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Thread: Cheating, ADHD and mixed signals

  1. #1
    Silver Member sfindependent's Avatar
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    Cheating, ADHD and mixed signals

    Hi all...

    Back here after a while. and please, be nice. I know what I did. Part of this post is to hopefully get advice, and part of it is to really get into my head and collect my thoughts.

    Been dating this awesome girl for 2 years. Put a lot of effort in it, as best as I could. A small part of this relationship she had to move across the state for work. We agreed on two things, one was I would try to move out to where she was at some point (goal was within a year) and second, I would tell her if I decided to see other people (I'm not clear if we were going to do open relationship at this point since distance). Shortly thereafter, while she was out, she got hit by a natural disaster, causing her to lose her new apartment, COVID and subsequently lose her job. She stayed at family for a moment, and we made a decision she come back to where I lived and hunker down through the pandemic. We had a lot of adventures through out this time. while we were great with domestic life, we also had a great friendship, had a ton of adventures camping and long weekend drives and never argued about money or fair share of jobs at home. We reminded each other daily how we loved and valued one another. I would periodically bring home flowers, or shop for things she would like to have at home. The weekend before we broke up i vividly remembered driving home from camp how much I appreciated her being there with me.

    HER: She was obviously depressed but through the time we were together, slowly withdrew herself from communicating her needs effectively. She was away from family, had no job and was basically a dog sitter for my dogs whenever I was at work.

    ME: I've had history of a slowly emerging preference for non monogamy. With which I had told her about. She made clear that she wasn't into it. And I was open to trying monogamy, but wanted some freedoms. We partook in several sex parties (never hooked up with anyone else) and she went to several poly meet ups. However, as time passed, I noticed that she stopped addressing this need. I didn't mind being monogamous, but I wanted her to at least acknowledge it in conversation which she ultimately started to ignore. While she was in another state, I downloaded Tinder. I had no intention of meeting up with people and just liked "liking" profiles to sort of get my dopamine fix. I made the mistake of not telling her what I had did.

    Fast forward to the future, her depression had come to a head. Throughout her stay with me, she all but one time, never left the house except to walk the dogs. She mostly would only leave if I were with her. She also started noticing I had ADHD tendencies (I ultimately found out, that part of my tindering was symptoms of ADHD) to which denied at first, but slowly started to address. It didn't help that we both started self medicating. She started using edibles to help her sleep, and I foolishly started taking them as well. My symptoms worsened with the mixture of edibles, alcohol and my ADHD medication.

    The night we broke up, i emphasized during dinner how wonderful our relationship was and reiterated our plan of getting a bigger apartment once she gets a new job. But right before we went to bed she saw across my shoulder that I had the tinder app on my phone while i was surfing the internet for the latest presidential news. Naturally, she immediately flipped out. She threatened to break up with me unless I show her my profile. I said no, and told her I needed to sleep my high off and we can talk in the morning. By morning we broke up and the next day, she had booked her flight home.

    From then on, we had been talking. We had maybe a week or so of no contact, but we never defriended each other on social media, and still have access to each other's media profiles (hulu, disney) that we shared (i still pay for half). it's been a month and we've texted heavily several times. No sexting, but catching up. We had a couple of heavy conversations on which I had apologized for my behavior and told her I was still interested in working things out with her.

    I had told her that I was serious about how sorry i was and how important she was to me, that I was willing to be a better partner for her. So I initiated seeing a therapist for my ADHD, changing my meds, seeing an addiction specialist for my alcohol consumption (they told me my drinking, while heavy, wasn't as concerning as I had imagined it would be and would only need voluntary minimal counseling). I also requested to have a job change (not going to happen for a while) to improve my chances of getting my license to improve my chances of working remote.

    She had told me that she wasnt interested in getting back together with me and that, since she still loves me, would not want to be best friends again. She said she's still in love with me and being best friends would only lead her to want to be together instead. She requested space and I've respected that. However, she would like pics on my social media, post comments, and will chat with me via text for hours as if we were back together again. She mentioned at some point that "our conversation felt as if the goal is getting back together" and I said "no goal". I told her that "i wouldnt want to get back together anyway, until I realize what made me do the things I did to hurt you. I'm just glad we're here supporting each other". She even said "we should inspire each other to be better".

