Non ADHD boyfriend just broken up. How to move on? Help please!

I must say it was a relief to find all the information about ADHD relationships in forums and blogs online. Finally, many bits and pieces have fallen in place and now I think I might understand what just happened in my relationship that ended abruptly about one month ago.


I am a 31 year old male and my former ADHD girlfriend is 24. We had known each other some three years and started dating six months ago. We are both musicians and share the same interest, values, friends, humor etc. Before we started dating she had told me (and many others) that she had ADHD. She was diagnosed three years ago and has since then turned her life around completely. She has always been very open with her condition, her (violent and destructive) past and how relieved she was to have been diagnosed. Since her diagnose, she started medicating (ritaline) and could successfully complete her high school degrees in two years since she had screwed up school all her life. She had a past of screwing everything up, she told me. We started dating during her final semester of complementing her high school degrees and two months ago she had the degrees allowing her to apply for a university degree. She said that these two past years had been the best time in her life. Now she either aimed at a musical career or a university degree.

I can relate to many of the posts in forums and blogs, since our relationship started out great. We fell madly in love. Although we both agreed to take it slow (she did not “plan” to be in a relationship) we ended up spending every single minute together. She was the sweetest, most caring person I had ever met. She constantly called and texted me, I constantly called and texted her. She basically moved in to my apartment. She was charming and bright. All I ever wished for. I was a bit surprised that although she told me she wanted us to take it easy, she always took the initiatives to meet and to do stuff together. I loved it. I had never felt so loved! Her hyperfocus on me was one of the strongest experiences I have ever had. I remember her warning me early on that she could be a really tough person to be with. Since I had seen some of her personal traits (hyperactivity, temper etc) I believed her. But we really had the best time for four months. No arguments, no problems whatsoever. Until…


…We went to her friend´s wedding. I enjoyed myself while she was dancing and having fun, all night. Since I didn´t know anyone at the wedding, I expected her to “stick by my side” but she completely ignored me. I felt invisible and really confused. I didn´t know if I should bring it up, but she noticed something was wrong and asked me. I told her how I felt and she was completely devastated. She told me she could never live up to such expectations and that I shouldn’t demand her constant attention. I was surprised by her strong reaction and said that I probably overreacted (at the time I really believed I did). We got over it (or at least I thought we did) and had a few weeks of “normal” relationship. Later, similar events occurred and I didn´t know what to think. She stayed out late, didn´t answer my calls, came with strange excuses and seemed to overreact when I brought it up. 


It all escalated when she went abroad for ten days. Her vacation turned into a disaster when her friend’s uncle got killed in a car accident (later she told me she forgot to take her meds the whole week). I was really worried for her (and for our relationship, which felt like a bad and confusing combination). She completely stopped answering my calls, said she needed to be alone. I really tried to understand and respect her wish but couldn´t since I was worried sick. The more I tried to contact her, the angrier and more frustrated she became. She asked me to stop bothering her. More excuses, lies even, it appeared. At that point I was a total mess. I didn´t know what to do. When she came home she literally did everything to avoid me. It took me five days to convince her to meet me. I explained that I only wanted to understand since I felt like an idiot. Had I done something wrong? What had really happened? What was really going on in her mind? I was going crazy and had such a strong demand for understanding.


When we finally met she tried to explain and said she was no good for me, that she was unsure of what she wanted in her life. Since I was a mental wreck I said I couldn´t take any more uncertainty and we decided to break up. In the end, it felt like she forced me to break up with her… I was really sad for what happened and how it happened. There were of course also very “normal” reasons for breaking up, such as the fact that she might want to move abroad for studies, age difference etc. As the rational person I am, I did my best to stick to the “normal” explanations, but the whole situation felt so unreal. How could something that passionate just end over night? However, I think I understand better now, since I have read hundreds of similar stories.


Since then we have barely spoken and only met once, very briefly. I still love her and I have tried to meet with her, but she keeps avoiding me. Since she doesn´t want to meet I decided to write her an email, begging her to explain what was “really” going on in her head. What was she thinking? How did she feel? That I cared for her. I did my best to explain that I had no hard feelings, no anger, that I only wanted to talk. I needed to understand to move on.


At that time I had read a lot about ADHD. I decided to write what I felt - my side of the story - after learning more about her diagnosis. I felt mean (I didn´t want to give her the ADHD-lable), but I had to let her know how I felt, and hoped to get some answers from her. I wrote that, as far as I understood, ADHD probably was an important reason for me feeling this lost and probably had something to do with her behaviour. I sent her links and articles that I thought explained a great deal. It took her three days to answer (yesterday). This was a short text where she said she didn´t have the energy to read all this and asked why I had to bring up her ADHD as a factor. She seemed upset.

