It's been 3 weeks since I broke up with my boyfriend. It's been hell for me because I still love him so much. I've been searching for answers every second. Finally when I read all the posts here about dating an ADHD man, all the questions are answered.
He is a very special man. Unlike some other ADHD people who fail academically, my ex was very intelligent, smart, did well in school, went to college in Cambridge and did his PhD in Princeton. He was so handsome, so well dressed and so classic. These were my first impression of him. He was wonderful on paper, and 10 years older than me, and financially independent. I went into the relationship admiring and worshiping him, thinking how lucky I was to have come across a man like that, hoping it would be an easy relationship for me.
But it was not. And now breaking up with him is even harder.
I didn't know he had ADHD until a few month into our relationship. I still don't know how seriously his ADHD is and how much ADHD has contributed to our relationship failure. But anyway things were REALLY GOOD in the beginning. He paid so much attention to me, took me around doing all sorts of wonderful things, and called me/text me everyday before I could think of contacting him. It was a wonderful feeling of being treated so well and someone focusing so much attention on me. I was so happy!
Meanwhile I also started to observe some of his weird behavior at some point. We decided to go on a trip abroad 2 month after dating. It almost drove me crazy during the preparation of the trip. It was just soooo difficult to get him to plan/organize the trip and get things booked. So I offered to take over the booking and organizing, but we just could'nt negotiate a fixed plan because he was constantly checking out new travel information and putting off booking flight/hotels even though time was very very tight. Also I started to realize he has problems organizing his life. He was ALWAYS at least 5 minutes late during our 10 months of dating, and forgets things all the time. His room is always in a mess, especially pieces of tiny paper scattered everywhere with his writings/ideas on them. It takes him a long time to do anything, and he gets distracted easily. When we finally went on the trip, things were good and bad at times. A lot of times we would go to a tourist attraction and he would just wander off with his own camera, leaving me behind following him.
I didn't really connect all these behavior to any abnormal health conditions back then. I just thought he was really nerdy, and most very very smart nerdy people have all sorts of weird behaviors. At that time he still paid so much attention to me and constantly talked about marriage, children, the wonderful future life we would have together.....So I sort of ignored the small things and fell in love with him.
Speaking of falling in love, he was so loveable! He was so smart, his mind was brilliant, he was deep, and very artistic. He gave me moments of romance that were too romantic to be true. He gave me so much compliments and made me feel so special and cherished. I felt like he was the most beautiful soul in the world.
The ADHD issue came in when I was deeply in love with him. That is probably why I didn't really realize it at that time. One night in his room, I found Ritalin on his desk. I've never seen it before so I asked him what is was. He seemed to not make a bit deal with it and told me it was something to help him focus and stay organized. I asked him if it's serious, he said it barely made any difference. He said he only took one pill every 1-2 weeks. He seemed to talk about the issue in such a light manner that I didn't get too worried. I went home later and looked up the medicine and knew it was for ADHD. But still I thought he only had problems focusing on minor things and it shouldn't affect other parts of his life. So I quickly forgot about the issue.
Good times in our relationship went on for around 4-6 months until suddenly he became really depressed for a whole week. He was so emotionally disconnected and I could barely talk to him. He was so depressed, couldn't focus during conversations, and was falling asleep all the time. When I asked him what happened, he just said that he was sorting out old photos and had to process some emotions. After a week he got back to his original self.
But from that time on our relationship started to fail. He wasn't as happy or enthusiatic with me as before. He invited me to his best friend's wedding but when the actual date approached he just silently disinvited me. When I questioned him about it, he said he became unsure about our relationship. He said he felt there were still things that don't fit together, and there were things till missing in me he was looking for. That made me feel really bad. I felt assessed and inspected.
He still stayed together for another 2-3 months afterwards. We still did things together, but his enthusiasm faded. He said we didn't do enough cultured things or intellectual things together, and he is starting to get bored with me. He didn't call or text me as often, and barely came to see me. I tried all sorts of ways to do exciting/intellectual things with him, but he was just not interested or focused anymore. In the end he said we were not a good match, and he wants a more intellectually compatible girl for him. However all this while he didn't bring up the ADHD topic, he just said that it's very difficult for highly-intelligent and over-educated people like him to find the compatible girl.
At this point I felt so bad. I felt I was worth nothing, I felt I was not good enough for him. Funny enough, I'm not just an ordinary girl working in a pub or selling burgers in KFC. I'm doing a PhD in one of the best universities in the world. I know about science, art, history, culture, politics etc. I have broad spectrum of interests and know how to socialize with people. He specializes in a narrow spectrum of interests and is VERY good at them, and even though I'm not as good as him in those aspects, I could still understand and appreciate how good he was. However that was not enough for him. He wanted more.
What really hurt me was how I was a victim in our relationship. In the beginning he said he like me because I'm caring, traditional and knew about life. During this process he did really bad things to me including restricting my diet (I'm 164cm, 63kg, that's not fat is it?), allowing me to eat nothing but salad when we go out, and never walked me home after midnight (even though I clearly told him I was afraid). He also said many many things about how it would be good if I became a school teacher or do a part time job after we got married. Imagin me hearing that as a PhD student in a world top 5 university!
Despite all the shit I took from him, I still loved him so much. His depth and genius was too attractive. For a while I thought I was ready to become what he want me to be as long as I could be with him. Even after he became impatient with me and started to critize me, I still thought I could bear with all that because I loved him so much. But in the end the last straw was when he said "you have a lot of valuable qualities that matters to others and to the world, but they are worth nothing to me". After hearing that I forced him to say the break-up word.
2 weeks post breakup I searched for answered. I analyzed all the details in our relationship to see what went wrong, and I just couldn't understand why all of a sudden he lost interest and optimism in me and in us. Then I suddenly remember the little detail about the Ritalin tablets I found on his desk. Then I looked for articles about ADHD and relationships, and now I think I've found the answer.
Most articles are about the difficulties concerning these relationships, but there are also some others saying nice encouraging things. However most people living a happy life with a ADHD partner realize the problem, their partner realize the problem too, and they work together to cope. However when I look back on my ex, he was too intelligent, his academic life and career was too smooth that he didn't realize the downside or seriously of his ADHD aside from the fact that he can't focus and stay organized. His ADHD affected our relationship, but he was not able to realize that and he put all the blame on me, on how I was not the right girl and how I was intellectually incompatible with him. A little bit of him realizes his problems, but he simply puts it as "impatience".
It's a pity that his talent and intelligence blinded him about his mental defects. And it came to hurt me, a caring selfless intelligent girl who was willing to give him a happy normal life.
I hope people would read about my story and give me some genuine advice. How do I get over the fact that I still love him so deeply for all his good? What should I do? What if I get into a new relationship with a nice, warm caring guy, but that guy is never as smart or deep as him and I would never be satisfied?
Geniune advice please! My soul is really troubled!