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Couples With One ADHD Partner

pls help husband has no money again to contribute to household

My husband’s job reduced his salary over a year ago and he did not tell me. We split joint account and contribute a percentage of our incomes to the acct to cover our expenses. He earns a lot less so his amount is less. This system was suggested by our family counselor bc he has been so inconsistent with financial contributions the past decade plus of our marriage. He promises to pay for nanny or rent and then time comes and he expects me to pick up and pay his share because once again :he cant” due to circumstances out of his control or his lack of earnings and I always did. Fast forward we have two young boys and buy a house and I put down a six figure down payment and he promises to pay 60%  of mortgage when due.  Guess what when it is due his job reduced him to no salary and comission only and he hasno comissions apparently past six plus months so he has no money for joint account expenses like kids school nanny groceries for our kids since i work full time all bills even his own his car k nsurance which is on mine now so i had to pay his from savings to keep my car ins e gas water cable food etc wtc. All gets dumped on me with       no notice and no time for me to save and and then he   also cant pay his promised 60%  of our current   mortgage. We would have lost our house! So guess who.      is expected to pay all of that now too with no notice. I am now paying $30k plus per year that I had not anticpated.      bc he can pay nothing. I am pulling from savings each month bit doing it all. Paying his groceries food house al bills etc. He is going to office each day but earns nothing. I also pay a nanny. He has looked for work past five months and only interviewed once in person and once on ohone and received no offers. I feel he should(and come up with this on hos own accord and want to earn something for lods o f not me) at least nget a part time job on weekends on before or afywr work day at this point. Even earning min. Wage would at least contribute something and at least vover his own needs. He says he doesnt want to quit his job now bc it lookd better to have a job to find one so he cant take some thing during work day. Again he is earning nothing at his job and nothing in near future commissions projected. N He now wants me to give ve him MORE money on TOP…. of picking up his portion of joint living expense…...s for kids and house that he just dumped on…. me AND mortgage .....And car insurance for him and xmas Presents for his family (all items in past he…...... uses his earnings to pay) and causing me to ...drain savings to cover. He wants money now for gas ....for his car cleaners et.c. yet I am floored he would even ask or expect this vs earning something six plus months later now. Min wage if he must. I feel That is not right and not fair I am already completely stressed ...paying his share for all else and using my hard earne….d savings . he could get a min wage job if ...necessary outside of work hours or else and feel ...natural consequences of his actions or lack thereof vs expected it from me on top of ALL else i am forced to pay now.He knowshis expenses and has been witho…ut an income for six plus months now and had plenty of time to plan how to earn something vs once again me….. swoopjng in and paying it all for him when he again drops the ball. Suugestions? Advice?  I love him but am floored. I read about loving detachment but it is tough to do.


Wow.  I’m really sorry to read this.  I have gone through similar things although my situation is not as dire as yours.  My husband is paid (maybe) on a cash basis, and he hasn’t put money into the bank in more than a month.  I pay almost all the bills but I ask my husband for reimbursement for half the “joint” expenses, which right now is money spent for our daughters.  He pays his own credit card bill (although he’s behind).  All I can think to say to you is to tell your husband, no, you cannot pay him for gas, cleaners, etc., because there is no money available to do so.  It’s time for him to wake up and smell the (stinky) roses.

Posted by rosered on Feb 17, 2014 at 9:50pm

ok thank you for the quick response. That is super helpful. This is just terrible. I feel so alone, overwhelmed and completely stressed out all of the time .  It is sad too b/c i feel like sometimes i miss out on being able to enjoy my little boys b/c of my constant financial never ending stress and exhaustion.  How do you do it? I am so happy for you and happy to hear your husband at least contributes to the bills for the kids. GOOD FOR HIM on that point.  Although I am so sorry you have been through this too. How long have you all been together?  I don’t see how my husband doesn’t “smell the stinky roses,” on his own accord, it truly baffles me,  if for nothing else, than for his kids. I can’t imaine knowing i could not afford to even feed my baby boys! This is so tough :(

Posted by bffj on Feb 17, 2014 at 10:02pm

We’ve been married for almost 29 years, and our daughters are young adults.  So, there is no legal obligation for either of us to support them, but I am very close to them and would never not provide them with needed financial assistance (or support of any other kind).  My husband just doesn’t seem to have that same belief system.  It distresses me deeply. 
Right now, we’re living apart, at my request.  I’m living in the house.  My husband is living with and taking care of his parents.  His father might or might not be paying him.  They have an agreement that my husband will be paid but the actual physical process is difficult, because my father-in-law refuses to pay my husband by check and so my husband has to go get money with his dad’s debit card, which is currently being replaced, so no card.  At this point, I just want the marriage to be over, and I have in fact filed for a separation.

