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Please help - at wits end with ADHD partner and relationship problems

orangecurtains profile image

I am writing for support and illumination as I am at my wit’s end and feel near breaking up with my ADHD girlfriend though I love her very much. I know we cannot change others and I really want her to change. I am 48 and she is 37 and I have two kids.

I do not know what to attribute to ADHD or what to attribute to her depression or simply personality. I value empathy and want to understand her and find solutions. She just learned about her ADHD a few months ago when I pushed her to go to a shrink. She’s glad she found out about this fundamental aspect of her brain.

I also feel my mental health is frayed, my physical health impacted, and my daily life filled with despair, I cry every day. and I know those things are not okay. Here are the issues.

1) She stops texting me back after one or two texts even if we are in the middle of a conversation, planning, or she has just asked me a question. I feel hurt. She just can’t pay attention to me. In the beginning she texted me constantly and had long conversation. Now I just expect to feel disregarded.

2) I need a clean, organized environment, I am in accounting and have a stressful job. Our home is always a mess and I am always cleaning up her stuff. She uses every single surface for clutter. I clean a place and it is messy again in a few days. She has no habits or routines around housekeeping at all. This leaves everything to chance and the last minute. I do 80% to 90% of the household work though we both work full time. And I am angry all the time about it. Even something small like picking up dirty clothes off the floor— she knows it is important to me but drops them in the bathroom for days. She laughs at my requests. I feel like I live with a teenage boy and it means I am always stressed. Nothing stays tidy ever. I feel disrespected and I start to hold her in contempt when I pick up her clothes for the twentieth time.

3) She does not listen well or engage in sustained conversation with me. Our back and forth is usually short. She does not pick up threads in conversation and weave them into a sharing. This leaves me lonely. I will tell her about myself or day or feelings but get no meaningful response so I am discouraged.

4) She has no meal planning or cooking habits. All the meals and shopping are my responsibility. She would eat fast food and candy every day. Making a meal she is likely to burn a pot. This is too much for me and I feel alone in it, again.

5) She would rather play video games than connect with me at night after the kids are in bed. She thinks sitting on the couch together while doing separate things is quality time. I am again lonely and miserable because her attention is always on her phone or the Xbox or the TV or a new project. I don’t feel seen or heard or like she cares.

6) She is a train wreck at work, always late with projects, ignoring her job duties, doing as little as possible, disorganized and seemingly not caring if she gets fired. Her finances are poor and she has no savings, lots of debt, but makes many impulsive purchases and spends all money.

She recently started taking Adderall. Will it help these things? How much will change?

I haven’t listed all her good qualities because i’m overwhelmed by the negative ones right now. She is also kind, creative, smart, athletic, pretty, funny. She is committed to me. She has overcome a lot of difficulty in her life. Before living together I thought we would marry. I feel quite heartbroken now, though and don’t know if I have reason for hope.

Please share any feedback or help I will appreciate all of it.

31 Replies

Every stressing behavior that you've described here are very common for people with ADHD. I recognize many of the things I hate most about my own struggles with late diagnosis ADHD in your summary. They are also common complaints in relationships where one person has ADHD and the other does not.

You also mention depression. Depression will worsen some of them and make it harder for her - and consequently you.

However, i think it's fairly significant that she only very recently was diagnosed and started medication. It takes time and effort to begin changes with a new ADHD diagnosis. Medication will help develop new coping mechanisms and make incremental changes.

One of the most important things to realize about people with ADHD is that the annoying behaviors don't mean that she does not care or does not understand. In fact, often there can be tremendous amounts of shame about undesirable behaviors.

I suppose the critical question for you has to be whether or not you love her enough to help her get well and make some changes through her treatment and new diagnosis. It will take patience and understanding - and some relationship work. It should be matched by a willingness on her part to share her feelings and try to make changes through medication and therapy. I would recommend you consider joining her in at least a couple sessions of couples therapy to make sure you understand what she's going through, while also ensuring your needs get met.

At the same time, you need to know that change won't be immediate. It will go through fits and starts. Some traits will always be around. But it can be improved together if you both want it to.

