View Full Version : Hyperfocus


emmy_1
09-06-17, 02:49 PM
Hi all,

I assume many of you have experienced hyperfocus on yourself when starting the relationship �� I'm in a situation where the hyperfocus*has gone some time ago*but 8*months ago my husband started*hyperfocusing on a female colleague (e.g. Texting all the time, calls, helping her with everything, coaching, etc.). I don't believe that there is anything romantic but he is talking about and with*her and meeting her almost every day.

When I told him that I have the feeling "someone else is living with us" and that I'm very confused and upset about his behavior and he has no time left for "us" he was very angry. He tried to explain that she really needs his "help" in those situations and that I have to respect that. He explained that he wants be a "good person" who is helping others who need help. I told him that I'm not accusing him to help others but of the huge amount of time (every day!) he is spending with her. But he wasn't able to get this point and was defending his situation.

Have you experienced a similar situation and do you have any Tips how to deal with this situation and this behavior?

many thanks!!*

Greyhound1
09-06-17, 03:15 PM
Hyper focus is usually something we have little to no control over. Things which are extremely stimulating cause it for me.

The stimulation isn't necessarily from something we like or enjoy. A car crash or a train wreck could cause hyper focus for me.

The fact that your husband is hyper focusing so much on a female colleague and for such a long time is a big red flag for me. Hyper focusing on a female colleague seems more like an interest or desire especially when it's done for months.

I hope, I am wrong and wish you the best with mending your relationship.

Kaia.S
09-06-17, 03:31 PM
Give it another month or so, my 'hyperfocus' on a person usually fades within a year :rolleyes:

I learned to communicate from my own vulnerability, so in stead of making any accusations, be open about how things make me feel, p.e in your case that you miss him? So that he doesn't feel he has to defend himself and hopefully can be more open to hear you (as another person who needs help), good luck!

emmy_1
09-06-17, 03:36 PM
Hi Greyhound,
many thanks for your prompt answer! That's an interesting fact I didnt' know about Hyperfocus. I had the hope that his behavior and his extreme defense is explainable with ADHD but maybe this was wishful thinking ... :(
Thanks again!!

Greyhound1
09-06-17, 04:28 PM
Hi Greyhound,
many thanks for your prompt answer! That's an interesting fact I didnt' know about Hyperfocus. I had the hope that his behavior and his extreme defense is explainable with ADHD but maybe this was wishful thinking ... :(
Thanks again!!

You are quite welcome. Just the fact you joined here to try and understand your husband's behavior and issues is very commendable. He's lucky to have you care enough to not just get jealous, angry and being done with him.

I hope you can have an open, honest and real conversation with him about this. I think that could really help. Discussing your concerns about hyper focus vs. infactuation vs. obsession regarding this colleague may be necessary.

Good luck with it!

sarahsweets
09-07-17, 04:38 AM
Huge red flag. In my experience the hyperfocus doesnt revolve around a person, per se. You have every right to want him to tune in to your married life and not have him be a knight n shining armor to another woman. He may not be cheating physically but emotionally he is.

TheGreatKing
09-07-17, 06:40 PM
hmm................. I never hyper focused on people before, didn't now you could, well actually when my father comes and visit we zone out everyone and just talk for hours. is that count? maybe ask to be included in helping out this individual, tag along you know, be part of the experience with him. I am not saying spy on him lol but see what the fuss is about and this female person actually needs that much help.

dopaminerush
09-08-17, 03:05 PM
Do it kindly. (stop it) ;)

ToneTone
09-09-17, 03:15 PM
I've been in your partner's position ... inquiring about my ADHD would not have been helpful. I needed my partner at the time to scream NO! ... which she did. I backed off.

At the time I would have said that my then-partner was overly jealous. Now I realize jealousy has its place! ... The fact was ... I was on the road towards getting romantically involved with this other person ... even though I would have denied it. I don't know if it was my ADHD that blocked my awareness ... or just my immaturity or lack of social skill and lack of self-awareness--probably a combination of all of these.

