View Full Version : New boyfriend with ADHD Advice please :-)


kittyb21
06-25-14, 10:23 AM
Hi, I'm really glad I found this site and hope some of you lovely people can shed some light on my situation..
I have been seeing my BF for about 2 months and I've got to say it has been a truly unique experience. The 2nd time we met up he told me he had been medicated for ADHD as a child, this was in the 90's. But has not since spoken about himself having it now. From what I have read it is usual for it to continue into adulthood.
When we are together we have a fantastic time and I love his company.
It is not quite like any other relationship I've had but it does cause me quite a lot of worry time; he often doesn't respond to texts/messages, forgets to call, doesn't like to plan very far ahead, forgets what he's said, can sometimes be very sexual and other times not at all, a bit all or nothing, we only see each other 1 maybe 2 times a week cause he works loads and has a fairly hectic social life and I feel he is a bit of a commitmentphobe despite him frequently saying he'd like to be married one day. Sadly, the above can feed my insecurities, however in saying all of that I do feel like I can trust this guy, for no other reason than a very strong gut feeling.
I tried to break up with him because I was having a major op and I was all freaked out and he cried, I felt terrible and very quickly reversed that decision. I'm pretty terrified that I am going to fall madly in love with him but am worried if I will ever really feel cherished enough in this relationship.
When and how should I bring up the subject of how is ADHD impacts on his life currently?
He has never had a relationship for longer than 8 months, I get the impression he ends up getting nagged for his randomness.(he is 32)

Any advice welcome

K xxx

kittyb21
06-25-14, 03:31 PM
Prime example, BF popped round last night, had not seen him for nearly 2 weeks cause of surgery, he said I'll take you out Sat, I msg'd today to suggest something we could go and see, arty stuff. He messaged back saying he wasn't sure what his plans were for sat yet but he'd let me know...
Whilst I don't consider myself needy, I would expect him to want to spend time with me, being as we haven't for a while.
Perhaps he's just a douche bag and I'm flogging a dead horse. Yet when he came round last night he was kisses when he arrived, chats and offers of taking me out. I am more than a little confused. Would you consider this ADHD related behaviour, any of you in the know??

ginniebean
06-25-14, 06:08 PM
Well, I wouldn't find this doable and I have adhd. Two months is early in the relationship but it doesn't bode well for down the road.

Talk to him, be very direct. If you try and soften your language he may not even understand you. It's hard to be this direct.

An example, my nephew called me very upset over an incident he had with a friend and he was responsible for the problem I point blank told him, this is something you created, you need to be humble and apologise without excuses or rationalizations. I also told him he is terrible at being humble so he has to suck it up and realise he's the one that is asking for forgiveness.

When I told him he sucked at being humble he thanked me, he knew it but his go to is rationalization. He needed the direction to be direct no punches pulled and he wasn't upset about it.

You need to be just as direct, have your examples lined up, and your expectations (reasonable ones he does have a disability) ready.

Arthas
06-25-14, 09:36 PM
Hi, I'm really glad I found this site and hope some of you lovely people can shed some light on my situation..
I have been seeing my BF for about 2 months and I've got to say it has been a truly unique experience. The 2nd time we met up he told me he had been medicated for ADHD as a child, this was in the 90's. But has not since spoken about himself having it now. From what I have read it is usual for it to continue into adulthood.
Ya, it's not something that ever goes away, it's just the coping mechanisms get better over time.

When we are together we have a fantastic time and I love his company.
It is not quite like any other relationship I've had but it does cause me quite a lot of worry time; he often doesn't respond to texts/messages, forgets to call, doesn't like to plan very far ahead, forgets what he's said, can sometimes be very sexual and other times not at all, a bit all or nothing, we only see each other 1 maybe 2 times a week cause he works loads and has a fairly hectic social life and I feel he is a bit of a commitmentphobe despite him frequently saying he'd like to be married one day. Sadly, the above can feed my insecurities, however in saying all of that I do feel like I can trust this guy, for no other reason than a very strong gut feeling.
I tried to break up with him because I was having a major op and I was all freaked out and he cried, I felt terrible and very quickly reversed that decision. I'm pretty terrified that I am going to fall madly in love with him but am worried if I will ever really feel cherished enough in this relationship.
When and how should I bring up the subject of how is ADHD impacts on his life currently?
He has never had a relationship for longer than 8 months, I get the impression he ends up getting nagged for his randomness.(he is 32)

