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  #1  
Old 05-25-09, 10:46 AM
minnie minnie is offline
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impact of ADHD on the partner -- how to explain to family and friends

I don't want to hijack Elisabeth's thread which is more general...and if anyone has some easy analogies that might help explain ADD to others I would love to hear them too.

I am trying to be patient with my boyfriend and let him move at his own pace as far as coming to terms with his ADD goes; he is still untreated as of now. In the meatime though, the effects of living with an ADDer are starting to wear me down, and this is becoming very obvious to everyone who knows me. My parents, friends, even my boss have taken to asking me how I am all the time. They frequently comment on how tired I look. I don't know if my boyfriend's friends know that he has ADD but they do know he's a handful; they make jokes asking me how I can stand him or how the single parenting is going for me.

It is a really tough position to be in, because I find when I am trying to explain to people how ADD is for him and for us as a couple it sounds like I am making excuses for him. And for the people who care about me and are concerned about my health it doesn't matter that he has this condition; they only see that I am getting worn down and that I only got this way after we moved in together. They tell me to end it.

Does anyone else struggle with this? With the perceptions of friends and family of your relationship? The thing is they aren't entirely wrong, if I am honest. I can't force my boyfriend into picking up the pace on getting treatment -- if he doesn't move fast enough by my standards then I don't know what else I can do other than break up with him.

I think that is part of the reason I come here... it is strange not to be able to confide in friends the way I have about previous relationships because being in a relationship with an ADDer presents a pretty specific set of challenges that my friends simply can't relate to.
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Old 05-26-09, 01:48 AM
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Re: impact of ADHD on the partner -- how to explain to family and friends

You have to ask yourself - is this the life you want?

Everyone functions at a different level and has their own level of awareness and concern regarding their ADD issues.

I thought for a long time that there was no way I had ADD (mostly because I did not understand the condition - a common problem). When I started to connect the dots, I got very pro-active and got a Dr. appointment scheduled withing days.

For me, the motivation was the long string of problems, disappointments and needless failures that I was just so sick of. The idea that there could be something to help me was just too much to sit on.

If your boyfriend has an idea that he may have problems keeping up with life or functioning effectively in the world and he really is not motivated to do something about it, that should be a window into your future.

Everyone is different and my profile is probably not the most common but I feel like I have a lot of motivation in one sense, but I get distracted and almost "forget" to stay motivated. I am still in the process, but I am hopeful that meds and therapy will help me a lot.

Ask yourself if you are OK being the one who pays the bills, does the taxes and balances the checkbook. Trusting any critical life detail to an ADDer is often a roll of the dice. To compound it, my wife seems to be ADD as well and we both can frustrate each other with our inaction, forgetfulness, procrastination and getting "stuck".

As we are coming to the realization that this thing has a name, its a little easier to laugh about it, but it does not make the challenges and frustrations go away. If anything, finding out that we both likely have serious ADD has left us even less motivated than before.

So we both know what is is like to live with an ADDer, and even if you have it, it can be a challenge.

Think about your future - your future happiness. You deserve a life that makes you happy and feels right. We all have problems and challenges in life, but some are much more difficult to bear than others. There is nothing wrong with breaking up with your boyfriend if you come to the conclusion that your long term prospects are not good enough.

Best do it now than 10 years and 2 kids later....
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Old 05-26-09, 02:06 AM
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Re: impact of ADHD on the partner -- how to explain to family and friends

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Originally Posted by minnie View Post
And for the people who care about me and are concerned about my health it doesn't matter that he has this condition; they only see that I am getting worn down and that I only got this way after we moved in together.
Listen to yourself: you're sacrificing your health for happiness? Think about that.
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Old 05-26-09, 09:56 AM
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Re: impact of ADHD on the partner -- how to explain to family and friends

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Originally Posted by Annwn View Post
I am still in the process, but I am hopeful that meds and therapy will help me a lot.
That is where I am at in a way; this is a process that really only started for him once I learned about Adult ADHD and got him some books to read...he is still coming to terms with everything.

