What do you suppose he is thinking?

My ADD guy and I have both been very busy with work these past few months... but recently as my schedule cooled down a little, my husband and I still spend very little time together (as in, in the house at the same time).  His work is less demanding now, too, but he's filled up every available hour with hobbies and activities and other people that take him out of the house or require him to spend hours on the computer fulfilling some promise he made to somebody. 

I have for years had to work one night a week, always the same night, always 3 or 4 weeks a month.  For years.  Yet I've just noticed that my husband never schedules any of his leisure time activities for that night I'm gone.  He always stays home that night.  The last three weeks I've been gone one evening, and he's been gone the next three nights.  Last night, I said it's a bummer that when I'm working you're home, but when I'm home you're gone, and we have to work on our timing.  He said Yeah, I miss you too.  But I can't do stuff the night you're gone cause then I wouldn't ever have a night to myself. "

This took just a little more than the split second to hurt than his blurts usually do.  But I thought I heard him say that he preferred, if he was busy and only got one evening at home in a week, to have it be the night I am gone.  I asked for confirmation of this.  He said, "Yeah, but if I get that night out of the way (referring to his evening home alone) that gives me more time to spend with you."  (!?!?!??!)  I asked how so?  And he said "well, I know you're going to be home all the other nights, so if something gets canceled, there you are!"

Am I crazy?  He was smiling like we were having a nice, fun, conversation, like he really believed his scheduling was good for us!  I think he really believes he misses me.  I think he probably doesn't realize how much is committing to because he says yes to things one at a time, and never adds them up.  I get that it's important to have some "alone" time.  I guess I just wish it would come out of his everybody/everywhere else time, rather than me.  I asked if he could commit to keeping one night a week free for both of us.  He said "You're not going to try to bring back date night, are you.  Cause that just got to feel like a job."  No, it doesn't have to be date night, I said. It has to be a night you don't commit to giving to someone else.  He said he'd try, but he looked skeptical.  Then he gave me a big hug, and a smile, and ... left for his next appointment.

Am I misunderstanding his intentions?  He seems to think they are honorable.  But I feel like ... crap.  I'm almost tempted to find reasons to be gone as well, but that really doesn't seem constructive, and definitely seems childish.  In addition, HE WOULDN'T NOTICE.  I enjoy my time at home (gardening, for example).  So anyway, I'd like a better interpretation of what he tried to say.  

Not crazy...

I totally understand the crazy schedule thing, as well as needing unwind time. Your DH seems to have some ADD Fog in his brain with regards to your situation. Maybe the change from the extreme workload back to a normal workload is causing some of the issue. I don't do well when my schedule gets changed around, trying to re-establish a "Normal" routine. It is hard for me to know how I would be in your situation because I still have two DD's in school, so if my DW is out I have to be home. I would sure try to schedule one of my obligations, in your situation, on your evening of work. This just seems obvious... I can get "Un-Wind Time" when my DW is home. This does not require having the house to myself, which is good because it rarely happens. I will say that it can be very stressful for me when I have "Obligations" to other people that are hanging out there and I know they are thinking that I've forgotten or will never follow through. I try to limit these away from home promises because I can't ever get to all the "Jobs" at my own house.

Maybe the ADD Fog is blocking him from seeing how lonely these obligations are making you feel? Maybe the Direct Approach would help? Late nights are when the meds are all but gone and the ADD symptoms begin coming back and could be a factor in this situation.

I hope things get better for you Gardener :)

Reading that just made me

Reading that just made me sad...and angry. If he has the ability to schedule all of this shit he's doing, keep up with it all, and deliberately not schedule anything when he knows you're not going to be there..as he ADMITTED..then I am struggling right along side of you to see where this isn't intentional. And his comment about date night...wow. I think I would have had to have said "that was extremely rude and hurtful". I wonder, I know you say you guys don't fight, but why do you not call him out on some of this stuff? It was rude and hurtful, so why not let him know right then and there? 

I know your pain...I have lived it off and on for years. I am so sorry. I honestly think you're letting him off way too easy, but I don't know how you force this issue without feeling like you're forcing something on him he doesn't want. "Felt like a job"...REALLY? Asshole. 


