When the ADHD spouse is happy and very successful and non-ADHD spouse is getting sick

I have been with my ADHD spouse 22 years (since I was 18).  I had emotional and physical abuse issues from childhood.  When we dated 5 years he seemed very safe, happy, and successful.  His family seemed like a very quirky, happy family.  Although there was divorce, affairs, gambling, drinking, and job loss in his immediate family.  My husband now was overwhelmingly attentive, which I saw as love.  However, I did get "gut feelings" that something wasn't right.  He was extremely involved in sports and we stopped everything for games.  He underestimated his time spent watching sports.  He also spent time with his buddies with no regard for me or "dragging me along".  All of this I thought would be different when we got married.  We relocated after college.  We got married.  I immediately got the sense that he "moved on" and work was #1.  My job was of no interest to him.   And I did all housework.  If we met with friends he fell asleep on their couch midway through the party.  So I often went home alone and said, just send him.  He worked really long hours and I attributed it to work.  I started being jealous of other couples but wasn't really sure what I was missing.  I always wanted children and at 25 we tried starting a family.  It took 6 months, pregnant and miscarried.  Then it took 1 year and miscarried at 12 weeks.  Then fertility evaluation, 4 years later had a son.  After son realized that husband was not reliable and couldn't help with childcare. But he was successful and I was able to stay at home with my son.  Additionally, I was very supportive of his work and entertained his clients often.  When I was pregnant, husband had to sleep in the guest room because I "kept him up" and stayed there since I breastfed.  Husband has never slept well.  To this day, we don't share a bedroom and our sex life is jokingly referred to as "booty calls".    Moved to another state for work.  The problems with his friends continued after I had my son, he chose his friends over helping me.  Then I had a second child.  My fertility work included high risk pregnancy with 2 shots a day in my stomach 2 times a day and infusions 1 time a month.  I didn't have any help from any family. Husband wanted to move into bigger house.  House needed work.  Which caused further distraction.  The house projects took forever and weren't planned in any order that made sense, so they took a lot of time.  At this point, I was starting to vent to family and old friends.  I was told "all I do is bitch" and lost those relationships.  Also, after I had my 1st child, my mother in law started blurting things out at me that were rude regarding my kids.  I thought my husband would stand up for me and he didn't.  So the in law relationship is very eroded.  My mother in law and father in law watched my son 1 time when I had a fertility treatment and they drove him on the highway with no carseat to go out to lunch.  He was 1 year old.  I was horrified.  My mother in law also reacts to msg and my neice and nephew are "allergic" to red food coloring which I noticed mentioned on "web md" as being things people with adhd people should avoid.  My husband's grandmother used to blurt things out, drive over lawns, gamble a lot.  Then, Husband's work seemed to ease up a bit.  I started anti depressant meds when children were 1 and 3.  I was very overwhelmed and sad.  Husband began study of theology at a college, mission work, and teaching sunday school (all at once).  I thought helping others would help and helped a refugee family, worked at a food pantry, taught scouts.  I was very stressed out.  I started drinking (only wine).  We adopted a daughter from another country (since I had fertility issues).  Things got quite a bit worse with 3 kids.  I focused on getting daughter healthy and then a year later started drinking from 12 am is-3 am ish some nights.  Combined with increased medication.  I also gained 25 lbs.  My skin started breaking out in cystic acne on my face and back.  My friend relationships eroded since I vented a lot to friends and neighbors.  Husband looked successful and great to everyone.  Dog got run over, I had to juggle getting run-over dog to vet with small children.  Then 2 years later put dog to sleep with out husband (he said he couldn't leave work). He makes a lot of money.  I had 1 sitter who helped out (she was highschool).  Then moved to 3rd state for work.  He is even more successful.  I had already lost all my friends, so I agreed to move.  My main concern has always been the kids who are very socially adapted and skilled at school and hobbies.  I have really over-compensated.  Once kids are older, husband is attentive to them.  He likes to be the "fun one" and I am the "depressed one".  Couldn't leave him with young children since he wouldn't feed them and was inconsistent with care.  All this time, I had been in counseling and medicated.  Being blamed for our problems and then judged religiously.  Husband threatened divorce and taking custody of kids several times and then seemed to forget he had threatened me.  I had dropped all of my extracurricular activities the other moms were doing since I often was late or missed it because husband didn't come home.  Reluctant to make friends in new state since I will just lose them or be judged by them.  So very isolated.  Youngest in preschool 2 days a week, but I spend that free time at my doctors offices from my health problems that have developed.  I have anxiety panic attacks at night.  I have cut drinking by 75% and gotten on better medication without being overmedicated.  Told some neighbors and a few new friends/bible study of my problems.  Husband finally agreed to see marriage counselor but brought in research about my depression.  We both took a year long "life skills" course.  I was stating to think I had a demonic presence trying to kill me since I feel so "dark".  I know satan's goal is to destroy families through divorce.  I am praying a lot.  At this point he somehow found this ADHD book and it explains everything.  I am very angry and don't feel any love toward husband.  I also had become very independent of him by necessity which he doesn't like.  At this point I want out, but I don't want to destroy my kids.  They see him as the healthy one.  I had a bright light 22 years ago.  I had conquered over abuse and gotten a degree and "gotten away".  Only to jump into the arms of someone with ADHD.  It has made my dreams of having a family a nightmare.  I have a jealousy problem from watching other families have the relationship I don't have.  I have conquered fertiltiy treatment.  I went "all-in" as a stay-at-home mom.  I have ended up with no career, an outdated diploma, no relationships, cystic acne, depression and crippling anxiety.  The only up side is my kids are healthy and seem happy.  They have good friendships and like school.  I don't see ADHD traits in them.  My husband and I don't argue, the kids know we are trying to get help for our problems.  But I am very disconnected to my husband to protect myself.  He is very successful at work and his interests.  He wants to lead a life of adventure (often taking the older kids and leaving me behind with the youngest).  I don't want a life of adventure, I would rather have a relationship.  He tells me how much he loves me.  I don't love him anymore.  I am getting sicker.  Doesn't it make sense that he find someone he can have adventure with and I can heal and move on?  And we can help our kids recover from divorce?  I wouldn't be with him if we didn't have kids.  Advice is welcomed!


