View Full Version : Should I assume my BF is losing interest or is it his ADHD?


Greengrasshoppe
10-11-14, 06:26 PM
How can I ask him? We work together and it is really stressful right now for everyone at our job. I initially checked in with him a lot to make sure he's ok. But he rarely asked me how I'm doing. So I stopped checking in. He hasn't called or texted me outside of work in a couple weeks. That's when we last went out too. When I start telling him about my day, he starts looking around like he's bored. He has ADHD so his attention is bad but it still hurts. He seems to be growing distant so I'm just giving him some space. Earlier today he stopped by my desk 3 or 4 times, once was to tell me one of his pets may be dying (they're like his kids to him so I get his stress). But I haven't heard from him since.

pooka
10-11-14, 08:15 PM
My advice is to just talk to him directly. It's not doing either of you any good to try to read his mind or play guessing games. It doesn't have to be an accusatory conversation, you can just ask him what's been going on. ADDers can sometimes have difficulty communicating.

silivrentoliel
10-11-14, 10:46 PM
if his pets are dying, chances are he's quite overwhelmed, and is trying to cope best he can between that, work, and having a relationship

VeryTired
10-12-14, 11:40 AM
Well, another question would be: does it make a difference whether he's losing interest or it's "just" his ADHD? You have to decide whether what feels to you like not enough attention is OK for you. Can you be comfortable with a relationship that doesn't offer the kinds of closeness you expect? And if you feel you can't talk about this concern, what kind of relationship are you having? Do you need to be able to talk about concerns that arise?

dvdnvwls
10-12-14, 01:44 PM
I agree with VeryTired's point of view, when the following extra lines are added on:
_______________

Remember that he may be going through a temporary bad time, and that things may improve again; also remember that that might not be the case - that this really could be the way things are going to go from now on.
_______________


Being constantly checked up on can become tiresome. It isn't universally appreciated, though some people do like it. It can convince him that you think there's something wrong with him - like otherwise why would you keep asking.

dvdnvwls
10-12-14, 03:28 PM
How can I ask him? We work together and it is really stressful right now for everyone at our job. I initially checked in with him a lot to make sure he's ok. But he rarely asked me how I'm doing. So I stopped checking in. He hasn't called or texted me outside of work in a couple weeks. That's when we last went out too. When I start telling him about my day, he starts looking around like he's bored. He has ADHD so his attention is bad but it still hurts. He seems to be growing distant so I'm just giving him some space. Earlier today he stopped by my desk 3 or 4 times, once was to tell me one of his pets may be dying (they're like his kids to him so I get his stress). But I haven't heard from him since.

The parts I've bolded in your post may be parts where you're accidentally assuming his brain works the way yours does.
When he doesn't check on you, it may be (for example) that he's just being respectful of your space or your autonomy, or thinking that you're the boss who does all the checking up, or a lot of other things.
When he looks around while you talk, he's more likely to be showing discomfort (or outright pain) than boredom.

sarahsweets
10-13-14, 04:24 AM
At this point I'd recommend asking him if he still wants a relationship with you or not. It does seem like he's pulling away for whatever reason.

Greengrasshoppe
10-13-14, 07:17 AM
Well, another question would be: does it make a difference whether he's losing interest or it's "just" his ADHD? You have to decide whether what feels to you like not enough attention is OK for you. Can you be comfortable with a relationship that doesn't offer the kinds of closeness you expect? And if you feel you can't talk about this concern, what kind of relationship are you having? Do you need to be able to talk about concerns that arise?

Thanks all. To answer the question above, it certainly matters. If it's his ADHD, then his behavior is largely out of his control. He might not even realize what he's doing or how it affects me. In that case I have to decide if and how I'll deal with the situation. If he's losing interest, the decision has been made for me.

Fuzzy12
10-13-14, 08:04 AM
Great posts. I just wanted to add that it could be both. I mean, losing interest easily seems to be a common problem with ADHDers.

Anyway, talk to him. We can only make guesses based on our own experiences and we could be totally off.

VeryTired
10-13-14, 01:24 PM
Greengrasshoppe--

Yes, I understand that. But what I meant was, actually both things are beyond his control. We don't choose to have disabilities OR to be interested/non-interested in others. So it's important for you to have a clear sense of what is OK for you. If it is his ADHD which causes you to feel he's losing interest, that won't necessarily change even if he seeks treatment. Just something to think about.

BOCK102
10-16-14, 11:04 AM
Hey,

I have lost pretty much every relationship I have been in because of my lack of attention and apparent interest. I'm in another relationship now and my inattention is a really big problem because my girlfriend thinks I don't care what she's talking about. She knows I have ADHD but rather than speaking to me about how she's feeling she starts arguments which I find hard to take as she knows I have a problem. My advice is talk to him and without getting angry tell him how you are feeling.

