I am 37, have been dating a 35 year old man with ADD for the past two years. I was fresh out of a divorce from a sex addict who abandoned me and my very young children to a very young woman, overnight, literally, after many affairs and some crazy stuff. I waited a year to date, probably not long enough in retrospect, but my BF was very attentive at first, seemed to really love my kids, and supported me through the legal steps of my divorce (which had only just begun when we met... another mistake on my part to not get through it first). To his credit, he saw me through too much drama...
He had been diagnosed with ADD a year or two prior to us meeting. He thinks he may never have become divorced if he had known about his ADD (he chose to leave his wife, four years before I met him, and he has a daughter, now 8, with a lot of health issues).
I noticed a lot of small things early on, mainly his inattention to life responsibilities-- power getting turned off for failure to pay, house getting foreclosed on, he'd buy alcohol or nice dinners but not be able to pay for utilities, he has credit problems even though he has a good income, he would speed and get tickets and then forget to pay them. His excuse was that he gave too much away $ in his divorce, then had to buy everything on credit. I think that may be true, but I also think that if he hadn't had ADD, he would have taken better care not to get in that situation.
I also noticed that he is very inconsistent in his words/plans. He cycles through hobbies but rarely gets very far into them before switching gears. I've really just observed this, and not done anything to comment or change it. Since he told me he had ADD, I opted not to give him a hard time or really try to help him get consistent with these things, unless he asks for help.
His house has been an utter disaster-- trash everywhere, very dirty. At first, I really tried to help him clean it up, thinking then he could just maintain it once it got cleaned. He didn't, and he also resented me, thought I was being controlling, so I gave that up. He really seems to resent when I do things that a parent would do, even though I don't feel like I'm doing them with that sort of attitude.
He plays a video game which can suck up 15 hours at a time, and yet he doesn't have time to clean the house. When he lived with me for a couple of months, he did very few chores, got very irate at me when I would ask for help, yet had no problem blowing an entire weekend on the computer. He'd say that this was his way of coping with our stress, that he needed that release. I have no problem with some time on the computer, mind you, but the proportion was such that he could not even remotely close to pull his weight. During this time, I also had a daughter in the hospital, so I had a lot to bear.
On the good side, he has a good job, and seems to have no attention problems at work that I'm aware of. He's an involved father. He loves my kids. He's very creative and funny. And he says he wants to be responsible. He's in counseling right now to learn life skills. I see some improvements. He shares my values and faith, is very faithful to me (big relief after my husband). He doesn't care whether I primp or not. I feel like he loves me for who I am, not what I am (as opposed to my husband). He can have very deep discussions, when he is in a good space, and I've learned a lot from him, and he's helped me regain faith that I can love and be loved.
The big issue I have with him is his anger. When he gets angry at me, which is fairly often, and usually over something that I perceive to be him misinterpreting some "small" thing I've said, he gets very angry. He rants at me, curses at me, labels me (stupid, nitpicky, jerk, ridiculous, vulture, as someone with issues). When I try to get to the bottom of why he thinks these things about me, he gets more angry, says it's not worth telling me (as if I wouldn't get it). He is also very controlling. He'll get angry if I don't email him at the right time, but then angry if I contact him too much when he's not up for it. He will even get angry if I ask him if he's coming to dinner (as if he feels put on the spot), but he's also said he wants to see me all the time, always wants to see me. I think that he's verbally abusive. His anger gets over the top, and I can't reason with him to save my life. He will threaten things, saying, "You don't want to see me get angry." I step away, but then he doesn't talk to me much for a few days, holds a grudge against me. When he finally does communicate again, he usually gets over it. Sometimes he admits he has an anger problem. But most recently, he said he can't change, this is who he is, and maybe we should just break up because we fight too much. He seems me as too sensitive. I've been in therapy to help myself detach from his rages (and from my ex's anger towards me), so I don't think I react inappropriately, or too often. I let his minor cuts and frustration at me go. But there are times when I do speak up, if I feel it is very over the top, or I've had enough. That's when he gets upset, and I can't speak. If I don't react though to his rants, he has said that I don't care. He once admitted that it makes him feel good to know that he's hurt me in these conversations.
We are on the verge of breaking up, and I don't know if I have any choices in the matter or not. He says he feels resentful, like I didn't even try to understand him. I have, and I do comprehend why it's hard for him to sort through things mentally enough to let things go. But the effects of it are that 1/3 of the time, I'm dodging his bullets, having to internally reassure myself that I'm an okay person, trying to filter out what is constructive feedback from him, versus verbal abuse.
He is also very critical and controlling of my life. He admitted that he was reading all my email for a while when he stayed with me. He'd get mad about that, thinking I was having inappropriate relationships with my clients (I am a writer/editor, so I have to sometimes ask in depth personal questions to help an author write their story... I did this with one client, and he thought I was just for pleasure getting personal... even though I didn't talk about my boyfriend at all, have said nothing but good things about him.) He criticizes my driving, my parenting, my career. I will try doing something one way per his suggestion, and then he criticizes me in the opposite way. He seems to have a very high need to control me. I'm a very independent woman when it comes to practical things. I run my own business, fix my own house, take care of everything myself, and do a good job at most of those things, despite sometimes making mistakes. I sometimes think that threatens him.
I love the guy. He's the most comforting and fun person when his mind is in a clear space. I want the things he says he wants. I feel like he shifts in and out of "ADD" land, has days of clarity, followed by days of being stuck in what seems to me to be a very irrational place.
He started getting into these same irrational arguments with my 7 year old daughter, who is a very smart girl. She would come to me in tears. He would come to me ranting about her being selfish and rude. I tried to listen, but honestly, I think he's not being kind or fair to her. I've stopped letting them be alone together, in order to not have her exposed to this.
We have not gone through any sort of communication therapy, and I guess that's the one last thing we could do. But I'm wondering, what can I expect? He tells me I'm "too sensitive," and if only I wasn't, we wouldn't have problems. He wants to be able to dump his anger on me. I just don't think that the amount he dumps is appropriate or healthy, and I've said this a thousand times, but he can't seem to stop himself. I'm not sure that the relationship is worth it, if I have to endure that. In fact, there have been probably 75 times in the last year when I tell myself that I have to get out. But then the storm calms, and I miss him again, and I love him, and I try again to make it work.
THe one thing I don't understand is the thought that he can't change his communication with me to be more kind. Is this just him making an excuse, or is this true?
I'd like advice on this... what to expect, is there anything I can do to help our relationship, or should I cut my losses and move on.
Another thing, he can be overly attentive at times, controlling, but it's usually balanced by periods of withdrawal, where I wonder if we're even dating. He'll talk about breaking up with me, and then the next day talk about marrying me. It's very confusing, and I don't know which is real.