New to dating a guy with ADHD – Need advice

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This topic contains 44 replies, has 21 voices, and was last updated by  anomalocaris 4 days, 21 hours ago.

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  • #46865


    Hello everyone!

    I recently started dating a guy with ADHD and I am trying to understand it (and him) better. I have been reading a lot about it, but I would like to hear from some of you about experiences you have had and how do you manage to overcome the difficulties.

    Just a little background note: I am very organized and when I say I will call you in 20 minutes I DO call you! So when my boyfriend didn’t do that I would get extremely frustrated and hurt; I have since overcome that because now I understand that it’s not that he doesn’t care. But I wonder how many more things like that will I have to overcome?
    One VERY important thing to mention is that I do love him and I am willing to give it a really fair try and that is why I am educating myself.

    Looking forward to reading your experiences and any tips will be greatly appreciated!

    Thank you!

  • #46876


    He may interrupt you constantly. Stop him gently, he is not being rude.
    He may ‘blurt’ comments without thinking it through. He’s just saying what everybody else is thinking. Give him a nudge.
    He will do several things at once, and not finish any of them. The upside is that he will be a lateral thinker and smarter than most. He will not be dull.
    When he is ‘in the zone’ nothing else exists, including you. Let him be.
    His conversation will leap all over the place, follow if you can, it will make sense in the end.
    Almost nothing will be linear – never expect to go from A to B, unless you are prepared to go via M and F and Q. You’ll still get there. Probably.
    He may be very anxious, and sometimes depressed, being ADD is not a walk in the park.
    If he loves you, he really will love you!
    For the rest, he’s just a bloke like any other.

    • #49324


      Thank you SO much everyone! I truly appreciate all your advice and I have hopes for our relationship. We are still together and learning about each other. I guess I am lucky because he has his medication figured out so I don’t see much of some things you all have mentioned. But like Parminter said, conversations are always fun because they jump from one subject to the other! It used to confuse me a lot, but now I am used to it and actually enjoy it! haha
      AnneHW thankfully he has never been rude but thanks for letting me know that it is not part of ADHD and Lys, thank you for the awesome tips! I will definitely use them!
      Emily092806, thanks! I do try to see past his ADHD and so far it has brought me nothing but happiness!
      Thank you ALL again! And keep the tips coming! 😉

  • #48996


    Does he get the most appropriate medication for him, at the most adequate dosage? If yes, as he started behavioral therapy?

  • #48999


    Parminter, you’ve said it so well!! That’s a wonderful description, and thanks for not making it sound like a lot of excuses. The other thing I want to add is that even though we (I’m a woman with ADHD) get frustrated and can be irritable, it does not mean you, morena26, should put up with truly bad behavior. You have a right to expect to be treated with respect, so it’s not okay if you feel you are being abused in any way. The reason I say this is I’m seeing way too many women posting questions about being treated badly by their spouse/boyfriend and using the excuse of ADHD. Reread what Parminter has said, and note that he says nothing about lashing out, being unkind, etc.

    Good luck!

  • #49195


    Some good suggestions above. Here are my additions.

    The passage of time is a mystery. There is only now or later. If you care about him being on time, send him reminders (put events on the calendar, outright nag, and do not answer the question “What time is it?” with an actual time — say, for example, “It’s time to get dressed.”).

    The best you can hope for organization is that he can find his keys each morning, the driving license is in his pocket, the car rarely runs out of gas in a weird place, and the taxes are up to date. Everything else chances are you’ll have to deal with, if it bother you.

    He may have trouble starting or finishing things for no apparent reason. There is no point in psychoanalyzing him. If you want to help, suggest the next small action he can do to move things forward, if you can see one.

    As Anne said, inability to improve behaviour is one thing, denial and unacknowledged jerky behaviour is something else. There is no excuse for that.

    DH and I both have ADHD (only figured it out because our daughter got diagnosed), and we’ve been together for more than 20 years. The main thing is to focus on solving the problem, not improving the person. Oh, and the judicious application of nagging (aka repeated reminders), on both sides 🙂

  • #49197


    I was dating a man with ADHD (and now married to him) and one thing that we had issues with was that he was very attentive at first but as the months went by he seemed to be losing attention and I thought maybe he was bored with me or didn’t like me, but then came to notice that it was just that he was having a hard time focusing on one thing (me). I learned to be patient and to make sure and communicate how I felt because he had a hard time picking up on my feelings. Even now that we are married we have are struggles like when he’s had half of the conversation in his head and then starts to talk to me about it lol. But he loves me and he makes me laugh with his silliness and I wouldn’t have him any other way. It’s all about understanding and being patient, so you don’t miss out on who the person truly is past their ADHD

  • #49516


    Routines Routines and more Routines.
    I have never locked my keys in the house or car. I always make it to work on time and I don’t get lost on the way to or from work. If I want to wonder I go out on the weekends to go fishing, which means I put all my gear in the car and drive around until I think it’s time to fish or go home.
    You can expect that your man will either be wicked smart, funny and relaxed or frustrated, chronically unemployed and uptight, sometimes all in the same day. Just love him anyway.
    Good luck and if you find the magic potion make sure you share with all of us. We might not imbibe but we’d still like to know.