BTV65 profile image
BTV65 in reply to addacademic

"One of the most important things to realize about people with ADHD is that the annoying behaviors don't mean that she does not care"

OMG, this. So this...

I've heard that accusation so many times from my wife. "If you cared, you would listen. If you cared, you would remember. If you cared, you would connect these bits of information together to understand. If you cared you would notice things." The list goes on and on. My ADD = I don't care about her, her problems, her life. That couldn't be farther from the truth. She just internalizes these feelings and I feel helpless to convince her otherwise.

I think it's important for me to add that it's also critical that you put emphasis on your own emotions and pay attention to them. Clearly you are also going through a lot. There might be ways you can help yourself to be well within yourself as you wait for her to adapt to her new diagnosis.

I have so much empathy for you both.

Thank you for your kind and compassionate messages. I appreciate it and your perspective is helpful.

Really hit a nerve here, except I’m 47, and diagnosed 7 months ago . Has been a shambles for me as the support I got was very little , just had various stimulants posted out to me from Psychiatry Uk to try , and when all fell to bits , and anxiety went sky high, I stopped . I , am the one who has adhd , yet my displays all you mention above , and has no diagnosis ? My wife goes to work every day , like clock wirk , and I , still suffering depression and anxiety after mums death in June , stay home and do everything else,. I’m the one left fuming . We have had conversations about what annoys me , but it doesn’t change much , and if anything , apparently it’s my need of everything being right that causes the issues ….

Thank you very much for the reply

I empathize with your plight. I’m a 44 year old nurse that was diagnosed a year now and it is very overwhelming at times. My executive functions were damn near non existent. I’m currently going through a divorce after 23 years and frequently wondered if I had been diagnosed earlier if my professional personal and or academia would have resulted differently. I currently have a partner who has witnessed my evolution from pre to post diagnosis and it’s very frustrated and sometimes daunting to try to explain to him how my brain works and why I process information differently.That my brain is not defective, despite many annoying traits, it’s just wired differently. As the partner with ADHD, it’s difficult to not use ADHD as an excuse for some behaviors and not holding that person accountable for some of their actions, because evidently, not all undesirable personality traits are ADHD related. I know It is exhausting to come home and deal with all the issues you have listed after a stressful day, plus you have young ones who are also your priority to attend. It’s unfortunately a double edged sword. There are some very good Ted Talks that i have found informative from both aspects of living with ADHD and being the recipient of these complex traits. It does take extreme patients and some times some partners don’t have the mental fortitude to sustain that level of support while dealing with personal and professional goals over an anticipatory lengthy future. This can be the case despite loving your partner to bits. Sometimes love singularly is just not enough. There is no magic pill to transform or eliminate some of these quirks. It is a daily struggle, despite pharmaceutical and psychological interventions. But there will be great days ahead also. As suggested by Acaddemic, in the previous review, being a part of some of her sessions would be beneficial to you both psychological and reduce burnout. I am aware that some people feel as if they are dealing with an adolescent, but all you can do is hang in and give it a chance but also do not neglect your and your children wellbeing. For me being medicated plus utilizing coping skills taught, I and the people around me saw a marked difference in my demeanor. Different Meds affect everyone’s neurophysiology differently so , it may take trial and error to find what works best for her, but she also has to do the work. It’s a daily struggle navigating a society that has deemed the way our brain functions as a disorder/disability without feeling us feeling substandard resulting in stigma and shame because we don’t fit the standardized mold. Although we are the life of the party, and when hyper focused, is on top of our game with innovation and creativity. Some of these other undesirable behaviors makes the 94% populous uncomfortable or annoyed with the method our ADHD manifests itself which culminates into more self loathing and mental health disorders on our part.It frustrates my partner to no end when he asks me a question and after me using the scenic route to get to the point 20 minutes later, he forgot the original question or the follow up ones planned and ends the conversation leading to a awkward silence. We all strive to have that companion in life that gets us. It is very difficult on both parties. Just hang in there and see what happens. Unfortunately dealing with us is a cross country run, not a sprint. I know that this post was long winded, as with the ADHD territory, but I hope you can gleam a kernel of illumination from my protracted experience. Hang in there. I know that at times it seems as if loving us threatens you mental stability. 😂

Thank you very much

1. Before medication I never texted people back. I had no clue that it was hurting their feelings. Nobody told me. People would tell me, hey you didn’t text me back. In my mind I was like no duh I know that. But it didn’t dawn on me that what they were really saying is hey you didn’t text me back and that hurt my feelings. Why didn’t someone tell me that? You have to be 100% direct with an adhd person and can’t beat around the bush or drop subtle hints.

