View Full Version : Need help with non-ADHD partner


BellaVita
11-12-15, 08:50 PM
Hello everyone!

I'm in a relationship with a non-ADHD partner.

We love each other so much, but I must say some days are really hard.

For one, he is always on schedule and in the kitchen at 7:30am making breakfast.

He is NEVER fashionably late - in fact sometimes he is even EARLY to events!

He stays on topic in conversations which can get tiring and boring - sometimes I am embarrassed when we are with company because he doesn't know how to bounce around topics!

He is just too focused sometimes. It's like he doesn't even TRY to stop focusing - I know it must just be a natural part of who he is and this is part of the non-ADHD but sometimes it is hard to watch someone who is just so focused all the time. Every now and then he will stop focusing but it is not often enough.

He WILLINGLY takes on mundane activities - he even does chores each day. Sometimes when the house is clean I feel embarrassed because people notice when they come over.

He also does something that I believe is termed emotional regulation - I see him do it when his voice is calm when he should be having a meltdown, but he does what is termed "keep it together" and decides to work on tasks anyway?? It's almost as if he chooses to do this! (I refuse to call him "diligent" - I know it's not his fault) Very different than what I'm used to.

He doesn't forget things as often as me, which is something I've been dealing with. I am hoping he can learn some ways to cope, and learn to forget things. I have tried taking away his sticky notes, sometimes this helps, but it just isn't cutting it.

Something is off with him, I know he needs help. Any advice on how to begin the process?

I just love him and I know he has potential, he just isn't applying himself in the correct way. This is really affecting our relationship, but I know that I have read non-ADHD relationship success stories and I hope we can come out strong. That is why I came here, to get advice from others who have struggled.

I know he will probably always be non-ADHD, but I hope with treatment he can have improvement and be more "abnormal." (I know, no such thing as abnormal, because there is no one definition, but just couldn't think of another word)

Thanks everyone!

*****this was just a fun experiment, I was trying to see what it would be like if the roles were reversed. I hope this is educational in some way, and that it can help bond the non-add community with the ADHD community a bit more. Seeing things from others perspectives can be tough, but it can be helpful to all involved. The examples in this thread are based off of stories I have read told by non-ADHD persons, so that I could keep the examples accurate. (Although switched around) Thanks for taking the time to read.

Unmanagable
11-12-15, 09:26 PM
Not sure how, or if, non-adhd peeps will benefit from your efforts, but it feels like a staged thing to me vs. a genuine plea for knowledge and support, and that takes away from the lessons I may have gained from it.

Impressive data collection from reading through all those posts, but it just feels like it has an air of mocking to it for some reason, to me. I know it was in no way meant to be, just sharing how I felt when I read it.

Edited to add: Today is an unusually highly emotional day for me, so that likely has a lot to do with how it came across to me.

BellaVita
11-12-15, 09:29 PM
Sorry - it wasn't meant to be mocking. It was supposed to be cute, perhaps a bit playful in some ways.

Not sure what you mean by staged, because this event isn't actually taking place. It was just a post with a collection of things I read.

I even made sure to make the post sound like a nice person who was looking for support.

If it is offensive, I'm sorry about that.

Unmanagable
11-12-15, 09:34 PM
Sorry - it wasn't meant to be mocking. It was supposed to be cute, perhaps a bit playful in some ways.

Not sure what you mean by staged, because this event isn't actually taking place. It was just a post with a collection of things I read.

I even made sure to make the post sound like a nice person who was looking for support.

If it is offensive, I'm sorry about that.

It isn't offensive, it just feels fake.....which is what I meant by staged.

I guess I'm so used to being around peeps trying to make things sound so much better than they really are, that I have my radar set to zone in on things that are presented in that manner that brings about those same emotions.

It wasn't coming from a place of you actually experiencing it, more so like a script. Hope that makes sense and doesn't sound like I'm a b****.

BellaVita
11-12-15, 09:39 PM
It isn't offensive, it just feels fake.....which is what I meant by staged.

I guess I'm so used to being around peeps trying to make things sound so much better than they really are, that I have my radar set to zone in on things that are presented in that manner that brings about those same emotions.

It wasn't coming from a place of you actually experiencing it, more so like a script. Hope that makes sense and doesn't sound like I'm a b****.

That's probably because it is fake, this doesn't happen in real life. :) (that I'm aware of anyway) It WAS a script - I was scripting based off of real situations I have read.

It wasn't coming from a place of me actually experiencing it, no, it was more of a "playing with situations" type of thing - I was trying to reverse the roles, and tried to present it in a fun way.

We are so used to it being written the other way around.

So when we do hear what it sounds like from the opposite angle, it sounds wrong somehow.

