View Full Version : HELP! Separated from ADD Spouse

12-13-13, 03:35 PM
Hi Everyone!

I am currently separated from my ADD spouse--we discovered this once we had separated, although he did indicate he was diagnosed in his twenties ( he is 45). He decided not to treat it.

Anyway we have had a very hard marriage, and I am obviously a factor in it as well because of my anger, frustration and resentment.

So this is confirmed in counseling and it has opened a whole new window of hope for ME. However my husband is in denial and still hasn't committed to treating it for the last 3 months.

Our last counselgin session was very painful for me, as my husband discussed that he is not able to be married to ME anymore and that he is ready to move on.

So he is in a bike race this weekend--and it is his weekend to have the kids. I will gladly take them when I can, but he is requesting that I bring them to his race. This was discussed when he first signed up for the race ( pre-separation) but he has never discussed any details with me--time, date, place, etc.

So today he texts me ( he will not speak to me) and tells me we need to discuss plans for tomorrow. he specifically is a complete jerk and states that of course he expects that I wont do anything to help him, like I have been the unreliable one.

I tell him he has never contacted me about the plans, place, time, etc. until today. I tell him that I already have things planned. and ask him does he expect me to sit around and wait for him to give details? I tell him that it makes me feel as though he thinks that my time isn't valuable.

So do I take my kids to watch his race, or do I NOT do it out of principle and fear that he will continue to take advantage of me because he lives in denial of his condition.

12-13-13, 04:20 PM
Have you asked what the kids want to do? It would be nice if they went so they could support their father. Despite what the two of you are going through, it might be best to give them the sense that when it comes to family, you do your best to support each other. Just a thought.

12-13-13, 04:28 PM
This is a general comment and not meant as a response to any one thing you said: Some counsellors, especially many marriage counsellors, do not have specific training and knowledge in ADHD. With such counsellors, things that they "confirm" can be wildly wrong when applied to a person with ADHD. Again, that was only a general comment.

12-13-13, 04:29 PM

Poor you! This is a tough situation. I think Andi has a good point, thinking about this from the kids' point of view. If they really want to be there, helping them to do so could be a good thing. But if not, I'd think twice about getting involved with this.

And even if they do want to be there, what does it teach when dad can be completely irresponsible and doesn't figure out how to include the kids in in his life, and separated mom has to make that work for him as well as doing all her own stuff as a parent?

You are going to have to deal with each other about stuff like this for a long time--until your kids grow up. So to an extent, it's good to try to make him aware of your feelings, your boundaries and his responsibilities. But realistically, if you couldn't address all this when you were together, how successful will you be now you've separated? it sounds lie he'll need to change before he can get it about this stuff.

To me, this just sounds like a situation that's going to be lose-lose-lose for you. He isn't treating you nicely as he asks for the big favor, your time and plans aren't respected, you're spending energy trying to figure out what to do and worrying about what your kids want, and you may end up working to handle his responsibilities on what should deb your weekend "off". The longer you do stuff like this, the less likely he is to realize he needs to seek treatment

Big sympathy to you, and good luck figuring out what you want to do. Let us know what happens--

12-13-13, 07:07 PM
Small things... built from expectation and resentment.

When the kids are grown and gone you'll both kick yourselves for it...

"Doing something" for the other person from this point forward is more of an act of "maturity"... It will serve your kids better so go along and smile and read a book ...

Obviously there is still pain... and that's to be expected...

Consider ( without expectation ) certain ways in the future that he may be able to reciprocate...

It is a good thing that the kids go to the race... The biggest message that my kids got from my nasty separation ( and I from my parents ) is that it's fine to let your "take" stand in the way of connection / engagement. Don't let that happen to them.

Having said all that stuff... what you do also does need to be tied into what he does to some extent. If all he does is lean on you... This is not good either.

12-13-13, 07:27 PM
I found it important to remind myself of several things when dealing with my (untreated) ex-husband, father of my three children...

Firstly: Genetically my children are half him as well as half me. No matter what our issues as adults they will grow up associating themselves with their dad.
If I reject, condemn and demean him as a person, what do they take from that?

I tried to always remember to put forward a balanced view of their dad.
Your ex is riding in a bike race. He is modelling a healthy adult activity in this case. Is this something you want your children to own (within themselves). I hope I'm not being too obscure here and you can understand what I mean.

Also: You are going to be sharing the parenting of these children of these kids far into the future... You owe it to your children to do your best at keeping your own personal feelings out of it and try and see things from their point of view.

I know how incredibly hard this is. My heart goes out to you.
My children were 6yrs, 4yrs and 8mths when my ex-husband and I split.

They are now 22yrs, 20yrs and 16yrs. Two out of the three of them have a strong, healthy relationship with their dad. The other still has a positive image of his dad and himself but found the issues surrounding his stepmother very hard to navigate.

