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It was almost depressing to read this forum. There is a common recurring theme in this thread regarding the first 3-4 month magical window of courtship. My relationship started off the same way. The most brilliant, successful, creative, charming, passionate, affectionate, beautiful and attentive woman I’d ever met. It all came to an abrupt halt around month 4. No warning signs. No prior fights. Totally convinced this was the woman I was meant to marry without hesitation up until that day. Then one Sunday afternoon, she showed up to my place a different woman. It was the first time in our relationship that she rejected a kiss since we started dating. She used to throw her arms around me and give me the most passionate kisses, but for whatever reason turned her head that day. I kept asking what was wrong, but couldn’t get a direct answer, kept insisting nothing was wrong and things were normal. We had made plans for a fun activity that day, but she had suddenly lost interest in it. After tossing around a few ideas, and constantly having them rejected, I gave up and asked her for suggestions of things she would like to do. She said brunch would be nice, so I agree. She followed that up by saying it was too late to have brunch. A few minutes later, without ever telling me what was wrong, she hopped into her car in an aggravated rage and sped away, shouting obscenities at me as she left. After a few hours of sitting alone on my kitchen floor holding my head in my hands trying to figure out what had just happened, she called and apologized for abruptly leaving and we talked as if nothing was wrong. That began the roller coaster of events. She blamed that particular “episode” on birth control hormones. She would blame future episodes on anxiety, depression, gluten in her diet, hypothyroidism (which was ruled out by a doctor), and just about any other medical disorder or disease she could read about on the internet. I chose to marry her anyway, focusing on the good qualities instead of the bad. Two weeks prior to our wedding we had a major fight about lack of intimacy in our relationship (which had started a few months earlier) and she threatened to call the whole wedding off unless I stopped nagging her about it. I succumbed to her request. A day later, she actually apologized and mentioned something about her ADHD meds making her feel aggravated all the time. She had been on ADHD meds since I met her and was open about it, but up to that point in my life I never had a clue that ADHD had a negative impact on relationships. I had one other previous girlfriend who was medicated for ADHD (and an impulsive spender, which ultimately ruined the relationship), but she was the “hyper-affectionate” type, which apparently is only experienced by 1 of 5 ADHDers, so I never thought ADHD could interfere regarding lack of intimacy in a relationship. It wasn’t until that day, two weeks before our wedding that I started googling the “effects of adhd on relationships” and was floored by the number of articles I ran across that explained all the struggles I had been through in specific detail up until that point in time. Having that knowledge alone was enough to salvage the wedding. We were able to talk openly about it at that time, and she seemed willing to work on it and even promised counseling. Here it is 3 months after getting married, and well….things have gotten worse. She is less attentive and less affectionate than ever…and to complicate things, we are pregnant (apparently from the one time that we actually made love in the last three months since getting married). She wouldn’t even let me touch her the week after we got married. Said she was too drained every day. Also blames me to this day for having a “Chicken Dance” competition at the wedding reception that upset her because she wasn’t actively involved in the planning of it. We didn’t actively plan much of our wedding together. She talked like every night we were going to sit down and plan out the details together. We did not once in 9 months of planning opportunities ever sit down and plan any segment of our wedding together. There’s also been promises of romantic weekend getaways. We have not had a single romantic getaway since we started dating. We collected funds at our wedding reception to go towards a romantic honeymoon. It still hasn’t happened, and I doubt that it ever will.
