Where do you grab the octopus?

I just found this resource though Dr Hallowell's books are the backbone of our ADD library.  Some of the feelings I'm reading sound SOO familiar, though I have to appreciate that my situation is not nearly so extreme as what many of you are facing.  My heart sincerely goes out to everyone in the ADD predicament.

8 years ago I married THE ONE for me.  Awesome guy in every respect and focused on our relationship (even when it was only a friendship) to a very flattering degree.  As many of you have experienced, this focus changed a couple years into our marriage hurt my feelings quite a bit.  Other than that, which we dealt with through both healthy communication and some angry fights (which sometimes seem the only way to make him genuinely aware of a situation), things went pretty smoothly until about 3 years ago.  My husband describes the phases of our marriage as "Man this is a blast" to "A few things we could work on to be a more successful couple" to "things that NEED to be worked on now" to finally hitting "WHY AREN"T THESE THINGS WE'VE DISCUSSED OVER AND OVER EVER GETTING DONE?!!??!?" 

His reason was always "I don't know" when I asked him why he wasn't following through with a plan we made together.  Man he was relieved to read that Dr Hallowell feels "I don't know" is a valid answer for an ADD person--he'd probably feel more relieved if I agreed with Dr Hallowell better :)  My anger & disappointment built steadily, and it vented at him loudly when he failed ONCE AGAIN to do what he had agreed to (possibly because he cheerfully agrees to everything asked by anyone).  No human could follow through on it all, but the idea of saying NO and disappointing someone seemed insurmountable to him.  To this day he can't explain why saying YES and disappointing ppl by not following through feels more acceptable to him....

His only answer after the same discussions and arguments over and over was perhaps something was wrong with him.  Now I am married to a HIGHLY functioning ADD person, he has no hyperactivity so many ppl still don't believe him when he says he even has ADD, he is extremely intelligent, and I had taken mental health classes and he didn't fit the symptoms of anything I had read about; so I didn't put much stock in maybe he had "something wrong".  He just seemed to be a person who enjoyed fun things more than unfun things.  Welcome to the human race--suck it up.  I finally told him that I was sick of hearing the same old "maybe" thing and if he really thought something could be wrong, go to the doctor, figure it out, but for heaven's sake DO SOMETHING about it.  It seemed like he didn't understand the toll that his unreliability was taking on our marriage and my ability to count on him.  We took stock at the end of a difficult year of arguing, and he finally was motivated to try to figure out why he felt so stuck.  He did the research and suggested ADD.  I was shocked as he didn't fit my mental image of ADD at all, but boy howdy once you do the research he is sooo ADD.

Long story not too much longer (LOL) he was diagnosed with ADD 2 years ago.  He was relieved to find out there was a reason for so many things that seemed inexplicable--he is practically a genius yet flunked out of college because he couldn't/wouldn't bother going to class.  No ability or desire to organize himself at all.  Naturally he married a woman who LOVES organization.  I devoured information on ADD and shared it with him as he didn't seem to want to read the books.  We both met with his doctor for the first visit, but afterwards the doctor has only wanted to see him.  He recommended a coach (we need a referral for insurance to pay) and he LOVES talking to his coach, but his stinking "coach" is JUST LIKE HIM!!  It sounds like an "Oh i do that too" fest every time he talks to him.  And though he really enjoys his coach and the validation he feels from meeting with him he actually went 8 months without meeting with him because he kept forgetting the appts and then once you are out of the rotation it's very difficult getting back in.  I'm irritated because I thought a coach was supposed to be helping him develop tricks and routines to cope with his ADD, but it sounds like he just sympathizes and maybe then tells him one thing to work on.  Which frequently he DOESN"T work on and when he sheepishly confesses this to the doctor, he tells him "yeah I'm not surprised.  Especially once you missed a couple appts I knew it wasn't going to happen"   Please tell me coaching is supposed to be more productive than this!!!

I swear in the beginning no non-ADD spouse could have been more supportive than I was, but we are 2 year into this process and I feel like almost no change has taken place.  I think he wanted the pills to be majic bullet and that he wasn't going to have to put any work into it himself.  My patience is fast fading.  I do not expect this to ever not be part of our lives, and we honestly have ourselves some great laughs about it at times, but so often it feels like he isn't trying at all.  He genuinely thinks that THINKING about making a change counts as trying.  Ok fine in the beginning count thinking and organizing yourself as trying, but 2 years later is he still THINKING about it???  I mean I bring perfectionism to the table which I know is no picnic for him, and he seldom complains; but I feel the difference is that I am actively working on it. 

