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ADHD Adults

ADD & Relationships

I’m a single mom of 3 with ADD who for some reason can’t ever hold a relationship together.  I just had a baby 10 weeks ago and the father of the baby and I are not married, but he wants to make it work and for some reason I really don’t have much desire to make it work.  I feel extremely overwhelmed by my parenting duties and working and keeping my house in order.  The baby’s father is constantly on me about making time for him and I just can’t seem to do it and really don’t have the desire to make time.  I love being with my kids more than anything, more than him and he gets so upset, saying he should be first in my life. I just feel stressed over the whole relationship idea and making time for him is so hard for me.  We’ve been together on and off for over 2 years and it always falls apart.  He says it’s my fault for not making time.  He also doesn’t believe ADD is real, which makes it really hard for him to understand how I’m feeling.  I’ve never been on medication either, scared of the meds and side effects.  Anyone else know where I’m coming from??  I wish I knew why I feel this way.


Hi, this is a lot of stress to be under after just having a third baby. I don’t know your whole situation or the whole story so let me ask a few questions. Does he live with you and help with the housework and all the children? If not, does he come over and help you with housework and all the children? Were you diagnosed by a doctor? Did he research ADD/ADHD before deciding it was not real? It just seems to me that everyone deserves to be loved for who they are despite their issues - whether those issues are ADD or something else. If I loved someone who had ADHD, I would be reading about it so I could help him not criticizing him and telling him it was not real. What you decide to do with treatment for your ADD is between you and your doctor. I take my medicine because it helps me keep up with my three kids and everything else but I didn’t take any thing until a couple of months ago and my oldest child is 15 years old.  Good luck.

Posted by 3timesamom on Jun 10, 2014 at 1:31am

ADD and parenting babies can make it almost impossible to have any psychic energy for relationships. I know your story well. Meds will not necessarily work magic and fix your relationships, but they can help you get your act together a bit. (Three kids on your own is a tough nut to crack even for the best meds - anyone, even without ADD is on an uphill climb.)  You need to make your own decision about meds, but don’t let scare stories make your decision for you. The meds are all different and behave differently in each person. I am allergic to a med my neighbor’s kid will never give up. My friend’s neighbor’s daughter had horrible experiences with the med I will drive 100 miles to get. Good thing is, the stimulants have short half lives. They are not addicting (yes, you can become dependent on them - in the same way you become dependent on power steering, not like you are dependent on cigarettes or other addicting things) If they don’t work out, it’s not long before they are out of your system. The annoying thing is that you do often have to spend some effort tweaking doses or trying different meds before hitting on the best one. You do have to keep track of things or you won’t be able to tell how effective they are. I needed an outside party to help me with that. I couldn’t judge because my experience was purely subjective. My friends and doctor’s were able to tell me I interrupted less or I completed three tasks I’ve struggled with for weeks, or I finally looked like I put on a whole outfit intentionally, or I wasn’t late for the appointment this time.

Posted by Juggler on Jun 10, 2014 at 7:37am

Hi 3timesamom,

To answer your questions, no he doesn’t live with me.  I live on my own with the children.  That’s one thing that overwhelms me is trying to keep my house in order.  I can’t seem to keep everything neat and tidy like I want it to be and it drives me crazy.  He does not help with housework, but occasionally comes to visit and help a little with the children.  I was diagnosed a few years ago by a doctor to have ADD.  I realized I had it after my son was diagnosed.  He has not researched ADD and probably won’t, he’s a little on the stubborn side.  He says all he wants is some time with me and I feel so overwhelmed by taking care of the kids and house, I don’t feel like I have any time and he thinks I don’t try to make it work at all.  He thinks I’m mean and I don’t care about him.  I think he is just oblivious to my complicated life.  He has a lot more free time than I do.  Anyway, it just makes me really mad how he expects me to find a babysitter for the kids and hang out with him.  It’s rare that I find someone to watch my kids and I really hate asking people to do it, so that’s why it’s put a strain on our relationship.  I also work full time, so there’s just not much time there.  Thank you so much for your reply to my post, it really helps me to understand things a little.

