I'm new to this forum - my partner and I were never married. We both have liked each other for 5 years and finally started dating seriously about 6 months ago. I have anxiety and my partner has ADHD. The first 5 months he was hyper focused on the relationship - he quickly told me he loved me and always made time for me. Then about a month ago there was a sudden shift - we barely saw each other and it seemed like he had time for everything else but me. I didn't fully understand the symptoms of ADHD, and when he shifted his focus from our relationship to his other interests I felt left out and excluded. I became very sad, our communication broke down and by the time we finally talked about it he ended the relationship. I handled the situation poorly by withdrawing affection and decreasing communication. When we finally talked about it he told me that he loved me and thought I was amazing, but he thought we were a "good" fit not the "right" fit because "things should be easy for the first year of the relationship"... he kept focusing on how neither one of us should have to "change".
I want to rebuild our relationship, but am unsure of how to communicate with him. He has really rigid thinking ("if I"m not 100%, I'm 0% - I shouldn't be dating if I'm not 100%"). He was diagnosed with ADHD within the last year, and briefly saw a counselor - but he didn't' like the way medication made him feel and decided that he couldn't afford counseling services. So right now his ADHD is untreated and I don't think he realizes how his symptoms are affecting his relationships. How can I approach him in a way that makes him feel heard and understood while still addressing how his ADHD symptoms (and my anxiety symptoms) impacted our relationship? I'm concerned he thinks communicating differently means that we are "changing" for each other (something he views very negatively).
Has anyone else had a similar situation? Or had to address this type of "all-or-nothing" thinking/refusal to "change" with your partner?
Submitted by c ur self on
Welcome....Your story is common.....The hyper focus, then the abandonment after the new wears off....Read hear a while and you will see.....Also his attitude that he shouldn't have to change is very common also....
If he feels that away like many do, you should accept it are your anxiety will only increase.....There are many many people who's live aren't conducive to long term relationships....There is just no ability to focus (or even accept for many) on the responsibilities of what a healthy attachment entails....
I think you should read here a while, and consider what you are pursuing??
I agree with what c ur self.
Submitted by AdeleS6845 on
"things should be easy for the first year of the relationship" Not necessarily. I've been with my fiance (ADHD) for over 4 years, and the first year, although exciting because of his hyperfocus on me, was not easy, due to differing communication styles, and his tendency to "overshare" about past relationships. In fact, there was one disagreement that almost broke us up. He completely misunderstood the point I was trying to make....but we were able to resolve it.
That said, you need to do as "c" suggested and read the posts on this site. Think about this being your life for the next 10, 20, 30 years....
***I'd like to add that both partners should be able to be who they are in a relationship. In that respect, I agree that you should not have to change who you are to please someone else. "Changing" is not a bad thing with respects to behaviors. For instance, if your partner has explosive anger and flies into a rage at the drop of a hat, CHANGE in their behavior is needed in order for the relationship to continue in a healthy way.
'It' never stops
Submitted by Will It Get Better on
You've had a 'wake up call.' The dynamic you described never ends. If he refuses to acknowledge the effects his ADHD symptoms have on you, you are left in a very hard place. You may love him but ADHD can be like an advancing glacier; your soul gets ground into rubble despite good intentions.
Submitted by Aletta on
It sounds a lot like he hasn't come to terms with his ADHD yet. Why did he get diagnosed in the first place? Did he seek help for "unrelated" reasons or did someone urge him to get professional help?
I found out about my own ADHD because my son got diagnosed and when i started to gather informations on how to optimally support him, i started to realize that so many of the informations were basically describing me or my life. It was actually a HUGE relief, because prior to this i was beating myself up for my shortcomings on a hourly basis. I thought i must be a special kind of idiot or just too lazy to not try even harder. Despite trying my hardest every day.
i'm telling you all this because i think the way you learn about your own ADHD has a big impact on how you see it. One book that i have read that was very helpful in me realizing the profound impact it has had on my life since i was born was "you mean i'm not crazy, stupid or lazy". Everyone is different, but maybe it might help him realize that this is nothing to just ignore if he ever wants to be able to lead a sane and healthy life and have a functional relationship... i'm trying to think of way you could "coax" him into reading the book, but it's hard since i don't know him. Maybe you can think of a clever way. He should not feel pressured to read it in any way. So that's a bit tricky...
I think it's no use for you to try and find ways to get to him as long as he's not aware of how detrimental his ADHD is to his everyday life. I got a book on my to read list about how to reach children with ADHD. Maybe i'll find something in there that might be of use for you. In that case, i'll come back and post about it. But it might take a while. My list is pretty long :D
In the mean time, i wish you best of luck! You're a saint for doing what you do... if only he could realize how desperately he needs someone with your insight in his life.
Submitted by c ur self on
I hope you can find moments from time to time to share your experience's with your own work, in recognizing and over coming your own tendencies of mind....It is so refreshing when we encounter add/adhd minded people who are aware, and thriving.....So many of us have spouses we love, but, are very limited in the ability to communicate with because of denial.....
Submitted by kalakchen101 on
I will add my point of view on the 0%-100% and unsure dating argument. I obviously can't be sure that your boyfriend had the same process in his brain, I will share what happened to me in past relationship and disastrous marriage. In my strange ADHD brain, as time and time said at the beginning it's all rosy, exciting a lot of dreams, love. After a period of time if not in control and communication is not open, the excitement fade away, I feel bored and the vicious cycle starts, I try to find some excitement outside the relationship, not talking about cheating, can be chatting on forums, porn, self-absorbed in a new project. I also have a bad look on the relationship and persuade myself that my partner is incompatible with me, this leads to detachment, distantiation, loss of feeling and consideration for my partner, the relationship falls apart. When the partner tries to reconnect my emotions and feelings are almost gone, this where you can get "the unsure dating". One suggestion to get your boyfriend engaged in communication again would be to talk about exciting things you could do together, project, trips, bedroom stuff, talking about pitfalls and how bad you felt because of his behavior will probably bore him to death and reinforce his feeling to stay away, doesn't mean they shouldn't be addressed though. I hope that will help you. Courage and keep shining.
The thing is...
Submitted by AdeleS6845 on
Life can't always be exciting. Most days, its just day to day stuff. This is true for everyone.
My fiance's thrill seeking behavior in the past left him with some good stories, but little else. Certain behaviors/environments are not conducive to a healthy committed relationship. I am 54, my fiance is 52. He physically cannot do certain things, so I can keep up with him most of the time. No more repelling off mountains, cliff diving, cocaine snorting, DJ-ing at a strip club, etc.
I'd like to think that I don't have to try to keep things interesting for him, I can do that by being me, being like no other woman he has known--his words. We take time to be together, enjoy shared activities, and also value our alone time. Also, communication is a two way street. Things can get boring for the wife/girlfriend, too. Guy gets comfortable, skips brushing his teeth, looks messy/scruffy often....it happens. I like to be pursued, to feel valued and cherished.