Now I feel that I have somewhat recovered mentally and I have no intentions of getting back together with her. But it feels strange to just leave this all behind. I really want the best for her since she is a fantastic person. But I really don´t know what to do. I guess my nagging will only make things worse. So...

Can someone guess what she feels right now? What is going on in her head? Does she feel bad? Does she feel guilt? Has she shut of her feelings? Does she have regrets?

I know she is really sorry for causing me this pain, and she has apologized, but then what? What will happen to her?

I have asked her to be completely honest with me but she appears to have shut down completely...

I only want the best for her, so what do I do? Is there anything at all that I ACTUALLY CAN do?

Advice warmly appreciated! Thanks.

I think this is a classic

I think this is a classic case of her "psyching" herself out--of not wanting to deal with the real world issues confronting your relationship--so she ran. She'd rather ignore you and have nothing to say because deep down, she's doesn't know how to deal with it all. My hubby did this while we were dating (he's the ADHDer). He had some traumatic events take place in his life and when he didn't move on in an appropriate fashion, I stop supporting him. I feel bad now, but I just didn't know how to sustain support over something I didn't understand. Well instead of talking to me about it, he struck up an online friendship (though it appeared that he was looking for more) with another girl. I discovered the messages and confronted him about it. We took a break for a week, wherein he decided that he didn't want to lose me. But he still didn't talk to me about the underlying issues. It wasn't until many years later when I was still exhibiting mistrust because of internet usage that he finally blew up and said that he was about to break up with me because I hadn't supported him the way I needed to during that time.

As for her desertion of you at social events, ADHDers are classic social butterflies. My hubby is one--he's loves being in the middle of a group, talking to people, etc. He feeds off the energy. I'm totally the opposite. I'm not more introverted; if you put me in a room with a bunch of people I'm going to be the wallflower. But because I've been this way all my life, I don't really expect him to alter his MO for me. We generally don't socialize together or when we do, it's with my friends and acquaintances so he is usually the one who doesn't know anyone.

My only advice is to step back and stop contacting her. If it's meant to be, she'll come back, if not, then let your heart heal and move on. It's hard to let go of someone--it was the one thing that kept me together with my hubby when things were very bad between us. Letting her go won't sound very appealing but if you are already having issues in your dating relationship, you just may have dodged a bullet so to speak. That may sound harsh, but it takes a special person to maintain a relationship with an ADHDer. Someone with equal parts thick skin and empathy. I'm getting better at it, but I still have my moments.

Hang in there and good luck.

I want the best for her...

Thanks a lot dazedandconfused, for sharing and for your advice!

The more posts I read, the more confident I am to leave her and move on, even if it hurts as hell. I really try to heal myself. Maybe I have to realize that she can never explain to me how she felt, how she feels now and what made her disconnect. I tend to stay in touch with my ex-girlfriends (NB! very occasionally, on a friendly basis) and I know why it didn´t work out in those cases. Sometimes it was me, sometimes her. No mysteries so to speak. Of course it is always painful to break up, but understanding the circumstances made it easier to move on. This just feels so different. I want answers so badly. And now she probably hates me for blaming our break up on her diagnosis rather than on her explanations (that I had to force her to mention).

The sad thing is that I can imagine how she suffers. When we broke up she cried and said that she probably will never be able to have a long-term relationship. Maybe it's true but I hope not, for her sake. I want to tell her that she deserves to be happy. I still remember her as a fantastic person...

I totally agree with the social events btw. My ex gf is extremely sociable, an excellent dancer and singer and she is always in the center of attention. As long as I was beside her, with her, I loved it. When she suddenly ignored me I got so confused. The most shocking for me was to be called "insecure", since I have always been the secure, confident one in my previous relationships. I have been the calm one, supporting and giving attention. All of a sudden I was the one who needed all this attention...

As I read recently, hyperfocus is a powerful thing! And when it ends... Well. It sucks.

When hyperfocus

When hyperfocus does indeed suck. :-)

I was already married when my husband's hyperfocus on me stopped. Talk about confusion! Newly married and your husband is putting up every excuse for not moving in with you! We were a commuter couple for the first six months and then when we did move in together...oh boy.

Like you, I'm generally confident and very independent. I would break up with guys that smothered me, so when Hubby turned the light out (so to speak), it really threw me for a loop.

I can tell that you have a big heart and I think any girl would be lucky to have you. Again, best of luck.

Thanks again,

Thanks again, dazedandconfused!

Best of luck to you too!


Ojah, I have almost exactly the same experience as you. And I still wonder: did he ever feel real love for me, or was he just "in love with infatuation"? How can a person one month propose to you, tell you how good you are for him, his angel who has changed his life - and two months later shut down completely, giving no other explanation than "My life is very tough right now". (Which is was, due to health problems.) I tried to stay in touch, to give friendly support and without pressure, but he stopped answering my calls and textmessages so I gave it up after a few weeks.

