View Full Version : Trying to remain friends with ADHD ex


RougeBoy
04-26-14, 02:29 PM
Hey everyone. I'm a new member here, hoping to get some advice. I'm going to do my best to just detail the main points without making my post too long.

Here's the story... Last August I met a guy with ADHD, we began dating and then in October we decided to be exclusive. Also to give a bit of further background, this was a gay relationship, and I'm 25-years-old and he's 26. I broke up with him just after New Years (did not plan it) because I just didn't feel like he was living up to what a boyfriend should be. It was hard for me to feel like I was truly #1 in his life, I felt like we needed more of an "us" factor and at times I found he had some really cocky personality traits which naturally just turn me off. It's interesting though because he seemed to have lots of self confidence (also had a really large network of friends and seems really well liked by people) but often times he would tell me that on the inside he's really self-conscious and insecure. He was never really willing to open up to me about his insecurities though, he said it's too difficult for him to talk about that stuff even though I was more than willing to lend a supportive ear.

Anyway, back on track... When I broke up with him, he seemed really sad and was crying and begged me to stay friends with him. I told him I would and I meant it with all sincerity, friendship with him is something that I really want as well. I know people will often say not to bother trying to remain friends with an ex but it is possible because I'm still friends with one of my ex's and I know lots of other people who have managed to maintain a friendship with their ex. But anyway, I've found it difficult to try and continue a friendship with him. It just seems that if I try to text him, the conversations are most of the time (not always, but quite often) really one-ended, like I'm the only one who's making any real effort. A few weeks ago I had mentioned that to him and he told me that the reason why he isn't as talkative with me is "because it's just not the same anymore" and he said he feels like maybe with a bit of time it might feel more natural for him to talk to me again but he can't be sure. And if I try to arrange plans for us to meet up in person, I sometimes feel like I'm pulling teeth to get him to do that but to be fair, he does have a REALLY busy schedule.

I last saw him about 3 weeks ago and have been trying to give him some space. I've been resisting the urge to text him and sometimes it's with great difficulty. I'm just hoping that eventually he'll reach out to me. I really still want to stay friends with him because even though there were lots of things in the relationship that I wasn't happy with, there are still a lot of qualities about him that I admire and I'm convinced that the two of us would just be more successful as friends than partners. Up until recently, I was still in his presence once a week because I was interning on a TV show that he works at, so it was a bit easier back then to not text him since I knew I'd be seeing him around anyway but I recently left the show because I got a full-time job with another company.

We've had conversations (initiated by me) before about the possibilities of us getting back together but he told me he doesn't see us getting back together because he says I'm looking for someone to provide for me in ways that he can't.

I don't even know if the struggles I'm having with him right now are even ADHD-specific but I figured I'd just post on here in case there are certain aspects of it that are. Perhaps there are people on here who might be able to relate to how people with ADHD feel when they've been dumped?

When we dated, he didn't really like to use his ADHD as an excuse for things and I respect that but with a lot of research I've done on ADHD in relationships, I feel like a lot of his behaviour can be explained by it. I'd really appreciate any advice people may have on things I can do to help me remain friends with him. I cared about him deeply and I still do, but in the relationship I just didn't feel like I was getting back the same amount of care that I was putting out. I feel like that is probably a factor of the ADHD. Feel free to also ask if you have any questions regarding specifics of the relationship, I didn't want to get into too much detail just yet because I was trying to keep the post short.

RougeBoy
04-26-14, 03:32 PM
Just adding this... I meant to write in my post that my ex isn't exactly medicated but he does smoke non-prescribed marijuana at least once a day because it helps counter the effects of his ADHD. I have done research and found that there is some truth to that.

bfwatts
04-26-14, 05:28 PM
Hi. I have had this relationship/friendship thing going on 15 years. Eleven years long distance. I can only say that having any expectation that your friend will reciprocate your efforts in the way you do is not realistic. Even if he cries or says he wants to have a good friendship, if you judge if he cares by "follow through actions" you can be setting yourself up for disappointment. If you choose to have him in your life he may disappear for days, months, years and he may not ever call you again. Or he could be the best friend ever for a month straight and then drop out. First and foremost don't take what he does personally and don't think less of yourself based on his actions.

