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Non-ADD Partner Support This is a support forum for non-ADD partners, spouses, and significant others offering feedback from both the ADD and non-ADD perspectives

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  #1  
Old 05-18-03, 05:46 PM
sharong sharong is offline
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Unhappy New Member - Need Some Advice

I just registered with this forum, and I could really use some advice. I have been married for 14 years to a wonderful, sensitive man with whom I have had three children. I have always been a responsible, organized person...I am at my best when multi-tasking between my job responsibilites, my children's needs, etc.

My husband and I have suspected for years that he has ADD, but so far he has chosen not to pursue any type of couseling or assistance -- and I have tried to just quietly respect his inaction ... but it is getting so difficult. There is a history of attentional problems in his family, and our youngest son was just diagnosed with ADD and is taking medication.

Now that our son has been diagnosed, my husband will make comments like "Gee, maybe I should go see a doctor," or "maybe I should try the medicine," but that's as far as it goes. He mentioned his own ADD suspicions in a very casual way to the neurologist and the social worker who initially interviewed us concerning our son -- he even started to tear up a bit ...but it's like he wants to pretend that everything is great. He is hyperfocused on his career, and pretty much works the hours of two full-time jobs. He doesn't do ANYTHING around the house when he is home (but make a mess!), doesn't engage in any meaningful conversation, forgets things and then accuses me of not telling him, promises to do something or go somewhere but doesn't and has a bad temper.

After our son was diagnosed, I tried to gently talk to him about considering how his own behavior affects others, especially the family, how much stress it puts on everyone. No luck. Our marriage has definitely suffered over the years ... I have a lot of resentment built up, not only because of compensating for him but also for his career schedule. I'm not really sure what to do -- the pattern in the past has been that I have to be the one to suggest and act on everything, but I don't want to feel like I'm "forcing" him to seek help.

The problem is, I feel like I need help myself! I feel like I have four children instead of just three, and the stress and anger is growing. During marriage counseling several years ago, the therapist said that we had perfected the roles of little boy and controlling mom! UGH! If anyone has any advice or guidance, I would sincerely appreciate any thoughts.

Thanks,

Sharon
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Old 05-21-03, 01:43 PM
elizabethizme elizabethizme is offline
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Re: New Member - Need Some Advice

Sharon,

I too have been to a therapist who has told me that I was the heavy and I should just lay off. He said marriage was a two-way street and to blame my husband for all of our problems was not fair. I agree to that. I take credit for my anger, my frustration and my resentment. I am not like that with anyone else in my life. I blame my husband for not doing anything about his ADD.

It's ironic because ADD is mostly about not taking action so how can I expect him to do something about it. On the other hand, he is now at a point where he resents me holding his hand for everything. Our relationship has evolved from him letting me take care of everything to, according to him, me not allowing him to do anything. This is how he portrayed it to the therapist. Unfortunately, at that point he had not been "officially" diagnosed with ADD although he had been on medication and seeing a doctor for over a year. This doctor simply asked him every two months how he was doing and then would write a prescription. At one point, the doctor asked how things were with me. My husband told him that I was always picking and criticizing him so the doctor told him he had married a controlling woman and that maybe I wasn't the right wife for him!!

My suggestion, find a therapist who specializes in adult ADD and offers support to couples. We don't have any of those in our area so I am struggling. Online help is great for me but it would require too much effort for him.

I would gladly correspond with you and we could maybe help each other through the struggles. I know venting helps me because I feel like everyone around me is thinking that I should just lay off. Unless you live with someone with ADD, you don't know what it's like. I have talked to people where the spouse was willing and looking forward to finding help. My husband is not there yet so it makes it extremely difficult for me. It sounds like it is the same for you.

I'm at a point where I am seriously thinking of starting my own support group in my town. There must be spouses in my area who don't know where to go.

