I recognize so much in what you’re saying, and I think a lot of other non-ADHD partners would, too.
My husband also tells me he loves me, makes promises to change, starts some efforts at change and claims to want to be in the relationship. But after 10 years of being together, he also still defends, deflects, gets angry, breaks promises (including to our kids) and hasn’t changed enough to make our life stable and emotionally safe.
The hardest part to accept is that we don’t have any control of whether or not the relationship gets better, and we trap ourselves with the “if he would just do THIS or stop doing THIS, things would be great!” So we stay and wait and hope. But we can’t actually do anything about it. And then what happens if year after year, the promises continue but your partner still hasn’t dealt with the problem for good? How many times can you handle being disappointed, nagging, monitoring, avoiding?
You have the advantage of knowing what you’re dealing with before you get married or have kids, if that’s something you want. You said it yourself that your relationship is making you sad. He might not have the ability to change, or be able to do it before he’s created too much resentment and broken promises. You can’t change him or nag him into being a good partner. Trust me, I’ve tried. My counsellor asked me this week why I’m still asking my husband to try to do things differently, when it’s clear that after years of me asking, he’s not going to do it. It’s a very valid question. It’s very hard to let go of the hope that things will be different. But when change is all up to another (unreliable) person, we’re giving them more control over our lives and well-being than we should. Ask yourself, if your boyfriend isn’t actually capable of changing, would you stay?