I had to work very hard to be fair. My ex was at times extremely demeaning and horrible to me, but we have moved beyond that into a civil and fairly open cooperative communication and appreciation of eachother's importance to our children.

12-14-13, 05:31 AM
I agree with Andi, find out what the kids want first.

12-21-13, 09:51 PM
That sounds like a very frustrating situation with plenty of history and baggage on both sides. From your perspective, you are doing him a favor not only by watching your kids during his weekend, but by offering to bring them to see him race. If he really wants them there, he could have hired a sitter or have a friend take them. Also, will this be fun for the kids? My husband does running races and if you're not in the race it's kind of boring until your loved one finishes. If that's the case, I'd rather bring them to the park and meet dad for lunch or something.

From his (ADD) perspective, you knew about the race and you don't really need all the details until the time comes. But I get it, if he asked you months ago, and never said anything more until now, you would have made other plans.

I just re-read your post and saw where you said you made your arrangements pre-separation and he's acting like a jerk about it. In that case, all bets are off. Do what you (and the kids) want. You are doing him a favor.

Unfortunately, it sounds like he does not understand the profound effect his ADD has on his life, including in your marriage. It may be that he'd rather have ADD than a marriage and sadly there is nothing you can do about that.

Good luck

12-22-13, 12:18 AM
Why is your husband in denial? ADHD is deal-able and while some stigma exists, it could be worse. Is he against medication and/or counseling/coaching?

I agree with earlier post that many counselors are not trained or do not understand ADHD and how the co-existing conditions result / factor in.

I wish you guys the best. To me, the big question is why is he in denial? Is it just a stage to acceptance or something else?

01-01-14, 11:58 PM
I know this is late; what I would have done is do it this one time and then set a boundary. Let him know that in the future, all drop offs will be at (his house, or whatever the specified location) and anytime another location is desired, you will need .. (specify a set number of days, etc) advance notice unless there is a REAL emergency. Then you need to enforce that from that time forward.

Yes, the children ALWAYS come first; however in the future, they do need to see that you are setting an appropriate boundary and then you can empathize if plans are ruined (due to his lack of follow through or behavior).

I'm sorry you had to go through all of this and that he seems unwilling to do what it would take to make it work :(

01-02-14, 03:55 AM
**Edit: Here's a great article. I think this is your girl. Sounds like the perfect book if you read her credentials and the book was number one for marriage and adhd in 2010.
The article is exactly about your situation.

OK, denying ADHD and taking advantage of you by that the big issue here? Like is that the route of all the problems? It's really hard to guess not knowing all of the details of the situation, but I do see some underlying problems. Just going to help you from what I know about relationships (although never been married, I've done some reading about relationships).

First of all, I don't know anything about someone else figuring out they have adhd and being convinced about it, when the other person has not gotten to the point yet... I'd imagine that would be the big problem.

And apparently that problem has gotten more annoying and almost like a grudge. So obviously that could potentially be a hard and a touchy subject to work out. But, I bet you can find the best way to do it with some good research.

One thing I know... at this point fighting and arguing will really not help. Sounds cliche. I'd make an apology or get to a neutral place where both of you are respected.. talking calmly. Tell him you love him and want to be with him. That's tricky. It sounds serious. I would read a book about it. Just make sure love is in the picture. Sometimes love means changing yourself, sometimes it means patience. I know that the number one things that is bad for a marriage is contempt. Contempt as in the opposite of respect.

Here's a source run in partnership with Harvard.

Number one prob in marriage- contempt

Just make sure you do things to keep the love going and you both have to work to keep it together. Find love that you have for your husband. That's very important. You both have to make sure that neither one lets the love die. So you're going to have to rekindle what is left. That takes work but couples make it even better if they both work hard at it.

Don't blame him and get mad at him for being in denial about adhd. What you're also saying is I don't like you're adhd traits... and so why would he want to come out and say he has it. That's a blow to his ego. He has to know that you respect him, are in love with him.. he doesn't want to know that you think he's got a weakness and problems and anger towards him. (I'm sorry I don't know his behavior so I'm focusing on what you should do only by reading your post, but these are all legit things to be done regardless of not knowing his view and his way of negative thinking if there is one) So anyway... he wants to be your protector.. not someone who can't take care of himself or is causing problems bc of adhd. When he gets diagnosed.. his treatment is his problem... it's his symptom... he is the one that needs to control it. I think you should stay out of it. The best thing to do is for him to get to the point where he owns it and wants to cure his own symptoms... it's his private own business. He doesn't want to be dehuminized and labeled as someone with adhd. (dehuminizing is at the core of evil..random but informing) That is crucial. Don't see him differently than the man you love. Seperate the disorder's overall effects from the man you love. You don't like that the disorder sometimes naturally goes against the grain if not regulated.. but you do know that's not your husband.

