At a breaking point

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    • #113375

      I have been in a committed relationship with a man for 6 years. In his past he has been diagnosed with ADD. I think he may have executive function disorder. He is BRILLIANT. He has read more books than anyone I know and can speak at length on any topic that you throw out. He also makes incredible connections across schools of thought where others would not think there is a relation.

      I love this man deeply. He has made my life mystical and poetic and I have grown so much as a person because of him and our relationship. He is always up for anything and soothes me and supports me incredibly. I have been able to advance in my career because of his wind beneath my wings.

      To not be with him would be a terrible loss and it saddens me tremendously to think about life without him. At the same time, there are some things that are making me consider whether this can continue or not.

      In the six years we have been together, he has been unemployed or underemployed. I didn’t know it when we met but this has been a lifelong struggle for him. He cloaks it in philosophical terms, like he ‘doesn’t want to work for the man’ and ‘must do meaningful work’ which I can understand but the truth is that he doesn’t work for the man NOR does he pursue a particular passion and create his own thing. It’s because he CANNOT. I have watched the mental gymnastics that he goes through and how difficult he makes simple tasks, it is as if his brain cannot ever make things smaller and always must expand things.

      He also is a hoarder. I find immense collections of crumpled paper napkins, plastic bags, twist ties, and other debris. He also brings so many books into the house and is usually reading at least five of them at any time. He got quite angry when I suggested that we’d reached ‘peak book point’ and that if he brought any more home he would need to get rid of some.

      Lastly our sex life has gone really down hill and it seems he can’t get an erection and finish the job. It feels like a metaphor for his executive functioning stuff. He can’t muster what it takes to tackle something and can’t get it done.

      He is resistent to medication even though I have printed out the guide about all the newer medications that are available. He is resistent to counseling. He keeps buying time with me with this or that to avoid making any progress with a doctor or even with a discussion about things. He is more and more avoidant.

      As I mentioned, I adore this man. My life is so much better with him in it. But I also want our home to look a certain way (I’m no neat freak but some order…), I need him to contribute financially, and I want to make love!

      I would welcome any thoughts and I may share this post and the responses with him.

      • This topic was modified 2 years, 9 months ago by MelS.
      • This topic was modified 2 years, 9 months ago by Penny Williams.
    • #113733

      Hi Mel!:-)

      I wish I could offer some sound advice, however, all I have right now is the simple statement of “You’re not alone.” In fact, I’m wondering if we’re dating the same man!;-)

      Like you, I’ve been in this relationship for about 6 years. In those 6 years, I’ve been pushed to my absolute breaking point mentally. I’ve tried multiple strategies to cope, and have failed at more than I’ve succeeded at, but, here’s what’s worked for me (so far):

      Therapy – I have my own therapist. He helps me put things in perspective. He helps me understand. But most importantly, it’s my time. I can unload there.

      Boundaries – I didn’t even realize I had a hard time setting boundaries until I met this man. But in order to maintain some semblance of sanity, I needed to. At first, I think I just acted cold in order to get my personal space, but now I’m working to gently but firmly establish them. Mine comes along with a child, who also has ADHD – boundaries are critical.

      So far, that’s it, lol. My list of what does NOT work is longer – yelling at him, thinking I can change him, trying to change him, drinking…all of that? Nope. I hope this helps in some way – sending hugs!!:)

    • #192217

      I’m struggling with this right now with my current partner of 7 years. He’s been unemployed for 2 years (he’s 31) and last month he was diagnosed with ADHD and started medication. We don’t have a counsellor yet and I am mentally struggling from pushing him so hard all the time to find a counsellor, work, to do things WITHOUT my having to push for it every day.

      Some people are saying “if you can’t handle it, then leave” to me and I really don’t want that. This person is literally my best friend and have helped me through the darkest times, I know this is their dark time so what gives me the right to give up on them when I’m sure they’ve had it tough with me before. So I guess I’m just at a loss. If anyone has more advice on this post that’d be great. The biggest thing my partner liked about his old job (farmers market) was the variety in customers and in things to do and the sense of community was huge. Community in a workplace that is GOOD is already hard to find and then you have to find a GOOD community with a job that keeps him interested. So now it’s like he doesn’t even want to try?

      I can’t say I have a solution for you because I’m right there with you. If you’ve had any successes in the last year since you posted please let me know. I’m also struggling and don’t want to end the relationship with a person I truly love

    • #192778

      Hello! I am in the same boat–I totally know what you mean about he just Can’t do some things that you think would be the most logical things to do. My spouse is exactly the same way. I’m seeking advice on how to cope myself, so I don’t have any magical advice, I just wish that there were more ways for people like our partners to really show their stuff and shine. My spouse always does better if I can find a way to tell him how wonderful he is and how much I love him just the way he is—confidence boosting helps or finding something he can do that he’s really good at that can have practical purpose can help him feel better But these are moment to moment things that do not really address these larger issues. I’m following this thread to see if folks offer up other thoughts, but I am with you.

    • #192817

      Kryst & Josman1789

      I’m the ADD partner here, diagnosed 19 yrs ago at age 35. We’ll be married 28 yrs in 2021, so I guess that’s something no? I’d like to say that everything has been easy since my diagnosis, but that would be dishonest. For a long time, I thought that diagnosis and meds would fix this ADD thing’; what I didn’t realize was that there were other underlying things that magnified the executive functioning issues. For me, that was anxiety and paralyzing shame (with possible rejection sensitivity) – what I call the ‘mean cousins’ of ADD. This caused me to completely shut down relationally, even with my amazing wife (who is an experienced LicSW). I’ve pushed us to the brink on several occasions; it wasn’t until I was serious about clinical treatment that I was able to move forward (I’ve has an outstanding therapist for nearly 6 years now).

      Every relationship has challenges and struggles; those of us with attentional deficits just manifest them in more global ways. If it’s worth it to you both, then you’ll put in the work. I will say that it is draining on partners – I would recommend a strong self-care structure for yourself; make sure to carve out space for just you to do things that you love – meet with friends, take a walk, take a class, etc. Also, your SO’s need to take responsibility for their own treatment; all you can do is support them (emotionally and structurally) and love them as partners.

      I’m lucky that I have a partner who loves me and didn’t give up on me – even when I gave her plenty of reason to! While it’s not easy being in relationship with us, I think we’re worth the effort. We’re resilient, creative and fiercely loving/loyal partners – if only we’d stop forgetting important stuff! We’ve made it almost 30 years, and still love each other very much. So while this post has some hard truth in it, I hope you can see the hopefulness that’s there as well. They’re not mutually exclusive. I wish you all positive energy as you embark on these journeys together. I check these boards regularly, so post back if you need to…


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