If you could go back in time and do it all over again, would you?

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  • #39860


    This discussion was originally started by user Mal_06 in ADDitude’s now-retired community. The ADDitude editors have included it here to encourage more discussion.


    Hello everyone,

    First off, I want to say that I don’t mean to offend anyone here, I am simply trying to figure out what is best for my wellbeing.

    I was in the early stages of a relationship with a partner who has ADHD, but recently ended it. I am looking for advice based on your life’s experiences on whether to give it another chance or move on.

    I started dating a man who has been diagnosed with ADHD and is in treatment with both medication and counseling.  He was very honest about his ADHD and actually mentioned it to me very casually during the first month we started dating. He said he was diagnosed since he was a kid and has been on medication ever since. He said his meds keep him concentrated and focused. He joked to me that if he doesn’t take his meds, he has trouble starting and finishing tasks like laundry, misplaces things, etc. Not knowing much about ADHD, I didn’t think anything of it or how it could affect our relationship.

    He is an extremely intelligent man, a hard-working and successful doctor, charming, interesting, and the list goes on. He was very attentive and really pursued me in the beginning even though we lived in two different cities a couple of hours apart. Like me, he wanted to be in a serious relationship. We had so much in common and so much chemistry that we decided to give the relationship a try. After a month and half of some really amazing times together, he asked to make it official and we became a couple.

    During the initial 2 months of dating, I did start to notice some things I didn’t like such as taking over or interrupting while having conversations, not helping with cleaning dishes, leaving the water running or light on, zoning out while I was talking about a topic interesting to me, but all those weren’t really deal breakers for me.

    Then, in the 3rd month, the angry outbursts, hurtful comments, and emotional episodes began. He would get angry about the smallest things, but the way he reacted when angry was what troubled me. He’d yell at me, say really hurtful things, and blame me for his frustrations. Then an hour or two later he’d be his normal self, acting like if nothing had happened while I was left hurt and confused. He was also extremely emotional and would easily feel attacked or offended.

    After the first couple of outbursts, which happened back-to-back during one weekend, I talked to him and explained that I didn’t like how he reacted when he got angry. He apologized and said he would get better. But he didn’t get better. The next time it happened was the following weekend. We were out with friends and he took a comment that a friend of mine said (with no bad intentions) very personal. When we went back to his place, he was both emotional and angry. He began by crying and blaming me for putting him in that situation and making him feel that way. Then it continued into a full out explosion of anger aimed at me and said really hurtful and insensitive things. I couldn’t even get a word in to try and calm him down. It was after that episode that I ended the relationship. Having been in an emotionally abusive relationship before, I perceived these all to be red flags indicating yet another abusive partner.

    After I ended the relationship and left, he reached out to me. He acknowledged his anger outbursts and agreed that he shouldn’t be treating me like his punching bag. He promised to be better and said he wants us to be happy. For a while I didn’t even consider giving him another chance because I believed he was actually just a bad, manipulative, and controlling man. Somehow, after reading a lot of articles online and self-help books trying to understand his behavior and what had happened, I came across one talking about ADHD and anger management. Suddenly it all made sense. And now that I know that his behavior has to do with his ADHD, I feel more sympathetic and am considering giving it another chance. However, I am afraid that the problems that we have encountered so far are just the tip of the iceberg. I keep reading about how a relationship where AHDH is present will probably be more difficult when it comes to marriage, running a household, and raising a family than in one where ADHD is not present.

    I really care for this man, but I’m afraid choosing him will mean choosing a more difficult life.

    So what I would like to know is if you could go back in time and do everything all over again, would you do it? What is the toughest part of marrying someone with ADHD? What qualities do I need to help make this a successful and happy relationship?

    Again, I’m sorry if this is insensitive to those with ADHD, but I think it takes a special person to be able to be in a relationship with someone who has ADHD. And I just want to know now what to expect to decide whether this is something that I’m capable of and therefore prevent any heartache and misery for us both down the road.


