What if all I loved about him was the hyperfocus?

We all know about the hyperfocus, the "swept off our feet" feeling. My marriage imploded shortly after our wedding.

Now I kind of dread when he comes home. I realized the other day that the ONLY thing I loved about him is the hyperfocus, and of course, that's gone. I'm not even sure I love him any more. He says he's just the same but of course he's not.

I'm married to a stranger and he treats me like a stranger. The person I fell in love with no longer exists. He no longer cares about me or meeting my needs. So what do I do now?

We got through this

Although I am not married to my ADHD partner, I know all too well what you are talking about. If you can be honest with yourself and say 'the ONLY thing I loved about him is the hyperfocus' then maybe the two of you made a mistake. 'ONLY' is a pretty harsh word but if it was said during a time of frustration and not an actual fact then maybe you two can get through this.

When my partner and I went through this it is was heartbreaking for me and what got us through it was being honest with each other about how we felt. We had the same conversation over and over and over and over and over again. It got to be very frustrating but we kept having it because the feelings and the situation were not changing. Eventually and very slowly things began to get better. I began to believe him that he is the same and feels the same about me. He began to realize that he needed to put more effort into the relationship.

One day we found that we had met somewhere in the middle. The attention and focus wasn't what it once was but our relationship is healthy and I believe that relationships need to grow and change in order to survive. 

Good luck. Let us know how it goes.

He's Still In There (LONG post--sorry!)

You said the person you fell in love with no longer exists.  But that's not true!  He still feels the same about you as he always did.  He's just not showing you anymore because he "won" that challenge.  The challenge is what motivates us and we have bursts of sustained energy or focus on it (hyperfocus).  But we cannot sustain that kind of focus forever on any one thing.  However, the love or interest that created the motivation DOES NOT DISAPPEAR.  This is why he claims he is just the same. Because he is.  When he was working so hard to sweep you off your feet, he was probably ignoring, or at least struggling to maintain, other important priorities in his life.  You may not have noticed because at the time you were not in a relationship where you would have been evaluating his effectiveness or level of responsibility for those other things.  You were only evaluating how he was treating you.  But now that you are married, if he was still hyperfocusing on you, you would very soon realize that he may be forgetting to pay bills or set up job interviews or etc., all BECAUSE his attention is (too) focused on you!  We ADDers have to summon up a lot of mental energy to make ourselves focus on the more "routine" priorities because they are boring (while YOU are much more exciting!).  But in order to focus on the boring stuff of life, we have to DIVERT our attention AWAY from the "fun stuff" so we don't get distracted.

I have noticed that I tend to only be able to focus on one "area" of my life at a time.  For example, right now I am in my "working on ADHD" area.  I am reading books, researching online until 2am, blogging and reading this website daily, trying various tips and tricks that I read about, etc.  (HYPERFOCUS!?!)  But I have not been to a gym in over a year.  I fit in my part-time job only so I won't lose it.  I haven't looked at my kids' grades in weeks.  I go to the grocery store when we are out of toilet paper or milk.

HOWEVER, there are times when I focus on these other things to the same degree!  I will go to the doctor for a checkup and remember that I need to lose a few pounds and eat more veggies.  So I will start a new weight-loss or fitness program and obsess over planning healthy meals and tracking my workouts. I will sign up for a 5K and train religiously.  I will eliminate carbs after 5pm.  I will research the nutritional content of restaurant meals before I go out to eat.

Then I will realize that I have gotten behind at my job, so I will become a work-a-holic and work too many hours while the house gets messy and we eat out every night.  I will snap at my kids because I am tired and stressed out.  I will veg in front of the TV to "unwind" rather than doing chores.

Then I will realize that my kids' grades have slipped, so I will start e-mailing teachers, checking online grades multiple times a day, making to do lists for them, putting due dates for their projects or reports on my own calendar, setting up a homework schedule for them, researching learning styles online and organizing their study desks.  I will buy summer workbooks for them and plan to make them memorize the Preamble to the Constitution.

