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Old 12-08-03, 11:50 AM
elizabethizme elizabethizme is offline
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The other side of the coin

It is obvious that ADD is an extremely difficult "thing" (syndrome, affliction - what is the best thing to call it without being politically incorrect) to live with. I would never dream of minimizing the feelings and problems that arise from having ADD.

On the other side of the coin, it is important for the ADDers to try to understand that their having ADD affects many people around them - spouses, co-workers, employers, family, etc.

It is great that the non-ADD spouses have a forum to share some of their issues and thoughts on the matter but it would also be nice to have a journaling area like the ADDers. It would help me enourmously if I could just share my thoughts on my day-to-day life with my ADD husband. It could help other non-ADD spouses relate and it may help ADDers understand the frustration of the non-ADD spouses. I often feel that my husband and I are in a battle of who is hurting more. And believe me, as a non-ADD spouse, I am hurting.

I know my husband reads and participates in these forums - I brought him here. It is a good place for him to vent and share since he does not do that with anyone in his life. Maybe he will see my words in a different light - maybe not.

I noticed something "different" early on in our marriage. I attributed these things to various reasons which are not important to mention here. Our communication was difficult, he had difficulty being affectionate, he was a man of routine, he was forgetful, he was a procrastinator, he was disorganized, he was a pack rat, to name a few.

I stuggled with many of these issues but we were newly married, had a child within a couple of years and life was busy. I was always a take-charge type of person so things fell into place a certain way and we were both happy to just let them flow the way they did. We were too busy to notice the lack of balance. I often made excuses as to why I was doing more - he played ball, he had a demanding job, he had unreasonable deadlines at work, etc. But in the back of my mind, something always nagged me about his behaviour.

Arguments were always about the same thing and like many couples, we fell in the rut of always fighting the same way thus nothing ever changed. I have a strong personality and speak my mind; my husband has always preferred to lay low and dislikes conflict of any kind. The more I would get angry, the more he would retreat. The more he would retreat, the more I would get angry.

My biggest issue was the lack of intimacy. My husband hardly ever went to bed at the same time as me. He had a routine at night that helped him relax after a long day. He would smoke a cigar and have a couple of beers. It didn't matter that he was now married, that routine was important to him. So I went to bed by myself about five nights out of seven for many, many years. It certainly affected the intimacy factor.

Throughout those years many of the household responsibilities fell on me. I took care of the finances. I planned all vacations. I took care of the house. I took care of repairs. I took care of our social life. I planned holidays. I planned parties. I helped with his work. I'm not going to say that I did it all but I certainly did a lot. The keyword here is planning. Seeing the whole picture was not a strong point of his. And, throughout all of this I started a small business, I went back to school for a seven-month program, I was a full-time mom and eventually I opened a print shop.

About four years ago I read, for the first time, Driven to Distraction. I don't quite remember why I picked up this book. I read something about ADD and there was a mention of this book and something seemed to fit. Within the first few paragraphs of reading the book, I realized he had ADD. I remember bringing it up to him but it didn't go anywhere.

After two and a half years, I decided to close my print shop. There were many reasons but primarily there was simply too much stress in my life. Too much to do. My husband, after years of struggling with one job, had been offered another. We knew that if he remained at the old job, we would end up divorced.

I stayed home the first few months after closing my storefront. I started rollerblading and listening to tapes. I took out the audio version of Driven to Distraction and listened to it again. I was convinced my husband had ADD and I brought it up again. He did finally listen to the tapes while commuting to work. I had to ask him what he thought and he said that some things sounded like him but others didn't. That was the end of it.

I continued to read every thing I could on the subject. I found web sites and discussion groups. I joined one Internet discussion group for non-ADD spouses and was thrilled to find other people who were living what I was living. It wasn't just me. This was a high-volume list and I had a hard time keeping up with all the messages. Unfortunately, I found that many of the spouses simply wanted to vent and were more interested in bashing their spouses than finding support. At this point, I was on a mission to find my husband help and I refused to believe that this was the way it was going to be forever. I continued to bring up the ADD with my husband and he continued to ignore my theories. I don't blame him. It was a typical ADD reaction - he was simply overwhelmed with his life and adding one more thing was simply not a possibility.

