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Couples With One ADHD Partner

Desperate for help :(

I’ve been with my husband for 13yrs, married for almost 9. I’ve been at my limit with him for over a year now. I do 98% of everything around the home and as far as taking care of our 5yr old princess.
I love my husband he is my best friend. I’m not a nagger, instead I would cry and beg him to pay attention to me, our home our life. I changed everything about my physical appreance so he would want to take me out more than once or twice a year. I cut the grass knowing it stressed him out to do it. I made lists, listened and waited patiently thru 6 career changes. This was all before he was diagnosed last month. I told him I was done and wanted out and he finally went with me to counseling.
He says now that he knows he can change. He’s seeing a nurse practicioner and she is giving him natural supplements to help.
He says he wants to win me back but I feel so broken and iced over that I can’t let him back in.
I want him in my life but I know I am setting myself up for more heartbreak if we stay together.
I would appreciate ANY opinions, comments, or suggestions as I feel like tonight or tomorrow will make or break us


I’m sorry you are struggling right now!  You have an awful lot on the line (your family, your future, your daughter’s future), and you’re probably best not to make any quick decisions.

My suggestion would be to give yourself, your husband, and your relationship some time.  He may know the root of his challenging behaviors now, but he is honestly not that much closer to turning things around.  Learning to manage life with ADHD effectively means learning to do things differently—in ways that work for him, with his unique strengths and talents.  It’s not going to come quickly, and it’s definitely not going to come from supplements or medication!  Those things are tools that can help us learn to focus sufficiently to do things differently, but there’s still lots of work to be done.

We have an expression in ADHD Coaching that says, “Pills don’t teach skills.”  No matter what treatment an individual follows, there’s still a LOT of work to be done.  And it’s going to take time.

He’s just getting started, and it’s not going to be a quick or perfectly straight road.

Just my 2 cents!  I hope something in there helps.

Best wishes,

Lynne Edris, ACG
Life & ADHD Coach

Posted by ADD_Coach_Lynne on Aug 28, 2014 at 7:37pm

Thank you Lynne, I think this is where my struggle is: If I leave him now he thinks i’m giving up when truly i’ve given all I have.
I know it’s a long road ahead and I want him happy and healthy. I want him in my life, I just don’t think he nor I need the chaos this brings as a married couple.
He’s going to have less responsibility if he’s not tied to me and the house. He can focus on work and getting his realtionships back on track.
I just feel like the hurt is too deep, I did all I could to get him to realize there was a problem and now I feel like because a social worker said “here’s why”, he’s using that as an excuse.
He says he is going to try to win me back but i’ve heard the promises for so long they hold no value.
How much more hurt do I stick around for?

Posted by Segneri on Aug 28, 2014 at 7:52pm

Are you working with someone yourself, and in counseling as a couple?  If not, it might be worth exploring before you give up altogether.  If so, make sure the person you’re working with understands ADHD (because not all do).

My experience in working with couples in “mixed” (ADHD/non-ADHD) marriages and from my own mixed marriage of more than 26 years is that every couple’s challenges are just that—their challenges as a couple.  None of us are perfect, and we each bring idiosyncrasies and flaws to the relationship.  How we handle those things is what makes the difference.  We’ve all got some chaos—you get to decide as a team what that chaos looks like though going forward.  Nobody can decide that but you.

Good luck!


Posted by ADD_Coach_Lynne on Aug 28, 2014 at 8:40pm

Natural Supplements???

Get a Doc who can (and has with other patients) prescribe all types of drugs.  A nurse practitioner CANNOT prescribe Scheduled drugs like Adderall and other amphets.  These have the greatest efficacy although they are far from a cure.

Read up on whatever supplements he is taking.  My bet is there is limited empirical data. 

Fish oils are real nice in souffles.  They may not work as well for ADHD (although there is some evidence they do provide some benefit).

Do not have your med options limited by a practitioner who cannot prescribe the full range of drugs available.