2. My level of clean and orderly is vastly different when on medication and off. When off medication I cannot bring myself to concentrate enough to clean . It’s torture. When I am on medication I still have a hard time with it but I can’t stand it when it’s not clean and orderly. I had no idea it frustrated my partner because he never told me. I think non adhd people are in their own world and adhd people do not live in it. I have no idea why you are reacting the way you are. I think you believe I should be able to understand your reactions and put 2 and 2 together. But since I don’t live in your world how would I know. And it’s a 100 times worse when I am not taking medication.

3. Does she know that you are looking for meaningful responses? Or are you expecting her to know that? Do you think she would just know that automatically? She probably thinks her conversation with you is fine. In her mind it’s fine. Without medication an adhd mind is trying so hard to not let their brain drift all the time and it’s freaking exhausting. I would try so hard all day to keep my mind from drifting at work that by the time I got home I had nothing left. It’s manageable with medication but without it just forget it.

4. I don’t think non adhd people realize how hard it is to keep my brain on this planet. It’s exhausting. It is like driving a car with no oil in it. Adhd people have no oil in their brain. Medication puts the oil in the brain but it doesn’t fill the oil all the way. But it’s still better than nothing.

5. Thank god for video games. My mind is constantly thinking of 20 million things all at the same time and when I play video games I can bring my mind into thinking of just one thing. In other words I get to take a break. It’s either that or sleep.

6. You try working when you have no oil in your brain. Medication helps tremendously. It just takes a while to find the right medication or medications. She is not doing this on purpose and is just trying to survive.

By the way, sugar makes add worse but we crave it because our brains don’t make dopamine . Drinking soda makes add worse. If you have ADD and you don’t eat healthy it makes add worse. I had no clue but without medication it’s hard not to eat sugar because it was a very good source of dopamine.

ADD in itself causes depression and when you start medication it helps. You still have to eat right and exercise a little.

With medication her behaviors can change and you will have an easier time having a conversation with her because she won’t be so mentally exhausted all the time.

Thank you very much

I am the nonADHD spouse of 10 years, in my late 60’s. Husband is ADHD and would not talk about it at first. Was untreated most his life IN SPITE of being aware of it since his late 30’s, when his kids were diagnosed. He and first wife divorced when she couldn’t deal anymore and he blamed her. I knew him from high school. I knew NOTHING about ADHD until we married and had no idea what I was getting into. My bottom line is what he didn’t do to help those who loved him to have relationships that flourished instead of died. His efforts were seemingly none. I thought he was just depressed when we dated etc. No. He is obstinate and defensive to the end. He has little and no insight. At first, he would not listen intentionally because he would not deal with anything that belonged to him. His level of taking responsibility was so low that he wasn’t even ashamed of how he didn’t have any real social connections. And on top of it all, he was in the business of ministering -as he is a minister, and also worked a teaching position in a Behavioral Specialist role. He is an imposter. I am bitter. I am feeling very betrayed. I have fought tooth and nail to explain and guide and figure out what has been going on. He has enjoyed the fruits of my efforts at figuring this whole ADHD thing out He started medications about 4-1/2 years ago. Finally he has settled on Adderall. But sometimes he doesn’t take them. And we argue about it. We have had “counseling” and he has betrayed Truth when we have been in the same sessions together. My husband will tell lies before he will sit with his conscience and deliberate Truth. He is a minister. He gives beautiful sermons on Sundays. But I cannot bring myself to attend anymore.

I have learned a lot about myself Thru this mess. And some of it I didn’t want to know and wish I hadn’t had to have been thru. I say I love him. But I would choose to not have married him if I had to do this over again. It is a lonely life. I sleep in the basement a lot to get peace. I am here writing this instead of enjoying my elder years.

