Inattentive ADHD type woman getting frustrated with Non-ADHD partner

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    • #168841
      Mitt79
      Participant

      I have scoured the internet to see if there are others in the same situation but I have come across nothing.

      I was diagnosed with inattentive ADHD the beginning of this year. I’m in my thirties with kids and I find it really hard to keep up with those typical household jobs that are expected for a woman to do. Historically, I have lived in mess and complete chaos but in the last few years I have found by keeping a tidy / cleanish house I feel much better mentally especially as I study at home. Having said that, any cupboard, draws, cubby holes are piled high with unorganised s**t but hey ho, out of sight out of mind hey!

      Anyhoo, back to the subject. My non-ADHD partner moved in around 7 months ago and he just does not help! He makes the odd home cooked meal (mainly because he wants it) and might empty the dishwasher once in a blue moon then acts like he is the most helpful partner ever. It frustrates me to the point I lose sleep over it. I ruminate and play it over and over in my head. Even writing it down now makes me realise how stupid it sounds but it feels so real. I’m not the ADHD outburst type I usually let him know that I am annoyed about his lack of help and then give him the silent treatment. I can get really muddled when trying to make a point (this applies to interviews, discussions, public speaking as well) and so I just end up playing things over an over in my head and I get really stand offish – or ‘cold’ as a previous ex once told me.I don’t think it helps the matter that he believes my ADHD is down to not eating enough veg, and the fact that when I said I was thinking of doing a Masters degree he thought it was a bad idea as I have to put too much time into it and I basically can’t give him enough time.

      Like I say, even reading that back makes me realise how pathetic I sound but the point is I really struggle myself to keep on top of things and I am driving myself WILD – has anyone else been in a similar position and has any tips? I am on the verge of suggesting we live separately again but feel super harsh on my children.

    • #168912
      hayes
      Participant

      Mitt79

      I’m the ADD (inattentive) partner here, and your story resonates a lot with me. Married a LONG time (28yrs) and diagnosed 18 yrs ago. It was tough for a while, but things have been better the last few years (I got the outside help I needed but was terrified to seek). One of the things we are known for is being hyper-critical of ourselves. To me, this is not a YOU problem – this is a partner problem! He has moved into what was primarily your space and routine (maybe not ideal, but worked for you), and now just wants to occupy it – really? He also doesn’t seem super supportive of your goals and dreams – something I’ve found is essential for us ADD folks to thrive. It’s taken my wife and I a long time to get to a place where we share things in the house/partnership (we have 21 & 18 yo kids), but we do support each other. We’ve also worked out some decent strategies for when I get distracted/overwhelmed/self-critical (you get the point here) that her suggestions don’t continue my own cycle of shutting down (that’s what I do).

      I’m not sure why you’re giving him such a pass here. If he’s a partner, he should be looking for ways to be a complement to the areas you need support in – not criticizing the things you are good at (btw HUGE thumbs up on the Master’s degree pursuit! I’m a HS teacher who fought hard to get it). Is he the father of your children? If so, you might want/need some outside help/support to get to a place where you’re both on board with a shared vison of your relationship. Yes – you have ADD. But this one’s not on you – not completely anyway. Sounds like you’ve carved out a pretty cool life for you and your kids – you (and HE!) should be proud of that! Just thought I’d give my thoughts from ‘our side’ of the ADD aisle. Hope it goes well for you…

      CHRIS

    • #168925
      sandymermaid
      Participant

      Wow! I, seriously could have written that myself! I know exactly what you’re saying/ where you’re coming from. I don’t have answers for you but I am going to follow this to see what people have to say.

      I was diagnosed in November and began Meds in Jan, 2020. I’m new to this as well.
      So, my journey begins!
      REALLY late in life I’ll add to that! I also married later in life than most and had my children later in life.
      My head is spinning!
      I was ALL about my career before family life.
      I had my little defense mechanisms and coping skills down to an art! I didn’t even know I was doing them, especially not for a reason. I’m not a clean freak but I am UBER organized.
      Career was my choice- I adored what I did (NASA) and my focus and attention were outside of my house- which, I’m find out now exactly WHY that was(!) … I’m not such a domestic kinda girl! My family is adding to my … frustration.
      So … following! I NEED ANSWERS.

