like the slacker now lol. He also cooks, makes the beds, tends to my pet, takes out the trash as soon as it needs it, shovels the drive EVERY time it needs it, and even dusts the snow off my car before he leaves for work. He is always in the kitchen helping me when I cook. He gets up before me (sometimes) and makes breakfast. He helps out with my kid and in every aspect of our relationship.

It took that adhd nightmare for me to really appreciate it all, so I'm almost glad I went through that hell. I still have to deal with the stupidity from time to time but I am learning to double check and recheck any of my adhd ex's texts because he is so hard to understand. Something simple usual has another meaning and I have to root that out or risk wasting my time and energy.

The other day he texted me that I didn't need to pick up our kid from his house because he was coming into my town. Awhile later he tells me he'll be here in 20 minutes. A minute after that he tells me not to forget to bring something LOL and then he sends me a screenshot of the address. I was floored. Instead of dropping him off, he wanted me to meet him at a store 5 minutes away. And then it turned out he brought his car and that "thing" he asked me to bring would have never fit. It was a laughable "duh" moment and it reminded me who the crazy one is hahaha. 

Right now I am waiting on important paperwork I asked him for back in November. I gave him a Jan 1st deadline that he missed. The paperwork is much more important to him than it is to me so I extended the deadline by two weeks. That deadline is up on Friday, so we'll see. He knows I will not extend again and will do things my way come Monday. 

His new girlfriend is so smart and great that I don't see them lasting very long. I believe they may still be in the honeymoon stage since she told me he shoveled the driveway for her regularly. He wouldn't even let me borrow the car when I was pregnant and it was snowing heavily. I had to pitch a fit or I would have had to walk to the bus station to get to my obgyn appt.

Being married to and having a child with him was the greatest let down of my life. 

To be somewhat fair, my current boyfriend has a serious problem with the whole deny, defend, deflect thing. I've never seen anything like it, but he is not mean about it. In fact, he has never raised his voice to me and we have spent a total of 4 years together. I figure he must've picked this up during our time apart. It blew me away at first, but I quickly learned how to diffuse or just ignore it. He only does it over really stupid things, never the important ones, and he will quickly drop it if I do. 

I'm REALLY REALLY happy for you...but... :)

I'm really, really happy for you...but I gotta say that, as the spouse of the King of ADHD...reading your account of life with a neuro-typical mate...was so thrilling, and aroused such longing...that I think you may have discovered a new genre of pornography!

We could make a fortune writing little stories about significant others who close cabinets and ask us how our days went and just decide on some random January weekend to start organizing the tax receipts, and...

We could get a mailing list of non-ADHD spouse subscribers and charge a modest fee for them to read these escapist fantasies. Think of all the money we'd make and all the meds we could buy! 

Great idea!

CosmicJoke, that sounds like something I would sign up for!



I have to say it is VERY arousing in real life. Poor guy has to turn ME down lol. 

On Christmas, he started organizing my kid's toys and last weekend, he separated the legos. He puts together all the games AND CORRECTLY! It is amazing! He even gave my kid a bath before I got home because I said not to let him on the furniture til he gets one. My ex's ONLY job was to bathe our kid and he ALMOST NEVER did it on his own or thoroughly. 

Porn for non-ADHD partners :)

Love it!

A few years back, my sister bought a joke book called Porn for Women. It features men cleaning the house, listening to women, offering them chocolate, etc. It strikes me that some of those things (a spouse cleaning the house and listening attentively) are, indeed, porn for non-ADHD partners. Thanks for the laugh!

Too funny! I remember the

Too funny! I remember the unfortunate times I asked him to pick up something from the store;p

Resigned2B's picture

New 'old' boyfriend...

Wow Lauren, it sounds like you're having a great time! I had to laugh reading, 'she's so smart I don't see it lasting very long"! LOL I'm sure he's hyper-focused on her right now and may be motivated by, 'I'll show my ex!'. We ALL have that honeymoon phase ADHD or not. It's just SUCH a HUGE surprise going from 'he ONLY thinks about me' to 'he NEVER thinks about me'. The ADHD nightmare effect!

You sound so happy. I hope this relationship is all you want it to be! You will let us know, right? I'm too old to get a new life but for many on here -- there's still hope. I know my husband is REALLY trying hard now that he's sure it is (mostly) him. I'm working on trying to forgive him and be happy to move forward. Sometimes I get stuck  on 'rewind' and it's hard to get anywhere. But that ball is in my court. Like the optimistic twin said as he was digging, "With so much crap in this room there must be a pony in here somewhere!"

I'm no angel to live with everyday I'm sure, no matter how hard I try to convince myself I am. ;)))

The dating pool was an

The dating pool was an absolute nightmare to be in. You have no idea how awful it is. I'm so glad this one never got over me and was happy to move across the country and quit his job to give it another go. He was gainfully employed within two weeks of arriving;)

I think about the day his new girlfriend gets enough of it and wants to compare stories with me. It wouldn't be the first time that has happened.

You sound very optimistic yourself. It looks like things are looking up;) I hope you can see some positive change. Mine never will improve. He blames outside causes for his own actions and feels very vindicated in doing so. He is using it to portray himself as a hero, so he will never improve. 

