Need help with ADHD girlfriend

I would appreciate any advice.  I am desperately in love with my girlfriend who has ADHD, recently, and finally diagnosed.  She has grown up believing, and everyone else too, believing that her behavior was just "her."  She's EXTREMELY impulsive, impatient, and inattentive.  She is also the life of every social situation, and a short, drop dead knockout.  Her petite size and beauty (in my opinion) have afforded her certain acceptance and forgiveness for her decisions/actions from everyone. 

We have our disagreements as all couples do, but I am unable to have a productive disagreement.  She gets extremely angry and says the most horrible things that no one should hear from someone they love.  Basically, all the "off limits" topics she has no problem bringing out.  It has been difficult for me to break through to her how difficult her ADHD is on me.  I try to be patient, but inevitably I break down from being passive and calm.  It's truly impossible.  Her anger is uncontrollable (and has gotten her into numerous situations throughout life) and easily escalates into violence.  Which, due to her size, I believe has gotten little attention throughout her life.  She has many friends, and everyone loves her socially, but I'm the only one trying to have a relationship with her.  Her parents know what she is like at least, and have known that her beauty was going to drive men crazy, and truly felt it would take a unique and special individual to deal with her.  Though she realizes and accepts her diagnosis, my concerns as a partner go ignored, because "everyone else likes and accepts me the way I am."  Well, we all know if we treat our friends poorly they won't stick around, but those who love us the most will (parents, and a ridiculously committed boyfriend).  I do feel she is the one for me, but I need help making this work.  We both have no idea how to accomplish this.  She has stopped counseling and refused any prescription treatment.  So basically, she knows her diagnosis, but won't do anything to change.  We are stuck in limbo unable to move forward and I don't know what hope to hold on to.   

Reading a book...yeah, that's

Reading a book...yeah, that's not going to happen.  I can see the self esteem thing.  The thing is, EVERYONE loves her!  She's the social butterfly that makes everybody's social life more fun.  She is the person everyone calls on the weekends because she makes things better for them.  Sometimes she recognizes the role she plays and expresses how everyone EXPECTS her to be the "role."  I have attempted to reach out to her about how her ADHD affects me, and honestly, it's actually a relief to know the explanation for her actions, and it explains a lot to her too.  But, nobody aside from me and her parents (those closest to her, and expected to endure the worst) thinks there's a problem.  Addressing her ADHD has met the denial, and when she HAS (rarely) acknowledged her hurtful attacks in anger, her apologies and the accompanying feelings last all of five minutes, and then she forgets about the impact it has had and truly has the mindset, "are you still upset about that?  I apologized" (Well yeah, you apologized five minutes ago and no, I'm not over it and I'm still hurt.)  I will say, when we are good, we are great.  I'm extremely patient, understanding, an ear, and also her polar opposite.  It's just, I don't want that role for a lifetime.  I need concessions on her part. 

It's been my role for 30 years

and it hasn't changed. My ADD husband appears charming, jovial, calm... around everyone else but the ones he's closest to. He has no need to change, no need to accommodate me in any way. He's really something in his own mind but I see extremes and contradictions, angry outbursts, financial irresponsibility, lack of concern for my thoughts and feelings... he's always told me to "deal with it". I had the energy for it when I was younger, back then I assumed people learn, grow, change... but, thirty years later? It hasn't changed here.

Right now you can express how

Right now you can express how hurtful her actions are and that as the man that loves her, you wish for her to seek some help for her anger and ADHD BUT if she has no desire to help herself, there is nothing you can do.


It's just so difficult

It's just so difficult because she's been this way all her life.  As an outsider, it's easy for me to see how her impulsive/emotional outbursts have negatively affected her life.  For her, realizing this is one thing, I think she can now recognize and see some explanations to behaviors in her life.  But now, just trying to handle her ADHD on her own, she simply forgets or loses focus almost immediately on what she has just realized.  Apologies I have learned mean nothing, as she can only hold on to her guilt for five minutes, and then poof, fresh start.  Basically, it's like giving yourself permission to say/do the worst things, and that all can be forgiven and forgotten.  That's great, but some of the actions and attacks leave me recovering for days.  Some scars remain.  Yes, I hold on to things, but there isn't a happy medium. 

