THE WRATH of ADD: Cusdody, Divorce and Anger How Do I cope with ADD Husband now?! How Can I NOT hate him?

I so very glad that I came across this blog. It speaks much to what I have endured for what in 2 weeks will be 12 years of a dysfunctional marriage. Married to “The Nice Guy.” My husband hads all the symptoms, in the beginning we just called it blabber mouth, forgetful, little to no intimacy and daydreaming. Until over the course of our marriage as I grew, he stayed behind…increasingly more forgetful, reclusive and out of touch. This past June (wow, a year soon) I was at my wits end. A few years back I had an affair years prior to escape, send a wake up call… one that he never heard. I could not put my family through that mess again. With two children I begged him to seek help… and he did. But, I had to be 2 steps out the door, when he broke down and sought help. One session put a nail on what I couldn’t identify in 11 years. About a month later the husband started taking Statera and weeks after his world… OUR world started to turn around. The diagnosis was a ray of light and the medication was a miracle. I was the happiest I had ever been in our marriage. I could see a bright future for our two kids. But, having already put 2 steps out; I was too afraid to step back into the dysfunction. I found myself monitoring his medication, afraid he wouldn’t take it. Afraid he wouldn’t read the books, engage in counseling. It was like I was living with a recovering drug addict, waiting … wondering WHAT IT he relapsed. I enabled his behaviors, I victimized myself by doing so. The wounds over eleven years had worn on my emotional and physical health. My daughter who is 10 began picking up the slack of trying to control and understand Daddy. Our 5 year old ADHD son began the negative self talk. If my kids were sounding like me… coaching Daddy, they were acting like Daddy. I yearned deeply for every facet of what I believed a marriage would be, should be, could be… I just couldn’t wait for my husband to be that man and father. Anxiety, depression…read, counseling… been there done that; but not my husband. While on his medication my children and I moved out 7 months ago. It was an amicable separation, we were beautiful friends. I loved him deeply in those initial months and I regained my own health and sense of security. He and I were friends, he went back to school, picked up a new job and we communicated regularly and respectfully. We agreed that he would “focus” on himself and I would seek my own needs. I thought he understood… he said he did. ANOTHER ADD attribute.. the “shake he head and agree” syndrome, when they don’t really understand or comprehend what is going on. THEN I told him I wanted to date someone else, his medication ran out (no health insurance) and all hell broke lose. 3 months later, he is cured of his ADD, he has filed for divorce, wants full custody, sole use of our marital home and is a devout Christian. Now I am 5k down in legal fees, our business is nearly ruined, I am fighting for custody and my husband won’t communicate with me at all. He is now classically the worse side of ADD and he is hurting us all, under the pretense of “being in control.” I have no family resources to talk ration into him. Because he to them is still a “nice guy, good Christian and father… and just being like he always has been.” He has sold me out as being “Godless and immoral.” What was our home is a mess, our joint finances are a mess and the kids are a mess. Everyday I am putting out legal fires and allegations. Just like before, I was the one who held it all together… now I am not there, it is all burning down. There is no logic or ration to anything that he does. He has COMPLETELY shut down. I feel like I am stuck between a rock and a hard place. I DON’T WANT A DIVORCE! What I want is my husband to focus on himself, get himself together, take the medication and look at our relationship from a distance…another perspective. If it worked out…it would, I just could not take the risk that it would be the SAME SAME for another 11 years. I had migraines, high blood pressure and became depressed. I was lonely, tired and constantly feeling defeated. TRYING, CRYING and pleading with my husband to do his share, get some help and comfort me… SOMETIMES. We have a court order for our kids, but he violates it. I see clearly what he does…he forgets, pushes aside and sticks his head in the sand and WE ALL suffer the consequences. I don’t want to present him legally as a bad Father, but the reality of it. . . he is. He is more of a buddy to them. I wish desperately on late night like this, I had some emotion to fall back on. All I fall back on is how much time we have spent together and all the warning signs from the day I met him. I didn’t know. Now, look where I am. I feel like a fool. I’ve grown, become educated and matured and he is still where I found him. This will be his 2nd divorce and still “doing cartwheels in his head.” But never taking the steps in reality to move forward. I “get it” in regards to not controlling him; clearly I can’t. I know in my heart, I was best advocate and ally, now he is a babbling radical, squanders our money to pay a lawyer to tell him protect him…while he destroys himself and our family. Even now 700 miles apart, he still is dragging my heart and life down. I don't regret leaving. He drug me down day after day when I was there. How do I get him to stop! I’ve tried mediation…he walked out. I’ve tried his family…they believe he is a “great guy, done wrong.” We’ve gone to court…we mediated for foolishness, that a normal couple could have talked out. I’ve tried giving him books, facts and mapping out the consequences. Still he INSISTS “I am not listening to you lisa!” Meanwhile, he can’t hear everything is crumbling around him and us all, daily. All I need him to do is THINK RATIONALLY! LONG TERM AND REMAIN FOCUSED! ALL I NEED FOR HIM TO DO IS NOT HAVE ADD! REALLY! I love my husband dearly, but not as a wife should. I enjoyed him as my friend and I miss that dearly. I miss the fun parent that he was. But, nothing more. I want a life a functional and balanced life...with or without him. How can I get him to stop, without tearing him or me down completely. I am now in the process of filing an emergency petition to get full and primary custody of our children; because of his MULTIPLE voiloations of the order. I didn’t want to go this far, I never would have… he just doesn’t understand he is leaving me with no choice and himself fully exposed for me to do so. I can not help him hurt me or the children! I am so bitter, so depleated and so hurt. So, very hurt and I know it is not his fault, and it isn't those who protect his lies...they don't understand... my life is on a blog! My husband, my marriage and my children are no different than the hundreds of posts on this blog... all here OUT in the open. What can I do? its' all up 2 me. Lisa

Divorce and Custody

The inner conflict in you shines through loud and clear and my heart goes out to you, your children, and your husband.  You shout “I DON’T WANT A DIVORCE” at the same time that you ask “How can I NOT hate him?”  You label yourself a fool, bitter, depleted and hurt and yet speak of how much you loved your husband when things seemed back in balance and how you wish you had him back still (foolish or not).  You’re angry, hurt and scared.

I can’t fix this issue for you (or even advise you how you could fix your marriage at this point), but you can get people’s opinions and support on this site.  (Remember that you are in a public forum, though, including one that your husband and his lawyers can access.)

First, your husband is not “cured” of his ADD.  If you have ADD, you have it.  Which is not to say that one can’t learn how to control the symptoms of ADD – you can learn to control symptoms so they don’t get in your way.  You saw that when your husband was on Strattera.  But ADD is a way that your mind works – a way of being.  It doesn’t get “cured” per se.  When you say “All I need for him to do is not have ADD” you are asking the impossible.  What you need him to do is control his symptoms…which means that he needs to decide that he wants to do that.  (Only he can control his symptoms.)  It sounds to me, given how you describe him at the beginning of your post, that you want your husband to be someone that he never was, even when you met him.  If someone said to you “I want you to be completely focused, fun, and rational – to be the man I dream you can be - even though I think that as a person you are forgetful, not intimate, a blabbermouth, out of touch and a daydreamer” what would you think?  I’m guessing that one of the things that he used to throw back at you when he was angry was that he “could never be good enough for you”. 

Furthermore, you say that you long for a “wonderful, functional and balanced life”, but mostly miss him as a friend.  I can understand missing someone as a friend as good romance also includes friendship, but why do you assume it’s okay with him to be with a woman who only thinks of him as a friend?  Don’t you both deserve more?

