Hi again, ADHDSpouse.
At this point, I’m not going to tell you what to do, since, by the sounds of it, you have all the information, you’re trying all the strategies and ideas, and things still don’t seem to be working out. Literally the ONLY thing left to you is for your SO to either go to a therapist or get an ADHD coach, and even these things may not work out, by the sounds of things. If he’s aware that you’re considering leaving and is still consistently inconsistent, I’d argue that you’ve exhausted all avenues.
So all I’m going to tell you is that it’s OK that you feel this way. It’s OK that things have become too much. It’s OK that you’re struggling, and it’s OK that you’re strongly considering leaving. It’s also OK to leave. It’s OK to get out. It’s OK to take several steps back and announce that you can’t do it anymore. It’s OK to put yourself first, and it’s OK if that comes at the cost of your relationship.
Suicidal thoughts and prolonged bouts of crying are both signs of depression (not that I’m a doctor, please do see a specialist). These are not meant to come about as a result of your relationship- rather, your relationship is supposed to be the thing that, where these are present, gives you the strength to carry on. Self-sacrifice is a necessary part of any relationship, but that has to come from both sides. I act as a carer (in many ways) for my SO, who has a disability, which is an ongoing sacrifice, insofar as I’m the primary provider for our household, and take on the bulk of the work around the house. However, she makes sacrifices too, as and where her disability and my ADHD allow. We get frustrated with each other on occasion, but ultimately, our relationship is a net positive, for BOTH of us. That’s why we’re still together, and why we’re getting married this year. I’ve been in relationships before where I’ve had to give, and give, and give, and give, and gotten absolutely nothing in the ways of results from the other person. I lost 40lbs to one of them, because of the stress, and I didn’t have 40lbs to lose. I lose an entire year’s worth of sleep to one during the first year of my degree, which nearly got me kicked off my course. It was these two that taught me to avoid people with problems I can’t fix, or that require so much intervention on my part that I neglect self-care. My SO may never get well, and she may even deteriorate to the point where she dies before her time, but I know that she’ll keep fighting. I know that she will actually do as much as she is able (more if I don’t stop her), and that even if I wind up having to take on every single responsibility at home, quitting my job and acting solely as a carer, it will STILL never be ‘just me’ making the effort. For my part, a large motivation for me to get medicated is so that I can better live my life, and hopefully be more effective at juggling me, work, and the house, because I’ve been struggling as more and more has been put on me. Self-sacrifice is a noble thing, but only when it allows you to still be your ideal self.
I understand very well the dream of a happy family with children. It’s all I’ve wanted out of life for more than 10 years, when I realised that I didn’t give a toss what career I ended up in, as long as I had a family. Ironically, my SO’s condition may actually preclude us from having children, but I find that as long as she’s in my life, I don’t regret the loss. That, to me, is what a relationship should be. One that doesn’t necessitate that you give up what you want, but that you would give up what you want in order to have it, and still find yourself happy.
One thing you say that I want to express an opinion on is that suicide is ultimately a selfish thought. You can argue that it is, but I’d always argue that suicidal tendencies, or the act itself, are symptoms of wider problems. It’s not an action you undertake with TRUE agency, it’s something you are DRIVEN to by outside factors. There are even scenarios in which it is considered noble (sacrificing yourself to let your platoon get away, for example). You’re not selfish. You’re under an enormous amount of pressure, more than anyone should be asked to handle alone. And it’s OK that it’s hard, just as it’s OK to say “Nah, screw this”.
I’m not going to tell you whether or not you should stay with your SO, because that isn’t my place to do so. It’s very much a decision that you need to make on your own. But should you decide to, then at least from where I, and I daresay many other people stand, then that’s OK. Like you say, you’ve tried all the accommodations under the sun, you’ve read up on his condition, you’ve joined support groups, undertaking counselling, and tried to improve yourself to better meet the demands of his condition. You have TRIED. It’s OK, then, to turn around and say ‘I don’t want to do this anymore’. It’s not that you CAN’T- you COULD if there was a similar amount of effort coming back at you- instead it’s that you don’t want to be the only one working any more.
Starting over again isn’t as scary as it seems. The picture of the happy family doesn’t go away, and the possibility to grow old with someone doesn’t vanish into the air. Instead, you search for someone else to put in the picture. A picture where you both contribute to getting everything in line, and where you both sacrifice, where necessary, for the other one’s wellbeing. rather than thinking in terms of what you stand to lose, rather think in terms of what you stand to gain- your sense of self and your happiness, for starters.
The only thing I would urge you to do is to not get married and have kids ‘to see if that changes anything’. Kids exacerbate already-present issues. Kids don’t CAUSE break-ups, but the stress of raising children COUPLED with underlying issues in the relationship definitely does. Except now, there are kids in the picture. That’s what might actually preclude me and my SO from having kids. Depending on how her condition develops, and how I respond to medication, there may just be too much for me to actually take on. I can’t parent children and care for my SO, all on my own. So, that’s a sacrifice we’d both be willing to make, for the sake of us.
I’m still here, and still willing to help, whatever course of action you decide to take. Just know that there is no shame in either course, and you have just as much right, without judgement from any quarter, to choose either one. Anyone who tries to tell you otherwise should walk a mile in your shoes before they criticise.
Good luck, and talk soon 🙂