Heavy heart

Hi everyone, I've been a lurker here for months, and I guess it's time for me to post and share my story.

I'm a 34 year old gay man in a relationship with my partner of 8 years who was diagnosed with ADHD a couple of years ago.   For a long while I didn't believe in ADHD, just thought really, everyone has ADHD symptoms, it's a matter of controlling it.  I didn't truly believe in it until about a year ago.

Like so many other stories on here, the beginning of the relationship was AMAZING.  I felt so much love and attention, I was in heaven.  Of course, he was also a great person, great sense of humor, good looking, what more could I ask for?  But after a while, the attention went away.  His friends would call at the spur of the moment and ask him out, and he would jump at the opportunity, often forgetting about the date he had set with me.  He also had horrible time management skills, and would promise to be home by a certain time only to be hours late.  This behavior has caused me to dislike his friends and I often felt like I competed (and lost all the time) with them for his attention.

However, I was madly in love with this person, and he was in love with me too, and somehow we made it through thick and thin for 7 years.  That's when he told me he was unhappy in the relationship, one of the reasons being he felt I was keeping him from his friends.  And I honestly wasn't keeping him away from his friends, but I always felt he prefers them over me and would much rather be with them than with me.  I certainly didn't feel like hanging out with them because I always felt like I was the odd man out.  They would talk about topics that I have no knowledge in and can't participate in.  Plus, by that time, we spent so little quality time together, I cherished any bit of alone time I get to have with him.

So we went to couples counseling, where I discovered that what was lacking for me was quality time.  And if I were given quality time with my partner, I was more comfortable with him seeing his friends.  The couples counseling was ok for a while, but we both agreed to drop our therapist because of her uncaring and indifferent nature.  He also started taking an SSRI to help with his depression.  He has been on Adderal for a while by this point.

We tried to make that work, but it wasn't until I came across this website that all of a sudden everything made sense.  His hyperfocus on his friends and his hobbies left me feeling neglected and constantly seeking that hyperfocus that I got at the beginning relationship back to me again.  And surprisingly, he was very receptive to what I've discovered on this website.

One of my biggest complaints has been he is constantly texting his friends.  He would cut me off, stop listening to me, or he would even cut himself off in mid sentence when a text comes in.  Everything immediately stops as he dives for his phone and text back.  Ah, technology.

And the next several weeks were amazing.  The best time of my life.  He gave me attention and love, the texting hadn't been a problem, he voluntarily decided to keep his cell phone in another room when we were spending quality time together, he was happy, I was happy.  I couldn't believe it.  It was like a dream.  I was bragging to my friends how we went from the brink of breaking up to me getting ready to make a life-long commitment to this person.  But it started to fade.  He decided to go off of the SSRI.  And I agreed.  He was feeling like he had no drive or passion, and I understand that's how the SSRI can make one feel.  Also our sex life was virtually non-existent.

And from that point on, things started to go downhill.  I don't want to blame it on going off the SSRI, but it started around the same time.  The texting gradually returned, the attention towards me went away, it was back to the way things were.  What's worse is we were fighting every other day.

In all fairness, I'm not completely without blame.  I am fully aware of my own issues, such as feelings of abandonment and self blame.  And my own abandonment issues only heightens the feeling that he would prefer to be with friends than with me.

Well tonight he pretty much told me he's had enough.  And I think I agree that I have had enough too.  I've put him ahead of myself for far too long, setting aside my own happiness because I love him so much despite everything.

It's very tough to call it quits after 8 years.  I'm preparing myself for the hurt that's about to come.  I guess that's why I'm here to seek support, to help me make it through the recovery.  What I'm going to miss the most is the security I've always felt when he's around.

Forums: 

So close and so far

This is a sad story - to have a time when you are paying attention to each other seem so happy, and then have it slip away like that is so hard!

Your approach - to take care of yourself is the right one - living with a partner who diminishes you isn't healthy, though it also sounds as if at the right times this relationship was very good for you.  Being the best person you can be will get you furthest in relationships (that is you'll find the best relationship for you - might well not be this one).

I'm interested in your sense that you felt secure when he was around, though, since you also talk about feeling anxious or unhappy when he went out, texted, didn't pay attention.  How does that fit with your feelings of security?

As for thinking about abandonment issues - they aren't really "issues" if you were genuinely abandoned.  Figuring out if your expectations were appropriate for both you and your partner is the key to this one.  Were you alone A LOT or just miserable in the few times you were left behind?  Did he offer to take you along and you refused, or were you not invited, even discouraged from joining in?  One of the common side effects of having ADHD in a relationship is that the non-ADHD partner feels lonely...but sometimes I do find that the non-ADHD partner expectations are out of whack, too.  Particularly after the relationship has had some trouble and the non-ADHD partner is trying to "tighten the reins" in order to regain feelings of control.

All of this is probably neither here nor there at this point.  I hope that you are able to heal from this difficulty and pain.  Thanks for sharing your story.