Contact me if you want regisam@cogeco.ca

Elizabeth


Quote:
Originally posted by sharong
I just registered with this forum, and I could really use some advice. I have been married for 14 years to a wonderful, sensitive man with whom I have had three children. I have always been a responsible, organized person...I am at my best when multi-tasking between my job responsibilites, my children's needs, etc. My husband and I have suspected for years that he has ADD, but so far he has chosen not to pursue any type of couseling or assistance -- and I have tried to just quietly respect his inaction ... but it is getting so difficult. There is a history of attentional problems in his family, and our youngest son was just diagnosed with ADD and is taking medication. Now that our son has been diagnosed, my husband will make comments like "Gee, maybe I should go see a doctor," or "maybe I should try the medicine," but that's as far as it goes. He mentioned his own ADD suspicions in a very casual way to the neurologist and the social worker who initially interviewed us concerning our son -- he even started to tear up a bit ...but it's like he wants to pretend that everything is great. He is hyperfocused on his career, and pretty much works the hours of two full-time jobs. He doesn't do ANYTHING around the house when he is home (but make a mess!), doesn't engage in any meaningful conversation, forgets things and then accuses me of not telling him, promises to do something or go somewhere but doesn't and has a bad temper. After our son was diagnosed, I tried to gently talk to him about considering how his own behavior affects others, especially the family, how much stress it puts on everyone. No luck. Our marriage has definitely suffered over the years ... I have a lot of resentment built up, not only because of compensating for him but also for his career schedule. I'm not really sure what to do -- the pattern in the past has been that I have to be the one to suggest and act on everything, but I don't want to feel like I'm "forcing" him to seek help. The problem is, I feel like I need help myself! I feel like I have four children instead of just three, and the stress and anger is growing. During marriage counseling several years ago, the therapist said that we had perfected the roles of little boy and controlling mom! UGH! If anyone has any advice or guidance, I would sincerely appreciate any thoughts.
Thanks,
Sharon
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Old 08-13-03, 10:28 AM
bmellon bmellon is offline
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I enjoyed reading your letters and would like to correspond with both of you. I have recently married (less than a year) but have known my husband for about 4 years. I had often suspected that he had some type of ADD as his attention span is short. He describes his condition as “hyper” and not ADD. He has admitted that in his childhood he was on some type of medication regarding this “hyperness”.

We have no children as of yet but I do worry that most of the household chores and raising of our children will be primarily my job because of his lack of attention. He has not been diagnosed nor has he sought help medically for his “hyperness”. Therefore I am still trying to figure out if he is ADD. By reading some of these posts I have noticed that he does not have some of the symptoms typical to an ADD adult (lack of employment, lateness, loosing things). That is why I was particularly interested in both of your messages as my husband seems to have some of the characteristics of your spouses.

Sharon, I was interested in the fact that your husband has 2 full time jobs. I believe my husband is somewhat of a workaholic. He has one job but works a lot of hours. He is home for dinner every night but his weekends are full of working Sat and golfing on Sundays. So there is limited time for me but he does make an effort. I was particularly interested in your husband’s characteristic of working a lot because I noticed that most write that most ADD adults cannot keep a job whereas my husband has a very successful career.

I constantly complain to him about this hyperness and know I need to discuss with someone else. For instance, no matter where we go I am anxious as I know that he cannot be in one place for long. If there is a TV close by he can last longer because he basically ingnores all else going on around him. This embarrasses me because people will try to talk to him and he acts uninterested. I am very social and love to be around people.

I don’t want to be considered a nag. I think I am basically just asking him for some attention. Since he will not seek help I thought a first step would be for me to seek counseling on coping with this disease. As he does not believe his lack of attention is an issue. Elizabeth, your idea of seeking help via someone that specializes with ADD is a great idea. I hope to find someone. My issue is that i am not even sure he has ADD and he will not seek help to find out if he does.

I am starting to resent his lack of attention and we all know resentment only makes for more issues. Sharon it does sound like your husband may be coming around as he seems to be admitting that he may have a problem.

Thanks for listening.

Mary
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Old 08-17-03, 11:22 AM
milesscotch milesscotch is offline
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I'm hoping that the people here would be willing to hear from the other side of this situation and maybe help a fellow "Partner of ADD."

I am an adult male who has never been formally diagnosed with ADD, but clearly suffer from the symptoms. This situation has caused no end of trouble in my relationship with my fiancee - a woman I have been with for 10 years now. Sharon, when I read your post, I had some suspicions that it was really she who was writing. I, too, have been hyperfocused on my career - although less so now. I, too, through my inactions, forced into over-functioning.

