marriage struggling

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This topic contains 12 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  RT 3 seconds ago.

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  • #140806


    Hi all
    Im new here and have been married 25years. Ill start by saying my husband is usually kind, would help anyone, very loyal and affectionate and extremely fun to be around when hes in the right mood. He does about half the cooking and gets involved with kids sport and study etc. He has undiagnosed ADHD, he fulfils most of the DSM 5 criteria ( I work in medical field and I have thought about this a lot). He refuses to consider the possibility and tells me to stop “trying to diagnose him’ or “counsel him” if I bring it up. I have suspected this for years now and the realisation has given me some peace in the messiness and disorganisation and the fact I have to be constantly remembering every detail about the kids needs, paying bills etc. I have come to accept this more. The advice I find online however is “do not mother your ADHD partner” but all articles go on to say give lists and reminders constantly, isnt that “mothering”?. Well my husband will say Im talking down to him or sometimes can get quite angry that I would suggest hes forgotten (even though he has), or will ignore the list. I try to be as even tempered as possible. So right here I see a contradiction in advice seemingly given. Maybe he gets upset because he wont consider or even look at ADHD as a possibility?
    The main thing that affects our marriage though is the rages. They occur probably every 3-6months but recently more frequent. I can feel them building with irritability and short curt replies to us all for weeks beforehand. Super sensitivity to any perceived slight anyone has against him (work and home), road rage etc Im totally walking on eggshells..and then he will explode at an innocuous and often suprising thing. It may be that the kids do not jump to his command or I ask a clarifying question about something and he’ll say Im “assuming” something (often doesnt make sense). Once it was when I told him to calm down, youll wake the kids when he reacted with swearing and shouting when the faulty fire alarm went off in the middle of night. Once it was because I was cutting the beans wrong in his eyes.He an be quite controlling at how things are done ( very ironic to me) In any case he erupts in pure rage. I cannot get a word in, he will rant at what a despicable person I am, will call me bitch and say I constantly critisize him and hes convinced I hate him, apparently Im always “negating” him. What an idiot I am to have done or said whatever the trigger was.Now this seems really unfair as I feel I do the lionshare of everything at home aswell as work 3 plus days a week, also overlook irritability in him often and truly do love him. (An example..He says Im negating him if he says the road is blocked and I respond with you can go another way, things I consider to be conversation) The rages can go on for up to about 24hrs. He says things like “youve really done it this time” ” If you weren’t such abitch I wouldnt be angry”more recently hes been saying the marriage is over but doesnt leave. Once he smashed my sons computer because he was too nervous to buy his own bus card another time he kicked in a door and has punched a wall. He is really really scary. At these times I feel so unsettled and cant stop crying but never get a chance to talk.There is no discussion. If Ianswer back its a very loud screaming match. If I go quiet he says “are you going to sulk about this all day now” Sometimes after he will be remorseful and wants to change but usually he wants me to ” accept half the blame” for his angry outbursts. Shamefully this is the first time ever Im reaching out for support
    Please with all your wealth of experience as ADHD spouses and those affected I need our marriage to improve or it might be over Any advice appreciated. Thanks for hearing me vent 🙂

  • #140825


    Was in a similar situation (rages and all), get him tested – complete psychological evaluation, call a few places. MMPI/TOVA all of it. If untreated it has adverse affects on the kids among other things, please get him tested. Its expensive but look at it as a one time hit toward long term benefits for him, you, your kids etc.

  • #140989



  • #141166


    I have been married 32years and you have just described my marriage. In an effort to save my marriage, at my wife’s insistence, I went by myself for what I thought would be marriage counseling. One year and three therapists later, I was diagnosed with ADHD. This was last week.I cannot tell you what a rollercoaster of emotions I have gone through since then. Some good, some not so good. My therapist suggested I visit Finally I have discovered answers and reasons for all the things I thought were “wrong” with me. And equally as important, the hell I have put my wife through all these years. I encourage your husband to at least go on this website and to be totally honest with what he is all about. I’m not sure what path of treatment I will take, and I don’t know if it will save my marriage, it will save me! P S I was brought up by parents who believed any type of therapy was for crazy people. I wish I had known better than to listen to such nonsense.

