View Full Version : Is it his ADHD or Is he Just Not Interested?

12-28-14, 11:24 PM
To summarize:
--Met a guy online dating site. He initiated contact. This was early October. I had not yet moved to his city but would be moving there early November. We maintained contact that month and moved it over to texting.
--After about a month of talking via email/text/phone calls I felt he wasn't interested as he would sometimes take HOURS to reply to texts and would go 2-3 days and not say anything. (Keep in mind, he was married for 11 years, has 2 kids that he gets 10 days a month and he travels the US every other week for work as well).
--At that point I sent him a text saying I wished him well. He immediately texted me back saying he really hoped we could have a date and meet and he was sorry and asked if he could call me. I said he could( this would be our first real phone call as we had been just texting).
--He called and explained that he was sorry; that he WAS interested, and that he is just a bad communicator.
--3rd week of November, I had finally moved to his city. He asked when he could take me out. I said "soon I hope". He never replied to the text so 18 hours later I said "Good luck, you're not really interested, etc".
--He replied to that text within 2 hours. I ignored. 15 minutes later he texts again asking if he can call me. I told him he could. He called, apologized, and said he had just been busy with family and forgot to respond. We set the first date up for the next weekend at that point.
--Have first date. I am instantly smitten as is he I can tell. Conversation flows, definite chemistry, etc. He talked A LOT. He also flitted around from one topic to another. I had rapid fire questions coming at me. He apologized and mentioned "Sorry, it's my ADHD". I brushed it off, thought nothing of it.
--He follows up after first date, calls next day to thank me for a good night, posted on Facebook how he had a great night out with a new friend (me) etc. A few days later he asked when he could take me ice skating as we had talked about on first date. I said "maybe the weekend of the 6th". He said "sounds like a plan".
--Needless to say, we never did go ice skating. It is like he forgot that he even offered to take me. Instead that week rolls around and he "hints" at seeing me and says he may or may not be in town and he may or may not see his friends that weekend. I tell him to just call me after the new year if he is that busy. I think that upset him and he says he would like to see me way before then.
--The weekend of the 6th we DO have a date, but the ice skating was never mentioned again. I swear it is like he completely forgot!! We have the date, but he didn't text me that whole day and 6:00 rolls around and I assume I was being stood up. He texts me at 6:15 to say he is on his way, but running late. I am upset but look over it. He arrives, we have another very lovely date, all is well.
--Early this month he went 3 days without texting me so I shot him a casual text and he replies "I miss you" and he also said "I think you are totally over me". I asked him to elaborate but he never did; just changed the subject. The next day I send him another "I think you are not interested in me text" Again, as always, he picks up the phone, called me, assured me he is very interested in me and tells me "it is like you are just looking for reasons why this won't work. I think this could be the start of something good".
--We have another date a week later. He cooked me dinner and all was lovely.

My concern is this: On THREE different occassions now I have had to tell him (due to his lack of communication) that I feel he is not interested. He always picks up the phone, calls immediately, and reassures me that is not the case. He has said "I am very into you", I'm a bad communicator, you should call/text me more (I hardly ever initiate contact, maybe 3 times in the 2 months), I am interested in you, I want to see you again, etc".

Well, here we are now. I have not heard a word from him since Tuesday night (it is Sunday now) when he wished me a happy holiday. The only other time he has went that long without texting was Thanksgiving week when he had a ton of family over. He had mentioned last week that he would help me paint this week and that we would probably run into each other over the holiday weekend. Ha. Not only did he not come help me paint (we didn't have concrete plans) but he couldn't even bother to text me since Tuesday (5 days ago).

Should I take his silence as not interested or assume he is overwhelmed with family/holiday stuff? The crazy thing is we saw each other last weekend and he seemed 100% interested in me, asking to cook me dinner, saying how much he had missed me, how beautiful I am, how he had wanted to send me flowers at work, how I am too good for him/too good to be true, etc. And now I am feeling "shut out" or like he has moved on from me. I can give a lot more details but I feel I have already written a book. Just don't understand the lack of communication and don't want to be blaming his ADHD when it could be that he just doesn't like me. (At this point he has mentioned his ADHD on 2 out of 3 dates so I feel he wants to make me well aware that he has it).

12-29-14, 09:48 AM
I get your frustration and it may be attributed to adhd. The thing is you need to look at it like....if he never changed would you be happy? Could you tolerate his inability to remain consistent? Unfortunately what you are going through is quite common in adhd relationships. Its hard to deal with. You need to find what will make you happy and if he isn't it or never changes then you may have to move on.

12-29-14, 11:19 AM
Hi, ChicagoGirl--

Here's the thing: for a non-ADHD person in a relationship with an ADHD person, it can often seem as if there is no difference between ADHD and not being interested. If for you, someone being interested in you means that they think of you when you're not there, initiate contact, remember promises, make plans, stick to plans--well, then your boyfriend's ADHD may be the functional equivalent of a lack of interest.

When I was getting to know my partner, before he was diagnosed with ADHD, I kept thinking "He really, really is interested in me even though his behavior frequently says the opposite." And he kept telling me that--because it was how he felt. But somehow I thought, for a long time, that this meant that some day things would change and become "better." They never became "better"--in fact, in many ways they got "worse."

My partner is a good guy and he knows how I feel abut all this and he tries very hard to find ways of giving me what I need. But his ADHD really, really does make him act in ways that to me = lack of interest. I know that's not his intention, and I know that many of his behaviors are not choices he is making. But I also know what I feel and what I need. So it's very hard. I would not have chosen to be in this relationship if I had known all this at the outset, and we both struggle with these issues almost every day.

