HONEST opinions sought. Would you do it all again? Or would you have done it differently? Scared and conflicted.

Apologies in advance for the long post - this is the first time I've ever gotten any of this out. I have read through SO many posts on this board, and it is amazing how much I can relate to so many of you. Whilst I have derived comfort from this, it also scares the absolute hell out of me.

I have been with my boyfriend for four years now (lived together for three), we are both in our early-mid twenties. He has just been diagnosed with severe ADHD - we are at the beginning of the process at the moment, so I am unsure as to what sub-type etc. at this stage.

I love my partner dearly, and he is such a caring, loving and friendly person - everyone that meets him adores him, he's just that type. However, I always knew there was something up. We have had horrible, vicious fights over what we can now identify as his ADHD symptoms. I have been hurt so deeply and so frequently by what I perceived as selfish, inconsiderate behaviour. I understand that this is a common theme amongst people in my situation. This has ALWAYS killed my boyfriend. His guilt is literally out of control; it's killing him. He hates hurting me, and he hates not being able to understand or control his thoughts/actions. Anyway, enough of that - I'm sure you're all too familiar with this sort of stuff, so I'll spare you the details.

Well, I don't even know what to say next. I mean, there is all so much. I love him more than anything, but I just don't know if I'm prepared to take this on for life. I could not imagine life without him. The last three years have been the hardest I've ever experienced. I have dealt with some personal tragedies, and managing the ADHD and lack of support (clearly unintentional) has been incredibly trying to say the least. I felt (naively) that once treatment and counseling/coaching and whatever else is on track, that everything would be okay. I'm scared. I want so much out of life, out of my future. Marriage and success is hard as it is, and throwing ADHD into the mix just compounds it all. I genuinely hope I do not offend anyone with this, but reading all of your posts terrified me. I do not want to be here in 20 years on a forum, frustrated, exhausted, married with children and venting about the negative impact that ADHD has had on my life. I do not want to have children with ADHD either.

But I love him dearly. I could not possibly leave him. I am terrified, but so glad I found this place. I really need the support. I have lost so much of myself over the last ~ three years. I do not like the person I have become. I look back at my darkest hours, and it is horrifying. I had no idea how depressed I was at the time. I have no idea how I am now...I can't remember what I used to be like, I just know that it was different. I have always been an overachiever and was super-ambitious. Now, I am simply surviving. This is not solely attributed to the issues that the ADHD has bought about (not that a state of depression is ever solely caused by one thing) - as mentioned earlier, some terrible things that were outside of anyone's control have happened in recent years also.

I am on top of things as much as I can be. I am proactive in seeking treatment for both myself (I am about to start individual counseling) and encouraging my partner to do the same. He is seeing a very reputable ADHD specialist, so I am confident what that much at least. My partner is 100% committed to his treatment and managing his symptoms. He has started taking an SSRI, and the improvement has been fantastic - so at least some relief has been afforded.

I am scared that I have become codependent. I completely neglect myself in too many ways. I focus on the people around me who are struggling...and they are struggling badly. I don't know what to do...I'm frightened. Basically what I am asking is, would you do it all again? Would you sign up for this? Should I bail out now, no matter how much it would hurt? Are things this painful after treatment? Now, I know this is highly dependent upon the individual, the relationship etc. So I suppose I don't know why I am asking...I just needed to get a bit of it out I guess. I'm just tired...things have been too hard for too long, and I never thought things would be like this.

Sorry for unloading like this, it's the first time I've ever spoken about any of this at all. Not the greatest first thread - I promise my next one will aim to generate intelligent discussion as opposed to focusing entirely on my problems.

Thank-you in advance to anyone that managed to read all of that.


If I had known at the time I

If I had known at the time I was hot and heavy to get married that the man who has been my husband for almost 28 years would leave me in the lurch countless times, would I still have gotten married?  I hope not.  It has been a difficult marriage, especially the past seven or eight years.  And I was coming off an adolescence in which I was seriously ill but overcame that illness and was ready to have my life be just a smidgen easier.  Everything hasn't been bad; we have two delightful daughters who have brought me great joy.  But the marriage is bad and not getting better.  Think long and hard.  Don't think about what leaving will do to your boyfriend; think about what staying will do to you.

