Background: we're both 55, no kids, known each other since high school (platonic back then); been together 4+ years, ages 50-55. He asked me to marry him in 2010, though he still flirted seriously with other women. (Disrepsectful to me. This kept up, but at a decreasing rate, for two years. He finally quit that in 2012, when I enforced my boundaries in a LOT of areas.)
He has SO many ADHD symptoms, as well as something akin to adult ODD, but refuses to be diagnosed. He has an addictive past, and (before I re-met him) went through both court-ordered anger management classes, and a residential addiction program. He's not sober now, some light drinking (1 -2 beers when out - which is nearly every night - he's a semi-pro musician, with a day job as well.) Quit smoking at my ultimatum in 2012. I refuse to care for someone later, who kept right on smoking at his age!
We both do professional creative work, me in film and video, him as a musician, and we also both work non-creative day jobs as needed. (I made him get day work when his music just wasn't paying his share of the bills. He put up a fight, but now he's glad he has his day work as a handyman. one of his ADHD symptoms/stims is workaholism.)
So, after letting my fiance' live with me for 4 years (and helped turn his life around from a total mess, legally, financially, health, etc - which he knows and appreciates) while he cleaned up a divorce from an old Vegas/green card marriage ... on Sept 1st he suddenly said "I never wanted to get married."
So I said, "then you need to move out by Oct 1st, because I did not sign up for a live-in boyfriend." He called my bluff, but found out on Oct 1st that I was perfectly serious. I was no longer afraid of his threats to leave me, and I scheduled clearing out our storage unit and moving him out. He says/jokes that I kicked him out, but then admits he knows "it didn't just come out of nowhere." Basically, I wanted to make sure I wasn't just being conveniently used for my cool apartment and ersatz "parenting" (which I was trying to avoid doing).
Oct 20th, and he's still here. He's cleared most of his things out of storage, found a place to share with a newly, badly-divorced friend, and paying me pro-rated rent. Two weeks ago, when I said I felt like we were "being torn apart," he tearfully said he "didn't want to lose me," "would still be my life partner," and "was so sorry for all of this." I know he doesn't want to leave, but a part of him also thinks this will be good (?) He thinks we'll be the same, just living separately.
What I want is CHANGE. I know he loves me, despite his ADHD, fear of intimacy, drama, etc. I know I can't change him, but I'm willing to take the risk, and step back, let him truly live on his own again, Untreated ADHD/ODD style. ;) I'm curious as to whether and how this can improve, if at all.
We're getting along great now, but I suspect it's some form of honeymooning, plus his manipulative skills are well-honed: Before me, I learned that he had quite a string of very needy , very willing enablers who gave him jobs, shelter, cars, clothes, money, and of course sex - then of course he'd leave them, and bounce on to something new. I made him pay me rent and expenses, do his share of the chores, and help work on my cabin in the desert.
His M.O. is that: he'll only just do "up to" what is expected / fair/ the least he needs to do. So I'm practicing asking for what I want, and enforcing my boundaries, which I see I've been lax at from the beginning, esp regarding his general sarcastic disrespect.
I accept that he'll always be ADHD/possibleODD, plus his other issues (fear of intimacy / very neglected childhood). It's tricky, but I think to thrive and not just survive in this, I need to have excellent non-ADHD spouse skills, as well as enforce my boundaries in an organic way.
I work in film & video, and do day jobs as needed. I have lots of creative interests, but I tend to like my own company a lot - I don't just socialize for the sake of socializing... I'm picky ;) I do plan on adding Underearners Anonymous meetings, possibly CODA, and ADHD spouse meet-up, and dance classes. I alredy swim, bike, walk, write, video edit, sew, and go to farmers markets. Also re-habbing a cabin in the desert, which my ex-fiance ' still helps me with.
Does any of this sound familiar? Open to all feedback, both ADHD and non-ADHD ... especially: how to undo / re-tool / disenage from the "parent/ child" dynamic, as well as avoiding "flooding" him - and rebuilding MY own life, identity, interests!
Tonight may be his first night sleeping over at his divorced friend's place. I know it will be hard for me, but I really feel he was just "too comfortable" here at my place, with no reason to change.
PS - his divorce will soon be final - he finally hired a paralegal to wrap it up - at my insistence 4 months ago.
Cheers, and Thanks