And also.. adhd is a gift in many ways. Can be extraordinary at times. He can do some things better than most can. You can look at the threads I started and see the one I created about adhd being a gift. (harvard source) It's your choice to look at it as a gift.. I like to, but some people don't like to see it that way at all. So back to the negatives, you don't want to turn it into an identity crisis type situation. (the first stage of grief after adhd diagnosis is denial by the way) You have to keep in mind who he was when you all got together, and make sure your personality is the there from when you all fell in love. obvi not anger, contempt.. and whatever else is between a couple.

I know that men are very sensitive. The harder they look the more they are blocking their emotions. They don't know how to express their feelings. Men never ever admit the real reasons that things ended for them with their partners. Why? I don't know. They don't even admit it to other men. That is deep inside and they guard it. They have a lot of trouble expressing why the relationship ended for them. Like...what he fell in love what started happening that he observed (it's kind of like guys know what they love about you.. know what you're capable of when they love you...provide for you..protect you..but they don't tell you these things. They know this but they don't tell you. It's like a guy thing that they don't even talk about with each other... it's just part of who they are and guys just are that way. I guess it's not something really defineable.

So anyway... they watch your behavior and if something has really change with a problem or something they will love you... they won't give up on you... But, if you do something like lie to them, or they figure out you don't love them.. (even if you don't know you don't love them)... weird stuff like that. I read it in a book that was a number one best seller. Google love by michael french. Adhd is a part of him, but it is not him. There is still that man you love. Some of his adhd traits you love. But maybe the situation they cause you don't like. But make sure it's the situation you adress. Don't blame.

Focus on the situation and what needs to be done to fix it. He is what you fell in love with, part of that was traits for adhd and whatever else you know he is.. just a normal guy. We're living in a world that calls for us to do things that are unnatural for us. Like.. what if you had to learn while molding clay, not looking at the teacher, and you also have to take a quiz on all of the distracting things in the class room that you were supposed to tune into instead of blocking out... you wouldn't be able to do it because that's our kind of test. That's how we think. Sometimes we're unable to tell you the very first part of the conversation but we know all of the distractions that happened in the room. If we're tuned into a conversation like everyone else (which we can do but try really hard without medicine), and especially when it's a subject we're passionate about... we'll be making connections that no one else will make. That's how we work. Just as intelligent... just a different way of thinking and a different way of learning.

It does not have to be called a disorder... it only is because we're in a world run by people with different brains and we happen to be the minority. So it'd be a good idea for any one close to an adder to know that and be able to respect that and embrace it. But know it's his.. you don't own it it's not yours you don't have to take care of it. You have to respect it. And if he wants help then help. Be sensitive to the five stages of grief someone with adhd goes through. I would also maybe clue him in on what you find out from now on. You don't want to be figuring out about his problem when that's the last thing he wants you to be doing. Try to find a place in your heart of love and acceptance. Be the person he fell in love with. Remember when you fall in love part of it is thinking about what you did to make him love you. When you fall in love, the person you are falling in love with is a mirror of yourself to you. What he brings out of you that he loves, he showed that part that he adored to you and that's part of falling in love with someone. Another thing -assume love-.

UPenn has the best center for adult adhd. I like the quotes on their homepage. I'd let him discover more about the website before you do. But i'm really just speculating. I'd take it all from a professional. info in additude magazine is often flawed I never read their stuff anymore. Psychology today seems pretty legitimate but their are so many proffessionals contributing. I'd look for info associated some how with good schools. like *some* of the best adhd research is done at harvard, mayoclinuc, upenn, umass, and mass hospital (whatever it's called) Maryland has a good center as well. But any good school/source like wsj will be good. Here's an article by dr. hallowell from harvard who is an expert. Also see my signature for top experts and google their name in quotes then your topic in quotes.

Somehow you got all my hyperfocus energy and I'm so glad if it helped! I was kind of just spewing information at you. Since I don't know you of course I hope nothing is offensive when taken personally. I meant nothing but help... I have been looking into relationships because I was having probs with my bf. I'm sure you will be great with all the info! It was too overwhelming when I found it all at once, but looking back.. just assume love and communicate... and remember not to be anxious/fretty/worried/overly emotional.. be relaxed and trust and have faith. Also.. don't be nagging.. or else it will be better for him to be in a corner of your house reading the newspaper while at home. Hope that helps.

01-02-14, 04:27 AM
***I'm sorry if it seemed inconsiderately delivered or something. I was just free flow writing and brainstorming. Only thinking about all of the research i've done.. not thinking about you all in particular. Not personal at all.*** I actually purposely went back and found this thread because just from the title I knew I could help with this. This is the topic I was just all about last month so that's all I got.

Edit: just realized there are kids in the situation. That's not my territory, sure you could find info on that and I'd keep asking for real life stories on here. You'll learn a ton if you stick around here. It really helps. I went to a specialist at upenn and I was able to speak his language because I was on here. He was really complimentary that I was so prepared, but actually I did nothing but hang out on here and learned without realizing it or intending to.