Too much arguing, will it change? Adhd boyfriend

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    • #184836

      Hey there all.
      I am a 26yo female and my partner/boyfriend is 28. We have been together 2 years and have lived together most of that.
      I’m in a bit of a situation and I really need some guidance. My boyfriend has adhd, medicated and honestly tried his best to function well and do things around the house etc and with time management.
      Our biggest problem is the amount that we fight. He is just so defensive and reactive, almost like he forgets that he needs to be respectful and that he loves me. It’s been on average 2-4 times a week and they are big fights leaving me in tears and very depressed. He is totally on board to change things and we are now starting to go to therapy and he has finally started going to his own adhd specialist therapy after lots of reminders from me. He’s a great guy, loving, kind, awesome and so funny, I adore him! But we just fight too much and I always end up feeling so low for days after. I want to be respected and not have to deal with a man child when we argue, he sort of switches modes and changes when we fight and it’s like he is blinded and forgets everything we’ve talked about on better and healthier arguing, we discuss this a lot because we love each other deeply and both want it to change, but it just doesn’t when conflict starts. I’ve started getting resentful because at the start of our fighting when we first moved in he would just yell and walk all over me, and I would stay calm and patient, it didn’t help. So now I’m angry and resentful about the constant promises of change and it not happening. The rest of our relationship is great, it’s just the damn arguing! I have almost left a few times because I’m just so over it! But I stay because he reassures me he will sort it out.
      He has a history of regular arguing in relationships, I don’t.

      I’m honestly so lost, we are planning on moving to our own place next year and quite honestly, I am scared to. He know this, we are open about everything and funnily enough our communication is great the rest of the time outside of conflict, we work really well!

      Will it change? Has it changed for any of you when both are dedicated and willing, it just takes longer and is harder because of the adhd reactivity/emotional lability?


      • This topic was modified 1 year ago by LHurt.
      • This topic was modified 1 year ago by LHurt.
    • #184844

      It will change if you deal with this patiently. Everything will fall to it’s own place.

    • #184936
      Penny Williams

      It will only change if he sees the need and wants to change things.

      Have you heard of Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria (RSD)? It’s common with ADHD and could explain why he gets defensive and intensely emotional.

      How ADHD Ignites Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria

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

    • #185001

      Will it change? It will only change when he owns his behavior and you see lasting change. It might happen it might not. Only you can decide how much you were willing to put up with. Are you willing to spend the next 5, 10, 15 or 20 years of your life with someone who may never change?
      Go to the ADHD effect on marriage website and read the posts. There are many “Nons” who post on the site about some of the problems you are describing. For some of them things have gotten better, for some of the couples 30 years later they’re still dealing with the same thing.

      • This reply was modified 1 year ago by AdeleS546.
      • This reply was modified 1 year ago by AdeleS546.
    • #185003

      Nothing will change unless her boyfriend owns his behavior. No amount of patience is going to make him behave differently.

    • #185012

      What is he doing to change it?

      You say his behaviour makes you feel depressed, angry and resentful. That he promises to change, and then doesn’t. Don’t you deserve better, especially as such a young person with a whole life ahead of you?

      My experience is very similar to yours, my husband has been diagnosed for 5 years and taking medication and nothing has changed. Except we have two kids, and now they’re also noticing his moods, anger and broken promises.

      Only you can decide how much you can handle, but I don’t think any relationship should be that hard. Your partner should be your support and comfort, not the person who yells at you and makes you depressed. Life will get harder and you need someone stable by your side, not someone you have to coach on how to treat people. It’s exhausting trying to be someone’s conscience and remind them to treat you like a human being. You deserve better.

    • #185014

      Thank you for replying @leftie22 , I am a leftie too!

