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Old 12-07-17, 04:22 PM
violet1970 violet1970 is offline
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Do I start it for him or wait?

Hi all, First time posting here but have been reading posts for weeks and many of them are very helpful.

Have been living with a partner for just under 2 yrs who has ADHD, diagnosed as a child. Was on Adderall as a teen, but has not been on meds since. He suffers from depression and severe insecurity, is morbidly obese, and is now 32.

When we met, he was singing on the street for tips, in a southern climate, so he was "self-employed", and he made, per hour, more money than I do. He sings opera, and occasionally gets gigs or (still) sings on the street for tips in good weather, but we live in the frozen north now, so for 6 months out of the year for the last 2 years he has not worked for half the year, nor made any attempt to audition, find gigs, etc.

My issue is more about his refusal to accept that he needs help for the ADHD. I pay all the bills, and do 95% of the cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc. I do not have the money to support both of us and additionally pay for therapy and medication for him. In the past, he has heavily relied on his parents to bail him out with money issues. He is going home for the holidays for 3 weeks (I did not have the money to be able to join him, though I love his parents) and I have begged him to please ask his folks if they would financially assist with therapy or meds, as his ADHD is severe.

He forgets to bathe, has gone through 4 smartphones in 4 months (lost, broken/dropped, stolen), loses his wallet, can't tell me how he spends what little money he makes when he makes it, you name it. I am afraid he will not ask his parents for financial support for the ADHD issue because he will either forget or he won't find it "important" or "interesting" enough to focus on. Meanwhile, I know that due to his lack of income, he would qualify for Medicaid or some sort of free health care, but in order to get it, he has to fill out paperwork, etc. He has done no research on this.

My question is: do I look up the requirements, download the paperwork, and help him fill it out? He has a phobia of forms. Or do I leave it to him to do this? Again, my fear is that, as with so many things, he will do nothing at all if not pushed/begged/ assisted/hand-held. He is a sweet guy, but I feel like I am taking care of a toddler, not in a relationship with a grown man.

We moved in together after only dating for a month, because we met just before I moved out of state to be closer to my aging mother, who has just retired after a double hip replacement and is planning to move in with me. Knowing he had no steady job and would be moving to another state where he had no contacts, I knew I would have to be patient...but he moved in before I had any idea of the extent of his ADHD.

To illustrate the severity: he had a trip to Europe in high school in a choir to sing. He was gone for 2 weeks. Before he left, he parked his car in a school parking lot. When he got back, he forgot where he parked the car. He reported it stolen to the police, and his parents bought him another car. Lo and behold, 2 months later, he was with a friend and came across his car in the parking lot. He had no recollection at all of having parked it...

I don't want to be a nag, a pest, an enabler, a "mommy", I just would like more assistance around the house with chores. If he could do more on that end, his lack of income would not bother me so much. But if he won't help with chores, won't get a job, and won't get help for the ADHD, I don't see a future. Do I help him with the Medicaid paperwork if he comes back from his parents' house and hasn't secured any assistance to pay for therapy and meds? Any help appreciated. Criticism accepted. This is my first relationship with someone with ADHD, and I am at a loss.

I bought Melissa Orlov's book and am reading it, but he gets defensive when he sees it because he says "it is all about what a bad person I am". I try to explain I am just looking for strategies to understand him better and be a better partner, but he shuts down. Oh, and most of the time when I come home from a 10-12 hour day at work (I am a CPA in a very high-stress position at a non-profit that is cash poor), he is playing video games, with dirty dishes strewn around him, sitting wrapped in a filthy towel because he can't be bothered to get dressed or do laundry. Help!!

Last edited by namazu; 12-07-17 at 07:56 PM.. Reason: Added line breaks for easier reading.
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Old 12-07-17, 06:21 PM
ToneTone ToneTone is offline
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Re: Do I start it for him or wait?

Hi there.

Sounds like you have an interesting story.

Listen ... no shame ... but we have ADHD on this forum, and a long single paragraph of writing is REALLY hard for us to read.

Would you be willing to repost--this time breaking your comments into multiple paragraphs? You'd get a lot more responses that way.

No shame. It takes time to get used to the best ways to write on the board.

