Why Do I Feel Like the Worst Wife Ever?

So my hubby was supposed to get done with his overnight DJ gig at 4 this morning, but he wasn't home when I got up at 6:30am. I usually call him, fairly furious,  but I just didn't have the energy this morning. He called a few times before I left for work at 7am, but I didn't take any of them until I was on the road. I was angry when I finally answered the phone. I was doing that fake cheerful, I'm-not-going-to-let-this-get-to-me-when-it-really-has-already-got-to-me thing. The hubby is pretty perceptive and picked up on it right away. Of course it led to a serious discussion wherein I tell him that I'm tired of him not taking his schooling seriously (he dropped one class as a preemptive measure b/c he got behind in the reading and he's withdrawn from two because he was failing). I told him that if he lost his scholarships that I wasn't signing on for school loans because in my mind, if you couldn't do it for free, then you don't need to pay money to do it. He, of course, says it's not my decision and I told him that was fine, good luck finding someone to co-sign the loans with him (he's credit is wrecked). Yes, I can't sympathize. I took a full load at college and worked 20 hours a week and was still on the Dean's list. It's not because I was smarter than him; it's because I took it seriously. I was careful to not allow work to get in the way of my schooling. That was what was expected of me. I was careful to do my assignments. I didn't drop a class because the professor was going to test on something that he didn't lecture about. Yes, there were times that I did my very best and still couldn't pull the grade that I wanted. I had "C"s in math and French. But I tried to do better and while I was upset that I didn't, I walked away knowing I did my best. He doesn't understand that. I'm supposed to support him because it's been rough. I'm supposed to support him even when I don't see him read his notes or his textbooks. He says I don't see him do it. Maybe that's true. Maybe he does it while I'm at work. But if he does, then why is he failing classes? And why does he still miss class on a regular basis?

I'm just tired of giving him support when he blows all his chances. And he expects me to still support him and when I don't, then his low self-esteem is my fault. I don't respect him, etc. The only reason he's going back to school is to get a degree so he can find a decent job. Then act like it, I want to scream! Education is a privilege and yet he doesn't get that. He says he can't get a different job from the one he's got now (working part-time in a bar as a DJ and cook). He stays out all night even when he doesn't work. How am I supposed to support him when he's so determined to fail?!? And yet, I'm supposed to because he's made forward motion this year. He's living with me finally, he's back in school, etc. When did you start receiving credit for doing things that a grown adult male is supposed to do? He's so determined that he doesn't have a disability, that the ADHD doesn't really affect him, yet I'm supposed to throw a party because he does what he supposed to do? WTH?!? If he just sucked it up and did what he was supposed to do, we wouldn't be in this mess. If he hadn't been chronically late and determined to buck authority, he'd still be a cop (a sergeant by now according to him); he'd still be happy; he'd still be able to treat me like he used to.

And yet under all my anger and resentment, I still feel bad. I feel bad because he can't sleep. I feel bad because he's got bleeding ulcers. I feel bad because he worries. I wonder sometimes, if he feels bad when I worry about where I'm going to come up with the money to buy groceries?

I'm so tired. I've been at this for nearly five years. The up-and-down. The watching him always get in the way of his best intentions. I won't leave but I struggle on a daily basis to let go of him and let him do his thing. I'm determined to have my say when I should just keep my mouth shut. Why can't I do that? It's a struggle nearly every day to just let go, to not get upset over the same things over and over again, and yet I do. I feel so weak and useless. I feel like if I could get beyond and stay beyond these emotions, things would at least be more even keeled. I'm supposed to rely on God, I shouldn't have a problem, and yet I find myself praying to him over and over again. On the good days it's "Help me remember to let things go." On the bad days, it's "Why am I here again?"

He's got a quiz today and I feel wretched. I feel like I wasn't able support him and now he's going to fail it too.

Stand up for your self

Why should you "keep your mouth shut"?  Learn from me.  I kept my mouth shut for over 30 years.  I took up the slack and supported and had faith and trust based on my own need to have faith and trust in my husband and marriage....not because faith and trust were earned.  That was CRAZY now that I think about it. But it was the wisdom of the age. My mother's advice when I asked her was, "When life hands you lemons, Make lemonade."  She should have said.  "You are loved HERE.  Let us help you and our grandchildren live life with love and integrity and REAL faith."  Moms didn't say things like that in the past generation - divorce was equated with low-life. I didn't think I had choices.  I didn't give myself the option of choices....religion in my younger days said "til death".  Society said, "single mom = (take your pick - bad word) failure".  Those days are past.  Had I to do it over again, I would have found the support that is available today and shown my sons how to fight for your own integrity, how to look unknowns in the eye and trust yourself, how to see a silver lining when none is in sight.  Don't be like me.....the "BEST virtuous' wife ever".  Imagine how you would feel if your child sacrificed their happiness for the sake of someone like your DH.  Imagine how you would feel if your grandchild would sacrifice their life because everyone told them their misery was of no importance.   As my pastor told me, "The commandments were made for the GOOD of the people.  So they could live together in peace. God did not give them to make you MISERABLE throughout your life."  I wish we "many of us" could have a chat.  Keep writing.  You deserve to find happiness just like everyone else.

