View Full Version : Boyfriend just diagnosed


Writergirl
03-12-17, 04:20 PM
Hi all, I'm new here and my boyfriend of a year and a half has just found out he has ADHD. (I am 35 and he is 30) It's been quite a revelation for both of us, especially him. It explains so many of his behaviors and almost was a relief to put a name to it.

He's really open to getting help and trying meds and going to his psychiatrist, which I am super thankful about. I've recently moved 3 hours away and his diagnosis came after that. It's been really rough trying to adjust to moving and a new city, long distance relationship, and now that he's got his own issues with this new diagnosis, let me just say it's been a bit rocky.

I was so excited to hear there was an explanation for his forgetfulness, his inability to focus and make long term plans, his interrupting, the way he disappears mid text convo for hours at a time (I call it him disappearing into the Upside Down), his inability to hold many deep convos because he changes subjects rapidly (and much more...) etc. But now it just seems very daunting. The past few weeks he's been more quiet than normal, and we talked about it. I mentioned it felt like I had no idea what was going on in his life. I think I didn't realize how much of an impact this had on him. He said it's basically making him question himself and who he is. And he's turned internally instead of reaching out. He's questioning himself: Are all his accomplishments and failures attributed to his ADHD? Who is he really? And he feels awful he can't be there in the way he wants to be for me with my huge life change as well.

But I want to be there for him. I ordered a few books on it, and am thinking of going back to therapy. I have anxiety and I know that doesn't help in a relationship like this. When you think he's ignoring you but he's not. Or he doesn't care to make plans to see you because he forgot to read the email with dates I sent. But i know that's not true. I know he gets hyper focused on things for hours and thinks of nothing else, even me. It's just hard to comprehend.

I also read that they can actually be hyperfoucsed on the relationship in the beginning. And then after the "courting" stage, they become confident in the relationship so they hyper focus on something else, leaving their partner to feel neglected. He said he could totally see that. I love that he acknowledges these things. It's still extremely difficult for me to comprehend it I think. I just think it will take time for him to learn how to cope with it and manage it. And me, too. I just sometimes feel like I may not be strong enough...

Thanks for listening, this is all so new to me.

dvdnvwls
03-12-17, 04:54 PM
Welcome to the forum!

From my perspective as a guy with ADHD, it's so good to read your thoughts on this.

You absolutely are strong enough, but don't focus on that, because where you're headed, strength is not the main thing you'll need. What you will need is to be flexible, smart, and - most of all - ready to start by totally throwing all your most basic expectations out the window. You and him can make everything work out fine - but never by being "normal" and "by the book".

Writergirl
03-12-17, 07:35 PM
Thank you! Yes, I've been seeing that! He mentioned that i deserve reasonable expectations, but I'm not even sure what that is lol! When I was married I think I had too high expectations. I understand we both have needs and wants and deserve a certain level met though. But I think communication is the key here. He keeps telling me not to be afraid to bring anything up (That was a huge hang up for me in previous relationships). I do think that will be hard for both of us! Not being "by the book". He's a genius and that's all he does with everything else lol! (as well as me- sometimes I need logical concrete explanations for things)..but he's reading up as well and I'm thankful for that too.

ToneTone
03-12-17, 10:41 PM
As someone with ADHD and someone who married someone who had conditions WORSE than my ADHD, I'll offer a few points.

1. Educate yourself and read and be kind ... and see how your boyfriend approaches treatment and what treatment is like ... the results of treatment and so son ...

2. At the same time ... I would say step back and judge him based on how much you enjoy being with him, how much you like him, his combination of strengths and weaknesses. Ultimately knowing someone has a condition does not answer the question of whether it is good for you to stay in the relationship ...

Knowing someone has a condition is actually NOT reason to put up with behavior you don't like that stems from that condition--at least not in a marriage--which you guys may or may not be thinking about.

Crazy analogy. I have a friend whose wife has a horrible back problem from an accident. The wife is in constant pain ... Now here's the twist: the wife is ... well, she's mean and self-absorbed and fails to support her husband in key ways ... I spent a weekend with them once and I couldn't believe how bad she treated him and how he allowed such treatment.

Bottom line: my buddy puts up with his wife's meanness and distance and disinterest largely because he knows she has this unrelenting back pain ... But frankly, he would have done better, it seems, to confront her and have a constructive non-physical argument about her behavior ...