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Moderator note: Breaks added. See above. - Namazu

Last edited by namazu; 12-07-17 at 07:56 PM..
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Old 12-07-17, 08:08 PM
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Re: Do I start it for him or wait?

Sorry, I tried inserting returns/hard breaks between paragraphs and I'm not sure why they didn't work.

Testing to see if there's a paragraph break here...when I preview, it looks like it works now. I'm on a different computer. I apologize! I can also make it shorter if it's too long, I just wasn't sure how much information was helpful.
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Old 12-08-17, 07:07 AM
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Re: Do I start it for him or wait?

Quote:
Originally Posted by violet1970 View Post
Hi all, First time posting here but have been reading posts for weeks and many of them are very helpful.

Have been living with a partner for just under 2 yrs who has ADHD, diagnosed as a child. Was on Adderall as a teen, but has not been on meds since. He suffers from depression and severe insecurity, is morbidly obese, and is now 32.

When we met, he was singing on the street for tips, in a southern climate, so he was "self-employed", and he made, per hour, more money than I do. He sings opera, and occasionally gets gigs or (still) sings on the street for tips in good weather, but we live in the frozen north now, so for 6 months out of the year for the last 2 years he has not worked for half the year, nor made any attempt to audition, find gigs, etc.
This is not a viable way to earn money but you know that already.


Quote:
My issue is more about his refusal to accept that he needs help for the ADHD. I pay all the bills, and do 95% of the cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc. I do not have the money to support both of us and additionally pay for therapy and medication for him. In the past, he has heavily relied on his parents to bail him out with money issues. He is going home for the holidays for 3 weeks (I did not have the money to be able to join him, though I love his parents) and I have begged him to please ask his folks if they would financially assist with therapy or meds, as his ADHD is severe.
How did this come about? This is full of red flags. He has it made with you paying for everything and has no motivation to change because there are no consequences.

Quote:
He forgets to bathe, has gone through 4 smartphones in 4 months (lost, broken/dropped, stolen), loses his wallet, can't tell me how he spends what little money he makes when he makes it, you name it. I am afraid he will not ask his parents for financial support for the ADHD issue because he will either forget or he won't find it "important" or "interesting" enough to focus on. Meanwhile, I know that due to his lack of income, he would qualify for Medicaid or some sort of free health care, but in order to get it, he has to fill out paperwork, etc. He has done no research on this.
How old is he? I am not saying its bad to ask your parents for help but if he needs that kind of help then he should be living with them and not you. There must be a reason for this.

Quote:
My question is: do I look up the requirements, download the paperwork, and help him fill it out? He has a phobia of forms. Or do I leave it to him to do this? Again, my fear is that, as with so many things, he will do nothing at all if not pushed/begged/ assisted/hand-held. He is a sweet guy, but I feel like I am taking care of a toddler, not in a relationship with a grown man.
And you are. And he wont change. It is nice that you want to help him by filling out the forms but then he will have to be the one to go in for apts and interviews. Will he go? You cant speak for him.

Quote:
We moved in together after only dating for a month, because we met just before I moved out of state to be closer to my aging mother, who has just retired after a double hip replacement and is planning to move in with me. Knowing he had no steady job and would be moving to another state where he had no contacts, I knew I would have to be patient...but he moved in before I had any idea of the extent of his ADHD.
This is a huge red flag, a month is not long enough to get to know someone. He is not taking care of himself because he doesnt have to. Being in the parental mode with a partner is a bad idea. Its hard to have an intimate relationshop emotionally of physically with someone you care for like a child.


Quote:
want to be a nag, a pest, an enabler, a "mommy", I just would like more assistance around the house with chores. If he could do more on that end, his lack of income would not bother me so much. But if he won't help with chores, won't get a job, and won't get help for the ADHD, I don't see a future. Do I help him with the Medicaid paperwork if he comes back from his parents' house and hasn't secured any assistance to pay for therapy and meds? Any help appreciated. Criticism accepted. This is my first relationship with someone with ADHD, and I am at a loss.
You are enabling him. Forget the nagging part its past that now. This is not how relationships work and you need to move on. How does he stay morbidly obese? Who buys the unhealthy food? He has to help himself or move back home. I am not trying to be harsh but you deserve better than this and deep down you know this.

