I've been lurking around on this site for a few weeks now and finally decided to post something I haven't seen a lot of discussion about. Perhaps it's not an ADHD symptom itself, but the result of the feeling of being overwhelmed.
The back story...
Typical hyperfocused by my ADHD girlfriend beginning two-and-a-half years ago. Wonderful stuff. She told me early on that she was ADD, but I believe it was a self-diagnosis. I read a good bit about it and knew the relationship would have its difficulties, but what relationship doesn't, I thought. One day, six months into the relationship, and totally out of the blue, she asks, "If we were to break up, could we still be friends?" I freaked out! What a strange question to ask six months into a relationship that had had NO real problems and in which I thought we were both happy as could be! At the time, I had no idea about the hyperfocus followed by distraction. She was alarmed at my response and reassured me that she was just asking a hypothetical question. Obviously, I thought differently since I can remember that moment like it was yesterday!
Fast forward to January of this year (2011), a year and a half later. I tell her we need counseling because I can't take being ignored, feeling unwanted and alone, etc. any longer. If we are to survive, we need help. (Let me interject here that we are lesbians. I only say that because we don't have the Mars/Venus dynamic that sometimes blurs communication issues. When we're "on" we both communicate very well, in touch with and able to express our feelings. I would say that I am more than she is, but still, it was okay.)
We were in couples therapy (once a week) for three months, and I thought, were doing pretty well... actually had a wonderful four-day weekend at the lake right before Memorial Day, complete with talking, relaxing (as much as she is able) and affection. She had also started seeing a well-respected ADHD psychiatrist to get her medication on track. Four days later, out of the blue, she tells me she wants a break from the relationship. She won't say why, she barely talked to me for about two weeks. I was devastated, feeling totally blindsided by the sudden shift.
During this time, I'm basically begging for understanding... what happened? what did I do? what is going on? what are you feeling? Over and over and over her answer was "I don't know." I can't tell you how maddening that is for someone to be on the verge of throwing away a relationship and the only answer you can get is "I don't know."
Immediately prior to the request for a break (like a week before), she had switched from Strattera to Adderall. She also had a couple of life issues (a nephew who lived with her who was not doing well in school and she was trying to help, as well as an uncle who was dying) going on that were overwhelming her. However, I and the couples counselor both felt these issues had been a point of hyperfocus for her during this time. She'd mentioned the uncle to me maybe twice in our whole relationship and never in a way that made him sound like they were bonded, then suddenly, while she never seemed to have time for me, she was making nine-hour round trips every weekend+ to tend to him.
So where we are now... I bought and have almost finished Melissa's book, "The ADHD Effect on Marriage." Even though we are officially "broken up," there have been talks of a reconciliation. I've made it clear that I will not re-enter the relationship we had, and that I do not expect her to be "changed" if we come back together, only that I expect her to work with me on changing our relationship for the better so that we both get what we need. The advice in Melissa's book has been very helpful in my letting go of anger, in working toward being the person I want to be... with her or without her.
And so, to finally get to my point... she says she still loves me, but still just doesn't know what she wants. I don't want to be naive and keep hanging around where I'm not wanted, but this ambivalence sends such mixed signals. I start doubting the reality of everything she says... she loves me, I've done nothing really wrong in the relationship (she even told my friends on Facebook that I've done more than most people and put up with more than most people would have and that she needs to work on herself.), but she doesn't know what she wants?!
Do any of you experience this maddening ambivalence, especially on major issues of life? Even the therapist has told her it's frustrating to hear "I don't know" over and over. It seems to bring any kind of productive communication to a grinding halt.
Any thoughts on this being an ADHD symptom or being a reaction to feeling chronically overwhelmed? (Not proofing this, so I hope it makes sense. :)