May 27, 2018 at 1:43 am #85000RmunetParticipant
I need help. Im pretty sure my wife has ADHd and its destroying our marriage. So lets see. Where do I begin? At the beginning I suppose. I met my wife ten years ago. Things were great at first. We had an amazing sex life. She was beautiful and had a good heart. As things went along though, it started to get very ugly very fast. She procrastinated about everything and she was extremely dirty. I told her how i felt about these things and she showed no interest in changing anything. So i did what came natural and I broke up with her and found someone else.
So we spent some time apart and she showed back up in my life and she showed me that she had changed. She seemed put together and told me that the thought of losing me caused the change in her. So we sarted back up and things were good again. Eventually she became pregnant. By this time we were living together.
Fast forward 10 – 11 years down the line. What ive learned since then is that she purposefully lied to me and decieved me into thinking she was someone that she wasnt. When I asked why she would do such a horrible thing, her answer has been because I had to do what I had to do to get you back. To say i feel decieved and manipulated would be a major understatement. We have a relationship built on lies.
So what are the real problems though? I will try to tackle them one at a time without allowing myself to become overly emotional.
I come from a home where cleanliness was a big thing. You bathe every day. You brush your teeth every day. Every day you make your bed. Dishes are done every day. These things are definitly not happening in my home. We have 3 young boys ages 1, 3 and 6. If Christine takes a bathe twice a week that may be alot. Shes also not an advocate of soap. Ive learned from this relationship that soap causes cancer. So water is good enough. My children are also not bathed properly and smell awfull. Teeth brushing is reserved for special occasions. The bed has been made about twice this year. Dishes are left long enough for the house to be full of flies. Dirty clothes are hung up and are used over and over. We are known amongst our circles as “The Smelly’s”. My car looks like homeless men live in it. So why dont you clean yourself you ask? I’ve been asked that before. Guess its a natural question. Rewind a few years. I was once ” Super Husband”. I cooked, I cleaned, I maintained all aspects of a home plus I maintained a full time job. I was a mother, a father, a husband, a wife, a maid, a lover, a friend and much much more rolled into one. At the end of that road was mental breakdown waiting for me to embrace with open arms. I lost my job and ended up locked alone in a bedroom for two months. Only coming out to eat and use the bathroom for anything but bathing. No phone calls from any friends and no support whatsoever from my wife. You’ll forgive me if I dont walk that path again.
2: Sex Life
Non existent. Ive seriously considered prostitution as an option. Havent yet but still havent ruled out the option.
We have gotten some great advice from many areas over the years. Unfortunately Christine has applied none of it. She sincerely loves to hear great advice. She says it makes her feel better. But applies none of it. She talks about seeking professional help but either hasnt at all or hasnt followed thru with somewhere in the range of none of it – most of it. Shes taken meds but quits after a month – 2 months. Reasons why? ” Its not working”, “I dont like how it makes me feel”, I dont really have anything wrong with me. You just expect too much”. She procrastinates around the home with everything. She hasnt worked a secular job in about 8 years.
3: Oops I did it again.
Christine is a catastrophe waiting to happen. She has broken enough things that if i could get it all back and sell it all, I could probably buy a new 3 story home. Nothing is sacred and nothing is off limits. We have been thrown out of home after home after home because of her antics. We have been homeless 2 times and I fear that it will happen again. Its always just an “oops” away. It makes me frustrated and resentful to no end to work my butt off for my family and yet feel like its all for naught. Shes broken the pS4 multiple times. Shes broken flat screen TVs and much much more. I’ve thought of Dispraxia as a possible reason.b
4: The reason is…..
Christine has some reason for everything. This broke because… I didnt do this/that because….
5. Wait, what time is it?
Before Christine I was late to nothing. Now? (Chris get in the car pleaaaseeee ! Chris we dont need that lets go ….Chris what do you mean you forgot to do/grab this/that?)
6: The insults / The lack of demonstrations of love and/or appreciation.
“I dont want you. I just want your money (Yes she really said that)
7: Welcome to Christines version of “Normal”
In the past she saved dirty diapers incase they needed to be reused. Shes worn her own dirty underwear time and again. Shes peed and pooped on herself. She does things that make you go “huh?” Like storing garbage in the back seat of my car.
8: Shes alienated just about every friend we’ve ever had. As a result, we have little to no friends.
9: Low or no self esteem
She has none. When I talk to her she either doesnt understand or isnt listening. Yet at times she’ll know what I said and just have no response. Its very very irritating.