So much here

There is so much here that I can't possibly touch on it all, but will give you my impressions from having read through it:

  • your description of his family suggests that an ADHD may be correct (ADHD is heritable), though a careful evaluation is a very good idea
  • you need to get yourself connected to other people or to something again (besides the kids) as well as into therapy for your depression, anxiety and ADHD-response issues.  Connection will help you get healthier (literally...both physically and mentally).  Disconnection makes you sicker (again, literally)
  • Exercise is a great way to treat both anxiety and depression.  If you don't have a daily (or at least regular) exercise regimen, start one immediately.
  • if you have anger issues, you might benefit from reading The Dance of Anger - it sounds as if you are in some difficult circular cycles with your husband from which you could benefit from step away
  • you probably already realize this if you have read my book, but bad marriages are always created by two people.  His ADHD may well play a big role, but your anger, venting etc are also likely playing a role (you have to be venting in a pretty bitter way if your friends are deserting you as a result of it)  Again, working with a professional can help you stand back and take a look at your own role
  • Learning to argue in a constructive way is actually better than not arguing at all, which can be an indicator of a very poor relationship.  In my book I talk about learning conversations - see if you can start to negotiate about some of the biggest issues that face you both, learn more about them and what is underneath them.
  • You probably need to talk about your feelings that you have given up everything for the family, and his (likely) feelings about being a provider and still having you resent him and get underneath the expectations you both have about family roles.
  • You say you don't want "adventure" but would rather have a relationship.  A counselor can help you understand what the dimensions of a "relationship" are for you (and for him).  For some, having adventures together would be a good description of having a relationship...while for others, quiet attention is what they crave.  The better you can express your ideas about your expectations, the better he'll be able to respond to you.
  • The "he's the fun guy" and "I'm the drag" story is one I hear a lot.  You have control over this, actually.  Create times (at least family times) when you can have fun and let down your guard a bit.  While you're not likely comfortable with this, try perhaps one to three hours a week or something where you "let go" and "go with the flow" and toss all cares, organizing and responsibility aside to be with your family.  You may find that the fun you have helps you feel a little bit better in general.


thanks for the ideas

Ms. Orlov,

I appreciate your response.  My husband was just diagnosed with a high level of ADHD this week.

I think the problems have gone on for so long, that I have tried almost everything.  Counseling, Life Skills classes, medication, exercise, yoga, vitamin therapy, bible study.  I honestly don't feel like anything else would help, but am reading your book and Dr. Hallowell's book.  It's interesting, finding out why he and his family have been so cruel to me as a medical problem that they have, but it doesn't make me feel better about their cruelty.  

