First of all, reading through this forum and realizing that my experience has been so similar to many of the members here has been somewhat therapeutic. I've noticed that there are three very common feelings: loneliness, anger and resentment and that I'm not alone or crazy for feeling these three things so strongly.
In many ways, my story is so typical.
My boyfriend (we are not married) and I met in college. I was in undergrad and he was just starting law school. I experienced the intensity that I've come to realize is so normal with someone with ADHD. We hardly spent a moment apart. I was invited to everything he did. It was a given that we would spend our evenings together. He called and text regularly and I never felt forgotten. He was affectionate and attentive (he would ask me if I was cold and get me a blanket, make me tea, try making dinner for me, hold my hand, etc). For obvious reasons, I ate this all up. I loved it. About 6 months into our relationship, I got a job that required me moving. There wasn't even a question if he would come or not (his law school had an extension in the area) so we moved in together and that's when it all went downhill. It happened really suddenly. I wasn't invited to do anything with him, he was always too busy. Any affection or attention I received just stopped. It left me very, very confused. What did I do wrong? I kept asking this question, assuming it was my fault. This was our first serious issue in our relationship and I realized it was very hard to communicate with him. He wouldn't look up from his computer. Or he would stare at a basketball game while I tried to talk to him. After that, everything sort of spiraled. I made a list of everything I felt affected me negatively:
1. Lack of intimacy and feeling like he is a roommate - we don't talk about anything I'm ever feeling, or any life issues (God, future plans, etc). Conversations are about surface issues that are not complicated. Because of this I never feel understood or feel like he knows me as a whole, complicated woman. Also, he doesn't touch me nearly as much as he did in the beginning. Sex is just sex. It's not intimate. He will hardly even kiss me. (For awhile he turned sex down and said he was too anxious and stressed and not feeling very sexual, although I found out he was spending quite a bit of time looking at porn. It was very confusing/hurtful. I'm not even against porn but was confused why it was replacing the real life girl that wanted him. He would mock me basically saying all guys look at porn so get over it). He doesn't hold my hand and sometimes hurries off in front of me. I feel like outsiders would hardly even suspect we were in a relationship. This has lead to me feeling depressed and rejected. I ask myself what I did wrong, what changed/happened to turn him off so suddenly. I also have a wall up with other people now. I feel a fear of being rejected so I have closed myself off and it's been hard to even make new friends. This has also led to mistrust. I ask myself if he's not interested in me because he's cheating. Which has led to me being a snoop which has only caused it's own problems.
2. Feeling exhausted over his lack of predictability - we can't make plans. It's almost hard to put into words. I feel like I have to jump through hoops just to pull anything off (does he want to go?, will he be on time?, will he cancel last minute?, will he even remember?, how can we plan around his hobbies? - this process seems to take an entire day) and I accommodate his preferences and only suggest things I know he will want to do. We don't do anything I want to do because he will get bored and complain or just refuse.
3. Never celebrating milestones - he has no respect or interest for celebrating things "normal" people do. He either forgets or ignores it. I cooked him dinner on our last anniversary and he went out with his friends instead. There's just never a feeling that anything is important enough to make a big deal out of. If I say it hurts my feelings and it's important to me he gets frustrated and closed off.
4. Frustration about his need to be "on" constantly - I'll preface this by saying I know this isn't his fault, I know it's a symptom of ADHD and he's trying to cope. He needs constant stimulation. I don't remember the last time we had dinner and he wasn't on his phone. His life consists of a multitude of hobbies, gadgets and small addictions. He will literally have a panic attack if left in silence too long. He says podcasts have saved his life and I never see him without headphones in. He can't sleep without them. This makes me feel like I never have his attention and therefore feel like I'm always second to everything. He has never been addicted to anything major, but I see addictive tendencies in him. For awhile it was online poker. Now it's tobacco. It seems to give him something to do and concentrate on. He's never risked anything like his job or significant amounts of money, so I'm thankful for that. Also, he is quite protective about his phone and computer. We don't have an open policy about sharing the content of them. It's led to some resentment on my part because he's constantly on them but I'm not allowed to know what he's up to.
5. Feeling like we had no plans for our future - the subject of our future together was completely taboo. He was too stressed to even think about it. I feel like I've lived the last 3 years with no direction to where I'm headed in my life with him. I'm 29 and he's 30 so knowing if he wants a future with me is important to me. But talking about it is off limits. I can figuratively see steam coming out of his ears and his brain melting down if I even bring it up :)
I could go on for a while, but to sum it all up, I feel so frustrated, rejected, sad and emotionally unfulfilled. I feel messed up because of the effect the last three years has had on me. I feel like I had a melt down (and a lot of bad reactions) and I started feeling depressed. This last spring, I moved out of our apartment and in with my sister. He had one semester left of law school and I knew I couldn't make it through the summer. He let me walk out (literally didn't stop me and went to the gym). Once he realized it was for real, he told me he couldn't concentrate on me and law school so he choose law school. He wanted to try and fix things and because I love him, I wanted to try. I continued living with my sister. Things got a lot better and we were working (slowly / baby steps) on it. We started spending a lot of time together again and I felt like we were making progress. Well then I walked in on him with another girl. Talk about amazingly deep disappointment. He just did it "because" and it "wasn't really cheating because it meant nothing". (They hadn't got to sex but they were pretty darn close). It was someone he had met through a coworker at a bar. I thought OK this is SO over. I didn't talk to him for weeks. Someone that never cared if I was hurt and would close himself off completely if things got too emotional/complicated was suddenly texting me 15 times a day and calling me and couldn't sleep because he was so upset. I had never witnessed this behavior from him. Slowly we started talking again. It's been about 3 1/2 months.
I started taking Wellbutrin and that's helping with my depression. I feel very hesitant about our future. But despite all of this, I love him. I've been in a difficult relationship in the past (physically/emotionally abusive) that I just turned the switch off and was able to leave and never think twice. That's not the case with him. He makes me laugh, makes me feel safe, he's smart and articulate and would never lay a hand on me, he's tender in other ways like he loves animals and although he has a lack of empathy for me sometimes, he is very empathetic to the underdog. I feel lonely with him but I feel lonely without him too. I'm struggling with staying and feeling disappointed by him or leaving and feeling like I left someone I love. He's very aware of his ADHD. He was diagnosed young but pills made him feel like a vegetable so he's just tried to manage. However, he recently went to the doctor and got a prescription. He hasn't started the meds yet as they make him nervous.
If anyone has any advice or a story to share, I would love to hear it. It just feels relieving to know I'm not the only one that's been damaged by this.
Thanks for listening.