  • #41042

    Hope @ ADDitude

    This reply was originally posted by user boilingfrog in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

    Dear Mal,
    I’m married 25 years to an ADHD woman. I would not do it again. Basically you will be dealing with this everyday for the rest of your life. The only people that go into these situations are exactly like you – kind, compassionate, patient, always thinking about others. The person you are talking about living with will not treat you that way even if they wish they could. Just because you can both work on it doesn’t take any of the sting of daily bad behavior.
    About having kids. It’s not just about whether your kids will or will not have it, but parenting with an ADHD is hell. All those moments you think you can absorb because you are who you are will be inflicted on your kids, and it will get worse as they get older. Before you commit to this you should really explore other relationships and at the very least, live with the guy for a year before you put a ring on your finger.

  • #41043

    Hope @ ADDitude

    This reply was originally posted by user ADHDmomma in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

    Yes, 20 years married, and I’d do it again. My husband has not been diagnosed with ADHD, but our son has and all of my husband’s “quirks” made complete sense once I learned more about ADHD.

    Mind you, I’ve been obsessed with learning about ADHD for 8+ years. I have far more knowledge and understanding of ADHD than almost anyone who doesn’t have it. But, I’ve poured probably thousands of hours into it.

    Do things my husband does that are probably due to ADHD still frustrating? Absolutely! But, I know the pain isn’t intentional. And, the more he learned about our son, the more aware he was of his own actions and the more self-regulation he has been able to impose.

    I’m not saying you should give your guy a 2nd chance necessarily, only you can decide that. Do read about Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria though, it explains a lot about the extreme emotional reactions: https://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/10121.html. It explained so much about my husband.

    Remember too, many of the people who say they wouldn’t do it again have spouses who refuse to accept their ADHD or refuse to treat it. That makes things a lot worse.

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

    • #79924


      Lol u know a lot about ADHD huh? I do as well. Too much.

  • #41045

    Hope @ ADDitude

    This reply was originally posted by user LadyDi69 in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

    Not an easy decision to make. My spouse has similar behaviors and it’s almost unbearable at times. This is my 2nd marriage and more often than not I think about ending things as it just never gets better. We went to counseling wherein he said he was fine and normal and it was me and my kids that were the problem. After 6.5 years together things haven’t improved and are exponentially worse for my kids as they’ve reached their teens. Everything they do or say is wrong or makes him mad. His mood swings and outbursts affect everyone around him including his estranged siblings and my brother. I don’t take him with to visit my brother so that the visit is enjoyable and stress free.

    Honestly its been a string of broken promises of “I’ll do better, I won’t do it anymore” etc. Is it all bad? No but the bad times seem to be more than the good and unless you see him truly trying and making efforts to change your life with him will be difficult and less than happy. There’s no guarantee of happiness with anyone but in your case you have a pretty good idea how things will go. And its much easier to end a relationship than a marriage. If I could choose over I would have said no. Not just for myself but my kids.

  • #41054

    Hope @ ADDitude

    This reply was originally posted by user ADDedValue62 in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

    The behaviors you describe might not all be attributable to ADHD.

    My wife of 28 years would unhesitatingly say that she would NOT knowingly marry a man with ADHD—and certainly wouldn’t marry me again. Between me and my son she’s had more than enough ADHD induced heartache.

    Now, in the interests of full disclosure I wouldn’t marry her again either, and she’s kind of anti-male in general (thanks philandering FIL!). Still it’s my ADHD related behaviors and their consequences that have really wrecked the marriage for her.

    So if you were my daughter I’d say this. It was only 3+ months and you’ve already bailed. In all probability he’s not going to change. Do you need this guy’s problems? Maybe you should go with your instincts on this one.

