View Full Version : Need to vent and get some advice

01-21-16, 11:08 AM
My partner and I have been together for about 2.5 years (known each other for about 16 years). We do not live together and generally only see each other a few nights per fortnight due to work schedules and my children from a previous relationship. He was diagnosed with ADHD and medicated as a child. As an adult he is not medicated and I believe he handles his disorder reasonably well most of the time. I have educated myself on a lot of the behaviours that go with ADHD and am able to accept most of them but I am really struggling with a couple of things lately and I am at a loss of how to deal with them.
I guess both issues kind of tie in together as they are both in relation to his emotional status. I will start with his lack of emotion or lack of admitting emotion. Although he has told me that he suffers depression, he also makes comments on how he does not 'feel' things. I dont know if this is part of his ADHD , not being able to 'feel' or not allowing himself to feel. I get the impression that maybe emotions can be overwhelming for him and he is maybe trying to suppress them. Secondly is his indecisiveness regarding his emotions. Sometimes he will tell me that I am the best thing to ever happen to him, how much he misses me and cant wait to see me, how he feels like we have such a great connection. Then other times he says things like he doesn't want things to be so deep and he isnt in love with me. Some days I will see him and the first thing he does is give me a kiss and hug me then there are some times (not as often) that there will be no physical contact at all.
I have never asked or pushed for more than he is willing to give.
I dont know whether he has ever had much education on his disorder so I dont know if he actually understands it or has just learnt to deal with what he has been living with. He doesnt seem to foresee any efffects of his behaviours until after I have pointed them out which makes me think he may not have much formal education on ADHD. I dont know if this is something I can discuss with him either.
Is this part of his ADHD? Can anyone relate to this? Any advice on how to deal with it? I am struggling so much and desperately want to make things work between us. Please help.

01-21-16, 12:12 PM
Emotional regulation is a huge part of adhd. I remained uninformed until my early 40's when I had a breakdown/breakthrough and started my journey of seeking answers. I even worked at a vocational rehab center for over a decade and still didn't have a clear understanding of what all it entails.

I would encourage an open and honest discussion with him. Approach it from a loving space, perhaps in writing vs. solely verbal, to give him a chance to see it, feel it, refer back to it, process it at his own pace, and come back to it at a later time, while nurturing the things that work well in between.

Having emotional regulation issues, mixed with communication struggles, mixed with perceptions that live within from years of struggling, makes for a very uncomfortable on the fly verbal discussion about affairs of the heart, or anything, really, at least in my world.

Edited to add:

Sensory issues are another major part of what I deal with, too. There are days I don't wish to be touched, but it isn't because of anything against my husband, I feel actual pain from contact at times. Other days I'm just so engrossed in what I'm doing, be it trying to sort my thoughts or physical activity, that I don't always remember to do the typical "wifely" things that include intimacy, domesticated stuff, etc.

I was unaware of my diagnosis prior to getting married. I had just chalked everything up to being a rebel, irresponsible, unorganized, lazy, misfit, etc., etc. I was divorced with no biological kids when I met the hubster. I married a man with two kids and became a full-time step-mom, working f/t at a vocational rehab, then went back to school. That's what brought about the crushing realities of adhd and all it entails, along with other diagnoses, some accurate, others, not so much. Change can take me down or be the greatest inspiration, and it can flip the script mid-stream with no notice.

01-21-16, 01:09 PM
Here's the thing, ADHD affects everything in some sense. It's hard to have ADHD and be emotionally healthy without a lot of work ... ADHD can be so exhausting and frustrating and can wear down confidence and the ego.

ADHD also comes with other conditions frequently--such as anxiety and depression ... and both of those conditions impair functioning and social skills and emotional regulation.

I would say the best thing you can do is advocate for what you want in the relationship--and don't worry about his ADHD. Sounds like he could benefit from some serious work on himself. I say push for what you want ... and if he's a good partner, he will seek to respond ... by changing some of his behavior, by becoming aware of the effects of his behavior and/or by getting deeper help through counseling and therapy and psychiatry.

Good luck.


01-22-16, 02:17 AM
Thank you both for your replies.

For the most part his ADHD doesnt bother me because it doesnt really affect me, its just the emotional stuff because it is affecting me and in a negative way. We both suffer from depression and it's really taking its toll on mine at the moment. I am getting professional help and hope that he will realise how beneficial it would be for him to do the same. I think it has to be his idea nad his choice though. I will try to focus on setting up my own boundaries and be clear about what I want and hopefully he will respond as you suggested Tone, by at least trying to change some of his behaviours that are affecting me.

