View Full Version : Boyfriend with ADD

06-12-14, 11:29 AM
So I'm new here and I was just wanting to get some advice/help. I've been dating my boyfriend for 8 months now and we don't live together so I don't know all of his little quirks when it comes to his ADD. And I'll be honest here too, I've only briefly read about ADD and the personality complications that arise from it but I'm not completely educated on how to interact with one who has ADD.

Anyway, one thing I'm beginning to notice though is how easily distracted he his in text messages. I only have 3 days off during the week so we always try to make best of those days and see each other and do whatever we want. But on those other 4 days of the week, it feels like pulling teeth trying to get a conversation out of him via text message. Some days are better than others but as of recently, I feel like this is starting to become routine. He tells me he hops on his computer and plays video games for hours on end and loses track of time. Which I can see, he's very into his video games.

He's currently on medication and he's had his doctor increase the dosage within the last couple of months and I just honestly don't know if I'm seeing a difference. Even when we're physically together, he does tend to get spacey and doesn't hear/listen to what I say sometimes.

I feel like since I don't live with him, this is just the tip of the iceberg and if our relationship happens to evolve into something more serious, things between us could get worse if his condition doesn't improve. Is there anything I myself can do? Should I recommend him getting into therapy? Should I join these therapy sessions with him? Should I recommend him getting on a new medication?

Any advice or insight is greatly appreciated!

06-12-14, 03:27 PM
If he has ADD - which is a permanent neurological condition that develops in childhood - this is very likely "just how he is," and it's not something that's going to change much. I assume you knew he had ADD going into the relationship? ADD does not "improve" over time, and it's unrealistic to expect that he can change just because you want him to. Even if HE wants to, some changes can be difficult or impossible to make. An anaology: would you expect that someone who wears glasses will somehow be able to "improve" their eyesight enough to no longer need glasses? Of course not. It's the same with ADD: it can sometimes be corrected for with medication, but it's always going to be a part of him, like it or not.

Is the only difficulty you're having that he doesn't communicate well or often via text? Is your relationship going smoothly in all other areas except this one? Maybe he just doesn't really like texting; some people don't, ADHD or not. Or he may have trouble expressing himself in written words. Or, he may just get distracted really easily, forgetting to respond, as seems to be the case. Whatever the reason, it sounds like a relatively minor trait, in the grand scheme of things that can go wrong in relationships. If everything else is going peachy, you may have to chalk this up to just being the "price of admission" for having a relationship with this man. Everyone has their quirks, and these might well be his.

And honestly, if these are absolute dealbreakers for you? A relationship with an ADD person may not be the best fit for you. If you cannot accept him as he is now, seriously consider moving on before things get more serious/painful. But if you really care about him, and you want to try and make it work, it would be wise to continue reading up as much about ADHD as you can. Understand what your boyfriend is up against on a daily basis, and hopefully you will be able to empathize with him a little more, learn how you best communicate, and come to compromises that work for you. Regardless, I wish both of you the best!

06-12-14, 03:59 PM
Shorter version of moth2flame's concept:

Things could certainly change in some ways, but realistically they might not - or maybe not change enough for you. Can you be satisfied and happy living with him if he's just like this for the rest of his life?

06-12-14, 04:13 PM
Sounds like it might be an idea to think about why it's important for you to have contact with him via text the 4 days you don't see him.

Text is not an easy way to have a conversation.... in verbal conversations in person, or by phone or skype we are focussed on the other person for a short time..... then we terminate the conversation and go do something else....

text is different.... the messages ping into our inbox randomly and interrupt whatever we were doing.... triggering the need to respond appropriately in a small number of characters... this is not easy and it takes exponentially more time to compose a text reponse than replying verbally.

In short.... lose the texts if you need to touch base with him.... phone or skype for a few minutes a day then he can go do his own thing ... and you can to.

re the gaming..... it's pretty common for ADDers to be heavy sometimes addictive gamers. Get used to the concept that this may be "stimming" behaviour and therefore something that might be an issue further down the line..... then again, he may grow out of it by his late 20's

06-12-14, 07:24 PM
Hi, birdsandcages, and welcome to the Forums--

I think you got some thoughtful replies to your initial post here, and they come from people whose insights I respect a lot. I'm sure they are useful to you. But I have a somewhat different take on this, so I thought I'd add my two cents worth.

Like you, I am the partner of someone with ADHD. And what I have observed is that having trouble responding to someone else when and as that someone else needs or wishes is a very common trait in people with ADHD. This can be (in lots of different ways) a very big relationship issue. So while it's true that some people don't like texting, and there may well be better means by which to have contact with your boyfriend on the four days apart, these may not be the most important things for you to consider.

