View Full Version : Need help with ADD Boyfriend


jende2
01-18-14, 04:26 PM
I've been divorced for three years. After a year of being on my own, I started dating a new guy. The first year of dating was great and exciting and lots of fun (aka hyperfocusing on me). After a year of dating, I bought a house, and he moved in with me. It's honestly been the kiss of death for our relationship.

I soon found out after only a few months of living together that he has ADHD. He didn't even know it himself, but when I brought it up to him, he said, "I always felt that there was something wrong with me." Long story, short, his ADHD tendencies of forgetfulness, disorganization, hoarding, not helping with housework, sloppiness, etc. have really taken its toll. I don't feel attracted to him anymore. I've tried to talk to him, and he listens and tries to be "better" for a little while, but then it all goes back to normal. Instead of hyperfocusing on me - that's long gone - he's now focused on his business. I have to ask him to please spend some time with me.......

Since he owns his own business, he doesn't have insurance. He is looking into Obamacare, but is not sure if he is going to buy the insurance or just pay the penalty the first year. I would love for him to get insurance and get medicated for his ADHD, and he knows how I feel about this.

I'm very sad. I even think of putting the house on the market and going our separate ways.

I'm hoping someone can give me some ideas, food for thought, etc. Thanks!

someothertime
01-19-14, 08:37 AM
You sound like your decision is already made.

Has he had enough of you?

Out of curiosity... previous relationships... any issues with being controlling?

jende2
01-19-14, 11:22 AM
Thank you for your reply! Your answer took me by surprise, though. Do I seem controlling by what I posted?

I've never had a problem with being controlling. I dated quite a bit before getting married at age 33. We divorced because my ex husband - who was older than I - was going through a midlife crisis.

I've really never been exposed to ADHD until now. I think I'm having trouble with his behaviors and don't know how to deal. I purchased Orlov's and Pera's book to try to understand. I feel that this community will also be helpful for me.

dvdnvwls
01-19-14, 01:09 PM
The truth is, everybody is different. There are some things you can live without, and other things that you can't. Everybody has their wants, and everybody has their needs.

You don't know what his needs are, unless he told you out loud. You only know what your own needs are. And he doesn't know those. Because of ADHD, even if you told him, he probably forgot. And I remember that when I listened to my ex's needs, it was very very hard to do because I was terrified while listening - I knew I was not good enough, not making it, afraid she was going to leave me (which was true). With all that angry noise in my head, listening calmly while she told me what she really needed was nearly impossible.

But that's one of the things that you two have to do, if you want to continue. First figuring out what are your bottom-line can't-live-without-it needs, and making sure all your "I want this but it's not a bottom-line need" things are on a separate list and not getting in the way; then having the long difficult sensitive confusing conversation about how those needs might be met. Being creative and flexible about how those might happen. Being creative and flexible too, about "do I really need that, or is that just an expectation I learned from the past and I could really do without it?"

You can't tell him what his needs are, or help him figure them out. They're his. Some of them might surprise you. Some of them will probably hurt. But whatever, they're his.

People with ADHD are weird, always. He's going to be weird for the rest of his life. With proper management of ADHD - basically, that means learning a lot of unique methods for getting things done plus probably medication as well - he can be "good weird". Can you live with "good weird" forever?


I do think that assessment of your own needs, and finding out how to meet them in the context you're in, is essential - even if you leave, you'll still need to know those.

Another way to look at this whole thing: If you were told he's never going to really change, how would you react?

dvdnvwls
01-19-14, 01:17 PM
A little example about needs:

I always prepared the tax forms. I was terrible at it. I mean, I did an OK job, but it took me FOREVER because of fear and procrastination. I handed them in reliably at half-an-hour after the deadline, every year. It was excruciating for me, it drove her crazy, and we fought off-and-on all year about it.

She said for years and years that she needed me to do it better. I believed in her need, and tried to meet it. She was wrong. She didn't need me to do it better; she simply needed to not be driven crazy. On the advice of a therapist (the only useful advice we got in couples therapy by the way) we hired someone to do our tax forms. Everyone was fine about it after that. She still left - but not over that.

sarahsweets
01-19-14, 01:22 PM
Had you ever been in his house prior to you living together ? Was he neat then?

anonymouslyadd
01-19-14, 01:29 PM
A little example about needs:

I always prepared the tax forms. I was terrible at it. I mean, I did an OK job, but it took me FOREVER because of fear and procrastination. I handed them in reliably at half-an-hour after the deadline, every year. It was excruciating for me, it drove her crazy, and we fought off-and-on all year about it.

She said for years and years that she needed me to do it better. I believed in her need, and tried to meet it. She was wrong. She didn't need me to do it better; she simply needed to not be driven crazy. On the advice of a therapist (the only useful advice we got in couples therapy by the way) we hired someone to do our tax forms. Everyone was fine about it after that. She still left - but not over that.
Don't we need more of our NT significant others to take over some of the difficult tasks that we struggle with? The example you wrote about demonstrated that stress can be eased in ADD/NT relationships if tasks are delegated appropriately.

