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ADHD Adults

To Leave or Stay


Sorry for the long post but I really feel I need to get this all out. I have been with my ADD partner for almost three years now. He currently owes me close to 20k. I am very resentful about it because I feel I was always forced into it -“how can I work without tools and clothes?”, “I will pay you back as soon as I can.” “I can’t afford my half of rent.” etc. etc. it slowly just added up. He told me he couldn’t get work because he didn’t have a car so I bought a car (I needed one too) and I pay insurance. I pay all the bills currently even though I am a student and cannot afford everything. He told me he would start taking care of all the expenses when I went to school since he owed me so much money. Well he currently isn’t working and is trying to make money on this side business I pushed him to get started on just so we could have some money coming in.

He has changed a lot since I met him. He is a bit cleaner and cooks sometimes but since I am at school full time getting a masters degree and working part time I feel he should be able to clean our tiny apartment and cook most nights. Well his idea of a full day of cleaning is taking an hour to do the dishes. Any other chore I have to remind him to do and he normally just doesn’t do it. I bought him a book on ADD and have done a ton of research on it. I asked him to make drs. appointments as he thought it was important. Tried different strategies with him as I am a counseller but I know he will not change until he makes the effort. It has taken a lot of work on my part not to completely lose it. I try to talk openly and respectfully about how his actions are impacting me and most of the time he agrees it’s important for him to get going yet he never really does. He gets mad at me when I am upset and he says he is just going through a hard time now and I expect too much from him. All I want is an equal partner. I realize we may not be ever be totally equal but right now it is not even close.

He doesn’t understand why I get so angry when we have only a few thousand left in my bank account. He says there is not any jobs because he just looked at kijiji. I come from a family who went out to get a job 9-5 if they didnt have a job. I have worked my butt off my whole life to pay my way through school and not have debt but now all my savings are gone. I feel so resentful and alone. To make it worse he doesn’t even really like sex. He rarely initiates it and when we do have sex I don’t feel the passion. He says he loves to have sex with me and doesn’t see a problem in having sex once every two weeks. It hurts me because I feel if at least we had a good sex life I might be able to be more patient in other areas…

As I write this I realize how awful it sounds. I don’t know why he can’t understand why I get so frustrated. He is normally a kind and understanding person but I think to myself I would be the sweetest most giving person in the world if my partner was doing all the work to support me. Maybe that is the problem. I expect him to work as hard as I would and maybe that is not realistic?

All I know is I am stressed and depressed most of the time now and I feel like my life is wasting away. They say people with ADD are exciting and spontanious?! Not my partner, all he wants to do is sit in front of the computer. I am 31 and I want to start a family soon. I want to stay and make it work but I don’t know if it’s possible at this point. I know I should just be focusing on me but it is so hard when I am so stressed financially. I feel nothing I can say can make him see reality. I feel only when he is on the street would he make changes. I think he thinks he can casually do the side business and money will just start flowing in. Life isn’t like that. Everyone has to work hard to get ahead. I don’texpect him to work hard his entire life if that is not what he wants but I do expect him to work hard in order to pay me back and to work hard in order for me not to be stressed about money all the time. He wouldn’t be stressed even if he had nothing to eat for lack of money.

Ok sorry I am rambling…but as I write this I feel the only solution is for me to leave. What do you think?


Totally understand you

Posted by rocket on Feb 09, 2014 at 12:25am

Thanks rocket. I appreciate that. It’s good not to feel so alone.

Posted by JungleAdventure on Feb 09, 2014 at 12:31am

It looks like you have a person who is not taking responsibility for his life, emotionally, socially and practically.

You’re hoping for a relationship based on mutual respect and contribution and it isn’t happening. 

What is your partner’s willingness to contribute in any way consistently?  (ADHD isn’t an excuse to not being responsible ... it is reduced executive function and there are ways to manage that).

Why are you staying in the relationship?

What must change?

What result must your partner produce?

What level of contribution is he making to the relationship? 