Then I will notice that I haven't cooked a meal in over a month and our food budget is a disaster because we have been eating out or picking up meals so often.  So I will sit down and plan menus for the next 30 days, spend hours designing a ridiculously organized grocery shopping checklist on my computer, return to my incredibly detailed cutting-coupons system and checking weekly store sales and then drive to 3 different grocery stores to get the best deals.  (Later I will have to clean out the refrigerator and throw away half of the fresh produce I bought that has gone bad.)

Then I will realize that the weather has gotten warmer, but my 12 yr old daughter has grown since last year and has nothing to wear (and she is wearing stuff that is too small or short which is driving me crazy!), so I will obsess over cleaning out her closet to get rid of the items that she has outgrown, I will re-organize all the clothes in her dresser, make a list of the staple items she needs, take her shopping, get new shoes and pull out that box of clothes that used to be too big and make her try everything on.  

Then oh yeah, my husband will finally complain that he doesn't think I support him because he has a hard job and he gets really stressed out, but he has to pick up the slack for the things I am not doing like housework or cooking or putting the kids to bed.  And I realize he is right and I am horrified because i love him and I know how much he has to put up with with me, so I shift gears to focus on him.  I write him notes and send him love texts throughout the day.  I try to make myself go to bed at the same time as he does, and initiate sex often.  I remind myself to ask him about his day and force myself to pay attention when he is telling me.  I write down the names of his secretary and staff so I can keep up with who's who.  I know that order and neatness are especially important to him when he is under stress, so I try to make up the bed every day, clear off the bathroom counter and have the living room straight when he gets home.  I encourage him to take some time for himself and go to a ball game with friends or I will host a dinner party (he loves to have people over).

Does this sound exhausting?  It is!  The problem is that I am supposed to be doing ALL of these things and many more AT THE SAME TIME!  Impossible.  And you may have noticed, it generally takes a large or small crisis of some sort for me to shift gears.  But this is also why people on the outside often comment about how organized I am or etc.  They have NO IDEA!  ME, organized?  Ha!  But actually, I AM for whatever thing that I am hyperfocused about at the moment.  And if I am working on a committee or a project at work, I will perform to the EXTREME and it can be very impressive.  But what my friends, committee members or colleagues don't know is that the rest of my life is in shambles!  This is what happens in relationships like yours.  When your husband was hyperfocused on dating you, it was very impressive!  Other people were jealous of how sweet and romantic he was.  They only WISHED they had a boyfriend like yours!  But what you and they did not know was that everything and everyone else in his life were being neglected.  In order to survive, he HAD to shift gears, and it was natural that it happened after the "crisis" of "winning" you subsided.

I know this is a long comment to your post, but it scared me when I saw someone else comment that maybe you made a mistake marrying him.  Well, I guess no one can really answer that except you (and I may have scared you to death with this description!?), but I wanted you to try to see that your husband really IS the same person--he's still in there.  And he WILL focus on you again.  How long have you been married?  It may never be quite the same because his "dating phase" is over for good now, and it may require a "crisis" to get his attention back to you.  But be prepared that if he does focus on you again, other areas of his life will then be neglected for a time.  The best thing (and what I am hoping for in my own life) is to help him find a way to improve the balance so that the current "non-focus" areas (or you!) are not totally IGNORED in the meantime.  I honestly don't think it's possible for us to divide our focus evenly in multiple directions.  But hopefully at least there is a way to give MORE focus to MORE things at the same time, even if we still have to choose one thing as the current "highest priority."  

The sad thing is that I know how frustrating these cycles I have described must be for my husband!  I am sure he thinks I don't love him or care about meeting his needs when I am so focused on other areas.  But this is so absolutely NOT TRUE!  I love him very much and want very badly to meet his needs--he deserves this!  I just don't know how to maintain my focus on him AND do all the other things I need to do also.  But I am trying to find out.  When my marriage becomes a crisis, then of course--it's obvious that he should have been my highest priority.  But there's always another crisis in the wings which makes it obvious that something ELSE should have been my highest priority too (like my health or my kids)!  But not everything CAN be the highest priority!  

