View Full Version : New here and semi-new relationship

02-22-14, 02:28 AM
So long story short- I've been with my boyfriend for a little over 6 months and we both see marriage in the (far) future. He's been very upfront about his ADHD and I've done what I can to educate myself.

At times I feel like his up after him, reminding him to do things. The cleaning I don't mind so much. I actually like to clean.

Today I was over at his apartment and he had an apple, some bread and milk in his fridge (I had purchased him some groceries earlier in the week as a nice gesture). I hadn't eaten in 10+hours so I grabbed two slices of bread. He asks what I'm eating and I say "2 pieces of bread" and he looks crestfallen and says he's a terrible boyfriend and that he needs to do better. He always says this. Sometimes he does follow through- like scheduling doctor's appts or getting his car breaks fixed. But for some reason this time really got to me. I don't know how much I can take. And I can take a lot- I have a sibling with cerebral palsy so I have a high patience threshold.

He also has a wandering eye which is annoying at best. He's aware and has vocalized that it's a problem that he's working on.

My question- how long do I wait? He takes meds and sees a life coach 3-4x a month.

He gets mad at himself for not being cleaner, or doing more things for me but never seeks to improve himself. Or if he does, I certainly can't see it. I know he's not doing this in any malicious way. I know he cares deeply for me but I just don't know what to do. I am thisclose to flipping out on him one of these days and I don't want to do that. I guess I just need to sit down and tell him what I am saying here. If he doesn't know it's an issue then that's my fault I guess.

Thanks for the feedback and reading all of this if you got this far.

02-22-14, 07:35 AM
Wait for what? ADHD is not curable.

02-22-14, 09:36 AM
What was he like before medication? After?

Maybe the meds aren't working well enough for him. It also seems like he's being way too hard on himself.

02-22-14, 10:02 AM
You have ti be prepared to accept him as if things will never change. They might or they might not.

02-22-14, 10:19 AM
Hello, and welcome to the forum. I hope this place really helps you.

Your ADHD education has not gone far yet, if you ask "How long do I wait".

I believe that most people asking "how long do I wait" are asking "when will he become normal so we can be a real couple". The answer is he's permanently weird, and if you are willing then together the two of you can work out how you will be a couple, which because he's weird means that the two of you will forever be a weird (but loving and happy and OK) couple. If that sounds acceptable to you, then continue your education. If you need him to be normal, then just leave him now and save going through all the pain of finding out that normal is forever impossible.

02-22-14, 10:31 AM
Define "wandering eye."

02-22-14, 12:35 PM
I think that good communication is a must in any relationship, especially when one or both of you might have a hard time communicating directly.

That said, I also think that the key question in continuing the relationship is: Can I live with him if things don't change?

Things might change somewhat, but most of us by the time we are adults can be astoundingly stuck in our ways. The key is not to fall in love with an ideal of a person, but rather meet an person where they are *at this moment in time*

That might mean altering expectations. If you know that your honey is not good about grocery shopping/having food in the house, grab a snack on the way to his house so that you haven't gone hours without eating. On the flip side, you should not have to be solely responsible for stocking the fridge at his house (assuming you don't live together).

If you were to move in together, you may have to be the one to take the reins when it comes to the shopping, if he's not able to get his act together, but that's a decision you probably ought to come to together.

Honestly, the things that annoy you now, six months into a relationship, are unlikely to improve over time, as you both let more of your personalities/living habits hang out a bit more. Unless he's really really newly diagnosed, in which case I suppose there is some chance for change, but I wouldn't bet the bank on it.

As for the wandering eye, if he's getting distracted, that's probably part of who he is. If it's an actual wandering eye, that's neurological and definitely not something he can change at will.

02-22-14, 12:46 PM
Hi, maggal--

Welcome! This forum is amazingly helpful for non-ADHD patterns of people with ADHD. I suggest you do two things: read back in time as far as you can the postings here in the non-ADD partner support board, and also read daily as much as you can of all the new posts as they crop up.

Reading on the partner support board lets you see the discussions other people in similar situations have had previously that touch on your particular concerns. It's very valuable to find out that you're not alone!

Reading what people with ADHD are talking about every day helps you build insight into the often very different worldview of people struggling with the same disability that affects your boyfriend. It can be very hard to understand those points of view sometimes, and if your boyfriend doesn't happen to be big on explaining what it's like to be him, it will take a long time for you to pick this up from him directly. But here, every day, are hundreds of thoughtful, open, articulate people exploring issues that it will help you to understand what ADHD is like.

