Like so many others, I’ve been a long time reader of this site and have greatly benefited from people sharing their stories. Finally, I’ve decided to get over the nerves of posting and ask for some advice about coping with my ex-ADHDer.
My backstory- Three weeks ago I ended a five year relationship with my ADHD girlfriend (diagnosed about 2 years ago). She is one of those who believes taking medication (and not getting counseling) is an effective way to deal with her condition. Just about every year to year and a half, she wants to completely start her life over: new career, new job (old job is boring), new friends, and new city. Often these impulses came with wanting to get rid of me as well. She’s broken up with me so many times I’ve honestly lost count. Both of her parents have ADHD and are untreated. They fund/enable her lifestyle or as her mom likes to call it “her amazing adventures”. They are completely unaware just how miserable their daughter is deep down as she struggles with feeling like a constant failure.
Like so many of your spouses and loved ones, my EX can be an amazingly kind person. She’s intelligent, talented, and gorgeous. However, her impulsiveness and lack of control over her anger can led her to do some very hurtful things; often to the people she cares about the most. The final straw for me came about after the recent and rather traumatic death of my father. I lost my father (he was only 61) to a firework accident this past Fourth of July. While I was home helping to make funeral arrangements, my EX decided it would be a good idea to apply for culinary school in New York six months earlier than we had planned. I’m working on my PhD in Florida, where we lived together. This is her third career change and third college degree attempt (She’s turning 29). She also thought it would be a great time to go take that vacation in Europe she’s always wanted to go on. So basically a month or so after my dad died, she left for Europe and then immediately moved to New York. I didn’t ask her to not attend school early, but I begged her to not go to Europe for three weeks. She said she knew it was the wrong thing to do, but she was going to do it anyway. She left me a lease to take care of, her dog, and all alone to deal with my grief. My family lives in Washington state. (FYI yes, I’m in counseling).
Still I supported her. Her dream is to be a chef, and I believe she’ll be an amazing one. However, while in New York. She never called, even during Sandy. She was one of the few in Brooklyn who never lost power or cell service, but I didn’t know that because she wouldn’t answer my calls. Checking up to see if she was ok during Sandy was “too smothering” apparently.
Eventually I got tired of all the back and forth and the lack of communication. Two weeks out of the month I was the love of her life. She wanted to get married, have kids. Now it’s I love you, you’re the only person I trust, but I’m not “in love” with you. I told her I wanted more than that. She’s stuck in this constant cycle of self-destruction and I felt like I was enabling her by always catching her when she fell apart. I know she’s going to get depressed soon and reach out to me (this has happened many times in the past). Before, I tried to encourage her to learn about her ADHD. Even read Driven to Distraction together and bought Melissa’s book as well ( I was the only one who read it). I went to counseling with her (she stopped going right before my dad’s death).
I know it is coming. What’s the best way to deal with it without enabling her? I know that I can’t do it for her (made that mistake already). I’m not planning or anticipating taking her back despite the fact that I do love and miss her. I know this will just happen all over again. Should I tell her about the patterns of behavior I’ve observed and leave it at that? Should I just say, I’m sorry, but you need to figure this out on your own? Any thoughts? At this point I’m so heartbroken and full of conflicting emotion that I don’t know what is best. Thanks everyone.