My research has been an eye-opener. I know now it is not as simple as telling him to change. He can't change. His brain does not work like mine. Sure, we are all different and we all do things differently but it has been shown that ADD brains do not work the same as the brains of non-ADDers. That doesn't mean that he is destined to be this way for the rest of his life. There are options to help make his life easier. There are coaches. There is therapy. There are books to read to help understand. But because an ADDer feels overwhelmed at all times, it is absurd to think that they can just pick up and do these things.

Unfortunately, as the spouse of an ADDer, I was beginning to feel like a caregiver. Constantly holding his hand to get him to do anything. In turn, he was feeling like I was a nag. Someone who constantly criticized him. He felt I was taking away his self-esteem and confidence. It is a vicious circle with both partners hurting and wanting to show that they are hurting more than the other. At first I was resentful of all the things I was doing to sustain the marriage and the household but lately I am starting to realize that the biggest issue was the lack of intimacy. Is this because of the ADD or simply because he has had only one other relationship before me? I don't know. All I do know is that I need to feel loved. I need to feel desired. I need to feel wanted (other than to do household chores) and I need to feel an intellectual connection. I have told him numerous times that I feel lonelier now than I did when I was single.

I am one who very much believes that each partner must give 100% of themselves in a marriage. Not 50-50 but 100% from each all of the time. When you marry you take on certain responsibilities in regards to your partner. You must make them feel loved. You must be there for them. You must make them feel safe. You must be aware of their needs. You must listen to their feelings. I will promptly say that, lately, I have not been able to do most of those things. Mostly because I feel that I have been doing this more than my husband has towards me. I feel much resentment about having to ask to be loved.

My husband finally went to his family doctor after my insistence almost two years ago. He was referred to a psychotherapist who did not immediately diagnose him with ADD. He said he had many of the behaviours but he wasn't convinced. He still prescribed Ritalin. That didn't work too well for my husband so he was given Dexedrine. He has continued to see his doctor every few weeks to get a renewal on the prescription. That's about it. No therapy and no coaching. When my husband asked for some references for some books or web sites, the doctor replied "Why don't you go to the library or get on the Net yourself." Quite the ironic answer to someone with ADD. He eventually told my husband there was not doubt in his mind that he had ADD.

In the meantime I continued on my quest to learn as much as I could. I often mentioned the things I found to my husband but it was never enough to get him to read or visit a web site. I read many books and pointed out some behaviour that were issues in our marriage. Instead of discussing these in depth and referring to the material I had found, his reaction was to tell me that now I was a know-it-all. All I wanted was to help him. All I wanted was for him to try to understand how ADD was affecting him and our relationship. All I wanted was to help save our marriage.

I found these forums over a year ago. I didn't post too often but I read as much as I could. It helps to see both sides - ADDers and non-ADD spouses. I know that understanding what ADD is and does is a big step in helping oneself - whether you have ADD or are the non-ADD spouse. I suggested to my husband that he spend some time every week going over the forums. Months went by and nothing. In the meantime, our relationship was deterioating faster than it had in the previous few years. I will take the blame for it. I am simply exhausted from trying so hard. I know I am not responsible for him. I also know that as a spouse it is your responsibility to be there for your partner. I have been there for my husband for the last ten years. I truly believe that you don't have to resign yourself to the "idea" of ADD. I don't expect him to become a highly functional individual. I don't expect him to change. I do expect him to try to understand how this is affecting him and our relationship.

I don't have the emotional energy to do it anymore. I can't help him if he doesn't want to help himself. A few weeks ago, I told him it was over. That we needed to separate and to move on. The next morning I realized that I didn't know who he could be until we found the proper help. I spent an entire day surfing the Net and finding resources in our area. I found a few support groups. I found a few doctors. I found another discussion list. I sent all of this to my husband with a note telling him I needed him to find the proper help. He did decide to go to one of the meetings but it was supposed to be weekly and we found out it had been changed. In the meantime, he did not call any of the doctors. When he told me he hadn't, I got angry and the same fights started all over.

