View Full Version : I think I am sabotaging my relationship

10-23-15, 02:53 PM
Hello...found this forum just yesterday and would like some advice

My girlfriend and I have been together for the past 10 months. We are both divorced and she is still dealing with an emotionally abusive ex. She has told me that she has ADHD and has told me that she has trouble focusing and getting things done. She is always late and tries really hard to get ready and going on time, it just rarely happens.

I have been patient with her and try to be understanding of all the things that she has trouble with. When it takes her two hours to get ready I just tell her that she is worth the wait, and when we are late to events I downplay it.

I haven't looked into ADHD until just this week to try to learn as much as I can about it and how it will impact our relationship.

So now that I am looking into it, I am finding a lot of things that are happening between us and learning how to help her and deal with all the stresses that it causes me.

One issue we are having is that she brings up things about old boyfriends without thinking, and I have been getting upset about some of them. I try not to, but have told her that I dont really want to hear the stories about her old now she is trying not to tell me about anything that may make me upset.

I realize I have been a world class ***, and love her dearly. I really didn't know that when she tells me about these things that she really had no idea that it would upset me or that she was saying them in ways that I could not understand. I made the mistake of telling her that I don't ever want to hear X's name again, as they had broken up because he treated her badly.

It has only happened a few times, and I try to tell her that I am not really mad, but she takes it hard and I can see that she doesn't understand what the big deal is.

I have been reading up on ADHD all week, and learning quite a bit. I know that it is my issue with this one. I think that the problem gets compounded because I sometimes feels like she is not present in the relationship. Now I know that she doesn't do it on purpose. She does tell me she loves me, but sometimes she is so caught up in something that she doesn't show it. Then when she sees what she is doing, she will feel bad and hug me and tell me that she is sorry.

Anyone else experience this and got through it?

10-24-15, 06:19 AM
I am not an adhd partner, I am the one with adhd but I wanted to commend you for trying so hard to help and understand your girlfriend. You have no idea how many of us have been treated like garbage for our issues.

10-24-15, 10:52 AM
Hi, Snuffelufagas,

Welcome to ADDF! I think you will find this place is an amazing resource for learning about ADHD, and if you read backwards through the earlier discussions on the Non-ADD Partner Support board, you'll find that many people have raised similar concerns to yours. Even if it's an old thread, it may really help you to see what the conversation was before you got here.

I have found that my partner (who has ADHD--I don't) often has trouble when I ask him not to talk about something. It's almost as if my saying that makes him mention the thing I don't want to hear even more. And even when he really understands that something he is saying hurts my feelings, that doesn't always mean he is able to stop saying it. I don't understand why it works that way, but I see that it does--and that he can't really help it.

It's tough, because he really can't help it, and sometimes I really can't tolerate it. I try to remember that when he does this, it's not because he doesn't care about me, but that only helps partially. Maybe some one else has better answers.

The not being present thing is very real and very unlikely to change. That is a very typical manifestation of ADHD in a relationship context. I think it helps if you can both talk about it in a very real way, and recognize what you both feel. Understanding is important.

I think you are doing a great job trying to learn about ADHD and understand your girlfriend. I hope you keep posting here and let us know how you both are doing.

10-24-15, 06:46 PM
Folks with ADHD are pretty good at separating the past from the present. Basically we just move on. Chances are that if you mentioned an ex of your own, she wouldn't have a problem with it.

Both my husband and I have ADHD and we sometimes mention our exes. It's nothing to us, but we've noticed it confuses and/or surprises other people. As far as we are concerned, we both won the relationship game! YAY! No reason to worry about someone who we aren't with anymore.

Moderating and editing is hard for us as well. How do I tell a story about that time I was in Winnipeg if I can't mention at all that my ex was with me? Should I never talk about Winnipeg? What the heck will I talk about then? If she is the kind of person who hasn't been single much, it can be hard to share your history, experiences and memories that don't involve an ex. Especially as we aren't great at editing our words on the fly.

It's good that mentioned it bothers you. Hopefully she'll be able to moderate that for you. Be gentle if she slips ... and if she doesn't, show a little appreciation :) positive reinforcement goes a long way.

10-26-15, 10:54 AM
Thanks for the advice.

We talked over the weekend and got a lot out in the open. I don't think that she will need to moderate this issue much. I only have an issue with the one guy she brings up, but that is mainly due to my belief that no one should ever waste any air on toxic people.

