View Full Version : Don't know what to do about relationship


Libbywells
01-22-16, 08:50 PM
New to this forum and not sure if I'm posting correctly. If not, I apologize!

I've been dating my boyfriend for nearly a year. He has all the symptoms of inattentive adhd. He told me he had adhd as a kid and was on meds for a short time, but I never knew how big of a deal this was. He's a great guy and I love him but, I feel detached/unimportant to him many times. He tells me he loves me, adores me, doesn't want to be with anyone but me etc, I just feel sometimes like he doesn't mean what he's saying.

He forgets to respond back to my texts, he doesn't remember things I tell him, he's always late, he struggles greatly with his school work, he almost never does anything special for me (I feel like I'm always doing special things and I love to do so but, it's rarely returned), when we're in public he acts like he's on his own (goes off on his own in stores without saying where he's headed, walks away from me when out walking, etc), he has a hard time understanding directions at work and doing things as instructed, when we're together- he gets focused in on books or tv or playing with his dog and I feel like I'm just sitting there while he's in his own world. Mind you, we only see each other one day a week so, it would be nice to be able to focus on each other, since our time together is so limited.

The times he will focus on me are when talking in the car or out walking, but that's about it. He has a hard time sticking to things, he says he doesn't understand why he lacks drive to work towards things etc. I don't know how many of these are adhd issues or just him being independent, but I'm assuming the majority are from adhd.

I don't want to keep going on and on but, those are some of the things I'm struggling with about him. I've never connected the way he acts to his adhd, until now, after days of reading about how adhd affects relationships. I had no idea. When I've brought my frustrations to him in the past (saying I don't feel very special to him) he just gets frustrated and says he's trying but, he just can't live up to what I want.

Recently, we've been arguing more because I feel unloved and he feels like I'm not happy because of him, and it hurts him. Honestly, it's hard at times to feel completely happy with him because of the way he makes me feel. I don't think he realizes that his adhd is the reason. He confessed the other night that he feels like something is mentally wrong with him but he's not sure what and I don't think he's connecting it to adhd.

I'm really trying to make this work, hence me trying to learn all I can about adhd, because I want to understand him more. I love him and both of us want to be together but I don't know if it's fair to keep things going. I don't want to give up on him but I don't know if I'm strong enough to be in a relationship that feels so one sided. Sometimes I feel he needs a stronger, independent woman who doesn't mind the lack of attention. We both want to have a family one day and he wants me to be able to stay home with the kids the first few years but, I don't know if he can mentally or financially handle the pressures of that. I've been reading so many posts about the high divorce rate and the non-adhd spouse basically raising another child and how miserable they are and it's making me very nervous about a future with him. I'm very torn as to what to do.

I know I have to make the final decision but I'd like to see what advice other non-adhd'ers in an adhd relationship can contribute, as I feel very alone in this right now. Any advice or insight is appreciated.

BellaVita
01-22-16, 10:28 PM
Hello Libbywells - welcome to the forum. :)

I'm sorry to hear about the painful struggles you are having in your relationship.

It truly does sound like ADHD from what you describe, and it is confirmed since he was diagnosed as a child.

It sounds like he could really benefit from treatment. Stimulant medications are first-line treatment for ADHD, and they can significantly improve lives. Medication in combination with therapy can be useful.

Poor guy, sounds like he might even be getting depressed by his symptoms. I really hope he can get some help.

What special things would you like him to do for you? What do you feel like you need?

When I've brought my frustrations to him in the past (saying I don't feel very special to him) he just gets frustrated and says he's trying but, he just can't live up to what I want.

Some things I would like to bring up.
ADHD'ers often need specific and detailed instructions on how to make you feel special. When he hears that you feel "unloved" or "not special" it probably sounds extremely vague to him and he might be showing you in his own ways that he loves you and you are special, but not in the specific ways that fulfill your needs. Telling him you don't feel special, feel unloved, will not work with an ADHD'er.

He can't just guess what it is you need, and expect to get it right.

Also, maybe he has a point - maybe he can't live up to what you want?

Maybe he feels frustrated and worn down from impossible expectations being placed on him?

Would you still want to be with him if he never changed?

I myself have ADHD, and so does my fiancť.

When I want attention or affection, I flat out tell him "can you please give me attention?" And I have already explained to him in detail what that means, which is, to come close to me and hug me and touch me.

He gets it, and is happy to do that.

There are no "guessing games" in my relationship because we both can't read each other's minds and are both pretty bad with hints.

If we need something, we just are open about it and say it.

I've been reading so many posts about the high divorce rate and the non-adhd spouse basically raising another child and how miserable they are and it's making me very nervous about a future with him. I'm very torn as to what to do.

Don't listen to those crappy articles. The average person is very likely to get a divorce as it is. Lots of people are miserable ADHD or not. It's about compatibility and respect and love. Lots of people just like to blame their partner's ADHD for the collapse of the marriage, but really, it took both people for the marriage to fail. Some things just don't work out.