His doctor isn't the greatest of communicators, but he makes suggestions that my husband agrees are good ideas but they are not implemented.  His "coach" has made some suggestions.  They are mostly not followed.  2 years later and we're still working on "write down your committments as you agree to them" and I bet a full 30-40% are not being written down.  Fortunately I have a great memory, and our schedules are not extremely different, so I'm mostly able to keep up with both our schedules, but IRL I am a secretary for an ADHD woman so I don't want to come home and continue the frustration.  He doesn't have to follow along behind me making sure my part gets done (and my part as all you nonADD family members know is FAR MORE than my fair share).  

I didn't mind it so much when it felt like this was part of what I was doing to help our family function as a team, but at one point I was in full on Mommy mode which was affecting our intimacy.  I've let that attitude go for the most part, but the things I don't follow up on often fall by the wayside.  Yes I am a nag at times and yes I hate it.  But I feel forced into this position.  I feel like I have tried SOO many things.  When a project comes up, I let him set the due date and promise not to bring it up until that date has passed with the project still undone--just allows more projects to accumulate undone as far as I can see.  And I am that much angrier it is still undone.

He had gotten to where he was hardly helping with housework at all, which was NOT AT ALL the deal he agreed to when we got married because we;re both gone a minimum of full time, but at least for a few months at a time I appeal to his competitve nature by assigning points to the FLY LADY missions and competing with my mother to see who can get more done at home.  He loves helping rack up the points, so it keeps our house in decent shape.

He hates that i get so mad about these things, but i read in a book somewhere about how the ADD person at times will button-push his mate to cause the angry reaction which then provides him with the adrenaline rush to get things done.  Like he just can't get started on his own.  I believe 100% he does this to me, (once i start yelling he starts scurrying around doing all his unfinished projects but then he is resentful that I am harsh with him and i am exhausted).  It just flat out offends me.  We've discussed it and he can see that he likely does it, but since it's unconscious he doesn't seem to feel there is much he can do but say he is sorry when it happens.  And "try to remember" not to allow his subconscious to do it.  I can see how that feels overwhelming when you can't get past "write down your committments", but I can't tell you how tired I am of "I'm sorry".  What the heck good does that do without action to keep it from happening again?

This thing has so many darned tentacles, where do you grab it to work the steps to a "good enough" routine.  He'll admit that he isn't there yet, but meanwhile he'll forget his doctor appts, double book our weekend evenings, and act paralyzed to get past square 1.  How how how do we move this forward???


Holy crap!! Sorry about the length of that novel.  He double booked us again this weekend and it just felt like the last straw.  Hoping for words of wisdom from anyone willing to wade through the epic!

re: the octopus

"""He hates that i get so mad about these things, but i read in a book somewhere about how the ADD person at times will button-push his mate to cause the angry reaction which then provides him with the adrenaline rush to get things done.  Like he just can't get started on his own.  I believe 100% he does this to me, (once i start yelling he starts scurrying around doing all his unfinished projects but then he is resentful that I am harsh with him and i am exhausted).""""


I understand what you are saying here my husband does the same thing. I did the same thing, I would wait and wait until  I would got so mad and then something would get done by him. I recently learned also a reason why my husband would at times not let me get into a good conversation about things. He is so black and white and impatient. He would manipulate conversations and it was like we didn't get anywhere. My therapist said it was because inside him that was his way of getting out of things because realy he didn't want to do it!(my wording). But really it made so much sense to me. My husband has Adhd/depression and is a alcoholic. Although he had to quit drinking he is soooo difficult to speak to . We are seperated and last night I was speaking to him about the seperation papers and he wouldn't even let me finish he just blew up at me. He then walked out and told me lets just get divorced and be over with it. I'am tired of the what did I do wrong epic because really I was just trying to talk to him normally and it doesn't matter what I do he still manipulates the conversation. My advice is be careful about the pattern you are in "you yell he moves". Its not a very healthy place to be I can testify to that because eventually the stress does get to you and can effect you in a unhealthy way. Last year after some horrible things my husband did to me, I had a emotional breakdown. Because of anger I ended up in the hospital for 4 days. I have learned alot since then and have taken charge of me. Boundaries are  so healthy and effective for stressful situations. There is something written about boundaries on this site. I know melissa wrote a good one.  Please learn ways to communicate without the yelling only because for your health. I know people are tired maybe about hearing about how the non Add person should change but really its not the issue of you changing for the add spouse. Its a matter of living a more quality way of life. I have peace and am finding myself again I never want to go back just forward:]  I hope this may help you somehow. Your in my thoughts and I will pray for you! God bless....

Thanks so much for your story...

