April 26, 2017 at 3:51 pm #46865
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!
April 26, 2017 at 5:00 pm #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.
May 17, 2017 at 8:46 pm #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! 😉
August 5, 2018 at 5:18 pm #90320
Help! I’ve been dating on and off this guy since November of 2017. Looking back, I initiated all of the break ups….. perhaps related to ADHD issues that I am learning about now. The relationship started fast (unlike me to be this way). He professed his love to me and my children (who are adults) within the first 3 weeks. Is this ADHD behavior? Does it make the words spoken less real? By week 4, I was feeling major changes with him…. actually I felt them in week 3. He had run out of his medication and started self medicating with pot. That drove me nuts. He’s seeing s shrink now who is getting him off the pot. He was/is impulsive…. I wondered if he was manic but now I see that it is ADHD as he told me initially but I didn’t understand it. We’ve been struggling ever since. I love him so really am trying to learn more about ADHD now and reading the 5 Love Languages too. Since the initial weeks of professing his love, he has told me he loves me only a few more times….in more emotionally charged situations. I just don’t feel the love though. He forgets to call or text me. He’s not good at planning dates ahead of time. If I didn’t initiate getting together, woukd he forget about me? Yet… when he is with me, he is really with me. I’ve read this is typical but doesn’t make it any easier on me. I feel as if I am nagging or being demanding when that really isn’t my nature. How do I get consistency from him without nagging?
May 16, 2017 at 8:21 am #48996
Does he get the most appropriate medication for him, at the most adequate dosage? If yes, as he started behavioral therapy?
May 16, 2017 at 9:10 am #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.
May 16, 2017 at 8:47 pm #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 🙂
May 16, 2017 at 10:05 pm #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
May 19, 2017 at 11:41 am #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.
May 20, 2017 at 10:27 am #49604
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,
May 23, 2017 at 11:39 am #50020
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.
May 20, 2017 at 12:02 pm #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.
May 23, 2017 at 11:44 am #50023
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!
May 20, 2017 at 9:45 pm #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.
May 24, 2017 at 6:19 pm #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!
May 24, 2017 at 9:40 pm #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-
May 24, 2017 at 9:49 pm #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.
May 24, 2017 at 9:51 pm #50252
May 24, 2017 at 10:09 pm #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.
May 25, 2017 at 8:33 am #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 1 year, 2 months ago by siggy.
May 25, 2017 at 1:41 pm #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!
May 25, 2017 at 9:02 am #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.
May 25, 2017 at 11:57 am #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.
May 25, 2017 at 12:50 pm #50289
May 25, 2017 at 1:06 pm #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!!
May 25, 2017 at 1:18 pm #50292
I wish you the best, Morena. I think he’s found a gem, and I’m betting he knows it.
May 25, 2017 at 1:27 pm #50295
Thank you! 🙂
May 25, 2017 at 1:30 pm #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 1 year, 2 months ago by lindyloo7.
May 25, 2017 at 2:46 pm #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.
June 8, 2017 at 10:51 pm #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 year, 2 months ago by A-Hörnchen. Reason: trying to find my initial point...*looking around,twiggling thumbs*
May 25, 2017 at 2:48 pm #50312
Annie, thank you. I thought what you said was excellent the way you put it on your own! Kudos!
May 25, 2017 at 7:55 pm #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. 😇
May 30, 2017 at 1:09 pm #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.
May 30, 2017 at 8:18 pm #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! 😉
June 8, 2017 at 11:01 pm #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
June 9, 2017 at 2:05 am #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!
June 11, 2017 at 9:35 pm #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 year, 2 months ago by anngelik. Reason: typos
June 12, 2017 at 6:28 pm #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!
June 12, 2017 at 8:47 am #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.
June 12, 2017 at 5:50 pm #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!
June 12, 2017 at 9:08 pm #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.
June 12, 2017 at 10:08 pm #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. 🙂
June 12, 2017 at 11:33 pm #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. ❤
June 13, 2017 at 8:22 am #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.
June 13, 2017 at 5:32 pm #51329
June 17, 2017 at 8:35 pm #51495
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?