If he would take initiative and responsibility it would help. He does not. Period. His changes are temporary. His motivation to change is only to please me. Nothing sticks. He has no need to change except he is married. That’s sad to me. He doesn’t see the be need to change as he doesn’t take pride in being someone who upholds his side of a relationship. His adult children don’t even interact with him. He doesn’t know his grandchildren. He is waiting for things to “change”…for them to change. I am basically married to an 8-year-old defiant child. IMO

Please watch and see if she wants better for herself…not for you. Cuz “better for you” isn’t something my husband wants. He likes being just like he is.

Sounds mean, I know. That’s who i have become

——Nancy

I really appreciate this — very helpful, and I’m sorry you are in that situation

I hear your frustration and your in a good place to get some feedback and support. My wife and I are in a similar situation except we're a little further in to my diagnosis and we have 3 boys 10 and under. If you really want it to work here are a few things that have helped us get on track.1. Get educated. ADHD is much more invasive to how she actually functions and, especially, your relationship. Its much more complicated than not being able to pay attention. She's disconnecting and getting lost in video games... Because she's out of neurochemicals to be able to listen and focus so she's doing what she can to try and feel better to be able to stay engaged. The meds will help.

2. Once on meds it can take over a year to to figure out the right ones and dosage. Even then they may lose effectiveness over time at which point shell need to take a break or find something else until her tolerances diminishes, a couple weeks. Even if the meds work she had to develope external coping strategies.

3. Look up Russel Barkley's conference on YouTube. From what you said I can infer she's smart, capable and loves you very much. Her issue is with executive function deficits; cause and effect, understanding time, working memory... She needs to develope some systems and strategies to externalize what she lacks = notes, lists, times, alarms. Also gamify tasks like "how fast can I get the laundry folded" "how many "baskets" can I get throwing my laundry in the hamper. All of this is in her. She has to accept her diagnosis to be able to be willing to put new strategies in place.

4. While she does that you will need to come to terms with what you thought you relationship was and what it actually is with this new understanding. Try not to fall into a parent child dynamic. It makes you angry and it makes her feel like a troublesome child, not conducive to a intimate partnership. She'll need support but there's a fine line between that and parenting someone at times. It's her responsibility to get it together with some understanding that you ve figured out the issue now you are just at the beginning of the process of dealing with it together.

If she tries to go it alone, because it's her problem, you will continue to feel abandoned, which is the mistake I made. It will be hard but if you guys can figure out how to communicate around her symptoms they'll be less impactful and hopefully get to a point that they are hiccups and not gaping abyss.

Learn as much as you can. I recommend Russel Barkley's info but there are many specialist. I haven't found dietary changes to help beyond a healthy diet. Prioritizing exercise and sleep are huge too. The meds should give her focus but she NEEDS to use that focus to build those external coping structures and create new positive habits. And understand that this won't go away or be cured. If I don't wear my glasses I can't see I have to wear them to over come my vision deficit.

If she's looking at a counselor and/or you are for couples make the effort to find someone with solid ADHD experience.

I hope this helps. You're on the right track.

Eyespy profile image
Eyespy in reply to Lenon526

I personally found this very helpful - thank you for your insight!

Thank you!

I was diagnosed with ADHD a few months ago and I am beyond thankful for the support that my spouse has brought to the process of getting diagnosed, getting medication, and now getting mechanisms in place that help me be a better partner for him. At work I am functional, but extremely stressed when not medicated and it left nothing for my parter by the time I got home. We're at a good place because throughout our 12 year relationship a few things have been consistent. He grew up with a bipolar parent, so here are the three things that I think are key that he learned from growing up in that environment.

1) He's naturally very, very patient. He'll wait me out after asking for information or connection and continue to gently check in until he gets what he needs from me when I'm 'charged up' enough. On bad weeks this may only be an hour at the tail end of a Sunday.