Agreed TOTALLY on the Date Night comment! I complain that my DW and I don't go on DN often enough because she usually feels like it's irresponsible with So Much to do. I'd be Real Happy about a scheduled event for DN. Down Time is something I certainly need and so does my DW. From 9 - 10pm, usually we have our DT. I'm usually watching my TV shows and she does the same, or reads. To intentionally schedule stuff when I know she is at home is something I don't think I would have done in my worst ADD Fog.

My DH complains too (when

My DH complains too (when things are 'normal') that we don't do enough stuff together, alone. With the exception, of course, of the past 2 years or so when he spent 24/7 in the den...but now I know why. It was totally out of character for him, he has never acted as if he didn't enjoy my company. I honestly don't know how I could manage to be in the same room with him if I felt like he felt like spending time together was a job. I hope someone can give a perspective that we're just simply missing...because I doubt that he didn't mean what he said...and he's unwilling to make plans to stay at home...unless someone else cancels...so what the hell does she do? Feel?


Missing Logic

Gardener's example is baffling to me. The way she described him smiling like they were having a "Fun" conversation, leads me to think that maybe he took an ADD "Left Turn" and thought she was with him when she actually was not. "Maybe" he was trying to be "Funny" by saying if his plans fall through "She would still be there", like Gardener is his "Back-up Plan" HaHa???? It's a stretch, but I'm trying to see how this could happen without him really Trying to be mean. "Maybe" the JOB comment could have been referring to awkwardness to actually "Schedule" a date, when they should naturally occur. Not meaning Gardener is "Work" or a chore herself, but the event being scheduled is like a "Meeting" scheduled at the job.

I may be totally off base, but I figured it "Could" be what he meant if he was not trying to upset her. 

Could be

YYZ, that could be an appropriate explanation. My DH will do this, too--he'll say something that he thinks is a joke, but I get hurt/offended, and he has to explain he was joking...at which point I explain that we should probably avoid joking about sensitive issues until we get better at communicating. 

My DH says he does this to lighten the mood. 

It's not really a joke though

Mine says *I* need to lighten up.  

I don't think he understands the gravity of what statements like that can imply.  Mine doesn't. 

I'm quite positive he meant it as a joke, but that doesn't mean that it wasn't hurtful.  So why should I accept it, does this mean it's okay?  Is mutual respect of each other and feelings, despite possible disagreement, optional?


Oh, I completely agree--I've had this talk with DH many times and explained that his words and actions DO hurt me, even though he doesn't intend to hurt me. He doesn't get it yet; we have this talk at least twice a week.

He also tells me that I "take things too seriously." Awesome. Thanks for telling me what's wrong with me...

No Joke...

This is the "Classic" example of trying to lighten a situation, trying to be playful, while being Completely Oblivious to what you are actually doing. (Hurting the one you least want to hurt) When I would be in a situation like this, once I knew I had hurt my DW, crushing guilt would hit me, then my brain would spin out of control and I would screw up explaining what I was thinking, Now I look like I WAS trying to be hurtful. I've been through this a thousand times and it is horrible for both. 

Since my diagnosis, these things don't happen much as Adderall clears the Fog and I can see facial expressions, body language and more importantly I can think better before I say something. Being impulsive and having 500 things racing through your brain increases the odds of selecting a thought that is harder to read as your true intention. My Adderall slows things down and helps me better select what I'm going to say.

A hurtful comment is what it is, so once recognized, it should be corrected and not deflected or pushed off as "Your" misunderstanding. 

Quite possibly he meant it

Quite possibly he meant it literally- that scheduling a date night and putting so much pressure on it and having it be so rigid that they had to stick to it (even when they weren't up for it), became like a job. And perhaps this was meant to be communicated in a jokey manner but was still meant. That is NOT the same as saying that spending quality time with his wife is like a job and that he doesn't want to spend time with her.

Perhaps he would like the scheduling of quality time to be more spontaneous and casual and not so heavy and laden with meaning... 

What he likely fails to realize is that if he doesn't schedule it in (as he appears to do with his other appointments), it doesn't happen and then he neglects his wife.

This is not a defence- but an explanation. 

Again- I do think a direct approach is warranted. Gardener- have you let him know that you feel second to all his other commitments and would like some one-on-one time?

Same here...