To the OP: You have needs and deserve to have those needs met. What you described was textbook ADD. I wouldn't expect the hyperfocus anymore, but I might want to try to carve out time with him through things that you'd both enjoy doing.

jende2
01-19-14, 01:53 PM
Thank you all for your replies! I really appreciate it.

@dvdnvwls - I talk to him about my needs, and he does listen and he does try to adjust himself to meet them. I have to give him credit there. He does respond. It would be interesting for me to ask him what his needs are. I will do that. I can probably guess at what he would say: he needs me to stop nagging him. I know he likes when I do little acts of service (to quote John Gottman's book) like making him breakfast, coffee, a massage, etc.

sarahsweets - you make a great point. His place before we moved in together? Sloppy and messy. I guess I don't know why I'm surprised our house is that way too then. I think that is an expectation I will have to adjust. He offered to pay for a cleaning service to come in once a month, which I accepted. I can keep the house clean the rest of the time, but a cleaning service at least once in awhile will really help!

I think my bottom line, can't live without needs mostly revolve around spending time with him. He knows this, and has try to fulfill those. I guess I need to give up my need to have a neat, clean home. I can adjust that expectation - think I will have to - because it doesn't seem as if that one is going to change. Guess I have to let that one go.....

stef
01-19-14, 02:35 PM
he might need time to himself occasionally- just to unwind-don't take this as not caring about you! i need tons of down time.

TLCisaQT
01-19-14, 03:11 PM
Putting ADHD aside, it is hard in any relationship when expectations and reality MEET :) At this time, relationships go through that crossroads where you do have to make that decision of whether there is something more to consider making it work, or just move on. Your situation is really not different from most in the world. So like others said, you have to work together and see if there are compromises or ways that you can make it worth and feel like one another is worth those sacrifices or just agree to part ways. It sounds like he is a great guy and it's not about willingness but maybe ability due to ADHD. So it's time to talk openly and see how or if you can make it work without sacrificing either of your individual contentment or quality of life. Has he considered any form of treatment options? Either way, unless you can accept him and the relationship in its reality based on these conversations and "compromises" then you have a decision to make, and moving on may be the best if you can't because then most likely you will both just end up being miserable. Good luck. I know it's hard.

jende2
01-19-14, 04:11 PM
@TLCisaQT - thank you for your thoughtful reply! Yes, my expectations didn't really match reality, now did it? LOL Yes, he really is a great guy! I think he means well, and tries to please me - he really does. I think you are right - it's more about "being able" or ability. Sometimes I just feel that there are things he "can't" do right now - his ADHD being untreated and all. He is willing to go to an ADHD clinic near our house - he even said that "my brain isn't right, and I need to see a doctor." Problem is, he doesn't have insurance. The first visit is something like $200.00, so he is trying to set the money aside.

@stef - yes, I'm mindful that he does need downtime just to himself, and I give him that. He has some TV programs he enjoys watching, and he likes sports. Sometimes we'll watch these things together, and other times I just like to leave him alone on the couch to just "be" for awhile.

dvdnvwls
01-19-14, 05:49 PM
Thank you all for your replies! I really appreciate it.

@dvdnvwls - I talk to him about my needs, and he does listen and he does try to adjust himself to meet them. I have to give him credit there. He does respond. It would be interesting for me to ask him what his needs are. I will do that. I can probably guess at what he would say: he needs me to stop nagging him. I know he likes when I do little acts of service (to quote John Gottman's book) like making him breakfast, coffee, a massage, etc.

sarahsweets - you make a great point. His place before we moved in together? Sloppy and messy. I guess I don't know why I'm surprised our house is that way too then. I think that is an expectation I will have to adjust. He offered to pay for a cleaning service to come in once a month, which I accepted. I can keep the house clean the rest of the time, but a cleaning service at least once in awhile will really help!

I think my bottom line, can't live without needs mostly revolve around spending time with him. He knows this, and has try to fulfill those. I guess I need to give up my need to have a neat, clean home. I can adjust that expectation - think I will have to - because it doesn't seem as if that one is going to change. Guess I have to let that one go.....
If you can let it go, it was never a need of yours. If there's something you can negotiate about, like maybe having the house a bit less clean, then it's not a need.

Also, many needs do not involve the other person.

Imagine a totally different (and totally imaginary) couple. The man in that couple is one of those special demanding sorts of "neat freaks", and one of his pet peeves is when people don't cut the grass in nice straight lines. Every time she cuts the grass, he criticizes her for missing a spot, or for going crooked, or for doing the hilly spots wrong - it's always something - you know the type, I'm sure. Pretty soon, she's going to have had enough of this criticism over cutting the grass, and if she's smart, what will she say? We all know the answer - "If you're that picky, cut it yourself!"


