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“In Relationships, Is it Harder for ADHD Adults to Forgive and Forget?”

I’m attempting to learn from past relationship mistakes, so I can have a healthier, happier love life in the future — even with the challenges my adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) poses. But do I have to forgive my Ex? And can I forgive myself?

Summer has slipped in and replaced spring, and I can’t say that I am happy about the months to come. While April’s showers have dried up, I continue to spin my wheels in their mud. I am not sure if I’ve slipped into a funk or a serious case of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) blues, but, increasingly, I’ve wanted to escape my daily life and find a sense of calm. Rationally, I know I won’t find relief by running away — it needs to come from within, but inside dark clouds loom.

How can I move on and forgive the ex-Boyfriend for gaining my trust, only to betray it, (whether purposefully or not)? I can’t. Niceties like “It’s okay” and “Mistakes happen” and “Go, live your life; I’ll be fine” won’t slip off my tongue or pour from my heart, when words such as liar, manipulator, and player are all that come into mind. Right now, my memory is as sharp as a knife, and the day that I’ll be able to let go of this — hurt, anger, grudge — seems eons away.

My thoughts have been turning to the Mother, who promised the world before abandoning us for her own orbit, and then back to the ex-Boyfriend, who in an odd way paralleled her behavior. Promising the moon, he disappeared off the face of the earth, too.

And how can I forgive myself for not listening to my intuition, for not listening to those — now founded — fears? I can’t. Repeatedly, I regret ever sharing my diagnosis with him. Rather than seriously embracing it, he used my ADHD as a scapegoat — and while dancing between accepting and rejecting me for my diagnosis — he couldn’t even accept his own disorders.

And still I was suckered into accepting the apology letter and the flowers and believing that he cared. Where are my values, my sense of self?

Maybe if he had been willing to admit, “I’m bipolar, I’m a depressive, and I want to date other women, so why don’t we cool it off?” I wouldn’t be plagued with these regrets.

Then again, this issue is about more than just the ex-Boyfriend — it’s an overall fear that opening myself up means potentially getting taken advantage of again.

A good friend, twice my age, tells me to never lose my spunk and spirit and says that you can’t let bad experiences ruin your faith in people. Everything in life is a learning experience, and if we stop learning, then what is left? she asks. Manipulative liars, I want to answer. But then the Catholic guilt in me grows and I even want to apologize to him — and to myself and to the friends and loved ones who repeatedly told me to stand my ground.

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