Social issues and forgetting

I am new to this site,but was glad to find it. I am looking for any suggestions as I am feeling at the end of my rope.I have been living with my boyfriend for a year and a half.This ADD thing is new to me and with my boyfriend having it,I can totally relate to these blogs,what the books say,etc.We struggle with his anger,forgetting things and socially he is embarrasing me. He is not on any form of medication first off.Nothing.I think that is our first no wonder.We are waiting for his insurance at work to kick in and then he said he would try something.So I am holding my breath for that hoping it will help.I have been told to wait until he gets insurance before getting the meds otherwise it will be considered pre-existing,etc.We have worked on the ADD workbook,but he forgets what he read.Is medication the ticket to this disability? The anger issues are from out of nowhere.He will wake up mad at the world,go off about things that normally a person wouldn't get upset about and blames a lot of things on everyone else.However,give him a half hour to cool off and he comes back apologizing and says he knows he has some things he needs to work on and will try to change. The memory thing.Last month,he forgot to look at his gas tank and ran out of gas twice in a month and I had to drive 15 miles to give him gas on the interstate and was late for work.He mistakingly has taken my keys with him to work a handful of times while moving my car out of the way.He forgot the cat in the garage over night with poisons,gas fumes,etc for the cat to get into.He has lost his credit cards,keys,sunglasses,left our cooler with belongings at the lake,etc,etc,etc!! Some of these things all happened within 12 hours! So here I am thinking...if this guy can't take care of is he going to take care of our kids someday??What if he forgets the kid in the car on a hot day to get groceries??What if he forgets to pick up the kid from daycare??I am concerned for the safety of a child! So does medication help with helping to remember this stuff? This ADD thing is tolerable until it starts affecting me,my work,our house,his work...basically things that will mean the demise of a family life and all that goes with it.It is so exhausting,frustrating to be in this relationship.Then when I ask him about why couldn't you remember to do..whatever...he gets mad at me and says..."Well if you didn't pack so much stuff...Well you need to help me to remember!!"(Babysitting!! Is it not?) It certainly looses the attractiveness in the relationship real quick.You feel like a parent. Then there is the social issue.God forgive me for saying this...but I am getting to the point I am ashamed of his actions so much around family and friends that I try to avoid it.Either not see them as much or him not be around,etc.I get tired of the "looks" from people.The huh?? He says things that are not socially appropriate,talks about contraversial subjects,goes on and on and doesn't stop talking,gives people a blank look when they try to be sarcastic with him,gets tired a lot and will fall asleep during movies with couples,etc. It is embarrasing.People have actually asked me what is wrong with him...they say..."Something is not right with him,but I cannot put my finger on it." So how do I handle this part of it?Do I outwardly tell people,"Well that is because he has ADD?" How have any of you dealt with this?People can tell that he is slow,etc and is this more of me having the problem and just not worry about what others think or?? Thank you for any advice..I am not afraid to hear whatever you have to say,I am desperate!!
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been there, done issues and forgetting