Not my problem to live with anymore;)

Beyond Angry and Frustrated

I am new to the forum, new to being married (under 2 years) and new to dealing with an ADHD husband (diagnosed November 2015). Everything I read on this forum regarding someone's experience with her ADHD husband and the struggle to stay married to him, hits home and brings tears to my eyes.  This morning I clearly understood that the roller coaster of unreliability and unpredictability with him is real. When, yet again, he let me and, indirectly, my daughter, down. He couldn't wake up in time to help with the school routine on "his day" so I could "have a break".  A much needed weekly break because I do everything...manage our personal and business finances, child rear, take care of the household, plan vacations, holidays, weekend outings, etc. My husband tries to "help", when he remembers, but never completes anything or it takes him weeks to make a decision and nothing is accomplished. Which places me in the role of "clean up crew" and trying to manage him! I have to constantly ask him where we stand on things, has he done such and such, just so our lives function and move forward. Otherwise, things "blow up" on us which I am not used to. He is used to living this way and it is creating so much stress and anxiety for me. And each time I (have to) ask him something important because he doesn't communicate well, I feel the bitterness and resentment rise. I truly hate this "cycle" or pattern that we are in. My state of mind and outward reactions are so negative any more and I can tell they are worsening as the weeks go by. Because I am becoming more and more emotionally exhausted.  I battle accepting that this is the way our life is going to be for I am not a person who is afraid of changing direction if something is not working. I feel that I have talked and given him enough advice on what he needs to do and keep "waiting" for him to take responsibility. I simply do not know how much longer I can wait or should wait. I actually filed for divorce in October, but have not gone through with it because he was diagnosed with ADHD the following month. He started taking Strattera, but I can see no outward improvement and his therapist has since shut down his practice due to his own personal health issues. We are going to couples counseling next week and my husband told me he will set up a new appointment with a new psychiatrist, but I'm simply at my wits end and no longer believe what he is telling me "he's going to do." In his defense, I can see where he is "trying", but when it comes to something he is interested in or being there for his friends, he pulls through. And it seems effortless for him to be reliable, thoughtful and enthusiastic with his buddies. He appears to have no problem getting himself together and out the door. But for me and my daughter (i.e. family) he fails us regularly which is hard for me say and accept.


2716mp I just typed you a reply and erased it.....

It wasn't healthy:)... it was true, but there are lots of true occurrences in my past that I don't need to dwell on or bring up...Let me try again:)...I married my wife about 8 years ago after my first wife passed from this life with what started as breast cancer. We got married when she was 19 and I was 20, we shared in most everything. Especially the chores of daily living and raising our two daughters....

I just wanted to tell you after marrying my wife at age 51 (she was 46 never married) with in a short few years I was angry, bitter, felt unloved, disrespected you name it, and I was carrying around inside me...I was pretty much a basket case...We separated for 11 months, went to counseling for 8.5 of the 11....She walked out of the counselor's office just like she walked in pretty much...I was able to receive healing for my anger and bitterness...But, I knew one thing that had to happen for us to live together again....I could not expect anything from her, I had to live my life like she didn't exist as for as trying to count on her to be responsible...Because I wasn't going down the angry, bitter road again, for no one...So boundaries, separate finances, separate tax returns, separate cars for most things...We are different in most every way....I go to church on time she shows up about half way through....She can sleep through two hours of alarm clock alarming...She can't get up and she can't go to sleep....I will spare you the rest, because I think you know:)....But you and I will never fix it...So that is way we better not expect any thing from them....One thing to add...the more she experiences me not engaging her chaos verbally or with acts of enablement, the more uncomfortable she gets and the harder she tries....There is only one good mirror I've found for a co-dependent mind (of this earth) and that is when you show no emotion and live like they aren't there....Not to be ugly, but because of reality....If you can't depend on your adult spouse, then for all practical purposes they are not there....I am glad you are going to the counselor, one tip...To avoid emotions when you get there....Make a list of the things about his life style that is causing you so much pain....Also write down what is going on with you....In my opinion any counselor worth his salt will not only deal with the Dysfunction, communication and the responsibilites of life...But he will attempt to turn you inward...Because your husband's actions going forward can't do anything for your anger and bitter heart.... I live it, I know

I wish you the best.....



c ur self, thank you.

Thank you for taking the time to respond to my post. I really appreciate your support and understanding and will take note of your counseling advice. However, I do want to say I am sorry for your loss.  My sister in law passed away in 2009 from breast cancer and then my best friend from college lost her fight two years later. It's a horrible disease and it tore my brother and his kids apart. They were married for 26 years and it sounds like they had a similar marriage to your first one? They complemented each other as spouses, as far as their individual roles and responsibilities were concerned. So I had a good example as to what a healthy, strong marriage is like. So to find myself in this marriage and highly aware that it is functioning on such a low level is extremely painful. I understand what you are saying about "live as if your spouse doesn't exist" and keep everything separate, but that's when I go, "well, what's the point of being married or even trying to build a business together?"  I would only be fooling myself and not living truthfully knowing that is not the type of marriage I want or deserve.  Ultimately, I want the best for my family and want them to be happy too so I hope counseling will help.  My husband is a good person...kindhearted... and I love him for those qualities and I know he honestly wants to make things "right"..but as you pointed out, it's always after the fact. He steps up after I've shut down, yelled, cried, whatever. Then as soon as I relax, he goes right back to being irresponsible and unreliable. Part of me realizes it's his ADHD, but I'm angry because my life has been filled with many losses and hardships the last 10 years and all I wanted was a person to go through life WITH me. To ease the burdens and deal with things together...not someone I had to manage or who was just along for the ride. It's almost as if he's so used to NOT being in control of anything, that he prefers to go wherever the wind blows. What I don't know is if that's just his core personality or is that his ADHD holding him back? Maybe we'll find out soon.

In any event, I know you understand...and wish you the best too....

Resigned2B's picture

Typed and erased...

Dear C,

I've seen some of your posts before but somehow never realized you are a man married to an ADHD woman. Most posters here are vice-versa. And, as we've all seen, men will come on the board and rant about how all of us 'angry women' are just blowing everything WAY out of proportion. (I have yet to find that to be true.) I usually don't respond to those men because I can see they are likely ADHDers in denial. I've had enough of fighting that mindset in my own marriage and with the DNA passed along to my own birth children. It's hard enough to battle it out with them let alone to pick a fight with a stranger who's clearly lashing out.

"If you can't depend on your adult spouse, then for all practical purposes they are not there..." This is your quote that caught my attention today as I sit in my house alone. There is 6 inches of new snow outside but my husband is gone for the 4th Saturday in a row. He, again, has over extended his time to help others. A worthy cause to be sure but gone nonetheless.

