Reply To: Metaphor: Wanting a Garden Without Nurturing It

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Wow, you hit a hot button for me. My ADHD husband seems to live in a fantasy world when it comes to “what it really takes” vs. what he thinks it takes to maintain or complete something. My solution? I decided to stop bailing him out and am struggling in a big way with letting go of my frustration with his pace/style/approach. For example, he decided he wanted to paint our home interior after some minor construction work was completed. I thought it would be better to hire out the job, but he wanted to “save money”. The construction work finished in January, and he began painting in March. Yes, it took that long to get started on the painting. It’s still not done…..but I’ve refused to help and I will not relax on the quality of work that needs to happen. It’s been a sore point to be sure, but I need him to see what it takes and he only seems to get it when he’s actually experienced the process himself. (No pain, no gain????)

On finances, he’s recently started yet another new job after being fired from his old one. The dilemma for me is that what he thought of as a major pay increase is actually not one since he lost vacation and other benefits. So I ran the numbers and showed him reality. He thought he was contributing a lot to household expenses, but once his personal expenses were deducted, there wasn’t much left for the house or family expenses. Reality is that I’ve been supporting him for over a decade and he had no idea. His response was to feel bad about himself and feel shame, because that’s where his mind goes. I’m trying to let him sort out those feeling with his therapist and not feel responsible for his self-talk (since I cannot change it!)

For the garden, I recommend you just say no. It seems harsh, but otherwise you end up throwing away good money after a project that cannot or will not be maintained. If possible, try and streamline your lives in a way that requires the minimum amount of maintenance for everything outside of you and the family. Relationship maintenance is hard, and there might not be room enough in his mind/heart/day to manage more than the relationship maintenance in spite of good intentions.

Hugs and prayers to you!