When googling for explanations to his behavior, this site always pops up. Now I'm starting to get it...

Oh man, I've only been married for 3 years, but I am ready to tackle two jobs and being a single mom just to get out of this relationship. He's not even that bad yet.....I'm just too independent and used to being single to deal with having to mother my husband. He has every single symptom of ADD. I don't really know the difference in ADD and ADHD, but he has no hyperactivity problems. He comes across as pretty darn lazy. Because of him, I'm the one with the hyperactivity, but I like to call it extreme multi-tasking;p

I have googled "husband is lazy", "husband doesn't listen to a thing I say", "husband doesn't hear me", "husband has a terrible memory", "husband is negative about everything", "husband is getting dumber", "husband is an idiot"...........just so I can commiserate a little. I've started internalizing the anger because I hate making him feel bad. I just walk away and roll my eyes, bitch to myself, or go write it down. I try not to talk about it with friends because I can come up with multiple complaints a day. I have become very passive around my husband because almost every thing he says or does grates my nerves. Instead of getting better, he is getting worse. He knows that I have stepped out of the marriage, so he is (finally) trying harder, but he is still messing up simple tasks or doing stupid, sometimes dangerous things....daily.

When we met, he showed me a man that was excited about life and me. Now I think it may have been hyper-focusing. He would come over to my house from work and focus all of his attention on me. Once we were done talking about me, he would excitedly tell me about the career he was working towards. I married him too quickly. Years of dating people that didn't work for me made me kind of desperate. He was like a breath of fresh air and he was moving away soon. After we married, he failed out of school....a very difficult school, and he was forced into another school that he didn't want. I became pregnant. A few months after that, we were shipped overseas. I was unable to work overseas, so I took on all the household responsibilities. I handled all the bills and online bank accounts because he showed no interest in them. I didn't mind because I have always worked hard and I felt that I needed to do something. To this day, he never looks at his paycheck and doesn't know the usernames and passwords for the bank accounts, even though they have been given to him frequently. He was never home because he was training for war. When he was home, he couldn't remember to soak a dirty dish or put dirty clothes in the hamper. Little things that made my job easier. It was a constant argument. He never thanked me for getting up with him to cook breakfast, cook lunch on his break, or cook dinner. If I really slaved over a meal and asked how it tastes, he'd say "it's okay".....and then got upset at me that I got upset. He said, "okay means it's good where I'm from". I wasn't buying it even then. NOW, he thanks me profusely for any meal I make, and even the ones he helps with or order. Over-compensating........

Our biggest problem was how much importance he put on sex. He bugged me endlessly about it. We could do it 2x a day and he'd still beg me for it. He begged me through my 2 months of bedrest and my 6 months of recuperating from a very difficult birth. When he finally went to war, I was glad. No more pressure for sex like it was the most important thing in the world. When he came home, I put a stop to the endless begging for sex because he immediately started back that old routine. I haven't slept with him since October, and don't think I ever want to again. I told him he could go outside the marriage for it, but that I was never going to have sex again if I didn't want to. Who wants to have sex with someone that only lasts a minute anyway? Who wants to have sex with someone they have to treat like a child?

I kept thinking the problem was how much he hated his job and hated being overseas, but now that we're back in America, he's not a whole lot better. Now his forgetfulness and inability to think about consequences have put the baby in danger a few times. I never trusted him with the baby anyway. Since we moved here, we acquired a dog that showed signs of food aggression towards the baby. We didn't want to give the dog up right away, so we agreed to monitor them and ALWAYS keep the dogs outside when preparing their food. Right after that conversation, I walked in on him preparing wet dog food with both dogs and the baby under his feet. When I confronted him, he blamed it on the dogs. He said they WERE outside. Um, obviously they are not now and it is the HUMAN'S fault if they managed to sneak in with the human. I had to yell at him to get him to separate them, but he was fuming. A week or two later......several days after he made me a wooden DVD shelf, I found a plugged in handsaw on the ground in the garage. I confronted him about that, but he didn't do anything immediately. 30 minutes later it is still on the ground but unplugged. I had to make him put it in a safer place. After that, I told him that he is not allowed to buy the gun he's been wanting so badly. I told him he wasn't responsible enough. He agreed. We have a toddler, for pete's sake!

Each time we moved, he took no responsibility in the house. I had to leave him in charge when the movers packed up my house. Some of my things weren't packed and I lived in a tiny apartment.  Once overseas, I unloaded all of the many boxes and put them in their place. I did that twice overseas and once again when we moved back. I left him his room this time. His room stayed destroyed for over a month. He can't sit down in front of the tv without falling asleep. So, no grown-up time after the baby goes to bed. He's borderline narcoleptic. In fact, I make him go to bed when he starts falling asleep. Usually, he denies falling asleep, which really irritates me. I worry when I'm at work that he'll fall asleep and the baby will hurt himself. He doesn't take care of himself at all. He eats too much and of the wrong things. He's had the same disposable contacts for two years and NEVER takes them out. He receives letters that he never opens. I opened one once, found it was insurance, and told him to take care of it. He told me he didn't even know what it was and never looked at it again. He wants the military to pay for his old college bills, per his contract, but won't get the paperwork together to send it to the right place. Blames that on his mom.....apparently it's her job. I had to ask him many times to make his last car payment because I took it off automatic payment. He finally called the bank to get the balance, then didn't pay it. I had to make him call them back, and he managed to only pay half of it somehow. Blamed it on the bank. Before I leave, I am going to cancel our shared credit card.

Everyday is a battle of inconsistency. I have all of the responsibilities and I'm working part time too. I am trying to find a good paying full time job so that I can afford to leave. I'm nice enough to want to help him pay down debt first, but I may have to do that from a different house. We already have separate bedrooms. He's gained weight and snores loudly all night. Has been for almost a year now. We have separate bathrooms because he spends too much time on the toilet and severely dirties the toilet without cleaning it up. I asked him how he does it, and he tells me it is because he leans forward. Um, well stop leaning forward or at least clean the dang thing. I don't want to take his child from him, but I need to get away from him. He'd never be able to handle that responsibility too....he'd end up leaving him with his family. I sure hope he doesn't become vindictive when I finally leave. I don't even want a divorce because I never want to get married again.

I've given up on him as a partner. He can't listen to me or remember anything I say. He repeats, "huh, what did you say?" many times a day....sometimes before I even get the sentence out and often will answer me inappropriately because he doesn't pay attention to detail. And because of this, he gets a special joy out of pointing out any time I don't remember something. Although, I'm pretty sure he doesn't tell me half the things he remembers telling me. Yesterday, I sat a half full coffee mug in the sink. He pointed it out to me that I didn't rinse it. I barely get mad anymore though, and I am trying so hard not to point out anything to him. He can't stand any way that I try to handle things. If I don't fuss at him, I don't care. If I fuss at him, I don't appreciate the good things that he does. He tried making me feel bad because he managed to get our son up (after I was already up and in the shower), get him dressed and fed. I said, "Congratulations, I do that every single day". Sorry, but I don't need constant affirmation. I just get things done. He washes one dish and points it out to me. Wow, congrats again, I wash loads of them every single day. Lately, he's been acting really childish. It's only making things worse. It honestly feels like he is getting dumber. No matter how many times I tell him that as soon as he gets our son up and dressed, he needs to feed him, he STILL gets him up, doesn't dress him, and waits til he's screaming to feed him. It's exhausting!

