View Full Version : ADD (not yet diagnosed) gf. How can I broach the subject?

08-27-14, 02:18 PM

Sorry if this is a tad long winded.

I hope you can help and/or throw some light on the subject.

I'm a early 50s guy living with my late 50s girlfriend. We've been (living) together almost a year now.

We generally get along very well. We share very strong political and ethical beliefs. We have similar social interests. We love each other dearly but she's so unreliable and flaky.

On our first date, at the end, she had to rush off as she'd forgotten a meeting with a client. She's a photographer.
Little did I know that this but regularly forgetting things was to be a part of how she operates. He MO. Socially and professionally.

We've made plans to do things then last minute she'll get a better offer? then ask to do that instead. I tell her how it irks me but will if course say "if that's what you'd rather do then please do it"
But this doesn't bode well for a good relationship where anything we plan could get trumped but a better offer that came up last minute or that ah just plain forgot to enter in her/our calendar.

I soon started to see a pattern of disorganized, procrastinatory behavior.
Please! I'd forget many things too if it wasn't for my iCal & Reminders apps on my iPhone etc.

Anyway I started to get concerned? relieved? when I started relating her behaviors to ADD/ADHD. Chronic lateness, not seeing chores through, often apologizing to her clients for forgetting to do her work in a timely manner. She also has a very low self-esteem and generally ignores chores that are tedious by doing more fun things like surfing Facebook (then getting depressed as a result of how well get friends are doing and what a failure she is).

I'm not sure how to approach her about this. I feel like saying "do you think you are ADD?" But feel that will offend her. In fact I have already offended her by telling her of my frustrations of her ADD-like behavior.

I have also hinted at helping (well 'enabling' maybe?) her organize her daily life by creating a 'shared' iCal calendar that we can both access, amend and even add events too. But she'll still ask me "what are you doing Friday night?" After I have already posted to our joint calendar 'Rich has his daughter over night' for example.
One thing she does pay attention to though is our todo items on our (also shared) Reminders app.
But I fee that's partly because many reminders I set repeat with notifications daily. The reminders pop up on her and my screen. Yay! ...... Kinda.

So sorry for the typically verbose and long-winded explanation. I'm a Brit ...... That's how we were raised :)

I'm struggling here and want help on how best to tackle this as she, too, gets very frustrated at how she is.

Thanks for any advice you can offer.

Rich in NYC

08-28-14, 04:41 AM
Well it's tempting to read about a disorder and then attribute it to a loved one when we see there are issues to work out. It does sound very ADHD though but I wonder if she would see it that way ? With an ADHD person you can make lists for them, set reminders,nag,cajole etc for all of the things that have to be done but it honestly won't matter if the ADHD person doesn't buy into it or follow through on their own. When you say she changes plans for a better offer do you mean when something fun is planned she will pick the more fun thing to do or do you mean she realizes she forgot to do something and has to change plans ?

08-28-14, 05:58 AM
Do you have contact with any of her immediate family? Ask them what she was like growing up. If she was the same she is most likely ADD but be gentle with discussing it.....

You could accidentally see a youtube vid together :P

08-28-14, 08:58 PM
Hi, Rich--

Welcome. You've come to a great place for learning and getting more info about the wide world of ADHD. I suggest you do some reading back in time here on the Non-ADD Partner board of the Forums. There's years of stuff there! Just reading along, following the discussions can be very informative, even if they aren't directed at any specific question that's on your mind.

It's dangerous to try to make amateur diagnoses, but much of what you said sounded to me as though it could be consistent with ADHD. It's hard to raise this possibility with someone who may be made uncomfortable by the topic, but if your girlfriend does have ADHD, you are probably going to end up needing to talk about it at some point or another.

I suggest that you do some more reading (or video-watching) and then, if you still think your girlfriend may have ADHD, ask her if she will do some reading/watching also. You can ask her to do it for you, for your sake, if she doesn't feel like doing it for herself.

When I first thought my partner (also in his 50s) might have ADHD, I went to a Barnes and Noble and spent most of a day reading my way through every book on the shelf about ADHD. Then I picked two books, one for me and one for him, bought them and brought them home. I told him why I thought he might have ADHD, and asked him if he would ready the book I brought him. I'm not sure how much he did actually read, but he did agree, quite soon, that he needed to see a psychiatrist for a diagnosis. It was a very difficult emotional time for him at first, but he saw a wonderful doctor, got the diagnosis, started treatment with medication and therapy, and his life has improved enormously as a result. So for him--for us--it was really worth it.

Good luck to you, and your girlfriend. I hope you'll us know what you decide to do and what happens--