Ad Friend f2add : Friends and Family of Adults with ADHD me begin by saying that i met my husband in 2001, lived together from 2002, married in 2006. one year into our relationship, (2002) he told me that he had been diagnosed with ADD for the past ten years (this number is of course ambiguous as an ADD'ers' concept of time is questionable). at the time i told him that the reason i would not want to get married was two-fold: one, my fear that if we had kids with ADHD that i would "loose it"; two, i needed time to learn about ADHD (i have since immersed myself in everything on the subject, books, cd's, social networks, podcasts, etc.) so that i may know how to react when "ADD moments" are evident....and despite all this information overload, sadly, it has been a daily i am human with REAL emotions!!! i resolved to take it "one day at a time." we've tried so many ways to deal with ADHD and our relationship. we have had a neurologist (whom he hasn't seen since we got married!), an ADD coach (whom he stopped seeing because he didn't like that he felt degraded---mind you, it was the ONLY TIME we made progress!), was evaluated for the DORE program (i actually met with winford dore himself!), signed up with a local C.H.A.D.D. chapter, and met with several therapists---count them six (6)! translation: social workers who had no idea what CHADD was, (i.e. children and adults with attention deficit/ hyperactivity disorder) much less ever focused their practice on adults with ADD! at one point we were going to the neurologist, ADD coach and the marriage therapist/ social worker ALL at the same time! he decided to stay with the social worker, who on the first session (which i attended, only followed by two more!) said, "i'm sorry, i don't think i can help you." he's still with the same marriage therapist/ social worker, and sees him at least once a week. it's been almost two years since that first session! what have i learned so far? => EDUCATION i had to educate myself on ADHD: knowledge is power. dr. h's "driven to distraction" and "delivered from distraction" is a must-read. start there. if you intend to stay in this relationship, get your own copy of these books, i have the cd's and have to constantly refer to them every so often. there are podcasts and blogs, and other online resources. => ACCEPTANCE i too used to be ashamed of his inappropriate comments (mistaken as rudeness), but i've learned to accept that as part of my husband as a whole person. i have become a champion for my husband around strangers or some acquaintance who give "the look", and as soon as i start a litany of my husband's accomplishments, then they are in awe of him. you need to re-direct their sarcasm (as this will be a part of your life if you choose to take this relationship to the next level) towards his tendency to "keep talking on and on," or discussing inappropriate subjects, by changing the subject yourself. i remember the day i introduced him to a distant cousin of mine (whom i had not seen for years), and he asked him whether his 11 year old son had ever been in prison! my cousin replied that he didn't think that it was an appropriate question. to which i chimed in, you know when my hubby and i met, he described himself as: never been married, no kids, and never been in jail. a good sense of humor goes a long way! when we need to leave a gathering (for whatever reason) we say, "we forgot to feed our cat, sorry we have to go." (it's something that he agreed he will remember, and it has to be the same every time! we've learned to associate that phrase with "we have to go leave, NOW!") subtlety like a nudge did not work for us, or even me pointing towards the door was ignored! => ORGANIZE: YOU need to (help him) be organized! but have FUN with it! be flexible! as an aside, we used to have a yellow sticky on our front door, kitchen door, the ref, kitchen cabinets, etc. the note read " close the door!" the add coach recommended to hang a $50 bill by the door, so that every time he forgot to close the door i got to keep the $50! to address forgetfulness, we have assigned a "house" for everything, literally! (too many to mention, but here's a few) we have assigned a house for shoes (we have a shoe rack in the backdoor, and one in the foyer). we have a drawer for him to put his wallet, cellphone and checkbook (the stuff goes in when he gets back from work, and he takes them out before he leaves for work). note: that things will "walk away"....translation, he will take something from it's house and walk away and set it down somewhere and forget. if that's the case, ask him, where was the last time you saw it and re-trace your steps. if he doesn't remember, give it some TIME (if it's not urgent that you find the item, give it time to re-surface!) or, if it's reasonable, get another to replace it (he has collected a whole box of nail clippers, pens, and music tuners!) we have a ceramic dog for his eyeglasses. and i have him wear an eyeglass holder to string around his neck for his extra pair of glasses. for his keys we have him hang it on a stand that holds our baseball caps (mostly mine, but we share them!), an umbrella and an everyday purse. we''ve divided the stand to the upper part as his area, and the lower part as mine. like your scenario, he too has taken my car keys by mistake and i had to take the train to retrieve them from him at work! we have a house for his dirty clothes hanging next to the door by the closet. every friday i empty the clothes hanger and sort it into our clothes sorter to wash. the linen closet is organized such that the towels are in one place and he knows that when he needs one he knows where to go (instead of yelling from the top of his lungs from the shower asking for a towel!) i've organized his closet to have shirts and matching ties good for two weeks, casual pants are hung together, jeans are together, and formal pants are hung together. polo shirts are hung, but the rest of the casual shirts are neatly folded divided between whites and printed. his sock drawer is organized between black socks (which he knows never to use during non-work days, and white socks which he can wear on non-work days, and wicking socks (he ran the marathon for the first time and accumulated them). for loose change we have a bottle that he empties them into....i used to find them all over the place! i still do, but not as often. a simple daily routine helps too (this, he actually came up on his own as it grew out of necessity). every night before we sleep, he prepares his clothes (i.e. takes out the matched outfit from the closet and hangs it by the door), he takes a shower in the morning, puts on his clothes, eats his breakfast, puts out my breakfast and feeds the cat. this came about because i used to pretend to stay away from his morning rush (when we lived together he had the habit of waiting until his alarm clock rang for the third time and had a minute to spare to rush out of the door!). when we got married, we started the routine of putting out his clothes, preparing the tie on the shirt, etc, before we went to bed to give him extra time to actually enjoy breakfast and leisurely take the time to go to work (less stress). we have a mini black board to write on. one time he forgot to write that he had fed the cat, so she got two breakfasts that day! when i go out with my girlfriends, i write the food that's been prepared on that board to make sure he knows not to buy any fastfood. note: add'ers have to eat non-processed food as much as possible. dr. h. has a list of food don't's in his book. medication, exercise and counseling combine to help an add'er. we share an online calendar to organize parties, holidays and special dates! most of the time it works, but just like anything else, stuff happens. one time i had an event that he volunteered for six months in advance that i plugged in, and the week of the event he ended up having a job conflict and was unable to attend. since then, we've agreed that if we need to put something on the calendar, the person responsible for the event has to put the info in themselves and not have the other partner do it just to save time. things will not always be chaotic, look forward to the days when everything is at peace, cherish them as they are fleeting in the add world. add'ers are the sweetest most loving partners you will ever have, they will shower you with attention you have never felt before. there are good days and there are bad. remember the good days and (try to) forget the bad. take care of yourself, your health (i lift weights and blow off steam this way!), and have an outlet, a passion, a hobby (i blog and edit videos), go out with your girlfriends when things get too emotional and take yourself away from the situation before it escalates into a shouting match. there is a tendency for co-dependence (which we're currently working on) but just remember to treat your add partner the way you would want to be treated yourself. he is an adult blessed with adhd. good luck and the best to you and your future with your adhd partner!