Wouldn't it be great to have

Wouldn't it be great to have a crystal ball.....  I was deeply in love with my H 18 years ago, could not have imagined being able to take another breath without him. I was 100% certain when I walked down the aisle that I was doing the right thing and we would be happy forever.  Ah the fairy tale....  Here I am 18 years later and I do not even like him anymore. Had I known it was going to be like this would I have been able to walk away from him, I don't know I was so crazy in love. Now though I wish I had. I have two children that I love dearly, they have given my great joy, however they both have ADHD which just makes everything so hard also. An ADHD spouse that I don't get much support from and two ADHD children are very taxing.  If your boyfriend does in fact take action to control the ADHD and you find he is the partner you can live with thats wonderful. There are many people who have ADHD and are caring, beautiful, wonderful, funny people. However if he does not, think good and hard if you can live with it. I saw warning signs when we were dating, i unfortunately ignored them...the clutter in the apartment, the angry outbursts, but he was so focused on me at the time it was wonderful, he was so loving, and did wonderful things for me....then it was gone. My H does not manage the ADD well, takes meds inconsistently, drinks too much, is a big pack rat, has a horrible short temper, pay barely any attention to his kids unless of course its to tell them what they are doing wrong. There are times when he is nice and i see a glimmer of the person I once knew, but the ratio of good times to bad times is very lopsided.   I know love is blind, but keep your eyes open, don't ingnore things you can't live with, see how well HE manages the ADHD, he needs to do it...I've learned I cannot make my husband do something he does not want to do, he does not think his ADHD is bad or has anything to do with our problems.  

I would not do it all over

I would not do it all over again. I would only be a friend. At least as a friend, he would still seek my friendship and stay hyper-focused on the friendship during the times we meet.

Believe 100% in my heart we would have been better off as friends. Because he would never have shown the darker side of ADHD to me if we were just friends who came and went in independently. I think we *might* have been good roommates too because we would have no expectations of the other and not responsible for the other's skeletons.

When married, you carry that burden and it's not just in public you have to put on a face but all the times you have to excuse yourselves to the rest of the family members why things are the way they are when you cancel plans or arrive late, or mortified by  the ADHD behaviors and want to know why. Or simply carry the burden that not one single person in your circles notices the ADHD, if that spouse is especially charismatic in public.

You can care about a person with ADHD and love them but love them, apart from them. I think it's the same with anyone suffering from any kind of disordered processing like bipolar, paranoia/jealousy, narcissism, whatever. If you're in it, you're going to be enmeshed 100% of the time which means you lose yourself in the process because there is rarely any, or little, reciprocal empathy from them.

I also feel 100% my ADHD dh would have been perfectly fine without me. He might feel alone from time to time but he would get much satisfaction just chatting with colleagues at work and coming home to quiet and uninterrupted television viewing. I would say the TV and film is his greatest constant.

No, I would not do it over

No, I would not do it over again. I too have lost myself completely in this relationship. As someone else already commented, we should have remained just good friends. We have 3 children together, 2 with ADHD. They are struggling terribly. One has been on every medication there is and only one helped but we can't afford it. The others made him violent and suicidal. The youngest suffers with anxiety and compulsive behavior (lying, stealing, hoarding) and she is so thin already that stimulant meds are out of the question so counseling has been the only thing we've had to turn to and it helps a little but not really enough. I fear for their futures and wonder if they will ever have a successful relationship. They have few friends and romantic relationships have been disastrous (they are 18 and 19). The 19 year old is highly intelligent and creative but can't control the impulsiveness and distraction enough to go to college and the younger has always picked less-than-desireable friendships because nice people reject her after she lies to them (or steals from them) a few times. My husband is in denial about his problem and I am constantly depressed. Our entire household has and still is very disfunctional even though there is no drug or alcohol problem to deal with. I am going back to school to get my bachelor's so I can get out of this mess and help my kids. I wish I'd done that years ago. We've been married 34 years and very little has changed. He has learned to control his reactiveness to a degree but it's not enough. He underfunctions at work and has barely kept up with the cost of living, he's scattered, childish and silly at times, he hoards, he's in his own world most of the time. Meanwhile my house is falling down around my ears and he barely notices. We have no savings and no retirement. I am exhausted all of the time and depressed. All I can say is DO NOT have kids if you stay with him. They have a 50% chance of having ADHD and even if you were to adopt, kids add an extra strain on ADHD people that they just can't handle. It just makes everything so much worse. Your kids will pay for it and so will you. Living with this much regret is not something I would wish on anyone.....and yes I was madly in love at one time too. We were having sex 3 to 4 times a day and couldn't stand being away from each other even for a day. I understand what passion a hyper-focused ADHD man is capable of but it isn't enough to base a marriage on. My husband is a dear, sweet, caring individual too but the symptoms from this disorder have overshadowed all of that to such a degree that it just hasn't been worth it. Think long and hard on what's been said here.