2) Extreme honesty. I don't know what he's thinking unless he tells me very directly and he knows it. I am very honest and have no ability to curtail it, and he loves and appreciates that. Our communication is direct. I think the only exception to this is he's good at timing when to initiate a particular conversation based on my energy levels. An example, we're both 31 and don't have kids and we've had very frank conversations about how he's waiting until I can support him better and we review how close we are to that regularly because we both want kids. This is a difficult thing to look in the eye and tackle, but I am grateful that he's able to talk and give me feedback so I can improve instead of protecting my feelings and growing resentful. When I don't met his needs he tells me and I respond with exactly what is happening with me that prevented me from meeting his needs. This gives us both a better understanding moving forward so me can meet in the middle.

3) I take responsibility for my ADHD and eat healthy, get sleep, take meds, make reminders and plans and to do lists and follow through. This is hard work even after being medicated and I'm never going to be 100% successful. My husband trusts that I'm trying my best, loves me for me, and gives me some slack if needed. Without knowing your wife the question is do you trust her the same way?

I'm so grateful for my relationship and would not be anywhere near as good a place in my life without it, so I hope this gives you some insight to help both of you find the same place.

Eyespy profile image
Eyespy in reply to anilila

I LOVE this 🥰

Thank you so much

You've gotten great responses so far. I can't say I disagree with any of them. I don't want to repeat the good advice, so I'll mention something else.

You seem stressed by the clutter. If your living situation allows for it, you should find an area that the two of you can agree is off limits to her. Some place you can tidy that will stay however you leave it. Your own little island of organization you can return to. Everyone needs a space to call their own and give them a sense of control.

A second thing to warn you about. You say you want her to change. You probably are aware that change takes time and work. Lots of work. The other thing is that making multiple changes is much harder and likely to fail. If you are working with her (hopefully with some outside counseling) on making change, then try to focus on just 1 or 2 things at most. Work on those for weeks/months until they become part of her nature most of the time before trying to work on anything else.

I will also reemphasize an earlier point about meds. They definitely will help, but they are only for a limited time during the day. Make the most of that time. Figure out what it is best used for.

orangecurtains profile image
orangecurtains in reply to BTV65

Thank you so very much for your feedback

I am incredibly ADHD and take Adderall. I copied and pasted your bullet points with an answer from my perspective. I was the kid in class that had to have his desk in the corner and turned around to face the wall. My brain is like having 50 TVs going at once. Adderall gets its down to 8-10. This is with zero alcohol or weed plus being careful with sugar and diet.

1) She stops texting me back after one or two texts even if we are in the middle of a conversation, planning, or she has just asked me a question. I feel hurt. She just can’t pay attention to me. In the beginning she texted me constantly and had long conversation. Now I just expect to feel disregarded.

My answer:

She was probably hyper-focusing at the beginning due to the relationship being new. Hyper Focus is awesome and gives us an almost super human ability to pay attention for long periods of time. Sadly, its difficult to control and there is definitely no on and off switch. An example is me being on this site responding to this instead of doing many projects which are on fire. Please do not take personally and switching to voice call may be beneficial...especially if it gets her to take a walk and talk. Texting back and forth is setting her up for failure due to potential pop up distractions. A phone call/walk and talk could make for a good reset for her at work or at home and break an unnecessary hyper-focus. If she has some OCD, hyper-focus can be worse.

2) I need a clean, organized environment, I am in accounting and have a stressful job. Our home is always a mess and I am always cleaning up her stuff. She uses every single surface for clutter. I clean a place and it is messy again in a few days. She has no habits or routines around housekeeping at all. This leaves everything to chance and the last minute. I do 80% to 90% of the household work though we both work full time. And I am angry all the time about it. Even something small like picking up dirty clothes off the floor— she knows it is important to me but drops them in the bathroom for days. She laughs at my requests. I feel like I live with a teenage boy and it means I am always stressed. Nothing stays tidy ever. I feel disrespected and I start to hold her in contempt when I pick up her clothes for the twentieth time.

My answer: This is a tough one. My wife is a self made, badass Director of Sales and Ops for a multi-branded wine company who is extremely busy, clean and organized. With all that said, she does my laundry 100% of the time. She also does the majority of the cooking and cleaning. This way she can have her regimented control which helps her mind and I am off the hook to be the free-range chicken I am. Instead of us splitting this down the middle with the majority falling onto her...I use some of my spontaneous spending on her and handle other items in our relationship to pull my weight. I have my own space at home where I can be alone in order to focus and she has her own space where noone can touch. This is a tremendous help with what keeps us sane and physical boundaries. I challenge you to work with her and come up with something creative she can do to pull equal weight you are expending. If you collaborate on the next "new project" which benefits the household, she'll potentially hit it out of the park. Also - lists are incredibly important.

