I'm confused

I had a long talk with my ADD partner last night.

I told him that I feel our relationship lacks joy, laughter, fun, peace, intimacy, life, connection, communication... etc, etc.

I expressed to him that I am aware all of these things are as a result of poorly treated/managed ADD symptoms.

I also expressed to him that from what I read this is also why I'm losing my sh*t and reacting with so much anger and bitterness, sadness and resentment. 

This is the point where the conversation went downhill because my ADD partner asked me to specify which ADD symptoms are causing me to feel lonely, sad and like we don't have a "normal" relationship, because he just doesn't get it! He doesn't understand how all of our relationship abnormalities can be related to his ADD.

I told him that it is NOT HIM, that all of the negative feelings I'm feeling are a by-product of the ADD symptoms.

He kept saying "that's great.. but WHICH ADD SYMPTOMS?!?!?!?!?"...

I was flustered and on the spot and do not know too much about all of this because--to put it simply--up until not too long ago I thought his behaviours were due to him being a giant prick and to him not caring or loving me and also to him completely lacking any feeling, let alone empathy. So... needless to say, I stumbled on my words a bit, but managed to get out a few symptoms that I thought were the cause.

I said that I believe his lack of time management and procrastination could be the cause of him not spending time with me and him feeling overwhelmed by the littlest task or chore around the home.

I said that his distraction could be why our intimacy sucks and why he seems distant, etc.

I said that I believe his impulsive emotional reactions could be partly the reason for our communication problems.

I tried to match my feelings up to his symptoms but it was hard while put in the spot.

I later, beyond that moment of frustration, asked him how his ADD symptoms effect him in a negative way. His response really surprised me!

He said, they don't! I asked him again if his symptoms bother him AT ALL... He said again, that they DO NOT bother him, he's been content with his life/mind since starting meds and that the only problem he encounters is me being angry with him all the time and telling him it's due to his ADD.

His only problem in this relationship and in life in general is ME.

I was a little bit shocked by this. It kinda makes me want to take myself out of the equation then... I mean... he swears he would be perfectly fine in life if I wasn't getting mad at him and having issues with his behaviour all the time! It's all me... He's got no issues living with ADD on his own.

The part I understand is OBVIOUSLY he wants the raging angry craziness to stop on my end and that if it did cease, he would be more content. I get that. The part I do not understand is that he is not bothered by ADD - AT ALL. It's not a problem for him. He doesn't feel like a victim having this disorder. He feels fine. Thinks he lives fine, doing things on his own time. He's ok with paying bills a little late. Missing garbage day. Paying his taxes late. Living in a mess for weeks. Doing a job for WAY LESS money because it's better he works from home... Not maintaining the house. Not eating regular meals. etc, etc.

His expectations for himself and his own life are being met *just fine*. 

It kinda makes me feel wrong for making him change JUST FOR ME, then. I don't think I want that. I really thought part of the process was to become empathetic towards my partner who has ADD. If he's struggling and I'm not happy with the symptoms either, then lets get this figured out!! But that's not it. I'm the only one NOT HAPPY with his ADD. No wonder he doesn't care to "fix it". He doesn't think there is anything to fix!!!! He just thinks I don't like the way he lives...

I would love to hear from anyone and everyone on this one! ADDers and non-ADDers.

I'm confused.

I see some good signs

I see some good signs here...first, he's asking you what you are needing. You need to be REALLY specific with him. Ambiguity is not something anyone can deal well with, much less someone with ADD. I've often said that I feel I have to draw my husband a picture and sometimes he still doesn't get it. Instead of saying "your ADD causes me to be unhappy because you don't spend any time with me" why not say "I miss spending time with you. It would make me very happy if we could spend more time together" Be specific. I started out demanding Saturdays as a day we all spent time together as a family. We go riding...grab something to eat...we've done all sorts of things. I got completely fed up and demanded this probably 2-3 years into the marriage...and it snowballed .. in a good way. There were no excuses, no room for misunderstanding...Saturdays. Period.

For the chores, keep working on the charts. That puts it 'in writing' for him to work with and see..see what he's doing..see what he's not doing. 

I honestly don't think he's happy with his life...or even content. It is just much easier for him to blame you than to fix all of the stuff that needs fixing. Try to understand his overwhelm with everything...and now hard chance comes to them. Try and not take his "it's all your fault" ranting personally. Give him some time to digest everything, but keep plowing forward. Again, playing devil's advocate, can you go back and read your post and see where it is pretty much all you both blaming each other? If you're unhappy about a specific part of your life, then tell him..and I would avoid blaming the ADD. Who knows how much of each of these issues is ADD related...either way, there are things you need to see some improvement with...and that is where the focus needs to be. Communication is a huge hurdle. Communicating your needs in a way that don't say to him "I think everything is your fault" (thus making his walls go up and his defenses highten) is very hard. Just ask him if you two could start small...by setting aside a day a week...or an hour each day...or whatever you feel would work for you..for you two to just sit down, share a pizza or coffee and just some time cuddling without words. Watching a movie. Anything..whatever works for you. These things are much easier for me and my husband to accomplish since it is clear and no room is left for uncertainty about what I need.