Posted by luvmy2boys76 on Jun 10, 2014 at 6:02pm


Yes I feel like I have no mental energy for a relationship.  Relationships stress me out and I really feel like I can’t relax and be myself.  I like to have some time to myself just to mentally unwind.  I told him I needed some “me” time and he didn’t like that at all.  He said I don’t even have time for him so I’m not going to have any “me” time or it’s not going to work.  I understand that he’s frustrated with me and I don’t have much time for him.  I told him he needs to just move on with his life, but he keeps coming back to me wanting it to work.  I don’t really think it will ever work or at least until the kids are gone.  My brain can only handle the kids right now.  I have though about medicine and did take Adderal for a short period, but it made me feel strange so I haven’t taken anything since.  I’ve never been much of a fan of medicine, but I probably should try something.  I thinking about trying some supplements and see how I feel.  Thank you for your reply to my post!

Posted by luvmy2boys76 on Jun 10, 2014 at 6:07pm

Please try to see a health professional who can try some different meds for you. Those meds will help you battle and cope with a lot of things, but will likely not help with a “boyfriend” who doesn’t appreciate you and your ccurrent life stage. Don’t accept him back, he’s not mature enough to handle who you are and sounds quite selfish, perhaps your “fourth child?”

Posted by Bapa on Jun 10, 2014 at 9:08pm


Thank you, it makes me feel better to hear that it’s not me that’s crazy, maybe it’s him not understanding me.  He makes me feel like I’m nuts, but I really think he has some issues himself.  I feel like he’s acting very immature, glad you see that too.  He says that I’m very self centered, but I feel like he is, who knows.  We have been going through this situation for going on 3 years.  We get along for awhile, then he gets mad at me for not making enough time for him and we split up, but he always comes back.  I’m sick and tired of the back and forth relationship, it’s mentally draining for me.

Posted by luvmy2boys76 on Jun 10, 2014 at 9:33pm

Just thought I’d add that I wholeheartedly agree with all the previous advice.  He’s wanting much more of your time than anyone (ADHD or not) should expect of you right now.  I would go so far as to say he’s not only immature & self-centered but he’s also a manipulative spoiled brat who will try to make you feel guilty just to get what he wants.  And what he wants is his needs met at the expense of your children and your well-being & sanity.  And when/if he selfishly depletes those things from you what kind of a mother can you possibly be to your children (definitely less-than your own personal best).  Do NOT allow him to make you feel less-than for NOT catering to his needs.  Do NOT allow him to use emotional abuse to get you to do the Wrong Thing by your children (& yourself).

Posted by BC on Jun 11, 2014 at 7:32am

“He makes me feel like I’m nuts, but I really think he has some issues himself.  I feel like he’s acting very immature, glad you see that too.”

Please be aware that these are BIG red flags of an emotionally abusive person you’re dealing with.  Based on your brief description (which is not the whole story, but contains too many red flags for me to not just chime right in AND rush to judgement) he is incredibly immature and has HUGE issues.  You, on the other hand, sound very responsible & capable &...“normal.”  So if he can manage to make you feel like you’re “nuts” he’s a master manipulator! 

The fact that your break ups always center around the same thing, him not getting What He Wants so then he makes himself scarce…only to return…giving you another chance to Do What He Wants or else…you know what that will mean…

Seems very unhealthy to me.  And right now you are at your weakest point—post-partum is when you have literally given of yourself in ways that no man can possibly understand (or any woman who has not yet given birth).  Please stay strong and do whatever is necessary to focus on nothing but your needs & your children’s needs.  Period.

Posted by BC on Jun 11, 2014 at 7:54am

Make it clear to him that you are overwhelmed as a single mom with three kids (as anyone would be, ADHD or not). Tell him you don’t have the time to spend with him that he’s asking for because you are running a household alone and raising three kids alone. Then offer a solution: If he helps with the kids and household chores more, you will then have some time freed up to spend with him.

