I don't know if I can do this anymore. There, I said it. How nice it is to be able to say it to people who not only understand my life but are living it too, where you wake up one morning to see boxes that haven't been unpacked from when you moved... 5 years ago. See empty toilet rolls on the floor when the bin is a meter away. See overflowing rubbish, and recycling, stacks of computers and monitors in the hallway, see a new box of 100 assorted and tangled wires appear in the man room (that tip is not an office anymore). See various broken gadgets that are 'going to get fixed, don't throw it out'! Feel him pinch my bum every time he walks past like it's a belonging of his and god forbid I'm ever bent over! See this life as from another point of view and think "who in their right mind would put up with this?" I'm there folks, and finding it harder and harder to stay....
I'd like to share a portion of my story, stitch another patch on the quilt, so to speak. I am 33, F, divorced and living with my ADHD boyfriend of 6 years and my daughter 13yr (from a previous relationship).I knew from the start he had ADHD and he was on medication but he never talked about it much, it was a bit taboo and I stopped asking as he always seemed a bit uncomfortable.He has a high IQ and is high functioning; he must have multiple tasks on the go and he goes big - works full time as a Training Analyst 45+ hours, co-owns and operates the largest independently owned radio station in NZ, volunteers on the board of directors for a Theater company and regularly produces shows, snow boards and in his spare time re formats computers to use for his various projects.Oh and Facebooks his life away, can't forget that one.
He's not on medication anymore. He let his script run out soon after we moved in and never went back to get more, said he 'had it under control now'. I think that translates to 'Sweet, live in Maid!' I was working 2 part time jobs - actually got made redundant from 1 part time job the week we moved in together - talk about timing! He earned more than enough to carry us so I set up house, quite happy as I felt I was contributing well to the relationship. I got a second part time job and became efficient at both and was still able to take care of all of the household jobs, appointments, making sure my daughter had everything she needed, liaise with her father, I was like wonder woman haha!
Fast forward to 6 months ago, when I got offered a full time job working days in a popular cafe - Monday to Friday with weekends off, what luxury when you work in Hospitality! We had a talk that his contribution around the house would have to increase and he agreed, asked for suggestions of how to help and how we can get M13 on board as well. During the work changeover where over two weeks I worked at 3 different places and some days I did split shifts, he was producing a show - Sweeney Todd, which was exceptionally demanding of his time and I understood that. It was hard tho, he'd come home with his phone to his ear and answer emails all night and I did feel a bit forgotten about. He had anxiety while that show was on, he described it as his heart hurting and I said I thought he was having panic attacks. He didn't go to the doctor but with my encouragement he decided to leave theater for a while as it was affecting his health and he's only 37. He still wasn't doing much around the house and I was finding my new job difficult to fit into as well as organizing our lives that I cracked one weekend and said if he didn't buck his ideas up and become an equal partner in this relationship I was out - I couldn't take any more. He hadn't even noticed anything was wrong but vowed to make change - he loves me and doesn't want to lose me. That I don't doubt, he just couldn't see anything else. He did get better about taking initiative and took over doing dishes, did a few loads of washing, put some rubbish out, offered me hot drinks, cooked dinner a couple of times.
Things kind of slipped into old habits and then we hit a turning point - after telling him the dates of my Grandma's 90th (impressive!) birthday he filed it away in the wrong month and accepted to help out that weekend at a radio promo up the mountain. I got mighty angry as radio had interfered with my Grandad's 90th Birthday as well, and he wasn't able to go to one of his own family functions where his sister was over from Aus because of theater commitments earlier in the year. I hated turning up to these things feeling alone, I always have to explain what he's doing and I'm so proud and how bout our perfect life anyway? I just snapped and was angry at him for days, how could he chose that over me? Why was I not the priority when he loved me so much?
