View Full Version : Relationship help


snuffelufagas
11-18-15, 12:00 PM
Hi,
I have asked a couple questions here before, and read up just about everything I can get my hands on regarding ADHD.

My girlfriend is a great divorced mother of two, and is the love of my life. aside from an ex husband that likes to keep her confused and overwhelmed so that he can make her miserable, things are great between us.

She does get lost at night after her meds wear off, and its basically what is in front of her at the time takes her attention.

The issue that keeps coming up, is when she tells me that we are going to do something, or go to bed at a certain time...then doesn't follow through. I used to deal with it better, tell her that it is alright, and help her get back on track. Sometimes she gets mad at me that I didn't come find her, or come get her. Sometimes when I do, she gets mad at me because she thinks I am rushing her because she has not gotten anything done. Other times she is overwhelmed and blames me for not helping.

I help her with everything. I help with her kids and with the housework, with their homework, even getting them on the bus for school when she can't get going in the morning.

I have been trying to find ways to remind her, and to not get upset about the situation. But I am starting to feel like I am doing a lot of the work and not getting any of the benefit. We do love each other and she has told me that I am the best thing that has ever happened to her.

What I need is ways to deal with this. It is hard to set aside the feelings of being ignored, even when I know its really not her fault. I can do it sometimes, but after a day of work and chores and everything else, I am tapped. I can't always be 'on'. We have been arguing about this lately, for about the last month or so, and we both want to fix it. Last night it happened again and when I said something to her to remind her of our plans, she looked at me and said, you are mad. I wasn't at the time, not even annoyed, but she said my body language said otherwise. So then after 15 minutes of her telling me I was mad, I was.

Any ideas would be helpful. I know it is fixable. It seems funny at times, because she holds me accountable for what I tell her I will do, and when, but when it doesn't happen on her end, I am not supposed to do the same.

ToneTone
11-19-15, 09:55 AM
I respond as someone who has ADHD, as someone who has had plenty of relationship struggles, and as someone who has dated people with conditions that dwarfed mine.

I also speak as someone who has had plenty of "nice" friends who fall into the exact dynamic you describe here.

One, this dynamic can and does occur all the time even with no ADHD in the picture. And every person in your position often feels miserable and overworked and under-respected.

You don't say whether your partner is getting treated for her condition or not. I personally will not date people with any condition if that person refuses treatment. The exception is where the person has tried a variety of treatments and it's clear that the treatments are only harmful.

Frankly, your task is the same as everyone's task in this position. You have to sit down and have a real conversation with her ... But you need to first get clear on what you need to thrive in a relationship. If she reacts defensively you cannot back down, or else you will have taught her that she can push you away by being defensive.

If she thinks you are the best thing that ever happened to her, then logically she should be willing to go above and beyond to keep this "best person" that has ever happened to her. I'll be blunt brother, I've been sucked into staying in a relationship based on words just like those. Of course, you're the best thing that ever happened to her, because you're working your behind off and putting up with not getting what you want in the relationship.

In fact that phrase, in my experience, often signals that the person does not value you ... because if they truly valued you, they would be saying the following and saying it with urgency and even fear in their voice: "What can I do to make YOU happy. You're the best thing in my life, I want to do everything I can to keep you. What can I do for YOU?"

Having a partner who intensely and repeatedly asks that question is what really signals that the relationship is viable and that you are truly valued.

Bottom line: you have to stand up for yourself. There are a hundred ways humans can nurture each other. And having ADHD does not block people from finding some of these ways to nurture and care for their partner.

Good luck.

Tone

aeon
11-19-15, 10:43 AM
I suggest you take a little time and think about what needs you have that are not being met.

When you know what those are, talk with her about them, and ask her if she would be willing to help you meet those needs.

---

Tone’s advice about “What can I do” is excellent, I think. In my experience, relationships are at their best when each is committed in word and action to see their partner happy.

---

OK, here’s me as a pragmatist: talk about buying a dedicated timer with alarm to help remind her that it is time for __________.

Just make sure it is in the spirit of helping her, not shaming her.

Regardless of the timer, you need to tell her your thoughts and feelings such that you are heard and understood. Own what you say, don’t judge her, and do it when she’s medicated, and it will improve your chance of both those things happening.


Well Wishes,
Ian

RedHairedWitch
11-19-15, 12:50 PM
Having reminders on my phone is a huge help.

So are natural consequences. If she says she wants everyone to go to bed at 10pm, then go to bed at 10pm. She'll look up and realize that she got left behind eventually.

phantasm
11-19-15, 05:15 PM
What can I do for YOU?"