Thinking clearly

I could have written this word for word...even the married for 34 years.  You are able to see clearly and accept the situation.  It took me DECADES to take off the rose-colored glasses that permitted me to give more second chances than anyone deserves, to forgive again and again, to lower my standards, to support someone who was bringing us all down without realizing what the problem was, sitting in confusion without the words to admit my feelings even to myself.  I used to think it was that I was not loving enough or that I was being too demanding. I knew I couldn't change him or our life so I tried to think what I could change about ME.  But I wasn't the problem. I was closing my eyes to what I didn't want to see.  Keep thinking clearly as you are now.  

sorry to tell you

I am sorry to tell you, almond. There is no way on earth that I would have done this again. I just separated from my STBX after 12 years. The first two or three were pretty great--I was so in love, so happy to be married, couldn't imagine life without him. I wil say the redeeming thing that keeps me from complete despair is the two beautiful children we have, who now live with me. They are my world, and I am thankful every minute for them. That said, there were still warning bells when we got married. Every day was a struggle. 

I feel for my STBX still, at times. I know his lack of connection, and support, are unintentional, as is his impulsivity, his inability to maintain a schedule or pursuit, and his tendency to blurt out blunt, often hurtful things. And the anger management issues that arose soon after we wed. The hyper focus wore off about 2 months after our wedding. Ouch. I recently watched a comedy about a genius physicist, and it is pretty funny how smart he is and how socially and personally challenged he is. It is truly cute in a tv show, but in real life, when you have lived with it for years, and your DH won't take medication or see a doctor or acknowledge it, it is devastating. Having a cesarean, and a new baby, and having your spouse completely check out on you, is pretty harsh. Having him get defensive about it, when you try to talk to him about it, is the worst thing ever. Having things like this happen over and over again for a decade is soul-crushing. Once, I had a friend, right before I got married, look at me and say, "Don't kid yourself." I brushed it aside, but later realized that she was a pretty smart cookie, and that she had observed that I was about to make way too many sacrifices for someone who wasn't going to be on board with me. And the one day, when I woke up, and thought, "It just shouldn't have to be SO HARD! I am so utterly alone in this marriage and family." I will add that my STBX has other significant things going on besides ADHD--possibly untreated bipolar disorder and/or NPD. 

Good for you for seeking treatment. Melissa's book and some experiences in this board show that if both partners embrace the work, it can be done. I would caution you not to proceed with anything permanent until you and your SO have worked something out that you can live with.  If this happens for you, then great! I wish you so much luck and happiness. Educating yourself and staying in counseling are a perfect start. And don't listen to a cynic like me...Melissa's book is pretty inspiring and I hope nothing but the best for you:-)

I finally drew the line

I finally drew the line over which I will not cross for my ADHD boyfriend.  I went through what you are, can't imagine my life without him and all.  But eventually we came upon and issue I will not compromise on and I've drawn the line.  He either chooses me and my love or he chooses his hurtful behavior of being cozy with other women.  I won't put up with that crap one minute.  I am not some subservient woman, and especially not to a guy who can't make a living and has all the challenges of ADHD.  I had the same thought, do I do this for life?  I would maybe but for this one issue.  No man gets me if he publicly displays affection for other women at the expense of me sitting by starved for attention and affection.  He can take a flying one. 

You need to observe him in many scenarios without you compensating for him so you can see how he truly is.  This will give you a better picture of how life long term will be with him.  I've done that and some of what I have seen is so very sad.  I just want to wave a wand and change things for him. But when this touching other women came up, it cut to the core of my self worth and I won't stand for that.  No 'cheating' but letting women cozy up under his arm and rub his chest is out of line and I won't stand for it.

Take it one step at a time but be objective.  Try to get some time away from him so you can see how calm and normal your life can be outside of the whirlwind of the ADHD life.  It has really given me better perspective.  And I know, just getting that time and space away from him may be a challenge. It has been nearly impossible for me.  But you have to do it.  Keep at it until you have the clarity you need.

Best of luck.