He does try, and I want to believe it is a brain problem and not laziness or being stupid. He normally doesn't do any household work, but has been trying because he knows I am at my wit's end. He won't feed the dogs unless he sees I'm about to do it. He won't pick up poo unless he sees me doing it. Same thing with the trash and recycling. Thank goodness he remembers to put it on the curb on Fridays. He remembers because he sees all the other trash cans out when he leaves for work. (Hmmm, I bet they didn't get done last Friday because he was off work) He won't do the dishes unless they start to get bad. Sometimes they do now that I'm working. The other day he loaded the dishwasher, but forgot to turn it on and left some in the sink. I finally started crying about it, so he asked me to let him do it. I told him no because he doesn't get them clean. He got mad, but the next morning he missed a corner of the griddle. When I noticed it, he tells me it's old grease. I said, "no, you just didn't clean it properly". He was trying to blame his forgetting a corner of the dish on ME. Just OWN your mistakes and apologize...I do!! He rarely cooks because he can't get that right either. He set the timer on our cinnamon rolls for an hour.....they take 10-15 minutes. Of course, the bottoms were burnt. Didn't matter to him because he ate cereal while they were cooking. I'm just tired of it all. It is a constant battle just trying to have a normal home life with him in it. Thank goodness he has a job that he can't quit. He's had about 13 jobs before this one. Before this one, he was only 22. I should've heeded the signs when we were dating. He fell asleep on the way to a club. It was a 20 min drive. His mom nicknamed him "bum". Hindsight sure is 20/20.

The last thing is the anger and negativity. He seems to have a good heart, but sometimes he tries to get over on people. I can't stand negativity and I definitely don't want to get over on someone. Sometimes he just wakes up in a bad mood and it ruins the whole day. Right now he is gone for 3 days and I'm so happy about it. I wish he'd leave more. I try to point out the positives in things, but he looks for the negative. It's exhausting. He's still mad that he grew up poor, unable to afford expensive clothes. He's mad that he was an overweight kid. He managed to shed all of the weight, but is slowly gaining it back through lack of discipline. I grew up with two divorced alcoholics that fought over me even though they didn't even want me, but I'm not mad about it............I learned from it. I pity them, not me.

I used to think he needed reminders, but now I am learning that reminding doesn't do him any good. This is who I married, and there is not going to be any change. I'm just waiting until I'm able to leave comfortably. Now if I can just manage to make it that long without packing up all of my things and the baby and moving back to the east coast. I'm doing my best to just keep handling all the responsibilities and letting it roll off my back when he messes things up. I still hate dealing with the guilt of having a husband that loves me, but who I want nothing to do with. I truly wish he would hyper-focus on some other girl and move on. Maybe she'll be able to handle it better than I can. But he is totally focused on keeping me, without being able to focus on the things that would help him accomplish that. I am done with relationships after this. I could write pages and pages of some of the insane things he's done, said, or started to do. I want out before I can write more.

just adding

.....as I see that another aspect of ADHD is only thinking about self. I had a horrible pregnancy and a worse, natural birth. I might have been interested in another kid, but my husband didn't want another one because my being pregnant put sex on the back burner for him. It wasn't so much the difficulty that I had, but the difficulty he had in getting me to want sex with him without having to be asked. I'm still very angry about that, obviously. Many times, friends have asked us if we'll have anymore and he answers "no" first. I finally told him that the reason that "I" don't want to have any more children is because I don't want anymore with him. I'm sure it hurt, but it's the truth.

I could've written this

All I can say is - I know EXACTLY how you feel.  With the exception of a few details, it could've been me writing this.  It is so hard for my friends/family to understand the daily struggles I face with my H.  They just don't get it and I can't explain it without sounding like I am some kind of crazy.

2 jobs + mom relatively simple compared...

I am very sorry you are going through this.  We all feel your pain.  It sounds like you have resolved to end things.  If that's true, I hope you can find a way to transition smoothly to the next phase.  Since he's Dad you will have to deal with him on some level, and doesn't that seem oh so appealing from a logistical perspective.  Since he does seem ADHD has he been diagnosed?  On Meds?  Getting counseling?  He won't do the things that might make you reconsider without those, because his brain just doesn't work that way.  He's reacting to immediate stimuli when he's thanking you for dinner, etc.  The planning and executive functions required to be useful are beyond him as long as the ADHD is in control.  The eating bad food, and constant complaining are self medication techniques.  Actually calm his brain while disrupting ours.  Argh.  If you do have interest in saving the relationship work on both your parts would be required of course.  No misery occurs in a vacuum.  Counseling to help you through the process might be helpful.  Best wishes in staying sane.

Thank you for being

Thank you for being supportive and also helping me understand things a little better. Since he's Dad and I don't trust him with his own child, I'm definitely not looking forward to that part of the transition. I wouldn't mind still helping him, but I don't want to be under the same roof as him anymore. It's too annoying;p I don't really have anyone else though. My parents are out and my Grandma is old. My friends live in the southeast and his family is from the northeast. We currently live in the southwest. I don't know whether to stay here where the cost of living is low, go to my friends so I can get minimal help, go to his family where I can get help but be hated, or start completely over in the northwest that has been calling me for years. I have a couple friends there too. I don't have a career, so it's not an easy decision at all.

I seriously doubt that I could ever be happy living like this, even if it is better managed. I have no interest in staying on top of/mothering my husband through this issue. If he won't even order new contacts, how am I going to get him to get help for this? I'm tired of making him do things that he should do on his own. In fact, I've brought up ADHD a couple times in the past. He doesn't even respond to it. It makes me think he's known all along, but refuses to own up to it. He even once stated that he felt like he tricked me into marrying him. Yeah, if I knew he was going to be like this, I sure wouldn't have. I'm just not the enabler type. I'm a get your stuff together or get out type. I don't lack empathy. I just can't stay empathetic with people that keep having the same problems. Before I even knew he had a problem, he made comments about me and the baby being better off without him. Comments like that can drive love away. They make you go into self-protection mode.......slowly stopping your love in order to cope with the possibility of their suicide. For some people, it causes you to lavish them with attention and I do believe it can be an attention seeking behavior. But not me, it drives me away. I am just not doing well with a chronically moody, depressed partner who can't even make things a little better by listening to or remembering things that I say. It is heartbreaking for me. I barely talk to him anymore because he doesn't listen. I'm so tired of saying, "I told you that already" or "we discussed that at length". It's like living alone, but with so much more responsibility. If he could listen and remember, the household chores wouldn't matter. Our sex life would get better. Would have gotten better. I believe that I am too angry and resentful now to ever really love him again. Even if meds make him better, it's just a band-aid. What if they stop working or he stops taking them? Then it's just more heartache down the road.

I really was starting to think that he had early onset Alzheimer's disease. I really did not notice his inability to focus, listen, or remember, for the first 2 1/2 years of our marriage. Maybe it was his constantly being gone and my pregnancy hormones. I was a very loving, attentive wife at the beginning, but he wore me down little by little. Now I have no love left. We don't have anything to keep us together anymore. I asked to see a psychiatrist while I was speaking to my new doctor.....I'm a veteran. I asked because I started heavily crying when I was asked certain questions. They asked me if I wanted an advance directive, but started crying when I realized I can't depend on my husband for that. I can't even remember the other things that set me off, but I NEED to talk about this problem with someone. It's killing me. It's so much worse because I am stuck living here until I can afford to leave. Sure, I can clear out our bank accounts and go, but I would never leave him in a situation like that. Even though he's tried to leave us penniless with his car hobby. I'm LUCKY because he doesn't spend too much money without asking me. He doesn't make any decisions without consulting me, even though I am about as laid back as they come. I thought it was weird at first, but now I'm thankful for it.

