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Dating a guy with ADHD


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I've been dating a guy with ADHD for nearly 6 months now. I've fallen in love with him and there are many things about him that I'm extremely attracted to. But, I've been struggling a lot lately with his ADHD. I've done a lot of research on this topic and know all about the hyperfocus theory and have found how very true it is. He was so into me the first couple months and now it's hit or miss. When I pull away, he'll notice and reel me back in with his love and affections and I fall for him all over again. But, after this honeymoon phase wears off, it's back to him getting overwhelmed by rather small things, being late for EVERYTHING, focusing his attention on things that shoudn't be a priorty, and just his general inability to focus on things most of take for granted. I've found myself having to adapt drastically to accommodate him. He is unorganized and worried about stuff all the time.

 

You will all probably just tell me to break up with him based on what I've written above. If I can't handle who he is then break up with him, right? Well, I tried to a couple weeks ago and felt so hearbroken afterwards. I was so sad and wondered if I had made the wrong choice. He wanted to talk about what was bothering me and find a way to work things out as a couple. I agreed -- because I really love him. But, things seem to be slipping back into their old ways. I want children with him and he is unsure -- as he's older than me. That was another motivating factor in my decision to break up with him. He told me that he doesn't want this to be the reason we break up without first talking about it more and exploring options. But, to be honest, as times goes by I'm not sure if it would be a good idea for us to have kids together. I think it would be too overwhelming for him and I don't think he'd ultimately enjoy the experience. If it came down to it, I think there's a strong possibility he'd do it -- but just for me.

 

I'm just struggling on how I should move forward. We've become extremely intertwined in each other's lives -- gotten to know family/friends, talked about marriage and/or moving in together and have had the kid talk. Like I mentioned, I've fallen in love with him, but some of his ADHD traits seems impossible to get used to. I'm just not sure how to deal with this. I have compromised more in this relationship than I ever have. Is there anyone out there who has ADHD or is with someone who has it? I need advise/insight on how to move forward with him. I'd like to stay together, but is this possible? Unfortunately, I'm a little type A and I think this is only adding to our problems. I'm always on time, have a clean and organized home and find healthy ways to deal with my daily stress. Is there any way we can make it?

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I hate to say it, but if you can't handle him now, it's not going to get any better. And his ADHD traits certainly won't go away with children around...it'll only get worse!

 

BTW, the "hyperfocus" you speak of is more about being able to focus intensely on a single task for a few hours or more, not focus on an aspect of life or a relationship.

 

People with ADHD can be incredibly charming, affectionate, caring, and wonderful partners. But ADHDers need someone who loves them for their talents and is patient with their areas of weakness. That's not to say that these weaker areas can't be improved. If your man is constantly late, he needs to figure out how to better keep a schedule. If he focuses on the "wrong" things, perhaps a little counseling could help him to re-focus his energy.

 

The point is, being in a relationship with an ADHDer takes two fully-committed people who are willing to be patient with each other and constantly strive to be better people. This is true of every relationship, but the need for patience is even more important when dealing with an ADHDer.

 

Good luck and feel free to PM me with any specific questions (I have been diagnosed ADD myself)

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I have to agree my husband has ADHD and I have been with him almost 26 years. My son is also ADHD. I never consider them "disordered". They are people that just learn and think differently in some instances. Many people with ADHD are so put down by the time they they become adults it is so so sad. They have to be appreciated for who they are and their talents.

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Thanks for the response Slimpee I will definitely be PM'ing you a bit later when I have a little more time.

 

I will say that my BF really has been making an effort since the brief break up. But, like you said, the traits don't just go away -- they always find a way to resurface. I got so mad the other day. He was running behind, like so many times before. I calmly told him that he NEEDED to be ready at a certain time or else I was leaving without him. With only 15 minutes left before departure, he still hadn't jumped in the shower and I found him putzing around on the internet. I felt like such a nag when I yelled at him. He ended up pulling it together and was only a few minutes late. But during that time, it's complete chaos and it puts him in a bad mood. Which, in turn, puts me in a bad mood because I haven't done anything wrong.