Unmanagable
11-12-15, 09:44 PM
Okay...I know it's fake....was explaining why it felt non-supportive to me...have fun with it. I'll be quiet now.

BellaVita
11-12-15, 09:45 PM
Also - I guess for me personally - and you can ask people in my real life who have experienced this with me - the BEST way for me to see things from another's perspective is that they have to step-by-step WALK me through the scenario of how it feels like to be in their shoes.

Or else, I simply cannot see what they might feel like.

I do have theory of mind issues though, so maybe to everyone else this just feels weird?

I think being willing to read situations in a role-reversed way is important and can encourage growth.

BellaVita
11-12-15, 09:51 PM
Okay...I know it's fake....was explaining why it felt non-supportive to me...have fun with it. I'll be quiet now.

That is interesting, I didn't know it would come across as non-supportive.

I actually did make an effort to make it sound supportive - I was even basing it on the more supportive and understanding posts I've read.

dvdnvwls
11-12-15, 10:16 PM
... it just feels like it has an air of mocking to it for some reason, to me.
I think I get this.

Anyone wanting to make the kind of point the OP does is putting themselves into a can't-win situation. If the examples are too authentic and "raw", then they run the risk of sounding combative and unfriendly, while if the examples are too contrived and sanitized then the whole thing can unintentionally sound mocking.

namazu
11-12-15, 10:22 PM
Bellavita, clearly you aren't compatible with this person and should abandon the relationship!
(Much to dvd's relief, I'm sure! ;) )



I applaud your efforts to try to see things from another perspective. Here, though, you're still taking the perspective of someone with ADHD, pretending you have a non-ADHD partner like the one you described. Is your intent here actually for the non-ADHDers on the forum to try to imagine what it's like to be the partner with ADHD in a "mixed" relationship? Or to understand what it's like to be someone with ADHD in a relationship with a non-ADHDer?


For what it's worth, I don't think flipping around a compilation of stories in the way you've done here presents an accurate portrait of what it's like as someone with ADHD to have a non-ADHD partner -- either from the ADHDer's perspective or the non-ADHDer's perspective -- but rather, sketches a distorted caricature.


There probably are some people like the "non-ADHD partner" you've described out there -- people who seem diametrically opposite in every way to people with ADHD (for the varied ways ADHD displays) -- but they're not the majority of non-ADHDers. Just as ADHD represents one far end of traits that shade into "normal", so does this hypothetical person represent the opposite far end of the spectrum. In real life, most people fall more in-between.



And I say this as someone with ADHD who actually, in real life, has a non-ADHD partner whom I love dearly.

Though I understand that my relationship with my partner can't necessarily be generalized to other people's relationships, let me tell you a little bit about my partner and our relationship as one example of a real-life relationship between someone with ADHD and someone without.

My non-ADHD partner often runs late.

My non-ADHD partner does chores not out of some sense of "domestic spirit" (the household equivalent of "civic pride", I guess?), but primarily because someone has to do them, and I frequently haven't done them. Sometimes because they really, really need to be done (like, we're out or very nearly out of clean underwear or dishes, or something smells funky somewhere, or it's 9:15PM and we haven't eaten dinner yet). As a result, my partner shoulders more of the burden of housework and cooking, in addition to working a full-time job to pay the bills. It's often exhausting for my partner, even when we try to implement strategies that will help me remember or follow through on some of the tasks I'd intended to do. Those strategies are difficult to implement and to maintain, and I do not expect my partner to be willing or able to keep track of infinitely many things or display infinite patience, because that would be as unreasonable as my partner expecting me to magically be able to do these things without support.

My non-ADHD partner shuts down verbally and becomes visibly, physically tense when upset or stressed. Sometimes I can help my partner calm down and work through it; sometimes my efforts make things worse, and leaving my partner alone would have been better. Sometimes my partner loses sleep when dealing with stressful issues or when feeling overwhelmed.

My non-ADHD partner does have a better short-term memory than I do (thankfully!) but still forgets things, sometimes even important things (like keys, in a running car).

I don't always understand my non-ADHD partner perfectly. My partner doesn't always understand me perfectly. Only a small fraction of the time does this appear to be related to my ADHD and my partner's lack thereof.

I don't find my non-ADHD partner's behavior or needs or way of thinking to be foreign or inexplicable, most of the time.

I am in awe of the way my partner manages some things that I don't seem to be able to do.

I am grateful that my partner has been willing and able to accept my quirks and difficulties and still appreciate my good qualities, and I try to do the same for my partner, who also has quirks and difficulties and good qualities, even if they're not exactly the same as mine.

