We are in 2,5 years long relationship and we've been living together for a year. I've suspected for a few months now, that my partner might have ADHD. I've read so many different articles and the way he behaves and how he makes me feel is very similar to described behaviours. A few months ago I did a little "self-diagnosed-ADHD- quiz" while he was playing his video games, I was asking him different questions and all his answers proved that he might have it. He got furious that I am trying to diagnose him. I assume he would feel very ashamed to admit it if I was right. I love him very much and I want to do everything I can to help us be together and to be happy. I feel very lonely, unseen and exhausted as I do all the home tasks by myself. It really feels like a parent-child relationship. We argued a couple of days ago and he left me to spend some time with his family. I would like to have an honest conversation with him when he returns. I just don't know how I can talk to him about it so he doesn't get furious or say hurtful things. There is a chance I might be totally wrong, but I am afraid I am not. I feel that if he at least listened to me and read the same articles, maybe he would realise that we can change it. He blames me for being sad and depressed and annoying and he just leaves me on my own. And every time I try to confront him, he just gets angry and either breaks up or just leave me in the room. I just want us to be the way we were at the start. How would you speak to your partner about it?
I suspect my partner has ADHD, how to speak to him about it?
Submitted by nadia313 on 04/03/2021.
Sorry to say
Submitted by adhd32 on
You cannot fix this. You can try and have a grownup discussion. Even with examples to support your suspicion of ADHD he will deny and justify his behavior. I have no advice other than accepting this life for as long as you decide you can stand it. He will most likely not be open to discussion or change. The biggest thing you must accept, if you stay, is that what you had in the beginning was hyperfocus and that phase is done and gone. What you see in your partner now IS who he is, not the hyperfocus guy. The other guy is not coming back unless HE accepts his probable condition and works on himself. You may have an occasional great day together or a vacation where he is relaxed and has no distractions and the old feelings come back but this will be short lived and he will revert to his negative default setting once life's stresses return.
You have invested less than 3 years. My suggestion is to not entangle yourself any deeper in the relationship. Don't do joint banking, property buying, don't get married if you aren't already and DO NOT have kids. Set a time limit and tell him if you don't see him taking control of his mental health you are leaving. You can help him get started with Dr referrals but let him manage appointments etc. You will get a sense of his commitment within a month or two when his focus wears off. I'm sorry this isn't better news with a list of items you could check off. His commitment to working on himself will tell you what your relationship means to him. Are you his treasure or just someone who mops the floors and cleans the bathroom?
Oops, this is a response to the original post.
Submitted by davinci89 on
I thought what you wrote was something that had come directly from my own life, almost to the letter. The responses are helpful when considering the long-term...30 years of it, whew, and I think I'm exhausted now... The challenge is the love, right? You see someone you feel so emotionally attached to, and this problem, that at its core, is not something they asked for. And, insight isn't one of their strong points, neither is talking about it at any depth, and then there is the whole rejection sensitivity which compounds it, and they will forget you had the conversation a few days down the road. There are no easy answers. My partner forgot my birthday the other day, it was disappointing, but I chose to let it go. He reacted by being embarrassed and humiliated and now has taken a road of saying he has to sort things out (because he doesn't know how to wipe the egg off his face). I used it as an opportunity to talk about how we could better manage his distractions and yet somehow it seems to be leading towards he always does what I want...WTH?! He's the one who forgot my birthday, and now I pay? My point is, sometimes you never know what angle they will use, you can try all the wisdom shared out there, but if he doesn't engage, it will only keep pushing you (and me) away. We will be hurt, but they will keep doing life the way they do it. Maybe call the ADHD hotline, it has helped me in the past. My approach is; if and when I leave, I need to know that "I" personally did my best to help him/us and then even though it will be sad and lonely without him, I gave it my best effort and can move on without a great deal of wondering what happened or how I could have changed it.
If you just want some immediate tools that have helped me, it's been to realize that when the conversations start to go sideways, pull yourself back (as hard as it may be) and realize it may just be the ADHD, and then to also ask yourself "where are your emotions at that moment, and are they ones you want to prolong?"
Also, my partner can go to the negative quickly when he is overwhelmed, so I turn it on its head with an inverse. Ex: He was complaining about the socializing and work commitments that he had last week (which were a lot for anyone) but I said things like, "just think how nice it will be to see so-n-so, you haven't had time to catch up with him in a couple years, and the meeting place, how cool is it to back after so long and see what has changed, and be able to go out and eat at places you haven't been able to in so long". Part of me wants to puke when I hear myself being such a over rah-rah cheerleader, but it works!
I also pay close attention to the time of day if I need to talk about anything important and set it up so there are no other distractions (tv, phone) and even then, no more than a 5 minute conversation, but to the point and then follow up with it the next day.
I hope this will be helpful to you, and please know you are not an island. This stuff is hard!
Mostly, find a way to focus on you, your strengths and how you will prosper and hopefully he will be there to complement it.
It never gets better
Submitted by tiredofbeinghis... on
I have spent 30 years thinking, "if this happens, it will get better", "if that happens, it will get better". It never gets better. Trust me. I have been telling my spouse how lonely I am locked in the house with him for months while in COVID hell. I was in tears yesterday because I miss my kids and grandkids so much and he just stared at me and then started playing with his phone. Despite that, I tried to make it a nice day. I spent hours cooking an amazing Easter dinner. He sat in his man-cave watching TV and playing games on his phone the entire time. When I 'delivered' appetizers to him in front of the TV, he barely acknowledged me. The same thing happened on Thanksgiving and Christmas and we had huge fights on both of those holidays. It's not like he doesn't know this pushes my buttons. When I finally got upset and told him his behavior was hurtful and was making a difficult day even harder, he still didn't get it and I ended up in tears again. I ate alone and he went to Burger King. It doesn't matter how much you love him or how many good qualities he may have. As long as he refuses to take responsibility for his ADHD and how it impacts others, it is hopeless.
You are not alone
Submitted by 1Melody1 on
Your post really resonated with me, tired. I did so much "if this-ing." I'm so sorry you miss your kids and grandkids. I'm so sorry you worked so hard to make things nice without acknowledgement or help. I know how it feels to pour everything in even when there's nothing left to give.
To the OP, adhd32 and tired are right. I spent a long time trying to gently break through to my husband to no avail. There was no approach gentle enough not to elicit that defensive response. When I decided I had nothing to lose, I went in hard... and even then... he still doesn't see his adhd or his impact on others. If I could do it over, I'd go in hard at the start. I spent years hoping and trying and being patient and gentle. The adhd person has to see the issues and actually want to improve things. Otherwise nothing will change.