View Full Version : Boyfriend with ADHD - Hyperfocus and inconsistent behaviour


Kitty15
02-09-14, 09:28 PM
Thank goodness I found you guys. I need to vent.

I'm with my boyfriend for almost one and a half year now. He was always certain he had AHDH. He's also intellectually gifted.
He fell in love with me quickly and strongly like he never fell for another woman before. I love him, adore him absolutely.
We get along really well, he's my best friend and I'm his. Usually we talk hours and hours a day even if we don't see each other. We have almost 60.000 facebook messages since October 2012 and we see each other almost everyday.

The biggest problem we have is the shift of his hyperfocus. All was great and normal but on April 2013 he gradually became cold and distant. He told me he was acting that way with everyone but it was only with me. All very suddenly with no explanation. He was always trying to limit our time together, sometimes didn't even want to see me or talk to me for days. A few weeks later he tried to break up with me saying he couldn't be in a relationship because he would neglect me. I didn't accept it. Eventually he got even worse as he acted like I didn't exist and I broke up with him. He tried desperately to get me back. He said he only needed a little bit of time to get his head straight. Three days later, beggining of May, we were good and together again. All went smooth until October when the same thing slowly started again. He would act distant, annoyed with my presence. He started to hate having me next to him in public. All with very little explanation. In November he talked about breaking up. I acted indifferent as I was really tired of the same old thing. He said he loved me and couldn't do it.

Then he was normal again. On December he was diagnosed with ADHD and medicated with Concerta. He got a lot better with his symptoms. His hyperfocus went totally to me for a month. He even told me we was addicted to me.

It was a really good time as I am a very affectionate person and I love spending time with him. But when his dose went up his hyperfocus switched to studying various subjects. I was really happy for him because he was finally able to focus. He used to have a lot of problems with his studies. But I'm noticing this last week he's so stuck studying he doesn't want to see me like before. I don't see him for almost a week and that is not usual. He's still caring on facebook. I gave him a few days because I don't want to bother him but I don't see him for awhile now (and we live 30 min walking from each other) so I invited him to watch a movie tomorrow (something we enjoy and often do together). He said he didn't know about the movie which is what he says when he's not feeling it but doesn't want to hurt me.

I'm a bit sad because I'm afraid that rough patch will happen again and I know I would not take it for a third time. It's just too hurtful.

I'm not clingy, it's not about the movie, I'm just afraid for our future. I know he loves me dearly. Can you explain me more about those bad phases and if the medications helps him regarding that behaviour? I think it does but I'm scared... :( Am I paranoid because of the past or should I be worried?

dvdnvwls
02-09-14, 09:52 PM
Welcome to the forum. I hope it helps you.

OK, the hard question comes first. If he doesn't change this thing, do you still want to live with him for the rest of your life?

BellaVita
02-09-14, 09:58 PM
That reminds me of me and my boyfriend...

Although we don't dislike having each other in public or break up over and over.

Do you know if he's an introvert?

My boyfriend and I take breaks from each other sometimes of which we both mutually agree to do so.

We are both very open with our feelings.

If one isn't feeling like talking for a few days, we are both okay with it and message each other on Facebook to let the other know we don't feel like talking.

Also relationships aren't all 100% focus on the other individual *all the time.*

That will lead to unhealthy co-dependence.

VeryTired
02-09-14, 10:13 PM
Hi, Kitty--

Welcome to the Forums. This is a wonderful resource--I hope you will find it as helpful as I have.

I am interested that you described your boyfriend's loss of hyperfocus on you as cyclical and repeated. I didn't know that it was something that could wax and wane that way. To me, one of the most mysterious things I have ever seen was my partner's loss of new-relationship hyperfocus upon me. It was also extremely painful. And it happened only once, very decisively.

In our case, he seemed to become almost an entirely different person, fairly quickly. And he didn't seem to notice any change in himself or in our relationship, whereas to me it was as though there had been a giant earthquake. In effect, the person I live with now is not the person with whom I began the relationship only a few years ago.

Last year, Kylief8 (who doesn't seem to be active on the Forums anymore) started some really powerful discussions of the loss of romantic hyperfocus. Here's one:
http://www.addforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=143127

And here's one which I started in response to hers:
http://www.addforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=143291

You might want to read through those. I notice that this loss-of-hyperfocus thing is generally very disturbing to non-ADHD partners, whereas people with ADHD seem much less aware of it, and much less interested in the phenomenon.