My choice is a job and a very small house, but it would devistate my 3 kids.  I am not sure I could do that to them.  My husband and I don't argue, so they only see my depression.  And I am sure they would blame me for our separation/divorce.  My main concern with my kids is my parenting ability.  I research and try very hard to be an appropriate parent since I had such a violent upbringing.  But I have to constantly fight against my husbands inconsistency which impeads the work I do.  

My health is deteriorating rapidly.  I had such a bad panic attack last night, I wanted to die.  My teeth are so sore from clenching I take 16 ibupropen a day.  And I think I'm getting an ulcer.  Along with the cystic acne, depression and anxiety.  I am sure I am holding onto frustration and anger and resentment and bitterness.  I do participate with the family adventures, but I am usually tired from getting all the necessary items ready for the adventure (especially when I had infants) and realistically when my kids were small there are a lot of adventures that infants can't participate in.  

I am not sure what will change, they are recommending adderall.  I know he also needs a mentor and to do the 3 prong approach.  Luckily our Life skills teacher know about adhd too.  I think part of healing for me might include my husband contacting family and friends and explaining the situation.  Although, I am not sure if this is fair to his privacy.  I do think a conversation with our 2 older kids would be appropriate.  I would appreciate having my credibility back.  

Well, I appreciate your comments and I will keep reading the books.

Thanks you so much!

I had the problem with my teeth as well

I was married to a violent, abusive and cruel man, and I feel every bit of the pain you write about. During an intensely high-stress period, I developed the painful teeth-clenching you describe, along with tinnitus. I went to so many doctors my husband declared I had Muchausen syndrome, but there really was something that could be treated. I was finally helped by a dentist who fitted me with a night guard. (You wear it at night, it's not obtrusive.) and that improved the problem in ways that all the counseling in the world could not. It sounds like you have good insurance, since you've tried a lot of medical interventions. Try a dentist who treats TMJ and see if it helps.

It didn't make my husband love me, and I eventually left him, but at least I felt better. You are under way too much stress.

thank you

Hi Sueann,

It is too much stress.  He isn't even violent.  But the constant rejection of me from his ADHD has taken it's toll.  My husband's love is very conditional to how I act and if he thinks I am acting "appropriately" ( how he wants me to act).  I have just gotten a night guard, so I hope it helps my teeth!  

I am happy to hear that you felt better after you left your husband.  I was wondering how non-adhd spouses do after they separate or leave the situation.  I don't see a lot of information about that on the website.  I also don't see information about how to explain this to the children.  

Thanks so much!




The husband I left did not have ADD

He was just a jerk. When I left him, my blood pressure was normal for the first time in years and I no longer needed my nightguard. It was hard, especially since my younger child has a galloping case of ADHD.

When I finally finished raising them, I met and married my ADD husband. We are now in the process of splitting up, since he lost his job and we can't stay here. ADD brought a whole new set of problems to my second marriage.

I am glad you got a nightguard. I think it will help you feel better. But I wouldn't presume to advise you how to be successfully married to someone with ADD. The only ones that seem successful with that that write here are Melissa and a poster named Aspen.

Wow...I had to get a night

Wow...I had to get a night guard too.  And I have had migraines for the last two years that came out of nowhere...or seemed to.  And that doesn't even include the anti-depressants that I have been on for 13 years.  Let's face it girls...they are killing us!  This is just a bunch of crap as far as I am concerned.  I'm NOT going to let my husband destroy my health.  I have decided that INTIMACY is overrated and I'm going to live like I have a roommate who does the yard and pays most of the bills for me.  I have a few divorced friends who would love that set up.  Maybe all the ROMANCE on television has us thinking that a GOOD marriage is supposed to be like the infatuation phase.  Maybe men in general are basically children and we can only get true, close-knit relationships with our girlfriends.  I mean seriously...how many women do any of us know who are better friends with our HUSBANDS than our best friends?  I don't know of any!  I don't need a man for my emotional needs.  I have God and I have my friends.  Men don't get us and men with ADD don't CARE that they don't get us.  I'm pissed.  Obviously we all are, but I'm tired of giving up my control.  One of my best friend's says to just pretend that my husband is my brother.  It actually kind of works.  Ladies...HAVE NO EXPECTATIONS OF THEM BECAUSE THEY WILL ALWAYS, ALWAYS LET YOU DOWN!  We can either whine and complain or move onward and up without them.  Who made up the rules that if they don't compliment us that we aren't still PRETTY!  Or if they don't support us in a time of grief that we crumble.  I'm getting strong and he can do what he wants.  I won't get a divorce because I want the cash, and taking a chance on another CRAZY, SCREWED UP MAN is not something that I will ever do again.  We don't NEED them for our emotionally stability.  Plan your life like you are single.  Go work out, get in shape and be proud of who you are!  Make your own life because I guarantee that THEY will not do it for you.  

