View Full Version : Is this an ADD problem? How do I work with this?


Greengrasshoppe
02-08-14, 05:51 PM
Every time my ADD BF and I make plans for some quality time something happens. He got hurt a couple times, a family member had a heart attack, he had to do something for his mom, he had a bad cold, he got a flat tire twice, the list goes on. We see each other almost daily. But I want something special on occasion. He seems genuinely upset and frustrated at what's happened so I don't want to make him feel worse if its not his fault. But he's not good about following up and rescheduling. I hate to keep asking though. I feel like I'm nagging him. Im not sure how to react. If ADD weren't a factor the answer would be easier IMO.

dvdnvwls
02-08-14, 06:03 PM
I'm a guy with ADHD who did that all the time. I don't know the solution, but I do know one thing for sure - take the pressure off. Stop expecting. Stop hoping.

Maybe this can be improved somehow, but the more pressure and expectations there are, the worse he will get, guaranteed. If you don't mind anymore, then there's a chance for things to get better.

GRbiker
02-08-14, 06:09 PM
Can you confirm that all of these things really happened, or might some of them be tall tales? Not trying to say your BF is lying, but I know from experience that "some times the best defense is a good excuse"

On the other hand, ADHD can make some people accident prone (risky behavior, carelessness, being in a hurry). It can also cause people to neglect maintenance issues like keeping cars in good running order. I used to get sick often, and now that I have my anxiety symptoms under control and get better quality sleep, I don't seem to get sick as often.

There is also the possibility that he has to put out fires, meaning that "helping mom" might be doing something that he forgot to do earlier, but has to right now or else!

All of this is truly upsetting and frustrating for him, whether the excuses are true or not. It is really hard to let people down. Believe me, I've been there, done that, and still do it. But when I do, I try to own up to what is really going on and try to make up for it.

Don't really know how you should handle it, but I have ADD and know that discussions about boundaries and expectations are difficult to take. But so is feeling neglected. As DVD said, it might help to take the pressure off, at least for a while.

Greengrasshoppe
02-08-14, 06:17 PM
dvdnvwls-

Thanks for your reply. So you cancel out on your GF a lot? Can you say why?

grbiker-

Not sure how I can verify some of the things. As for the flat, I did see the donut/spare on his car. If he was making that one up, he really went a long way...

GRbiker
02-08-14, 06:35 PM
As for the flat, I did see the donut/spare on his car. If he was making that one up, he really went a long way...

Good one, life with ADHD can seem like a Laurel and Hardy movie.

dvdnvwls
02-08-14, 06:36 PM
I don't have a GF anymore, sadly...

... and I agree with GRbiker that it's possible for some of these to be excuses instead of real events...

... but the essential reason for all this mess is "OMG pressure I cannot handle this what do I do now oh no oh no quick find an excuse before she gets mad at me". Sometimes, us ADHD guys simply do not have that special thing that you're looking for. And we do try to get it, we try to make it happen, but the more pressure we feel, the dumber we get. Sad but true.

Greengrasshoppe
02-08-14, 06:40 PM
I don't have a GF anymore, sadly...

... and I agree with GRbiker that it's possible for some of these to be excuses instead of real events...

... but the essential reason for all this mess is "OMG pressure I cannot handle this what do I do now oh no oh no quick find an excuse before she gets mad at me". Sometimes, us ADHD guys simply do not have that special thing that you're looking for. And we do try to get it, we try to make it happen, but the more pressure we feel, the dumber we get. Sad but true. But why would you feel pressure just to go out on a date?

Thing is, I have ADD also. But I guess mine just does manifest itself this way.

VeryTired
02-08-14, 06:57 PM
Hi, Greengrasshoppe--

You're not going to get anywhere trying to figure out about "fault." You might get somewhere trying to figure out if all that stuff actually happens, because it is possible that some of it doesn't quite. Excuses or imagination or fear or confusion may be getting mixed in.

But I think the important question isn't either of those. The question is, are you getting what you need? It's not unreasonable to want to do special things, to be remembered, etc etc. And it's not happening. So that's not good.

My partner has ADHD and we have this kind of situation often. Sometimes it seems that all it takes to generate crises and coincidences and problems is for me to say I really need something to happen. As soon as I do, it's amazing what can come up to prevent the thing I need from happening.

Recently I told my partner that it's very important to me that this semester we finally actually implement the plan we make each semester that each of us gets some time to work at home alone while the other is out. We had agreed that two days a week we could each work form home, with the other one clearing out first thing in the morning. In the past, we made such plans but they were quickly forgotten by him.

