ADHD partner has no friends


Does anyone have any advice about how people with ADHD can get a bit better in social situations? My partner has ADHD, we have 2 very young children together, he is untreated and everything has just come to a head recently over lots of things but mainly the effect ADHD is having on our relationship. He is seeing the doctor later this week to see about starting some meds and maybe counselling but to be honest I don't feel his heart is really in it at all.

Ive been doing a lot of thinking the past few days and I realised that one of the things I dislike most about this relationship is the lack of socialising we do as a couple. I hope I don't get shouted down for sounding like I'm being unfair or just a total b***h but he really is awful in any social situation. He talks over people constantly, butts in constantly, sometimes he even asks someone a question then answers it himself. I absolutely hate going out anywhere with him, the whole evening is spent cringing over all the things he does and you can visibly see the moment when the other person in the conversation has just switched off and is looking for an escape route.. It seems he has 2 settings - withdrawn and not talking or non stop talking. I understand this is a typical ADHD trait but my question is - can a 33 year old man who has never been treated really learn all the non verbal cues that most people pick up naturally from childhood onwards? And if so how do they learn?

I feel very sad for him, he is the sort of person who needs to be liked by everyone but he only has one friend. This friend is someone who has known him since they were kids and although I wouldn't go as far to say he excepts my partner the way he is he is the only person who ever calls him or wants to do anything with him. We have been out numerous times with my friends and their boyfriends but my partner just never hits it off with them, and I can understand why. He has lots of aquaintances but no real friends. What can he do to remedy this?? I want to be able to have a social life with him but right now I would do anything to avoid going out with him. Or does anyone else just have experience of this and happy to share? Thanks

For sarah2418

Hi Sarah,

Your post struck a note with me. While the circumstances of our lives are very different, I have noticed this same thing in my AD/HD friend. I just finished reading a very good book, "What Does Everybody Else Know That I Don't" by Michele Novotni, PhD. Socializing is a very difficult process for many people with AD/HD, this book explains what is going on in the ADDer's brain. It is written specifically for them. I thought it was good because it gives examples of possible scenarios in social settings and then gives concrete advise on how the ADDer can handle them.

Have you spoken to your husband about your observations of him in social settings and have you told him how his behavior makes you feel? In his deepest heart he has to know that something is wrong in these situations. I think this is one area of AD/HD behaviors that he, working together with you, can improve dramatically. Maybe you could read this book together. If he is less than enthusiastic about that, try just leaving it around. See what happens.

For those interested, I originally posted" A quick update: I have not seen my friend in five months. I tore up that letter. He started calling me a few months ago, maybe every two weeks. Just leaving messages, he is thinking of me, how am I etc. I usually call him back or send a quick email acknowledging the phone call, saying how nice it was to hear from him. Very short conversations. I think about him all the time, keeping him in my prayers daily. I am educating, educating, educating myself about AD/HD. My fears about it and sense of loss have diminished considerably since. This is in his hands, I am getting along just fine. He must decide what he wants. I am ready. I feel strong.

hockeymom11's picture


My ADHD husband is the same way: one friend.  Since we have both started counseling (separately) he has told me that I never wanted to go out and do anything and all he ever did was try to have fun with me.  I had to explain to him that the reason I didn't like going out with him was because of his behavior in public.  He says impulsive/borderline inappropriate stuff, he acts like a teenager and does just plain stupid, clueless things.  I know that sounds mean, but we once went out to dinner with another couple and their 3 month old baby.  My husband was holding the baby and decided it would be cute to hold the baby up in the air by holding her up by her thighs (making her "stand up").  I thought the mother was going to jump across the table to grab her baby and the father's mouth was agape!!! This poor baby barely had control of her head and neck!!!!

My husband also does not have conversations, he has lectures.  He just picks a subject and talks and talks and talks.  You can't really add anything, because he is an expert in the subject and you are wrong.  I finally gave up going out with anyone. 

Now he blames me because he doesn't have any friends.  I guess this must be a common theme amongst ADHD individuals.  They really have no clue about their own behavior.

I'm now starting to socialize and be around friends with common interests.  It feels good to be in those relationships again. 

few friends

So, i am adhd (diagnosed in high school now 32) and a social butterfly. I could talk to a brick for 3 hours and we would both leave feeling uplifted... (at least that is what i think) I do notice i cut in or over people's sentences... and i hate that. i get so excited or enthusiastic about the topic that i can't help but jump in! that or when people talk slowly and we know what the next word will be,.... AHHH!

well i married mr adhd. He has very few friends. his mom just died on the 27th of dec. and he was hurt that none of his "friends" attended the funeral. but he knows it's his fault because he hasn't been in touch with them since we got married.