Quote:
I bought Melissa Orlov's book and am reading it, but he gets defensive when he sees it because he says "it is all about what a bad person I am". I try to explain I am just looking for strategies to understand him better and be a better partner, but he shuts down. Oh, and most of the time when I come home from a 10-12 hour day at work (I am a CPA in a very high-stress position at a non-profit that is cash poor), he is playing video games, with dirty dishes strewn around him, sitting wrapped in a filthy towel because he can't be bothered to get dressed or do laundry. Help!!
No book will explain enabling or his behavior. You do not need a book, you need to move one.
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Old 12-08-17, 10:38 AM
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Re: Do I start it for him or wait?

You're saying he is diagnosed, in therapy and on meds, yet there appears to have been little change in his condition.

As Sarahsweets says..... there's no reason for him to change because there's no incentive. It sounds as if he's been surrounded by enablers all his life.... the car story is an indication of this.... even though his parents knew he's ADHD and loses things they bought him another car when lost one in the parking lot.

My view would be.... some support, but in exchange for incremental change.

However... as Sarahsweet points out... there are big red flags about how the relationship started..... and you are perfectly entitled to say you didn't sign up to be mother to a manbaby. I would also say that you have a part to play in how the relationship is playing out.... so instead of paying for his therapy.... pay for some for yourself.

Re the asking for family financial support... there is no reason why you cannot talk to them and lay it out straight.... if you leave things to go through him al the time... it probably won't happen....

however in these situations the parents/family of origin are often part of the problem.... and you may gain insight into this as you go through your own therapy.
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Old 12-08-17, 10:59 AM
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Re: Do I start it for him or wait?

To kilted_scotsman: He's NOT in therapy or on meds. He needs both. He hasn't been in therapy or on meds since a teenager.

And yes, his family enabled him throughout both childhood and adult life. I have discussed some of this with them already, but am preparing to potentially have another, longer, conversation with them about the help he needs (and also the fact that I can't force him to it, if he is unwilling).

To Sarahsweets: I actually have known many buskers who make a very good living this way. But if you've never lived in cities where this is possible (i.e. New Orleans) it may not seem so. I did know he would have to find more steady work/gigs once moving, and he said he would do so. He has found gigs. But not enough to make up for cold weather 6 months out of the year.

He's 32. He's been living on his own for at least 10 years now. Before he met me, he was paying for his own apartment and own bills. But again, he was living in a climate where he could busk all year round.

I do not buy unhealthy food, and when he eats in my presence, he eats more healthily than most Americans. No fast food, no junk, no snacks. I can't say what he does when I'm not around, but his obesity is partly just due to the sheer amounts of food he eats. If I make dinner and it's supposed to be 4-6 servings, I will have 1 serving and he will eat all of the rest... if he's not in a good mental space. Lately he has been in another depressive cycle so the overeating is bad. But you can definitely be obese from eating healthy and just in extremely large quantity.

I may very well move on, I do know I deserve better. Yes, the intro to the relationship was very fast, but again, we met and hit it off and I was moving a month later. We stayed in touch for months long-distance, and then when his lease expired, he moved up north and in with me. I would have preferred for him to get his own place at the start, but the cost of the cross-country move took all his savings (as it also did most of mine, when I moved).

Thanks to both of you for posting! Best wishes for a happy holiday.
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Old 12-08-17, 11:29 AM
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Re: Do I start it for him or wait?

And to clarify: We met in October. I was already planning my move and had gotten out of my lease, and moved cross-country in November. His lease expired the following March, and that's when he moved cross-country and in with me. So 5 months between meeting and moving in. Yes, too fast. But he didn't have the money to both move cross-country and also still maintain a separate residence, so I took the risk.
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Old 12-08-17, 04:04 PM
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Re: Do I start it for him or wait?

I'd change the whole dynamic and tell him to find his own place to live.

What exactly is it that you are waiting for?
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Old 12-09-17, 01:19 AM
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Re: Do I start it for him or wait?