I wouldn't change my non-ADHD partner.

daveddd
11-12-15, 10:32 PM
i can relate bella

does you non ADHD partner also 'wear coats' when its cold and look at you with the same amount of suprise they did ten years ago. when you werent wearing a coat when it was 30 degrees out?

VeryTired
11-12-15, 10:37 PM
Bella, I appreciate your exploration here, and find it interesting. Seeing things from other perspectives is a useful exercise.

But I am really moved by what Namazu wrote. I think it is so, so valuable for both partners in an ADHD-asymmetrical relationship to have this kind of appreciation, forbearance, respect and realness. I particularly appreciate the point that not all differences between partners are necessarily related to having/not having ADHD.

I would like to be as perceptive and appreciative and comprehending of my partner as Namazu is of hers. And I would LOVE it if my partner were as appreciative and comprehending of me as Namazu is of her partner. There is a lot to be inspired by here!

namazu
11-12-15, 10:42 PM
I should add, lest it sound like everything's always rosy and perfect, that it isn't.

But at least thus far, we are managing to work through the difficulties and still love and respect each other.

BellaVita
11-12-15, 10:50 PM
Bellavita, clearly you aren't compatible with this person and should abandon the relationship!
(Much to dvd's relief, I'm sure! ;) )

I don't think the person in this post would have abandoned the relationship at all.

I applaud your efforts to try to see things from another perspective. Here, though, you're still taking the perspective of someone with ADHD, pretending you have a non-ADHD partner like the one you described. Is your intent here actually for the non-ADHDers on the forum to try to imagine what it's like to be the partner with ADHD in a "mixed" relationship? Or to understand what it's like to be someone with ADHD in a relationship with a non-ADHDer?

Yeah, my post of course could not be perfect or anything, because I can only go so far in imagining perspectives. I basically took the real-life examples I read (ADHD not on time for things - reversed, ADHD bouncing around topics - reversed, ADHD cluttered house - reversed, ADHD not focusing - reversed, ADHD emotional dysregulatuon - emotional regulation, ADHD forgetting things etc.)

My intent was to show the roles reversed, to show how it might feel for non-ADHD'ers being on the other side. To kinda help them understand what it might be like for us.

For what it's worth, I don't think flipping around a compilation of stories in the way you've done here presents an accurate portrait of what it's like as someone with ADHD to have a non-ADHD partner -- either from the ADHDer's perspective or the non-ADHDer's perspective -- but rather, sketches a distorted caricature.

It's not supposed to be an accurate representation of how it's like for an ADHD'er to have a non-ADHD partner - because there isn't disability here (assuming they don't have any other disorders - and yes this post represents the non-impaired non-ADHD group) since non-ADHD'ers aren't disabled. I can't break something that isn't broken.

There probably are some people like the "non-ADHD partner" you've described out there -- people who seem diametrically opposite in every way to people with ADHD (for the varied ways ADHD displays) -- but they're not the majority of non-ADHDers. Just as ADHD represents one far end of traits that shade into "normal", so does this hypothetical person represent the opposite far end of the spectrum. In real life, most people fall more in-between.

I sure have met non-ADHD'ers like I've described in my post, plenty in fact. But I do agree that it is a spectrum. My post, since it was taking things in a reversed direction, did end up on the other extreme of things. It was supposed to be the opposite of a moderate-severe case of ADHD.

And I say this as someone with ADHD who actually, in real life, has a non-ADHD partner whom I love dearly.

Though I understand that my relationship with my partner can't necessarily be generalized to other people's relationships, let me tell you a little bit about my partner and our relationship as one example of a real-life relationship between someone with ADHD and someone without.

My non-ADHD partner often runs late.

My non-ADHD partner does chores not out of some sense of "domestic spirit" (the household equivalent of "civic pride", I guess?), but primarily because someone has to do them, and I frequently haven't done them. Sometimes because they really, really need to be done (like, we're out or very nearly out of clean underwear or dishes, or something smells funky somewhere, or it's 9:15PM and we haven't eaten dinner yet). As a result, my partner shoulders more of the burden of housework and cooking, in addition to working a full-time job to pay the bills. It's often exhausting for my partner, even when we try to implement strategies that will help me remember or follow through on some of the tasks I'd intended to do. Those strategies are difficult to implement and to maintain, and I do not expect my partner to be willing or able to keep track of infinitely many things or display infinite patience, because that would be as unreasonable as my partner expecting me to magically be able to do these things without support.

My non-ADHD partner shuts down verbally and becomes visibly, physically tense when upset or stressed. Sometimes I can help my partner calm down and work through it; sometimes my efforts make things worse, and leaving my partner alone would have been better. Sometimes my partner loses sleep when dealing with stressful issues or when feeling overwhelmed.