3) She does not listen well or engage in sustained conversation with me. Our back and forth is usually short. She does not pick up threads in conversation and weave them into a sharing. This leaves me lonely. I will tell her about myself or day or feelings but get no meaningful response so I am discouraged.

My answer: Another tough one and medication should help. My wife and I handle discussions in the morning together before too many distractions come into play and/or my mind awakens fully. 1st cup of coffee for me and 2nd for her. Another way to have a solid back and forth is the "walk and talk" method again. Any type of exercise combined with talking really helps with back and forth. Expending the additional energy helps create more focus and forces me to breath and calm down. My wife and I have had the best conversations on a walk, hike, ect. We try to save the meaningful stuff for then.

4) She has no meal planning or cooking habits. All the meals and shopping are my responsibility. She would eat fast food and candy every day. Making a meal she is likely to burn a pot. This is too much for me and I feel alone in it, again.

My answer: This is much like #2 - how we've made this work is she does the majority of the cooking and I buy her wine or bubbles. This gives me a little spontaneous spending and challenges my brain to be creative and hone in on what she is preparing. My brain explodes with dopamine when I get the pairing right and its a fun way to be a couple. She does the regimented grocery shopping (once or twice a week) and I go big once a month. I'll go into a grocery store with no direction/lists and fill up a cart until its overflowing. This is really fun and jives well with my creativity, spontaneous spending and hyper focus all at the same time. I am not sure how you solve this, however if you are trying to just have her do 50% of the cooking, cleaning, laundry...its a set up for failure. Hopefully you both can figure out a way for her to pull her weight with areas and items that will be easy for her. Think outside the box as that's where her brain lives.

5) She would rather play video games than connect with me at night after the kids are in bed. She thinks sitting on the couch together while doing separate things is quality time. I am again lonely and miserable because her attention is always on her phone or the Xbox or the TV or a new project. I don’t feel seen or heard or like she cares.

My answer: Sitting on the couch together doing separate things is quality time for us. Playing a game forces my mind to relax and gets me to be still, calm and quiet. My wife enjoys this and I am a Tasmanian devil the majority of the time. Adderall definitely helps gets some focus and we are able to converse easier. You may want to think of a way to engage in a new project together. If you both engage in something that excites her brain, it will definitely help with being closer. She may also need alone time though. With having two kids and an active house...alone time for an ADHD person is critical. Without doses of alone time, it can get out of control quickly and acting out/self destructive behaviors could happen without the reset.

6) She is a train wreck at work, always late with projects, ignoring her job duties, doing as little as possible, disorganized and seemingly not caring if she gets fired. Her finances are poor and she has no savings, lots of debt, but makes many impulsive purchases and spends all money.

My answer: This will never go away until she finds a job that lets her live outside the box instead of expecting her to be in a box. If her job duties are simple A to B tasks, she is doomed. I can do some pretty complex things at the same time, however simple tasks take forever and are next to impossible for me. Adderall helps for sure but still an uphill battle. Also, a good diet, no alcohol and extremely limited sugar helps as well. Alcohol and sugar only makes ADHD far worse and are impossible for me to have and maintain a responsible life.

There has been some trial and error, however having other employees handle the simpler tasks and me handling complex issues strikes a good balance. I am very successful at my job and in my career and its only due to the combination of medication, diet, no alcohol and limited to no sugar. Having a good support group that understands my strengths and weaknesses due ADHD is paramount. All of this took ALOT if time, patience, love and tolerance. The good news is people gave me that time because I'm the type of person that would run into a burning building for them without hesitation. Having a huge heart and a level head during an extreme crisis is a positive trait of ADHD. There are plenty of other positive traits as well and being creative to find that 50/50 will help draw them out. I recommend you do something unpredictable and disruptive together, get a solid CONTROL-ALT-DELETE and try to shake things up. Good luck the both of you!

