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I've been with my partner for over 4 years. He was diagnosed with ADHD as a child and was medicated until young adulthood, chose to come off the meds, and went back on after we'd been together for a year when he decided to go back to school. 

Because he was diagnosed so young and spent a number of years unmedicated, he's developed a lot of helpful coping mechanisms/routines I think a lot of people with ADHD never get to. I honestly think he's learned a lot of great ways to overcome his ADHD quirks. So much so that I find it hard to believe he can do even better - he's really leaps and bounds more focused and productive than other people I know with ADHD.

But that's where my concern is, because I need him to do better with picking up after himself and I fear that he won't get better with it. I've voiced dozens of times over the years how he keeps leaving his cups and bowls all over the house, his clothes in the middle of the room or the clothing pile even when he knows they need to get washed/be out of the way, etc. I've voiced that I feel I do to much laundry, so he says he'll help with the laundry, but he keeps forgetting laundry in the washer overnight so it needs to get rewashed. 

We try to find ways for him to notice these household things, but they often don't work...like when he was putting dishes on the counter rather than in the dishwasher, he said it was because he defaults to thinking the dishwasher is clean (why he won't empty the dishwasher in that case is beyond me, but not the point here). So we decided to put magnets on the dishwater to indicate when it's clean or dirty. Still he asks me if its clean or dirty/makes assumptions with the status of the dishwasher/just doesn't bother putting dishes in the dishwasher. 

All of these household inconveniences are minor, but they add up and make me feel like the work is uneven and like I'm his mom. We plan on starting our family in the next couple years, and the idea of picking up after him and the only one who notices the mess left by our children and therefore the only one picking up after them is...terrifying. I fear developing resentment. 

I don't know what to do. We communicate all the time. I voice my concerns frequently. We try to come up with cues to get him to notice things, but they rarely stick. I get the feeling I'm just supposed to accept this is the way he is and he's as good at handling his ADHD as he's going to get, but I don't see how that's fair on me...

I'm really hoping people with ADHD/who are partnered with someone with ADHD will give pointers on how to get to a point where household tidying/picking up after each other feels more even.

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Sorry about all this. 

I can't help but think that your focus on his ADHD is maybe getting in the way of things, rather than offering clarity. Remove that diagnosis, which I'm in no way trying to minimize, and you have a very common personality type: someone who is not very tidy.

Given that you have tried to talk about this and address it countless times over the years, and given that he seems to be doing everything possible to manage his condition, I really wouldn't expect a drastic change, at least when it comes to this. Which leads to the hard question of: How to manage?  

In what ways does he contribute to the basics of running a house in ways you find satisfactory? Does he cook, handle bills, do the grocery shopping? All in all, I guess I'm trying to see if there's a way where you can feel that things are fair and equitable, in the big picture, without trying find equity in this realm. There may be some small victories and adjustments here and there, but time has shown you just that: they will be small. 

 

 

 

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This clearly shows you don't know much about ADHD.  And I'm not trying to bust your balls.  My eldest has ADHD, and I been learning more and more about it myself, and have come to realize both my hubs and I because we are definitely neurodivergent.

I 100% recommend this youtube channel: How to ADHD

This is it.  This is him.  You can either focus on his positives and the many ways he contributes and love and accept who he is because you can't cure ADHD, or it's a deal breaker, and you break up because he doesn't match your cleaning skills.  

I have learned to just tell my hubs when I need him to do dishes or something else, and I don't do any of his laundry, but I wash our kids laundry.  Don't ever for once think his not ability to clean  without direction is a personal statement on you or maturity.  It's a layer and layer hardcoded way of life for them that underneath is riddled with anxiety.  You may not recognize the anxiety because of the many, many coping mechanisms.

My hubs and child, when they are giving tasks matched with rewards (guests friends coming over), they move mountains.  Focus on the positives and be clear with what you need even if you need to remind them daily. It's not a "you're a mom thing (or if you are)" they just work differently and have so much from here to the moon to offer.

And trust me, put away the chore chart...that will not do anything.

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2 hours ago, ForeverYours said:

like the work is uneven and like I'm his mom.  I fear developing resentment. 

How long have you lived together? Stop picking up after him. Only do your own laundry. Only do your own shopping, cooking and cleaning. If he has to wear dirty clothes to work, he'll do something.

Mothering him will not only build the resentment you mention but it will kill the romance. When you stop enabling his sloppiness he'll have to step up and grow up. Lectures and notes won't help. But direct action on your part will. 

Don't fold his ADHD into the mix. Laziness and sloppiness and treating you like his maid is disrespect, not an illness.