  • #46929


    This is tough question for me because right now, my husband’s ADHD has been creating a lot of problems for us. My husband wasn’t forthcoming about his ADHD, preferring to let me figure it out after we were married, even though he was diagnosed and treated throughout his childhood. Fortunately, my husband does not have angry outbursts directed at me, but sometimes, he gives me a surly teenager attitude. I’ve worked hard to try to understand ADHD, but he has been less eager to discuss how his ADHD has impacted me. I’ve suggested that he go to see someone, that he resume his medication (if he think it will help to address some of the issues that have become problematic for us – namely forgetfulness, lack of follow-through, and mood swings that lead to near mania on his part), or that he and I both work with an ADHD coach to figure out how to prevent some of these issues from pushing us to the breaking point. There are moments when I think “what did I get myself into?” and when I get angry that he didn’t share his ADHD with me upfront. Then there are moments when I love his playful attitude and his enthusiasm for things that interest him. Recently, I’ve trying to focus on seeing him as a person, with ADHD as just one part of who he is, and not something that exists outside of him. I’ve also tried to force conversations with him that will help me understand which things he does are the result of his ADHD and which are not. For example, this weekend, he was practically bouncing off the walls and acting overly-excited and silly about things. I asked him if he thought his behavior was due to his ADHD and he said, yes and that he could feel the difference himself. In an ideal state, he’d be able to recognize those moments himself or even figure out what his triggers are (he had taken a sleeping pill the night before and I think the change in his brain chemistry might have had the opposite effect on him when it wore off). Ultimately, however, I can only encourage and cajole so much and being in the parent role, instead of in the partner / spouse role has been trying. I’ve had to reexamine my own expectations for our relationship several times already and we haven’t even been married for a year.

  • #47454


    Hi, I couldn’t sleep last night after looking at your post! Not your fault, but had to write a post to let you know my story as it sounds just like your story. When I fell in love with my husband in 1996 I knew I was lucky to be finding him and he was everything I wanted in a husband, partner and friend. He swept me off my feet with so much attention and love and I thought I deserved this and that would be the end of the story. What ended up happening is almost like a nightmare to me to this day. When we got married in 2001 I had a few incidents of verbal abuse but didn’t know it was verbal abuse, just thought it was isolated incidences. Being that we worked together, I knew how successful he was, how we were so in sync with each other I had no clue as to how I would be questioning everything in life at this point. For the first 14 years he drank alcohol and would rage at me when he got drunk and finally on the day he was diagnosed, he quit drinking with fear of losing me and our marriage. My husband was diagnosed at age 58 and asked the doctor for some sort of medication for depression. The doctor sent him home with a prescription for Adderall. He told me it was for depression, but since I had an adopted son who had ADHD I knew why he had prescribed this for him. He called up the doctor and the doctor proceeded with why he thought he had ADHD. He took the medication and felt so much better and for once in our married life I didn’t have to push him to go to work. He never bothered to learn why he was on the medication, just took it as I poured over every detail of our life. Besides dealing with a different lifestyle (one with no alcohol- I never drank)and depression which followed for the next year. We thought no alcohol and the Adderall would make things better for both of us. The verbal abuse got worse and it was so random and over stupid things and I never knew why he was doing it. He abused me just in private and was the charming wonderful man in public but it was hell at home. He would even do it on vacation and right before a big trip and after all these episodes he would apologize and swear he would not do it again only to find one week later he would do it again. He even went to anger management classes and was a perfect student in the class and then he would come home to me and do it again. To this day, we are in separate bedrooms and I know he thinks he will not do it again but I know different. I have lost my respect for a man who just won’t stop berating me and where I go from here I do not know. We did counseling for the first 14 years and I was always the one with the problem and he always ended up looking good. I was told by a therapist that once there is abuse we cannot go to therapy together as the woman always ends up being abused all over again. My advice to you is to RUN, as far as you can away from this man, as my life has been hell and there is no good that will come to your life with a man who refuses to treat his wife like this.

  • #48985


    Nope. Same goes for women who treat their man this way. read jessica411 above for the reasons. Mine had adhd with DESR. deadly. denial…..sorry. Truth…I gave everything, loved unconditionally. but late 50’s….enough chances..