I have promised to change. I have promised to work on my inattention. I have promised and promised and promised. I have gone to therpaists, the first of whom was maybe a bit too passive to really help me. The one I am working with now helps me a little more to focus on the tasks I need to in order to sustain the changes I want to make. But, in all honesty, it is too soon to tell if this will "take" this time. We'll see.

My inability to pull my weight in our relationship has pushed my fiancee to take the step of separating from me. We have lived together for 9 years, and she finally said "Enough is enough!" We are amicable, and there remains the possibility of a reconciliation, but we both need to change the way we approach our relationship. She needs to not do everything, but can only do that if she can trust that I will do my share. That's my task. Can I do my share?

What I would like, if one of you would be willing, is to have someone who has been in a similar situation (like yourselves) who would be willing to correspond with me about progress. I would be willing to offer the view from the ADD side, and maybe through this exchange, we could find ways of salvaging these relationships that are obviously so valuable to each of us.

If you would be willing, please reply. My name is George.

Also, my fiancee (I continue to refer to her as that for now) has suggested reading the book "The Peter Pan Syndrome." She says it will make you cry, but it may shed some light.
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Old 08-17-03, 01:45 PM
waywardclam waywardclam is offline
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I don't know if any of you would consider it wise or be brave enough to do so, but maybe you should print this thread out and give it to your husband.

A lot of people can't take hard honest communication. But if he is mature enough to do so, maybe this might be the way to express how you feel, and it might kick him in the pants to go get some help himself.

For that matter, if he is ADD, he might quite possibly find these forums very valuable himself!
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Old 10-10-03, 09:36 AM
driverldy2003 driverldy2003 is offline
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Hi all,

Boy can I relate. Let me tell you a little bit about myself. I have been married to an ADDer for 32 years. He was just diagnosed three years ago. His job was his life as well, but then because of down sizing he lost his job. He is a QC Engineer, and it was a job made for an ADDer. All I's must be dotted and T's crossed. When he lost his job he found that he couldn't keep the big picture together. He was so hyperfocused on the small things that the big picture just fell apart. He lost several different jobs because of the inability to keep the big picture together. At home I managed to keep the big picture together, but it was tough. I was resentful of having to do it and he was frustrated because he couldn't and of course he blamed me and said I was a contol freak.

He started on meds and it really made things worse. Every aspect that I disliked about my husband was magnified ten fold. He was extremly moody and even more verbally abusive. We were in therapy during that time and let me say here, that a good therapist is CRITICAL! We saw four different ones and although they helped with fallout issues they didn't know enough to address the ADD. We finally found a therapist that has ADD herself. She divorced twice and she admits that it was because of her ADD. She not only related to my husband, but also to me and the frustration I was going through. At one time she told me that I had to make a choice whether to stay or not. She didn't see him changing. Thankfully, she was wrong.

I had about given up. I had had it! I was searching on line about ADD and saw a web site for a herbal drug that they said worked for ADD. I thought. yeah right! After doing some research though and talking to my husband, we decided to try it. We also talked to our therapist. It was a big chance, because we knew that it didn't always work, but we were at the point of "why not try it, nothing else has worked". Thank God, it did work for him.

Things aren't perfect, but they are managable. Let me tell you what happend just the other day. I got a call from the post office telling me that he had to come up and make a payment on his mailbox. Mailbox? I didn't know anything about a mailbox! I thought, "ok, what is he hiding now"! I confronted him and he explained that he had opened it six months ago when he had bought a piece of woodworking equipment and didn't want me to know. He had the bills sent there! Now six months ago he was on the meds and doing awful things. How, he not only took RESPONSIBILITY for doing this, without blaming me, but he went up immediately and cancelled it. We have since talked about it, and he said that he used to think that I was just being unreasonable, because I wouldn't let him buy anything that he wanted so he thought he had to go behind my back and do whatever he needed to do. He can now look at it and see that wasn't the case. He had been out of work for three years and we just didn't have the money. He doesn't look at me as a control freak anymore.

