I've just recently started reading some of these posts of about being married to someone with ADHD and the struggles others are experiencing. So many stories hit close to home for me and I feel better knowing that it's not just me and that I'm not crazy. But, I'm worried about remaining strong for my kids, and my husband, when 40% of my household has ADHD.
My husband and I have 3 children together under the age of 9. Our son (age 5 1/2) was recently diagnosed with ADHD. After his diagnosis a couple of months ago, I began doing substantial research on kids with ADHD, treatments, etc... I also read Driven to Distraction, which I initially picked up thinking it would help us with our son. Within the first chapter or two. I immediately began to realize how so many of the symptoms and stories described my husband perfectly. While I always secretly assumed my husband had ADD, he had never formally been diagnosed. I never realized until doing research because of my son, how much of my marriage (almost 12 years) had been a roller coaster ride because of Adult ADD. My husband was rather adamant he didn't need help and, while he has always felt and acknowledged himself as being different than most people, didn't think he needed to be tested for anything. Finally, after convincing him it would benefit our son, he was tested and officially diagnosed with ADHD. I have only recently started understanding why so many arguments, problems, his alcoholism, etc.. that we've had over the years are because of his ADHD. Many times, over the years, I've been at the end of my rope in wanting to leave the marriage. But with 3 kids, I've been sticking it out for their benefit.
Now being faced with a young son who has ADHD and a husband who has it, I'm feeling overwhelmed. While I love my husband very much and am proud of all of his accomplishments despite having undiagnosed ADHD and also a learning disability, the chaos, inattention, inability to start/complete chores at home, lack of consistency, help, broken promises, etc... has left the huge burden of raising 3 kids, running a house and also working full time to me. I love, hate, resent and am upset with husband all at the same time. He's always told me that I should be grateful he's not abusive or the type of spouse to sleep around, gamble, leave, etc... so I should just accept and live with his faults and flaws. But I can't anymore. I'm 36 and am just so tired of being the glue to keep our family together, our house running and our lives in some kind of order. I just want to be happy and feel like my spouse is an equal partner in our crazy lives together. (I'll also note that my husband is estranged from his family (who actually have way more issues than he does but are in denial).)
My husband has started visiting the Hallowell Center near us for help and is starting to come to terms with his diagnosis. However, even if he fully commits to getting help to recognize and change how his ADHD has impacted our marriage and our whole household, I don't know that I can wait this out. I'm not happy in our relationship and we've had many discussions about it. Now that he has been diagnosed, a lot more makes sense but I'm at a crossroads.
I don't want my son to have to go through all of the hurdles my husband has had, mostly because of having undiagnosed ADHD but I'm weary that my frustration with my husband, is going to transfer to my son. While I vow to help my son through life cope and excel with his ADHD, I'm faced with having a spouse who has the same thing and cannot understand the effects on our family. My husband believes because he has been successful in many ways, that our son automatically will too. I've tried explaining that many of the problems my husband has faced are likely attributed to his ADHD but it doesn't resonate with him.
With all of this, I also have to somehow raise 2 daughters under the same roof who (at the ages of 3 and 8) do not appear to have ADHD.
While I do love my husband, the issues that have been plaguing us because of his ADHD run very deep. I'm wondering if separating from him would make him realize that in order to improve things between us and our family, that he needs to take seriously getting treatment. I also wonder if separating would afford me the time, energy and effort it's going to take to help our young son as well as try and create a somewhat "normal" household for our daughters. I'm torn between the benefits and consequences of this long term decision. I don't want to negatively impact our children, especially if we do separate, but, wonder of the long term harm just staying with my husband will do to them and likely to me.