It sounds as if your husband is doing a lot of awful stuff to you right now.  Violating court orders about childcare is both wrong, and hard on the kids.  They deserve better than that.  So do both you and your husband.  You ask the very relevant question – “how can I get him to stop?” and the answer is – you can’t get him to stop misbehaving, but hopefully you can get the courts to stop him from violating the court orders. 

Unfortunatley, I think the best you can do in this situation overall (court orders aside) is control your own response to him.  Like it or not, you are in a place you never wanted to get to.  Your relationship now is a business relationship (and a pretty bad one at that), not a marital one (in the friendship way of thinking of marriage).  The more businesslike you can be about it, the less he will be able to assail you for being “immoral” or emotional or bossy.  Remember that it’s highly likely that his family who thinks he’s “been wronged” is cheering him on and supporting his efforts.  Why would he suddenly listen to you, his antagonist?

Try as hard as possible to not involve the kids.  My daughter once said to me "I'm never going to speak to dad again!" when she was mad at him.  At which point I told her that it was not her business to "punish" her father and that I would be very unhappy with her if she decided she wanted to take sides in our argument.  Your kids know inside what's fair.  No matter how tempted you might be to badmouth your husband or to let them get away with trying to take care of him, they will be better off in the long run if you make it clear that it is not their job to play parent or to take sides.  That you love them unconditionally, as does their dad, and that the problems that the two of you have are not related to the kids, nor should they get involved.  (Make sure that the child with ADD does not take your dislike of your husband's ADD personally - thinking "if she doesn't like him, then she won't like me").

So the quesiton is, how would you rather deal with him?  In the heat of anger (when you are more likely to make a mistake), or calmly?  Would you rather continue to let him run (and ruin?) your life, or choose a different path?  If he doesn’t hear everything crumbling around him, it’s probably because he doesn’t see it the same way as you and doesn’t think it is crumbling.

I guess I would suggest that you stop trying to educate him about ADD, and start taking care of yourself.  Find a good support network, get the courts to do what they need to do to put you on a footing that keeps the kids’ lives as steady as is possible.  Start accepting that you aren’t likely to ever be together as a couple again.  My husband and I did not get to the point that you are in (we never moved apart, though we did agree to separate), but we did find that when things got hard, “business-like” actually allowed us enough breathing room that we could enjoy each other a bit more, even as we were working things out.  Perhaps it will help ease some of the tension for the two of you, too.

I’m afraid this isn’t all that helpful.  It’s stories like yours that make me wish I had a magic wand.  This is an awful period, so make sure you have some family or friends to help you through it.  You will get through it, and there will be light at the end of the tunnel – it just doesn’t feel that way right now.  You can work towards making that next stage - the one in which you share the kids as they grow, as easy on everyone as possible (which doesn't mean give in on everything - rather, stand up for what is right, and do it in a way that makes you proud of your own behavior, with an eye towards the end goal - being on speaking terms for the sake of the kids...if that seems a reasonable goal to you, that is.)

Feel free to write to us, too, if that helps you make decisions or feel better.  There are lots of caring people who monitor this website and contribute to the conversations here.

Melissa Orlov

up2lisa's picture

Holding My Head Up

I nearly looked on this site hourly to see if there was a response, my children coming home were an excellent distraction from my misery. Let it be known, I love my husband; but not as a husband and we do both deserve much more than to be buddies. I wish we could even be business partners, but the realities are too evident. I was the business. I was the parent. I was the maid. He was just a “great guy” as ambiguous as the statement, he simply made everything “appear” nice at my own expense. Sadly, I fell in the “gotta-get-married” trap and you are right, all the bells and whistles were there. But, when your not looking for sounds…but sights… like a diamond ring, BIG BEN could go off and I would not have heard it. Beside, who take seriously… “ADwhat?” I would have never thought twice about ADD if he would have known then. I have to become resolved that my husband is an individual with choices unlike mine and is compelled to do things I am not compelled to do. It saddens me deeply to know there is a cure… a fix, a solution to his needs and he won’t take it. He won’t take it for fear of “letting the Devil win!” For fear of being an unfit parent. For fear of losing control. But, he was out of control and God did no wrong with blessing him with ADD and the means to maximize it to be the best parent. Who wouldn’t love a father who fishes, does crafts, plays and follows ever detail in sports and history. If feels like I am dragging my 5 year old son by his arm, covered with mud from head to toe, to a hot bat and telling him “you’re dirty!” He knows he’s dirty and it was fun getting that way. There is nothing fun about being squeaky clean. I wish his or any lawyer, friend or relative would take the time to find this site and see, it is neither simple, frivolous or a matter of will. Possibly the association with children with ADHD more harms the adult with ADD. The condition is nothing near child’s play when you are 40 years old and look back at your mistakes, shortcomings and fears. In a sad way, I have felt vindicated. I’M NOT STUPID. I knew SOMETHING was wrong and then I found out what. I've never talked bad about my husband, I always protected him... posted him up as the leader of the family and I his devoted supporter. Now I am seeing how devastating it was to hold two crowns and will likely continue to be as such for me. But, I will hold my head up and wear them proudly in the best interest of my children. I will be mommy and daddy until their father figures out what D.A.D. he wants to be with this ADD: defeated or victorious. UP 2 ME
up2lisa's picture

When to Draw the ADD and Deliberate Line

For a month straight weekly I have asked my husband to send me our son's allergy medication and his insurance information. I’ve asked him in e-mails and in voice mail, with no responses given…yet he reads them. Today, I received a “Extremely Urgent” package at the cost of 18.00 shipping which contained the refill of the allergy medication. 1. I know he got the message, because he mailed the medication. 2. Yet, he didn’t send the insurance card/information….or a copy of it, yet he has it…because he got the prescription filled. 3. If I would have received the card or information (I don’t even know who it is with) I could have transferred the prescriptions to me and refilled the prescription myself without the shipping expense. 4. Our son’s birthday was last Tuesday and he didn’t so much as send a card in the big empty box for padding. Where is the line drawn from having ADD and being deliberately passive aggressive? Where do I draw the line and say... this part is ADD and his processing skills and this part is defiance. I need to find a way that I process / interpret his actions, so that I can act accordingly. The difference is a Dad with a impediment and a Dad that is delinquent. I get to the point where I have run out of ways to TRY to get through, convey and or plan how to get the simplest of message across. Frustrated. Because…its all up 2 me…again.


I'm glad to hear back from you - I've been thinking about you and your situation a lot in the last few days and hoping that you are coping as best you can, which it seems you are.  Still not fun, though.

I don't think it matters whether or not your husband is being deliberately passive aggressive, impaired or delinquent.  You need to get yourself to a place where you aren't relying on him for anything.  That means that if he doesn't send the insurance card, call the company and get another copy so the prescription can be filled in either place.  Make yourself physically and emotionally independent.  Don't count on him to send a birthday card to your son - he might remember or might not.  Or, he might be celebrating at a different time with him and not feel the need for a card (or the need to share this with you).  In any event, you should make as big a deal about your son's birthday as you normally would (but no bigger - your son will know if you are overcompensating for your husband somehow).  Your son will love the attention.  And if he's sad about his dad not being there, maybe you can talk about it with him.

There is a bigger issue that concerns me, which is your reference to your son's being dirty.  Five year old boys are the KINGS OF DIRTY!!!  (Well, maybe 12 year olds beat them, but not by much!)  Being 5 is all about celebrating being dirty - about playing games in the bathtub as you scrub each knee...about him telling you tall tales about how he got that dirty in the first place...about giving him permission to get just that dirty again the next day and love every minute of it.