As others have said, this is a huge red flag ... and your wondering whether ADHD is involved--instead of simply screaming NO! ... is a red flag as well that you can do a better job standing up for yourself.

If your jealousy alarms are going off ... pay attention. Scream. Yell. Don't sit by in silence. It's his job to figure out the how and why ... on how to change his behavior. Not your job. Your job as partner is to make loud and clear how unnerved and scared and uncomfortable you are.

Tone

TheGreatKing
09-10-17, 06:16 PM
Sometimes you have to do what you don't like to get to where you want to be.

emmy_1
09-11-17, 02:06 PM
Thank you all so much for your feedback and understanding! You can not believe how it feels to not be alone in such a situation like this. In general I try to not show that I'm jealous because this is a topic my husband and I always end up in huge fights. He always argues that with being jealous I'm accusing him indirectly of cheating which he would never do (so he says...)) and that I have to accept that he is someone supporting people that need help. I'm really hesitating to bring up this topic as I'm afraid of this outcome. But I totally get you and I'm afraid I need to stand up for myself although this may be hard. @Tonetone: especially your post was really inspirational for me!
Thank you all so much!

sarahsweets
09-12-17, 04:47 AM
Whenever you are partnered with someone its not cool to use someone else for heavy emotional support..

kilted_scotsman
09-12-17, 10:35 AM
From what you say it would seem that your partner doesn't understand his ADHD.

If he is unaware fo how his ADHD affects him, his behaviour will inevitably hurt those around him, and probably exacerbate his symptoms.

The person with ADHD needs to lead and put the effort into understanding how their ADHD affects them and the people around them.

The partner is there for SUPPORT, not to be the lead on learning about and looking for coping strategies.

I recognise the behaviour you describe.....and it caused untold hurt for the people I love. I was right in that "Rescuer" thing in the "Drama Triangle" along with a kind of hyperfocus on (usually damaged) women who played the "victim" game.

In short BIG RED FLAGS.

The solution is about HIM recognising this behaviour is unhealthy....working out what is driving it..... (there's probably something in his family dynamic) and then working out how to neutralise it.

this may involve NOT rescuing/helping people...... and feeling the almost irresistible pull towards doing so (which is not pleasant to experience... think addict withdrawal).... the behaviour is likely to be a deep seated way of getting relational contact with others..... effectively "buying" it.

The thing you can be curious about is...... how did YOU end up in this relationship, did you give out signals of "needing" someone, did your relationship start with him helping you a lot, or are you an independent/take it or leave it type.

This type of behaviour is deep seated in ADDERs and almost impossible to shift unless the ADDER recognises its unhealthy aspects and digs down into the pain and loneliness that's driving it. Most of us are outcasts.... even though we can over it with other behaviours.... be it the clown, the life & soul, or the helper/rescuer. THese behaviours insulate us from the loneliness of living with ADHD.... but unfortunately they are counter-productive when we get into a more intimate relationship.

ScatterBrainX
09-19-17, 02:06 AM
You're definitely in the right.

Assuming he's really just helping out a coworker in need and there's nothing else going on, I can sort of see where he's coming from (although he's still in the wrong).

I had a similar defensive reaction with my SO a while ago. I was working from home and struggling with procrastination and getting started, and often ended up working late at night and weekends in a panic to finish my projects. My SO voiced his disappointment that I procrastinate so much and as a result we never get to spend time together. I felt guilty, and then angry: "damnit, I'm trying my best to make rent here, and you're upset with me for that?". Eventually I understood I was in the wrong, and have been keeping a much better schedule since.

See if you can approach it something like this: "I know you're a good person, it's part of why I love you so much, and I see how much you want to help your coworker. I'm not frustrated with you because of that. But don't set yourself on fire to keep others warm. It's good to help others, but if you sacrifice your own life to help them, soon you'll burn out and be unable to do so. Help her, but set some limits to it, she needs to learn to help herself too, if you're always there, she'll always rely on you and never become the strong, independent adult she can be. Take some time for yourself too, and for us, because I miss spending time with you. I know you love me too and want it too, even if her situation feels more urgent in the moment."