  • #49652


    Hi, I married a young lady 25 years old with a child, after the marriage due to her abnormal behavior I found that she’s been diagnosed with ADHD the same goes with her child too. Also, after quite short time I discovered that she’s been through a lot in her life such as having random multiple relationships, alcoholic and drugs abuse, and when I faced her with that, she admitted by putting her excuse on her ADHD diagnose that’s leading her to feel stress and feeling depressed all the time, I forgave her since she’s promised to take further action toward to end up her previous relationships and start new life with me.
    Now almost every day we have a new problem on trivial things, and whenever we come to argue, I find her yelling, screaming, even more than that by approaching me physically. I’m trying to understand her but every time I fail because of insisting of kicking me and my stuff in the street, which leading me to stay away from her, now I’m out of home for more than 20 days, last time she’s dropped me to some place to stay in, even she doesn’t care about my situation.
    Despite what she’s doing with me but I feel that she loves me, and it’s out of her control as she saying.
    That’s what’s happening with me, and I simply feel that this relationship is gonna be ended very soon and we are filing for dissolution this week.
    She’s been prescribed some medication to help her to focus and help her to get rid of the stress and the depression but I don’t think that’s gonna help.
    I love her and willing to continue with her but I’m so afraid that our life will get more worst, especially she’s wanting to make a baby, though she’s already a mother.
    I really don’t know what to do, my life is simply like the hell if anyone could please advise me what I should do. let go and move on or give her another chance!
    Your help is highly appreciated.

  • #79912


    Wow! I’ve been feeling pretty alone lately and this aarticle and the responses have really comforted me.
    I am a gay man and have been married to my partner for almost 5 years. Over these years, I have experienced so many fights, lies, denial, blame, gas lighting,anger outbursts, cold words and actions out of nowhere, plus so much more, all of it coming from my spouse. I have been left with almost no self-esteem, embarrassed, constantly on edge waiting for his next game to begin, no social life because of his behavior, plus more negative things that any marriage should not induce. He started therapy and his doctors are thinking it may be adhd, I still think he’s a narcissist, but I will know more from the doctors soon. If I could go back to when I first met him, I would’ve ran the opposite direction. Not walk, but run. I am glad he is finnaly seeking help, but he still is unable to grasp the effects his words and actions have had on me and the way he responds to me anytime I try to talk about some of these things so I can try to heal, he will dismiss my feelings, expect me to just forgive him and love and trust him whole and shut up about it, or he gets so angry that he needs to exit from talking to me. It is pure Hell. I am finally at the point where I know I need to leave him. It breaks my heart to walk away from my marriage and from him because this isn’t something he can control, but I have 3 autoimmune, chronic health issues and the stress level he maintains in our home daily is finally too much to bare. If you have a spouse who isn’t medicated or is denying adhd and you strongly feel it is, you need to evaluate your situation. Everyone needs to be loved but it should never be at the cost of your own self worth, stability and peace in your home. Run fast. And don’t look back.

  • #80148


    As a non-ADD partner to an ADD man for over a year now I can say this: I accepted and loved my boyfriend as he was. What I did not accept and nobody should are the consequences of his behavior: broken promises, inability to follow-up on anything, defensive rants, emotional manipulation, rejection dysphoria. It’s no one’s fault to be born with ADD/ADHD. It is, however, one’s responsibility if born with the condition that as an adult he or she recognizes it and takes proper actions to manage the symptoms. No one should feel responsible, out of love or obligation, to bear the brunt of someone else’s mental condition. Non-ADD people: please wake up and be assertive. You deserve true love NOT abuse!

    After one year of relationship I finally woke up and I am taking action to RUN and save myself. I deserve better! Whoever wonders whether to stay or go: Go! You deserve better too!

  • #80166


    Lol no my past was hell, the present is hell, and the future is hell so literally it would just rewind back to a past form of hell and form its new shitty path, although that may be nice to fix some past mistakes, I’d rather not live through such similar things again and have to deal with all the outcomes. 22.5 years old is a long time to go back and redo every mistake I’ve ever made and that would make me forget all the good memories I’ve had from this life, unless of course I somehow kept my memory or was reminded of my current memory that I have now at a later point. This is getting quite intricate for my tired ADHD mind. Goodnight.