There are jobs out there - it takes work to find them.  People with ADHD are capable of working and producing results, it is a matter of knowing what type of work would work best. 

ADHD Coaching or some type of intervention might be useful if your partner wants things to get better.

Professional Development and ADHD Coach

Posted by coachwithheart on Feb 09, 2014 at 12:32am

I have he on meds…maybe its killing sex drive and also its very possible along with adhd anxiety and depression ..could be y hr doesn’t want to do much

Posted by rocket on Feb 09, 2014 at 12:33am

I’m staying in the relationship because I have already invested so much. I keep thinking it will get better because he says it will. It doesn’t though. I need him to act like a responsible adult. He needs to pay half the expenses and he needs to pay me back the money he owes me. And this will mean working hard like I do every day. I also expect him to contribute to the household without me having to remind him all the time. He contributed a few hundred dollars last month but that didn’t come close to what I spend on him for food, insurance, rent, heating, etc.He keeps saying this business will give us all the money we need but he only works on it a few hours a day at the most. I have coached him before because I am a certified coach. He will be motivated for about a day after then he slips back into his old patterns. I feel he has been living like this for so long it will be so hard for him to change. I feel he sees the world much differently then me. He is entitled and I never was.

He is not on any medication and says he is not depressed or anxious. He only says he gets upset when I am upset with him. When I am upset with him he pouts or yells at me. He often thinks I am the bad guy because I expect too much. Other times he totally agrees with me and says he will change….he doesn’t

I asked him to read this book I got for him. I read himthe first few chapters and he said he liked it. It has been a month and he hasn’t even picked it up again. he says he’ll read it when he wants to. I don’t see why he can’t take 30 minutes of his day (of doing barely anything) to read a book that could help him.

Posted by JungleAdventure on Feb 09, 2014 at 1:29am
Posted by JungleAdventure on Feb 09, 2014 at 1:29am

Sounds more like he is lazy and doesn’t want to do anything since you enable him to leech off you. Give him an ultimatum to change and seek treatment by a certain period or leave. It’s not worth staying in a relationship with someone (just to be in a relationship) who is not an equal partner to you. Over time, you will resent him and I would not recommend starting a family with someone so irresponsible because you will end up going at it alone (even if you stayed with him). I have ADD and it is hard but I have never used that as an excuse to not work or take care of my family. Good luck to you.

Posted by ihailey on Feb 09, 2014 at 2:06am

“Iā€™m staying in the relationship because I have already invested so much…”

In the business world this is called ‘sunk costs’. So when you evaluate moving a project forward you ignore sunk costs. It’s too easy to rationalize investing ‘just a little more’ to try and justify having spent that money, time, and effort. However you have to be cognizant of the reasons for costs incurred to determine whether there is a likelihood of them recurring or of things improving.

You’re $20K in the hole now with little prospect (by the sound of it) of things changing. Is it really a good idea to keep pouring money, time, and energy into this relationship? Depends on what you are getting out of it. If not being alone is what you’re getting then the answer may very well be ‘yes, it is worth it.’

I don’t see it, but I’m not in your position.

However I will tell you my wife has been waiting for me to change for over 25 years now. Hasn’t happened yet, and she badly wishes she had bailed out on this relationship when she was only 3 years in.

Posted by ADDedValue62 on Feb 09, 2014 at 2:47am

I imagine you were attracted to good things in this man and you see some of them still.  You see his possibilities and have been able to see where he could be a person you would really like to be with.  However he does not seem to have the same picture as you.  It sounds like part of that is ADHD.  Part could be he has no concept of time.  Part could be he has little motivation to be better.  Part could be he is lazy.  Part could be his family of origin did not stress hard work and he has no idea what that means or looks like.  You are doing good work analyzing what is bothering you.  After that you will need to decide things like would you like this man to be the father of your children if he does not change?  Would you like to be connected to him for years to come if nothing changes?  Imagine 10 years into the future.  If nothing changes, I’m guessing you will be working full time supporting your stay at home husband and children.  They would probably pick up some of his work habits which will impact your home life.

