Monday 20 February 2012

I Didn't Ask For This....(How Kevin Might Have Saved My Marriage)

Many of you enjoyed my last post about my husband's friend Kevin (Thank you!).  You may have wondered why I didn't kick Kevin out sooner.  You may have wondered where my husband was while that conversation went down.  You may also have wondered why my husband would be friends with such an ass.  I have wondered all of this stuff myself and so I went looking for the answers.

Before I continue I just want to say that Daddy is the best of husbands.  He is a great guy and uniquely suited to me.  He takes care of me when I'm sick, he knows just the right time to step in and save me from our kids, and he works very hard to support his family.  Everyone loves him.  I have to say this because what I am about to write might make him look like an asshole.

Why didn't I kick Kevin out sooner?  Me and my people are great big screw ups.  When we screw up, we screw it up big time.  For some it happens more often than others.  But we are very tight knit and we always forgive each other.  Because we're family and that's how we do.  So over the years I have learned to be pretty tolerant of some crazy shit, when it came with an apology.  Kevin always recognized his wrongs and apologized.  I don't like the idea of telling my husband who he can be friends with or who he can bring into his own home and Kevin was sincere in his apology, so he was forgiven.

But you know, a person can only take so much crap from someone she's not blood-related to.  And this was about my kid and my actions as a mother and the infuriating experience of having my whole reality poo-poohed by some asshole who not only had no fucking idea but who was a guest in my home.  And then to add insult to injury, he was the one who felt entitled to an apology from me.

That's right.  Which brings me to the next question:

Just where was my husband when all of this was going down?  He was sitting right there, doing his best to be completely absorbed in an interview with Georges St.-Pierre.  I kept looking at him expecting him to speak up but he didn't seem to hear anything that Kevin was saying.  I was furious.  He had never failed to defend me before.

I didn't kick Kevin out that night.  I went angrily to bed.  Apparently after that Kevin spent some time bitching about me to my husband.  The next day I woke up furious and had to figure out a way to talk to Daddy without screaming at him.  When we were finally able to talk I found out that Kevin got his nose bent all out of shape because, in a desperate attempt to avoid getting into that particular conversation, I dared to suggest that he just do a little research and mentioned a good website.

According to Kevin, and Daddy said he agreed with Kevin, this was insulting because it implied that he had not already done his research and that by mentioning the website, he was too stupid to know how to research.  In the face of this I was so frustrated I burst into tears.  My husband was taking Kevin's side!

At that time our marriage was going through a rough patch.  I felt incredibly neglected and ignored.  Daddy was always absorbed in his work, even at home.  He seemed to hide himself away in the basement all the time.  He never seemed to be listening to me.  There were huge misunderstandings because he hadn't heard some crucial information I gave him.  I could only communicate to him by sending emails and even then he just skimmed them and missed important sentences.  There were nights he would tell me he would come and hang out with me "in a few minutes" and hours later I would have fallen asleep on the couch waiting for him.

I thought he didn't love me, anymore.

Through our conversation I found out two things:

1) My husband secretly agreed with Kevin about the existence of ADHD.  He was humouring my cute little notion so long as I wasn't medicating our son.  As far as he was concerned, the boy was just like his old man.

2) He truly thought our marriage was perfect.  That was exactly the word he used.  Perfect.  He had no idea how depressed and lonely I was.  He had no idea how angry and resentful I was.  He never noticed the slammed doors, the biting sarcasm, or the disappointment on my face.

I was shocked.  I just couldn't believe it.  He felt terrible.  Although in words he said he felt "stupid".  First I told him I'd taken enough of Kevin's shit and he couldn't come to our house anymore.  Then I told him he had to get educated about ADHD, ASAP.  Then I told him we'd figure out what to do about our marriage.

Want to know a great thing about my husband?   Whenever I tell him something is broken he will do whatever it takes to fix it.  We watched a documentary called "ADD and Loving It ?!"  because I thought it would help him to hear how adults articulate the experience of living with ADHD.  Hearing his questions and skepticism out loud I began to think there was a possibility that Daddy also has ADHD.

I had him take this online "virtual" test, and I also took it so we could compare scores.  Mine took about three seconds because I answered "no" for all three of the questions I was asked.  Any problems I have concentrating are caused by the fact that I have kids screaming and running around all day long.  His test took about 20 minutes, and he answered "yes" to most of the questions he was asked.  Actually he answered "yes" to all of them but one.