The difficulty for an ADDer is trying to choose WHICH priority really IS the most important at any given time.  And the problem is, even if we get it right, we CREATE a crisis somewhere else by our neglect of ANOTHER priority.  This causes a lot of guilt and embarrassment.  For example, when a crisis occurs with your health or your kids or your finances, inevitably OTHER PEOPLE discover that you have not been eating "right" or parenting "right" or budgeting "right."  This can be humiliating.  (ADDers often live with the feeling of being discovered as a "fraud" - I think this is why.)  And we don't seem to get credit for whatever thing we DID do "right" (or at least the most current one), because it does not seem to matter.  And it really doesn't matter, in fact.  The fact that I cooked a wonderful meal every night for the past month does not help when my kid fails algebra.  Or the fact that I made our bed every day and had sex with my husband 3 times a week for the past month means nothing if I find out I have breast cancer because I never scheduled that mammogram (this is hypothetical...I hope!).  Or the fact that I am excellent at my job and my boss is super impressed is irrelevant if my husband has to cook our meals and wash clothes after he comes home from work because I did not plan dinner or do the laundry...again.

So please remember that your husband really DOES still love you.  And be careful what you wish for!  If a crisis with you gets his attention back on your relationship, get ready to help him shift gears again before something else falls apart!  I know that sometimes it probably seems like NOTHING is our highest priority.  I think that is either because you just can't see inside our heads, or we have shut down due to being overwhelmed, a fear of failure or confusion over what to do next, or we are simply procrastinating the next thing we know we need to do (back to that "trouble getting STARTED" thing).  

Like I said, I am looking for a way off this roller coaster too for myself AND my husband.  There's got to be a better way, and I am determined to find it.  (At least until I have to shift my attention somewhere else!)

Can I just say that I really

Can I just say that I really relate to this post...and I am the same way? I don't suspect I have ADHD, but this is me in a nutshell. I cannot focus on more than one life thing at a time. School, kids, house, yard, groceries, etc...I mean I rarely keep a good balance between all of these. It doesn't feel that way anyway. I haven't consistently paid bills in WEEKS because I'm too overwhelmed by the thoughts of it...too much going on in the 'kids' realm and the "ADHD" realm right now...groceries? What are those? (milk and toilet paper).

Same here...odd how scary it was reading that knowing that you relate it totally to ADHD. It was a light bulb moment for me, that's for sure.



What a helpful post that was!

What a helpful post that was! It's interesting to hear it from the other perspective. I told my husband tonight that I feel like I'm on the perifery of his life. An "afterthought" at times. Reading your post help my identify my need to "create a crisis" and fortunately I realize how destructive that can be. So.... I'll keep communicating my needs to him, look for the positives (there's lots of them!) and keep on working at it!

I loved your post. It's

I loved your post. It's beautifully written and explained so much. I have a question, though. My ex ADHD (undiagnosed) boyfriend went from hyperfocusing on me and thus making me feel euphoric to - 8 days later - hyperfocusing on another woman. I no longer exist. I have no contact with him and am utterly bereft. How can this happen? How can he have such grand gestures for me, express so much passion and intense sexuality and desire for someone whom he abandoned eight days later? We were together seven months. Last time we were together was the best, most euphoric night of my life. A week later he hooked up with his ex girlfriend of 14 years ago and is now with her. He apologised and expressed his sorrow for having hurt me and led me on (his words). He said he doesn't want to lose my friendship and is massively fond of me. I feel like an empty shell at the moment.

Very well said

Simply a great description of how it feels and works with ADD.  I can relate to it in many many ways.

SUPER great illustration of our minds!

Great post! I'm living this right now.

"The difficulty for an ADDer is trying to choose WHICH priority really IS the most important at any given time.  And the problem is, even if we get it right, we CREATE a crisis somewhere else by our neglect of ANOTHER priority.  This causes a lot of guilt and embarrassment.  For example, when a crisis occurs with your health or your kids or your finances, inevitably OTHER PEOPLE discover that you have not been eating "right" or parenting "right" or budgeting "right."  This can be humiliating.  (ADDers often live with the feeling of being discovered as a "fraud" - I think this is why.)  And we don't seem to get credit for whatever thing we DID do "right" (or at least the most current one), because it does not seem to matter.  And it really doesn't matter, in fact.  The fact that I cooked a wonderful meal every night for the past month does not help when my kid fails algebra.  Or the fact that I made our bed every day and had sex with my husband 3 times a week for the past month means nothing if I find out I have breast cancer because I never scheduled that mammogram (this is hypothetical...I hope!).  Or the fact that I am excellent at my job and my boss is super impressed is irrelevant if my husband has to cook our meals and wash clothes after he comes home from work because I did not plan dinner or do the laundry...again."

