I should start by saying it was a few years after the split that I was diagnosed with ADHD, but in retrospect, it definitely played a part in the breakdown of the marriage and what happened after.
When my wife and I split up, it was the culmination of a lot of things but it all really boiled down to we wanted different things from the relationship but didn’t know how to tell the other person that (it was a year after we split that we had a long talk and realized we had different expectations and needs when it came to a long-term relationship) as well as both of us being so afraid of abandonment that we were trying to be what we thought the other person wanted, then resenting the other person for making us be someone else and resenting ourselves for not being our authentic selves (that came out in the same year-after conversation). I initiated the split. I’d be talking with close friends for a while about how I was unhappy and didn’t know if I could keep going on, but I was also afraid if I left her, she would keep our daughter away from me. (She’s her biological daughter, but not mine. Legally, she’s my step-daughter, but she has no biological father that’s ever been around or known her and as far as we’re all concerned, I adopted her and I’m her only dad.) But it got too much and one night we were fighting and she yelled “If it’s so bad being with me, why don’t you just divorce me?” And I said “Yeah, okay. I want a divorce.” She was stunned and furious. She got really nasty with me during the initial separation. And then a few months later, she found a journal she’d been keeping six months earlier and realized she’d written that she was bored with the marriage and wondered how hard it would be to push me into divorcing her. “So…my bad. Sorry I was so angry with you.”
Because I love this example of how our daughter has always been an older person in a young person’s body (as opposed to her mom and me, who are young people in older bodies), the day after the big fight, we sat our daughter down to tell her we were separating and I was moving out. We explained that it had nothing to do with her (and truthfully, her mom and I have never ever fought over anything regarding our daughter) and we would always be there for her. Our daughter, 12 at the time, listened silently, little tears running down her cheeks, and when she finally spoke, she said “So, how are we handling the family cell phone plan?” Her mom and I looked at each other in surprise. “Uhhhh…we haven’t worked all of the logistics out yet, but we’ll figure it out. Don’t worry about it.”
Anyway, I moved out and that’s when my ADHD kicked in big time. I moved into an apartment and left most of the furniture with my wife, so I needed to furnish my apartment. Before we got married, I’d never had a credit card, but I’d gotten one while we were married (but had barely used it) and when I opened my own bank account after moving out, the bank gave me another card and a sizeable line of credit just on the account. And I went kind of crazy buying stuff. A brand-new big bed, new bookshelves, a new desk and chair, a big new TV, a Wii, and when I started dating someone not too long after, a big trip to San Francisco with my new girlfriend. I didn’t keep any kind of budget, would suddenly find myself short for paying bills and charge more things to my cards just to get by. I ended up with A LOT of debt that I tried paying off erratically and really lucked out in that some of the credit was eventually dropped because the banks decided I didn’t owe enough to keep paying to go after me. But my credit rating is still sucky and there are still things I need to pay off.
But my ex and I are on good terms now. We’re not best buddies, but we know a lot about each other and understand the other, so we talk via email at least once or twice a month about general life stuff (mostly mental and physical health, as well as talking about what our daughter, now in college, is up to), we send each other links to interesting news stories and recommend TV shows and books to each other. And we encourage each other to be the best person, the person we never felt we could be in our marriage. It wasn’t easy to get here. She has a HUGE amount of trust and abandonment issues which have led her to alternately cling to me as her only real friend and push me away in anger because “I don’t need anyone but me.” But here we are.