My DH and I argued again this morning because I can never do something purely for him - there's always a background benefit for me. It tears me up because it's true and I feel so damn selfish. Then I can't see how my actions (or inactions) actually do affect him or why it should make a difference to him what I do or what I forget to do. It's so stupidly hard for me to see outside myself and I wish it were different and I don't know how to help that. What kind of external reminders do you other AD(H)Ders set up to remind you to think about how every single action will affect your spouse, and reminders to do some things purely for your partner that s/he recognizes are purely for them? I'm not talking about little surprises like making dinner or bringing chocolates or writing a card (which, often as not, I mess up anyway), but everyday things: "I am watching this movie, going to this concert, helping you build this cabinet, etc because I know it's important (or fun) for you and for no benefit to myself other than knowing you want/like to do this and seeing your pleasure." What are some commitments I can make, or helpful phrases I can use to remind myself, that will actually change things?
I know that post-hoc apologies don't mean as much as doing it right the next time, and I have no idea where to begin with this one. How do I figure something out that lets him - and myself - know it's real?
That's the tl;dr version; details below of what triggered it this time.
Yesterday DH went home early from work because he wasn't feeling well, and he told me he wanted to go to bed early. I spent the whole day repeating that to him to show him I would remember. Meanwhile, I was thinking, "this is good for me too, because I have to get up & leave early on Tuesdays for my language class - which he surely remembers because I've been leaving the house at 8am for the last 6 Tuesdays in a row." But I didn't say that, because I thought it didn't matter as long as our goals were the same: get to bed early. We did get to bed early, but I ruined it by picking up my phone to reschedule a forgotten task. He got mad because earlier in the evening he'd asked if there was anything I needed to do and I checked my online list & said no - actually there was this one task that I'd completely blanked on, which wasn't written down on the particular list I checked. I would have seen it if I'd looked at my phone or my calendar instead. He is also worried that I've rescheduled it to another time which will end up taking away from our time together. I do tend to suddenly remember things I have to get done at the same time he wants to do stuff together (yet another "WTF is up with my brain" issue). We argued and I ended up sleeping in the guestroom to give him more peace & quiet.
Well, this morning I got up early, got ready early, checked in on him just before 8 and he was still reading in bed, so I thought, "OK, I guess he still needs time after last night's argument to chill out before he talks to me, I guess I'll have breakfast and finish getting ready on my own." BAD IDEA, FRANK! He forgot I had my class, was hurt I ate on my own, and THEN got upset because he thought that I was going to bed early last night PURELY for him and not for any personal reason. It can't ever be ONLY FOR HIM, but then even when it wasn't, I didn't mention my reasons so he was in the dark until it was too late.
Plus, I keep talking about applying for this other job, which I thought only affected me - but he hears me talk about it all the time, he hears me tell other people about it, and he feels like I'm just waiting until the position is filled so I can just spend my life complaining that this job seemed so ideal but I missed the opportunity. He says he tries to help me but I don't take any of it.
What's worse is that I think he really would love to know I have TOTALLY FREE TIME and can do something spontaneous (without having to worry about the repercussions 2 hours/days/weeks later when I remember what I forgot to do while we were doing XYZ spontaneous thing). I love being spontaneous but it always comes at the expense of my to-do list... and without my realizing it. I'm just starting out on writing EVERYTHING down in a master list, and writing myself a 4-6-item to-do list every day, and also printing out monthly calendars so I can write longer-term due dates on them, and ordered myself a Franklin planner which I'll pick up when I visit the US at the end of the month. Also started an ultimate master list in Workflowy, while DH and I are building a Google Docs spreadsheet with tasks, required time, & deadlines that we can both edit. So I have some good starts but it's hard when I stumble along the way.
So..... how can we remind ourselves to do things that aren't for ourselves at all?