One thing that we have found out is sometimes you have to lower your expectations. He may never be able to hold down a high stress job. Stress means problems. He is working now as a security guard. I have had to go back to work to make up the pay difference, but he is doing really well at being a security guard. He feels good about himself. He works nights and I work days. He helps around the house more than he ever has. He even washes clothes and cooks supper! As my daughter says "dad's cooking just gets better and better". He is finally able to be a partner to me and a dad to our three kids.

The way he explains it is that the vail of confusion has finally lifted and he can see things more clearly than he ever has. Other family members and friends have seen the difference as well. That has been really good for his selfesteem.

There is help out there. Were we just the lucky ones? Maybe. We were lucky enough to find a therapist that really understood and could help us and we were lucky enough to find a herbal drug, without side effects, that worked. Was it luck, or persistance? Probably a little of both. Hope this gives you all hope.

Val

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Old 01-12-04, 04:38 AM
ldchester ldchester is offline
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re: need some advice

I also am married to a sensitive ADD man for 12 years... he accepts his diagnoses (made shortly after my son's in1996), but it doesn't help the fact that he can't be on time , keep his stuff picked up, adhere to a commitment, etc. I have been living a life of "unorganized HELL" for years! As I mentioned, my son is also ADHD, and hard to deal with... he and his sister (7) fight and argue constantly! My problem is that I have been totally miserable for as long as I can remember... and have finally had the guts to ask him for some time to myself (6 mos. trial separation). The problem is that the guilt is overwhelming... I know that he can't help his idiosyncrasies... but I can't deal with it anymore either! My son's behavior included; which I HAVE to deal with... when does it ever become the time for everyone to understand the NON-adhd person?
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Old 01-19-04, 05:48 PM
elizabethizme elizabethizme is offline
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Re: re: need some advice

Quote:
Originally posted by ldchester
I have been living a life of "unorganized HELL" for years!

My problem is that I have been totally miserable for as long as I can remember.

when does it ever become the time for everyone to understand the NON-adhd person?
It will always be a question of who is struggling more - the person with ADD or the non-ADD spouse. I don't think it really matters as long as both partners realize that each is struggling in THEIR own way.

I, too, feel like I have been thrown into a life of "unorganized hell". That is because I am an organized and efficient person. That is percevied by my husband as wanting things done "my way". Of course, people around us perceive me as being a controlling wife to a husband who is simply doing the best he can. Put any strong, productive person with a procrastinating, unorganized one and the perception will always be that the strong person is controlling.

Take that same strong person and put him/her with another strong person and all of a sudden the perception is that they are well-organized, efficient and productive. Yet, it is the same person in a different environment. I have come to terms that my husband will always perceive me as being controlling and demanding. I know how much I have accomplished in my life and how much more I will accomplish on my own. I am not saying that I am better than him, I am saying that my expectations for myself are high and I deserve to be able to live up to "my" expectations for myself and my life.

I used to be a happy, enthusiastic person with a zest for life. Now I have become a chronic complainer. I don't blame him for that, I did that to myself and I am working on breaking out of this nasty habit. I am miserable more often than not yet I do not want to be. I hold myself accountable for my actions and reactions. Yet I know I am reacting in such a way because of his ADD. That is not pointing the finger at him and making him responsible for my reactions - it is the reality - humans tend to react to people based on who they are and who the other person is. Learning to become conscious withyour reactions is extremely difficult to do - and it is difficult to break the patterns between spouses. I'm working on that - bit by bit - with the help of a great book - A Conscious Life: Cultivating the Seven Qualities of Authentic Adulthood by Fran and Louis Cox. I recommend this book to everyone - ADDers and non-ADDers - on these forums. I'm not changing overnight but I am working on it.

As far as to when the non-ADDers get to be understood - I think this will be a long, long struggle. Since we are the "normies" we are supposed to be able to be compassionate and understanding. WE are the ones who are supposed to love unconditionally at the expense of our needs and wants. I'm not saying that ADDers and non-ADDers couples will never be able to be happy - of course they can be, if they are the right personalities for each other.

I think many people on these forums forget the fact that we are all individuals with different personalities, beliefs and expectations. We cannot generalize that all non-ADDers should be one way or that ADDers simply have to try harder - it has nothing to do with that.

I believe we go about creating relationships in the wrong way. We do not take enough time to think about what *we* want for ourselves in a relationship. We believe in the idea of compromise and hard work. These are important BUT if we were really honest with OURSELVES first and consciously made a list of our wants and needs and settled for nothing less, we would have a much better chance of having a good relationship - whether your partner has ADD or not.