Theres lot and lots and lots more but heres the most important part. All of this has made me want to walk out on her. Ive become angry, resentfull and even violent at times. Its affected my children and im at the point where I just want it to end. I sleep in the car in front of my home. Ive even thought about ending my own life just for some peace. I dont know where to go for help. No one has helped. Therapy sucks. Life sucks. It would be nice to do some of the seminars on here but i cant afford them. Kinda wanna ask those around me will you remember me when im gone? Right now im just sitting in my car on my day off of work hoping it goes by quick so I can go back to work… the only place i find peace.
May 27, 2018 at 1:05 pm #85003jm-fParticipant
Your situation sounds awful. The number one reason not to “walk away” is that you have three boys together, age 1, 3 and 6. You managed to produce them, despite your wife’s lack of cleanliness. There must be some part of you that is attracted to her? Is she still beautiful? Does she still have a kind heart? Do you love her? Do you care about her? If she knows you don’t, imagine how it must be for her, especially if you are frequently critical of her, in front of your children.
On Change: It would be nice if we could all change people into the more perfect people we think they should be, simply by demanding that they do so. I once heard Oprah say something that has stuck with me since, “You cannot change people; you can only change your reactions to them.” You should remember this too. Can you change yourself for her? Would you consider it?
On trust: This is a big deal. You wrote that she admitted that she lied about having changed to please you, to manipulate you into coming back to her. I don’t doubt that she manipulated you or lied to you about having changed, but wasn’t there evidence, especially once you lived with her, that she had not changed after-all? You wrote that you did all the cleaning for both of you, initially; why did you, if you believed that she had “changed” into a more hygiene-compatible person to yourself? (most people, like you, would prefer a mate who tidies themselves and their surroundings at least occasionally) Perhaps you also lied to yourself, or believed what you wanted to believe while ignoring the evidence and facts? I am not being critical of you; we all do this, me especially. It is in actions, not words, where we find facts & truths on which we can rely. Did she show you that she had changed?
What you describe as your wife’s behavior sounds a lot more complicated that ADHD. She may have ADHD, as well as other things. You may have several issues, including denial, depression, etc. Why did you lose your job? Why was your answer to self-isolate? Why did you have a mental break? Surely, you cannot blame all these things on her. It is important to take responsibility for your role in this situation too. You may both have significant issues. Please be careful not to be misogynistic, or to project the blame for all your frustrations or failures onto her. If you had no phone calls from friends or family during such a difficult free-fall time, and no support from your wife, while you only emerged from your room to bathe or eat, the alienation you have experienced from others is not caused by solely your wife. You must have a role in this.
On expectations in a marriage: not everyone fits into the roles of breadwinner and homemaker/baby producer/housecleaner. Would she prefer to work? Would you prefer to be at home and clean? You have expectations of your wife that she does not seem capable of fulfilling. Why continue the same expectations from a person who cannot, or will not, fulfill them? You have a situation where she is doomed to fail, every day, every moment, where you are left in constant frustration, disgust, and denigrating, judging her, and where she is on the receiving end of all this, every day. At this point, you are probably both depressed (how could you not be?), but it may be much more complicated than this, especially for her. You describe some pretty awful things, a person revoltingly filthy who breaks everything, and doesn’t appear to make any effort to be a responsible adult. I sympathize with you. I’m sure Id feel the same way. But, I am not sure that we would be right.
Some of what you describe can be explained circumstantially. For example, not showering often – it is hard to get a shower or bath in anywhere when you have three little boys always on the move. That doesn’t explain the lack of brushing her teeth, or all the other slovenly behavior. Does she use mouthwash? The lack of personal hygiene could be cultural, or maybe she grew up in a family that didn’t like to waste water. Americans are obsessed with showers/baths, while in other countries, people bathe far less often. She seems so depressed, she can hardly move. Do you tell her that you love her? Does she feel loved? Does she feel used? Does she feel controlled? Does she exercise or eat healthy? Do you do any of these things?
On cancerous soaps: I’ve endured cancer, surgery, chemo, radiation & the long road to recovery afterwards. Cancer sucks. All docs and nurses who helped me told me to stop using any products with carcinogens. These products dominating our markets. Aluminum is thought to be a big killer. Aluminum in cooking pans, especially when an interior coating is thought to contribute mightily to Alzheimer’s. Aluminum in deodorant, though an effective block to perspiration, is thought to contribute to caner, especially breast cancer. Your wife is right about this, with one variation: there are soaps shampoos & toothpastes, etc, that do NOT have carcinogens, or cancer contributing agents. Most of them market themselves as such. Do some research; buy those products for your home. For example, Tom’s deodorant is oncologist-approved. Look for the unscented deodorants. You may just win a lot of points with your wife for buying carcinogen-free products, and she may just start using soap! My favorite soaps are from Nice, France (where they bathe once-twice a week!!), olive oil-based soaps (Alziari). They make my skin feel soft, and clean! Not inexpensive, but delightful.
