March 11, 2018 at 8:41 pm #78701
I’ve been in a relationship with my ADHD partner for 3 years. He is 41. Last year, I realized that it could perhaps be ADHD and started sharing information with him. We are reading two books together now on adult ADHD and communication for couples and it’s helped us get closer.
During the three years, we have broken up twice, I noticed they were both after a really close/intimate event. The first time, it was after the holidays where I met his family. I learned so much about him and met his parents and it felt like a big step. Then, a week after, he started getting overwhelmed about us and where we were going and he was afraid he couldn’t be the committed partner I needed.
We stopped speaking and it was torture for us both and got back together 3 months later.
Another time, was after my birthday – to which he planned a wonderful week of dates, gifts, and surprises. About a week after that, he felt overwhelmed and needed space. We took a few weeks break and then came back together.
Now here we are again. We went on a trip together – it was the best. We talked about how far we’ve come – we’ve really worked on our communication and it’s made us closer. But once we got home and real life is setting in again, he’s getting stressed out.
He recently quit his job and now has signed up for three different expensive trainings and trips coming up for the next few months.
From a training to become a yoga instructor to overall professional development and a meditation retreat.I am supportive of these, but I also worry that there’s alot salespeople right now trying to get him to join this, do that, pay for this. I just see him spreading himself thin again and he is such a people pleaser it’s hard for him to say no and I just want to look out for him and his finances too, especially while he is unemployed now.
Anyway, I’ve digressed a bit but wanted to give the whole picture.
During the trip he shared more about how he has trouble connecting with people and how sometimes, he just doesn’t feel things. He feels like he shut down that part of him when he was younger and he has to explore why this is happening. He seems so lost lately and I honestly, just want to do everything I can to help because I love him.
He told me that he’s at a crossroads in his life. He needs to figure himself out and hopefully become a more feeling human being.
He then sent me an email that said he pushing me away to keep me out of the crosshairs. He knows it cannot feel fair, and most likely makes no sense but so much of his life has fallen into addiction and patterns. He wrote – You have always been a steady guiding light. It seems like pulling anyone through this is not responsible.
What should I do? I can’t just sit back. I feel like i want to go to him and be like – I’m here and I’m not going anywhere. But then I think, it’s all too much for him – does he need to actually just take this time and work on himself. I am so torn and I just need some advice. Thanks in advance.
March 12, 2018 at 12:41 pm #78780
Only the two of you can find the answer that is right for you. However, I can say that people with ADHD can be easily mentally/emotionally exhausted. Every time he wants to check out, it seems it is prefaced by a somewhat stressful event (yes, vacations can be stressful and/or overwhelming for some people). Often, instead of taking the space and time they need to refresh and move past the mental/emotional exhaustion, they lash out at those around them. He may have learned that this is a possibility and retreats within himself and from others in order to prevent that.
Maybe you can discuss these situations with him and come to an agreement where you stay together but you give each other lots of space. Almost as if he’s getting a meditative retreat but without pulling away completely. Couples counseling could help as well (as long as the clinician is well-versed in adult ADHD).
ADDitude Community Moderator, Author & Trainer on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism
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