Now, it may just be that you are tired, and looking at another dirty knee just isn't making you all that happy.  But I worry that your bad feelings about your husband's ADD are getting transferred to your active little boy.  This would be unfair to him, and also to you.  He needs your love, your adoration, and a lovely safe place right now where he can be himself, no matter what sort of storm rages on between his parents.  I am not (at all) advocating spoiling him (the mistake too many parents getting divorced make, in my opinion).  But I am advocating celebrating your kids for who they are and creating joyous moments together that will sustain you all in these tough times.

I just reviewed a book about little boys that I thought was really great.  It's by a man who is an expert in child development and is very thoughtful about boys.  It's called It's A Boy:  Understanding Your Son's Development from Birth to Age 18 by Michael Thompson, Ph.D.  You may not feel as if you need anything else to do right now, but when you get a chance you might want to grab a copy.  It will take you through the many wonderful, mysterious changes that are boys.  (I have an amazing 14 year old son, as well as a wonderful 17 year old daughter who has ADD and some other learning issues and has learned to manage them beautifully).  I marvel at the people they have become and remember how physically taxing it can be to take care of kids.  Exhausting, really, but when they are their own people it's incredible.  You have much to look forward to when you get past your current difficulties.

Melissa Orlov

arwen's picture

crosstalk? Lisa and Melissa

Melissa, I think you may have misunderstood what Lisa was saying about 5-year-olds getting dirty.  I think myabe she was saying that dealing with her *husband* felt the same as pulling her 5-year-old son out of the mud -- that she wishes her husband would behave like a grown-up instead of a child.

Also, in her first post, I don't think she was saying that *she* thinks her husband is cured of his ADD.  I think she was paraphrasing something her husband said to her, and that therefore he is in a certain amount of denial about his situation.

Lisa, your posts are a little difficult to understand in spots.  I can understand that you are probably feeling very emotional when you post, but it would help all of us here who would like to respond to you if you could try to be a little more clear as to your meaning.   This will help us provide a more meaningful response and not waste time addressing something that isn't actually an issue.

I'm very distressed for you in your situation and would like to offer you the benefit of my experience of roughly 20 years of dealing with my husband's ADD.  One thing that stood out to me from your original post was the following:


How well I can relate to your feeling!  I could have spoken these words myself.  But unfortunately, when you are dealing with an ADD spouse who is not on medication or in counseling, remaining focused is in short supply. This is just a fact of  ADD life.  There is no cure, there is only medication that helps and counseling that can guide or re-train some behaviors.  The ADD brain functions differently than the normal brain, and gives rise to a different way of thinking and of storing information than people without ADD.  In my experience, the ADD brain *is* rational, within the limitations of how it works.  I've found that when I gave up railing against my husband's ADD and learned to understand how my husband's ADD dealt with things differently from mine, I was better able to deal with my husband's perspective and we could resolve our issues to our mutual satisfaction.

I urge you to read the blogs and posts here -- I agree with Melissa that it sounds like there are aspects of dealing with ADD that you still need to process -- there's a lot of insightful comments and ideas here by people who have been through the wringer or are still struggling but who have found partial answers.  I wish I'd had the benefit of their experience when I was going through fifteen years of bad times with my ADD spouse!!!   You may not be able to solve all your problems, but if you can find some strategies that help, that's still worthwhile progress.  Good luck!




When I was reponding, I

When I was reponding, I didn't know how old this blog was, but I'll respond anyway...

My heart goes out to you.  I feel your pain and know in detail the frustration, anger and hurt you experience. 

I read some of your blogs and I’m getting a sense that you truly haven’t processed what ADD really is.  For example, if you knew someone didn’t have fingers, would you keep asking them to type letters for you?  My husband has ADD, and I used to find myself fuming mad when he forgot things or didn’t follow through with things.  But now that I understand what ADD is.  If you wanted such detailed info about the insurance, be creative call the insurance’s customer service line and have them send you what you needed.  Why would you ask your ADD HUSBAND to do it… to have a blood vessel burst?  I know FIRST HAND the rage you felt, so why not avoid it with simple things. 

Your husband’s behaviors ARE NOT PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE acts.  I thought the same with my husband until I learned that ADD can be mistaken for passive aggressive personality. 

Your situation seems so workable.  My advice -  (while a little too late for me…I think divorce in inevitable for me) learn more about ADD.  When I didn’t know about it, I took my husband’s forgetfulness, disconnection, etc. personally.  Prior to learning about ADD I did what a good wife would do, I wouldn’t harass him about things, thinking that it was nagging, but he always forgot/didn’t follow through.  When I did remind him of things, I would be harsh.  Understanding how his brain works, I began to gently remind him of things.  The biggest shocker was how receptive he was to my reminders.  I KNOW the volcanic anger the forgetfulness and lack of organization can cause, but you can add a few years to your life by being creative –  example, handle the finances, then get a cleaning person, buy several birthday, holiday etc. cards, have him write heartfelt things in them and sign them all (instead of counting down the moment you are right about him forgetting, use that energy to drop it in the mailbox.  His love is not less for his daughter because he forgets. Honor how his brain works and honor your sanity.    

When you complain and show disappointment about the very makeup of a person, it eats at their spirit and there can be no turning back from that.   No one wants to be “bad”.  No one wants to be irresponsible, forgetful, disappointing to their spouses/children etc.  ADD is not about character, it’s honest to goodness brain wiring.  

I have a bit more to say but I need you to tell me this first - Does your husband have any very special traits? A lot of ADD folks have above average intelligence (art, business, music etc.)    


Most companies, when they offer insurance, only deal with "the insured." That means the husband. You CAN'T call and get a new insurance card, they will insist on talking to the husband, if he's the one with the job.

My husband and I solved this by having him write a letter saying I had permission to act on his account. Blue Cross sent me a form for that, now his new insurance had him write a letter.

I understand her frustration. My husband put my birthdate wrong on his insurance application, so the doctors wouldn't see me because the corret information didn't match the insurance card. I thought (still do) if I can remember mine, his, my kids', my grandson's, my mother-in-law and various friends', why can't he remember MINE. And if he can't, why can't he ask me before he filled out the insurance wrong and cost me having insurance for a month until I straightened it out?

But I accept that it was a failure of memory and not a deliberate attempt to screw me out of insurance. I just think he should be able to learn to write down what he can't remember. 

I understand and agree!  I

I understand and agree! I feel that it is the ADDer's responsibility to research ways of better managing life and the things that present a challenge for them. For example, create a list with birthdays, addresses and other important things that stays in wallet or on an online database like hotmail or yahoo (that could be accessed from anywhere at anytime).

Sorry for assuming about the insurance, I thought that being the mother gave all access.

up2lisa's picture

Long Time Since and Much is the Same

Hello Sofire and so many others.

It has been more than a year since I wrote my posts during what was a VERY volitile period in my life.  Sadly as this writer has written, my marriage was not able to be reconciled; despite what were many attempts to learn teach and process all there was about ADHD, myself and my husband.  We have been separated for nearly 2 years now and our divorce is only stalled by my reluctance to let it go and resolve property issues, with a man who continues to be fully entrenched in the denial of his diagnosis. 

We don't live together, we didn't when I wrote the above.  I now have full custody of our children and complete control over our investments.  Nothing got better, until it unfortunately got completly worse.  I began to have to deal with my husband through the legal system and hard line reality therapy.