July 12, 2017 at 10:18 am #53984
Hello Morena. My advice to you, since this is a boyfriend and not a husband, is to permanently go away from him as fast as you can go. Like the other poster said…RUN. I know this sounds cruel but after 34 years of marriage to a spouse with ADHD (forget about everything else about him because ADHD takes over both our lives), I’m no longer myself and I long to have a sexual relationship (26 years without sex after the guy walks in one day after many years of marriage and right after his mother dies and tells me he can’t have sex anymore), who talks like an adult and has empathy as an adult (wait until you discover he has not the capability to understand about your frustration and resentment which will arrive shortly when you least expect it), who remembers, who doesn’t repeat everything 1,000 times, who never stops talking, who never listens, who constantly interrupts everyone else with his own stories, who tells you what the TV commentators are telling you while you are trying to listen to them, who leaves you alone while he talks to strangers on the internet rather than have an adult conversation with you, who leaves you stuck in a vacuum of a marriage because you have become too old trying to understand the dolt and being faithful and growing old together, and it becomes too late to get out. If you want years of babying a grown-up, being the ONLY grown-up in the relationship (you will become his mother because you can’t trust his judgment, especially with business matters), never having him initiate anything except something to entertain himself, have no memory or follow-through, unable to rely on him the least bit, not trusting what will come out of his mouth at any given time which may be totally inappropriate, who says one thing and swears he never said it, who never says it and claims he did so why don’t you remember it?…things like that 24/7 for the rest of your life (?) then good luck to you. Oh and by the way, most people just think we non-ADHD spouses should just do a constant “work around” for the sake of the relationship. Wait a minute! We non-ADHDers need more from life than a prison with an empty person. Lastly let me say that in the beginning they put their best efforts forward…remembering special dates, letting you talk and pretending to listen, being affectionate, picking out a restaurant…that sort of thing. All of that is a real struggle for them. My spouse did this for 10 years before I started noticing that something was wrong. He never told me he was ADHD. I had to discover it for myself and when I told him my diagnosis, he laughed and said I was right! I’m 76 years old and totally alone without companionship. I have always been an optimist but now I struggle because I can’t go out in public and start talking about my frustrations and pointing out my husband’s failings. So, you can begin the rest of your life “understanding” your boyfriend or you can begin reading all the comments about how YOU are the one who has to make allowances for the ADHD partner in order to find happiness. You will, at some point, begin to feel like you need to get out and breathe. You’ll find yourself talking to the service providers who fix your washing machine just to talk to an adult someone. If you have children you will begin to notice that you have children and an adult child who will never grow up. They are totally self-absorbed. My last point for you is to carefully study Donald Trump. He is ADHD and he keeps his family close because they cover for him. He tells lies and swears he never said them even though there are videos of him doing so. His powers of concentration can’t exceed 10 minutes. He says horrible things because he is unable to discipline himself. He doesn’t get embarrassed or ashamed because he lacks the requisite empathy and has no ability to have genuine feelings. He starts a speech about one issue and after 2 minutes begins to talk about something altogether different (usually the only thing he is interested in which is most always that he won the popular vote). No one can tell him anything and he can’t read very well because all the ideas on the page begin to look like strings of cheese. He makes stuff up and then believes it to be a fact and becomes delusional. People can see there is something wrong with him but he’s ADHD and he can’t ever be fixed. Notice how everyone has to work around him? My life with my spouse is very similar to living with a Donald Trump. At first you feel sorry for them (what kind of character does one have who will leave someone who needs you?), then you feel embarrassment on occasion and feel sorry for yourself. Then you vow you can and will FIX them and seek help. Afterall, you always wanted to be a mother, nurse, and teacher and have a permanent 5 year old. It is good that you are asking for advice and you probably are getting the usual advice. YOU do all the work, YOU be the understanding one, You can do it, that person needs YOU (or someone like you because they primarily are looking for someone to take care of them FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIFE.) How does that make you feel? A lifetime commitment that you are bargaining for before you even understand what the contract is (there’s no online manual that comes with these people). If you want to be alone for the rest of your life, be sure and foster your relationship with the ADHD guy. He’ll test your fortitude for sure. Also, unless your goals are to be an A-1 caretaker, please don’t believe that you can’t do better because you can. Choose wisely.
August 5, 2018 at 5:46 pm #90321
Wow…..I am reading more posts. It sounds like since we are dating and not married, I should “run.” I must admit….I am not perfect either. He acknowledges that he has ADHD and is willing to be on medication. Nice he quits the pot, I think he will be out back on the medicine. I guess I’ll see how he acts then. The “problem” is that I fell in love with him and that doesn’t come easily for me.
July 12, 2017 at 7:18 pm #54044
Remember that a big part of ADD is information access. The info is there but needs to be triggered. You can tell me every other day for weeks that you’re going to a big event on a certain date. When that date comes up, I’ll still have forgotten. But when I say, “So, coffee tomorrow?” and you say, “I can’t. Remember I have that concert?” I will not only remember about the concert but I will also remember that you’ve reminded me about it 35 times. The things my sister (who is also my best friend) does to make things run smoothly without treating me like a child:
When we go somewhere, she calls me when she’s leaving home. That way, if I’ve lost track of time (or completely forgotten that we agreed to meet), I have a few minutes to get ready — and I don’t have the embarrassment of having her show up on my doorstep and be forced to wait for me, or show up at a meeting place and me not show up. She lets me know she’s headed my way, and I can just say, “Thanks! See ya in a few,” even if I’d completely forgotten that we were getting together. This arrangement works for both us, because she tends to run late. I can stay in my “zone” until she calls, and she can run a few minutes late without guilt. Of course we still set departure times, so we both know approximately what time we’re leaving or meeting.