Quote:
Originally Posted by violet1970 View Post
My question is: do I look up the requirements, download the paperwork, and help him fill it out? He has a phobia of forms. Or do I leave it to him to do this? Again, my fear is that, as with so many things, he will do nothing at all if not pushed/begged/ assisted/hand-held. He is a sweet guy, but I feel like I am taking care of a toddler, not in a relationship with a grown man.
I think the main question is whether or not he actually wants to change. If he's having anxiety, then you doing the paperwork for him so that he can access treatment seems like a reasonable step. But would he agree to go to an appointment? Will he be open to following his clinician's suggestions (meds, therapy, etc)?
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Old 12-09-17, 07:46 AM
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Re: Do I start it for him or wait?

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Originally Posted by violet1970 View Post
To Sarahsweets: I actually have known many buskers who make a very good living this way. But if you've never lived in cities where this is possible (i.e. New Orleans) it may not seem so. I did know he would have to find more steady work/gigs once moving, and he said he would do so. He has found gigs. But not enough to make up for cold weather 6 months out of the year.
Its not about making a good living 6 months out of the year its about consistency.

Quote:
He's 32. He's been living on his own for at least 10 years now. Before he met me, he was paying for his own apartment and own bills. But again, he was living in a climate where he could busk all year round.
Its still not as consistent as a regular paycheck.

Quote:
I do not buy unhealthy food, and when he eats in my presence, he eats more healthily than most Americans. No fast food, no junk, no snacks. I can't say what he does when I'm not around, but his obesity is partly just due to the sheer amounts of food he eats. If I make dinner and it's supposed to be 4-6 servings, I will have 1 serving and he will eat all of the rest... if he's not in a good mental space. Lately he has been in another depressive cycle so the overeating is bad. But you can definitely be obese from eating healthy and just in extremely large quantity.
I didnt mean to imply that you were responsible for his obesity at all so I am sorry if I made you feel that way.

Quote:
I may very well move on, I do know I deserve better. Yes, the intro to the relationship was very fast, but again, we met and hit it off and I was moving a month later. We stayed in touch for months long-distance, and then when his lease expired, he moved up north and in with me. I would have preferred for him to get his own place at the start, but the cost of the cross-country move took all his savings (as it also did most of mine, when I moved).
You preferred one thing and went against your gut, which is a very codependent thing to do.
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Old 12-09-17, 09:42 AM
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Re: Do I start it for him or wait?

At the moment.... he is who he is.... you fell in love with , and live with this guy who is who he is right now.

He may change in the future, he may not.... that's up to him.

Love him as he is... or move on... because that way you make space for someone who ticks more boxes in your life...... and make space for someone who loves him as he is right now.

Your idea of who he might be if he got his ADHD under control is a fantasy.....meds and therapy may well change him, but maybe in ways that don't suit your fantasy of who he is.

This is the problem of enabling change..... it's extremely difficult to avoid Karpman's "Drama Triangle"... the Rescuer/Victim/Persecutor dynamic and move to Choy's positive version (the "Winner's Triangle") where:

Victim moves to being Vulnerable
Persecutor moves to being Assertive
Rescuer moves to being Caring

Caring is NOT about helping.... it's about assisting and showing APPROPRIATE boundaries, being RESPONSIVE to others (ie not pro-active) in "contracting" what you are wiling to do and doing no more and no less. In a strange way this is giving what he probably didn't get in his family of origin.... boundaries were blurred, responsibility not nurtured, communication often unclear and covert manipulation common. so being "Caring" in Choy's metaphor means modelling the "Adult" behaviour that was missing in the childhood caregivers..... so you do end up "Parenting" but in a growthful not stunting way.

I've found that "Contracting" is a really useful tool for helping relationships..... contracting means open discussion around achievable, sustainable outcomes and processes, particularly around voicing needs (ie being vulnerable and also assertive).

In this model you would say that your partner has to ASK for help.... if he doesn't ask, he doesn't get.... and if that means he doesn't change.... well .... you live with that or move on.

If he does ask, you don't automatically do what he wants.... you discuss how this fits with your needs and eventually move toward a decision which has visible outcomes. This is where Non-Violent Communication comes in......