Thank you! Your information is very helpful and is soo comforting to know that others are going through the same thing! Those out there with more experience than I to ADD is especially helpful because they have as you say...been there,done that.Thanks again and I will get that book you spoke of!
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(glad to be) Helpful!

Ad Friend f2add : Friends and Family of Adults with ADHD you're welcome! when i was in your shoes, i hesitated to seek help and kept it to myself like a deep dark secret. it took me five long years before i spoke of ADHD to anyone (partly because DH requested i do so), don't make the same mistake! first i started with my mom and dad, then told my BFF of 17 years....she was so sympathetic and surprised i was not comfortable enough to open up to her much earlier! make sure you have a group of especially strong emotional support to surround you---whom you can count on to calm your nerves when the ADD moments come, and they will. when you get the book, don't overthink it (yet another mistake i made then!), just keep reading voraciously. when you're done, read it again for a second time and start making notes. then, take a break! after a few days, or a week, get back to the book and read it again with your notes. good luck and happy reading!

Thank you for your

Thank you for your comment.Again..good to know others are going through this too. The social thing I have found is full of emotions.You get mad at them because you feel like they should know better,grow up,act there age,not be so rude,etc,etc.Then you feel guilty for thinking those thoughts because they have ADD and say to yourself you need to be more kind,compassionate and patient with them.Then you may choose to explain to your company that your with,why it is he left,stormed off or whatever and that he really is a kind person who you love and support and they have this look on there face that is questionable because his behavior is "socially different".So then your frustrated and may have that gut wrenching feeling in your stomach of "what others think."You want to go home and yell and scream at him,but you can't,so you internalize it and stuff it.That is where I am at which is not healthy and this is what I am to deal with this all in a more educated,calm,mature,patient way.Yet it can be hard. However the thing that keeps me in the relationship is what the person in the previous comment said...It is a love like you have not experienced before and the compassionate..."other loving things they do" that remind me of why I love him.So I have to remember that.

your comments were super helpful

thank you for that extensive post--it was super helpful! My DH is also ADHD, on meds for a few years now and we have our house pretty well organized so we do pretty well. I have a list of what we will eat for dinner each night in my planner and if he is beating me home at night I leave the recipe and any non-fridge items out on the counter. I have a white board calendar that I change for each month that helps a ton, plus I email him plans during the day so they can go right into his blackberry calendar. even if he neglects to put them into his calendar, I at least am not accused of not telling him something!!! one big problem we continue to have is his terrible memory, both for things I have told him and things he tells me. some of the biggest fights we have are over information he swears he told me and I know darn well he didn't, or something I know I told him and he claims not to have received. How do others handle this? If it's not crucial I let it go--better to be kind than right (song lyrics!!), but sometimes it's a big problem. ditto trying to get information out of him. It can take me 32 questions to get a simple answer out of him--why is that? the biggest fight we have had in recent history was over what time his softball game was. the crux of it was when I asked on Monday he didn't know yet and told me the time would be posted by Wednesday but when I asked on Thursday he still didn't know--not because it wasn't posted but because he hadn't checked. How hard is that? It took me about 20 minutes to get to he hadn't checked yet. That stuff is hard to live with. anyway, thanks for all the help! dana and hubby

