Guest Blogs

“So Long, New Year’s Resolutions”

My marriage is falling apart, and it might be the impact of ADHD on my relationships. Read how I decided to take action with this resolution.

The New Year’s resolutions are already semi-broken despite all the talk and promises of 2015 being different. The resolution was to talk less and do more. In recent years I’ve been talking a lot about “shoulds” and “coulds” (I should write a book, I should find a new hobby), and not actually executing or “closing the loop” as the sister would say.

“You know you are sometimes NATO,” she said coining a cute and comical phrase that sadly describes a lot of my life. No action, talk only. But how much of that comes from being ADHD?

Besides, I’d somewhat given up on resolutions, and in recent years made them only because that’s what normal people do (thus the packed gym on January 1st. They couldn’t all be weekend warriors and gym rats, right?). Mine would be to eat less, buy fewer but better clothes, and the biggie is to be more focused. The resolutions felt more like pipe dreams as they never saw the light of day.

But 2015 is already off to a rough start as I talk more and am stuck in a rut. It starts with the unraveling of my shot gun marriage to the husband. I’ve shared the story repeatedly with loved ones in the hope of finding a solution and an answer. The story now sounds stale, and I’ve run out of steam.

“Sometimes in life there are no answers and solutions, but one thing is clear…you sound like some senile parrot,” the sister says.

Here’s the story.

Engagements and weddings are wonderful and romantic and beautiful in themselves, but mine was more like a business proposal, without the three-martini lunch.

Last autumn, in one of my increasingly desperate moments where I’d sink into panic and think, “I’m almost forty and still single, and who is going to want me because I’m ADHD and come with so much baggage?” I asked my then boyfriend if he would marry me. We were living separate lives, his job on the west coast and my studies in the east coast. We never lived in the same city.

The logic? At least I’d have some stability in life, and in the grand scheme of the invisible checklist in life, at the very least, I could say I was married. Importantly we’d been friends for a decade and he seemed to accept and love me for who I am.

The wedding was a bit of a push, too, since the husband threw in conditions like, “I’m only doing X,Y,Z.” He said he was too broke to afford a honeymoon. But as friends later pointed out, “You’re the one who proposed.”

Now a half a year into the marriage the fights have escalated as I’ve increasingly hoped, wished, and prayed that the husband will move closer to me or somehow feel the immediacy of looking for something closer to me. But he won’t budge and has stayed as steady as a sphinx.

“If you don’t like your life there, then move where I am,” the husband says, despite the reality that career and professional prospects are few given that he lives in a rustbelt city where unemployment rates are considerably higher than the national average. I have visions of myself working at the checkout of some Big Box retailer, or waiting tables. In both cases, I’m pretty sure I’d get canned within a week. Math? Ha. I’m one of the rare Asians who have never excelled at math. And I’ve never been good at juggling numerous tasks well, which in this case would mean orders and dishes.

With no end of long distance relationship in sight and no solution with life in career in sight either, I simply share the same stories again to whoever will listen–colleagues, the administrators in my program, even the doctor who did my annual physical.

“Maybe you should get a parrot,” the sister recently suggested. Again, I wonder how much of this is an ADHD trait-repeating myself, asking questions with my answers, and as a friend told me recently, “running around like a chicken with its head cut off.”

Another friend who heard about my latest crisis called me “odd.” “I have to be honest, you knew the situation of being at a distance was already risky, why did you jump into it? At your age you should think more carefully with big decisions.” The feedback was harsh and when I thought carefully it was painfully true.

Many of the decisions I’d made in life, including the biggies, were rash and run by my emotions rather than common sense. How much of this was the ADHD? Once again wreaking havoc on my life.

“I’m trying to change myself,” I tell my sister who has become my shrink and sounding board.

“Yes, no one wouldn’t say you’re not trying, but it’s not working,” she said. “You have to find some other way.” And being so used to the rejections that come with my ADHD self, it seemed sadly predictable if not comfortable that I’d dust myself off and get on the horse again. Happy 2015 indeed.