Recent forum posts (all topics)

  • Shame and fighting by: jennalemone 21 hours 43 min ago

    At this point, totally accepting the years I spent treading water and flailing in frustration in my marriage, I find I have a new emotion that I had not had before in my life.  Shame. Where is the shame coming from?  I am ashamed that I did not fight. That I sat in the false safely of denial and false hope. That I missed the opportunity to be a person of strength and character.  I let my family see the person I was then....a person who looked to the rules to walk straight and narrow believing that if I obeyed and cooperated that things would turn out OK .  Be humble, work hard, sacrifice.  I had not matured into a person who accepted that life is not always pretty and that my life was not working out for me or my family.  Faith alone does not change things.  

    I didn't know what I stood for or what I wanted anymore. After I was married I lost respect for myself. I didn't know that with H, I had to fight for respect. With him, the ring on the finger did not mean he would respect me and care for me. He was playing war. Every day there was a skirmish in which I was not participating but it was letting him feel like the victor in his games and grinning at my daily defeat and submission. His definition of manliness.

    There is a new "fight" within me. I will not be humiliated anymore. I want to be able to live the next years living....not just surviving.  It becomes a necessity to work differently with H than I had in the past. I have to fight to feel OK with my self again. Things are making more sense, although I have a long way to go toward peace and happiness.  Standing strong in an offensive situation means you have to accept reality and constantly choose your responses with each confrontation.  I am done feeling defeated.  Will I like myself better?  I don't know.  But I have learned and accepted that this is an oppressive situation (not most of marriages are but mine is) and that I have to deal with H with tactical, on-guard maneuvers. 


  • Co-Parenting with an ADHD spouse (I'm New Here) by: MSB 4 days 7 hours ago

    Hi folks,

    I want to tell my story and get support on how to address the effect that my partner's ADHD has affected my relationship with my child (who is also ADHD-like). When I read Melissa Orlov's book 5 years ago it was like someone telling the story of my marriage. But 5 years ago was a little too late. Then I was still reeling from my husband's affair 2 years prior...

    My partner and I got together when I was in my early 20s. It was fun and exciting and adventurous. I needed that in my life having been a pretty straight-laced kid. We lived well together for 7 years, probably because there weren't alot of responsibilities and life was freewheeling then. Plus I could pick up the slack. Then we decided to get married even though I had this underlying sense of unease and deep worry. But I couldn't pick up on it. We had our first child 2 years after we married. I started buckling down on being responsible, managing the finances (we had accrued alot of debt from impulsive spending), and putting structure into our lives because we had a baby who needed it. He couldn't keep up. He couldn't support. He grew resentful because I was "no fun" anymore. But I was doing all these things alone because he would "forget," "loose track," avoid, get distracted, lose interest, and generally gravitate to fun and run away from responsibility. He is a man-child and a fun guy but not a reliable partner and also highly reactive. I begged, nagged, pleaded and cajoled for help and  change. He blew me off and then I just became resentful and super stressed out. We had another child and moved to another city. Now I was just super stressed about money and childcare. I couldn't count on him to share the responsibility for those things. He was too unreliable. I know the trope is that women just don't let go of control, but I desperately wanted some back up. He just couldn't be consistent. When I finally started thinking that he might have ADHD, i brought it up with him and he got mad. He didn't want to be the "identified patient" and argued that I was just as responsible. He studied woo-woo psychology that said that ADHD wasn't real. But I knew that I was responsible for somethings but the stress and strain was coming from how little I could count on him. I would think that if i got cancer, he wouldn't be able to take care of me. On top of that, our bright and spunky first child was also inattentive, spacy, easily distractable,forgetful, not a good sleeper, and unfocused.  So my stress, anger and frustration also extended to her. I was not calm and patient. I yelled at her. I became cop. Not something I wanted to be but felt like it was all on me to keep things reigned in. He got to be fun playful dad who created mayhem, while I stressed and made sure that they made it to school, bills were paid, and the budget was intact (he impulsively bought large items on multiple occasions when we were broke). I was not the only one who yelled. When the kids were not fun, when they were frankly kids, he couldn't handle it. He would yell at them and overreact. He would walk away and I would have to clean it up or do the discipline. I was the bad cop. Luckily, my second child had better executive functioning like me and could stay on task, not forget things, and was not spacy. He brought balance to the family.

    Things deteriorated between us though. I tried to get him to therapy. I tried to suggest that we work on the ADHD together. He was in huge denial.

