My partner has ADHD, OCD and mild Asperger's, diagnosed only 2 years ago. She's 40.
Over the 3.5 years we've been together, I have learned to set stronger boundaries, take better care of myself and identify co-dependency more clearly so as to stop my part of it.
She's getting treatment - therapy, medication, self-help through reading and forums. She puts a lot of effort into learning, though ADHD itself sometimes causes her to forget/deny management of her own symptoms.
We have a couples counsellor. I have self-help as well.
I'm not sure that staying is healthy for me. Or that in staying, how to do it so that I can feel better, if it's even possible at this point.
She tries her best, but to be honest, I don't know if the level of her awareness or management is enough for me. I find myself feeling frightened by her behaviors when she "relapses" (I don't know what other word to use at this point) into some destructive ADHD habit. And I feel like I'm going through chronic trauma over and over.
While things have improved (she'll do house chores, she now holds a steady job for the first time in her life, is less of an impulse spender, will pay rent and a little bit of the bills, remember to say loving things to me (as long as her phone alarms remind her to) and show appreciation for what I provide) I feel drained by her dependency on me for nearly everything else (financial strain is mostly mine, social, emotional and more…)
When I set my boundaries or ask that (quite reasonable) needs be met (such as asking her to provide some balance to the give and take in household or letting her know she can't buy something because there's actually no money for it), I often end up facing a tantrum or upset... and that's what's hard. I feel disappointed, grief and sadness. She pouts that she can't have her way, then forgets about it tomorrow, only to repeat the same behavior (and even same demand) again. It's less frequent, but it still repeats.
I also get hurt over and over every time she makes another irresponsible decision, that leads to some kind of sabotage or damage in our relationship. Despite her best efforts, ADHD takes over and she wants to be teenager instead of a partner.
She's been getting steady treatment for two years. That's not long considering she's been living with undiagnosed symptoms for nearly four decades. If this does get better, how much longer will it take until she acts more like an adult than a teenager? I realize it depends on severity of symptoms and management/treatment efforts… but surely there must be some research on results?
I'm too inside of this to know if I'm being intolerant, unreasonable and impatient, or if I've become too much of a caretaker and doormat by making this rollercoaster my norm.
We have good times and fun together. But I don't want to be in a teenage relationship. I want an adult partnership. I feel like I'm dating a really fun 16 year old who wants to hitch a ride in my car without pitching in for the gas. And if I kindly ask for it, she throws a fit. And then finally she will give me something to show some appreciation, but usually resentfully, then look back out the window as if nothing happened and tell me that there's something bright and shiny outside.