softball games and calendars

One idea for the softball game issue - put him in charge of everything that has to do with his softball game. If he doesn't check, and misses the game, it is his issue, not yours. If you are trying to schedule around that game (to take kids to it or something) is there a way that you can find out the info without the frustrating process of going through him to get it? Perhaps he can have you put on the team email distribution list (but no "aiding" him by then scheduling for him!!) or perhaps he can give you the website address where you could look it up? This gives him autonomy, while it also gives you yours. Your ideas for organizing sound great, by the way. Melissa Orlov

I am so with you on the

I am so with you on the social issues. . When we go to social settings my husband follows me around and waits for me to start talking aobut something, then interupts and takes over my conversation and goes on and on. He is also a poor listener. He will tell his loooooong story and then when someone goes to tell their story he starts figeting with something or sometimes actually walks away. I too avoid taking my husband places. Its hurting our relationship. I hate that we have no couples that we can hang out with. My husband has not been tested yet. I finally talked him into getting tested after 5 years of telling him he is ADHD. I cant wait. I have a daughter from a previous marriage. So, I know the signs. I have no doubt. He has all the symptoms of adhd from talking excessivlely, interupting, cant do his job for more then 2 hrs with out getting up and leaving the office, he has no friends, says inappropriate things, gets mad easily, thin skinned, etc. AND the big one which I just read. For the last year my husband has been having a hard time finishing during sex. I couldnt believe it when I read that they have a hard time concentrating. That is so him.

Yes,you certainly go through

Yes,you certainly go through the emotions with them.You feel like they should grow up,act their age and just plain know better.You feel embarrassed because of their actions and/or what they said or how they stormed off,etc.Then your left with the people your with and how they feel about it,as they usually have that questionable look on there face and maybe even feel your with a jerk of a guy,so you may choose to explain his actions to them.You know it doesn't do any good to yell and scream at your partner,when really that is what you would like to do,so then you may keep it inside,which causes total frustration,etc. So in the same way our partners have bad do we.Somedays I deal with his actions better than others.Don't get me isn't all the time we go out that it is like this either.Honestly,sometimes I wonder too that we women are really good at being overly concerned of "what people think of us" and therefore portray it onto our partners.Not to be taken the wrong way,but really....I have often wondered if I look at myself...that I probably have my own self esteem issues and if I felt better about myself that maybe his actions wouldn't bother me so much and "what others think."I think that is true of a lot of things in life and I have to remind myself of that.Granted it is a fine line.If he is acting all out rude to others...that is different.However I have come to realize that maybe I do make too much of it sometimes too and like the comment below...we sometimes need to back off.Honestly,there is a lot of comfort and relief in that.You will find my reply to the comment below.

social issues, forgetting, and anger

Lots here...I read somewhere that research about love suggests that the amount of time needed for the initial infatuation with someone to wear off is about two years...wish I had kept that reference!  In any event, your timing fits!

Seriously, you need to step back.  The advice given by one of our readers further down in this forum area is very good, and can give you an idea of how one couple has dealt with some of the exact same issues that you have, at least organizationally.  But you have bigger issues, too, which are emotional.  The big question is this one for you - can you not only accept, but appreciate, your partner for who he is, right now?  Understand that medications and changes in behavior may make things better for you at times, but there will inevitably be times that are much harder for you than what you are going through now.  Do you have enough love and appreciation for your partner to make it through those times, too?

ADD will certainly continue to affect you, as long as you are in a relationship with someone who has it.  It can be wonderful at times (read all of the people who write here about how warm and loving their ADD spouse is when things are good) as well as awful (all of the posts from people who are tearing their hair out).

