Please tell me there is hope for us!!! Can two ADD people work in a relationship? Can an ADD relationship do a 180%?

Good Morning,

I posted this a couple of days ago (I am new here) and got some good advice from Sherri. I am re-posting as I feel my long post may have been overwhelming and because, after reading a lot of other posts, I want to make sure my post doesn't come off as ADD bashing. Here goes:


Right now I am at my wits end. I love the person I am with but am not convinced the state of our relationship is healthy. He is a great guy (loving, kind, supportive and always ready to sacrifice).

The flip side of that is that I almost never understand him. We have a TOTALLY different perspective on how the mind processes (or should process) everyday life. With that as a challenge combined with the fact that there are many 'error' filled days (important things lost, promises made and not followed through ect) small things have become major.

I started researching and found out that we BOTH most likely have ADD. (Well I am most likely ADHD). Neither of us have been officially diagnosed but I am in the process of trying to locate someone who does Cognitive therapy that is also covered under insurance.

Right now we are in peril. I feel we both are resentful with the dynamics of our relationship and neither of us are happy. He feels that I treat him like he is a child (which is true) but I feel like his mother. Neither of us want these dynamics.

I am not really sure what to do! I fear he will not stick with treatment (due to religious views) and if medication is needed (which I believe it is) I feel that his family may talk him out of sticking with it. We are not married. I feel, though, that in order for us to get married I have to SEE tangible evidence over time that the ADD/ADHD will not make our lives so dysfunctional I am afraid to bring children in the world.

The stress of it all has caused me to gain 34 pounds and I am having a hard time wanting to be intimate (not sex per say but just being close at all!!!). It just doesn't feel right. I am wondering if this is normal in ADD relationships?

When I met him I thought he was the answer to YEARS of prayers! I am 29 (he is 26) and we both have never been married and have no children.  Initially things were great! I appreciated how patient he was and that he was so willing to sacrifice.

Now... It seems like we are tangled in some co-dependant web with no known way to get out. I've learned that boundaries are VERY important to me and he has trouble with them. I have learned that open/honest communication are very important to me and he prefers to use diplomacy or generalizations to avoid situations that are uncomfortable.

I am sure some of that is a result of him seeing my constant disappointment and I don't want to hurt him (which I am sure I have) but to be honest I fear a life of falsehood... Where someone can't even face the reality of themselves. I fear having children with someone who hasn't shown they can be very responsible for themselves.

Is there any hope? Or should I just move on and pray we both find someone more compatible? I really don't know but I am having trouble sleeping, having constant migraines and my stomach aches daily. I don't want to throw in the towel when their is still hope for a beautiful future but don't want to waste any more time if there is not.

I appreciate your feedback! I also hope I can hear from any experts on this site because I really feel very close to a nervous breakdown!

Two ADD couple

First, yes, there is hope for you but you do need to work through how you will better communicate and relate to each other - and fast!  But learning about ADHD and its role in your lives can change your relationship completely.

So, first advice - read my book!  It will take you through the steps as well as give your partner a reason to be thinking about this.

Second - get full evaluations, don't just assume you have ADHD.  If you are officially diagnosed then you will have access to a full array of treatments, which is important in taking responsibility for making the changes necessary to get out of bad habits.  CBT is good, but meds and CBT are shown to be more effective and one, or both of you, could benefit.

Third - use learning conversations (see my book) to understand why he has changed his conversational style, what makes the two of you uncomfortable, and how you can start getting around these things.  Open conversation, even about difficult topics, is a MUST in these relationships.  You need to both be able to openly say "I had an ADHD moment there!" or "I feel as if I'm overwhelmed" or "I'm having trouble with X"  If your relationship isn't safe to be able to express yourself and be accepted by your partner you will have trouble.  (This is true of any relationship, not just an ADHD relationship, but the pitfalls that the ADHD adds makes it doubly important!)

Fourth - start to think in terms of creating external structures that can organize your lives to get the chores done and make sure logistics don't bring down your relationship.  This is particularly important in two-ADHD partner relationships.  You DON'T have to create a system that might work for a non-ADHD person - your system can be whatever works for you.  But SOME sort of system that gets the bills paid on time and keeps the house from being a disaster zone is very useful.

Fifth - Avoid, at all costs, getting into a parent/child nagging relationship.  Just don't go there.  Replace "disappointment" with "empathy" and a desire to partner together to create a "good enough" system around whatever it is that is disappointing you currently.

That's a start.  Hope it helps!

Melissa thank you!

It is good to know there is still hope! As someone pointed out, due to the level of frustration in some posts, sometimes it is easy to forget!!!

It may take a while for me to replace disappointment with empathy but I will seek ways to do this! To me, it seems that when the behavior is modified, I won't be disappointed anymore.

I am not seeking to major in minors... Just that minors (because of the level of excess) have now become major. I kind of hold my breath regularly in hopes that "today is a different day".

Again it is NOT my intention to bash, hurt his feelings or place him in child role, so something has to change... However it is also my intention to feel we are equal partners and both being fulfilled.

For me what I want/need is 100% honesty, a long term commitment to behavior modification (with tangible results) and to feel that I am in a partnership where I am able to trust that we both are having our needs met. In addition honoring each others' boundaries are VERY important to me for, what I feel, is the health of our relationship.

I don't want to live a life of disappointment and feel there is no trust... Or that their CAN'T be trust because tasks are unable to be completed, promises fulfilled and organized.

I hope things do turn around!!! I really do!