  • #49604


    Hi, Morena,

    You may not understand the dynamic until you live it. You will see from posts on other threads that a boyfriend may hyperfocus during courtship, then retreat to his little world later. Reading is good, but I find many books give unrealistic scenarios and offer glib advice. How patient can you remain if you’ve been stood up hundreds of times and if your boyfriend screams at you if you ask, no matter how patiently and mildly, what happened? It may be very instructive to observe his behaviors among family and friends. Don’t expect it will be different with you or that you’ll handle things better based on advice you read.

    All the best,

    • #50020


      Hi Angie,
      Thank you for your response. You are absolutely right! I have read a lot of things that a person with ADHD “should have” and he doesn’t have most of them, or at least I haven’t seen that! We have been together for 4 months now and he has never lost a thing nor does he forget his keys or wallet. He used to be late and cancel at the last minute,but after a few talks he’s doing MUCH better.
      So… like you said I have to live it to understand it. I do however, appreciate reading all responses because it gives me a better insight of what to expect, what is normal and what is not.
      Thanks again!

  • #49605


    I have to respond to Angie’s post. I think there are some valid thoughts, but as someone who has ADHD, I also want to add that not everything that is negative is related to it. People have different personalities and come with different baggage, good and bad. If you’re honest with yourself, everyone has issues of some kind. I’m 65, and I’ve been married to a wonderful man for 30 years. We’ve had some really heated arguments over the years, but it’s not because I’m screaming at him after he patiently asked me about something I’ve done again and again. Sometimes it’s because of something he did!

    There are some basic things that seem to affect most people with ADHD, and one is a problem with time. I can do really well for awhile, and then get absorbed with something and lose track of how much time has passed. Right now, for instance, my husband wants us to go into town, and I want to finish writing this! If I was smart, I would have waited, but I thought I could it quickly!!! Haha!

    Morena, your boyfriend isn’t crazy. Of course, there are going to be things that will be annoying and/or challenging, but a lot depends on you, as well. You’ve gotten some great answers from several men, and that’s basically it. If your boyfriend is a nice person, then having a problem with time or always paying attention or not getting everything finished doesn’t take away from that. If he’s a jerk, then that’s because he’s a jerk.

    • #50023


      Hello AnneHW,
      Thank you so much for your response! Yes, I understand we all have issues, believe me I do! hehe

      Posts like yours give me hope that we can have a long relationship (since you have been married for 30 years). Bottom line is… he is a GREAT guy, just a little different but that is part of what I love about him!


  • #49610


    Being miffed at being questioned, possibly ADHD. Screaming at you because you questioned him, not that sure it’s ADHD. Not something I encountered, and my kid is struggling with emotional control but never blows up over being questioned (sulking, silent treatment, “you never understood me”, yes, but not screaming). I do believe that checking to see how a person gets along with his family is a good advice all the same, for both ADHD and non-ADHD people.

  • #50244



    I can completely empathize with your frustration. I’m a mother with ADD with 3 sons with ADD and ADHD. Having had to navigate the frustrations over the years we’ve all had with each other, I would point out that the #1 thing that’s helped the most, especially as my sons have grown to be adult men is finding out if they actually want help. One of the things we ADDer’s often have in our history is a lot of misunderstanding and rejection from people around us who don’t have ADD. People often want to “parent” us thinking they are doing us a favor and helping us to “get it together”. We DO need help, but it’s often hard not to feel that those around us become that disappointed “teacher”, “boss”, “parent”. A lot of ADDers sometimes have a backlog of perceived “failures” instead of people accepting us and adapting to us. We usually have to adapt and please everyone around us. I’m not saying we don’t have to try and find ways of working within a society that is largely NOT geared towards ADD and ADHD behavior/habits, but often we are the ones that feel we always have to change instead of those around us.
    Having said that, of course, never put up with angry or abusive behavior (which doesn’t sound like your boyfriend, as you’ve said), so that doesn’t sound like an issue.

    Bottom line: ASK if he wants help. You could put your relationship in a tense state if you try to parent him in any way without him initiating his own changes. He has to want to make the changes and they have to be something he actually feels he needs changing. Sometimes ADD people secretly value their differences and quirks and it can be only to “please” people that behavior is changed in the presence of others. After a while, they can resent it. Come to terms with what you can really accept and what you can’t. Absolutely be honest. I’m not implying you should “suck it up” or go silent. Good relationships can handle honest, good communication. If love is really present, then both people will truly want to meet the other’s needs and will do so with a gentleness and humility that nurtures the relationship. It has to be a peer to peer equality. If one person decides they need to parent the other one, things tend to go downhill pretty fast!