One of the frequent troubles between ADHDers and "regular people" is that we ADHDers are often the same way about tidy houses as the woman in my story was about mowing the lawn. You know what they say - "If you want it done right, do it yourself".

(Note, not everyone is like that... Some other ADHDers, it's just the opposite - especially those of us who have OCD along with our ADHD.)


Anybody who lives with me is going to end up with far more than their share of the tidying. That isn't fair. But fair doesn't matter - it only matters what's OK with everyone. There's always enough work to go around - because I hate tidying, and I'm slow at it and do it poorly, it's better for everyone if you do the tidying, and I take over something else that maybe you're not so good at. Or at least, that I'm not so bad at. :) Doing chores with an ADHDer is all about negotiating a system where both of you are OK with the final outcome, and never about splitting 50-50.


Gottman is brilliant. He doesn't address ADHD, and it shows.

Dreamer's Wife
01-19-14, 06:46 PM
You say something interesting in your first post. You say that the first year of being together was fun and exciting, and once you moved in together his forgetfulness, hoarding and other ADD tendencies became apparent.

It sounds to me like you are longing for that puppy love stage again. Personally, I think you need to adjust your expectations. It's not fair to say that his ADD tendencies are the cause of your relationship troubles. You can't be with someone for a year and not know these things about them.

The medication won't be a magical fix. He will still have those tendencies. They may be a little bit easier for him to manage, but they will still be there. Him getting medicated should not be because he is trying to meet your expectations. It should be because he want's to, for his own well-being.

Being with someone who has ADD is a challenge. However, if you only see his qualities as ones you don't like, then your relationship simply can't last in any sort of a happy way. He will still have all the same qualities, with or without the medication. They may be to different degrees depending on the time of day, and how much of the medication is still in his system. But regardless, those qualities are part of him.

If you want to create a lasting relationship, you have to adjust your expectations.

jende2
01-19-14, 07:02 PM
@dvd - this is what I honestly don't "get" yet. Why does living with you mean that the other person will do more of the tidying? This sounds like boyfriend and I. He can't/won't see that the garbage can smells and is overflowing, that the recycling bin needs to be emptied, that the dishes in the sink actually go in the dishwasher, etc. etc. Is it because the person with ADD is too distracted to notice? Please help me to understand. Thanks!

jende2
01-19-14, 07:08 PM
@dreamers wife - I think what you say is true. Although I know it's not possible to return to, I really liked that hyperfocus! LOL After getting divorced from a man who was emotionally unavailable, my boyfriend's hyperfocus was a welcome and refreshing change of pace for me. And I didn't even KNOW about hyperfocus at the time...... Imagine how I felt when it suddenly stopped?? And I did notice these things about him - his sloppiness in particular. I guess I noticed but chose not to pay close attention, if you know what I mean?

I DO need to adjust my expectations. I guess this is NOT all about him, but about me too!

bymysoul2squeez
01-19-14, 07:15 PM
My ex had really bad ADD, you could talk to him and see the exact minute his attention slipped away, his apartment was filthy, always lost credit cards, seemed lazy, always late, didnt remember ANYTHING, dates, birthdays, due dates , just awful, easily angered, oppositional etc etc but he never wanted to get treatment , never thought there was anything wrong with him, or he just liked himself that way.

Your boyfriend might change once he starts on meds but he must WANT to change. If it means paying for treatment out of pocket for a while then thats what he needs to do.

Im currently work per diem and dont have health insurance, and also didnt in the past and was paying out of pocket 140bucks every other week for therapy because I was trying to save my relationship (of course I was the "crazy" one , not him)

someothertime
01-19-14, 11:54 PM
@dvd - this is what I honestly don't "get" yet. Why does living with you mean that the other person will do more of the tidying? This sounds like boyfriend and I. He can't/won't see that the garbage can smells and is overflowing, that the recycling bin needs to be emptied, that the dishes in the sink actually go in the dishwasher, etc. etc. Is it because the person with ADD is too distracted to notice? Please help me to understand. Thanks!

It's more the mundane repetition... It's like a brick in our energy levels... Trust me... this guy thinks about doing something... it's not like he doesn't care... Obligation is a styfler to us... On the flipside... If we zero tasks then it will not come into our mind...

If you decide to work with him... you gonna need a truckload of patience and forgiveness... and he will need the same.

Day to day aside... what are his strong points... I mean he has his own business... that's pretty damn good :)


( p.s. i'm sorry if my first response was a little harsh, it was important to ask those questions )

dvdnvwls
01-20-14, 12:00 AM
@dvd - this is what I honestly don't "get" yet. Why does living with you mean that the other person will do more of the tidying? This sounds like boyfriend and I. He can't/won't see that the garbage can smells and is overflowing, that the recycling bin needs to be emptied, that the dishes in the sink actually go in the dishwasher, etc. etc. Is it because the person with ADD is too distracted to notice? Please help me to understand. Thanks!
Yes, that's part of it. But there's much more to it than that.