In any ADHDer/non-ADHDer relationship, there will be times where the non-ADHD partner will feel like they're not cherished; happens sometimes with my wife (who is the ADHDer in our relationship), but that comes and goes, as much as it sucks at the time. But some behaviour flaws aren't just ADHD related...

Prime example, BF popped round last night, had not seen him for nearly 2 weeks cause of surgery, he said I'll take you out Sat, I msg'd today to suggest something we could go and see, arty stuff. He messaged back saying he wasn't sure what his plans were for sat yet but he'd let me know...
Whilst I don't consider myself needy, I would expect him to want to spend time with me, being as we haven't for a while.
Perhaps he's just a douche bag and I'm flogging a dead horse. Yet when he came round last night he was kisses when he arrived, chats and offers of taking me out. I am more than a little confused. Would you consider this ADHD related behaviour, any of you in the know??
From your first post, when you said you doubted his ability to commit, I was about to remind you that it's only been a few months, and it probably isn't anything you need to worry about. Then I read more. If your gut instinct was to bolt, you might want to consider that. Flaking on plans when he was the one to initiate them is simply a douchey move, not just an ADHD thing. In fact, there's plenty of things you mentioned that come up as red flags, at least to me. I don't think it's ADHD that's causing your relationship troubles, it's the rest of his behaviour. ADHD would be the excuse, not the reason.

Who knows, maybe he really does care for you, and is just a spaz. Would that be something you could really deal with on a long term basis?

Hope that's somehow helpful for you.

kittyb21
06-26-14, 01:22 AM
Thank you Ginniebean and Arthas for your advice..
I think you have both confirmed what I already knew :-/
Sadly, BF I think has quite severe ADHD, untreated and often self medicated.
Many of the ADHD behaviours which were unusual for me in a relationship were absolutely fine for me to accept. However, there are others which most definitely are not and you are both right, this relationship is not doable and he is acting like a spaz.
I'm not sure how to cut it all off because I know if I speak to him he'll get all upset and I'll feel bad because he does the 'little boy lost' act pretty well. I fear I may just have to delete him with no explanantion. This makes me feel pretty sad but hey ho I suppose that's just how it goes.
These forums are great, my 9yo son also has ADHD and a few other issues so I will be using it again. And of course probably to ramble on more about soon to be ex BF, as I fear it maybe harder to execute said plan than type it. :-(

xxx

Arthas
06-26-14, 04:47 AM
Best of luck to you, kitty.

I don't think that just cutting things off with no explanation is the best plan. Just try to stay firm when the water works start. It's always harder to do than to talk about.

And yes, stick around! This is still a great place for support, even if you're talking about things with your son, and not a romantic relationship.

Flory
06-26-14, 08:07 AM
What's important to realise is that he may be able to modify his behaviour but expecting him to be a completely different person for the sake of a relationship that fits what you want is unreasonable. What you can change is your approach and how you manage your feelings. You have to understand that even with somebody that doesn't have ADHD shouldn't have to completely change to fit In with somebody else .

We can be blunt and in turn will also appreciate this in other people we don't do vague, or subtle or games. If you want to see us say it don't hint. If you make vague plans expect that we might not realise you were serious and could miss them or do something else.often We don't like to plan ahead because even when we make plans often times we are late etc etc and it feeds into our sense of poor self esteem because people get angry at us then like to use it for ammo in arguments later on. Whic id like to add is futile, consequences need to be immediate.

With ADHD I find that things have to be in the near future in terms of planning. We have a blindness to the future and can get overwhelmed when being pushed and pulled between commitments and dates etc.

I doubt he is a commitment phobe if he is bringing up marriage with you. I would find it hurtful if someone left me with no explanation.

