My Forum Comments
So far as far as I can tell my children do not seem to have ADHD. Definitely not hyperactive. They do hyper focus on stupid iPhones and iPads at times and it takes a bit to snap them out and get them to put them down. This is a generational problem as well perhaps. I highlighted 90% of the book too!
The frustration is real… I too have been the breadwinner for many years of our marriage. During all the times he was “laid off” I stepped up to work more hours. Some weeks as many as 50-55 hours. With toddlers and infants at home! Then I would walk in after a 14-16 day of work to a MESS. I would yell at him and get pissed off. He wasn’t capable of multi-tasking to watch the children and entertain them, and use the nap time to try to apply for jobs. No way could he cook or clean up too. I would get so mad when he ordered pizza or take out for $40+ dollars at times. I would think “I’m busting my ass out there and you spend this money on take-out?” Make a box of pasta for less then $2…! Through therapy I have uncovered that part of the anger I have is at no time during these periods of lay off did he even try to get a BASIC job at a deli or restaurant or anything for extra cash. He literally was applying for positions that were lateral to what he left and he thought it fine to have me work extra and him mind children by day. It wasn’t even that I wanted him to get a minimum wage job, but it was the lack of offer or initiative that really hurt me.
Usually it is the lack of initiative that is the most unattractive thing about my husband. For example, my husband has had major problems with his teeth over the years, and does not like dentists. He uses the “I do not like dentists” to just not go to the dentist. He has not been in 5 years. This has happened before. It usually results in a tooth crisis when he gets an infection or abscess or a tooth breaks. Then he’s in a scramble. It gets so old. How about you just go to the dentist 1-2 times a year since you have a history of tooth issues and avoid all crisis and chaos? I think “told you so” or sarcastic “who didn’t see that coming” like 10 times a day. If I say anything about it he sighs and makes it that I’m the ass.
One of the things my therapist has also asked is “does your husband function as an adult in the marriage?”. In my case I would say about 60% of the time. The other 40% he functions likes a 14 year old boy. Playing video games, avoiding chaos, ignoring late notices, dumping his dirty socks wherever he wants. All this makes it as if I have another child. He doesn’t really seem to care. I just told him last night that I am trying hard to sensor all my thoughts and conversation with him to avoid speaking down and “mothering” or nagging him. I feel like anything I say now is taken this way. We can’t seem to have a serious conversation or a conversation that results in support through years of friendship. That is the most hurtful. He sees everything I say to him as a nag or my being a pest. I simply asked this weekend what is the plan for the yard this year? Landscaper? you going to do it? He’s like… “I don’t want to do anything”. What kind of plan or adult answer is that? Anytime to want to vent I am happy to relate and share.
I read your post and thought to myself I could have written this exact entry. My husband and I are in our 40’s and married 17 years. We have 4 children ranging in age from 15-7. I too am the non ADHD spouse. My husband has been taking medication for his ADHD for about 5 years. Although “diagnosed” he never went about it via the “proper” channels. He gets his medication prescribed monthly from his general doctor. I have urged him for the last 3 years to please go see a psychiatrist for a proper diagnosis and treatment regimen. Still he has not. As you know this is one of the most frustrating things for an ADHD spouse. Follow through and the complete lack of it. I could probably list 10 things right now that should be attended to which he has no desire or motivation to tackle. I also believe my husband suffers from depression which perhaps mild could benefit from both behavioral and medication treatment. I have been asking my husband to seek therapy for himself and for our marriage for about a year. Again no follow-through with that. I have had so many similar things in my marriage that you mentioned above including several job “lay-offs” which at times I have wondered if he was actually “let-go” due to inefficiency or disorganization in his job role. One of the reasons I demanded he at least speak to MD and try medication was his forgetfulness. Keys, wallet, suit jacket, when he left the house. Failure to remember things I asked him to handle or take care of and finally as a mother of young children the last straw came when he forgot our daughter at a practice field one evening while I was working! I received a call from another parent stating my 1st grader was at the school all alone holding onto a fence with no one in site. She was just about to pull away after picking her own child up and noticed mine there. Thank heavens my daughter knew where I worked and they called me. I had given my husband specific instructions to pick her up at 7pm and low and behold he got involved in something and hyper focused on it and never paid attention to the time. He also claims I told him 7:30… I am a bit OCD and knowing his ways I repeat myself so many times. I know I told him 7. It was at that point that he agreed to try medication. He had told me the medication is “like putting on eye glasses and seeing the world for the first time” He has essentially taken the same regimen for 5 years. I do think that it could be even more effective if managed appropriately. (I am a pharmacist so I feel like I have some additional insights on the medication part).