So far this semester, on "my" days at home, on one day, the weather was bad so he didn't want to leave, on another he had major dental surgery (so I had to go with him to the appointment, then take care of him as he recovered at home), then his 20-something son and two friends came for the weekend, then his son had a personal emergency which required his continuing to stay with us for a week, and both of us had to be involved in helping manage the crisis.

Some of that was scheduled and some wasn't, but either way, the end result is that once again, I am not getting the time and space and peace of mind I need, and the specific days I was supposed to have were overtaken by other people's stuff. I worked with a therapist for almost two years and learned many, many lessons about boundaries, but I have to say in the world of ADHD, all those lessons don't seem to work. It feels like me against a tornado, and I always lose.

I don't have any answers yet, but I have at least realized that it's always going to be very hard to get plans made, or to make sure that I get what I need. Similarly, I pretty much gave up making plans for quality time for us together long ago. I'd say that my partner seems to find it almost impossible to concentrate on me if his own issues, or his health, or work, or anything else is taking up his attention.

GRbiker
02-08-14, 07:09 PM
But why would you feel pressure just to go out on a date?



Wow, lots to say about that, don't know where to begin.

Its just that life with ADHD, maybe more so with us guys, can get so out of hand. And we really really want to be the stand-up, reliable guy who can help you meet your goals and fulfill your dreams.

For me, it's not just a date, I'm already thinking about where it could all lead, weeks, months and years from now.

Greengrasshoppe
02-08-14, 07:13 PM
VeryTired-

Thank you, you feel my pain.

Grbiker-

Wow! I didn't know it went so deep or that it could be so overwhelming... Don't know what to say.

RedHairedWitch
02-08-14, 07:34 PM
Some people with ADHD also seem to be cursed with genuine bad luck. I suppose some people just have bad luck and some of those people are ADHD.

I often warn my friends that I don't plan for the future. When they are sitting there with their day planners, figuring out when to meet next, or when we could go camping this summer etc, I always explain that I do not plan my life more than a week or two before hand. I'll let them know if I can attend closer to the date. Some of them think this is crazy talk, a few who are closest to me understand and accept.

If VeryTired feels like she is being brushed up against a tornado, imagine living in a tornado!

My boyfriend and I are having our 2nd anniversary soon. It's some time in February, neither of us remember the actually date, we are both ADHD. It's convenient having it in February (though technically we might have met end of January) because of all the Valentines stuff. It's kind of a reminder. We decided to celelbrate our anniversary some time the week after Valentines day, because that way all the chocolates and stuff will be on clearance. We have no plans, we will just pick a day some time that week and go out for dinner, wherever we are in the mood for once we get in the car. Grab some lame valentine's stuff on the way and "surprise" each other with it at dinner.
Last year we went and walked around IKEA for no reason and then ate at the steakhouse beside IKEA.
We have agreed that this is far superior to how other couples handle special occasions.

Instead of setting some special date, try bringing the special event to him. Send him a text "Are you up for something right now or tonight?", and show up with take out.

Or try to keep your "let's do something special" planning a little more laid back and less intimidating. Be more casual about how you approach it. Guys can get freaked out by the eager girl salivating and anticipating something extra special. Gives them performance anxiety.

But I probably shouldn't talk. I've never really understood the "Special plans" thing. How is going to a slightly more expensive restaurant, and wearing slightly nicer clothes than normal, any different from deciding to not cook one night and heading out to the local pub? I really don't get it lol

Greengrasshoppe
02-08-14, 07:53 PM
Thank you. Good insights.

VeryTired
02-08-14, 07:57 PM
RedHairedWitch--

Thanks for this--as so often, you open a window for me to look through at what it's hard for me to grasp on my own. I hope this is as helpful to Greengrasshoppe as it is to me.

GRbiker
02-08-14, 07:58 PM
For me, it's not just a date, I'm already thinking about where it could all lead, weeks, months and years from now.

Not that I would have a plan for all that.:o

dvdnvwls
02-08-14, 08:36 PM
For me, it's not just a date, I'm already thinking about where it could all lead, weeks, months and years from now.
What's happening for me is I'm trying really hard to think about those things, and getting no picture and no sound on my mental TV, and getting very frustrated. :)

Greengrasshoppe
02-08-14, 09:59 PM
But why would you feel pressure just to go out on a date?

Thing is, I have ADD also. But I guess mine just does manifest itself this way.