I am embarrassed to go out with him, and when i have tried to bring up the social issues, he says "now i am all selfconscious". the two of us are going in circles. I don't believe a word he says now about anything he says he will do. I have started to join more and make new friends. Got into yoga. then the issue is that i don't work right now, don't know what i want to do. (am an artist by nature)... i can tell my meds are wearing off, b/c i can't finish my thoughts.

i am happy to have found this site.

ADHDer Perspective

People with ADHD are often acutely aware of their failings in social situations.  We know we butt in, talk too much and say stupid stuff.  Just telling someone with ADHD that they do those things and that they should stop is usually useless.  That is why I found the book "What Does Everybody Else Know That I Don't" totally useless.  Much more helpful is someone who is with the person with ADHD who can give them a gentle nudge on the arm or nicely whispered comment SO THEY ARE MADE AWARE OF IT IN THE MOMENT.  The problem is not lack of awareness of the problem in general.  It is lack of awareness when it is actually happening.  ADHD'ers just don't self monitor well.  The little warning light that comes on in most adults' heads that makes them hesitate before they speak and asks "hmmm, would that be  polite thing to say?  No, so maybe I shouldn't say it or maybe I should find a way to express it more politely."  That warning light is broken.  So ADHD'ers just plow ahead and say what they are thinking unfettered by such thoughts.  And we often realize what we said later (sometimes even immediately) but it is too late.  The damage is done and another friend is lost.

Just criticizing your friend or  spouse and hoping they will remember to behave better the next time will only be hurtful.  I for one start every conversation trying to remember that people may not remember what I say but will always remember how I make them feel.  But within moments, as I get caught up in the conversation that thought is forgotten and once again my foot gets stuck in my mouth.  Result?  I too have no friends.

This is interesting. My ADHD

This is interesting. My ADHD husband informed me that he knows when he's being loud or butting into conversations, or dominating conversations, or making rude comments, but not until after the fact. He even told me that when he starts acting like that, he truly isn't aware until after the fact, but he is aware he does it. He asked me to just call him out on it. I never did this in the past because I felt like I would be acting like his mother and he wouldn't appreciate it, but he then asked me to do it, so I have been and it's been helping. Maybe if you don't want it to seem obvious, you could use a code word when he needs to stop talking or let someone else have a turn to respond. It might help with the friendship thing.

Warning signals

Thanks for that.   The problem is when I am with acquaintances or new people and my wife is not around.  She is usually wonderful about letting me know with just a look or gentle touch on the elbow.  It is very rare I tell anyone else I have ADHD because they bring their own preconceived notions about what that means and that is how I become defined.

Also, even when I do become self aware that I am saying inappropriate  things, stopping is not always that simple.  Living with ADHD has been described as like driving with poor brakes.  They sort of work but not nearly enough.  You WANT to stop, you know you SHOULD stop but there is an impulsivity that keeps your mouth moving albeit to a lesser degree once you see it happening.  It is hard to explain what goes on inside your head but I hope that helps.  It requires a great deal of patience, love and understanding on the part of a partner.  The person with ADHD in turn must still try hard and not just use it as an excuse.  It is something I think about constantly which is why it is so intensely frustrating because all those things still happen constantly.  It is not fair but I suppose fair is not relevant to the conversation.

One, really?

My ADD husband has one friend. Really, one childhood friend. We visit with him and his wife once a year when they call. My hubby doesn't initiate this yearly get together and I'm not sure why any friend would appreciate an apparent one sided relationship. No clubs, no church, no visits with the neighbors, and family events are strained. For years now, when we do have an occasion, I avoid him, catch up with others, find a task and usually won't even sit with him. I don't think that anyone has even realized that we're not really together. After so many years, I've learned that it's easier than having another awkward interaction, or listen to him go on an on about something inaccurate or untrue. 

Not long ago my ADD husband commented on being a social person but, I don't know how he can think that. Maybe his definition of being social is just willing to be talkative. He is on meds but not willing to counsel. Actually said he doesn't need someone to tell him he's wrong about anything so, I guess he's good... Yeah, not much of a relationship with me or anyone else really. 

