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He Won't Talk About it...

My partner and I have been together for over 3 years. Before we got serious, and we were just getting to know each other, I noticed he would ramble on about things, randomly change the subject, interrupting while I was trying to respond to his comments, and sometimes he would trail off mid sentence and then he would become upset if I just tried to innitiate a different topic. I decided this was nervousness and that when we got to know each other better, our conversation style would form and eventually we could have open, calm discussions. That has not happened, and I’ve actually gotten so used to being interrupted, that I mostly just listen to him. Often, if I can get a word in, he feels like I didn’t understand what he was saying. Early on he revealed that he had been diagnosed with ADD by his school as a child. I suspect his mother also has it, because she has many of the symptoms I’ve read about, and many of them are very severe. She is very skeptical of psychiatry, counsellors, or really any medical profession, so she never got him the help or counselling he needed to develope into an independent adult. Daily, he gets down on himself about not working (since before we were together), not eating healthy enough, and not exercising enough. I often bring up some of the symptoms I observe in him that point to ADD as the cause, and suggest he go see a doctor to get assessed. Over 3 years we’ve had the same conversation a hundred times. He used to blow up and accuse me of wanting to medicate him, but now he just ignores my words, leaves the room, or changes the subject completely. I love him and luckily we can afford for him not to work right now. We have no children and at this point, I don’t plan on trying, because I cannot imagine raising a child with someone who can’t even listen to another adult let alone a 5 year old. I’m ok with not having children, but I’m not okay with him just letting his anxiety, communication and concentration problems prevent him from becoming a contributing adult. How do I get him to see how important it is—not just for us, but for him and his life, that he get some help? Sorry for the long message, but I am new to this group and so happy I’ve found a place to talk about this.


The first thing you have to recognize is that nothing will change until he’s open to it. The more you push and prod about something he’s not ready to address, the more he will close off.

It sounds like he feels pretty bad about himself and that’s the approach that will most likely yield some action. Stop talking about ADHD altogether and start talking about wanting him to be happy. What does he need to be happy? How can you help him in that area?

Talking about ADHD feels like you think he’s “broken” or “defective.” Talking about wanting him to be happy sounds like you care.

Here are a few articles on ADHD in relationships and when adults refuse to acknowledge their ADHD or get treatment:

ADDconnect Moderator, Author & Mentor on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

Posted by adhdmomma on Jan 23, 2017 at 1:56pm

Thank you, and you’re right I need to be careful about how I talk to him about it.
This helps a lot.

Posted by LovemyFella on Jan 23, 2017 at 8:19pm

I have ADHD and I had similar problems to your partner and I would never admit I was wrong it was always others. I think after so many years together my wife had had enough and one day sent me an email calling me something and what that sort of person that was. Although that wasn’t me there were so many things that sounded like me that I had to do something about it before I ruined everyone’s lives. I’m not saying it will work for you just an idea.
Good luck.

Posted by GaryS on Feb 07, 2017 at 1:30pm

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