My ADHD partner disappeared

My ADHD partner J and I knew each other briefly through a mutual group of friends for 3 years. I was with someone else at the time. We crossed paths again 5 months ago; I was now single. Turns out, J has kept an eye on me all these years. It was deep unconditional love, something neither one of us has felt before, we were inseparable.

J and I pretty much lived together traveling through the country for work. We had this all figured out. No secrets about the past, clarified expectations, open communication and future plans.

2 months in, I went overseas for 2 weeks to see my family and then permanently moved to one city for work. Still inseparable, we’d text each other all day and speak for hours on the phone. It seemed the distance was getting to him more and more though.

The plan was for him to restructure his work so he could spend more time with me. In the meantime, we had a lot of chances to spend time together and me traveling to the other side of the country to see him. But he needed time alone to focus on work, which I understood. The more time went past, the more it seemed he was getting worse, mentally.

His life lost structure and on top of that he had a lot of bad news from his family. J also doesn’t like talking about the challenges he is facing. He is a very masculine and strong person. But now he was showing “weaknesses”.

We never fought. I am extremely understanding and leave it up to him to open up.

In the last 3 months, I’ve only seen him twice. Once for a day, he was extremely edgy, frustrated and short fused. I was hurt. Before he left, he apologized for his behavior, told me he loved me and left again to the other side of the country. Everything was back to normal.

A month later I went to visit him for a long weekend at his home on the other side of the country. We were both so excited. A day in, I seemed out of place, like he didn’t want me there. He picked fights with me out of nowhere, for no reason. I don’t buy into fights, but went quiet and told him I was treating on eggshells. Oh boy I had no idea what I triggered in him.

At this point I knew of his ADHD, but didn’t know too much about it. We spent two days on edge until I asked him if he wanted me to leave. He said he didn’t. The last night he was very attached to me and hugged me all night. I left to go back home the next day.

Again, we were great. Texting each other all day and talking for hours on the phone. But I knew things were getting worse with him. He was falling into this never ending whole of depression. I didn’t know what to do, as I can’t force a conversation on him and didn’t feel like I could share my thoughts with him. Conversations got shorter. I knew he needed time. I sent him a long message sharing my support and thoughts with him.

He knows I love him for who he is and that I don’t want to change him. I never understood why he kept asking me that question ‘Who do you want me to be?’ over the past months. Until now, learning about ADHD and reading all the books I can get my hands on.

I told J that I am reading books about it and he said “I should read it too”, very positive.

On a Saturday night, he told me some terrible family news. Something he kept from me for 2 months, which explains his depression and behavior. Hearing it helped me understand a bit more.

He was very quiet on the Sunday and obviously very depressed. I felt so helpless as I knew I couldn’t do anything to help him. I left him to watch his motor sport on TV, which I knew is something he is looking forward to. We said we loved each other and said goodnight.

After that I hadn’t heard from him for 3 days, which is out of character. I was so worried. He then texts me saying that he is struggling and needs some time to himself to sort his life out and wished me a good week. I responded that I respect his space and am glad to hear from him.

One week later, I heard nothing. I texted and said ‘Hi’, hoping for a response. Nothing.

Two weeks later I sent him a photo of a beautiful beach and said ‘Thinking of you”. No response.

Now three weeks later, I heard from a mutual friend that he is working as usual, which I expected. It makes it awkward now, as we’ll be in the same city in a weeks time and I have to pretend things are normal somehow to protect J. But I don’t know if I’ll see him.

He seems to have me “his distraction” cut out of his life so he can fix his work.

I tried to call him and left him a message, just saying ‘Hey, just calling to see how you are. Would love to hear from you. Miss you.’ Again, nothing.

I don’t know what to make of it. I can’t confront him. I’d love to fly and see him, but he hates surprises. I feel so helpless. I am hurt, it’s so painful.

If he had explained to me he needs 2-4 weeks out to sort his life out, I would have understood. But he went into this silence without warning and I don’t know when he’ll come out of it.

My closest friends know he disappeared, but I can’t tell them why. They obviously don’t understand, which makes it much harder for me. I actually do understand him, but I need the communication. At least checking in with a text message every now and then to let me know that he needs more time. But I’ve heard absolutely nothing. I can’t take this anymore, it hurts so much.

I would love to hear from someone with ADHD or an ADHD partner that went through this before. What can I expect? How long will this take? What should I do?