My husband is very outgoing,

My husband is very outgoing, makes friends easily, and always has a good time in social settings. He does not act inappropriately in any way other than something I mentioned in another post about him seeking the attention/approval of others...primarily women. He has made a lot of progress since it hit me like a ton of bricks and I finally started pointing it out to him. He never ignored me or gave me less attention, he just likes being a fault. He spreads himself so thin between his friends that he usually ends up pissing one or two of them off. He also seems to attract the 'user' type of people because he is willing to do anything and give anything for nothing (mostly computer related work/parts) and they just keep coming back for more and more. He weeded a lot of these out after we reconciled because they were literally demanding his time, regardless of what he was doing. (i.e. Saturday afternoon when he would be spending time with his family they would call and act like the world was ending because they couldn't connect to the internet).

He has a very short list of good friends but knows a LOT of people. He LOVES for us to go out together, it is a common complaint of his..that we don't spend enough time together, alone. I need to work on that. (with an 18 year old autistic kiddo, babysitters don't come easy)


Hi Sherri

Have you thought about respite services in your area? I know in this area we have something call councilling services of belleville and district, they proved a worker to either go to your home or pick the person up and take them out so the caregiver/parents can have a break and in some cases will even help you find the funding to be able to pay for the worker. You should be able to find a service by calling your local resource centre or looking up respite services on line.

Thank you. No, I have never

Thank you. No, I have never heard of it...but I will look into it. I had a sitter once, referred to me by ARC, and she ended up being a nightmare (husband hated him being in their home, wouldn't let her come to my home to keep him, "made" her charge me $30/day when I was a single mom and worked only part-time) and I'm very gun shy about having anyone watch him. I know I need to work on that..I have been home with him for 13 years now. He LOVES school, I wish I could find something for him, maybe once a month, that he could do in the evenings so we could have some time alone, together and not have to worry about him. We're letting our 12 y/o (with the help of a friend or two) 'watch' him for a couple hours here and there...but we're so stressed about it, that it almost isn't worth it. There is some care that he requires that she's not capable of doing as well...but hopefully in the next couple of years, she can. I know our marriage needs this kind of attention...the time alone...he says he helps him feel connected and close to me...yet most of the responsibility for making it happen lies on my shoulders. :(

Thanks again!


RE:ADHD partner has no friends


Hi Sarah,

 I feel for your situation and can understand as my partner is very similar to your husband. I do not really have any direct advice but one thing I did want to mention is

something I have discovered while researching online. My partner has had ADHD most of his life it seems but what I am realizing is that he also shows many signs of Aspergers which

was up until recently diagnosed in the medical community as a very high form of autism spectrum disorder. The criteria for diagnosis has officially changed recently but I am not knowledgeable enough to explain it fully i am afraid. Yet I can say that many people with Aspergers are very intelligent and high functioning. To the average person they just seem slightly distant, less social, socially awkward or even rude at times. Well what I have discovered is that it appears some people with ADHD also have undiagnosed Aspergers and difficulty

with picking up on social cues and body language in general. I would also like to clarify that someone with this condition does not necessarily act in a way that many can tell something is wrong, basically they just appear rude at times. To give you an example there are famous people that are known to have Aspergers and be very high functioning and high intelligence such as Bill Gates and the actor Dan Akroyd.

I recommend researching the correlation between ADD/ADHD and Aspergers symptoms and see if it seems to fit your spouses patterns of behavior. Good luck to you both.




Autism spectrum disorder and ADHD have allot of symptoms that overlap each other and in some cases people are misdiagnosed. I have read in some cases there are a few experts that think that ADHD may even be on the spectrum but I do not think that they know enough about either disorder to firmly say that it is as of yet.

Freinds... Hhhmmm

My ADHD husband has a lot of "people he knows" because he was born and raised in the same small town we still live in... I would not say he has a lot of "friends" though... my husbands cell phone doesn't ring nor does he gets texts from any one other than me, our kids or a supervisor from work telling him where the next job site is at... he blames me that his social life is dead, (apparently he believes he was a king of some sort before we got together) however even his mom will tell you that he never calls, they call me to get ahold of him or to catch up... he doesn't "BE SOCIAL" unless I set it up... I love to entertain and have friends or family over... and so I do plan parties etc... but this is where his anxiety comes in and so my husband will POWER DRINK... I will be left with planning, set up, clean up and making a mends after thing go south... this is not always the best idea either

So my only advise would be to set up what you can, have some fun and let him be in charge of him... I know easier said than done though....


