Hurt by my ADD partners actions

I am not sure if I am angry anymore.  I am so exhausted from this relationship that I do not even have the capability of being angry anymore.

I am living with a man that I am totally in love with - we have been together for over 2 years, and lived together for almost 1 year.  We both have great jobs and many hobbies.  He has suffered from ADD his whole life, but only in the last year or so has he been interested in looking for a 'solution'.  Our relationship has been full of hardships, fights, and disagreements on everything from sex to commitment, but only in the last few weeks have we both agreed that my partners ADD has been a catalyst for most of the issues we have had.  


He has started taking Adderall which seems to help his focus but he also seems to think that the medication will solve his problems on its own.

Recently - we have had a breakdown.  I have been recently struggling with an alcoholic parent (who was sober for 25 years - before I was born) so my world has been flipped upside down. It seems impossible for him to support me because he cannot 'think' or imagine how I feel, he does not have the attention to listen to how I feel, and I think he has so many of his own thoughts and feelings that he does not necessarily care how I feel.  I also know that his mindset is if he cant do anything to fix a problem, then he wont do anything at all.

I have told him that there is nothing to fix, nothing to solve, just to support me.  Somehow - a month into my mess he decided that I have been using him as an 'emotional punching bag'.  All I did was share my feelings with my best friend...

This brought us into an awful low - and we have slowly started to rebuild it... I have begun reading up on ADD and remembering why he does and says the things he does. He has begin taking medication.   Everything seemed like it was on the right track, untill.................He told me he wanted (I think he said NEEDED) a $200 BB Gun......   I thought he was an adult?   He would not let it go for days, just like any child that wants a toy.  I told him to go get it if he needed it so bad, and that it is great to do something nice for yourself every once in a while, but it would be really nice if he thought about how buying it would make me feel, and think of a way to make me feel good about it.  We had a conversation about being selfish and selfless and how they go hand in hand in a relationship

I think we all know what happened - he bought it - he loves it - he played with it all weekend.   My feelings never crossed his mind.  

And you can probably guess what was next - I told him that It hurt my feelings by buying it and not going out of his way to do anything for me.  This turned into WWIII and ended up with him saying he was going to return it....   (because that would make me feel better right! haha)

I am lost and confused.  I need a partner not a child, and I deserve to feel loved.   There is so much letting things go, forgiving, looking past, ignoring, and giving breaks when you are with someone like this. 

I dont think I even have a question.... just why?  why is this so hard?

Inequity is hard

I am very sorry you are going through so much.  It is very hard to realize that the person you love, and who loves you, just doesn't have the capacity to be the same type of friend you are to him for you. While I am not in the lack empathy camp I do see how my concerns and worries are not as stimulating to him as they are to me and he can't fake it. I'm on pins and needles waiting to hear if my little sister has breast cancer but he's forgotten it's an issue. And I have to be ok with that. I can't expect him to be someone he isn't.

Re the BB gun, this will come up time and again. Here I have to caution that you did say he could buy it, even if you'd rather he didn't, then made it an issue when he did go buy it. That's not a good response. It would be nice if he prioritized your concerns but they aren't going to be as stimulating to him as his wants, so his needs will always win in times of ambiguity. If the BB gun is a big deal, tell him so and why, and let him know that you will be disappointed if he makes the purchase. There's a chance that your disappointment might be stimulating enough, tho realistically it's not likely. 

This is hard because we keep hoping for neuro-typical responses from neuro-atypical brains. Best wishes in dealing with your heaping plate. 

Thank you for your response!

Thank you for your concern.

It seems like you are in a similar situation.  How long did it take for you to 'be ok' with that??  What did it take for you to accept him the way he is? 

I would love to be able to do that but the word 'settling' keeps coming to mind.  Is that how you feel or is there a better way to view it? I have never been someone to 'settle' or be okay with less than deserved.

Yes - I told him to buy it - because I am not his parent, I am his friend, and the "Yes, Buy it" came with a big red WARNING sign - and he was fully aware.  You can be selfish, as long as you can be selfless also.   

I wish I was stimulating enough :-/



Hello Katie. My husband was diagnosed 10 years ago, long after we married. Turns out fun loving, spontaneous, hilarious, quick witted and energetic can also be called ADHD.  Who knew?  Because we were already married my default was how do we fix it, not am I settling? Fortunately I can get emotional support from good friends. They don't really understand what ADHD really means to a relationship, or the person who has it, but they get the other life issues. It's important to have a good support network. The books on relationships with adhd really helped me understand that it's fruitless to fight reality, and wish for "normal." Unfortunately I only read them last summer.  And it is still an effort to remember to respond not react, that the symptoms are not personal.  

The question of settling for what I have is not fully answered yet.  I ask myself from time to time if I want more? If I want more enough to fight inertia and make a change. I recognize that I'm a catch and could do better. If I want another relationship at all. So far the answer is that when the man I married is in control of his symptoms then it isn't settling. He's a great guy at the core.  I don't need perfect, perfect doesn't exist after all. But I do need functional. And he's working on getting back to that. If he wasn't willing to address his issues we would have been done long ago.  I was also willing to change my behavior as appropriate. Less criticizing, more understanding, more clarity in my needs.  Recognized finally that I can't make him change, he needs to find his own path. We still have a way to go, but I'm more hopeful and less angry.

i wish I was stimulating enough too. But I decided that I am just as stimulating as I ever was, it's just the same awesome so it's lost it's impact. That is hard for the ego to hear, but then the mantra, it's not personal, becomes an oft repeated refrain.


I understand your concerns about your sister.  My sister had lymphoma 10 years ago and we almost lost her, I had breast cancer 5 years ago, and I can tell you both incidents were very defining moments.  I hope everything works out for her.  I am always happy to answer any questions about breast cancer.

I am very curious how you came to terms with his reactions.  I just feel more hurt at every instance.  I got married for better or worse, in sickness and health, etc.  But I took those vows WITH another person.  I am struggling right now not to throw it all away.  Since Christmas day I have lost my father and an aunt that was like my second mother.  Instead of grieving I have been attending my adhd spouse's drama fests over nothing.



Thank you

Cancer is such a scary thing. There is a lengthy family history so I'm well versed, but I do appreciate your offer to help. I am also very happy you and your sister are still with us. I am happy to say my sister does not have cancer.  She's only 33 and has had so many tough breaks I could not bear the idea of such a huge one crashing in now. So far so good.

i am sorry for your recent losses. And even sorrier that your spouse has not been a support for you. That is sometimes the most saddening part. You just want to say, hey look at me, I'm suffering too! But then he'd just try to justify how his suffering is worse than yours. Of course it is, to him.  My dh just does not get how different people have different responses to the same inputs, but that doesn't mean the other persons aren't every bit as valid. At least to them. I do feel sorry for myself from time to time.  But I do have a good support network. That is very important. They don't really get the pervasiveness of the ADHD, but they are still there to listen. 

Do what you can to take care of yourself.  I found a counselor helpful.  They are there for you and you only. A beautiful thing.

You're Welcome

I am so glad to hear the awesome news about your sister.  Thanks for your kind words.  I am looking for a therapist this morning.  I need to get my sanity back.  Thanks again, it feels better when you know there are people out there that get it.