So here is where I give you some advice that has helped me a bit. I heard this great quote “If you want to change your marriage, change yourself!” I do think it is wonderful that your husband is open to seeing a psychiatrist and it seems as if he would even be open to seeing a therapist alone or as a couple (?). I am glad that you realized that you needed something to help you as well. I personally see a therapist every week. She is a psychologist so no prescribing medication, but it helps to talk with a neutral party who has never even met my husband. I vent the frustrations I feel and she gives me ways to cope. Through talking with her over the last 6 months I have realized that we should have been in marriage therapy all along. I too suffer from loneliness in my marriage. My husband who in the beginning use to hyper focus on me and making me laugh (this is common in early courting relationships when one person is ADHD I have learned) has basically checked out. Likely because I spent years nagging him and mothering him but also because he is not able to handle me and our relationship anymore. From my experience I truly believe that ADHD people are not good multi-taskers. Men are not as good as women either. My husband is completely maxed out with his job and caring for our children and running them to activities and such that he has no energy or ability to give me any attention what-so-ever. So although I feel lonely every day I find things and focus on them to help me. I see my therapist every Monday, I go to the gym 4-5 days a week and take spin. I joined weight watchers and go with a friend on Thursday’s (this can be like therapy too). I focus on my children and being present for them and cheering for them at their sports and dance and such. I read personal growth books about different topics I am interested in including ADHD and marriage. I also read fiction and belong to a book club with some former co-workers. I take a walk or go to sleep when I am at a loss of what to do. I listen to podcasts (awesome feature on your phone if you do not already know about it). Personally I like the podcast RISE and RISE TOGETHER. Every day at some point I say a mental prayer that I realize I can not change my husband as he is an adult and he must acknowledge and work to better himself inside his own illness. I am done stressing it and making him appointments (that he often would neglect to show up for). I try to stop nagging him and walk out of the room when his banter is too ridiculous for me. (He too makes untimely comments). I have noticed that the cell phone is TERRIBLE for ADHD sufferers and I have read a lot about that as well. I have asked him that he not bring the phone into our “bed” as I often fall asleep or awake to my husband on his phone. Often doing work but more often looking up stupidities or fantasy football. He honors my request for a few days and then it goes out the window. I’m tired of always asking and things not really changing. Marriage is so very hard and anyone who is married to someone with ADHD has it even harder! Couples where one or both suffer from ADHD I believe need professional help to keep things on track. In all his shortcomings I will say this, my husband is a wonderful father to our kids. He enjoys attending their events and sports and always puts them as top priority. His hyper focus when directed towards the children is wonderful.
Take one day at a time. Learn some coping mechanisms with this new diagnostic revelation. Read, troll this website for advice. Pick up some new habits for yourself. Mostly try to understand that this is an illness. They do not wake up each morning with the thought “Today I will drive too fast, get a ticket for several hundred dollars, put that ticket somewhere, forget to pay it, then get a notice in the mail for $XXXX which my wife will see and get mad at me for all the above…” I do not believe that someone with ADHD does this. If they have suffered their whole lives they have spent their whole lives being told “you are not good enough, what’s wrong with you, why can’t you figure this out”. When I was growing up I can clearly remember classroom teachers saying these things to children… I am sure that the same things were said to my husband. He has spent his whole life in a cloud of mental chaos. Not feeling up to par. And not able to figure out why he can’t figure it out. Truly an illness. There has to be a line however between feeling sorry for them and enabling them to continue in constant chaotic state. They are adults. They must put pieces together to figure things out. Or at least want too. Your husband sounds as if he is willing to speak to the psychiatrist and start putting pieces together. That my friend is a blessing.
Books that are helpful include:
The ADHD Effect on Marriage by Melissa Orlov
Helping Your Husband with ADHD by George Sachs and Tim Norman
The Doormat Syndrome by Lynne Namka
I don’t suffer from ADD but my husband does. I am on here to try to get a sense of the daily struggles he may face. I often say trigger things to him. Mostly “what are you doing?” and “really?” I will try to be more mindful. It is very challenging for both ends the ADD sufferers and the people who love them.
While the phone has become a problem for society at large and it doesnt matter age or gender. We are all somewhat addicted. As a non ADD spouse i have come to refer to my husband phone as his mistress he certainly touches it more than he does me these days. I think that it is extra hard for ADD sufferers to find a way away from phone. I know if the phone dings my husband will read the text and often navigate onto 15 sites before putting it down an hour later. It sets a terrible example for the children. Can you leave it in the car when you get home? Hidden under seat and lock car of course. Extend the time you leave in car each day. Do not sleep with it near you unless your children are not sleeping home or are at a sleepover. Charge away from your bedroom. There is also a book i just started reading called “hands free mama” gives you ways to slowly break away from phone addiction. Give the small steps a try.
- This reply was modified 2 years, 8 months ago by jfrutrx.
I appreciate the feedback… I can not even begin to image what goes on in my husband head. I try so hard to do things that take the “extra” responsibility off him. I certainly do not make all the decisions as if I had been over the years we wouldn’t be where we are especially in the financial situation we find ourselves in. The hardest thing I have a problem understanding is the impulsive thinking. I send my husband for soccer cleats for 1 child ($50 item) he comes back with tee-shirts for himself in addition. His justification is “they were only $7 EACH”. but you purchased 5 so now a $50 purchased became close to $100.
We have a shared calendar in our phones. That only works if one looks at it no? A daily calendar as well as write on board for daily lists and activities for the kids. I keep money hidden in his car for the day when he runs out of gas and forgot his wallet. I know he does not intentionally set out each day to forget things and such.
I want to see a marriage counselor but I want him to make the decision who to see. In 2015 we went to therapy and he “didn’t like MY girl”. OK so find one you do like and I’d be happy to go.
Small steps would count in a BIG way. Taking some healthy lifestyle changes I know is challenging but I know that the act of exercising and dieting and thus weight loss would lead to better sleep, increased ability to focus and an improvement in the overall way one feels.
I want him to admit he has limitations and ask me for help. Its the current state of arrogance and blaming me because I have reached my limit. I very often fly off the handle because as the non-ADD spouse who can not fully understand his head it gets old and exhausting over the years.
I want him to be the best version of himself, for himself, for me and for our children. I am a bit of a control freak…. some of which was inborn and some of which has grown in me after years of him being ADD. I think it is difficult for me to realize that I have no control over this and I need to make a choice every day to focus on myself.
“Hope is not a strategy. If you want to fix your marriage, fix yourself” I’m working on these two ideas every day now. Making changes in my life. In my reaction to my husband.