Hello all. I’ve just signed up to this forum and I’m hoping to garner some advice. I’m in the third year of a relationship with an ADHD girl, whom I love very much. However, her condition is creating problems and I’m afraid they may ultimately doom the relationship. She’s aware of her condition and works hard on it, but she also has a very hard time taking responsibility for the things she says and does. I tell myself that it’s just her condition and I’m very good at not taking her behavior personally, but it gets very hard sometimes.
• Wage-earning. She holds a part-time position as a teacher, but it pays very little and I’ve had to shoulder most of the bills. I was semi-employed for most of our relationship; I’ve just been hired at a new job and I hope it signals a change, but in the interim my credit card debt has exploded and she continues to make demands on my finances that I fear I can’t meet. We’ve been fighting about money a lot lately.
• Housekeeping. She has a very difficult time with household chores. She does the laundry very slowly and will sometimes cook dinner, but it’s often up to me to deal with pet detritus, vacuum, clean up the kitchen and even prepare meals more often than not. She constantly begins big projects but never finishes them… leaving me to maintain them or simply abandon them entirely. When I suggest a change or hint that she needs to get a given chore finished, it usually results in a fight.
• Suddenness. Argument can arise any time and for any reason. Predicting them has become an exercise in impossibility. Also, the dramatics attached to a given issue often far outweigh the issue itself (a two-hour screaming match over purchasing the wrong brand of peanut butter, for example). More importantly, she adamantly refuses to accept offers of restitution, which further poisons the issue and makes the wounds linger. (To further the peanut butter example, I’ll offer to go back to the store and get the “right” brand, only to be told “it’s too late; you’ve already screwed it up.”)
• Sex. I think she uses sex to self-medicate, and her appetite is insatiable. Once a day minimum. Normally I’m happy to accommodate, but it can get exhausting and I’m rarely able to say “not tonight” without spark a conflict. I get tired sometimes!
• Blame. I try to approach arguments with an open mind and an air on compromising. However, it’s often like playing tennis with a freight train. He issue is invariably my fault, my attitude needs to change, and until I acquiesce to her (often unrealistic) point of view I’m being “stubborn” or “a jerk.” She believes that I have ADHD as well as her, and often uses that as a cudgel in our arguments. (i.e., “Until you acknowledge your condition, we have nothing to talk about.”)
• Me Time. During the first few years of our relationship, I worked at home full-time. Now I have a new job and that means being away from her for most of the day. She has not been adjusting well. We make time every night and have declared weekends (particularly Sundays) “our time,” but she can’t stand being away from me for any length of time at all. This makes errands difficult, since we always have to go together, and I need at least a little time to myself, and I’m having a very hard time communicating that to her.
• Guilt. She has no viable means of support and is separated from an actively abusive parent. Even if I weren’t dedicated to the relationship, if I leave her she will be forced to move back in with her parents… and that may literally kill her.
Do people have any thoughts or advice on these issues? I’m devoted to this woman and want to build a life with her, but these issues persist and I’m afraid they will doom us. She resists my efforts to coax her into therapy and refuses to take medication. My friends and family have all suggested that I leave her at one point or another. The only confidant who truly understands her is one of her relations… who I’ve recently learned has been telling her about our conversations after promising to remain confidential. I feel alone and isolated in this, and could use some concrete advice on the best ways to approach these various issues. Any helpful advice out there?