I've been ready for years - we've been together for 16 years - and I know the mutually beneficial portion of our relationship ended at least 6 years ago. So I've been thinking about it for a long while and every time I come to this forum I vow to never be one of those who is writing this thread after 20, 30 or 40 years. But it just seems so unfair to my ADHD partner to leave. It's not like I'm perfect and trouble-free, so why not share our lives together til the end even if we drive each other nuts?
I come to this forum and read every one else's horror stories and think I don't have it so bad. My partner doesn't have addictions or trouble with the law or difficulty holding a job, and we don't have kids so there is no issue there. But it is the anger and verbal abuse that I could really do without. I've never met someone who can get so angry over so little - he can even wake up angry. And being treated for ADHD isn't enough. He needs regular therapy but he will never get it. I've finally found a description for why I want to leave: death by a thousand cuts. I've started a list of all these little cuts I endure day after day. It helps me understand why I need to eventually leave. But because they are all so individually small and never big life-threatening gashes, it is so easy to move on, ignore, repress.
Beyond the "death by a thousand cuts" issue, though, I realized today that I now know why there will always be conflict and discord in our relationship. It is a fundamental difference in perception that can't be explained, proven, avoided or synced. My partner calls it miscommunication, but it is so much more than words spoken and not heard or understood. It is the rate at which they are spoken, the surrounding noise both inside the brain and in the environment, the perceived tone, the many filters through which the words may be translated. I've been trying to tell him that the sky is blue when he so clearly sees that it is purple. No amount of explaining will ever convince him of even the possibility of the sky being blue or me seeing it that way, when he refuses to even accept the fact that his perception is so different than that of mine or likely most people, let alone consider how it might in fact sometimes be wrong. There is no point in continuing any conversation when it reaches this impasse. But his tenacity can't let anything go so easy. As exhausting and infuriating as this is for me, for him it is a magnitude so much greater I probably couldn't even hold my own weight up against it. Yet, he still doesn't stop trying and I wonder how much of that affects his actions and behaviors toward me. As much as I know I have resentment and hostility towards him, I wonder if he realizes he holds a lot for me as well. He would probably deny that as strongly as he denies that the sky might actually be blue.
This is why, as much as I would love to break down all our behaviors and actions and pick and choose what we want to keep and what we want to get rid of, that would never be enough to bring peace to our relationship. I could ask him to please do not do behavior Y, and he could comply, but the underlying currents of speaking two different languages and having completely different world views, would still exist and still wear us down like water on rock, little by little every day.