New to dating someone with ADHD

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    • #54194

      Hey everyone,

      I’ve been dating someone for about 5 months that has been diagnosed with ADHD in college (now in late 20s). When we first started dating, I did notice that he was a bit different and he told me that he has ADHD right away. He wouldn’t stop talking on our dates (which I didn’t mind) and I saw that he had to talk himself in order to focus on certain things (like sports games).

      I was madly in love until we went away and spent a weekend together. I think I saw then how his ADHD affects his daily life. He showed certain behaviors that I never saw before that I’m trying to understand. We went out to a nice dinner and once the food came out, he was focused on just that. He did not look up once from his plate to say one word to me. I stopped eating for about 10min and just looked at him hoping to get his attention, while I watched him eat his pasta dish extremely quick using his fork and hands. Yes, hands. I had no idea if I did something wrong. After dinner everything went back to normal.

      We would walk around exploring the new city and he would start singing out of nowhere. When I would try to ask why in a jokingly way, he would explain how he saw something and it led him to think of this, which reminded him of this song, which then he started singing. This happens often, whether in public or when we’re watching a movie. His mind would be all over the place pointing everywhere and saying random things, like song lyrics or quotes. At times I almost felt like a parent having to tell their child that they shouldn’t do certain things.

      He is always “on” except when he takes naps for hours during the day. When we’re with friends, he’ll either be on a level much higher than everyone else or he will be closed off. I get nervous when I think about having him meet my new friends or even my parents, because I don’t know what mood and behavior he’ll be giving off.

      First night we met he was extremely focused on me. It was almost like his goal was to get me to like him. I feel extremely secure with him, I don’t have to worry about cheating, he gives me the attention I need, and he is a good guy. But I feel like this weekend gave me insight on his behavior that I don’t see when I see him several hours during the day.

      I’m trying to understand him but I don’t even know how to approach this with him because it is a sensitive topic. He never talks about it, and I’m not trying to change him. I hate this confused feeling. I hate how a weekend together changed my perception and feelings for him. I love him and don’t want to give up, good guys that treat you with respect are hard to find. But I also don’t want to feel like I am a parent, or be nervous going out in social settings with him not knowing how he’ll act.

      I just want to know if this is normal ADHD behavior in some people? Relationships are always perfect in the beginning, and I don’t want to be blindsided from the reality. Any advice from someone that has been in a relationship with an ADHD partner, and how you approached it in the beginning, would be much appreciated.

    • #54204

      Liz, if I had to put you and my partner in the same room. May the higher powers help your partner and me, you two would probably go on for hours about our quirks… The answer is:

      Yes, this is normal for your partner. I can see the exact same patterns in me when I met my partner 13 years ago. If I can quote a line from Shirley Manson “It seemed like rainbows would appear. Whenever you came near the clouds would disappear” (Garbage – Cherry Lips, Shirley Manson)

      There is that insatiable need to know them (You) and we devote all our focus to getting to know you. As time goes that focus wanes, HOWEVER, we do still love our partners deeply. It’s very hard to see those little things that we do, to show you we still care. I am guilty of that. I guarantee you, Liz. This is normal lol. IMO, 5 months is a REALLY good sign. We only stick to the person we are comfortable with and know that will least likely judge us. We show our most embarrassing quirks to those we love (his sports game talks).

      Being also a guy doesn’t help with the ADHD, because our conversation are along the lines of grunts and sounds from other orifices… My point is men have egos. ADHD doesn’t help that because we are constantly making mistakes and criticised about them since day dot. Unfortunately, it makes us very sensitive about the topic. This may work… If you want him to open up about his ADHD. Try asking him a closed ended and subtle question relating to him. It’s worked on me, because I love the praise and ‘SOMEONE has taken an interest in my strengths!?!’ keep it short too and give each conversation space. Take what little you can at the time. E.g.

      – “Hon, you are amazing at (sport X) because you flow so well with rhythm of the game. Do you think it’s your ADHD driving you to be that good?” -> Answer is positive.
      – “It’s really cool to be able to do that! Can you tel me what it’s like when playing?” -> And so on. Keep it short and be genuine.

      In terms of your confusion… His habits won’t just get on your nerves. It will drive you Bat$H337 CRAZY! The best advise I can give to you is: TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF FIRST! I cannot stress that so much. Accept him for him and PLEASE don’t try to change him, encourage him and let him make those mistakes! He will love you for those things. We may be forgetful, but we remember those things and keeps our loved ones no.1 in our hearts.

      I’d like to suggest this Youtuber, Jessica McCabe. Look her up by searching “how to ADHD.” She’s funny and insightful. The best thing about her is she and her Fiance/Husband (not sure if they’ve been hitched yet) HAVE ADHD. She’s got lot’s of videos to cover a spectrum of things ADHD. Also you’ve done the right thing by asking others, arm yourself with knowledge and apply that knowledge with your own and his tweaks.

    • #54290
      Penny Williams

      @screwball hit the nail on the head. I love that you got advice from someone with ADHD who understands your partner’s perspective.

      Here are a couple articles filled with great suggestions on relationships with ADHD:

      For Good Communication, Timing Is Everything

      Loving Someone with ADHD Is Easy…

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

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