I must say, good job on reading up about ADHD. Often partners do not wish to read up on it, and that really just makes the situation worse.

anonymouslyadd
01-22-16, 10:40 PM
I appreciate your willingness to learn about ADD. He's a very fortunate man.

Do you know what you need in order to feel loved. Whatever that is, communicate exactly what you're looking for. Never assume. We don't do well with guessing.

Don't put all the blame on him. We already know our failings and will be a punching bag for others. If he says he can't do something, believe him and let it go.

Libbywells
01-23-16, 12:27 AM
Thanks for the replies and advice! I think I've communicated what things I like to make me feel special and he'll do them for a while but then he stops over time. Makes me feel like maybe he does it just because I told him to, not because he wants to, otherwise he'd keep it up. I do need to be better about just telling him what I want. I just assume he should know and that's not fair to him. Thanks for the more positive outlook on the long run of this :)

dvdnvwls
01-23-16, 01:09 AM
The idea that he stopped because he didn't want to is not necessarily true, though of course it might be. It seems to me like (especially when your partner has ADHD) there are going to be some things that you have to ask for every time, or maybe just ask for more often.

Sometimes what one person asks can be difficult for the other person to do - often for strange and mysterious reasons. I tend to not automatically repeat anything difficult, because that's the way I am :) - I'm sure many people are similar in that regard - but not automatically repeating doesn't necessarily mean I really don't want to.

stef
01-23-16, 05:03 AM
őhope you can work things out,you seem very caring
just that he was able ro say to you that he wants to do these things but cant and is frustrated, and confessed how difficult things are, is really important and a major sign of his connection to and trust in you. It.s not an easy thing to share and try to explaun. Because someone with adhd can have so much hidden guilt and shame over the years. he must genuinely feel terrible about this.

skarlet
01-23-16, 02:18 PM
Libbywells, I feel I am in a very similar situation to you. My partner and I have been together for 2.5 years and he is often very detatched and I feel like I mean nothing to him. He always forgets things i tell him (most times he cant even remember where I work) and our time is limited too, only 2-3 nights a fortnight. We have had a similar conversation where he has said he feels he cant give me what I need and it upsets him to know that he is upsetting me. I have been reading up a lot on ADHD and especially the posts in this forum from people with ADHD and I must admit it has scared me a bit. I am not sure I am strong enough to live like this forever but I love him so much, I will definitely try. I cant offer any advice really but am happy to bounce off each other for ideas and to vent.

willow129
01-23-16, 02:55 PM
I think you are sooo smart to have connected this to his mention of ADHD - especially because he doesn't seem to have made the connection!!!! This does sound like classic ADHD to me as well.

As far as things you've asked him to do, and he does for a while but then is not consistent...
Something that really makes me upset about people arguing against meds for ADHD is when they say that it "changes people's personalities" or like, makes them less exciting or have less energy. I mean, it's important to find meds that work for you, BUT:
One of the. MOST. frustrating things about ADHD for me (and I'm inattentive as well) is that not only is it hard for me to do things that I don't want to do, but it's also difficult for me to do things that I genuinely WANT to do. I WANT to be able to finish my work without it taking forever because I get distracted, I WANT to be able to listen to conversations attentively and not feel bored or restless, I WANT to not procrastinate so badly, I WANT to notice others' needs more....these aren't things about my personality that I enjoy.
It may actually be that he does want to be able to do better at showing you he cares, and is having trouble for reasons that are not to do with you at all. It's hard to know either way and you might have to just trust what he's telling you, and it might require some creativity to fix things. On top of this, at least for me, my inability to do the things that I actually care about has had just the worst effect on my self esteem. So know that this could be really sensitive for him too. He's probably had a LOT of moments of feeling like a failure, much more than the average person, and that can do a number on you. I suspect that he will probably need to look into treatment and therapy to really be able to achieve what he wants. Be ready to be supportive, loving, communicative, and flexible!!!

Do you all like to read? There's a book that I've looked at a bit that it might be good for you to read together which is called "Is it you, me, or Adult ADD?"

I hope it works out for you both, it seems like he is very lucky to have found someone who is so observant and thoughtful and can connect the dots so well! And if things don't work out, I hope he will still spend some time investigating ADHD and treatment...:grouphug:

JDParmer3
01-30-16, 11:14 AM
http://quotespaper.com/quotes-about-life/5871
this read might help. I am married to someone with ADD and it is difficult at times. At times it feel unfair and you must remember to take time and space for yourself too. read the book about love languages so you know how to communicate what you need to him.

sarahsweets
01-31-16, 08:52 AM
New to this forum and not sure if I'm posting correctly. If not, I apologize!

