Incessant stonewalling when he says he wants to improve things???

My boyfriend and I are on the verge of a breakup after 7 years. He says he is miserable being away from me and will do anything to work it out.

Apparently, anything does not include discussing my feelings and problems. He has gone to see an ADHD specialist but is already talking trash about him because he is "smug," whatever the hell that means. He will listen for 10-15 minutes before he insists on getting off the phone. When I got angry because I didn't feel heard, he said i am insecure and "emotionally retarded." He says he is too but we are the same in that regard. After having been attending weekly therapy for a year and having him agree that I am much better in my self-esteem issues,  I highly disagree. He says that I act like everything has to be on my terms and that I am bossy. Actually, I just let him steamroll me for years and have stopped taking it. But now I'm overbearing according to him. It is like talking to an alien. I have no idea why he says he wants to be with me. I want to tear my hair out. How could I be with such a lunatic for years?


I can relate to a lot of what you said...the feeling like it is so hard to have a conversation....feeling unheard and alone and having him not respond or want to try to understand any issue that relates to him.  I have been told I have to get my claws in everything and I don't know how to let things go.  I spilled out my feelings and expressed that my needs weren't being met and nicely asked how we could do a better job of meeting each other's needs and that email was never read...he blatantly refused to read it because I had been being too "negative"...and he is in awe that I can't drop it...

I think a lot of it is the coping mechanism of Deny, Deflect, and Defend that they have learned. It seems so sad how much the ADHD blocks them from seeing and accepting...

Similar experience

My spouse of 10 years finally brought her thoughtless actions to a point where I could not longer tolerate it.  It's like a veil was lifted and I saw how everything progressed over the last decade.   I finally did not take any more manipulative behaviour - i.e. like your person saying you are emotionally retarded - that is a horrible thing to say, it's their way of saying "this is your problem, not mine".    It's all about passing accountability on to you; again, putting you in the parental role.  Your person will resort to such behaviour to discredit you, your counselor, and even their own therapist - because dealing with the reality of the circumstances is just too painful for them.   They'll say you are the one with the problem, because they've always been like this - they have a hard time accepting that they've used you all up and you can't give them anymore because there is literally nothing left to give.  They'll challenge you to give more and more so they can keep their current happy make-believe lifestyle and relationship afloat, even if that means demeaning/manipulating you and making you think it's all your fault.

Unfortunately, we have to realize that we had a role in this too.  We should've spoken up earlier.  I should've said something when I was 5 years into the relationship and started to see things turn and become progressively more concerning.  But I buried my head and chose to live in the make believe world they had created - not realizing it would never improve and that it was progressively killing a bigger part of me every year that went by. 

All I'm trying to say is, if you both keep your heads buried, it will never get better.   You will still keep giving and become an empty being - only a little older, a little weaker and less capable of living a fulfilling life.  Orlov speaks of taking control of what you can control within reasonable means.  I've just started to do that, and while it's made a world of difference, it really hasn't changed my spouse - but at least it has given me the strength to be my own person.  Please stay strong.

thank you, alex

The reason we are probably breaking up is because he canceled the special, romantic vacation we had planned to take for my thirtieth birthday, an hour before the flight. Because of not asking for the time off, allegedly. We previously discussed the direction of our relationship, with him being indignant at my request for more commitment after having dated and been emotionally supportive of him for 7 years. I would like to have marriage and children, and maybe he is doing me a favor by having done this and dug in his heels instead of proposing. My pulling away from him causes him to run hot with the I love yous, etc., but they just fall flat nowadays. Thank you for your words. I felt like someone understood me. I am so proud of my strength the past month and a half since this has happened. I definitely contributed to problems, but as i have continued to work on taking responsibility for myself, he hasn't done much for himself, if anything. Every day I am getting stronger, but there is always that little voice that says, "but you love him." Honestly, I think in order for me to break up with him it will have to get to the point where I can't stand the sight of him, which might not be that far away. I still grieve for the love I thought I had.

Getting to a point

Sorry to hear about your vacation being canceled.  Having bags packed and no place to go seems a reasonable metaphor for your circumstance.  I know that exact pain that you state you are going through, this intense love and connection to this person who once madly loved you and now couldn't consider your welfare to save their own life.  I find it's like a separation between our logical brains and our emotional brains.  Logically, I understand that my relationship will never reach a caring and mature status and will only lead to greater heart ache and depression.  Emotionally, I still reminisce about how great it was and how I can't give up on something that was so beautiful.  I think my logical brain gets lead astray by my emotional brain, but unfortunately it is so much easier to follow your emotional brain and try to defend bad emotional choices using your logic afterwards (i.e. cognitive dissonance).  However, like you, I'm getting to a point where I can't do it any longer.  I'm constantly lying to myself.  I'm running out of excuses to give myself for holding on.  My logical brain knows where this is going, my emotional brain is holding on until the very last minute when the bridge between us is completely destroyed.  I'm just afraid that people like you and I get washed away with the bridge because we can't let go.  I pray we both find strength this new year, whether it leads us to repair the bridge, or walk away from one about to collapse.