    While I was working hard, raising kids, doing all the worrying and managing, he decided to have an affair with another impulsive, child-like and irresponsible person. In the aftermath, I was patient for awhile but he kept being in denial about his issues and I made him leave. At first I was deeply grieving but e have been separated for 2 years and it was like a new calmer me emerged. No more stressing and worrying and overfunctioning. I could be the one to take it easy. He had to full time parent everyother week. He ended up doing 12 step and therapy because he realized he let shit hit the fan. He has made a huge turn around which I attribute to me drawing hard boundaries. Last fall he finally got on ADHD medicines. So now we are doing last ditch therapy to recover from the affair but more importantly, deal with the disaster that was created by his ADHD.

    But the result of this history on my first child who is now a teenager is her distrust of both of us (I don't blame her, I was a hyper-vigilant, stressed out and angry woman and her dad was unreliable and reactive). She has anxiety and depression. We have her in therapy and I want to go into family counseling with her soon. Today she acknowledged the things that I know are true, that I was very hostile as a parent to her. Part of it was because I was so frustrated by her dad, but also because she herself has some adhd tendencies that also make it hard for me to relax. I am constantly checking on her and supervising. I also put pretty strong boundaries and expectations down because she is so spacy and unaccountable. She hates me for it but she is is not consistent and reliable and I and her dad both have a hard time with appropriately managing her. I am having her evaluated for ADHD but there is no diagnosis yet. She is bright and super talented so her symptoms can be easy to overlook. Anyway, she pretty much blames me for being too controlling. And compared to her dad, I am. But in actuality, I am just enforcing the rules and requirements her dad and I both put together and agree upon but he has a hard time actually following through and hold her accountable. He lets her do things that I don't because he isn't taking responsibility or accounting for the 10 other things I am. So I am still the one taking the heat and managing the details. If it wasn't for me, all the things she gets to do wouldn't happen. I am trying to figure out what to just let go but its really hard to know what is appropriate. She is bright but starting failing classes because she would forget to turn things in. But I am the only parent really plugged into those things and spending emotional labor trying to keep her on track. So I am sad that my daughter has felt my anger and hostility throughout her life and I regret not addressing it sooner. But she doesn't understand the dynamic that led to it. She just thinks I am too controlling. I wish I could get her to understand how her perception of her father as being more chill is because he can't handle the details of parenting and so i pick up the slack. It feels very unfair.

    I would love some understanding and support with this.

  • Comment - How to Stick to a Budget When One of You Spends Impulsively by: JohnN 1 week 2 days ago

    I thought this guest post was great, but I wanted to add something that I realized after my ADD diagnosis at age 60 and 39 years of marriage.

    After learning about the ADD time warp (which Melissa incredibly accurately refers to as now-not now), I realized that a huge proportion of my clashes with my wife over spending were at least partly the result of the now-not now time reality that I inhabit.  

    Non-ADD partners may have a hard time believing this, especially from a high-earning professional with post-graduate degrees, but I simply cannot connect what I spent this week to what I spent last week or what will need to be spent next week.  The time horizon may be a little longer than a week, but it isn't much longer.

    My realization of that hasn't magically fixed the issue, but awareness has been a significant help.  If you feel like you ADD/ADHD partner doesn't "get it" about money issues, perhaps you should talk about how your partner experiences time.  

  • New member, and a bit of an introduction by: Avmorket 1 week 3 days ago

    I've restarted reading The ADHD Effect on Marriage: Understand and Rebuild Your Relationship in Six Steps, this time with focused intent. My wife is diagnosed ADHD, and two of my 3 children have ADHD, the third likely to have ADHD as well. I knew my wife a couple years, before marriage, knowing she has ADHD, yet not really understanding what it is (to this day, I still don't understand a great deal).

    I've only gotten through about 1/4 of the book at this time, but have noticed a frequent trend. Much of the symptoms/issues attributed to the ADHD partner directly coorlates to me. The introduction and first few chapters feel like they are a synopsis of our relationship and life. While I'm not self diagnosing, I've noted 7 of the 8 symptoms of ODD I am frequently (several times/week) experiencing. 

    At this point in our 14.5 year long marriage, I've realized I truly need to take more of an active role in understanding ADHD and its affects on our marriage. I've understood basics, and expressed an understanding, albeit detrimental, that ADHD had affected our life together. I've accepted it as is, and failed to follow through with actually working it into our response tending to be "ADHD issue, let it go and move forward". I've been treating my wife and kids as neural-typical [normal brain activity] and assumed their brain works the same as mine for most of my life, rather than adjusting to a true understanding of what I've been told. Partially, I've done this because I've not wanted to treat them as broken, as I'd not seen them as such, but primarily I'd not tried to fully understand and expected an easy solution. 