I meant I guess mine just does not manifest itself this way.

agirlandherdogs
02-08-14, 10:07 PM
Every time my ADD BF and I make plans for some quality time something happens. He got hurt a couple times, a family member had a heart attack, he had to do something for his mom, he had a bad cold, he got a flat tire twice, the list goes on. We see each other almost daily. But I want something special on occasion. He seems genuinely upset and frustrated at what's happened so I don't want to make him feel worse if its not his fault. But he's not good about following up and rescheduling. I hate to keep asking though. I feel like I'm nagging him. Im not sure how to react. If ADD weren't a factor the answer would be easier IMO.

ok, first of all the things that you've listed are things that are not his fault ... and you've said that YOU want something special, that is your expectation .. you understand that he has ADD, something special may never happen, can you live with that? How about look at the times that things work out and be thankful for that, and use that as stepping stones...small things matter to those of us with ADD/ADHD ...maybe you're wanting too much or expecting too much ... have you read the "things not to say to an ADD'er?"

Greengrasshoppe
02-08-14, 10:08 PM
No, I haven't read that. Is that a sticky thread here or a book? I'll look for it. Thanks!!

davesf
02-09-14, 02:38 AM
What are the "quality time events" which are getting thwarted by these cancelations?

Sometimes I agree to things I don't want, because my emotional-brain doesn't understand the discussion and speak up.

Greengrasshoppe
02-09-14, 03:11 AM
Getaway at a nice hotel, dinner, a show...

Could you clarify what you mean by your "emotional-brain doesn't understand the discussion"?

davesf
02-09-14, 01:58 PM
I'll do my best to explain it...

I was only recently diagnosed, at age 39. These behaviors were an invisible part of my life that entire time. Through medication, I'm able to (sometimes) experience the world without the ADHD. That experience made the behaviors visible, and this is my current understanding of what happens..

When ADHD produces physical hyperactivity, it is hard to maintain eye contact or sit still. I'm not hyperactive, and I very rarely have these symptoms. However, my mind mind still *acts* the same way inside. My mind's attention frequently flips between the person's words and my own thoughts. As a result, I catch only bits-and-pieces of what is said.

In order to function and cope, I fake attention by actively using reason to reconstruct meaning from the bits I noticed. When I'm successful, I understand enough to make a response that fools us both into thinking I actually heard it. The trouble is, the whole process was a laborious effort-ful construction, my brain never really "understood" the conversation, and thus it didn't have an emotional reaction. In fact, I'm more likely to experience fear or anger because of how difficult this process is, than a genuine emotional reaction to the discussion.

I'll construct an example related to your scenario. This isn't exactly what it's like, but I think it's conceptually close. Let's imagine you said this:

Hey! I have this awesome idea. Lets plan a special night for ourselves. I read an article in the local newspaper about the new Flugel Hotel. It looks fantastic, and they have a special next week. Plus, it's right next door to the theatre. We can see a show, and try that restaurant I mentioned to you last week. What was it called?

In an ADHD moment, the emotion I would feel as a result would be confusion and fear, because I don't know what question was just asked. I feel it, because this is what my mind experienced:

Hey! I have .. wow, awesome, she's in a good mood. ...article in the what article? crap, what did she just say? I think i heard her say 'special night'. Flugel Hotel. It looks.. Flugel Hotel. Phew. Yes, she wants to spend a night out in a hotel. I hope that place isn't expensive. I'm kind of behind on my bills and... ohh crap, did she just say 'theatre'? ...restaurant I mentioned to you... ohh yeah, i remember she said something about a place she wanted to go last week. What was it called? Freddies? No. Foodies? No. Zoonies? No.

At this point I notice the expectant look on your face, and know you asked a question, but I have no idea what the question was. I feel genuine fear and confusion -- my brain wants me to fight-or-flight. I spend my life like this, so I control it. I think back over the facts. Special night; hotel; theatre; restaurant. I'm smart enough to put the facts together. I'm still not 100% sure, so when I respond, I'm afraid -- that I'll make a mistake that you notice..

"Sounds great! Can we do it this Friday? I have lots on my mind, but if you can call and make the reservation, I'll pick up the bill when we check in. What's playing at the theatre?"

If I did this well enough, my enthusiasm, decisiveness, and generosity masked the following problems:


I didn't hear the comment about a special deal, so I suggested the wrong day to do it.
I know I will forget to make the reservation, so I've asked you to do it.
I didn't answer your question, because I didn't know what it was. I attempt to "fix" the broken conversation flow by taking control and asking my own.
I didn't feel happiness that you want to spend a night with me, because my brain never heard you say that.
My brain never made a decision about whether this is something I want to do, because it was so busy hiding the truth from you and me -- that I hardly even heard what was said.


This is not the only way I might respond. I have many such strategies. Another pattern is based on anger and criticism. Picking apart some little thing the person said to distract from the bigger picture I didn't perceive.