Are there any jobs he cares about, and feels those things must be done properly, but you don't mind if they're done properly because they're just not important?

jende2
01-20-14, 12:15 AM
@dvd - with this question, are you implying that keeping a clean house is just not important to him? To answer your question, he's pretty meticulous about cutting the grass. LOL I don't care about the yard all that much, as long as it gets done.

@someothertime - your original question was fine. It actually gave me pause and made me "check in" with myself, which is never a bad thing..... To answer your question, he is very loyal, tolerant of me and my bad habits, honest, intelligent, has a great personality, funny, a good heart, etc.

dvdnvwls
01-20-14, 02:13 AM
@dvd - with this question, are you implying that keeping a clean house is just not important to him? To answer your question, he's pretty meticulous about cutting the grass. LOL I don't care about the yard all that much, as long as it gets done.

I know that keeping a tidy house is not as important to me as a lot of other things. It makes sense that the person who cares about a thing would also be the person who expects to do it.

execfunc
01-20-14, 10:56 AM
A lot of people have made valid and astute points. jende, you, hopefully, have some understanding of whatever deficits you might have with regard to making this work. My concern is about his treatment. If he doesn't get some sort of treatment plan in place, his symptoms, and their inevitable unfavorable results, will not stop, no matter how much you change and learn about the disorder. That's just a fact. ADHD is the worst (outpatient) psychiatric disorder there is, but it's also the most treatable. Beyond the two of you seeking behavioral solutions together and as individuals, treatment, in my opinion, should be the centerpiece.

The woman I'm with now is a saint. She was patient with my symptoms for more than four years, before my diagnosis (which was last summer). She is truly the first person who ever understood me, was able to see the "me" behind this disorder, and was somehow able to put up with my crap (what you described about your guy and more). This is one of the ways I know she's my soulmate. She's the first woman I didn't drive screaming out of my life because of this disorder, and this helped me to begin implementing behavioral changes long before I started treating my ADHD. Very few women could deal with this sort of thing with such fortitude, forbearance, and tolerance and rightly so! In my moment's of lucidity, I am astonished at how anyone can live with the roller coaster of a loved one's ADHD.

Anyway, sorry to ramble on (part of the disorder for me). But again, I highly recommend pushing for treatment. Do research. Look for therapists/counseling centers that operate with a sliding scale payment program, look into the pharmaceutical companies' patient assistance programs (Shire has a good one, I've heard), and see if you can get him to just go ahead and pay for the initial consultation/diagnosis. The life-changing results of an ADHD treatment plan are priceless.

Best of luck to both of you!

VeryTired
01-20-14, 11:11 AM
Jende2--

Clean house/messy house is an issue for many couples, and ADHD doesn't necessarily play a role. But I will say this: my partner is literally unaware that he throws trash on the floor, spills sticky juice and jam everywhere, and makes messes constantly. It's not that he won't help me tidy up so much as that he DOES NOT see what I see. Knowing this is very important for me. It doesn't change the concrete housekeeping problems, but it helps me to be 100% clear that my partner isn't ignoring my concerns, he is actually unaware of them.

This isn't going to change. Just telling him won't ever make him see what I see. If I do decide I have to make a huge deal out of some particular problem, first I have to work like crazy to persuade him to train himself by rote memory that wet towels go in the laundry basket, let's say, rather than on the bathroom floor. He won't ever see the towel in the 'wrong' place and experience it as wrong himself. It takes huge effort from us both to make changes like that, so it's absolutely not possible to bring his standards and practices in line with mine across the board. In a real sense, he cannot compromise with me on these things.

So, then the choice is do I change my ideas about how things should be? Do I just do all the tidying, constantly cleaning up after both of us? Do I pick a few key issues and work really hard to get him to work really hard on those, while letting the others slide? It might sound trivial, but if the result is that I am constantly under irritation and stress, this isn't going to be healthy for me. I have no good answers on this--it always feels like a struggle to find a sustainable balance.

I think the real answer if we are to stay together is for me just to concede since I can't change. But--do I really want to spend the entire rest of my life never feeling at peace in my own home? It feels like an attack on my peace of mind and well-being to have everything ugly, out of place, messy, broken and dirty. If my partner ever gets a job, we could hire someone to help us clean and that would help. But right now, I struggle to make ends meet because he is unemployed and also prone to be irresponsible with money.

As for the attention thing, the sudden disappearance of the hyperfocus is a huge deal in some cases. To me, it was shocking, and felt kind of like a new strange person replacing my boyfriend unexpectedly. I can't emphasize enough that it in no way resembled the normal changes of a romance evolving over time. It was violent and heartbreaking. In a real way, that kind of hyperfocus makes some of us fall in love with a person who isn't the real person. Finding that out once deep into a relationship is very disturbing.

