My life is one GIANT MESS

#1

My relationship with my wife is fading fast. And it’s killing me. We met online nearly 17 years ago, became friends, and eventually more. At the time, I was involved in a lot of risky sexual behavior. One night stands, people I met online, etc. Really messed up, I Know. She had just lost her husband to cancer when we met and she had a nearly 3 year old daughter. She seemed to have her life together at 20, and I had no clue at 21 what the hell I was doing. She wasn’t ready for a relationship then, so I said I’d wait because I loved her. A few months later, I slept with someone else I met online. She found out shortly after and I lied and lied and lied some more before finally admitting to it. I couldn’t even explain why I did it. I loved her after all. She of course retaliated immediately. Found a random guy online, he came over, they went into her room, and I cried in the other. That may have been the last time I really truly cried. Then came years of sexual online conversations. I always got caught at some point, followed by more lies and fights and still no idea why I would do these things.

I finally straightened up. I was happy and things were going great. I wasn’t doing all the horrible online stuff anymore. I made a grand marriage proposal and she said yes. It was amazing. We set a date for 15 months out and began preparing. Then something bad happened.

See, before we met, she had a really good weekend with another guy. He was tall and really great at sex. Best weekend of her life basically. But she chose to let him go, and got me instead. I heard the same story of this weekend many times.

Well, about halfway through our engagement, she mentioned his name. And me, being the sarcastic dumbass that I am said, “sounds like you’re still hung up on the guy.”

Oops.

A few days later, she’s on the phone with him, having long conversations. Umm, wtf is happening here? Next thing I know, she’s in a hotel with the guy for the weekend. I’m devastated. This may have been the last time I cried. She comes home, tells me what happened, then breaks off the engagement. Next weekend she goes and screws him again, then tells him she still wants to marry me. I take her back, and we continue planning.

Then I start my online shit again. It carries through the wedding and for months past. Then I physically met someone and there was some touching to the point of completion, but no sex.
I got caught. Again. Yeah, like I didn’t see that coming.

Except that I really didn’t. We kinda patched things up, but I was still really bad at relationship stuff. She told me one day she would be done, and that day came. She started staying out all night, and it finally came out that she had a boyfriend. This went on for 2 years. Then she wanted back with me.

Y’all, I make promises that I don’t keep and basically screw all things relationship up. I decided I needed counseling. I found a counselor, and after several sessions, several that my wife joined me for, he said he wanted to test me for ADHD. I agreed.

I went home and told my wife, “I’m about to fire this mf’er. This stupid SOB thinks I have ADHD. How stupid does he think I am? I’m nearly 38 f***ing years old…”

WELL GUESS WHAT…
IM NEARLY 38 YEARS OLD AND I JUST FOUND OUT I HAVE ADHD…WTF

Now I’m on Focalin XR and it’s helping. And I’m learning that all the turmoil in my life is a series of side effects of my condition.

Guess who isn’t buying it…

I am constantly learning about this, but I just can’t get her to understand that nothing I did was to purposefully hurt her. There’s so much damage that I’m afraid it’s unrepairable. My therapist also thinks she has ADHD, as do I. Now that I can focus, and am gaining an understanding of the condition, I see so many of these things in her as well.

I’m at my wit’s end. We can barely have a conversation anymore. She just gets mad and then we can’t get anywhere. I feel like a total failure.

I’m sorry this is painfully long. My meds wore off a couple hours ago. Thanks for reading. If you made it this far, you deserve a cookie. I would like one, too.

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#2

:cookie::cookie::cookie: Cookies all around!

I’m glad you finally got some answers in the end. People don’t realise just how much ADHD can influence your sex life. You’re not alone if it helps, risky sexual behaviour is a common problem for many of us.

It’s good that you have a therapist, they will be able to help you figure out what you want in life and whether your relationship is repairable, or if it’s really not worth holding onto any more and it’s time to move on. I don’t really know the answer to that but what I do know is that she would also need to make some changes for it to work between you.

I don’t want to go TMI, but the risky sexual behaviour was a big symptom for me, especially online. My therapist recently told me to delete all my dating apps because it wasn’t good for me. I lasted a few weeks before starting again. Although to be fair, I’m now meeting less people and having less sexual conversations. I’ve recovered a lot from that behaviour, and just knowing that it’s an adhd thing really helped with that. Before, I used to think I had some sort of sex addiction!

So, you’re not a failure, in fact you’re the opposite because you’re getting help and you’re gradually overcoming it, regardless of what age you are. It takes a lot of strength to go looking for answers as an adult after your whole life has been unexplained. A lot of us on here have been in the same boat and we know how hard it is, but also that it’s so worth it! You’re on an upward trend!

Have some more cookies :cookie::cookie::cookie::cookie:

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#3

Considering she’s doing the exact same shit she’s angry with you for doing, maybe she’s afraid to admit/face that ADHD can have comorbidity with addictive personality disorder, because we easily get distracted or are always seeking for something new, interesting, and engaging. Because if she admits that, and she obviously has the exact same problem as you, she’d also have to face that she has ADHD or addictive personality disorder too, and that might be frightening her.