When the event gets closer, I have strange emotions about it. Maybe because the emotions associated with it are the negative ones I experienced in the conversation above. Maybe because I didn't really want to go. Maybe because I don't even remember agreeing to do it. Maybe because I'm experiencing more of this confusion in the moment.

I use the term "emotional brain" to describe the natural fluid process the brain uses to associate information, desire, and self to make decisions and take action. I use this term, because my ADHD-coping mechanisms feel like logical-rational discussions with myself to "runs the process" of making a decision because my brain is not seeing the right information for that fluid natural process to happen correctly.

I hope that helps explain.

RedHairedWitch
02-09-14, 02:02 PM
Getaway at a nice hotel, dinner, a show...




How much was that going to cost, and who was supposed to pick up the cheque?

Greengrasshoppe
02-09-14, 02:08 PM
How much was that going to cost, and who was supposed to pick up the cheque?
Money's no real object for him...

Greengrasshoppe
02-09-14, 02:15 PM
Wow thanks that breakdown davesf. That was very enlightening. Actually I realize now I do that stuff too. I see the issues this could present emotionally.

But sometimes I feel very rejected and hurt. I've cried over it many times. Part of me wants to address it directly with him. Just ask him flat out how we can resolve this. Or if should just let it go in silence.

RedHairedWitch
02-09-14, 02:49 PM
Money's no real object for him...


... just because money is no object, doesn't mean that it's fair to make plans to make you happy - an expensive weekend of hotel, dinner and a show - and expect him to pay for it.

My guy has pretty good finances too, between a decent job and an inheritance. But if I wanted/demanded a romantic weekend, and expected him to pay for it, he'd be pretty unhappy. Possibly pretty passive-aggressive about it. Sure we can do that ... uh, now I'm too busy. Heck, if it was the other way around, I'd be pretty unhappy.

Maybe it's the feminist in me, but I'd never ask for a special date and then expect the guy to pay for it. My idea, my plans, my wants. So I help with the planning it, making arrangements and pay for it or pay for part of it.

I'd suggest offering to help pay for things, also making sure that at least one of the activities is something that he really likes.

My hunny loves flea markets and antique dealers and such. I love eating out and little gift boutiques and used book stores. We both love going for afternoon drives and checking out random little towns. So, most weekends, we go to a little town nearby, check out the flea markets etc, wander around the town and then go out for dinner. He pays for the gas (it's an SUV, not cheap on gas), and snacks we might have on the drive, and whatever he buys. I pay for whatever I buy and for dinner.

We finally pinned down some plans for our anniversary. I decided that I wanted to eat at a restaurant known for it's prime rib. I booked the reservation and it's MY responsibility to make sure two ADHDers get there on time. He gets to pick the movie (will probably be that LEGO movie lol). One of us will pay for the dinner and the other the movie. We have decided to forgo gifts because they are stupid. Both of us get something that we want, we are each responsible for part of the date. Me the food and dinner reservation, him the movie (and driving), both of us are splitting the cost. It's our anniversary, not spoil just the woman while the guy does all the work and pays for it anniversary.

ginniebean
02-09-14, 02:50 PM
WOW davesf! You just desribed my brain!

Greengrasshoppe
02-09-14, 03:10 PM
RHW, maybe those are his issues with things. I don't know, but I don't think so. I'd hope he knows that I can go Dutch if he prefers that - sometimes. But I don't think it should be like that all the time. Sorry, I'm not a feminist.

Fuzzy12
02-09-14, 03:16 PM
RHW, maybe those are his issues with things. I don't know, but I don't think so. I'd hope he knows that I can go Dutch if he prefers that - sometimes. But I don't think it should be like that all the time. Sorry, I'm not a feminist.

It's got nothing to do with being a feminist but that's beside the point, especially if you think that he doesn't have an issue with this.

The things you would like him to do are the things YOU would like him to do. Have you tried asking him what his idea of quality time with you is?

Fuzzy12
02-09-14, 03:35 PM
But why would you feel pressure just to go out on a date?

Thing is, I have ADD also. But I guess mine just does manifest itself this way.

1. Never ending to do list lists. If your boyfriend is anything like me, he'll spend a lot of time in crisis mode, trying to get the most basic and the most important things done. When you are at risk of losing your job because you are going to miss yet another deadline, finding time for a date becomes a luxury, in the best case. More often, it's just another demand on the time that you just don't have and an additional source of stress.

2. Meeting other people can be very stressful. There are social rules to be obeyed, there are relationships and feelings (including your own) that are at risk of getting hurt if you don't behave normally and there's always the possibility of facing criticism or more demands from other people. Sometimes it's easier to just stay away.

