Still dating, but at a crossroads with ADD - advice sought

I'm in a relationship that's on the rocks, partially due to my ADD. I'm looking for some advice from people who have been through something like this before.

I'm turning 30 in March, and have been dating a wonderful woman for three years. We've been living together for most of the time, but just before Christmas she strayed from the relationship. I found out and forced her to move out around the new year. She didn't cheat, but it was a breech of trust, to say the least.

After things blew up, we started going to counseling, and her concerns finally came out. I learned she's been distraught about my apathy for finding a new job. (I'm a newspaper reporter who's being forced to find a new career becaue of the decline in the newspaper industry). Apparently I make her feel like she can't broach difficut topics with me for fear I'll belittle her concerns or get upset at them. And sometimes I'll act rudely in social situations with her familiy and friends. At a wedding recently, I wasn't feeling up to partying and dancing, so I went and sat by myself. She interpreted that as rude. At Christmas dinner with her family,  I just had to take out the iPhone and read the news after three hours of talking with people I hardly knew.

She never brought up these concerns over the last year or so because she felt like she couldn't get through to me. She's a very bright, naturally driven person who might be pursuing a PhD in the fall. She's also a speech therapist, so she has some idea about how ADD affects kids, and is a very understanding person. But it's understandable that even the most understanding people in the world can give up if they don't see any other way to go.

A week or two ago I was formally diagnosed with ADD, and I'm learning that some of my traits she's complaining about can be atributed to ADD. Somtimes I say sarcastic or rude things to her, and ocasionally I have an outburst, although I think it's fairly rare. I attributed my lack of proactive career hunting to a confused time in my life and a terrible economy, although perhaps ADD contributed to it. In some social situations I appear withdrawn from the conversation, and if it goes on for a long time I'll even take out the iPhone and start reading the news (it was probably a bad idea for me to get the iPhone. It's pretty addictive). It all appears connected to this condition. I've been struggling with these things for my entire life, and have gotten fairly good at controlling them. Unfortunately, the deamons still come out some times, and they're still affecting my relationships.

Now that I know what her concerns are, I've taken immediate steps to address them. I've been more proactive with finding a new career - planning on going back to school in May. I'll leave the iPhone in the car when we go out to dinner. As a behavior therapist, she has suggested some strategies to help me with my outbursts, and she's learning how to approach me in ways that won't set me off or make me feel like I'm being attacked. I'm also on Vyvanse, but still trying to get the dosage right.

We're slowly learning and accepting that some situations are just hard for me to handle. I'm just programmed differently than she is, and when I do things that upset her she's learning that it's not on purpose. This perhaps is the most important breakthrough thus far.

I'm learning why I love her so much. I just feel so comfortable around her, because she has accepted some of these traits for a long time. It just got to the point where she couldn't handle it anymore, and she chose not to deal with it. Now we're dealing with it, and I think we're making progress. I would hate to lose this person who seems so willing to accept me for who I am, flaws and all.

I don't know if we'll stay together in the end, but I'm wondering if anyone has some advice or has been in a similar pre-marital situation before. Some words of wisdom or comfort would be appreciated. My parents' relationship has been affected by my father's inattentiveness and behavior in social situations, and I don't want to end up like that.



Just keep working at your

Just keep working at your relationship. All relationships require hard work and attention, but ADD relationships require even more. It speaks to your character by actively addressing the concerns in your relationship. Keep the lines of communication open and all should be workable Best wishes


Just start your meds then start consuling because that will help you learn to communate alot better and come to terms with your illness. Your brain is wired different so yo just need to learn to deal with it. My husband is ADHD and he wasnt on meds for awhile but once he got on meds some of the problems got better or he was able to take steps to fix others. Just know you can make your relationship work it just is gunna take work from both of you and both of you need to know about this illness. Have faith it will all be ok!

Staying Together

In addition to the work you are doing on your relationship, I suggest you focus on making sure you develop good communication patterns with your SO.  This is critical in so many ways - when your communication with each other is open and easy, then you can address issues immediately before they become worse.  You can straighten out misunderstandings quickly.  Also, when how you communicate is top of mind you are morelikely to make time to say the positive and supportive things that are necessary to sustain a relationship long term.

I have found that my ability to say something I observe about my husband's behavior that is related to his ADD has improved incredibly since we developed better communication skills, and this helps us both.  Recently I said something like "I've noticed that you've misunderstood about three things I've said directly to you in the last couple of days because you weren't fully focused on me as I was saying them.  I'll make a better effort to get your attention before I speak, but I wanted to make sure that you were aware that you might be shutting me out a bit, too."  Before we had learned how to communicate I would have probably said "Hey!  You aren't listening to me!" and we would have gotten into a fight.  Now he knows that I'm not trying to put blame on him, just point out a growing problem, and we can talk about stuff that might have been sensitive before.  In this case, we stopped miscommunicating once I started getting his attention and he knew he needed to listen better.

You don't mention whether or not you've gotten over the event that led you to kick her out of the house, or whether she's gotten over it.  Make sure you deal with it in a forthright manner and understand the roots of the issue...then allow yourselves to move on.