My buddy at some point needed to forget that she had back problems and take a stand. I don't know that back problems are any different from ADHD for the non-partner. Same issues and challenges at stake.

Anyway, good luck.

Tone

Writergirl
03-12-17, 10:56 PM
As someone with ADHD and someone who married someone who had conditions WORSE than my ADHD, I'll offer a few points.

1. Educate yourself and read and be kind ... and see how your boyfriend approaches treatment and what treatment is like ... the results of treatment and so son ...

2. At the same time ... I would say step back and judge him based on how much you enjoy being with him, how much you like him, his combination of strengths and weaknesses. Ultimately knowing someone has a condition does not answer the question of whether it is good for you to stay in the relationship ...

Knowing someone has a condition is actually NOT reason to put up with behavior you don't like that stems from that condition--at least not in a marriage--which you guys may or may not be thinking about.

Crazy analogy. I have a friend whose wife has a horrible back problem from an accident. The wife is in constant pain ... Now here's the twist: the wife is ... well, she's mean and self-absorbed and fails to support her husband in key ways ... I spent a weekend with them once and I couldn't believe how bad she treated him and how he allowed such treatment.

Bottom line: my buddy puts up with his wife's meanness and distance and disinterest largely because he knows she has this unrelenting back pain ... But frankly, he would have done better, it seems, to confront her and have a constructive non-physical argument about her behavior ...

My buddy at some point needed to forget that she had back problems and take a stand. I don't know that back problems are any different from ADHD for the non-partner. Same issues and challenges at stake.

Anyway, good luck.

Tone


Thank you!! All great tips! I completely get where you're coming from. Having a condition does not give one an excuse to treat someone poorly. (he treats me wonderfully- his love language is definitely Acts of service and he's told me that before and I can definitely see it. I try to speak his to him as well. He has a hard time with language and expressing his emotions and feelings, but I can see that he loves me with the way he act and does things for me. He makes it a point to speak my love language, which is touch, and I think that's amazing of him to think of that among everything else whirling around in his brain.)

I love being with him, and his quirks never really bothered me before. It's just been interesting to find out the reason behind some of them. Everyone has their quirks that the partner has to decide if they can live with. I am sure he thinks that about me and my anxiety. . I'm not looking to change him, who he is, is who I fell in love with before the diagnosis. Of course it hasn't been a super long time, so whose to say how it will be in another few years. But I love him and all his strengths and weaknesses to venture forward for sure. It definitely will be a journey, but one I want to make together.

dvdnvwls
03-12-17, 11:12 PM
Some things that are a problem with ADHD may not show up soon enough. New relationships are exciting, and we are notoriously bad at the "boring adult" stuff, in ways that are probably hard to imagine unless you've been through them already. That's where a lot of the difficulty with broken expectations comes up - when you have to fix the floor or file the tax forms or pay for a car, and he's doing everything so wrong that you don't know where to start.

sarahsweets
03-13-17, 04:03 AM
Writergirl:

THANK YOU-THANK YOU! Its so good to see the non adhd partner so willing to work with their S/O instead of against them. You wouldnt believe how many people come here to rip their partner apart and are so unwilling to learn about adhd or change their expectations.

Postulate
03-13-17, 09:25 AM
Hey, welcome to the forum! Like Sarah said, it's good to see you guys are working together. Tell me, you mentioned being married, what was your husband's age when you married him?

Writergirl
03-13-17, 07:50 PM
Hey, welcome to the forum! Like Sarah said, it's good to see you guys are working together. Tell me, you mentioned being married, what was your husband's age when you married him?

He was 23 and I was 22. Why?

sarahsweets
03-14-17, 05:56 AM
Hey, welcome to the forum! Like Sarah said, it's good to see you guys are working together. Tell me, you mentioned being married, what was your husband's age when you married him?

I dont see how her ex husband has anything to do with her current situation.

Postulate
03-14-17, 09:09 PM
He was 23 and I was 22. Why?

Oh, nothing. I just noticed the age gap and was wondering if it was consistent from one relationship to another. It's very good that you both read about ADHD, take your time, read, but keep in mind that your relationship is still forming and at some point, he needs to take a pill and move on with life. You have certain expectations too and you wouldn't want your lover-lover relationship to subtly slide into the nurse-patient or the mother-son domain. If you can find a way to value him more as a man, because of his ADHD, he will reply back with a lot of affection and the lover-lover relationship will be secured.