In my communications with various other non-ADD spouses, I have found that many ADDers marry strong and productive spouses. This was the one trait that my husband said he was attracted to when we met. Today, it is the one part of my personality which annoys him. It is often assumed by the ADD partner that the non-ADD spouse wants "them" to change to fit their needs. I don't think that the ADDers realize how much the non-ADD partner has to change in order to adapt to them.

I am not the same person I was 20, 15, or 10 years ago. Many of those changes have taken place because of maturity, experience, and life. That is what we do as humans - we adapt. Many of my changes in the last ten years are directly related to my marriage. Many are good changes although my husband would think that I think I have changed only in a bad way because of him. That is not true - I have learned a lot about myself because of the ADD. I want to live life to its fullest. I want to learn and change with the times. I want to have fun and make new friends. I want to have no regrets and I want to learn from my mistakes.

I am sure my husband wants the same thing. The difference is I will make it happen and my husband will think about making it happen. Is that a fair statement? Probably not. I need balance in my life and right now there is no balance. Is that my husband's fault? No. Is it my fault? No. It is the reality. He has ADD. I do not. Many ADDers will tell me to let him be. To accept him for who he is. I'm sorry but that is a cop out. I don't even settle for letting myself be who I am - I thrive on wanting to learn more and to experience more. Sure, he has ADD and sure it is not as simple as saying "do it." The fact is you can have a productive and full life even if you have ADD. I am not saying that I want him to live his life the way I would want him to. I am saying that I know what I want out of my life.

Maybe that makes me a cold and uncaring person. I have spent the last ten years of my life giving all the love and support that I could. I know that I am a good person. I know that I have been there for him. I know that I have been a good wife. I know that it is not easy for him. It is not easy for me, either.

Elizabeth
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Old 12-08-03, 12:07 PM
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Andrew Andrew is offline
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Wow. Thank you for the candor and frank manner in which you've posted. I think I'll re-read this a few times, swallow my pride, and perhaps apologize to my wife 20 or 30 times before I post another comment.

Nice to see you post again, Elizabeth.
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Old 12-08-03, 01:04 PM
waywardclam waywardclam is offline
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I can't come up with a response worthy of that post.

I am literally almost in tears here...

*sigh*
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Old 12-09-03, 10:36 AM
cchapin cchapin is offline
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I understand

I can relate to a lot of what you are saying. My husband was diagnosed a couple of months ago after we found out our college son was ADD. We have been married 23 years and it hasn't been easy. I really relate to the feeling of being alone. I think that in some of the other areas my husband is less severe.

I have always felt that everything is always about him. If I am sick, he is sicker. I mentioned in an earileir post that a couple of years ago, I had a breast cancer scare. When I told him about my suspicous mammagram, his reply was "You know, I have felt a lump on my chest, too!" I'm not sure what it would take to get the focus off of him.

I too, have felt like I am carrying a heavy load and it is exhausting. Recently he was diagnosed with rhumatoid arthritis, so we have been dealing with that. He had a flare up not long ago and we were discussing that. Then I mentioned that I had awakened with a headache every morning for the the last week. (Stress, I'm sure) He said nothing. NOTHING! It was like once the focus was not him, he was not interested! Talk about feeling insignificant. I asked him about it later and he said he didn't know what to say. What he was thinking was that it probably meant that I wouldn't want to have sex that night and that was why I was telling him that. Again, he is the center of his own universe!

His biggest complaint with me is that our sex life is not good. Well, duh, when one person feels uncared for, unimportant, unattractive and unloved it is a little difficult to get very excited about performing because HE expects it!

The good news is that he is on medication. I haven't seen a lot of difference in our relationship but do feel that he is trying. He did read "Driven to Distraction" - mostly at our son's insistance. He is also trying to read the ADD and Relationships book (I've forgotten the actual name) He seems to be starting to understand some of the things that I have been saying for 23 years. He says that he often doesn't know what to say. I'm trying to understand that.

Well, thanks for the opportunity to vent. I am hoping that things will get better. I am trying to be more understanding and it will be easier to do that if I feel that he is making an effort.
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Old 01-07-04, 02:36 PM
nancyfa nancyfa is offline
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My last reply disappeared somewhere, so forgive me if it shows up as a partial post.

