I try hard to communicate my needs in my relationship, but the harder I try the greater of a mess it becomes.
by Jane D.
If intuition is such a powerful gift then why do I feel that on one hand my intuition is as sharp as a dog's, and on the other hand it is totally off base. My gut sense about The Boyfriend and the new ADHD boss remain ambiguous. They are as hard to read as Greek.
I try hard to communicate to them my needs, but the harder I try the greater of a mess it becomes. What is true is that I continue to believe that writing is the key to getting the message across. I can do in writing what I can't do in person--the message is so simple and straightforward, done without inhibition. Face to face with The Boyfriend or the Boss and I fumble, my voice tightens like a violin string and I look constipated and like a cat thrown into the bath tub. I look and sound pissed, maybe more at myself than anyone else. The relationship with The Boyfriend continues to straddle from good to great to worse. I am not sure if I am facing the dilemma of dating an M.D., someone who is truly not available and who can not change his schedule, or if there is the ADHD part of me that just shrivels up and collapses when things are not said, but inferred.
I deal so much better with clarity. What is clear is that The Boyfriend is clear about what he can and can't do. His schedule is terrible, his vacations are set -- the bottom line is that he just doesn't seem to give me what I need, which is a sense of safety and security in knowing that things are moving forward. What I need is a steady reassurance that I am doing fine, that things are okay, that I am loved and wanted and just fine the way I am. Until then I live with an inner sense of catastrophe that things that are bad will surely get worse.
The Boyfriend and I live three hours apart, across state lines, but I can't be fooled by this veil of geographical distance. My point to him is that physical distance is not a barrier to showing how much one cares--one can send letters, gifts, can listen to the other person after a long day at work, can initiate by sending them a greeting card. Rather the more that I state my needs the more he retreats like a turtle and seems to turn into a sphinx. This only gets me more angry.
"Yes," I tell him, "I realize that nothing can be solved in a day."
All I need to hear is: Jane I love you, you are great and we will find a way to work things out. Instead what I hear is: I'm tired, I've had a long day, I haven't eaten, I have a responsibility to my career now. Yes and I too have a long day, a difficult work situation, and I find a way to go the distance for someone I love and am loyal to.
Excuses excuses I think since his correspondence has included things like, "I see us spending many happy years together," and "I want build a foundation with you." Is it is the ADHD me that takes things literally, or the little girl in me who wants someone who can show me that they will be there for me? I can't stand people who are, as the sister says, NATO (No Action Talk Only). And I feel like I am pulling teeth with The Boyfriend. I'm starting to wonder if he is commitment phobic. If I can't feel safe with him, how will I feel safe telling him about the ADHD and about myself. Mostly I am mad at this disorder. I worry that my ADHD symptoms will just push him away and then I will tell everyone, "See, see another one bites the dust."
Have ADHD communication problems interfered with your relationships? Should Jane tell The Boyfriend about her ADHD? Share your experiences in a comment below. Or connect with other ADHD adults in ADDitude's ADHD forums.