It explained so much.  It explained why he seemed to ignore or neglect me most of the time.  It explained why he was oblivious to my unhappiness.  His tendency to interrupt or talk over me.  To jump to conclusions and answer my questions before I had finished asking.  Why I don't trust him with the grocery shopping.  The fact that he can't keep track of the time and gets too absorbed in his work.

So at first it was kind of a relief.  But after the relief came the anger.

When I said "I do" I didn't know I was marrying ADHD.  I didn't ask for this and I didn't want it.  I didn't want to have to take care of his ADHD and our son's ADHD.  One was enough!  I didn't want to have to a husband that had to be reminded to pay attention to his wife.  I shouldn't have to tell him that my emails take priority over the 300 other emails in his inbox and that he had to read every sentence.  I didn't want to have to be understanding about his symptoms!  I needed a partner.  I needed an adult, not another boy with ADHD!  It wasn't fair!!!

These are terrible and selfish things to think, but they are honest.  I really felt that way at the time.  Frick's ADHD was making my life very hard and knowing that Daddy had it too made me feel like things were going to be twice as hard.  It made me feel like I was suddenly running this entire dog and pony show all by myself.

I wasn't thinking clearly.  I forgot about how much better things got when we finally understood what was making our boy act the way he did.  About how having ADHD just meant he couldn't help it and that he wasn't trying to be a jerk.  All of that was just as true for Daddy as it was for Frick.

When he got real about the possibility that he has ADHD he could acknowledge that my complaints about neglect were valid.  He knows he is likely to misunderstand me or not hear me and so he doesn't get defensive about it like he used to or worse, accuse me of making it up.  We put plans in place to help each other communicate better.

Things are so much better now.  Daddy is still the same grown man I thought he was only now he's a little more sensitive to my needs.  He is still my rock and my bringer of wine.  He still drops everything he is doing so he can take care of me when I'm sick.  He still loses track of time, and interrupts me and is the worst for being an impulse buyer but he's at least aware of it now and more likely to correct himself.

He isn't taking medication, yet.  He still needs to see a doctor and go through the process of confirming our suspicions.  He's one of those guys who can't be bothered with doctors but he is interested in what medication might do for him.  I found out that his life is pretty stressful dealing with unmedicated ADHD.  He's often angry because he feels like he can't do the things he really wants to get done.  He gets stuck wasting time on trivialities and can't seem to get to the important stuff.

Without that argument with Kevin I would never have known any of this.  In a way Kevin saved our marriage.  I can't feel too angry towards him.  After all, a grown man capable of throwing chocolate cake at a person he just met probably has impulsivity issues of his own.  And I think that answers the question of why my husband would be friends with such an ass.  I bet they have much in common.  They drink beer, watch UFC and probably interrupt and dominate each other's conversation all night long without pissing anyone off.  Sounds like man-topia to me.

Does that mean I will ever let Kevin back in my house?  Oh, hells no.  Saving my marriage was the least Kevin could do to make up for his shit.  On second thought.......maybe I would.

But I want an apology.  In writing.  Preferably sky-writing.  And there has to be lots of witnesses.  And you know, a little kneeling couldn't hurt.  Yeah.  Kneeling, groveling and sky-writing.  


  1. Dude, I can't tell you how frickin' awesome it is that you've got so many fans & readers now. You SOOOOOOOOOO deserve it; your writing is fantastic. Love it :D

  2. I wish I had a Kevin to blame. My husband does have ADD, knows it, takes meds, and still buries himself in his office. Oh, yea. There's the addiction problem too. Be thankful you don't have that to deal with too. Not a pleasant combination.

  3. Sounds like an incredible ending. It will be great when it all gets balanced out.

  4. My husband is certainly ADHD... along with his oldest son. Sometimes I secretly worry that our unborn fetus is ADHD due to the fact that he will not stop moving. Like, EVER. I don't think he even sleeps.

    That being said, I don't think my husband necessarily denies any of this... he knows he and the boy child are ridiculous messes that can't pay attention to anything unless it's a video game...

    But it's also one of those things that we don't talk about. I'm not sure why it's such a taboo conversation... but that's the vibe I get. Kudos to you and your hubs for at least being able to that much at this point.

    Loved this post.