I'm feeling particularly sorry for myself because I made the decision to shovel our front walk. It doesn't melt on it's own so the end result, if it gets left, is a constant build-up of slick ice. Like a good help-meet I shoveled it myself. It wasn't too difficult but, regardless, I pinched my back in the process and lie here with heat on it. If only I had vacuumed first. Darn! 

On the bright side it has given me some down-time to read the messages in my inbox. Yours was the first. 

I've read the 'dependent/co-dependent' argument that has gone back and forth. While I can see those unhealthy dynamics can play a part in why those of us stay in these relationships they disregard a traditional message that many of us still cling to; commitment and honor to our marriage vows, sickness and in health, etc.

There's no ADHD in Heaven. I guess if I don't wring someone's neck first I just MAY have a shot at making it. :)))

Good-luck and may God bless everyone who battles with this handicap. Both non-ADHDers and ADHDers alike!

Hi Resigned2B....

Sorry to hear about your back, I hope your feeling better, hopefully your husband gave you a nice massage and fixed you a nice supper...I love the snow, but, we don't get much of it here...It was 70 and sunny, I wore short sleeves and jeans out today...


I am still not convinced it's because of this medical condition!

I want to believe that somewhere out of the blue I will wake up one day to change. I know that's a fairy tale. I cannot depend on my husband for ANYTHING. He can't hold a job, he doesn't like having a "boss" so he has done things off and on for himself. He wakes up each and every day ANGRY at the world. He gets so into reading and watching TV he can't keep a schedule of any kind. Sometimes he is up all night and sleeps all day. I cannot even get him to do the smallest things. I feel I hold a lot of resentment and that's sad because I do love him, but I don't know what else to do. He and our daughter are just alike, so they can't take a car ride without arguing! ( she is 16) I have observed these little spats, the things he wants to argue about with her are things that HE does himself or a BAD habit that he has! I am miserable, but I am not selfish I tend to put everyone else ahead of my own feelings.

I thought it was me...

I'm so glad I found this site.  I was beginning to think there was something wrong with me, and that I'm being too critical - but I see so many similarities between my boyfriend and others who are living with ADHD.  

He told me about his diagnosis when we started dating, and it really didn't affect our relationship much ...until I moved in with him almost a month ago.  The house is extremely cluttered, which sends me into a slight panic (I'm a bit of a neat freak).  Getting him to start going through things to pitch was no small feat.  We created enough room for me to put some boxes and a few pieces of furniture.  Living on my own for so long, I had accumulated enough to fill a one bedroom apt comfortably without clutter.  I also had to part with a lot of decorative stuff and kitchen tools being that he just HAS.SO.MUCH.STUFF. it was easier than arguing about it later.

The full bathroom has been "under construction" for years (before we started dating), and I said that if I move in, we have to finish this bathroom - there's no way two adults can share the mini bathroom downstairs.  He promised it would be done quickly, but 2 months later, it's nowhere near done.  To his credit, he works hard during the day, and then takes on side jobs (home improvements, oddly enough), and he's since become "hyper focused" on old cars and fixing them up.  All he talks about is car stuff; I'm almost scared to continue asking about when we can make a dent in the bathroom, for fear that I'm slowly turning into the nag he never wanted.  I have a little more time during the day than he does, as our work schedules differ - I'd be more than happy to do the work, but I know nothing about plumbing or electric.  Whenever I ask ,"What do I need for xyz?" he always says not to worry, he'll get to it.  The kitchen has also been in transition since before we started dating.  There are no doors on any cabinets and no floor, just subfloor.  I went through all the cabinets and CLEANED them out, threw away empty boxes and expired things one day while I had time.  He wasn't too happy about that.  

I've always been very independent and I've lived alone for the past 10 years.  I hate having to depend on someone else to get something done - especially when I'm quickly learning that his definition of "soon" means "hopefully some time in the next 5 years."  I just want this house to feel like a home, and not like a giant storage unit we sleep in.   Being in an environment where everything is everywhere is exhausting.  I feel like no matter how hard I try to keep things clean or put things away, he'll undo it all in a matter of minutes.  He's a wonderful guy and I love him very much for many reasons - I'm just scared that this will present a bigger problem for our partnership than I had initially thought... :(

Why are you living together?

Hi, Jamjam, glad you're here.  I encourage you to read all you can about what people who come here write about sharing household tasks, who does them, who keeps things in order.  There's a recent thread, plus I'm sure there are ones written in the past.

If you're dating, not married, why did you move in together?

Had both of you lived with someone (other than parents or family) for a lengthy time in the past, and if so, how did it go?  Have the two of you each been through the experience of fitting two different styles of home care together before?

My biggest question is: can you two achieve the same most important desires that the two of you have for living together, by living in separate but nearby dwellings?

I ask this because it certainly seems to me that this business of messiness and disorder, of different understandings of what it takes to run a shared household, is a big issue in a lot of households where there is ADHD.  I've read exceptions to what I'm going to say about my own situation.  I've read a few cases of someone with ADHD turning out to have developed his/her own rules and procedures for keeping his/her own space orderly and getting really disturbed if physical space is disordered.   But for many people who come online to write about living with ADHD, things not getting done, living space getting messy, promises (and self promises) to do something for the shared space but things promised or self promised not getting done all are frequently reported, whether the person with ADHD is living on his/her own or with someone.  I've heard one partner with ADHD in a two ADHD partnership say this is a big matter of co-living.... so it's not all that non-ADHD people have one way with physical caretaking and keeping things in order and clean, while all ADHD people are a single other way.  And of course there are people without ADHD that are more and less messy.

It is a very big stressor to have two physical living styles going on in one living space.  If online stories that people tell are an indicator, it often defaults to the non ADHD person to clean, fix, do, etc.  Not always, but very often.

Maybe the couple can agree to hire someone to come clean and put in order every week, but the problem is, most of us out there don't have that kind of money, and that still leaves some of the household care undone.