Posted by LakeLife on Aug 29, 2014 at 7:40am

I could have written your thread. I have been married for 12 years. My husband was diagnosed with ADD about 3 years ago and just recently diagnosed with bi-polar. He is on medication but he doesn’t take it regularly. He drinks heavily at least 2-3 times a week at the bars. I filed for divorce 2 years ago and got a restraining order but allowed him back in the house after 2 weeks because of his promises to change. He hasn’t changed and I bring up divorce at least once a week. We have no children together so I wonder why I let him stay. I won’t let my grandson spend the night because I never know when he will come in drunk and he can be a mean drunk. I look back over the almost 14 years we have been together and mostly wish we had never met. I quit my job 2 years ago after his son committed suicide and am turning 55 next month so it is hard to find work. I have pretty much lost everything because of him. After we were married a year, he lost his job because he called the manager a bitch and someone overheard and told on him. He has started about 4 businesses since. He talked me into moving out of a home that was almost paid for (which we ended up right back in) because it was too small. We lost the next 2 homes in foreclosure, filed bankruptcy and now my credit is ruined.

Posted by tomcat on Aug 29, 2014 at 12:46pm

I know it is hard and it hurts, but the thing that stands out to me in your post is you say you do love him - that’s why you have done all you have… I understand, I’m the giver to my ADHD husband, you just want to make them happy and make y’all’s life happy and easy, and if it means you taking on extra responsibilities or dealing with things they would never deal with if the situation was reversed - you do it… Because there is love at the core of it all.  You need to give him a chance, it won’t be an easy process for him and know that he won’t be perfect so don’t set yourselves up for failure by expecting perfection.  You have to work it out together though, and that doesn’t mean you did anything wrong but you wouldn’t like feeling so singled out either, and you can bond via this experience.  I’ve learned the key to all of this is being honest with each other and yourself.  I have always told my husband - I know you will not be perfect at all times, you will have bad days or bad decisions - but I will always stand by you as long as you can acknowledge when it happens.  So be honest with him of where you are in your relationship and IF you do not see effort in his part, you are done, but you can’t assume you will be let down if you haven’t tried.  Have realistic expectations and communicate and you will make it through and be stronger in the end.  Also, find what works for y’all as a couple - it doesn’t have to be what others do or is even considered normal - it works for y’all’s.  If you now cause he hates it but he lives to cook, yeah it would usually be the man mows an the woman cooks but who cares, it’s getting done and it makes y’all happy.  Best of luck to you - you sound like an awesome person that deserves a great man - so give him a chance to be that man for you (yes ANOTHER chance, but a new one). smile

Posted by FightForLove on Aug 29, 2014 at 4:01pm

You know what? You’re burned out. You need to do for YOURSELF what you need to do to get to the point where you can trust him again, do what he says he’s going to do and actually change.

You sound a lot like someone who’s been in a relationship with an alcoholic or drug abuser. It sounds like you haven’t set limits for behavior, and just keep taking it. I do agree you need to see a therapist *by yourself* to figure out why you let yourself get to this point of burn out with your husband. His being a “best friend” is no excuse. Even friends respect boundries and limits, and he hasn’t; or you’ve simply never stated them.

I don’t think it’s knocking him down by having him move out temporarily. He’ll have to learn how to do without using you as his crutch (“Segneri will take up the slack! She always does!”) and you’ll have to learn how to NOT take up the slack.

I agree. Supplements might help a little, but honestly, if he really wants to change, he needs to get his butt to a physician and get prescribed the big meds with the supplements as…supplemental to his meds.

Keep in mind you have a 5 year old daughter who’s absorbing EVERYTHING about your marriage. In this case she’s learning Mommy does everything and begs while Daddy does shit around the house—doesn’t matter if his reason is medical. Does she see him *trying* to follow through? She’s also seeing Mommy begging and pleading and tolerating flighty unfocused behavior with no improvement. Is she getting her emotional needs met? Is she being asked how she feels?

Best friend or not, he doesn’t sound like a best friend to me. You *both* need some tough love, honestly. Your kid is the main one here, and if you think about how you want her to end up, you might want to get yourself to therapy to figure out how to deal with your husband. You can’t be his crutch forever, and you’re setting your daughter up to find a guy just like him later on.

Posted by JavaMonster on Sep 06, 2014 at 2:43pm

I am so sorry to hear about your situation that is very similar to mine.
I am getting ready to leave my husband because I cannot wait for him to take action, and go get some meds, and see a therapist. I am so DONE! I love him but I am not in love with him anymore.

Good luck to you, maybe you should take care of yourself, find counseling. I am a new member, I don’t have any advice. My husband was diagnosticated w ADD 4 months ago and I was relieved to know at least there was an excuse for his behavior but I can’t wait any longer.

Posted by mom2011 on Nov 13, 2014 at 9:54pm

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