Over the course of several years, I noticed friends fell off the radar slowly, one by one. The random facebook posts and status updates get 1 or no response, and no real inbound calls/texts from any friends except from mommy. When friends leave, its not.."what did I do? " but "why is the whole world against me?" Being the most sensitive person in the world, he also gets real hurt when people leave and then becomes very bitter.

This one is egocentric, only thinks about himself, says weird random things at random times, criticizes everything (people, cars, things, tv commercials, advertisements), makes weird untrue claims on topics with no backings or flat out lies to cover something (I.e. Oh yeah, the cash for clunkers program is going to end this weekend when really it was still going on for quite a long time), "How's the game? the "Oh, it just ended" ,(but it was still on the 3rd quarter with 11 minutes left!!) No sense of direction, has no sense of time or urgency and always seeks affirmation from everyone. Every time we hang out with other friends and strangers, he always brings up his job and how much money he is making. Then he goes on and on and won't shut up. I've stopped any social outings with him, it was getting old. I would rather pull my teeth than hear him ramble about himself. I've noticed the very few friends he has are more tolerant of his behavior so the atmosphere is a lot better when it's his friends versus my group of friends.

Like the gal above, I think adhd individuals have no idea how their behavior affects everyone around them. I've learned that most adhd people exhibit the same behavior and learned to accept his shortcomings. If you change your expectations and deal with the fact their brains don't work the same way, you'll find yourself surprised if he does something above the adhd  behavior quota.

Sounds familar

I am engaged to a great girl but one with ADHD. Social settings and engaging with friends are a nervous time for me. I am not sure what mood she will be in before heading out, what she will say, how she will act, how long she will want to stay. Sometimes she is in great form. She channels her energy to engage with people and interact. Other times she will completely shut off. Sit on the couch and stare at nothing and then blame me for not helping her.

I think the biggest problem is that I cannot bring her around some of my friends. Her behavior, even when is check, is grating to them. They don't have to say anything. I can tell from their looks. And thanks to my fiance's dispostion and behavior she acts rudely to them because of that.

(side note: do all ADHD's hold grudges and take the little things to heart?)

I am new to this site and still learning things but I was hoping if someone could help me with how to make sure my ADHD fiance is happy in all settings. That's all I want for her - even when it is a strain on me.


From a ADDer

Ok so one thing you have to understand is are brains run a mile a minute and growing up that way when you diagnosed or even if your not you are treated different.  Your parents, You siblings, Your friends and you are never really accepted by anyone at least not in your mind.  We think we are having a really good conversation and getting points across when we are actually being rude, or sound like a plain idiot. We do not pick up on social quos because are brain is thinking about 20 things at the time and it is hard to focus on the real conversation.  I have ADD,  I have social problems.  My loving wife pointed out the things I was doing and I am now seeing a doc about it.  But remember we are people, we are not doing this on purpose, we are not trying to piss you or anyone off we do not think we are better.  But the only way to fix it is the ADDer needs to have a good support system and sit him down and be honest tell him what he is doing and dont come across like you are badgering him, or make him feel like a idiot, to many people have already done that.  You have to just be there for them and hope they get help,  we are great learners and can always change in my eyes.

Yes thank you for this, I

Yes thank you for this, I hear the truth of your words. Any tips on how to make things nonaccusatory? Sometimes I just have to have a "look" and it is misintrpreted as accusation. Help please!

Re: "the one friend subject"

AMAZING. My husband also, has one childhood friend, but this friend will not reciprocate friendship any more. (I can only guess why) My husband also has many acquaintances and "friends" he keeps in contact with, via the computer, but never actually "gets together" with people. I tried for many years to get my husband to socialize with other couples, but he wouldn't go, or reluctantly go and act "very put out". It was always a struggle, because people were asking to be friends with us. Our jobs as musicians put us in the spotlight quite a bit, and I generally love people and enjoy the fellowship of others. I believe "outside" relationships add to our general well being as people. The funny thing is that my husband REALLY BELIEVES that he is a very social person.

   I really hated it when we WOULD accept a dinner invitation, but my husband would back out at the last minute and I would have to go alone. (very embarrassing, and it would make it awkward with the other couple as well) He would come up with lame excuse, or have me make up something, until I refused to do it anymore. He doesn't realize how isolating this has been for me. As long as he has a computer, a phone and sees people at work, he is FULL of "friendships". It doesn't work that way for me. I NEED to physically BE with people, and share time with them. He has a real problem with TIME. (very typical ADHD) As long as he is doing something that interests HIM, he will spend all the time in the world on it, but asking him to spend time with me or others is like "agony" for him. This is what I usually hear, "Can we go now?", and it may have only been 10 minutes. "Do we have to stay?" "I have work to do", "Let's go", It's been impossible to have "couples" as friends. What's also weird is that we had them BEFORE we were married, but didn't AFTER we got married. We had SEVERAL couples as friends while dating, and it was a lot of fun. My husband doesn't seem to miss it though. I don't understand. Is it just the TIME issue?