  • #50250


    Here’s what I wish I had known- over emotionality is a huge problem. When my feelings are hurt by my husband’s words, actions, or lack of action, he gets mad at me! He’s not good about keeping his word. He agreed to get medicated when we were dating & after we married, he refused to take meds. We have the same arguments over & over & over. He has no concept of how things affect the future, future consequences, and zero empathy for what a non-ADD partner deals with. We have been to conferences, retreats, on webinars, own almost every book, and have worked with a coach that has ADD- good tips last a week or two, if that, then it’s like he never learned anything. When people say watch how he is with his family, I disagree! My husband’s whole family has ADD & it all seemed like a lot of fun & lots of laughing….then when you can’t take anymore of his nonsense, no one in his family can see the problem. Things change over time with ALL relationships- it’s not all butterflies & unicorns but it’s MUCH tougher with an ADD partner. I love my husband very much, I just don’t know if I can STAND him much longer. Btw, he doesn’t lose his keys either like all the books say-

  • #50251


    I HIGHLY recommend you check out the posts under the article “Can I force him to stop making excuses?” Like any problem a couple can have, there are varying degrees and life with some ADDers can be extremely hard. Everything in life is a trade off. Hopefully your bf’s good traits outweigh the problematic parts of his ADD.

  • #50252



  • #50253


    I’ve been married for 9 years with a partner with ADD. He is now 64. His symptoms are also coupled with ageing so half the time I can’t tell now if its ageing or not, so I am getting more and more frustrated. Jobs are never completed, with 5 going at once, topics of conversation change mid sentence and attention span is about 3 seconds. Also lots of swearing now and inappropriate behaviour in front of me. But not in front of others, so sometimes I feel like I’m going nuts. What I’ve decided to do is refocus my version of “Love”. I Love my husband but I also Love myself and my life and I don’t want to focus 100% on him any more. That doesn’t mean I don’t love him, but I am healthier and happier when I am looking after myself and doing what I love. In other words, I’ve decided to give him less of my heart and protect myself. I’m too old for this now, and I need to enjoy my life. I don’t need another child, I need a partner. If he can raise to the occasion of being my partner then he is welcome to come along, but when he is in his world, I walk far away and let him get on with his own stuff. I can find other stuff to do. In other words, I’ve stopped focusing everything on him. Hope this helps.

  • #50260


    Read DebCanada’s post carefully. Now read it again. If you are considering a long-term relationship with this guy, this is likely to be your life. Remember that anything wrong with your relationship is likely to get much, much worse if you marry him. We are all on our best behavior while dating. All of us. And explanations are fine, and can be comforting, but they can become excuses for not participating in a relationship. ADD people can be on time. They can call when they say they will. They can be organized. It is harder for them than others, but it is not impossible. It sounds like your guy may be perfectly happy the way he is, and that is a big danger sign. Once we understand the reasons we have problems with things, we can take one of two forks: we can take responsibility for our behavior, or we can coast along using explanations as excuses. You can tell right now which type most represents your man. And if you think you can make him into one who takes responsibility, think again. You can force him to behave that way in short spurts, but he will resent your forcing him. He’ll promise to do better just to keep you happy. But if he is not the one choosing for him to be responsible, he won’t keep up the behavior. And he will slide back without constant reminders. If he is not the type to take complete responsibility for his behavior on his own initiative, you will be spending your life as a policeman. You will be forced to turn into a nag to keep your life on track. And he will begin to regard you as a nag, and resent you. No matter how much you love him, if he’s not a responsibility taker, 100%, then know that your life is going to be hell. You choose.

    • This reply was modified 4 weeks ago by  siggy.
    • #50299


      Thank you Siggy. Yes you are totally correct! I have done so much for my husband now its all turned on me. I feel used and abused. He has excuses for everything. He life consist of sitting on couch doing nothing. Now. I am older and need help because of health issues, I still get nothing. He sits in his own cave and ignores. He always refused couneling of any kind. I am frustrated. Tired of excuses!

  • #50265


    Wow, this took a downhill direction all the sudden! Although, I understand that everything is true for each person here. I think siggy makes some very valid points because I know having ADD is hard enough, but dealing with someone who isn’t willing to take any responsibility is probably worse in some ways.

    But I’d also like to point out that these problems come up just as often in relationships where neither partner has ADD/ADHD. I have plenty of women friends who tell me things about their husbands that I would find impossible to live with. There are anger issues, lying, cheating, etc. It’s not all of them, but way more than I would have expected.