    • #141169


      Thanks for replying RT
      I will definately try to get him looking at this website. Ive got him to agree ADHD may be possible. Baby steps forward!
      Wow well done for making the move to get help. Im sure your wife will really appreciate it and I hope things improve for you
      Its actually a comfort to know others have had similar experiences. I havent talked to anyone really about this, kind of has been our family secret. Crazy I know but although I am tortured by this I do not want to betray my husband as he is essentially a good man. It feels good to share it. Im private and I do not want judgement from friends and family who will likely support me and the feel hostile to my husband for his poor treatment of us.
      Best of luck! I will be interested to hear how you get on

  • #141248


    Congratulations on your husband’s baby steps. If he does have ADHD, and is honest with himself, he will be overwhelmed to see a near exact description of his life with ADHD, as well as yours, through
    ADHD has always been for me, a sarcastic jab, or joke at or about someone with excessive energy, can’t sit still, or always on the go. I now understand the seriousness of this illness and the damage it can do. Especially to a marriage and family.
    If he does get diagnosed with ADHD,I hope you will be patient and understanding should he choose to seek help.I know this will hard to do given all the pain, anger and frustration you go through on a daily basis. He will need your support. Trust me!
    I am worried I have done too much damage to my marriage to save it I don’t know how my wife could ever forgive, or understand, or be patient, anymore. I don’t even have the courage to ask. After all,I must take responsibility for my actions and not use ADHD as a lifelong excuse. Easier said than done.
    I find it ironic that I am opening up to a world of complete strangers, so easily, yet find it so hard to share this with my own wife. Maybe that’s part of the illness. I don’t know. I hope I have the strength to share this with her as I feel so alone (one of those “not so good” emotions I mentioned previously).
    I have shared my diagnosis work no one except my wife. For now, I will keep it that way until I figure out if I need to, or should share.
    I subscribe to no social media sites. I don’t even have a Facebook page! This is actually the first time I have ever responded to anything on the internet, and I want to thank you for your initial posting. Sharing is therapeutic.

  • #142037


    Hi RT
    Hows it going? Have you made any changes and how is your wife going?
    We have had a fabulous week. My husband and I discussed ADHD and in particular rejection sensitivity dysphoria which rings true for us both
    He has reacted a few times aggressively and defensively, but fairly quickly retracted and apologised. He has cried and shown real insight. I am so thrilled he is recognising the effect of his ways on our family and really hope it lasts. Our eldest son (20) is having some counselling, he has anxiety partially because of the effects his fathers outbursts has had on him over the years
    Hoping you and your wife are doing well. Im here to talk if you need.. from her perspective

  • #142041


    I’ve spoken with my fiancé about this. He says the person with ADHD needs to find a system that works for them. If the non-partner comes up with a list/reminder, it may not work. What makes sense and seems logical for one person may not work for another.
    My fiancé sought out a behavioral therapist years before we met, and was able to come up with a system to remind him to do things, and stay on task..with her help.
    Visit Melissa Orlov’s site. There are many who post about life with a spouse who is in denial that they have ADD/HD or deny that their ADHD is affecting their relationship.
    Your husband’s “Super Sensitivity” could be Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria. Melissa has written extensively about it.
    Your husband’s rages and rants sound like my ex-husband, who is a narcissist. I finally left our 17 year marriage after over a decade of gaslighting and verbal abuse. I was a nervous wreck from walking on eggshells, afraid of setting him off.
    His blaming you for being angry is abusive, and bull**it. He clearly has an anger issue.

  • #142047


    My wife has ADHD and I was undiagnosed until while we were dating/first married. At first I didn’t want to believe it, was in denial. It wasn’t until I finally looked at the symptoms that it clicked, maybe I do have ADD. Thankfully she had a great doctor who was ADHD herself and hyperfocused on biology and got her masters or doctorate in it and could literally tell you how a certain med will affect the body on a biological level. That doc is also quirky and fun too, and is able to keep her appointments short to 20-30 minutes (attention span, lol).

    We used to have bad fights in the 10 years we were married. My wife would be really mean and yell at me for not carrying my weight (hadn’t gotten therapy yet to try to help me get myself more organized), and I would shut down. I finally admitted that her yelling at me really hurt and it caused me to shut down and I couldn’t answer because it would make me frozen. She felt horrible and we worked to her not being so mean and me working to say how I felt.

    I think the thing to do is start talking about how you feel. Ask him to just listen and really express why you think he has ADHD, but you want him to come to that realization. Tell him you love him and you don’t want to have a fight every few months. Also, self examine yourself and see if you come across without realizing it as demeaning or otherwise.