Posted by rosered on Feb 17, 2014 at 10:18pm

My experience is that as long as you pay for everything (approx $2 million for me over 15 years or so) he will just go on taking it.  Finally, I became ill and now we live on social security.  I pay for rates, water, gas, telephone, cable, insurance on my car, registration, etc and he pays for food and fuel for cars (one car is very old).  If he runs out of money very quickly (as he does), I don’t help him.  I just won’t strain myself anymore and would just eat rice or something until next payday.  He knows this now and it seems to me that this point blank refusal, and my willingness to just let thngs take their natural course (there are always tins of food in the pantry if things get bad for a week or so), frightens him into trying to be more responsible.  When he whines that he has almost run out of money, I either don’t answer or I tell him the truth and that is that I can’t help him as I have such big bills to pay every fortnight that I don’t have any money left myself.  I think that they only take responsibility when they are dropped on their bum and they are forced to do so or take the consequences.  He doesn’t want to eat rice and something out of a tin for 7 days apparently, whereas I don’t give a damb because I’m not carrying the burden of everything anymore. I just refuse to do it, and I would still refuse even if I had my former good wage that I had before I became depressed and had to resign on doctor’s orders having been deemed totally and permanently incapacitated.

Posted by Maree on Feb 17, 2014 at 11:23pm

THank you both. That is so reassuring that I am doing the RIGHT thing by saying NO. That is hard to do. But this time somehow,  My gut and heart tell me NO MORE, I have been pushed to the edge financially, not by choice, time and time again by him,  and forced to pick it all up for him again but his gas?  I did pick all joint expenses up and the entire mortgage and and i will, for my kids,  but gas when he is getting all else paid for by me for him?  He is an adult , 44 yrs old, that is capable and   competent especially so when it comes to focusing and completing “projects/letters /sites etc (that all bring in no income) ” but that interest him, I just hope he will figure it out .  Real work is not always interesting but you have to sometimes dig down deep,  earn money the old fashioned way, by hard work and anything that is available , vs. relying and expecting me to do that too. If he even earned barely anything per hour above min wage, even $9/hr and worked 20 hrs week/ he would have $180/week, more than enough for his gas money the past six plus months. Instead he continues to do nothing the past six plus months that earns money and just tells me he ‘can’t” drive , when we go past his car w/the kids and I am now also “expected to drive everywhere” apparently now b/c he has no “gas” money , that is something that he has been meaning to “talk to me about” he says/ REALLY ? Talk to me about giving him gas money? GEEZ   I feel I have REALLY enabledhim long enough and maybe that has contributed to it continuing, had I said “no” when we had no kids and made him feel the natural consequences of his broken financial promises the past decade and of his lack of consistent reliable income and contributions, and need to earn real money , even if that means changing jobs or taking a “lesser” job, maybe we would not be here today. You both sound like you are beyond out done w/your husbands or the “hope” things will change and improve. I am so so sorry. I am so scared . THey say “parent child” relationship is terrible for the ADD marriage,  but how do you get out of that when we support them and they come to us for support , when they are physically and mentally capable, we are expected to pick up the pieces time and time again or be on the street I guess . We are forced into the “parent” role by their own actions or lack there of and WE have no choice but then we are told not to be in the role of “parent”? . I am so sorry about your depression and status but after years of this stress they put on us , how can we eventually , not crack?

Posted by bffj on Feb 18, 2014 at 12:11am

I have always sulked and wondered if other wives going through the financial stresses that adhd has caused my family. I can relate to each of the comments posted in this thread. This morning I was actually filling out a job application for my “estranged” husband. We’ve been living in separate states for the past 6 months until now. He is an unemployed, “disabled”, veteran and he has been “homeless” since he was discharged from the military nearly one year ago. We actually lived in motels with our 6 young kids because that’s all he could afford while getting unemployment benefits. I was waiting on approval of some disability benefits for myself, he also applied for benefits before he was discharged. After 6 months of living in one room in motels, I finally got the approval I was waiting for, collected my first lump sum of retro-pay and took all my kids and moved 900 miles away from him! I do love my husband, but due to his refusal to accept that he does have add/adhd, I find myself pulling away from him for my own sanity! 3 of my 6 kids have already been diagnosed with adhd and have been on meds to manage the symptoms. And yet, the children act better than my husband! They are helpful, loving and considerate, although they need several reminders to stay on task. My husband is very immature and selfish. The whole time we have been separated, I have taken care of our children and myself, he offered no financial/emotional support. He was getting unemployment benefits and a monthly stipend for housing while he attened school full-time. Yet, today he is homeless and broke! He dropped out of school and the unemployment payments ended in Dec. So, now because I icare that he was missing his kids and they wanted to see him, now he’s been living in my guest bedroom and I’m trying to find him a job! It’s a vicious cycle. Loving detachment is very difficult. I detached for 6 months. No phone calls, just emails. Sometimes you must distance yourself physically and emotionally. I became stronger mentally, I even begin to loose some stubborn pounds while I was separated from my husband. He claims he fell into deep depression and gained nearly 50 pounds in 6 months because he thought he would never see us again. And yet, here I am coming to his rescue, stressing myself out to help him get his life back on track….These are real struggles and I empathize with you all. There is no simple solution.

