Difficulties with a partner

Hi there,

I’ve been with my partner for about 10 years and I was diagnosed with ADHD about a year ago. In retrospect the diagnosis made SO MANY things make sense about my life, growing up, classes, etc. Even now, I wait until the absolute last second to complete work which isn’t the best but that pressure is such a motivator. Hopefully I can explain this as best I can, but inevitably it will be a ramble!

Over the past few years we’ve had some challenges, due in part to my ADHD (which I didn’t know about). For example I was hyper attentive during our dating phase, and when that wained it caused her a lot of hurt which in turn caused me hurt. We’ve also gotten into fights because she’s reorganized everything in the house or bedroom spontaneously which really upset me. I didn’t really know at the time how to explain WHY that bothered me to her which didn’t make anything easier. I’ve also had a lot of difficulty being an adult… Which feels dumb to say because I’ve had a fairly successful life so far, but the ideas of taking next steps or making big changes is paralyzing for me.

I did try to talk with her a little bit about my ADHD after receiving a diagnosis, but I don’t think I did a great job of it and I’m fairly sure she didn’t understand it all. That was definitely a source of frustration for both of us, she didn’t understand why I couldn’t remember things that were important to her or why I would lose track of stuff. Both of us being home 24/7 added a lot of pressure as my routines and outlets (like the gym) were suddenly gone. I’ve struggled with finding new routines to stick with.

Recently we separated when she didn’t have any energy left to handle and decided to leave… This was kind of a spur to action for me and I’ve done more research to learn about ADHD and understanding myself than the entire previous year.

The video series here has explained so much of this in relatable ways that make me feel like I’m not just incapable or lazy or that I don’t care or that I’m a failure. I’ve learned about making a bullet journal (which I started today) and about reprogramming my brain with a dopa-menu to maybe shift it away from some not so great things that Ive relied on.

I’m not even sure what I’m looking for by posting here… A sense of community maybe? I’ve struggled to make friends (it’s really anxiety inducing to just MEET people in the real world, I’ll never understand how I was able to make the friends I have now)

I am hoping I will get the opportunity to talk with my partner before everything is done for good and share some of what I’ve learned… But either way I think it’s important for me to start taking control and responsibility of my ADHD symptoms and manage them however I can.

(Side note: even though this is important to me, I got distracted probably a dozen times while typing it… It’s nice to know people here understand that)

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This is a great community . . . Welcome . . .

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Man, I hear ya. :raised_hands:
I’ve had difficulty with my partner (been together 6 years) many times and it’s only this year that I’ve started a path to official diagnoses, after learning more about it.

Key word for platonic and romantic relationships in my life: Tolerance.

My wife has a lot of her own struggles and we’re actually learning she may be on the Autism spectrum, (big year!) My point is though that we have come to a point where we both realise that we have a lot to work on and staying together we’ve been able to help each get through things, though we’ve both nearly left many times.

As for my friends, the three close friends I have left are probably the most easy going, chill and tolerable people i know. Able to put up with my spontaneity, inconsistency and lack of an ability to be reliable. At the end of the day though, they know I care still and I know they care.

On a side note, more related to your post, my wife has been seeing a psychologist for years and I started on one myself nearly a year ago and whether you decide to go alone, see separate psychologists or decide on couples counseling I’d recommend at least one of those options, if it’s not too late.
Often having someone to mediate and rationalise our feelings and help us communicate has been a huge help. And we certainly wouldn’t still be together today if either of us had decided not to seek such help.

Hope that’s of some help and good luck with your journey ~ We’re here for you, you’re not alone. :slightly_smiling_face:

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Hi @RollD20PizzaBagles,

First of all welcome to this “Neurodivergent Community”. I am also new here. Initially I was very reluctant to post anything lest anyone would care to read or reply. But I had been proved wrong as I got quick and empathetic responses.

Joining this community made me realise that Neurotypicals and Neurodivergents are almost always out of sync, and since majority are Neurotypicals we find ourselves as “outsiders”.

