I am dating someone with ADHD, and we are at a transition point in our relationship. He is wanting us to become more serious, and I am very fond of him, but we have already had quite a few problems in the 3 months we have been dating. To be fair, I have my own special set of issues and problems that he has been very respectful of. Also, I have been in therapy for years to work on my problems, and I feel like I'm a pretty healthy, well-rounded individual at this point. I am trying to learn more about what I can realistically expect out of him, what he is capable of working on, and what is going to be expected of me if I decide to commit to loving this man.
I've looked through quite a few books, and alot of the research seems to be older; many of the books on the subject are from the 90s. I have also heard alot of differing opinions about which behaviors are caused by valid differences in brain function, and which are caused by poorly-learned habits because they were a 'child with adhd'. I grew up with an adhd brother who did not learn many things he could have if he had been taught differently. Later in life, he has discovered that he is capable of many things he was told he couldn't do because he was adhd. He is remarkably bright.
My boyfriend is similar; very bright, and very attentive, but only to a few select things that he is either passionate about, or receiving instant gratification from. He was diagnosed young, and medicated as a child, but chooses not to take medication as an adult (a decision which I fully support). I told him I wanted to talk about his adhd, and he agreed, but the problem is, I think he is in the hyperfocused part of our courtship; I am afraid he is only agreeing to work on it because he wants me to love him, and once he knows he's 'got me', our relationship will deteriorate into the other ones I've read about on this website. I am trying to figure out how to explain to him my fear about this, and whether it is fair to expect him to work on these things if I'm not willing to reciprocate his love yet. I'm wondering if anyone has any positive experiences with their adhd SO actually being able to change? Or, areas where most people can unanimously agree, he will likely never be able to learn that skill. Here are my primary areas of interest:
-Inability to put himself into another person's shoes (the self-centeredness. He doesn't understand that my needs may not match his wants, or that the world doesn't run on his clock, or that I need quiet time). Has anyone had luck explaining the skill of putting oneself into another person's shoes to someone with adhd in a manner that has successfully resulted in behavior changes?
-Basic social skills (cutting people off, thinking before speaking, interacting appropriately with my family, having realistic expectations about my interactions with his family) Has anyone seen these things change?
-Taking the responsible path versus the easy path (he lets his mom do alot of things a grown man really should be doing for himself). Is there any way for someone with adhd to learn how to get fulfillment out of doing something just because they should, or do they always have to have an instant-gratification reward?
-Sensitivity (he does things, unintentionally, that are extremely insensitive--as a result, I cannot be around him too much if I am dealing with anything heavily emotional. I have a friend that is dying and he said something hurtful when I started crying. I was so shocked he said it, and I knew he didn't mean it, and he later corrected himself, but I'm scared to talk to him about things when I am hurting) Can someone with adhd learn to pick up on the feelings of other people and be sensitive to them?
-THE HYPERFOCUS!! This is my biggest concern. Is this true with all adhd lovers? Is he really going to lose interest as soon as I fall in love with him? I am needing to take things slow with him because of these issues, and he wants instant gratification. He wants me to love him and want to see him everyday, but he more obsesses than romances. I tried explaining to him the concept of romancing a woman, and I think it was completely news to him. And from what I have read about the hyperfocus stage of adhd courtship, he will lose interest in trying to do anything to make me feel good once he has me. I am deathly afraid I'm going to have my heart broken. I do not want to end up in a relationship with an adult child I have to care for who doesn't even find me interesting anymore.
He's going to expect some emotional reciprocation soon, and I don't know what to tell him. He is very impatient, and also may be hurt if I tell him I'm not there yet. But if these things are never going to change, I need to know. I am not the most responsible or organized person myself; I am still trying to get my own life together, I don't know if I am strong enough to put his together for him too. Someone help!!!! Ahhhhhh!!!