When It Is Probably Time to Say Enough is Enough

Warning: A negative post about ADHD and my hate for it, not my fiance

I officially think I can no longer live with my fiance's ADHD. Even a few weeks ago my best fried, who loves my fiance, made the observation that I never seem happy and that I should consider whether or not I can live with his ADHD.Yesterday I got my answer....

The fight started off because of something "little", like they always do. I asked Sam to write something on our shopping list while I was getting ready to get out of the door (as many of you can probably relate, I, who is non-ADHD, can forget things just as quickly as him most times since I am so busy remembering what needs to happen in our lives...making sure our respoinsibilites are taken care of...remembering everything we need to get out the door). Anyhow, 5 minutes later when we are getting ready to walk out the door, I didn't see his handwriting on the list. I asked him, "what did I ask you to write on the list?"...I seriously couldn't remember. After thinking about it for a minute I remembered and I flew off the handle. I am just angry with him for so many things. I get severe headaches and fear for my mental health simply because if I don't remember, it, whatever it is, doesn't happen. And remembering everything that has anything to do with both of our lives is exhausting. And I will never let go of this. I tuely believe that my remembering everything makes our home stay afloat. Remembering everything is a lot to ask someone, but I absolutely refuse to let ADHD ruin the possibilities of my life and our possible life together. I worked to damn hard for what I have.

After half the day went by, I was still angry with him for everything that his ADHD, not him, has done to me. I know who my fiance is outside ADHD and he is not what ADHD is. Then while in Target, when we were arguing yet again, I remembered...it was the 1 year anniversary of our engagement. Not only did he forget but I forgot as well. I forgot. What does that mean? Is it simply that I am so busy remembering everthing that I just simply forgot, or does it mean that I could have cared less? I remembered it was coming about a week ago but then I forgot after that. Then after not talking to him for hours, I started getting so mad at him for not remembering (i.e. setting a reminder in his Palm or phone). He always tells me that he don't know if he will ever repay me for everything I have done for us...last night I let him know that doing something, anything for our anniversary would have been a good start....that I am so busy remembering everything that he could have repaid me by remembering our anniversary...could have gotten me a card...or taken me to the spot we got engaged...anything.

When both parties, who don't have children and PTA meetings or pets, forget their anniversary is the relationship over? How could it not be (not a question, a statement). We are supposed to leave for vacation on Saturday. I need to start canceling things today for refunds but don't know what to do. Sam loves me more than I ever thought someone would love me. I have had a rough history with human beings and he made me feel again. I just don't know what to do. And letting go of the remembering is not going to happen...no matter what. Trust me, I have let go of a lot. But when it comes to responsibilities, well I think too many people have forgotten what responsibility means.


As a non-ADHD spouse, I can

As a non-ADHD spouse, I can TOTALLY relate to your situation. It does get stressful most of the times. I cope with it by giving in. My two cents would be to look at the positive side. Your fiance made you feel good again. He loves you more than you ever thought someone would love you. I think these are things that you can build on.

Perhaps you need to get some help to address your anger, as this will ruin your health (whether or not you break up with him).

Good luck with everything and I sincerely hope and pray that things get better.




IT's very frustrating. I"m

IT's very frustrating. I"m the non add spouse of a ADDer. Your going along great and then BAM get hit with somthing forgotten. Promises, appointments, the lawn mowed!  I always feel like i'm holding everything together and he get's to skipp off and do whatever he wants. totally ignoreing my needs. This is ADD he tells me. Basically i have to deal with it. Now i'm struggling with haveing to put up with that for the rest of my life? Is this anyway to live? We are in couples counseling and were both seeing seperate therapists. My self esteem is shot b/c of him and his behavior, I wont chalk it all up to ADD. he's a grown-up, at some point he needs to be held accountable.

 I'm sorry neither of you remembered your anniversery. I completely understand how that can happen. You are not alone!

"live with it"

If your husband continues to have the ADD point of view that "this is ADD and you've got to just live with it" you will end up divorced, I'm afraid.  Forget ADD.  This is a MARRIAGE and that means that both spouses need to get something out of it or it will likely end.  He can either take responsibility for making it livable, or not.  My husband (our ADDer) will tell you that the absolute hardest thing for him to understand was how much his ADD affected me and my life.  But once he did he was appalled at his insensitivity.  (In his case he learned the lesson from working for a very ADD boss, who couldn't see his ADD but who was awful to work for precisely for his ADD symptoms...lesson learned, but a hard one for you to reproduce.)  I suggest that you work with your joint therapist precisely on helping your husband grasp a better understanding of your life and the effect that his symptoms (note, I do not say him) have on you.  It's a lever that will help other things go more smoothly if it works.

throught from an ADDer


I unederstand your frustration, I am a woman with ADD and I often feel like my husband is in the same position that you are in. I feel a tremendous amount of guilt over the amount of help I need with the "easy stuff" like bill paying, rembering to get milk etc...

But I encourage you to think of the positive things that ADD can bring to your relationship. I may not be good at the "easy stuff" but I am really good at the "hard stuff" (the reason they are in quotes is I think they are really oppisite for me). We were moving and I packed and had us moved in one day. I have this abitily to go into Turbo mode when it is neded and really haul some mental and physical a**. These times are the times when my anxious husband is least likly to cope. When times get tough over the I forgot the milk, it is good to think about the positives. It is still very stressful, but I think the add also ADDs something that other couples don't have.  

My other thought from the other side of the ADD fence is I think I start alot of fights because I am so defensive and mad at myself for the issues my ADD casues. It has taken alot for me to realize the person I am mad at is me, and not my husband. Which can cause even more guilt. As mad as you are at him, he is probabley as mad at himself.

