New here. Confused and stressed

Hello - I have been with my partner for 8 years - I left the relationship after the first year but decided to return.  It is long and complicated and I feel I have been confused about my partners behaviour and ways of seeing and doing things the whole time I have been with him. I have come to the end of my rope with trying to understand - I am the only one in the relationship trying to understand our relationship! I try to understand him, he almost demands that I do, he doesn't attempt to understand me on more than a superficial level and we are back to confusing behaviour for me, double dutch conversations and chaos. I feel a bit stupid for trying to work on this for this long.  Soon into the relationship his mother died, very suddenly, we met when he was 40, he appeared quite lost and confused and I genuinely thought it was bereavement and mid life.  I stepped back a bit, he was funny, charming, we had the same dreams, ideas and similar backgrounds in that we came from the same industry but now self employed, wanting to find a good work/life balance.  I have led a fairly responsible life with work and family issues and I met someone who was a lot of fun, at a time where I was focusing on my own dreams to find a good relationship and have a family.  It started off really all those logical connections, being on the same page etc have disappeared, they disappeared quite quickly really, I can see I am the only one that follows A B C D goals and if I stumble, I can explain to myself and others why, find a solution or choose a different path.

In the whole time I have been with my partner the picture of our life has been muddled, he seems to have 'gone along' with me, enthusiastic, upbeat, but somehow emotionally uninvolved, always able to be hurtful or neglectful and not realise, quite self centred it seemed.  He mentioned ADHD at one point, he went for an assessment soon after his mother died, I was not living with him then and he was all over the place after her death.  At the time the consultant said, you may have mild ADHD with anxiety but you seem to have a lifestyle that suits it and managing well, we don't medicate adults and suggest you do some mindfullness meditation to manage anxiety an continue as you are. At the time I said, what about relationships, did you mention the difficulty in communicating your needs clearly, the short fuse - he hadn't.

The relationship got worse, in that I never knew where I stood, he seemed to forget conversations, it felt like I didn't know him and couldn't get to know him, yet he kept diving back into the 'plan' and I stayed. The plan was never really joined up, in my head it was and I thought in his too, but nothing seemed to progress.  My mother then died and I decided to get a job for routine and he sold his house and said we could move to a new town, which was what we had talked about.  I suggested renting for a while, I still wasnt sure of things and grieving.

Cut a long story short we purchased a house, we have never had children and for the past 4 years have struggled to get on consistently or progress any sort of plans unless I make them. Before we met he had worked for himself for 10 years, he had left his job and taken a project with him that he could run for 3 months of the year and not work the rest of the year.  He also purchased two houses and rented them out, part of his income comes from them.  He spent some of the year visiting his sister in Australia, a lot of time on the beach and liked his free and easy lifestyle.  No routines and only pressure for 3 months of the year for work.  He is successful financially with this arrangement.   He comes up with ideas for us, big ideas and they are just ideas, none of them happen and only get talked about in an abstract way, if I try to actually make moves to make them happen he gets stressed, in fact every conversation he gets stressed.  It appears he is not listening, he looks the other way, jumps in on what I say, corrects me and gets excited about How things will work but not realistic about making them happen - at the beginning this meant I followed through and did everything, only for him to get upset that I was asking him to join in, he would get stressed.  If he does things with me, he doesn't really seem interested, unless he is talking about big ideas or I am paying him attention.  If I ask to talk things through, plan things, boundaries, arrangements, he can get stressed easily, if I am assertive he gets defensive.

I could go on - but in a nutshell I feel empty, he doesn't seem to want or understand relationship needs.  Compliments, affection, approaching me, good communication, shared plans and projects - it took us 2 years to reevaluate our service providers because every conversation he got stressed.  If you ask his opinion on things to act on and agree he often gets stressed - if I go ahead and do things alone, he is fine with that, but when I ask for some sense of partnership, he gets offended and says he does give me partnership! He provides the majority of the income in our house and cleans the kitchen obsessively when he does do it, but seems to think he does other things which he doesn't.  The main problem I have is that he has rages, he is rude, he is stressed and it's getting worse, I try to ask what the stress is and work it through.  There is zero follow through and the stress remains.  I have asked him to address the inconsistencys, tell me how he feels, listen to how I feel.  I have modelled ways for us to make a team and reach our goals and all that happens is he says great and the next day nothing - it's like he forgot.  I have made things happen and sometimes he uses that and says, you push and push and I don't get to do what I want.  I then ask what he wants, but he seems to need permission or help to actually do it - things like hobbies etc  I honestly feel like I am living with a teenager - he wants his old life back, that I am pressured, boring, he wants no pressure.  I feel very hurt that almost all his conversations are not about relationship issues and I ask what he wants from the relationship and he says - not to be stressed.  I can't understand how to behave to keep him calm, which is how it has become, I almost live separately, I am planning on leaving but need to raise finances - all the while trying to work on this because he seems oblivious about the problems unless I raise them.  It feels as if this isn't a grown up life - it feels like fantasy ideas that will never happen unless I make them happen and I feel he is a stranger.  Yet, if I try to get us to progress, he gets stressed, overwhelmed.