      One LAST thing before I post this.
      IMHO— he should support you and your endeavors (especially furthering your education- that’s a plus for the entire family in the long run. He definitely shouldn’t complain that you’re not giving him enough time. Another stressor! If you’re like me you don’t want to disappoint anyone. For me, that would be worse than being useless around the house. That’s just my opinion. Please don’t be offended … that’s not my intention.
      While I’m at it …
      I swear(grrrr)!! … In my simple observations- and curiosity. I have found guys seem to be about the same when it comes to chores. When they do anything considered a ”woman’s” job around the house they ALL seem to point out when they do the most mundane task. A task that is just expected of us(women). Can you imagine pointing out every time you did the dishes(laundry, cooked, cleaned, etc).
      I was so annoyed with my husband, I wondered if it was just me being irrational. So, I asked my friends about their husbands and it appears they all do the same thing! High OR low. Educated or not. Egalitarian, you name it …
      So, your partner pointing out his help in your house seems to be NORMAL from what I’ve gathered! Expected of us, even though we have full time jobs as well. Yet, somehow special when a man does the same thing 🤷🏻‍♀️🤷🏻‍♀️🤷🏻‍♀️🤷🏻‍♀️
      My husband is great. He helps without having to be asked. He also . points . out . every . Single . little . thing . HE . does, if it’s even remotely considered a ”woman’s” chore! It’s sooooooo aggravating!!
      As I said, these are MY observation(s) w/ the men I have been in relationships with, and my friends comments on their husbands.
      SO … no offense to any men, that’s just my world.

      • #168937
        sandymermaid
        Participant

        @ Chris. Wow. This is all so new to me! I was responding when you posted, so I didn’t see your post. I’m almost going to cry! I can so relate to this- but am just learning about everything. I was just diagnosed … AT 55!!!
        You stated more eloquently, what I was trying to say to her!
        Yes! So agree with your advice to her.
        My husband IS supportive- but doesn’t really understand where I’m coming from … in general. If that makes any sense at all.
        My need to be organized- and have things in a certain place (I have to so I can function!). Too much to say. I don’t even know what type of therapy to get! To really pinpoint how to proceed in … ? Getting better? Learning to deal with this … managing my frustration with a family (I can’t keep up! There are 4 of us now. I shut down with the chaos).
        Sorry. Obviously. I need to find someone to talk to ASAP.

        • This reply was modified 7 months, 2 weeks ago by sandymermaid.
      • #169072
        Mitt79
        Participant

        Sandymermaid,
        Its so good to hear that I’m not the only one ha!
        I started meds in Feb so we are definitely at similar points in diagnosis – the annoying thing is I really want to take the therapy route as well which is impossible with the current situation!
        And I am the opposite, I am terribly organised but have found getting in the habit of using the google calendar to set any appointments, remind me of meds, BAH BLAH then setting 1,342,678.5 reminders to actually do them has helped!
        NASA – wow ! What did you do there? That sounds amazing – I’m so insecure I don’t even know what I’d be good at. I know I can get good grades though so I’m sure that will come with it.
        But yes, my attention seldom where anyone wants it to be. My children are actually really good, they do their own thing anyway – its just the adults in my life for me !
        One LAST thing before I post this.
        IMHO— he should support you and your endeavors (especially furthering your education- that’s a plus for the entire family in the long run. He definitely shouldn’t complain that you’re not giving him enough time. Another stressor! If you’re like me you don’t want to disappoint anyone. For me, that would be worse than being useless around the house. That’s just my opinion. Please don’t be offended … that’s not my intention.
        Thanks for being supportive. Like you say, education is an important factor and it’s really a small amount of time spent on it in the grand scheme of things. I am exactly the same, I don’t like to disappoint people. But then I can also just completely switch off once any situation overwhelms me which I imagine isn’t nice for those around me…
        To be honest I think the moaning about helping out around house was more the icing on top of the non-supportive cake he’s building.
        In my simple observations- and curiosity. I have found guys seem to be about the same when it comes to chores. When they do anything considered a ”woman’s” job around the house they ALL seem to point out when they do the most mundane task. A task that is just expected of us(women). Can you imagine pointing out every time you did the dishes(laundry, cooked, cleaned, etc).
        ^^^ I laughed at this, I’m sure it doesn’t apply to all men but this is EXACTLY what he does. I actually started doing it back to him which was amusing – you should try it!
        I’d be like ‘LOOK LOOK… LOOOOK I’ve unloaded the dishwasher and loaded it back up again. LOOK… LOOK… [enter other household chore]”
        Thanks for replying! You have really made me laugh.
        Good luck

        • This reply was modified 7 months, 2 weeks ago by Mitt79.
    • #169069
      Mitt79
      Participant

