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Couples With One ADHD Partner

Unbalanced relationship and just need to vent.

I’ve been with my boyfriend for about 8 years. We have had many communication issues along the way but I couldn’t figure out what the problem was. A friend suggested about 4 years ago, that he may have ADD, and I started reading up on it. It explained so much! I had him read up on it also, and it was a realization to him as well, that he and many of his family members are ADD. He’s brilliant in so many ways when it comes to work. He owns his own construction company, and is great at making things work from an engineering standpoint, but his personal life is very unorganized and messy, which affects us. We spend most of our time at my house because his house is uncomfortable and not very functional. (a flea infestation and mold growing on the ceiling,are some examples)

One of our problems is that he doesn’t plan time for us. Most of the time that we spend together is last minute, which can be fun, but not all of the time. He’ll call on a friday after work and ask if I’m busy that night, or he’ll ask on a Saturday at 4:00 if we want to ask friends over for dinner, and then be disappointed with me when I say that I don’t want to.

I get the opportunity to do a lot of things socially with my friends and family,and by the time that he asks me to do something, I usually either have something else planned with other people or I end up including him because I feel bad leaving him out. 

We have had the conversation many times that I would like him to plan time with me because I enjoy spending time with him, but I’m usually the one that makes the plans and asks him to do things. It gets old after 7 years.

No matter how delicately I try to talk to him about it, he will usually get angry and it will turn into a fight. (This gets old as well!) I know that the criticism thing doesn’t go over well.

The fact that we love each other very much has been the glue that has held us together, but I feel like our relationship is so unbalanced in that I feel like I do way more for him than he does for me.

Any advice on how to deal with this? Do I just start planning things without him and tell him that I’m busy when he asks me to do something?


I think I might start begin unavailable a little more often.  Not to be spiteful, but to help him understand that there are consequences to his poor planning.  I’d continue to be pleasant and nice and not nag, but I wouldn’t be quite so available on short notice anymore.

Posted by nexus7722 on Apr 05, 2017 at 7:39pm

being* (the day of many typos!)

Posted by nexus7722 on Apr 05, 2017 at 7:40pm

Thank you for the suggestion. I’m giving it a shot this weekend. It’s Friday afternoon at 2:00 and he is just now,asking what I’m doing this weekend. I already made plans tonight. So we’ll see how the rest of the weekend goes.

Posted by tlynntex on Apr 07, 2017 at 5:55pm

If his ADHD is undiagnosed and untreated, nothing will change. Here’s more on relationships with ADHD in the mix:

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

Posted by adhdmomma on Apr 10, 2017 at 3:13pm

Hi Penny,

Thank you for the articles. I actually read them before. He hasn’t been officially diagnosed but admits that he has a MODERATE case of ADD. He doesn’t take any type of medication and doesn’t think that his life is affected negatively by it. He likes the way he is.

In my heart I probably know that he won’t change but I keep hoping…We’ve been to counseling but it hasn’t helped. I’m feeling like at this stage of my life (I’m 54), that I don’t feel like getting into a fight every time that I want to discuss a problem with him. All of the fights wear me down, the way water does to a rock.

Thanks for listening.

Posted by tlynntex on Apr 15, 2017 at 9:33pm

Hi, tlynntex,

  I have had the same situation with my husband for many years. Couples counseling didn’t help. We now see an ADD coach as a couple, and that is helping. Instead of examining our relationship, we get practical advice - like have a regular planning session, and put an alarm on calendar to ensure we do it.

All the best,

Posted by Angie_H on Apr 18, 2017 at 1:24pm

Wow! I feel your pain. I’ve been married for about 8 months to a man with ADHD. It wasn’t so much that he didn’t make time for us (in fact, after about 2 months, he wanted to spend all of his time with me), it was more that he was perfectly happy if all that time spent together is just watching television and I’d like to do a little more than that. After raising this issue with him several times, he’ll sometimes make an effort to plan, but will have forgotten all about this activity by the next day and either decided to do something else or when asked about it, no longer wants to do it. He also has a tendency to assume that other people can just drop everything and join our plans at the last minute. I’ve had to tell him several times that you can’t just call friends on Friday morning and ask if they want to go away with you that weekend. People need more lead time. His family is the same way (last minute planners), so part of it for him is ADHD and part of it is training (I also suspect his mother may have undiagnosed ADHD). This caused a lot of problems for us when we were dating, because we would plan to do something like going bowling on a Friday evening and then by the time Friday rolled around he had completely forgotten about it. I almost broke up with him early on because he had to reschedule our first date, was late for the second date, and then totally forgot that he had said he’d make plans for the third. Instead of calling me the day before as he said he would, he called me at 9pm that evening and asked if I wanted to meet him then. I told him he was either a flake or not really interested, so I’d pass, but then gave him a second chance because I did really enjoy spending time with him and he was so contrite about it. I wish he had told me then that he had ADHD, because I would have been more sympathetic to him.

Posted by ADHDWife&SM; on Apr 25, 2017 at 7:46pm

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