I am sorry that so far it isn't having a happier ending for you.  On the plus side, since we've become aware of this pattern we're in, he is doing a better job of trying not to use me for adrenaline and I am working hard on not yelling out of frustration.  It honestly doesn't help at all, and we're both trying not to keep doing the same old unhelpful things.  I certainly don't want to end up in the hospital because of issues like this--what a scary situation for you!

It just seems like ADD issues have soo many causes and prongs, and when we're dealing with adult men they have a lot of *stuff* left from being undiagnosed & just feeling different from ppl for a long time.

I wish I had a better handle on all the different prongs or legs of this darn situation!  I do want to state for the record that my husband is the one who realized the cause of his problem, he has never denied his ADD or that it causes problems, he is "trying" (especially in his own mind :) to cope and we do have steps forward...just many relapses too.  He is an awesome husband and I would never even consider a divorce over the issues that we have.  Yes they frustrate me--especially last night as you can clearly read--but his pluses far far far outweigh the minuses.  We are a good fit for eachother generally having qualities that fill in for eachother's lacks.  He is a bit haphazard, and I am organized.  I am a bit high strung and he is laid back.  i am detail oriented and take care of the finances and most of the paperwork that comes of running a business together, and he makes sure we never forget to take time out for fun.  He has no issues holding down a job, etc though he isn't the greatest at prompt invoicing.

There are a lot of gifts ADD mates bring to the table, but sometimes it is hard to see through the irritations.  I am trying to get better at that, and I just don't feel like we're getting all the support we need in that area from our doctor and coach, but because of insurance changing them is an issue.

My husband has also realized

My husband has also realized that his problems are the main cause of our friction and doesn't deny his ADHD either.  He states he is "trying", also.  We have steps forward but still many steps back. 

Thank you for your warm

Thank you for your warm words. I'am actually doing quit well. This  is a difficult place to be especially when it involves children.I "am so glad your husband has been diagnosed it must be helpful to him and also very frustrating.He knows there is a reason but  still must be hard to deal with.  you are right about Adhd mates bringing a lot to the table, my husband is very intelligent and fun at times however he lacks good judgement and therefore it has really been a downfall in our marriage. My husband was diagnosed with Adhd at about the age of 5 or 7 yrs. He did tell me about it when we met however it really did not prepare me enough to face what I was to face. When he is stressed he tends to start drinking and smoking and other stuff. He has a hard time dealing with stress that it then turns into depression. we have been married going on 13 yrs and it has been a long road. I now have my anger under control and I' am finding myself because I've been absent for so long:[.. But I miss him if he could have his irritations gone, He needs rehab but he won't go . usually people who need rehab have to be confronted. I practically begged him but no go. I'am glad to hear that you are both working on your "pattern" it sounds like you have a lot of good things going for your marriage:] the good things about patterns is that they are made and can be changed. Its not easy at times but its good to know your options and one for me is to take 2or 3 things for one day that need attention.  I put them on the list and thats all I focus to get done for in the day. Otherwise I start getting the anxiety of all that is needed to be done and thats not good. it starts to get your flight and fright adrenaline going and can be hard to shut down when there is too much. Gee sorry to ramble do I make sense? Best wishes to you Aspen, may your worries be few and your day be lite!

My husband has been

My husband has been recently diagnosed with ADHD and depression.  While he has always liked his alcohol as long as I can remember, it appears that he is beginning to use it more and more each day as a crutch to get him through.  I have to agree with the adreneline rush to get things done as our life has been just a series of fights, against each other, to get a small amount done.  Most of the time, nothing would get done because of resentment on both ends.  This was because, like I have mentioned before, I lived in the "Real World" and he lived in the "Fantasy World".  My participation in the fights, no matter what it was about, was my way of picking on him and labeling him a loser.  It was a no win situation.  I too, was a very stressed out person for a very long time and finally had enough and had a mini-meltdown myself.  It was like the weight of the world had been lifted off my shoulders and that's when we discovered something was wrong.  It almost ended in divorce and while it still might, at least our research about ADHD has given us some answers.  Now, he is aware that he must hold himself accountable and that everyone on the face of the earth, including me, was not put here to make him happy.  I no longer get involved in his issues, unless asked and now because he is beginning to live in the "Real World", alot of his issues that he has put on the back burner for so long are coming around.  Other people in his life are asking questions and holding him accountable for his actions and he is having a hard time.  I'm seeing the frustration and anxiety increasing towards these people.  I hope he can get through it.  He does go to a counselor but the progress is very slow.         