Anyway we are here for each other pal :slight_smile:.

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Another “outsider” here :slight_smile:

I relate to a lot of what you talked about in your post. My partner is having some difficulty “getting me” too.

Whatever happens with this relationship for you, what you are doing for yourself will pay dividends, I’m sure!

As RuPaul says: “If you can’t love yourself, how the h*ll are you going to love somebody else?!”

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Welcome. Not sure what to say about the partner issues and so forth. (Honestly, I’m kinda jealous that you have one. I’ve never really made it that far in life … . ) I know that one main thing about figuring out ADHD can be figuring out that your expectations and other people’s expectations may be surprisingly different.

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Right there.
Expectations. That’s a whole other ‘can of worms’ right there!
I’m still trying to work this one out.
My assumptions of others expectations used to always get me in trouble.
I attempted to combat this by becoming an ask-hole, forever reiterating my interpretation of what I was told or asked, just because I would understand and expect differently to others, which I then learnt also gets on people’s nerves.
Now I’ve got anxiety around attempting to figure out what people mean or expect because I don’t want to go to the trouble of upsetting them. :man_facepalming::man_facepalming:

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OMG #relatable

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Hey, I’m sorry it’s been so rough for you!

I’m still kinda new both with the forums and diagnosed - it was two days ago, heh. But I’m realizing a lot of my own relationship issues are related to the ADHD so if you were looking for a sense of community I thought I’d reply.

Not even joking, mere hours after my diagnosis my bf got super pissed at me bc I’d forgotten something I literally don’t remember him saying and did not properly extrapolate from what I DID remember him saying all the steps needed to do the thing he needed me to get done before he got back from the store…and also I’d completely lost track of time and barely done the parts I did know I needed to do.

So that was a lot.

He did later apologize. Idk if part of him thought the diagnosis would magically “cure” me or what, but I get you on relationship issues is all.

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Also, I’m not trying to give unasked for advice but if you want my two cents there I can tell you what I’m trying with my own partner.

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I think implicit with most postings here . . . Advice is, if not expected, still welcomed.

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Thank you. :smiley: Unsurprisingly, I often Have Thoughts and then have trouble figuring out if blurting them out is appropriate or not.

So…and I know I keep saying this and I’m sorry - bc I’m sitting here diagnosed at 36 I VERY MUCH grew up with the idea that ADHD is just hyper little boys. Not adult women who finally realize they have executive function and focus issues. My partner is actually a bit older than I am, so even though he’s diagnosed depression he has those ideas even more so, I’m pretty sure.

So a lot of what I’ve been doing is trying to learn more and trying to find ways to explain things better. Like, one of the things during our argument was “Clearly you can focus on things, you’ve been watching Hamilton for like a month straight now! You just don’t pay attention to what I say!”

And I was able to tell him “Hey, so ADHD isn’t only attention all over the place. Sometimes we hyper focus.”

I mean, it still turned into an entire argument in that moment. But I was able to understand better how my brain works. And I was also able to not be mad at him for being mad I forgot stuff. Bc that is frustrating! I was just mad that I was literally just diagnosed with ADHD and now you wanna be mad at me for not hearing/forgetting something.

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It’s also not an attention based disorder, it’s a disorder that has an effect on attention.
Hamilton triggers lots of happy making chemicals in the brain, thus you can focus in it. Talking about a stressful or boring/mundane topic with your spouse? No happy happy juice flowing. Sorry. Doesn’t happen. Ooooooh I bet that desk would look nice over there… huh? What did you say?

I think the best step My wife and I took was understanding that it was not the inability to focus, but an disability in controlling the focus. Once we got there it cleared the path for more productive work and conversations.

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THIS! This is exactly what I tried to explain. Which I wouldn’t have known without researching/talking to people. It’s not that I can’t focus. My brain has issues knowing what it should actually focus on.

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Has your partner done any digging into ADHD and the symptoms? It might be worth sitting together and going through a few of shorter youtube videos that cover the basics.

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