I asked him to to back out but he bluntly said he is the only one who can set up the equipment so he has to go. I don't have a lot of driving experience and the trip was a 2 hour drive, the longest I've ever had to drive open road before. I made it, had a lovely catch up with my family and got home again in one piece tired but pleased with my efforts - I have driving anxiety and it was a big deal! He came home 2 hours later and as soon as the door opened all he talked about was how great it was, went into detail about the things he did and how he fixed this and that - 'he's pretty good at his job, really'. He asked how the drive went and I talked him through my experience but part of him wasn't really listening, he interrupted a few times with something he remembered about his day and I'd steer the conversion back, feeling put out he didn't see it as a big deal.
Something in me broke a little that day, I shut down and did nothing. I slept on the couch that night and didn't move off it all the next day, no shower, no cooking, no food although I did make a few coffees, didn't talk to him. I put my earphones in my laptop and attempted to watch 2 seasons of Dragon Ball Z in one go, no interruptions. He just took it as a lazy day and literally put his feet up and did nothing. I realized in that moment, where I was not functioning not only because I couldn't but it was also a form of protest, he couldn't see it! He couldn't see his girlfriend having a meltdown, he could see an opportunity to sit on his ass all day without any repercussions!
Oh did I forget to mention, as we didn't talk about his ADHD I thought he was an inconsiderate pig who says he loves me one minute and forgets about me the next. Yup, I didn't know it was having a monstrosity of an affect on our relationship. For that long I hadn't factored in how his ADHD distracts him so badly. So that night I had the bright idea of searching relationships and ADHD and I came across this site.... my new haven. It boggles my mind sometimes that here I am, in a tiny country right down the bottom of the planet and these ladies, people, all around the world were living and sharing my life! Or, a parallel version of.
The enormity of these new facts, how it affects so much of day to day life and in some ways, how I must must become a mentor, a fairy godmother, an advisor.... I don't know if I can! I give so much, I feel like I will have to give even more and it feels like a crushing weight. I have depression and PTSD from my previous relationship and I need lots of care and attention, I need to feel looked after and cherished. I don't think he sees this, he now acknowledges his ADHD is something he hasn't been managing very well and is trying really hard to do his checks and put M13 and me first. We try to talk openly about it.
He's agreed to work for a different Theater company over the next 2 weeks, like it's a way around him giving it up if its a different company ha! so I feel in some ways it will never change. He doesn't refuse to see a Dr about medication but he has to get through this show, finish up the ski season, then there's more radio, always excuses rather than admitting its a first and foremost problem. So it's up to him to make the changes, with me cheer-leading behind him. I feel so resentful that no one is cheer-leading me, I don't really have anyone I can talk to who understands. I always thought of myself as being in a relationship where I am supported as well as supportive but now I am not so sure. I would like to get therapy as it has helped me out a lot in the past but I am worried, it's like a flip of the coin as to if it will help me stay or help me leave.
I'm also aware that my daughter is affected by it - she is distant with him, they argue one minute and are best friends the next. Also, in one of our recent talks he said if we broke up he couldn't see me ever again... or my daughter. It would hurt him too much to see her and be reminded of me so he would have to block us out. Hang on, how bout how M13 would be feeling? To be abandoned by a man you call your Step Dad? Couldn't you try and put it aside for her? It would have a long term affect on her that he's not willing to factor in! Try being a real Adult for a change! He's convinced he doesn't mean anything in our greater family relationship and wouldn't be missed, life would just carry on without him. I don't know how to make him see what he's got and what he is so close to losing.
It's a pickle I tell ya, long yes as it's the first time I have ever offloaded all of this. I want to shout how much better I feel for looking for a bit of understanding! Thank you all, I appreciate your time and feel a little less lonely.
As I always try to look at the positives, yesterday I was reminded of how sometimes it's not so bad, he really NEEDED me to see something on his iPad (some dumb fart joke no doubt), all of a sudden he puts it down and stares at the TV, so shiny, and I managed to slip away and make a hot chocolate FTW!