Although this thread is from a month ago, I am new to these forums and wish to reply. I am also married to a man with ADHD, and I can so relate to these posts, especially Elizabeth's at the top of this thread and elsewhere on the forum. I can relate to taking on more and more responsibility and not understadning why. I can relate to the blaming from the ADHD spouse and not understanding why. Even after the diagnosis, it was and sometimes is hard to understand why these things happen.

Right now I feel like we are in a holding pattern. I am taking some steps to learn how to be more assertive, to not take responsibility for what is not mine, to interrupt the cycle of anger, explosiveness, verbal and emotional abuse.

He seems to be in the process of accepting my interrupting his outbursts, letting me vent when I am frustrated without reacting so strongly, explaining things to me as if I really do care (which I really do). I don't believe he accepts that he is sometimes verbally and emotionally abusive, but I am learning from other resources how to deal with it nevertheless.

But I am also tired of the work necessary to make things work out; of the mountains of responsibilities on my shoulders; of the difficulty in achieving peace in my own home; of his inability to see the error of belittling, criticizing, bullying me and our children. He sometimes seems to be getting better, sometimes not. (He tells me that the only consistent thing about ADHD is its inconsistency.) I am still in the process of balancing the commitment to our marriage with the commitment to my own sanity and happiness. I'd like them to be the same thing!

As long as he continues to be willing to work with it, to be teachable, to be willing to help me understand him, to be able to be interrupted mid-rage and cool off, and take responsibility for his own behavior, there are glimmers of hope. As long as I still see the things that make me love him (his generosity of time and spirit, his humor, his earnestness about wanting to make things better, his ability to turn a tense situation around and move on with humor and forgiveness, his willingness to be there for me as my mom dies of cancer or my physical diseases flare up or issues at work are weighing on me), there are glimmers of hope.

It is a difficult life. Sometimes it is a good life.

I appreciate the opportunity to vent. I also have a question. I have seen "coaching" mentioned (in addition to therapy). What might that be?

Thanks.

Nancy
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Old 01-13-04, 03:19 AM
ldchester ldchester is offline
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Gosh, it seems like you all are so much more patient and giving than myself... I guess my patience ran out a while back. My ADD husband is very insecure... constantly trying to better his physical attractiveness by doing things like doing rogaine, taking viagra, dieting, etc. I guess it is partially my fault as our sex life is not good... I have a hard time being intimate with him due to my lack of respect for him. His insecurities about himself have also caused him to be insecure about our relationship, which has promoted him to "spy" on me... popping in on me in the middle of the day without calling , listening outside the window in on my phone conversations, and actually placing a recorder under his nightstand in our bedroom! So, I have become paranoid myself! Always afraid that someone (he) is watching me and uncomfortable with mutual friends, because he always thinks that I am flirting. Needless to say, that is even a bigger turn-off for me, which in turn does not help our sex life. And, he gets upset because we don't have an intimate relationship! What am I supposed to do? We have done the counseling thing; I've been as supportive as I can stand.
I agree with what was said earlier... ADD people think differently than those without... my 11 yr. old son is ADHD, and as much as I want to be close to him, I don't know where he is coming from most of the time! I just act like I understand what he is talking about and smile; as I do with my husband. It has all become so pathetic... but I don't know what else to do or what other actions to take... It's not fair to anyone for me to "fake" my feelings... but the guilt is just so overwhelming!
Does anyone out there have anything similar going on? God, I hope it's not only ME!

Thanks for listening,

Lisa
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Old 01-19-04, 02:56 PM
elizabethizme elizabethizme is offline
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No Lisa, it is not only you.

I have had, and still do, have similar feelings about the low self-esteem and insecurities. Before my husband was diagnosed with ADD, I had gotten to a point where I had no patience at all and very little respect for him.

My attitude towards him changed once he was diagnosed. I now understand that many of the behaviours that trigger my anger are not done so consciously by him. Asking him to change those behaviours is pointless - coming from me. As long as I push and get on his case, nothing happens. If I leave him alone, nothing happens either but at least we don't fight. BUT I end up feeling resentful. I'm sure that if he had a coach - a non-ADD coach - things would improve. Unless I do the research to find him such a coach, he won't get one. This is the most difficult thing for me - wanting to do everything I can to help him - reading the books, surfing the Net, participating in the forums, finding specialized doctors in our area - and having him perceive my need to help as a need to control his life. The more I try to help, the more he pushes me away. The more I stay away, the more nothing changes. A Catch 22 if I've ever seen one.