It doesn’t sound like he’s deliberately trying to make you unhappy.  He just may not be able or willing to do the things you consider reasonable - get a job, pay 1/2 the expenses, consider your needs before his own…

You’re learning difficult things that will help you in your counseling, things like how do you move forward when all paths have obstacles, or no path seems completely right, things like what do you do with your heart when it wants to go and stay at the same time, things like figuring out what needs are being met when you are so unhappy and weighing those in the balance.

I wish you the best in figuring out what you want to do.  Like the post above me, I am ADD. I am in my 50’s.  There are things I know in my head about how I should be, but have not been able to do that. I do not understand time.  Meds help, but I still compensate every minute of every day.  When the emotional cost is high, I am able to get more things done.  But it always hurts inside.  I wonder if staying together is a high enough desire for him to make him work on changing long term.

Posted by whizinc on Feb 09, 2014 at 4:15am

Thanks for all your thoughts everyone. I have told him I would not spend one more penny on him. He needed more money for this business and I said no if he needed money he would have to get a job. I am well aware I have been enabling him but I want to add when he was working he was contributing all of his salary to our needs. He has worked before but it only usually lasts a few months due to contracts and weather and possibly other reasons. His most recent job ended in December. He has told me numerious times I am thebest thing that ever happened to him and that he couldn’t imagine himself with anyone else. I beleive him and I believe he is a good person. But I know he hasn’t had the greatest role models in early life and I think for his entire adult life he has lived in a very lazy way and this has set up patterns that are hard to break. I do believe him when he says he will change - I think he does really want to change but I dont think he fully realizes how much work it will take. I had a bit of abreak down today and he caught me crying again. He assured me everything was going to be ok and he is confident I will be paid back within the year….I think he has reason to be optimistic but I also I think I have reason to worry. All I know is I am not willing to let this relationship drag me down. If things do not improve significantly within the next few months I will have no choice but to leave. I know I have to take a stand I guess I just wanted to hear what is normal for ADD…

Posted by JungleAdventure on Feb 09, 2014 at 4:55am

I feel for you. I’m sorry to say this but you’re going to be very disappointed. I belive he wants to change but won’t be able to. Not without a lot of work on his part, help from a counselor out sided of the relationship, and possibly needs medication.
    I also have ADD and on medication and work on stratiges to manage my ADD. I’ve also have work hard all my life and been responsible. ADD is no excuse for laziness. It has it’s challenges and constant struggles. I have no concept of time passing and have to really focus to be on time.
    I’m motavated by the love I have for my husband and daughters. It’s a lot of work but worth it. Your partner may not have what it takes to change. He needs to want it bad enought to do the hard work.
    You have been more than patient and hung in there. If things have been like this for three years,a few more months isn’t going to matter. My husband married me for who I am, not who I needed tochange to be.
    If you can accept him for who he is, because you’re expecting a lot change that doesn’t seem realistic for him. Then keep hanging in there. However, he is who he is, despite the ADD. You can’t blame it all on ADD.

Posted by tming9900 on Feb 09, 2014 at 9:43am

I would like to suggest two books for you to read:
1. The ADD Effect on Marriage by Melissa Orlov
2. You Mean I’m Not Lazy, Stupid or Crazy? by Kate Kelly.

I think both of those books will help your understand your partner better and guide appropriate expectations from a relationship with an individual with ADHD.

ADDconnect Moderator & Mom to Tween Boy with ADHD and LDs

Posted by adhdmomma on Feb 10, 2014 at 7:34pm

Run. Run as fast as you can and don’t look back. You can not fix someone who does not take responsibility to address their situation of ADHD. If he does not invest in himself and get medication and accountability, your life will be miserable. Don’t bring a child in to your situation. It will makes matters more difficult. Love can not fix everything,

If he gets help and shows a pattern of commitment and effort, that is a completely different circumstances. He doesn’t sound like he is embracing his issue or making any effort to improve his and/or your lives. Educate yourself on ADHD. The website is a great resource, and there are webinars from experts in the field.

