Dr. Umesh Jain is now exclusively responsible for TotallyADD.com and its content

Need advice with boyfriend

Need advice with boyfriend2014-03-25T09:34:11+00:00

The Forums Forums For The Non-ADD Girlfriend/Boyfriend Has it Need advice with boyfriend

Viewing 0 posts
Viewing 7 posts - 1 through 7 (of 7 total)
  • Author
  • #124649

    Post count: 5

    My boyfriend has already been diagnosed with ADD. He takes meds and sees a therapist. So, that is good. But one of his top “side effects” of having ADD is he is constantly losing things. Not small items, like a cup, but kindles, cuff links, sentimental gifts. We’ve recently started to rid our apartment of clutter, to help the focus stay off of clutter and on to more important things…help the mind stay more focused. The problem is, even with our apartment decluttered and fairly spacious now, he is still losing things and he gets into fits of rage over this. He feels that nothing he is doing is helping…even with all the decluttering. He goes to a dark place when he loses something, throwing things out of frustration and harming himself at times because he says he can’t live like this. It is so hard to watch and I know nothing I do or say will help. I’m looking for any sort of help to understand or cope better with this or things I could possibly say or do to help him. I know this will happen again.

    Thank you.


    Post count: 906


    Welcome, and thanks for posting your question here. 🙂

    I am sorry to hear your boyfriend is having such a hard time.

    I don’t really experience the severe angry outbursts like that myself, but I know some of the others here do, or have spouses who do, so they can probably give you some advice in how to cope with that. My mother’s strategy with my father was mostly just to ignore him, or agree with everything he said until he calmed down.

    But getting frustrated to the point of hurting himself is not good. For starters, he needs to go easy on himself. Like Edison said, he didn’t fail, he just found a way that didn’t work. It will take several tries to find what works, and time to make it work. And what works now might not work forever. And it will never be perfect. And that’s okay. Aim for perfect and be happy if you fall somewhere between great and acceptable.

    He needs to find a way to cope with the frustration and anger, whether it’s taking a deep breath and counting to 10 or whatever, something that will calm him enough that he can focus and think. Also, when his symptoms are that severe, it looks his current treatment isn’t working as well as it could be. It might not hurt to look at different options there, maybe a slight adjustment in medication.

    Now, as for losing things…… This is a tough one. Getting rid of the clutter is a great place to start. Next, I would suggest having a place for everything, and everything in it’s place. You will have to help with that. Lables and colour coding are helpful to some.

    For example, keeping a bowl or basket near the door to drop keys into, like a lot of people do. You can expand on that and have boxes/bowls/baskets everywhere- on the dresser, the computer desk, wherever you need them-for him to put things in. It’s best to keep them in plain sight if possible, since out of sight literally is out of mind for an ADDer. And you can use a different colour for each thing or label them, or both

    Then you will have to remind him to put them there until he gets into the habit himself. Once it becomes habit he should be able to remember it most of the time on his own.

    Now, when he’s out, he may have to develop a little case of OCD, constantly checking to see if he still has everything. You could help him to develop a habit there too, by reminding him when you are with him. Every time he leaves a place, check to make sure he has everything.

    Also, minimize the amount of stuff he has to lose. If you are going somewhere where it will be difficult to go back for something that was forgotten, don’t take anything you don’t want to lose. And if there is a risk of something being stolen if it is set down and forgotten, don’t let him carry anything valuable. Trust me, I learned that one the hard way when my husband’s camera got stolen at Wonderland because I saw one of his friends and ran over to tell him, leaving the camera where I had been sitting.

    And finally, try not to get too upset about it. I was haunted for many years because I lost the unicorn necklace my mom gave me when I graduated from grade 8, and the sweet 16 heart she gave me that I wore on the same chain. I hated myself for it.
    And she didn’t help any by constantly reminding me. To this day, I never wear jewelry that has any value, sentimental or otherwise, unless I am just going somewhere for a short time and I’m fairly sure it will be safe.

    I hope something in all of that is helpful. I’m having a little trouble with gathering my thoughts today and had to edit it several times.

    Hang in there, it will get better. 🙂


    Post count: 5

    Thank you so much for your quick response.

    When I try to suggest things to him, he sometimes gets frustrated bc in his mind, he has already thought about that suggestion. We do have hooks for keys, a basket for mail and bills other things, he has a sectioned out mens jewelry box for his cuff links, watch, etc, but I will still find his keys sitting on the couch, his watch sitting in a bowl on the living room table, etc. It’s like he forgets that he has to put things in their proper place or he gets so distracted that he forgets these things that will help him.

    The kindle was left on an airplane (I wasn’t with him) and now he thinks he lost his cuff links on another business trip (I wasn’t with him).

    When we leave the house, I always ask if he has his phone, wallet, ID, etc. and he gets frustrated that I am asking him these questions, when I am only trying to avoid being somewhere and him realizing that he forgot something.

    So, do I back off and let him find his way? Or do I just keep doing what I am doing by trying to be his back up in putting his things away or finding his things, and constantly asking if he has everything?

    Thank you!


    Post count: 430

    Get him to participate.

    My wife used to have this routine: “Have you taken your meds? Have you packed your lunch? Have you got your buss pass? Building Pass? Do you have your ID card?…

    By the time she reached the MIDDLE of the list, she could have said “Have you warmed up the Flying Saucer?” and I would have answered “Yes” without skipping a beat.  So, she started asking me “What don’t you want to forget today? Then we would work on that one thing until it was not forgotten.

    We ADHD’rs have problems focusing on a myriad of things, and focusing on one thing to the exclusion of all others. Try to tap into that “focus on one thing” trait and see what happens.


    Patte Rosebank
    Post count: 1517

    @Jh531, the reason we can’t remember where we put something, is that our mind was on something else when we did it, so we have no memory of doing it.

    You can’t REmember what you never membered in the first place!

    How do we solve this problem? By forming habits, like concentrating on always putting our keys in the same place at the same time. Once something becomes a habit, we don’t need to think about it; it happens automatically, even when our brain is a million miles away.


    Do be careful about going through the “Do you have your…” checklist with your boyfriend. It changes the dynamic of your relationship from “partners” to “parent & child”, and that can lead to resentment in both you and in your ADHD partner.

    Melissa Orlov’s book, “The ADHD Effect on Marriage”, is very helpful at understanding and working through the challenges of an ADHD “mixed-marriage” relationship.


    And Rick & Ava talked about relationships, on this episode of Attention Talk Radio:




    Post count: 906

    Hey @Jh531

    I started out to type another comment filled with advice but I have so many distractions around me now that I got extremely frustrated and had to quit.

    And then I saw the other thread where most of the advice I was going to give you had already been given.

    Ultimately, he has to figure out what will work for himself. You can help by being supportive and helping through the frustration. The important thing is to keep trying.

    Now I am going to try and find a spot somewhere in this house that is actually quiet before my head explodes.


    Post count: 845

    Tick . . . tick . . . tick

Viewing 7 posts - 1 through 7 (of 7 total)