Reply To: Dating a Man with ADHD — my anxiety has spiked, seeking advice please.

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I’m the ADD spouse here – diagnosed 15 yrs ago at 35YO, married 25 yrs this year. We’ve definitely had our struggles around my ADD (inattentive). I struggle with lots of the things listed here. What became debilitating for me was the continual shame I felt at letting down my wife, and the anxiety that compounded it. Even when she we gently pointed out to me ADD-related behaviors (sorry, the oven thing was hilarious to me because I can SOO see myself doing that!), I would shut down from the shame of it – even as I learned to hide it with self-deprecating responses. Your BF may be experiencing some of that; no matter how loving your response, you can’t can’t control the way we respond and internalize things – you shouldn’t have to!

The other thing – I’ve seen no mention of ongoing therapeutic treatment. For years I thought that medication would ‘solve this ADD thing’. While it helped with some of the distracibility (I take 54mg of Concerta once daily), it could not repair the dysfunctional learned coping skills I’d built up over a lifetime. It took our marriage a,most ending before I really started taking ongoing treatment seriously. I’m just profoundly grateful that my wife loved me enough to stay – even when I gave her reason not to! So if he’s not in treatment along with meds, I really think he should.

Also, you need to do things to care for yourself. If that means making time to spend with friends alone, exercising, a spa day, whatever; you need to do the things to help you be in this relationship with an ADD partner. This may help you have different energy when you’re together. Believe me, I know we’re hard work! It sounds like you both really love each other – hold on to that! While it may not be the only thing to keep this thing going, it certainly will make the sticking with the hard work have meaning. We want to be good partners – we just need more supports than most. But I think we’re worth it – he may be too if he can get the help he needs. I wish you both the best on wherever this journey takes you…