Posted by Kiki808 on Feb 18, 2014 at 12:20am

My husband also drinks to excess and began verbally abusing me two months after we got married.  That was a big shock as I came from a family where no-one uttered words like that.  We didn’t know that he has ADHD and only found out recently.  Even when I was very sick with depression and anxiety, I would sometimes have to pack an overnight bag and drive over to my brother’s house 30 minutes away for the night.  Then I kept a packed bag ready all the time.  I did not abuse him or do anything negative back to him for about 21 years.  Just his drinking and cigar smoking alone cost me $6 000 every year over the first years we were married. I was in debt every year and relied on my income tax returns to put me back in the black.  I took him everywhere with me like overseas when I had to go away with my work.  So he got to travel all over the place and I paid for all of it.  He did keep an eye on me however so that nothing happened to me.  We were overseas for months at a time while I worked.  He did a lot of the cooking at that time.  After about 21 years however, something in me snapped and I turned on him as viciously as he had been to me.  I have trouble controlling my resentment and bitterness and I think I am a lesser person than I used to be.  I think I am harming him now as his blood pressure goes up pretty high (175) because, I think, he gets very anxious.  I think I need someone to give me advice as I don’t want to be a vitriolic person. I ask myself what “love” means to him as he says often that he loves me.  We lost all our babies through miscarriages but they would have had a miserable life poor things.  I still am sad about it though.

Posted by Maree on Feb 18, 2014 at 12:35am

Ladies-these men are parasites and the sad truth is that they will not change. Odds are they went from having their pieces picked up (when they couldn’t be bothered to be responsible) by their parents, or their last wife and now expect you to pull up their slack.they have not grown up and never will as long as there is someone else to cover for them. The likelihood is that they will find someone else to drain financially and emotionally once they have drained you, and they will likely NEVER grow up. It would not surprise me if you found out that these men actually ARE earning money, and they are using it to woo their next victim/wife. This is not legal advice because I am not a lawyer, but I think it would be a VERY GOOD idea to see a lawyer (without their knowledge) and have a marriage contract/domestic contract written for you, based on the laws in your area. Marriage contracts can be entered into before you marry (called pre-nup), after you marry (called marriage contract or domestic contract or co-habitation agreement) or after you separate (called separation agreement).
    Have the lawyer write down all the agreements you have made this far- such as paying for 60% of mortgage and so on. Do all the calculations and figure out based on your verbal agreements, what you think they owe you. If they have been doing domestic duties while not contributing money, like looking after the children, house and home, then of course your money is considered shared more than if he is just going off to work and not being paid, and you are looking after more of the children’s needs…

Are you aware that in many MANY states and provinces, that YOU are responsible for YOUR HUSBANDS DEBTS- even if you know nothing about them, and did not agree to taking on debt and did not sign any paperwork. And of course, if your ‘husband’ knows your signature and is willing to lie or forge it- the situation can become even worse- as it can be VERY difficult to prove that you did NOT sign that credit card application- or that line of credit on your mortgage.

If you are not ready to leave these guys (again, don’t be surprised if they are secretly planning to leave you)  and you want to keep these guys around as concubines, knowing they will not likely even pay for themselves, much less their children, then you MUST see a lawyer and make sure that you SEPARATE YOURSELF FROM THEM FINANCIALLY.

You CAN continue to live with them, if you want to or must, for now, or for the children’s sake, or until you have time to figure out your next move- while at the same time making absolutely sure that they cannot drag you down any further in the future, and are willing to sign a domestic contract outlining what they already owe you based on your prior verbal agreements. Verbal agreements can be enforceable contracts in many situations- but you have to have some evidence that these agreements were made. I would consider it prudent to have conversations about these financial agreements in front of believable witnesses like a financial planner you might go to see together, and is would consider it prudent to have audio or videotape of such conversations where he admits to making these financial agreements, and admits he owes you the money. Then, when you present him with the domestic contract that protects you and your children from his financial decisions, and he refuses to agree he owes you that money, or refuses to take responsibility for his own debt and spending in the future, then you have evidence to prove your case, when the inevitable divorce proceedings are commenced.
  I need to reiterate that I am not a licensed lawyer and this cannot and should not be taken as legal advice, and there is no lawyer-client relationship between us and cover my butt cover my butt because I am only a law student- likely located in some place other than where you are, where the laws about these things differ, and I am not permitted to give legal advice. What I have written here is just some legal information you might wish to think about, and might wish to SEE A LAWYER as soon as possible where you live, and have a consultation (some lawyers will offer a free 1/2 hour consultation), and find out what rights and responsibilities you may have for your husband’s finances, and what steps you need to take to make sure that from now on you and your children are protected from his irresponsibility. It might be a very good idea to get your partner to agree to order both your credit reports to see exactly what debt may be in your joint names without your knowledge, and/or for the lawyer to use to quantify past debts prior to going forward with a new agreement that truly separates your finances from his. Good luck! But remember it is not luck that protects you from financial ruin- but your own initiative to take action to prevent it.