Best, Paul

BTV65 profile image
BTV65 in reply to adhdanxietyme

I don't want to steal the thread, but you said two things of interest to me.

"alone time for an ADHD person is critical"

Really? That's definitely the case for me, but not a lot of other people I know with ADHD. It's also the case for my son who is in college now. I always thought it was more the introvert/extrovert thing.

"a level head during an extreme crisis is a positive trait of ADHD"

I have ADD, my wife and son have ADHD. A level head during a crisis requires quick thinking that can be turned into action. That's the total opposite of me, but describes my wife exactly. While we both are planners, I have great difficulty executing a plan that I don't have time to digest first. I'm a slow, plodding thinker that likes to examine every detail one at a time. It makes me a great problem solver, as long as I am given the time. I also don't mind boring repetitive tasks, like polishing brass. My wife is fast and efficient, but she doesn't have patience. It needs to be done *now* and move on. I can (and do) spend endless hours working on fine detail.

ADHD seems like a bucket of traits that we all pull from, but we all don't end up with the same ones. So it's always interesting to me when I find a trait that I have that is part of that bucket and I didn't realize it.

Thank you very much, this reply was extremely helpful

"alone time for an ADHD person is critical" <--- its not about introvert vs extrovert (I am an explosive extravert) - the alone time creates a physical boundary which allows for a reset (time out). Whether ADHD individuals think they want it or not, its a necessary piece of cognitive ADHD management.

I also believe many people are misdiagnosed with ADHD - its so easy segment the patient/individual into that category - GAD and Bi-Polar are cousins of ADHD and have very similar characteristics. Testing is difficult too as there are many situational issues which can simulate the behaviors. In this day and age...how many people have attention issues and can be distracted?

More context on extreme crisis traumatic events -- (going off my own experience with myself my community - its easy to asses and predict who and how someone would react when an explosion happens or bomb goes off until one actually does. Myself and many of my ADHD peers are in a day to day state of intense chaos. When that intense chaos becomes external, it appears very slow to this individual. Again, I can only speak of myself and others in my community and back home where I grew up. I am sure there is plenty of data to prove or disprove this.

Like you - I am feeling bad of hijacking this thread and am happy to continue a healthy discussion on a separate thread or conversation. Cheers - Paul

Don’t worry about hijacking, the more dialogue the better.

phew - thank you. I am texting my wife to see if you can now get the other side of the coin (perspective). She's going to kill me...

She sounds like a blast! Haha (jk)

I would say all but #6 seem like ADD to me.

She can’t help it bro.

Just try and re-wire your natural thinking pattern to make room for her ADD.

And PLEASE — tell her to b switch to Vyvanse!

Trusttttttt meeeee.

Even if you guys decide to break up — do her a huge compassionate favor & encourage her to tell her doctor she wants to switch to Vyvanse, he’ll switch her no problem.

I'm sorry you're going through this right now, that sounds very challenging. I was recently diagnosed with ADHD and my partner also has ADHD so hopefully I can share some of my insight and maybe it will be helpful.

With texting: my partner is terrible at texting (I'm not either but he's worse). I brought up that it hurt my feelings and he said he didn't realize that at all. Sometimes having a frank conversation about it can help. We found that it just wasn't going to work for us, so we text short messages to check in or tell each other I love you. We more often talk on the phone to connect, like driving home from work on on a lunch break. This might not work for you but keep in mind that texting the way you want to may not be realistic for your girlfriend, but it doesn't mean she doesn't care about you. Find a workaround that is doable for both of you that can meet both your needs.

As for the chores, I totally get it. My partner is constantly telling me not to overfill the recycling bin but I keep forgetting, sometimes chores like that are a constant cycle of that and frustration. Try sitting down with your girlfriend (and maybe her therapist) and making a list of the chores that are most important. Then find a solution to make them easier for her to do it. For example, put a laundry basket in the bathroom where she normally dumps dirty clothes so it's not an extra step. Find "homes" for commonly used objects so they don't have to be on the counter--or create a dump basket for commonly used items so they are visible and accessible but not as messy. There are plenty of workarounds that can be a compromise for both of you, google is your friend. Another example is making the rule of "do it now" so if a certain scenario arises, she does the task immediately instead of waiting, such as when she takes off the dirty clothes, they must immediately go in the basket and never on the floor. That has helped me a lot. Also, being really explicit about what is her responsibility and what is yours, and when she will complete the tasks may help. Seeing a bunch of chores piling up can be overwhelming so knowing what to do and where to start might help her. I use a whiteboard to organize my daily tasks and I have a section for chores.