    Yes, having ADD/ADHD is difficult. It has its pluses and minuses, but we all have issues of some kind. Taking responsibility is important, but that’s always the case when there are problems in a relationship, whether it’s with a friend, co-worker or spouse. I’ll admit to bouts of depression and anxiety, but I have never been someone who ignores my problems and continually takes them out on others. Yes, I’ve snapped at my husband when I’m tired or stressed, but he’s done the same with me. I don’t think that’s abnormal unless it’s mean or continuous.

    I think what you probably need to do is have a very honest discussion with your boyfriend. And if it gets to that point, think hard about the long term. This is my third marriage, but as I said, it’s been 30 years. It hasn’t always been easy, but we both care about our relationship and are supportive of one another. My husband reminds me of how much time I have when we are going out. He used to be like a drill instructor, calling out the time every 5 minutes, but gradually he’s relaxed and I’ve learned to do a better job of watching the time myself. Often I forget what I’m saying about halfway through some conversation because another thought pops into my head. It annoys him, but we both acknowledge it, I try harder to stay on track (and this doesn’t happen all the time either), and over time we’ve both gotten less concerned over it. Without a lot of pressure, I can usually get back on topic.

    I understand the concern here, but I want to make certain people understand that not everything that’s wrong in a relationship is because one person has ADD/ADHD. You don’t have to nag, and you are not his policeman. Let him take some responsibility there, along with the consequences. You didn’t say you were getting married, and the point of dating is to get to know each other. Of course people are on their best behavior in the beginning; all you’re doing is going out and having fun. You don’t have the pressures of everyday life. Give it some time, let things settle down and get to know each other. I do think you’ve gotten some good advice here, but all relationships have risks and benefits. You have to decide if this is the guy for you and, hopefully, he’ll be doing the same thing regarding you.

  • #50280


    I’m a little troubled by the comments on here suggesting that if a person with ADD doesn’t comply or change their behavior to suit you, then they are “not taking responsibility”. What if they are happy just the way they are? Not everything is about us and our needs, and as an ADD person myself, I never try to be rude or insensitive to people, but if others read me that way, then all they can do is tell me. I can’t guarantee that my behavior will change overnight. It probably won’t. I need time and room to fail to get it right. Give ADDers time to succeed. Don’t read distance or a lack of response as “not caring”. I’m probably focused on something that takes all of my energy right now because I’m at work, dealing with a client, etc, etc.

    Understand that an ADD person needs ALL of their energy to focus on the one thing in front of them. If you expect them to multitask with you all day, every day, you will be disappointed. Adjust your expectations and give them the benefit of the doubt. Look past the behavior to the heart of them and who they really are before judging.

    In EVERY relationship NO partner gets their way all of the time. Understanding that is maturity. It’s not the job of one person to comply with “me” in order to arrive at a “healthy” relationship. If an ADD person refuses to change, then it’s YOUR job, not theirs, to find a way to come to your own peace, let go of trying to control them, and find a way to operate in that relationship that can work for both of you. If they refuse to do what you’d like, then you have two choices…leave…or adjust your own expectations and decide to be happy anyway. Basing your happiness on someone else’s behavior will never bring you what you want. You have to find your own centeredness within yourself. I know that sounds like “feely good” stuff, but it’s true. I’ve been married 34 years and can attest to needing to decide you’ll be happy regardless of what your partner does because you owe it to yourself. Get off the “do what I want” train and mind your own well being. Good boundaries, good communication, and a good understanding of what you can and cannot abide will solve a lot, and then take responsibility for your OWN feelings in the situation, not making them adhere to your idea of what they should be. No relationship can survive when one person takes on the job of trying to “change” the other. That’s true even when ADD/ADHD isn’t even present.

  • #50289


    Thank you, Mindy!! You said it a lot better than I did, and I agree whole heartedly.

    • This reply was modified 4 weeks ago by  AnneHW.
  • #50291


    First off thank you all for your input, they all help (even the not so positive ones) but specially THANK YOU to AnneHW and mindyallison for you positive and insightful posts. I couldn’t agree with you more! I have been married twice and divorced twice to two guys that did not have ADHD, one mentally abused me and the other one just left because he wanted to fish the rest of his life! I can honestly say that I have never been happier than I am right now with my new guy and I look forward to spending more time with him and understanding him better.

    I wholeheartedly agree that it is VERY important that I don’t expect for him to change but to accept him how he is instead and knowing what I can and cannot live with (believe me I know that VERY clearly). We had some bumps at the beginning of our relationship where he would look absent when I was talking to him and that would bug me; now I understand that it is not that he doesn’t care but rather that his brain went somewhere else and now he’s working on focusing. I take these things with a sense of humor now and tell him “Ok, let me know when you are back” and give him a kiss and usually that brings him back! 🙂

    Like AnneHM and mindiallison say, we ALL (ADHS, ADD and non-ADHD) have our own issues. I am willing to accept his and the only reason why I asked for input here is because I wanted to understand him better since I am new to all this. I am now a more patient person and take life not so seriously because of him and that has actually made me a bit happier.