    Unfortunately I did not move forward or let it go, but became resentful and hurtful. Things got bad after a few years of marriage, and we pushed hard through some marriage retreats. They helped, for a while, but I'd not really been able to learn and follow through. Lately, I've retreated back to my peer attitude and my ADHD wife pushed the book into my hands and said read.

    I've learned a lot in a few days, and among learning about other issues in my life this past week, I've decided that my passive response to marriage relationship needs to change. Rather than hold onto grudges and issues, I've begun to share them with my wife, so that we may work through them. We're planning marriage counseling to support, rather than say we need it and not follow through.

    I'm nervous, anxious, and slightly relieved I'm taking steps to grow. I'm understanding that I too may have conditions beyond my control, and that to properly grow I need to see a professional for help. This is counter to the general way of been raised, see a doctor only when there's an emergency type attitude [realistically this is an emergency]. I'm reaching out a bit, because I'm lost, and sometimes an outside perspective is better than the ones you live with. I know where I'm at in life, and that if I don't step up and improve myself, then I'll lose what matters most to me: my beloved wife and amazing children. 

  • Need advice by: LucyMoore 1 week 4 days ago

    Hello everyone!
    My daughter was diagnosed ADHD about 2yrs ago. She is married on the papers only as far as her "DH" left her 18 months ago and they didn't live together since that moment. Soon after the separation she met a wonderful man who was really supportive to her and they slowly started dating. However her so-called marriage is a great obstacle towards her future personal life. She contacted her ex to get divorced, he said he would agree to everything, but he is not gonna file for it and she has to proceed with the divorce by herself. That's for sure that she is not gonna cope with it by herself and I am not gonne leave her, but y legal training is far beyond from perfection. I have googled for divorce forms  however don't have a clue how to file them. Maybe somebody has been through this? Any help would be appreciated.

  • Is There Anyone Here Who is Happily Married to an ADD/ADHD Partner? by: JohnN 2 weeks 5 days ago

    I know that forums like this (and almost any internet forum focused on a single issue or hobby or product) attracts nearly exclusively people with problems - people don't search the internet and start posting about things if they're happy, after all.

    But browsing here on and off for the last nine months or so is a really shocking experience.

    I am 61.  Figured out/was diagnosed ADD (or ADHD inattentive) last summer.  

    Have been working with therapists for several years.  Added an ADHD-skilled therapist in January.  

    Got prescriptions, and take them.

    Really got my eyes opened to how ADD affects how I live and really try to change how I show up in life, including marriage.

    The situations that are often reported here are just beyond my comprehension.  I'd love to read something from someone who's had a success story with their partner/marriage (or significant other/committed relationship).  Hoping that there are some happy folks out there!

  • Update: Eight Years After Divorcing ADD Spouse by: losingpatience 2 weeks 5 days ago

    Hi everyone,

    In 2011, I first posted here about my ADD wife and feeling terribly unhappy about our marriage. Her refusal to take responsibility for her ADD and my terribly unhelpful responses to her really ruined the marriage. My original post is here.

    I wanted to give you an update on what happened after, especially since many of you are likely thinking about whether divorce is the best option for you. Of course, I can't tell you objectively that divorce is the best option, but I can tell you my experience of divorcing and moving on.

    In March 2012, I filed for divorce. It was crushing. I honestly hadn't remembered how terrible I felt until I decided to look back on the posts I'd written here. (I had pretty much abandoned this site after the divorce was almost final.) As I limped along, I got into another relationship, one with a woman nearly 15 years older than me. I loved her very much but because we could never have a traditional family, I was unhappy; yet I was also emotionally weak and unable to leave her and just be single. Her love felt wonderful and our connection was great, but I was always mourning the family I'd never have.

    So guess what? Guilt and bad coping mechanisms kept me in an unsatisfactory relationship until August 2019. Yikes. So, count 'em: that's 2002-2012 with wife, then 2012-2019 with girlfriend. Seventeen years of unsatisfactory relationships. I'm not saying that post-marriage relationship was terrible. But I am saying that I rushed into something that left something missing.