That's my DH 100%.  He says garbage like that all of the time.  If I tell him it hurt my feelings, then somehow it's my fault and my feelings are wrong.  Blah, blah, blah.  Some who have witnessed it (which is very few) said "wow" I'm surprised you didn't react to it.  My response:  what's the point, I'm going to be pinned as the jerk here.  But most people treat him like he walks on water and he acts like a friggin celebrity.  Ugh.

What the Outsiders see...

I think in many cases ADD or Non-ADD people only show what they want people to "Perceive" as the way they are. I'm an ADDer who easily passed off a nice, pretty confident, fairly smart, laid-back, helpful guy. There was also a lot of low self-esteem, dark, buried anger, worried that people would see I wasn't smart or that nice and usually over-sold myself. My ADD diagnosis came at age 43 and it quickly became apparent as to why I built YYZ 1.0 Image to the World. My Non-ADDer DW also projects what she wants the world to believe. She projects Extreme self-confidence, Un-Shakeable, a Home-life which is Beyond Rock Solid. Nobody would believe me if I said the was VERY Insecure, Very Self-Critical and does not feel like she ever does enough, the standards she puts on herself, though admirable, are almost impossible.

That being said, many ADDer's save the worst for the ones that don't deserve it. People that close to you "Know" the real you and it takes a lot of energy during the day to keep the ADDer 1.0 Image up and believable. Redirection of blame is also a classic trait, wrong, but very common.

I kind of get this...

I have to say that I kind of understand your husband. Then again, I have ADHD.

I require lots of down time- since I expend so much energy when I am out.

There is probably one night a week where I just flop and play on my phone or zone out on the tv or internet.

I feel less guilty about this if my husband isn't there to see it. Because when he is- he makes comments or gets upset that I'm not as responsive as he would like me to be...

But then again- I don't have LOTS of other nights when I am out and my husband RARELY goes out... so in my case- it's not that often.

I'm not sure what to tell you- other than, I bet he doesn't realize you feel hurt by this. I agree with the previous comment suggesting a direct approach.

Good luck!

I kind of get it, too, but only the first part...

I am the non-ADD wife to an ADD husband--but I am usually the one who requires more alone time. We both need down time, but I like to have it to myself to do whatever I want (read, watch tv, whatever...) without him around. So I actually do understand the part about just wanting to be home by himself on the night that he knows you'll be at work.

But that's about where by understanding stops. The way I see it, we have 7 nights in a week--I need a night to just be alone (preferably at home). If I can get it out of the way on a night where DH isn't around anyway, then I'm not doing anything wrong. Because if I didn't get it out of the way on that night, I would still need a night to myself at some point during the week, which means it would take over a night where DH is around. If I said to him "I just need to be alone right now" on a night when we could've spent time together, he'd feel hurt. But the difference is that I don't have other things planned for every other night of the week, and I don't see spending time with DH as a "backup" in case anything else falls through. That is definitely the issue at hand. You're totally right to want him to sacrifice a little of his "everybody else" time to make spending time with you a priority. And date night felt like a job? Jeez...I wonder if my DH feels like this about our date nights (he could--he hates planning...).

Wow Gardner--<hugs> I can't see where you are wrong

Course then again I am the non in my relationship. Hubby and I were talking after dinner, so I asked him if he'd give me his take on a post here on the site--I do this sometimes when I don't get something or when I need help knowing a constructive way to respond esp where an ADD viewpoint is required/requested.  Plus some of the posts here are just learning experiences and springboard a convo for us.

Before reading it, I told him that your husband seems to think he was complimentary and you are hurt, so he'd try to see how he could have meant what he said to be good for the relationship.  Throughout the reading, his eyes got big, he whispered 'oh no' when he hears that you as there when his other plans fell through, and when I got to the date night being a 'job', he actually covered his face and put his head down on the table.  He DEFINITELY doesn't see things your husband's way, but it is almost a little funny the way he kinda takes it personally.....like your husband is reflecting poorly on all ADD husband's everywhere.

Anyway, his take is on it is much the same as the others have posted.  He MAY be on purpose scheduling his night alone when you definitely will be gone because he knows that is a great time for him to get the alone time he needs.  My husband needs alone time, but he doesn't require an empty house...he has an office full of all his toys so he feels plenty alone in there when he goes in for his zone-out time.  He does see the point of zoning and goofing during a time when your mate isn't home so as to avoid the comments that could be made by the nonADDer in the house (definitely guilty here) as the other ADD mate mentioned (sorry can't remember the name), but he actually prefers not to be in the house alone.  He loves to know I am here, even when he is holed up in his office--frankly I don't get that, but I find he comes out an 'visits' fairly often nowadays.