I can honestly say that from day one, I had some minor concerns about my husband and some of his behaviour. I chose to ignore them. I believed because the attraction was there and we obviously liked each other, things would work out. As the years went by, those concerns became major and others were added to the list. No amount of compromise or hard work would change the fact that my expectations for my relationship and future were not being met. It has nothing to do with unconditional love. I was in love with the wrong man to suit *my* needs and expectations. It is that simple. It is not being selfish it is being realistic.

He may not agree that I am the wrong person for him - he likes many things about me - my cooking, my looks, my energy, my being so organized, my determination - but many of the things he likes is also the cause of our issues. My character is much too strong for his and we will always clash - he may respect these traits in me but that does not mean that I am the right person for him. I believe I am not.

I have choices in life. I can choose to accept that my husband has ADD and that our life together will most probably always be a struggle. I can choose to lower my expectations for my life to a level that would work with my ADD husband. I can choose to remain married knowing I will be miserable all of my life. I can choose to not be miserable. I can choose to do everything I can to change who I am to adapt to who he is. I can choose a combination of any of the above.

I can choose to remain who I am - to hold true to my core character - and to end the marriage. I can choose to bring back my original expectations for my life and to hold on to these when looking for a new partner. I can choose to be happy in the way that *I* need to be happy.

I have chosen to end the marriage and to work on being myself again. Whetehr he believes it or not, this choice will allow my husband to be *himself* again and to start making his own choices for his own life based on the fact that he is a man with ADD.

Elizabeth
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Old 01-19-04, 06:28 PM
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I am the ADDer of this house and my wife is the efficiant organised person that every body always wishes they could be

I can relate to all your posting and I can look at it from both sides of the fence

Thje easiest way to put it is

"Once you put a name to the beast" which is ADD, then it becomes much easier to harness the beast and control it.

Nobody but the owner of the beast can change the characteristics of it, and the owner has to want to change them or at least find "FAIR" comprimises.

But it sure is a lot easier when you have a partner who is a coach as well.

Talk to Tara the systems administrator here about coaching as she has many great strengths that she very willingly will probally share.
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Old 01-19-04, 07:07 PM
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We are who we are. The trick in relationships isnt to change yourself to please someone else, but to find complementary traits in each other, and lean on each others strengths.

As the ADDer in the family, I am able to handle crisis situations much better than my spouse, am technically adept, mechanically inclined, fluent in various technologies, and am able to troubleshoot even the most complex of problems. I can manage complex negotiations and am often called upon to counsel others.

However, I have many "weaknesses" as well. My finances are a shambles, my family life is crumbling around me, and I don't like direct confrontations with people. In fact, I don't do well in many social situations either.

So, my "perfect mate" would need to complement my weaknesses, while being able to lean on my strengths.

I'll add more later
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Old 08-06-04, 11:29 AM
craigswife craigswife is offline
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WOW, I'm in there with you all

Thank you. After reading these situations, Gosh, I'm not alone! I really hate how I'm 'hating' my husband! My heart is breaking.

UGH, he's being such a jerk and I am NOT handling it well! He refuses to take his meds, he has cancelled his Doc appoint for Wednesday. Gosh, how can I help our marriage when he is not trying? We both have got to try, no?

I don't know how to talk to him. Everything I say is 'nagging' nitpicking 'can't you just leave me alone', etc, etc, etc. It seems he doesn't own his behaviour, almost like an excuse. Why can't he own his ADD? aaaahhhh

I'd love to communicate with someone going thru the same thing. I know the replys to this thread are old. But are you still out there?