01-22-16, 08:11 PM
Of course there is a good chance he will not respond to your helpful behavior, but if that happens, that is the signal that he's not ready for a relationship and not the kind of partner you want.

I am treated for depression ... and I cannot imagine partnering with someone who suffers depression but who does not get aggressive treatment for the condition. I would scream ... It would seem like such a waste of human potential ... Not getting treatment for a condition like that is, for me, almost as bad as being a parent and not getting treatment for a kid with the disorder.

Good luck.


01-22-16, 08:39 PM
I can understand the lack of emotion or emotional depth. It might be more along the lines of Asperger's but that just a guess. Asperger people may seem flat, lack empathy, etc... You could try medication? It might work. I've only gotten my emotions to work a couple of times and the most successful time the anxiety exhausted me. If you husband is like me think of him as having one item as his emotions and a normal person having 5-7 items as their emotions. They just might not be there in his normal state. Depression can also cause a flattening of mood but that might be tied in with his ADD.

01-24-16, 04:50 AM
Thanks burger. As far as I know there is no diagnosis of Asperger's but could always be a possibility. From your experience, is there anything I can do from my end to help him?

01-26-16, 03:41 AM
I have adhd and bipolar. My husband has adhd and narcolepsy. He is what I would call emotionally slow. I dont mean that as an insult its just that whenever there is big news, I need to give him time to take it in. This can be tough because I want to talk it to death right away but being married 20 years means Ive gotten better at understanding how he operates. When we were first together I had to work harder at getting him to say what he feels For him, some of it was the way he grew up. He lived in a "sweep it under the rug" kind of home where things were not ever really bad as long as you could stuff it down and pretend it didnt feel a certain way. I had to help him get out of that habit and in the beginning I wondered if we were well suited for each other.
But we were so I had to learn that his adhd combined with whatever else was going on meant that I had to accept that he may not always have the words to describe how he feels and that sometimes he will say something is one way, but his affect and actions say something different. I used to point that part out all the time, but he has to get to a point himself and share his feelings. Me telling him I knew he felt otherwise based on his actions didnt make him anymore ready to share his deepest feelings. It could be the way your partner grew up, or how he processes strong emotions. You will have to determine if you can deal with that based on his actions, or based on whether you are patient enough to wait for him to realize certain things.

It could also mean that you two arent cut out for each other. As far as your plans go, do you plan on taking things a step further or are you happy with your arrangement so far?

01-26-16, 04:24 AM
Thank you for your reply sarahsweets.
When you say you had to help him get out of that habit, what did you do to help? I want to do whatever I can to help him.
In regards to taking things further, I would love to but won't push him out of fear that it could push him away so I am happy to wait until he is ready.

01-26-16, 04:37 AM
What I had to do was clearly state my feelings about many things and ask him how he felt about it? When he couldnt answer which in the beginning was frequently I would say something like " ok well if it comes to you let me know."
"That movie was a little sad. When xyz part happened it made me feel like I did as a child. How about you?"
him- "uh...not sure how I feel. It was ok I guess"
me-" oh ok, well if something else comes to you feel free to share"

Then I had to drop it. This is just a basic example but sharing how I felt using direct simple statements that he could understand eventually helped him to open up. You cant have any expectations though because we will always be dissppointed when we have expectations that are not met. You just have to keep at it and wait for him to share in his own time. This may not be whats going on with him but this was my experience.

01-26-16, 02:11 PM
Thank you so much. I am willing to give anything a go and I don't think it can make things any worse. He says he wants us to have a close relationship and be able to open up and tell each other anything and everything but he seems to struggle actually doing it. When things start to get closer/deeper he pulls back. To me it seems like he wants to go that bit further but then freaks out. Maybe if I share more of my feelings with him, he will feel more comfortable sharing his with me.

03-10-16, 11:44 PM
If he's able/willing to take medication, I think there might be a big benefit. I have ADHD and my relationships have always been pretty rocky due to my difficulties with emotional regulation, but ever since taking medication for it, it's helped a lot. I still have my ridiculously emotional moments, but usually I can tell when they're going to happen now and admit they're sometimes irrational. For example I know not to bring up anything important when I'm tired because generally tiredness=extreme crabbiness lol