Furious again

On Sunday, my boyfriend and I went out to dinner and had a nice time. We kissed and held hands, everything was great. The next day, he asked if he could come over after work and I said ok if it's not too late. Fast forward to me waiting up after he said he was on his way. When I said he was lying about being on a certain road and there being traffic, and that he had made a detour to go to a bar and he finally admitted it. When he showed up I flew into a rage. He has been saying for two months how he will be the man I deserve. The man I deserve doesn't leave me waiting as he goes to a bar for some cheap vodka. His actions defy all logic. I just cry and pray to god for guidance (and I'm not religious). Please someone tell me how a man can love a woman and refuse to address his ADHD symptoms? I love him and this push and pull is devastating. I can't stop crying.

Here's a tissue

I get the crying.  I get the hurt.  It all sucks.  I'm sorry you are going through this.

You wonder how a man can love a woman and refuse to address his symptoms?  I'm no expert, but I think it happens all the time.  I firmly believe my BF (who abruptly abandoned our 3.5 year relationship after a bad fight regarding his untreated ADHD and my negativity) loved me with his whole heart.  He believed it, too.  He also loves his daughters and his dog, but still seems unaware of how his behavior negatively affects them.  He always told me he loved unconditionally.  I think he intended to, but his inattentive behavior doesn't always show love.  But what is hard for me to deal with now is that I know how much he is hurting underneath it all and how much he just wanted someone to love him for who he questions requests for any change (even if things were affecting other people).  I wanted to be able to do that for him, and I feel like I failed, but sometimes love isn't enough.

That sucks about him going to the bar and the lying to you about why he wasn't there yet.  Super disrespectful and immature, no matter what his intent was.

Have you thought about just doing a trial separation...just a little that you can step back from it all a bit and regroup your heart and mind?



He said that he just thought that it wasn't a big deal because he was just meeting coworkers for one drink and it wouldn't take that long (at midnight, 20 minutes is a long time. I'm not waiting all night). I angrily said that you don't just unilaterally change plans and not tell the person who's waiting for you. I have so much trouble understanding things like this. Why is it so hard to just follow through, especially at a time when he's said he wants to build up good will in our relationship? He begs me not to give up on him. It makes no sense.

I brought up the break idea and he didn't like that because he said it's a slippery slope. He convinced me to try more. And then this BS happens. After seven years, I just can't believe his word because he lives in a fantasy world. I try not to beat myself up, but sometimes I feel so pathetic for being in this situation. I feel cheated.

Forgive me for not

Forgive me for not remembering your back story...I can hardly keep track of my own whirlwind life right now...but, how much have you read up on adult ADHD?  Have you read Melissa's book? (The only one I have read aside from hers is "Is it You, Me, or Adult ADHD?" which was also very helpful).  I ask because I totally get why you have trouble understanding his lack of logic or follow through, etc.  I don't get it either, but I sure do understand it better now that I know what ADHD symptoms and behaviors look like.  For me it is too late since my BF is gone...I sure do wish I knew about ADHD a long time ago so I could have understood better and MAYBE we could have stood a chance...though I doubt it since he was always hell bent on not changing.  Anyway, my point is, understanding symptoms and behaviors is not an excuse for them or a reason for you to be stepped all over and disrespected, but it may take a load off of you a bit. 

So, he said he wants to build up good will, but convinced YOU to "try more".  Is he actually trying at all or has he actually verbalized anything concrete?  I mean, we all know it takes two...


Ugh.  I'm sorry for your frustration!!!!



Thank you

I have read Pera's book and lots of others too. So i intellectually understand, but as we all know, when it is egregious and pervasive, it's really hard not to take things personally, like screwing up when he is claiming to want to improve the relationship. In my mind, the love he constantly says he has for me should be the thing that lights a fire under him to get better. He has said he's been to a specialist twice. Today he told me he wants to go see this doctor with me to discuss our relationship on Jan 26 at 9 am. When I looked up this doctor, it says he does diagnostic treatment but it makes no mention of counseling. I think he's lying about this to shut me up, and will "cancel" at the last minute. I am terrified because I think his ADHD has taken a very severe turn and he is reverting to behaviors I haven't seen in him since early in the relationship. A few months ago, way before he ditched my birthday vacation the morning of, I had hoped to be planning a wedding since we were doing a lot better. How quickly things can fall apart at the seams.

