Reply To: I may have ended my marriage

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Hi W,

I have been struggling to cope with my partner’s ADHD/autism and I came across this thread while looking for advice. We have only been married for one year and, honestly, I am wondering how your wife lasted twenty years if you were not able to be emotionally supportive.

At this stage, I would love nothing more than for my husband to have that “A-ha” moment. I think we are still a long way off that, particularly since we do not have any children (I hear a lot of adults only realise they have ADHD or autism after they have a child who is diagnosed with one or the other… Or both).

My husband is very good at accepting the difficulties he has focusing, etc. but appears to be utterly unaware of the impact his actions and behaviour have on me. I, of course, try to point things out to him when it all gets too much but he just feels attacked and we never make any progress.

I am just wondering if there is a way I can express it or something I can do so that my husband – who currently believes his wife is just over-sensitive – srealises that his behaviour is the source of my depression! I invest so much energy trying to make our marriage work, trying to act and behave in a way that makes him happy, and I feel like it is a one-way street. All on me. I cannot and will not put up with it for twenty odd years because life is too short to be this miserable. The thing is, I believe my husband is a great person! I love him to pieces and it will break my heart to end our marriage… But I also cannot live without a response when I ask a question, without emotional support when I need it, with these one hour monologues on his favourite topics, with his angry outbursts over minor annoyances, lack of eye contact, and so on and so forth. I don’t expect him to become a different person, just to understand that these things are hard for me and to make baby steps to make things easier, or just to be more aware.

To be honest with you, if your wife spent twenty years feeling the way I am feeling now, the kindest thing to do would be to let her go, let her remember what life can be like, life is too short. And feel great in yourself about the realisation you’ve had and the work you’re doing, I am sure you can live a happier life too. And it will probably be easier without someone like your wife who is carrying all that emotional baggage and resentment. I am not sure any amount of counselling will erase that… Just make sure that child of yours (the one with the same struggles as you) gets all the help and guidance he or she needs to thrive and to be spared this kind of emotional agony.

Wishing you all the best, you sound like a top bloke really.