    It's clear she's happy being home. and it seems she's picking herself back up now that she's got a job offer. I'm also feeling my new meds and so i'm thinking a lot clearer and more focused on the things I've to do with my life (just need to get motivation hahah, damn ADHD)

    Anyway, i'm unclear as to what is going on between us. She would initiate a like on my social media and then mostly i would initiate the chatting but when I do, we would spend hours chatting online via messenger. She had mentioned a few weeks ago that we should take a week or so break from video chatting and i've respected that request and hadn't asked her about it since.

    I'm still unclear about what to do right now. I'm not sure how to proceed. Do I go no contact? Do I draw lines? I know I'm the one who pushed her out finally from my use of tinder, but what do i do? Do i leave her alone? Do i keep talking to her? I know I should lessen initiating contact, that's for sure. But what can make our contact more meaningful? Getting Ready for a First Date

  2. #2
    Platinum Member DancingFool's Avatar
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    I think that at some point you really need to make a choice - keep fighting against who you are or embrace it. My vote would be for the latter.

    Once you embrace who you really are, life won't be so complicated. You can join poly communities and find a partner who is on the same page as you. In other words, you can freely be yourself.

    The only wrong is to live in denial, to try to be monogamous even though you really aren't and then...people get hurt.

    So to answer your question, the healthiest and the kindest (emphasis added) thing you can with her is to set her free. Be honest with her that you are not a monogamous person and can't be and that you care for her and wish her well, but that this friendship and contact isn't healthy for either of you. You both need to heal and move on and find matching partners.

    If that means that you need to then restrict or block or remove her from social media, so be it. Basically, sometimes the kindest thing you can do is a clean break. No hope, no maybe's, no staying friends while one of you hopes for more.

  3. #3
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear this. Unfortunately, it's for the best, since she was un happy and your values conflicted too much.
    Originally Posted by sfindependent
    By morning we broke up and the next day, she had booked her flight home. It's clear she's happy being home. and it seems she's picking herself back up now that she's got a job offer.

  4. #4
    Forum Supporter Fudgie's Avatar
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    It sounds like you two need a clean break from each other to fully move on. You're getting better, she's in a better place, it's all looking up but you two both need to sever that connection to fully move on.

    You're not the monogamous sort and that's okay. Poly is becoming more and more well-known as a potential options for relationships. Monogamy is often seen as the "default" but let's face it, many people aren't wired that way. I agree with DF - embrace who you are and find people who feel the same as you. Your ex clearly didn't want to give the poly thing a fair shake and that's within her right, but if that's how you roll, then you're not going to be happy with someone like her.

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  6. #5
    Platinum Member Rose Mosse's Avatar
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    Do you know what was at the root of flicking through Tinder? I doubt it's ADHD. You could have turned to other distractions. It's probably a good time to address what you said about non-monogamy and stay single for now while you heal. Don't drag anyone else into this while there are feelings for your ex.

    It's unethical and unkind for you both to keep communicating with each other if you both have feelings for one another. You know where she stands about non-monogamy and she's not interested in patching it up. You may be in denial.

  7. #6
    Forum Supporter Fudgie's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Rose Mosse
    Do you know what was at the root of flicking through Tinder? I doubt it's ADHD. You could have turned to other distractions. It's probably a good time to address what you said about non-monogamy and stay single for now while you heal. Don't drag anyone else into this while there are feelings for your ex.
    OP earlier said something about liking profiles to get a "dopamine rush". I sense a definite desire to "scratch that itch" in terms of desire to be poly and looking at other people. Not justifying it or saying it's okay, just seems like a likely explanation. OP, I'm glad you didn't sleep with anyone from the app. Use this experience as a teaching point that yeah, monogamy is not for you and that it doesn't work with someone who is monogamous and that's okay.

  8. #7
    Platinum Member Rose Mosse's Avatar
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    I'm understanding it the same way and agree with you, Fudgie. I was asking the OP if he knows that it's non-monogamy and not the ADHD that's at the root of the infidelity. With all due respect... I don't think it's enough to just say ADHD as the main issue. They do have fundamental differences in the way they view relationships. I think this is what broke the camel's back for his partner, so to speak.

    sfindependent, I also think she's holding you at arm's length because she doesn't want to get hurt in the event you start seeing or sleeping with other partners. The familiarity of texting and keeping in touch lessens the withdrawal of not having each other in each others' lives but she's already made the distinction that she can't be in a relationship with you and doesn't want a relationship with you.