Even if she’s told me repeatedly that she’s going away for the weekend, when we part for the last time before the weekend, she reminds me casually that she’s leaving the following day.
When there are important family dates approaching, she finds a way to bring them up in conversation without being patronizing. “Where did the time go? Dad’s birthday is nest week already!” “I have no clue what I’m doing about Mother’s day and it’s next weekend. Do you have any ideas?”
Offers to help with the stuff she knows I get overwhelmed by, but also asks for my help in the areas where she struggles and I excel. The second half may sound irrelevant, but it’s not. She recognizes me as an adult with strengths and weaknesses just like anyone else. If your guy can’t balance a checkbook to save his life, and can never remember whether your birthday is on the 12th or the 14th, but he’s calm in a crisis when you’re freaking out and has better fashion sense than you do, it all balances out.
- This reply was modified 1 year, 1 month ago by anomalocaris.
July 12, 2017 at 8:08 pm #54046
I’m truly sorry for the unhappiness in your marriage, but this sort of rant really upsets me. It’s obvious you are miserable, and for whatever reason have felt trapped and unable to do anything, but this is NOT typical ADHD behavior. And why do you feel the need to bring Trump into this?
My brother has ADHD, and he is nothing like this. He is forgetful and can be scattered, but he has a wonderful family, he works hard and he is very thoughtful and kind. I also have ADHD (although feels more like ADD as I get older). I’m sure my husband gets irritated with my forgetfulness and how easily I can sidetracked, but our marriage is fantastic! Sex is better than ever after 30 years.
If you are doing all the work, feeling embarrassed, not getting sex, and putting up with bad behavior all these years, then you probably have some issues, too. Why did you never leave? It took you 10 years to figure out he was a jerk, and then you stayed anyway? What am I missing?
July 13, 2017 at 3:58 am #54049
morena26, if I may be blatantly honest and give you a guy’s perspective on ADHD. WE ARE VERY, VERY HIGH MAINT. Believe me…
The 1 thing we do so well to our partners is put up an air of confidence and sureness. It couldn’t be far from the truth. Deep down we are ashamed and embarrassed of our shortcomings normal neuros have. This causes us to be very envious and to suppress it, we to our further embarrassment have to fuel our egos some way.
Simply we’re like crabs. Hard exterior, soft interior.
My partner had the same frustrations as you and the other kind ladies that have posted.
Yes, we’re late.
Yes, we’re going to forget.
Yes, we’re going to leave our junk lying around.
Yes, we will be bringing our frustrations home from work.
YES, we WILL drive your bat$5&7 crazy!
… and we really want to stop it. We can’t, well sometimes…
Know that when he says sorry. He won’t know how to be genuine about it. When you know he is, a hug says more than words. Guaranteed. (provided he is honest and does care)
It’s really fantastic you’re taking action to get a glimmer of what we go through. Remember to let us make those mistakes, and give us a hand only when we ask for it. Take care of yourself first, that way you indirectly take care of your partner. I’ll raise a glass to an amazing journey for both of you!
February 9, 2018 at 5:41 am #76065
Hello everyone, I’m not really sure if this is the correct place for me to comment but I’m going to comment here.
Guys I really don’t know what to do or say anymore I’m tired of talking. I have been dating my boyfriend for 3 years and a few months now, he also has ADHD i love him and I know that he loves me too. We always have the same arguments him not communicating sometimes he doesn’t call or text like he used to things have changed lately his going through a lot financially and emotionally I’m always there 100% but feel pushed away sometimes when I try explaining how I feel he listens communicates for a few days then back to his old routine
February 9, 2018 at 6:02 am #76066
Sometimes he doesn’t pitch if we agree on meeting up he does that a lot and it really hurts me everytime he does that I will go in and out cooking for him etc and then he doesn’t call or text usually texts the next day. When I try calling or texing during that day he doesn’t answer we once spoke about it and he said his just afraid of dissapointing me by telling me that he is no longer coming. Its better if he informs me rather than leaving me hanging but still ge doesn’t get that. He was supposed to visit me during the past weekend but never pitched he only texts me later on and tells me that he think I am angry i got upset then said I’m hurt and that I feel like sometimes his taking me for granted and he just I see its been 3 days since we spoke he does that most of the time when I’m upset and I’m always the one reaching out even when he is on the wrong. I feel like he knows that I will always communicate first had s comfortable I’m very sweet most of the time it works but feel like he takes advantage of the fact that I’m sweet and always understanding. I have read on ADHD so i try to find solitios to most of our problems I don’t want to change him I just want him to work with me. His not perfect so am I I’m really trying but I kinda lose it sometimes. He does apologize for not pitching but ends up doing it again even though I see that he tries sometimes and I always tell him that I appreciate his efforts. He ignores my texts sometimes then replies after a very long time I call doesn’t return my calls. I don’t like nagging but I do when its necessary. I get tired of him keeping quiet everytime after an argument. Sometimes he can be very selfish and puts his emotions first. His a great guy, funny, intelligent, jolly, crazy, kind, loving his sense of humour is out of this world and I love him a lot and I really want our relationship to work I want him to also ride with me and not let me do a lot on my own. I understand that its not easy having ADHD its tough like he always says but we got to work as a team in order to go further
February 9, 2018 at 6:10 am #76067
Can you guys please help, the main problem here is lack of communication especially after arguments I don’t know how to deal with this thing of him being silent instead of trying to work things out. I cant always be the one trying to reach out even when his on the wrong side. I have decided to not say a word and just see if his going to reach out. Also him not pitching when he said he would then goes AWOL the whold day. How to I tackle this
February 13, 2018 at 8:24 am #76348
Elizabeth93, If he’s a true introvert, then it will never be natural to initiate because he does not naturally do that. He can, but it will always be effort. Those of us who express freely and are very transparent do not understand those that don’t and can’t figure out why you can’t just speak up. So knowing for certain how he’s built will open up understanding to whether or not he is even able to meet the expectation you’re expressing. It’s valid to want this communication to improve and you feel like he’s just shunning you and using silence against you.