3. If you put pressure on him to make a date with you, it's stressful. If you put pressure on him to organise particular activities

RedHairedWitch
02-09-14, 03:37 PM
It's got nothing to do with being a feminist but that's beside the point, especially if you think that he doesn't have an issue with this.

The things you would like him to do are the things YOU would like him to do. Have you tried asking him what his idea of quality time with you is?


You're right Fuzzy, this may be more of a fairness issue.

Greengrasshoppe
02-09-14, 03:46 PM
It's got nothing to do with being a feminist but that's beside the point, especially if you think that he doesn't have an issue with this.I was responding to a specific comment from RHW.

The things you would like him to do are the things YOU would like him to do. Have you tried asking him what his idea of quality time with you is?No not directly. Good idea.

Nicksgonefishin
02-09-14, 03:50 PM
Are your expectations outweighing your contributions?

You said you have your own anxiety issues and adhd. Are you in both in treatment?.

You could plan a get away. Do you hate planning?

Also if things are bad at home expecting him to wisk you away to excape your life isn't going to change anything when you get home.

My ex would expect me to wisk her away constantly and I did(*******).... We would go on trips to the ocean or concerts far away. As soon as things would become too good she would flip the switch... "I should be at home with the kids, why did you bring me here. ect. ect.."

Our hyperfocus was on each other but neither was really paying attention to his or her own needs. Take care of yourself. Don't expect him to be your sole source of happyness...

Also it is huge that you recognize that his adhd and your adhd are different. Love and accept him for who he is, faults and all. Expecting trips is conditioned for your love in a round about way...

I know I got a bit off topic but I thought I'd share. Mindfulness goes a long ways.

Have you guys both read maria orlov's book adhd and marriage? if not I highly recommend it.

Greengrasshoppe
02-09-14, 03:57 PM
Thanks Nick. Yes I'm reading the book now.

Fuzzy12
02-09-14, 04:07 PM
You're right Fuzzy, this may be more of a fairness issue.

Fairness and respect. Respect for the fact that the other person works hard to earn their money and does not have an unlimited supply of it. If they decide to spend some of it on you, it's a nice gesture and not something that anyone should take for granted or expect. If they decide to spend a lot of money on something that means absolutely nothing to them but maybe means something to the other person, it's double nice and definitely should not be taken for granted. (OP, I'm not saying you do...this is just my view in general).

To an extent this includes time as well. Time is a limited and incredibly precious commodity and one that most people, especially ADHDers, never have enough of.

dvdnvwls
02-09-14, 04:13 PM
My ex would expect me to wisk her away constantly and I did(*******).... We would go on trips to the ocean or concerts far away. As soon as things would become too good she would flip the switch... "I should be at home with the kids, why did you bring me here. ect. ect.."
Just a note that this "flipping the switch as soon as [recreational events] become too good" is not an isolated incident, nor does it require fancy trips or faraway concerts. Some people flip that switch in the car on the way to the local fast-food place, after agreeing it would be a good idea to go there today. DAMHIKT. :(

Mittens
02-09-14, 05:14 PM
I'm not sure if this will help, but this is how myself and significant other 'plan' things.
He has recently diagnosed ADD, and I do not.
If I want to have a date night, I get him to give me his schedule for the week, or I plan it around something else -ie, the picking up or dropping off of his boys.
However, I usually won't mention anything to him because it causes him anxiety. Not the part about being on a date with me, but the pressure of remembering.
So an example. A month or so ago we went to a friend's little'un's birthday. After he really wanted to get dinner and movie. He was getting a bit panicked
Because of all the movie times, trying to figure out which hate was best, and where would we eat? Is it by the theatre? Isn't that a super expensive restaurant?
I suggested we pick up vietnamese take-away and watch a movie off netflix.
We got him, had dinner, watched a movie we both really ended up liking, didn't deal with the crowds / stress of navigating traffic, theatres, etc etc, and had an amazing evening with a lot of great quality time.

Might not work for everyone, but sometimes it's the definition of 'date night' or 'quality time' that is easiest to tweak.

We also do things like go for walks or take an afternoon to grocery shop together (which quite often we 'll grab ice cream afterwards, go for a walk, check out antique stores, etc 'mini datea')
I'm not sure if that helps, but i've found it beneficial with my partner :)
Less stress and pressure = better quality time I guess is what I'll trying to say :)

Greengrasshoppe
02-09-14, 05:17 PM
Thanks!! Thanks all.

davesf
02-09-14, 05:43 PM
Wow thanks that breakdown davesf. That was very enlightening. Actually I realize now I do that stuff too. I see the issues this could present emotionally.

