August 16, 2019 at 11:09 am #125373ReflectionParticipant
I’ve been lurking around for awhile on this forum now, trying to find the courage to type this post, since putting it all into words makes it frighteningly real for me. But we have been together for more than 10 years, so I cannot sit back and do nothing to prevent the painful ending I see. It’s probably going to be a long read. Sorry!
Six years ago I’ve been diagnosed with depression, severe anxiety and definite signs of adult ADD. I found a wonderful psychologist who really helped me find systems to make my life work for me again. Even though I don’t see her anymore, and sometimes it is still 1 step forward, 2 steps back, I can hardly believe how far I’ve come and how much I still slowly improve day by day. I haven’t been depressed in a couple of years and my anxiety has really lessened. I’ve built upon coping mechanisms in place since I was just a young child and experiment until I find the way that works for me (while trying my best to be kind and compassionate towards myself).
The problem is that while my life the past five years or so has been going in an upward direction my fiancee’s has gone down. I wonder if he has also a form of adult ADD combined with depression (it’s hard to differentiate). I fell for him because he was witty, had big plans and dreams en seemed very friendly and at ease at social settings, while I was and still am more of a wallflower (making and keeping friends has always been very difficult for me). I loved that he was able to match me when it came to friendly banter back and forth and that I felt like I was ‘home’ in his presence, that I could take off the mask I presented to the outside world and could just be me without feeling anxious or judged. That has all changed and I cannot put my finger on exactly when, but instead of our wordplay together he tells me now that I can just suck/stuff/shut it and instead of feeling at home I feel anxious in his presence and much more happy when he is not around. I thought I might be getting depressed again since I am desperately unhappy, but it’s just the situation with him, rest of my life is going great.
He works two part-time jobs and is gone another day for his hobby. Which means that he is away during working hours at least six days out of the week. Two of those days he works for the family business. He does not really like the work and it’s not his field of study, but his parents saw his troubles with finding a job in his field (think very limited job opportunities) and offered to help him/us out this way. But the work for his parents and the jobs he is interested in have in common that there is somewhat of an research phase where you just try to find the right information (which he likes) and a phase where you put all that information into a rapport or advice of some kind. He is bad at this. Not very accurate and precise when that is necessary, weird structuring of paragraphs and when there’s multiple steps forgetting step 2 and 4 so it’s hard to follow. When he was still in university I read everything he wrote multiple times, structured it, etc. But that’s not an option anymore. So know he’s the guy who talks a great game, but then under-delivers in what matters, the written part. I also work for his parents (I do have a degree in their field of business) so I know about his job performance there. About his other job I know little since he gives only one word answers to my questions about his day. He says he’s often bored and I have only seen him enthusiastic about the job for perhaps the first two weeks. He likes to do things purely his way, but that’s just not always possible when you work for a boss, in a team etc. When he comes home he says he’s exhausted and sits his ass on the couch to play video games. His (not with his parents) job will end in two months and I know I’m looking at months of semi-unemployment (unemployment if it wasn’t for his parents). He is making no effort currently to line something up and reacts negative and hurtful whenever I try to get some information.
I work about two or three days a week and am a fulltime university student. As a result I’m much more at home and 95% or more of the housework (shopping, cooking, cleaning, dishes etc.) is done by me. He seems unaware how much time that it takes me to keep up the house, clear up after him, make sure we have clean and ironed clothes, shop, and make healthy meals. I also need to put in at least 40 hours of self-study time a week to keep up with coursework. As a result, I’m often very tired. I asked him to pitch in more, and he recognizes in theory that things like dishes should be done everyday and that it is perhaps not fair to place the burden of cooking and housekeeping on one person, yet says that he is too tired to do anything like that after a day of work and gets snippy. He will do something on Sundays, but after 30-45 minutes he feels that he has had done enough for the day. I feel like I am the only one interested in doing things for us. I’ve tried a chore chart, I’ve tried alternating weeks (the result was that he never found the bathroom in need of cleaning in his week etc). He does not like to add checkmarks, but also hates it if I ask if he has done certain tasks (If he does not check them off I have usually no way of knowing). The dishes will always be done tomorrow etc. I read on this forum that you should keep your nagging in check. I have been doing almost everything since then. I manage now, but do not know for how long. I’m hoping to have a fulltime job in a couple of months.
I have told him that I feel that he is not there for me. So know he informs me a couple of times a week that he is available to me from this time to that time. I’m supposed to find something fun for us to do together (which will take a couple of tries), he does not want to do chores together, and while he does want to be intimate in bed he seems to expect me to do the work to make this wonderful for him. But even then he feels closed off and it feels very perfunctory. I feel very anxious about making the next wrong move or saying the next apparently wrong thing and him saying something that hurts me or him closing off and me feeling rejected. We used to have so much fun together no matter if things were going superb or if a position ended with one of us having muscle-cramps and aborting the whole thing altogether. Now that fun is gone, and I can hardly muster up the required enthusiasm to try one more time. But if he does not get it at least once a week he is even more short tempered and even less affectionate.
In short I have a constantly short tempered fiancee, who seems closed off and uninterested in actually doing anything that he finds less fun or important just because I find it fun or important. This constant rejection coupled with hurtful words and my great sensitivity to said rejection have made me desperately unhappy with our relationship. I do not want to give up on us, but do not think I can go on for much longer. I miss my happy SO so much! I wish above all things for him to feel better about himself and more satisfied with his life in general.
My problem is that we need to have The Talk. I have asked before if there was something, but he always says he’s fine. He’s not. Even his parents ask me about my opinion on what is the matter with their son. They hardly recognize him anymore etc. I need to tell him that I want him to go to a therapist and get evaluated and some appropriate treatment, or I do not think we will last. Any tips for this conversation? I do not know where to start with this and as a result everyday I’m hoping that the next day will give me some natural opening or something to make this easier. I’m so afraid to mess things up and make it worse than it already is. I’m crying as a write this, but I really don’t know what to do! I do not want to give him an ultimatum and I don’t want to bring this up as an accusation, I simply would like to convey to him that I want us to be partners and a team and that currently there’s only an I in team and there shouldn’t be.
Thanks for reading. I feel a bit better having told someone, even anonymous over the internet.
August 19, 2019 at 9:29 am #125481Penny WilliamsKeymaster
Being fair but honest is always the best approach. Leave blame out of it. “I want to be happy again and I’m not right now. I don’t think you are either. Let’s brainstorm and come up with a plan to try to regain our joy.” Start by listing what you each think are roadblocks to happiness and work from there. Couples counseling could be helpful if you’re not successful at having these conversations and making change happen.
ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Trainer & Author, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism
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