Boyfriend with ADD

Greetings, I have been dating a 45 year old, never married (was engaged) man that is a really great guy. We were together about 2 months. We have known each other for 8 or so months before dating. We live about an hour away from each other. I suspected he had ADD and was going to talk to him about it but our communitcations abruptly became almost completely stopped. He has some medication at my house and I found that he take Staterra which I understand is for ADD. We had been talking several times a day, together from Fri nite to Mon morn having one minor misunderstanding (I know it was because I was not clear in my communication) which we quickly resolved. He then got really busy with work (he is a landscaper- self employed) and when I asked if we were going to get together he said he had too much work and I distract him too much. He has had some financial trouble and is focusing on getting back on his feet. I know he has been busy with work, he says he will call but then does not. He has had some equipment trouble and large jobs with deadlines. Also included in the financial stress is IRS leins as a result of his ex fiance taking money and not doing her job. I know men have a hard time multitasking & they want to be the provider. I have also read that ADD can cause a lot of self esteem issues and so on. I have not talked to him for almost two weeks. Every 5 or so days he calls and leaves a long message on my voice mail explaining his current job and being busy, thanking me for my support and love and talk to you soon. No indication that there are troubles brewing. I am at a loss- I have not had the oppurtunity to talk to him and find out what is going on. I think he may assume I am going to "jump down his throat" which I am not- only want to know where we stand and why the sudden, abrupt change. He drinks a few beers everyday and I believe it is his respite along with the XBOX. My questions are: Is this behavior typical of a very busy, stressed man with ADD? How do I let him know that I know he has ADD and I want to help him, not change him and support him? What approach should I use to reach out and try to get our relationship back to where it was- assuming he is not wanting to break up which I really do not think is the case. if and when we get the relationship back how do I let him know that this has been very painful for me and not something I can or will be able to tolerate in the future. I know that men need to go to their caves but for weeks at a time? Thanks

Forums: 

men and caves

First, your boyfriend is not his ADD.  He is a man with a series of traits, some of which are related to his ADD and some of which aren't. 

I was going to write a whole bunch of suggestions, until I read your last sentence, which raised a red flag for me.  Anytime I see the word "tolerate" near the word "cannot" then I get concerned.  Forgetting about ADD for a moment, life is always up and down - and life with ADD can be potentially wonderful - but it is definitely up and down.  But look what you wrote: he has financial issues (forget the cause), he is inconsistent in how often he calls you, he seems to be sending mixed messages (actions and words aren't in line) and he drinks several beers a day.  All of these would suggest that life with this man will also be up and down...he's just human.  You fear that he worries that you will jump down his throat and you say you won't, but you are suggesting that you can't tolerate the relationship back and forth, which is another way of saying that he needs to fit a certain type of perfection in your eyes (one that he needs to be able to anticipate...hard for folks with ADD).  Okay, it's not yelling at him, but if he feels you are disappointed in him, that could hurt, too.  (People with ADD have a long track record of having people they care about telling them that they have disappointed them.)

It's hard to tell what is going on with him - but it sounds as if you are simply guessing and putting your worst anxieties out front, which probably isn't helping how you feel about the relationship, or helping your anxiety level.

Figure out a good way to show him your support and love - whether that's on the phone or by email or letter or in person.  One way to support and love a person is to tell them, honestly, how you feel.  But don't forget that this man is on the rebound.  He has been hurt badly (no one goes through divorce without scars) and he's likely to be responding to you in a way that reflects at least a little bit of the hurts he has just gone through.  I wouldn't take it personally if he seems a bit "whacked out" (as my husband would say) but I would keep an eye out for it.  You want to make sure that you protect yourself from getting into a relationship that is not right for you.  In other words, share your caring and thoughtfulness and love, but also keep your own words in mind - there are things that you need and deserve.  He may not be able to give them to you immediately in his hurt and pain, but he does need to be able to give them to you some day, after he has learned to trust you and your relationship better.

Figure out what space he needs, and let him have it, and figure out what space you need to be satisfied, and see if they match.

Good luck with it.  Sounds as if this is bigger than ADD - at least right now. 

Melissa Orlov

this is par for the course

I think the other commentor really made a good point, are you in this for the long haul?  My experience is this behavior does not change.  My partner has ADD and it we have had many ups and downs, many fueled by his self-worth.  At some point, you have to ask yourself if you can really do this.  I love my partner and have committed to this experience in all its ups and downs.  The only thing you can rely on is open communication.

I'm new to the forum and seem

I'm new to the forum and seem to be facing the same issues you are. I'm seeking answers as well so I don't have any to give but I can say that I empathize and know how the situation can be stressful.