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

The Forums Forums For The Non-ADD Relationships Need some support..need to hear positive stories!

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  • Anonymous
    #90971 |

    Hi. I am the partner of someone with ADHD. She was diagnosed as a child (is now 42) and put on med’s or received professional support. Her Mom helped her naturally when she was child, but then lost energy and control when my partner became a teenager. Since then my partner’s life has been HELL..for the most part. Uncontrolled behavior, drug use, and one failed business and relationship after another. WE have been together for 2 1/2 years now and after the first month it all began to fall apart. I have been searching for answers since then (despite being told I was controlling, crazy, insecure, demanding, difficult, and many other horrible things by my partner, family members, and friends). Recently our counselor suggested I look into what it is like to live with an adult with AD/HD—AND there the answer came!! I feel like I have been dragging her up all these mountains to find the answer….but now know in my heart that this is the right mountain! But although we are just starting up the trail, she is hesitant because she says it is just one more thing that I find wrong with her and if it isn’t this thing or that thing…it is now her AD/HD. Her friends don’t help either because they tell her I am crazy, have mental issues, controlling, expecting too much from her, and have CODEPENDENCY issues (we hear that one ALOT!!)…etc. My friends and family are starting to believe the same things. BUT I KNOW…I am not all of those things and have NO desire to be codependent! I am not afraid of her getting better because then I would have nothing to “full fill my life with”–believe me–that is the furthest from my mind.

    I don’t mean to be going on and on…..I just don’t have anyone to talk to about this and I feel I am going to explode. it is like she and friends and family think I should just be able to let this go and not deal or think about it everyday. But, am I crazy to say that I DO DEAL WITH IT EVERY DAY!!!—AND REALLY HAVE NO CHOICE if I am going to stay in this relationship!!! How many areas of our life together is affected by this—how many of her self medicating actions seep into my life and hopes and dreams and desires!! And my only other option is to leave—-and just be another person who left her to her own defenses. Believe me, the thought is tempting! Very, very tempting!!!

    So what do I do? Any stories of success?? We don’t have insurance so I am struggling to find qualified support and in the mean time she is getting bored with the idea of getting help (right…AD/HD symptom). A few weeks ago she was all on the ball and positive about trying med’s for the first time in her life. Now she is just bored with the idea and is starting to become defensive. I got the book “is it you, me or add” and so now realize that she may also have ODD. She can become VERY mean, defensive, verbally abusive, and well…down right mean!! And again..her friends don’t help any by backing up her theories that I am the problem. Her latest excuse is that I am going through Menopause and so I am an emotional reck. Believe me, my mind is as clear as can be!

    She is also a recovering addict so getting her on med’s may be difficult. Anyone have history with that?

    She is addicted to xbox—that is her current self medicating tool. She says it gives her the same relief that Heroin did without the side affects and it is legal. In one of her “UP” periods she talked me into starting a business with her and running it from this awesome house we found. Now that the excitement is over I am left with all of the work and burden while she sits in the bedroom for hours a day playing xbox. and if she has to do any work for the biz or around this enormous house then she has to “recover” in the evening by playing xbox for 6+ hours and rarely coming to bed. That is until I have enough and we fight…and then she makes changes for a few days, before going right back to the old routine. OH AND DON’T EVEN GET ME STARTED ON THE SEXUAL/INTIMACY ISSUES!!!!!!

    There–I think I vented enough. I guess I just want some acknowledgement, encouragement, knowledge, direction, support, and positive stories/endings. Any HELP????


    ……..ooops……I meant to say….SHE HAS NEVER been on med’s or had professional help for her AD/HD


    Hi and welcome.

    What is good about your relationship?

    What do you love about your partner?

    What does she love about you?

    What does she think is good about the relationship?

    How long has she been in recovery?

    What do you want to change?

    Success stories – my husband has asperger syndrome and I have ADHD. We just ‘click’. We laugh a LOT even though sometimes it would be easy to think there is nothing much to laugh about (like when my parents disowned me). We don’t take each other for granted and we just ‘muck in’ to get what needs to be done done.

    We are celebrating our 10 year wedding anniversary next spring and he’s asked me to renew our vows together on that day. ADHD doesn’t impact negatively on our relationship and neither does aspergers. The reason, I think, is that we just accept each other and work with our strengths as best we can. He picks up after me and I deal with the emotional stuff. I accept that his practical help is how he supports me when he struggles with the ‘feelings’ stuff and he accepts that I am not being lazy or inconsiderate when I don’t get stuff done.

    I’m very, very happy in my relationship. That’s the best success story I got!


    Yikes, Hero J………..and your there still why???? Jeeze Louise…..it doesn’t matter “who”….assignment of blame is ridiculous…..it works as a relationship….. or it doesn’t…..it’s healthy and happy….. or it’s not!!! Being in love should not cause bruising!!!