    I agree, it may be rejection sensitivity dysphoria (which I admit I might have). You mentioned he’s sweet to everyone else. It’s hardest to get organized at home where you have to create your own structure, and he maybe is that way. He probably wants to be organized, but can’t because he doesn’t know how.

    The best thing you can do is be sweet and loving, and if he is getting overwhelmed, have him go to another room, shut the door, no distractions, and tell him to write out how he feels. That’s what I do if I’m overwhelmed and it helps.

    Just a thought from a husband’s perspective.

  • #142114


    Hi Hope
    I totally empathise with you – I am in the same boat as you although perhaps six months down the line. You must realise that (ADHD or not) your husbands behaviour is abusive and you need to get a lot of support for yourself. Six months ago I started opening up to friends and family about the situation and I wish I had done it a long time ago. To continue to live like this is exhausting and is diminishing your life. By not telling people I was also living in a kind of denial. Baby steps are great though make sure he keeps stepping! Mine is stuck flip flopping between accepting there is a problem and then denying it. I love him and know it’s not his fault though I must see meaningful change (as in he needs to fully step into owning it) and effort otherwise I am done! It’s all very hard and heartbreaking. My heart is with yours x

  • #142131


    Thankyou everyone for your replies. It really helps to honestly talk about the situation with people. I think you have all given me the confidence to really push hubby on this and he is responding well so far. I’ve always been wary of triggering an episode but I think the whole situation has become obviously a problem to us both that we must if we are to survive. Looking back I recognise the more resentful I have become the more I have subtly pushed back (which then further triggered RSD) but thanks for the nudge to take it further. I’m am very conscious that usually he is good and reasonable and time will tell. The next time he’s truly stressed or feeling overwhelmed will be the test but so far so good. (Although no talk of professional counselling yet 😬 …at least we are having open and honest dialogue)
    Thanks S5 for your perspective on the ADHD partner making their own organisation plans. I suggested this and hubby is now putting an alarm on his phone to remind him he has the oven on or has left hoses on watering. It’s a start I have considered narcissism many times before and for a while thought this was it but it doesn’t fit as not consistent really and he does usually show empathy. ADHD is a much better match and especially the RSD.
    I really appreciate your words obvious. I am trying to be kind even tempered and understanding. It’s easy while he’s trying, I’m really hoping that continues
    Sun20 Thankyou! You sound like you are in a very similar situation, have you separated and do u have kids? How long have you been together? I’ll be interested to hear how you go. Is your husband getting help Wow it’s amazing and freeing to connect with others who have been through similar. I have opened up to one friend but spared a few details (haven’t spared anything in my original post) She was very supportive and said she thought he could be a “hot head” …it’s true, he cannot hide his feelings from anyone. I always tell him to show people his kind side which is so lovely and not to ruin it with a sharp word in a moment of impatience or something
    Anyway I think it’s easier opening up to strangers so thanks and good luck to you all keep sharing xx

  • #142577


    Hi Hope,
    I’m sorry it has taken me so long to respond. With so many thoughts running through my mind, I have to write everything down first. Now I know why, lol.
    Since my last post, my wife and I have been trying to sweep up the “eggshells “. With each day, I strive to be more aware of my actions and reactions. I applaud my wife for being cautiously understanding. We have been using humor as much as possible when I take a step backwards. She is more aware when i am frustrated and keeps the mood on the lighter side. I thank her forthat. I hope this continues to work for us. I don’t want to “suck her back in” again. This new self awareness drives me to be a better husband, father, and person. I can’t put into words the internal joy I have been feeling.
    Along with professional therapy,these forums and this website, I know I will continue to move in the right direction.
    I would like to thank you and all for your continuous input. Please tell your spouses/partners in denial, they are not just denying themselves, but just as importantly, you, the person who loves them, of a chance for a better, happier life. Correct me if I’m wrong, but you wouldn’t still be there if you didn’t love them or care deeply for them. I was served with divorce papers a year ago. I was devastated. I begged and pleaded for ANOTHER chance (I’m sure you’ve heard that one before). We looked at many apts and houses for new. Fortunately, none of them worked out. Fast forward, I am forever humbled and am trying my best to rebuild my marriage. This is not a death sentence, but the quite the opposite. It’s a chance at a new way of thinking and life! With that being said, I’m asking the non-ADHD spouses/partners, what can I do to start mending the heart I have so badly broken? What would bring joy back into your life?

  • #142589


    P.S. I forgot to mentioned, she had rescinded the divorce papers.

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