Reply To: My husband has ADHD and I’m running on empty

Home Welcome to the ADDitude Forums For Spouses & Loved Ones My husband has ADHD and I’m running on empty Reply To: My husband has ADHD and I’m running on empty


I’m sorry for posting as an ADD husband, but I find it hard for partners on BOTH sides of this to understand the other without their input. First off, I’m sorry things have gotten to this for all the non-ADD partners; I cannot and will not make light of your experiences. You deserve to have partners that support and nurture you, as you do them (us?). And I agree with Adele and Outsider above – he has to own his actions, INCLUSIVE of ADD.

I’m married 28 yrs now, diagnosed 18 yrs ago. My wife (an LicSW herself) was ready to leave when I finally got into treatment. Is your husband in treatment and on medication? I took meds for a while, and thought it would ‘fix this ADD thing’. While it did impact the levels of distractibility, I didn’t realize until I got into treatment with a talented therapist that I was able to see that ADD wasn’t the major issue. Like Silver_Scribbler, I had built up years of shame and inadequacy such that I was virtually incapable of functioning in our relationship. I explain it like this: imagine waking up every morning with note posted everywhere announcing that you were going to forget something important/let someone important in your life down today – you just don’t know what that thing will be, EVER. You never realize it until it happens. Trying to make amends for it never seems to be enough – not for us, anyway. So you live day to day like this. No wonder our amazing partners (and you all sound like you are!) get so weighed down.

That’s not to excuse anything I did in my relationship – it just gave me an understanding of WHY it happens so I could get at dealing with HOW to work with it. I needed to do it for me before I could do it for us – that’s why it’s so important for your spouses to be in treatment. I’m able to take ownership of what I do, even when my wife calls me on my mistakes (and there WILL be those – that’s the nature of this condition). I hope for your sake that he can get to that place.

And I agree that you need to do things to take care of yourself. Whether it be time out with friends, pursuing a hobby outside the house, whatever energizes you. It takes amazing energy to be in relationship with those of us with ADD. ADD spouses need to recognize that and support our partners in that. I’d like to think we’re worth it when the right structures are in place – that we put/keep in place for our own sake and the sake of our partners. I’m sorry if I overstepped here; I read these boards often and your story resonated with me. I wanted you to know that many of us ADD partners support you (and the other non-ADD spouses) here. I only hope some of this gave you some insight – I wish you good luck on whatever path this journey takes you both, and send all positive energy your way…