I know it is super hard not

I know it is super hard not to take it personally...especially when they have the ability to twist words, deflect, deny, blame, etc.  And I completely get the feeling of wanting his love to be the thing that lights the maddeningly seems that it's not enough.  As for the doctor's appt...I know it is suggested that both people be at a diagnostic type of appt as well to get both perspectives, so is it possible it's that kind of a thing? 

Are you in therapy to help with your feelings/anger/frustration?  If may help...but I caution against seeing someone who knows nothing about adult ADHD...I did that before I even realized the ADHD and she wasn't knowledgeable about it and so her suggestions couldn't apply to my situation.

please help, so confused, defeated and depressed

I found out that he was lying about the supposed appointment that we were supposed to go to this morning. He also never went at all after the ruined vacation.He made up elaborate lies and i took his word, although deep down I knew. I called to confirm and they had no record of it. He admitted the lie when he had to. He said he felt that I was "forcing" him to get help when it should be something he does on his own terms. His own terms have been taking adderall and crossing his fingers that he learns how to run his life magically, that's it.He's thirty years old and saw one adhd coach ten years ago and declared it stupid and refuses to try someone else. Once I threatened a breakup he then said he would call doctors and make an appointment (heard that before). The reason I'm still here is because he is so convincing that he loves me with all his heart and wants to do anything to be with me. His lies though logically shaky seemed so sincere. I arrived to work late, tear stained and with swollen eyes. Why is he screwing around with our relationship? My head is pounding and I'm nauseated. I open my heart to him and he seems to open his, then stonewalls. Someone please help me understand. He says he loves me so much. I love him.

Who you need to be

Sowondrous, you remember how you were before you went through the mirror and down the rabbit-hole with this boyfriend?  You need to be that person.  Even if he came around, you need to be that person. Because that is who you are and - if he comes around - that is who he met and fell in love with.  Don't lose sight of that.  He is resisting and dragging his heels because he's in denial about the effect his ADHD is having on his relationship. You can't make him see it.  What you can do is be yourself.  Tell him clearly that if he does not go to the appointments then you are calling off the relationship because you cannot be with him if he does not treat the ADHD.  And if he doesn't, then call it off. Sometimes we cannot be with a person we love.  It doesn't mean we don't love them, doesn't mean we are not hurt, but sometimes we have to make the judgement that a situation cannot go on.  Letting him drag you under and letting him continue to run rings around you won't help him and it damages you.  Be yourself.  He will either come along or he won't.


I have made a commitment to myself that I will do the things that nourish me, like music, writing, dance, running, friends, etc. I am looking into medication for my anxiety which has been worse in the last few months for many reasons. Today I've felt oddly cold, but I think it is me detaching from the situation a bit. I am loved by family and friends and have many gifts. Everyone knows how lucky he is to have a wonderful woman, including his closest friend from childhood who is a great ally to me. I have been loyal beyond what he deserves. It's because of what I feel in my heart, but eventually if things don't change I will have to leave with the knowledge that I fought for love as much as anyone could.

I'm so sorry you are still

I'm so sorry you are still struggling so much with this agony.  I feel for you.  While I still cry a lot over my BF walking out on us and refusing to accept his ADHD, at least I am off the roller coaster (though I was pushed off, really).  You are still going upside down and round and round. 

I'm sure he DOES love you.  I'm sure you DO love him.  I wish that was enough for any two people (myself included).  My BF didn't understand  how "loving and supporting" each other wasn't enough...those blanket broad acts and emotions...but without him having to work on anything or admit to anything or change anything.  That's not how it works!  Yes, I know he lived and supported me, but his ADHD symptoms/behaviors sure made me feel otherwise sometimes.

If he really "wants to do anything to be with you", then he needs to at least try.  Saying it and doing it are vastly different things.  It must suck to be in the mind of WANT to be able to love and be loved, but not be capable or willing for whatever reason to do so.  I hurt for them.  But I also hurt for you (and me).  I have a hard time standing up for what I need and deserve because I am afraid of being a "bitch" or too naggy or something.  I stay in relationships past the time most would...put up with way too much...because that's me and my heart and my desire to make it work.  But none of us can do it alone.

Please listen to the voice inside you.  I'm sure it's been trying very hard to get your attention.  Sometimes it can SEEM easier to ignore it or act like it doesn't know best.  I hope that the two of you can work together on your relationship.  And if not...then I hope you will be able to get through the grief and move on to be a happy, healthy YOU!