That may not be the case.
February 9, 2018 at 10:01 am #76080
Way back at the beginning of this thread, “Parminter” really hit the nail on the head. I experience ALL of the things he/she said and it is very difficult. Every day I question why I stay in this relationship. He is a sweet, kind, generous person, but I feel as if I’m slowly losing myself. There is an article by Dr. Amen that hit home called “Why We Crave the Drama That Sabotages Relationships” and that was almost a spot-on description of my boyfriend. But knowing this still doesn’t help me to deal with it.
I find it impossible to reason with my boyfriend because, well, he is incapable of reasoning due to the ADD and perhaps some other neuro-dysfunction. Having these conversations about improving communication just doesn’t register. All I can do is be mute when there are problems and move on. But I find myself being mute more and more and I feel like I’m losing myself. So, that’s one thing. The other is, my boyfriend does not take any meds and refuses to do so. I’ve suggested that if he won’t try meds, he needs to try something else, such as meditation, mindfulness, etc. But he doesn’t. I’ve read a lot about meds, and there are two points of view, each equally adamant. He claims he tried meds 20 years ago and they made him “a zombie”, but I have learned that I can’t get an accurate account of such experiences. I don’t know what he took or for how long (because he is unable to accurately say). He may have tried one med for one week, or he might have tried one or two with no follow-up or changes for a year, or he might have taken them on an irregular schedule. None of this would surprise me. He’s a dear person, but I’m at my wits end.
February 9, 2018 at 1:21 pm #76142
Can I just say that reading this has helped me. I have ADHD and have recently gotten into my first relationship in 4 years. Hearing about the behaviors of people with ADHD and how they effect their partners terrifies me. Like so much of this site and what I read about ADHD I work constantly at not being that kind of person. Reading this has helped me become a better partner. I strive very hard to a good boyfriend, I try to take complete responsibility for my actions, and ask for regular feedback from my girlfriend. I am also sober an attend 12 step meetings. My girlfriend is supportive of that (we met after I had become sober). I know that my life and my relationships are tremendously better when I put my sobriety and management of MY ADHD before anything else in my life. Getting sober and managing my ADHD are not the best things I do but they are the most important.
February 9, 2018 at 1:41 pm #76145
Patrick, it sounds as if you have a good awareness of your personal challenges. I think that is key, and should help remove the terror you have! Has the 12-step program helped provide you with greater personal awareness? Or have you had therapy/counseling? Also, just wondering, are you on ADHD meds? (If I presented my boyfriend with three questions in a row like that, it would be a problem, so I apologize for that.)
February 13, 2018 at 11:34 am #76373
I take my medication everyday and it is vital for my success. (I am on 20mg of extended release Adderall) Although I have had problems recently forgetting if I have taken it or not. I always carry a few extra in my bag in case I forget to take it or I stay the night at my girlfriends.
I had had therapy and counseling in the past but have not had any since I graduated college 6 years ago.
The 12 steps have helped me with my personal awareness because they have taken me through a process of looking at my past, seeing a pattern of behavior, what part I have played in troubles in my life, allowing me to take responsibility for my actions, then looking at traits and behaviors that I want to have and working towards becoming that person.
I am not sure if your boyfriend has addiction issues, so I can only speak for myself. But when I realized that my ADHD and my alcoholism were connected and they could never managed separately, there was a big improvement.