Am I happier now??? well... in many ways yes.  Yes, when my ex does what he does and I don't have to clean up the fall out.  Absolutely, when my ex does what he does... forgets the right day for the dental appointment, take off work the wrong day and takes the kids to school late on the wrong day and I am left to clean up the mess.  Sometimes not, when I fall into the well of "wishful thinking."  But, sometimes happens less and less and I sleep soundly knowing I am caring for my own health more than his.

My children don't understand.  They never saw us argue and thin their dad is the best in the world.  I am just the mommy who didn't want to be with daddy the great.  I let it go, and leave them have their image of him.

Don't know if I can be of help to anyone here anymore and sadly, things did not get better and still have not.  But, as it was perceived by the writer of the post... I didn't understand ADD and even now that I do, it doesn't make the hurt go away fully...just a little day by day.




Lisa, I'm so sorry.  But I am

Lisa, I'm so sorry.  But I am very proud of you.  I have so much to say/ask but it's 4am and my eyes are burning.  Please check out the blog tomorrow as I will have posted.


Lisa, as I said, I have so

Lisa, as I said, I have so much to ask and say, but I have to know - do you think your husband has some type of genius trait, something he is naturally brilliant at?

Lisa, I know that it SUCKS TO

Lisa, I know that it SUCKS TO HAVE TO DO EVERYTHING when with a partner with ADD.   But now that I’m separated from my husband, I REALLY have to do everything.  I’m wondering…just wondering… if you (Lisa) and I can apply the skills we use while separated from husbands to our marriages.  Can we just identify the things that our husband can manage and let them do just those things - earn a check to pay some of the bills, cook for the family, carry the groceries, spending quality time with the kids? Lisa, I know that maybe i should be supporting your choise to separate, but before I totally do, I have ask if ALL bases were covered.


I keep asking if you husband has a special trait/talent/anything because, my husband is brilliant (genius level IQ) and his mind is amazing outside of the ADD stuff.  I'm starting to think that people with ADD/ADHD are not wired for the monotonous and need to focus on lateral type thinking things (will explain more later).  Many brilliant people have/had ADHD.  Here is a list of famous successful people with ADHD (unless you’ve already been there and done that).  It's AMAZING!


I notice my husband’s biggest struggles happen when he is asked to do the monotonous, the mundane, the everyday people kinds of things.  But when in his visionary entrepreneurial mode, he excels.  Yes, he is ALL OVER THE PLACE with a million ideas.  Yes, he start strong then is on to something different.  But those behaviors are consistent with the behaviors of people our culture hails as genius. 


Does your husband shine in any capacity in your opinion (no matter how insignificant it may seem to you)?

Doing Everything

"I notice my husband’s biggest struggles happen when he is asked to do the monotonous, the mundane, the everyday people kinds of things."  Hmm. Funny thing.  I am the non ADD spouse and I notice that when I have to do ALL of the monotonous, the mundane, the everyday people kinds of things I, too, struggle because they are boring and need to be done over and over.  And I become very crabby about this.  So why do I have to do more than my share of these tasks?  I don't like them either and they prevent me from doing the more exciting things I need/would like to do.

While I understand the point you are making, why does the non ADDer have to do more of the monotonous stuff just because those tasks are more difficult for the ADD spouse?  Perhaps I wouldn't be so crabby and bitter and resentful if I had the equal luxury of opportunity to pursue those things I was interested in because I didn't HAVE to do the nonotonous tasks that make a household work effectively.

Maybe I was a bit fluffy when

Maybe I was a bit fluffy when I said that my husband “struggles” with everyday task.  He CAN’T DO everyday task. 


Brain scans of people with ADD show very, very low blood flow in the areas of the brain responsible for organizing and memory.  The brain scans also showed that the more an ADDer tried to focus on a task, the lower the blood flow became in those areas.  That would explain why Sueann’s husband can remember everyone’s birthday but hers - He feels the most pressure and puts the most effort into remembering his wife’s birthday, therefore forgetting. 


You guys may have the luxury of a perfectly functioning brains therefore the concept that some things CAN’T be done is hard to get.  Academically and in general, I’m considered intelligent, but there are areas of my brain that DON’T WORK properly (so I relate), specifically, the spatial visual parts of my brain.  You know how you guys can be in a building and say, “I’m going to the Wal-Mart and point in the direction that Wal-Mart REALLY is in correlation to where you actually are standing in the building.  Well, my brain CANNOT DO THAT…LITERALLY!  Over the years, I thought if I tried harder, if I focused, etc, I would be able to do it.  But MY BRAIN DOESN’T DO IT.  Experiencing the INABILITY (not dislike) to do a task that the average person can do, I understand ADD from a different perspective


I have a theory, since “coincidently” all of the geniuses I’ve researched have/had ADD/ADHD, I have to believe that their unique brain processing may be by design.  Perhaps if they were to be able to do everyday task, we would not have been able to experience their genius – Edison, Bell, Einstein, Van Gogh, Da Vinci may have been 9 to 5ers, holding down good jobs while responsibly managing their lives.     



More on the monotonous

More on the monotonous mundane task thing –


I separated from my husband and now I have to do all of the monotonous and mundane tasks AND a bunch of other hard tasks – grocery shopping/laundry with a baby living in a three floor walk up apartment, battling a mouse which includes patching and plastering what may be mouse holes,  having NO break except for the days he takes my daughter.  Late night runs for children’s Motrin with the baby.  The list goes on.  It’s like you have to pick your poison.  Just venting.

up2lisa's picture

Acceptance of ADD is your best Asset, one I did not Have

I know there are a lot of people who function well in relationships and individually with ADD.  When I began to disclose my REALITY to my friends, a very good friend who came into town and with whom I had not revealed the truths of my marriage.  Revealed to me that she TOO had Adult ADD and was in therapy for five years, AFTER the demise of her marriage.  She told me clearly “he ain’t gonna read it or do it…until he has come to terms with his condition and invested in therapy.”    This was WELL OVER dozens of letters, emails, texts messages and reminders… gone to pot.


As I wrote in my posts years ago, I was at my WITS ends with my husband.  If it was to be tried, I tried it.  I internalized my frustration and the stress was far to much for me to hold together our family AND his condition.  Managing his deficiencies, became my burden and sadly his strengths did not out weigh the benefits. 


Yes, I did struggle and DO struggle.  But at the end of the day, I have peace and relaxation.  The stress of trying to remember what to remind him of was draining.  It came down to me REMINDING him to REMEMBER the date on the calendar.


My girlfriend who has ADD is a brilliant and creative woman who now ministers in Spanish, in Costa Rica.  A language she taught herself through immersion.  When she and I spoke of my experience, she became somber over the insight of what she likely took her husband through.  She called him to apologize.  They had been divorced nearly 7 years ago.


My husband denies having ADD, despite the diagnosis, despite taking medication in the past and there being obvious results and DESPITE the dysfunction that he still sits in.  Despite our marriage being his second failed. 


I just could not work around a man who simply could not believe that I was working around him.  There became a point when it got really bad, last year… when he worked COMPLTELY against me.  I don’t want to blackmale him “I’ll come back if you get treatment.”  Then what??? What when he stops taking his meds… like he did… I leave again, start all this all again.  No thank you.  I’ve seen the “rebound” from meds.


As I have said, IF you have a mate with ADD who will work with you and within their condition… YOU have a chance.  A far greater chance than I did and do. 

My desire is not to say there is no hope.  I AM JEALOUS if you find it... hold onto it.  I am glad where I am, but if it could be BETTER... better believe I would be there.