He's getting out of the military early next year. He hates it. I don't blame him sometimes, but that dependable paycheck and healthcare sure is nice. He's been the same rank for a couple years. He refuses to be promoted....doesn't want the responsibility. I'm just not at all attracted to that attitude, but I tell him it is his life......do what you feel is right. I don't want to be controlling, that is why I despise having to be a nag. I want an equal partner. I want a best friend and a lover. I can't have either with him. In my more desperate times, I cried my heart out. I don't have tears left for him. I only have tears left for me. I told him many times that I don't feel he is my best friend. Change would come, but only last a week or two. It's so depressing.

But I won't let it get me down too much. I'll keep looking for and saving for my way out in a way that is the least disruptive of his life. I think I may wait until he gets out, then suggest he moves back to his home. Maybe I'll go too, but we won't be sharing a house.....only custody.


My heart breaks for you. I could have written this word for word. The internet is a wonderful thing for learning from other people. When I see "my story" over and over again in this forum, I see..from another's perspective...how ADD has affected not only dh but also my children and me.  Our children learn how to partner, love, work and play from both us and our relationships.  I often think of the person I WAS (I was like you...I had a good mind, attitude and confidence) and the person I am after over 35 years of compensating for HIS manipulations/sabotage and lack of care and commitment. I don't like who I have become after years of "having the chair pulled out from under me" as a way of life.  You ARE the company you keep.  We all need support.  Find all the support you can.  You seem like a smart girl who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time when your dh's hyper-focus fell on you.  In the early years, It is impossible to tell that they are not going to/be able to keep up the love and attention that they begin with to "get" us. Then the babies happen and we are "tied in" without a life partner while they are off in their own worlds seemingly without guilt or shame because they "forget" so easily. It helps to share the stories.


Even though my instinct is to frame reality such that I am the good guy, I do see a lot of similarity between your husband and myself. If not in life details at least in the core inattention aspects. It doesn't sound like he is very open to working on your relationship, so my question from there is whether it is delusion/inattention or denial?

I can convince myself that things are going well, and historically when I have made my way to the belief that we are out of the woods some massive fight destroys that illusion. I wonder if the seriousness of your position is clear to him or if it could be made to be. After a handful of months with really damaging fights I finally got to the point where I was taking her leaving seriously. She is very mercurial so it was easy to rationalize that threat as a mood swing from stress. If he could get on board working on his issues, and get to the point where he had secure reminders in place to keep him "working on it," would your resolve to leave be less firm?

My worst fear in my relationship is that bridges are burned and that there have been divisions between us that just cannot be mended. She is similarly in a place where there is little love left, and in the worst moments has asked me to figure out how much I can give her to rent an apartment. The last fight we had was a few weeks ago when she demanded this and threatened to force my hand by cheating if I didn't comply. Her concerns are valid, on most issues I have no leg to stand on, she is mostly right about analysis of the marital dynamics between us, but she is nevertheless mercurial. She loses control in moments of rage/desperation. I wholeheartedly believe that she would leave me, but I do not think that the apartment or adultery ultimatum represented the only two options. I know that I have her trapped after five years, three kids, and no job. This was not my intention, but as despicable as I feel for thinking this, it buys me time to get my crap together and be the man she deserves. It is my hope that if I can work on things and stay focused on getting better that her love for me will grow back, and we can have a fulfilling relationship. When we aren't fighting things can be much more affectionate than a situation having seen this kind of ultimatum would suggest.

It sounds like you are resolved, but I read the stories on this forum about couples and if the ADHD spouse is cooperative there are more options. The relationship --or most critically, the potential relationship you seek-- may just not mean enough to you, despite maybe some glimmer of light down a very long tunnel. Particularly depressing are the stories of 10+ year relationships who have went through that gauntlet of meds and therapy with no significant improvement. The ones that tear at me the most are those that do not. I'm not talking about aggressive or denial situations, but the ones where the ADHD spouse is on board and trying. Ones where too much damage has been done and their partner is just finished with it; where a potential relationship is not even visible or desirable. We aren't there yet, but thinking about my wife not even desiring to return to a healthy and happy relationship is just devastating. When I read stories that lean this way I feel a pit in my stomach and some indescribable, terrifying agony. Even if leaving is the absolute healthiest way forward, the utter loss of something that was once so special is a hard thought.

I wish you the best of luck getting to a healthy place, whichever path that may be.

I meant to reply to the whole

I meant to reply to the whole thread, but didn't pay attention lol....how ironic;p

My relationships have been a pattern of guys/men chasing me and giving me their attention, only for the attention to pretty much disappear shortly after I've fallen madly in love. It seems like everyone I've dated has had this problem, and all of my relationships have been short ones because of this. I usually protest the problem, get a quick fix, then it goes back to me not being the focus anymore. I'm not an attention-seeker either....I'm pretty independent and enjoy time to myself, but I am talking gross neglect after only a matter of months. Then they don't understand when I end the relationship and they try to stay in touch with me for years after. So, to me, my husband is just being another man in a long line of disappointing men.

I'm glad I found this site. I found it before, but dismissed it because my husband isn't hyperactive. I always thought that was the main problem. I read this article: http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2012/10/17/7-potential-problems-in.... Wow!!! Does that describe my problem to a T. I'm going to have my husband read it. Maybe he'll see where I'm coming from FINALLY! Just like in the article, my husband thinks he is a great, misunderstood husband who tries his best while his wife doesn't appreciate him. It angers me, but then I also feel guilt because he IS a genuinely nice guy. He is just a terrible husband. He's a great provider because of his government job, but I just don't know how good we'll be doing early next year when he gets out. Now that I see the common thread of adhd people is an inability to keep jobs, I'm nervous. I probably wouldn't mind having to be the sole breadwinner, BUT he can't even properly take care of our son or the house. I'd be stuck working full time and doing all the chores too. I'm betting he would sleep late, watch tv or play games all day, and drink too much beer. I don't know if it's worth that just to have a FT babysitter. Plus, he'd likely be so unpredictable to live with, with his mood swings, that I'd want him out anyway. He actually got mad at me the other morning because I didn't want him to cook me eggs. I wanted a frozen waffle. I made it myself. I asked him wtf he was so angry about, storming around and sighing HE'S ALWAYS SIGHING!!!!, just fix yourself an egg, and he says he "likes to cook eggs for the whole family". Since when?! Delusional! He ate cereal. I'm not married to a man.....I'm married to a toddler that provides a paycheck.

One way this site has helped is that I'll be able to look at my husband with a brain problem, rather than a husband who is stupid and lazy. I think it is going to make things easier on my nerves, but it won't help my feelings for him. I no longer have any feelings for him. I did not go into this marriage knowing it would be like this, almost every day, for the rest of my life. I wouldn't have had a child with him if I knew. I hope my child doesn't inherit this from him. I went into the marriage expecting a life PARTNER, a BEST FRIEND!! Since he can't keep his vows to me, I do want out.