I don't think you're in the way..it really does feel to me like he's trying...and that's more than most will do.

Do you feel there is a chance that the meds are making him worse? The concerta made my husband go from being a sweet, caring person to an irritable grouch all.the.f'in.time. It sucked! He was far less reasonable and rational..and REACHable on them.

ebb and flow's picture

I get that... but how do you

I get that... but how do you ask someone to change JUST because it makes you angry, sad, lonely, depressed; all the while they don't mind how they *are*?

What if there is someone out there who would find him appealing *just as he is*...

How much of this is me being too much of a perfectionist, being too needy, quick to anger, losing my mind...?

I think I'm very confused now. I mean, I didn't think I was asking too much... but now I'm not so sure... :((

All the things I read in the ADD books apply. He displays most of the ADD tendencies/symptoms but why is that *wrong*? Can't he find someone else who might like him *just the way he is*, quirks, irritability and all???

I don't understand any more, how I am entitled to make him change the very way that he *is*, just because it makes poor little me upset to be around. Maybe I just need to leave. Find someone new. Find someone who suits me better. Maybe it's not an issue with ADD but an issue with life compatibility...

I think he's confused me greatly now...

He seems totally confident in his behaviours and he's kinda convinced me I'm just a coo-coo-- Always angry for reasons that aren't so bad (in his eyes).


:( I don't know what to think anymore...

ebb and flow's picture


oh, and I don't know about the meds.

He feels like the meds might not be enough because by the end of his night shift he's not getting much done--they wear off by then. (he says)

With regards to the moodiness and irritability, I'm not sure because he quit drinking everyday around the same time he started Ritalin and we were broken up briefly---that's around the time the hyperfocus was dwindling away too. It all sorta changed at the same time so I'm not sure what is caused by what anymore. 

I'm just sort of sick of playing detective. I just want to live my life, dammit.

I have 'simply' told him I need him to spend more time with me. We did set up a day where we spent time together but his work projects got in the way and then we drifted apart and the arguing increased so obviously the spending time declined.

I'm getting overwhelmed by all of this. It's like we don't spend time because we argue and we argue because we can't communicate and we can't communicate because he impulsively jumps all over me during conversation and we can't work on that because he doesn't believe that's an ADD trait and he thinks I over-react about everything... and so on and so on...

Everything is connected to something else and I'm not sure where to even begin. And I'm not even sure I want to keep this going if in his mind he doesn't seem to have a problem with ADD anyway! 

Stupid, naive..romantic me

Stupid, naive..romantic me responding here..

You ask him to change things that are hurtful because he should not want to hurt you if he loves you. If he loves you, he will want to know what is hurtful to you and reach a compromise, at the very least. He chose you...meaning he loves you...and that is why it is ideally worth it to him to change his behavior instead of losing you..or going on the search for the perfect person who would love him "just as he is". We don't want to hurt those we love. Relationships are about compromise. If we don't feel comfortable saying "that's really hurtful, I would like for you to stop" then that isn't really a healthy relationship. There is nothing wrong with asking for changes when the behaviors are hurtful. Never spending time together can be poison to relationships. It is within reason for you to want more quality time with him.

If you're done, you're done. If you're not sure you want to try anymore, you need to be honest with him. There is nothing wrong with that, sometimes relationships just don't work...ADD or not. ((HUGS))

ebb and flow's picture

This was my way of thinking,

This was my way of thinking, until recently.

I just feel so strange sort of begging him to see that his behaviours hurt me, and then when talking about it he's all nonchalant, like nothing is really wrong... Its just me freaking out all the time.

I know that it's typical for an ADDer to deny and pass blame... but where do I draw the line? I'm sorta starting to believe him now...

I love him. I wish more than anything that this would work. I'm willing to go to counseling to make the changes (hence finding the counselor)... But... I don't want to PUSH changes on someone who is perfectly content being the way that he is.

He doesn't recognize any behaviour as destructive or something that needs changing... He's just doing it because I'm freaking out. That's not what I want!

I want him to want to do something, anything because our relationship is going down! I want him to recognize how, yes, there are certain things that could use tweaking. Not just "you're always freaking out so therefore I need to make it stop through counseling".

I don't know what I'm trying to say. It just feels crappy all around. I don't know what to do... I know I'm being difficult and you're trying to help but this just doesn't feel right to me any more.


I'm just feeling like I should leave him alone... let him live life the way he wants to without me bothering him anymore.


I often felt like that...and

I often felt like that...and told my husband this often.."I feel like I am standing in the way of what you really want out of life" because his words would say one thing, his actions SCREAMING another. I can't say it is common to feel like a 'burden' to them, always demanding more than they seem to be able or willing to give, but I certainly struggled with this off and on.

Have you considered that maybe the deflection you're seeing is just him being defensive, coming to grips with the reality of the pain he's caused you? It can sometimes get worse before it gets better.

I wish I knew what to say to give you some hope..or at least help you feel like there was something to hold onto, but I can't. Don't apologize for being honest. I am trying to help, but I'm not trying to convince you to stay if you're not happy or just don't have it in you anymore to fight. Just trying to give you some ideas to work with if you do.