 

He is a wonderful partner in many ways. I feel bad that he can't focus on more than one thing at a time. He's a super intelligent guy and can be so loving towards me. I want to help him all the time, i.e: cooking, organizing his home, helping him clean up, etc., but he views this as a sign of weakness and never takes me up on my offers. I feel like I always want to help him but he never allows it.

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Thanks Ms. Darcy. Sometimes the truth hurts, but I get what you're saying.

 

Victoria66 -- Do you ever have any day to day struggles with them? If so, how do you deal with it? Perhaps it's something the non-ADHD partner gets used to? I know what you're saying when you mention that they have to be appreciated for who they are and for their talents. I do appreciate my boyfriend and I try to let him know this often. I also think that he has many talents. He has a PhD and is just very intelligent in general. He can be really loving and sweet too. It doesn't help that my feelings can get hurt quite easily in general. I know this doesn't help our cause. He would never intentionally hurt me, but a lot of times this happens without him even knowing. I know there's not much I can do about the way he is. The same way he can't change the way I am. I'm sure in many ways, he asks himself why I just can't be a certain way.

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I just accept that he is not an organizational guru. It is never going to happen. He gives everything he has in that Dept when he is working so he relaxes when he comes home and lets more all hang out so to speak. So does my son. It is very hard for them to stay with the programme 24 hours a day when it is not in their nature. I am very organized and do not mind being so. So I handle the way things are going to work at home. I hand out tasks and they do them. Just make sure it is ONE task at a time. ONE AT A TIME. Yup, they are also not time management whizzes. That is also a given. These things just have to be accepted or you are making your life difficult by insisting they change the way their brain works. It is NOT behaviour but they way their brain works.

 

I accepted long ago my place as the time management director and organizational guru. I consider it a small price for the other qualities they both bring to me.

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By appreciating them, I mean not trying to stuff them into a round hole when they are a square peg. Society is always trying to "fix" them. In my opinion they do not need fixing. They just learn and think a different way and that is all. And society destroys their self esteem and unique qualities by trying to stuff them in that round hole.

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That's really well said, Victoria. What you wrote above makes a lot of sense and seems like something I could put into practice. He does bring a lot of positive qualities to my life and I would like to find ways to make us both happy in the relationship. Was/is it difficult having a child with your husband? Was he able to deal with the stress of having a small child around? My BF is especially affected by loud noises and chaos (i.e. toys, kids screaming/yelling, etc.).

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Chronic tardiness isn't excused by ADHD. It's rooted in selfishness and a lack of respect for others.

 

This is what I have always believed too. I'm trying to find a way to create punctuality in his life without being a nag.

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The only trouble I had was with my husband paying attention long enough to finish a task. My husband is not bothered by noise or anything. His family is extreme loud. I am more bothered by noise than he is. But we have a very quiet and orderly child. They both have OCD as well. My husband has very severe anxiety from the way he was brought up constantly trying to be shoved into that round hole. It took 10 years of therapy and medication to sort that out. Now he is a very happy go lucky guy who even volunteers with teenagers on Friday nights.

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BTW, the "hyperfocus" you speak of is more about being able to focus intensely on a single task for a few hours or more, not focus on an aspect of life or a relationship.

 

 

This is slightly incorrect. At the onset of a new relationship it is quite common for the new person to be the target of hyperfocus. Especially in todays age where you can be in contact 24/7.

 

Here is some good advice about relationships where one person has ADHD

 

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This is what I have always believed too. I'm trying to find a way to create punctuality in his life without being a nag.

 

The only way to do his is to let him know that's what you, like the rest of the world, expects out of him and empower him to figure out how to manage his own life in a way that doesn't expect others to compensate for him. Kind of like the bus. We know what time it gets to the stop and that if we miss it we're screwed. The bus driver won't wait for you or come back to get you. He needs to learn the work doesn't revolve around him and that when he's late there is a consequence.