Also, it really helped us go to couples therapy, and individual. With out these I don't feel our relationship would survive.

I wish you alot of luck!, and I hope this may have helped.

proper perspective

To put it in proper perspective:  How many times do you go out for milk vs how many times do you move?  Which "skill" is more important/valuable to a non ADDer?

Put it in proper perspective,

Put it in proper perspective, forgetting the milk means more often than not going out twice to get it.  We work twice as hard to acheive the same results as you.








I wish that my best friend

I wish that my best friend would of given me a bit of insight. Hindsight being 20/20, as I look back at almost 30 years with an ADD husband I can honestly say that I have very few truly happy moments. No warm fuzzies either. I'm feeling no natural affection towards him or anyone else right now. Just exhaustion. It was always something that I had to deal with and now, I don't have the energy that I did when I was younger. Medication has helped but, it feels like too little to late. Here I am almost 50 and it seems things will never change... I can only speak from my experience but, if you're not happy before you get married, it's not going to get any better when you do... Best of luck to you...

It is sad but I'm at the same

It is sad but I'm at the same place you are.  My ADHD husband and I have been married almost 28 years.  I have very few happy memories most are bad and no warm fuzzies either.  We've talked about this and my husband and I, through our research about ADD, finally realize why.  My husband is on several medications and does go to therapy but progress remains slow.  I too, am exhausted and am running out of energy.  I do believe my husband is trying but he has so many issues that must be dealt with first, to get him to a peaceful place, that unfortunately creating some happy memories may be few and far between.  Good luck to you, too. 


You don't mention your wedding date.  Would it hurt for the two of you to take more time to figure out how you will both deal with the issues that are now popping up?  You should feel completely comfortable that you have the ability to negotiate any issues that come your way before you say "I do".  Else, your marriage will be very tenuous.

That said, many get pretty nervous right before they get married (forever is a long time) and so you may be particularly sensitive right now.  If anniversaries are critical to you, then it's likely your husband-to-be will forget or miss a few (my husband has been out of town for 19 of my last 20 birthdays on business...we've gotten into the habit of not celebrating those that aren't very BIG).  On the other hand, you say many really wonderful, positive things about how special he is, so you'll want to be thinking about those, too.

Research suggests several items that make a strong marriage:  strong connections (and ways to stay connected); strong friendship; and ways to constructively work out conflict are three.  If you don't feel comfortable in all of these arenas, then I suggest you postpone (lovingly) and start to explore in greater depth how you will "be" together.

On a different tack, I'm more concerned about the headaches and stress.  Again, this could be pre-wedding stress, or it could be a signal that you need some support and help.  Seek this out to keep yourself healthy - a good therapist might provide a person who can help you work through the issues that you are having.

In my opinion a missed anniversary is not a reason to end a relationship (you'll have MANY bigger issues in your life!!) but an inability to negotiate and deal with a missed anniversary is something that needs to be worked out before you get married.


I have pretty severe ADD. My

I have pretty severe ADD. My fiance and I have issues too. I agree with the suggestion to get counciling. Keeping a tally of all of what you do for him versus what he does for you is only going to get both of you angry, and make both of you feel unappreciated. I know that it's difficult to handle a significant other who seems not to care or pay attention, but it is more than likely he is doing things that you forget about with all of your responsibilities. Though it may seem childish, what helps me cope with my disorganized mind is keeping tons of lists (I just have to remember to throw them away at the end of the day). I have chore lists, discussion lists, food lists and so on. I was lucky enough to have a mother that went out of her way to find out what I needed to do to keep my life going, so I learned young. Your fiance may need help getting started, just let him know exactly how important it is to you and how carrying most of the household's everyday responsibilities is waring you down completely. It will be tricky because, like most ADD people who hear what they forget or don't do well enough far too often for comfort, he will probably initially feel hurt and defensive. But, he asked you to marry him, so, I'm guessing he'll think you're more than worth it. :) On the flip side, you are not his mother, and, if it's too much for you, he may need to begin/continue his coping journey on his own. It is not your responsibility to change him, and you can't unless he truly wants to change. I can't stress enough how tactful you need to be when you express how much the forgetfulness and so forth is draining you, but it is equally important that he know, because he likely doesn't understand exactly what you've done to keep the two of you afloat. Best of Luck!

Perhaps I'm nitpicking here,

Perhaps I'm nitpicking here, but maybe you should think about why you're so critical of him for forgetting your engagement anniversary when, by your own admission, you forgot it as well. The forgetting of the anniversary isn't the real issue here - things like this never are. From my experience, arguments in a marriage are never truly about the little things, and you have to get to the underlying stuff in order to move forward. I think your first sentence is vary telling. Your fiance has no choice but to live with his own ADHD, but you do have a choice - now's a pretty good time to decide. If he gets treatment and support, he might be able to manage his symptoms and improve his organizational skills. If he doesn't, then what you see is pretty much what you get, and it only gets harder once you have a house, kids, doctor's appointments, swimming lessons, and so on. If you choose to marry him, you will disagree. You will argue. You will want to sleep on the couch instead of in the same bed. All married couples experience these things on some level, but couples dealing with ADHD do it more often. You can have a successful marriage anyway. He can get help. He can learn to do the things he needs to do to be a good husband. He can accept responsibility and learn from his mistakes. You can be understanding and patient. You can also set firm boundaries and roles without nagging. You can put yourself first without being selfish. You can be his wife, not his mother. He can be your husband, not your child. NFL Hall of Fame coach Marv Levy would say, "It's simple, but it's not easy." It depends on how much you're willing to invest in it, and it's best if you can figure it out now, because it's a lot easier (and cheaper!) getting in than it is getting out. Best of luck to you!