My motto is "If life hands

My motto is "If life hands you lemons, make lemonade and add vodka." Lol.

I have a hard time just walking out on him. It would devastate him. He says now that his worst fear is coming home to an empty house and note telling him the rent's paid through the month. I still love him and though he can be difficult to live with, he's not a bounder. He's not abusive and he doesn't run through our bank account. He's just lost...and until he accepts that and makes attempts to find his way again, we're kind of dead in the water.

I know there's light at the end of the tunnel, but something's blocking the tunnel right now. I don't know how to get past it for the moment. Just frustrated, I guess. We made progress at counseling on Monday. He actually admitted that he had screwed up our marriage and he knew that he needed to step up and take more responsibility. It's like he knows all the right things, but can't seem to implement them. That's the most heartbreaking thing of all, I think.

Several years ago, I asked my

Several years ago, I asked my mom what she and my dad talked about (or maybe I asked her how she and my dad talked about difficult issues), and she said, "You don't stay married for 50 years by talking about things."  Ouch!

There's got to be some truth

There's got to be some truth to that. There's a cycle with me and the hubby. Say, I approach him about money. "I really need some help from you, I'm carrying it all and there's not enough for groceries." He immediately gets defensive and ends up saying stupid stuff. No resolution. We have another argument about how I spent some extra money that I made a few weeks later. Rather he raged and I stared at the wall. Then out of the blue, we have a perfectly calm conversation about how I need to focus on paying off the credit card debt I've been carrying around instead of saving for a European trip. Then at the counselor's, it's another daggers drawn scenario. We take it outside and have a fairly calm conversation about my lack of trust in his ability to manage money. Yay us!

Where I get perplexed is when he brings us one or two conversations where we didn't fight and spreads it out. Case in point this morning when he says that I don't see the good he's done. "We can talk about money without fighting now." Nooooo. We had a conversation without fighting. That doesn't mean it's a trend yet. But he loves generalizations. Sort of like how he managed to come home when he said he was going suddenly erases all the times he hasn't and all the times he won't. It makes no sense to me. 

That reminds me of my

That reminds me of my husband, who has taken to saying that we can't change what we've done in the past, we can only work on today and the future.  Fine.  True.  But then he doesn't change.  So then, tomorrow, he can get up and say, "I can't change the past; I can only work on today."  And nothing changes.  


The problem is that they

The problem is that they don't seem to understand "rules" and "exceptions". My hubby thinks that the exception should count, when of course, it is the rule that counts, and the exception that is allowed leeway.

I know that my hubby wants to change. He makes attempts. But I'm assuming, due to the ADHD, he is not capable of sustaining the change while he has other things going. Though I find it interesting that when he first moved back in, he left his dirty dishes all over the place. On the countertop, on the coffee table, etc. I was spending pretty much every night at the hospital with my terminally ill grandfather and I would come home late and the house would be filthy. It took me breaking down and crying in counseling that I needed him to clean up after himself. It never occurred to him. But he's stuck to cleaning up after himself, more or less. He turned it into a rule so that when an exception happens, I don't get angry.

I don't understand what clicked in him that he can't apply to other parts of our marriage that need help as well.


Rosered's Mom     -----    "You don't stay married for 50 years by talking about things."

Old mom's had those funny little quips that meant nothing but shut us up pretty quick while we thought about what the heck they could mean.  We were told a lot about all the people who have it worse than us, as though our problems or feelings didn't matter because other people had problems and bad feelings too, so no more words or comfort or problems solving was necessary....we were to sit and be nice and quiet and deal with it somehow ourselves and not make a big thing of it and for heavens sake, don't tell anyone else about them.  Oh, I'm stuffing it. hahahahahah....ouch...stuffing....hahahaha....ouch...stuffing....   

My mom probably still feels

My mom probably still feels the same way about talking.  But she has nevertheless been supportive of me during my marital travails, about which I don't tell her many details but that she has figured out because she has observed that I work constantly and my husband doesn't.

oooof... this makes me so ill.......