The fact that your husband

The fact that your husband took meds and went to therapy made me believe that he acknowledged his ADHD.  I KNOW the challenge of denial, which is why I feel divorce is inevitable for me


Believe it or not, my husband was not diagnosed by a doctor…I diagnosed him.  I was in financial ruins, emotionally damaged and researching divorce when I accidentally came across a program that discussed marriage and undiagnosed adult ADD.  It explained EVERYTHING.  I reached ADD more and then my mother-in-law confirmed a strong family history of it.  I gently tried to approach the issue with my husband and said, “There seems to be something bigger than you that stops you from achieving what you want”.  He said, “I’ve felt like that all of my life”.  I was FLOORED.  But…then he went right back into denial, he even denied he made the comment to me. 


My husband is willing to go to marriage counseling, but I do not think he would follow through with a diagnosis of ADD.  I am also jealous of anyone who found love with an ADDer who is receptive to managing his/her challenges.


You sound SO strong now Lisa.  The tone in your recent post is so different to your initial post.  I am happy for your peace despite the struggle.


How did your girlfriend learn of her ADD?  How does she “manage” it?  By the way…you see what I meant about ADDers often being brilliant!  Also, it must have been nice to for her non-ADDer husband to get that apology, even if it was 7 years later. 

arwen's picture

counseling could help with denial

Sofire, you say your husband may be willing to go to counseling but not follow through with any ADD diagnosis.  In my relationship with my husband, I don't know how many times my husband would not accept his problems when they were identified by other sources, but would accept them if his counselor identified them.  This occurred because my husband's counselor had built up a relationship of trust between them -- my husband was convinced the counselor was completely "on his side" with no axe to grind and so could be trusted to only be helpful to my husband.  By "on his side", I do *not* mean the counselor "took sides" in disputes -- I mean that the counselor was working solely on my husband's behalf, for his benefit -- not for the benefit of me, our kids, or anyone else, and only for the benefit of our marriage because my husband had identified to the counselor that our marriage was important to him.

If your husband were able to develop a trust relationship with a counselor along similar lines, he might be more inclined to accept a recommendation of meds and be able to accept his disorder.  People with ADD are often very very defensive when they are dealing with people they don't know or people they think have an agenda that could be in conflict with their own, but will not throw up these barriers where a strong trusting relationship has been built.  I often wished I could have gotten my husband's mom to accept his ADD -- he trusts her also, and it would have made a huge difference in my husband's progress, I'm certain.

Thank you Arwen,   The irony

Thank you Arwen,


The irony is, just when you gave me an ounce of hope, my husband asked for a divorce.  I’m devastated.  I’ve tolerated so much - I’m broke, I’ve been alone for the most part of this marriage, I’ve done everything as it relates to the house and the baby, but I still loved and supported him unconditionally.  He was laid-off 2 years ago and has been unemployed ever since.  And while he had two years to do something, his unemployment ran out and in true ADD form - no back up plan, no job, and no money.  I was just about to start an in-home preschool to take of us (even though we have been living separately for a year).  The worst part, I had planned on supporting both of us to allow him to focus on his “genius” (see how that turned around and bit me on the butt JAM). 


He’s been acting very snappy lately, and I couldn’t take it so I let him have it.  He told me that he will be “”the nice person he used to be if we got divorced (no, I didn’t murder him).   He says he doesn’t like me as a person, he hates me.  Didn’t say why but it’s understood that it’s because of the hostility between us prior to realizing he has ADD.  As you all know personally, I have MUCH MORE reason to HATE him. The delusional part of ADD is enough to cause intense hatred alone.  And yet I continued to love unconditionally.  And for each hurt I caused, I acknowledged, corrected and changed.  It got to a point where he can’t even argue with me anymore, but yet he hates me? BTW – while I never underestimate a man, I feel confident it’s not another woman, he is depressed and broke, not in a playboy mode.


Arwen, I wanted to also mention to you that my husband’s mother does not believe her son has ADD.  When I tried to talk to her about it, she said, “Yes, I’m familiar, a lot of people in my family was diagnosed with it, but then denied saying that to my husband.


My girlfriend made a good point about my mother in-law’s lack of support – she said it would mean that for 35 years, his mom didn’t notice her son’s issue.  To agree with him having ADD would mean admitting to a big failure on her end.  Moreover, I now realize that my mother in-law has undiagnosed ADD herself.


Thank goodness for this blog.  I feel a bit better for now.  

a thought

Hello Sofire:

I'm a male with ADHD, going thru a divorce.  My story is here:

Regarding your story, my guess for the reason why your husband says he hates you... that is one of the stages a man goes through when he's trying to move on from something.   We too go thru many stages of emotions, but admittedly we zip thru them a lot quicker, men usually like to get things over with a lot quicker.  If he believes his marriage is over, he tells himself and you that he hates you, so he can get thru his hurt a lot quicker.   Your husband and I both have ADHD, but his difference is he doesn't acknowledge or address his ADHD as the problem; that is unfortunate and maybe unchangable. I'm working to change my ADHD ways, but my wife still wants a divorce, so I'm at the stage of saying to myself... "whatever... I don't need her"... I won't say I hate my wife, but seeing her now makes me sick to my stomach, I want nothing to do with her because she is putting herself first before our kids, even now when there is hope and help for improvements.  Your husband may think he wants nothing to do with you for his own reasons... hence why he says he hates you.  He's trying to heal a pain, though he's healing the wrong ailment, he's not fixing his ADHD, he's actually letting it run his life.   Again, until he wants to fix his ADHD problems, he's likely going to fail over and over in life.   Note:  a trait of ADHD men, is saying things before thinking.   Today, now that I know I have ADHD and it was my marriage breaker... I think before saying anything to my wife, again I do everything to avoid her now.  Your husband on the other hand, is saying too many things before thinking.... which suggests he's a long way to go before learning how to manage his ADHD.  It would be best for him to just be quiet, but he likely cannot.  Thomas A. Edison, a genius with ADHD said, “You will have many opportunities in life to keep your mouth shut: You should take advantage of every one of them.”  

About his mother... that is a problem... Men listen to their mothers, and if she's not on board, he's not going to get on board easily either.  Some of the smartest people in the world, say and do stupid things.

I wish the best for you... Divorce is awful, especially with children.   A marriage takes two people committed to working together to fix their issues, it shouldn't be just one person doing almost everything.  There is always hope, but it's hard to help those that won't help themselves.  If your husband is truly a genius, someday he'll stop being stupid and will get ADHD help.  "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." - Albert Einstein, another genius that had ADHD.

 Dan, thank you so much. I


Dan, thank you so much.


I was hurting badly and feeling lost when I took a chance and looked at the blog.  Your response (and LaTuFu’s) was exactly what I needed.  I need to know that perhaps there is hope for my marriage but not until ADD is accepted and addressed by both parties.  My husband keeps distracting me and bringing it back to what I did wrong in our marriage.


Dan, I’m so angry and hurt for you.  I read your story (and cried watching the video).  I’m so proud of you for being so proactive.  I want to believe that there is hope for your marriage.   I don’t know exactly where your wife is emotionally, but as a woman I can share with you that “retreating” emotionally will only make things worst, even if it feels safer.  She may not feel confident that the changes you’ve promised will happen.  So, be the man with new awareness.   Implement the changes your wife has been asking for (and you want to for yourself) for until the end.  You have nothing to loose – if the divorce still happens, you would have gained practice.  


Although everyone is different, I’ll share with you the areas of ADD I would most want to see improvements with in order to feel confident in the relationship improving. Perhaps your wife might feel the same way.