Posted by sheilak on Feb 18, 2014 at 12:37am

I hate to say this but I feel it must be said.  Has it ever occurred to you that he may indeed be receiving at least some amount of income and stashing it away in a separate account for himself? That’s not at all uncommon and before you spend another dime you may want to consider checking it out. I wouldn’t say anything to him about it because he’d only deny it, and then he’d be forwarned as to your intentions to investigate. There’s no way anyone can go to work every single day,  8 hours a day,  40 hours a week and not receive a dime in compensation. Even commission jobs are required to pay something,  and employers must have legal documentation if their employees - W-2, I-9, withholding, Social Security, etc. Or perhaps he isn’t even going to that job any more, in which case it would behoove you to find out where he IS spending his days while you finance his adventures. This is not underhanded, nor is it spying. You are his wife, you are supporting him, and I’ve seen this over and over in my past career in law with clients. I strongly encourage you to check it out, and fast. It doesn’t sound as much like a medical issue to me as a possible legal one. You have nothing loose and everything to gain - like self respect, and the truth. If you’re being misled you need and deserve to know. Good luck!

Posted by sruasonid on Feb 18, 2014 at 12:46am

Thanks for that both of you.  My husband has not had a credit card ever.  I know because I am quicker than he is in knowing what’s going on.  He has the attention deficit badly and can’t remember anything even if I tell him four times and email the info to him also.  The more anxious he gets, the more confused he gets.  He is seldom out of my sight and, if I do go for coffee with friends, he calls me after an hour or so as he can’t stand it if I am away for more than a few hours.  He does have a joint debit card with me and his social security payments go into it.I don’t use the account but I can see what he’s doing with it.  He only ever buys things for the house, garden or car.  I did make a move to divorce him and contacted a divorce lawyer twice.  I have wanted to get away for years.  At first I didn’t because I would have had to sell the house (it is in my name as I paid for it) and I would not have been able to buy another as I was too old.  We married relatively late in life.  Then I was really sick fof 13 years and could hardly get out of bed let alone figure out a divorce and everything it entailed.  Now I am just too old to do all this.  Sometimes I think to myself “Only about 20 more years to go” (until death).  lol.  His life has been ruined by his ADHD and so has mine. He is an honest person but struggling every day and just lurching through life.  He agrees that this is the case and becomes very sad.  I didn’t know that he ever felt sad until he told me recently and said how sorry he is for everything.  He says he has been a shocker but he still loses his temper over little things and called me a “turd” the other day.  I swore back at him.  Total disaster eh!

Posted by Maree on Feb 18, 2014 at 1:14am

bffj, boy can I see through the lines to your stress and frustration.

Lots of good advice above and I’d just like to add one bit.  Having been married to a man with ADHD for 17 years and in that time he’s lost 5 jobs, so we’ve seen our share of financial turmoil and stress.  I earn very little in the place where we live (my earning potential plummeted when we moved from a city to a tourist only area) so managing when he is unemployed is super stressful.  And we have children, one with ADHD. 

I could go on and on about my experience and extrapolate conclusions about what you should or shouldn’t do.  But the one thing I want to add to the conversation is that you need to find peace.

And I can hear you laughing about how that is not so easy to do in your situation, I sooo get that.  But you need to create a little peaceful space for yourself.  Whether that means you take just you and your children and go sit by a lake for a weekend, or have a spa day all by yourself, or sneak off to the library to read for two hours, or meditate or take a yoga class - whatever it is that will give you a string of moments to relax as much as you can and find some peace in your mind, do it.  Do it soon.  You are super stressed, that is obvious and you can’t go on like this.  You must take care of yourself.

And you WILL know what is the right thing to do at the right time.  Trust yourself on that.  But that knowing is not going to come unless you have given yourself some peace.  And you need to make this a regular practice for yourself, somehow, to take time to find peaceful moments.  It is not luxury or selfish it is necessary.

Best to you.  Let us know how it goes.

Posted by YellaRyan on Feb 18, 2014 at 1:14am

You all are so appreciated. Although now I feel scared. I thought , after recently finding out the diagnoses, that this was just the add effect on my marriage and I should be more empathtic. He is in commercial real estate and last december they reduced his salary by 40% he said anyway but did not tell me for seven months. Then this past july they replaced his managerial role with someone else and took away entire salary. Since then he says he has made no commissions and closed no deals. I dont see him pounding the pavement or networking all around town for business. I am surprised by that considering how dire I would think his need would be to.      ... generate more business leading to an income. I used to ask about this and the lack of deal closings and he ....said it was that managing took so much time. But now… he is not managing and I dont see any real hard ...core efforts to generate new deals in the pounding th….e pavement aspect and working tons of hours ..aspect. He goes to work after me most days (two days a week he helps me get kids ready but i do too but he leaves after me on those days and the others too now that i think anout it)and comes home around the same ...time as me 9 am 5pm)  now I am worried. Am I totaly missing it all ? I believed he is a loving dad and husband and the less he earned he does amp up and help a lot around house he folds the laundry or keeping kids so I ...can work out. We are taking a seminar with melissa orlov and he seems serious about the seminar and improving. He increased his vyanase to 60 mg and he is trying to take it daily. Am I really missing the boat here and this is way more than the add effect on marriage. I am so scared alone sad and confused and stressed out.

