Reply To: New to dating a guy with ADHD – Need advice

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I can completely empathize with your frustration. I’m a mother with ADD with 3 sons with ADD and ADHD. Having had to navigate the frustrations over the years we’ve all had with each other, I would point out that the #1 thing that’s helped the most, especially as my sons have grown to be adult men is finding out if they actually want help. One of the things we ADDer’s often have in our history is a lot of misunderstanding and rejection from people around us who don’t have ADD. People often want to “parent” us thinking they are doing us a favor and helping us to “get it together”. We DO need help, but it’s often hard not to feel that those around us become that disappointed “teacher”, “boss”, “parent”. A lot of ADDers sometimes have a backlog of perceived “failures” instead of people accepting us and adapting to us. We usually have to adapt and please everyone around us. I’m not saying we don’t have to try and find ways of working within a society that is largely NOT geared towards ADD and ADHD behavior/habits, but often we are the ones that feel we always have to change instead of those around us.
Having said that, of course, never put up with angry or abusive behavior (which doesn’t sound like your boyfriend, as you’ve said), so that doesn’t sound like an issue.

Bottom line: ASK if he wants help. You could put your relationship in a tense state if you try to parent him in any way without him initiating his own changes. He has to want to make the changes and they have to be something he actually feels he needs changing. Sometimes ADD people secretly value their differences and quirks and it can be only to “please” people that behavior is changed in the presence of others. After a while, they can resent it. Come to terms with what you can really accept and what you can’t. Absolutely be honest. I’m not implying you should “suck it up” or go silent. Good relationships can handle honest, good communication. If love is really present, then both people will truly want to meet the other’s needs and will do so with a gentleness and humility that nurtures the relationship. It has to be a peer to peer equality. If one person decides they need to parent the other one, things tend to go downhill pretty fast!