The really sad part is, this is my second marriage. My first marriage failed for the exact same reasons that this marriage is already failing (lack of attention, affection), although that one took much longer to get to this point. It also turns out that my first wife was diagnosed with ADHD as a teenager, but never took meds for it, as the country she came from did not treat everything with prescription drugs the same way we do in America. She and I even went to counseling together, but ADHD never once came up as a potential culprit. I had no idea. Both counselors we tried had no idea. She had the same aggravated outbursts that my current wife has whenever I bring up the topic of lack of intimacy. Both resolve the conflict by threatening me with divorce, and each time I tend to back down, preferring to try and fix things instead of running from the problem. Granted, the first marriage ended abruptly after my ex threatened divorce for the millionth time, and to her shock I blurted out “fine, I can’t live like this anymore” and packed my bags and moved into a hotel that same day. A year later I got a hand written note from her apologizing for the way she treated me all that time we were together. It was the first time in the five years of knowing her that she ever apologized for anything or admitted to any wrong doing. The crazy part is, she used to rap herself on the head and repeatedly repeat “what is wrong with me?” all the time when she’d get frustrated over something whether it involved work or our relationship. Neither of us knew. But with all the information I’ve gathered over the last few months I now know exactly what it was. This is a woman who was fired/laid off/let go from 3 jobs in the five years that we were together.
I also learned that I’m extremely drawn to those creative, charming, witty minds. It’s a double edged sword. I’m a very kind, patient, giving person who sees the good in all people, but even I have a hard time dealing with the daily effects of ADHD in my partner.
My advice is this: If you are in a new relationship with someone who knowingly has been diagnosed with ADHD and are starting to experience any of the abrupt side effects of adhd in your relationship, and they don’t recognize the issue or aren’t willing to try and treat it, do yourself a favor and get out now. There is a lot of stress, hardship and heartache headed your way. If you are currently married, learn as much about adhd as you possibly can. Knowledge means everything with this kind of disorder. Things can defintely improve. But don’t rely solely on the medication. As I’ve learned first hand, improper dosage of meds like Adderall can actually enhance the irritability factor in some ADHDers. That was the case with my current wife. She isn’t taking meds during the pregnancy, and that actually has made her more tolerable to live with on a daily basis. But she still has occasional outburst including two divorce threats the week of her birthday not that long ago. One stemmed from her misunderstanding my plans to fly back early from a business trip to spend the whole birthday weekend with her. She somehow misheard from her mom that I was planning to extend my trip to miss her birthday and hunted me down to tell me that I could take my ring and not ever come back, without ever asking me about my plans or what she heard. A more rational person probably would’ve asked about what she heard prior to issuing such damning threats. Later that week, my body was feeling worn down like I was getting sick, and I took a 3 hour nap during the day. That night, she barged into my room screaming “I’m sick of this shit, we are getting divorced tomorrow!”. Apparently she was angry that I had fallen asleep while lying in bed on top of the covers super early (8:30ish) without saying goodnight, which was the first time in our relationship that this had happened. On the contrary, she has probably gone to bed over 100 times in the last year without saying goodnight to me, and it has never been an issue from my end.
I just recently learned of “Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria” from reading this forum, and it describes my wife’s reaction to certain situations “to a T”. She doesn’t like to be made to feel inadequate in any facets of life. Perfect example, whenever I bring up any issues of “deficiencies” in our relationship, it automatically triggers an R.S.D. response, including more threats of terminating the relationship. She sees this as me telling her she’s not good at something, whereas I’m just trying to fix the relationship. It’s not healthy. It’s emotional manipulation at its finest. I crawl back into my hole and suffer the consequences of sweeping our problems under the rug yet again.
The most important thing I’ve learned from my readings: take time to take care of myself. It is apparent that she is not going to be capable of taking care of my needs unless I risk starting an argument with her. I’ve recently started reaching out for help to take care of feelings of depression that I’ve been dealing with. I no longer enjoy doing the things I used to be passionate about (outdoor sports for example) and actually been made to feel guilty when I’m out doing fun things like this on my own. Even writing an article like this has helped organize my mind and understand my feelings somewhat. But the pain is still there. I’ll never divorce my current wife now that we have a child on the way. At least I know what is wrong this time around, and I made a conscious decision to marry her regardless, so I have to hold myself accountable for that. I’m going to be a great dad, and the best husband that I possibly can be under the circumstances. I no longer expect to get the things from my wife that make me feel happy and complete in a relationship, which is the depressing part, but I will learn to deal with it over time.