      Chris,

      Wow, this reply was really great to wake up to, thank you for taking the time to respond Chris.
      It’s nice to hear someone say its not ‘you’ as I often feel like I’m going nuts. It’s that criticality / self-doubt that I have in myself that seems to prevent me from ever moving forward.
      Also, it great to hear that you guys have got some strategies in place. Can I ask if your wife took the diagnosis seriously initially?
      I know you are right in my head; he has said some pretty dumb stuff that I’m sure even a non-ADD person would be annoyed by. He really won’t take on board the ADD diagnosis so straight away I feel like he’ll never understand the ‘quirks’ that come with it. Before I started taking my medication, everything was left very last minute (standard) and I would have several 12-hour (admittedly stressful) days on the lead up to any deadlines. Not only did he initially tell me that I should be finished once he had finished work but when I told him that wasn’t going to happen, he went on to ask me to move from where I study as it was making it stressful.
      I realise when I write this that he actually sounds like a monster – he isn’t. He’s a really nice guy but likes things his way ha. He isn’t the father of my kids but they have really taken a shine to him and he is really good with them too.
      Thank you for you support on the Masters – I never imagined I would go down the education route so it’s pretty amazing 😊. Its great to hear to hear you were in the same boat as well – and what an amazing career I may add! Did you also struggle with any criticality on grading ?!

      • This reply was modified 7 months, 2 weeks ago by Mitt79.
      • This reply was modified 7 months, 2 weeks ago by Mitt79.
    • #169095
      AdeleS546
      Participant

      “He also doesn’t seem super supportive of your goals and dreams – something I’ve found is essential for us ADD folks to thrive”.

      This is important in any marriage whether the person has ADHD or not.
      It is important to feel supported. It is devastating when you support your partner but they don’t support you. And I’m not talking about financial support I’m talking about emotional when it comes to your hopes dreams and goals.

      • This reply was modified 7 months, 2 weeks ago by AdeleS546.
    • #169262
      Penny Williams
      Keymaster

      Have you tried implementing schedule and routine. You can divvy up the household tasks and make them routine (Saturday is laundry day, for instance, or the dishwasher is emptied after dinner every night). That could really help. So, instead of you asking or nagging when you want help (as he likely perceives it) you have a plan of divided responsibilities.

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

      • #169345
        Mitt79
        Participant

        Hi Penny,

        Thanks for responding. I did go down this route… I even went down to just asking him to clean the bathroom once a week but he won’t.

        I’ll try again this week 🙂 hopefully he will realise

      • #169464
        Penny Williams
        Keymaster

        The key is to not have to ask. Sit down and list on paper responsibilities for each of you. Then schedule those on the same day or time of day for each that can be routine in that way, and post that calendar as well.

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

    • #170052
      hayes
      Participant

      Mitt79

      Sorry but have been distracted in this pandemic switching to teaching HS virtually/online and haven’t checked this board recently. This new method of teaching has been a struggle both professionally and structurally (ADD-wise) – but back to your questions in your last post. Yes, my wife was fully aware and always took it seriously. She’s an LicSW and has had patients who have struggled with this diagnosis. However, it’s much harder when it’s your partner or child. Also, I wasn’t in a place initially where I was ready to take it on fully. As you intimated in your story, I too had built up years of self-criticism/inadequacy and the resultant overwhelming shame that goes with it, to the point where I was virtually paralyzed in our relationship. It took her being willing to walk away and me getting into treatment (I’ve had a great therapist for about 5 yrs now). I’m just lucky/grateful that she loved me enough to stick with me; there’s still challenges, but we’re in a much better space. I’m lucky to have such a willing partner.

      Now to your question about teaching… As you can imagine, I have always struggled with grading papers as a teacher. First off, it (correcting) never goes away until the school year ends. Also, you probably know that us ADD-ers respond to stimulation/excitement, and push away tedium. Well, what can be more tedious than grading 9th grade tests? SO yes, I have struggled my entire career getting papers back (I envy my colleagues who can sit for 3-4 hrs straight and grade!). I have found that being up front with my students and their parents at the beginning of the year has bought a lot of good will. I explain about my executive functioning challenges, and that I’m not trying to make their child’s life more stressful; it just takes me longer to correct assignments and get things back. A surprise bonus – several parents every year express gratitude b/c their child struggles with it as well, and they appreciate having a teacher who ‘gets them’! I believe ADD has made me a dynamic classroom teacher, as well as understanding/empathetic on a visceral level (almost ALL teachers have empathy – don’t want to imply otherwise) the challenges some students face. The trade-off is struggles with grading. I’ll take that any day.

      Thanks for your kind words. I had been meaning to reply to some of the questions you had in your response to me; COVID shelter in place has it’s advantages! 😉 I hope things are heading in a positive direction for you and your partner, as well.

      CHRIS

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