To answer your questions, Jack, no, I do not have any hope of working things out with my husband. He has promised to change countless times, only to go back to his normal ways within a few days. He would try so hard to focus on me on those days, asking himself out loud "why can't I do this all the time?". I told him if he could just keep it up, there might be a "glimmer" of hope. He can't do it. I have cried my heart out alone and to him, but I can't let him in again. I don't cry about our relationship anymore, I cry about disappointments when they get to be too much. Yesterday, I found that he left the backyard water on again....for days. He shut off the valve, but not the spigot like I've asked. Of course, it was leaking water again! What kind of person can't even turn off a spigot all the way? And when you point it out to them, they don't even turn it off at all the next time. I'm pretty sure the pressure build up is what caused our water softener pipes to burst in the garage. What a mess and thank gods I was home!! To be fair, the softener pipes weren't crimped tight enough, but still. He is constantly causing problems or making my life hard OR putting our son's life in danger with his poor memory and inability to think about consequences.

I think my husband has problems with delusion and denial. To me, he comes off as incredibly stupid. I don't remember marrying a stupid person. I won't hold his hand, sit near him, or kiss him. Hugs are uncomfortable for me. I have lost all respect and trust, and he has proven over and over again that he is not willing or capable of earning it back. I think that he really thinks that he's a good husband who makes occasional mistakes and forgets things like everyone else. I don't know how he rationalizes the fact that he never talks to me, hears me, or remembers what I say. He's said before, "I don't know why I can't listen to you"..."I don't know why I can't remember things....I just have a bad memory". If he woke up tomorrow, normal, it would take months for him to earn back my respect, BUT it would take years for him to earn back my trust. The person he really is, not the one that I married, is not the type of person that I want to have a loving relationship with. It's not the type I really want to be friends with. Negativity, mood swings, anger, failure to listen or remember what you're told.....these are not the qualities that anyone wants in their lives. Not from a friend or even a boss. I feel sorry that it is his brain failing him and not his fault, but I shouldn't have to spend my life catering to him. I already have a toddler that will need me for most of my life. Sometimes I feel like I'm losing my mind trying to deal with a toddler and an ADD husband.....they are both driving me crazy.

Maybe your wife can learn to truly love you again despite the ADD....she may be a completely different personality than me. Many women are just happy to be married. Many women will work really hard for their marriage, despite major setbacks, never giving up. When I first started searching online for answers, I ran across many, many women just chalking it up to "men are from mars, women from venus". So many women saying, "he doesn't listen or pay attention to me, but I still love him and he's my best friend". How?!? These are either special women with huge hearts or desperate ones, in my opinion. I'm the person that wants true friends that I can count on. I love my quirky friends too, but I don't have to live with them. There is a meme going around that states "A husband is like a best friend that doesn't remember anything you say". See? Some women think it's cute. But I think when you combine many other problems, it does stop being cute. http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m6k916xmJY1qaywqbo1_500.png My husband sent me this one on facebook: http://aboutcolonblank.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/you-only-hear-what.... It's cute, but maddening. I'm starting to become like him....not really listening, not conversating. He doesn't like it, of course, but it's my way of coping after trying for so long.

I believe that I have made myself pretty darn clear to my husband. I told him that I don't know if I will ever sleep with him again. I told him he was free to go out looking for someone who will. He refuses. He wants to stick it out no matter what. I've been talking about moving back home without him. We're not even from neighboring states, in fact, quite the opposite. I told him that if he puts our child in danger one more time, I am going to pack up right then and go. But I don't want to....and it is not because I love him. I've made it clear that I'm staying because moving back home would mean me working my butt off to support myself and our child, and I've said "I like having a roof over my head and food on the table". I've made it clear he is only a provider in my eyes. BUT I also don't want to take half of our sad bank account to do it and leave him drowning in debt. I'm not mean. I'm repeatedly saying that I just want to stay here to help pay down debt, but the guilt he puts on me makes that hard to do. I don't want to leave him in this house, in the middle of nowhere, by himself. The bills are in my name. He'd have to somehow manage it on his own. I just can't do it to him. I don't want to screw him over. IF I TELL HIM HOW HOPELESS I AM, he'll likely push me to leave and screw himself over in the process. He'll make living with him worse than it already is if I do decide to stay. Anytime he has to work late or overnight, I have to pay a sitter. I had to give my sitter my entire pay yesterday because she watched him from 4p until the morning....and she's cheap. Luckily, my customers were very considerate with tipping, but it burns me to work for only half my pay. If he's home, I get to keep it so I can help pay down this debt. I'm rambling, but I seriously have no one to talk to. People get tired of listening to you complain about your husband. They just tell you to leave. It's not that easy when you have a child and a good heart.

At least you have a desire to try your best.....just keep following through. My husband tries, then gives up.....tries, then gives up. My husband also convinces himself that things are getting better, but then he gets mad when I do not immediately go back to the wife I was. I explain to him that I need time and consistency, but he lacks the patience. His lack of both is what ruined my resolve. I would start to feel hopeful and he would crush it. At least you know what is causing your problems and you seem to want to work hard on making it as much better as you can. My husband doesn't know he has it, although I've mentioned it twice before, and I believe he will use it as a crutch if he ever believes it is adhd. If he didn't use it as a crutch and did put reminders in place and used working tactics to fix this problem, there is a chance we could be friends again. I'm just not sure we could ever be in love again. I really kind of feel duped and lied to about the whole thing. I had to look up mercurial. That kind of personality would make it even harder on you. "Forcing your hand by cheating" is cruel. I offered my husband an open/closed relationship. He can go out, but I won't. I just don't care about that stuff, but feel for his sexual needs. I'm not quick to anger at all. I like a quick resolve to problems. Even at my angriest, I try not to lash out. I can see where she feels trapped. I feel that and I only have one child and 3 years in. I haven't finished my degree, so the only thing out there for me are service jobs or minimum wage. I feel backed enough into a corner to just leave, needing to rely on friends for shelter and babysitting for a bit, BUT like I said, I don't want to leave him screwed. I'd rather leave him when it's most convenient for him. That will be when the lease runs out and so does his military service. He can go home and go stay with his parents for awhile. I think my husband believes the same way as you do.....happy that he has time to fix it, but the poor guy is just unable to. You're lucky that there is still affection. My husband's sexual prowess left too. He has become a terrible kisser.....like there is no passion left anymore. Sex is unfulfilling and boring for me, unlike our first 6-9 months. If we at least had that, we might be better off. Hold on to that.

Those 10+ year relationships with both partners wanting to fix it and being unable to are definitely the saddest. They are the ones that make me want to get out while I can, not waste anyone's time. I think the ones that work are the ones where the good outweighs the bad. Where the non accepts the afflicted one's bad points as part of him/her and really appreciates the good points and how they try. It really takes both though. Sometimes I think I still feel some hope, but boy, it would take a hell of a lot to get back where we were. A lot of my hope is that we can just manage to live together, helping each other through life and parenting. I don't see much affection in this life though, because of his horrendous way of pushing sex on me for the first 2 years. What helps my hope is my non desire to find a better man. I'm done looking for the right one for me. I don't even believe in it anymore. Just too many disappointments for me and I dated quite a bit.