You have rights


First of all, don't assume kids see you as the "bad guy." Kids are very perceptive and we don't always hide as much from them as we think we do.  I'm sure they are pretty aware of their dad's faults (and yours, too). My husband is the fun guy, but they know he can't find his keys, or keep himself organized and that he spends way too much time on his computer. They also know I'm super-organized and "particular" about cleanliness but I throw great birthday parties and make sure dinner is on the table.  Of course, whatever happens, do not talk badly about your husband in front of your kids. Don't burden them. 

Second, children need love and security more than they need a big home (This is hard to believe in today's consumer-driven society.)  so don't worry about moving to a smaller home.  I would just do everything in my power to keep my kids at the same school (even if you drive them) so they have stability there.   Also, you sound really connected to a church.  Are your children old enough to participate in a mission trip? Can you accompany them on one? Perhaps if they see poverty in another country, they will get some perspective on their own privileged lives.  (I'm not saying you're kids are spoiled--just American.  :)  I try to drive this point home all the time with my own family!) 

Third, separation is not a divorce. If you do separate, please try marriage counseling and finding a way to reconcile.  Tell your kids the truth.  Tell them you both need to learn new behaviors so that everyone's lives will improve.  Tell them you need to improve your health so you're not the mean mommy. Put it in medical terms.  Tell them that you are doing everything you can to give them the best lives they deserve b/c being their mommy is the most important thing to you.  Let them ask questions.  But, don't give them adult details. Hearing about your sex life will scar them. :)

Fourth, if you have exhausted all options during the separation and you do head to divorce, remember that you have rights.  You are entitled to half the assets earned during your marriage.    

thank you!

HI, thank you so much for your reply.  I really appreciate it.

I don't talk badly about my husband (or my in-lawa) in front of the kids.  Although sometimes I am seething inside!!  

I definately will keep my kids at their school, they have made really nice friends and they are old enough that it is so important.  We do have a new church.  

The funny thing is my husband began doing mission work, teaching Sunday school and taking theology classes all at once in the last state we lived in.  He was very judgemental religiously.  But I responded by volunteering to take care of the medical needs of a refugee family.  I did it for four years with my kids.  It was really hard.  But, you're right, we all learned a lot.  We also volunteered at the food pantry 1 time a month, raised money for various charities (charity birthday parties), and I taught Cub Scouts and Brownies!  So we went hog-wild with service.  I really thought it would help my situation, but it didn't!!!  I was sooo tired!  My husband wanted to take the older 2 with him to mission, but where he was going wasn't a safe place in general.  When we moved 2 years ago, I insisted we figure out our problems before we jump into volunteer work again.

My husband had his evaluation and the nurse practitioner said he has the highest level adhd she has seen yet in her 10 years!  I feel like I am on a rollercoaster ride between being angry and glad I'm not going crazy!  I want out then I think it will be ok.  My feelings toward husband are pretty numb right now.  He explained it so far to our daughter and next is our son.  Maybe as I gain my credibility back, I'll start to feel better.

I took the dogs to the dog park today, so that is progress!!

I want to thank you for reading my giant 22 year blog!!!!!  It means a lot to me.




Isn't it ironic when a good thing can be a bad thing?


Have you read about the hyper-focus tendencies in ADHD?  That is when the ADHD person can be super-intense on something (a project, hobby, person, etc.) It can last days, weeks, months, even years.  As you know, trying to match your spouse's intensity is exhausting!   (I tried to do it with rock-climbing a few years back, but I could never like it as much as he did.)  It sounds like your husband hyper-focused on church and service.  Both of which are good things--no great things, right?  That's when this ADHD thing gets all topsy-turvy!  We may feel guilty resenting the "good" thing. Could we really considering criticizing it?  (In this case, isn't it almost like criticizing God himself?) On the other hand, the ADHD spouse feels wrongly "judged" (perhaps even morally superior) by how we question the time, energy or money he puts into such a good thing.  I'm sure you feel turmoil over this weird situation.