    To all those people that tell me to “RUN” I also appreciate your input because I know you come from a good place from your experience, but I will not run! I love this man, he makes me extremely happy and I am going to be there for him as much as he is there for me.

    Once again… THANK YOU!!

  • #50292


    I wish you the best, Morena. I think he’s found a gem, and I’m betting he knows it.

  • #50297


    You have only been together 4 months. I suggest you strongly get marriage counseling if you do decide to marry. I have been married for over 30 years. I have wanted to leave this marriage many times. Its a daily frustration especially when our communication is in the toilet. ADHD is not just that to consider. There are learning disanilities attacjed as well as some mental illness issues there. What if they decide to stop taking medication! You can’t make them take it. Our first 3 years were pretty good. Its been a steady downhill ever after. We have nothing in common not even movies! He sits all day in and day out in his own world watching television. You cant ask anything of him because your not telling him what to do. You cant ask him to help out but all you get is I forgot. So buy planners and they wont use them. We bought a home and promised to help out ie cutting grass and repairing etc. Only to get those promises broken. I should of known better. He would never cut grass until the landlord sent letters telling him too. If I say anything, I am nagging. Then there are children that come! They have the same issues. The insanity goes on and on. Who has everything to do. YOU! Hope your ready!! I wish I had marriage counseling. All I can say is if you want it all to do and no cooperation, go for it! Otherwise RUN!

    • This reply was modified 4 weeks ago by  lindyloo7.
  • #50310


    Thank you morena26 for your kind words. I wish you all success, joy, and happiness in this new relationship. You certainly sound like you both deserve a wonderful and fresh start with each other. You sound like a true sweetheart and a lovely soul.

    • #51112


      I beg your pardon but I strongly believe, the two of you are simply an ill match and deeply miserable (emotionally).

      Oh, and (at the very least, though probably not…) one of you, happens to suffer from a neuro – biological disorder, which, sadly;-) , is neither an invention nor spontaneosly disappears when a person turns…18 mostly, correct?

      As a relatively grounded, rational 35 – year-old man who-owing to severe ADHD of the combined type,actually cannot support himself like any adult should do I find it increasingly unnerving to see and hear what kind of rude, cold, borderline sociopathic behavior- at times actually caused by a BPD- is being blamed on ADHD, sadly!! using correct and complete listings of (potential) symptoms and all too often I read of said behavior being tolerated, even when its long past bearable.

      Interestingly,in my personal experience, whenever the diagnostic process is conducted by a “traditionalist“, setting aside newer theories that are,as of yet,unfounded, while thouroughly covering more “traditional“ areas of -diagnostic- interest i.e.

      1. level of activity:over-or under-developed motor cortex;hyper or hypo-activity…with symptoms apparent from early childhood on- since kids, however smart, cannot compensate for all those deficits…when adults barely can!!!

      2. impulsivity: pronounced lack/weakness of impulse-control on any and all of the following areas:a) difficulty or factual inability to suppress, regulate or suspend a reaction to emotional stimulus;
      b)difficulty (add. see above!) regulating an impulse to act [right now!!] following any inter- or ex-ternal stimulus…starting from childhood, off course;-)

      3. Attention/Inattention:difficulty to willingly, timely,and specifically- according to reason, insight of neccessity and/or according to an established plan direct ones active attentive faculties, often [falsely and often tragically!] believed to hinge on “interest“ or “motivation“ while in actual fact painfuly independent of such manipulative premeditations and calculations and rather frustatingly random, irrational,destructive even, popping up for absolutely no rhyme or… ,well, reason…difficulty following and/or reproducing any given order along with the associated consequences…;-)

      4. Varied symptoms- associated mainly with two of ADHD’s predecessor diagnoses M(inimal)C(erebral)D(amage)=(ADD)
      H(yper)K(inetic)D(isorder)/HKS~same in German: pronounced deficiency in motor skills to the point of dyspraxia,(severe) dis-organisation,apparent forgetfulness…and some other things…

      …anywho…people who underwent a more… traditional diagnostic process, often several years ago, tend to exhibit a more severe manifestation or form of ADHD whereas people with very late, and that is also bstrong> recent diagnosis, tend to be less handicapped in their everyday-life with ADHD. And that normally includes employment of some sort.

      • This reply was modified 1 week, 6 days ago by  A-Hörnchen. Reason: trying to find my initial point...*looking around,twiggling thumbs*
  • #50312


    Annie, thank you. I thought what you said was excellent the way you put it on your own! Kudos!