Really the key here is a mutual understanding of what both of you want and frank up front discussions.

stef
06-26-14, 08:15 AM
Maybe it's that he truly does love spending time with you, but the PLANNED OUTINGS freak him out. Are you planning things he really enjoys? (I am not being critical, I mean maybe he "secretly" dreads or dislikes certain types of outings but assumes "well that's where couples go" and will say ok because he wants to make you happy; but then flakes because deep down it's not an outing he would enjoy.)

I realize this sounds completely insane, but that's how some of us function...

kittyb21
06-26-14, 09:47 AM
Thank you Florry and Stef.

I don't want him to change his behaviour and in no way have I ever suggested he does. I find many of his ways refreshing, and in terms of a new relationship it gives plenty of time for reflection and consideration. We have spoken about the forgetting to call etc, he has explained that is just what happens, he forgets often, and that is fine with me, as I don't need constant communication as reassurance.

I do expect though for him to want to spend time with me, I feel quite hurt that he cancelled sat and I also find it quite confusing. He suggested he take me out sat cause I am basically convalescing for 6 weeks and its pretty dull. He even apologised for not being able to help out during the week but he would take me out the weekend.

We haven't really had any planned daytime outings before, my time is quite precious as I have 2 children and I try to keep my romantic life (or lack there of) separate from them.

I am quite direct I think, I have since messaged him telling him when I am free this weekend and hopefully we could meet up at some point. There is little else I can do.

I really hate nagging its exhausting and boring, I do just tend to say it, how it is.
He doesn't like frank up front discussions as he procrastinates terribly and talks everything round in circles.
I have no idea what to do really, so I'll procrastinate some more!!
I am a bit of a soft touch though and do have to consider my feelings in all of this, as I get the impression he desperately wants to be loved but doesn't actually consider his part in it.

I couldn't just cut him off and neither would I, I think I'm just venting on here, sorry :-/
I do think he's probably not helping himself self medicating with illegal substances at times, is this common?
xx

RobboW
06-26-14, 08:17 PM
Very common to self medicate with illegal substances and not necessarily helping things......

That takes away any planned dosage situation to keep him level.

I have to be careful how much coffee I drink. Throwing unknown drugs in the mix would be very random in effect.

kittyb21
06-27-14, 02:29 AM
Thanks RobboW,

Well its a tad stronger than coffee, can't imagine it is much help, I personally think it's escapism, get wasted avoid any real problems :-/

And I love your tag,'time is elastic...', I don't believe I'm ADD but that's pretty much how I feel all of the time!!

xx

kilted_scotsman
06-27-14, 04:44 AM
Self-medicating with psychoactive substances is very common in ADDers.... some of these are legal, some not.

The problem is that these often become entrenched in the persons lifestyle and act as an addictive "go to" place when things get stressful. They also help the individual block the sensations of need, which drive seeking behaviours.

ADD meds aim to provide enough attentional focus without blocking the sensations that lead to seeking behaviours.... so that the individual can prioritise needs, create a structure to move toward getting those needs met and execute the behaviours needed to meet the needs.

Self medicating often results in random dose level and a blocking of the ability to sense underlying needs and can also impair the mobilisation phase.....

self medicating ...even with things as "benign" as caffeine requires self awareness and a baseline to work from.... to often the self medicating begins well before sufficient self awareness develops.

In a situation like the OP..... it's impossible to tell what is going on...

I'd also say that reversing a decision to split up and feeling bad because he cried might indicate you have issues of your own that need to be dealt with before any form of commitment is made.

kittyb21
06-27-14, 05:14 AM
Thanks Kilted Scotsman,

what is 'OP'?

I have a multitude of my own issues, that I'm aware of...My usual stance is avoidance, avoid relationships, avoid the problems...However, I am trying to work on myself continually. I am only in my 30's, so hope that eventually I could have a true loving relationship. The path to that will evidently be a tricky one to travel. :confused:

thanks again xx

kilted_scotsman
06-27-14, 10:14 AM
OP = original post/poster

It is tough to date an ADDer.... even tougher if you have issues of your own.... and tougher still if the ADDer is not particularly self aware or aware of cultural/relational norms.