  • #83812


    Nope – I’d run if I could but we have two kids and for the most part they don’t feel the effects of their Father’s ADHD. My life is one long endless series of cleaning up his messes/mistakes. He is nice person and has good intentions but he is not cut out to be a husband and father. He was happy to accept the ADHD diagnosis and now promptly uses it as an excuse for every mistake he makes. I was just thinking about this yesterday which I why I went on this forum today: what do I get from this marriage? And the answer is nothing. He gets a wife that contributes half the income, plans, shops and makes the meals, plans and saves and pays for vacations, saves for our mutual retirement, ensures that we are both saving for the kids college, and on and on and on. And I get nothing. Sad but true.

  • #83932


    I’m the ADD partner – diagnosed 16 years ago at age 35. We have had lots of struggles – even coming close to the brink. I thought my struggles were merely attention-related; I thought I could ‘fix this ADD thing’ with just meds. What I didn’t realize was many of the other compounding things that go with it. It took my wife talking about separation to realize that meds won’t work without the assistance of a solid therapeutic relationship.

    I found a really good therapist a year ago, and it’s made a huge difference. As people connected to this profession (I’m a HS teacher, my wife a therapist), we were able to see the long goal here. We do love each other, and have a wonderful family (son 20, daughter 16). It’s hard work – or I should say, I’M HARD WORK. But we’re in a much better place, looking to celebrate 25 yrs married this June.

    I’m not sure if she’d do it all over again. But I’m sure grateful that she loves me enough to stay enoug. I know I’d do it all over again – she’s so worth it. I’d like to think those of us with ADD are worth it, too. But we have to put in the work so our partners feel that THEY are worth it. It sure if this helps – but just wanted to give a perspective from ‘the other side’. Thanks for reading…

  • #84736


    There is no window or door we can open, look through and see the future. When our ADD partner is thrilling us with their attention at the beginning, that’s our joy. We cling to the disbelief of having found someone who we matter so very much to.

    Who in their right mind would not do that all over again?

    The problems start…the nagging, the disappointments, the imbalances about managing finances, the loneliness, the lies you tell yourself and others because you want to “save face” and appear to be in a happy marriage.

    I have lived a forthright life. I fulfilled obligations I committed myself to. I have been kind. I have been generous. I was obedient to a power higher than myself that encouraged loving my neighbor as myself.

    I married a man who committed himself to that same higher power.

    So now, 25 years later after experiencing 75% of every negative thing mentioned in the above posts, I feel I would marry my husband again. I think what he expressed in the beginning was real. I believe that his commitment to the thought of treating others as he would want to be treated will be the anchor that keeps us from completely drifting apart.

    My commitment to that basic principle is what will keep me from stabbing him to death in his sleep ( which I want to do 6 nights out of 7 )

    We are all imperfect. Don’t give up on yourself. Your ADD partner might benefit from simply applying the principle of “do unto others”.

    Our struggles with these partners are struggles with these partners. There will be struggles with the next partner and you will struggle at times alone.

    In my opinion those are the choices.

  • #85479


    Reflect on who you are. If you are a size 5 shoe and the relationship is a size 10 shoe, the shoe does not fit without A LOT of compromise, uncomfortableness and pain.

    If you are not a person whose strengths include being very adaptable, unlimited patience, unlimited willingness to understand someone else, has amazing self-esteem, self-reliant who does not almost anything from their partner like dependability, stability, consistency, etc., then IMO, this is NOT the relationship for you.

    Long story short, I would not do it all over again. We are both wonderful people who have a lot to offer, but for many reasons for us it does not work. No matter how much I read about ADHD, how much I was flexible, clarified expectations, wrote it down, scheduled, left reminders, directly asked for things and worked on plans together, it would not work enough to remain consistent and make a real difference. IMO there is such a thing as “too little too late”. While I genuinely believe my ADHD spouse is trying very hard, the distractions and inability to bounce back from them meaningfully is ultimately going to be the formal end of our marriage in the near future.

