Boyfriend with ADHD just broke up with me because he is too stressed

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    • #56811

      I started dating this man about 4 months ago. We used to work together and that’s how we met two years ago. He is 27 and I am 34.
      He told me a few weeks into dating about his ADHD and that he is taking medication. This didn’t phase me at all as I am currently dealing with anxiety issues and trying to find the right medication. So yes, we are both different from “normal” people in a sense and I feel like we could connect on that.
      In addition, i believe we both have some trauma we have faced in our lives (His from childhood and mine from previous relationships) so we also seemed to connect on those things.
      Anyway, I would notice that he would go through waves of being totally into me and then somewhat distant. It gave me anxiety at first but then I did my research on ADHD and realized this might be part of it.
      I would tell myself this when it would happen so I could calm myself. Two weekends ago, he was really stressed and i gave him space. I told him we dont have to hang out that weekend or even the next week and if he needed anything to let me know. He called me that monday and told me he couldnt continue this relationship because when he gets stressed, he needs to work on things himself. He said he felt that it wouldnt be fair to me bc he couldnt give what he thinks a relationship to be at the moment. He apologized profusely and said that he would be willing to meet and talk about it because i deserve that. He also said he wouldnt mind still talking on the phone because he enjoyed that with me so much. He said he didnt know how long it would take him to sort things out so it would be cruel to ask me to wait. He swore to me that it isnt about me or someone else. I plan on meeting him maybe next week (roughly 3 weeks post breakup). he told me I could take all the time that i need.
      I want to point out that he had a really tough childhood and he thinks of himself as “weird” and different.
      I have been through some really tough relationships and breakups. I went through a divorce and a run in with a sociopath. This guy was amazing to me. Yes he had his quirks but so do i. We both respected each other immensely.

      My question is, is this sort of quick decision related to his ADHD? Do people with ADHD ever regret their decisions? Is it possible to develop ADHD for childhood trauma?
      I see a therapist and she said that its possible that things got very real for him and he coped with it in maybe the way he knows how. She thinks we both have a fear of intimacy as well but i was willing to try to work on it.
      I honestly have never even thought about taking an ex back as they have always treated me like garbage. He didnt at all so i would want to leave the door open for him. I enjoyed our hour long phone calls as well and i wish i could give him those but it would be too painful right now as I miss him so much. I wouldnt “wait” for him, rather continue to work on myself and do my own thing. But i def would like to leave a place for him if he find stability in his life and decides he misses me. is this foolish to do with a person with ADHD? Do they ever come back or is the idea too stressful?
      What i HAVE learned about ADHD (much like my own anxiety issues) is that a combination of medication AND therapy helps the most. Is that always the case? I know that he takes medication but I dont think he thinks therapy would benefit him. Sorry this whole thing is so long. I am trying to find some solace and information. Thank you for your help in advance.

    • #56833
      Penny Williams

      I want to first commend this guy for having the self-awareness and courage to say that he needs to work through stress alone. He could stay together, because that’s often easier, but treat you poorly because he’s stressed out. Instead, he’s taking the steps he needs, which may really be best for both of you.

      I also commend you for wanting to learn about ADHD and wanting to work through a relationship with struggles. That shows real caring and compassion.

      I think it’s certainly acceptable to leave the door open for him later. I would discuss the stress and how he then manages it, if you both decide you want to give it another try later.

      You may find some valuable advice in this article on ADHD in relationships:

      10 Ways to Save Your Relationship

      ADDitude Community Moderator, Author & Mentor on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

    • #56853

      I feel your pain. I have been dating someone with undiagnosed ADHD for 3 years. Its been a bumpy ride. Not including the ADHD he has commitment issues which from what I have read, are pretty common with people of ADHD.
      Currently we are on a break for him to clear his head. He said he has emotional roadblocks and isn’t able to communicate to me. I have been VERY patient with him. He knows that most girls would have ran for the hills by now, and the thought has crossed my mind but I love him. THe usual cycle is he breaks it off and then 3 months later he comes back. I don’t want to abandon him but it’s coming to a crossroads. Its really wearing me down.

    • #56854

      Thank you ADHDmomma, yes I agree, he is extremely introspective and that’s one of the reasons I really would like to leave a door open for him. I also am constantly trying to work on myself so I know he understands that. I know I have not been perfect, I think I get too emotional sometimes but he just consoles me and says “you are a person, I understand” so that’s what I think when he tells me that he thinks he is weird. We all have our stuff and we are all just trying to deal and find some happiness along the way. I will post an update once I speak with him next week. I know it will be emotional and respectful. I hope I can show him just how much I care about him.

      Woodenmeow, I’m sorry to hear that. Does he acknowledge that he has it? have you tried to approach him about it? I’m new to this so I don’t even know how one would do that.