I've been dating my boyfriend for nearly a year. He has all the symptoms of inattentive adhd. He told me he had adhd as a kid and was on meds for a short time, but I never knew how big of a deal this was. He's a great guy and I love him but, I feel detached/unimportant to him many times. He tells me he loves me, adores me, doesn't want to be with anyone but me etc, I just feel sometimes like he doesn't mean what he's saying.
Has he ever explained why he stopped meds?

He forgets to respond back to my texts, he doesn't remember things I tell him, he's always late, he struggles greatly with his school work, he almost never does anything special for me (I feel like I'm always doing special things and I love to do so but, it's rarely returned), when we're in public he acts like he's on his own (goes off on his own in stores without saying where he's headed, walks away from me when out walking, etc), he has a hard time understanding directions at work and doing things as instructed, when we're together- he gets focused in on books or tv or playing with his dog and I feel like I'm just sitting there while he's in his own world. Mind you, we only see each other one day a week so, it would be nice to be able to focus on each other, since our time together is so limited.

I am not the non adhd partner but I am adhd married to an adhd partner so I can try and offer some support.
My husband has some of the issues you mention like not responding to right away and forgetting stuff that I tell him. Its hard to work with this for sure. What I had to accept was that I was going to have to retell him things and repeat things many times and that it wasnt because I wasnt important or he didnt care, its just the way things are. When he doent respond to texts after a few hours Ill send him one to ask if he got the last one. Very often he read and forgot it, or completely missed it. If I need to get something across to him that cant wait on his texting I call him.

The times he will focus on me are when talking in the car or out walking, but that's about it. He has a hard time sticking to things, he says he doesn't understand why he lacks drive to work towards things etc. I don't know how many of these are adhd issues or just him being independent, but I'm assuming the majority are from adhd.

I don't want to keep going on and on but, those are some of the things I'm struggling with about him. I've never connected the way he acts to his adhd, until now, after days of reading about how adhd affects relationships. I had no idea. When I've brought my frustrations to him in the past (saying I don't feel very special to him) he just gets frustrated and says he's trying but, he just can't live up to what I want.

He may feel like he isnt meeting your expectations. The truth is he isnt. The only way for him to meet your expectations is if you are willing to change them.

Recently, we've been arguing more because I feel unloved and he feels like I'm not happy because of him, and it hurts him. Honestly, it's hard at times to feel completely happy with him because of the way he makes me feel. I don't think he realizes that his adhd is the reason. He confessed the other night that he feels like something is mentally wrong with him but he's not sure what and I don't think he's connecting it to adhd.

Its hard but you have to try and separate the love part from the adhd part. Whats hard in this case is that he isnt treating it. Have you asked him why he isnt on medication? Treatment makes everything improve.

I'm really trying to make this work, hence me trying to learn all I can about adhd, because I want to understand him more. I love him and both of us want to be together but I don't know if it's fair to keep things going. I don't want to give up on him but I don't know if I'm strong enough to be in a relationship that feels so one sided. Sometimes I feel he needs a stronger, independent woman who doesn't mind the lack of attention. We both want to have a family one day and he wants me to be able to stay home with the kids the first few years but, I don't know if he can mentally or financially handle the pressures of that. I've been reading so many posts about the high divorce rate and the non-adhd spouse basically raising another child and how miserable they are and it's making me very nervous about a future with him. I'm very torn as to what to do.

If you cant deal with this now, it is fair to consider if you could deal with it long term. He may get treatment but it may never resolve certain things about the adhd. You have to decide if you could live with that. I dont think you arent strong, you want things and you have a right to want them.
As far as him being the financially responsible one. and you staying home with the kids, you really need to take a look at that one. In my case, I am home with the kids and on disability. It became evident that I could not hold down a job and that I was the one cut out to be with the kids in a household sense but that doesnt mean we didnt struggle with him being the breadwinner. He graduated with a geology degree and changed careers and jobs when my son was 4. We took an enormous pay cut and he went back to school for 5 years while he worked to earn his journeyman's license. It was very hard. We went through union lay-offs and lack of job security. Thank god things are what they are now, he has a great job that isnt going anywhere but this only came about 4 years ago. (weve been married for 20 years)

ToneTone
01-31-16, 01:05 PM
I would be careful about proceeding with someone who isn't being treated or who apparently isn't as curious about his struggles as you are (given the research you've been doing).

It's OK to want what you want. No one gets exactly what they want in a relationship--whether or not ADHD is involved. But ... if the person is being aggressively treated or working on whatever their condition or weakness is, the partner can cut them a little slack without feeling used or neglected.

Ultimately it sounds like for you to be happy, he will need to aggressively take responsibility for giving you more of what you want ... and that probably involves treatment. He has to do that ... It's not your job to oversee treatment of another adult ... That doesn't work anyway ... though of course spouses can encourage and influence spouses ...