......seriously.... I'm shaking right now....


my husband could have written this post a few years ago...  No, I didn't flunk out of school, or quit, but he has seen me shoot myself in the foot and do poorly in school and flail and keep trying over and over again and fail at 'things a grown (wo)man should be able to do.'

You worked hard.  You studied hard.  You got good grades. You can't understand why he cannot do what you did....  I can hear your post in my husband's voice.  (...."you have no ambition! you have no motivation!  you do this to yourself over and over!!")

I don't know what to say, other than I vividly remember being in school and thinking to myself, I'm not stupid... i should be able to do this... WHY am I not doing this right?  Staring at my books, not having the faintest idea what I was supposed to do after reading and rereading the assignment 30 times.  Being embarrassed because my friends were having such an easy time of it.  Writing papers was like bleeding out every word...  Failing classes was so embarrassing, I'd always lie and tell my friends I didn't study.  Well, I guess it wasn't a lie, because I had no idea HOW to study, so what I was doing was not really studying but rather smashing my f*cking skull into some proverbial brick wall of utter confusion and frustration.  The INSANE negotiations I'd go through in my own head with MYSELF:  "I can just get up early and learn this section before the test.... yeah... I can do that...."  (NOT).

It sucks that he won't admit he has ADHD.  The meds would no doubt help a tremendous amount with the studying.  I agree that you should not co-sign a loan, but the anger/sarcasm doesn't help.

my husband told me that I should always tell him when i'm feeling bad and we can always talk about it.  So, a few months ago when I was feeling vulnerable and frustrated (due to my failure to earn enough money through my 6 part time jobs) he snapped at me the way he always does about how I 'always' say this and 'always' say that and 'always' end up not getting anywhere.  So now I just don't say anything.  He has no idea how f*cking sad, lonely and frightened I am because I pretend everything's ok.  Faking confidence has won me a bit of peace and I daresay he may even have a half-ounce of respect for me now, but I have no one to talk to about how I really am (My insurance WOULD cover counseling if I had any time to actually go).  He will sit on the couch playing with his iPad for 2-4 hours STRAIGHT after he comes home from work, but i'm afraid to ask for any help with housework or kids because i've been accused of whining and complaining too much and not doing my part to earn enough money.  So although I am working 20+ hours a week, I'm still doing 100% of everything at home. I'm anxious because I feel under-prepared for my teaching job(s) and I'm under-prepared because there is just no time.  Everything is on me at home.  Honestly, the happiest part of my life right now is commuting to/from my Friday job.  I can listen to music and sit for 37 minutes and the only thing anyone wants from me is my train ticket.  I am exhausted and I don't know how long I can do this before there are serious ill effects (careless injury/ forgetting something major/getting seriously sick)

I wish I could help your DH somehow, or give you useful suggestions.  I just know for a fact that the anger makes everything worse.  Seriously, yesterday my DH snapped at me because i'd recycled a bunch of take-out menus I thought we never used (and figured they're all online anyway).  I couldn't think straight for 10 minutes or so left the freezer door open because I was so upset/blindsided by the sudden (and i thought truly unwarranted) anger.

Good luck.




I hear you both

Ellamenno, So this education thing is your "trigger".  It must have been a terrible time in your life to try to do something so difficult for you.  What you must have learned is that education (studying) is not for you right now (or then).  I am sorry you went/are going through this.  As I age and my brain is not as sharp anymore as it once was, I am understanding more and more about the frustration with yourself  a person can have of having to do extra work of keeping thoughts in check.  It does suck.  And there is the worry that goes with it.  I am glad you have a place to vent.  It is a frustrating condition to put up with on both sides.  I am writing to encourage dazedandconfuzed to keep writing.  If it were me who you were responding to, I would have felt badly about your being so upset and I might have taken it to heart and been deterred to writing on this forum in the future.  It seems she has a tendency to blame herself for things she is not responsible for.  I hope she keeps on here and responds because she, too is going through the difficult time of "doing it all" at home, working and trying to budget.  I hope she even let's off some of her own steam here if that would help.

A part of me wants to comfort you.  A part of me wants to give you a "supportive" kick in the pants to help you focus on positive action.  All I can do is say I heard you.  I also heard dazedandconfused.


Jenna,  pretty much everything is a trigger.  making lunch is a freaking trigger.

I'm all for a supportive kick in the pants.  Kick away.  I would be ecstatic to learn there's something I haven't tried.

I'm not trying to make anyone feel bad or guilty.  It sucks for dazedandconfused.  Just reporting from the otherside.

Once again, there is intense jealousy also at your capabilities.  Also, jealousy of the fact that you all can just bail should you so choose.