A good time to try counseling

This would actually be a really good time to try relationship counseling - but make sure you find someone who understands ADHD.  A well-informed professional could help you both learn how to negotiate the critically important skill of productively resolving your differences.  Some romance experts suggest that this is the singly most important skill a couple needs in order to be able to thrive.  I wouldn't disagree.  So consider seeking help.  If she's unwilling to work with you, then that may be a sign of what's to come in the future, and you'll have to think long and hard about the potential your relationsihp might have for the long term.

Also, since she's the woman in the couple, investigate your own feelings about the role of "wife and mother".  Many women with ADHD trip up when their spouse assumes that household organization and child rearing will fall solely on the shoulders of an ADHD spouse who struggles with organization.  This could be a very real issue for you as you think about your coupledom.

Finally, have you considered that everyone has given her a pass because she deserves it?  Maybe she's just really special and wonderful...

I absolutely agree about

I absolutely agree about counseling.  You are spot on in saying it would help us "productively resolve our differences."  We need an outsider because if not, someone will be viewed as the bad guy.  I'd rather we both think someone else is the "bad guy!"  We do well in that  Well, we are separated, but I have not lost hope, we are taking space but far from over, and neither of us wants it to be.  When things die down, I will definitely be open to such counseling, and I think she'll go for it too.  I don't know if I mentioned it already, but I actually attended sessions that she had for ADHD counseling after she was finally diagnosed.  I went to support, but it turned into a couples counseling session, as I could give examples of her behaviors, their affect, and the counselor gave us advice and actually, to my detriment, seemed to jump on my side.  It felt good at the time, getting validation that my concerns were, in fact, quite normal and spot on.  But, she stopped seeing that counselor.  I agree, he wasn't THAT good, and I hope we can find someone better to help us and help her.  I'm sure there are plenty of things that can be said to open my eyes to being a better partner. 

I don't and never have assumed that she would be playing the role of caretaker wife/mom.  She's not the type, but has those qualities.  We were living together and I made a specific point to do housework, cook, and basically show her I didn't NEED her to do those things to make me value her.  I don't want a maid, I want a wife.  

And that brings up a new challenge.  Evidently, and yes, she's talked about it, but keep in mind this woman has a different plan for life every week, but I find out now she's feeling the urge to get married and have kids.  We've talked about this, but like I said, she doesn't maintain an emotion, idea, or much for long, so I listen but mostly these things change.  Well, maybe she IS ready for that life.  I'm dedicated to being the man that can give it to her, so I am up for working to be a better partner.

I laughed out loud at your last comment.  You know, some of her behaviors and actions of her past and present are simply unacceptable, and even she will admit that.  But guys, and she'll admit this, look at her and can't get past her beauty and see what they want to see.  Others see her and maybe it's because of her size, but people seem to treat her like adopted family, and sometimes, that's NOT a good thing, because it allows her a crutch when faced with a problem.  She is basically able to escape and hide because so many people just see someone who needs help in some form, and they never really see the real reason she's in that situation.  And they don't ask.  They hear whatever she tells them.  But...she IS that special too, and that's why I haven't given up.  But imagine the prettiest girl, best personality (seemingly), most free-spirited life of every party, and you can see how many people can see what they want to see.  Guys of all ages fall for it, and women do too.  But it's ok, I know she's even more special than they think. 

Recently found out about my girlfriend's condition.

Hey KCMO, a couple of days ago my girlfriend of 6 months informed me about her ADHD. It certainly was a shock, but at the same time it was somewhat of a relief because it explained her attitude towards me for almost the entire time I've been with her. Since she explained her situation I've been reading tons of articles and I've certainly started to worry. I found your post very interesting because I feel exactly the same way. I absolutely love this person, have been extremely patient, and I'm willing to go through this with her. Now we're thinking about marriage, but now since I found this out it obviously worries me. Maybe I'm just still in shock and totally confused. It seems like we are never going to understand each other or agree on anything. I've already thought about going to couseling. I understand everything you are saying, as I'm going through the exact same thing. I would definitely like to hear your advice for leading a healthy relationship or any other resources for finding help. Thanks!