sarahsweets
04-27-14, 06:54 AM
I have rarely met people that can be ex'es and friends. My personal exception was because my ex was gay and I didnt know it. So we are friends. I think what you describe is not friendship, in fact it sounds a bit co-dependent. Dont let that term scare you, many of us are. It seems like you spend an unbalanced amount of time worrying about his well being when he is not worried about yours. It seems like these one sided conversations are sort of narcisstic, like his personal problems and ideas are more important than yours. Unfortunately, people like this , rarely change at least not without help. Your mind is already giving you warning signals:


It just seems that if I try to text him, the conversations are most of the time (not always, but quite often) really one-ended, like I'm the only one who's making any real effort. A few weeks ago I had mentioned that to him and he told me that the reason why he isn't as talkative with me is "because it's just not the same anymore" and he said he feels like maybe with a bit of time it might feel more natural for him to talk to me again but he can't be sure. And if I try to arrange plans for us to meet up in person, I sometimes feel like I'm pulling teeth to get him to do that but to be fair, he does have a REALLY busy schedule.

I last saw him about 3 weeks ago and have been trying to give him some space. I've been resisting the urge to text him and sometimes it's with great difficulty. I'm just hoping that eventually he'll reach out to me. I really still want to stay friends with him because even though there were lots of things in the relationship that I wasn't happy with, there are still a lot of qualities about him that I admire and I'm convinced that the two of us would just be more successful as friends than partners. Up until recently, I was still in his presence once a week because I was interning on a TV show that he works at, so it was a bit easier back then to not text him since I knew I'd be seeing him around anyway but I recently left the show because I got a full-time job with another company.

Those things you mention are very similar to someone is co-dependent (Im no psychologist so YMMV)
but if you are co-dependent than learning new behaviors and boundaries are the only way you can stop this co-dependent behavior. Sometimes its a persons self esteem. If someone thinks very little of himself, then their expectations from other close relationships are lower, and they are prone to taking a lot of sh*t behaviors. These are just my thoughts.

RougeBoy
04-27-14, 10:52 AM
Thank you both for your insights. I understand what you mean about the narcissism, however, I don't believe he's a narcissist. Certain aspects of him seemed a tad narcissistic but he also had a lot of qualities that I don't feel a narcissist would ever have. For example, he told me about how he lacks self-confidence (even though it didn't really show) and from my experience, a narcissist would never admit to having low confidence or being insecure. Also he was open about how when he was growing up, his family was really poor and they had a lot of struggles and about how he was bullied immensely as a kid. This just doesn't sound like typical stuff that a narcissist would talk about.

I understand what you mean about the codependency as well. I've been in this same position in the past with people who I got really attached to. It's certainly not a fun place to be in but in time it always goes away. As I say, I'm doing my best to just avoid contact with him for now unless he chooses to contact me. I need to emotionally distance myself.

Since my ex has ADHD, I think I was just kinda hoping that by some chance the post-breakup behaviours that I'm describing might be at least partially ADHD specific and that perhaps people could give me advice on how to handle it. I guess though that it's unlikely the ADHD has anything to do with the way he's acting towards me and I'm sorry if I offended anyone here with ADHD for thinking such a thing.

RougeBoy
04-27-14, 03:46 PM
Oh sarahsweets, I just re-read your message and at first I mistakenly thought you were saying that I was co-dependent but now I see that you actually meant that he might be co-dependent. If that is the case, do you know if there's anything I can do to increase his willingness to speak to me again or is it likely a loss cause. I never treated him like crap or anything but at times I definitely felt like he took me for granted in the relationship and that's basically why I broke up with him.

bfwatts
04-27-14, 04:38 PM
Unfortunately "handling" it with someone like this is to realize you can't make them do anything. ADHD is a reason but not an excuse. My experience it is far easier to be friends only if there is zero expectation or romantic attachment with someone who displays these traits. I have had a family member, a good friend, and an ex diagnosed with ADHD. My friend is the only one left I have a good relationship with because of zero expectation. Otherwise at some point I was asking "what about my needs?" And I'd get a blank stare back. Caring about someone with ADHD can be hard for people with attachment issues and bad self esteem for sure. It takes a person with strong boundaries, unconditional love, tons of patience, strength and self confidence to maintain a long-term relationship that "works". My ex was toxic. Stuck it out for a long time. Kept making excuses. But the bottom line is, does this friendship make you happy right now in the present? Is there anything you can do about it anyway?