 Best of luck to us both!!


Resolve is good

There is no reason to tie yourself to ADD for eternity if you don't find the benefit worth the cost.  A bad relationship isn't what you want to teach your child after all.  Some of what you said above indicates that maybe you haven't fully internalized what this brain disorder really means.  And you don't have to.  Since your husband has chosen not to seek help it isn't really relevant, unless your son presents with the disorder too that is.  His behavior is unacceptable to you, he isn't willing to seek treatment he needs to change it, so it's reasonable for you to end the relationship.  Completely consistent. 

Those of us who stay and have hope for better times are the ones who see the positive side of ADD, it is part of what we fell in love with in the beginning.  And it's the moments when the DH I married shows up that keeps me in the game.  That in conjunction with his acknowledgment that the negative symptoms are not ok, and that he is working on managing the condition.  If he was not getting treatment we would have been through many years ago.

I hope that you can find a peaceful way to be roommates with your spouse until you are ready to leave.  And that he is able to pay child support when the time comes.  And that you can avoid ADHD when you are ready to try again.  Maybe a nice accountant.  You can also spend some of the time over the next year seeing if there is some sort of certification you can get to be better employed.  Cuz you have so much extra time to go to school...

Good luck!


You are awesome:)

Thank you!

I guess the critical point

I guess the critical point with your situation is that unless the attentive early period could become his new norm, there really isn't anything good that he brings to your life. That is unfortunate, but if that's just the reality then I agree with Shelley that the calculation becomes simple.

The times of thinking that I was a real catch ended with depression and well before I met my wife. I am very good at my job and my career in IT has been very successful. I'm fortunate that in that arena there is enough stimuli to keep me entertained.

This forum has been a good thing for me the few days I've made it a habit. It is both encouraging and discouraging.
Encouraged because I look at stories of the male ADHD spouses and feel good, because I seem to be functioning at a high level. This likely has to do with the fact that for years I've been on Wellbutrin as an anti-depressant, but come to find out it has been effective in ADHD patients. I do many chores around the house, my wife and I are frequently playful, and our life together is good when my inattention doesn't place unusual levels of stress on her. Since I've been working on mindfulness I compliment her and anticipate her needs more, and I'm finding that it is not really forced. Instead of trying to keep subject A-Z or task 0-50 on my radar, putting "being mindful" on my radar is much more manageable, and many things follow from that awareness.
I get discouraged because the success rate here seems incredibly low, and the success seems limited. Many situations that are stabilized seem to be the non-ADHD spouse accepting the major deficiencies of their partner, mourning the loss of the relationship they thought they'd have, and making the best of things. I am not yet ready to concede to that reality. If my wife has to make a calculation, and staying with me wins by a slim margin on criteria unrelated to love, I'm not sure I want to be in that kind of relationship. Maybe I'm just in denial about this and should adjust my expectations.

The parent-child dynamic is not unfamiliar to me. Most of it is my lack of planning or goal-setting. Execution is not a problem, and in our relationship she plans and I execute. Like many ADHD people I default to going with the flow.

My wife is strong and has high standards. She's fought through amazing challenges, and makes no excuses for anyone. She is willing to work to make our relationship better, but her mother was a major enabler of everyone and she will never be that way. She too is exasperated by having the same fight over and over about the same issues over and over. Her conclusion is that I do not care about her, the kids, or anything. Since I've been seeking treatment I think her certainty on that is softening, and as Shelley has said the hurt is that much worse when you think hurtful intentions lie behind it.
About the mercurial, we have an insanely high-stress life. Three kids under five, at least two with autism diagnoses. Most kids with autism are lower functioning and are not a realistic candidate for mainstreaming or an independent life. Ours are very high functioning, so if we don't go hard and fast with therapy and intervention in these early years, we could actually fail them. It is amazing how much a special needs reality turns life upside down. Honestly I think if we didn't have tolerances pushed to the brink she would be able to absorb more of my missteps, and I wouldn't feel like there is such a reason to hide in nonthought. She is quick to anger, intense anger, and quick to cool off. Part of the reason why I have been able to rationalize all this away for this long is her mood swings.

I'm not really happy she is trapped, but I know it gives me a window to make some real change and get back to the healthy relationship this once was. It sounds like your husband will probably just use it as a stay of execution; I am trying to avoid that by not losing a sense of imperative. I try to think as if every day were the day after a massive fight.

When we first got together it was immediately evident that we are extremely sexually compatible. The first few months was exhausting and that part of our lives has been pretty normal up until the last few months. We are still very good at pushing each other's buttons, but she doesn't like kissing and it is pretty formulaic these days. It's actually a problem for me, more than anything I want to make out more than a kid in Jr High. I'm unsure if that is a reaction to me or issues she has, but I expect a combination of both. If our relationship was healthier I expect we would be more intimate, and more than just a few times a month.

If you do leave, not looking for someone who deserves you might just be the best way to find him.

The best thing about figuring

The best thing about figuring out my husband's problem is that I now have more sympathy for him. I'm no longer thinking that he doesn't care. It makes the let downs and stupid things he says and does a lot less bothersome. He's a good man with a pretty good heart and I believed him when he said he wasn't being like this on purpose. That's why I thought something must be going haywire in his brain.

I don't know all of the situations that lead to fights for you two, but your painted picture of your home life makes your wife seem highly critical. You're probably right that it is the stressors in her life that cause it. My having to deal with a 2 yr old is not helping to keep my stress level down. I'm chronically on edge with his typical, 2 yr old bad behavior because I am already stressed out about what I'm lacking from my husband, my trapped situation, and an incredibly stubborn dog that we acquired. If I had to deal with more kids and autism, I might scream a lot more. I cool down fast though, like your wife. She sounds really strong and capable. She does kind of remind me of myself. I guess if she had my husband she wouldn't still be hanging in there. All of the positives between you and your wife.....my husband and I lack. There are no positives that I can think of because of problems that he can't and/or won't work to resolve. Being married to a typically nice person who works is not enough for a great marriage, imo. There seems to be a whole lot of good with your marriage that I personally think she needs to consider and possibly be more flexible with. Your home life seems to be going pretty darn good, except for you being tardy, scatterbrained, and not especially romantic. Do you two at least have meaningful conversations? Do you remember what most of those conversations are about? That is my biggest problem with mine. Flat conversations and hardly anything remembered on top of all the other things he lets me down with. He acts like I should just be thankful that he's present. No, I need so much more than that. You pay your bills on time, but when you feel like it. My husband doesn't even give the bills a second thought. I've asked him numerous times to look over his pay stubs for problems, but he just won't do it. There is no routine at my house with my husband. I have to remind him of almost everything. His one strict job at night is to give the baby a bath because he never gets to see him. I usually end up reminding him numerous times or actually running the bath myself. Once he hears the water, he comes running. I hate it. If I'm not home, he'll skip the bath even though I've told him not to do that. It is so frustrating.

I started rambling a bit and I guess I am done. Like someone else mentioned, you are incredibly articulate. It's refreshing:) Much luck to you and your wife!! Good luck in your changes and keeping mindful!

llc's picture

Honestly, if you think he is

Honestly, if you think he is lazy and call him stupid and have no respect at all for him, it is better for all of that you leave. He may be forced to seek better treatment after seeing his life crumble, you wont be tied to a disability that you have run out compassion and energy for and your child wont pick up as much on the fact that you see nothing good in your husband.  I hope you find peace and that you find what you are looking for.