Since you come from a family that has experience of CP, you probably know how easy it is for people who are not in a situation to misunderstand it, ignore it, make wrong assumptions about it. Same deal here--except maybe more so, since something like CP is often outwardly more visible than ADHD, and thus in some ways easier for people to "get".

I have to say that my experience as the partner of someone with ADHD is that things don't get easier as time goes along, because my fatigue and frustration limits have been reached and passed long ago. So now the struggle for both of us is not only with his disorder but also with my own limitations--and my boundaries of self preservation. Initially, I thought that things between us were going to change at some point to become greatly more what I wanted and needed, more what my partner had promised me all along. I now see that those hopes were unrealistic from the start. We weren't wrong to have them, it was only natural, but we were mistaken.

My partner has great qualities and he tries very hard. I'm a pretty good person, too and I definitely try extremely hard as well. But we aren't really OK as regards our relationship, and don't know how much better things will get for us. He wasn't diagnosed when we met, and there were a ton of reasons we both couldn't then know what we do now. If I had known then what the future would hold for us, though, I wouldn't have gotten involved.

I don't mean to sound harsh, but it's very important to understand that if things don't feel right to you now, and if they don't change, it may all feel much worse later on, as time passes. Relationships thrive best when they naturally fulfill at least some important needs for each partner, without either actually working at it. That gives you something to go on while you both work on issues and problems, and fulfilling each other's other needs in ways that may require effort.

Let us know how things go for you--keep posting. all good wishes--

02-22-14, 12:51 PM
There are a couple of levels going on here....

1) You seem upset about the pain he inflicts upon himself when he beats himself up about wanting to be a better boyfriend. (This is good)


2) you also seem to want him to become that "better" boyfriend.(this is not so good)

These two things are in conflict.....

You are also aware of an encroaching mother/child dynamic which you correctly realise is likely to be toxic in the long term.

If you want anything to have to accept and love him how he is right now... and reassure him that he is accepted as he is.... that you are genuine in that acceptance and you empathise with his struggle to change...... you support him to change, but you don't do things for him.... helping him make lists is fine, doing stuff that makes him beat himself up about not being a "good" boyfriend that's not so fine.

I would also say that 6 months is a very short time in the romantic life of an ADDer..... and the fact you say that you are already thinking of marriage (albeit in the far future) is concerning....this puts significant pressure on the relationship from the start.... any wobbles are amplified because you are already thinking the relationship is permanent...

My view would be to take the relationship one day at a time. I suspect you are young, and this is probably amplified by the ADHD as we often mature later (if at all).

You also indicate he has a wandering eye.... if this unsettles you then it's probably best for you to remain unmarried for many decades, as every man you meet will either have an eye for a nice curve or be a liar... and the liars are more dangerous.

It is pointless for him to try to "control" his wandering eye by suppressing it (trying not to think about something/do something makes it take over your brain).... better to bring it out into the open and discuss it.... this involves you accepting it, and talking about boundaries.... remember you too will have the occasional wandering eye during your relationship when your relationship go through periods of malaise and if you can talk about it now, things get easier later on. Being open and straight about boundaries is REALLY important with an ADDer.

So accepting that he has a "wandering eye" and being empathetic about that is likely to be more conducive to change than him trying to suppress it. within my own relationship this has been both difficult to accept and also the most powerful instrument in developing my self awareness about how I react to attractive, stimulating women.

One of the important things about relationships involving ADDers is that you have to throw out ALL your assumptions about how a relationship "should" be and work out what suits you both... and if this isn't possible.... an early and amicable parting is often best.


02-23-14, 12:08 AM
My question- how long do I wait? He takes meds and sees a life coach 3-4x a month.

He gets mad at himself for not being cleaner, or doing more things for me but never seeks to improve himself. Or if he does, I certainly can't see it. I know he's not doing this in any malicious way. I know he cares deeply for me but I just don't know what to do. I am thisclose to flipping out on him one of these days and I don't want to do that. I guess I just need to sit down and tell him what I am saying here. If he doesn't know it's an issue then that's my fault I guess.

I agree it can be frustrating. You have made a start in trying to learn more; however, speaking from experience, you think you can know ALOT; and yet sometimes when you are living in the midst of it, it still can be confusing. It is very frustrating for somebody with ADHD because they do get mad at themselves when they fall short, not so much because lack of WILL but many times due to ABILITY.

If you find yourself getting this frustrated and ready to snap after 6 months, you might want to do some thinking about whether this type of relationship is truly right for both of you. Like people said, it doesn't just "go away" or get "cured." Even on meds, there will always be struggles, just like every relationship has them, and then some. And don't even get me started on the kid conversation....