   He used to say things that were inappropriate, or monopolize conversations when we were with others, but he's been much better about that lately. My husband can actually SEE the difference in the reactions of others, when he gives other people time to talk and interject into conversations. (which has been a positive thing) He still doesn't relate that to me though. (in our conversations)

   Anyway, once again, they ALL read the same handbook. (lol - attempt at humor)

The Handbook

Yes, we ALL read the same handbook.  It takes us months.  (because there is no audio version of The Handbook yet:  None of us can focus long enough to make the recording)  Then we misinterpret The Handbook, lecture people about it at social events, get disoriented and overwhelmed then subsequently lose The Handbook.  Then we ask our spouses why they hid The Handbook from us.....

I am working on the social thing.  My husband says when I'm asked a question at a social gathering I will go off on 3 tangents before actually answering the question.  I don't say inappropriate embarrassing things necessarily, I just talk too much.  Not just about myself, but just long stories that are unrelated, but somehow were triggered by the question or something someone said.

I've moved back to a city where i lived 8 years ago and my 'old friends' know me as a funny, loud, gregarious person.  I'm avoiding everyone I knew so that I can change that.  Like Sherri's husband, I seemed to attract the 'user' type of friend and my husband would see it and tell me and I wouldn't believe him until the person would do something REALLY inconsiderate.

I'm working on it though...  I was at a party with my husband the other day and someone was talking about running the marathon.  That made me think of when I was working in a high-rise along the route of the marathon and the whole building shook when they went by.  for a split second, I almost opened my mouth to tell the woman that story... but I stopped myself.  After a few minutes she said, "Oh... were you going to say something?"  I just shook my head and said, 'Me? No..."  Later someone was talking about her kids being diagnosed with siliac (sp?) disease.  I was going to comment that I had a friend in her 40s who was just diagnosed after suddenly having symptoms, and the worst part is, she's a pastry chef!  But -  caught myself and said nothing.  I'm trying to think of why I felt it necessary at social events - or even just meeting new people at the park with my kids - to tell stories about myself or people/situations the person I'm speaking to doesn't know.  I guess it was a need to be liked?  Dunno.  But I feel a certain relief at staying silent at social events.  Like some kind of pressure is off.  I used to get so nervous - some sort of performance anxiety - that once I started talking I couldn't stop, even though I could kind of sense that I should stop talking.

I am lonely though.  I have no friends here anymore.

Just curious..what did you

Just curious..what did you feel would have been wrong with either of those comments had you made them? I don't see anything wrong with either of them. I think you're being too hard on yourself.

'gateway' comments...

My fear is I would start off saying something normal,  but then the other person might say something that triggers a connection in my brain to some other story and i'll go off on a tangent.  So, what I do now is I just don't engage anyone in conversation - with the exception of either agreeing with something or maybe a stock question, like, "wow!  What was that like?" and letting the other person talk.  Then after 10 minutes I excuse myself and get something to nibble on/drink then say hello to someone else and do another 10 minutes.  or just stand next to my husband and smile and nod.

decades ago, my husband was so shy at parties that he would literally stand in the corner and say nothing, looking very glum.  People were always asking me if we'd split up.  I'd have to explain, "no, he's just very uncomfortable in big groups." I got used to doing the socializing for both of us, so I guess after a while I didn't notice that he was actually able to talk to people and tell his own stories.   He's actually really good at it now - clearly much better than i am.  He sat me down the other day and explained there are 'different circles of intimacy' with friends and acquaintances and how you don't let people you've just met into any of these circles.  I think Sherri, you responded to my post about someone asking how we met, and he was embarrassed about my telling that story - it turns out that he didn't really know that person.  MY mistake was thinking that she was a good friend, and someone he saw every day.   So I told him that I REALLY AM aware that there are different 'circles of intimacy' when relating to people/friends/ colleagues, but i had misunderstood his relationship with this particular colleague (who had the same first name as someone he DOES work closely with, but i had never met either woman).