Greengrasshoppe
04-27-14, 06:26 PM
The outta sight outta mind thing can be an ADHD trait. One-sided text convos could be due to distraction, also an ADHD trait.

Twiggy
04-27-14, 07:26 PM
Being friends with an ex will probably evolve back into a relationship if you still have feelings for that person.
Ex sex happens and it makes things confusing.

sarahsweets
04-28-14, 04:37 AM
The co-dependent part was actually meant to be you or him. Its a toss up really and I am not trying to diagnose you or anything. As far as trying to increase his willingness to speak to you, I am not sure you can. If he is in a depression, or has has other narcissistic-type behaviors then you may not be able to increase his willingness because he is in a place where no suggestions will make any sense, even the good ones. I am curious though (and I could be wrong) but how is your self esteem? I ask because it seems like he is not or has not treated you well but you still want him to engage in some sort of relationship with you when his signals are loud and clear. Whether he knows why or not, he is not interested in your well being, he is clearly interested in his own. People in a depressed state are self absorbed and I dont mean that in a negative per se, just that they are so absorbed in whats going on with them, they fail to have appropriate relationships and should get help if they can. I think that if you do have an issue with self esteem or worth, it could make you think you deserve nothing more than being the caretaker and fixer upper in a relationship. Have you ever considered counseling for yourself? Even if you think you dont need it, you may benefit from it.


Oh sarahsweets, I just re-read your message and at first I mistakenly thought you were saying that I was co-dependent but now I see that you actually meant that he might be co-dependent. If that is the case, do you know if there's anything I can do to increase his willingness to speak to me again or is it likely a loss cause. I never treated him like crap or anything but at times I definitely felt like he took me for granted in the relationship and that's basically why I broke up with him.

RougeBoy
04-28-14, 11:23 AM
I have definitely struggled with self-esteem in the past and I'd say my self-esteem has been on the low side lately. It sucks because for the past few years while I was single, my self-esteem was mostly at a high level and I thought my self-esteem issues were pretty much a thing of the past. I think I compared my life to my ex's life too much and it caused me to feel like he had it a lot better. He had the life I've longed to have for a long time. He was very extroverted and I've always wanted to be more outgoing but no matter how hard I've tried over the past few years, I can't seem to become a pure extrovert. So I think living in his shadow kinda destroyed my self-esteem a little bit. It would've been different though if he included me in his life just a little bit more though.

For the most part, anytime he hurt my feelings was due to me having different expectations from the relationship. We both had different views on dating and that's pretty much why we couldn't work out.

He did a lot of good things for me. I feel like he truly cared about me but just didn't always show it in the way I wanted him to. At Christmas time, he invited me to his family's Christmas get together and I'm the very first partner he's ever introduced to his extended family. Granted I was only his second relationship, but still, it was a big step for him because he's not very open with his family about his personal life.

As I mentioned before, he worked in television and prior to meeting him, I had also done a bit of work in TV. He allowed me to intern on a TV show that he was working on that ran last fall. After I broke up with him at New Years, he told me (without me even asking) that I was still welcome to intern on another show he was going to be involved with that would be starting in February. I thought that was very big of him because he didn't have to do that at all. I worked on that show for a few weeks but I recently left the show because the internship was unpaid and I got a job offer from a different company. When I was interning there, we were both very professional with each other and he still treated me nicely and was always thanking me for my hard work. Again, this is all post breakup. I just am wishing he had more interest in connecting with me again on a friendship level. It's pretty much like in Gotye's "Somebody That I Used to Know" song, the line that goes "You treat me like a stranger and that feels so rough".... that's pretty much how I feel.

The co-dependent part was actually meant to be you or him. Its a toss up really and I am not trying to diagnose you or anything. As far as trying to increase his willingness to speak to you, I am not sure you can. If he is in a depression, or has has other narcissistic-type behaviors then you may not be able to increase his willingness because he is in a place where no suggestions will make any sense, even the good ones. I am curious though (and I could be wrong) but how is your self esteem? I ask because it seems like he is not or has not treated you well but you still want him to engage in some sort of relationship with you when his signals are loud and clear. Whether he knows why or not, he is not interested in your well being, he is clearly interested in his own. People in a depressed state are self absorbed and I dont mean that in a negative per se, just that they are so absorbed in whats going on with them, they fail to have appropriate relationships and should get help if they can. I think that if you do have an issue with self esteem or worth, it could make you think you deserve nothing more than being the caretaker and fixer upper in a relationship. Have you ever considered counseling for yourself? Even if you think you dont need it, you may benefit from it.