    What would I have done differently? After I made the decision to divorce, I should have stayed single and nixed any romantic entanglements, as lonely as I would have felt. I should have done therapy often, perhaps twice a week, and made a point to sit with my sadness and accept it. I should have cultivated friendships with other guys and NOT buried myself in starting a nonprofit. I should have thought more about my values and not compromised on big things (if you want kids, don't tell yourself you don't want kids just because you love someone--love won't carry your relationship if it's competing with regret for closed-off opportunities). 

    Ultimately, though, I do not miss my ADD ex-wife or regret the decision to divorce her AT ALL. We have not spoken since she drove away in June 2012, and going no-contact was super helpful. The ADD would have been a massive headache my whole damn life. I will say that dating and then living with someone who does not have ADD feels like a dream come true, especially if they are clean and competent at running their own life independently. It'll feel weird in the most delightful way to have a partner who doesn't need constant, toddler-level supervision, and you'll love it at first, and then you'll take it for granted, which is kind of a good place to be, IMHO.

    Also, please be aware that caring for an ADD-stricken partner can give your life purpose, even if you HATE doing it. So when you give up the job of full-time caregiver, you may feel void of purpose. Think long and hard about how you want to spend your time and make meaning of your life before you begin your next big thing. Seek therapy on this point. Make sure that thing, whatever it is, helps you address your own issues and doesn't distract you from them.

    Happy to answer questions or address comments if you have 'em. 


  • Recently diagnosed ADHD and broken marriage. by: Roger Peterson 2 weeks 6 days ago

    I have recently been diagnosed with ADHD, and Dr. Orlov's book described my marriage to a T.  My wife is seeking separation because of numerous issues that have not been resolved (that I only now know are related to ADHD).  I feel like we have the chance to make things right again, with a proper understanding of ADHD, but she is unwilling to pursue further counseling, or really do anything at all.  And I get it.  She's got a lot of hurt, and has tried time and again with me, with little change.  I get why she wants out from that.  But it seems like I've just discovered a whole new set of tools to try, that are much better suited to our problems.  

    There's been a lot of good in our relationship, it isn't all bad.  I want to see what we can do when we're both at our best.

    How do I show her that things can be so much better than they were, when she will barely talk to me?


  • Can you 'learn' ADHD symptoms? by: nett76 3 weeks 17 hours ago

    Loaded question, but spouse (without ADHD) has been with partner for 27 years. Have noticed decline in focus and attention among other things in spouse without ADHD all similar to symptoms exhibited by spouse (with ADHD). Is it possible for some of spouse's ADHD symptoms to rub off on partner without ADHD having been around each other so long? Picking up similar habits...obv not actually having the medical condition as that's not how you would get it, but losing patience/attention with things, moving more when supposed to be seated, similar to spouse as a LEARNED/OBSERVED habit... Thoughts?

    If so, any thoughts on how to counteract this, aside from not being around the symptomatic spouse, which is not going to happen? LOL

    TIA for any constructive input.

  • Honestly don’t know what to do by: Charlie777 3 weeks 1 day ago

    I have been with my partner now for over two years. He has been diagnosed with ADHD since he was a child. He has the hyperactivity part but I've seen this side slow down with him dramatically. I recently walked away from our relationship. He seems to always put everything and everybody else before myself and my son. In the first year I had him calling me names (his never been physically abusive) when he gets frustrated with me, he also tends to go through these really high periods where he is happy and fine and we go well through these periods (I should mention his not on any medication or therapy) and then he somehow gets down in the dumps and becomes very distant and shuts off from me and it makes me feel not loved at all. When I ask him to spend time with me he will do so but with a extremely passive aggressive attitude. If I bring up something in a calm non judgemental manner I get stonewalled by him for a few days as punishment and he is a terrible communicator tends to forget to tell me things which will generally important. He has cancelled our wedding twice now because his scared and I had enough of been let down so we had a reasonable fight and I went down to the beach to cool off and came back to our house and he had taken all of his stuff emptied the house from all of his stuff this is the first time his ever done this and it hurt me extremely badly and broke my trust with him. I also found out he had been bad mouthing me to his mates behind my mates and they had started attacking me and stalking me and threatening me and he just stood there and wouldn't stand up for me at all. It's been a horrible two years. So I left and returned back to my home state but now I have him calling every night and wanting me back and I found out he has taken himself to the doctors and has been referred to a specialist for ADHD to see what is suitable for him medication and or therapy. I honestly don't know what to think or whether this is all a big trap, he is a good lier as well I've caught him out several times it's destroyed our trust.