My experience has been that my partner often can't stay in a conversation with me (for instance, he'll walk away in the middle of one of my sentences), he starts conversations at bad times for me (like 4AM when I am completely asleep), he texts me when I specifically ask him to phone, he sends texts with no useful information when we are trying to coordinate to meet (for instance he won't answer questions like 'what time can you be there?", or replies "I'm on my way" without saying where he is or giving an ETA, etc etc), he acts like its an imposition when I call him to check in when I am traveling, he gets very upset if he can't reach me by phone when I am in a meeting, but he decides he needs to talk …

That list could go on longer, but the point is, he often simply cannot or doesn't communicate in the ways I find desirable and appropriate, and does communicate in ways that don't make sense to me. It happens all the time, in a lot of ways. That's just How He Is. It's not lack of consideration on his part, it's part of his disability. It can sometimes be a big problem for us, because a number of these things make me feel bad, even though I know his intention is not to frustrate me.

You shouldn't expect that your boyfriend's condition will "improve." Medication and therapy can be helpful, but even at their most effective, they won't change how he is. They might help him develop new coping skills for dealing with how he is vs. what others expect. They may help him to cope better with you asking for what you need. Or maybe not. If he's in treatment now, what you see may be what you get.

One other things I would say: sometimes it's the small things that feel toughest to deal with over time. If this non-texting business really bothers you now, ask yourself if you are likely to be more or less bothered by it five years from now. You said you didn't know too much about ADHD--I would suggest you start reading. There are lots of books, some directed at partners of people with ADHD. I think it could be helpful to you to get some more info.

Let us know how things go with you. All good wishes--

06-15-14, 12:25 AM
birdsandcages, you have gotten a lot of great advice and feedback, and nothing more I can add, nor am I in a place to do so, well that would be useful hehe :)

it doesn't matter how "educated" somebody may think they are on how to interact with somebody with ADHD, or an ADHD'er to interact with somebody who isn't... it's tough stuff. Somedays, I feel it's like two people trying to communicate who speak completely different languages, and trying to use a translation 101 book - and sometimes one or the other not even willing to attempt to use the book.

I would decide how much you really want to invest in this relationship, energy-wise... because .. it COULD get better, it COULD get worse (possibly so with increased stressors over a life time) or it may just stay the same... and if one day you are around each other more.... you will both have to see and interact more with each other and see what bothers you more about each other.

good luck to you... hope you can figure out what to do.

06-16-14, 02:23 AM
Hi newly diagnosed here,

My previous girlfriend told me I would space-out during the conversations. I was completly unaware of it, and was not trying to do it.

My friends have also told me that I do this. And I don't notice it at all. So, even during the middle of a conversation, I might start thinking about something else. I do that. I am not aware of it. They told me they know, and that they have to repeat stuff, and they still care about me, and they know I care about them.

This won't be changed with therapy. (Perhaps with medication, I don't know, I want to start medication soon)

Here is what I think:

I cared about that girl, I care about my friends.

Not listening will happen. You are used to normal interaction where not listening is not caring. That might not be what is happening here. Being able to pay attention is something normal people can do at will. I can't.

Here is the question I have to ask, why does it bother you? Is it because you think he does not care about you? Or something else?

Here is what I expect from a girlfriend: That she accepts me for who I am.

Here is what a girl can expect from me: To be treated with respect and to be loved.

Good luck with your boyfriend!

06-17-14, 05:47 PM

Welcome to the forum! My boyfriend also has ADHD and his communication throughout the day is extremely inconsistent. We'll be texting back and forth and then he won't respond for hours. The next time he does send a text it won't have anything to do with our previous conversation. This used to bother me a bit, but I realize he isn't doing it on purpose. Usually, we aren't having an important conversation so it doesn't much matter. I also don't think important conversations should be had over text message.

I do not have ADHD, but I sometimes get distracted and forgot to respond to a test message or an email. If I am at work this is even more likely to happen. I get paid to do my job, not send text messages to my friends. I would love to find a job that pays me to socialize, but I haven't been able to do so yet. :-) Honestly, I think you are going to have trouble finding a partner with or without ADHD that is able and willing to carry on conversations via text message whenever you are apart.

I think technology has increased our need to communicate with each other constantly and it is a bit unhealthy. We should be present wherever we are which means we are paying attention to who we are with and what we are doing in the moment rather than staring at our phone.

You may want to try and decide if your desire to carry on conversations via text when you are apart is a want or a need. If it is just a want are there enough good things about the relationship to help overcome this less desirable thing? If you really care for your boyfriend and feel good inside the relationship I would really try to let this go.