There are also as you explained in your situation, issues of making promises to tackle something in the shared living space, but not completing what was promised.

the mess and undone things look to me like they're going to be there in our at-home space for the duration.  In our house, where does the physical mess come from and how does it pile up or get cleaned up? Well, I mess things up, too, but deal with what I mess up as quickly as possible and don't let things pile up. I was messier, as an adult, but taught myself to make physical order support my well being....so as you can imagine, I have opinions about what state I can live in.    My husband doesn't have that habit of cleaning up his messes, nor did he, when he was living by himself.   Within my skill set, I also get lightbulbs changed, screws replaced, hinges oiled, broken parts ordered and installed, and somewhat more ambitious things done as soon as I can because I have no desire to live in a house becoming dysfunctional, and my husband does not that sense of the necessity of repair things when they break. If that non functioning bathroom were in our house, he would not get irritated with me but be happy if I took on its repair or managing hiring out its repair and quality controlling the result plus managing the funds to pay for it..  If I did, instead of it being a situation of him having promised to do it, it would remove one obligation from him.  And the bathroom would end up fixed and he'd be happy to use a fixed bathroom.  This is reality, at our house, not complaint.  I have to make clear decisions about what I do and don't do, and don't try to do everything, because if I didn't I'd really turn into a house slave, quickly, because I volunteer but he doesn't.  The bathroom either would stay unfixed or I would have to decide what I was going to do about it, and do it. 

I think you should consider the condition of the place you're living in, and how things get done and not get done an ongoing issue, not a beginner's issue.    Whatever you work out, your living space will need to be a place for him to live as he wishes, doing the things for it that he can do and accomplish; and a place for you to live as you wish, doing not everything for him, but things that you can do and accomplish. 

 I don't think I'm seeing my husband notice mess as mess, until he loses something in it.  He's not being an untrained child about it.  I'm saying that from observing him in his own spaces in the house, he literally doesn't see what's physically there until it impinges on what he's doing at the present moment.  Out of mind, out of sight.

One thing that I think I've pretty reliably noticed at home is taht my husband doesn't look at something: let's say a stack of papers he plopped on the stove, and have any  connection between putting the papers on the stove and the future.  I need order, related to the future, as well as to the present, and come to think of it, related to the past (to be able to remember where I put something, I put it in the same place every time, often).

I don't think a conceptualization or narrative of physical order, in a running ongoing relation that involves present, past and future, is what my husband seems to be using where he places or does things, in our shared space.  So a stack of papers ends up on the burners of a stove, etc.  Lol, one with pilot lights on the burners...

 I had several years to watch how my future husband handled his possessions, his work done at home, his keeping order for himself, before we married.  He's presently being consistent with himself when he was living alone.  I think that's no surprise.  I'm being as best I can consistent with myself about order/disorder in our house, as well.  I won't get into the details...this is getting long; the bottom line is that there has to be room for both of us, there has to be two living styles, there has to be a situation in which I'm not doing all the work of the house.  If I'm the one being seriously inconvenienced by something, house repair, I deal with it. 

The new added ingredient to my partner's life responses to bathroom, cleaning, keeping order is me.  I have preferences, needs, and labor, that were not in his physical world before.  I'm stating that the way I think he sees it, from his POV, not from some abstract idea of what people should do and share together.     He has slowly acquired responsibility for tasks on our behalf, but I'm the one putting by far the higher number of person hours in on the things you talk about.  Because I remember, care about, predict and in some cases, must have things that he doesn't.

Your boyfriend can very well be living with you in your new physical living situation with very good will.  Expect that he will be bringing his own self care and living space managing habits into the relation.  You brought yours.   There is no single model of how a household physically "should" run, once sanitation is taken care of.

  Some of what your boyfriend does or doesn't do in the home may well be connected to ADHD perception, memory and executive function abilities.    It's my opinion that whatever you two do, you shouldn't make yourself into his trainer...for me that's a joy killer right there.  Watching my future husband pile, drop, lose, mix, etc etc in his own living space, I decided I had to come up with another way to start our living together than to lay down laws about his behavior doing tasks and caretaking.  We were so different, that it couldn't be rigid, and I certainly don't want the job of being a physical tyrant.   Everybody has to work this one out in their own home, as best they can.

1) Unless your BF turns out to be a physical neatnik...they do exist in the ADHD community....and he doesn't sound like one to me, expect that you will work at physical caretaking more than you were working when you lived on your own.   Read other people's comments on this, on this board.   My housecare workload shot up.  Watching him for several years, I could see that that was going to happen.  I also knew myself well enough that I knew I cannot live in physical chaos.  Which meant more physical work was going to default to me.  Which it has.   He doesn't see, observe physical order/disorder the way I do, and doesn't appear to value it the way that I do.  It's just a fact.

And he's not kicking back and letting me do it all.  If he were doing that, I'd be putting up more than a stink.  I didn't get into this relation to be a house slave, I got into it because I want to be with my husband as I am, and he as he is.  I'm certainly the manager of our physical space overall, though not his spaces in it, and do most of its physical labor, though.   You should know about the extra work, up front, but consolidate your thought about what you see at home from other people's stories of work in the home, not mine only.  Trust what you're doing, what you and your BF are doing, and don't think it will "go away" after reasonable discussion with him.  These things are not matters for reasonable discussion, or good intention.  The rubber hits the road in doing.

2) I'm in it for the duration, but then I'm married, and committed to remaining married.  I understand living under one roof to be part of marriage.  My husband and I are actively working on how to do that.  For a variety of reasons, an ADHD/nonADHD partnership has some unusual parts that need each couple's best solution and very definitely need BOTH not just talking about, but actively pursuing, as in: doing things: to bring about good change.  Both of you will have to walk the walk, not just one of you.  Communication IS necessary, but communication won't take out the garbage or go to the grocery store or fix that bathroom.

But you're not married.  Why not live near each other, with each of you living in interior space the way that benefits each of you?  Emotional intimacy could be fostered in this situation of a two household, one love relation....  Two spaces would let you live your way, and him his way.    And you'd have a functioning bathroom, and he could deal or not deal with his, as he liked.


Yes...I've posted about living apart

Great post NowOrNever, many good points.  Yes, it is very stressful living with someone whose messiness meter is so much more allowing than ours.