February 9, 2018 at 2:41 pm #76156
I give up! WHY do women in particular keep trying to fix their partners? Or, at the very least, why do they keep putting up with bad behavior and make excuses? Is being in a relationship so important, that the only goal is to have one no matter how poorly the other person is treating you?
I truly appreciate the people who post, and are trying to learn more about ADHD. I also appreciate the people who post to say they are learning (aren’t we all). But when I read that a woman is in a relationship with a man who is basically treating her like crap, and she is bending over backwards to make him happy, I want to scream. Unfortunately, I think there is another problem that doesn’t get mentioned enough, and that’s “codependency.”
It’s funny how this thread keeps going, and very weird that I just got done telling a friend who was complaining about her husband AGAIN to get a f***ing backbone. I’ve been there, so I know how it works, but at some point you have to realize that the only one you are responsible for is YOU! Have you ever noticed that no one posts talking about how they finally found the solution to making the man who is being a complete jerk into a kind, loving and thoughtful person? IF he decided to get therapy or stop abusing drugs, alcohol, etc., it’s not going to be because his partner talked him into it, unless it was where he was headed in the first place.
My girlfriend has been telling me things about her husband for years now, and over time she’s revealed more, which actually makes me wonder how much I still don’t know. He is moody and manipulative, and when he’s not getting his way he either yells louder or stops talking all together. Must be fun. The most recent thing she’s related is that he starts drinking beer when he gets up in the morning, and also smokes pot. I’m guessing she told me this when she was particularly upset with him. But, eventually things calmed down (they always do) and as she put it, “he’s still a keeper.” But, that’s codependency for you. They’ve been married for over 25 years, and he can be very nice. However, this sort of thing has been going on from the beginning. And, she finally admitted that she will continue to put up with it, and my response is that I don’t want to hear about it anymore.
I realize I’m ranting, and I also realize that none of what I say is going to make any difference. I think there’s another post somewhere asking, “Should I leave him?” Then she goes on to talk about all the ways he’s making her unhappy. Of course, the minute someone tries to “help” her, she defends his behavior. I’m not sure why she posted except in the hopes of hearing what she wants, “No! Stay with him; he can’t help it, and you can save him!”
February 13, 2018 at 11:45 am #76374
I 100% agree, you have to own your shit (can I curse on here?). That does not mean you can do it on your own, it means you have to take responsibility and get help. I don’t what gets people sober and I don’t know what gets people to hit a bottom with ADHD. I know that a person had to come to terms with it on their own. I can help someone open the door but I can’t make them walk through it. IE I can give them a meeting schedule, recommend this website or ADHD specialists, invite them to work out, or leave them, but I can’t make them change.
You have to save yourself. If there are negative people in your life and they are more trouble than valuable, you have to cut them out or tell them that you don’t want to hear anymore complaining from them if they are not gonna find solutions. It sucks but you have to protect yourself.
I am sorry you have to deal with this.
(Also I don’t mean to preach or tell you what to do. The use of the word ‘you’ is meant generally and not at anyone specifically)
February 9, 2018 at 3:01 pm #76160
AnneHW you actually right ey we should stop making excuses for them my friends always say that too all that you said makes perfect sense ey. It would really be better if we met each other half way that’s what relationships are for. Thank you for the advice ey. Patrick keep it up ey if you can try so can they nothing is impossible all it takes is effort.
February 13, 2018 at 8:23 am #76347
I think the only way you are able to actually give your relationship a shot, then the focus should be beyond ADHD, just like someone may have a difficult time with any other weakness like depression or insecurity, we wouldn’t want to be defined by it. The “normal” that needs to be seen is that there is a specific internal wiring each of you have. It wouldn’t be good to set your relationship up to a pass/fail test based on ADHD just like it wouldn’t be good to see through the lens of race if you’re an interracial couple or viewing your world as messed up because your spouse is diabetic thereby limiting your own world.
To give your relationship an actual shot, it is best to get as real as possible as fast as possible, and the way to do that is to find out what’s underneath the ADHD.
I would hesitate using a “personality” profiling tool, but would recommend a temperament profile for each of you, especially if you believe you are created by God. Then you’ll know God had something beneath the ADHD and all the other “weaknesses” that may be perceived and your relationship won’t be defined by it.
February 13, 2018 at 11:11 am #76371
I read this whole thread and finally saw someone bringing God into the equation. Yay. Prayer and church going has helped me declutter my mind. It takes the chaos away and gives me a constant thing I can focus on.
I was recently diagnosed with adult ADHD (August 2017) and it explained everything to me about my life up to that point. My wife (24 years) is still struggling to understand just how this disability affects me. Where I now can say “that’s the ADHD”, she sometimes says “thats an excuse”. We are working on communicating better.