If you read through the old posts on this board, you'll see that many others have had problems like the ones you've described. So that is something to think about. But even if ADHD is not involved, ask yourself if you want to have a relationship that involves this much work for you in maintaining connections, this much forgetting and confusion about plans, etc. Maybe learning more about ADHD will make you feel better about what's frustrating in this relationship now. But please don't make the mistake that I once did, of thinking that it will all change or get better. He may learn some ways to avoid hurting you and you may be able to change how you respond to his actions and omissions. But it is very unlikely that he will change, which is why the very wise Sarah asked you how you will feel if he doesn't change. Can you do the work of change and acceptance--and do you wish to make this choice? It can be hard for both of you if you do, and only you can decide if the love and connection and joy in your relationship is so valuable to you that you want to struggle with the difficulties.

Wishing you all the best, and hoping you'l keep in touch and let us know how it goes--

12-29-14, 11:53 AM
Thank you both for the quick reply. I have really desperately needed someone to talk to in a bad bad way.

So, first question then: It is completely normal for those with ADHD to go DAYS without speaking to someone they are dating? I mean, I do realize it was a holiday week and he had his kids part of the time and he was with family as well, but FIVE days of no communication is a bit ridiculous to me, especially since I could see on Facebook that he was online NUMEROUS times a day and had time to go out with friends. It is even more hurtful because I have told him THREE times now that the lack of communication bothers me. It takes all of 30 seconds to send a text to let someone know you haven't forgotten them. I feel like I am obviously not that important to him.

Secondly, I feel I have given him an "out" THREE times now as mentioned. I have told him "Hey, I like you, you're a great guy, but I don't feel you are really interested, I wish ya the best". He has had three opportunities and each and every time he hopped on the phone as quick as he could and called me and reassured me that he IS interested and wants to continue seeing me, etc. But now here we are, complete silence again..

I feel like I could write a book about him, to further demonstrate how I see his ADHD: he talks 90 mph, jumps from topic to topic, is late to everything (so he tells me), says he is very spur of the moment and spontaneous, doesn't make plans (he showed up to 2nd date with no set plans!! but we had a great time looking at Christmas lights and going to dinner/jazz), says he gets bored easily, took him 7 years to get a degree and was a poor student (it is my understanding they don't function well in school), I could go on and on. You get the gist. I also know his ex wife cheated on him and now I wonder if that is because of his lack of attention??

Lastly, something that kinda worries me is on the first date he mentioned another ex called the cops on him. Something to do with him being at a bar with her and 2 guys came into the bathroom looking to fight him. I didn't get the whole story. I also found out from him last week that his brothers fiance called the cops on him when he was fighting with his brother (but not physically, they were just arguing). Is fighting/anger problems common? He has been nothing but a complete gentleman to me.

My head is just spinning because I don't know whether to chalk this up to him losing interest in me or whether to blame his ADHD. He has told me numerous times that I should call/text him. I don't because I don't want to appear clingy. He also told me over a week ago "don't give up on me" and now it appears he's given up on me. I am so hurt.

12-29-14, 03:53 PM
Well, I'll ask you this way: does it matter whether these things are part of ADHD or not? The question is, can you accept them, are you OK with them, can you live this way? Yes or no. ADHD may be a reason or part of a reason, but that's just a name for what you are experiencing.

I know that "could write a book" feeling. But--is that how you want to live? Don't you want to write the book of you, or to co-author the book of an us composed of you + someone who is equally aware of you? Inattention could be in the mix for most, maybe all of the things you've mentioned, sure. Yet I think you have made it very, very clear that your boyfriend's issues are HIS issues. It's not about you. It's not about your relationship. It has nothing to do with how much he loves you or if you are interesting enough.

The way you describe things makes it sound to me as though this relationship is not working for you. No comment on whose "fault" that is, or if there's a fault. Just an observation based on what you are saying and how you say it. It sounds as though this relationship--as it really is--is driving you crazy, not making you happy.

One more thought for you: my partner did many of things you mention here (especially the seeming to forget me for days at a time thing) before he was diagnosed with ADHD and started treatment. Now, it's extremely different. If he had not decided to take medication and go to therapy, I would not have been able to stay with him. Those things are central to his successes in life, and to our being together. It was his choice whether or not to get treatment, and it was my choice whether or not to be in a relationship with him. There are still many problems, and I often feel he can't "see" or attend to me, but no longer in the ways you describe your boyfriend doing now.

Two pieces of advice: first, get yourself a copy of Gina Pera's book "Is It You, me or AdUlt ADD?" which is written specially for the partners of people with ADHD. You will find it very helpful. Second, think about whether you are intent upon this relationship working because you just moved to a new place … maybe it's not right for you, but if you don't have a lot of friends and contacts in your new city yet, perhaps so you are very intent on this guy even though it sounds as though he's causing you a lot of frustration. Just a possibility to consider ...

12-29-14, 05:30 PM
No, I absolutely can not live this way. Not knowing why I am not "good enough", why just days before he was all "I miss you", "you're the reason I smile in the morning", etc and then days on end of no communication. It is driving me batty as evidenced in my rant above.
I texted him an hour ago to "end" it, which really wasn't even necessary as his silence to me represents the end. I told him he obviously wanted nothing to do with me, blah, blah blah and he replied "that's not it at all..." then went on to talk about how he was busy last week and had his kids and just got them again yesterday and that is seems like his life is complicated and "I apologize for that". I pointed out that sending a text takes all of 30 seconds and he has yet to reply to that.

I really can't live this way; I don't need constant attention but if you can go 5 days without speaking to me, that is all I need to know. Maybe we have only been talking since October, and maybe we have only had 3 dates since I moved to town,but no way can I live day in and day out wondering what is so wrong with ME that I'm not worth a text.

Little Missy
12-29-14, 07:03 PM
I have a lot of empathy for you and I am saying this in the kindest way possible. Let him go. :)