The Octopus

First, it sounds as if your husband needs a new coach.  Talk with him about whether or not he is satisfied with this one, and have him point out to you what it is that this coach has helped him accomplish.  If the list is short (or only contains - makes me feel better about myself) he should move on.  Many coaches can make him feel better about himself.  Some will also help him organize his life better.  If he's having issues in business as well as life in general, Nancy Ratey might be a good choice.

If his therapist is saying things like "I knew he wouldn't be able to do that" regularly, I might look for a new therapist, too.  Wouldn't it be better to go to someone whose main goal was to help you figure out how you COULD do things?

Next, your husband is falling into a typical, but dangerous trap - hoping that thinking about things (now that he is aware of them because of his diagnosis) combined with medication, will start solving his problems.  It's easy to see why people fall into this trap - finding out there is a name for what you've been facing is a revelation and takes some getting used to.  And people with ADD face so many difficulties every day, that it is really tempting to think that medications will act like a magic pill.  But they don't, and there's scientific research that backs that up.

The fact is, whether it is easy or not, and whether your husband likes it or not, he is ultimately responsible for managing his ADD in a way that helps him live his life in a way that makes him happy.  Hopefully, if you have a good relationship, that way will also make you happy, but making you happy isn't the goal here.  Every relationship is a balancing act between a person being who they are deep inside and staying true to him or herself and bending in ways that making living together not only possible but a joy.

The stark reality is that if he doesn't get his ADD symptoms reasonably under control he will make you so unhappy that he, himself, will also be unhappy (it's miserable to live with someone who is miserable).  Eventually, the struggle will take over.  I agree with Dr. Hallowell that a person with ADD who answers "I don't know" to a question genuinely doesn't know.  But that doesn't mean that he should never find out.  ADD might be the reason he didn't know why he didn't follow through the first time you asked (or the 10th) but it shouldn't be used as an excuse to never change the pattern.  More accurately, CAN'T be used as an excuse if he expects his marriage to survive.

Also, "sorry" only cuts it for so long.  In marriages, actions (even small ones) are louder than words to an exhausted non-ADD spouse.

If he's forgetting doctors appointments, he doesn't have a good enough system in place to help him remember them.  What's his coach doing, anyway?  Why can't he remind him with a quick call?  Or stay on the phone with him while he inputs the next 6 appointment times into his cell phone?  Does he have a secretary?  How about a cell phone that he can set to buzz him just before he needs to get into the car?  Come on - this isn't rocket science, and LOTS of people with ADD have experimented until they found whatever system works for them.

Your husband is at a crossroads right now, though he certainly doesn't realize it, and maybe you don't, either.  Ask him how important on a scale of 1 (low) to 10 (high) he thinks his addressing his ADD symptoms is to the future of your marriage.  If he doesn't answer 10, he hasn't gotten the message yet.  You may love him a lot, but there are lots and lots of people on this site who love their spouses, but simply can't live with them anymore because it's too exhausting.  The time for him to act is NOW, not 2 more years from now when you are ready to divorce him because he still hasn't wrapped his mind around his issues.

Also, ask him to read my posts on trying harder vs. changing, and on the care and feeding of the non-add spouse.

You have some difficult decisions ahead of you.  How hard do you want to push these issues?  Where is your dissatisfaction going?  Are you willing to remain in a perpetual state of dissatisfaction if he continues on as he has been going, or is this a big enough life issue for you that you are willing to really push for changes so that the two of you meet more in the middle?  I ask these questions because if you are willing to let things continue and "just let him be" because there are lots of other things that you love about him, then one approach is to simply "not worry" about his inability to do chores, etc.  If you have money, hire them ALL out so neither of you do them, or continue with your creative housecleaning competitions (I like this - it's very creative!) and consider it much cheaper (and much happier-making) than divorce.  If you feel committed that it's important that things change, then you need to start drawing some boundaries around your biggest issues.  Read my post on personal boundaries.  You mention, for example, that you hate being a nag, yet you feel he forces you into it.  But he doesn't really force you into it.  You choose to nag because you think it beats the alternatives - either not getting something done at all, doing it yourself, or divorcing him because he won't do his fair share.  But there is a fourth alternative - which has to do with your personal boundaries, whether he understands them, and how you communicate them.  And there is a fifth alternative - finding a different way to express to him when you really, truly, absolutely positively need something...without nagging.  You can figure out what that system is with your husband.  (For us, it's the words "look me in the eyes"...as in "I need your full attention now - I'm serious!".)  I used to nag my husband all the time - with exactly your reasoning.  Then, one day, I decided that I no longer wanted to be a nag...but that I also wasn't going to live my life the way my husband and I had been living it.  I figured this would mean we would end up divorced.  The actual result was that conversations on the topic led us both to a better understanding of what EACH of us needed to be happy, and an ability to start pursuing it (with no nagging, by the way).