Like you, I found the close attention being paid to me to be the compelling thing when this relationship started. Had I known it would suddenly disappear one day, I would never have gotten involved. I was specifically looking for someone who could really be present, really hear me, would really value me and time spent with me. And ironically, I have ended up with someone who now cannot be present in shared enterprises most of the time, who struggles to hear me and often fails, and who is usually unable to show that he values being with me. I signed up for fun, connection and warmth, and ended up with exhaustion, anxiety and loneliness much of the time.

I didn't judge badly--the other things were real and very beautiful while they lasted, and initially there was no sign that they would not last. My partner didn't do anything wrong--he is how he is, and has no control over this. But the fact is, through no fault of anyone, I ended up in a very tough situation, for which there isn't any real solution. My partner seems minimally bothered by all this. It troubles him somewhat that I am often sad or frustrated, but since his hyperfocus on me suddenly became distraction and inattention, he isn't really taking it all in, and he doesn't report feeling any direct loss or sorrow over the change in himself.

I honestly don't know if I can take a lifetime of not being seen, heard, considered. To me, that's not really what a relationship is about. My partner thinks that just being under the same roof is companionship. To me, being under the same roof without substantial mutual awareness of thoughts, feelings, concerns, projects, etc etc is worse than solitude. Learning about ADHD makes it possible for me not to have a nervous breakdown when I think about our lives, but it doesn't necessarily make me able to live this way.

I can't say enough good things about my partner's hard work and willingness to seek treatment. His getting diagnosed and taking medication were a huge deal for us both. I wanted him to do it for himself, but once he did, it proved to be enormously beneficial to me as well. Similarly for his work in a therapy group for adults with ADHD. But as we reach the realization that how we are living now is probably how it's going to be, that progress has been made, and we are at a status quo, huge questions loom up for me about "is this something I can do forever?" "Do I want to do this forever?"

And the two things you mentioned, the days-to-day household stuff, and the lack of attention to me, well those are not small things, actually. They're pretty big things in themselves, and more importantly, they stand for much, much larger issues as well. They are important elements of what a life together and a partnership are about. So we are struggling with them everyday, and don't yet know our final outcome.

Keep in touch here--let us know how things go with you and what choices you make. If your boyfriend gets some kind of treatment (doesn't have to be medication), that may make a big difference for you, as it has for many others...

dvdnvwls
01-20-14, 01:46 PM
VeryTired's post is IMO a very big part of the truth of the situation. It brings together many aspects of what's going on.

I have a comment that focuses instead on one small thing, but I think an important component. A tiny section of a standard conversation.

She: Will you clean up the kitchen later this afternoon?

He: Sure, I'll do that.

[the next day; kitchen is the same]

She: Umm, you said you would clean up in here yesterday. Will you do it now?

He: Yeah, OK.

[he sort of does some of it, but soon stops]
[the next day...]

She: What's wrong? The kitchen still isn't clean.

He: What? I did it yesterday.

She: You didn't even wash the dishes!

He: I didn't know you wanted me to do that.







OK, you get the point. (Wow, that sequence hurt to type.) That's a famous scene, variations of which are being played in many households with ADHDers right now. It's no surprise that the scene takes place. Neither person involved in it can rightly be blamed for anything they've said or done.

There is, however, a problem that I see with it eventually, and that is what happens when this scene is played the third or fourth or tenth time. The more-aware-than-I-was ADHDer might end up saying "Please don't ask this anymore, I can't do it, you're hurting me". I couldn't say that, because I was very afraid of making her angry, and felt extremely ashamed that I couldn't clean the kitchen right, so I said nothing.

But doesn't there come a time when the non-ADHD person concludes "I guess this strategy of asking him to clean the kitchen actually doesn't work, I'd better do it differently or stop asking or something" ?

Fuzzy12
01-20-14, 02:16 PM
I think my bottom line, can't live without needs mostly revolve around spending time with him. He knows this, and has try to fulfill those. I guess I need to give up my need to have a neat, clean home. I can adjust that expectation - think I will have to - because it doesn't seem as if that one is going to change. Guess I have to let that one go.....

You said this isn't an absolute need but I'm not sure you need to give up completely on a clean neat, clean home.

1. (You've done this already): Get a cleaner.

2. Keeping a neat and clean home is not just a huge but also a very vague request. My husband kept asking me to keep the house neat and tidy. I used to think it is and didn't understand what he was going on about. It annoyed me since I did spend quite a bit of time cleaning it regularly. I didn't realise that clothes, papers, STUFF lying everywhere, all drawer and cupboard doors always being open, and clean dishes piling up on kitchen counters did not constitute neat and tidy.