  • Having to do things alone – can you hire someone to help with the house work, bill/appointment management?  I felt hurt and unloved when my husband would not help with those things.  One day after a long period of unemployment, my husband was offered a job.  Upon getting the news, he said to me, “Now I can get someone to clean the house for you”.  I was extremely touched!   I learned that my resentment was not about him actually helping me, but it was about him not recognizing that I needed help.  Once I learned that he recognized and thought I deserved help I didn’t resent him anymore.  At the end of the day I didn’t care where the help came from; I just wanted it and my husband’s support.


  • Being alone often because he was always on the go. – Commit to two days a week to spend time with her.  Do whatever you have to do to not feel restless (take your meds, drink a glass of wine, exercise, do something mentally challenging before your date night etc.


  • Forgetting things I associate with love/care (example, changing the baby’s diaper). Be clear to her and remind her that when you forget things, it has nothing to do with a lack of love.  A sweet line – “Honey, please charge it to my head, not my heart.”



But Dan, in all of this, stay true to yourself.  Don’t try to erase your ADHD (just manage it).  As you know, it comes with great stuff.  There is something magical about you folks!  I’m sure it’s what attracted your wife to you. 


I believe that ADD/ADHD is a poorly coined phrase.  I truly believe that it should be called GM (Genius Mind).  So far, I have yet to hear of a case where someone with “ADD/ADHD” doesn’t have a brilliant mind/superb linear thinking or problem solving skills.   And I haven’t heard of a genius who has not been described as having ADD/ADHD behaviors. 


I think science hasn’t yet processed that the ADD/ADHD behaviors are what facilitate genius, therefore the two (genius/ADHD) are one in the same. Example - “Daydreaming” starting a million projects and not finishing, constant need for stimulation.  All are behavioral styles/patterns of all the folks our culture labels geniuses. (BTW - "masterpieces" are usually the one project of a million that was actually completed by a genuis)


We’ve been socialized to believe we are good if we go to work, pay our bills on time, and manage our lives in an organized way.  But what if GMs are wired differently for a higher purpose?  Frankly, things get better in our world with GMs – science and technology gets better, art becomes historic, moments in sports become legendary, political systems improve, bars get raised, etc, etc.  Maybe if you folks were able to focus, the world wouldn’t improve, just your pension plans.  But while the world gets better with GMs, how the heck does a person who loves one get their basic needs met (because support and pension plans are important!)?  I think it’s balance and meeting in the middle -  GM’s need to consciously try to meet the needs of their partners and we lovers of GM’s need to honor their wiring.

Sofire, before I begin my

Sofire, before I begin my comments, let me please reinforce that I am not an advocate of divorce--any more than I advocate "stay married at all costs".

My personal belief is that you (the collective "you" of a partnership as well as the individual "you" reading this blog) have to make the choice, difficult though it might be, that is best for all parties concerned.

If there is an outside force causing stress in a partnership--be it financial, disease, ADD, addiction, oblivious mothers-in-law--nothing will work trying to solve it unless both partners are together on the solution.

Both have to agree on the source of the problem ("I have ADD") the path to overcoming the challenge (treatment/therapy for both) and the humility to accept responsibility for the roles both partners played in winding up in the current situation. 

It is difficult for many men to "fess up" to a wrong, particularly something as "unmanly" as "I suffer from ADD/Depression/Emotional anything".

Its also very difficult for the partner who has borne the burden for so long to realize that they, too, have been affected to a degree that is just as harmful to the relationship. 

If both of you are able to get to a place where you both accept where the relationship is, why its there, and where you want it to go from here, then you have a real chance at success.  Its going to take full acceptance on both parts.  Both of you will need to be able to fully and genuinely forgive each other and move forward.

In my situation, I could not do that until after I was divorced.  I lacked the perception and experience that I have gained in the interim.  I was not aware of my ADD (I was, somewhere in my head, but not on a level I was willing to deal with), therefore I could not begin to consider the effects it had on my marriage, or the part that I played in it failing.

I have, I think, discovered that in the passing of time.  I have truly forgiven my ex-wife, and she has forgiven me.  We are now friends, and we both work very hard to put our son's best interests first.  But it took me losing her, and another series of nearly identical failures before I got to my acceptance point.

If your husband isn't there yet, you have to decide what's best for you.

Thank you so much LaTuFu, as

Thank you so much LaTuFu, as I mentioned in my response to Dan, your comments came just when I needed them.  I was hurt and questioning my next step.  I just had a “failed communication” with my husband in which he distracted and brought it back to me.   Your feedback (and Dan’s) put me back on track.


Do you/Dan/or anyone with ADD/ADHD have any suggestions on the best ways to address the issue with someone who doesn’t have a clue he has it?

LaTuFu, is there something, anything that you think could have made you respective to ADD/ADHD earlier (before, as you said, losing your wife and a series of other failures)?

That's a really tough

That's a really tough question to answer--at least in a way that you would like to hear.  Melissa, Arwen and some of the others might have a different thought, but I really don't believe anyone can "make" another person accept anything they don't want to see.

I use the example of a significant other with a drug or alcohol addiction as a way to try to illustrate this, without having the ADD as part of the discussion. Its sometimes easier to see it that way, because most of us know a friend, relative, or celebrity that struggled with addiction, and the early struggles were often denial.  Interventions, inpatient treatment, outpatient, therapy...all fail until the person has the cliched "rock bottom" moment that wakes them up and makes them hear what everyone has been trying to say.  Unfortunately, there are countless stories of the "rock bottom" moment occuring after significant Family, financial, career, or personal losses (or a combination of all).

I'm probably going far out on a limb here, but I'm reflecting on my own behaviors and attitudes, and combining them with anecdotal observation of my friends...the "Male Ego" is a much more fragile and sensitive beast than many people (especially the males harboring them!) realize.  I truly believe that Denial is a common defense mechanism for men.  When we're confronted with something we don't understand how to handle, ashamed to admit, frustrated with the repeated failure of, insert your favorite one here... the male ego does a good job of emotionally disconnecting from the pain or stress event.  Repeated long enough, the man suffering the problem will wind up so thoroughly buried under a mountain of denial that it takes extreme losses to drag them back to reality.  Sometimes thats not even enough.

In my case, I didn't even realize that my ADD might have played a role in my marriage ending.  I have been divorced for almost 9 years now, and I am just now beginning to see what behaviors I have that can be unhealthy in a relationship.

In your case...I hate to say this, but I don't know how to answer for you.  You can't make someone see anything.  All you can do is try to talk to them, tell them what you are concerned with, and how it affects you and the relationship you have. Sum it up with what you will have to do to protect yourself if the behaviors continue, set the boundary and expectation, and move forward.  If he is receptive, then he'll hear you.  If he's not, he won't.  All you can do after that is decide whether or not you can stay in the relationship if he doesn't.

If he's in denial, you can't "clue him in" by browbeating him.  Denial comes from not wanting to face the truth.  Beating him over the head with it will only serve to make him dig in harder.  He'll become more defensive, more irritable, more irrational.

I agree...

I agree with what LaTuFu has said.   No pain, no change.... sometimes it takes the greatest shock to get thru to someone, for me, it took getting served for divorce, something I never thought would happen in a million years to this family...  "that only happens to other people, my wife and I are strong enough, besides, we have kids..."    This divorce for me is hitting rock bottom, time to stop, look and find out "what the heck just happened?".   I'm an engineer, 1+1 has to equal 2... so what was happening to me just didn't add up.  This 'divorce made me look at every possibility and you know what... I discovered a big part of the problem was me and this "condition" called ADHD... Ka-pow.. it hit me like a lightning bolt.    On and off over the years, I heard or read something occasionally about ADD/ADHD, but didn't even know the symptoms.... hey, it only "happens to other people".

