My husband left the house this morning after an argument. He left the car, his cell phone, and all his belongings -- just walked out -- and it's after midnight and I still haven't heard from him. I'm left sitting here on the couch, worried sick, and wondering where all of this went wrong.
We're young and recently married (3 years). I found out a lot of things after we were married, even though we knew each other and dated for years before committing to each other. Everyone says that there are "warning signs," but until we were married, my gregarious, fun-loving husband kept most of his problems secret from me.
For one, my husband has ADHD w/hyperfocus that went undiagnosed until we were married, along with several learning disabilities and social anxiety. He has an ongoing speech disorder (which I knew about beforehand) but told me he was a "great" student. Yet, after we're married I find out that he can barely get through his reading and homework. He takes so long and needs so much help that I'm often up with him until 2:00 in the morning every day, just so he can pass. His anxiety prevents him from getting help from his professors or the college tutoring center. It's just easier for him to lean on me.
I told him that I can't tutor him anymore, but he just stopped going to class and was at risk of failing that quarter. Some quick thinking and access to his email account allowed me to beg for incompletes from his teachers due to "unforeseen medical issues" (hey, not a lie!), just so the school wouldn't chase us down to return the financial aid money (gotta love "satisfactory academic progress").
Incidentally, he also "forgot" to file his taxes for several years in a row and owed almost $10,000, which I found out when I got a letter from the IRS in the mail saying they were going to garnish wages and seize assets. Not to mention an additional $25,000 in other debts, including a large loan from a family member. The first three years of our relationship were hell while I tried to get us caught up financially, which I was able to do with a lot of help from my parents.
On top of the academic struggles and his financial irresponsibility, he's also not great with the household. If you ask him to help clean, he scrubs the bathroom for 3 hours but does nothing else. He can't cook, he just makes peanut butter sandwiches or a bowl of cereal if I don't prepare food for him. He also can't make phone calls to the doctor, our vet, our realtor, or any professional because he can't be attentive during conversations, has difficulty with his speech, and can't recall information.
Even with an arsenal of medications and regularly seeing two therapists, I feel like I'm constantly "managing" my husband's ups and downs.
When things get tough, he has fits of aggression and outbursts of anger, like this morning. On more than one occasion, he's screamed at me until he was red in the face, while I laid on the couch, literally covering my ears, cowering and crying hysterically. "Can't you see how mean you're being?! Stop yelling at me! You're scaring me!" I'd cry out to him.
On another occasion, I was dealing with the serious illness of a family member and had the stress of caretaking. I had a "special conversation" with him about how I was going to need his help, love, patience and understanding during this difficult time. Instead, when I failed to answer him RIGHT NOW while I was in the middle of preparing food for ten people, he ran away and took the family car.
Eventually, we took a drive so I could confront him about the behavior. He screamed at me again, to the point that I felt unsafe, so I got out of the car. He sped away, leaving me in an unfamiliar location by the side of the road and drove away. I walked home 5 miles alongside a busy road (no sidewalks or streetlights) in the dark.
I'm drained and exhausted. Was today's fiasco the last draw?
We had spent several days pent up in the house catching up on his homework, taxes, financial aid applications, and our shared bills, and Yesterday, I had begged him to take me somewhere, since it's the first week of spring. As always, his idea of "going out" is to pick up take out food or a home movie. So that's what we did. But he promised that in return we'd get to go out somewhere the next day, and we'd also have to dedicate the day to getting caught up on household matters. We'd struck a deal.
When I wake up today, I ask him to take me to a coffee shop so we can make plans for the weekend. What would we like to do first? What needs to get done around the house? How do we budget our time so he can finish his homework? Can we slip in some quality time for ourselves?
Instead of saying that he'd like to go or not like to go, he yells at me for breaking "the plan." I try and tell him that he's being classically "hyperfocused" and that he should step back and look at the big picture here. Be flexible! Why can't we stop for coffee while we check in with each other and make weekend plans. He pushes back and really puts me through the paces. But at last he comes around and says he's sorry. We can go get coffee.
I thank him for apologizing and trying to see things my way. I also share with him that the exchange we just had was hard on me. I try and explain that it makes me feel bad when simple little things get turned into a major argument.
Then he explodes. More yelling, more aggression. He takes several of his belongings and throws them in a trash can (things I purchased for him?).
And that's where things are right now. I'm exhausted from crying -- feeling sorry for myself, feeling sorry for him, wishing things would "get better," always looking for the positive and praying that we'll make it.
I'm a tolerant and patient person, but when is enough, "enough?" What do I do? Wait for him to come home and apologize . . . until the next time? There's no space for my feelings or needs, anymore, and I feel like I'm missing out. We never had a "honeymoon" phase. Just "before marriage" and "after marriage," when my life felt "normal," and "crazy."
When do you draw the line? I'm ready to turn the light out, get into bed and just accept that my marriage is a complete failure.