The social issue may be a good test case for you.  I would suggest approaching this from two angles.  First, accept your partner, and his opinions, as part of him.  Second, talk with him about ADHD and how people with ADHD usually don't have great skills at reading the emotional cues around them.  So it is likely that if others are squirming at things he is saying, he may not see it.  My husband and I used to have a code.  If I gave him a certain look, or a certain phrase, it meant that it was time for him to disconnect.  If he didn't take my cue (and it's his choice whether to do this or not) then I would politely excuse myself and go elsewhere if it was possible to do so without making an embarassing scene for everyone.  With time, we need to use these cues less, as he has learned to better read others and, quite frankly, as our relationship has calmed down we both find that he puts himself in embarassing situations less often.  I note that the long post that follows this also includes "cues" from the non-ADD spouse when things get dicey as one of their agreed upon coping mechanisms.  This only works, though, if you both agree that it's okay to do this.

I say "test case" for you, because if you can't work through this, then you will most likely have difficulty working through many of the other issues that will come your way in the future.

You should not be in a position to be "making excuses" for your partner.  He is who he is.  Which isn't to say he shouldn't seek further help.  It sounds as if he should - this isn't just about the two of you - it's about how he gets along in the social world, how he finds a good, strong support network (whether or not you are part of it) and what kind of adult he is going to be.  Will he take the bull by the horns, and seek assistance?  There's no embarassment, in my view, in wanting to "do better" in your skills.  Lots of people take communications courses, presentation courses, sales skills courses and the like to improve how they present themselves in the business one says that you have to have learned all of your personal skills by a certain age, either.  No, life is all about learning, and growing.  So, encourage him to do some sort of self assessment (and professional assessment, too, as soon as the insurance thing is in place).  But please stop thinking of him as incomplete, or somehow broken.  He is a fully formed person...someone who, like all of us, is in the continuous learning process called "life".

You, too, are in that learning process called life.  Look into yourself, and see what you think your tolerances are.  It may be that this is not the right partner for you.  If not, this is a good time to figure that out.  Or, you may discover that you have a different set of skills than you currently think you do, and that you are more comfortable in this situation than you thought.

As for forgetting.  Set some boundaries.  You should be able to help him brainstorm what systems may work for jogging his memory, but it is NOT your job to help him remember things.  No, in fact you CANNOT make it your job, or you will find that you become a secretary, rather than a partner.  Set some clear boundaries, offer ideas for how to organize whenever it seems relevant, but DON'T set yourself up for the next step in the "it's your job to help me stay organized" disaster, like one of our other readers, who found herself getting chewed out by her husband when he forgot his sunglasses...

Meds can help a lot with the forgetting issues (by improving focus), but he'll definitely have to put some systems in place.  Again, see the post below.

Good luck to you!

Melissa Orlov

Thank you for your honesty.It

Thank you for your honesty.It helps to have people tell me how I am coming across in the situation and how to handle it as it makes me feel grounded.Sometimes you feel like your going crazy,being a "you know what" and just plain want to pull your hair out. I think especially for those of us early on in these relationships who know nothing about ADD behaviors and then when you mix that in with a partner who knows little or nothing of his own diagnosis or actions,or what it means to have just makes it all very frustrating,confusing,hurtful and full of misunderstandings.I think people have an advantage when they come into a relationship with someone who admits upfront..."I have ADD and this is how I may get sometimes,etc."Also if they are taking meds,seeking help,etc.That is the ticket...they have to be willing to help themselves and if you have a partner who does that...that is huge! It is when we get into these "mothering" roles that things change.I find it takes so much of the romance out of it.I also have a problem with this underlying resentment and anger towards him...HUGE! I am trying really hard to deal with that by not only educating myself but taking care of myself. Here is another thing that may be helpful that I have found lately.....As much as the education of ADD and reading all of these books has been helpful...I have also found it creates and brings up the anger and depression about the situation for me.It can be downright depressing to read about all that goes with ADD.So I put a time limit on it.I will read some and then go exercise.I think you can get really caught up in focusing so much on every little thing they do and being ready to pounce on"Oh...there is another ADD thing!" That it frustrates both of you. You really need to stop focusing sooo much on them and take care of yourself.Have friends you can do things with.Exercise,eat right,relax,pamper yourself and don't always read about ADD.I think it is so easy to get caught up in..."How can I fix/help them today" mode.So I have learned to stop that entirely.Otherwise it is this vicous cycle. It is reassuring to everyone to just give yourself a break from it sometimes.I have found at this point in waiting for his insurance,waiting for the meds,waiting until I can make peace about a right decision to stay in the relationship or not,etc,etc that some space away from him and to do some soulsearching is exactly what I need for the best for both of us. Thank you again for your comment.