I hope you'll let us know how things work out for you.

all good wishes--

Nicksgonefishin
02-09-14, 10:15 PM
He was diagnosed and is now medicated... He is a different person in a way now. He is doing what he needs to do for school. His focus has switched.

He still loves you. This much I'm absolutely certain of. You're just having withdrawals... ADHD hyperfocused love is like a drug. Either you can handle the level of affection you are getting now or you can't. If you keep trying to go back to those days or get back to the way things were in the past you will fail. Its time to open a new chapter in your relationship life. This phase is called school. After school you two can move forward.

This is the new normal. A medicated ADHDer is a different animal. I would strongly encourage you both to go to therapy seperatley.

sarahsweets
02-10-14, 05:48 AM
Like dvd said, if he never changed a single thing could you live with that? Its entirely possible that he could be this way forever. Losing focus of you, moody or whatever. The other thing I wonder is , has he been evaluated for anything else? Something like bipolar? Sometimes a moody person is living with an undiagnosed comorbity.

someothertime
02-10-14, 06:53 AM
By the same token... all relationships fade or evolve... once you overcome the starkness of your emotions you might see a flipside to all of this...

Your with someone who seeks new things... and is genuine when genuine... No 30 years of loving tease here...

I think seeing each other every day could be part of the barrier here...

Suggest giving this guy an open pasture ( i.e. space, not necissarily any emotional disconnect... just permission to fly / wholeheartedly tackle his persuits )... you do the same... See what happens... if gravity prevails... this is a good sign... ( also weigh the above whilst space is granted )...

RedHairedWitch
02-10-14, 11:22 AM
It's pretty normal when you're dating, and one or both of you is busy with other stuff, to go a week or more without seeing each other. Creating drama over the normal waxing and waning of a relationship will only push him away and overwhelm him, as you've already experienced.

I'm sure that you are a strong, capable, independent woman who knows better than to build her entire life around some guy. He's going through some stuff, starting treatment, dealing with school etc. Spend some time with your girl friends, take care of yourself. Check in with him now and then via phone or facebook.

Be loving and supportive and not demanding or anxiety inducing. Keep your interactions relaxed and enjoyable for both of you. Don't turn every interaction into a deep talk about feelings and the relationship and "why don't you spend all your time thinking about me?"

You can not make a man make time for you, or want to spend time with you. There is no secret to this. Give him the space he needs, fill your life with other things. Work on creating a relationship where you both feel safe, loved and cared for without having a crisis every time you guys don't get together for a week or more in a stretch.

The key to being with an ADHD man is to have your own life, make your own happy and not be dependent upon him for satisfaction. There are relationships where two people are joined at the hip and create a single life together. Then there are relationships where each of you has your own life and decide to help each other a bit along the way. The former doesn't generally work well for ADHDers, the latter is more likely to succeed. If you are the kind of woman who needs to have that kind of relationship where you do everything together, build your lives around each other, and depend on each other for self esteem, happiness and satisfaction in life - you will be sorely disappointed.

Fuzzy12
02-10-14, 12:19 PM
I can see why you are worried but I wonder if now that he finally is able to focus and devote some times on his studies, he isn't just trying to make up for lost time?

Before I started meds, my husband had high hopes that once I'm medicated, I'd spend more time at home (rather than in the office trying to get some work done). However, once I was finally able to focus, I realised what a huge backlog of work I had piled up and the first month I worked overtime knowing that I'd at least be able to finally make some deadlines. There was very little time left for any personal life.

Also, keep in mind that meds can come with side effects. When my meds start wearing off, I feel extremely tired and asocial.

Again, I can see why you are worried and I don't know of course if this isn't just another one of your boyfriend's cycles but for now maybe you could try just giving him a bit of space.

I like what Bella said. That sounds super healthy to me.

GRbiker
02-10-14, 02:22 PM
I can see why you are worried but I wonder if now that he finally is able to focus and devote some times on his studies, he isn't just trying to make up for lost time?



I know that when I first started medication that there was a lot of "backlog" not just work and house projects, (which I was completely aware of) but of issues and problems of a deeper psychological nature (which I was either aware of and avoiding, or completely oblivious to). Sad to say, but relationships can be a form of denial and avoidance, even if the love and affection is real.

This stuff can take a lot of a newly medicated persons time, effort and attention. Life becomes very different when medication starts working and I think there is a lot of unexpressed expectations from the non-ADHD partners of how life will be different after effective medication.