  • #85543


    Hi StopWishing:

    Your post took the words out of my brain and soul. I should have written as honestly as you did…but I think that because I’m still here 25 years later…I’m ashamed somehow. I’ve wanted to believe that loyalty and integrity to ones vow at the the beginning of the marriage were the most important characteristics of a good person. I still don’t totally doubt that. I have to believe that the Creator…the originator of marriage…looks at me as faithful. So my reward is His approval. Everything else is a matter of endurance.

    But the truth in answer to the question about whether I would marry my husband again is an emphatic no.

    But I’m here now…25 years later and I will continue to treat my husband with as much kindness as I can muster. I exercise all the limitations that I have to because of his messy, falling-down personality. Thankfully I have support within my family and others in the congregation where I worship. They don’t know his weird personality has letters attached to it (ADHD) but they are loving, supportive people by virtue of how we’re all taught from the scriptures…so it works.

    I’m deeply lonely at home. I do my best to work with that by doing things for others, reading, gardening and working out at a gym.

    Different things work to help some of us endure…but when it’s over, it’s over and I admire the way you expressed it regarding your relationship. My sincere best wishes to you.

  • #85692



    Yes, I would do it all over again. I’ve been with my ADHD spouse for over 3 years and married for a little over 2 months now. We are still in the early stages of our relationship compared to everyone here that’s had over 10 years experience, but I’ll share my reasons as to why I would do it again.

    Our relationship is like many others here: an attentive, highly intelligent, charming, attractive, and loving person comes into my life and sweeps me off my feet with his passionate romantic behavior. I’m a very practical person…I can’t get into happy delusions (I naturally always doubted his promises of being better or that there would be no problems due to his ADHD) so when he told me about his ADHD after 1 month of dating, I knew there would be chaos in our relationship eventually from online research. His ADHD only showed after the first year of dating and that’s when arguments were about every other day on average. Some arguments lasted days without any sleep or food or breaks to stop and think about things because he pushed to talk the topics to death. I blocked people in my life on social media who said I should leave him. I skipped work for days to finish relationships because I wanted him to see that I was committed and willing to work through anything with him, on a practical level of course. For instance, if he was angry about my friends wanting to go out with me every weekend, then the conversation would cover every person’s background, their intentions with me, their reasons for wanting to hang out so much, etc. Each topic had a very thorough investigation and even afterwards, it did not help calm his ADHD behavior…and I ended up cancelling a lot of events with family or friends for his sake.

    These sacrifices were mistakes and NOT necessary. Please do not sacrifice yourself, your time, your friends, your loved ones, your job – your life basically – for this person with ADHD because they cannot appreciate it in the light that you are expecting. It is a condition for a reason. You can’t treat it with yourself as much as you’d like to believe. Just live your life as best you can and talk to him, but don’t give in to his ADHD. He needs to learn to take care of his condition because the truth is, you’re not going to be alive forever to deal with his terrorizing behavior or care for every aspect of his life. You didn’t give your parents hell to be raised into a decent human being just to end up in an abusive relationship. To be in a relationship with an ADHD person is to love yourself as much as you love them and pay little to no attention to the ADHD because the more you invest into it, the more the ADHD person will yearn for the attention and expect you to yield to their every demand. I hate that I’m a practical person most of the time because it’s hard for me to think with my emotions, but it helps a lot in my relationship oddly enough. Yes, he has called me cold hearted and evil because I stay calm and am at a peace of mind through his emotional outbursts but that’s actually what helps. He sees me acting this way and at first, he feels resentment, hatred and saying every hurtful thing to get a reaction so he can get his way, but after the ADHD storm, he realizes that I’m still here, still me, still looking at him the same way as I always have, and he thanks for me being that structure and stable force in his life.