I should apologize, I think I sounded a bit over-dramatic in describing my own state earlier...I actually slept well last night and am feeling much better today I get worn down but it is not a constant feeling; it comes and goes. That's not to say I don't take it seriously, but I am still hopeful that he will find a doctor and a treatment that helps him. I guess I need to see for myself how he does once he is actually getting help for his ADD -- I know some people never seem to get a handle on it and others do really well. I really love him and even though I made it sound like my friends/family are kind of down on him they love him too -- they understand why I am with him in spite of everything but they can't help but worry when they see me in my most tired times. I think I would always regret not knowing for sure whether treatment would have made a difference or not if I were to end it before he tried any kind of therapy.

I think for him the motivation is building up still -- he's not in denial about his condition and is open to trying medication. But sometimes, especially when I am tired, it is hard to wait for him to take that step of finding a doctor and making an appointment. I feel very strongly that he needs to do this for himself; I know finding the right medication isn't always easy and I need to see that he's motivated to do this work for himself and not just because I want him to do it. If he ultimately refuses to go then that will be time for me to leave, but I don't think it will come to that.

I think it is the inaction/procrastination part of ADHD that I have the hardest time with. I'd rather just get something done and over with than let it hang over my head...which also makes being patient with him difficult sometimes!
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Old 05-27-09, 10:40 PM
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Re: impact of ADHD on the partner -- how to explain to family and friends

Something to remember is that not all ADDers care to get diagnosed and all that goes with it, meds, therapy etc.
I was in a small support group in my area (only stayed going for a short time) for parents with kids with ADHD.
Turns out that after my husband "admitted" he also had it, that seemed to be the center of all the meetings after. Out of the 5 couples, all took the tests and found 1 or both spouses had it as well.
My husband takes the meds, one other couple said the husbands symptoms are easily handled without drugs (they don't have any difficulties as a couple just dealing with ADHD kid stuff), one couple(wife)was talking of separation as her very ADHD hyper spouse would not "do" anything about his ADHD, said that is who he is!(they had many issues!) One wife is struggling trying to find out what her problem is, depression, bipolar, but has tried many drugs and doctors and is still trying. The last couple both have symptoms and both are in therapy and have bought almost every book, they are both professionals.

So after all that, it is up to him as to what he will or will not do for his ADD, it is up to you, as to, if and how you can live with his choice. He could start on meds and find he hates them or he may wish that he had taken them years sooner, but how long do you want to wait to find out? Not so easy for us non ADDers either.
Take care of yourself first!
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Old 06-04-09, 06:30 AM
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Re: impact of ADHD on the partner -- how to explain to family and friends

Minnie, I feel the same way. As I said in my post, my BF has made me the happiest and the saddest person alive! It comes and goes. But now I'm starting to think - he needs to be aware that it is affecting your health. I guess it's working as partners and work through it. I have not discussed this with my BF (about working through our lives with his ADD) as I am scared that it would offend him. But now, I have no other way. I have done all the right thing and exhausted all my options.

He is also affecting my health. I am naturally a bubbly, motivated, ever so happy person and when he's in his down I would starve myself for 48 hours (like I am at the moment) as I just lose my appetite and feel extremely sick in the stomach.

So I am feeling you and all we can do is weigh up the future...
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Old 06-07-09, 03:54 PM
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Re: impact of ADHD on the partner -- how to explain to family and friends

Minnie,

While you're "letting him move at his own pace," thinking he'll eventually see the light (presumably), he might be just moving cluelessly through his life, completely unaware that ADHD is having an impact. Those close to him might need to help him see that cluelessness is not an advantage.

As for explaining it to family and friends, sometimes it's good to listen instead to those who love and care for us. If we're in a relationship that is harmful to us, they won't like it. And, the more you try to "explain" it and gain their support, the more they might think you are becoming lost to them. As a result, they might start distancing themselves. In the end, you could end up more isolated as you try to "explain the unexplainable."