Truth is we don't know. My therapist was very explicit in telling me that treating newly diagnosed ADHD in adults can lead to changes that might not be taken as entirely positive by others in my life. I had no idea just how much that could be true, because this condition has had time to effect nearly every aspect of my life.

daveddd
02-10-14, 03:44 PM
Hi, Kitty--

Welcome to the Forums. This is a wonderful resource--I hope you will find it as helpful as I have.

I am interested that you described your boyfriend's loss of hyperfocus on you as cyclical and repeated. I didn't know that it was something that could wax and wane that way. To me, one of the most mysterious things I have ever seen was my partner's loss of new-relationship hyperfocus upon me. It was also extremely painful. And it happened only once, very decisively.

In our case, he seemed to become almost an entirely different person, fairly quickly. And he didn't seem to notice any change in himself or in our relationship, whereas to me it was as though there had been a giant earthquake. In effect, the person I live with now is not the person with whom I began the relationship only a few years ago.

Last year, Kylief8 (who doesn't seem to be active on the Forums anymore) started some really powerful discussions of the loss of romantic hyperfocus. Here's one:
http://www.addforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=143127

And here's one which I started in response to hers:
http://www.addforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=143291

You might want to read through those. I notice that this loss-of-hyperfocus thing is generally very disturbing to non-ADHD partners, whereas people with ADHD seem much less aware of it, and much less interested in the phenomenon.

I hope you'll let us know how things work out for you.

all good wishes--

i don't think people with adhd are less interested in "relationship hyper focus"

a good portion of us

may not have intimacy issues

or if we do or did , may have worked through some of the real intimacy/interpersonal relationship problems that can come with ADHD

idealization, splitting,approach avoidance cycling , intimacy fears and avoidance and several other things

Fuzzy12
02-10-14, 04:21 PM
i don't think people with adhd are less interested in "relationship hyper focus"

a good portion of us

may not have intimacy issues

or if we do or did , may have worked through some of the real intimacy/interpersonal relationship problems that can come with ADHD

idealization, splitting,approach avoidance cycling , intimacy fears and avoidance and several other things

Are idealisation and splitting part of ADHD??? :eek:

daveddd
02-10-14, 04:26 PM
Are idealisation and splitting part of ADHD??? :eek:

it seems to occur in a lot of people with ADHD


at least its attempted to be medicalized as a part of ADHD with relationship hyper focus

execfunc
02-10-14, 06:33 PM
If you feel in your heart and can intellectually (i.e., leaving emotion aside) determine that he loves you and is devoted to you, despite his struggles with ADHD, I would recommend patience and forbearance (if you're able to withstand the challenges). I've been with my girl for about five years now, and although I'm still absolutely crazy about her, it was definitely more intense at the beginning. I tell her how beautiful she is, always get her roses on Valentine's day, and remember to ask her how she's doing when I know she's dealing with something difficult. But then I space out when she's looking/speaking directly at me, I don't believe her when she insists that she informed me twice, thrice, etc. that we had to do something (of course she's right), and I forget simple tasks she's asked me to do virtually as soon as she asks me. The things I remember to do and the times I can successfully focus on her and us when I might otherwise be distracted, absent, irritable, etc. … these are victories, sometimes of will, simple concerted will. People with ADHD have all manner of talent, intelligence, knowledge, and emotional richness. All of these things are readily accessible to them in various degrees at any given time. It's frustrating and exhausting. People who love people with ADHD must be special, because we're not easy to love.

What I always remember, though, is to thank my girl for her seemingly boundless patience and forbearance. I'd be lost without her.

fracturedstory
02-13-14, 03:43 AM
Reading through your post I first thought 'bipolar' and then started thinking 'depression.'

I know I actually do feel I don't want to be around people or even want their presence and it's usually during a depressive phase.

I do the same thing with hyperfocus + my autism can have me ignoring people for days. It's really up to the person going through it to try and take some breaks and show people that they still care for them.

daveddd
02-13-14, 07:21 AM
Reading through your post I first thought 'bipolar' and then started thinking 'depression.'

I know I actually do feel I don't want to be around people or even want their presence and it's usually during a depressive phase.

I do the same thing with hyperfocus + my autism can have me ignoring people for days. It's really up to the person going through it to try and take some breaks and show people that they still care for them.

bipolar can definitely have cycling attachment styles

http://books.google.com/books?id=6bs_dW8lq0oC&pg=PT557&dq=allan+schore+bipolar&hl=en&sa=X&ei=o7v6Uo7vJqiY2wW9x4GYCA&ved=0CD0Q6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=allan%20schore%20bipolar&f=false