When you say "I do that too", do you mean it casually, as in "ohh, I recognize the behavior from the occasional times I get distracted", or as in "that is what every (audio) conversation I ever have is like." ?

But sometimes I feel very rejected and hurt. I've cried over it many times. Part of me wants to address it directly with him. Just ask him flat out how we can resolve this. Or if should just let it go in silence.

There are many reasonable reasons to feel rejected and hurt.

When someone acts like you are not there, acts like things you say and feel don't matter -- it's hurtful and lonely. When someone is angry or scared when you are excitedly talking about a happy idea -- it's confusing and hurtful.

ADHD is not making these people dislike you or not care about you, it is making them not hear or perceive you. There was no choice to disregard you, because you were not even heard. In a way, it is a devious kind of mental half-deaf-and-blindness. It's particularly hard to accept, because we ADHDers can't really see it happening, so we speak and act like we know what's going on even though we don't. -- Knowing all this doesn't prevent it from happening to me every day. Medication helps. Exercise helps. Recognizing the pattern and using willpower to remove myself from the situation helps.

That explanation doesn't change the fact that it's emotionally draining to be around. Remember, none of us can fix someone else. Take care of yourself first, always.

dvdnvwls
02-09-14, 06:00 PM
I'm not sure if that helps, but i've found it beneficial with my partner :)
Less stress and pressure = better quality time I guess is what I'll trying to say :)
Yes, absolutely. Along with the big fact that kind of lurks behind what you're saying (actually you pretty much already said it): For any couple, "it works for us" is the final judgment. People can try all the suggestions in the world, and it's good that they do so, but in the end it doesn't matter if something is theoretically better or worse, as long as everybody is OK with the result.

Mittens... getting all theoretical now, despite what I just said... :) your suggestion shows one of the important basic principles of living happily with an ADHDer - wherever you can, cut out complications, and find the simplest ways to do whatever makes each other happy.

Greengrasshoppe
02-09-14, 06:12 PM
When you say "I do that too", do you mean it casually, as in "ohh, I recognize the behavior from the occasional times I get distracted", or as in "that is what every (audio) conversation I ever have is like." ?
The latter. As mentioned, I have ADD also so some of my SOs behavior makes sense to me. I've forgotten entire conversations, only to have people say to me, "Remember that time we..." But I HAVE NO IDEA what they're talking about. They swear I was there and even participated in the discussion, but to me it's like it never happened.

But as also mentioned his ADD is very different from mine. So there are some (many) things I don't get at all.

Greengrasshoppe
02-10-14, 11:54 AM
The latter. As mentioned, I have ADD also so some of my SOs behavior makes sense to me. I've forgotten entire conversations, only to have people say to me, "Remember that time we..." But I HAVE NO IDEA what they're talking about. They swear I was there and even participated in the discussion, but to me it's like it never happened.

But as also mentioned his ADD is very different from mine. So there are some (many) things I don't get at all.
Damn, I was just reminded that I even zone out during automated phone messages. You know the ones... Press 1 for this, 2 for that... I stop listening pretty early on and totally miss which number I should press. There are times I've had to call a number three times...

Fuzzy12
02-10-14, 12:01 PM
Damn, I was just reminded that I even zone out during automated phone messages. You know the ones... Press 1 for this, 2 for that... I stop listening pretty early on and totally miss which number I should press. There are times I've had to call a number three times...

I do that too. I hate waiting on the phone so I try to keep busy doing something else but this means I never pay attention to what button to press. Sometimes when I do listen I forget the earlier options after listening to the entire list. :doh:

Greengrasshoppe
02-11-14, 12:42 AM
Maybe he's just not that into me...? The latest: I asked him on Friday if he was going to the local car show that started this past weekend. He said he didnt know and asked if I wanted to go. I said I wasn't sure -- because I again didnt want to seem like I was begging him to spend time with me. I figured if he wanted me to go with him, he'd let me know. Earlier today, he told me he did go to the show. He brought it up out of the blue and just said, "Oh yeah I went to the car show Sunday. I just decided to go on Sunday afternoon." I was flabbergasted! He volunteered the information and was very matter-of-fact about it. So it didnt seem like he thought anything was wrong with it. But I've asked him about spending more time together. He knows it's important to me. He says he wants to spend more time together too. I felt rejected once again, like he must not have really wanted me there.

I also gathered the courage to ask him if maybe his reasons for cancelling could be caused by his subconscious. Maybe deep down he doesn't want "quality time" so mysteriously finds himself in situations that interfere with our plans. He appeared pretty sincere in saying he wasn't doing anything consciously to create these situations or the need to cancel. I asked more to watch his reaction than to hear his verbal response.

