It's been just over a year since everything came to a head with my ADHD-husband, and we started actively working on our many issues. I'm happy to report that significant progress has been made in that time. We still have a long way to go, but both my husband's words and actions are making me feel hopeful for the first time in a long time. The basics of our story... we have been married over a decade and have a child we both adore. My husband has trouble managing alcohol, and it's had negative consequences for us over the years. He still has a beer or two occasionally, but no longer spends all his time at the bars instead of home with his family, and he no longer gets drunk and mean. As many of you have also experienced, his ADHD symptoms led us to the parent-child dynamic, which resulted in a lot of resentment and bad communication. I grew cold to him, and devastatingly he turned to someone else for affection and attention. We are in counseling, and he is no longer in contact with this girl. It will take years for the trust to return, and sometimes I don't know if I'll ever trust him again after all the lies and betrayal, but when I step back and look objectively, I see his more recent actions speaking loudly. He has changed his life around significantly, home every night for dinner, more engaged with our child, more interested in activities together, and planning for our future. Cutting out drinking has been a huge part of getting healthy and out of the fog he was living in, and we would not be here today if that was not the case. One of the most significant things is that this man who previously held everything inside, building toxic resentment, is now actively communicating with me, bringing up specific issues that cause him to be upset so we can address them together.
Things will never be perfect. He still struggles with procrastination of important things, and can still be irritable and distracted during conversation, however I can see that he is trying. I have not forgiven him, and still feel a lot of pain and anger, but I'm working on letting it go (while keeping my eyes open of course). Can people change? I hope so, but they have to want to, and they have to be willing to do the difficult work.
This time a year ago I thought I would have to leave our marriage. It's scary, but I'm grateful to have learned about ADHD and how it led to many of our issues that spiraled, so I can keep things in context and we can work to address them in a more productive way.
Please wish us luck for continued improvement, and I wish for the same for all of you.
Submitted by 1Melody1 on
This was such an uplifting post to read this morning. Congratulations on all the hard work you both have done. I wish you all the best as you continue to move forward so positively. Made my day! :)
Happy to hear...
Submitted by AdeleS6845 on
I am happy to hear of the progress you and your husband have made this year.
I hope that your marriage will only grow stronger, I know that trust is not something that is easily rebuilt.
I'm wishing you and your husband the best.
Submitted by Aletta on
It's wonderful to read stories like yours! They give so much hope <3
i'm glad you and your husband have been able to identify many of the toxic dynamics that were destroying your family.
I know how devastating it is to discover getting cheated on, so give yourself a pat on the back for not just tossing everything away but staying to examine what got both of you to the point where things like that happen... that takes a lot of courage and faith and someone being able to be the bigger person.
I'm an absolute novice when it comes to the issues ADD can generate in relationships, or with ADD in general for that matter. But the one thing that made a HUGE difference for me (as someone who has ADD) was to realize that the problem wasn't me not trying hard enough but trying in wrong ways and beating myself up over those approaches not working. It made me feel like i am completely worthless. This is why i wanted to point out to you that it stood out to me how you mentioned that for people to be able to change, they have to "want to change and be willing to put in the hard work". I'm picking on this because it might imply to your partner that you still somewhere deep down think that prior to you two finding out the issues you had or still have might be due to ADD, he just didn't care enough or try hard enough to make the relationship work. And that might be extremely hurtful for him. As someone who walked and still walks in similar shoes he's in, i can assure you that's not the case. We don't not care, we care deeply, but we search for solutions in the wrong places. Like alcohol...
I hope you can take my critique the way it was intended, which is to help some strangers i can relate to very much to further improve their life. It might also be that i'm reading way too much into that one line of your post, in which case i apologize for my unnecessary wall of text ;)
Take care and hang in there,
Submitted by Spinach on
Thank you for the thoughtful and detailed response. It is really helpful to hear perspective from our ADHD friends!
I will give some thought to your comment and try to understand it as it may apply to us. I do understand that when it comes to things like procrastinating on important paperwork and things that need to be taken care of for our household, it's not that he doesn't care, it is largely due to the ADHD. Knowing that does help me to take a better approach then the constant nagging from before.
When it comes to working on our marriage and getting healthy, my comment about wanting to change and put in the work does apply. For a while he made it very clear that he didn't care. He gave up on our marriage. He treated me with disdain and lied to me every day, leaving me to work full time, pay all of our bills, and raise our child while he was out complaining about me and bonding deeply with a much younger woman. He knew that he was breaking my heart and disrespecting me and our our family by doing so. That can't be blamed on the ADHD, those were conscious deliberate choices. Then he had a realization and decided that he wanted to change his life, and has worked on himself with real and so far lasting change. I know it's been tough for him, but it's been a hell of a lot harder on me.
If that sounded harsh, it wasn't my intent. It's possible that there may have been a misunderstanding of that sentence so I wanted to set the record straight.
Submitted by AdeleS6845 on
Good on you Spinach. Loved your reply. There are things that cannot be blamed on ADHD, or anything else. When a person makes the choice to be unfaithful to a partner, they consciously made that choice. When someone cheats, and I speak from experience, its because they don't care about their partner, only their own selfish needs. If I had loved my ex-husband, I would never have cheated, just sayin'.
I'm happy your are both working on your marriage, and I so admire your commitment....
Wishing you all the best Spinach:)
Submitted by c ur self on
Taking Ownership of our actions (who we are, and how our lives effect others) is always the first step to healing and growing in our relationships...So many of us are married to people who's first instinct is to deflect, deny, or blame if possible....Any time selfishness (self love) out weights our convictions toward right living...Then we find it much easier to lie, cheat, and thoughtlessly hurt those we vowed faithfulness to....Your willingness to forgive and patiently stand in the gap for your spouse, say's so much about your heart.....I sure hope he appreciates the opportunity you have given him to get it right!