It took my wife dropping the bomb to get my attention, something I wouldn't wish a divorce upon anyone, but maybe that is what it takes.  I will never know if anything less would have worked for me to see my ADHD, especially since my wife knows less about ADHD then I do.  Today, she still doesn't believe or at least won't admit ADHD is the main reason for our marriage problems... again, she said she was was done, period....before my ADHD diagnoses.  She is going to refuse anything that may change her mind now.

Maybe I would suggest try being more subtle, when both of you are doing well (no tension and getting along), politely ask him (or have his trusted friend or family member ask him) to try one of the ADD/ADHD tests online... You can Google them, I found this one  When I answered all the questions on the higher-end... more lights started to go on upstairs... too late for my marriage, but lights did go on. I don't know what is best way for you to do this, but I wish you and your husband the best.

up2lisa's picture

Response to feedback Received about my Change. Moving Forward

My husband received the diagnosis and as another had written, I pretty much diagnosis it ... but didn't know the words.  Upon his initial meeting with a therapist, she pin pointed it and OFF TO THE BOOK STORE I went.  I bought all the top books, I remember clearly there were 5 and I read each... cover to cover, EVEN HIGHLIGHTED the areas for my husband to read.  He read though MAYBE half of one and went into depression, he acknowledged the books were directly speaking to a life time of struggle for him.  The diagnosis came at the very time, I was leaving our marriage.  He took the meds for the first 400.00 batch as insurance at that time didn't pay for it.  Then our insurance changed and he took it for a month and determined from there, since I was gone... IT WAS ME that was bringing him down.  THEN it all blew up and here we are.


My girlfriend found out she had ADD after her marriage fell apart and she recognized much of her life had fallen into bits and pieces.  She was a smart woman, who never seemed to finish anything.  After her marriage, she went into counseling and it was there, that she was diagnosed.  She spent a solid 5 years in therapy she told me and she said if it were not for therapy and medication management, she feared where life would have taken her.

As for finding a therapist with whom my husband could have found comfortable.  I had been engage in therapy for several years.  I love therapy, its like having a sane best friend.  *smile*  Through the adoption of our son, prior to our marriage, the birth of our child and so forth; my husband too had a relationship with a solid therapist... YET he had the option of going to another and he did.  But, he began to MISS ... forget.. not show for the appointments.

One of our biggest problem is that we masked our problems.  We presented ourselves like the perfect couple.  No one knew we had problems, until I left.  When I left... LISA had all the problems and my husband became the victim of MY problems.  He was the "boy next door... super nice."  Meanwhile I was frazzled and the B* who kept it all running smoothly.

THe sad part is, it has been 2 years and my husband is STILL in his spiral of nowhere.  I've moved on, moved up and am settled... I am STILL bailing him out.  I guess in order to move my own ADD Marriage forward, I need to learn how to love him from a distance.  After all he is the father of my children; I want him to be the best parent he can be... or that I can empower him to be for them. 

I feel a GREAT deal of guilt, that I have moved on. I'll be starting a new job soon, a dream job... he is still in a dead end rut.  I have to buy him out of our marital home, because he can't pay the taxes, his house is a mess and mine is lovely, and lastly I am not interested in reconciliation...he is still waiting on me.  I just can not.  I just can not. 

I feel like I am leading him on, by simply being nice.  But, he really doesn't have anyone in his corner that will sincerly help him.






Bailing Him Out

You have come a long way and it's great that you are able to move on with your life.  You have earned that through hard work.  I have one suggestion for you, though, based upon your comments about feeling guilt and still bailing your husband out.  I assume that you are bailing him out because it affects your kids and also because you are a compassionate person.  But you might be able to move further away from your guilt if you changed your relationship to a more businesslike one.  For example - if you own the house he lives in then he should pay you rent.  This still helps your kids and helps him, but sets the boundaries between you more firmly.  If you do other things for him, keep track of their value with an eye towards him repaying you some day.  While he may not be able to (just as any business partner might not be able to) it keeps the relationship more clear.

Second, your guilt may come from the fact that he's still waiting for you.  Every time you deal with him you are reminded of his dependence upon you and emotional needs.  It's not fair to keep him waiting, but until you move to a completely business-like relationship he may harbor glimmers of hope.  This keeps him from moving on and taking more responsibility for his life, and it keeps you feeling guilt ridden.  "Businesslike" can be nice without leading him on.  It can provide him lots of support, even.  (You probably can think of several business people you've worked with upon whom you knew you could rely but for whom you couldn't/didn't harbor romantic feelings.)  It would be a good solution for you.

good for you!

Good for you Lisa, it seems you've done all that you could, you will and should have no regrets in life if you tried everything.  For things to truly work in the world, people should help those who are willing to help themselves.   If he won't help improve things, you've done enough... keep your head high, guilt free.

Your last sentence... "But, he really doesn't have anyone in his corner that will sincerly help him."   He still has himself, right?   People are stuggling, dying and starving all over this world, but he was still fortunate to be born in the greatest country in the world, America (assuming he's an American).   He needs to get off his butt and be thankful for what he has.  If he can't pull his own weight, maybe he needs the military to straighten him out, and he can finally give back to his country all the freedoms he is enjoying.  Take care and again, good for you!  Many ADHD marriages are worth saving, some may not be.

up2lisa's picture

Thank everyone for your

Thank everyone for your feedback.


When I first came back to this site and received comments, I really did think that everyone would be against me for giving up on my marriage aka much more my ADD husband.  He took the test for the symptoms online and was diagnosed.  Now, he just believes... he needs to take his time.  No meds, no reading... just hard work and the bible.  All he feels I need to do is forgive and forget, let him take the lead and change churches.


The feedback received has been supportive as I have said, no marriage is perfect and God knows as have others… I tried.  I really appreciated the feedback in regards to treating interactions with my husband now as if it were a business relationship.  UNFORTUNATLEY, I would fire him as a business partner.  But, for the HOPE of levity; there will be a way to manage working with him.


At present he has agreed to move out of our family home, I am going to buy him out as he has not been able to keep up with the taxes for 2 years.  He is moving into an apartment.   In order to make this happen, I had to scout the area for apartments, draw a map of the locations and write the phone numbers down.  Because I manage our properties that remain, I had to write the check for the deposit for the apartment.    What makes me mad is THE ONLY WAY I would have known any step of this, is because I followed up with him.  Then yesterday, when I gave him the blank check for the deposit… I was at a minimum looking for a THANK YOU.  Nope, when I picked up the kids today and he reached into his wallet; I was afraid he was giving me the check back.  FLASH:  He isn’t following through… again.  NOPE, that wasn’t it.  He was giving me the 20.00 I dropped, that our son picked up.  STILL not a thank you.


I understand the poor communication, I missed social cues, I understand… I understand that the likelihood that he will remember the 3:30 dental apt. for our son tomorrow are NEXT TO NONE; I just don’t understand WHY I think there is a chance for something.


I am invested in trying to have a business relationship.  All pointers welcome.

arwen's picture

business relationship

Lisa, does he have a PDA?  A cellphone with alarms functions?  A computer?  Any of these devices can be used to act like an organizer/alarm clock, to stay on track with appointments and obligations.  My husband got his first PDA shortly after he was diagnosed with ADD and it has been a godsend. Sometimes I have to tell him to record items in it, but once I do that, he sets up reminders so the things he needs to do can get done on time.  It's not foolproof, and we've had to have any number of discussions about how he's using it, but by and large it has helped a LOT.