With regard to him not contacting you outside of work for a few weeks this could be ADHD or it could be he's lost interest. I have had two long term relationships in the past and at the end of both I went a few weeks without putting any real effort in. However I still really loved both girls, it's just sometimes I'm in my own world.

Hope this helps,

Bock

Phrazzled
10-19-14, 01:49 PM
Just ask him point blank. "I feel like you've been distant lately. Is it me or <insert other stuff here>?"

ToneTone
10-20-14, 09:40 PM
I'm totally with VeryTired here: I don't really think there is a difference between whether he's losing interest or whether it's his ADHD that blocks him from showing interest in a way that's adequate to you.

A better question to ask, it seems to me, is whether you can deal with the behavior, whether it's caused by a condition, caused by stress in his life, or caused by the way his mother raised him or caused by the location of the moon.

Knowing a person has a condition does not necessarily make neglectful behavior easier to accept and process. I was married to a woman with borderline personality. Yes, she couldn't help it--probably was a result of biology and emotional abuse she grew up with. My awareness of this didn't make her random and nasty lashing out at me, her constant need for reassurance, any easier.

What would have made things easier is:

1. If she had owned up to the destructive effect of her random and explosive verbal attacks on me.

2. If she had come up with steps or a process minimize the impact of her lashing out. (She could stay away or say she needed time alone when she was about to attack me.)

3. If she had created some system or ritual to repair the damage aggressively after the fact.

She did none of these three things. So no, she apparently couldn't help her attacks. So what? I couldn't stand living with her. I found it impossible to relax and trust her and feel secure. Knowing she had a condition didn't make things any easier.

In fact, all of us need to be aware of how our weaknesses, issues and conditions--whether medical or non-medical-- negatively affect our partners.

Good luck.

Tone

Pentax
10-21-14, 07:39 AM
Knowing a person has a condition does not necessarily make neglectful behavior easier to accept and process. I was married to a woman with borderline personality. Yes, she couldn't help it--probably was a result of biology and emotional abuse she grew up with. My awareness of this didn't make her random and nasty lashing out at me, her constant need for reassurance, any easier. i'm sorry that you had to go through that, Tone. You've got such a great heart and mind. And are after truth and growing. Wishing you well, now and in the future.

In fact, all of us need to be aware of how our weaknesses, issues and conditions--whether medical or non-medical-- negatively affect our partners. yes, yes. And once we see our weaknesses and issues, do something about them, and keep trying. Not easy, but it's love and honesty in action.

Tone, my mother was a borderline plus. I'm sorry you had to live with that being the brunt of lashing out. That sudden breakout of it is so terrible.

Your words about it in your post gave me a reference point for why i'm having so much pain as a result of a certain kind of interaction offline. It's old pain. Thank you. Seeing more clearly always helps one go forward, even though as you say well, seeing isn't in itself a step in improvement. Thanks again.

ToneTone
10-21-14, 01:16 PM
Pentax,

Thanks for the kind note.

I feel for you having a mother with borderline personality. Actually my ex's mother might have had it--she just wasn't diagnosed with it. I can only imagine how difficult growing up in such circumstances could be. People with that condition take the mildest of feedback as nasty criticism. It's a paradox: the person with borderline will lash out in the most vicious nasty way ... and then respond defensively if you make the mildest, most respectful criticism or even suggestion. My ex couldn't distinguish between a nasty attack and me asking "Hey, I thought you said you were going to stop by the grocery store this evening."

My brother once complimented my ex how well she dressed (she dressed extremely well). He said something like, "X, we can never catch you looking less than wonderful." She laughed it off at the time and then later told me she was enraged and insulted. How dare he insult her for saying that she always looked wonderful!

Hang in there. You had it hard. No way around that. And that's not something one easily grows past. Glad you are here on the forum and here in the world. Be gentle with yourself. I was listening to a report on NPR the other day talking about making inner-dialogue constructive. The report focused on women suffering anorexia, who are relentlessly critical of themselves. The researcher said that a good technique for all of us is to sometimes talk about ourselves in the third person--by name. Using our name apparently gets us to talk about ourselves like we would talk to a good friend. And most of us would never say to good friends the negative stuff we say to ourselves. We would be much more understanding of the struggles of a friend who had our issues.

Good luck.

Tone

Greengrasshoppe
10-29-14, 07:36 AM
I talked to him and said things seem awkward between us. He said he noticed it too but wasn't sure why. So I guess he wasn't even really aware of his change in behavior. I told him I was also giving him space because he seemed to need it, but he said he doesn't really need it. He then said "as long as you can deal with me." I asked him what he meant by that and he said his depression over losing his pet, job stress and being "even more F'd up than usual." I told him I want to help him through it if I can. Finally I asked him how long he was going to let things stay awkward between us. He said he was going to wait a while then ask what's up. lol. So I guess it was just stress.