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The only trouble I had was with my husband paying attention long enough to finish a task. My husband is not bothered by noise or anything. His family is extreme loud. I am more bothered by noise than he is. But we have a very quiet and orderly child. They both have OCD as well. My husband has very severe anxiety from the way he was brought up constantly trying to be shoved into that round hole. It took 10 years of therapy and medication to sort that out. Now he is a very happy go lucky guy who even volunteers with teenagers on Friday nights.

 

Were you the one to suggest therapy? If so, how did you approach it. My BF's son will be playing with a particular toy that makes noise. I won't even really notice it until BF is to the point of cracking. There must be varying levels and characteristics that are unique to each indivigual. The good part is that my BF can acknowledge his inability to focus. He knows he's not good at it but doesn't know how to improve it.

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The only way to do his is to let him know that's what you, like the rest of the world, expects out of him and empower him to figure out how to manage his own life in a way that doesn't expect others to compensate for him. Kind of like the bus. We know what time it gets to the stop and that if we miss it we're screwed. The bus driver won't wait for you or come back to get you. He needs to learn the work doesn't revolve around him and that when he's late there is a consequence.

 

I can't disagree with you. I feel the same way...

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Were you the one to suggest therapy? If so, how did you approach it. My BF's son will be playing with a particular toy that makes noise. I won't even really notice it until BF is to the point of cracking. There must be varying levels and characteristics that are unique to each indivigual. The good part is that my BF can acknowledge his inability to focus. He knows he's not good at it but doesn't know how to improve it.

 

My husband absolutely needed therapy not because of ADHD, he has never been treated for that but only for the anxiety. He would literally pass out from anxiety. It was very hard to convince him to go but he did. As I say, ADHD does not need therapy. Just be aware it can co-morbid with other issues. The sensitivity to sound is probably something entirely different altogether. My son as well as ADHD has Asperger's so he has sensitivity to all kinds of stimuli. My husband has virtually none. That is not to say your bf has Asperger's though.

 

I am very sensitive to sound and I have nether ADHD or Asperger's.

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Oh and being late is not because they think they are God's gift. It is simply that their brain's executive functioning is not like that of other people. That is not to say you can not give a consequence but just be aware they are not doing it to annoy you.

 

But if you can not accept an ADHD life it is best to know now.

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Oh and being late is not because they think they are God's gift. It is simply that their brain's executive functioning is not like that of other people. That is not to say you can not give a consequence but just be aware they are not doing it to annoy you.

 

But if you can not accept an ADHD life it is best to know now.

 

I have ADHD and I am quite the opposite when it comes to being late. I am punctual to a a fault, and anytime I am late for anything I feel like my skin is crawling, almost the closest I get to anxiety. Like Vic said, its all about brain function.

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I have ADHD and I am quite the opposite when it comes to being late. I am punctual to a a fault, and anytime I am late for anything I feel like my skin is crawling, almost the closest I get to anxiety. Like Vic said, its all about brain function.

 

Yes. My son is punctual to a fault. My husband is the most punctual and on the ball person when it comes to work and EVERYONE tells me and his last performance reviews tells that he is OUTSTANDING at his work. At home he NEEDS the down time and you can see the ADHD more.

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Yes. My son is punctual to a fault. My husband is the most punctual and on the ball person when it comes to work and EVERYONE tells me and his last performance reviews tells that he is OUTSTANDING at his work. At home he NEEDS the down time and you can see the ADHD more.

 

I always do extremely well on performance reviews. My superiors never see how much time I actually spend doing stuff other than my work to keep my brain moving and be able to come back to my work. Stuff like being on ENA throughout the day

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I always do extremely well on performance reviews. My superiors never see how much time I actually spend doing stuff other than my work to keep my brain moving and be able to come back to my work. Stuff like being on ENA throughout the day

 

Yes and we ALL need down time. So at home it is reward to be yourself. Home is for comfort and security and knowing you are loved and accepted. The big bad world is enough of a pounding. People do not need to be pounded at home too.

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Yes and we ALL need down time. So at home it is reward to be yourself. Home is for comfort and security and knowing you are loved and accepted. The big bad world is enough of a pounding. People do not need to be pounded at home too.

 

Could you call my wife and explain that to her???

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