He basically seems unaware of me completely - the more I detach, the more he is distant, but still looks to me to talk ten to the dozen, complain about his stress, talk about our plans and future, but with nothing concrete.  I have stopped trying to progress anything, I just listen and expect nothing.  He says he wants to move house, he has been looking at new houses every month for years - I say, please decide on the goal and we will work towards it, explaining that this random way of living is stressful for me.  People come to visit and he can't plan, gets annoyed if I do, when they are here, he just says yes to things they say and everything feels very out of control and unstable. I have come to the end of my coping strategies and am angry, I have explained to him what I need, mostly boundaries around his ideas and talking and also some sort of common ground to share, I have told him I feel lonely and unmotivated.  The more I do this, the more defensive he becomes, he tries to work it all out (on his own, talking AT me) and can't understand why I am unhappy and sees me as attacking him.

It's seriously awful, he rages are increasing.  Last week he mentioned ADHD which he does occasionally - he was calm and said he might go to the doctor.  He has been to the doctor recently and said he is stressed, the doctor gave him the option of anxiety medication, he has not mentioned that since, he didn't mention ADHD to the doctor.  He said he thinks there is no treatment anyway and lifestyle choices are what he did before, I mentioned that different skills are required in relationships and that I am not coping as he isn't understanding what I am 'missing' out on and how much responsibility I feel, that I can't live the way he does as it feels almost childish to me - we are not meeting each others needs or achieving anything.  He seemed to understand but two days later is stressed and angry when I try to follow through, act in a different way - it's like he can't get a grip on any concept for long and thinks he has.

I apologise for the ramble - it isn't very sensicle of clear what I am needing - but it represents my confused mind.  My needs aren't getting met, he wont admit he has a problem that is hurting me and the relationship and he is blaming me and saying he wants his old life back.  He is not saying we will separate, I know he wont follow through with anything, but I feel rejected and in a no win.  I find it hard to leave without really understanding whether this is a mental health issue, or more, but either way, it's hard to be with somehow denying something that is clearly not working and continuing to behave the same way - THAT feels like madness.

Thank you for reading.

I didn't want to make a list of the things I find hard, a blame list, but they are the things I am struggling with - they seem so opposed to a stable, foundation from which to grow, which is what I am trying to achieve.

Impulsive - mainly verbally, quick to talk, answer, think of ways to make things work (even conversations to his advantage), very bright with strategy.  Means I never know where I stand, he says things and behaves differently, makes plans and forgets them, makes goals and can't get there, goes off in moods, doesn't think to get in touch.  Has made quick decisions to sell and buy houses in the past. If there is nothing to spark him off, he is rarely motivated to look beyond is comfort zone - I feel let down and part of a game. He cannot regulate emotions - he flies into rages or empty sitting or sulking - he can't manage stress.

People Please & Criticism - he genuinely thinks he is doing the right thing, so why should I want more.  He will almost do anything you tell him, if he is focussed on you, if you were to spend days and days with him, he would probably do everything I asked.  If you ask or communicate and seek mutual agreement, the conversation gets stressy - he can only seem to do as told or you do as he says. This results in me feeling like I am ordering him about and also that he isn't really bothered.  He will behave this way for anyone - he will do as asked and complete it if he is given step by step instructions on a regular basis - but I have learnt this actually stresses him out a lot and takes a lot of energy - it isn't a genuine desire or motivation

Empathy /Emotional Awareness - I am not sure he knows how he feels or what he wants and even if he listens to me, the next day, it's like he didn't really hear, his interactions remain the same, superficial and either dependent on instructions on how and what to interact with or he is quite able to practially ignore until something interests him and he will start talking almost AT me>

I feel very lonely and very confused as his way seems and sounded so good - but it doesn't contain things like serious talks about our financial future, or emotional needs and trust and respect.  Everything feels temporary and I wonder if all this is hyperfocus, impulsivity and inability to regulate mood.  I definitely feel I am in a relationship with a condition and not a person - I cant understand the person with the condition and he doesn't seem to think I should want anything that I do want.