Ellamenno, I totally related to both of your posts


Ellamenno,  I   totally related to both of your posts,   I would also desperately like to study and be able to hold a piece of paper that tells the world I am not stupid,  but... I just can't,  for me I cannot focus and apply the process and routine that is schooling and study.   I have come to accept that for me this will never happen.   It is *incredibly* frustrating to know that we are just as smart as most of those folk who have got through school and gone on to get a degree, but  the particular function that allows people to study, manage time and follow process is just something that I don't have.

So in my professional an life I  end up, like you  expressed,  feeling embarrassed and ashamed , and I spend my life feeling I have something to prove.. that  I am not stupid, lazy or morally  bankrupt.  It is not that I  don't want what everybody else takes for granted, but that it is out of my reach, that I need to work ten times as hard, and all the time,  it is an unfortunate thing that  as result I have learned to bulldoze whatever is in the way to get there.

It has become for me the only way,  my only other alternative is to be criticised and ridiculed and  just lay down, give up and die. So I fight, I put on my mask and I  play hardball at the corporate politics, I use what few advantages I  have over those who I have to compete against and I have learned to be cool headed and hard nosed. Have I lost  parts of myself in the process?  Sometimes I think so..the corporate ladder is about crawling over broken bodies to gain advantage,  and in my wildest dreams I never would have seen myself as this kind of person... but I have something to prove to myself and most of all to the people who have made me be ashamed of who I was most of my life.  

And like you I am intensely envious of people that can just do the normal things with such ease, and of the fact that they can just up and leave when dealing with us gets too difficult to deal with.   We have no escape,  or at least not in the one life we get to have a crack at.  

And I also can't help but feel  on occasion a little bit of  burning resentment at constantly hearing how  ruined people are by have the misfortune of becoming attached to a person with ADHD, and I wonder how easy is it to really for us empathise with this?   Could we constantly  express our frustration, anger and resentment at NoNs and expect  or even ask for self reflective empathy?  Could we  even expect sympathy or is it that we would simply be  told we are  childish ,  retarded, brain damaged,  selfish and don' t try hard enough??  In the end I guess nobody gets out of it unscathed. 

nobody gets out unscathed

Jon, I have particularly appreciated your explanations of what it is like to be the one with ADHD (earlier you explained the lack of "filter" when someone's DH would yell that they were "done"--mine with ADHD has yelled at me that he wants a divorce so many times. I would be bewildered that he seemed ok the next morning, like how could someone say something that intense and awful without meaning it?) 

I get that it is a lack of filter, and that once the moment passes, it is a new moment. I do, intellectually. But wow, for me, does it suck to be the one who hears the "I want a divorce," when in my world, I wouldn't say that unless, in fact, I had decided that I wanted a divorce. And I have been so harmed by my spouse saying things like this to me that I can't not take it personally. 

I think that in relationships and life, when they aren't working, it must be awful to be the one with ADHD, and as you say, no one gets out unscathed. I don't know how I would manage if I were a good person, doing my best, and my spouse were constantly angry with me and thought that everything I did was wrong or selfish. It's true. I know I have been this way with my spouse. He has said so many times, "You don't love me for who I am," or "Everything I do is wrong." Thank you for explaining how it feels to you. 


la di da, I will think about it tomorrow

Ellamenno, It feels to me like my DH is bailing on me every day with his diversions and distractions and his ability/necessity/choice/response to "forget", live and let live and "laugh it off".  While I sit with the "stuff" of everyday living and the attempts at a relationship.  Just stating the other side of OUR (DH and me) coin.


You sound to me like you are in a really hard place... not being met a least part of the way makes things very difficult.   If you don't mind me asking what is it you looking for in a relationship and do you think there is *any* possibility of making progress towards it? Have you abandoned all hope or still holding out?  What is it that keeps you there? 

What am I looking for in a

What am I looking for in a relationship: a heart willing to communicate and care and financial partnering.  These are things I am beginning to accept that he cannot give to me.