TheChemicals
10-29-14, 09:15 AM
I talked to him and said things seem awkward between us. He said he noticed it too but wasn't sure why. So I guess he wasn't even really aware of his change in behavior. I told him I was also giving him space because he seemed to need it, but he said he doesn't really need it. He then said "as long as you can deal with me." I asked him what he meant by that and he said his depression over losing his pet, job stress and being "even more F'd up than usual." I told him I want to help him through it if I can. Finally I asked him how long he was going to let things stay awkward between us. He said he was going to wait a while then ask what's up. lol. So I guess it was just stress.

too bad....i was going to ask you out if it didnt work out between u 2.

VeryTired
10-29-14, 10:57 AM
So, greeengh, how do you feel about that? Is this working out or not?

daveddd
10-29-14, 09:44 PM
The parts I've bolded in your post may be parts where you're accidentally assuming his brain works the way yours does.
When he doesn't check on you, it may be (for example) that he's just being respectful of your space or your autonomy, or thinking that you're the boss who does all the checking up, or a lot of other things.
When he looks around while you talk, he's more likely to be showing discomfort (or outright pain) than boredom.

this should be in a book or something

especially the looking around in discomfort



unfortunately , most likely this will never change

asilaydying84
10-29-14, 10:20 PM
How can I ask him? We work together and it is really stressful right now for everyone at our job. I initially checked in with him a lot to make sure he's ok. But he rarely asked me how I'm doing. So I stopped checking in. He hasn't called or texted me outside of work in a couple weeks. That's when we last went out too. When I start telling him about my day, he starts looking around like he's bored. He has ADHD so his attention is bad but it still hurts. He seems to be growing distant so I'm just giving him some space. Earlier today he stopped by my desk 3 or 4 times, once was to tell me one of his pets may be dying (they're like his kids to him so I get his stress). But I haven't heard from him since.

Ive had adhd since I was 7, im now 30 and im telling you to straight up ask him whats going on. if hes on meds for it that has a life changing degree to it. I would not blame his adhd for not giving you attention. you need to educate yourself on the disease. one of the symptoms is getting bored and giving up on whatever it is hes bored with. but when it comes to a relationship I promise you its not his adhd. ask him whats up and communicate with him. if he doesn't want to discuss it then wait till hes ready to. love is something that a disease like adhd can manipulate. at least with me anyways. maybe im wrong but I doubt it. good luck to you and adhd sucks to have.

Greengrasshoppe
10-29-14, 10:47 PM
So, greeengh, how do you feel about that? Is this working out or not?
I was a little annoyed that he sensed the awkwardness but didn't show any urgency to find out what was up. Everyone reacts differently to stress; I think I can deal with it if this is how he is when he's really stressed.

Greengrasshoppe
10-29-14, 10:51 PM
Ive had adhd since I was 7, im now 30 and im telling you to straight up ask him whats going on. if hes on meds for it that has a life changing degree to it. I would not blame his adhd for not giving you attention. you need to educate yourself on the disease. one of the symptoms is getting bored and giving up on whatever it is hes bored with. but when it comes to a relationship I promise you its not his adhd. ask him whats up and communicate with him. if he doesn't want to discuss it then wait till hes ready to. love is something that a disease like adhd can manipulate. at least with me anyways. maybe im wrong but I doubt it. good luck to you and adhd sucks to have.
Thanks but I'm not sure what the bolded means. I talked to him (described above). I actually have ADHD too.

Greengrasshoppe
10-29-14, 10:53 PM
this should be in a book or something

especially the looking around in discomfort



unfortunately , most likely this will never change
I should've asked before... What would he be uncomfortable about? You mean all his stresses?

Thanks everybody!

dvdnvwls
10-30-14, 01:00 AM
I should've asked before... What would he be uncomfortable about? You mean all his stresses?

Thanks everybody!

Some possibilities:

Fear of not meeting expectations (whether hidden or explicit)

Fear of losing the [relationship, friendship, job... whatever might be at stake]

Feeling pressured to answer questions that because of ADHD he has no way (or a seriously limited way) of knowing how to answer

Fear of agreeing to something where it turns out he didn't know what he was getting into

Not wanting to be put in the position of looking like an idiot in front of others (and other social-anxiety types of things)

There are more, I'm sure...

Greengrasshoppe
10-30-14, 06:56 AM
Oh interesting... Thanks!!^^

TLCisaQT
11-03-14, 12:20 AM
Glad things worked out okay for you in the end.