My son moved out and my workload around the apartment  has gone way down.  I foresee that this will be very good for our relationship and we will be able to focus on more interesting things when we get together.  I think living apart can work in marriages, too.   I posted this article here previously: http://www.alternet.org/culture/living-apart-good-marriage-more-american...

This is my life!

This is my life! Unfortunately I have decided to move out. After years of begging for him to work and help I just couldn't take the stress of taking care of everything anymore.  I've had to take care of myself after all surgeries I've had also. 20 years of marriage and I'm starting over.  I have to say the peacefulness of being alone is wonderful! 

Savor the Solitude

So glad you are finding peace now, SisterJeeps.  You fully deserve it! 

Time to focus on and take care of YOU!

Enjoy :)

Like you were taking words out of my stressed heart...

Maybe it was the headline, or the closing sentence. I'm currently feeling this way right now with my husband. I am constantly taking on all the responsibilities, plus the slack of what he doesn't do. I am also a military wife, so he is gone quite often. Is it bad that I am relieved when he is gone because that means I won't have to take care of him? I was a single mother for almost a decade before I met him, and it was much easier to take care of my child by myself than having a family with someone with ADHD. It feels reassuring that other spouses feel the same way I do in this regard, and knowing I am in solidarity gives me faith that there is a solution.

Thank you

Thank you, I have adhd. You sound like a good-hearted person, and I hope and pray that you and your wife may be able to deal with your ADHD and her response to it and that you will grow into a couple with a flourishing marriage, despite the challenges. I appreciate your empathy and kind words. My husband and I are still together. I won't lie -- most days are challenging, and there are many days where I think, "I can't take the stress anymore. I need to get off on my own," but I still hope that we will succeed in thriving together as a couple. I have been working on communicating with him, but I also swallow a lot back. I still need to figure out when to speak up and when to shut up; it's not something I'm very good at. 

Thanks again. Best to you.

Abusive Spouse

I just want to say to the lady who said not to compare ourselves to single mothers, I actually left my husband for a year, lived in a shelter and raised our youngest and it was EASIER in a lot of ways. Just not having to deal with the emotional and verbal abuse and temper outburst. Then being treated like you did something wrong. There is too much info to go into but my husband has been abusive and will rarely ever admit to anything wrong. He refuses to get a job or work, he's been on and off of heavy alcohol and drugs, and rages often. Here lately he eats all the food in the house that my food stamps pays for, and plays video games. I got a job after he got out of rehab (I needed him to watch the baby) and he sabatoges that by going into several violent drinking binges and neglecting our son. I was too worried to leave him alone with my son because he was letting him get into dangerous things and wasn't feeding him, bathing him, etc. Plus the drama of being kept up all night and morning by a raging drunk. He supposedly had a foot injury and used that as an excuse to not work, so I had promised to work and buy us a car so he could go out to the plants again. He used to make good money out there but sabatoges his own jobs and all the money on drugs and beer. So I cannot work outside of the home. He barely lifts  finger to do housework or take care of our son. I take care of everything. Recently I have been very ill with what I thought was appendicitis and found out I have ovarian cysts. He was helpful at first but discouraged me from going to the hospital. Twice. Guilted me by saying I'm  wasting money and time and that I was trying to "drag the whole family" to the hospital. The neighbor had to convince him to take me one time and last night his mother took me because he refused to go. I told him if it was him I would go, and be by his side. He said if it was him, he wouldn't need me to go. He hasn't  spoken to me since. He is now snoring on the couch while I take care of our son. I didn't go to bed until six am, and turned around and got up before 9. And he wonders why I am sick! Needless to say the dishes are stacked up and the counters and floors are sticky and dirty. He did a few dishes and some laundry, but didn't put hardly any detergent and crammed too much in, so nothing got cleaned. In order for him to do anything I have to be and beg and remind and remind and then at the end of the day if he does it it isn't done right plus I am the nag. One day he actually got up with the baby and cooked and cleaned and did everything and managed to stay off his butt and video game for the majority of the day but he was so mad and complaining about how he had no time to sit down or for himself, I told him welcome to my life this is what I do everyday. I have to call the doctor tomorrow and try to get an early appointment, because he told the office I had a cyst on my "groin" so they kinda blew off my appointment and made it for the end of the day. I have gone to the er and been extremely ill for four days now. I am terrified that I have ovarian cancer. That will really be the nudge out the door I need, because he treats me like garbage. He actually told me that he thought I had been lying about how excruciating sex was for me...and one time I was sobbing and he was trying to kiss me and feel me up, then got mad and threw a tantrum and claimed he didnt know I had been crying. All I am good for to him is for sex, money, cleaning his mess and feeding him. When I can't do that for him I guess I am nothing to him. And it's funny someone mentioned their h leaving rappers and whatnot, my h won't pick up his trash or dirty socks either. Mtly ex before him did that too and they both were diagnosed add as kids. He walks around like in his own little world where I am his mommy who gives him sex and he just sits on his ass and does nothing. No matter if I do his every command or ignore him or refuse him or get mad or cry or get sick, he treats me like complete and total crap. Thank you for letting me rant guys I feel a little better.

You are probably right, it

You are probably right, it isn't his add. I know what you're saying and I know not all men are like this. He tries to convince me that it's all in my head and I am crazy, ungrateful, etc. But I know. I can co exist with everyone else and rarely if ever fight. So obviously the fighting is him. He always tricks me into thinking he will change, time and time again 

Weighing the Costs

I love my husband. He is an amazing man with amazing talents that are direct results of his untreated ADHD. His ability to hyper-focus has contributed to our amazing business successes. I never forget this. But, some things make me seriously consider divorce at least several times a month; the pigsty, the lack of credit I receive, the lack of follow-through. He is highly aware of his diagnosis, yet he doesn't seem to understand how often (or exactly what) his ADHD effects. When I tell him, he won't believe me, and flips it around. I blame his ADHD for 100% of our arguments, however, he blames almost all of it on my "depression" or "nagging". Both of which I credit to our relationship.