There's nothing wrong with having high expectations. I saw you mentioning at some point that you saw it being a flaw, it's not. The ideal lovers have insanely high expectations of each other, and both are able to meet those expectations. A couple where both partners have little to no expectations of each other, will not be a flame that shines very bright.

I still feel like I'm missing something here...how do you feel going from a relationship where your partner is 1 year older to a relationship where he's 5 years younger? What differences can you notice, aside from his ADHD?

Writergirl
03-14-17, 10:16 PM
Oh, nothing. I just noticed the age gap and was wondering if it was consistent from one relationship to another. It's very good that you both read about ADHD, take your time, read, but keep in mind that your relationship is still forming and at some point, he needs to take a pill and move on with life. You have certain expectations too and you wouldn't want your lover-lover relationship to subtly slide into the nurse-patient or the mother-son domain. If you can find a way to value him more as a man, because of his ADHD, he will reply back with a lot of affection and the lover-lover relationship will be secured.

There's nothing wrong with having high expectations. I saw you mentioning at some point that you saw it being a flaw, it's not. The ideal lovers have insanely high expectations of each other, and both are able to meet those expectations. A couple where both partners have little to no expectations of each other, will not be a flame that shines very bright.

I still feel like I'm missing something here...how do you feel going from a relationship where your partner is 1 year older to a relationship where he's 5 years younger? What differences can you notice, aside from his ADHD?

I don't really see what age has to do with it. In between my divorce and now, I've dated younger guys, older, and the same age. I dated one who was 11 years older. My bf now is a lawyer and does very well for himself. It's not like I'm 20 and he's 15. I only mentioned ages so you guys would know where on the adult range we are. I could have just said we are in our 30s. I don't really see any differences as far as age goes. 5 years isn't much as we get older.

Yes I've read about the parent/child dynamic that can happen with ADHD relationships. I think as we both learn about it and move forward we can try not to let that happen. He is always my partner, and never anything less.

Thank you for the advice!

Luvmybully
03-14-17, 10:56 PM
Hi! I am the non-adhd spouse. (I do have issues, but not adhd). My husband and I have been together for 35 years now. We have 3 adult children and 2, SOON to be 3, grandchildren.

SO wonderful that you want to learn more! I totally agree with the advice to toss "normal" out the window. YOU define what works for you. It may not be what you ever considered before.

I do not look at my husband's ANYTHING as "can I live with this?" I know that I can not and will not, live without him. It's as simple as that. He is my best friend, my partner, and we work our crazy, convoluted lives out as best we can to suit US.

Read around the Non-adhd partner boards. There is some wonderful information. Ask questions!

And Welcome!

Writergirl
03-14-17, 11:30 PM
Hi! I am the non-adhd spouse. (I do have issues, but not adhd). My husband and I have been together for 35 years now. We have 3 adult children and 2, SOON to be 3, grandchildren.

SO wonderful that you want to learn more! I totally agree with the advice to toss "normal" out the window. YOU define what works for you. It may not be what you ever considered before.

I do not look at my husband's ANYTHING as "can I live with this?" I know that I can not and will not, live without him. It's as simple as that. He is my best friend, my partner, and we work our crazy, convoluted lives out as best we can to suit US.

Read around the Non-adhd partner boards. There is some wonderful information. Ask questions!

And Welcome!

That sounds like a wonderful way to look at it! Thank you!

Postulate
03-15-17, 09:53 AM
I don't really see what age has to do with it. In between my divorce and now, I've dated younger guys, older, and the same age. I dated one who was 11 years older. My bf now is a lawyer and does very well for himself. It's not like I'm 20 and he's 15. I only mentioned ages so you guys would know where on the adult range we are. I could have just said we are in our 30s. I don't really see any differences as far as age goes. 5 years isn't much as we get older.

Yes I've read about the parent/child dynamic that can happen with ADHD relationships. I think as we both learn about it and move forward we can try not to let that happen. He is always my partner, and never anything less.

Thank you for the advice!
A difference from one relationship to another would be for example, how you feel when he's around 25 y.o. female lawyers. In your previous relationship, you might not have cared much but, expressions like "disappearing into the upside down", makes me think that his ADHD may not only shelter his symptoms but some of your insecurities as well. The man is a lawyer, he's busy, he cannot always reply to your texts in real time.