Hawutwut
02-11-14, 02:48 AM
But why would you feel pressure just to go out on a date?

Something like... Oh God, I have to plan stuff and there's all this other stuff I have to do and I'm totally overwhelmed by all the things coming up today and... if I don't figure something out she'll be ****** and leave me but if I do this one thing she won't like that... what about that... uhh, she won't like that either. Oh crap crap crap what am I doing to do? What if I **** her off like that one time or she says something like that other time that crushes my self esteem, I can't take that, it is so horrible, oh holy ???? I just remembered my _____ is due tomorrow, omg, this is awful, must go do that...

Something like that is how I am feeling right now about figuring out what to do for my wife for valentine's day. You get into this swirl of desperately wanting to make the other happy but knowing how many times you've screwed up and you just lock up thinking all these thoughts, trying to come up with anything then just can't take it anymore and have to distract yourself with something and hours pass and this happens over and over and pretty soon you've screwed up again through inaction.

At least that's one of the ways I seem to (not) work.

Greengrasshoppe
02-11-14, 08:14 AM
A very helpful post. Thanks!!

And good luck with valentines day!!

sarahsweets
02-11-14, 12:23 PM
Rather than having a sit down, why dont you just pull back and not do so many things with her? Just say no to certain activites and get togethers.

Greengrasshoppe
02-11-14, 12:58 PM
Um... Thanks but did you read my post?

Fuzzy12
02-11-14, 02:40 PM
Maybe he's just not that into me...? The latest: I asked him on Friday if he was going to the local car show that started this past weekend. He said he didnt know and asked if I wanted to go. I said I wasn't sure -- because I again didnt want to seem like I was begging him to spend time with me. I figured if he wanted me to go with him, he'd let me know. Earlier today, he told me he did go to the show. He brought it up out of the blue and just said, "Oh yeah I went to the car show Sunday. I just decided to go on Sunday afternoon." I was flabbergasted! He volunteered the information and was very matter-of-fact about it. So it didnt seem like he thought anything was wrong with it. But I've asked him about spending more time together. He knows it's important to me. He says he wants to spend more time together too. I felt rejected once again, like he must not have really wanted me there.

I also gathered the courage to ask him if maybe his reasons for cancelling could be caused by his subconscious. Maybe deep down he doesn't want "quality time" so mysteriously finds himself in situations that interfere with our plans. He appeared pretty sincere in saying he wasn't doing anything consciously to create these situations or the need to cancel. I asked more to watch his reaction than to hear his verbal response.

That sounds quite demoralising. I would have been hurt (and worried too). It is possible though that he really didn't make the connection between you enquiring if he wanted to go to the show and you wanting to go with him to that show. It's also probable that he didn't link it with your request to spend more time with you. He probably just impulsively decided to go to the show without thinking much about anything at all really.

I'm just guessing, of course, but it does sound like something that someone with ADHD might be likely to do.

Greengrasshoppe
02-11-14, 04:13 PM
Thanks fuzzy. I figured it was something like that, just not making the connection.

RedHairedWitch
02-11-14, 06:36 PM
Hmmmm. It might be an idea to discuss what "quality time" means to both of you. He might not realize that you think going to the car show counted as quality time.

Also make clear that you're game for impulse hanging out time. "Hey next time you decide to go to something like the car show, even last minute, send me a text. I might want to go too!"

agirlandherdogs
02-11-14, 07:19 PM
does he ask you to do certain things or are you feeling like you're the only one initiating the ideas for times to hang out or special things to do?

Greengrasshoppe
02-11-14, 07:52 PM
RHW

Yeah, I really need to ask him what QT means to him. I did mention the impulse hanging out time to him. We'll see if he takes me up on that in the future.

Greengrasshoppe
02-11-14, 07:53 PM
does he ask you to do certain things or are you feeling like you're the only one initiating the ideas for times to hang out or special things to do?Mostly the bolded...

agirlandherdogs
02-11-14, 07:59 PM
my EX bf used to be really good at making plans but he would do stuff like this ... and I would be like "um, hello .. I was sitting at home, I would have gone" that was just one small scenario ... but overall, he's my ex. I think you need to look at maybe what you mean to him ... I don't mean to be harsh but it sounds like he just doesn't seem to have that importance of time and respect for you that you would like him to have for you. You have it for him and deserve it from him ... sounds like you have some hard talks and thoughts ahead of you ... never fun nor easy ... hugs

sarahsweets
02-11-14, 09:22 PM
Sorry! Posted in the wrong thread.

Um... Thanks but did you read my post?