If he reacts negatively to that too, maybe there is more going on. But it's worth trying, before giving up on him.

Letcrook81
11-01-17, 11:59 AM
this is a really hard one...
its horrible to be in your situation as i find the more i push on things my partnert doesnt agree with the more he does it. im lucky that he is a good man but we have been in situations with 2 of his female friends that clearly wanted more from him and he was blind to it - shes nice, shes not like that, shes just my friend, im helping her, she confides in me, shes having a hard time etc. 2 seperate occasions 2 different friends. turns out im always right - they came on to him they are no longer friends. its so hard because he doesnt see it until its right there in his face and he wont be told either.

sit down with your partner and say to him - i love you, and i trust you and i love that you are trying so hard to make someone elses life easier however i do not trust her intentions at all (if thats the case) so he doesnt feel attacked. You are with me not her and i feel like i have to fight for your attention and its me that needs attention as i feel unimportant and unloved by you at the moment

Farrarch
03-26-18, 03:37 AM
I just read about this. We just do things for a different reason. We need to either get it done, be into what it is we are having to focus on.
And this is me, so hyper focused time slips pass me and its 4 hours later.

sarahsweets
03-26-18, 05:18 AM
Hyperfocus for me is never a positive because it usually means I am not focusing on anything that needs to be done, and only on that one thing-useful or not.

DeClutter
03-26-18, 05:33 AM
It would be a positive if it could be "controlled".

Under hyperfocus i can either be highly creative, or i can get caught in absurd perfectionistic tendencies. It seems hard to control which way it ends up going....

And then getting out of it - unless induced by completion of a task or natural tiredness - is always troublesome. Like you would suddenly need to bring a supersonic jet fighter to a full stop... in mid air, it can only end up in a crash.

DeClutter
03-26-18, 07:05 AM
But coming back to the OP...

If you are unaware that you have ADD or that your ADD makes you chase after intense or stimulating experiences in order to keep your attention switched on it has its impact on relationships.

A healthy relationship can not consistently offer the high stimulation levels that an unaware ADD'er is looking for as "self-medication".

But...

although the mechanism of hypo/hyperfocus is hard to control, even an unaware ADD'er always has a choice i believe WHERE and HOW he goes to find that so much needed missing stimulation. And your husband makes a very dangerous choice here...

In my case, once i am in a loving relationship my heart is filled with the person i care about, that room has been taken. I might miss a bit of intensity in the relationship - which is normal in a long-term relationship - but i would simply not be able to find that intensity in another person either.

mjd2000
09-06-18, 01:51 PM
Yessssssss! My ADHD husband and I have had major struggles in this area. A little over a year ago, he "hyperfocused" on someone he met on social media. Our marriage has been rocky for a while, since our children were born, starting about 10 years ago, and has progressively become worse as things became more demanding at home. Without my knowledge, and with deliberate deceit on his part, he became fixated on this person he had never met because she seemed to him to be much more suited for him than I am. He created a romance in his head (she did not participate in any real way) and he spent huge amounts of time looking at pictures of her, emailing her, cooking up ways to casually turn up at places where she would be, sometimes with my children in tow. He went so far as to tell her that he was in love with her, and he also shared intimate details of our marriage and ran me down to her. He virtually stopped working during this period of "hyperfocus" on her, and essentially wrecked our finances. This all happened without my knowledge for several months. When I found out, I was crushed. I found posts and emails that were stunning to me. I never saw it coming. After I found out, he promised me repeatedly that it was over and that there would be no further contact. I would become suspicious that contact was continuing, and he would look me in the eyes and promise me that he had not been in contact with her and that he had no desire to contact her. I would follow my gut, look into it, and find ongoing contact, which would start a huge fight, protestations that there was nothing wrong with what he was doing, that it was not an affair of any kind, and he should be free to talk with someone outside the marriage as long as he wasn't trying to cheat.