  • #50344


    This has been a fascinating thread! And here’s what I’ll keep saying: All relationships take work. As soon as I read the ones complaining abouth a spouse, I find myself thinking there’s more going on than ADD/ADHD. We aren’t crazy, mean, uncaring or lazy. We have trouble staying focused, and to some extent, it can be a bit of a roller coaster ride. But it’s not the end of the world, and it doesn’t mean you will spend your life walking on eggshells and trying to micromanage your spouse. Why would you want to be in that kind of relationship anyway?

    I do think it can affect men differently, BUT that’s because men and women tend to react and handle things differently in general. Not all, but I think that in many cases women tend to be more up front, while men hold a lot inside. That’s true of people without ADD/ADHD.

    Lindyloo, I’m very sorry you are so unhappy. It sounds like a miserable situation, but can I just point out that almost immediately you talked about having nothing in common. That has nothing to do with ADD. I had a little trouble reading your post, but it sounds like he has other mental health issues? If that’s the case, then that’s something different. I don’t know what’s going on in your relationship, but obviously no one is happy. All I can say is you need to figure out what you need to do for yourself. If you feel like you can’t leave for whatever reason, then get counseling, find other interests. Do something, but don’t let a bad relationship define your entire life.

    And thank you again, Mindy. I missed an earlier post from you, and it was so wise. We need to support one another, stay strong, and not allow ourselves to be defined by other people’s bad behavior. 😇

  • #50479


    I have ADD and I am married. Romantically, I am the one lacking! I forget things way to often. This forces my husband too be in charge of everything. He is amazing! He double checks before we go out the door or if I was supposed to make a call. He does all the bills, reminds me of things every day.
    I am not very romantic. I’m not that good at gifting, especially on a set date. That is more spontaneous.
    I make up for it. I am passionate and imaginative. I love life and it shows. I have big dreams. When i am happy, it’s very contagious. I am super supportive. I’m great at taking care of him when sick or sad. I cook and bake like a pro for that foodie.
    So my point is that if you can get past the tardiness, forgetfulness and powerful fights. There is so much to love.

  • #50504


    Yay! I love your post, Brynn. That’s my point. Everyone has issues, but having ADD/ADHD doesn’t make us bad people! We DO care, and we love our partners. I’ve talked to friends who do not have any ADD issues, and they have some pretty big fights, too. Some of them forget things and are late, but don’t have ADD. It just isn’t the end of the world, and so much depends on the individual.

    My husband is much more demonstrative, and it’s taken me awhile to learn to reciprocate! I’ll never be like him, but I tell him I love him and I occasionally give him a hug for no reason other than that.

    He thinks I’m wonderful. We laugh so hard and we are both supportive of one another! I happen to not be interested in cooking at all, but he loves it, so thank God! 😉

  • #51113


    I swear to God, I DID have a specific POINT in mind, when I started writing. I’m truly sorry. Working on it!<strong

  • #51120


    I’d like to add my two cents here, basically by picking up on some of the thoughts others have offered. I have ADHD, diagnosed at age 45, was married almost twenty years — a marriage that had a lot of love and a lot of rocky times as well.

    Expectations and agreements. If you have no expectations regarding your partner and his ability to be anything other than who he is, then you will never be disappointed and it will be easier to love him just how he is now. If you have expectations, replace them with agreements. (Expectations are toxic and actually cowardly, because if I have expectations that means I am making my happiness contingent on someone else’s behavior. Can I control someone else’s behavior? No. I am responsible for my own happiness.) Or if you have any want or need that requires your partners participation, then go for an agreement. Get his buy-in and his ideas about the agreement and how best to make the agreement work. If he agrees to do something, and then has a hard time living up to that agreement — hint, this will happen and maybe a lot — then that’s an opportunity to figure out what was going on and how to make a new and better agreement. Or to drop the one if it turns out to have been unwise. Get his buy-in and his ideas on how to make the agreement work. Let him use his creativity. Observe if he is ashamed if he fails to keep an agreement or if he knows how to still feel positively about himself even when he makes a mistake. Especially when he makes a mistake. Praise him lavishly when he is doing well and observe if he gives himself credit when he achieves or does something that feeds your relationship in a positive way.

    I don’t mean treat him like a child, which he is not. I just mean that it works better to keep things positive and away from shame.

    I highly recommend books by Melissa Orlov. A great benefit of this reading is learning how to see ADHD for what it is as opposed to misinterpreting ADHD and instead seeing character flaws and forming negative judgments (which activate shame and withdrawal on his part) and result in a downward spiral.

    I wish you both all the happiness in the world … Good luck!


