New Issue!

Spring 2017 Issue ADDitude magazine Read the 'ADHD Therapies That Work' issue now!

The New ADDitude Forums Are Live!

Reach our full community by posting to ADDitude's discussion forums here

Couples With One ADHD Partner

New relationship with boyfriend who has ADHD

My new boyfriend of 2 months has ADHD and takes Adderall for it. When he doesnt take it, hes very forgetful. When he does take it, his attention gets locked onto one thing and I feel forgotten. What are the best ways to approach him about his forgetfulness and the fact that I feel like he’s paying less attention to our relationship? I am trying to be as sensitive as I can about his ADHD and am willing to work hard to keep our relationship going but I feel like I need to talk to him about it yet I don’t know how.


Best thing to do is don’t. People with ADHD most likely have Oppositional Defiance Disorder - meaning argumentative, resistant, arrogant and defensive. All of this triggered by someone complaining about something they can’t control.

He can’t control his brain and how it functions very well, even on meds. It is kind of unfair for those of us who have normal brains to expect same from them. But it is hard not to. Believe me I’ve made this mistake daily for my entire marriage of 17 years.

But what you can do is ask for what you want. Try not to complain about what you aren’t getting that’s counterproductive. And ask specifics, not generalities. Those will get you no where. So more like, “Can we go out for a drink right after the movie instead of going straight home today” not like “Can we spend more time together”

Good luck.

Posted by YellaRyan on Jan 10, 2014 at 9:29am

Thank you so much for your reply. I had planned on mentioning my concerns to him but after reading your reply and the articles on here about how ADHD affects relationships, I definitely agree that it wouldn’t be a good idea to bring it up since he does tend to get upset when I have brought up other stuff in the past. I have actually been doing that, suggesting stuff for us to do and sometimes it works, sometimes he forgets. It doesn’t help that he is active duty military and is very busy on top of all of this. Thank you again for your reply, I feel a little bit better.

Posted by S.T. on Jan 10, 2014 at 9:46am

You might check out Melissa Orlov’s book on ADHD and Marriage—it’s all about relationships with ADHD. I hear it is very helpful.

ADDconnect Moderator & Mom to Tween Boy with ADHD and LDs

Posted by adhdmomma on Jan 10, 2014 at 7:36pm

Thank you grin I was actually just previewing it online last night and am going to download it.

Posted by S.T. on Jan 10, 2014 at 10:26pm

Being the one with ADHD and Oppositional Defiance Disorder i have had many failed relationships. I can tell to you is a struggle the good times are great and bad times are the worse.  Never seems that there is much middle ground. 

I think talking about it is key, but do it when on the needs peak time not on the crash side.  My ex and I used to always fight late afternoon.  After dinner usually no problem my crash period was usually from 4-6 hours after my last pill.  I take 40-60mg adderall daily during the week and 20 on weekends.

I can tell you from my experience that my ex would get frustrated with my forgetfulness,  understandably but knowing with our condition the key is how you react.  Tray him like a child at that point.  Take the anger out and put it in simple terms.  But DO NOT repeat repeat repeat when the trigger is hit it explodes.  I learned when I would start to tip to the dark side I would always say OK.  That was like our safe word, time for her to stop and Walnut away 10 min late we could talk again.  Problem was she got to where she wouldn’t walk away.  Then I would snap and it was on.  This would happen over simple arguments like I set trash out side to take to s dumpster but forgot it when I left for work.

I know I’m all over the place here but hey that’s how I roll.

In short good luck.  Also remember many times or sorry term memory is just that short.  I’d you can let something that was trivial go Guarantee er already have.

Best of luck.

Posted by aspecialdad on Jan 11, 2014 at 2:54pm

Thank you for your reply. I appreciate being able to hear about things from the other side. I have never brought up anything concerning his ADHD or Adderall, but I have brought up stuff that was going on and he got somewhat angry and thought I was trying to fight with him. I tried to assure him that I was not fighting and just wanted to make sure we were on the same page about certain stuff. In your opinion, do you think it would be a bad idea to kind of mention the ADHD in a way that comes off as understanding while mentioning about his forgetfulness and lack of attentiveness for days at a time?

Posted by S.T. on Jan 11, 2014 at 3:03pm

A short temper is a curse and not excusable.  Does he know that there is a problem?  How longhas hebeen diagnosed?  Is On anything else for the anger side?  I also had terrible anxiety with ocd.

I hate that when I have a tantrum overt something stupid but can’t control it.  Then after I’m usually like wtf really? 
Just like worth an addiction foremost you need to know you have a problem then ways to curb\Fix it.  ADHD doesn’t go away to put learn go ow to control it along with your significant other.  Which odvisiuly I haven’t been able to do yet…

Has he or better the two of you seen a therapist?  I’ve had ADHD in m my op opinion all my life but not diagnosed until I was 30.  Went to thearpy for it but my significant others wouldn’t go which caused more problems. 

For me I would also come off harsh when I spoke but it is just (most times)  short and to the point.

Sounds like you are go of through alot so early in a relationship he should feel blessed. 