After a heart-wrenching year of dealing with this situation, he did cool on her, and I had some time to heal. Now, once again, he has become focused on another female, and although it does not have the same romantic overtones, he is clearly infatuated with her and wants to talk with her through private messages, which he insists he should be allowed to do, because he is not romantically interested in her. He also waited until I went out of town and met her for drinks, which he had every intent of hiding from me, until I discovered it on my own. His excuse: "I knew that you wouldn't want me to do it, so I didn't tell you ahead of time. It was innocent, but I knew that it would hurt you if I told you, so why tell you? It was nothing, and I should not have to feel bad about meeting a friend for a drink."

So yes, I firmly believe that people with ADHD can, and do, hyperfocus on people, and it can be very damaging when they are of the opposite sex, and are the new shiny object while you feel like the boring, long-term partner with a body that has borne three children. Furthermore, if the behavior is private or secret, and there is dishonesty involved, it is extremely destructive to a relationship. My husband refuses to see that. He is fixated on his perceived reality that I'm trying to isolate him, I don't trust him, and I don't want him to have friends. It's absolutely crazy-making and I don't have a clue as to how to deal with it.

sarahsweets
09-11-18, 02:10 AM
Yessssssss! My ADHD husband and I have had major struggles in this area. A little over a year ago, he "hyperfocused" on someone he met on social media. Our marriage has been rocky for a while, since our children were born, starting about 10 years ago, and has progressively become worse as things became more demanding at home. Without my knowledge, and with deliberate deceit on his part, he became fixated on this person he had never met because she seemed to him to be much more suited for him than I am. He created a romance in his head (she did not participate in any real way) and he spent huge amounts of time looking at pictures of her, emailing her, cooking up ways to casually turn up at places where she would be, sometimes with my children in tow. He went so far as to tell her that he was in love with her, and he also shared intimate details of our marriage and ran me down to her. He virtually stopped working during this period of "hyperfocus" on her, and essentially wrecked our finances. This all happened without my knowledge for several months. When I found out, I was crushed. I found posts and emails that were stunning to me. I never saw it coming. After I found out, he promised me repeatedly that it was over and that there would be no further contact. I would become suspicious that contact was continuing, and he would look me in the eyes and promise me that he had not been in contact with her and that he had no desire to contact her. I would follow my gut, look into it, and find ongoing contact, which would start a huge fight, protestations that there was nothing wrong with what he was doing, that it was not an affair of any kind, and he should be free to talk with someone outside the marriage as long as he wasn't trying to cheat.

After a heart-wrenching year of dealing with this situation, he did cool on her, and I had some time to heal. Now, once again, he has become focused on another female, and although it does not have the same romantic overtones, he is clearly infatuated with her and wants to talk with her through private messages, which he insists he should be allowed to do, because he is not romantically interested in her. He also waited until I went out of town and met her for drinks, which he had every intent of hiding from me, until I discovered it on my own. His excuse: "I knew that you wouldn't want me to do it, so I didn't tell you ahead of time. It was innocent, but I knew that it would hurt you if I told you, so why tell you? It was nothing, and I should not have to feel bad about meeting a friend for a drink."

So yes, I firmly believe that people with ADHD can, and do, hyperfocus on people, and it can be very damaging when they are of the opposite sex, and are the new shiny object while you feel like the boring, long-term partner with a body that has borne three children. Furthermore, if the behavior is private or secret, and there is dishonesty involved, it is extremely destructive to a relationship. My husband refuses to see that. He is fixated on his perceived reality that I'm trying to isolate him, I don't trust him, and I don't want him to have friends. It's absolutely crazy-making and I don't have a clue as to how to deal with it.

I hope you stop putting up with this.,

CharlesH
09-11-18, 12:23 PM
Yessssssss! My ADHD husband and I have had major struggles in this area. A little over a year ago, he "hyperfocused" on someone he met on social media.

That's not an ADHD symptom. It's called having an affair.

"hyperfocus" is something along the lines of "I accidentally got lost watching lame youtube videos for four hours last night when I really should have been sleeping." It's not "I actively engaged in a months longs emotional affair with planned coverups"