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56 minutes ago, tattoobunnie said:

Don't ever for once think his not ability to clean  without direction is a personal statement on you or maturity.  It's a layer and layer hardcoded way of life for them that underneath is riddled with anxiety.  You may not recognize the anxiety because of the many, many coping mechanisms.

If him putting his dirty laundry in the hamper rather than on the floor, and him remembering to stay on top of laundry washing cycles give him anxiety, would it not seem selfish of me to not do laundry for him? Unless I misunderstood what you mean.

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26 minutes ago, ForeverYours said:

If him putting his dirty laundry in the hamper rather than on the floor, and him remembering to stay on top of laundry washing cycles give him anxiety, would it not seem selfish of me to not do laundry for him? Unless I misunderstood what you mean.

Don't do any of his laundry, nor put it in a hamper...it helps to not build reasons for resentment.  Because, quite frankly, you're not a maid.  Get another hamper for him to use on his own.  If you are feeling feisty, put his clothes under the bed or in a separate closet, but that won't get him to clean it...out of sight, out of mind.

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I don't think this has to do with his ADHD. My husband is the same way, and he doesn't have mental a disorder he's just lazy that way. It's just a habit that has developed from a young age. A child raised in a messy household or the mother did everything for them. With my husband I try to lead by example, like hand him the empties as he goes down stairs, put a laundry basket beside the dresser, making it easier than just throwing laundry on the floor, handing him the tea towel to dry dishes while I wash. It's easier to get things done if you get him to work with you. Try that instead of expecting him to do it on his own. 

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I have been with my husband for 33 years. He was diagnosed with ADHD at 30 and he is now 53. Our son is Autistic.  Look up ADHD and executive functioning . 
 

My husband has a very successful career, sure he can be forgetful sometimes and sometimes stuck in his own head, but that is how his neurodivergent brain is expressed.  My son expresses differently. You just get used to neurodivergent. 😀

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Think about it this way ADHD is a developmental disability, my son also has a developmental disability. Would we get upset with someone with a visible disability? Nope. There is a long way to go for people with invisible disabilities. 

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Well apparently I have mild ADHD and I struggle with some of these kinds of things. Though I'm not 100% sure because one doctor told me I probably have it but I didn't get a second opinion or pursue it really.

I do have some close friends who are on the autism spectrum and one friend with ADHD.  In my opinion his ADHD is more severe because every time we organise any plans, he's like 1 + hours late. And often he'll call me at literally the time we're meeting and say he only just woke up! For this reason we've drifted off a bit over the years, even though we were best friends. Also I'm friends with this girl with ADHD in another state and when she came to visit me, she was just in her hotel room and somehow missed the flight back home! 

I guess what I'm trying to say is, sometimes when people are neurodivergent, they do have their limits. It's also a spectrum and some people can have the condition more severe than others. It can also be difficult to know whether it's the ADHD making the person behave this way or whether it's just their personality or attitudes. 

One thing I think you need to think about is that you've already talked to your fiance a lot about all these things and there hasn't really been much or any improvement. I think that probably means that for whatever reason, whether it be ADHD or anything else, he's unable to break these patterns. I guess then it just comes down whether you consider them a smaller thing, or a big deal in the relationship.

My parents for example are in their early 60's and have been married for 40 years. They've always had one of those "gender role" relationships where for some of the marriage my Mum was just a housewife and did literally all housework and chores, and Dad just worked. Even when she worked, it was usually part-time and she continued to do all housework, cooking, chores and errands.

I understand this may be an outdated view of being in a relationship so I get that maybe you need the housework to be done more 50/50. But clearly this is a weakness for your boyfriend and maybe he's not able to be any better. That doesn't mean that you have to completely just let him get away with it and never say anything, but this may be as good as it gets.

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If he has an aversion to the dishwasher, which is possible, consider negotiating a certain task that he'd be willing to do in exchange for you putting his dishes in the dishwasher for him. Ask him to rinse them before putting them on a tray or tin or whatever designated spot, and ask him to choose a task that he'd be willing to take on as a fair trade.

For laundry you can explain that each time you need to pick up his laundry from the floor, you'll place it in X bin, but you won't be washing any of the clothes that end up in that bin. So this will be self-correcting: he'll either start doing his own laundry, or he'll remember where you want him to put it if he wants it washed with yours.

The most successful couples learn to negotiate with one another instead of nagging. It's an exchange of care. If you ask him to do something for you, offer him something of value to him in exchange for doing it. Trade 'bribe lists' that you can both use to persuade the other to do something you want--or to stop doing something you don't want. It's a reward system, and you can have a good time with it.