And having ADHD does not block people from finding some of these ways to nurture and care for their partner.

Tone

I totally agree with both of these!

Maybe she really has issues with time and keeping her commitments ect. It's great that you are willing to help her in those areas. However, I believe there is a line between helping and enabling her to depend on you for all of this all/most of the time. You clearly are finding this to be exhausting, and eventually it could be a huge strain on the relationship.

I am adhd and depend on my husband tremendously too. But the difference between my situation and your situation IS (like Tone said) I do ask him what I can do for him. It's a matter of appreciation and respect for your help, time & attention away from other things YOU could be doing.

The other thing, if she asks you to help with time management and she gets upset when you remind her, that's just plum crazy. My husband would lose his mind if I did that. :lol: Clearly time management is a huge issue for her, it is a lovely symptom of ADHD. If you help her or remind her to go to bed and she responds negatively, SHE needs to come up with a system that works. Like the previous poster mentioned. Get a time, set your phone 15 min before, so she can wrap up what she's doing. Whatever. You can't be asked to help then be mistreated because you helped. :eyebrow:

Question - Does she feel bad or apologize when she gets mad at you for helping, or does she try to find a way to be responsible in her time management, without your help?

Your needs are just as important. You are awesome for helping her with her life and struggles. Having ADHD is really hard at times, and it's even harder for non-ADHDers to understand how hard it can be for us. You clearly love her because you are here asking questions. :) Help her help herself so you can move forward in your relationship.

TLCisaQT
11-22-15, 04:06 AM
Oh boy do I know how you are feeling! It is overwhelming and exhausting and devastating and I used to really try my best to help my husband but more often than not was damned if I did and damned if I didnt. It took me awhile to realize that I needed to stop taking on the blame for the outcomes of his choices and inability to follow through on things. I have my kids in therapy and their therapist talked about how the person with ADHD in order to find something that works for them has to find what "CUES" them. Visually, auditorilly, etc. and then develop a coping skill using those and their already developed habits and strengths to make something that works. I have learned that most times when I try to help my husband, he sees it as almost an attack or judgement, so I know I will not be the one he will be taking suggestions from - this he will need to find someone he will be able to relate to. Good luck... I'm still waiting and maybe always will be, unless I finally decide to leave first.

sarahsweets
11-22-15, 09:27 AM
Oh boy do I know how you are feeling! It is overwhelming and exhausting and devastating and I used to really try my best to help my husband but more often than not was damned if I did and damned if I didnt. It took me awhile to realize that I needed to stop taking on the blame for the outcomes of his choices and inability to follow through on things. I have my kids in therapy and their therapist talked about how the person with ADHD in order to find something that works for them has to find what "CUES" them. Visually, auditorilly, etc. and then develop a coping skill using those and their already developed habits and strengths to make something that works. I have learned that most times when I try to help my husband, he sees it as almost an attack or judgement, so I know I will not be the one he will be taking suggestions from - this he will need to find someone he will be able to relate to. Good luck... I'm still waiting and maybe always will be, unless I finally decide to leave first.

Could you elaborate on what you mean by cue?

snuffelufagas
11-24-15, 12:37 PM
Oh boy do I know how you are feeling! It is overwhelming and exhausting and devastating and I used to really try my best to help my husband but more often than not was damned if I did and damned if I didnt. It took me awhile to realize that I needed to stop taking on the blame for the outcomes of his choices and inability to follow through on things. I have my kids in therapy and their therapist talked about how the person with ADHD in order to find something that works for them has to find what "CUES" them. Visually, auditorilly, etc. and then develop a coping skill using those and their already developed habits and strengths to make something that works. I have learned that most times when I try to help my husband, he sees it as almost an attack or judgement, so I know I will not be the one he will be taking suggestions from - this he will need to find someone he will be able to relate to. Good luck... I'm still waiting and maybe always will be, unless I finally decide to leave first.


This pretty much sums it up. I am glad you replied.

She does apologize when she gets snippy with me about reminding her.
I agree about the cues. Was thinking of a teddy bear with a white board attached. Then just write a message like "You have a date at xx:xx", or maybe "you made plans to be ___ at ____time"

When she gets upset that I am reminding her it is usually due to her feeling guilty, or she just cant focus enough to get the stuff done that she wants to get to, and is upset with herself.

She does have focus issues and can be pretty impulsive. That being said I have been letting her know I am her boyfriend and not her parent. Have had a few arguments over this. We talked over this week and she has said she doesn't want to lose me and wants to make me happy. She has asked what she can do to make me happy and what do I need to be in her life. So we are working on it.