Posted by bffj on Feb 18, 2014 at 1:19am

Read “The Sociopath Next Door” by Martha Stout. Pay close attention to the chapter about “poor Luke.” No further comment. I wish you well.

Posted by sruasonid on Feb 18, 2014 at 2:02am

It might be that he can’t get anywhere because of the stress.  My husband becomes overwhelmed when he has a big job to do or a number of jobs and he becomes paralyzed.  With me (I don’t have ADHD), I just set about doing things methodically until they are all done but, usually, he caves in.  I used to be contemptuous until I read about the feeling of being overwhelmed that people with ADHD suffer.  I didn’t say anything to him about it but watched and listened to comments he made.  He talked about all he had to do and how he needed to make a plan but he dragged the chain.  Finally one day he actually used the word “overwhelmed”.  Nevertheless, when I began violently “blowing my stack” when I had always been quiet, he was electrified into action.  I think my obvious rage acted as a motivator like nothing else.  In my fury I was more thwn a match for any of his rages and he was faced with this enraged creature who called his bluff time and time again.  Then he started on his jobs bit by painful bit.  After a while, he looked at what he had done and experienced some joy (we totally changed our yard and garden which used to mortify me).  He said yesterday that we have the prettiest yard in the street.  There is a lot more to do and we fight every week.  He abuses me and I tell him he’s a bastard.  However, progress has been made.  The doctor told me I am suffering from burnout and need to get away as the lady above said to do to have some peace.  A friend told me to call her when I want to get away and she will go some place with me for a day or two.  I do crave peace and sometimes go out to the cats at night and put my face on one cats furry stomach and listen to him purr while I sniffle.  They are both very understanding animals and are willing to offer a tummy and give my hand a few licks in support.

Posted by Maree on Feb 18, 2014 at 2:21am

It’s just like kids-if you continue to enable someone, they will continue to take advantage of you. Stop expecting him to do something he’s either unwilling or unable to do. Face the fact that you’re the responsible one, be responsible. Stop paying for anything he specifically needs and just focus on what you need and the kids. If he actually has to do something for himself, he will.

Posted by adhdmom2000 on Feb 19, 2014 at 1:20am

Dear Sara, What a wonderful letter.  You are an inspiration for those of us who have had such a miserable life.  I so enjoyed reading what you did and still do and could feel the powerful creative energy pouring out of you. I am wondering how old you are as compared with me.  I am in my 60s now and feel tired although I have begun walking for an hour a day (30 min morning and night) and I watch what I eat.  However, I started to drink, after we had been married about 13 years and, although I’m not a blithering drunkard, I am taking in too much sugar in the bottle of wine each evening.  I put on a huge amount of weight from the antidepressants which almost killed me (the drug company Eli Lilly told my specialist to take me off what I was taking before I dropped dead and she said she didn’t want to end up in the coroner’s office).  The withdrawal effects were bad and have lasted for months and months - mostly the sweating and hives. I was born with a deformity which is almost invisible now after a lot of plastic surgery but I have been mocked a lot in my life.  I always thought these people were scum and my husband joined the scum bags recently by mocking me too.  I asked him why he did it and he said he felt “exuberant” and that he didn’t mean to hurt me.  He probably doesn’t realize that I will never forget it - because I can’t.  His brother also got $50 000 out of me when I was sick and making poor financial decisions (apparently common when one is depressed).  I am not a total pity case however as I was lucky enough to be born clever (apart from a dumb relationship choice) and I went to university while I worked during the day and eventually had the degrees I needed for the job I wanted. I had all of it before I married him so he came (with virtually nothing) to a set table.  I was quite happy to share as I was just looking for pleasant company in the second part of my life.  I don’t think that people with ADHD are able to love anyone.  If I were younger, I would do what you did but, in 6 years time I will be eligible to go to a retirement village.  I don’t feel like a retiree actually as I have a great deal of knowledge and experience just going to waste.  My husband wants us to set up a web site and post regular political commentary as we both know a lot about internationa l politics and related social issues.  I might just write the material with him and let him present it (seeing I’m deformed…ha! ha! seems to notice it nowadays but videoing captures every fault).  Thank you for your letter.  I hope a lot of people read it and suck up some of your energy and power.  I havw two beautiful Burmese boy cats.  One is sitting beside me now (having a bath).  He has reached out a paw to pat my arm.  They are both comforting and loving which has really surprised me.  By the way, did I say that I lost 40 pounds of the weight I had putvon as I was prediabetic.  I’m okay now.  I feel better for “spilling my guts” anonymously and having others understand.  Thanks again! xx

Posted by Maree on Feb 19, 2014 at 2:07am

Sara, I am done giving advice as I said, but had to post once more to say “I love you!” Your post is exactly what happened to my life only I’m just getting started with the digging out part. The filthy mess of a hovel I’ve been left to shovel out and all. It’s even harder for me since I’m physically disabled and can’t even work, but I’m finding ways to deal with it. Your post gave me both courage and a roadmap to get started and keep going. Thank you!

