Reply To: Married wants Divorce undiagnosed ADHD together for 17 years

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#52442
sdr4997
Participant

DearADHD527,
I am in a similar situation in that my marriage fell apart after being married 10 years with one child who was 6 years old when I moved out per my husband’s request. The first 6 years of our marriage was good, but then my symptoms got bad, my RA got worse, my depression kicked in and I found it easier to be in a different bed at night due to the amount of pain I was in with the RA and the Fibromyalgia. I never considered what moving to a different bedroom would do to my marriage. WE grew apart and he began to say he didn’t feel like I loved him anymore and that if I didn’t then I should not be living there. I tried to tell him I choose to love him, but in his eyes love shouldn’t be a choice or something I have to choose to do if I were in love with him. Over the length of time my health had worsened, he had lost his mother and after her death became a man I didn’t feel like I even knew anymore. He had changed completely from the man I fell in love with and I felt like I was living with a stranger. I couldn’t see how he could expect me to be “in love” with him when I didn’t even know who he was anymore. Long story short, we have lived in separate houses for 3.5 years now and unfortunately are not really any closer to reconciling than we were the day I moved out, though I have to think it is a positive thing and that there is still a chance since neither of us have filed for a divorce and we still spend one weekend a month together as family time for my daughter who is now 10.

The quickest path to reconciliation, which he says he wants, would be for him to show me who he is, talk to me without being defensive, and to just spend time with me as my friend to give me the opportunity to fall in love again without feeling like he is forcing me to either lie to him and say yes I am in love with him so I can move back home or be honest and tell him while I may not be head over heels in love with him, I still choose to love him as my husband and respect him as the father of my child and feel that I belong at home with him but that is not what he wants to hear.

Marriage with either partner having health issues is complicated. I fully believe you can fix your marriage especially since you want to so badly and are willing to do the work to get back to a good place in your marriage. Understand it will take time and a huge amount of forgiveness on both parts, but love covers a multitude of sins. You seem to be able to express yourself passionately and emotionally through writing. If she won’t hear your words or can’t seem to get past her hurt to hear you out, write her a letter. Don’t write to her explaining the problems or even really apologizing, but write to her to remind her of how you first met, when you had your first kiss and how it made you feel, what it was like holding her for the first time, remind her of the things that brought you both joy in your marriage, remind her of your wedding day and the vows that were said whether it was the traditional vows or ones that you wrote yourself, tell her how passionately you still feel for her and then tell her you understand that you have become more a 4th child to her than her husband and as such, you understand how she fell out of love with you, let her know through that understanding, you want to take your rightful place by her side as her husband now that you are getting the help/medication you need and that as her husband you vow to take any criticism she offers to heart and to correct any behavior indicating a backslide immediately as she points it out and that as her husband you want her to feel secure in being able to talk openly to you and her not feel like she has to keep anything in and most of all, you want to feel all she feels and if she is hurting or disappointed, you want to know that as well so you can feel it with her. I don’t know if you are spiritual, a Christian or not, but if you are, let her know you are ready to be the husband God would have you be and that means being a spiritual leader and being a rock for her while she supports you and respects you and you will love her and live your life in knowledge of her and her feelings as God would have you too.

After you give her the letter, give her space to process all that you have said to her and to process all the emotions it brings up, even if that means offering to let her take a trip to a cabin somewhere to have a few days alone or you taking the kids for a weekend trip to give her time and space. She has to have space to heal. As a woman, I can not tell you how important it is that she be able to process without constantly having you asking her to change her mind or offering to fix it. It may be something you can’t fix, but instead the two of you can rebuild together and start new. Offer her another “wedding” of sorts to renew your vows and your dedication to being the man she fell in love with rather than the broken man she has been living with the past few years. Just understand when a woman is hurt/disappointed/pushed to a point of disconnecting and just no longer caring and wanting out- it takes time to bring her back to a place where she will allow you to cause her to feel anything. I pray it is something that the two of you can fix together, because I can say from experience it is hard to fix a marriage from different homes. Before allowing her to move out if she continues to insist she wants a divorce, ask her if she would consider being in separate rooms with a time limit on it and dating each other again for like 8 weeks max where every weekend you take her out whether it is a walk in the park and a picnic, or a movie/dinner, or going to a free museum- something she loves and that makes you feel passionate about the woman she is today, not who she was 17 years ago when you got married. That would give her some space through the week without you in it, but would keep her at home to where you can work on the marriage and let her see the man you are today and let her love you for the man you are becoming, not the memory of the man you were. She can heal, and so can you. Hearing the words that your partner wants a divorce will linger in your head for years to come and it will hurt every time you replay the words in your mind and you will be fearful that divorce will be her solution every time you get in a fight, but unless you or she have been with or intends to be with someone else, tell her divorce is a word that you want taken out of the home entirely.

You seem so passionate about your family. I truly hope it works out for you and you and your wife can live the rest of your lives, til death do you part, in sickness and in health, in good times, and in bad forever cleaving to one another and forsaken all others…..May God’s plan for marriage and your love for her win this battle. I wish you all the best.

P.S. I am 40 and was just diagnosed ADHD/Hypersensitive Disorder about 4 months ago. Had I been diagnosed years ago instead of being diagnosed manic depressive, my marriage would not have failed and I would not be facing a second divorce if we can’t reconcile.It is amazing how much damage a missed diagnosis can do to our lives.