      We are in therapy at the moment, and after a year of reminders and me saying how important it’ll be, he has started going to his own personal ADHD specialist therapy too.
      So he used to be much angrier, and I was patient and calm and tried to de-escalate so that has calmed down which is good. He is still so defensive, frustrated, stubborn and I find him quite dominating/dictating/controlling and patronising during our arguments as well as immature, almost like a teen boy who isn’t getting his way. I have over the last 6 month have started to feel mad and resentful because of the consistency of him just being utterly unreasonable in those times. This doesn’t help obviously and I’m sure I’m making it worse. Mostly I am saying ‘you’re not listening to me properly’ as he has a habit to just go from A-Z and miss all in between and brings up a million things to defend and reflect and we end up in this cycle (which I’ve read about a lot). It’s very confusing. We do call breaks, however more often too late. I am already very hurt. He has been working on his defensive issue for about a year and a half now, with little, but not much luck.
      It’s hard because the rest of the time we are a great partnership, get along so well. It just seems to flick a switch in him and he’s a different person when he starts to feel frustrated and defensive.
      We are the best of the best, and the worst of the worst. I cry a lot and often consider not continuing the relationship. But it’s just so hard when literally the rest of the time is fantastic. It’s so annoying, because if we can just fix this, it’ll be fine! We can tackle the other stuff.

      When I tell him I am feeling depressed, and fed up and and I want to be with him but the relationship is making me sad, he tells me that he is sorry to hear, and that my feelings are in my control, not his.

      Sometimes I do feel like I have to coach him how to treat and talk to people nicely, but he doesn’t talk to anyone else like this. He is quite quiet and hides his hyperactive self. Except for what I can imagine his last relationships were like (I know there was lots of arguing in them too, and he has told me.)

      He is also as I said, willing to work on it, wants to go to therapy to work this out because he loves me so much and really wants us to work out, I believe it. He is so loving. But it’s just so confusing when he becomes so.. immature.

    • #185171

      I recognize so much in what you’re saying, and I think a lot of other non-ADHD partners would, too.

      My husband also tells me he loves me, makes promises to change, starts some efforts at change and claims to want to be in the relationship. But after 10 years of being together, he also still defends, deflects, gets angry, breaks promises (including to our kids) and hasn’t changed enough to make our life stable and emotionally safe.

      The hardest part to accept is that we don’t have any control of whether or not the relationship gets better, and we trap ourselves with the “if he would just do THIS or stop doing THIS, things would be great!” So we stay and wait and hope. But we can’t actually do anything about it. And then what happens if year after year, the promises continue but your partner still hasn’t dealt with the problem for good? How many times can you handle being disappointed, nagging, monitoring, avoiding?

      You have the advantage of knowing what you’re dealing with before you get married or have kids, if that’s something you want. You said it yourself that your relationship is making you sad. He might not have the ability to change, or be able to do it before he’s created too much resentment and broken promises. You can’t change him or nag him into being a good partner. Trust me, I’ve tried. My counsellor asked me this week why I’m still asking my husband to try to do things differently, when it’s clear that after years of me asking, he’s not going to do it. It’s a very valid question. It’s very hard to let go of the hope that things will be different. But when change is all up to another (unreliable) person, we’re giving them more control over our lives and well-being than we should. Ask yourself, if your boyfriend isn’t actually capable of changing, would you stay?

    • #185209

      Listen, I’ve been with my husband for 19 years. We found about his ADD after we got married. He is an amazing man. But those little fights, they haven’t stopped for us. I don’t believe it gets better 100%. The disorder has shown itself differently throughout our marriage. You can learn coping methods, tools etc..but be will never be who you want him to be or think he should be. You need to ask yourself if you want to have that in your life, in your marriage. The divorce rates for people in our situation is bleak.
      Truth bombs, negativity… This is just my opinion and how its like on this side of it all.

    • #185607
      Yarlan Zey

      It might be worth learning about narcissism. I’m not saying your boyfriend is a narcissist, he may or may not be, but it’s worth learning about. Shahida Arabi is a good source of info on the subject.

