Hi! I'm a husband who is totally new to posting comments on a web site forum. I'm here because my marriage is in crisis.
My wife left our home about three months ago, living at first with a friend, and as of this past weekend, moving into her own apartment. I met my wife about three years ago. We dated for a little more than a year-and-a-half before marrying. She's almost 31, and I am 37. I've been married for almost one year (the anniversary is later this month), and my wife says she no longer loves me. She says I have totally pushed her away and that we are incompatible.
When I first met my wife, she was a full-time student and part-time employee. My wife was working her part-time job every weekend until about a month before we married, so when we married, we were adjusting to both our new roles as husband and wife, and to being a couple with free time on weekends to share with one another.
My wife and I were opposites in many ways prior to meeting each other. She was not a homeowner, did not have any savings, and was in the middle of transitioning careers. I am a homeowner, have been very focused on saving/investing, and have been established in my career for more than a decade. I can be disciplined and rigid about my pursuits, and my wife is more of a free spirit. Our courtship was passionate and fun, and my wife seemed very interested in me, and genuine in her desire to be the "fun girl" who would marry, settle down, and start a family.
I had this expectation, upon getting married, that my wife and I would share the household chores on the weekends. Prior to our marriage, and given that my wife worked weekends, it did not bother me as much to clean house and perform yard work myself. My wife would help out by cooking delicious dinners, running to the grocery store, and doing laundry. But I fought a losing battle trying to enlarge her role after we married; she would not vacuum, dust furniture, mop bathroom and laundry room tile floors, or clean showers. I always had this sense that she considered housework real drudgery, but as the months passed after we got married, it seemed like every Saturday there was a disagreement about getting her on-board with helping out with managing the household. There was constant pursuing and withdrawing in all the disagreements. My wife would surf the web on her phone or computer, go out for coffee, go for a walk, and after a while, even started scheduling herself at work on the weekends again, I think to avoid me nagging her about housework or doing housework. I could not for the life of me get her to go along with my "work before play" attitude on the weekends. I can be rigid about how I keep things at the house, but was always hopeful that if my wife could just get motivated enough to help out around the house, I would bring my expectations down, and hers would come up, and there would be some peace and more free time for us to recreate together on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.
It just never happened.
So, over a period of time, I became resentful. I began criticizing my wife, judging her, and I think she became increasingly angry and resentful, too. My wife stopped cooking dinner. She stopped going to the grocery store. The laundry might get washed and dried, but not folded or put away. I did more of the housework, became more resentful, and began to disengage. I would tell my wife I could do everything myself, so I didn't need to be married. I would ask her if she would prefer the company of past boyfriends since they didn't ask her to clean house.
My wife and I stopped talking. We started sleeping in separate rooms. We stopped eating together. I suggested she leave, and she finally did.
Fast forward three months into our separation. I visited counselors, I read John Gottman books and relationship forums, quizzed other married couples about how they divide household labor, and pondered the concept of sacrifice in marriage. A lot of what I was learning led me to this web site and Melissa Orlov's book, "The Couple's Guide to Thriving with ADHD." This book describes the exact trajectory of my entire relationship with my wife.
It's scary as I think back now. My wife doesn't always push doors shut, or kitchen cabinets. She would frequently leave the stove on after cooking. She will start laundry, but not finish it. She has missed due dates on payments on account. She leaves her mail unopened for a couple of weeks at a time. She watches a lot of Netflix on TV, and is always hovering over her phone (FB and Candy Crush). My wife used to smoke (cigarettes and marijuana), has overindulged with alcohol, and she has a family history of depression. These clues, and the lack of motivation to motivate/execute on household tasks, are all right there for me to identify with some education.
So my question to the public is, is it too late to stop this derailed marriage? How do I go about communicating to my wife that I think undiagnosed, adult ADHD is the reason for our distress? For my part, I know that as I reached my wit's end, I employed all of the undesirable coping strategies a non-ADHD spouse can use with a wife. My wife feels pushed away completely. But still, my wife doesn't really even acknowledge the effect not participating in the affairs of the household had on us; she just thinks most of what I feel needs to be done is completely made up anyway.
What do I do? Anything?
Thanks for your input!