Faceing Homelessness

When I first met my boyfriend, it was a whirlwind romance.  I was totally swept off my feet. I thought he was intelligent, sweet, charismatic, funny and incredibly talented. He was a graduate student in a science and I was constantly blown away by his creativity and insights. 

The first thing that attracted me to him was his notebook, which seemed like something Leonardo Da Vinci had written.  Apparently growing up he was something akin to a child prodigy in science. As a young man he had even briefly attended medical school. But somehow in his adult life he had fallen from grace. I guess the source of his talent was also the source of his downfall, as I’m sure his ADD contributed to his creativity.

At first I didn’t think much of his disorganization, but as time went on I began to see that he had some very profound problems. It seemed he couldn’t cope with life’s ups and downs.  He had been married and divorced, and since his divorce his life had slowly been dilapidating due to his un-diagnosed ADD and the absence of the familial support he received in his marriage.   Even simple tasks, such as filling out a tax form, collecting his student loans, or even remembering the deadlines for assignments, were a problem for him (I have no idea how he survived his undergrad—maybe his ex-wife did everything for him?). His car and room were a mess, filled with trash in a hoarder-like fashion. He couldn’t find his keys. He lost a one hundred dollar bill. He couldn’t find his wallet. He accidentally punched a hole in the wall. He fell asleep every night with his cloths on with the TV blaring. Anything deadline-related was a goner for him. Forget petitioning the court for visitation rights with his son—using the court system was just too much for him to handle, especially because he could never serve the papers on time. To make matters worse, he was also failing to pay his child support on time, which looks really bad to employers and also looks bad to me.

His financial situation has become dire.  He got kicked out of his graduate program due to creating a mess in the lab, incomplete work and an inability to get a long with other members in the lab. After being kicked out, he lost the benefit of a fellowship he was receiving.  Student loans added up, there was a hospital bill from a lab-related accident--credit card debt added up too.  All the while, he failed to look for a job because looking for a job meant he wasn’t a graduate student anymore. He could not accept that he had been dropped from the program. He wanted to continue behaving as if he was still in grad school. Somehow, he was still enrolled in the university (just not in the science program) so he continued taking classes with the naïve hope that he could reenter the program. He also received financial aid, which enabled him to not have a job for a very long time. He went on this way for nearly three years as an unclassified student.  Somehow no one in his department ever submitted the proper paperwork to disenroll him from the university (apparently all scientists have ADD?) so he floated around the university aimlessly--thinking, hoping, wishing, or maybe just pretending.  What was worse, he never got over his glory days of being a child prodigy.  He thought he was destined for greatness. All he ever wanted to do was practice science, but now there wasn’t  a scientist in his program who even wanted to touch him—they treated him like a problem child, like a black sheep.

Despite the fact he was in a situation in which any normal person would be frantically looking for a job, he continued to play the role of the genius, spending up to eight hours a day researching science on the internet in a hyper-focus frenzy, filling up his notebook with ideas, half-ideas, schemes, business plans, and the half-backed beginnings of novels. 

It hurts me very much to see him behave in such a way. To see him spend eight hours working on things that will yield no result, while his finical situation gets worse and worse. He should be spending those eight hours job hunting, not screwing around. His internal alarms should be sounding, but instead he ignores the alarm and escapes to the comfort of the internet and his notebook, the notebook I once loved but now want to smash to pieces. The whole thing is a tragedy. I know science is the thing he loves the most, but clearly his devotion to it is standing in the way of his ability to take care of even his most basic needs.

It sounds weird to say, but I think he is addicted to science. It’s easy to blame an addict who is addicted to videogames, gabbling, or alcohol, but when the person you love is addicted to something the world normally considers a “noble pursuit,” the situation becomes complicated. How can I tell him he cannot do the one thing he loves the most, the thing that breathes purpose and energy into his life, the one thing that gives him pleasure in this miserable world? 

Now he can’t pay his rent.  He might become homeless.  I am not sure if I can or should accommodate him. I have little hope that things can change. I’m worried that if I take him in to my VERY tiny studio apartment that I will further enable him to write in his notebook and surf the web while time passes and we are both getting older.  I am much younger than he is. I feel I still have a chance at a happy life.  I have hopes and dreams of my own and I feel like I am drowning. I feel racked with empathy and guilt—guilt over my own self-centeredness and self-interest.  Aren’t we supposed to help the ones we love? What does it say about me if I don’t accommodate him? Where does selflessness and selfishness begin and end?  Where is the boundary, what is the proper balance?  I can’t stand the thought of him being homeless or sleeping in his car. I just cannot.  It breaks my heart. But the thought of further brining his chaos into my life also breaks my heart. I don’t want to give my life away. I don’t want to live in a trash pile. I don’t want to live the way he lives. How can I live out my own dreams when I constantly have to pick up the piece of his broken life?  Sometimes I just feel like I need a break from this tragedy.