Would your husband be able to accurately tell you what you need?  Can he tell you what he - and you - are doing that keeps you from getting that?  For that matter, do you know what your husband really needs?  Can you see what you are doing - and he is doing - that keeps him from getting all of that?  You are a team when it comes to jumping over all these hurdles...yet you are two unique individuals at the same time...very tricky combination!

You grab the octopus at insisting that an ADD person be responsible for their ADD.

I've gone on long enough here, so will stop now...but these are some things to think about.

Scale of 1-10....

Melissa, should I get the courage up to ask my husband "On a scale of 1-10 how important do you think addressing your ADD symptoms is to the future of our marriage?" and he were to say anything but a 10, how should I react to that? I mean, after I stop crying how should I react to that?

I'm trying so hard to stay positive. We have discussed this and he does agree on some level that this problem may exist, but he has not addressed it, at least not to my knowledge.

I've seen several books referenced, which would you recommend I start with. This is all very overwhelming to me and everyday I feel like I'm sinking further and further into the quicksand.

I don't have much of a support system, my family lives in a different state, so I'm surrounded by his family and mutual friends, and I don't want them to think I'm crazy because no one sees him the way I do. I also don't want to seem like I'm bashing him. So for the most part, I've kept this to myself - because until I found this website, I though maybe I was crazy and it was me.

I just don't know where to start, but I'm starting to feel a little desperate.


Thanks for your thoughful reply!

Melissa, I appreciate your response very much.  I was hoping you would offer some suggestions as I think I start to lose the trees from looking too hard into the forest of tentacles the ADD brings up.

>>First, it sounds as if your husband needs a new coach.

I agree with you on this!!  Our issue is insurance, but as I mentioned in my post below (we had a serious talk about some of this stuff while out to dinner on Friday) we will fight with insurance in a couple months if the situation does not improve.  I think we need a couple months of my husband working with the coach and not missing appts to really see what could be done.  He just doesn't at all seem to be providing much more than a listening ear and a few suggestions that if my husband doesn't do them he says, "Yeah I didn't think you would esp once you missed some appts."  And I have also come to be aware of how my attitude toward his coaching experience contributed to him devaluing the whole thing and not making the appts a priority.

Has anyone here ever been a part of their husband's coaching appts?  We both feel I should be involved more, but the coach feels dealing with ADD is a personal thing.  I can see it both ways.

>>If he's forgetting doctors appointments, he doesn't have a good enough system in place to help him remember them. What's his coach doing, anyway? Why can't he remind him with a quick call? Or stay on the phone with him while he inputs the next 6 appointment times into his cell phone? Does he have a secretary? How about a cell phone that he can set to buzz him just before he needs to get into the car? Come on - this isn't rocket science, and LOTS of people with ADD have experimented until they found whatever system works for them.

His lack of a consistent organization system is our biggest issue currently which is why we're considering the Time Management home study class over at addmanagement.com.  I agree that a coach specializing in ADD with a client that forgets appts should call him/email him/something to help him remember esp at first, but also it is ultimately my husband's problem to get himself there.

We know several ppl with SEVERE ADHD who have great systems in place for organizing themselves and a few with NO SYSTEMS at all who live in chaos.  I frequently ask him who he wants to be like?  Right now he just hangs out in the middle of recording about 1/2 things in his smart phone and leaving it to me to remind him of the rest.

We have a small business, so if there is a secretary it is me; and my being the reminder for everything is where a lot of my resentment has come from.  We NEED a better system here.  NEED NEED NEED.  We're working on reinstating our weekly scheduling meeting for this purpose which did help a lot when we did it.

>>The fact is, whether it is easy or not, and whether your husband likes it or not, he is ultimately responsible for managing his ADD in a way that helps him live his life in a way that makes him happy.

Absolutely you are right.  And he is going to read the blogs that you suggested hopefully later today.

>>I agree with Dr. Hallowell that a person with ADD who answers "I don't know" to a question genuinely doesn't know. But that doesn't mean that he should never find out. ADD might be the reason he didn't know why he didn't follow through the first time you asked (or the 10th) but it shouldn't be used as an excuse to never change the pattern.

EXACTLY!!  I can't get him to understand this point.  I can't count how many times I've said, "Will you please think about it then and get back to me."  Which he agrees to and doesn't follow through on.  He sometimes says he feels like I am trying to *pin him down*, and there is enough truth in that to make me want to agree and yet the negativity of his feelings about it make me want to do it differently somehow.