Good luck,
Gina Pera
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Old 06-07-09, 06:40 PM
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Re: impact of ADHD on the partner -- how to explain to family and friends

Don't vent about the bad stuff to family, then that's all they hear. Make an effort to tell them about the good things.
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Old 06-11-09, 02:04 PM
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Re: impact of ADHD on the partner -- how to explain to family and friends

Why should your boyfriend take meds for you Minnie? Has he asked you to take meds to be happier?
Judging by the comment you made about his friends, it doesn't sound like he's changed so the characteristics you were originally attracted to are still there however like any relationship, after being with someone for a while, you begin to see chinks in their armor. There are no perfect people.....sorry.
My wife just found out she has ADD which is good because it explained quite a few of her behaviours. She came to me very concerned and asked if I thought she should go on meds. I told her I married her because of the person she is and would completely support her going on meds ONLY IF SHE IS UNHAPPY WITH HER LIFE, not because of me. I married her because of her personality which included a number of traits associated with ADD.
There can be buyer's remorse in any relationship. You weren't attracted to this man by accident so either foster the relationship you have or leave and find one more suited for you. Don't stay and dwell on how miserable you are.
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Old 06-12-09, 10:07 AM
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Re: impact of ADHD on the partner -- how to explain to family and friends

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Originally Posted by Drew1218 View Post
Why should your boyfriend take meds for you Minnie? Has he asked you to take meds to be happier? .
I have never asked my boyfriend to take medication. He said it was an option he was willing to try when we were discussing various types of treatment for the aspects of ADD that give him the most trouble.

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Originally Posted by Drew1218 View Post
Judging by the comment you made about his friends, it doesn't sound like he's changed so the characteristics you were originally attracted to are still there
That's right. The exuberance, sense of humour, selflessness, loyalty and mental agility are ever-present.

The person he is hasn't changed during the time that I've known him; the way that he handles some of his ADD symptoms has. He is much happier as a result.

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My wife just found out she has ADD which is good because it explained quite a few of her behaviours.
I haven't heard of a single person yet running to get a diagnosis because they were too creative, or too bright, or any of the other positives that can be part of ADD, so I'm going to take a leap here and guess that your wife, and consequently you, have experienced some of the more problematic aspects of it.

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You weren't attracted to this man by accident so either foster the relationship you have or leave and find one more suited for you. Don't stay and dwell on how miserable you are.
Most days I don't dwell on it, because I am not miserable most days. When I am down I think about what's bothering me as a means of figuring out how to fix or get around it. Sometimes I am not sure what the problem is, so that is when I talk it out or come here.

As I said earlier, I suspect you are familiar with some of the difficulties ADD can cause. It's easy to tell someone to take it or leave it and ultimately yes, the fate of every relationship rests on a person's decision to take it or leave it, but getting to that final decision is process that happens over time and after careful consideration.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GinaPera View Post

While you're "letting him move at his own pace," thinking he'll eventually see the light (presumably), he might be just moving cluelessly through his life, completely unaware that ADHD is having an impact.
Thanks Gina. I wrote the OP when I was tired out from day of housework (done while he played video games with his friends); division of labour has been a huge problem for us, because he is clueless when it comes to how much work I do -- when we discussed it this week he actually said "I don't think to offer more help because the house always looks clean". So on that issue, we are making progress.
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Old 06-13-09, 04:33 PM
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Re: impact of ADHD on the partner -- how to explain to family and friends

I was mistaken when I mentioned the meds Minnie, I should have said "get treatment".
After reading your last message, it sounds like things have improved from the time you first met him. I'm happy for you.
Like any relationship, there are going to be things about your partner that you don't like. You knew what these were when you met him at least as much as anyone knows when they first get involved with someone. Now you want to change what you don't like which is normal.
I understand about the postive aspects of ADD and have experienced many of the negatives. I'd love to take an eraser and get rid of the negatives and I know without a doubt, my wife would want a similar eraser to do a little (OK a large amount of) work on me and I'm without ADD.
I married my wife because of the person she is, both positive and negative and would not want to lose any of the traits that drew me to her due to medications unless it was something that she wanted for herself. I would have no problem with supporting therapy....if it were something she desired.
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