At the Crossroad

I am 25 years old and have been in a 2.5 year relationship with my partner who has ADHD. He has had it since childhood, and was on medication until he was 21, after which he stopped it as he never liked the side effects and felt that he was too 'serious' on it. Ever since we got together we have fought over his jealousy, insecurity, and quick temper where he will swear at me and explode before cooling down and expecting me to forgive him. I am a doctor and well aware of the ADHD relationship problems, especially after reading this site. 3 months ago he agreed to go back to a psychiatrist for an assessment and was put back on dexamphetamines. However he only takes them at work (as he works fly in/fly out) and therefore when he comes back on weekends he usually doesn't take them as they interfere with his appetite. Every weekend he has been home over the past few months we have fought, usually over him exploding over something which could have easily been talked to. And then when I get upset his inability to sit down and just talk through the problem means that he will just get drunk and pass out on the couch while I roam the house wanting answers and not being able to sleep. Although I know that my own bad temper contributes to things not being resolved, I've found that over the past few fights even when I have been calm and refusing to swear at him he will continue on on his own. Today he got angry at me and swore at me in front of a friend who was over for breakfast; I have been frustrated over the fact that I do all the household chores and work in my full time job whereas he comes home from up north and spends the whole weekend sitting on his computer looking up holidays. Today I went to grab the clothes that he had been sitting on that I wanted to put away and he just yelled 'Fuck!', pushed me aside and sat somewhere else, causing my friend to leave. Trying to not aggravate the situation like I've read on this site I went for a drive, and sent him a message saying I was doing so and would be back later. He sent me 5 or 6 messages about how apologetic he was, and how it wouldn't have happened if he had taken his medication, and would I please come home to talk about it. Yet when I did actually get home he shut the door in my face, started swearing at me 'because I'm angry' even though he knows I despise it, and told me that if I wanted to talk I should have come home earlier because now his medication had worn off (it had only been 4 hours) and he can't talk to me. He told me I'm a bitch etc, and then when I went and cried to myself came back and started hugging me and stroking my hair. But then when I brought up the fact he could have not sworn at me over making him move for the laundry off he went again, swearing away. Saying that all my friends hate him and think he's a 'cunt' - when I point out that maybe they wouldn't think that (even though they don't acutally) if he didn't talk to me badly in front of them he just gets more mad. Tells me to move on, find another doctor etc because he has a problem and I know it, yet I still get mad over it. The argument ended when I said that I've stuck by him just like his mother stuck by him, even though she's told me herself her friends used to think that she mistreated him by the way he lost his temper and swore at her. He ended it by crying and saying 'Fuck you cunt' before storming outside to smoke and have another beer. He's now asleep on the couch. 

I know everyone has their own problems here on this site, and believe me I've done my fair share of reading trying to understand different perspectives and why we keep getting in these stupid arguments again and again. I understand that he is insecure, that he hates being on medication, that part of ADHD is that he loses his temper easily. But I do everything I can to help him to the point that I feel like his parent  - I find myself making excuses to my friends and parents about his behaviour and the fact that he never sticks by his promises and goals, that he is disorganised and short tempered and can never seem to get his priorities right. I love him for who he is (mostly) but I can't accept him still swearing at me and exploding over things 2.5 years into a relationship. I know that he loves me and wants a family with me, but I don't want to be stuck in a relationship where I get yelled at by (likely) both my kids and my husband with no where to turn. I have stuck it out this far and want it to work but don't know what to do. He tried once trying to book us in for relationship counselling only to be told there was a very long waitlist and did not hear anything after that. When this isn't happening he's very loving, kind and generous and I know he genuinely cares for me, yet we have been over the same situation so many times that I have lost count. Is there something that I can do? 


Two possibilities

The way I saw it for my ex was either

1. He has a severe brain disability and he can't help what he does. Because he can't see it and therefore chooses not to seek effective treatment for our relationship, there was no solution to the way he was treating me. He either doesn't believe it or sees it as MY fault. It continued and escalated as I become more frustrated and tried to push for some resolution for myself. I determined I would have to see myself as a longterm "caregiver" and not expect a partnership between equals.

2. He COULD help it, but chose not to, for whatever reason -- maybe a good reason, maybe a bad reason. But he CHOSE not to seek out realistic long-term solutions. Remember, he has always been this way. This was actually normal to him. He was fairly satisfied with the way he was and the way things were going, on some level. (After all, he now had me to blame, and that had to be better than in the past when it was harder to find someone else to blame!) 

It has been like this his entire life, he was used to it, or at least "comfortable" enough with it. Therefore, I was not going to change him. He didn't want to look for his own solutions as badly as I wanted to look for them (because I WAS THE ONE SUFFERING), and his solutions weren't going to help me much. He might even listen, but few changes came about. (I'm convinced that his life with me was much better than it had been for him alone -- why would he want to work hard to change it? After all, he can easily control your "misbehavior" by raging at you!)

So after living with him for 2.5 years, the question becomes, how much do you want to put up with for what you are getting out of the relationship? 

The sooner you realize he does not appear to want to change, FOR WHATEVER REASON, the sooner you can make a decision for your future. You can't make him do anything he doesn't want to do.



so sorry

I am so sorry to hear of your situation, most of all, because I know what it feels like to have someone you love swear at you and say awful things to you. 

I don't know how useful my experience may be to you, but here goes. I have been with DH over 12 years, with 2 kids. It was early in our marriage that horrible, angry fights started happening. I would definitely argue back, and it would escalate, but his anger was something serious. It is only now that I realize what an effect it has had on me and our children and our marriage. 

Put it this way: I could have put up with the disorganization, the "checking out" emotionally for long periods of time, the impulsive speech and behavior. My DH can be very kind, and funny, and generous, and smart, and creative. (It's been a while, though). I never really accepted him swearing at me and saying really mean, personal, awful things when he was mad, but neither did I leave. And just this morning, we argued and he swore in front of our children (the argument was about him swearing in front of our children) and said awful things about my parents. When in this state, he does not care who hears him. He does not care if the poor neighbors hear him when the window is open, or our children hear him say awful things about my parents. He has said bad things about me when they can hear. He threw a soda can into the sink in a rage a few days ago and broke a dish. So, here I am. Facing the fact that no matter how hard I work at it, or no matter what, no matter how hard I emphasize that saying bad things about me to our kids is unacceptable: if we have any tension or argue, ever, he is going to turn into this person, and he either can't help it, or won't help it. 

It doesn't matter to me at this point whether he can or can't "help" it or if it is caused by ADHD. I wouldn't give up having my beautiful children with him for anything, and for this, I will always have some regard for him in my heart. But I am accepting that he either isn't going to change soon, or that I can't live like this, and don't want to put my children through this, any more. Believe me, it is a lot harder getting out once you are in. 

I urge you, no matter what, to ask yourself why you are drawn to someone who treats you this way. Is your phrase "not to aggravate the situation" really telling? If your friend told you about a beau who swore or mistreated her in front of your friends, what would you say? How about a father who yells and swears in front of his children? I tried the walking on eggshells approach for a while, and it didn't make much difference except to make me feel like a prisoner in my own home. How are you supposed to know that picking up some laundry is going to set him off? 

I wish you luck. You are a doctor, wow, and sound bright and thoughtful. Perhaps he may get some counseling or figure it out. But I urge you, before you take the next step, and live with him, marry him, or have kids, to consider what it would be like if he doesn't. Best of luck to you.