With regard to your question about how hard I'm willing to push for change, it is hard to say when we've had such great conversations and support all weekend.  When he has forgotten the umpteenth thing, I'm ready to do anything to cause him to start to remember.  I think the solution is for me to lighten up and not worry so much about SOME of it, and for him to work more consistently at organizing himself and using tips and tricks to keep the things on his radar cared for.  I am really tired of everything being on mine.

>>Would your husband be able to accurately tell you what you need? Can he tell you what he - and you - are doing that keeps you from getting that? For that matter, do you know what your husband really needs? Can you see what you are doing - and he is doing - that keeps him from getting all of that? You are a team when it comes to jumping over all these hurdles...yet you are two unique individuals at the same time...very tricky combination!

These questions will be discussed later this evening.  I expect the answer will be "I don't know".  He doesn't analyze things, and I feel he will be quick to say that he is getting his needs met.  However, I feel this isn't true.  I mean I just found out a year and a half later how upset he has been about my attitude toward what he felt were breakthroughs in coaching.  He doesn't like to think about unpleasant things, and he hates to say anythign he thinks might hurt me, so it is hard to get him to express himself at times. 

Then his frustration will come out in things like telling me that I don't smell the disgusting BBQ smell (which makes me vomit) from the food that he left out after a visit with a friend, which I asked him specifically to make sure he cleaned up before I got home.  He just gets stubborn about the most ridiculous things--I can guarantee I know what I smell better than he does.  And a couple of hours later when he isn't so embarrassed about forgetting he'll apologize and say he was just being defensive.    Maybe that isn't ADD at all--perhaps it is just being a male.  I've heard they are from Mars :)

>>You grab the octopus at insisting that an ADD person be responsible for their ADD.

Thanks this is the truth at its most elemental level.  So why does it still feel like it has so darn many tentacles to getting that done!!

If you have any opinions about our game plan listed in my last post below, please share them.

So thankful I found this site....

Aspen, your situations sounds like a chapter of my own life. Reading these posts it does seem there is hope for my marriage. I've been married to my husband 8 years this month. Although we have 2 children age 4 and 2, I often feel like I have a third child who is 35. He has not been diagnoised, but everything fits, everything. I haven't spoke to any of our friends or family about this because I don't want to make him seem like a bad guy (I love him). But I am so exhausted, in every aspect of my life. It seems like we go in cycles. Months and months go by then finally I reach my breaking point, and we have a huge fight. Then he plugs in, he cleans up and does the things he should be doing, and that last for a few weeks, then slowly he starts fading out, I start picking up his slack and it starts all over again. He works 3 - 12 hour shifts, where I work 5 days, my 2 days off, I'm doing the laundry for me and the kids (I've refused to do his), I pay bills, and do general cleaning, not to mention shopping and it's hard to find time to have fun with the family. Because he has more days that he's home, I ask and beg for him to do more, he tells me I'm making him feel guilty becuase he only works 3 days. Trying to carry on a conversation with him is tiring, he constanly interupts or answers prematurely. If we go out and he's had too many drinks he becomes very agrivated and agitated and I am on the receiving end of that. In addition to our jobs, we own our own business, he procrastinates with calling people and doing things. I'm so tired trying to keep track of my own life as well as his.

I feel like I am in a constant state of frustration and exhaustion, which is directly affecting our intimate relationship. I just don't want to have sex, it feels like it's another chore, or another thing "he" needs, and what about my needs. Outside of hugs, he only touches me when he wants sex. Now it's to a point I don't even want him to touch me because I know what it's going to lead to. We are caught up in a viscious cycle. He agrees that he probably has ADD, but has yet to seek help or guidance about it. He has said he will, but hasn't yet.

I'm sorry if this post is a ramble, but I'm totally crying my eyes out as I'm typing this. I love my husband and can't picture my life without him, but at the same token, I can see myself lasting much longer in the state I'm in.

Bluelola, what you wrote

Bluelola, what you wrote above could have come straight from my mouth!  We've been married for almost 9 years, we have three children (ages 5,3 and 7 months) and I often feel like I have a fourth child who is 40.  

I, too, go through the cycles of him helping and that help quickly fading until I breakdown and am in tears telling him how exhausted I am and that I'd appreciate his help.  Then, and only then, does he start to help . . . for a while.  When our third child was born, he was so wonderful and helpful -- but that only lasted about a month.  Now I have to remind and ask and nag and beg for help.  He's wonderful with the kids when he spends time with them.  