My point is unless he is specific, I honestly don't really know what exactly he wants, no matter how easy it is. I'm not sure if this is an ADHD thing though or just bad communication. Maybe you could pick specific tasks, the ones that are the most important to you and ask him to do those.

3. When I'm always on the verge of losing my job or messing up yet another relationship, somehow cleaning and tidying up sinks to the bottom of my priority list. It sounds like an excuse but it's true. It's difficult for my husband to understand how closing cupboard doors after opening them relates to my stress level but when I'm preoccupied with something else there just isn't space to keep yet another thing in mind.

4. Some things I hate and those I procrastinate endlessly: I like vacuum cleaning and I don't mind doing dishes. I hate cleaning the shower cubicle or bath tub (which I do because I hate dirty bathrooms even more but it takes me forever). I really, really hate mopping the floor. I just don't do it. When we want to clean the house quickly, he does the bathrooms and mops the floors and I do things I like, and am good at, like vacuum cleaning. It might be a bit unfair because obviously he has his own preferences too, but he just finds it easier to do things he dislikes than me.

Also, we just got a cleaner. She just does a few hours every fortnight, just the worst, the stuff I hate doing or the stuff I never think of doing (like cleaning windows, wiping dust, ...:rolleyes:). Still, it helps.

5. Simplify. The less clutter we have the easier I find it to keep my things tidy. More storage space helps tons, even if it's something simple like a card board box where I can keep random stuff.

Spending time with him....

My husband complains too that I don't spend enough time with him and don't pay him enough attention. Mainly it's stress and tiredness (see point 3) and incredibly bad time management. Sometimes it's because he stresses me on top of my other stressors. Sometimes it's because I've got a very, very low tolerance to boredom so if we are doing something I don't enjoy, I either become bad company or just disappear (often without me even realising it, e.g. sometimes I just walk off when we are chatting, because my mind is just somewhere completely different..).

VeryTired
01-20-14, 02:23 PM
Hi, Fuzzy--

I find your description of all this pure gold. It is so much easier to get what my partner tells me about this stuff when I find other people talking about it using other words, and explaining in detail what it feels like (something I can pretty much never get him to do for me).

I learned a lot from what you wrote here today. Thank you SO much! And congrats to you on getting the cleaner--I remember a while back you were posting that following through on finding someone was a challenge. It's always heartening to hear about other people's successes!

VeryTired
01-20-14, 02:42 PM
dvdnvwls--

Hmm, when you lay it out like this, what can I say? Yes, if the strategy never works, probably the non-ADHD person should try to do differently. I think what you are saying is very very important. I agree in principle. I am not trying to wiggle out of that agreement--but at least at my house, it gets more complicated.

My partner tends to greet requests that he do things with enthusiasm, assurances that he can and will do a great job at whatever, insistence that he doesn't need help or reminders, emphatic agreement that it's important and then well, we're right at your scenario. It's very very hard for me to understand that a person will repeatedly say the opposite of what is true. It makes my head feel like exploding. Maybe it does his, too. Certainly, my partner HATES it when I say "Are you sure?" "How will that work when you have to be somewhere else in an hour?" "Wait, remember last time when "

Also, we have this weird problem where there are things that pretty much do have to be done routinely, but my partner will only pitch in as long as he can avoid or subvert the routine-ness. We really do have to clean and shop and recycle and handle pharmacy errands on pretty regular schedules. But as soon as we seem to be coming close to working out a rhythm, or getting the different tasks sorted, he will intervene and interrupt that routine. Not only will he flatly refuse to do exactly what we know will work and will get the necessary chores done, he will also make it impossible for me to follow a routine by myself.

I have zero insight into what that's about--he is basically a cheerful and decent guy, but sometimes he turns into a frustration-creating/routine-dismantling machine. Sadly, it's usually he who suffers most from the results of that, but it's hard on me, too, because I get so exhausted from struggling with him over process as well as from doing all the chores.

Anyway, I guess my real question is, should I always assume that if something doesn't get done, it is because of one of these scenarios? And is it always my responsibility to handle that problem on my own? My immediate hope is that in these situations, my partner will directly tell me "I can't do this" so I can have the freedom I need to make choices about how I ail or won't handle that. Is it too much to hope for?

dvdnvwls
01-20-14, 02:56 PM
Fuzzy and I are (it seems to me) talking about exactly the same thing - me from a simple raw naive point of view, Fuzzy from a thoughtful and useful one.

dvdnvwls
01-20-14, 03:00 PM
dvdnvwls--

Hmm, when you lay it out like this, what can I say? Yes, if the strategy never works, probably the non-ADHD person should try to do differently. I think what you are saying is very very important. I agree in principle. I am not trying to wiggle out of that agreement--but at least at my house, it gets more complicated.