  • #51193


    During the first 6 to 12 months everything seems almost perfect either with a ADHD/ADD partner or a neurotypical one, therefore, and according of what I read you are still in the hyperfocus-phase of the relationship, where everything seems to be doable and worth the effort…. but it is not.
    I dated a guy with ADHD for almost 2 years, and as you, by the 4th month I started to try to better understand him through research.
    I went from articles to books, from forums to webinars; even if in my 6th month of relationship I got the advice I will give to you now:
    ¨Even if you are already in love: RUN! you are still on time¨.
    Don´t misunderstand me, I loved him, and he loved me back; but I wish I had taken the advice at that time, since I would have preferred to expend those years in a non-draining relationship.
    As somebody pointed out before the key of success is acceptance, but take into account that you don´t need to accept just the common flaws in a partner, but what ADHD/ADD brings with it, and that it is not something somebody with a strong organize life will do, even if we tell ourselves we will, it just wont happen.
    And I am not saying ADHDers don´t deserve to be loved; parents of ADHDers do love them, but when is about relationships that love is more like a commitment to yourself as in: I can do it…
    Either with medications, exercise or coaching symptoms will be always present, and they will weight in with time; even if part of those things make you like him now or if you take some of them with a sense of humour, be aware that will change for you with time.
    There is not such thing like ¨he is trying to focus¨, he has ADHD, so he will be absent sometimes (more that what you´ll expect) even if he ¨tries¨.
    You will see some changes, yes, but they will be temporary until you start nagging him again.
    After the hyperfocus phase, and even the dating phase, if you decide to go further and live together for instance, he will still love you, yes; but dear, even if this is the saddest thing to understand: ¨Love is not enough¨
    I do hope you read my advice and think about it with a cold head and an open heart, because I´ve been there and believe me I´m not the only one who would give you a similar one.
    And if you don´t it´s okay, we all have to go our own paths and learn from our mistakes, so I wish you all the best and also all the strength.

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 3 days ago by  anngelik. Reason: typos
    • #51235


      I really appreciate your advice, it sounds to me that you really tried to make it work with your ADHD partner. I am sorry it didn’t work out for you.
      As to me… I do hear you and all the others that tell me to run, but I also hear the success stories and, to be honest, I rather focus on those ones. I might be naive or bind to the true facts because I am in love. But like you said, we each have our own paths and I will walk mine with an open heart and an open mind hoping that it will work out and if it doesn’t; I really won’t see it as a wasted time, I love this man and every moment I spend with him, so I will have that and the experience of the times lives with him.
      Thanks again for taking the time to write and your advice. I really, truly appreciate it!

  • #51196


    Maybe I need to quit following this thread, but the minute I see RUN, I also see RED! I understand there are always going to be people who had a horrible relationship/marriage with someone who had ADHD/ADD, but that’s true no matter who you’re involved with!!! My husband would never say that being married to me isn’t worth it. In fact, at one point, after reading some of the negative responses I asked him if he was happy being married to me, and he looked stunned. He told me he loves it. As I keep trying to point out, if the person is a jerk, that’s because he/she is a jerk. If there are things that truly bother you (like you’re extremely well organized and he isn’t), then you have to take that into consideration. But, in our case, I happen to be better organized than my husband, and I find that irritating at times. But we’ve learned to communicate. He likes leaving early for appointments, and I’m always running a little behind. That irritates him sometimes, but I try to watch the clock and sometimes I hear him call out, “5 more minutes!” 😏

    We don’t nag one another. It’s pointless to do that with anyone because it’s an extremely ineffective way to get the other person to do something, whether he/she has ADD or not. I’m not saying we don’t get upset or quarrel at times, but even when we do, we usually talk about it and find a way to deal with things more constructively. But sometimes one of us just tired and cranky!

    We are long past the hyper-focus phase of our 30-year marriage, but we love being together. I couldn’t ask for a better companion/lover/friend. And I know he feels the same way. Yes, I definitely have problems. I tend to get depressed and have anxiety (problems sleeping) periodically. I definitely have problems staying focused or I can be hyper focused. But, I’m also aware of the impact I might be having on my partner. I don’t make him miserable because I’m having a difficult time. If I could list all the complaints I’ve heard from friends who are supposedly married to people who are mentally “healthy,” you’d discover that there are just as many and more problems for them.

    This is about finding a person who is caring and interested in succeeding in a relationship with you. People with ADD are very sensitive, and smart. If you can find most of the things that matter to you in any person, then it’s worth taking a risk. You would be taking a risk no matter who you got involved with. The main difference here is you have a label and a set of symptoms that will be more pronounced in some areas than others. But, for all the people saying such negative things about people with ADD/ADHD, please tell me what makes you so wonderful? Explain to me all the things you do that make you a better person. I’d also like you to make a list of your flaws. What have you done to other people or within a relationship that might be considered unhealthy, unkind, thoughtless, self-centered, etc.? I bet you could name a few things.