How is your wife as a mother (other than the dirty or re-used diapers)? Is she loving and patient? Is she kind to your sons? Is she generous? Is she abusive to them? Does she read to them? Does she teach them? Is she proud of them? Or does she view motherhood as a burden or a prison? Do you do any of these things for them, or do you expect her to carry the bulk of home, household and children? I have two children, 2 years apart. One had significant special needs (ADHD & Asperger’s syndrome). I believe my husband has significant special needs too (prob the same, plus some psychiatric issues). I can assure you that being their mother while dealing with my husband was about 3 full time jobs.
Does your wife know that you love & support her? Are you grateful to her for her presence in your life? for the births of your children? for her mothering to them? Does she feel loved by you? Is she kind to her family? (are they kind to her?) Are you kind to them? Does she get to see them, or talk to them, often? does she want to? Does she feel isolated from them? How is her relationship with your family? Does she love them? Do they love her? Are they supportive of her? do they criticize her or exclude her? Don’t underestimate the importance of family inclusion or exclusion, love or rejection, criticism or support, on your relationship.
You describe a person who needs help, perhaps a lot of help. Judging her or demeaning her is not helping her. You need a lot of help too – not just in dealing with & supporting her, but in dealing with your own stuff, whatever that might be. You describe somethings in yourself that may be problematic & contributing to the disharmony & discord in your marriage. Rather than leaving, try to understand how your own rigidity or role-oriented expectations may be contributing to her dysfunction. Is there any way, other than doing all work yourself, in addition to working full time, that you can help her? Is it possible that by helping to make her burden a little lighter, that your choosing to help, rather than demand & criticize, might make a difference to her in how she feels about herself, how she acts towards you, your children & herself? Because of your three sons, it is worth trying to help her first, rather than just walking away. If she feels loved by you, or at least, sees you trying to take responsibility for your end, and sees you trying to help your relationship (again, actions), she may do the same. Its worth a try.
1. Hire a housekeeper to clean your home once a week/two weeks. To assume that every woman is skilled as housekeeper, or even has an interest in cleaning, is to assume incorrectly. By hiring a housekeeper, though it will cost you both cash, you allow her to focus on your boys, and possibly relieve a lot of pressure on her while giving you the clean home you desire & demand.
2. Encourage your wife to seek counseling. Seek counseling yourself. After you have both been in counseling for a good long time, consider marriage counseling. But, only AFTER you have each done a lot of work on yourselves individually & separately. You cannot help or change what you refuse to acknowledge.
3. Take all your laundry to a laundress, every week. Do some research; most of them are completely affordable. You bring bags of dirty laundry to them, & they return them in the same bags, laundered & folded. They don’t charge that much. That may be the best money you spend.
4. If you don’t have a dishwasher, buy one. Some people really hate doing the dishes. Unload the clean dishes from the dishwasher every morning before you leave for work.
5. Find out your wife’s favorite lingerie company, and buy her new underwear in sizes & colors that fit her, that she likes & wants. Have her pick them out. Tell her she is beautiful when she wears them. Tell her she is most beautiful when she changes into clean underwear every day. Show her that you think she is beautiful.
6. Show your wife that you love her by your actions. Buy her flowers. Arrange for a baby sitter every weekend, so that you can take her to dinner w/o children, & just talk or listen to her. Ask her about her interests; buy tickets to things she wants to do and see. Show her how grateful you are for what a wonderful job she is doing with your children. Encourage her to enroll in a class at a local community college. Encourage her curiosity in the world. Take her to museums, movies, anything and everything. Encourage her to blossom. Congratulate her achievements. Never belittle her, for any reason. She spends all day, every day, with burping, farting, pooping demanding whining crying eating machines, changing diapers, picking up after them. It is completely exhausting, even for the incompetent mothers. Trust me on this. She needs adult companionship. She needs your partnership and support. If you are withholding this from her, and judging her, you are a major force in her destruction. Be a loving, kind, generous, supportive husband, and father.