Ask yourself if you want to live this way for the rest of you life?

Is this as good as it is going to get?

Do you want this example for your children?

Would he be a healthy father for a dependant child?
I am sorry your are in an unhealthy relationship. It is time to draw a boundary for yourself and keep your self healthy. Ground yourself in reality and not a dream of what “could be”.

Posted by Denise1 on Feb 11, 2014 at 6:30pm

I am sorry to learn about your hardship. You know exactly what you can get from your partner and that is not what you want in a relationship. You are not happy ... you feel you are wasting your life away. My advise: walk away from the relationship, find your center and build the life you want to enjoy. Nobody can do it for you. You are stronger that you think, a better life is waiting for you, take the first step!

Posted by Susana on Feb 11, 2014 at 7:52pm

I think the 20K is nothing to sneeze about, but is not the most important thing.  It’s the emotional investment that you are waiting to reap dividend on that hasn’t happened is what’s keeping you around. Consider this - sometimes investmetns don’t pan out like you want them to.

If someone were to offer you $20k to bail out of the relationship right now, would you take it?  Your answer would speak volumes about where you stand with this guy, and what’s really keeping you around. 

Sometimes people stick around b/c they don’t want to feel like they’ve wasted their time pouring their heart and soul into a bucket w/ no bottom (or perhaps alot of holes).  Sometimes you just need to cut the faucet off and wait for the right bucket to pour into.

Considering your not married, he hasn’t proposed, you don’t have children, and you hava a plan and a future, $20k and a few weekends on the couch watching Lifetime TV while drowning your sorrows ( mourning the death of a one-sided, hopeless relationship) in a bucket of rocky road ice cream is a whole heckuva lot cheaper than a marriage doomed to fail, a costly divorce, and single parenthood,

So, for a couple of years and $20K, you’ve discovered what you DONT want in a relationship, and solidified your criteria for what you do want, expect, and are looking for in a partner. Cash in on the wisdom you’ve gained now - you’re getting it at a bargain!

Posted by Athanasius on Feb 11, 2014 at 8:19pm

Good for you staying with him… if its not one thing it’ll be another… some ppl want a perfect person..he has to have money he has to be this that etc….truth is it seems…you don’t always get thee perfect guy.u ain’t always going to find a prince and live in his palace..sry ladies…so….unconditional love..if i had a woman i loved i wouldn’t drop her if she got cancer or became ill…adhd like depression etc is not easy to live with and a lot of ppl seem to be putting it off as “lazy” etc..well who would.want to be with such a critical ahole like that..lets reverse it…however..i feel that he should consider getting better help ..good luck and u seem like a great woman

Posted by rocket on Feb 11, 2014 at 8:31pm

I wish I had left at 3 yrs when I thought it would never change. It never did, got worse, and 24 yrs later I was very mentally myself, having trying to coach him, and still raising the kids by myself. Oh by the way, the kids act like him, so now there are more of him. You can only change yourself and your own thinking. Count the cost, and walk. I am now with a very responsible man. They act totally different from the get go. It’s not all ADD. People can learn but it’s not up to us to teach them. Hurray for setting limits. Keep doing that. Don’t bail him out. My best to you.

Posted by Mygardenispretty on Feb 11, 2014 at 10:30pm

Geez…this whole thing is so so negative and depressing…i suffered for years with adhd…not all ppl are screw ups because they have a problem..i got help eventually and now do very well ..he can as well..actually ppl with adhd are found out to be very intelligent..also very funny and creative..sad how negative some can be…to the last comment..i guess what ur saying is that ppl like us shouldnt have children"there are more like hIm” pretty shallow

Posted by rocket on Feb 11, 2014 at 10:42pm

Now, this is coming from an ADDer/Aspie, so don’t think I’m just being critical and lacking understanding.

People do what they do because their actions get the results they want. As long as sitting in front of the computer gets your BF fed, clothed, and housed, he will keep sitting in front of the computer. Allowing him to experience the natural consequences of his (in)action is the only way he will learn what they are. By getting between your BF and his consequences, you are retarding his development.

