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Couples With One ADHD Partner

Broken marriage

My husband has ADD and is struggling with his goal of achieving a 4-year degree.  A chronic health issue limits him to on-line schooling, with his time available for studying being extremely limited to a couple hours per day, due to his health concerns. School isn’t working.

I have Asperger’s , which has added to the conflict in our marriage.  A unilateral decision I made 4 years ago led to my career taking over, and his was pushed aside.  It is a decision I regret wholly, but cannot undo.  He feels undervalued and understandably resentful.

As for our marriage, there’s not much left.  He no longer wears his ring.  He resents me, says he hates me, and is only here because he is trapped, staying for the sake of his children.  Unable to leave due to his illness.

Is there anything I can do do support him in completing school when his illness makes even one class seemingly impossible to conquer?  Is there anything I can do to actively support him?


It sounds as though the illness is the biggest factor in how your husband feels.  That doesn’t make things easier to deal with but I do encourage you to not be so hard on yourself for giving your career top priority.  It seems like a good decision given that your husband probably would not be in a position to work now, if his physical condition does not allow him to do schooling for more than a few hours per day.  Perhaps the four-year-degree is just not in the cards.  Can your husband see a therapist to help him deal with the issue of changes in his goals and dreams?

Posted by rosered on Feb 18, 2014 at 7:22am

Is the school issue maybe a lack of accepting his limitations?  Unfortunately people can not always accomplish everything they want( no matter what Oprah and others claim:)). It sounds like that is the case with your husband.  No offense but what is the degree going to be worth with his limitations.  I have similar limitations and the most frustrating thing for me has been accepting those limitations. Maybe some of his anger is coming from that. If you were not working who would support your family?  Maybe counseling would help stop some of the blame game.

Posted by jann10 on Feb 18, 2014 at 8:11am

Even if he were totally well he might not be able to apply himself online.  My husband couldn’t even get himself started after he had enrolled twice in univ. degree courses online.  I also paid quite a lot for him to do another course face to face and he only attended a few classes before he gave up.  He was uncomfortable with the other students and the work requirements were too much and lacking in enough guidance for the student (I did agree with him on the work load and need for more guidance as I was a univ. professor and familiar with work loads).  It seems to me that people with ADHD need stimulation from other people and also can’t focus for long unless they are absolutely fascinated with the subject.  They have trouble finishing projects and a degree takes some time.  I don’t expect him to do any study as I don’t think he can even though he’s clever.  He talks about doing this and that but I don’t engage with him over it and it dies a natural death.  Maybe in his heart your husband doesn’‘t really want to do the studying (chronically ill or not).

Posted by Maree on Feb 18, 2014 at 8:37am

I think he views school as his only option right now.  He can’t go back to work, and it seems like school would offer him the flexibility of schedule while he’s physically unable to return to work.  It’s possible that in a couple years, he may be able to achieve remission healt-wise.  Regardless, he needs something that allows him to begin moving forward. He’s been stuck for far too long.

Posted by Lost74 on Feb 18, 2014 at 8:53am

Yes, I understand what you’re saying and your husband might be significantly younger than mine.  Sometimes too they lose their confidence because self esteem is low.  My husband wants praise all the time for things which I think are trivial. Good luck with everything.

Posted by Maree on Feb 18, 2014 at 9:52am

Perhaps you could ask your husband directly what you could do to help him.  I discovered, somewhat to my surprise, that my husband, despite his many challenges, did not want help from me.  It has been very frustrating.  But he’s an adult, I can’t control him.  He’s floundering to this day.

Posted by rosered on Feb 19, 2014 at 3:47am

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