    If she's doing well and you're not with the communication... well... it falls on you to do what's right for yourself. She's already opted out of being in a relationship (as she prefers a relationship) to be with you. I don't think 'supporting' each other is working. You're preventing each other from moving on or healing past the break up.

  9. #8
    Silver Member sfindependent's Avatar
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    yes, it was mostly the dopamine rush.

    I was raised catholic (hooray, guilt) and my parameters for relationships are traditionally monogamous, but life directs you to learning new things about yourself and how you approach life, so one of the things that I picked up was that, while monogamy is the name of the game, the ties aren't as tight and being fluid is more of a path to happiness than rigidity and deprivation. In other words, my default is monogamy, but poly life isn't out of the cards, but not a necessity. I remember when we were finally able to talk about what made ME unhappy was the fact that it felt as instead of talking to me about her concerns, she chose to ignore that part of me. I didn't need her to be Poly, i just wanted her to understand the idealisms that made me tick.

    Yes, the flickering through tinder was more of a way to scratch an itch, but nothing more. I told her I flirted with people but never really planned on carrying anything out, and if I did, would have had a conversation with her. However, it was a double edged sword as well. I found it harder and harder to talk to her, and with the compounding complications that COVID, and life troubles she personally had, accommodating her depression made it less of a priority to do so.

    Since she moved clear across the country, she inadvertently made it next to impossible to reconcile romantically. I live on the west coast and she lives deep in the south.

    Our connection was deep, but I feel there were mistakes that were committed that drove a wedge between us. Frankly, I even feel so much so that the "tindering" was more forgivable and that was only used to break off with me because of everything else happening to her. It was the straw the broke the camel's back, but it wasn't the real cause of the breakup. Life i feel, was the cause.

    I never had a doubt how much i cared and wanted to be with her. I'm very rooted where i'm currently at, but have made efforts to move across the country to be with her and build a life with her. In my own way, i was committed to her that I wanted to start exploring life with her away from places I was comfortable with.

    You're all right, I should do a clean break. But I feel as if I should at least try to see where this "talking" path goes first and have a come to jesus talk with her about my plans in life and how I want her to be part of it.

    THAT, or maybe writing here would make it easier for me to clear my head and accept that there will never be a reconciliation with her. To put it in her words "Its better to end things where we love each other deeply". a point i do not understand, but ok. I thought i'd be happy to be in contact with my ex, but i suppose there's a difference between being in contact with her, and being in contact with her with a goal to rekindle or rebuild trust in our relationship.

    Still confused. But thank you for talking me through things. I suppose I should ask her what the point of being in contact was, if there's no goal or direction.

  10. #9
    Platinum Member Rose Mosse's Avatar
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    I've had history of a slowly emerging preference for non monogamy. With which I had told her about. She made clear that she wasn't into it.


    You're asking her to respect you (or your idealisms) when you have not shown her respect regarding this^.
    I still think you are glossing over the fact that your idealisms may be offensive to some individuals while requesting respect of them at the same time. You both deserve to find happiness. Somewhere out there is another person who will understand that flicking through Tinder doesn't mean anything. This woman isn't that person.

    It's unfortunate that the both of you didn't talk at length about monogamy or non-monogamy or being poly. Maybe that is what you are looking for in these recent talks with her. To feel accepted or at least recognized for your different perspectives or ideas about relationships. If you have a good rapport, engage with her on that topic then. She may not find it interesting or want to talk about it. I think if you find that's the case it is in itself a clear answer. She really is not interested in being with you at all or even wanting to accept that difference in a relationship. If it's not something you both are even able to talk about outside of a committed relationship with all that distance inbetween and it's a green light for you to accept that this is over and find more likeminded people.



  11. #10
    Platinum Member smackie9's Avatar
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    This is what dating is all about..it teaches us who we really are and where we want to be, goals, sex, career, location, wants, needs and expectations. Your relationship has runs it's course....Covid just pushed it along. Many have posted about what Covid has really done to their relationship...it opens your eyes to the reality of their incompatibility/which if you don't have compatibility, you can't make it for the long haul.

    After 30 years with my husband, we still enjoy each other's company now that we are spending the majority of our free time at home, while others we know are announcing their plans for divorce.

    I say it ended for a reason, and forcing to try and keep things alive is counter productive. There's a whole new life waiting for you....and I believe things happen for a reason. Have faith in that.

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