My doctor told me that it takes me abut 3 times the energy to focus and get something done. Sometimes my brain just gets tired from all the focusing..especially since I hold a job that is demanding organizationally speaking (I really should be working not posting my first post). I spent all last year working 50 hour weeks, then going home physically and mentally exhausted. I was missing things. Not turning off the stove. Not locking the front door. Not closing cabinets etc. I tried a few different medications and I am now on Adderall, which is working pretty well.
Over Christmas I took 2 weeks off and my brain started to recover. I believe my ADHD flairs up when I am tired and stressed too much.
I guess I am trying to say that ADHD can ebb and flow. There are good days and very bad days. Some days I am emotionally disconnected with the world, including my wife. Its not personal. Its just the way I am. Even people with ADHD need love. We are people too!
March 21, 2018 at 10:51 am #79498
ThePhoenix – I am curious if you’ve actively attempted to routinely get more than eight hours of sleep per night. Getting more sleep is claimed to help manage ADHD symptoms and I wonder about your experience.
February 15, 2018 at 3:10 pm #76547
Imagine this – I am 70 years old and this wonderful man who is 65 years old waltzes into my life. I have always been very organized so there is no physical manifestation of my ADD. Wanting to make a good impression because he is wonderful , I did not tell him I had ADD – I just didn’t want him to fall into thinking I was the stereotypical ADD person with a mess around every corner. I did that because I thought he should know me better and see that chaos is not just around the corner. So he is telling me a story and reveals that he is ADHD. I thought not both of us. So I told him I was the inattentive type to which he replies NO KIDDING! Appararently he has a beautiful apt in Georgetown which is a disaster – so he is divorced and unmedicated by choice – he told me he has problems with dates – I told him was going to have to stick whicth me because I was the only one who would understand why he is the way he is. And so at 70 years having found the love of my life – he is wonderful – I have o cope with his ADHD – now my 3 children and 7 grandchildren think it’s hilarious that I have to cope with his because all of these years they have had to cope with mine. It is really different when you’re getting the grief not giving it.
May 2, 2018 at 11:05 am #83436
I am totally EXHAUSTED!!! I am a 39 year old woman dating a 29 year old man with ADHD. He is totally frustrating me. We have been together for 6 years. I have 2 sons who are now 11 & 14. My boyfriend does extremely odd (to me dumb) things all the time. Like looses keys, leave the garage door open, leave the bathroom water on, can’t wash dishes properly, never EVER finishes a task, doesn’t know how to fix ANYTHING. I have even woke up to my house door unlocked over night several times because he came in the house last. Trips over the kids stuff laying around the house, falls down stairs… You name it he has done it. He will leave things places – like go to our corner store and leave items. The store actually caters to this and calls him when he leaves something at the check out and will save it for him, ugh… He can’t hold conversations with other adults unless its about sports, god, or kids otherwise he sounds like an idiot. My kids totally see through him and think he’s an idiot. He steals my kids keys, everyone’s phone charger, I often see him wearing my kids socks and winter hats when he has his own! He is a MAN he should not be stealing/using my kids stuff. Every time I say something he’s asks me what did I say. Like I have to repeat everything to him. He is extremely delayed. I tell him to go right then he goes left, I tell him to go left then he goes right. He had a car that he could not afford from the inception of the loan and that got repoed. He is obsessed with working out and playing basketball because that is the only thing he is good at and gets compliments from. His body is a masterpiece but his brain DOES NOT function and he has a little head!!! He want’s a kid so bad but I will not have a kid with him because I am worried that my kid will do the same dumb shi! that he does. He has no children of his own. So to satisfy him wanting a kid I go out and buy a dog… He has been totally irresponsible with the dog and even mean to the dog. The dog actually hated him and he finally had to accept that and rebuild his relationship with the dog. He was only being mean to the dog because the dog would get into his stuff that he would have laying around. He has asked me to marry him several times and I finally told him to stop asking me until he can come with a ring. He has totally ruined his credit by being irresponsible. On the up side he is an extremely sweet guy and totally loves me and my kids. He is like Shaggy & Scooby Doo. He to me is equivalent to a Cave Man. I have asked him to get medicated and he doesn’t want to hear that. He always says sorry and expect that to fix things that he does or breaks. I feel as though he has no regard for the things he does. Door is left open over night – I guess that’s no big deal… Ugh…
At this point he feels like he is a man and wants to be respected and treated like a man.
I told him that I don’t care what he does/F’s up until it affects the family or the house. I don’t care what he does to hisself – break his stuff, loose his stuff, etc… But he still can’t understand that!
What can him and/or I do to salvage this relationship?
On top of the ADHD he had lead poison as a kid…
I used to yell at him a lot. For the last 3 years I worked on being nicer to him. I do not yell at him. I try my hardest to use tender words. I try to explain things to him. In return he is just extremely frustrated and now yells a lot. He yells at me, the kids, the dog, the tress, the wind, anything you can think of frustrates him.