Me too

Thank you for your support, I wish you peace as you move forward independently. You are clearly a very caring person and I'm sorry your boyfriend could not deal with his issues and took a cowardly way out. 

The truth, with caring for you

You are his puppet.  Break the strings and find support for yourself.  Find good friends, relatives, any and all people who will help you depend on your own self.  Then get some counseling for why you are willing to be manipulated like he has been doing.  He is not your friend.  Don't shed another tear about his mean treatment of you.  Don't keep the drama inside of you that keeps you tied to him.  Do yourself a favor and let him be by himself or let him find another puppet to hurt.  Drama is not love.  Caring is love.  He does not care.  This is not ADD.  This is not caring. Make sure you do not get pregnant and live a long life of NOT being care about.  When you are young, drama feels like love because it is passion.  Passion does not last.  Caring about each other's well-being is the LOVE that lasts.  One cannot do that alone.  It takes two.

you are right

Caring is love. I think he does care in his own wa but he is too immature/scared to do the right things. I'm so tired of this, I can't imagine having decades more of this behavior. I cannot allow more drama in my life. 

Take care of yourself

Sowondrous, as someone with ADHD who has recently “opened his eyes” to what my undertreated ADHD was doing to my marriage. The “static” of ADHD and the “fog” of denial can be very hard to get through. My wife tried to get me to see what I was doing for many many years. It wasn’t until I noticed that she wasn’t smiling at me anymore but was when she was talking to other people or chatting online with friends. So as sunlight said “ remember how you were before you went through the mirror and down the rabbit-hole with this boyfriend ? You need to be that person.” I not saying that it will work in your case but at least you can still be yourself and that is all any of can do in these very hard and trying times.

Everyone here on this site has a common bond. We have been beaten by ADHD but not broken. (I’m not a very inspiring writer sorry)

I hope your bf will “open” his eyes soon until then all you can do is take care of yourself.

I will try to be my best self

I hate being angry and sad all the time. I miss the old me! She had her pick of men and careers, was confident, and could do anything. Maybe I still can. It's so hard because we have such a strong bond, but I have to detach and do my own thing. If he still won't do what he needs to do, he never will.

Take care of yourself

Sowondrous, I feel for you. After several years, I recently ended a relationship with a ADHD BF as I'd gotten to the point that I loathed the person that I had become. The previously happy, confident, sophisticated and charming woman that I'd been years ago had all but vanished. My self-esteem had hit a previously unknown low. While the attention I'd once been given by my BF was thrilling, it has in recent years been replaced with my dealing with constant rejection, abandonment, a lack of respect, little if any admiration or appreciation, and the ongoing drudgery of being a parent to a man child. Like you, I found myself angry and sad almost all the time. Although I applaud many of the non-ADHD spouses on here who keep trying, my survival instincts kicked in and I finally ended it. What a relief! Within days of ending the relationship I was able to quit smoking. I reintroduced healthy sleeping, exercising and eating habits since I wasn't having to constantly accommodate his frenetic lifestyle. Even the dog is more calm and relaxed since his departure. I still love him. I think he's a wonderful person. I believe he loves me to the best of his capability. I don't harbor any ill-will toward him. That said, his behavior was destroying my life. Take care of yourself; you can reclaim your life.

ADHD and Feeling Guilty

I've just started to read the posts on this forum yesterday, and my eyes have opened tremendously!  I have ADHD, and my husband and I have the same arguments and struggles.  I assure you that most of us with ADHD do not understand the extent of the hurt we cause you.  I balled my eyes out last night to my husband because I am so overwhelmed from reading post about how hurt you all are and by how much conflict I have caused on my family - unintentionally, but still, it is a lot to take in.  I have to say that no amount of trying or forcing by the other spouse can make us see the light or truth due to the deflect, denial, etc.  We just have to see it ourselves.  This book came to mind that might be helpful for those of you non-ADHD spouses trying to get the "you" back.  Love Must Be Tough: New Hope for Marriages by James C. Dobson.  It talks about infidelity in a relationship, but the principals on how to take control of your life are the same.  I know from experience from my first marriage that it works and can give instant relief from the pain.  Hope this is somewhat helpful to you guys.


On the bright side, you know now what needs to be done and will do the work to improve. Although you've made mistakes, you dont have to beat yourself up. You can do better and you will do better with the right help. Your family is lucky that you have decided to work on your symptoms. I will check out the book you suggested. Good luck to you with everything and know that you are one of the good ones because you are willing to make the effort.