Last week I finished a huge master shower (Complete renovation from the foundation and studs up) project. This has been an enormous undertaking on my part and I've spent almost all of my free (Not at work) time on this project. The glass was installed last Monday (The only part I did not do) only leaving minor touchups to the shower and general cleanup. The master tub needed a major work-over in regards to cleaning and my DW was been on extreme edge because of the chaos in the bathroom. The list of items on my To-Do list that has gone mostly ignored for 2 months is huge, like our fence is literally crumbling and our big dogs can see the neighbor's dogs where we share a fence line.

Our DD#1 is involved in HS Band and this addition has really stretched our weekend time thin, my DW needed to work on Sunday and I had SO many things to do in preporation for any of these tasks, not to mention the interuptions from family needs like science project supplies, Halloween last minute items, nephew staying over the weekend, band competion time requirements and I can only explain it as a "Post Major Project Hang-Over" I just did not know where or what to start first. Logic dictated the the Big 2 Projects (Bathroom Clean-Up and Fence) Fence: Requires DAYLIGHT Bathroom: Does NOT, so even though the Bathroom state has been driving my DW crazy the fence was more Critical because of it falling down and potential dog conflicts and I knew I could work on the bathroom at night. Family needs delayed my work on the fence, then before you know it I have two sections of fence with posts and cross beams only and now it's dark. My DW is now home and furious because the house is a mess, the bathroom is not finished, the dogs are inside going crazy, I have not gone to the grocery store (I was not asked BTW), but Sunday is usually grocery day, she was furious about the situation. I had not stopped for 5 minutes to turn on a football game and I knew what was coming and I was not going to take a verbal beating for working my a$$ off all weekend and just because I was not at my highest level of production did not mean that I was sitting around letting all hell break loose. What a disaster... I used to (Prediagnosis) just go into shut-down mode during a rant like this. (Could I have done better or been more efficient, sure) Did I bite off more than I could chew, sure... It was NOT my finest day with Adderall clarity. To make matters worse, if that's possible, it's 8pm and my meds are long gone and I'm exhausted from the juggling act. After getting the "What the hell were you thinking starting the fence" lecture, My mistake because of when I actually started the project, but to start with Anger/Tone was the wrong way to start with me. I've lived my whole life hanging my head in shame over what did or did not happen or did/did not do, so I was Not taking this quietly. The only other thing that was noticed was I painted a box that was going in my car and my car was washed. Total time used for these "Selfish Acts" 1 hour... (Not an ADD hour either, a real hour)

Thanks for your post! It perfectly illustrates how my actions/reactions/choices can be frustrating to my spouse and also how un-productive the NonADDer's (Anger) summation of my days productivity based on how they would have done things gets us No Where... 


I feel ya

I can relate to this SO much!  The only thing I do differently now is I try to think through what my logic says and what I think her logic would be as well.  Regardless my goal is not to create a cluster F and some times I just don't get everything I planned done.  I've tried the "why don't you ask her input" approach as well and usually get some kind of smart ass answer about how obvious the right choice is.  Some times I know she is slammed and I figure it out on my own.  The majority of the time it comes down to I don't need a babysitter I am a grown man and am doing my best to get things done.  As you stated both were priorities it does make sense to do the "outside" work first while there is daylight and in my opinion the higher priority over the bathroom (given what you described the fence).

What end's up happening is we internally battle over what "makes" sense as priorities and what is going to cause the lest amount of "emotional" fall out/confrontation.  I'd be ok with an ass chewing if I forgoed all work to sit on my but and do nothing or hang out with the buddies.  What sucks is the bathroom probably started out as something you did "for her" because it something she would enjoy.

I also get that some times there are just rough days and she might have realized she over-reacted, comes back later or the next morning and apologizes.  I in turn would be apologetic that the bathroom is delayed and that the fence became a higher priority.  Regardless even in these circumstances in my experience this just adds to the pool of "ADD" circumstances she will resent.