  • #51232


    I didn’t read everything, but I wanted to compliment you on trying to figure it out. That means a lot and gives me, an ADHDer, a lot of hope. I wish you and your relationship the best!

  • #51252


    I am two months in with my boyfriend. We live a couple hours away from each other, so we have to schedule time together. He is on meds, and for the most part they work for him. But he has bad days and i have been super supportive.

    For example, yesterday his fridge broke. Instead of just throwing it away and getting a new one he decided to fix it. Fixing it was a bigger job than he thought, and he became very overwhelmed and the fridge became a symbol of how he has to “do everything himself” and how “out of control” things are and how he has “no control.” He freaked out and ended up crying. After hours of texting, he exhausted himself into sleep.

    I was exhausted too. Keeping up with his mood and trying to help him get clarity on the fridge situation drained me. Today i have not heard from him. I am worried, but my instinct is to back off and let him have space. Then i second guess myself and wonder if he is ok. This all falls dangerously into codependence, which i cannot and will not participate in. So i am at an impass – i realize hes probably in a thought hole today. But then silence is unsettling.

    Ive been told not to feel ignored by my add bf. So i do my thing. But i have to say it is not pleasant to be overwhelmed and then have him disappear the next day.

    He is a loving, kind, awesome, special man. And i love him dearly. I feel like im on a rollercoaster a lot. I have been in dysfunctional relationships before, but this is not one of them. I just need to understand the ebbs and flows of how his mind works.

    OP i am with you. Its worth it.

    • #51259


      That’s too bad. I’ve been there on some level, and all I can tell you is it has gotten better. With age and experience I’ve learned to let go of a lot of things, but I certainly know the feeling of being overwhelmed.

      I can only give it to you from a female having ADD. I know early on in our relationship I could be very unreasonable and moody (just add PMS into that!). I’m sure it hasn’t always been easy for my husband. But he’s pretty easy going most of the time, and doesn’t get very upset. However, I’ve managed to push his buttons on more than one occasion, and he didn’t put up with it.

      I think it’s important to be able to ignore a certain amount, and it may be that your boyfriend needs some additional help (therapy and/or medication?). I think hormones play into it a lot too, male or female. But, you also need to set limits. The one thing that was always helpful to me was knowing what those were.

      You sound like a very kind and supportive partner, and I think you’re correct in stepping away from the drama at some point. He needs some time to calm down and realize this isn’t the end of the world. Frustration can be a huge part of ADD/ADHD, and that can include some venting and meltdowns. BUT, he doesn’t get to take it out on you!!!

      I think it’s harder when you’re young because you aren’t fully mature, and even if you don’t have ADD/ADHD, you are still learning how to react and behave as an adult. The feelings are often more raw for the person with ADD, but that doesn’t mean it can’t improve. The disappearing thing is kind of self indulgent, frankly. I would definitely ignore that and go on with my life. If it continues or gets worse, then you have some decisions to make. Still, it sounds like he must have some very good qualities too. Hope it works out for you Kikioreekee. 🙂

  • #51274


    Thank you anne.
    Unfortunately we cant blame youth, he is 54.
    I dont think he understands how much his drama affects me. I need to be more mindful of boundaries. Alanon helps. ❤

    • #51276


      Yikes! Then maybe he either needs some meds (possibly antidepressant), a change in what he’s taking, therapy, etc. Everyone is different, and I find a very low dose of Adderall helps me immensely. Therapy can be difficult because when I feel like I need it, by the time I get an appointment, I’m feeling better again.

      This is, obviously, going to be something you’ll have to decide. But, I just saw “Alanon.” As I recall, that is for people who have a relationship with someone who has a drinking problem. If he’s issues with alcohol, then be very careful. I don’t want to make any more assumptions, but I’ve been there.

  • #51329


    The alanon is for me and my past with my family. 😗 hes in therapy and taking his meds. I think his inability to prioritize things is what messes everything up. ❤

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 2 days ago by  Kikioreekee.
  • #51495


    Two points:

    1. Understand that your partner with ADD is an adult with ADD — NOT a child — and treat hims accordingly.

    2. Avoid the badgering thing that “normal” people constantly do to those of us with ADD. If you ask him a question and he says, “I don’t know,” it means he doesn’t know. Asking the same question thirty times in different ways isn’t going to change that, regardless of the fact that you think he should know the answer. In fact, the information retrieval issues with ADD are worse under pressure so the more you badger, the less likely he is to come up with the information. Typical example:

    You were there last week. Can you give me directions?
    Sorry… I don’t remember how we got there.
    Well… was it THIS side of the highway, or the other?”
    I don’t know… I just told you I don’t remember how we got there.
    Well, did you turn off before 14th street or after?

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