In my view a relationship containing ADHD requires those involved to develop considerable interpersonal skill.... well beyond that needed in a conventional relationship. If both parties are willing to explore and then put aside their cultural and familial expectations of what a relationship "should" look like and develop from the ground up, based on their own strengths and weaknesses.... then the relationship can be as strong as and possibly more resilient than an NT relationship.

The problem is that this requires BOTH parties to understand own their "stuff" so that open and authentic communication can occur..... this is rare..... often guys find it difficult to communicate their inner sensations and emotions.... and women find letting go of deeply held views around security just as problematic.

It's my view that people in ADDery relationships can learn a lot from the polyamorous community in respect of open communication about sensations and feelings.... when a relationship is outside the "norm"... as every ADD relationship is..... then being able to communicate effectively and with ACCEPTANCE of the other person makes a significant difference to the wellbeing of both partners.

Greengrasshoppe
06-28-14, 07:10 PM
This sounds a lot like my relationship. It's very hard for an insecure person like me to deal with.

TLCisaQT
06-28-14, 11:52 PM
I learned too late how lonely a relationship with somebody with ADHD can end up being and mine didn't start that way! There are so many other potentials out there, if this doesn't work for you, then it doesn't work and that is okay. Continue to work on you and find something that meshes better. good luck whether you choose to stay and work on things, or don't.

kittyb21
06-29-14, 01:46 AM
At the moment I am feeling very hurt, he has not contacted me as he said he would, about whether we were going to hook up this weekend. It is the first time he has done this. Despite being pretty flaky, he has always followed through with an answer at some point. His reasons for this are anyone's guess I suppose.

I have not contacted him again as I feel he needs to do what ever it is he needs to do, and I need to just get on with my life, be kind to myself and learn from the experience.

I have the feeling he has significant communication problems when it comes to anything emotional. I have strong feelings for him and I would've been prepared to work on a lot of stuff together, but I think this is probably quite a futile idea as he is a)in denial about his ADHD, and b)takes a lot of drugs. This combination I imagine is fairly chaotic, I hope for his sake he will be able to address these over time.

I am a very emotional person and am hypersensitive, so this was probably never going to be a great match but I feel pretty sad as he had other qualities which I had not had in a partner before...that's possibly just my overly romantic mind running away with me though!!

xx

Sweetbread
07-15-14, 02:17 PM
Hi kittyb21,

This sound exactly like what is happening to me right now. I have been dating this guy for 6 months now and he has always been on and off of the relationship but this past week has been hurtful.

He has been more flaky to answer my messages. One day he told me I should take it easy and that he doesn't respond well to pushing and it will only make him withdraw more.

I asked him yesterday if we could talk about it, because that the first time Im dating someone with ADD and I want to understand him, but I didn't have any answer.

Im pretty confused now and I don't know what should I do. I decided to do like you and not contacted him while he's doing what he needs to do. So, I was wondering how did it go for you?

Thanks for your answer

Any advice are welcome

kittyb21
07-16-14, 10:08 AM
Hi Sweetbread,

Well, it didn't go well for us, we are no longer together, we agreed mutually that to continue would not be healthy. :-(

To be honest I have no idea what to suggest. My ex had a very, very tough time talking about 'emotional' stuff, to the extreme that if he was messaging something to do with emotions, he'd spell stuff wrong and get his words muddled up. He didn't do this when typing about anything else.

He sent me a message saying that sometimes he just doesn't know what to say. Perhaps your BF experiences the same problems with emotive communication.

I get the feeling my ex pulled away partly because he can not cope with his emotions very well. Maybe he just wasn't that interested anymore? I'm not going to ask the question as I might not like the answer.

I feel incredibly sad as there was just something about him!!

Perhaps give him some space and then set a day/time to meet up and talk.

others on this site are much better at relationship advice than me, and will probably give you some tips on ways forward xx

Sweetbread
07-16-14, 02:19 PM
Thanks for your answer and insight. I am new with this ADD things and I find it helpful to be able to share my doubts with people that have the same experience.