My partner tends to greet requests that he do things with enthusiasm, assurances that he can and will do a great job at whatever, insistence that he doesn't need help or reminders, emphatic agreement that it's important and then well, we're right at your scenario. It's very very hard for me to understand that a person will repeatedly say the opposite of what is true. It makes my head feel like exploding. Maybe it does his, too. Certainly, my partner HATES it when I say "Are you sure?" "How will that work when you have to be somewhere else in an hour?" "Wait, remember last time when "

Also, we have this weird problem where there are things that pretty much do have to be done routinely, but my partner will only pitch in as long as he can avoid or subvert the routine-ness. We really do have to clean and shop and recycle and handle pharmacy errands on pretty regular schedules. But as soon as we seem to be coming close to working out a rhythm, or getting the different tasks sorted, he will intervene and interrupt that routine. Not only will he flatly refuse to do exactly what we know will work and will get the necessary chores done, he will also make it impossible for me to follow a routine by myself.

I have zero insight into what that's about--he is basically a cheerful and decent guy, but sometimes he turns into a frustration-creating/routine-dismantling machine. Sadly, it's usually he who suffers most from the results of that, but it's hard on me, too, because I get so exhausted from struggling with him over process as well as from doing all the chores.

Anyway, I guess my real question is, should I always assume that if something doesn't get done, it is because of one of these scenarios? And is it always my responsibility to handle that problem on my own? My immediate hope is that in these situations, my partner will directly tell me "I can't do this" so I can have the freedom I need to make choices about how I ail or won't handle that. Is it too much to hope for?
You're right. That's exactly it. How to get from my expression of some kind of "painful kernel of a problem", through your questions and the answers to them, with the help of Fuzzy's more-sophisticated and more-useful point of view... that's "the big book we're trying to write here", I guess.

VeryTired
01-20-14, 03:01 PM
Now, now--it's not your job to do the self-deprecation thing, that's fuzzy's monopoly! Sorry, that's too edgy a joke. But really, dvdnvwls, the difference between what you said and what fuzzy said is more the difference between a concise explanation and a detailed account.

And as always, I am paying total attention to what you have both said, and will be mulling it over at some length. Thanks!

someothertime
01-20-14, 03:04 PM
You cannot drive him. You can steer the inputs to his vehicle ( system )... Only he knows the right rpm to shift into 3rd. Attidude ( realtime ) is next to irrelevant in contrast to active self regulation and governance.

1. Verbal inputs are akin to crosswinds
2. Routine is akin to a flat tyre
3. Expectation is driving through sand

He needs to keep his tyres pumped and check his map. Just highlight the map once in a while ;)

dvdnvwls
01-20-14, 03:04 PM
I mis-worded my last response... I wanted to say "Your questions are exactly the right questions". Some of the provisional answers in your post, such as "Should I always assume..." are probably not what one would want to keep.

dvdnvwls
01-20-14, 03:06 PM
Now, now--it's not your job to do the self-deprecation thing, that's fuzzy's monopoly! Sorry, that's too edgy a joke. But really, dvdnvwls, the difference between what you said and what fuzzy said is more the difference between a concise explanation and a detailed account.

Well, partly. Mine is a literal and complete account of what happens the first time. Mine is what also happens the five hundredth time, if nobody figures anything out. Fuzzy's is what happens when people are at least trying and at least giving each other a chance.

VeryTired
01-20-14, 03:25 PM
This conversation really started moving along! I just started a new thread on the relationships board, called "inability to say "I can't"/fear of making others angry?" which I am hoping will open this discussion more broadly, or maybe create an opportunity to reflect differently on some of the Very Important things just raised here. Come on over and have a look ...

Fuzzy12
01-20-14, 03:30 PM
Now, now--it's not your job to do the self-deprecation thing, that's fuzzy's monopoly! Sorry, that's too edgy a joke. But really, dvdnvwls, the difference between what you said and what fuzzy said is more the difference between a concise explanation and a detailed account.

And as always, I am paying total attention to what you have both said, and will be mulling it over at some length. Thanks!
:lol:

I'm glad that I'm at least good at one thing ;)

Your questions are good ones. Very important ones. Slightly uncomfortable ones. I attempted to answer them till I realised I don't have an answer, I don't have a quick answer (and I'm pressed for time..late again) and maybe I also don't have an answer that I like. They are still questions that need to be asked and they are questions that ADHDers need to very carefully think about. At least I do.

VeryTired
01-20-14, 03:39 PM
Thanks, fuzzy! I have a feeling that the best questions are often the uncomfortable ones sigh. This stuff sure isn't easy, as we know. I'm glad that you are concentrating on whatever you are supposed to be doing and not getting sucked into spending too much time on this discussion now, though!

If you ever decide you have more thoughts on this, please do share them. Working as a big team, we here probably have the expertise and varied points of view to solve all our problems eventually, and maybe find a path toward world peace as well ...