When he drinks (not often), he just talks without filtering what he says.  It's not usually mean or hurtful, but it is embarrassing.  I have to remind myself that he is a reflection of him -- not me. And that's really hard to remember in the heat of the moment. 

Sex feels like a chore to me, too.  What I wouldn't do for a hug or backrub with no strings attached.  I'm sure I'd want it more if I wasn't so exhausted from doing everything for my kids and him all day long.  It's hard to make that mental switch from mommy to wife when often I feel like his mommy (at least for me it is).  

I'm sorry I have no words of wisdom for you.  It does help to know I'm not alone in this, though. I used to think it was only me - that I was the only person going through this.  It really does help to know I'm not the only one.  Hugs and good thoughts to you!


jgf -"What I wouldn't do for a hug or backrub with no strings at

"What I wouldn't do for a hug or backrub with no strings attached" - I so understand and totally agree. My husband is great with the kids too! I really love that about him. I also love how much fun he can be, he's up for anything, anytime, doesn't matter what else is happening. Sometime's that's really great and I really need that. Let's just pack up and go on a quick trip! Those are some of the things I love, and they keep me balanced, but I just wish  I didn't regret it afterwards because I knew we really couldn't afford it. But sometimes I break. Saying no all the time is exhausting, when it comes to purchases (necessary or not). Trust me, I am not without my own issue's. I didn't have an ideal upbringing. My dad died when I was 14 from Parkinson's, my Mom was an alcoholic, now she's trapped in her own mind with Alzheimer's, my brother died from AIDS when I was 25, my family is riddled with addition, and I deal with my own addictions as well. So I'm certainly carrying some of my own shit. I think I deal with it all pretty well. I do think I am slightly hypersensitve as well. But I will do what ever I can to make our environment a healthier and less toxic place for all of us. It will only benefit us in long the run.

Finally, tonight, I asked him "on a scale of 1-10 how important do you think addressing your ADD symptoms is to the future of our marriage?" (without crying even!) He said.........."10"! big sigh. This at least gives me hope. Fortunately for me and us, he recognizes his symptoms, and is willing to go see a professional, as well as I am. So at least that's a step in the right direction. In the meantime, I'd like to find a book I can read. I've learned so much from this website in only the few day's I've been on it, so I'd really like to delve into it a bit more. Because I grew up as an enabler, I'm good at learning what the person wants, and not always doing what they need, so I'm hoping I can learn better ways to communicate, setting solid boundaries and sticking to the person I know I am. I'm not so sure I don't suffer from ADD a bit myself or if it's just him rubbing off on me. I'm just so relieved that he DOES SEE IT! And that really gives me HOPE. We are a very good match and we make a great team, I would just like to fine tune our strength's and either accept or change our weaknesses. I really believe we will get through this and we will be better people for it as will our children. I know it's not anything that's going to happen over nite, but at least I know he sees it and wants to work on it. I am blessed.

Thank you for your good thoughts. I'm so thankful I found this site. What a relief knowing this is something that can be dealt with. Now, we're just not sure where to start. Thankfully, he works in Trauma in the local ER (which he excel's at and absolutely loves - he wants to go on to be a flight paramedic - talk about high stim activities), he said he was going to mention something to one of the docs and maybe get a recommendation of who to see. I told him it's important he see's someone who is experienced with ADD. Appartently there are several different types. (pheew!) so much to learn!

I'm sorry I'm just rambling on about this. I haven't spoken a word of it to anyone and it's just spewing out of me! lol. What relief! I'm so fried, I've been crying all day. Let's hope he follows through. Good thoughts and hugs to you too.


Have you read any of Dr Hallowell's books?

--I'd like to find a book I can read. I've learned so much from this website in only the few day's I've been on it, so I'd really like to delve into it a bit more.

Have you read any of Dr Hallowell's books?  They were the first we read on this subject and really helped us grasp what we were dealing with and it gave us the introductory plan of attack.  I'd most highly recommend "Delivered from Distraction" .

Other books which I felt were helpful to my understanding of ADD were Dr Amen's book "Healing ADD" which details the symptoms of 6 different types of ADD, and for Time Management I appreciated a book with a title like "ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life". 

I just asked my husband which he felt most helpful and "Delivered from Distraction" was the original revelation to him esp the questionaire to help you see if you have ADD.  We thought the Time Management might be the silver bullet for his lack of attention issues, but he said the reason he dropped that one (though it had good suggestions ) is that it was just too many options and overwhelmed him.  One of the other problems we've allowed to happen is not looking enough for audio versions of the books.  He has a hard time getting through regular books because they start to bore him especially when they seem to repeat themselves.  I often end up reading and summarizing for him and marking specific areas for him to read.  I think audio versions would be way more helpful.  