Some of the ADDers here have said that we meddle too much, that we try to change them too much, that we should just accept. I ask, then, why can't he just accept that my need to help is because I care and love him and want us to have a better relationship? It is never perceived that way.

Intimacy and sex is non-existant in our relationship. The intimacy - cuddling and necking - has never been there. I need that in my life. Am I supposed to forego my needs because he doesn't know how to be intimate, because he doesn't feel comfortable approaching me. He tells me that dozens of questions arise in his mind - will she reject me, is this a good time, should I kiss her, should I hug her? Before you know it, he is so focused on his thoughts that he forgets to take action. Somehow, he often blames me for that - I've said no before.

I have a high sex-drive. He does too, according to him, yet in our ten years of marriage he as not initiated sex very often. He will deny that but nodding yes when I tell him I'm in the mood is not initiating. It would be so flattering to me if he would plan of evening of romance, or even tell me during the day that he would like us to "fool around" later. Sure, I have said no a few times - so has he - but in his mind that has put up a wall. And, for me, it is very difficult to get in the mood if outside of the bedroom there is no intimacy. Again, he will say that he has tried - it is always that way - he justifies his lack of action because of something *I* have done.

We are all different people on these forums living with different values and principles. I would never expect to voice my opinion on *my* situation and assume that everyone is going through the same - but there are obvious patterns between ADD and non-ADD spouses that seem to repeat themselves when you read the different posts.

My husband has often said that he has no difficulty with this and that with other people, only me. Of course, we have created our patterns of behaviour with each other based on who we are individually. Put me with someone different and I will be the same person but react differently. The same can be said for him. I have come to terms that we are simply not the right personalities for each other. There is no point in making more out of it than that - he is not happy with how I behave around him and I am not happy with how he behaves around me. We both could change with a lot of work and it is often said that marriage is hard work. That may be so but, in my opinion, I do not believe the hard work would make either of us any happier.

He needs to find someone who can support and be compassionate with his ADD - that person is not me. Is it such a bad thing to admit that? I need someone who is proactive, self-sufficient and assertive - that person is not him - does that make him a bad person? Of course not, just not the right person for me.

It's too bad that it took ten years of marriage to figure that out but maturity and experience plays a big role in how you see life as a middle-aged adult. For me, it is about letting go of the what ifs, should ofs, and if onlys and realizing that we are both good people who need to find partners who are more suitable to our personalites.

That is easily said, more so coming from me, as I am the one who has decided we are separating. In the end, I know we will both be the better for it - and so will our daughter.

Life is too short to live a life short of your expectations - some of you will think that makes me shallow (not wanting to live up to my vows) but we are all different people with different ideals. Ultimately, what I think is best for me is only of my concern. People can judge all they want, I know I am a good person who has tried very hard to make her marriage work. Now it is time for me to be, once again, the person I really am.

Elizabeth.
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Old 01-20-04, 06:04 PM
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Christiana Christiana is offline
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Elizabeth,

I am ADD and I know I shouldn't be posting here, but I wanted to tell you that I admire your honesty very much. I hate to encourage a divorce or seperation, but not EVERYONE is right for each other. People do make mistakes; sometimes I think that people don't try hard enough to make somthing work before they give up, but it doens't sound like that's the case with you. My opinion on the issue is this:

it all depends on how much you want it.

If you don't want it badly enough, it's not going to work. if you want it badly enough, then you will do everything in your power to make it happen. But in some cases the things you would have to do are ridiculous... if you WANT to do ridiculous things to be with the one you love, then great! (i.e., loose who you are, give up everything you believe in, or other things like that) but you shouldn't have to. There are other's out there who would not need you to change who you are to be with them.

By the way, I don't think the intimacy thing has very much to do with his being ADD... I think it's a lack of communication. Yes... ADDers often have problems reading people or expressing themselves, but there are lots of ways to work on this. in my humble opinion, I think he's using it as an excuse for some other issue.