7. Treat her with respect, especially in front of your boys. You are teaching them, by your actions and words, how to treat her, and how to treat their future girlfriends, wives and mothers in law — and maybe, how to treat you. If you abuse your wife, in any way, when your boys grow up and figure it out, they may just reject you in whole or in part. She is the only birth mother they will ever have. Cherish that relationship, and protect it for them, and they will later cherish you for having done so.
so, this is very long answer to your very long post. I sincerely hope at least some of what I wrote here helps you.
May 27, 2018 at 2:30 pm #85004AgathaParticipant
“I dont want you. I just want your money”
It’s always hard to judge as an outsider. I don’t have all information. I’m going to tell you how I feel about the situation you described, but of course you must consider your own gut feelings about it.
I don’t think this is ADHD destroying your marriage. I think this is a woman destroying your life. There can be a lot of conflict in ADHD marriages, but this doesn’t sound like the usual ADHD-spouse issues (I have ADHD). She probably has mental health issues, and ADHD may or may not be a part of it. But the main issues is that she won’t work to improve any of those issues.
Some of the issues you described could probably be improved with appropriate treatment or workarounds, but the condition to that is that she would have to work for it. One of the hallmarks of ADHD is how we don’t do what we want. We want to get a shower, but they get distracted, forget and skip it. It’s not on purpose.
There seems to be a lot of purposefulness in how your wife is acting. And even if some of it is not on purpose, she is doing nothing to change it despite the severe impact it had on your mental health in the past and despite being aware of your needs. Never trying to go to therapy, refusing to admit anything is wrong, and so on.
Then there is the manipulation, lying, telling you she just wants your money… I can’t tell if she meant that or just yelled it anger, but it’s a very unsettling thing to say.
I only have one advice, really. Leave. Pack your bags and leave.
At this point two things might happen:
1: she will beg you to come back
2: she will agree to divorce
In case of number 1, state your conditions. Don’t make it a ten pages manifesto, as tempting as it may be. List some clear goals, starting with an appointment with a psychiatrist within a reasonable time frame then going to therapy and working towards the kind of family life you can live with. During your time away, consider whether you actually really wish to come back and make this marriage work yourself. There is no point in dragging this if you’re yourself done with the relationship. If she agrees, and you come back, track whether or not she follows through. If she fails to follow through, leave again (each time stay away longer). This is to make it clear you will leave permanently if nothing changes.
In case of number 2, it’s time to file for divorce. Nothing will change unless she works for it, no point in making yourself and your kids miserable.
If you seriously consider filing for divorce and especially if you want custody of the kids, make sure you take notes of what she says to you, acting aggressive, hygiene issues especially relative to the children, all the events that led to you losing your home in the past, examples of her acting irresponsibly, and so on. Keep a record as detailed as possible. This is so you can bring it up to court. While women usually get custody of young children, “saving” dirty diapers to reuse them and similar creative ideas about hygiene endanger the health of the child and probably qualifies as neglect.
May 28, 2018 at 9:59 am #85025Penny WilliamsKeymaster
You’re stuck between a rock and a hard place in the situation you describe, but you can still affect positive change. Please don’t give up on yourself or your kids.
It does sound like your wife is struggling with something that is untreated. I doubt it’s a willful choice to consistently avoid hygiene especially with kids. I’m concerned about paranoia with the avoidance of soap because it causes cancer. There are natural soaps that could solve this fear. As others said, it feels like there’s more to her story. Whatever it is, untreated will continue as it is now. Would she agree to see a doctor?
I would be concerned about just walking away because it sounds like the kids could possibly be neglected in her care. That’s not to say you have to stay in a relationship that is so toxic for you, but that you’ll still have to be very involved for your kids.
Please do take care of yourself. If you’re suicidal again, please call the suicide hotline 1-800-273-8255 or use the text crisis line: Text CONNECT to 741741 in the United States.
ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Trainer & Author, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism
May 28, 2018 at 6:36 pm #85057BunnyBunBunParticipant
Your life described sounds very difficult and even futile. Please do not trust your and the well-being of your family to a chat forum. Find a reputable psychologist, BOTH husband and wife take a battery of tests for all psychological disorders, get treatment, do the treatment, then reassess your happiness in 3, YES THREE, years. Best wishes. PS Get the kids tested ad well. Not verbal testing, BTW. Written, oral, all of them. Be a man.