Also, we have formal meetings, just like business meetings, three times a week.  Each has a prepared agenda of items we want to discuss.  Just like in any business meeting, we usually start with "old business", i.e. wrapping up any loose ends from previous meetings and checking status on appointments and obligations identified in previous meetings.  From there, we typically move on to "logistical" items -- who's going to take the dog to the vet, who is going to pick up the dry cleaning, etc.  Then comes anything related to projects, like painting the living room and dining room, and finally, any more knotty issues that require significant thought and negotiation, like continuing problems with him remembering to tell me about phone messages he takes, or discussing his tendency to interrupt others in social situations.  It is *his* responsibility to make sure the meetings take place on time -- if he blows it, we reschedule the meeting at *my* convenience ("natural consequences").  We usually tackle his agenda first, so that he doesn't feel like I'm trying to boss him.  When we started out, we had fixed time limits to our meetings, because he couldn't stay focused for extended periods of time.  This meant that sometimes we couldn't get to everything on our agendas, so we'd make sure to tackle those things first the next time.  We *both* take notes.  When we started out, we'd read our notes back at the end of the meeting, just to validate that we were "on the same page" -- occasionally I still ask him to do this if he seems to be having trouble concentrating during the meeting, or it looks to me like he's taking very sketchy notes (which don't work well at all, he's likely to misinterpret them when he review his notes later on).  At first these meetings were an effort to implement, but now they work very very smoothly.

Finally, when you work in a business, your performance gets assessed by your boss, and sometimes peer input is also sought in the assessment process.  There's no boss in your relationship, but the peer input is possible.  We've utilized a periodic performance feedback concept.  And if performance is not up to snuff, there are consequences, just as there would be in the workplace.  For example, if my husband has not fulfilled some important obligations in a way that cost us money, that money comes out of his personal discretionary money (and the same applies to me, too!) 

Hope this helps, or at least sparks some ideas.

don't work with your spouse

Just a recommendation... do whatever you can to NOT work with a spouse.   It adds additional problems to an ADHD marriage that has enough problems.  Especially like Arwen described above, where there are job consequences, penalty fees, etc...  OMG, do you think that helps or hurts feelings in a marriage?  How do you get romantic with anyone at night, when during they day you took money out of their paycheck?   I have ADHD and my wife and I work as same company. We both make mistakes, but there has to be a boss of the company, a final decision maker that lives or dies with the final decisions.  I am the company founder, the force behind it and company leader... all company's need a boss.  Before I was diagnosed with ADHD, when my wife made mistakes... I couldn't fire her, and she knew it, she was my wife.... so unlike another employees that you deal with professionally, you either let the mistakes go, or have arguments with the employee/spouse.  For us, it was usually the latter.   She would be livid if I suggested taking money out of her paycheck for her mistakes.    She called me "evil" just the other day, only because I asked if she could now work more then 20 hours a week.  Therefore, it's a lose/lose situation for the business and the marriage.  Regardless of who has ADHD or not, don't mix work with your marriage.  ADHD'er can be very productive, hyperfocus and excel on work they enjoy and are good at... and they can use reminder tools like Arwen describes.  Just use caution if you have no other choice then to work with your spouse.  I'm getting divorced now, because I had undiagnosed ADHD and my wife and I worked together.   Those two things created the "perfect storm", now everything is going down.

Good for you!  What a great

Good for you Arwen!  What a great idea/plan! Be as patient as you can be... some of us are not nearly as lucky to have spouses so willing to acknowledge his/her challenge with ADD and commit to a plan of management.  You are brilliant woman with a good partner.

How did your husband get diagnosed?


arwen's picture

diagnosed by ultimatum

Sofire, my husband has a kind of ADD that is hormonally linked.  He had "grown out of it" during puberty before I met him, and then "grew back in to it" around age 40.  The trigger was for diagnosis was worsening driving problems, although he had always been a great driver before.  But despite all the tickets and accidents, he couldn't see that he had a problem -- in his mind, it was always somebody else's fault.  Finally he had an accident that just missed hurting other people badly, that was clearly his fault according to all the eyewitnesses, and he still refused to acknowledge that he'd been responsible.  At that point, I concluded that he was dangerous to all the other drivers on the road, and that he could easily kill somebody the next time, and I couldn't have that on my conscience.  I tried to persuade him to see a doctor, that his behavior wasn't normal, but he refused.  So, I took away and hid his car keys (and mine, and all the spares), and told him him he couldn't have them back until he saw a professional about what was happening.  He was furious, naturally, but my drastic action also shocked him into a realization that I really believed something serious was wrong.  He picked a pscyhologist he trusted, and was shocked to hear from this counselor that he needed a neuropsychiatric evaluation.

As I've said in other posts/threads, I don't recommend this kind of approach, it's very risky and confrontational.  I just was at a point where I couldn't think of anything else to do, and I really believed other people's lives were at stake.

Good for you!  What a great

Good for you!  What a great idea/plan! Be as patient as you can be... some of us are not nearly as lucky to have spouses so willing to acknowledge his/her challenge with ADD and commit to a plan of management.  You are brilliant woman with a good partner.

How did your husband get diagnosed?

My heart goes out to your hurt

Your story is heartfelt, and raw. My spouse has adhd, and I have followed these forums since I discovered my spouses symptoms were related to adhd. Since then, we have had the same ups and downs. The same roller coaster of good, bad, worse, odd, and feeling fooled. We do not have children, but we do own a business together. I have decided to go through with getting a divorce after a final promise broken by my spouse. Another trip to visit her family, and another reschedule to come back to our business. I have to handle all the responsibilites, and hard work that it will take to cover this extended trip. For the last six months my spouse has reconnected with her sibling whom also has adhd and refuses to treat herself. This of course has given my spouse more reason to not use any type of treatment, and now I feel like I've suddenly added a third spouse to deal with. I've become even more invisible, and the nodding of the head thing you mentioned. Wow, that hit home for me. My marriage will not work, and I'm tired of going from hopeful to seeing my spouse change with every visit she takes to see her family, and returning as a psychic, or a person with the answers to optimal human health. Better yet, now Im someone that has too many rules for what I expect from a spouse. Nevermind all the times we actually agreed on these needs. It just changes with the time of day, or day of the week. I just don't know who I'm married to anymore. With every next trip that I have to cover, comes a new wife that claims to have recieved spiritual experiencses with her sibling. Daily, I feel like I have no footing. Only impulsive decisions about my life that I have no control over. I just want to be happy again. My family is even tired of seeing me go through my struggles. I chose my spouse for wonderful reasons, but now I feel abused, and taken advantage of. If I don't agree, then I'm unsupportive. If I ask for my needs, then I'm never able to be made happy. At some point, someone has to call abuse what it is, and stop saying so much of this is not on purpose or without desire. 


You're not alone, and I hope things get better for you and your children. 

no more excuses

I can relate to the feelings of abuse.  It wears you down.  Behaviours gradually appear, lying, then being caught out in the lie.  Not calling when he says he will, but the worst thing is no apology, just doesn't seem to have a considerate bone in his body.  And taken advantage of I can relate to that big time.  I agree with you it's just not worth it.  He said he wasn't accepted by my family.  Well, when you blurt out inappropriate things whatever is on your mind no matter how rude or insulting, then no wonder no one wants to know him.