Posted by sruasonid on Feb 19, 2014 at 5:02am

I’m in the car (parked) and using my cell phone too.  It does do weird things from time to time.  Sara, I became a bit anxious for you when I read your last post.  I’d say that your analysis of the girl is very accurate and a developing nightmare.  Would the mother have ADHD seeing the girl has inherited it (I suppose)?  I know what you both mean about your houses being cluttered with their rubbish.  While I was sick, our house got out of control and now it is taking me months and months (whilst draggi g my husband along like a carcass) to fix it.  We’re getting there slowly.  I have one last whine to get off my chest…When I was told that I had to resign my good job because I was too ill to work, he said to me “I married a university lecturer and look what I’ve got now.”  We had a Russian Blue and she was lovely.  She was desperate to get outside so we finally let her out.  She was hit by a car and died.  The two Burmese are clever and loving.  I teach them all sorts of things and they recognize many phrases and signals.  I will take care of myself and I appreciate and value everything that has been put here to help me.  I wish we could keep up the contact but I wouldn’t put my email in a public place of course..  Sara, I wouldn’t get trapped into anything involving those children.  I have had many years experience with children (in the workplace) and it would be a tragedy for your new life to be ruined.  I have got so interested in all of you that I want to know what happens to you all.  I’ll figure out something as regards my own future.  I have good friends of 30 plus years standing and some past students who have never left our friendship over the years.  Look after yourselves.  I’d say “Keep in touch” but I don’t know how. xx

Posted by Maree on Feb 19, 2014 at 7:06am

I have so much to say I don’t know where to begin. Perhaps with a confession that I also have ADHD and now see that there’s a dif group - those where both ppl in the marriage have ADHD - that would prob have been better for me to join - but i’ll join that too.  What brought me here must have been fate.  I was too impatient to read everyone’s post - but i’m sure I will go back and do so - but I read the first few and I am just so relieved and grateful that I am not the only one with THIS SPECIFIC ISSUE and AT THIS SPECIFIC TIME!  This means I’m not the only one in the twilight zone!!

Everyone’s story is of course a little different.  I’ll eventually backtrack to fill in imp details BUT the most imp part of the story is that my husband has gone beyond just living here with his kids without contributing to the household, to actually STEALING FROM ME!!!

This is not the first time but the 2nd time we have gone thru this.  We were already in marriage counseling when it happened the first time I think, but we spent probably a year talking about this and other big issues we have.  Took me that long to re-trust him.  And now same thing has happened again a couple yrs later!  I’m embarrassed to tell anyone, except our marriage counselor, because it makes him look horrible and me look like an idiot.  Of course both are true, but still.  I flipped out at the bank, so they know. When I looked at my balance, I told them it had to be a mistake and they started printing out every recent transaction, when I had a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach that it was him again.  I called and asked if he had any idea why there was no $ in my account and he responded “Don’t worry, I’ll put it back”  AAAHHHHH! Thats what I actually yelled in the bankers office. She smiled and shut the door and told me she doesn’t let her husband deal with $ at all.  She doles it out to him daily. I think thats’ ridiculous. But she said its just reality.  And, like my husband, her husband was supposedly a “business man”, owned his own business. HAH! Not a business man I’d go to.  (ok, so i’m venting here).

Anyway, he had been using a credit card of mine that i’d given him to grocery shop - because he’s the one who does that now. He had been taking the statements from the mailbox before I could see them.  Because I have a lot of credit cards, which I review line by line when the statements come, I didn’t realize one was missing. And its automatically paid by my bank account - my system for not having to deal with late fees. 

I’m embarrassed to say how much it was.  IDK why I should be the one embarrassed but I am. As if I’m responsible for this. And I guess I do feel partly responsible, because it happened before and I didn’t properly protect myself. But who wants to protect themselves from their husband?  It sounds crazy!

The only good news is that according to the line by line statement I finally read online (since he wouldn’t even give me the satisfaction of giving me an accounting of his spending—probably because he is incapable of keeping track of it), he has “only” spent my money on his kids college tuitions and his business expenses.  Not on gambling, sex, or other “bad activities” and not on anything personal like clothing (he wears clothes with holes to his office in our garage).

Prior to this, he did the same thing for his other children’s tuitions (he has 4 girls from previous marriage).  And prior to that - and continuing until today - I am the one who pays entirely for upkeep of the house, extremely high real estate taxes (house is paid off via my ex), gas, electric, water, gardner, babysitter, housecleaner, etc, etc., etc. The money that I use to do so was primarily coming from my prior marriage, although now I do work. But when I came up with that monthly amount it was for me and my 4 kids.  I figured my new husband would pay for himself and his 4 kids because he always had been. And 8 kids is too much for anyone to pay for…so our arrangement seemed to make sense.  Except from day one, when the bills came I just paid them because I was used to being a single mom for 5 years and therefore paying bills when they came.