I know that it is next to impossible to change old habits... I wish you the best of luck with whatever you choose to do.

Christiana
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Old 01-22-04, 11:00 AM
elizabethizme elizabethizme is offline
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Thanks Christiana,

I appreciate your comments.

Some people would say that we haven't tried very hard. We did have a few, very few, sessions with a marriage counsellor. At the time my husband had not been diagnosed with having ADD. I did not like the sessions because they always focused on *my* anger and how *I* should be the one to change my behaviour.

To this day, my husband still brings this up when we argue - that *I* stopped the therapy because *I* didn't like that the therapist was focusing on me. Of course I did not like that. After years of building up resentment for the lack of action and behaviour from my husband, I was angry. I had just gotten to a point where I was tired of being told it was *my* anger that was causing all the problems. Outside this marriage, I am not an angry person. As hard as it is for him to change his behaviour and his patterns, the same can be said for me.

We needed a therapist that specialized in adult ADD and understood the effect it had on the non-ADD spouse - this therapist was simply a family therapist and could not understand the ADD issues. I wanted a therapist who would focus on *both* our behaviours and help us *both* to understand each other. My husband thinks I didnt' want to return because I don't want to accept any blame in our issues, although I have told him countless times that I realize that my anger makes him retreat even more and plays a big part in the breakdown of this marriage. In order to understand where the anger and resentment comes from, you have to understand the ADD behavoiur.

You say that if we want it bad enough we will do everything we can to make this work. IMHO, I don't really think that is the case. I wanted it bad enough but I believe every person has a threshold as to how much and how long they are willing to *work* at making it work.

My husband told me once, a year or so ago when I first seriously told him I was thinking of divorce, that he would NOT let *us* go easily and that he would do EVERYTHING he could to save this marriage. That statement should not be dependent on if *I* am willing to do EVERYTHING I can to make it work. I figured that would mean he would try to find a *real* ADD therapist or that he would start doing some research and gather as much information on ADD as he could. I assumed he would sit down with me and ask me what I needed and how we should work together better understand our frustrations.

None of that happened. He has a book on ADD and relationships that was looked at briefly and has since been laying on the floor collecting dust. An ADD doctor was found - after *I* spent hours on the Net looking for info and finally found a support group in Toronto. He went once - is still waiting for an appointment with the doctor - and has not looked into anything further. The only reasons he is on these forums is because I told him about them and even then it took him a few months to finally start reading them and posting messages - around the same time I told him I wanted to separate.

When I asked him about why he made that statement and didn't follow through - if he wanted it badly enough - his response was "What was the point. You've decided it's over and there's nothing I can do about it."

I shouldn't be surprised but I am hurt. As much as I understand that he did *want* to do everything he could to save this marriage, I know that it was not that easy for him to do. Still, had he done something, however small and consistently, it would have made a difference. I can tell him that but he won't believe me. He strongly believes that no matter what he does, it doesn't make a difference. I have never been able to convince him that every little thing he does to help understand the ADD DOES make a difference. Every little thing he does to show he cares about us DOES make a difference.

His confidence and self-esteem are very low at this point, and have been for quite some time. I am to blame for that, according to him. Confidence and *self*-esteem is something you find withing yourself - it is not dependent on any outside forces. He needs to want to help himself for *himself* before he can make any progress. As long as I am with him - he will always see me as the cause of his behaviour.

I actually think the separation is the best thing for him (and for me) as he will be able to be himself. Maybe he will choose to learn more about ADD, maybe not. All I can say is that once I am out of the picture, the choices will be his alone.

Elizabeth
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Old 02-13-04, 12:09 AM
hopeful1 hopeful1 is offline
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Thank you, thank you for your sincere post. I only found this forum this evening and it was if it were an answer to my prayers. For many, many years now I have blamed myself for the problems in my marriage, not realizing that my husband was add. It wasn't until two weeks ago the doctors even diagnosed him and began treating the symptoms. Even now, though I am hopeful, there is still the nagging doubt that we are too broken to pick up the pieces.