We've got another event coming up on monday that we're supposed to bring the kids to.  that won't be a problem because all my energy will be taken up trying to keep the kids behaved/fed/etc while my husband talks to his colleagues.  People usually like my daughters, unless the little one is crying - so most of my energy is usually spent trying to keep her happy.  I never get a drink or any food at these things because i'm too stressed out dealing with the kids.  But - at least I know I won't have an opportunity to say anything stupid!

My DH is very social, the

My DH is very social, the outgoing one of the two of us. He is a delight to a crowd, funny and winsome. Even before I was aware of ADHD I noticed he had a lot of compliments and flattery for everyone, and most people warm up to that southern flair of his. But while he gushes what they like to hear, he also keeps them at a distance--just acqauintances. Like many others here, he has one good friend in his life at any one time. But if that friend has any drama in his life, family hardships, marital issues, he drops them like a hot potato. "I don't have time for drama," he says. He does have bit of a hard time talking with someone about subject that he himself is not passionate about. He also misses the nonverbal cues when the situation is reversed, when someone is done hearing him talk about something they have little or no knowledge of. Or possibly he does see them and cant or doesnt know how to change the subject. My story and all I've read hear on this topic are all very fascinating to me in some strange way, I think because its one of the areas I can clearly see ADHD at work, and understand how it affects his rationale. To me it also demonstates that we can't treat the problems in our marriage until we treat the unmentionable elephant in the room (ADHD).
DF's picture

A chord has been struck

Not anyone in particular, just this subject.  For those of you who haven't read my dribble before, I have ADD.  I also have a wonderful wife that I love dearly that doesn't see ADD as the reason for me being me.  I can't make her do her homework on it, so whatever....

I have no friends as you might define them.  I have many acquaintances and I too have very likable qualities.  It is not my imagination at play either.  I do not have friends.  I was raised a military brat before the days of the internet and got used to moving and severing ties everywhere I went.  I've not had many issues courting females at all, just maintaining relationships - go figure. 

But I would like to shed some light on this subject for some of you.  

Having recently been diagnosed, I have been looking back on my life and decisions I've made, feeling I remember having.  I am all too familiar with feeling like I'm lazy and stupid.  When I met my wife, I lived alone, not because I didn't have anyone to live with, but it was me against the world.  To hell with everyone, I was in charge of me and nobody will make me feel bad in my domain. 

Now this isn't a reason for not having friendships.  I've never really thought about it until my wife has been so insistent lately about how much it absolutely bothers her that I have no friends.  This hurts and I've not really known why......until I looked at the right pictures.  I've not grown up with many male friends - ever.  I was raised in a fatherless home since I was 3 and have always had female friends.  Talking to women has always come easy for me ( except my wife ).  I can think back at all the guy friends I can remember and they've all disappointed me in one way or another and here's why.....

- I am not interested in staring at women and making mental pictures.  I'm not available, so I'm not interested.

- I don't like playing card games or being pressured into putting $20 into the pot and playing a few hands.  I'm broke and that $20 won't even fill my gas tank - F^%K Off.

- I don't golf.  Don't like playing it and I don't like watching it and I don't like listening to grown men cry about a bad day outside playing a game. -> which is the perfect lead in to the next one....

- I like team contact sports.  Not boxing ( You can't prove to me it's not fixed ).  I play these sports, but aside from having a few beers at the end of the season, I stay away from the others.  I don't like listening to a bunch of grown up babies complaining to the refs about a bad call.  Get over it and play on, stop being a jerk.

- I can't afford the expensive hobby of hunting and fishing alone makes me feel alone.

- I'm not into cars, home entertainment systems, computers and what have you.....

Bottom line is, I seem to have more female qualities than I do male, but you will not find me calling a guy up and going over to his house to drink a beer and 'chat'. 

Ugh....and now the reality of it all.  What makes it so difficult for me is my wife, in all her wonderfulness, knows that I'm a great guy and a great father, but is beyond disturbed by my lack of friends.  I used to have several female friends and everywhere I've ever worked I've always had one or two female confidants.  Call it being raised by only a mother and older sister, I don't know, but when I got married I cut all ties.

I have enough respect for my wife that I never wanted her to ever have a reason to doubt me.  Granted I didn't do such a fine job of showing her my love which is why I'm in the mess I'm currently in.  But I always thought she knew I cared.  My continuous efforts to stay away from any and all women makes it impossible for my wife to ever doubt me.  I don't even like being touched.  I know first hand how painful the seed of doubt can be in a relationship.  It's torture and I don't want my wife to ever have that feeling.