Like you I have good contact with former partners, and I understand why those relationships did not work out. But with this man it is a total mystery. My pain is almost gone but it still annoys me that I don't understand his actions. 

I wonder if he ever cared, if he ever misses me, since we were real close for 1,5 years. Are some people with adhd less capable of feeling real love, and of missing an ex partner for a longer time? Do they just move on and refocus on someone else, without feeling any loss and pain? Or do they feel the same pain but are used to hide their feelings due to earlier failures in relationships?

I sincerely hope I do not hurt anyones feelings with my questions, my only wish is to understand better. And I would be very grateful for some insight in these questions. And I apologize for my English, since it is not my first language.






Yes! Feelings?

Karinda, exactly. I couldn´t have expressed i better myself:

I too wonder if she ever misses me. Are some people with adhd less capable of feeling real love, and of missing an ex partner for a longer time? Do they just move on and refocus on someone else, without feeling any loss and pain? Or do they feel the same pain but are used to hide their feelings due to earlier failures in relationships? I sincerely hope I do not hurt anyones feelings with my questions, my only wish is to understand better. And I would be very grateful for some insight in these questions.


I want to believe that she felt real love for me but I keep asking myself how and what she really felt. I know she cared, but what was real and what was things she told me because she had learnt what to say and do to make me feel attached to her? It is so hard trying to understand that I cannot understand...

Btw. I'm no native English speaker either...

Best wishes!


I agree! But perhaps someone

I agree! But perhaps someone on this forum, with or without adhd/add can help us understand a little bit better. I would be most grateful.



Ojah, After reading your post


After reading your post it seems that you have an accurate and sober view of the now severed relationship.  You see things very clearly but it's your emotions that are still in a relationship with her.  To try and guess how she is feeling might be an attempt to deal with the residual pain of loss of what you consider to be a passionate relationship at one time.  It's NOT YOUR FAULT!  Let your emotions go.  The best is actually happening for both of you.  She made the decision to leave and it has nothing to do with anything that you did.  She was able to hyperfocus in the beginning but waned and focused on something else shortly after.  Not your fault. I know that you read up on some information about ADHD and that helped but the ADHD mind is complicated and unless your willing to FULLY understand what a non-ADHD partner has to negotiate with the ADHD mind it can be daunting to have a peaceful relationship.  She seems to understand how her ADHD plays a role in the educational/career arena but not the relationship arena.  Maybe in time she will have the focus to sustain more than one arena in the future but the truth is she couldn't hold it at this time with you and it's good that you were wise enough to move on.  Personally I agree with your decision to move on and form a relationship with someone whom is willing to journey with you fully and completely.  Just visit the marriage forum and ADHD to see how many people found out far into a marriage (after the shit hits the fan for the non-ADHD spouse) how difficult and taxing being in a relationship with an ADHD partner is! They are challenging and you have to ask yourself for SELF's sake, is this what you really want from a partner?  Keep reading about the ADHD person and maybe even some comments from them and you'll see even more deeply the dynamic as to how ADHD and non ADHD partnerships struggle.  Do you love yourself enough to let go of the negative emotional impact she has had on you and not worry about what she thinks of you?  You've done NO-THING wrong.  Let the feeling of 'But it feels strange to just leave this all behind' release and know that you are not alone in the feelings of loss. 

Harmony! Thanks. All this

Harmony! Thanks.

All this helps a lot. My rational side definitely agrees with that leaving her is the right choice, I just have to wait for my emotions to follow. I'm sure they will. And I keep telling myself I did nothing wrong.

And yes, I keep reading about ADHD. How painful it might feel right now I can´t deny it is extremely fascinating. 

About her relationships: I know she has been in a 2,5 year relationship. All she told me was that she had a history of meeting the wrong guys involved in crime and with lots of drugs, sex etc.

So... She always said I was so good for her, made her calm and secure, the best thing that ever happened to her and so on. From being the best thing that ever happened to someone to be cut off completely is another thing I'm working on letting go...

One thing that puzzles me

One thing that puzzles me about ADHD but certainly seems to be true, at least for my husband, is the fact that people with ADHD often combine intense self-focus with what I think of as a remarkable lack of self-awareness.  My husband doesn't remember things he has said a few moments before, he isn't aware of the effect of his behavior on other people, and so on.  It's very frustrating to deal with this given that he's a very intelligent person.  

That can be VERY frustrating

That can be VERY frustrating lol! And I'm lol because it is THAT puzzling and I'm pretty sure it can't be figured out and that's all I can do with that behavior is lol or I'd go insaaaaane!