    I’m not saying it’s easy to stay calm and composed while being berated, spending hours listening to how horrible I am as a human, or discussing small issues that are blown out of proportion by him, but I am committed in this relationship because I want to be with him and only him. I’ve had days where I break down crying on my way to work, while I’m at work, or taking more shifts some weeks to give myself some space and extra money to support us. The finances, paperwork, important dates/times, cleaning, cooking, and all of the other responsibility tasks are my job (he helps, but needs guidance) along with my hectic work schedule, but luckily, I’m efficient with time management and organization so I don’t have too much trouble with that. The only obstacle is stress build up and exhaustion since he has demands of his own such as sex, playing video games and active outdoor activities with him that sometimes cause me to collapse into a deep slumber at the end of the day. My advice is to keep everyone outside of the relationship away from your relationship. Everyone will tell you to leave because you could obviously have an easier life with a non-ADHD person, but if he gives you what no one else can ever make you feel or experience, then give it your best shot because that’s a rarity that most people give up on finding and settle for money or that “perfect” empty life of a partner that they’re not whole heartedly intuned with. Also, with finances being an issue – Just say no. It’s hard to, but explain your reasons like “you’ve spent over $500 on what you like for this month and we have X amount of bills to pay so please, wait until we have money again and you can have what you like again.” And if there’s a fight for whatever reason from the ADHD person, then there’s not much they can do other than rob you and most likely, they won’t rob you for the money. If they do then you know what to do at that point. They’re not in the relationship for you, but for their own wants and needs which is too selfish to make it work out. NEVER let anyone get you into debt and I made sure my ADHD husband knew that many times when he was overspending and now, he finally respects the value of money and manages his spending on his own (still not perfect, but it is a lot better than before). What also helps is to tell white lies like if you’re going to be home in 30 min, just say “I’ll be home in 45 min” and they’ll end up being happy that you’re home early and it’s better than having an argument for “you’re a few minutes late!!!.” Do the same with money. Say “we only have $350 to spend on anything you like this month” when in actuality, you have $500 to spend. So you end up comfortably overspending a little bit and still saving some or you just saved yourself $150 extra this month and same goes for the next month! Just find clever ways to get around his ADHD because even though you can’t treat it, you can help from triggering the argumentative side of it.

    Conscious effort is the key treatment for ADHD and your part as the non ADHD partner is to help them see that by refusing to give in to their tantrums and wasteful money spending habits. It’ll be hard, but worth it when you are the only person in their life to finally put a firm foot down. Be strong and love them, but don’t confuse love with spoiling them. Sure, its great to see them happy when you give them a mountain of goodies, but it’s even greater to see them happy on their own without materialistic needs or paranoia.

    Just to leave details about myself and my husband for context: I am a 26 year old Asian American and my husband is a 23 year old Scottish man from Scotland. We had a long distance relationship for 2.5 years, visiting each other every other month for 10 days up to a 1 month at a time and currently are living in the United States together. I am an Administrative Manager and he is in school for the Pharm D program. I was brought up in a poor household, being the youngest of 8 other siblings and have worked my way into a stable income for the time being, but am still looking to find better career opportunities. Anyway, hope this post helps many out there who have chosen to be with an ADHD person or are considering it.

  • #85701


    My two cents is there are certain deal-breakers. My guy is ADD but went the opposite direction in emotional dysregulation- instead of feeling everything intensely, he was emotionally void. You mentioned red flags for me in the way he handles his anger. Granted, he has a disorder that makes it hard for him to manage his emotions, BUT promises are empty unless he’s taking actionable steps to cope with his disadvantage. He won’t change by simply promising to do better. It’s just not something within his control that he can switch on and off- he needs good coping mechanisms/skills.

    If I were you and I wanted to keep the relationship, I would make sure I had healthy boundaries in place. I would also be honest about how I care about him, but if the relationship is to progress, I would need to see some changes (i.e. him seeking treatment, meds, coping strats, gaining self-regulation skills, etc) in order to proceed with a relationship. Otherwise it’s friend status. You’re no in so deep that you don’t still have a way to save yourself from the heartache and getting involved with an untreated angry adhd’er is bound to end badly if he doesn’t care to seek out health on his own.

    Edited to add that I’m the add’er with anger issues in my relationship, so I’m speaking from experience about the promises to ‘not lose it or say anything mean again’.