Thank you:) I hope you find

Thank you:) I hope you find peace as well. I wouldn't want to be in your or my husband's shoes. 

I still have plenty of compassion, just low on patience. I don't want to leave now and live with the guilt of knowing he's struggling to function out here alone. He's under contract to stay here til 2014. 3000 miles from home, high rent, much debt.....all of this we are handling well together. It could go horribly if I leave just to make my own life easier. Before this, we were in Europe and he HATED his job. I stayed because it was the right thing to do. My leaving would have crushed him. Once we're out of this situation and he is free to go back to his home state, where all his support lies, we will most likely part ways. I think this shows my compassion well. I have many friends and two jobs back home. I stay here out of obligation, so as not to kick him while he's down. 

I vent here so that I don't vent towards him. He doesn't need that on top of feeling like a failure, but I can't shoulder the frustration alone. The stupid and lazy comments are how I interpreted the adhd BEFORE I knew what was wrong. I can be much better around him now that I know it is the adhd. If you lived my situation, you'd be scratching your head a lot too. If I lived yours, I'd likely retreat into myself or bust my butt trying to compensate, like it seems you are doing. Good for you. I do hope you find support here. I'm sorry that the venting gets to you, but appreciate your honest, caring comments. 


The biggest challenge with regard to her personality is the pragmatism. She awards absolutely no points for intentions. She wants to see results or progress toward a goal. A marriage between someone so goal-oriented and someone who has a hard time thinking up goals at all is problematic. While I'm trying out medication or when we get back into therapy she will feel some forward motion and take solace from that. If no concrete change in our reality results in a fairly timely manner though, she gets extremely frusterated. We had a spat yesterday while cooking for the month and she said basically she could give a damn about my intentions or how well-meaning I might be.

Your desription of being married to a nice person who works hits home, and obviously that isn't enough for any of us. Like I said I'm extremely good at just shutting thoughts and feelings off, and that is a great defense mechanism in the short run, but since coming here and addressing these issues more habitually I can see how doing that just leaves her alone to face whatever may come. I check out to thoughtlessness, and she ends up being the only one worrying, the only one planning, the only one with a vested interest. Because I have been hiding less of late, I find myself sharing in her dissatisfaction with how the relationship is delivering. It seems ridiculous to start talking about my needs seeing as my inaction is a large reason we are here, but before I would simply not think of what I wanted out of the union. What is more terrifying, an ADHD husband who complains about sleeping in the bed he made, or one who blocks out the condition of the bed and will sleep there no matter how disgusting it gets?

Everyone has their own love languages, and I've rather recently become aware of how important physical touch is for me. Sex is one thing, and I'm acutely aware of the past 3-4 weeks without, but since things have gotten worse we hug and cuddle less as well. We haven't kissed any more than a peck in two years at least. I'd give up the next four romps in the sack for one makeout session. I think physical touch is just not a major love language for her in general, but the marital discord shuts down any desire on her part to speak my languages. Gifting is one of her big ones and I get a fair amount of points for getting her things, but there is no predictability in that idea popping into my head. I take feeling this loss of connection as a good sign. It is preferential at least to the dysfunction of feeling nothing, but it isn't fun to have that pain that she has always felt.

Our conversations are usually practical and directly related to the events unfolding in our lives. We do get into the occasional session where we "just talk", but not nearly enough. I don't forget all our discussion, but facts or tasks that come out of those often just sail out my other ear, and this is a source of frustration for her. It isn't really that I forget about the conversation, because I can go back and replay it in my head (albeit blurrily). My major problem is getting the cue to access that tape.

Our life is very structured, but all of that comes from her. If I can get in the habit of doing something, near guaranteed success getting it done is likely, but getting it into that rotation is the trick. Some things I just decide to add, and they get added, while others I will try with much more effort and fail.

For us I think couples therapy is going to be the thing that makes progress. I can be more mindful and piss her off less, but she isn't really getting on board with the appropriate response tactics that a lot of non-ADHD spouses here talk about. I haven't asked her to read anything yet and we are waiting on insurance to start couples therapy, so those attempts are coming up. She is both accepting of mental health treatment and critical of it being used as a justification for behavior. Without a neutral third party it would be more difficult to talk about how we relate to one another without sounding like I'm making exuses for my behavior or being judgmental about hers.

It sounds like your plan of action is pretty solid, and I think you are going about it in a very level-headed way. It is really a shame that he won't make a concerted effort to realize the relationship that you two could have. I have always wished to act more responsibly, but I think it really took the fear of losing her to get motivated. If that reality is staring him in the face and he isn't petrified, game over man.

Shadow boxing


I happened to see your comment before it was removed, and I want to thank you for taking the time to read through other posts I've made. I had started a reply before getting involved in a major issue at work, and even though you removed the comment entirely I think there was value in your words. Paraphrasing.

I read the comment several times over, and tried to discard the automatic filter that prettys up my position and lines things up for a counter-attack. I have read your other posts as well and I see where you are coming from. I feel your frustration and sympathize as much as possible. I'll try to respond to the things you address without being combative or defensive. As you surely know, the thrill of intense argument is appealing to the ADHD brain, and a long habit of "engage and destroy" in debate(usually political) is hard to break.

Your brain makes a PRETEND story that is easier and blameless out of the realities you don't want to accept about yourself.

Absolutely. I'm trying to get closer to reality more often. If I am "mindful" I don't automatically see things as they really are, but I am less likely to spiral off into complete fantasy land. When I said I try to think of every day as the day after a massive fight, being on guard against alternate reality is the primary goal. I am thankful that my wife will call me on my bullshit so this behavior doesn't continue for decades. If she was the pleasing type we could go for decades in a painful marriage.

The points thing is a crude way of referring to the events of the day and how they blend into the overall impression of a partner. I agree that it is not a terribly effective way of thinking about serving your spouse.

You are saying that she should "give you points" for your thoughts and your words and your promises?

No, I agree with her stance on this. Feelings for her are not enough if they never come with action. It is only when she says this means I don't care about her that I am not in total agreement. This is again where prompting myself to be mindful(Instead of just to do x,y,z) yields the most consistent results. Despite her claim to not give a damn about intentions, I am sure that it hurts more to think that I am inattentive because I don't love her.

If there were a point system, don't you realize that her "points" would add up to a mountain compared to your promises and words and intentions?

If I think of the "point system" I am acutely aware of her mountain vs my abyss. When I go rogue I just don't think of the system at all. When I do things for her I have no conception that I'm settling any score. On the occasion that the impulse lands in my brain, I just do in the moment without much of an agenda. I've made a concerted effort to keep certain things "in front of my face," but my modus operandi has always been to just tackle whatever is in front of me. It seems wisest to just use that in-the-moment surge and improve the priority and/or frequency.

Not just ADD

I am thankful that my wife will call me on my bullshit so this behavior doesn't continue for decades. If she was the pleasing type we could go for decades in a painful marriage.

