How should I react to his bad behavior?

My boyfriend and I were on the verge of ending our relationship when I found Melissa's book. We were both amazed and so hopeful when we first read it. It was truly a biography of our relationship.


I have had a very hard time controlling my anger and emotions. I understand that I need to control my anger, but honestly I am confused. I do not know the correct way to react to my boyfriend's bad behavior. He has improved on several things himself, but he still forgets/ignores/etc. These past 2 weeks, I have really tried to work on MY end, and you know what? I feel a little better and we both agree I’m improving as well. But I still feel get the feeling that he is “getting away with” the stuff he doesn’t have to do. So what should I do/say?


I have 2 examples:


1) We don’t live together, so we don’t really have “chores” we each take care of. I clean my house, he cleans his. However, the book suggests that the ADHD spouses “chooses” a chore that will symbolize the work they are putting into the relationship (I cannot recall exactly where in the book right now, but near the beginning). My boyfriend said since he can’t do a chore, then his “chore” will be to go to the gym every day (or at least 6-7 days a week). I thought it was a good idea too, since it is something that will benefit us both and I guess could be seen as a chore to some.


Now. He hasn’t gone to the gym in about 10-11 days. He has started a new semester in school, and I understand that he is busy and tired with homework and class. However, I also know for a fact that he spends several hours online a day browsing and talking on forums about his project car. I know a couple nights last week he stayed out until 2 am with friends. Last night I told him I was very disappointed and that I don’t want to see him until he can get himself back in control. This sucks, because I want to see him, he wants to see me, but I don’t know what else to do here!


2) There have been several occasions where he promised to do something and just didn’t. When I get really mad/upset at him for ruining a part of my day, he tells me I shouldn’t get so upset. “But we had plans for you to make dinner and you spent too long working on your car, so I had to make dinner myself!” If I shouldn’t get so upset, then how should react? is what I ask him. And he says he doesn’t know.
So that’s why I’m here. He doesn’t have an answer, and I’m going crazy. What do I do?????

I do believe it is true that you teach people how to treat you

Your boyfriend has ADD and therefore is going to be more forgetful than another male.  He has good qualities that another male will not have.....it is the 'cost of doing business' in the sense that we all have positives and negatives to bring into a relationship.  The point of dating is to determine how your positives and negatives line up together.

On the one hand, he certainly should do what he says he will do.  This is a necessary quality for many women and men too.  Men seem to have a deep seated need to be trusted and women need to know that she can count on her guy.

My husband is mild ADD and one thing I can tell you is that he was WAY more organized and focused on us and all things relationship during our dating period.  We knew each other for close to 5 years before we got married....4 before we started dating.......and he didn't start forgetting things and driving me crazy until several years into our marriage (he was diagnosed 6 years into our  marriage and started stressing me out in the 5th year because things we talked about just were not changing).  I think for my husband it was stress related and the way I dealt with the behavior his undiagnosed ADD was causing added to his stress which added to the behavior which added to my stress.......and we went around and around for close to a year.

Do you want to be married to a man with his level of forgetfulness?  Cause it is not likely to get a lot better than how it is when you are dating and he is still in a hyperfocus phase on the relationship.....the only thing that will change that is if he gets good and serious about dealing with his ADD but right now it sounds like he isn't yet there.

Only you can know if this is behavior you are willing to put up with.  It can improve but it will be SLOW improvement.....like 2 months-2 years improvement vs 2 weeks for long haul changes.  Though I am impressed you are seeing some improvements.  Any improvement he can sustain for more than a week deserves praise because it is hard work for him and because that will help keep him motivated to make the changes.

It sounds like his expectation is a bit high for the stage he is in......6-7 days doing anything new is not something many ADD ppl could jump right into, so I would probably modify that one.  He could be overwhelmed at the idea.  Why not start with 2 days and work up to more when he is solidly doing that?

As far as him taking too long doing one thing and messing up something else.....esp plans with you...that is another common one.  What I would do if I were only dating him is become unavailable after a certain time.  If he hasn't confirmed your plans by an hour ahead of time (which he certainly should have stopped with the car and been cleaning up by then) or let you know he will be delayed so that you can decide whether or not to wait, then you need to have a natural consequence.  For example, you will not have dinner with him at all.   You will go out with the girls or you will take a bubble bath and pamper yourself.  

Don't torture yourself by sitting around on pins and needles waiting for him. Go happily about your life and welcome him in when he is willing to do what it takes to be there.  Not planning dates, not confirming, not calling and letting you know of delays will mean that he isn't part of your evening any more. 

If that doesn't change anything about him, believe what he is showing you about how he is going to use his time, and decide accordingly if you can live with it.