On the verge of divorce

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    • #186737

      Does anyone have any advice/help for me please? I am on the verge of filing for a divorce. I have been with my Inattentive Adult ADD husband for over 20 years. It is only getting worse. I am at the end of the road here. He takes meds and has seen an excellent therapist. He just refuses to do the work to help himself. I carry everything in the relationship, and am just burned out. He goes to work and thinks that’s all he should have to do. He doesn’t want to communicate. We have no physical contact. He doesn’t hug me or kiss me or touch me in general. He thinks sex twice a year is fine, and knows that that is not okay with me. He doesn’t help out in any aspect of our life. I handle all the daily chores. He doesn’t do anything to take care of me. My father died recently. Other than when I found out and the day of the funeral, he hasn’t mentioned it again. He doesn’t ask how I’m doing. He offers no comfort and support. He can’t seem to hear me or understand where I’m coming from. He’s genuinely surprised that I am burnt out and don’t want to do anything to handle our lives anymore. He thinks he should be taken care of, but can’t understand that I need the same thing. He expects to receive what he’s not willing to give. I have tried patience, love, communication, paraphrasing, but I’m just too tired to try anymore. My next option seems to be a divorce. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

    • #186753
      Penny Williams

      You can have a successful marriage with ADHD in the mix, but it requires great communication, treating ADHD, and two parties who are both willing to work at it, understanding it won’t be a “normal” marriage.

      My Husband Has ADHD — and It’s Hurting Our Marriage

      Can This Marriage Be Saved?

      ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Coach, Podcaster & Author, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

    • #186771

      I’m sorry for your recent loss, that’s a difficult thing to go through even with a supportive spouse.

      I don’t have any great advice, but I’ve experienced everything you mentioned. I started going to a counsellor for myself, because I realized I was spending way too much time waiting for my husband to participate and take care of me, and I realized I had to commit to taking care of myself. It’s hard to accept that we have no control over our spouses, but since that’s the case, we have to take control of what we can.

      I think at some point the kindest thing we can do is to accept that our spouses are not going to change, and make decisions from there. I’ve spent so much time (as I’m sure you have, too), trying to change my husband into a supportive partner, and it’s all wasted energy. I’m trying to find ways to support myself now. Covid makes that much harder, but are there ways you could give yourself more support and make your life easier? Hire out some tasks, reach out for emotional support, involve others in decision making? I think that would be a good step to see if you can create a better life for yourself. Then the next step is deciding if that life also includes your husband, once you’ve build more of a support network outside of him.

      I think deciding if that level of emotional neglect is tolerable or not is very personal and painful. It’s hard to want someone to give more of themselves and be disappointed over and over. I realize now that my husband probably truly isn’t capable of giving more. I’m still on the fence as to whether or not I’m okay with that, too. Living in limbo like that is really hard, and you have my solidarity and empathy.

      I think all we can do while we’re on the fence is build a good support network for ourselves and see if taking some of the pressure off ourselves makes the marriage more sustainable. The forums at ADHD Marriage are full of non-ADHD partners like us, trying to make similar decisions. You might find it helpful to read over there, too. Hugs.

    • #186772

      I have been with mine for 17 years. It became unbearable about 6yrs ago and started to truly show in our relationship 10 yrs ago. Finally in April after the worst hell imaginable he started to accept reality. I would be more than willing to share what steps I have taken to finally get him to hold my hand aand walk side by side with me again with you. Email kristaorsie@gmail.com and I will give info to contact me. You are far from alone! This seems to be an epidemic these days. Our saving grace was this website! Looking forward to sharing tactics and ways to reunite with your husband. Please trust I would never guide anyone in a negative manner nor towards anything but a positive outcome to save your relationship. Will gladly share then enormous list of resources I have gathered.

      You got this!


    • #187076


      I’m really sorry for all you’re going through. I’m the ADD husband here – married 28 yrs to an amazing partner (who’s also an LicSW). I was diagnosed 18 yrs ag at age 35. For quite a while, I thought that meds would ‘fix this ADD thing’. Little did I realize there was a lifetime of other things built up that exacerbated the ADD – bad coping skills, anxiety (what I call ‘the evil cousin’ of ADD), shame, guilt, you name it. I was completely unaware of the impact these had on my relationships until my wife said she couldn’t take this any more. It was only then that I really saw the necessity of also having a strong therapeutic system in place (funny, being married to a therapist and not seeing it!). I’ve got a great one – someone who pushes me to take ownership of my place in this relationship. That’s the context I want to write from.

      Have any of these been obstacles for your husband, or continue to be? I know they can be debilitating and manifest themselves in other ways they were for me. That being said, your husband HAS TO take ownership of his place in the relationship in order for this to work! Also, he needs to be able to see that he has an amazing partner – someone who’s willing to walk WITH him on this journey. I know how hard it is for partners of us ADD’ers to be with us – even as they continue to love us! But he has to meet you half way (actually more, as he needs to put more back in the plus column over these years) so you can begin repairing your connection – you deserve that!

      Also, you need to do what’s necessary to take care of yourself here – whatever that looks like. If it’s a weekend to yourself or with friends, pursuing a hobby/interest that’s just yours, or counselling for yourself – you deserve to do the things that bring you positive energy/joy on a personal level. My wife has those things – and our life is getting better. It’s been a long road; but I’m lucky that I came around and saw that my wife loved me and was willing to work with me – but I had to work on ME so I could be more present for us.

      I’ve become a big fan of leftie22’s insights and suggestions on these threads (I check and read often). Her (yes?) perspective is always so insightful for both spouses (at least this ADD spouse thinks so). You may need to do what’s best for you for a change – you’ve given so much already. I hope this perspective from an ADD spouse helps. I support you here – he needs to make you and your marriage as much of a priority as you have. I wish you well on which ever direction this journey takes you – and send all positive energy your way…

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