June 9, 2018 at 4:23 pm #85842newenglandroseParticipant
I disagree with J-mf. Staying “for the children” is one of the worst reasons to remain married-ask anyone who has done it. Start taking care of yourself and your 3 innocent children immediately. Christine has major issues that you cannot fix by cleaning up after her or telling her she is beautiful. Getting a housekeeper and laundry service are temporary fixes. They will never help the deep issues. Get into therapy (yourself) immediately. Find a professional who actively talks to you and helps you to resolve issues – not just a listener – you don’t need to vent – you need professional guidance. Christine will always be the mother of your children. They will always love her. I don’t doubt she loves them. But you have to make the decision for them now so she can get help and they can be clean and healthy everyday. Don’t let guilt or social traditions make decisions for you – talk to a professional and look within yourself – ask yourself: Do I want to live exactly like THIS in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years? Do I want my children to live like this? Good luck to you and your family. Ask for help and don’t go this alone. People love you – but no one knows you are suffering unless you tell them. Divorced, mom of 2 boys, Lifetime AdD and Severe Anxiety (both diagnosed after age 35)
June 11, 2018 at 5:54 am #86042nessyParticipant
I think you’ve received enough great advice already, so a I just wanted to say I’m sorry you’re going through this. I can definitely hear your deep frustrations coming through. It’s been a couple of weeks since you posted, I hope you’ve been able to find hope and direction in this situation.
June 11, 2018 at 6:58 pm #86178donsenseParticipant
Your story sounds familiar. 17 years later than this stage of our marriage, when my youngest was 18 and graduated Hi school we separated for the last time and the divorce was final 3 years later after 30 years of marriage. Lots of mistakes along the way and I was the one with ADHD .
What I did right. At the age of your children I blurted out something i shouldnt have said and my wife threatened to turn my daughters into prostitutes. She was a person who didnt make threats, she made promises and kept them. I left for a hotel for a few nights and decided to remain in the marriage and importantly to make the best i could of it and to cherish and love her as much as i could.
I was no bargain, a kid when we first married and an untreated raging combined ADHDer. I did have 4 years of military training and when i left the army an excellent job waiting for me. No Hi school diploma but lots of smarts and ambitious.
I went in naive but not lied to. What i have learned is that much of the advice you have been given is good. You might though want to be aware that tending to the needs of 3 very young children is completely exhausting. Many men and some women are completely unable to handle it without help. I slowly learned this and coming from a family of 12 was more than able to lend a hand. I was a lousy cook but i often brought home KFC or MacDs or Pizza. I did the vacuuming and laundry often and maintained the flower gardens and lawns snow clearing in winter and the cars. Everyone soon did dishes and eventually the kids learned to keep their toys and things in their rooms. I made the beds so that there were always clean sheets weekly, and my wife was an excellent mother to the children as well as an excellent cook. She isisted that she would not go to a dentist except to get all her teeth extracted and she kept that promise. She was an adequate seamstress and made many clothes for the kid s allthough i tried to increase the funds i gave her each month so that we could outfit them well. I also gave her a Sears credit card when our youngest needed a snow suit and sears would only take a check if we opened a credit card account and used the check to pay the balance. She loved children not men. And as has been suggested i tried everything i could to improve her self esteem, but i am ADHD and blurt out the wrong thing without thinking often and they were always taken the wrong way. Months of improvement dashed in a moment. A few trial separations did not improve things as the children got older.
A company a colleague and i started neede an office assistant and she volunteered for the job. Unfortunately even though she volunteered it did not work out and we needed to hire a professional office worker.
Our marriage didnt recover from this and eventually she left only to show up at my adult Daughters place. Quickly she realized That although she had been working parttime at our church she would be unable to earn enough to afford a place of her own. She returned home and we started the last round of counselling. We agreed to separate and i delayed until my son graduated the following spring. I renegotiated the small mortgage left on the house to meet the separation allowance i paid her. She met and married someone who tolerated everything including a son in law who molested his grandson and went to jail for it.
My girls now adult, one married and one a graduate nurse both told me they had been waiting for this for years and were very supportive of both of us but wondered why it had dragged out so long. My wifes mother spoke to me once and was excommunicated for life because of it by her daughter my exwife. She lost her job at the church a year later….but found a new job and husband.
I had mestasticized cancer 2 years later and went to the Mayo Clinic for surgery. One of my Daughters , the nurse went with me. Her mother didnt speak to her for a year. While we were in rochester for this she got remarried not telling any of the kids.
I can not tell you whether it would be better to leave now or wait until your girls are older. I can tell you that after 5 years with my second wife she left because of my yelling RSD. And the third left after 8 years when i had a major depression after which i discovered i had Raging ADHD combined.
I filled the same need in all three . Security. Which seems to be what you are doing.
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