Greengrasshoppe
02-11-14, 09:55 PM
Sorry! Posted in the wrong thread.
lol...no prob

tester
02-12-14, 02:10 PM
I'll construct an example related to your scenario. This isn't exactly what it's like, but I think it's conceptually close. Let's imagine you said this:

Hey! I have this awesome idea. Lets plan a special night for ourselves. I read an article in the local newspaper about the new Flugel Hotel. It looks fantastic, and they have a special next week. Plus, it's right next door to the theatre. We can see a show, and try that restaurant I mentioned to you last week. What was it called?

In an ADHD moment, the emotion I would feel as a result would be confusion and fear, because I don't know what question was just asked. I feel it, because this is what my mind experienced:

Hey! I have .. wow, awesome, she's in a good mood. ...article in the what article? crap, what did she just say? I think i heard her say 'special night'. Flugel Hotel. It looks.. Flugel Hotel. Phew. Yes, she wants to spend a night out in a hotel. I hope that place isn't expensive. I'm kind of behind on my bills and... ohh crap, did she just say 'theatre'? ...restaurant I mentioned to you... ohh yeah, i remember she said something about a place she wanted to go last week. What was it called? Freddies? No. Foodies? No. Zoonies? No.

At this point I notice the expectant look on your face, and know you asked a question, but I have no idea what the question was. I feel genuine fear and confusion -- my brain wants me to fight-or-flight. I spend my life like this, so I control it. I think back over the facts. Special night; hotel; theatre; restaurant. I'm smart enough to put the facts together. I'm still not 100% sure, so when I respond, I'm afraid -- that I'll make a mistake that you notice..

"Sounds great! Can we do it this Friday? I have lots on my mind, but if you can call and make the reservation, I'll pick up the bill when we check in. What's playing at the theatre?"

If I did this well enough, my enthusiasm, decisiveness, and generosity masked the following problems:


I didn't hear the comment about a special deal, so I suggested the wrong day to do it.
I know I will forget to make the reservation, so I've asked you to do it.
I didn't answer your question, because I didn't know what it was. I attempt to "fix" the broken conversation flow by taking control and asking my own.
I didn't feel happiness that you want to spend a night with me, because my brain never heard you say that.
My brain never made a decision about whether this is something I want to do, because it was so busy hiding the truth from you and me -- that I hardly even heard what was said.


This is not the only way I might respond. I have many such strategies. Another pattern is based on anger and criticism. Picking apart some little thing the person said to distract from the bigger picture I didn't perceive.

When the event gets closer, I have strange emotions about it. Maybe because the emotions associated with it are the negative ones I experienced in the conversation above. Maybe because I didn't really want to go. Maybe because I don't even remember agreeing to do it. Maybe because I'm experiencing more of this confusion in the moment.

I use the term "emotional brain" to describe the natural fluid process the brain uses to associate information, desire, and self to make decisions and take action. I use this term, because my ADHD-coping mechanisms feel like logical-rational discussions with myself to "runs the process" of making a decision because my brain is not seeing the right information for that fluid natural process to happen correctly.

I hope that helps explain.

GET OUTTA MY HEAD !!! :) just kidding, sort of ;)
davef, this is literally exactly how I process...

SirSchmidt
02-12-14, 11:00 PM
That sounds quite demoralising. I would have been hurt (and worried too). It is possible though that he really didn't make the connection between you enquiring if he wanted to go to the show and you wanting to go with him to that show. It's also probable that he didn't link it with your request to spend more time with you. He probably just impulsively decided to go to the show without thinking much about anything at all really.

I'm just guessing, of course, but it does sound like something that someone with ADHD might be likely to do.

I have honestly done this multiple times. It's easy to see/feel the connection when looking from the outside, but sometimes I can't seem to make the connection myself.

Greengrasshoppe
03-29-14, 10:50 PM
I'm happy to report, we finally managed to spend our quality time together. It was very nice, just the two of us. I won't get into the other details lol.

davesf
04-01-14, 08:07 PM
GET OUTTA MY HEAD !!! :) just kidding, sort of ;)
davef, this is literally exactly how I process...

In case you have not noticed me spraying this message all over other threads...

I have found a dramatic "FIX" for the conversational perception problem I illustrated.... Learning to quiet my internal voice.

I realized that my internal voice never stopped talking, and was jumping over the top of perception and things other people were saying. Once I learned to quiet my mind (which was a little tricky to figure out, but very doable) this dramatic distracted problem pattern went away. I still get distracted with thought a little, but it just takes a choice to quiet my mind and be in the moment paying attention. It's so fantastic.

You can read about my story in the thread in my sig...