Vacation planning troubles

Hi All,

 

So I am looking for some helpful advice. My fiance and I have a really hard time planning recreational travel together. First let me say we both travel for work a bit -- I am a journalist and he is a photographer -- and while planning work trips is stressful we manage to do it. But recreational trips are another matter entirely and we have long history of botched recreational vacations where my expectations are disastrously far from what actually happens. For instance the time we decided to drive across the country but whenever I was driving he sat in the passenger seat and mostly ignored me because he had to finish his masters thesis which was a month past due. Or last spring when he canceled our scheduled climbing trip (the night before!) because he suddenly realized he had too much school work. Whenever we make a plan he issues this caveat now: well if I suddenly have work then I have the right to cancel our plan. This is hard for me because I set aside time to do stuff together and I get excited about it. So when our plans suddenly dissolve, as they have done in the past, I am disappointed. I know this isn't about me how much he loves me, but it does feel disappointing none-the-less.

We are great at so many things! And I certainly get to appreciate many of the pluses of ADHD -- his ever curious mind and complete enthusiasm for things that interest him. He is brilliant and kind. Except when he feels I have turned against him. And because of my past disappointments with vacation stuff whenever I bring it up he feels like I have turned against him.

So most recently we are working out a plan to get away this summer, and simply talking about it has made us both incredibly anxious this entire week. Essentially about a month ago, we zeroed in on 5 days in August where we might go up to the White Mountains. I am a nature lover and we live in New York, so getting out of the city is vital to me. I constantly ask myself is getting out of the city and into nature a need of mine? And the answer is yes it is a really vital to my peace of mind and feeling of centeredness. I bike, I run, I hike, I climb, etc. And I get out of the city often on my own or with girlfriends. And I want to share that with my partner occasionally. My partner is much more of a computer guy but he does love climbing. That is where we overlap. So we were planning on going to the White Mountains to climb. When I brought it up again as we neared the dates we had set aside suddenly he refused to go. He said that I hadn't been practicing climbing at the gym enough. When in fact I got the certification he asked for and have been practicing, although not often with him because our schedules don't always allow it. Still I told him I understood his fear, and said that we didn't have to climb. We could hike. Explore some caves, which he likes to do, visit a distillery. To which the response was, well its too long. Okay I said, three days and lets go someplace closer. No, he said, two max. And at this point we are both so angry and defensive its just really hard to talk to one another. It makes me anxious and breaks my heart. He says he doesn't like vacations. I say well we don't have to sit around doing nothing! Lets make it an adventure trip! I know he has disappointed me in the past around this issue and he probably is hugely fearful of disappointing me again. How can I get what I need while making him feel safe? Can someone offer me advice? How do you talk to your ADHD spouse about issues like this? I tell him I would be less angry if when he sets aside time for us, he honors that no matter what work comes up. And he tells me I am being unreasonable. How can we escape this vicious cycle? Do I have to give up my desire of taking short vacations with him?

 

 

carathrace's picture

expectations

"Do I have to give up my desire of taking short vacations with him?"  Maybe.  It's often our expectations of how it "should" be that cause us such agony.  If you and your fiance have a counselor, this would be a good subject to bring up with him/her.  It sounds like he's making up stuff as reasons not to go on this climbing vacation.  Why?  What's the real reason?  A counselor could help with this, also help keep the discussion from becoming hurtful to you both.  And just a word to the wise:  if he's avoiding vacations now, you can't assume he's going to change after you're married.

So...you still need to get away.  I say go with a friend.  Yes, it won't be as fun as with him, but he hasn't been that much fun on past vacations anyway.

My ADHD husband will go on vacation with me, but I have to plan the whole thing, which I don't mind because, well, whatever it takes to make it happen.  But he won't go back to the same place twice.  Which is hard for me because when I have a really good time, I want to go back there.  So I just go with a friend/friends.  I wish this, and a LOT of things, were different.  But they're not and I don't want to throw my baby out with his bathwater, so I take the bitter with the sweet...enough with the cliches!