bfwatts
04-28-14, 02:00 PM
I think what you aren't completely understanding here is that for them to act like strangers or disconnected can be part of the adhd. It IS hard to understand and maybe you can see why it can be problematic. It's not anyone's fault that there is the disconnect. But I get that since you only have your experience as a "non" that it's hard to identify with. I have learned that it is futile to overthink and ask for answers where they might not even notice you posing the question. You can go over under around and through the "whys" of this and just exhaust yourself and not get the answer you "want". Think about yourself more.

ToneTone
04-29-14, 08:16 PM
I guess I don't get why you are working so hard (even thinking so much) to be being friends with him. He's the one who proposed being friends after you initiated the breakup… and now he's being distant. Well, time to move on … ADHD or no ADHD. You gave him that chance. He's showing that he can't be a good friend. Move on. Period.

Being friends with an ex is possible, but it is tricky and requires luck and a number of circumstances to be in place. Both partners happily dating new people helps … time apart helps … Lack of ongoing chemistry helps … Separation in location helps … Sometimes what's really going on is that one of the ex partners has just made it clear that they are not in any way interested any more in the other--so the other just accepts this reality and they can then be "friends" … But there is a limit and boundary to the friendship here as one partner may be pining still for the other.

But anyway, I don't see why you're working so hard to maintain a friendship in this case when his actions indicate he doesn't want to be friends or can't be friends. (I see those two as pretty much the same thing these days.) I don't see ADHD as being relevant here.

Good luck.

Tone

TLCisaQT
04-30-14, 09:57 PM
I'm with Tone, you are trying way too hard to keep a friendship going with someone who cried to keep it going and then isn't doing it. Also, I'm not sure you being friends with him is a good idea especially since you want more, and his lack of attention is driving you nuts and occupying way more of your time and attention than he deserves.

I know it's easier said than done to stop obsessing about somebody but the only way to do it, is to keep your distance and find something else in life to put your focus on....a new hobby :) hehe. Good luck.

daveddd
04-30-14, 10:13 PM
Thank you both for your insights. I understand what you mean about the narcissism, however, I don't believe he's a narcissist. Certain aspects of him seemed a tad narcissistic but he also had a lot of qualities that I don't feel a narcissist would ever have. For example, he told me about how he lacks self-confidence (even though it didn't really show) and from my experience, a narcissist would never admit to having low confidence or being insecure. Also he was open about how when he was growing up, his family was really poor and they had a lot of struggles and about how he was bullied immensely as a kid. This just doesn't sound like typical stuff that a narcissist would talk about.

I understand what you mean about the codependency as well. I've been in this same position in the past with people who I got really attached to. It's certainly not a fun place to be in but in time it always goes away. As I say, I'm doing my best to just avoid contact with him for now unless he chooses to contact me. I need to emotionally distance myself.

Since my ex has ADHD, I think I was just kinda hoping that by some chance the post-breakup behaviours that I'm describing might be at least partially ADHD specific and that perhaps people could give me advice on how to handle it. I guess though that it's unlikely the ADHD has anything to do with the way he's acting towards me and I'm sorry if I offended anyone here with ADHD for thinking such a thing.

no reason to be sorry

its human nature to look for reasons for hurt

adhd or not, the way he is acting towards you, is the way HE is acting towards you

hythlodaeus
04-17-16, 06:02 PM
Hello,

I'm not sure I've understood. He begged you to remain friends with him and now you're working to remain friends with him and he's not responding. Sounds like your ticket to not having to remain friends - stop trying.

Also, it sounds on it's face like he didn't want to get broken up with and now that he has control again, he is sort of dumping you, or feeling good about snubbing you.

I don't know, this all sounds very manipulative to me. Sounds like you broke up and he begged you to stay friends and now since he won't respond you can break clean without feeling guilty (because you didn't refuse to be friends).

You took the high road but also don't have to deal with the consequences because he has made it impossible for you to remain friends. Just leave it alone, if he comes back to talk, you can talk to him them, but you don't owe him anything (and if he's a pot head maybe there is no basis for respect or consistency - who knows).