- This reply was modified 3 months, 2 weeks ago by nvbrooks.
May 3, 2018 at 1:16 pm #83519
That’s really tough. It sounds like you put a long of energy and love into the relationship and get little in return. It sounds like you don’t have a partner that you can rely on but another child that you have to worry about. That must be exhausting. All of his problems are becoming yours. Thats a difficult situation.
I can’t tell you what to do. But in my experience people don’t change until they realize they have to. His ADHD will never get better until he recognizes how much of a problem it is and takes responsibility.
My suggestion, you have to what is best for you and your children. Thats what is most important.
Best of luck.
May 6, 2018 at 8:01 pm #83684
Thank you so much for responding. I really appreciate your response. I know I have to let him go and that will most likely be what happens. Life is too short and I am not getting any younger…
May 3, 2018 at 4:26 pm #83539
You are looking at a very long road indeed. Don’t expect ‘logical’ to ever be a meaningful concept in your interactions. Can you imagine your man being ‘responsible’ for successfully raising your mutual children?
May 7, 2018 at 12:35 pm #83713
Definitely not. He would loose his head if it wasn’t attached. That is why the kid thing is no longer an option with him. I just can’t do it. What if ADD & ADHD is hereditary???? I would never want to raise a child to deal with that…
May 4, 2018 at 7:04 pm #83609
Dear nvbrooks: I hear you and I totally understand where you are at. It sounds as if you needed to let off some steam. First, you are not wrong or crazy. Second, you are not alone. I have experienced a lot of what you have related, and I’ve read a lot about ADD/ADHD. I have also been seeing a therapist for three years (not because of my relationship with an ADD man, but to learn more about myself, yet it has helped me greatly to understand things). What I have to say is that it will never change. Your guy is sweet, I’m sure, and means well. But he is not going to change. Ever. Never. The question you asked was what could you or he do to salvage the relationship? You’ve made it clear that he can’t/won’t do anything (and the word “can’t” is important here because he really may not be able to given his ADHD). So let’s take that out of the equation. It now becomes what can YOU do? You can’t change him or the relationship. The only thing you can do is change yourself. Accept what he is like, learn to live with, adjust and accommodate it. And right along with that, start putting yourself first (after your children, of course!). Every day … YOU matter. YOU don’t deserve to be yelled at.
If the things he does are presenting safety issues, you MUST do something. The well-being of your children and yourself is your first priority. That is an absolute. With regard to finances, it’s clear he cannot manage them, so it would be foolish to let yourself get sucked into the financial hole he has created (and that is where you will be if you marry). What is your point about a ring? What will that change? If he presents a ring, my first question would be: how did you pay for it?
Look, I can tell you don’t want to or are not ready to end this relationship. I think you should spend more time on yourself and your children … alone. Read more about ADD. But start to get to know yourself and ask why you are in this relationship? Are you afraid to leave it? Of being alone? Is there security in it? Do you feel sorry for him? Is it the sex? Do you think you’ll never find anyone else? I can’t answer those things, but I can tell you this: YOU matter and YOU don’t deserve to be yelled at, and you did NOT come with a set of instructions that reads “it is your responsibility to look after a grown man who won’t take responsibility for himself or his relationship.”
So … here is the thing. I say that, but I’m in the same pickle! But I’ve learned more about myself, and I put myself first. If he wants more, he has to make some changes. There will be no marriage and no living together, no shared financial responsibilities. Almost every day that I spend with him, at some point, I have to remind myself that I’m not wrong, I’m not the one who forgot something, who didn’t listen, or any of that. I just sort of zero-out on that stuff, and try to enjoy the good stuff. It’s tough.
May 4, 2018 at 7:20 pm #83612
Yes 100%, absolutely. I can not agree more. Lulu is correct.
Save yourself and your kids. They are what matter most. Its tough to hear but what is it inside of you that is staying with this man? The evidence is clear that he is not right and he is not going to change.
Take responsibility, take action, grow, and survive. Or doing nothing, deny the truth, and die. Those are choices.
(I should also say that I am the one in my relationship that has ADHD)
May 6, 2018 at 8:12 pm #83685
Thank you sooooo much for responding LuLu and Patrick you guys are totally amazing! I will come through this. You both have totally empowered me. I really needed this.
May 6, 2018 at 9:31 pm #83689
Good your not alone. Your powerful, your a mother of two children. Your strong. Seek help when you need it. Find people that have been in similar situations. Stay strong and stay healthy.
Remember that you and your children’s safety and health is the most important thing. Not his.
May 7, 2018 at 1:41 pm #83727
Hey i am 14 and i am forced to take meds for “ADHD” but i have B.A.B BEING A BOY ADHD Isn’t real and now i cant go without taking meds because i’ve gotten so used to taking them i get angry even more hyper than before starting meds when i am not taking them and when i do i cant sleep my heart is pounding out my chest i have head aches and i can feel my bodyi wouldn’t mind taking non-stimulants but when i me and my mom asked if i colud take straterra the doctor said that it takes weeks to work and your symtoms need immediate relief.