The question is, should I support him? What if he lives with me and never gets a job? Then we’ll forever be stuck in limbo. There are other problems in our relationship too. There is some fighting and he has a lot of anger.  He is very defensive and does not get along with co-workers or roommates.  He may fight with the other tenants in my building, and then we’ll both be homeless. I had to leave my last apartment because he got in a fight with my roommate. 


That’s all for now.

From what you say, I believe

From what you say, I believe there is a strong likelihood that despite your best intentions, you will not be able to raise this man, but that he will take you down with him.  I don't think you should let him move in with you.

Let him feel the pains of his

Let him feel the pains of his inattention.  If there is personal pain his attention will then change to what needs to be done. This tells him WHY he must pay attention to his own finances.  Tell him he must be capable of putting focus on a financial future rather than pretending and lying to himself.  Then, find yourself a life and activities to involve yourself in rather than focusing your attention on him.  He will be OK if he has to.  He won't be ok in the long term if he doesn't have to do anything today. Make your decisions based on what is beneficial for your (and those you love) future selves. I know it is hard.  It is what I should have done 30 years ago. You deserve a bright and happy future full of faith and joy.


I'm very sorry you and he are going through this. It is devastating to watch those we love self destruct. I agree that you should not let him move in. That simply enables his poor decisions. It is hard to not enable but if we truly love our mates then we must allow them to succeed and fail themselves. Unfortunately ADHD creates crises, but they usually respond well to crises and find a way to survive. Perhaps not optimally, but survive. He needs a reason to change his behavior, if he moves in that reason is gone.  I would suggest that you remind him, politely, that he is in danger of being homeless and that you are not a back up plan. Best wishes.

Is there maybe something in additon to ADD?

The grandiose ideas, that he is a great scientist, etc., do sound like ADD but I am am so wondering about other disorders like bi-polar.  Can you get him to get an evaluation?

I totally endorse what the other ladies have said. If you fill in the gaps in his life he will never learn to stand on his own 2 feet. He will drag you down. Take it from the voice of experience.

It sounds like you already

It sounds like you already know the answer...... DO NOT LET HIM LIVE WITH YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If he is this bad already he will get WORSE when he comes to live with you. You WILL get sucked into his world and overtaken by the chaos that he's living in. If he has not "gotten it" in the last 3 years he needs a HUGE wakeup call, and you allowing him to move in with you will just delay that wakeup call. If you want any chance of a semi-normal life with or without him you cannot give in and enable him to further avoid the issues he's ran from this long.

Please take it from the myriad of those of us who have tried for YEARS to get partners to step up and take responsibility for things.. moving him in is the LAST thing that is going to motivate him to change. ADHDers need IMMEDIATE and PERSISTANT consequences and possible consequences for them to be spurred into action. By allowing him to move in you will be delaying the consequences, and thus the immediate need for him to do anything about his situation. He will continue to spend 8+ hours a day doing nothing and leave you to pay rent, take care of the house, etc etc.


  I can only echo what


I can only echo what everyone else has said - you must not let him move in with you. It will NOT get better if you do that- the only change will be that you can no longer go home to get away from his hyper focus and mess and troubles and moods.

His ex-wife probably thought she could make him better too... until finally she could take no more. And this man can't even get organised in relation to paying child support and seeing his son.

Don't do this to yourself. He isn't going to get better unless he wants to. And that may never happen. I'm sorry. But at least you came to see him clearly before you got in any deeper. I wish you all the best.


Anders, I am sorry you are in such a painful situation. I echo what everyone else is saying. Don't let him move in with you. He sounds like he is indeed on the verge of not being able to function at all, and I know it is hard to watch. You cannot rescue him. He has to decide to help himself and initiate things himself. If you live with him now, and support him, and take care of him, and do almost everything for him, not only may you be stuck in limbo, but consider the fact that this may enable him to get even worse. What are your goals--children? A home? traveling? A life full of friends and happiness? Is he able to work to reach any of these with you right now or will he make it impossible to have any of them? I know this is hard--you sound like a very loyal, kind person. 

I hear other things in your post that are answering your question as well. You don't like fighting. The rest of your life is ahead of you. He is older than you. I know it is heartbreaking, but if your gut is telling you something, it is probably something important. You are not selfish. You CHOOSE whom you will be with or marry. You get to choose. And you should choose someone that your heart tells you is the right one. 

My best to you. 

Do NOT let him move in with you!