The forgetfulness is embarrassing and frustrating which when confronted about it is tough.  But if in his car is going on for days sounds like he’s I’d his meds? I know that if I’m off my meds and say pour a check somewhere I “won’t lose it” well its not lost but never found either. 

Again I’m l long winded but he needs to be out in the open or it will only get worse.

Don’t beat aims the Bush about it make light of it but it is stupid.  Dont nag communicate, don’t do Ocho I us on saying “you are doing this wrong or you forgot this again!  Stocky notes can be your best friend and his.  One word is enough to trigger what we forget most times.  Our simple phrases, for example I was taught when everi walk out a door so the 3 pocket check-  Keys wallet phone.  If he forgets his wallet alot try that so when he goes to leave you say hey 3 pocket check.  Not so you have your wallet, Did you forget it again?

Posted by aspecialdad on Jan 11, 2014 at 4:07pm

He definitely knows there is a problem and shortly after we met, he warned me that sometimes he was going to come off as rude or sarcastic when he didn’t mean to, and that he would have mood swings that could sometimes last for days at a time. I can’t remember when he said he was diagnosed. I haven’t seen any serious anger or anything like that, more agitation than anything. He also filled me in on some of the side effects of the Adderall. I had literally forgotten a few times now about his ADHD all together and have found myself getting upset about stuff he has said or done, or stuff he has forgotten about and I have to keep reminding myself about it. Like I said in the previous reply above, this relationship has added stressors because he is active duty military. The last thing I want to do is belittle him or make him feel bad about this disorder and its affect on him. I am willing to do everything it takes to keep this relationship afloat so I am wanting to learn as much as I can about adult ADHD.

Posted by S.T. on Jan 11, 2014 at 7:10pm

Hi S.T.

You sound like me a few months ago. I’ve been with my partner for over 4 years, and I joined this group 4 months ago when I found out my partner has ADD. I posted a long post at the time when I was struggling to understand. Some of the replies advised that I leave as we don’t live together or have children etc. At that time I didn’t understand why they suggested that and felt a bit upset as I thought if I tried hard enough I could make things work, even if it would be me doing all the heavy lifting. He can be such a lovely guy, so attentive, generous and kind when he shines his focus on me, but so dismissive or abrupt when he turns it on something else. I thought if I found out enough information about ADD I would somehow find the key to getting through to him.

Since then I’ve been doing the reading you’re starting….Is it You, Me or Adult ADD….Adult ADHD, What you Need to Know…...The ADHD Effect on Marriage…...ADD and Romance, Finding Fulfillment in Love, Sex and Relationships….. and more…...... plus possibly everything ever put out on the internet,  I’ve also had some counseling.

Then one night he unfeelingly told me I couldn’t accompany him on a night out I’d been looking forward to as his friend had offered petrol money for the ride so was going instead of me, but he said not to worry as as he might be able to take me next month. We spend weekends together and this would have been what I think of as one of ‘our nights’ together. I started to tell him how I felt and as usual he accused me of overreacting and reminded me how he doesn’t like that (his stock phrase if there’s any danger of him not getting his way). I let down all my defences and with tears rolling down my face I explained my feelings. I opened my heart to him and waited for his reply. (Maybe not the best way to reach him but at this point it was about me, not him). After a few seconds he looked across the room and remarked on how well the wood burner had been burning that day. Then he got up to get ready for bed.

I suddenly stopped and realised all I’ve been doing is trying to find from ‘experts’  a way of accepting things exactly how he wants them. I saw things for how they really are. It’s such early days for you. However wonderful your boyfriend can be please don’t give your precious heart until you know what you’re dealing with.

Posted by JD1956 on Jan 14, 2014 at 7:13pm

don’t give your precious heart until you know what you’re dealing with. -

Dear S.T..This phrase is the key ...

Please read, and get knowledge about ADHD is nothing easy ..nothing-

I have learned that not enough is many times… we have to face real and painful situations to realize it.

I had a wonderful boyfriend very mature and a Professional ... he looks great… but the reality is that he is very sensitive… emotional… and he was very willing to leave me… b/c he wanted.

I loved him and i love him very much… but what can i do nothing..b/c he is unique with his ADHD… he only understand himself .

When you said that you are veryyyy willing to working hard to continue with the relationship I really belive you b/c i was indeed.

but the question here is HE is really willing to overcome difficult situations that can arise. We don’t know .... maybe no now…but if you in the future marry him… you will see.

so, my counsel is dont open your heart too much…. the pain of lost a friend and a love with so hard.

Enjoy the time with him… but if the circumstances or you examine yourself… maybe can be better just be good friends…and have a good memory…

Posted by Courage prisca on Jan 15, 2014 at 2:10am

Courage, above, has the right idea….

I’ll be brief:

Don’t.  Why on god’s good world would you want to involve yourself with a slow motion train wreck? 

Simply get out.  Sorry… I have this thing and I know what I am…  A long term boy friend or husband is NOT one of them

Posted by LakeLife on Jan 15, 2014 at 5:44pm

Reply to this thread

You must be logged in to reply. To log in, click here.
Not a member? Join ADDConnect today. It's free and easy!

Not a member yet? Join here »

Search the ADDConnect Group Discussions