I was the pleasing type for over 30 years and yes the marriage has been painful.  It was my supporting his ego, agreeing to compromise, trying to understand, giving him the benefit of the doubt, supporting him no matter what, as in "he is a person too, he doesn't have to do things the way I want him to all the time".  All these things that I was doing in support of our marriage, in our case, were NOT a good way to go through life for either of us.  He HAS NOT respected me because I loved and supported him. My support and love for him was, I guess, contemptible to him and he did whatever he felt like it.  It seems he most often didn't feel like putting an effort into our relationship or our family.  It seemed he could only fill his pleasure needs of the moment and that was that for him. He prides himself in being the impish care-free flirt (fun at the age of 15/pathetic as an aging father of sons). That is all there is to him. Your wife is better than me in a relationship with someone like you or my dh.  She is able to keep her self respect the only way possible....to break away.  I had tried everything. Being the diva, being the serene comforter, being the work horse, being the task master, being the school marm, the comfortable place to land, the understanding counselor, the playful vixen, being close, being distant. I didn't want to BE any of those things.  I wanted to be a loving partner. dh didn't want to partner. He was never good at team sports.

I deleted my response to you because, I see such a strong semblance with my dh. Your post triggered me and I was responding in my heart toward him.  I am trying to break off my obsession with my difficult marriage and live my own life and find positive pursuits.  I had been trying to UNDERSTAND how he could be so disconnected to everything that matters....just winging it day to day, doing his own thing by himself all the time.  I am a little afraid of people like you and my dh. I think that dh NEEDS me to be a little afraid of him for whatever deranged reason.   I deleted my response for your wife's sake. I didn't want you to have more information from me to use against your wife in your debates and manipulations. Your entry had multiple lies within it I could tell from inconsistencies and contradictions within sentences.  When I call dh on these similar contradictions (on his bullshit), he flares up with anger toward me....as though there were no lies but that the problem is that I THINK negatively (still putting on an act and turning the tables on me) - gaslighting.....he doesn't want me to hold the mirror up to his face and know that he can't "get away" with getting by with his fantasy life. 

My dh was a successful salesman for the first 15 years of our marriage.  His "living by the seat of his pants" mode of operation caught up with him in later years and although he thought he was a great guy (lies to himself) people don't want a long term relationship with someone they cannot trust.  As he got older, and not so cute, and people expect a man to "grow up" ethically and professionally, he lost jobs.  He started his own business and lost clients and business associates and expected that someone else would take care of things if he could tell the right joke or stroke the right ego.  He now blames his business woes on the economy (yet he spends half the day doing crossword puzzles and chatting with ANYONE for his FEELING of being popular - he's a great guy in his mind remember?)  Now I am the only one he can blame in his PRETEND world where he can like himself.  So he blames MY ATTITUDE and doesn't remember (rewrites the history) anything I did for him..... a MOUNTAIN of things.

After a certain age, cuteness and personality are just not important AT ALL.  Love and respect are seen through the eyes and the heart.  Shared experiences of togetherness and trust cast an aura of beauty and trust on a loved one like a shaggy old beloved loyal pet.  Letdowns and deviousness cast an ugly spotlight of repulsive disloyalty on the face of someone who has thoughtlessly stabbed you in the back multiple times. No workouts at the gym, no witty turns of phrase, no empty promises or emphatic vows of intention or flowers can make a guy LOOK good/handsome/sexy if you can't trust him to have your back and contribute of his own free will. You LOVE a man who has cared to have ethics and love and forethought and trust.  You love a man who has made you be BETTER and you are proud to be with him because of who he is...because your life is shared. I would like a love life where it is more than just me policing him to not lie to me.

I am thankful that my wife will call me on my bullshit.  Melissa says this also in her book. 

To spouses of liars: "Don't give your self away for someone who does not care for you." like I did.

To ADDers: I know lying does not have to be part of the ADD personality.  Those of you who have integrity and are trying hard to connect and be responsible...again, I say I admire you and your integrity and your hard work.


What is Real?

My tendency is to always paint the rosiest picture of reality. I have lied to up the ante on this optimistic revisionism. Most of the time this was to avoid conflict. Starting the few weeks before I posted here I have made a concerted effort to cut out lying to my spouse. I don't always succeed but I do believe that there has been a difference. There was only a certain degree of bending truth that I seemed to be able to justify to myself, so most of the time these were white lies. They nevertheless showed through, and have made things much worse. I'm actively working to correct this, and being on these forums has been a very effective tool to keep that inertia going.

Despite my delusions, it sounds like your husband is a lot less accepting of his condition. The cruelty and resistance you talk about are not things that I exhibit when we argue. When we have fights I sit there silent with no real leg to stand on, and she vents. Most of the time she has to demand that I talk, and when I do all I can think to say is a description of the events and my internal dialog with myself as they happened. This comes off as excuses, and is not helpful. I know that my priorities were way off and my inattention was destructive, and most of the time I can do nothing but agree. Because these flare-ups go away quickly and peaceful interaction resumes, I had been able to just shrug the fights off and put our issues away. I can count the times I have engaged with indignance or anger on one hand. I'm not the best with reality, but there seem to be some significant differences between your husband and myself in this regard. Except for inaction, I don't think I have used information against her in debate or manipulation. I just don't debate, I don't engage. I'm sure there can be manipulation through inaction, though.

Only recently have I been absolutely certain that this will lead to divorce, and only recently have I attempted to sustain this realization over more than just a few days. Yes, fear drove that. I love my wife and imagining a life without her is virtually impossible. I think of our household as the way things are, and the only way things could ever be. I know that is false, but reality is that my world is my wife and kids. To a certain extent this view could be me taking her for granted, but it also means that divorce is doomsday scenario, and not working to fix it is inviting oblivion. This forum seems to be full of stories where love was not enough of a motivator against inaction, and many where the spouse could not feel the fear. The former is saddening but here we find ourselves in this self-selected community. The latter is devastating. One of the things I'm getting from Melissa's book is that the whole concept of "if you really loved me, you would override your inattentive neurology" is a bad place to start the dialog. Are there ADHD spouses out there who through pure intensity of love dominated their symptoms? Maybe, but that seems an unrealistic expectation over more than a few years. Are there ADHD spouses out there who really don't give a damn about their partner? Probably. Like anyone else, people with ADHD can just be pricks in the end. I think more just don't get past their symptoms and express their love through action.

Even as I write this I may be enforcing the reality I choose to accept(Playing the role of the remorseful husband seeking rehabilitation for the social approval), but I am open to the possibility that I am lying or distorting in the things I've posted on this forum. One of the first sentences I wrote here is that I have no real idea who I am. You say you have noticed inconsistencies and contradictions in what I have posted. If you don't mind pointing those out I would truly appreciate it. My first instinct may be to form excuses and counters to the things you have noticed, but I am keeping the fights and the issue of our marriage in my active consciousness, and I know where all that defensive rhetoric leads. My hope is that the inconsistencies are the result of not enough data, me not telling you enough of the story. If otherwise, taking a look at lies told as I am discussing trying to not lie is a worthwhile reflection and another good thing to keep in my head.

rosey picture

My tendency is to always paint the rosiest picture of reality.  