Because I’d suggest you look up some studies on ADHD and addictive personality disorder to show her, prove that being addicted to that behaviour wasn’t out of choice, but part of your struggle. You obviously DO love her, or you wouldn’t care or be this upset, nor would you take her back over and over when she sleeps with other guys, including breaking off your engagement because of sleeping with a guy, then getting back together with you a few months later…

But she has kept taking you back too, after fucking up. So she presumably loves you too, or she’d just stay single and fuck any guy she fancied. But she has tried to stay with you, but it’s hard for her too. She probably struggles with the same as or similar to you, but is afraid to face it. That might also explain her hostility and not wanting to sit down and talk about it properly.


(Sex here refers to gender. Medication doesn’t make any difference, therapy might help. This is about substance abuse, but is a good starting point for understanding ADHD & Addictive Disorders.)

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#4

This one might also help put things in perspective, and might help her understand better that it wasn’t a desire to hurt her or that you don’t care:


(Too short in my opinion, but again a good starting point.)

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#5

I did read a better/longer article a while back, I’ll see if I can find it again.

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#6

Thank you all so much. I feel like such a failure in this relationship. It feels like it’s going nowhere fast. Today has been hard. I could easily focus on yardwork, but not on working on our relationship. I’m still learning how to use my new sense of focus, but she doesn’t understand that or really have a desire to understand, I think. All I hear is “I’m done with this” but still expects me to work on it and try to work it out. I get it, but I don’t get it. If you’re done, just rip the band-aid off already. It feels like she gives me hope one minute and takes it away the next. I never once meant to hurt her. Not one time. Knowing that I did time and time again and having no reason for it hurts me. I don’t think she understands that either. There have been many times I’ve sat against the wall with one finger on the trigger, and been too big of a pussy to actually pull it. It sucks. I’ve tried to just let her go because I feel like she would be better off. But then it’s, “how can it be so easy to just walk out on us? Go ahead and do it. You will never be welcome back and I’ll make sure everyone knows everything you did.” That’s usually when I cower down and things seem to go back to normal. It’s all so exhausting.

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#7

You weren’t a pussy for not pulling the trigger. You were stronger for NOT doing it and taking the easy way out. You love her, care about her, and you know that, even though things are tough. But I can confirm that addiction (including sexual addictions and sexually risky behaviour) is more frequent in ADHD’ers. As is emotional dysregulation, which it sounds like you (both?) have.

Personally, I’d say you BOTH have a right to be pissed at one another, but you should both try to work this out, since you obviously care for her, and I THINK she cares for you too, or she wouldn’t have stuck around this long.

May I be so bold as to ask how you usually approach her to talk these things through? Or don’t you talk at all anymore? Have you thought about showing her this forum, and how what you’ve experienced is an uncommon but very well-known issue for people with ADHD? I don’t know if it would help, but seeing lots of people confirming that this sort of thing does happen might help her understand or accept it.

And you’re obviously trying, or you wouldn’t be on the forum in the first place…

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#8

I know I have emotional dysregulation. I’m done. With it all. She will be so much better off without me. I have put her through 17 years of hell. I’m letting her go. There are other guys after her already and have been for several weeks now. She needs to explore those options. One might be really great. And true happiness is what she deserves. Thanks for all of your advice, the tribe is strong. I wish you all the best.

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#9

I honestly don’t think that you giving up now is the best course of action. You’ve started to sort yourself out, you’re getting treated and finding out what and why, and how to deal with it. You giving up on the two of you should be a decision you take after getting further in your treatment, not now, while everything is raw, hard, and emotional, friend.:blush:

But hopefully she’ll be more understanding, and you’ve obviously been trying to make it up to her and get rid of your negative behaviours. Now that you’re under treatment, you’re more likely to be able to follow through, and stay committed to her practically as well as emotionally.:+1:

I suggest you give it another try, after being under treatment and getting to know yourself better. You love one another, but hurt eachother. That can be mended, but will be easier when you’re not both high-strung and emotional. Hopefully she’ll get treatment too, or participate in some more couple’s councelling.:+1:

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#10

Wow, that is tough. I hesitate to give you advice because it sounds like she needs to work with you for the relationship to go anywhere. Until she is willing to accept her responsibility in a relationship, she will keep doing the same thing, whether it’s with you or one of these other guys.

Definitely work on knowing yourself. I recommend Brené Brown’s books on shame for you. They were one of the things that have helped me. At least watch her TED Talks, to see if her work interests you.

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#11

I guess it all hinges on if she’s going to make the effort to change. If she will, you two may have a chance. If she’s only going to continue how she is, there’s no chance for the relationship, in my opinion.

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#12

Oh my gosh. I actually put myself in therapy for sex addiction before I realized that was sillly… it’s nice to know I wasn’t the only one!

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