Hello Ojah :) I hear you when

Hello Ojah :)

I hear you when you say it hurts to go from a big someone in a relationship to zip!  I have had similar experiences and I'm married!  'I love you so much and I would do anything for you' is his mantra but when it comes down to it he abandons ALL promises, intentions and so forth due to forgetfulness, disorganization etc.,etc.  I find I do everything----literally---- all from this wonderful condition labeled ADHD.  It left me feeling not heard, not cared for and not taken seriously.  I've tried everything under the sun to communicate but his stubbornness gets in the way or better put, his passive aggressiveness gets in the way.  He forgets or blames me for things.  He too takes meds but that isn't enough and he refuses or is incapable of finding ways to heal his issue.  I repeat HIS issue.  I've learned to let go and not take things personal, I HAD TO.  I've tried so gosh darn hard to make things work that I manifested late stage adrenal exhaustion and was 'forced' to see what I had to change in my life and the biggest revelation thus far is my response to his behavior. The day I realized that I was letting him define who I was was the most shocking realization. I've been so busy struggling by myself to make things work (too much to mention here) that I lost touch with my own life, dreams, desires and vision. The ADHD behavior is insidious and it dictated how the relationship was molded and sculpted.  My response HAD to change because I literally was on the death walk to an early grave.  As awful as this sounds I find it to be a huge relief to recognize the truth of what's going on.  The ADHD mind (not FULLY treated) has a hard time accepting responsibility for themselves let alone others.  This can make them appear cold and selfish.  But even bigger than that, what I discovered is, unless the person diagnosed with ADHD takes it seriously and does EVERYTHING in their power to change, relationships are severely compromised and/or they end.  I'm so glad to hear that you are allowing your energy in motion (emotions) to flow because they will be a thing of the past. Sounds to me like this experience has given you the awareness to make healthy decisions for yourself in future relationships :)-----Blessings!

I feel your pain.


I just went through this experience myself, though I was the one who ended the relationship. My ADHD boyfriend did the same thing - just completely shut off from me when things got tough. I didn't understand it while it was happening. I didn't understand why he wouldn't respond to my calls, texts, or emails. When he finally did, I told him that I couldn't do it anymore, and we ended our relationship.

He did come back to me. However, it's more confusing than you'd think. Of course, I missed him tremendously. I'd never felt so loved by a person - and I had literally begun planning a life with him. But now, he's putting a lot of pressure on me to get back together with him. I don't yet trust him, because how do you know if something won't happen again?

I should probably post on the main forum, but I wanted you to know that you are not alone. It is nothing you did. It is nothing you said. I have to believe that folks like you and I will be better off in the end, since the confusion and angst will eventually go away.


just the opposite for me

I'm trying to relate to some of these threads but my situation doesn't seem to be typical...  I am nearly 60 years old, diagnosed just 7 months ago, though to be honest, it wasn't a huge shocker.  I decided early on in my marriage I was not going to be a "nagger" - and think I've succeeded.   However, I'm also a "fixer" and a "pleaser".   We've never taken "responsibility" for any specific chores, they just fell into place - MY place.  my husband has had some health issues and had major surgery with a post-operative problem that put him in the hospital for a month.  For the last year, I've accepted responsibility for everything...mowing, cleaning, preparing meals - all the household stuff (even cleaned the roof last summer because it needed it and clearly HE wasn't going to do it).  I've always been the bill payer - though my husband has instilled the importance of getting them paid ON TIME so as not to destroy our credit rating.   He is not frequent with thank you's, or praise, but quick to say with disgust, "who left THIS mess"...   I feel like he really does not need a wife, he needs a maid.  I can handle the chores and bills and have for over 30 years.  I've had a good job for nearly 40 years.  I've been responsible.  I feel great about that.  I do not feel confident or comfortable about "me" - and feel it's 'my fault" if he can't find the slip of paper he was looking for.  When these feelings came out 25 years ago, my doc put me on antidepressants.  That worked - i just didn't care that I didn't care.  Then I went off them.   Then I was diagnosed.   Realized I probably should have been on ADD meds instead for all these years.  Now, I just blow up at my hubby when he says something like that.  I've not been able to say, it's time for you to do this yourself...I just keep pushing to take care of him and feel guilty when I fail.  Working on changing meds, but, i just feel like such a mess.   I don't feel suicidal, but I must say, I GET IT, why some people just run away.  We have great, wonderful times - then, I'll say "I really need some time to myself" and he'll come home later with a movie, thinking it would be nice to just "hang out"...what the ????     We can't seem to talk anymore, much less listen.    I'm babbling...i'm sorry.

Tlee, thanks for sharing! I'm

Tlee, thanks for sharing!

I'm curious. Can you describe how you feel when you say you "really need time for yourself"? My ex girlfriend "warned me" that she sometimes "really needed time for herself". My response was, of course! Who doesn't? I like to spend time alone and I believe it is important. But what I didn´t understand was the magnitude. My definition of being for myself seems to be so very different...