We decided that since I have been there a lot, I would do my own thing a bit more and give her time to get things done and to quote her, "to pull her head out of her ***". She said she was sorry for ignoring me and that I have every right to be upset with her, and that she will get better and keep her eye on the relationship more.

It is hard, and frustrating at times, but she is an incredible woman and we do both want to be with each other. I should mention we are both in our late 40's so its not like we are kids.
Thanks for the replies and if anyone has any ideas on cues that would help, please let me know

stef
11-24-15, 02:23 PM
The getting snippy could really come from her being disappointed in herself and needing to be reminded. it likely has nothing to do with you at all.
i know i do this because i feel ashamed sometimes for having a problem with basic things in the first place and then not even following through with the coping strategies I try to put in place.

its also an "old" automatic reaction from a lifetime of being not so nicely reminded, by teachers, bosses, family members, etc.

Unmanagable
11-24-15, 02:58 PM
I like the dry erase board idea a lot. I have one in damn near every room. They make dry erase paint now, too. You can make your own out of an entire wall, if you like. :) I have one that's also magnetic and that's super handy for appt. cards, etc.

I use lots of bright colors and erase stuff at the end of the day so I don't stress over what's left. If it needs to be added again, so be it.

Keeping something handy to write stuff down is a must for my brain, regardless of the arena. I even have to make a note on the board when I'm in the middle of doing laundry, or I'll forget about it. Out of sight, out of mind, but never intentionally.

TLCisaQT
11-28-15, 06:57 PM
Could you elaborate on what you mean by cue?

While I am not 100 percent sure as he only touched on it lightly, I took it to assume that some are cued visually and so visual cues work best like leaving things you can't forget in areas you will see them or lists/pictures to remind you. Or he said for him (the therapist) he Has to always take off his glass and put them right beside him in a certain place on his right to be able to find them. If he doesn't - even if they are close on the left, they are "lost" and can take a long time to find! So ritual/routine can be the "cue" not sure if that makes sense?

TLCisaQT
11-28-15, 07:04 PM
This pretty much sums it up. I am glad you replied.

She does apologize when she gets snippy with me about reminding her.
I agree about the cues. Was thinking of a teddy bear with a white board attached. Then just write a message like "You have a date at xx:xx", or maybe "you made plans to be ___ at ____time"

When she gets upset that I am reminding her it is usually due to her feeling guilty, or she just cant focus enough to get the stuff done that she wants to get to, and is upset with herself.

She does have focus issues and can be pretty impulsive. That being said I have been letting her know I am her boyfriend and not her parent. Have had a few arguments over this. We talked over this week and she has said she doesn't want to lose me and wants to make me happy. She has asked what she can do to make me happy and what do I need to be in her life. So we are working on it.

We decided that since I have been there a lot, I would do my own thing a bit more and give her time to get things done and to quote her, "to pull her head out of her ***". She said she was sorry for ignoring me and that I have every right to be upset with her, and that she will get better and keep her eye on the relationship more.

It is hard, and frustrating at times, but she is an incredible woman and we do both want to be with each other. I should mention we are both in our late 40's so its not like we are kids.
Thanks for the replies and if anyone has any ideas on cues that would help, please let me know

I think it's great that she is open to suggestions and you are both committed to working on it. Here is my caution - make sure she is coming up with what works for her and you support her in that - but she follows through on it - don't work harder than she is - otherwise you will blur the lines into a parental role and may become resentful over time. Since she is open to your help (a point we are beyond in my relationship unfortunately) encourage her to focus on her strengths and use those to come up with ideas and find out what may work. However in the end she decides and she follows through on setting it up - even if you do together :) good luck

TLCisaQT
11-28-15, 07:06 PM
The getting snippy could really come from her being disappointed in herself and needing to be reminded. it likely has nothing to do with you at all.
i know i do this because i feel ashamed sometimes for having a problem with basic things in the first place and then not even following through with the coping strategies I try to put in place.

its also an "old" automatic reaction from a lifetime of being not so nicely reminded, by teachers, bosses, family members, etc.

Stef, the "old" automatic response thing I think is true - many times when my husband is upset he will bring that up- blame me for treating him like his parents and teachers used to - so that is still there - good point

AbundanceAbound
01-03-16, 11:01 PM
@ ToneTone: "I've been sucked into staying in a relationship based on words just like those. Of course, you're the best thing that ever happened to her, because you're working your behind off and putting up with not getting what you want in the relationship. "

THIS, THIS, A THOUSAND TIMES THIS!