My husband likes to help people.  Right now, he is pretty involved helping (I sometimes think enabling) a friend who has some physical limitations and pyschological problems (depression and more).  It's great that he spent the last month of weekends helping his friend with his yard.  I just wish he would attend to our yard first.  I'm also amazed that he helped his friend sort through all his finances (he hasn't paid attention to our finances for years). I get upset when he spends so much time helping his friends and he gets upset back at me because he's just being a nice guy. 

Fortunately, despite frustrations, I am married to a good guy. He is willing to work on and through and with the ADHD.  I think it is a good sign that your husband talked to your daughter about his diagnosis.  We are church-folk ourselves (Christians) and I think that our faith helps us.  We share core values which provides direction for our lives and boundaries for our behavior. (I get sad reading through the posts on this site and what other couples face like affairs, addictions, gambling, abuse.  I'm so glad that we haven't faced that.) In many ways, our faith provides structure for us.  (Structure is vitally important to ADHD.) There is also a commitment to marriage and my husband takes that seriously.


PS: It sounds like we have a lot in common.  :)  We have internationally adopted, too.


Yes, my husband was hyper-focused on mission work, Sunday school, and theology school.  Our kids were really little.  I tried to match it with my own volunteer work, but I was so exhausted!  And it didn't change his behavior toward me.  I thought it would gain me his attention.  But, he got very judgemental toward me.  And I felt guilty for wanting him to focus on me instead of these very good causes.  I felt as if I were criticizing what God wanted him to do!!!  It was terrible!  

I am proud of the accomplishments we had when we helped other people, but it was almost at the cost of our marriage.  Ultimately, I know that Satan wants my marriage and family destroyed, so I am fighting every day.  I am on a roller coaster of wanting out and wanting to work it out.  I think there must be a "grieving" period after diagnosis is made.  I have tried so many years to figure out what is wrong that it is a relief and a shock that he has a formal diagnosis now.  Out family and friends are convinced I have severe depression and I would like to get some of my credibility back.  

He has talked to both older kids and they understood it very well.  I think that is a good step.  I was getting judged even by them for my depression facing the adhd.  It can only get better knowing what we are dealing with.  But, I told my husband it will take time for my health to improve.  I have quite a few health problems that have resulted from loving like this.  As well as repairing most of my relationships I lost because we didn't know what was happening. And figuring out how to use all the skills in the book and the tools will take some time.

I really appreciate your response.  It has been a lonely road and finding this book and having a diagnosis is a start!  Also, knowing I'm not alone and people care enough to respond to my blog is uplifting.  So, thank you so much!!!

The person you become as a

The person you become as a result of the neglect and rejection can definitely look at lot like depression. I've dealt with depression (not due to my husband's ADHD entirely) and taken medication. I can tell you that it did help me 'deal' with many of his disappointments a little easier, but it did not change who he was or how he behaved. I finally decided the side effects of the medications, although I loved how they helped me cope better, were not worth it and I wasn't willing to medicate myself for the next 30 years just to be able to tolerate his behaviors. It is completely unfair.

My marriage spiraled out of control for 6+ years before finally crashing and burning towards the end of 2009. We separated for a bit. After we reconciled we had a ton of stuff to deal with ..mostly the damage we did to each other during our separation and his affair. By June of 2010 we were really making progress...and then he got the diagnosis. In August we started going to church again after many years of being out of church and we truly found a 'home' with our current church. Bringing God back into our marriage was truly how I felt we would finally get it right. We were still going to counseling as well. He decided to try medications...although we were both VERY VERY afraid of how he'd react to them based on past experience. From the day he started meds (Oct 2010) until now it has been a rollercoaster of horror. I do not think it is a coincidence that as soon as we found our way back to God, our troubles increased 10 fold. Our family, as yours, is under spiritual warfare. I believe it with all of my heart. I believe if he will ever seek help again, it will be because God makes it weigh so heavy on his heart that he won't be able to resist. I pray for this often. He tried 2 medications, both made him extremely hostile. There are other things at play...but he is just not in a good place at all.