I have found here a kindred spirit. Thank you for your candor and honesty. I have finally found some validity for some of the feelings I have wrestled with for so long.

I am still so naive when it comes to add. I have only recently learned of the impacts it can have on intimacy and relationships. I am struggling to understand it better. I know we cannot blame all the problems on this disorder, but, at least now I have a better understanding of where my husband is coming from.

Thank you all for your posts. It gives me strength and courage to know I'm not alone. My love and support to you all.
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Old 02-14-04, 12:18 AM
Anne Anne is offline
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Welcome!

Welcome to the Non-ADD support forum hopeful. I too know the feeling that you are experiencing right now after finding this site. It certainly does put things into perspective when you are able to share with others who are dealing with the same kinds of issues. Please feel free to ask questions and we will try to answer them if we can, if not, then provide you with the support you need.
Anne
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Old 02-14-04, 10:46 AM
Lafnalot Lafnalot is offline
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Elizabeth i always treasure your posts, they are done honestly, lovingly, sincerely ernestly, with terrific illustrative words (which i adore) and they allow me to see both how I effect others and how others have effected me. I am not only the add'er but I deal with other add'ers. Please keep posting, keep verbalizing, allow us to see what you choose to show us, we are stronger for it.
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Old 02-24-04, 10:26 AM
Catherine Catherine is offline
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The "other side of the coin" is non-existent between myself and my husband. We have been married four years this past January and share two small children. Well, I am not exactly sure that I should use the word share. Even though my husband fathered our two children, I have played the role of single parent since birth. His ADD at this point dictates our relationship. It has become the reason for every wrong and every hurt and somehow it is always put on me to understand. The flip side of the coin would be for him to understand that yes he has a medical problem but to hide behind it is only pushing me and our daughters further away. Our relationship consists of ADD in the morning, ADD in the afternoon (when he decides not to go into work, which is very common these days) and in the evening. Communication, is basically null (unless of course we have a lengthy discussion about ADD and then he is all ears and at full attention). I feel as though I do not exist. I am very lonely. Relationships are not suppose to be lonely. After reading above, I can see that I am not alone. Every night I have the same routine, I feed the girls, bathe them and put them to bed. I do this alone, while he is in his own little world where we do not exist. I then cook a nice dinner for us in hope that we can have quality time together and it either ends up with him eating and ignoring me or him not coming to eat at all. I spend more time alone then anything. Again, Relationships are not suppose to be lonely. Communicating how I feel has been something that I am not fearful to do. I have tried this and it ends with "I need to understand". I now find myself looking around and wondering if there is someone that I would be happier with, because now I simply feel trapped with no air.

Catherine M.
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Old 02-24-04, 10:42 AM
Catherine Catherine is offline
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"His confidence and self-esteem are very low at this point, and have been for quite some time. I am to blame for that, according to him. Confidence and *self*-esteem is something you find withing yourself - it is not dependent on any outside forces".

Elizabeth,

I feel the hurt. This is a very common thing between me and my husband. "If I hadn't said" or "I hadn't done"! Maybe if he "hadn't said" or "he hadn't done"!

Catherine M.
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Old 02-24-04, 11:42 AM
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What exactly is he doing about treatment Catherine? I don't know both sides of this story at all, but I know that his ADD is his responsibility, not yours.

You are not the bad guy. My wife and I have more than our share of misunderstandings and fights because of my ADD, and sad to say, she says many of the things you do. However, I am busting my butt to fix the problem and have been for a very long time, and she knows it (which might be why she is still here).

He is the one that needs to adapt and bend. Not you. Understand? Yes it helps if you understand. Try this. Get him involved in a local support group. They have spouses regularly attend these things too. This way you are being "understanding". Two edged sword though, because his peers at these meetings will be the first ones to point out when he is being unfair. As will the other spouses. Might be a good wake up call for him.

For the record Catherine, ADHD is an explanation for some of our difficulties. It is not an excuse, and it is not a crippling disorder. We are quite capable of finding ways around it and growing and prospering as persons. Nor do we need to make those around us pay for it. There is middle ground to be found here, if you are being fair and he is actually trying.

I wish you luck Catherine, keep us posted.
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