View Full Version : ADD is affecting our relationship - please help!

07-04-14, 05:21 PM
Hi everyone. I found this forum after my boyfriend and I got into another disagreement on how he never listens and I need advice. A little background: we've been together a little over a year and we're in our mid to late 20s. My boyfriend has actually never been diagnosed but numerous family members (including parent and sibling) have been diagnosed and it's always been in the back of his mind that he probably has some form of it.

My boyfriend is wonderful. He's nice and caring and we have fun together. A few months into our relationship he told me he has a bad habit of not listening or interrupting people. I had noticed but honestly just thought it was me so i ignored it. But over time I've noticed it's not just me - it's his friends, family, roommates, he even said he interrupted his boss at work one time. I also usually have to repeat what I said at least 2 or 3 times and I find that a lot of time he's in his own little world. He either heard me but didn't process it, heard me but interrupted/changed the subject or completely didn't hear me at all. I've tried so hard to be patient and supportive because I love him but it's starting to take a toll on our relationship. I know he cares about me but I feel like I've gotten to a point where I don't even want to talk to him about important things because the majority of the time he doesn't hear me or doesn't process it. I know it's not his fault but my feelings get hurt a lot. He says he's working on getting better but I'm not really sure what he's doing because honestly nothing has changed. Or it'll change for a day and he'll be super focused and then it's back to the same way as it was before.

So I need advice...I'm honestly not very patient so it's definitely something I could stand to work on but how do you all work with your partners on their diagnosis? What can I do better? What can I say? How can I help him and us?

Thank you!!!

07-05-14, 06:52 AM
My husband is adhd-pi and I am combined. His level of distraction and selective listening is very frustrating at times. What helps me is to make sure there are no other distractions when I need to have him hear and remember something or tune in and listen to me. That means kids are doing something else. tv and radio is off, phone is put away, good eye contact and an even tone of voice. This isnt fool proof, but generally once those things are done, and the fact that I always tell him that what I am about to say is important to me, he is able to really hear what I have to say about 75% of the time. Like I said, even with those things in place he doesnt always pay attention but it makes him more likely to pay attention and retain what I have said.

07-05-14, 08:45 AM
Hi, I'm the version of your boyfriend in my relationship! Haha! On his behalf, let me just apologize profusely. I drive my husband absolutely insane, I'm crazy lucky that he's stuck around for a decade! Everything Sara said is absolutely spot on correct. The one thing that I try to always get people to do is something as simple as saying my name and pausing before talking. I need a good moment to shift focus, no matter how pointless the first thing I was doing is.

Something that would go a long way to figuring out a system that works for YOU would be to sit down and figure out a plan when you're both calm. If he just missed something you said for the millionth time, you're going to be frustrated, and he's going to shut down. Just bring it up when you both have time to talk, and see what he thinks might help.

Make sure there's a way for you to tell when he's switched gears and is listening, and make sure he knows it's ok to ask for you to repeat something. A lot of us have gone through life getting amazingly good at faking conversations because we've been embarrassed and shamed too often for not hearing something. Let him know that the second he realized he's missed something, that it's ok to ask for clarification, and do your best not to get frustrated when you need to repeat something possibly a few times.

The thing with ADHD is that it never really goes away. You might get marginally better with meds, and you might pick up tricks that help you out, but it's something that will be there forever. If you look at it as a part of you, though, like a person in a wheelchair, it helps with the disconnect. I mean, you wouldn't ask a paraplegic to "try harder" at walking, right? I know it's hard, but have some sympathy with your boyfriend if he does seem like he's making some effort. It really is insanely hard to focus or hear sometimes.