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Couples With One ADHD Partner

New to dating a guy with ADHD - Need advice

Hello everyone!

I recently started dating a guy with ADHD and I am trying to understand it (and him) better. I have been reading a lot about it, but I would like to hear from some of you about experiences you have had and do you manage to overcome the difficulties.

Just a little background note: I am very organized and when I say I will call you in 20 minutes I DO call you! So when my boyfriend didn’t do that I would get extremely frustrated and hurt; I have since overcome that because now I understand that it’s not that he doesn’t care. But I wonder how many more things like that will I have to overcome? One VERY important thing to mention is that I do love him and I am willing to give it a rally fair try and that is why I am educating myself.

Looking forward to reading your experiences and any tips will be greatly appreciated!

Thank you!


If you are not trying to change him but, as it seems, trying to understand him, you will be fine.

Reading, or re-reading, The Four Agreements might be especially helpful. The second agreement is useful.

Posted by John Tucker, PhD, ACG. ADHD Coach on Apr 25, 2017 at 6:04pm

My husband has ADHD and I think learning as much as you can, cutting both yourself and him some slack because you are both getting used to someone with differences, and developing the habit yourself of not reacting immediately to things that drive you crazy will help tremendously. I am also in the process of getting my husband to play more of a role in managing his behavior. He doesn’t want to take medication, but doesn’t always take responsibility for his behavior, either. Follow through has been a big problem for us. I’m the same way as you are, when I say I’m going to do something, I do it and I expect the same from him. I work hard to let things go when he doesn’t follow through on something inconsequential, but when it’s something that has consequences (like not paying bills on time or not giving himself enough time to be on time for commitments like picking me up at the airport), I do hold him accountable. I also now know that if I want him to really listen to something I’m saying, I have to remove all distractions. It can be frustrating, because sometimes, I feel like more of a parent than a spouse. I’m trying to convince him that we find an ADHD coach, both to help him learn behavior modifications and understand his own triggers and to help me better understand how to know when what he’s doing is the result of ADHD and he has little control over it and when what he’s doing is something that I can expect to hold him accountable for. He was diagnosed as a child and has gone to counseling and taken medication, so he is aware of much more than I am about how ADHD impacts his life. It frustrates me when he prefers to just do nothing, especially when he knows that it negatively impacts our relationship. Your SO might not want to work on these things, but if you want the relationship to be successful, you both need to work at it. My husband did not tell me he had ADHD, preferring to let me figure it out on my own. If he had told me and had explained how it impacted him, it would have removed many of the conflicts we had.

Posted by ADHDWife&SM; on Apr 25, 2017 at 6:53pm

You ask “But I wonder how many more things like that will I have to overcome?” Many. If you marry this man, there is a good chance that you will be frustrated and hurt for most of your life.

Posted by Gettingclarity on Apr 25, 2017 at 10:31pm

Look sweetheart, I wish I could give you some comfort that love will conquer ADD.  TRUST ME, it will NOT.  I love my husband.  When we were dating and first married, him losing his wallet, etc was ok.  But he began to be promoted and we had kids.  His ADD escalated and has basically destroyed our relationship.  Promise yourself that before you continue investing time and emotions with this man, read:  THE ADD EFFECT ON MARRIAGE.  Don’t think the relationships described in that book won’t be you.  IT WILL.  My deepest, honest opinion is:  leave.  deal with your pain now instead of later when kids are involved.  PLUS:  you will likely have a kid with ADD.  I did.  Best of luck.

Posted by simondog on Apr 26, 2017 at 2:50am

Thank you all for your replies.

Taking in all that I have read; the positive inforcement as much as the “negative” one…
It does make me sad to think that I should leave if I don’t want any heartache. But then I think how much already love this guy and why wouldn’t he deserve to be loved and understood? After all, he has been very open and honest about his ADHD, he is taking medication and going to therapy and we will NOT have kids (we both have our own from previous marriages). So it is just him and I working together to make this work.

Yes, I know a very positive outlook I have and hopeful too… I guess I am not willing to give up on him without giving it a real try.

At the same time, I am afraid that by staying I would only hurt him more if I cannot handle it after a while, so I should just walk away now like many of you have said…

Did any of you felt this way? I would love to hear from a guy with ADHD as well.

Thanks again for all your input!

Posted by morena26 on Apr 26, 2017 at 4:39am

***I highly encourage you to post this question to ADDitude’s new discussion forums, as well. I think your question would get a lot of attention in the For Spouses & Loved Ones forum: ADDconnect is transitioning over to this new forum now.***

I agree with John above, if you’re not trying to change him, but instead working to understand him, you are doing exactly the right thing.

Adopting a healthy and effective communication style is key too. Here are some tips and expert advice:

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

Posted by adhdmomma on Apr 26, 2017 at 12:49pm

I came to this thread late but just want to second what Gettingclarity and simondog wrote.

Posted by ADDedValue62 on Apr 30, 2017 at 4:11pm

To Morena:  ADHD is not something that you can fix by understanding it, or by making yourself small, because his challenges are big.  You will have heartache, especially if you expect what is normal and good for you, without explicitly and (it seems to me) perenially asking for it from him, and requiring it, but becoming accustomed to the truth that he is not like you in some important things and so your good is at times not good for him, or not noticed and remembered by him.  Your organization and persistence will not fix him…and he may not need or want your fixing.  For me, the bottom lines are: do you, can you accept him as he is showing himself to be?  Can you live a life of strenuously pursuing good boundaries and self care for yourself?  How good are you at dealing with periods of loneliness within relationship?  How emotionally mature and morally grounded is he…really?  How about you?  These are bottom line matters that I deal with every day, with a man with ADHD who I love very much.  Maybe the last thing here:  how physically tough and healthy are you?  If you marry or cohabitate, it’s going to be a daily physical challenge

Posted by Chevron on May 25, 2017 at 10:50pm

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