What keeps me here:  Social Security.  For 15 years, I put him on a mock (he actually didn't work for me) "payroll" through my business. I paid in to social security for him so we could have group health insurance in those days.  If you didn't have group health insurance, you could not change insurance companies without exams, pre-existing conditions, etc.  So the insurance companies could raise your rate every year and you would be stuck with them.  With a group of 2, the physical exams and pre-existing conditions were not a factor and we would be able to comparison shop for health insurance to keep the costs down.  So he was making what he did at his job plus, on paper to the IRS and SSA, he was making in addition what I was "paying" him. So move to 2012 and I learn that Social Security is not a marital asset.  I worked part time jobs (not full time) while my children were young. Women were also paid less then.....I was the boss of someone who was hired 4 years after me and found out that he was making more money than me because he was a guy.  Social Security is calculated over 35 year period.  DH made good money for 15 years as a salesman when we were young.  Don't get me started on what I put up with while he was a traveling salesman (impulse-wise). DH ends up getting twice the Social Security that I would get because Social Security is not a marital asset but considered "insurance" that you pay in to.  In a divorce, I would inherit half his business debt,  I cannot support myself long term on my own Social Security and he would get half my 401K/IRA,  He has no retirement money and used his small inheritance money to take time off from work 20 years ago.  I cannot afford a divorce even though now i make more than him.  We must sell our home because it is too big and we can't afford the electricity/upkeep/taxes.  He will not talk about selling the home.  I will have to plow ahead and make the selling arrangements without being able to talk with him about it while he talks like we don't have to sell  - denial.

Are you looking for what could he do to make things better?  Take a look.  What COULD he do to make things better now?

In years past we would make lists of what we wanted and needed and promises toward those ends.  The list was made.  I would do the things on my list.  He, to date, has not carried through on even one of those items promised although the salesman in him made it ABUNDANTLY CLEAR that I should have more faith in him and OF COURSE he would make good on them, "What did I think he is, a liar or an idiot????" angrily at me.  Then NOTHING.  Promises forgotten.   And he seems to not only have no remorse but responds with anger if I even bring these things up.

I am venting here but also this is for people on both sides of the financial and emotional fences to see how things can end up years down the road if nothing is done about expectations and finance and integrity.  This forum is ADHD but it seems to me the lines are sometimes drawn between the tryers and the non-tryers.  Those of us on this site are mainly tryers...or we would not be trying to "learn to thrive in your relationship" Not necessarily ADD and nonADD issues.

What keeps me on this forum is that I am trying to accept and get the words clear in my mind about what it is and how it was. Before this forum, I was taking all the blame for our inability to be a loving couple...another throwback to the idea that the wives were responsible for happiness in home and marriage.  And I was confused about why it wasn't working.   I also am suspecting that my son may have ADD too.  I want to learn more about it because he has not been one to open up about what is going on inside him.  Maybe I will learn something that will help him before he gets too old to find his own happiness.  At least I will be better able to let him be who he is and better understand.

Tryers and nontryers:  that

Tryers and nontryers:  that is it!  Thanks for putting it in those terms, Jennalemon.

The financial stuff is so important, isn't it?  One thing you should know (although you might, already):  formerly married spouses can collect on their former spouses' Social Security, but timing is key.


I'm sure you have mixed

I'm sure you have mixed feelings as to whether your anniversary is a cause for celebration or regrets.  Keep coming to the forum and letting us know what you're thinking.  I find your thoughts and insights invaluable (and hard won!).

Not much can deter me! Lol.I

Not much can deter me! Lol. I appreciate all your responses.

I like hearing from both sides. I probably like hearing from the ADHD side more just so I can get a view into what my hubby is thinking. My standards are pretty high to start, so it makes it even harder for me to put myself in his shoes.

It's so hard to see him struggle with school. He's very smart (Mensa level IQ, apparently) and even finished high school a year early. But he was home schooled. I often wonder how different things would have been if he had been in public school. Would he have struggled or would he have learned to conform and get things done? He did OK when he first went to college about 10 years ago. The common comment from his teachers was "How can someone so smart ALWAYS be late." I didn't know him them and I've wondered if he did as well as he said he did, but he did transfer 30 hours over from his old school to the school he's attending right now, so he must have gotten "C"s at least.

I guess because I am not easily deterred, things like me not jiving with the teacher or allowing the other students to annoy me to the point that I can't do well myself just isn't an option. I didn't let much get in my way when I was in school; I don't let much get in my way now. I do want to support him, I just don't know how.

I told him last night that he needed to pick one thing and focus on that. That one thing should be school. Which means making extra money or playing pool should come second (actually third and fourth). I also told him I was scared...that I didn't want to get stuck paying back the school for his grants because he couldn't keep his grades up or didn't maintain enough hours. He hasn't even signed up for next semester yet, so it may be a good thing. 

I've been thinking that it might just be better for him to go back to his old school, which was a 4 year university. It was cheaper to go to this community college but they are very much geared towards the newly graduated high school demographic, and I'm just not sure it was for the best. I have less of a problem signing up for loans on a more expensive school if he's done well there before.

In any case, I'm feeling better this morning. I went to blow off some steam with some girlfriends last night. A couple of glasses of champagne put everything to rights! I found it mildly amusing that he was suddenly texting me the whole time. "What are you doing?" "Are you having fun?" "How was the food?" Methinks I need to go out more!