Things will be a challenge from time to time. Her ex has no desire to be a parent to her two kids, and likes to keep her spinning by sending her confusing emails when her meds are wearing off. Long story, but when she cycles she thinks she is a horrible mother and cant get out of her own way. I always tell her that she is doing a great job and is a great mom, and I do as much work as I can to help her with the house and the kids. I try to make it so she has the time she needs to spend some quality time with them.

10-26-15, 01:16 PM
Maybe she it'd be a lot easier for her and you if she blocked her ex's emails by adding him to spam.

Or she could delete that email account and make a new one. I make "burner" email addresses all the time. "Fot entertainment purposes only." Lol

10-26-15, 01:32 PM
Hi Maurice,
Yes, I agree...we have changed a lot of her communication with him over the year. With kids involved she will always have to have open lines.

The situation is not good as he wants to make her life miserable...constant disagreements and taking her to court.

We are trying to minimize his impact, and get her organized to be able to defend against constant litigation. At this point her attorney advises her on each response she must send to him... that and he is not taking or seeing the kids... trying to bury her under all the responsibility.

Thankfully I am the type that always needs to keep busy so I am able to get through a ton of work for her, and keep her above water. I know she appreciates it... we just have to meet halfway to keep us both recharged.

This forum has been a good source of information for me, and am learning a lot as I go. Luckily for me I can adapt to the changes I need to make to compliment her strengths.

10-26-15, 05:52 PM
So the father of her children, who she is dealing with legally, who is a constant source of stress for her, is the guy you don't want her talking about? ... how?

10-26-15, 06:30 PM
So the father of her children, who she is dealing with legally, who is a constant source of stress for her, is the guy you don't want her talking about? ... how?
Aren't the things that were written in his latest post pretty clear?

10-26-15, 08:41 PM
Yes, but how can you expect a person to never talk about an ex in this situation? Can you imagine what she might be going through? And he doesn't want to hear about the ex because it upsets him and he doesn't want to waste air on toxic people? I dunno, for me, that would be a deal breaker.

10-26-15, 10:27 PM
How else (besides intentionally isolating from him) do you deal with someone when he shows a clear agenda of methodically breaking you down?

If I had an ex whose aim was to break me down, I would need and appreciate support in getting her out of my life ASAP. Luckily I haven't had that kind of ex.

10-26-15, 10:46 PM
Dear Non Sabataging,

You aren't sabotaging anything.

Imagine a life where you try try try, and try your hardest only to let people down.

Imagine being looked at at lazy.
Imagine being looked at as untrustworthy.
Imagine being looked at as unreliable.

Now tell yourself that you are none of those things, and how dare anyone think of you like that!

She and I try and fail, try and fail. We are master of failure, and the ability to bounce back...because you have too.

The most important thing you can do is ((Not)) fret, worry, or nag. Let her deal with her own issues and she will. We are quick learners.

10-27-15, 12:24 AM
The ex boyfriend is the one I have issues with...not her ex husband. I can deal with marriage stories as we have both been divorced.

10-27-15, 04:24 AM
But you said something about her ex not wanting to parent with her, is that the ex that gives you issues too?

10-27-15, 09:55 AM
Hi Red..I can see your point, but it is not the ex husband that I started this about. It was an ex boyfriend...who was toxic and hurt her a cant understand why she brings him up.

As for the ex husband, yes I know what she is going through..have stayed up holding her many nights, while she cried herself out because she is afraid of what he will do next. He bailed on the kids months ago and only now is calling so that he can try to take her back to court for "interfering with his visitation rights"

We do not bad mouth him in front of the kids and when they talk to me about him, I always talk positively. Its hard when a child tells you that they hate someone for not being there, and all you can tell them is that he will be there when he is ready, and that he loves them. Meanwhile he is trying to bankrupt their mother and bullies her through emails.

10-27-15, 10:20 AM
Hi Sarah,
Her ex husband does cause a lot of issues, but those I can accept. She will always have to deal with him in some way, for the kids.

I am probably not explaining all that well... I don't usually sleep all that much and when I get run down I have a hard time describing situations.

She got divorced a few years ago and then started dating a lot. We have known each other all our lives and we reconnected over a year ago, and then started dating a few months after that. At the beginning of the year she asked that we only see each other, and since then things have been getting stronger every day. To say that I am crazy about her and her kids would be an understatement.

When I say that I don't like wasting air on toxic people, it is because I have had enough of them hurting me and other people that I care about. Some you can help, others you cant, but it doesn't mean that you have to keep letting them hurt you.