Heck, it's probably all you females in these forums that are making it easy for me to talk.  Women are so relaxing to talk too.  I don't have feel like we're all going to whip it out and rub our "sticks" together to make a fire and talk about how much money we make, or the size of house we have, or how much better my kids are than yours.

When my wife and I did things as a couple ( seems forever ago ) with other couples, the guys would make me look like prince charming.  I would scream inside!  She couldn't possibly want me to hang out with this jerk?!  I was always a gracious host/guest, but I did not go out of my way to 'save a date'.  To me it's condesending and disrespectful to make jokes about your wife in front of people.  Some things are okay such as when her family is making light of humorous memories and I recall something we did together that was similar and we all have a good time about it ( wife included ).

Now I would love to explain all this to my wife, but my condition predisposes me from doing anything of the kind successfully.  I'm geared to fail and not for a lack of trying, but because she's still not happy with me.  I'm in a position of wanting a friend, someone I can talk to who knows me ( not just what they read here ).  I don't trust guys and I don't wish to disrespect my wife by finding a female friend.  I've never felt more alone than when I found myself on the outside of my marriage looking in at the wonderful woman I never wanted to hurt. 

I do not know my wife's plans for us.  If she ever happens to choose to try and except that my not knowing about ADD was always the problem, maybe then she can learn to let go of some of her frustration/anger(?).  Until then, I continue to cling to hope in my efforts to control 'my' life and reply to strangers here.  My mind is imprisoned and my heart is here.........

A Chord Has Been Struck: Insight From The Other Perspective

Thanks for sharing from the vantage point of adhd. It's always good to know and I've been very surprised at exactly how different my husbands view of things can look. I would highly recommend you take a read through, 'ADHD & me: what I learned from lighting fires at the dinner table,' if you haven't already. It's written by a young man with adhd and is structured really keenly to the underpinings of the origins of some of the social stuff. I know youre learning a lot of new skills and I'd like to caution you about rigid thinking. Those skills get into an open mind a whole lot easier. Though sometimes it seems like we're sure about why things are a certain way, it turns out that there are things we didn't see until we learned more. I know inaccurate appraisal of situations is a common obstacle with adhd. I have sometimes been completely stunned at my husbands inability to read things. The default can be to go to the negative. It seems like youre looking for ways to improve the marriage. I dont want you to miss out on an opportunity to do that. She sounds to be giving you a giant hint with wanting a social life as a couple. Thats good news! It sounds like you might need some assistance meeting this need. Thats okay. Firstly, I'd recommend getting that help from outside of your wife. It sounds like shes burnt out and it's a good idea to respect that. Secondly, I'd suggest that you make it a priority to be very cautious about not saying anything negative to her about your feelings about what shes asking. My husbands impulsive comments can be extremely hurtful when I make an effort to work on things. Congrats on the opportunity!
DF's picture

A pintch more detail....

I never had an issue with doing things as couples.  At times there were questionable couples that I did not want to be around.  I liked one spouse but not the other and go figure, both of those couples are knee deep in divorce as I'm writing this.  I'm a good judge of character and always have been.  Used to be a bartender and knew who was going to pay my rent within 60 seconds of their arrival.  Difference is, I had to sit through tasteless gay jokes and other nonsense if I wanted to keep my job.

To better clarify, you are correct ( I think? ) about my wife being burned out.  She's created a new social network that I'm not a part of, but not because she can't take me out in public.  It's her way of getting away from me.  I'm not bitter about it, just sad because it makes me feel like I can't make her happy.  I don't question her about anything, I just worry for her safety and well being.  I don't even talk about it unless she mentions something about where she went and then all I ask is if she had a good time or was the food good.  My belief on giving her space is not being all over her business.  She's already smothered by me and my many various experiments in addressing my problem and trying to re-connect with her.

Thing is I don't don't what to do or what I'm doing.  I don't get angry with her.  Haven't yelled at her or the kids in so many months I can't remember how long ago it was.  I'm constantly practicing on trying to read myself and re-engage with my family on a positive note.  What kills me, is feeling her frustration with me.  I can see it and I can feel it.  It truly hurts hurts down deep.  I know she gave me chances, but with neither of us knowing about ADD(HD) I would continually fail her and the kids. 