Daydreamin22
01-20-14, 03:43 PM
This is a really great source. Hope it helps
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/may-i-have-your-attention

Another very good one.
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201112/5-dimensions-adult-adhd-in-everyday-behavior


just be careful of the parent-child reationship. It's his adhd. be supportive and enjoy tgwe good things.

Nicksgonefishin
01-20-14, 04:36 PM
Many have made very good points in here Outlining adhd. Orlov and Pera did the same. You left out Barkley though. He lays out adhd as it is instead of sugar coating it.

ADHDers and the perfectionist. Opposites attracting until they each fall from grace. One disorganized mess and the other the nagger...

Op- you mentioned your ex being emotionally shut off and now you're dating am emotionally dysregulated individual. Have you considered this pattern? Also finding flaws in them.

True Love is accepting and even loving someone for their flaws unconditionally!

I would strongly encourage you to see a therapist yourself and look within. Find out why you attracted to this kind of person. To understand others one must know themselves first.

Also until he gets in treatment there is no changing only working with what you have. Minfullness would be very good for both of you. Either accept him the way he is and manage within or move on.

jende2
01-20-14, 05:23 PM
Okay, I'm sure I'm going to get flack for this post, but here goes. Here is what it's like in my house:

I come today from grocery shopping. I go to the kitchen and start unloading the groceries onto the kitchen island. BF is standing there watching me, eating a sandwich, and making small talk. I HAVE TO ASK HIM to please help me put away the groceries. (This having to ask for something which is so obvious to me drives me batty.)

Then I notice that the paper towel holder is empty, save for the cardboard roll still on there. I say to BF, "The paper towel holder is empty." He replies, "Yeah, I noticed that. Why don't you go down to the basement and get a replacement?" I got angry, and an argument started.

See? It's bad enough to me that things don't get done around the house, but then for him to have such a flippant attitude about it. I'm sorry, but it almost feels like disrespect to me......

Dreamer's Wife
01-20-14, 05:26 PM
The keeping the kitchen clean example is very interesting to me. I used to be a professional housecleaner, and keeping a tidy kitchen was something that my husband and I went around in circles about. So, I decided that I would do what I did with all the new girls at the company. With his permission, I literally trained him.

He appreciated me showing him EXACTLY what my expectations were. I had him follow me around the kitchen as I cleaned and tidied it. This worked much, much better than just telling him what I wanted. With ADD, when you talk at them, they tune out. And very quickly. But if you hand them a rag and have them actually do what you are telling them, it has the potential to work much better.

Of course, you have to get their permission to do this. And make it very clear that you are not being demeaning, you are just trying to make your expectations very clear. And if they tell you that there is a particular part of the job they don't want to do, be open to it.

Also, we have a white board. I detail everything that needs to be done in a given day, and make it clear who is responsible for what. When I write it out, it also ensures fairness. Everyone is clear about all of the chores, and it makes it much easier to split things down the middle.

Let me be clear though, I still end up doing the bulk of the cleaning. However, since I am much quicker at it, I don't see that as being unfair. The idea is not to have the same amount of chores, the idea is to spend the same amount of time doing them. If it takes him 2 hours to cut the grass, and it takes you 2 hours to do the dishes, clean the bathroom, do laundry and make dinner, I still see that as being fair.

dvdnvwls
01-20-14, 05:38 PM
Even "spending the same amount of time" is not necessarily the rule. The rule is "whatever both of you are OK with". If (in your case) having the time about equal is what makes it acceptable, then so be it.

A little example of something that might bend the rules - I found that in my particular relationship one of the things she appreciated was that whenever something really gross and heave-inducing came up, it was understood that that would be my job. She sometimes didn't mind having more than her share time-wise, when she knew that things like vomit clean-up were my job.

jende2
01-20-14, 05:42 PM
oh yeah, and I forgot to mention this one: As I go to put the cardboard roll in the recycling bins, they are overflowing.

I hate living like this. I hate arguing. And I feel powerless to change the dance.......

Mittens
01-21-14, 04:04 PM
oh yeah, and I forgot to mention this one: As I go to put the cardboard roll in the recycling bins, they are overflowing.

I hate living like this. I hate arguing. And I feel powerless to change the dance.......

*HUUUUUUUUUUUUGE hug*

Mittens
01-21-14, 04:07 PM
Even "spending the same amount of time" is not necessarily the rule. The rule is "whatever both of you are OK with". If (in your case) having the time about equal is what makes it acceptable, then so be it.

A little example of something that might bend the rules - I found that in my particular relationship one of the things she appreciated was that whenever something really gross and heave-inducing came up, it was understood that that would be my job. She sometimes didn't mind having more than her share time-wise, when she knew that things like vomit clean-up were my job.

As always - incredibly well put.
I think the hugely important phrase in this is -
The rule is "whatever both of you are OK with".

It may be unconventional, it may be 'unfair', it may be different, but it is YOUR ok, and that's what matters.
Also the hardest thing to find out - where the mutual 'ok' lies :P