Toxic Relationship Dynamics


My boyfriend (ADHD) and I just moved in together a couple months ago. The amount of consistency has been zero and I find me taking on a lot more without being able to do the self care thing because my house is in disarray. I’ve begun to suspect that I may be un-diagnosed ASD and with the number of changes inside the last while I’ve been in constant overwhelm and upset and so to keep from exploding I shutdown. I keep taking things over in order to do stuff so that I can feel like I accomplished some thing or that I can feel the sense that not everything is in disorder. My therapist has been increasingly concerned about my stress levels and isn’t the sort to be able to recommend anything other than insist I need to take care of myself which I fail at. My boyfriend has also been in constant overwhelm and is the sort to attempt to distract but gets overwhelm paralysis and so basically I end up being the executive function so that the thing can get done or I just leave it go with the idea it’s not getting done.

I guess its always been there but with the new living situation and living this way full time has been nothing short of a dysregulated emotional rollercoaster. Can anyone else relate or have any advice? We need some new tools.


I feel ya :frowning: I struggle a lot similarly but I do have a short term fix that helps me sometimes?

Re-arrange your furniture together. This could be moving a couch from one wall to another, it could be rearranging your entire kitchen, or it could be making a pillow fort. Whatever it is, make a game of it. Put on music, tell jokes, have fun. The end result doesn’t have to be a tidy house, but you half-crack the overwhelm because you are interacting with your home environment in a way that isn’t scary and overwhelming. You could buy a picture and hang it up. You could order your CD collection by alphabetical or colour order. Buy some of those cushions with letters on and use them to spell dumb things, or fridge magnets.

If you start off this time in your house negatively, it’ll be harder to look after the housework. You need to make some good memories in your house together without the pressure of everything. I think that the more you enjoy the house, the more likely you are to crack the paralysis for a little bit.


Thank you for sharing!


I’m assuming that your boyfriend accepts that things aren’t going well and wants to improve the situation?

You need to work on improving the communication between the both of you, he needs to agree to this too. Tell him you want a better life together and make an agreement to take time to discuss this.

You both need to agree to avoid making negative statements and accusations, aim to talk about what you would like to happen and how you are going to achieve this. If it’s too much to talk about this right now you can both write it down.


Thank you for responding!


If your house or home has got a few bedrooms try and separate the sleeping areas of your home. This way you get one room each to have as you please and a safe place to retreat to if things get overwhelming.

Never see separate bedrooms and bathrooms as a failure. As the Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf answered on a reporters question about the secret to keep a long term relationship (after being married to the Queen Silvia over 40 years): Separate bathrooms!


Leave post it notes, it makes it easier to remember


My brother has ADHD and his girlfriend is NT. They do the separate bedroom thing. It works for them! It wouldn’t work for me, but they just need some alone time and a safe space to destress.


Firstly, someone else mentioned it but communication is KEY.

Secondly, you need new systems. I am ADHD and my son is ASD. We have very different ways of thinking, but surprisingly we need the same sort of systems to function well. Create schedules for cleaning. Until it becomes routine, it won’t be perfect so start off with that realization. Start small and build on successes. Set up REWARDS. ADHDers need rewards because our reward system is a bit odd. Monday, we are going to clean the kitchen and then go out to dinner together. We are going to start at 4pm, accomplish these three specific tasks, finish by 6, and then have FUN together at dinner or a movie. Tuesday night before we watch our favorite TV show, we will make sure the laundry is finished. You get the idea. Work it into your schedule and put the fun things you guys do together at the end of the task. Build the schedule WITH him. He needs to be a part of the process so that he doesn’t feel like a child with a chore list. Get creative. Have fun. TALK ABOUT IT.


Reward system adults with ADHD… id say that I’m an adult ok and I don’t need a reward. And then I’d ask what kind of ice cream the reward would be…


LOL, I know rewards for adults sound silly, but it works! You just have to present it in a way that isn’t… patronizing. :open_mouth: I reward myself all the time for a job well done. Man, that sounds insane. :rofl: But if your brain isn’t giving you dopamine the old fashion way, well… try something new.


How are you getting on OP?

Any success or improvements yet?