Hi everyone! I'm new to this site, and just starting on what I know will probably not be an easy road. Since I'm not sure where to start, exactly, I'll give you the "jist" of my/our background.
My fiance and I worked together and were very close friends for two years (we were both in other relationships at the time) and even after I moved across the country, we remained friends for the following 2 years. Given our history, I knew things about him prior to our friendship developing into a relationship. He frequently feels victimized, like the world is against him, and like he has terrible luck (no matter how hard he tries, nothing ever seems to go right). I knew about his difficult childhood, negligent/addict parents, and being diagnosed with depression, bipolar disorder and ADHD as a child. I also knew how much fun he was to be around, how his smile lights up a room, how endlessly creative, curious, and imaginative he is - and how he brings these qualities out in myself. I knew going into it that we would have our difficulties, and was anticipating that I would have to be the level-headed one to keep him from blowing up at small things. He's never been physically or verbally abusive or aggressive, but...well, I know most of you understand. But, none of that mattered. I love him, and I was happiest when I was with him, so it made sense to be together when the opportunity came.
The first 5 months of our relationship were long-distance, and in February of this year I moved from Chicago to Napa to be with him. At his insistence, me moving to Napa also meant me moving in with him. For the first month, things were INCREDIBLE. I hadn't found a job yet, so I was home all the time and had no responsibility other than making the most of every second we were together. He only works part time, so we got to spend almost all of our time together, and there was almost no stress. I started to notice something was "off" because whenever he was at work, he would find something to get angry at me for, and a "text fight" would ensue. Let me note this here: I am NOT a fighter. I will calmly discuss anything, but I have never and will never give into meaningless "battles" that will ultimately lead to emotional chaos. This drives him crazy, because I am the first woman he's been with that refuses to get into screaming matches with him.
Long story short, a whole list of other "off" things started popping up in our relationship: irrational jealousy, piles and piles of "stuff" everywhere once I wasn't home everyday to stay on top of everything, chores not getting done unless I was doing them (his sister, who I believe also has ADD, lives with us, and this makes the situation even more stressful for me), inability to plan effectively for events even a few weeks off, inability to save money for things we NEED - but the uncanny ability to come up with money for things he WANTS. I think my noticing these things fast-tracked when I started working insane amounts of overtime at work and the exhaustion became too overwhelming when I would get home and NOTHING had been done. At first I blamed the way he was raised, or him just not having his priorities in order (chores first, then xbox), and while it never escalated to real fights, he definitely knew how I was feeling, and that I needed to feel like I had a real partner in him, not just a lazy roommate. He would be great for a day or two, but things always went back to how they were before.
I knew this wasn't normal. My previous relationships were by no means perfect, and ended for their various reasons, but I had never felt like this. Ever. I started contemplating leaving him, but just thinking about that broke my heart. I love him, so much, and I don't want to feel like I'm giving up on him before I even give him a chance, so I started looking into what could be at the root of my frustration. I googled "adult ADHD symptoms". He has every single one. Textbook. That was around Thanksgiving. 6 weeks later and I'm reading The ADHD Effect on Marriage and its sister book, The Couples' Guide to Thriving with ADHD. I already feel a huge sense of relief, but also the realization that this will be something we work around for the rest of our lives. I'm okay with that, though. As long as it is something WE work around, as opposed to something only I have to work around. I have gently approached him twice about ADHD. The first time was to tell him I had purchased these books, because I better wanted to understand the differences that were causing tension in our relationship. I could tell he wasn't happy, and he didn't have much to say, so I didn't push the topic.
Last night I was able to have a good, honest, albeit quick, conversation with him about his feelings (at the moment we don't have internet or cable, so I'm taking full advantage of those distractions not being in the picture) About how he feels victimized, like he has terrible luck, how he just feels angry and doesn't understand why people are afraid to talk to him and that they're always saying they feel like they're walking on eggshells with him - about how it's not fair that he's been handed this personality. I told him he hasn't been handed "this personality", and he doesn't have to live feeling his life feeling that way - that everything he was saying are symptoms of ADHD. We've talked about going to counseling before - when I started noticing how jealous and controlling he can be, and he was open to it then. At this point, we're just waiting for him to talk to HR at his work about getting health insurance.
I want both of us to be in counseling; I know how important that is. I don't want him to feel like my frustration is his fault, or like he's broken. I only want to be supportive, but even this early on I've had moments of feeling like I just can't do it anymore. I want a family, sooner rather than later, but I'm putting that on hold until I know that I can rely on him to not miss doctors' appointments, and/or to clean up hazardous materials around the house when he's done using them - things I know you're all too familiar with.
I feel fortunate that I've got an early start on this journey - that I caught it before we're on the verge of divorce. We're set to get married on 10/10/15, and I want it to be a day full of happiness, not a day full of worry and second-guesses.
I just want to know that if any of you had known what you know now, what would you have changed early on in your relationship/marriage to prevent things from escalating to the point of near hopelessness? I know that treatment - therapy/counseling, trying medication, and staying flexible as we work on organization and delegation of tasks are my first priority at this point, but if you have any pointers to help a young-soon-to-be-ADHD-spouse, I would so, so, so greatly appreciate them!!