And my current hubbys parents died (who ran the family business with him) and he had to sell the bldg his dad owned so he could give his asinine sister her half. So he moved to a warehouse near us with his half, and frankly his parents obviously also had organizational/pack rat issues because he moved a huge amount of useless, dirty material with him, and then the recession of 2008 happened, and ppl stopped buying his products, and he had to fire the few workers he still had. He was an awful manager anyway.  Barking at everyone to do things without anyone having an idea of what they were supposed to be doing…running from one thing to another…NEVER paying his taxes since his parents died - on business or personal…so i continued to do so on my own.

He is still extremely disappointed/angry at me for not taking over the warehouse when it went into foreclosure (the one time he verbally asked me for something)....Forgetting that I did swoop in just after and paid for the lawyer to help him out of the mess to the extent that they could (yes he paid me back). And then he moved to our basement & garage, where he now works alone…on ebay.

Why are we still married? Well, I could leave and I could go on citing his faults, but in my compassionate moments I know that in addition to all these faults he is also

*a wonderful father to his children (now ages 19-24)
*now the wonderful father of my beautiful child (age 3)
*a great stepdad to most of my kids (aged 14-24, but not the one with ADHD…how ironic…who he was awful to)
*now the family cook (I don’t go near the stove)
*the family shopper (I don’t go near the store)
*a good salesman but incapable of managing a business
*sitting on a million$ of inventory which no one wants - he has tried in vein to sell it off in big chunks to other retailers or wholesalers in his business
*trying to save face with his kids - too embarrassed to tell them he can’t pay for their school
*extremely attentive to me
* compassionate about my faults
*a person with a disability (ADHD) that affects his frontal lobes - which is where his self-awareness resides and which makes it very difficult for him to see the forest (not just the individual trees in front of him)

I’ve also learned that if you have children, divorce doesn’t solve many issues.  You will still be dealing with this person for the rest of your life, and you will be missing out on any of the positives they provided to you and your life.  Divorce also affected a couple of my kids VERY negatively…the ones that were vulnerable to begin with.  So unless its just the 2 of you, getting rid of him isn’t AT ALL as cut and dry and good as it seems—although it is attractive from afar.  And its not that I don’t have those thoughts.  But I remember that getting divorced didn’t give me fewer problems, it just gave me different problems. So I’ve learned its better to tough it out and as conflict-avoidant as I am to try to confront and work together to solve the problems than to exchange them for new/different ones. Easy? No.

Finally, y’all might not want to hear this BUT
have you ever imagined how things would be different if the genders were reversed?  You are all “carrying” your husbands the same way men carried their wives financially since the beginning of time—until recently when women joined the workforce big time.  Most men didn’t resent their wives or call them bums or all sorts of names.  Yes, the wives did the housework in most cases.  But in some (and still today), if the man’s wages are big enough, the women join gyms and serve on PTAs and volunteer for charitable organizations, or sit on their bums at the nail salon while the babysitters and housekeepers take care of the house and both the husband and wife have no problem with that!!!  Plenty of men pay for their wives gas and shopping and every other expense you guys have listed above that you resent paying for when its for the husband, who in our society we expect to be the breadwinner, or at least earning his keep.

My husband would be happy to stay home all day with my hyperactive son and run around and play with him, and clean up (what he calls clean), and grocery shop, and cook. Granted these new contributions only began a couple years ago, but I’m grateful because I would rather go out and work. Its 100x more intellectually and socially stimulating than cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, and playing mickey mouse clubhouse.

HOWEVER, we never had the discussion about these new roles, and NOTHING excuses his stealing!!!  And it baffles me that he could be angry at ME rather than take ownership of his mess…and it baffles me that he is not more grateful.  But I’m sure there’s many many women that are not grateful to their husbands…I know because I was one of them.  I just took it for granted that my first husband paid for everything because I was in grad school and he was making a lot of money.  But he didn’t have to pay for my grad school, or ALL of the expenses of private school for our kids, or ALL of the household expenses.  He did it out of love for me and our kids, and even more so out of a sense of obligation for his wife…which is something we women don’t feel we have towards our husbands because we weren’t raised that way.

Anyway, in my attempts to resolve the situation we are back at the marriage counselor and I’ve had a calm sit down at home w/ hubby a few days ago (in which I showed him #wise how little he is actually making, how unrealistic it is that he could tell his kids they could go to expensive schools, and suggested that we have a WEEKLY sit down to discuss our finances in a REALISTIC way…which he agreed to.

Is he capable of having these conversations? Thinking big picture instead of small? Helping to create a budget? Will anything change? (other than that we are having honest discussions?) I don’t know. But its worth a try.

If I’m going to be the one paying for everything, then lets at least fully acknowledge that, bring it out into the light, examine it, and hopefully both come to PEACE with it.

