Reply To: Breakup advice & support – really confused

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Thanks for your courage in posting. I’m the ADD partner, diagnosed 16 yrs ago at age 35 – married now 25 years. What you describe sounds very familiar to me. While you and your SO have only been together a short time, these things do impact every facet and period of relationships. First thing, if he says he loves you, take him at his word. Expressing these things are difficult for us. This also leads me to his pushing you away. Two of the ‘evil partners’ that come with ADD are overwhelming shame and poor self-esteem. For me it was easier to shut down/push away than face the perceived eventuality of losing my partner (my amazing wife) anyway – so why not do it before the pain comes? We feel like you’ll just figure it out how overwhelming loving us is on your own and leave anyway. From my vantage point it sounds like that might be happening a little here.

That being said, he needs to be diagnosed and in treatment. Sadly, that has to come from him, or it won’t work. But when you legitimately forget (actually, our unbalanced executive functioning loses track of the info) to call it can be overwhelming to even start. All you can do is support as best you can – believe me, that can mean more than you know.

It sounds like he does care for you. It just gets so hard for us to bear when we miss some opportunity every day to show that we do care. I’ve told those close to me thatnit feels like this – that it’s overwhelming waking up every day with the realization that you’re going to forget something important today (returning texts, rmembering special occasions, losing track of errands, etc.) in relation to your partner – we just don’t know what it is until it happens. We want to be good partners; but to do that we also need outside support. I thought meds were all I needed. I now know that I need therapeutic support – I’ve had a great therapist for almost 2 years now, and things are progressing (after almost separating 2 yrs ago).

The last piece is you. You need to do what’s best regarding your own self-care. Whatever that means (therapy, time for yourself, etc.), don’t relinquish that. Loving someone with ADD takes a lot; so caring for yourself is essential if you’re sticking it out. I like to think we’re worth it.

I hope this helps. I wish you well on whichever path you choose to travel in this relationship. I’ll check back with an attitude of hopefulness – when I don’t forget! 😉