Jess
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Old 08-07-04, 02:49 PM
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Hi Jess: Yes, the posts are old but the issues remain, hmm? My guy was diagnosed more than a year ago (he is 62 now) and it took him so long to start down the path to help. He took a couple of meds, nothing happened and he didn't do anything for a long time. We looked for therapists and groups and ran into blank walls. Finally in the spring, he got some new meds and they're working -- he's "jollier." By chance, we found a therapist who has ADD. What I've heard of their sessions is interesting -- with the therapist telling him to work on having a "compassionate heart" with himself. It makes sense because after all these years of not fitting in, etc., he feels so much shame. He is (and maybe all ADDers are) a very critical person. Of himself, of me, etc. I think I'm seeing a change as he works on that -- I think as he's less critical of himself (and that will be a miracle), he'll be less critical of others. He refuses to go to group meetings and i've given up on that. I remember reading that posting from an old-timer about "going for it" when you get diagnosed. I bet nobody does that -- it was interesting to read someone call ADD a disease of doing nothing. So I'm not exactly in your shoes because it feels like there's progress here. I don't know what you do if your husband won't take a step -- I"m afraid I'd be out of there. I relate to not wanting to be the mother; I won't do it. It just seems that would make things worse.
What I'm having trouble with right now is trusting him. He lies to me sometimes, which makes me wonder if he lies to me lots more. Is that just typical of ADD?
Jess, I hope you can find something that makes you happy and that gets your mind off what he's not doing.
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Old 08-07-04, 03:55 PM
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There is now a Partners/Spouse of ADD/ADHD section of the ADD Forums.

Quote:
Originally Posted by milesscotch
I'm hoping that the people here would be willing to hear from the other side of this situation and maybe help a fellow "Partner of ADD."

I am an adult male who has never been formally diagnosed with ADD, but clearly suffer from the symptoms. This situation has caused no end of trouble in my relationship with my fiancee - a woman I have been with for 10 years now. Sharon, when I read your post, I had some suspicions that it was really she who was writing. I, too, have been hyperfocused on my career - although less so now. I, too, through my inactions, forced into over-functioning.

I have promised to change. I have promised to work on my inattention. I have promised and promised and promised. I have gone to therpaists, the first of whom was maybe a bit too passive to really help me. The one I am working with now helps me a little more to focus on the tasks I need to in order to sustain the changes I want to make. But, in all honesty, it is too soon to tell if this will "take" this time. We'll see.

My inability to pull my weight in our relationship has pushed my fiancee to take the step of separating from me. We have lived together for 9 years, and she finally said "Enough is enough!" We are amicable, and there remains the possibility of a reconciliation, but we both need to change the way we approach our relationship. She needs to not do everything, but can only do that if she can trust that I will do my share. That's my task. Can I do my share?

What I would like, if one of you would be willing, is to have someone who has been in a similar situation (like yourselves) who would be willing to correspond with me about progress. I would be willing to offer the view from the ADD side, and maybe through this exchange, we could find ways of salvaging these relationships that are obviously so valuable to each of us.

If you would be willing, please reply. My name is George.

Also, my fiancee (I continue to refer to her as that for now) has suggested reading the book "The Peter Pan Syndrome." She says it will make you cry, but it may shed some light.
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Old 09-12-04, 05:22 PM
diannelynne diannelynne is offline
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I have just discovered this web site and would like to say thank you. Everthing is written about ADD but nothing about how frustrating and lonely it is to deal with someone with this illness. I am tried of being kind and considerate. I would like him to be kind and considerate towards me.
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Old 09-12-04, 11:07 PM
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exeter exeter is offline
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Just a little disclaimer... I am a guy with ADD. I'm beginning to have a clue how non-ADD partners feel, though, because I feel the same way with myself sometimes!

It can be hard to confront a partner with issues like this. That's why I say, don't confront. What seems to work well for me is a simple, honest presentation of feelings. Talk about the issue using lots of "I" statements: "I think... " "I feel..." etc. "I think you're an idiot" doesn't count, either. Don't call names, and don't respond to name calling with more name calling. Those are the 2 biggest things I've found that help people to "fight fair" when arguing.

For me, holding in these types of feelings is really much worse than getting it out in the open. Pick a time to talk about it when you're both in a good mood. If it gets to be too much for you or your partner, then take a break for a while. You don't have to solve all of life's problems in 1 day.

Going to a therapist can be a great way to do this, or you can do it on your own.

If that sounds like too much work, then the only other thing you can really do is alter your reactions to whatever is bothering you. Individual therapy might help, self help books, etc. That's really all I can suggest.

All of these things have worked for me in the past. I hope they help all you wonderful non-ADD partners who put up with us. :-)
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