I would say don't back off from asking for what you want. Press hard ... and it's up him to decide whether or not he can give you a lot of what you want and what it would take for him to do so ... The things you're unhappy with now will make you triply unhappy if you get married.

Look, I know there are plenty of women who could not deal with me and my ADHD and depression ... and the best thing they can do for me is not date me. And the best thing I can do for myself is to avoid dating and marrying them and setting myself up for a lifetime of falling short of someone's expectations. I want someone who can work with me and encourage me and feel good about being in relationship with me, me as I am right now.

Those times in the past when women ditched me for neglecting them and feeling overwhelmed actually helped break through my denial and ultimately helped me get a diagnosis and treatment.

Tone

dvdnvwls
01-31-16, 03:42 PM
http://quotespaper.com/quotes-about-life/5871
this read might help. I am married to someone with ADD and it is difficult at times. At times it feel unfair and you must remember to take time and space for yourself too. read the book about love languages so you know how to communicate what you need to him.
Good idea - thanks for that pointer.

I have ADHD, and I can say quite definitely that living with me doesn't just feel unfair - it IS unfair! There are things I do (or don't do) that inevitably lead to problems, extra work, or inconvenience for anyone who lives with me.

There are two common attitudes to that:

- "That's OK - in this relationship we will do things differently, and somehow we'll find a solution that makes both of us happy"

OR

- "I'm getting tired of all your ADHD crap, it's starting to drive me crazy, and if you don't fix it soon then I don't know what I'll do."


In far too many relationships where one person has ADHD, that second attitude begins early and sticks around for a long long time.

If you are able to look at the obvious unfairness of living with someone who has ADHD as a set of problems for the couple to solve in a way that is good for both of them, instead of as a list of the ADHD partner's failures to live up to expectations, then the relationship can succeed.

aeon
01-31-16, 03:53 PM
If you are able to look at the obvious unfairness of living with someone who has ADHD as a set of problems for the couple to solve in a way that is good for both of them, instead of as a list of the ADHD partner's failures to live up to expectations, then the relationship can succeed.

And this statement is perfectly true even when ADHD is not involved, and it is about relationships in general.

I think itís fine to have expectations for oneself, but problems and disappointments and hurt feelings are almost inevitable when one has expectations of other people, especially when those expectations are not explicit, much less mutually agreed upon.


Cheers,
Ian

dvdnvwls
01-31-16, 04:55 PM
And this statement is perfectly true even when ADHD is not involved, and it is about relationships in general.

I think itís fine to have expectations for oneself, but problems and disappointments and hurt feelings are almost inevitable when one has expectations of other people, especially when those expectations are not explicit, much less mutually agreed upon.
For that matter, even self-expectations can be quite a minefield.

aprokcndy
03-10-16, 11:37 PM
Libbywells, I can totally empathize with your description of how you feel with your partner not caring/not being attentive... I have ADHD myself, but I'm being treated for it whereas I'm 99.9% sure my boyfriend has untreated inattentive ADHD and I feel like this all the time. It's definitely a struggle, but if you're willing to be very patient with him and help through the process of getting him treated for it (if he's willing to, of course, because that's important) I think things will get better. It sounds like you both care about each other a lot, there's just a communication gap. I struggle with feeling unloved a lot too, even though I know deep down that's not the case. ADHD people just love differently.

Pilgrim
03-12-16, 02:59 PM
I don't know if this is relevant but I would like to share 1 idea.

I've always been terrible with women, but I have never had any trouble getting interest. I'm a complete moron when it comes to the opposite sex.

Not now, and the reason why; medication.

The whole dating thing I just really couldn't do but I love sex. Now I enjoy just talking to the opposite sex, really what else is there.
To all those girls who don't understand their ADD partner it's called a time lapse. If this person puts their hand up and says they want to be there, trust me they do.

The point is do you want to put up with that behaviour?

aeon
03-12-16, 03:44 PM
Now I enjoy just talking to the opposite sex, really what else is there.

Shall I list in alphabetical order, or in order of sweet idle pleasures? :lol:


Cheers,
Ian

Little Missy
03-12-16, 07:44 PM
Shall I list in alphabetical order, or in order of sweet idle pleasures? :lol:


Cheers,
Ian

In Latin, please.

sarahsweets
03-16-16, 02:56 AM
Si Senor, mi amore.

Shall I list in alphabetical order, or in order of sweet idle pleasures? :lol:

Si Senor, mi amore.
Cheers,
Ian

TLCisaQT
06-12-16, 02:45 PM
Remember that we can choose to NOT be in relationships with people and they and you can still be good people but not compatible for one another. Usually people don't change too much from who they are when you date them and if they do, it's usually for the "worse" for lack of a better word than for the "better" so if someone isn't a good match for you now, when more stressors of life and real life kick in more and more, it's just bound to become more difficult. Good luck with your choice.