My Partner Doesn’t Understand ADD

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    • #65692

      Hello! I am new to ADDitude! I am a 27 year old female. I was diagnosed with ADD as a child but I did not start treatment until I reached college. The last few years I have really tried to learn more about how it has shaped who I am and have come a long way. I am in a serious relationship with someone I have known since high school. We were very close friends most of the time but about a year ago we crossed bridge into a relationship. We have amazing chemistry and balance each other out in many ways. He is incredibly organized, productive, great with finances, basically great in the areas I struggle with because of my ADD. The biggest issue we have is communication and misunderstanding.
      He does not understand ADD at hardly at all. I have struggle with impulsive decisions and being able to think ahead to the future. He is constantly doing things to plan for the future I.e. saving money, he bought a house already and a car; whereas I find it extremely hard to save money for anything not in the immediate future (I am an overworked underpaid zookeeper so there is not a ton to work with) I drive an old car to avoid a car payment and I made some bad financial decisions in college that I am still paying for.
      I didn’t tell him I had ADD until recently. Even after trying to explain some of the ways I am wired differently, he still doesn’t seem to understand. I want to do better at planning for the future and finances and impulsivity but I am still trying to figure out methods that work for me. He just says things like “well if you wanted to be better than you would try harder” or that I just make excuses, that I am immature, etc. I have tried to show some articles and other things that better explain my struggles but he says he will only read things that have research based information and not blogs or articles not written by science professionals.
      I don’t want our relationship to fail but the arguments about things that relate to my symptoms just keep getting more frequent and I’m afraid if we don’t find a way to understand each other that we will end up in an unhealthy relationship and I will lose him as a partner and a longtime friend.
      Has anyone else faced this and found an effective way to help a non-add partner understand the symptoms better? I know that I keep improving myself and ways to cope with symptoms and I am always looking for methods but if I can’t get him to be patient and supportive of me in the meantime I don’t know what else to do!

    • #65801
      Penny Williams

      Here’s an overview of the current research on ADHD and how it shows that the ADHD brain is wired differently.

      Face It — People with ADHD Are Wired Differently

      It’s very unfortunate that he has closed his mind to the possibility that ADHD is real and what your life experience is. This may be a hurdle too high to clear.

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

    • #66068

      That is what my worry is. I am hoping if he is willing to read and learn more about it that we will be able to turn a corner. That article was very informational on explaining how it is a wiring issue not behavioral! Thank you!

    • #66071

      Hi, K,

      Have you looked at what you can do to be less impulsive and more organized? Maybe there is more you can do to manage what you call your ‘symptoms’. My husband has ADD, and we often argued because he did not keep promises, he forgot things, he lost things, etc. He was not willing to see an ADD coach, but he was willing for us to see one as a couple. We are exploring how we can interact better, considering our different styles. It is helping.

      All the best,

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