If you were married, it might be a different story. But, in the current situation, you’d be doing him a huge favor by inviting him to live elsewhere.

Posted by MrsPerky on Feb 11, 2014 at 11:31pm

Perfect relationships are rare.  I have one, but my husband and I work hard to make our relationship work.

With ADD, as with so many other things, there is help and there is hope.  Help has to be sought by the ADDer.  If he is unwilling to do what he needs to do, then you have no obligation to him.

You do, however, have an obligation to yourself.  Before that debt gets any higher, tell him that you have decided to all an end to the relationship. 

Do not ask him to help you move.  In fact, file your change of address with the post office and do not bother to tell him.  If you fail to do that, then he will simply call you and ask for more help. 

As long as he can get you to deal with rent, utilities and groceries, he will not be motivated to become an adult—with or without ADD.

He has made his ADD a crutch.  Most of us figure out that there are some benefits to living with ADD.  Those who make it an albatross around someone else’s neck are as doomed to failure as anyone else who will not grow up and be a responsible adult.

Find a place you can afford to live and begin to pay down that debt without him increasing it.

Posted by Dianne in the Desert on Feb 12, 2014 at 3:25am

I could have written your original post myself.  I have been married for 22 years and I am exhausted and lonely.  I pay the majority of the bills, do most of the shopping and clean the house.  He does have a job, but it does not provide a steady income and what it does provide he does not share with me.  We have argued and fought about responsibilities and expectations.  He promises to do better, but it doesn’t last.  He has a man cave, a workshop and a garden shed crammed full of stuff and now it is taking over our house.  For years I have thought it would get better, but it doesn’t. For my own sanity and health, I can’t do this anymore.  I have started making plans to leave and move away.  I believe I will be better off on my own.  Think very hard and carefully what you really want from your life.  I hope for the best for you.

Posted by Peony on Feb 14, 2014 at 11:52pm

I have a husband with adhd and a brother and both of my kids have it. I can tell you that it is not strictly because he is adhd that he is acting like this. You are not going to change him, it’s his personality not adhd that is making him behave this way. My husband gets distracted, forgets things, has to be reminded a lot, and usually needs a push to get things accomplished. All that being said - he doesn’t mind at all that I am the pusher. He knows he is disorganized and forgetful so he appreciates me paying the bills, making the lists, reminding him about appointments that I have made for him. He is an incredibly supportive, loving husband who thinks he is super lucky to have “an organizer” in his life. My brother who is ADHD and has had depression issues has managed to push through (with adhd meds) and have a career and be super supportive and helpful to his wife while she is in medical school and now a resident. It’s not the ADHD that makes him be a jerk. it’s just his personality - I know, I have an ex husband who is NOT ADHD and was more like how you are describing. You should find someone who is truly your equal partner. I did smile

Posted by surrounded by adhd on Feb 18, 2014 at 2:41am

Think good money after bad…. An earlier poster mentioned ‘sunk costs’.  That sums it up.  Whether you stay with him or bail out will have no impact on his repaying you.

I am ADHD and I know what I am and what I am not… I am no husband.  I can be a great date…  A lot of excitement… and be that way for all of 6 months.  After that…  pffffffffftttt.  Later, Much.

Here are the realities…  70% of ADHD marriages fail vs 42 % in the general population.  100% are negatively impacted.

Have you thought of kids..? ADHD is highly heritable.  Really… if you had a choice, would you NOT want an ADHD kid?  Read some postings in the parents section of this site…  It’s breathtakingly sad and equally disturbing what ADHD parents deal with.  Clearly worse what their kids face.    I think it fair to say that many/most/all parents of ADHD kids wish their kids did not have such tribulations…  Why are you wishing such problems on yours…??? (forgive me, ADHDmomma)

Bail… Abandon ship…  get out…

Posted by LakeLife on Feb 24, 2014 at 4:03pm

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