What I find even more frustrating is that I've seen her over commit (plan poorly) it impacts the family and I don't treat her the same way.  If I have capacity or can drop a lower priority I'll ask how I can help push through it.  I realize that regardless of the mistake (which was not intentional) it needs to be done.  I know that by helping her it will assist her in getting passed it emotionally faster as well.

I feel ya man!  You know what they say about good intentions :)

Repeat Cycle

I totally get when you say "What end's up happening is we internally battle over what "makes" sense as priorities and what is going to cause the lest amount of "emotional" fall out/confrontation." This effect is compounded on days when I am at home and my DW is working. I do pretty well asking for her input on what are priorities to her. Some of my worst anxieties come out when I'm at home without her all day because I worry about what I do get done while she is away working or if she is out of town. And just like when you say "What I find even more frustrating is that I've seen her over commit (plan poorly) it impacts the family and I don't treat her the same way." I NEVER give her a hard time over what she does or does not get done, Ever... I know she is SO hard on herself and has expectations of herself that are almost impossible to acheive. The problem is the anxieties she creates for herself get thrown on me. You are also right that after a huge fight the other night she appologized and said how much stress she had been under and I know how much stress she is under, a lot due to her high expectations to herself.

I surely do try to understand what I can do to help ease her worries over what she feels is the highest priority, and most of the time I can get these things done, but my example off day was NOT from a lack of trying. I was not going to take a verbal beating for busting my hump all weekend and I did not let her get this verbal lashing off the way she wanted. It was so irrationally based that I knew it would not be productive in any way. She just wanted to tell me the things I should have done and point out all the things she would have done differently, so I told her I was done with this conversation, she kept on, so I told her to go away (leave the room) and I was not doing ANYTHING else. (8pm) I felt bad, but I was pi$$ed of and I don't go into "Shut-Down" mode much anymore, so she will have to get used to Not getting her free shots off at me.

The next morning she told me the stress got the better of her and I told her my anxieties/stress did the same to me.

The roller coaster continues. Thanks for the posts!


Buddy, I don't blame you for

Buddy, I don't blame you for not taking the verbal lashing...and I think it was probably a lesson learned for you both. She probably will eventually start thinking about what she is saying and why she is angry before reacting so strongly, so quickly. The only advice I can give you is to just not let it make you mad. You had a right to be upset, you knew in your heart that you worked diligently at getting things done, so instead of being pissed just tell her "look, I realize that everything that YOU wanted done or feel should have been done wasn't done, but I have worked hard all day long and refuse to fight with you and listen to you be angry with me over something that simply isn't fair and isn't true." You worked hard. You didn't do things her way, in her time, the way she felt you should have. That's a fair feeling for her to have, it is OK if she would have done things differently...but at the same time it is unfair for her to unleash on you simply because your 'way' is different from hers. I know you know all of this, and, as I said, I think you can learn a lot from situations like this. Also, you might try 'updating' her throughout the day with a casual text saying "I am going to start working on the fence now...it feels like a priority to me. What do you think?" If you truly want her input and feel it might help diffuse these situations in the future. Bottom line, if the fence felt like a priority, and from the sounds of it, it was...then do it. You ARE a grown man and you do not have to take a verbal lashing from anyone just because your 'priority' isn't hers...and vice versa. I am glad she apologized, and I am glad you guys smoothed things over quickly.

Do you ever find yourself having this issue with your DD that has ADHD? If I ask my DD to do something, she inevitably does it the 'hard' way or the 'long' way and it drives me nuts but I have made a very conscious effort to just let her do it 'her way' unless it is really wasteful or something along those lines. I will ask her to clean her room and I go in there an hour later and she is sorting through her drawers of jewelry...room untouched...and I say "I asked you to clean your room".."I am" she says. I remind her constantly not to leave her dishes on the table...she gets furious with me if I 'remind' her too many times...but honest to God if I don't, she will SWEAR she's going to get them and then when I come in the kitchen, after she is in bed, there they sit on the table because she got distracted and forgot. She BEGGED me to pick her up from school all week last week. I finally relented Thursday...I sat there until the place was deserted...never saw her. Finally called her cell phone..she was on the bus, she forgot. To boil water she uses 3 pots, 2 cookie sheets, 7 spoons, and 3 bowls. Not literally, but it seems that way. I have asked her 100 times to dry things off (plastic) before putting it away when she unloads the dishwasher. I have told her that it can cause bacteria to form and it can attract bugs. She STILL does not dry them unless I am standing over her reminding her. A friend suggested I stop reminding her so much and try a different approach of punishing her if she doesn't do what I ask (put away dishes, dry clean dishes before putting them away, clean her room, TAKE A SHOWER!!)...what do you think?