I am going to GUESS that this is not an ADD thing but a Mode of Operation that you do.  My dh is ALWAYS saying he sees the glass as half full and I see the glass as half empty.  His seeing the glass half full means there is ALWAYS enough and he needs to do nothing.  My seeing the glass as half full means that I want to rush in and fill our glass so that we always have enough and don't have to stand there stupidly looking for a little water.  His half-full attitude has made these things happen that are intolerable to me:  The electricity was turned off in 0 winter weather, the real estate taxes are not paid for 2012, his car broke down and he was without for 3 months, his business stopped making a profit so he took money out of our retirement to pay his past due business bills and his business rent for 3 months. He had been thinking I could keep filling the glass FOR him....no worries (FOR HIM!)!  The rosiest picture of reality sometimes means that a person is expecting others to fill in the gaps....whooooops, my bad, smile, wink, working the room until someone ELSE steps up and does FOR him.  

How would you react if a peer at work didn't communicate, did things that concerned your paycheck but didn't send a memo to you, made you late to meetings because he forgot to tell you til the last minute, yet, he got paid the same as you...although you were taking the onus of the operations and projects, yet he was the beloved political charm boy of the office? Then at the end of the day, before you both leave the office,  he wants you to give him a hug and a kiss because he is so adorable. He didn't notice that you were working to make up for his lack while he was schmoozing.  After all, he didn't see any NEED to do any more than he did because he saw the work getting done (glass full enough/painting a rosey picture for HIMSELF). Things ALWAYS work out SOME HOW, right?

A picture of a rose is not really a rose. A person can think happy thoughts so the bad thoughts don't hurt so much, but sometimes adults have to come out of the fog to take care of business....if they want to HAVE things like spouse, home, car, electricity, reputation, happiness integrity and pride.

I do not disagree on any

I do not disagree on any particular point.

It is this tendency (escape/defense mechanism) that I am trying to combat in myself.

If there are inconsistencies/contradictions/lies in what I have written I really want to know about them. The whole point of being here is to bounce ideas and situations off a neutral third party, and figure out where I need to improve. This is of course not your job at all, so feel free to tell me to take a hike.


I didn't see the removed comment that you are responding to, but I do have a couple of things to say about "points."  First let me say I've been married 37 years to my high school boyfriend, he's a warm, funny, smart, creative, good man, who has ADD and is frequently oblivious to the fact that his declared feelings for me are, most of the time, not apparent.  (I was probably one of the first people on the planet to purchase the book "He's Just Not that Into You")  His coping skills for ADD are denial, distortion, and deflection. 

Anyway.  Points.  John Gottman's research led him to posit that you need more good interactions than bad interactions to have a lasting relationship.  You sure could call those "points."  Second, I read a hilarious description somewhere about how men and women keep track of points differently.  For men, different actions have different point values.  So, if saying "Wow, you make that dress look good," is worth, say, 2 points, but a surprise trip to Paris, her dream vacation destination, is worth 50.  Guys tend to think points go into a bank. You're safe to coast for a while because you've got "credit."  You think.   The other half of this particular theory was that women tend to give everything 1 point, and the points "expire."  Compliment, get a point.  Paris, get a point.  Do nothing for a few days.... your points are gone.  Who knew? 

So whatever the removed post said, I'm surmising your discussion of points in some way offended or insulted.  My LONG experience of marriage tells me that while points may not always feel like a good thing (too cold?  too sports-like?  too balance-sheet-kind-thing?) they might very well be reality.  My motto of the past few months has been to stop resisting what is, and stop forcing what isn't.  So if one partner thinks in terms of points, it makes sense for the other partner to be aware of this, and make use of it, than to wish that partner didn't do it.  Other discussion from a year or so ago talked about filing the "bucket" , a bucket of love that you have to keep filling so you can draw on it in tough times, if you've built up a track record of being trustworthy, attentive, whatever, it makes it easier for the other spouse to cut some slack once in a while. 

The struggle many of us non-ADD spouses have (the mountain vs. abyss above) is we've advanced a lot, lot, lot of credit to hang on this long.  Many of us have even agreed to wipe out the debt and start over, and been disappointed when no new deposits are made.  Again.  I've been reading your posts, and I think you get this.... don't let it discourage you though.  Uphill battles aren't impossible, they just require better strategies, more consistent effort, and more grace than battles fought on level ground. 

Question:  Do you get any pleasure from "paying attention" (whatever form that might take) to your spouse?  If you don't know, start checking.  Make it a freaking research experiment if you have to.  So cold, I know.  Anyway, when you figure out what you get out of giving your spouse what she needs and deserves, it will be more likely to motivate you to do it.  I do things to please my spouse because when I succeed in enhancing his life happiness, I get a little ZING out of it.  It's not altruistic.  If you can do something, say something, and PAY ATTENTION to the response, see if it zings you.  If you get no response, or not what you were expecting, try something else.  If the response doesn't ZING you, question why, why why?  And I promise this exercise won't take more than 3 minutes.  ;) 

Best wishes. 

Some good

The whole points concept is one that I'm not heavily invested in. I used it on a whim to be more descriptive, but I'm not keeping track of anything. I generally figure that my distance from reality is responsible for any perceived surplus of points, and I never have a reserve to fall back on. I never have the thought that I did isolated act of service X, so I should get benefit Y. The major problem isn't denial, distortion, or deflection. I just turn thoughts off, they exist and they do not exist. I can sense that I have a lot of things hidden away but there is no need to deal with anything, because it isn't there. Like I said the past few weeks I have been trying to shut down that mechanic. I really feel no difference when I take the 40mg Vyvance, but being on it has coincided with this long stretch of relative clarity. I think frequenting these forums is keeping it alive, and starting dialog with my wife in addition to couples counseling will be a good path forward.

We typically only fight when her stress level gets to a breaking point. That stress level has to do with me certainly, but being the parents of special needs children is more contributory. I want to take the burden I can control off of her shoulders because we have enough challenges that cannot be directly controlled. I get your uphill battle point. I'm just hoping that the right combination of medication can take the edge off while mindfulness, dialog, and therapy sustain the change.

I get pleasure from the idea that I am treating her well. Seeing her happy puts a smile on my face and for a moment I can ditch the burden of guilt about the less-than-stellar husband I have become. I also do not subscribe to altruism, and know what you mean by ZING. This is so stereotypical I'm feeling a tinge of embarrassment putting it out there, but night before last was a ZINGmoment. I cleaned house, got candles going in our master bathroom, cleared away all the kid's toys[Dinosaurs and a loofa shaped like Elmo might kill the vibe]), and drew a very hot bath. She was unaware of all this until she saw the finished setup. We soaked in the tub with hummus and her favorite type of wine. We actually talked. Her insane friend, the course of treatment we are taking with the kids, refining E's diagnosis, where we want to put down roots, some crazy thing she saw on her Facebook feed, and the new job she is going for. These are things that we normally discuss, but when you really sit down and take a slow moment in dedicated face-to-face discussion, you can flesh the topics out much more. So anyway that was a ZING moment, and she was pleased. I had a good time and it wasn't forced, it didn't seem like a fake-it-until-you-feel-it situation. I simply needed to get the trigger to make it happen in my brain. If I'm honest part (but not the majority) of that trigger was getting laid.
She's updating her wardrobe with an eye towards getting out of homeschool mommy hermit mode, and I've been complimenting her. She's been doing little fashion shows for me if she gets an order of a few garments in that day, and intentionally tormenting me in heels and little short dresses. Men really are simple creatures in many ways.

Thank you so much for your insights. My natural drive to engage in back and forth in a forum setting like this jives well with the goal of keeping these considerations churning as active thought. New points of view or different ways of saying things such as yours are grist for the mill.