I am suffering from stress, high blood pressure (yes, finally it is over the edge after many years of staying borderline enough that it didn't require medication), and hypoglycemia. My body is very angry with me and fighting back. I pray and cry a lot. It is the only way I know to cope. We aren't fighting much these days...and he has checked back into the marriage for the most part (he slept in the den for about 3 months...and was basically completely MIA from the family..after stopping ADHD medication cold turkey) but the reality of ADHD is more and more apparent everyday. He is consumed with a work related issue right now and knows NOTHING about some very important things going on with me and the rest of the family. He doesn't seem to care to know..changes the subject or leaves the room if I start to talk about ANYTHING related to anything other than him. I don't understand enough about what is going on with him at work to really be able to keep up with what he tells me from day to day and often I feel it is just an excuse to escape to the den claiming to 'work'.

It is a very lonely road...and getting the diagnosis is a start..but it seemed like it only made things a lot worse for us. I think he finally had to accept that there is a lot of hard work ahead of him...and instead of doing that, he just gave up and decided that I just need to accept him for who he is. Some things I can, some I can't. God knows what those things are. I pray for him to help my husband overcome them everyday.

Nice to have some members aboard who understand the spiritual aspect of surviving in an ADHD marriage. Praying for you guys and your families!


Hi Sherri


I am so sorry about all you are going through.  It is so hard.  

I think there is a "grieving process" once diagnosis is made (although I haven't looked it up on this website yet).  I can feel my body going through a grieving process a little like a roller coaster ride.  

I did just read a book called "Purging your House, Pruning your family Tree" by Perry Stone.  It was fascinating.  It definately is spiritual warfare.  Satan wants to break up marriages and destroy families. I also got his book called "Angels on Assignment".  I haven't read it yet though.  I forced myself to go to a prayer group and they prayed over me, I have never had that happen before.  It was amazing to find a group of women who understood and believed it was truly a spiritual war.  

I don't know if putting it in those terms makes sense to my husband yet.  I feel the attack at night mainly in the form of panic attacks.  I think it would help if the men know they need to fight Satan's influence too, or Satan will win their family.  It is really scary stuff.

I also want to research the "grieving process".  I think there is so much damage before the diagnosis is made, that it requires grieving of all that could have been and wasn't.  And maybe for the men with adhd, the grieving includes shame that they feel for their actions and that they have a diagnosis now.

I will say a prayer for you too and want all the best for you!!!




Definitely includes the shame of now seeing all of the neglect for all of the years to a lot of people, especially family. This is quite a mess to sort through... There is a lot of damage to the relationship, caused by many things and on both sides of the marriage. This damage is what pushed me out of my comfort zone, into anxiety/panic land and lead to my diagnosis only to find out Now it may or may not be too late for repairs, After medication and counseling, you are also learning to communicate with new raw abilities which adds to the difficulties. I am two years into the process and I feel a lot better about things as I increase my understanding of the ADD, but life is still full up insane ups and downs.

Keep working and there are many here who can give great insight, like Sherri!



I know this sounds cliche'.

Stand back, and breathe.

It sounds like you needed to vent, I can appreciate where you are coming from. No "buts".

I think its great of you to stick it out this long, you're doing well.

Every relationship has its ups and downs, and its tit for tat... I see your husband is taking from you what he needs, I've read you aren't getting what you need.  When is the last adventure you and your husband have gone on together, just the two of you?  Sometimes you don't need counseling, and doctors. You just need to find out what it was that caused you to love him in the first place, and if making this marriage work is important ... you might have to do it more then just once in a blue moon.  :)  I'm talking about small adventures that force you to communicate, kayaking, sailing, boogie boarding, surf lessions, dance lessons, intimate classes... somethine that causes you both to be active together. :)

Get involved, nothing can make you feel worse than when you know you have no one to depend on. Find someone to depend on, and share recipricatingly, don't just word vomit all the bad stuff... at least until she does some oral diarrea of her own. :) (tit for tat)

Tell your husband you want roots, or discuss starting an open relationship. ( I know a few married couples doing this to get by with eachother.) You could also consider (oh my gosh I can't really believe I'm advocating this, but it just might work) asking another woman into your and your husbands relationship. As a 2nd partner to your husband.  (yeah, I've been watching a lot of "sister wives season 2")

ADHD is a terrible form to be in, but I must say the amount that he has been able to succeed tells me that you two are able to get through this with flying colors.

I'm sorry you're going through this, and I couldn't be much help, but sometimes the most wrong answer might just help in the end. So there is my 2 cents. :)

thank you!

Thank you so much for reading my giant 22 year blog!!!  It means a lot to me.  