As for meal planning and cooking, my partner and I have a collection of recipes that are easy and we cycle through them. Maybe create a list of recipes that aren't too hard or time consuming that she has a better chance of being able to follow through on--we like baking veggies so all you do is wait for the timer and pull them out, so no forgetting about them because of the timer. Another trick is to make the rule that you can't leave the kitchen while you're cooking so you don't accidently burn something. I listen to an audiobook so I don't get bored but don't wander off, forget, and burn stuff. It's definitely happened! Shopping isn't hard for us either because you just look at the list of ingredients from the recipe and make it into the grocery list. Lastly, we use a grocery pickup service which has made grocery shopping much better for us--it was our most dreaded chore. Maybe some of these options could make meal planning and cooking a bit more accessible for your girlfriend?

I just want to say that the things she is struggling with don't mean she doesn't care about you. The fact that she struggles with depression too makes things even more challenging. But things will only get better if she commits to work hard to improve them and acknowledge the problem. It might be a difficult process but as long as she is willing to do the work things can change for the better. I wish you all the best.

thank you for this caring and helpful practical response with good tools we can try using

Hi there, adhdanxietyme wife here. He asked me to reply to you coming from the side of being married to someone with ADHD. All I can say is that it is no picnic and that you TRULY have to love that person in order for it to work. Luckily, as much as my husband drives me crazy, I love him with all my heart - he is insanely funny, very empathetic, and has a wonderful heart. His ADHD energy gives him serious drive in whatever he puts his mind to.

The negative. I handle 95% of the household responsibilities which include laundry, taking out the garbage, picking up after my husband (he leaves a trail pretty much everywhere he goes), all cleaning and generally trying to maintain some sort of "control" over the house. We have 2 kids in a shared custody situation which just compounds the issue. I too, am very frustrated when I cannot get ahold of him or when he snaps at me for reminding him to do something via text. He has been on his way home from work and doesn't arrive for 90 minutes later because he went shopping. There are times when a simple action like giving him his breakfast or walking past him in the hall results in a "snappy reaction" because I unknowingly broke his concentration. There is also frivolous spending in our case...it seems like every time I do a donation run, there are more items showing up. I am already concerned about Xmas this year and the influx of more things because we already need to get rid of so much.

We are in our 40's and I sometimes worry about the future and what may happen if I became sick or injured. Will the bills get paid? The house be clean? What about the cooking, laundry, etc?

Experimenting with drugs in my experience is often a rollercoaster in of itself. It. is. not. a. miracle. drug. I have watched my husband go on/off, on/off, play with dosage, etc for over 7 years. What I have observed is that it takes proper sleep, nutrition, exercise and chemical assistance. Given there is a factor of self-control involved in all those things, my experience is that it requires a very supportive spouse to help encourage and manage this. Right now, we are doing the Whole 30 diet and I am handling all the shopping, cooking, etc.

Anyway, hope this helps. I think you have received a lot of constructive feedback as to what you can do as a couple assuming your partner is willing to work on it, but at the end of the day you have to be ok with it never changing...because it may not.

Thank you so much. This is very helpful. Thanks to both you and your hubs.

I don't have the stamina or desire to be the one who does all the household work, laundry, cooking, cleaning. I would be so completely resentful and I'm already mad about it -- I am a person who likes things to be fair and equal or at least balanced.

My efforts at making a chore share calendar, putting chores on a board on the wall, are ignored and dont end up happening except the things on my column. It keeps me from enjoyiing our quiet time because I'm like, why are you doing a, b, c and d fun random things instead of the things on the list? I need a clean organized home to function with my own mental illness challenges.

I appreciate you sharing and being so candid.

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