    I don’t often advise people so pay attention, get right up close to your monitor……”YOU CAN’T CHANGE SOMEBODY ELSE”…..

    It is impossible to change another…..it is really really hard for people to make permanent, long lasting changes to, or for, themselves………..EVEN IF THEY REALLY REALLY WANT TO…….even if it is life threatening to them…….sooooo..there you go.

    Now….go get a counselor…..right away, now don’t hesitate….walk away from this screen and seek immediate help….professional help……if what you describe is true…..do yourself the favor and see somebody……..not for her god knows…..but for you……that’s all you can ever ever possibly hope to change.

    Abuse, verbal, physical….violence….drug addiction……and your trying to fix that???



    I am not sure if I’m not reading it right – I thought the lady was a recovering addict (ie not still using) and I didn’t pick up on any physical abuse – if that’s the case then I definitely agree that walking away is the only thing to do.


    ODD sounds possible from my limited knowledge.

    After my diagnosis and subsequent research on ADHD, it became obvious that our teenage daughter was beginning to develop ODD symptoms. There is a history of my extended family’s teenagers having mild ODD (undiagnosed). Things are turning around for us now because we have changed our parenting style, provided (not imposed) much more structure, and I have learned to be in better control of my ADHD emotions.

    The reading on the long term prognosis for ODD continuing into adulthood is pretty grim. It sounds like you are in couple’s counseling, but my thoughts are that without a lot of professional help, she is going to be stuck in that rut. A psychiatrist might be your best chance at finding out what’s really going on. Has she ever had periods in her life when things went very well for her? that might be a positive sign. As toofat implied, there has to be a desire for change.

    There are also other co-morbidities that go with ADHD, and diseases that mimic ADHD that should be investigated as well, so a MD as well as psychiatrist might be needed.

    Sorry to be so grim


    Heros Journey – you might check out the “Survival in an ADD Relationship” thread at http://totallyadd.com/forum/topic.php?id=256

    I agree with Toofat that you can’t change somebody else. At best, you might be able to help your partner learn about ADHD and get help. It sounds like she really needs to be on some ADHD meds.

    Unfortunately, I am “not in a very good place” right now so I’m not bubbling over with “positive stories.”

    In any event, this site is for you … and her. Make use of it. Ask questions. Glad to have you here.


    Hi I read your post and can sympathize. Both as someone who has had a long term relationship with a partner (in this case a boyfriend/fiance of 3 years) with ADHD and alcohol/drug issues. That was over 7 years ago. Since then I have been diagnosed ADHD, used alcohol and “extreme shopping” to self medicate from time to time. I have been in my current relationship with my new boyfriend for 4 years.

    Last year it about ended when my ADHD symptoms and self medicating reached a point neither one of us could take any longer. And we both were ready to call it quits. We are still together and have had to work through a lot.

    You said “if I am going to stay in this relationship!!! How many areas of our life together is affected by this—how many of her self medicating actions seep into my life and hopes and dreams and desires!! ” Hate to break it to you but yep pretty much all areas of your life get affected. The choice is how much are you willing to let it effect what areas and how much and for how long?

    When I was with boyfriend #1 I’ll call him, it was exciting, fun romantic but also unpredictable, up then down, and lots of ideas of how we can do business only to loose track or interest in them. His drinking and ADHD symptoms were bigger than mine and I was undiagnosed although wondered about my self. So I felt like I had to be the parent, the controller so things didn’t completely fall part, the one who had the full time job and the college degree….. In the end that relationship fell apart. There was always lots of talk about change, on both ends, quitting his drinking/drugs. Worked for a few days then would just go back to same old ways. Neither one of us were equipped to make changes.

    I was left tired, depleted worn out. Too tired to get out the job I was in that was going nowhere and wondering what the hell happened to all that fun stuff we had planned all those dreams we came up with. So years later after dealing with undiagnosed ADHD in myself I met my now boyfriend who is much different. No drinking problem, stable good father, night in shining armor right? Well no. He is a good guy, really good but human. I also had to discover so am I. I do not have the super powers I thought I did.

    That brings me to my own problems with ADHD and self medicating. I started to turn into my ex. Yep the one who was all over, lots of ideas, very fun to be around enticing etc. until my current boyfriend got worn out same as I did before. That was my wake up call. I saw the same things in myself that had driven me nuts in my ex. What a fun mirror that was! Now while I stopped with the alcohol before a full blown abuse it non the less was causing havoc with every area of our lives (referring to current boyfriend). And nothing between us would have changed unless I was willing to make the changes in myself WITH OR WITHOUT HIM! I wanted a different life and was willing to change and actually show it.

