Reply To: How to tell wife what I have discovered

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I’m the ADD husband, and I’m with Leah on this one. Your story resonates very much with my own. We’ll be married 28 yrs this summer – 2 awesome adult kids (22 & 19). I was diagnosed 19 yrs ago at age 35. Our marriage has been to the brink 3 times – even after medication. I thought Concerta would ‘fix this ADD thing’ – not realizing there were years of built up habits and behaviors that also had to be addressed before we could be ‘us’ again. My wife bore the brunt of so much herself – very similar to your situation. Even when I realized the consequences of my behavior, I couldn’t just wave it away because I finally felt ‘whole’. I had to do the work to make the significant changes in myself, THEN try to rebuild the relationship that we had.

But I had to give her the space to grieve and heal, as well. While a lot of my hurt was self-inflicted, it also inflicted hurt on her. She cannot just ‘let that go’ because I felt new and whole. I’m not always sure why she didn’t leave – but I’m grateful that she loved me enough to stay.

Give you wife the space she needs. That being said, continue to tell her how much you do love her – and that you want her to heal as well. You also need to find the therapeutic structures that help you become and maintain that better version of yourself. But also know that ADD doesn’t ‘go away’. This is a life long challenge. I still make many of those same missteps; I’m just in a better position to deal with them in the moment, and in our relationship (including the underlying/comorbid challenges). If and when she’s ready, then you both can begin the process of rebuilding the relationship together – as partners.

I hope this helps from someone who’s lived this on the ADD side. I’m pulling for you/wishing you well on this – and sending you both all positive energy. I check these boards regularly, and hope to hear how you’re doing…