I've been reading these forums for the past year or so and today I come looking for advice on my situation with my boyfriend of two years. We aren't married but we do live together and I'd love opinions from people who know what ADHD can do to a relationship in the long term.
Two years ago when I met my boyfriend we were both living at our parents' homes. I was fresh out of college and beginning to establish my career, he had bounced back home after some financial difficulties and was pretty much starting over. No car, no savings, just some debt from school where he'd been an on-again off-again student. He was open about the ADHD diagnosis he received as a child, but was not pursuing any kind of treatment even though some of the issues associated with the disorder were clearly affecting his life. These red flags didn't matter much at that stage and he won me over with all that charming hyperfocus. It felt... amazing. Soon I was driving him around, to and from his house and work, helping him out in every way I could because I liked him so much. He always assured me how hard he was working to change his circumstances and how he'd been saving and he'd have a car in a few weeks. It has never happened.
It's been about two years since then and a lot has changed. Shortly after meeting him I got a great job that I excelled at. I've been promoted several times and I'm making a name for myself in a competitive field. I'm proud of how far I've come and I know that my success is due to my hard work and responsible decision making. He found a job in the same metropolitan area and for a while we were commuting together in my car - he was also crashing at my parents' house a lot. He and I moved out of my parents' house a little less than a year ago, eliminating my 2+ hour commuting habit. When we moved in together he was oblivious/uninterested in helping with household tasks. I had to buy everything for the house -- furniture, kitchen supplies, cleaning supplies, bedding, the majority of our food. I had a good paying job and he had no savings and no money to spare after rent and his marijuana habit, so that's just the way it worked out.
He's since been fired from two jobs. I've had to loan him money too, which makes me uncomfortable because it adds a weird power dynamic to our relationship and I just want us to be equals. But now I'm wondering if a partnership of equals is even possible with an ADHD partner. I love hanging out with him, but I'm terrified that I'm signing up for a life of financial difficulties and arguments with his bad temper and victim attitude. When we fight he just says the same things over and over (sometimes verbatim - does that happen to anyone else?), but refuses to consider my perspective. Just the other night we had an argument. Once we talked I understood that it was just a misunderstanding and neither of us needed to be upset. I told him that I loved him and didn't want to argue. He wouldn't stop so I walked away from the fight just to hear him call me a "Fucking Seven Year Old" while I walked upstairs. Hearing him call me immature really gets my goat. We haven't been intimate in months.
I am not without my issues either, and there are aspects of his personality that I adore. After some rough talks a few months ago, he is much better about lending a hand around the house. But that is also due to the fact that after his most recent layoff he decided to finally go back to school and finish his degree while earning money online from home. His being home all day makes it easier for him to help out, but it also makes it easier for him to be distracted by TV/video games/the internet... etc. I'm making strides in my life and my career - I'd like to travel, think about buying a house in the next few years, and live the adult life that I've earned. My boyfriend is not at a point where he has the time or money to do these things (time... that's another thing. He sure updates his Facebook a lot on the days when he is working from home, but then has no time once I'm home. He can't even close his computer to watch TV with me!)
I'm wondering if my desire to be loved is keeping me in a relationship that is not moving forward. I have encouraged/gently prodded him to seek treatment and possibly medication for his ADHD, but he has not. I have done a lot of research and bought books for us to read -- I have read them, he has not. I know it is unreasonable to expect a person to change - but HE'S the one who told me that he was trying to get his act together! I want to feel mutually supported by my partner, but for the past two years it is me who has been supporting him. Even in Melissa Orlov's posts I read about the wives who have to keep everything together for their husbands -- that model may be great for some but it isn't what I want for my life. He would like to get married to me, but I have told him that I am not comfortable making that commitment without seeing him get on his feet a little more.
So tell me forum -- can they make the changes that they say they want? How can I tell if this is a good investment of my time? I'm still young, beautiful, and pretty successful so I know that there are other partners out there for me if that's what I choose. It's just that I'm already in love with this one. I'm so torn between a heart that loves this guy, and a brain that thinks this relationship is going nowhere. Help?