    I agree with toofat that “YOU CAN’T CHANGE SOMEBODY ELSE” The only person you can change is you. I’ve been on both sides. So YOU have to decide how much is too much. How much of your life is at risk. Even though my boyfriend and I have stayed together we still deal with ADHD on a daily basis and have to work at it. And for a time we had to be apart so I could sort through my diagnosis last year. And he had to decide if he could stay. We had to establish boundaries with each other learn to keep friends and family out of our relationship. Even those who think they are being helpful. No not every dream I had came true and I do have regrets that I have to work through. But the point is both partners have to be willing to work towards a healthy and balanced life on an ongoing basis. Not an occasional one. And not only one person taking on all the work. Both.

    Ok this this is turning into a novel. I guess I wanted to outline some of this because relationships are not so easy to end sometimes. With her being a recovering addict I would suggest looking into Al-anon or some support for yourself. You may not have ADHD or drug problems but being in a relationship with someone who does can be hard. You want to find help and answers get solutions! Get on with the fantastic life you dreamed of. You’ll have to face that somethings are out of your control. In fact many things. So go over those questions posted from other members. Really think them over. She may not be the answer. She may be. But only she can change herself. Don’t know if this helps but take care.


    Heros Journey – welcome to the forum.

    I think toofat is right – you can’t change anyone. What you see with your partner is what you’ve got to deal with until she decides to take positive action herself.

    I think Tiddler posed some important questions. What is it about your partner that you love? What is so special about her that makes you tolerate such apparent unhappiness?

    It strikes me that you have been wonderfully tolerant, tried to understand her and been prepared to accept a lot. In return she needs to meet you in the middle, but that doesn’t seem to be happening or likely to happen from your description of her behaviour.

    It seems that you’re also up against her friends. Also, you mentioned that she accused you of being menopausal? If you’re around that age (?) then you might want to ask yourself if you want to spend your middle age and later your old age living with that kind of constant stress. If you get to your front door and dread going into the house then you need to wonder about your life with her.

    I know you asked for ‘positives’ but you need to balance an equation – does your love for this person outweigh the stress of living with her? I understand that you probably love her and want to ‘do the right thing’ and help her, but you owe it to yourself to remain sane and not lead an unhappy life. If a relationship leaves someone constantly stressed then maybe some hard decisions need to be made.

    If the good times outweigh the bad times then good but if not…..?

    You mentioned that you have a counsellor but your partner needs to see an ADHD expert. You obviously care deeply for her and it’s always better to try to make a relationship work, but take care of yourself too. I hope you manage to get help for her and you and that things work out well. On a positive note, medication can really help with emotional regulation so if she can get some professional psychiatric help then things could improve. In the short term, maybe give her space to play on the x-box, but don’t allow her to verbally abuse you.


    kc5jck – are you OK?


    Scattybird – :-) Rockin’ right along lookin’ for a light at the end of the tunnel.

    Heros Journey – Something you might try from something I heard once, and this would be good for everyone, is to make a list of what is important to you and what you want in life. Your list might contain things like: wealth, respect, a big house, family, security, a horse, … Be selfish . . . or not.

    This may help put things in perspective and help in making future decisions. It may be “unfeeling and selfish,” but if your partner (and current situation with home and work, etc.) doesn’t fit in with your list, you may want to rethink some of your decisions.


    kc5jck – here’s hoping that tunnel is a short one with a very bright light then. :)


    Lot’s of good idea’s here Hero’s J.

    I have just one thing to add. This site is absolutely huge, there’s an easy way to find relevant posts n threads on your topic. Just copy and paste this next line into the google window.

    Advice support for ADHD partners family and friends site:totallyadd.com

    Google will search this web site only when you put the site:totallyadd.com after any topic you can think of. Like jokes and humor for example.

    Jokes n humor site:totallyadd.com or maybe co-dependency and ADHD site:totallyadd.com

    Hope this helps.


    I did a lil searching myself after posting, here’s a few links for ya. Good luck.

    http://totallyadd.com/forum/forum.php?id=8 You’ll find lot’s of threads from this link.

    http://totallyadd.com/forum/forum.php?id=70 A bunch more…


    Patte Rosebank

    People with ADHD often see things others miss (but miss what’s staring them right in the face). This means that we’re great at finding money when we’re out and about. The most I ever found was a $100 bill. And, when I was waiting for my flight home from Heathrow Airport (my first trip to England in 18 years), I found a £5 note, under a row of seats.

    I also love the fact that I’m always surprising myself and others with my “unique” interpretation of things. Just now, I stumbled on a TV show that presented a bizarre video, and bet that viewers would “never figure out what happens next”, before cutting to a commercial break. Well, THIS viewer instantly did. And was proven right, when the show returned after the commercials!

    Sometimes, it’s not so much the thrill of the “unique” interpretation, as it is the smugness that comes with being brilliant!

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