Please DO NOT LET HIM MOVE IN WITH YOU.  I don't think I and the others could stress this enough.  Tough love is still love.  In fact, enabling someone to not help themselves is not really love at all and is sometimes actually a selfish act meant to preserve one's own "nice person" image.  Be strong.  Don't feel guilty ever because really, by letting him sort out his own mess, you are showing him the most love you can.  He had years to figure out the best way to become self-supporting and he CHOSE not to do so.  It's time for him to grow up and by not allowing him to latch onto your life you will be helping him to do this.  Support him by helping him become independent rather than dependent on you or anyone else.  Good luck!

Thanks to everyone for all

Thanks to everyone for all the advice. I am really happy I stumbled across this website, as I've read so many stories I identify with.  While reading one of the other posts, for a split second I actually thought the writer was writing about my boyfriend, as she had the same name as his ex-wife.

I agree with everything you all are saying.  In my heart of hearts, I know I should not let him move in and I hope I have the courage to say no, even though it will tear me apart.  I think the day of our crossroads is very near. I am dreading it.

In the meantime, he's making it very difficult to be sympathetic right now.  During his hyperfocus episodes (which I call "internet binges") he does not take any phone calls or messages from anyone, not even family.  He claims he is "working" and that his "work" is very important to him, but from an outsider's perspective it just seems like he's watching YouTube videos and browsing the web. I try not to take his incommunicado personally (this is something I'm still trying to work on) but sometimes I loose my cool over it. There are times I just want a normal boyfriend I can call on the phone after a hard day or when I need a friend to talk to.  When he goes incommunicado, I feel very insulted as I do so much for him and he can't even extend me the gratitude of responding to a message or phone call.  He has lost two friendships over this very issue, but even with that he can't understand why it's a problem.  Rather than examining how his actions affect others, his typical response is that I and his two friends need psychological help. If only we could get counseling, we could learn the errors of our ways.  I think he believes that if I go to counseling, I will stop complaining and will accept all of his behaviors. (If I need counseling , it will probably be because of him that I would go, not for him.) There was a time when this ongoing argument would tear me up.  I started to think that all the problems in our relationship were my fault--that I was the one that needed help and that I needed to change.   But now I can see that it's a two-way street and that we both, not just me, have to take responsibility for the things we say and do in the relationship. The only problem is, I don't see him holding up his end of the introspection.  Anyways, his latest thing is an ultimatum: if I don't seek counseling, he's not going to call or see me.   This isn't the first time he has given me such an ultimatum, which only lasted a few days, until which point he acted like it never happened. The same thing happens during arguments: during an argument , he won't let me leave.  If I move to walk out the door, he says, "if you walk out that door, you will never see me again!"  Finally one day I called his bluff and left, and of course he called me a few hours afterward as if he had never given the ultimatum at all.  This ultimatum thing is kind of his M.O.--my boyfriend told his friend, who is a contractor, that if he didn't come by and fix a wall he had been promising to fix, that he would never call him again. So, I am just looking at this latest ultimatum as a vacation away from his chaos (although it still hurts that he would use ultimatum as a way to control me and the relationship.  After the incident with my roommate, I am very sensitive about any sign of controlling behavior from him.  When he yelled at my roommate, which eventually led to me having to leave the apartment, I felt he took my freedom to make my own choices out of my hands.  I felt he had taken a little bit of my humanity away, but to him it was no big deal.  It really changed how I felt about him, and although I still love him, I do not love or trust him to the extent that I did before the incident).

You are doing the right thing in letting him go

He might be a kind of genius, but so what?  He is unable to function in any kind of useful way in society.  There could be other mental illness going on, and I haven't heard you mention treatment or medications.  It seems as if this man will "float" along on whatever current is nearby, and never realize that he needs to be steering his own boat.  You have seen that he can be somewhat dangerous, threatening you and holding you hostage when you want to leave a location.  That is not normal behavior even from someone with ADHD.  I think he could really benefit from mental health treatment but people like that are unlikely to seek it.  Maybe at some point, he will hit rock bottom, when he doesn't have an internet connection any more, nor a place to live.  Please don't insert yourself into that process, as it will only delay the inevitable.  I have to warn you that not everyone ever reaches their bottom, even in extreme circumstances.  Some people have a very high pain/discomfort tolerance and will continue to degrade, and it is a tragedy.  But this individual is in no way capable of having an intimate relationship with you, or anyone, until he gets treatment.

Start gathering community resources for him, so you are not caught out when he calls you, asking to stay with you, "for a day or two."  DO NOT allow this no matter what!  Get some phone numbers and addresses for him, even websites if he still has an internet connection.  Then, wish him well and tell him that you bear him no ill will, but that you have to take care of your own life now.

Remember that life guards are trained not to jump in the water to try and save someone who is drowning.  A drowning person will drag you down and both of you will drown.  Throw him a life preserver (numbers of shelters and therapists), but stay safely on the bank.