Simplified: He doesn't make the bed for a week. I get angry. He becomes defensive. I get no credit for being patient. We're angry for days. The bed is made for maybe two. Then it's as if the problem was never solved. He wants me to have my own career, but how can I when my own focus is on managing all of his destruction? Marriage promised me two heads and four hands, all I got was an extra mouth.

It's the same story for diet and exercise. Which leads to some SERIOUS young couple issues. But most of all, when he asks me why I won't even consider having children...How can I tell him? How can I tell him it's because I can't trust him? I didn't want kids to begin with, but I already feel like a single mother so how could I even consider really and truly being one? Yes, he may do his chores semi-regularly for a few days at a time, but in the end it's always me saying it's time to begin dinner, it's time to do laundry, it's time to pick up your things. My mind is on overdrive, endlessly. I'm a highly driven, career motivated 26 year old. I made the right choices, I followed the rules, and now how did I end up raising a 13 year old boy...ALONE?

Dating was an exciting dream, full of energy, hope and promise. He hyper-focused on me, and after a childhood of neglect how could I NOT gravitate towards him? Even with the poor English skills, often offensive social manners, non-existent short-term memory, etc. those eyes and that business savvy had me in the Giggles. I did not know that he had ADHD when we got married, or how it would change my life.

Sometimes I wake up and I realize that I'm waiting for a better situation to come along, for some guy just like him (but without ADHD) to come sweep me away. And for feeling so hopeless I feel like committing suicide. But after a few weeks my hatred of him, and my desire for suicide pass.  He sometimes asks why I am so angry, why Im so depressed. I feel there is no sense taking medication to stymie the pain that is a result of someone else. And in the end, I take a breath. I remember the good things that result from his disorder. And I wait for a better time in our careers when we can afford to navigate the road to finding a suitable medication for him.

Your suffering is your own, regardless of whose fault it is. And in reality, how much fault can you really put on a partner who has a disorder? I choose a large personal space, separate hobbies, separate friends, and probably soon separate bedrooms. Some days, I don't even try to talk to him, because he won't remember what I say anyway. Regardless, our marriage is full of love.

Maybe someday the marriage itself will dissolve, but it won't be from lack of trying on my end, and most days Im hopeful. I feel that this is God's way of teaching me patience and humility. And sometimes, I feel like it is his way of punishing me for lack of them. Either way, there's no way I can leave now with our finances the way they are. If I remind him enough, he reads up on ways that he can control his issues, and he does his mental exercises. But it is without question, that someday soon my patience will be gone. There's no way I'm spending 18 years on him. I chose not to be a mother, fair is fair.

If an ADHD spouse is reading this, you need to accept full accountability for your condition. You need to seek help without your partner urging you too. Do not expect anyone else to solve your medical issues. Your condition is not an excuse for pushing someone else into clinical depression. It is not an excuse to allow someone you love to have to make a choice like divorce, on their own.

kam1095's picture

What to say to ADHD husband about chores?

I am having a day in which I just don't think I can handle it all anymore. I've wound up at this site because I wish I could figure out what to say to my husband to persuade him to deal with his difficulties so he can be a true partner.  I don't want to blame and I want to own my own #$%& but there's really a point at which an "I message" just ain't gonna cut it anymore!

I love this kam....

 (I don't want to blame and I want to own my own #$%& but there's really a point at which an "I message" just ain't gonna cut it anymore!) 

I love this; you made me laugh...Although it's really not funny when its our reality...It's just that it reminded me of when we first got married, and I would be persecuting my best friend at work with the details of what is was like trying to live w/ my wife....I would usually wind up the conversation w/ Well Man; I've just got learn this or that.....He told me one day...He said...Man how come your the only one Who's got to learn!...LOL...

Trying to be a peacemaker and reason w/ a ADHD mind in denial is impossible and will do very bad things to person's emotions!....Accept the reality and walk away....Never use words to try and press into a closed mind, it will only destroy you!




I want a divorce.

Sad but true, it is the only way to end the misery for good! ADHDers change for a while but not forever. When they are stressed it is back to whatever worked in the past. If they refuse to work at a partnership why should you go to hell and back for them? I think most of us know this and must decide if this life is enough. I could go on but what is the point? We are all singing the same song. Been through all the strategies but always felt like I was dragging a screaming child to the doctor. He thinks he is perfect the way he is! And he is to people who dont really know him or DEPEND on him for ANYTHING!  Ahhh to live life like a petulant 12 year old boy forever would nirvana for him! Sorry but we tried Melissa's strategies and other things but nothing yielded measurable permanent changes. Now i am working on ME because he refuses to work on US.

ADHD32 - are you me? :-)

ADHD32 - are you me? :-)


Because I swear I could have written your exact post.. In fact I have TRIED but not done so well and so succinctly as you have.


I want a divorce too.  I thought I wanted to work on things - but 2 months ago - something in my head snaped like a twig... like I literally think I might have gotten whiplash it was so sudden, and SO STRONG that told me I was done with this.  I was sick of the one foot in, one foot out - lies - disrespect - and apathy that my husband has shown to me over the past 7 years.... and I realized - that while somethings were better, they were better because *I* had changed, I did the work, and I was able to let go of things and be different - but he was doing the same old crap and he was ALWAYS going to do the same old crap because he just didnt care enough to make any changes (other than complain that he felt controlled and wanted to leave - well more power to him!!!)


Right now - I am making plans for a new life, revisiting dreams I thought I would never get to live because of putting my life on hold for someone who didnt even care enough to read a chapter in a book that could have helped save our marriage.  I mean... I really had to UNDERSTAND that...  Once I did, that dried, nasty old twig broke, and my cage unlocked, and I broke those chains and I am RUNNING for it.  I am running for that light at the end of the dammed tunnel.  I am clawing my way, hand over foot, on my knees over glass to get out of this hole.  I am DONE living in sadness, depression, darkness, apathy, and abandonment... I am done feeling like I am worth nothing, that I am valueless. 