Also he really enjoys a workbook we found called "Living With ADD: A workbook for Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder".  His exact comment on it, "I really thought it was a helpful way to explore how the ADD affects me and what I can do about it, but then I got distracted and stopped reading it."  I can't help but laugh because that seems to be how these things go...since I asked him about it, he went and got the workbook and is reading parts aloud to me again.  I think I got so irritated with it that I stopped gently encouraging him(all the encouragement he was getting from me came from a place of anger and frustration and he just shut down and didnt respond at all) to take some time each week to review these things, and he just isn't at a point yet where he can do it on his own.

Since my original post, we've had some great conversations about where we are with his ADD currently & where we want to go.  I've come to realize that my disapproval of his coaching relationship is what has made him feel why bother so he missed appts and the coaching was pretty ineffective.  I'd get upset when he'd come home with an epiphany from coaching because it would be something I've told him 15 times before.  I felt like he was ignoring things I said or researched, but if his doctor said it all was new and shiny--hurt my feelings basically.   He claims that his coach just put it in a way that he emotionally gets it while my way he was intellectually getting but not meaningfully connecting with.

I apologized for not being happier that he was getting it regardless of who it was from, so today-with only 1 gentle reminder-he made another coaching appt for Monday.  We think he still doesn't have the greatest of ADD coaches, but he is going to be more proactive with his side of the process and see if that makes a difference.  If we have to go to bat with insurance over recommending a different coach, then we'll do that in a few months.

From a blog posting on this site, I found another site that I am very excited about www.addmanagement.com they have "toolkits" for add management which sounds like it might be what we've been missing.  They have coaching (expensive options compared to what we have, but we've decided it is worth it if that is where we need to go), they also have an audio time management seminar which I'm almost positive we're going to order since on our 'date night' last night he expressed a real interest in getting down in the trenches and working on this again if I was going to get excited about working with him again on it--and I realized that I have gotten worn out with the ADD and stopped being my former supportive, coming up with creative ways to deal with it self.  I had been blaming him for letting the coaching and the reading go and not doing more to help out, but we made a BIG move a year and a half ago and he never got back into working on ADD mode because there was so much that excited him about our new situations--which none of the new situation has excited me (I HATE change) so I think that is where we slacked off on working together. 

Our original plan of attack: 

1. Get an official diagnosis

2. Find out if medication works for him (originally on Ritalin but wasn't lasting long enough & had some side effects--changed about 6 months ago to Alderall which he likes better though he felt the Ritalin worked faster)

3. Find a coach

4. Work with the doctor, coach, and our own research/eachother to come up with tweaks that will compensate for what his ADD makes difficult for him.

#4 is where we had a problem at least in part because his doctor and coach are not giving us the support and tools we thought they were going to provide. 


Our new plan:

Weekly review of our committments for the week, so that we can be sure his calendar is updated.

Establishing a morning routine for checking the schedule to make sure that things don't fall through the cracks so much.

Keeping up the FLYLADY competition with my mom because the house looks great, and he's still at least semi-excited by it.  Will last at least another month or so and then we might have to take a month off so that he doesn't lose his excitement.

Restablishment of "Date Night" which we let fall by the wayside the last few months.  This has brought our intimacy level back up to where we're happy with it.

A better attitude toward him and his ADD from me, and a new commitment to working on it from him.

Will it work?  Don't know, but we both excited about working on this again instead of having it be the thing we argued about and then ignored until the next crisis.  This is where we are currently, and I am totally open to any and all suggestions from other ppl in the trenches on this.  My attitude rubs off so much on his attitude, which sometimes makes me feel like I have to be the leader here but I like this current spirit of cooperation much better than the atmosphere of anger my strike was causing.

I do want to thank this site because reading some of the postings really opened my husband's eyes to how much damage is caused by ppl ignoring their ADD and not working on improving things.  He says he can't stay here and post because there it too much anger and it scares him--I told him that is the real damage ADD causes.  It makes the ADD mate feel unsupported and misunderstood and it makes the non-ADD spouse feel alone and uncared for as well as taken advantage of UNLESS we're working actively on making it better.  I really think he gets that better from reading these posts.

Aspen Its wonderful that your

Aspen Its wonderful that your husband read this site. Sounds like you are both on your way to a new starting point in your marriage. Its good he saw how people are suffering with Add even though it was hard to read. Sometimes when we have reality in front of us it either puts us in denial or helps us to see what really is going on...

I think hitting (not

I think hitting (not literally) ADDer's with doses of reality are sometimes the only way to help them "get it".