Thanks Sherri :) I was on a Rant...

This fall has been a "Stress-Fest" in our household. My DW is Super-Stressed at work, DD#1 started HS, marching band, all pre-AP classes or GT, my massive shower project and the chaos associated with all the new routines has taken a toll. I like to do my share, but months of pretty much zero fun time has lead to this. All the anxieties drove my DW to this event. Bottom line, for once, I was NOT going to be talked down to like I'm incompetent/stupid. I saw this convo coming from a mile away... I did text through out the day and most of the day the timing was just "Off"... I think I fell victim to the Adderall confidence and was too confident in what I could get done. Too many unknowns got in the way and I would gladly admit I did not do that well, but to slam me with anger was the wrong way to approach my work output. Part of this has exactly to do with what you are describing in your DD. She could be factoring in SO many things into how she approaches a task. Going through drawers is perfect! The drawers are a complete mess and the drawers are in the room so logically she started there. I've done this a million times and it is SO hard to ignore the drawers and stick to the Item that will give me "Credit" for the job. If I shove everything in my room that is accountable for the messy room into my closet the room is clean, but the Job is not done. Sometimes I will do something that at first glance may seem odd to most people, but I could have hashed through 100 things that lead to the choice, but I just don't have the energy to explain AND it will sound like the ADDer is rambling on and I'll see the frustration (I didn't see before) mounting and its just not worth the energy unless it is a Mega Important choice, of course, then they will have to endure the full explaination because they don't understand the Big Picture :)

It is hard to watch my DD#2 struggle, but If I see the gears turning I want her to finish the process because she feels so proud figuring it out. If I see she is totally stumped I try to explain how I felt at her age with one of these problems and nudge her in the right direction. She usually sees my "Twisted Logic" in the end. I still have to work through my own big projects, like the shower, and if I want help from someone I WILL ask, but I get a bit mad when I get questioned by someone who knows Less about how I should proceed. I faced a good deal of this in the shower, but I worked through it and I finished the job. Sometimes there is A LOT going on inside the head of the ADDer with the "Blank Stare" ;) Even the forgetting doesn't mean there was not a good amount of preparation in the failure. It seems like there is a "Did/Did Not", Yes/No to tasks, but there is a butt-load of Grey "Get in the way/interupt the plan" stuff out there in the real world. The problem is you are judged by the Perception of did I "Do or Not Do", which is not fair for anyone. Maybe because of this I don't get mad when people "Don't Do" something, as I TOTALLY understand and don't want them to feel bad.


I am the non-ADHD wife. I

I am the non-ADHD wife. I just want to let you know that getting to that point, where I realized "hey, I am beating him up pretty badly for things he would never beat me up over" was a LOOOONG time coming...but it came. He 'forgot' to mail a cell phone (he got a new one sent to him b/c of the warranty) and they charged our account $400. Once he finally returned it, they credited our account...no big deal. I was furious and remember raising 20 kind of hell over it. Fast Fwd a few years later, I did the exact same thing...and I drove by FedEx twice a week going to school. He said "that'll happen" when I told him they'd charged us for it. That was it. I am sure there are many examples of things he has done that I have raked him over the coals about that he would never dream of treating me so poorly if I did the same thing, and for that I really am ashamed. We do the best we can at the time and until we 'see' better, we don't do better. I can tell you this, if he did anything to help with the upkeep of the house/yard/home I would be so thankful I wouldn't dream of saying a word about how long it took. He has never helped unless it is something that is urgent and has to be done.

very helpful

Thanks for writing so eloquently about your experience.  It is very helpful.