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Does this guy have a job?  If he is able to carry out the tasks that keep him in employment, then he is able to carry out tasks that keep his relationship intact.  I don't see there can be any more anxiety involved in picking clothes up from the floor than there is in getting to work on time, attending meetings or calling clients etc.  The more you enable the behaviour, the more it will continue. 

If you say to him that he will need to do his own laundry if he doesn't pick his clothes up, then you need to mean it and follow through without exception.  I say all this from my experience of being with someone who had ASD and anxiety.  

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16 hours ago, ForeverYours said:

   the only one picking up after them is...terrifying. I fear developing resentment. 

If he can operate a car, he can figure out how to operate household appliances. He doesn't want to.

This is already breeding resentment and as you put it, a "terrifying" prospect for the future.

Forgetting, procrastinating and intentional inefficiency are passive aggressive tactics. Take this ADHD out of the equation.  Make sure he's not milking that to rope you into all the menial dirty work.

As you noticed, nagging, bribing, reminding and infantilizing is futile and ineffective. It only fuels more resentment.

Do you like who you're becoming with him? Mothering, nagging, lecturing, feeling like an ogre for expecting mature behavior?

If not it's time to change that and the only person you can change is you. If you have controlling or perfectionist tendencies look into that.

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18 hours ago, ForeverYours said:

 we'd been together for a year when he decided to go back to school.

A few questions for self reflection.

Whose place is it? Where did he live before?

Whose idea was it to move in together? How old is he?

Who pays for his school? Who pays the bills?

What does he do besides go to school and study?

Does he know how to operate a vehicle? Computer? Smartphone?

Passive aggressive behavior is to control you and it's working. The point is to act so dense, incompetent, forgetful and innocently clueless, that you just throw your hands in the air and figure it's easier to do it yourself than keep nagging him.

Stop giving him a free ride.

 

 

 

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42 minutes ago, tattoobunnie said:

A person can been ASD and have ADHD, but they are not the same thing at all,  and it can be dangerous to treat people as so, because people with ADHD can also be depressed from constantly hearing how lazy they are or they aren't doing things right or good enough.  And, ADHD is solely about not being able to focus on one thing or not...hyperfocus can cause to hyperfocus on one thing because it triggers rewards centers of the brain because people with ADHD have lower levels of dopamine.  

My husband is a slob with clothes, but he will do all the plumbing, electrical work, yard work, and auto maintenance, and all the food shopping with zero issue...why?? Because it's interesting for him.  Many, many people loathe laundry.  And to a person with ADHD, laundry can be crippling.  

I would definitely think about what other ways he can contribute in the household.  You will just have to accept, laundry is not his jam or move on to someone else.

Also it is highly likely Autistic people also have ADHD as well. Very common co morbidity. My son is just Autistic even though his father has ADHD. They are different as chalk and cheese with different strengths and abilities but both are crippled in ways by executive function difficulties. 

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Repost - Sorry - I didn't realize hide was an option, and clicked by accident.  What I wrote with a small edit:

A person can been ASD and have ADHD, but they are not the same thing at all,  and it can be dangerous to treat people as so, because people with ADHD can also be depressed from constantly hearing how lazy they are or they aren't doing things right or good enough.  And, ADHD is NOT solely about not being able to focus on one thing or not...People with ADHD can hyperfocus on one thing because it may trigger rewards centers of the brain because people with ADHD have lower levels of dopamine.  

My husband is a slob with clothes, but he will do all the plumbing, electrical work, yard work, and auto maintenance, and all the food shopping with zero issue...why?? Because it's interesting for him.  Many, many people loathe laundry.  And to a person with ADHD, laundry can be crippling because it can be overwhelming.  

I would definitely think about what other ways he can contribute in the household.  You will just have to accept, laundry is not his jam or move on to someone else.

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When is your wedding ? What I would do. Throw money at the problem if at all possible. Have a weekly or twice monthly cleaning service so you have less cleaning to do. Buy paper plates and disposable plastic utensils. Have him set alarms on his phone as far as laundry etc. or send out his laundry to wash and fold. Again if you can afford it. I agree with Cherylyn that he’s unlikely to change. 

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It isn’t really about won’t change it is about executive dysfunction this is a real thing. It is a real disability. Everyone’s expressions of it are different. It is also not linear. It can change depending on situation and day and ability to cope. 
 

But as others have kindly said, there are ways to work around this. For instance my husband LOVES doing laundry and cooking but he forgets all kinds of other things . He lives a lot in his own head as a million things a minute passes through it so he often doesn’t hear what you say. You have to repeat yourself many times a day. He is endlessly restless looking for things to do . He is vastly intelligent but can be socially awkward sometimes. He has a lot of amazing qualities that I love so I overlook something’s and so them myself. Or as Batya said hire someone or use paper plates. 

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