Me too my friend - I want that divorce too - because living alone can be amazing, glorious and fulfilling... but living alone INSIDE A MARRIAGE is none of those things....

same here

Yeah, it's true. But if I went into the gory details, it would hurt too much to say.

All I can say is that I feel for you like I do for myself. And it's so hard when you really love your ADHD guy so much that you endure the pain.

I dream of support

I truly love my spouse but his ADHD  is beyond what I ever imagined.  He never completes a task. Sleeps all the time.  No one will hire him (laid off from oil which thousands have in this state).   Seems content I am supporting him and we are below poverty right now BECAUSE HE WON'T WORK!!!!!  Berates me if I disagree with him. Never ever support me in anything.  If I get sick, he will ignore me. I am SO TIRED OF paying the bills, working with him constantly around, him getting everything he wants FREE (he never pays for crap nor says thank you), embrasses me with inappropriate comments in PUBLIC, never thanking me for even cooking his stupid meat dinners I HATE, doesn't complete his sentences with a verb OR a subject and expects everyone to understand...and all his related mental issues.....

I DREAM of divorcing this man....


Hello HML...

After reading your post; I understand why you are tired....I'm sorry you feel like you must stay and be a care giver for a man who want get out and be a man and support his family....ADHD sounds like the least of his problems...

There is ways to wake him up, so be strong, don't let the abuse he is dishing out become your normal...You don't have to be angry or mad to do what needs to done to have a peaceful life...



Working around an ADHD spouse

I'm not saying this solution is perfect, but I think all too often we have an expectation of change when people have clearly shown who they are and what they will or won't do. The adage: "When people show you who they are believe them the first time" is true. For years, I pleaded with my ADHD spouse to let me know about his credit card and other bills so they could be paid on time, build in extra time so he wouldn't always be late and rack up thousands in speeding and parking tickets over the years, give himself time to think matters through and stop making hasty decisions, pay attention to the kids' schedules and needs, write down and communicate important updates,  and stop and think these things through since failure to do so had bad consequences that I have to fix.

I eventually learned that his refusal to seek full treatment for his ADHD meant this behavior would continue.

So then, after years of yelling, begging and mind numbingly frustrating convos, I started working around my spouse. 

I have no expectation of him consistently being on time so I rearranged my work schedule so I can do school drop offs since we share a car. I hired an after school sitter to do pickups. I schedule all kid activities directly with other parents and arrange for play dates. I build in a 15-30 min fudge window and add that time to the true start time of any activity he has to get them to (3pm party become 2:30 party for example). I handle and attend all school related meetings, appointments, ditto for pediatric and dental visits. If he must take them , he must call me and put me on speaker so I can ask the doc or teacher my questions and get answers directly. 

In the home, I do not ask him to do things that affect everyone. So he does his own laundry and walks the dog. I pay bills, cook, handle kiddie clothes, etc... When I do ask him to do another chore, I make sure that is the only chore at that time...ADHD folks become overwhelmed with too many tasks. So if I ask for help with dishes, that's it for that block of time. If he starts a convo about a buying tix to a concert or birthday party plans I redirect to the dishes and offer to chat about those things when he's done. This helps him remain focused on the task at hand. 

I've also learned to identify what I call potential "shenanigans" that could derail things. One of the traits of his ADHD is to add a ton of new tasks in a limited time frame when we're trying to focus on getting to the airport or to work. In the past, these shenanigans derailed getting places on time or, because they were poorly thought out, ended up unfinished and negatively impacting other activities. For example, once when his task was to take the dog to the sitter ahead of a trip, he added collecting a check from our renter, screwed up endorsing the check in his haste and spent hours driving around the metro area trying to get a bank to cash it. We nearly missed a flight to Disney as a result. 

Solution= one task at a time and firmly insist that he not start anything new unless given the greenlight. 

Now of course he resents this micromanagement. Who wouldn't? And often he does things to try and prove he doesn't have an issue. When that works, great! When it doesn't it's usually an epic fail, and I'm left to deal with and recoup from the consequences. Like the time he wanted to prove he knew a better route home, ran up on the curb and sliced the tire open. I called the sitter asked her to stay another hour and identified a tire shop still open. Or the time he turned to fuss at the squabbling kids in the backseat, his foot slipped and he rear ended our friends' car in a parking lot playground. He didn't call insurance or the cops and instead wanted to prove he could find a cheaper fix on his own. He couldn't. I handled the matter through insurance and when he didn't answer their many calls about the accident and repair, directed them to dal with me to get it done. Then there was the time I asked him to flag when kids' swim instructor called for them while I took them to the potty. He played Pokemn go instead. They called kids. When I returned and asked if we'd been called, he said no. We waited until finally l, after 10 mins, I went and asked at the front desk. They missed their call time for their lesson and cried from disappointment at being so late (lesson is only 30 mins--they swam for 10). I arranged for a makeup lesson. Pokemn Go is now banned when he is watching the kids.,

Is all of this exhausting? Yes. But I made a choice in staging with an ADHD partner who refuses to consistently see his counselor and is not always med compliant. 

And with some "advance" work, I'm able to ward off the damage he causes. Well, at least the physical damage. Emotionally, I think we all have to just learn to embody the Serenity prayer with him. 

Yes, workarounds need to happen

Especially in a household in which young children are being raised.  I like your thoughtful recognition that your husband's neurology often affects his task completion.  I agree that this is a fact of ADHD, although of course each person with the condition has a different mix of it and a different self imposed set of skills managing his/her ADHD.  I agree, Supermommy, that in a household with small children, if one adult cant complete child care, financial or home management tasks, the other adult must double up on the work and do the extra.  One simply can't leave small children in the lurch. All of this is factual and realistic. And necessary in your situation.  I particularly like your move to acceptance that your husband has some daily challenges and, in your description, I like it a lot that he has accepted that he has them and that the two of you want the good of your kids well enough that he will do things like put you on speakerphone with the doctor so the necessary conversation with the doctor happens...and that he's apparently cooperating with you about the tight scheduling of that one car that you two share.  