May 8, 2018 at 8:40 am #83662
Gosh, I have to say, Patrick, that you have written two short but powerful sentences. You are right; it comes down to those two things. So why can’t I do what is best for myself? I can’t grow as a person in this relationship. And staying in it, I *am* denying the truth and a little part of me (maybe it’s a bigger part of me than I want to admit) dies. That is sad. It’s like that little spark and sweetness in him when things are good (which is about 20 percent of the time) keeps me from ending this relationship. That doesn’t seem right. Also, the fact that he really seems incapable of changing due to ADHD and some other issues — anxiety, and possible PTSD and early life trauma. I tell myself that it’s not that he won’t, it is that he can’t. He absolutely does not even see a problem.
This article was, for me, spot on: https://www.additudemag.com/too-much-drama-relationships/.
So, even though I know these things, why can’t I leave it?
BTW, he acknowledges the he has ADHD, but refuses to try meds, meditation, therapy or anything. He says he tried meds 20 years ago and they made him a zombie. I know that he was not working with an adult ADHD specialist. But he is unable to tell me what he took or for how long. Given my experience with him, he could have tried something for six weeks, six months or two years. (He once told me he’d been married for one year to a woman with whom he had been in a relationship for a total of 12 years. It turns out he was married to her for 7 years! He wasn’t lying; it’s just what he thought was true.)
August 1, 2018 at 11:53 am #89984
Excellent posts above. I’ve been dating a woman with ADHD for a while now and while she is the sweetest most loving being I’ve met the missed return calls, forgetfulness at times, oversights etc can be a little heartbreaking. But I think MelOrlov’s post above says it well and something I’ve been already grappling with since dating her and that is taking more responsibility for my own happiness and joy. And when my lady does come through and she does often it’s just the icing on the cake. The less I depend on someone else for my own happiness the less her quirks invade my peace and vice versa and since meeting her, already aware of many of my own failings I knew this would be a big one for me. What do they say how the right people seem to often come into our lives at just the right time for us to learn and grow from if we so choose to? Well my partner with ADHD is pushing me to be more accepting and especially more reliant on self for happiness. It’s still hard sometimes when she says she will call me back and doesn’t, but it helps to know and read here that it just happens, and she has told me that as well that she is sorry and didn’t mean to forget
August 2, 2018 at 5:14 pm #90157
This post is interesting and informative! I recently started dating a man (4 months) with ADHD.
Similar to most of the comments, he was focused and adoring initially but that excitement has waned. Many of things he said he wanted to do, he has not followed up on or spoke of after those initial conversations. And when I bring them up he usually has forgotten what he said and committed to. Sometimes when we talk, he will jump between different topics and completley forget to ask me about my day or other areas of my life. My daughter has ADHD so I “somewhat” understand the behavior but dating and mothering are different and although he is a wonderful man—I am becoming frustrated. If you ask him, he thinks our relationship is going great! Almost to the point of saying the L word.
When we discussed the disconnect that I have been feeling he felt completely blindsided and was surprised.
The other thing is he feels completely inadequate when it comes to planning dates with me. We spend alot time talking on the phone, texting and hang out at home: cooking, lounging but I want to be dated lol Outside of my apartment… when I spoke with him anout this he uses his ADHD excuse and doesnt feel like he can plan something that I will like.
Im starting to feel like these issues are beyond adhd…? Id love any feedback from those with adhd or married to/dating someone with adhd.
Let me say this, he is a great guy and when he is in the zone he is loving and very supportive. Id like to try to understand him and work with him… and he wants to do better, but hasnt made much effort.
August 5, 2018 at 8:41 pm #90325
My girlfriend will leave town and not call or text me for days and it just tears me apart and then all of a sudden she’ll just start calling and texting out of the blue a whole bunch and even blow up my phone seems to come and go waves it Ebbs and flows like the ocean. It’s those times when it ebbs that it makes me feel blue and makes me look inward to see what it is about me that I’m struggling with. So in that way it really is a gift because it’s making me face things about myself that I may not have been aware of before because eventually she always comes through and shows how much she really does care and I never had anything to worry about. Isn’t that crazy?
August 5, 2018 at 8:47 pm #90327
That’s not crazy. Props for you for being introspective and aware of your own feelings.
Its important to realize that your happiness is dependent on her. That you have to feel okay and at peace when she is not around.
It’s tough when people don’t show up or communicate but its fantastic when they come through.
August 5, 2018 at 8:55 pm #90330
I agree but I have to admit it can pretty unsettling at times, I wouldn’t mind a little more consistency but then she is who she is so what else can I do? LOL
You must be logged in to reply to this topic. Login