Hi ADD Wife! 

I only joined the forum yesterday. I read your post and sent it to my ADD partner asking him 'Is this you?'

We seem to have reached a breaking point and I'm trying whatever I can to stop us going under. 

When I sent him the post, he replied saying 'Yes!!!! To the letter!' and says he plans on reading more of your posts. 

In bed that night, he said he felt it was a good time to talk about things, but only for 10 minutes.... So we talked about your post. I said that it's a big help to me to understand how he's feeling and that I really do want to understand, but I feel like it's me making all the effort. He asked me what I felt about your post. So, I began to say the following: 

"If you had written that post, and if you had sent it to me...." (I planned on continuing to say something like "I would be so grateful to have some kind of insight into what it's like for you...") but before I could continue he interrupted with "If this, if that, that's all I ever hear from you."

I was so surprised I couldn't reply. I felt that we had been having a fairly calm, constructive conversation, finally initiated by him, yet somehow, I said something so terrible that I wasn't allowed to continue. 

What do you make of this? Do you have any advice or any insight into what I said that was so wrong? You seem to have such a clear understanding of how ADD affects your life - I would love so much to have the same understanding of my partner. 

Thanks for reading :)

never had it to lose

I've heard and read a lot about the "hyper focus" courtship.  My husband and I were "high school sweathearts" and married at 20.  I do not ever recall being swept off my feet.  Fell in love, sure, but nothing like all of you describe as hyper focus.   I suspect either that is not a feature of my guy's ADHD or we were just too young.  It took me until my kids were well grown to understand that ADHD was present in our marriage... before that I was too busy raising kids to notice, I was (perhaps too) forgiving of how little he was home or involved, I always attributed his inattentiveness and unkind comments (not abusive, however) to being stressed, being a guy, being a product of his not-very-warm family.  I bought the argument I was too "needy" for far too long.  I'm just so grateful that, though I suffered a lot of hurt, lonliness, confusion, self-doubt, even self-loathing, I never succumbed to the kind of anger that can poison a relationship.  When/If my guy ever decides to learn about or treat his ADHD, if I am still here, at least we won't have a lot of bad words between us to undo.  I know my family has always thought I was a "pushover" and I never understood why -- I thought I was just being kind and patient toward someone I loved.  Now I understand what they were seeing -- though they were as clueless as I was about where it was coming from.  It's just never been our style to shout, belittle, use sarcasm, or argue endlessly. (Honestly, when he leaves the room in the middle of even a cheerful sentence, I don't see how I could sustain an argument anyway!  LOL. )  I guess my point is -- certainly not to boast, there's nothing much good going on here -- it's to say that anger and harsh words can be (or not be) part of a marriage's "style" but they aren't a necessary requirement of an ADHD marriage.  And you all know plenty of folks with "regular" marriages can have plenty of anger and belittling and shaming.  And none of us has to go that route... I guess I just realized I have never lost respect for my guy, through many years of unfulfilled promises, misguided attempts to manage our finances, and feeling like he didn't understand that "partner" goes two ways.  I guess he did "just enough" right.  Respect is right up there with trust to keep love alive... I find respect much easier, as the trust has taken a few hits through promises made and not kept.   It's weird to never doubt someone's love, but never be really sure that they like you.


I am so happy to read some of the comments about this topic.  I have been in a relationship with a man for over 2 years and he has ADD.  Having never dated someone with ADD of course I was totally and completely swept off my feet by him and his hyperfocus on me.  I am having a very hard time dealing with the fact that the hyperfocus has now shifted and I feel that he has been pulling away.  While it makes me feel good that its not me, im not crazy, hes probably NOT cheating on me or just not interested, I dont know how to forget the way things were in the beginning and deal with the many affects that him having ADD has on our relationship. He was very opening to talking about it in the beginning and now when I want to discuss it he doesnt want to talk about it and almost doesnt want to see that some of the problem (while not his fault) is on him as well.  I am willing to go to whatever means necessary to support him and to work on our relationship, but it has taken a toll on me and our relationship.  How do you deal with someone who says they love you but dont seem to want to take any responsibility and work together to make it better (by going to counseling, groups, etc) to understand why and how?