Thank you especially for the praise and encouragement.  I really appreciate it!!!

I took the dogs to the dog park today, so that is progress :)  But, you are right, I usually give up on activities pretty easily now.

I really like your advice and Ms. Orlov's advice about the "word vomit".  I have lost a lot of friends that way.

Boy, adhd is tough.  My husband's nurse practitioner said he scored the highest level on the test she gave him than she has seen in 10 years.  He's started medication and says he feels quite a bit different.  So we'll see....

Thank you again so much!!



New Meds

Just wanted to mention that finding the right medication can sometimes take a while.  It is basically "trial and error" and you have to give yourself a few weeks to evaluate whether it is helping or helping enough, so it can become a loooong process.  I have been on meds for about 2 years and I am still not sure I have landed on the right dose and type!  But in the meantime it is still helping some.

I wanted to tell you this because my first medication did not really work at all and this caused me to spiral into despair.  I concluded that either 1) I really did not have ADD after all and really was just a LOSER or 2) Medication was not going to help me (not a very hopeful outlook).  Actually, my initial dose was WAY too low--but of course, doctors are obviously (and appropriately!) going to start low and move up from there.  I did not understand this at the time, and I also felt really weird to keep going back and ask for more and more and more drugs.  The way they require you to show your driver's license and sign for the prescriptions and etc. made me feel like they might think I was some sort of addict trying to "work the system!"  And trying something new is a lot more complicated than just having the doc call in a new prescription after a couple of weeks--you have to request the rx (usually through the nurse--you don't necessarily get to speak to the doc), wait 24 hours for them to write it, go to the doc's office to pick up the paper rx, take it and drop it off at the pharmacy, return to pick up the medication, and deal with any insurance issues along the way.  Not to mention that I did not know exactly what I was supposed to be feeling from it, so I was having a hard time evaluating whether it was "working" or not (especially at first).  It takes awhile and some experimentation to figure this out.  Then even if you find something that is helping, you can still have a troublesome side effect (i.e., bursts of anger as it wears off, etc.) that may necessitate trying something different else anyway!

All this to say that it is a complicated process!  So please encourage your husband to keep trying if this first dose and type does not completely do the trick!

thank you!

Thank you for the med advice.  He started adderral and feels totally different he said (I didn't ask him the dose).  But he is having insomnia now, so I think he will need to call the nurse and try to figure it out.  I mentioned maybe he should split a pill in half to take a half-dose.  But it is probably best if he talks to the doc office since I am not a doctor!  Thanks! :)


I started Adderall after my diagnosis and felt immediate good results. Insomnia was not an issue, because I felt more rested on 6 hours sleep than I used to on 9 hours of sleep. Don't take the last dose too late, unless you need to be awake later in the evening. I take 20mg first thing in the AM, then 20mg at 10:30 or so, then usually split one around 3:00pm. This works for me and everyone can be different.



I'll tell my husband.  I was thinking a split dose late would be a good idea too.  Thanks!!!!


I have noticed lots of people on this site (or their spouses) take Adderall.  I am taking Vyvanse once per day.  I have never tried Adderall.  What is the advantage of taking Adderall if you have to take it multiple times per day?  It seems to be the most common medication around here (this site) and I am wondering if I need to try it instead of the Vyvanse.  I am still not confident that I am taking the right thing or the right dose!  I tried taking 2 pills of my old  50mg dose for a few days (total 100mg) and I felt it a lot more and liked it better, but the highest dose of Vyvanse is 70mg which is what my doc has me on now.  I am guessing I should not take more than 70mg if that is the highest dose, so I am thinking I might need something different?

Sometimes I forget to take my once-a-day medication...is it hard to keep up with multiple doses?  The thought of that is a little overwhelming to me!

Adderall vs Vyvanse

My Doctor first suggested Vyvanse to me, but a good friend of mine who is ADD really liked Adderall, so I went with my friends advice. I think they are basically the same... Adderall I am prescribed 60mg per day. 20mg 1st thing in the AM, then 20mg at 10:30am or so, then usually a 1/2 10mg around 3:00pm. I like the fact that I can take the doses based on the day I'm about to have. I tried Vyvanse and it did not seem to kick in as quickly as Adderall and I thought it was more expensive. I have 2/3 of a bottle left, so I might give it another try. I am such a creature of habit that I never miss a dose and I have several locations that I keep extra Adderall for the "Just in case I do forget" moments.