As you mentioned I decided to leave him some space. I don't know when I'll be able to meet him because he seems to be overwhelmed by his work.

Meanwhile, I will try to focus on myself.

geministwin83
07-16-14, 08:58 PM
wow this is so familiar!
Well, since everyone here knows what they are talking about, and I have also read a lot so realizing the way ADD impacted my situation, it seems that this is for the best! It's so hard because, so many men are messed up now and sometimes I feel... okay, maybe, maybe I can deal with this for the long run... I really don't want to date people anymore...but let's not want to be with someone who doesn't want to be with us. I think that's all there is.

For me - because it is so early on and all of a sudden, he went from being in love with me to, changing his mind, it's such a slap in the face. I go from thinking, what I could have done wrong, do what I should have done, to feeling like, what is wrong with me? And from what people are saying, it's not us. And the fact that it was so short lived, I can't see how the relationship would play out... there is so much we haven't done, or that I imagined we could do, so my fantasies aren't getting to play out and it devastates me, because I had so much hope. But it's okay! Let's find someone who wants to be with us :)

Sweetbread
07-17-14, 03:42 PM
Another reason why I don't know what to do is that he never promise me anything, he has always been upfront with ADD and that he's taking medication. A couple of time he told me that at some point I'll feel hurt or let down by him.

He says that he likes spending time with me, and that we need to figure out with time if we are a match.
I noticed after the nice courtship, he started to be a little bit distant but we managed to see each other 1 or 2 times a week. As a lot of people mentioned that but isn't the case for me, he has never forgotten plans we agreed on, been late or not answering text.

His ADD seems to show up when he's stressed out by work or something else. He kinda shut me down, he's flaky with answering my text and rather spend time socializing with friends or new people than spending time with me.
Is it something people with ADD does, is socializing a coping strategy to feel better when overwhelmed ?
Does he need space to calm down and he'll get back, because he never said it was over just that I have to take it easy and don't push him.

Thanks for any insights and support.

Pentax
07-19-14, 07:46 AM
Is this usual in someone with ADHD?



His ADD seems to show up when he's stressed out by work or something else.

Thanks to all contributing to the thread. I'm in a long term relation with someone who sure looks like he has ADHD, but I've only recently started to piece that together after hearing that one of his family members has it. Like you I'm right at the beginning stages of being able to distinguish what is a permanent, un modifiable part of ADHD and what I can expect him or ask him to do.

ToneTone
07-20-14, 12:44 AM
The problem is that it takes ADHDers a lot more time to finish tasks than it takes other people. Furthermore ADHDers are terrible at estimating how long a task will take. I routinely underestimate how long it will take to do something. Add this: feeling overwhelmed with a tasks at work doesn't lead to great self confidence.

So a person without this condition can be at work at 4 p.m., look at their workload, estimate to a partner on the phone that they will be done by 6:30 p.m. and be fairly accurate. Many ADHDers can't do that.

Over time, I have learned that it's better to say clearly and decisively, "I won't be done until late tonight. But I will be available tomorrow afternoon and Sunday." But speaking decisively requires you to "accept" your condition and not apologize or feel guilty because of it. And that takes time.

Stepping back a bit, ADHD can makes it hard for people to know whether they are really interested in another person. Knowing you're interested sounds easy, but consider the person whose brain jumps around and who often feels overwhelmed by the details of life. It's hard for the brain to slow down and connect with our feelings to know that yes, we want to hang out with this other person.

Add ADHD impulsiveness to the mix, and you can see the problem. In the moment, I'm enjoying my conversation with "Mary," and I might ask her out and I might go out with her and I can be lively for the first couple of times. But eventually, it will become clear that I'm not that interested in "Mary" and yet, all my actions have indicated otherwise.

So ironically, it's not necessarily the ADHD that is ruining what would otherwise be a great connection--though I'm sure that happens. Rather (in my case), the ADHD caused problems at the front end by leading me to ask out and date people I liked in the moment, but who I wasn't all that interested in.

I hope this helps. The bottom line: if the ADHD gets in the way early, then it's probably a bad sign for the future of that relationship.

Tone