    • This reply was modified 7 months, 2 weeks ago by  nessy.
  • #100050


    Absolutely NOT. A resounding “not,” at that. Had I not already had over 20 years invested with this ADD nightmare of a man-child (15 before he got a diagnosis), I would NEVER, EVER elect to remain. I can deal with most ADD symptoms; I truly can. But the erratic, mean behavior and outbursts at the drop of a hat? For NOTHING? Then no sincere apology?

    NOPE. lol

    ADD is constantly crazy-making for the non-ADD partner, unless the ADD partner is 1,000% committed not only to taking med(s), but to cognitive therapy as well.

  • #101024


    Feel free to skip to the last paragraph for short answer.

    Wow! I just found this site and I can totally relate to what I’ve read in this thread of posts. I’m in 50’s and divorced for about 9 years. Met a woman of the same age online and we hit it off on the first date. She admitted to being diagnosed ADHD and her two kids also were diagnosed. All on meds. I had no real experience dating or relating in general to someone with ADHD, so I didn’t know what to expect. The first 3-4 months were exhilarating to say the least with her paying a ton of attention to me and us quickly having a pretty active physical relationship. She also told me of sexual trauma she endured as a small child (uncle) and then again as a teen (stepfather). Her mom is Borderline and suffers from trauma induced physical issues. Her sisters are both Borderline and brother diagnosed ADHD. Extremely enmeshed family situation with abusive stepfather actively in the picture financially supporting most of the grown children. With all this said, what I encountered in the relationship may be associated with ADHD and also attributed to other issues. The relationship lasted about 9 months and ended abruptly.

    My ex girlfriend (and ex fiance) is a trauma based therapist and I was impressed by her career and I believe that played into my belief that she had actively dealt with her issues and they wouldn’t affect our relationship. There were significant “red flags” early on that I looked past for this reason and also I believe because of the high energy “hyper-focus” phase. And, there was a lot of good in the relationship without question. I bought into the “storybook” fantasy and we got engaged about five months in. Then, things got really confusing when the hyper-focus stage ended and her attention to our relationship significantly changed. There was also the revelation of her continuing a texting relationship with her past boyfriend. This is an ex bf with whom she was with for four years and had about a half dozen breakup/makeups. I also started to see an extremely unhealthy emotional relationship she continued to have with her ex husband. Beyond these things, the ADHD issues of forgetfulness, lack of timeliness, inability to organize her house (tons of clutter), lack of ability to be present much of the time we were together, an obsession to “save” her trauma clients, lack of financial independence, an obsession with her FOO problems and inability to enforce healthy boundaries with them, extreme hyper-sexual activities, etc. I started question what the future would look like with these issues and even had to enforce some boundaries in regards to her actions and treatment of me. What I also didn’t understand was “rejection dysphoria” which I’m convinced now played into her behavior towards the end. I got to a point where I stated we needed to see a couples therapist to help find common ground around a number of issues. Her solution was for me to spend more time meditating and doing “past life regression”, etc to help me avoid becoming frustrated or angry with her actions. I was upfront with her that I would happy to do some of these things only in consort with couples therapy and that I just felt alone in the relationship. Within a week of this discussion, she went into almost a zombie state and then emailed me an engagement breakup. The breakup reasons were projections and lacked any ownership for her own behavior. That was it and I really woke up to how I needed to permanently close the door to any future contact. There have been attempts over the past months, but I’m happy to say that I’m several months clear of this relationship and a few months into dating a non ADHD lady with whom I just don’t see the issues of the previous relationship. Eyes wide open, though!

    So, long answer short – I would not date this person again nor would I choose to date someone who is either diagnosed or undiagnosed ADHD. I’m a very patient and giving person, and the traits I saw and actions I experienced are not a good fit for what I want in life and relationships. Now, I live life with no regrets and feel that this past relationship experience came with a ton of needed lessons and wisdom. Again, I can’t attribute all the issues I dealt with to my ex’s ADHD but a good amount of them I can.

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