How can you tell if someone with ADHD loves you?

If someone doesn't show interest in you, support or encourage you, listen to you, or do thoughtful things for you, how can you tell if they love you, or if they're just making do with you or using you? 

Even if they did love you...

Some people just know.  A look, a touch, or something only they can see gives it away.  But the real questions, even if this person does love you and is just really terrible at showing it, is it enough?  Can you go your whole life without those things and just live on love?  I'm not saying it will never get better.  There are plenty of success stories on here of people who have worked hard to give each other the kind of relationships they deserve.  But special emphasis should be put on the words "worked hard".  It doesn't come easy.  Is this a person you're willing to go through a life long struggle for?  Cause that's what it is.  And even more importantly, are they willing to do it for you?  Seems to me a lot of these ADHD guys/gals need a drastic wake up call before they fully understand the gravity of the situation.  Give them one. Tell them if they aren't willing to try as hard for you as you do for them, then you can't stay.  Expect the classic ADHD defensiveness for a minute.  Don't let it discourage you, you can work on it later.  But once that blows over, if they aren't willing to put forth the effort,then you have your answer.

I told him how I'm feeling.

I told him how I was feeling and he was shocked I felt that way.  He's being defensive and I don't think he believes he's done any of the things that I talked to him about.  Most discouraging of all, he's showing very little interest.  How long does it take for this stage to blow over?  If it ever does.

MagicSandwich's picture

Behavior is everything

If someone doesn't show interest in you, listen to you or do thoughtful things for you - that behavior is the answer to your question. ADHD or not, loving people show loving behavior.  Don't bother deconstructing it beyond what your boundaries can tolerate. Is this person being a jerkwad? Are you unhappy? Kick 'em to the curb.

Pbartender's picture

MagicSandwich... Lily is

MagicSandwich...

Lily is describing some of the basic symptoms of ADHD...  Especially for someone who is undiagnosed and unaware of the condition.  I can speak from years of painful experience as an undiagnosed ADHD husband, that the ADHDer might not realize that they're doing anything wrong, what they're doing wrong, or why it's not right.  They may truly love you with all their heart, but completely fail at demonstrating it, because they aren't picking up on those subtle social cues that should be informing them what their partner is feeling and why.

So, with that said...

Presuming that they know they have ADHD, if they truly and sincerely do their utmost best to make themselves better, so that you don't have to continuously deal with the worst ADHD has to offer.  If they have medication that helps them, and they take it faithfully.  If they inform themselves fully on how ADHD affects the relationship.  If they honestly assess their own behavior and take responsibility for their actions and mistakes, regardless of whether or not ADHD is the cause.  If they regularly visit an ADHD counselor or coach, so that they can learn new, different, more effective strategies more managing their ADHD.

If, because of all that, they begin to show interest in you, support and encourage you, listen to you, and do thoughtful things for you.  Then, you'll know.

 

Pb.

MagicSandwich's picture

It's about respect

Hello, 

I totally agree that the ADHD-er "may truly love you with all their heart, but completely fail at demonstrating it." But as I'm sure you know, medication adherence, awareness of the negative behaviors, taking responsibility and atoning for wrongs - all of that reparative work requires a sustained high level of interest on the part of the ADHD-er. And that interest is precisely what Lily is questioning in the first place. If asking somebody (ADHD or not) to lift their feet for the vacuum cleaner is asking too much, there isn't much hope that person has much else to offer. 

Pbartender's picture

Certainly...  But that

Certainly...  But that doesn't mean it can't be done.

In any ADHD person, if they are interested in a task, if that task is important to them, they will have that sustained high level interest.  If the happiness and respect of your loved one is not enough to generate that level of interest, then you are right...  They won't do all that reparative work and we both end up being correct.  The jerk apparently doesn't love you enough to take responsibility for himself and make himself a better person for the sake of you or the relationship.

But, of course, that's a general rule, isn't it?  Any relationship requires effort and maintenance...  And if someone isn't putting in the effort, the relationship won't last.

That's not to say it can't work with an ADHD relationship, but it can be a lot tougher.

 

Pb.

Well said PB! Here it is! The

Well said PB! Here it is! The encapsulated version (the whole gist) of this entire site.

In any ADHD person, if they are interested in a task, if that task is important to them, they will have that sustained high level interest.  If the happiness and respect of your loved one is not enough to generate that level of interest, then you are right...  They won't do all that reparative work and we both end up being correct.  The jerk apparently doesn't love you enough to take responsibility for himself and make himself a better person for the sake of you or the relationship. But, of course, that's a general rule, isn't it?  Any relationship requires effort and maintenance...  And if someone isn't putting in the effort, the relationship won't last.
That's not to say it can't work with an ADHD relationship, but it can be a lot tougher.

"Has your partner

"Has your partner ever treated you with love?" is the question that you need answer.

I know my hubby loves me. Beyond the fact that he tells me multiple times a day, he just tries (in his own way) to show me. He's affectionate. But we've gone through REALLY tough times. Times when he didn't see me or was flippant in his behavior with me. Times where our relationship was a mockery of how we used to be with each other.

But after eight months of counseling, I can say that we are moving in the right direction. We're not perfect and I still struggle to see other couples who appear to be impossibly happy, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.

I couldn't have asked the question better myself

This ADD message board is incredibly insightful. I probably would have given up my relationship a while ago if it weren't for this site. It's amazing to see how others are having the exact same issues. I previously attributed the issues in our relationship to lack of interest and love, etc and now see how so many go through the same thought process, feelings, hopelessness, frustration, and confusion. I started dating my boyfriend over a year ago and it has been tough. I could've easily asked the same question. If someone doesn't show interest in you, support or encourage you, listen to you, or do thoughtful things for you, how can you tell if they love you, or if they're just making do with you or using you? The responses are helpful, but you still question.

He got diagnosed a few years ago (we're in our late 30's) and told me that he had ADHD in the beginning of our relationship. I brushed it off because I've never met anyone with it, and hearing about kids on ritalin when I was growing up didn't seem like a beg deal. Okay, you're hyper. No biggie. But as time went on and we started having problems with communication a few months in, I decided to read up on ADD and was flabbergasted. He never told me all of this. Over the months I've read about it and just finished my first book on it. How do you feel for someone who doesn't let you in, who flip flops on their feelings for you, who doesn't do anything romantic, who barely tells you he loves you, who doesn't plan anything, who is so defensive if you ask questions and goes from a 1 to a 10 in anger, who doesn't show appreciation, who doesn't seem to care for your feelings.

He says he cares, and that allll of his girlfriends have complained about the same thing (feeling unloved, distant, detached). I asked him last month when reading about the effect on relationships about whether he has gone to couple counseling for it in the past and how it has affected his relationships. He said it messes his relationships up and has gone to counseling. I was surprised that he shared this.

So I wonder if he really loves me? Can ADHD people be out of touch with their feelings?