If your husband zones best in an empty home, ok I can see it as a good thing that he is doing it when you are gone.   Honestly, I can't relate to this at all as I basically require about 1 hour of alone/zone out time per month, so I am useless when it comes to these situations other than to say that those of us who don't need the alone time should try to understand our mate's need to have it and not take it personally...that was a bit of a struggle for me.

As for why he would schedule himself to be gone when you are home, we are both baffled.  He is clearly over-committed and that is also clearly a choice.  You are probably on to something when you say that he commits one item at a time and probably doesn't realize how he gets so busy, but a convo about that should clear it right up.  I sometimes ask my husband, 'if you try to remember the last 2 weeks, how many times would you say you are buying junk food while you are out ?' (that is one of our issues but it could easily become "how many evenings would you say we spent together" ).  Invariably his perception is not the same as reality.  Once you realize you have a disparity like that, you can problem solve how to fix it.

Committing to a night together is a great thing, but I would be hurt if my mate did it so reluctantly too :(  Maybe if you make sure that evening if fun and enjoyable, he will look forward to it much more.  I tend to bring things up to my hubby when we are in a car going somewhere--maybe something about having a captive audience--but I have learned if we are going out to do something fun together that is the time to only talk about fun things together as I want our dates to bring back good memories.

I admire you coming here to get help to understand if your husband may have meant something differently that how you took what he said, but I am thinking he is being a jerk with what he said and how he said it.   Was it a poor attempt at humor?  I think you would know it if it was.  My husband sometimes tries to resort to stupid humor to "lighten the mood" but he is learning that it doesnt' work.  Even though I hate it, I know what he is doing when he is doing it.  I think you would likely know the same.

Thanks to everyone

All of your comments were very helpful.  Yes, he frequently "jokes" to lighten the mood, even when things aren't "serious" just perhaps uncomfortable for him.  Weird thing about date night is when I would schedule it, invite him (no more than 24 hours notice was most effective) and make it happen, he always said he enjoyed it.  He just couldn't get used to the idea that we should commit to doing it regularly, or that he should take a turn "planning" something.   Re:  confronting him when he says things that hurt -- I'm getting better at this, usually say Ow! or something, which gets an immediate apology.  If my calling him on it involves much more than Ow! I get the Three Stooges (you're too sensitive, you took it wrong, I didn't mean it that way).  The primary reason I asked for other viewpoints in this situation was his demeanor throughout the exchange -- cheerful, smiling, not defensive.  The only comment I didn't respond to was the last one... he can usually outlast me  ;)    YYZ's comment about taking a wrong turn in his head resonates with me.  It literally felt like we were having conversations in different yet parallel universes.  And to clarify, my guy is not diagnosed or medicated... however he recently confessed to me "my boss thinks I have ADD, too."  And he smiled and shrugged like, what can a guy do.  Gentle efforts to explore that conversation were rebuffed.   It's been 9 months since I first broached the subject, and he seems to be inching toward some awareness.  I have several times said directly and firmly that we have settled into a "schedule" that is not good for us and not acceptable to me, and he agrees, and explains why/how it will get better soon.  The constant struggle for me is that all of his activities and interests appear to everyone, and sometimes even to me, like healthy expressions of someone with great passion for life, zest for learning and trying new things, and I don't think anyone needs a spouse who "kills" those things.  I DON'T want a couch potato.  I don't need someone you could describe as a "home body".  I appreciate that as empty nesters, it is FABULOUS to have interests that make you want to get up the morning.  I just want some sort of balance.  I want "enough" of him, and I want him to want a little more of me.  And he agrees, agrees, agrees when I make those statements.  And than he can't seem to connect what he's doing with the results he's getting.  Once or twice over the years, I have successfully insisted he give up something when he adds something new, and I wish I could figure out how I penetrated the fog on those occasions.  I appreciate all the food for thought.  My guy is not his ADD and he is not his crappy coping mechanisms -- maybe someday he will know that, too.  thanks and best wishes.