    • #185877

      I sympathize with your position. No one deserves to have to pull all the emotional weight in a relationship.

      You say you are well matched, but it doesn’t sound that way to me after i read your story. Being sad for days after a fight, crying all the time… Is that how you want to live? You are feeling resentful and I don’t blame you. You keep trying and trying and he keeps falling off the wagon, so to speak.

      A thousand times this:

      < Ask yourself, if your boyfriend isn’t actually capable of changing, would you stay?>

      Can you endure another 5 or 10 or 20 years of your current state? Could you endure a few good months followed by a backslide, Wash rinse repeat, maybe forever? Do you want a relationship built on your emotional endurance?

      You say he is very loving when he’s not losing it, but this:
      <he tells me that he is sorry to hear, and that my feelings are in my control, not his.>

      does not sound compassionate or loving. It sounds small. Considering his behavior is causing your feelings of sadness it’s also wrong. It also sounds as if he is not recognizing the role he plays in your emotional upset.

      If you were my sister, I’d encourage you to strongly consider not making the second move to live together in a more permanent situation. Your instincts about this are valid and you need to listen to them. That kind of move with a boyfriend should make you happy, NOT scared. It will be hard to let this relationship go because of all the wonderful parts, and it will make you sad. You will cry. But you are already sad and crying with no end in sight. As difficult as it is, as vested in this relationship as you are, I think you should let this one go. 🙁

    • #186017

      @yarlan zey what makes you say that? I have looked that up and done great research on this as I believe my mother has many of those traits, my therapist agrees.
      With my partner, he does have a sense of coldness when talking about emotional topics, especially my emotions if he’s hurt me. He tries to fix the problem instead of deeply understand. And he has told me himself he has trouble with empathy, but I don’t think that he is a narcissist, however I’m interested in hearing your thoughts. I replied to another user in this topic that may give you some more understanding on our situation too.
      I appreciate your response ☺️

      • This reply was modified 1 year ago by LHurt.
    • #186300

      Sorry for your hurt.

      You will decide what to do. Just be courageous and honest. Maybe keeping a private record of the conflicts could help break away at the feeling low for days stuff by defining it for what it is. This is how I mean it, write what happened right before, what was the main offense/hurt/conflict, what happened after.

      This is best really brief and really honest (not mean) and don’t worry about who had an excuse to do what (oh he had a bad day or oh I was just so tired of that way he says that). Just the facts and not editorials. Review it regularly when you’re not emotional, and when you’re ok knowing what the real deal is. You have to be willing for it to come out, be courageous & you’ll see it.

      I’m sorry for the hurt you’re feeling. The more you have combined responsibilities the more intense the struggles can be and more vulnerable it feels and that can make bigger reactions that are “automatic” (unquestioned & untested for reality).

      When there’s conflict, it’s responsible and caring to address it. Your feelings are your own, but in a relationship, good or bad or in-between, each person has an influence on the other. In the good sense, that’s why people choose to be together in the first place. Maybe he feels shame and doesn’t know how to resolve it when he has struggled & failed and disappointed you the same way again. Maybe he is distancing to protect himself (and not you) & not have to deal with it. Could be a good counseling topic?

      Your patience is for you. It truly benefits him, but it is for you. Never doubt patience is helpful. It doesn’t mean walk all over me. It means learning to think & assess clearly in real time.

      If you sense he would like you to lose patience with him, that’s another thing. It can be an avoidance strategy. If you do end up keeping track with writing, another helpful thing to note is what the immediate result is from his outburst (or whatever) that might bring relief from some pressure he is experiencing. Doesn’t make it excusable, or even acceptable, but explainable which is different. That explanation is info that can help you decide how you want to deal with it in yourself and towards him.

      Be strong enough to tell yourself the truth and keep seeing it. It takes courage. Best wishes to you. Don’t lose heart about your own self management and future, no matter what you choose.

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