Its only a bad thing if we believe it to be, but there is nothing inherently good or bad about who pays for what.  Just that in a partnership, what both people want gets acknowledged and attended to in some way…and keep negotiating until you can find what is REALISTIC and works in YOUR marriage.  And if you are married to someone with a disability, that is a reality.  That doesn’t mean they are completely disabled and can do nothing, but it does mean that what they do will be different than another person who is more-abled.  Can they/should they strive to improve themselves?  I think so.  I think we all should.  Including me.

In chinese the word CRISIS is the same word as OPPORTUNITY.  I love that.  In my less angry/saner moments I choose to see this crisis as yet another opportunity for me to learn certain lessons that I’ve obviously not learned yet.  Like how to protect myself, how to see reality for what it is, how to be compassionate, how to set boundaries so that this never happens again (rather than just wishing/hoping it won’t), how to create a reality for myself that might be wonderful even if it is vastly different than anyone else’s that I know. 

I do know about detaching with love, as I have an older son with a drug issue.  I think how I use that concept in this case is to realize that as personal as this feels, my husband never intended to hurt ME.  This is his issue.  My son doesn’t accept help with his issue, so I’ve had to detach.  If my husband won’t acknowledge this reality, and work by my side to find a better way, then I will also have to lovingly detach. But that doesn’t work well if you want an intimate relationship does it?  So, I hope it doesn’t come to that.

God bless you all for being here to provide me with companions along this journey that sometimes makes me feel like I’m seriously in an episode of the Twilight Zone.

I agree with whoever talked about the importance of peace.  I’ve had so much angst in the past and only in past couple years have found serenity, that I refuse to give it up ever again. This has knocked me off my path somewhat, but I know the way back.

Hopefully we can all help each other find serenity.

With love and gratitude for you all,

Posted by spaced-in on Feb 22, 2014 at 11:38am

PS. I’m in a couple 12-step groups which are AMAZING (even if you think you have no issues that qualify you for a 12-step program just go to an Open meeting…you’ll learn a lot about how to find serenity no matter what).

Anyway, someone advised me to go to DA with my husband (Debtors Anonymous).  IDK that much about it, but this woman was in it with her husband AND on this same week on this very ADDitude website I saw some professional advised a couple in a problematic situation similar to ours to attend Debtors Anonymous. 

Just wanted to pass that along.

Posted by spaced-in on Feb 22, 2014 at 11:52am

Maree - my lovely older compatriot - since you are toughing it out in this relationship like I am, I would greatly advise Marriage Counseling if you can find someone you like/respect who is actually helpful…it must be someone with knowledge of all of your issues and your husbands.  Word of mouth is best but if you’re embarrassed use the wealth of info on the internet to research a good counselor. It has really helped us.

Also, you are on the money (no pun intended) about your fighting with your husband.  It is a stimulant that gets him going to do the things that he probably wants to do but can’t get up the gumption for.  Has he ever tried an actual stimulant like kids with ADHD take?  There are so many now.  If he’s willing to try it, it could make a world of difference.  You may no longer have to be the one to fire up his brain! Disclaimer - I’m also a neuropsychologist - as well as mom of kids with ADHD, and self-diagnosed with ADHD.  I tried only one medication and it worked big time (adderall) but I was so sensitive to it that I rarely slept at night, and when I did, I was still aware of consciously thinking and working on things in my mind, so I had to stop taking it before I began hallucinating from lack of sleep.

Since then I’ve learned to rev myself up by getting so passionate about things, so worked up that I want to get up and do things, but its in bursts.  Its difficult for me to do things in a steady, methodical manner.  But who cares, I’ve accepted that this is how I work. And success breeds success.  Thats great that your husband has seen the fruits of his labor in your backyard!  My husband won’t clean up the backyard—there’s some unspoken pact that its my dimension - hopefully that will change, because working out in the yard together would be great.

I also learned late in life how to keep budgets and break things down from bigger goals to smaller objectives because I founded a nonprofit agency, and had to learn these awful things I’d previously resisted my whole life, if I was to accomplish what I wanted to.  Thankfully I have always been ambitious…or I’d be swimming around in my own muck.

I hear all of you talk about the crap in your homes and I feel for you…if I wasn’t 50% to blame I’d prob be really pissed off.  But this is why we are living in this huge expensive house, even though its no longer 10 of us here, but just 3 most of the time!  How we could get ourselves out of here I don’t know! I have boxes from my move 10 years ago and theres so many stupid nicknacks and crap around here because neither of us can throw anything out—always thinking it may be useful sometime and we both had packrat parents who taught us it was a sin to throw anything out (nonverbally of course).

Anyway, my ADHD is taking me off track.  Bickering is stimulating. We engage in it regularly and love it. But if you don’t try a medical doctor and if the first stimulant doesn’t do it, try another and another.  If he’s willing.  Or load up on the coffee…that does it for most of America.

Also - would you really not present international politics due to a “deformity”? didn’t you say you were previously a lecturer? I’m sure everyone that knows you now thinks you are beautiful because people’s outward appearances only matter at the beginning of a relationship.  After a few minutes its whats inside thats either captivating or not.  Go for it!!!

God Bless,

Posted by spaced-in on Feb 22, 2014 at 12:18pm

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