My non-ADHD partner does have a better short-term memory than I do (thankfully!) but still forgets things, sometimes even important things (like keys, in a running car).

I don't always understand my non-ADHD partner perfectly. My partner doesn't always understand me perfectly. Only a small fraction of the time does this appear to be related to my ADHD and my partner's lack thereof.

I don't find my non-ADHD partner's behavior or needs or way of thinking to be foreign or inexplicable, most of the time.

I am in awe of the way my partner manages some things that I don't seem to be able to do.

I am grateful that my partner has been willing and able to accept my quirks and difficulties and still appreciate my good qualities, and I try to do the same for my partner, who also has quirks and difficulties and good qualities, even if they're not exactly the same as mine.

I wouldn't change my non-ADHD partner.

That is beautiful! Thank you for sharing namazu.

BellaVita
11-12-15, 10:53 PM
i can relate bella

does you non ADHD partner also 'wear coats' when its cold and look at you with the same amount of suprise they did ten years ago. when you werent wearing a coat when it was 30 degrees out?

Lol, I do sometimes forget to wear a coat. Or dress for the wrong weather.

:)

daveddd
11-12-15, 10:56 PM
Lol, I do sometimes forget to wear a coat. Or dress for the wrong weather.

:)

i just hate coats

and my non ADHD partner thinks im crazy for never wearing one

true real life example

TLCisaQT
11-15-15, 09:27 PM
At first I was like "send them my way" haha. However then I realized despite being "non ADHD" as you say, that person is not without their own struggles, which is called being human :). extremes in any relationship can be potential for conflict.

Delphine
11-15-15, 10:53 PM
Hello everyone!

I'm in a relationship with a non-ADHD partner.

We love each other so much, but I must say some days are really hard.

For one, he is always on schedule and in the kitchen at 7:30am making breakfast.

He is NEVER fashionably late - in fact sometimes he is even EARLY to events!

He stays on topic in conversations which can get tiring and boring - sometimes I am embarrassed when we are with company because he doesn't know how to bounce around topics!

He is just too focused sometimes. It's like he doesn't even TRY to stop focusing - I know it must just be a natural part of who he is and this is part of the non-ADHD but sometimes it is hard to watch someone who is just so focused all the time. Every now and then he will stop focusing but it is not often enough.

He WILLINGLY takes on mundane activities - he even does chores each day. Sometimes when the house is clean I feel embarrassed because people notice when they come over.

He also does something that I believe is termed emotional regulation - I see him do it when his voice is calm when he should be having a meltdown, but he does what is termed "keep it together" and decides to work on tasks anyway?? It's almost as if he chooses to do this! (I refuse to call him "diligent" - I know it's not his fault) Very different than what I'm used to.

He doesn't forget things as often as me, which is something I've been dealing with. I am hoping he can learn some ways to cope, and learn to forget things. I have tried taking away his sticky notes, sometimes this helps, but it just isn't cutting it.

Something is off with him, I know he needs help. Any advice on how to begin the process?

I just love him and I know he has potential, he just isn't applying himself in the correct way. This is really affecting our relationship, but I know that I have read non-ADHD relationship success stories and I hope we can come out strong. That is why I came here, to get advice from others who have struggled.

I know he will probably always be non-ADHD, but I hope with treatment he can have improvement and be more "abnormal." (I know, no such thing as abnormal, because there is no one definition, but just couldn't think of another word)

Thanks everyone!

*****this was just a fun experiment, I was trying to see what it would be like if the roles were reversed. I hope this is educational in some way, and that it can help bond the non-add community with the ADHD community a bit more. Seeing things from others perspectives can be tough, but it can be helpful to all involved. The examples in this thread are based off of stories I have read told by non-ADHD persons, so that I could keep the examples accurate. (Although switched around) Thanks for taking the time to read.

:):):) You had me for a minute there!

I was really trying to read and reread to see what the kernal of this problem was.....

Good one! :) In another reality this might be someone's post.......!

BellaVita
11-15-15, 10:59 PM
At first I was like "send them my way" haha. However then I realized despite being "non ADHD" as you say, that person is not without their own struggles, which is called being human :). extremes in any relationship can be potential for conflict.

True that!

:)

BellaVita
11-15-15, 11:00 PM
:):):) You had me for a minute there!

I was really trying to read and reread to see what the kernal of this problem was.....

Good one! :) In another reality this might be someone's post.......!

Hehehe, gotcha :)

Yes, perhaps it is.

Mittens
11-18-15, 01:52 AM
Heh.
This definitely gave me a giggle.
Tester is forever losing his coat :P