How do you explain that, after meeting you a year and a half ago, followed a period of deep introspection for him, which culminated in his ADHD diagnosis? Usually, when a relationship starts, partners are exploring each other, not themselves. They usually introspect when they break up and they try to figure out what their part of responsibility was. After meeting you, he introspected so much that he no longer knows who he is! How do you explain this? How come he's not passionate about solving your anxiety issues? Why isn't he googling that?

Writergirl
03-15-17, 10:33 PM
A difference from one relationship to another would be for example, how you feel when he's around 25 y.o. female lawyers. In your previous relationship, you might not have cared much but, expressions like "disappearing into the upside down", makes me think that his ADHD may not only shelter his symptoms but some of your insecurities as well. The man is a lawyer, he's busy, he cannot always reply to your texts in real time.

How do you explain that, after meeting you a year and a half ago, followed a period of deep introspection for him, which culminated in his ADHD diagnosis? Usually, when a relationship starts, partners are exploring each other, not themselves. They usually introspect when they break up and they try to figure out what their part of responsibility was. After meeting you, he introspected so much that he no longer knows who he is! How do you explain this? How come he's not passionate about solving your anxiety issues? Why isn't he googling that?

Interesting take on the little background info I gave you. I only called it the disappearing into the upside down (a joke- I called it that before his diagnosis) because everything I've read about them being hyper focused on something and disappearing for hours at a time is exactly what he is like. He's always been like that, since the day I met him. I always attributed it to him being a genius. Like, Sherlock- mind palace genius. But reading about ADHD and how they can disappear like that, it makes sense. He does it to everyone else as well, even his parents. And I'm talking mid convo- not just not texting me. I don't expect to chat all day long, or an immediate reply to random texts I send him. But if we are having a conversation he will literally stop right in the middle for like, 6 hours. Then come back and not know that much time has passed. He always talked about losing time. But now that he's on his meds, we have deep convos that have a beginning and end. And then not text for a few hours like normal people. Like I said, this is extremely new for us. We're only a few weeks in.

He had no idea he had ADHD before this. (someone suggested to him randomly one day that he may have ADHD and to take a quiz. Took the quiz, got "extreme ADHD", went to the dr and was diagnosed) The introspection came AFTER the diagnosis. Sorry if I wasn't clear on that. Everything was hunky dory for him before that. He knew exactly who he was. He is one of the most confident men I know. He got diagnosed and then it hit him like a ton of bricks. As would anyone who went their whole lives not knowing they had this illness. And I've had my anxiety my whole life, have a therapist, I know the drill and don't need anyone to google my symptoms or spend a long time talking/thinking about it etc. I've spent my whole life talking about it lol. He is very attentive to me and it, and does ask how he can help me. He's very encouraging toward me. Much in the same way I have asked how I can help him with his diagnosis. Anyway, so the introspection came after the diagnosis.

sarahsweets
03-18-17, 10:35 AM
A difference from one relationship to another would be for example, how you feel when he's around 25 y.o. female lawyers. In your previous relationship, you might not have cared much but, expressions like "disappearing into the upside down", makes me think that his ADHD may not only shelter his symptoms but some of your insecurities as well. The man is a lawyer, he's busy, he cannot always reply to your texts in real time.

I think writergirl is doing the best she can and a phenominal job at trying ti understand her partner. Many NT's dont even bother looking within themselves at what they can do to better the situation. Many times the adhd person gets blamed and shamed.

How do you explain that, after meeting you a year and a half ago, followed a period of deep introspection for him, which culminated in his ADHD diagnosis? Usually, when a relationship starts, partners are exploring each other, not themselves. They usually introspect when they break up and they try to figure out what their part of responsibility was. After meeting you, he introspected so much that he no longer knows who he is! How do you explain this? How come he's not passionate about solving your anxiety issues? Why isn't he googling that?

I dont think that you can fairly say that partners do not explore themselves in an new relationship. New relationships are just that-new and affect every part of the person and how they think and relate to each other and their place in the world.

dvdnvwls
03-18-17, 02:25 PM
In addition, the shock of new-ness - the sudden changes on being in a new relationship - can be overwhelming.