I'm not bad in social situations, I don't insult people even if I really despise them.  It's why people like me, I don't rock the boat.  But this fight to regain her affections, her love, is very hard when doing it alone.  Good people here keep telling me to stay strong and just keep working on me and she'll come around.  I just don't see it.  Keeping on my happy face is getting harder every day and I know that she doesn't want to see my hurt and I refuse to show the kids.  I can't make her learn about how my diagnosis has affected our relationship, it would be met with resistance.  I can only continue each day hoping that I do something right for her so she will not always be inclined to find anything to do other than to be home around me after the kids go to bed.

I just really don't know what I'm doing wrong.  I can't see it and it's frustrating.  I'm trying to give her space and be as helpful when needed, but I'm still smothering her somewhere and the only lead I have is that I'm "always" home.  What the heck am I supposed to do with no money and going to work and school full time?  I'm completely involved in my kids activities so I don't play team sports year round and the leagues don't start up for another few weeks.  I can barely afford them and it will take a major adjustment on my part to keep up with school work, but I've told her I'm going to steal 3 days a week to do my thing.  I'll have the kids with me on one or two of those days if she needs me too so I don't interfere with her plans.  But I would like for her to be able to be home sometimes and be comfortable and not be annoyed by me. 

Maybe if I'm not around, maybe she'll miss me??????  A guy can hope......

The "No Friends" Issue is Bigger than ADHD

As it happens I was just reading an article in Experience Life (great magazine, btw) about getting past depression.  In the section labeled "Get Connected" (important for getting out of depression, certainly!) were these words:

"According to the latest research, 25% of Americans have no intimate social connection at all, and countless others spend the bulk of their time by themselves.  One recent study found that half of all American adults lack even a single close friend they can rely on."

Your husband's social issues are addressable.  My husband, smart and wonderful as he is, used to have an issue with getting "carried away" in conversations, too.  You could just see people "switch off."  Or, more accurately, I could see people switch off.  He was unaware of it.  For a long time he didn't want to hear my comments about how this was happening, or my distress/embarassment for him when it did - he just felt I was criticizing him (yet again) rather than being constructive.  HOWEVER, after ADHD became a much more neutral topic in our relationship, we were able to develop a cue I would give him when I start to see people switch off.  When he sees my cue, he stops talking and moves in a different direction.  Viola, problem solved.  (And now that he has his ADHD under control, this really isn't an issue at all any more.)

Here are some specific things to think about as you address the social issues you are facing:

  • consider this a symptom that can be addressed through ADHD treatment, including the "treatment" of group therapy for building better social skills
  • develop a verbal or physical cue (i.e. touch his sleeve) together that says "people are starting to switch off, you need to finish up",  For more on verbal cues and how to create them, see my book.
  • make sure that your spouse is actually interested in the people you like to socialize with (see post below, which is a very interesting perspective on this)
  • understand that your embarrassment for your partner is probably much greater than anyone else's.  They aren't living with him - if he's goofy or talks too long, it's temporary for them.  But your response is likely compounding the problem that you two are having over this.  Start with the assumption that his behavior is a "quirk" rather than a "disaster" and see if the "fallout" and/or your experience of the situations change.
  • Strive to make ADHD more neutral in your relationship.  The less you seem to be blaming him for the social issues (and other issues) the more open he will be to working with you to find "solutions" that make both your lives easier (i.e. he'll stop being defensive and start working with you)

Love This Post

Thanks, Melissa.  I KNOW I talk too long (you can tell by how much I WRITE too! Ha.).  But I can't seem to find the balance.  I respond to this by withdrawing and not talking at all OR I fail to do that and then get carried away (again).  Having a pre-planned signal is a great idea so that maybe I can learn to recognize when I am going on and on.  

I also HATE to answer the phone.  I REALLY get carried away on the phone and there are no visual cues to let me know I need to shut up.  Before I realize it, I have talked to someone for over an hour who just called to ask me a question about their kid's homework.  I was recently buying a birthday card for my mother and I was letting my 9 yr old review the choices I had selected.  One said "I care about you very much" or something similar.  She laughed and said, "No, not this one."  When I asked her why, she said, "Mom, you won't even answer the phone when she calls!"  Yikes.  Apparently she has seen me look at the caller ID and then deliberately not answer the phone.  I was mortified that she had even picked up on that and also that she would assume it means I don't care or love my mother!  It was definitely a wake-up-call moment for me, and a sad one too.

Your not a bitch. My dh

Your not a bitch. My dh doesn't have any friends either. Won't go to functions because he doesn't know anyone. Argues with my friends and their spouses so they don't want to hang out with us anymore.