    • #56858

      He has not been diaignosed by a Doctor but many times when he as trouble focusing will say “I have ADD” Around his house he always has some kind of project. He says it helps him think and focus.
      I didn’t really put much thought into the ADHD thing until it hit me.. Is it possible that his emotional road blocks and lack of commitment part of the ADHD…
      He told me that he has been this way all of his life. He is a very quiet guy, very tired most of the time. Doesn’t fit all the boxes on ADHD list. Then again everyone is different.
      THe more people I connect with on here they said that commitment issues and ADHD are pretty common. It made me feel a little better but still nothing is fixed with me and my boyfriend.
      Since the guy you were seeing still wants to talk… he doesn’t want to completely shut the door. That to me is a good sign just give him some time.
      I hope my patience with my guy pays off.

    • #56931

      I totally get where he’s coming from, which is why I choose to avoid relationships. With ADD and no way to get any kind of treatment, it’s all I can do to get through a day in a job that’s an ADD person’s nightmare. Since I always feel like I’m juggling too many knives and they’re on the verge of falling all around me, I simply don’t have anything left to give to someone who needs any kind of intimacy or needs me to deal with their stuff when I can’t even manage my own. But if he didn’t love you, he probably would have just shut down or walked away without looking back. I suspect he wants to be with you but he can’t right now without ruining a really solid, positive friendship. So I wouldn’t shut the door. I’d go with, “I get that you’re overwhelmed and can’t deal with being in a relationship right now, but I’m still your friend, so call me if you need me. No strings attached.” I’d go with it for 2 reasons: 1. You obviously have a friendship that’s good for both of you, so why walk away from that entirely? and 2. The fact that you’re willing to take a step back without breaking off contact entirely will perhaps in time reassure him that you’re never going to demand more than he can offer, and that may be the missing piece for him.

    • #57273

      Thank you for your advice everyone. I will be meeting him this Friday for the final talk He said he is still pretty stressed and trying to work through it. I’m hoping this talk brings him some peace as well. I just plan on telling him how much he means to me and how I care about him as a person. I will also tell him that I will leave the door open for him If he finds some stability and misses me as a companion. I will also tell him if he ever needs a friend he can call me. I know he wanted to keep talking through it and so would I but it may be hard bc I still have romantic feelings. Hopefully we will talk about that and figure out what to do. I’m thinking he thinks I’m important too as he hasn’t just cut me off. I figure it’s hard to find good people in this world so I don’t want to cut him out at all. I will keep you all posted. Thank you

    • #58438

      Well, we met this past friday. It was sad and good all at the same time. I told him everything i felt and that i’m leaving the door open for him. also that if he ever needs, im here for him. He does want to be friends one day and I would like to be, i just need to figure out what that looks like for me because I have never done it.
      He responded with compassion and we basically then talked for 2 hours about everything, how we think of each other and things that remind us of each other. he told me he hasnt been sleeping well and he thinks he is depressed. he opened up to me and told me all of his life issues right now. When i left i gave him a hug. He held on very tight and it seemed he didnt want to let go. He said ” you dont have to hug me like its the last time, because it isnt”. I gave him a kiss on the cheek and left. It was the most gut-wrenching experience for me bc i know he is hurting and needs support. I also know that he cares deeply for me, it just seems like he has something internal that is stopping him.

    • #69555

      My Boyfriend and I had been dating for over a year and a half when he decided to move to Peru to join the Peace Corps. I always knew he was considering going but he did not want to ever talk to me about it, at one point a few months before he left he told me he was leaning towards not going and staying in our hometown. Three weeks before the date he would leave he told me he was going. He told me he was scared to talk to me about it worrying I would react negatively, and that he wanted to stay together during his two year commitment. I felt that ending on good terms and staying in touch would be best for us and our possible future, but I ended up agreeing to stay together. I found myself heartbroken in the month following his departure, and I admit I made the mistake of acting needy and doubtful of our relationship, which he said ended up pushing him away. We broke up for good over a month ago and he told me his feelings have changed due to how I have acted. He asked I give him space and do not talk to him over the app we had been using to text/call. I was going to respect his request but it was hard because I really still love and care for him. I want to know how he is doing. I was worried that by not talking we will grow further apart/if I wait for him, He will not talk to me again.Than I have handwritten a few letters explaining my feelings for him .But he never reply, You can still save your marriage or Relationship if really you still love your partner.

      • #69579

        Hi Ameliemur9. You’ve described classic gaslighting. You expressed how you felt and your boyfriend put all the blame on you for his decision to break up with you. Don’t take that blame. It was his choice, for good or ill. You are allowed to express how you are feeling.

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