ADDconnect Moderator, Author & Mom to Tween Boy with ADHD and LDs

Posted by adhdmomma on Jun 11, 2014 at 4:34pm

Thank you all so much for the posts, it makes me feel so much better to hear your advice.  I really feel like he is a manipulator and always wants his needs fulfilled, gets very mad if he doesn’t get his way.  This has made me see things more clear.  I was feeling so confused, but not really now.  I don’t have good feelings about the situation at all.  We now have a son together and I can already tell he’s using him to try to get his way with me as well.  He tries to make everything with the baby very difficult when we are not seeing each other.  He will want me to meet him with the baby spur of the moment and if I don’t he tells me I’m keeping the baby away from him.  I feel extremely trapped by the whole situation.  Even though he says he doesn’t want to get back together, he will call me trying to get me to come to his house all the time and I told him it messes with my emotions, but he doesn’t care evidently.  I’m starting to now see how controlling he is and emotionally abusive.  This is a very tough situation for me, but I will do the best I can.  Thank you everyone for your support!!

Posted by luvmy2boys76 on Jun 12, 2014 at 12:35am

Wow!!  Just wow.  He has a father’s right to see his child.  That does not give him the right to attempt to control you.

Set a time each weekday for him to see his child, but also be clear that this is not going to become an obligation on your time beyond seeing his child.

It is clear that you do not love him.  It is also clear that he wants to control you through his child.  You may need to bring CPS into this if he does not begin to understand that you have a child together, but he does not have you.

The fact that he is oblivious to what it takes to run a single-parent household with three kids tells a lot about his control issues.

Posted by Dianne in the Desert on Jun 12, 2014 at 10:44pm

I second Diane’s advice for stopping him from being able to try to use the You’re Keeping My Child Away From Me line.  Making it REAL clear that your door is open for him to make visits (which days & which times) but that you are NOT obligated to pack up and meet him somewhere else EVER will help you stay grounded. 

Because manipulators who try to use this tactic to get whatever they want whenever they want are also prone to suddenly calling CPS and reporting you for prohibiting him to be with his child I would recommend that you give him these days/times in writing (plus via email) then start documenting how things go on a daily basis.  Things you might notice that will start to happen include things like him telling you he’ll be over at such & such a date/time but then flaking out, but still revising history to try to ignore all the times he said he’d come by but didn’t.  Even if you don’t ever have to use this log against him to defend yourself it will help you maintain your sanity (& composure) when he tries to call his own dereliction of duty or responsibility (not visiting) your fault for Keeping Him From The Child.

Posted by BC on Jun 12, 2014 at 11:40pm

I like the log idea. I also like a phrase I learned from an in-law.  “That won’t work for me”. It can be said calmly, even apologetically, as in “Aw, that won’t work for me, but you can see him in the morning when I’m done with my shopping (or “while I go shopping”, if you are not always with him when he is with your child).  I don’t like the manipulation. Yes, he’s probably feeling abandoned. He’s not getting the attention he wants. You’re not giving it to him. It’s not your job right now. You need to care for those children and keep your job so you can pay for their needs.

I’d consider talking to your doctor to see if there are any programs near you through the health department or something for children and families well being. I don’t mean welfare type things; but healthy family things. By me there are programs where a public health nurse will visit a couple of times and check on moms who are either first time moms or moms of several young kids or single moms… Maybe somebody like that could come when the father is there - to talk about how the baby is doing - and she could talk to him in the cool ways nurses talk to everybody - about family dynamics and the physical demands of baby care on the mom, and the post partum energy level and ways to support the mom so she can take care of the baby - actual tips. Maybe you can get a neutral party to give some suggestions to him or talk to him on your behalf that are in line with the things YOU need so he can’t say it’s just your selfishness. If the pediatrician talks about the need for routine and stability and mother’s rest, it backs you up.

Posted by Juggler on Jun 13, 2014 at 7:26am

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