All I have to do is miss a dose and start feeling foggy or stuck and that is all the motivation I need to remember the multi-doses. Once you get in the routine you won't be over-whelmed :-)


My son takes addelrall XR

Extended release.  He only has to take it once a day.  I understand there are 4 or 5 stimulant medications and 2 non-stimulant.  Go back to the doc for a new med if you really don't like what you're taking!

Try to see things from a different point of view..

You describe that it is intesting to find out why your husband has been "cruel" to you, but that it doesn't make you be less angry. I think you should try not to look at it is cruelty.  I have ADD and my spouse used to complain of many of the same problems you complain of. Through lots of talking and a lot of open-mindedness on his part (which I am eternally grateful for), he came to understand see that many of the things he viewed as cruel or selfish were just behaviors that I hadn't let learned how to control because of the ADD. Certain things that most adults are able to do every day are just a lot harder for someone with ADD.  In a lot of ways, having ADD is like being a child. You don't think your child is cruel when he doesn't obey you or lashes out at you, you just teach him how to behave better. That is exactly what I needed.  Please please read some of the newer research about how ADD affects the brain. When you know why he is behaving in a certain way, it will be a lot easier not to take it personally. 

One more thing, please try to understand that having ADD is difficult for the ADD person as well. My husband though I had no idea about all the times I forgot to do something he asked me to do, or didn't listen to him when he was talking to me, or couldn't figure out how to be supportive of him when he needed me, but in fact, I was painfully aware of it. Every time I tried to talk about it I got so emotional that I just couldn't even bring it up. I also felt like a failure. I knew I loved him, and I knew that I wasn't treating him in a way that made him feel loved, but I couldn't seem to make it work no matter what I tried. And although he meant to be pointing out what I could do better, his constant criticisms just made me feel like I would never get anything right. Your husband may feel this way too. In fact, it may be why he puts so much effort into work - because its the one place where he feels like a success. That is exactly what I did. When I was at work nobody needed anything emotional from me so I could relax without fear of letting someone down. When my husband realized I felt like such a failure, he changed his approach. Instead of criticizing what I did wrong so much, he tried to focus on complimenting what I did right. This worked WONDERS for us. 

Anyways, I know you have experienced a lot of pain on account of your husbands ADD. From the bottom of my heart, I really feel for you. It is hard to be the spouse of a person with ADD. And it can be even harder when the ADD spouse is the "fun one" or the "successful one." You're pain is very real and very important. Just please try to remember that he may have a lot of pain on account of his ADD as well. My spouse had no idea that I was going through so much pain on account of my ADD until I finally learned that I had ADD and learned how to express what was going on with me. He had no idea that despite being a successful attorney and a "fun one," I felt useless, stupid, hopeless, anxious. Or that I often thought I didn't deserve to be with somebody like him who was so much better at relationships than me, and that I feared that I should just be alone to save other people from the trouble of having to be with me. Maybe your husband doesn't have these exact feelings, but I am nearly sure that if you can find a way to give him a safe environment, he will surprise you with how much pain he has as well, and how much he really really really does want to meet your needs. 


Hi !

Thanks for your reply.

My husband comes from a long history of people who "stuff" their feelings.  He seems to have several health issues that are unaddressed that I think are related to stuffing.  Like acid reflux, headaches, etc.  But he won't go to the doctor even though he tells me he will.

However, he tells me he is happy.  And his lifestyle hasn't changed at all since his diagnosis.  He is Obsessed with work, electronics, sports.  He says he's just "trying harder."

I asked him about a month ago what he would do if I wasn't able fulfill his dreams later in life.  Like traveling, etc.  What if my depression/anxiety actually got worse and I couldn't keep up with him?  He said he would make sure I had the care I needed, but he would carry on as usual.  When I asked him about that comment, he said he is talking about short amounts of time.  Like short trips.  I'm not sure that matters if the person you are married to needs you.  It certainly doesn't match the marriage vows I read. 

I guess I just don't think this is the type of marriage I was looking for.  His family is full of ADHD and they usually move on to new spouses.  I call them "shiny new toys".  What if we can never meet each other's needs.  Do we stay together and be frustrated forever?  He claims he only wants me and loves me and he isn't frustrated.  I think he is just stuffing his feelings.  I was looking for a mutual caring relationship in which both partners needs were taken into account.  And my brain and my broken-heart tell me this isn't the relationship.

I would love your opinion.