The only thing that gave me pause in your description of a lot of good was what all this may be doing to you, some years down the road.  You're managing an incredibly intricate family life.  necessarily, for the reasons you've given.  You've got the health and stamina for it now, or you wouldnt be describing what you did.  I hope there's room in your life for some time with your friends, some rest when you need it, and so on

yes, burnout and health

Amen to this comment. Do what you got to, now, little kids,etc... but long term?

"Best Interest" vs Long Term Goals

I have to chime in here too....based on what you said NON.

I always have to think about....who's best interest is something serving....and what it the goal in doing anything?

What you said about being an "intricate" family life...is a good way to see this.  While, I do have an opinion on one thing Supermommy said that I think might be missing something here....I understand why....but is it in the "best interest" of everyone involved including her ADHD husband?

I think there is a parallax effect that occurs over time that has to be considered here?  And possibly...not be considered in support of doing things a bit differently.  Parallax effects....occur to do to motion and movement over time and are a dynamic process.

In plain English....relationship and family dynamics....ARE....dynamics......meaning, they are in motion and changing all the time.  What worked yesterday.....won't necessarily work the same as it did tomorrow.  Given any set of criteria used?

What bothers me a bit in Supermommy's appraoch....is in what she said here...Now of course he resents this micromanagement. Who wouldn't?

Yes.  I would.  It is not in my best interest and only serves the best interest of someone else....besides me?

Resentment....can only lead to frustration and anger.  The "wouldn't you" statement...works for everyone including Supermommy as she said this.

The question I might ask.....is what is the goal in micro management...and who does this serve?

In a family dynamic that is constantly changing and moving over time....the parralax effect...will continue to change and evolve as well.  Resentment...and anger if present in any family member including the person who has ADHD....(they are in the family too....there's no denying or getting around that) will move and change too...it won't disappear or go away?

You can neither destroy or create energy....energy will find the least path of resistance...and take that path what ever it is?  Within the family....and within the dynamic.....those pathways will change and evolved....but that negative energy and resentment....will be there some where and will not go away?

If something serves only one person....within the dynamic.....this motion of parallax will always make it come back and bite you in the butt.  If you are knowingly.....creating resentment.....you are creating a situation...that come will come back and haunt you somewhere later down the road.  It will come back and bite you on the ass....every time and you will be the source of it....if you are the one creating it?

In the best interest of you or at the time....this may work.  Over time and in the long run....if you can't adapt , change and become flexible....or you see what works one day...and go...."hey that works.  I'll just keep doing it"....you are considering this effect and the reasons why it may not work again tomorrow without constantly changing it and adapting it on a constant basis....over time based on today....not yesterday?  In how I'm saying this?

The needs of the many...outweigh the few....might work in the moment....but it won't work over time...because sometimes....the needs of the few...have to be taken into consideration as well.  Given the day or time...and based on what is needed over the long run not what is needed now.  That's the parallax of motion ( and your perceptions constantly changing with it )within the dynamic and it needs to be adaptive and flexible not rigid and set in stone based on the one time it worked?


Taking time out

I agree with the poster who says this scheduling could be exhausting. It is. And my long term hope is that as the kids age, they'll be able to help look for themselves in a way that helps out (ie...remembering their own lunchboxes and book bags, eventually getting themselves to activities, etc...). Right now they're very young, so the workarounds help. For example, spouse is responsible for pickup and inevitably leaves one of the kids' items at school or camp. I just ordered large cruise ship tags so that I can start putting a "Please remember" checklist on their book bags of items that need to go to and return from school and/or activities. Hopefully that helps and eventually, when they're old enough to read, they can use that list to remind themselves of items. As for the poster who aptly noted resentment, I can see that. And I can tell my spouse really dislikes the idea that he just can't be relied on to complete a number of tasks competently or on time. I try to praise him when he does complete tasks, takes initiative and has follow through and thank him. But sometimes we have to be honest with ourselves about our strengths, weaknesses and limitations. And unfortunately, people with ADHD can't have it both ways, meaning if you have a hard time staying organized and timely it isn't really fair to ask those around you to let go of those standards simply to make you feel more comfortable. The impact of ADHD (especially for those, such as my spouse who refuse to seek consistent counseling or coaching and is sporadic on medication) often means chaos for everyone else. In my case letting things go--and I lived this way for years-- has meant major financial hiccups that I had to fix, serious childcare issues, his being chronically late to work to the point of his nearly getting fired, kid being tardy to school so often when he dropped of so often that administration got involved, his missing appointments and activities, and downright frustration for all of us all around etc... Things in all of our lives got a lot better when I managed my expectations of my spouse and what he can and can not consistently handle. For him (and us), one task at a time and clearly laid out is best. As for time for myself to stave off burnout, I worry about that as well. I've come to realize that as long as my house is tidy it doesn't have to be "magazine cover" perfect. And for years I've had a housekeeper come twice a month to clean in a way that frankly, I really like and the house needs but just can't do. Ditto on the twice monthly yard work. It's worth it to me to forgo things like new outfits and do my hair myself to afford this convenience. In addition to fun times with my kids, my stress outlet is my early morning workouts at the gym, late night tv or reading a book (after working two jobs), a weekly brunch with a girlfriend, a weekly cocktail hour and gab fest with another girlfriend, a monthly girls night out and a monthly mani/pedi. Oh yeah, and therapy. God bless my therapist!


I'll have to find out what cruise ship tags are and see if there's any use for them at our house. 

It's just me and my husband, a pair of FT jobs, an old house and a big yard.  Kids are grown and not living at home with us. He and I are aging.  Eventually one does begin to have to deal with physical limitation.  But that absolute need to put very young children's needs before one's own isn't with us like it is in your life, Supermommy.  

My husband and I are starting to downsize possessions and what dwelling we're in.   We'd have to do this anyway, later.  Streamlining early is helping us each now with some ADHD matters.  

Glad you're doing those things for yourself.  

Edited to add:  I looked back, Supermommy, and saw that you posted to non ADD, as I was writing the above.  If you're separated, and are the ba