Thus you see that learning some basic tools will help you and him negotiate the relational pitfall traps set by his ADHD..... but these tools require application by both of you.... otherwise they can further skew the power dynamic.

so if you want to "help" this is best done by equipping yourself with a few tools, which might mean a bit of research, or going to some workshops/support groups. You gain knowledge which is useful in any relationship.... friends/work/family/lovers.
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Old 12-09-17, 02:11 PM
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Re: Do I start it for him or wait?

To Little_Missy: I was waiting for this trip, to see if he'll approach his parents for financial help. If so, we're one step closer. If not, then the Medicaid discussion starts. He has said he is open to meds and therapy, he feels Adderall helped him in the past (it was the only time in his life he wasn't overweight, which is a big source of anxiety for him).

I've also been waiting for post-trip... he has a 3 week intensive training session in Boston for professional Bach singers, and his teacher says this may well lead to a permanent, well-paid position with the group who sponsors the session. This is his 2nd time attending and it's very selective. He has 2 gigs while down south, and after the training session, he has 2 auditions scheduled for additional steady, regular church gigs, which pay very well.

He usually is in an "up" mood after gigs/performances, and there is a good chance he may end up with one or more steady jobs by the end of February. So there is hope on the horizon. We've already discussed the real possibility that if the jobs don't materialize, and/or he refuses to move further ahead with meds and therapy, then he has to look for his own place to live.

To Sarahsweets: Yes, my gut said live separately, but that wasn't me ignoring any red flags at the start, there weren't any. I didn't yet know about the ADHD or realize that in that stage, he was hyperfocused on me, I just thought he was very romantic (which he can be). It was more because I knew my mother would be moving in with me, and I wasn't sure a new relationship should be under that sort of strain. As it turns out, she hasn't moved in yet, we're still sorting through 25 years of possessions built up in her apt. that she can't all bring with her.

To kilted_scotsman: Yes, I've done a lot of research already and have had therapy in the past for avoiding replicating my childhood experience as an adult child of alcoholics. I am not interested in replicating my or his childhood experience. But his behavior is so inconsistent, some weeks he's great and helpful and working and doing chores, and other weeks he's practically immovable, that I've felt like we make 2 steps forward, then 3 back, and it's become clear that without ADHD treatment of some sort, he won't make consistent progress in his own life, and therefore, as a healthy partner. I'm already in therapy myself, which began when I got a big promotion at work and had to juggle that plus mom plus this relationship, plus my move, which took me away from long-established friendships and has been a difficult adjustment.

I posted in a very emotional state, but things have been better the last 2 days, and I'm not avoiding difficult conversations with him, nor living in some fantasy of "who he could be". I've already seen him do well enough for me to be happy with who he is right now... if his behavior could just be a bit more consistent. The onset of winter made him anxious about the work situation and things began to deteriorate, but he can be helpful, attentive, responsive, etc. Just lately things haven't been great. I need to see that he's willing to make the effort to help himself, but I'm not so blind that I won't ask him to move out if that doesn't happen shortly.

Thanks very much to all who posted.
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Old 12-11-17, 06:20 AM
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Re: Do I start it for him or wait?

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Originally Posted by violet1970 View Post
I posted in a very emotional state, but things have been better the last 2 days, and I'm not avoiding difficult conversations with him, nor living in some fantasy of "who he could be". I've already seen him do well enough for me to be happy with who he is right now... if his behavior could just be a bit more consistent. The onset of winter made him anxious about the work situation and things began to deteriorate, but he can be helpful, attentive, responsive, etc. Just lately things haven't been great. I need to see that he's willing to make the effort to help himself, but I'm not so blind that I won't ask him to move out if that doesn't happen shortly.

Thanks very much to all who posted.
I get this I really do. But I tend to go by track record. The way you have described his is that the changes he makes do not last.
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Old 12-14-17, 01:56 PM
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Re: Do I start it for him or wait?

I understand your concern, but it does seem that you are inadvertently enabling his behavior. In the past, I have done that as well, and had to break the relationship as it wasn't healthy for either of us. Perhaps, it might be best to give him an ultimatium, in regards to helping himself or you will...... and then follow through. Establishing boundaries in any relationship is very important for the mental health of yourself.

Don't forget, YOU are important too.
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