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Partner has untreated ADHD and doesn't help with my anxiety

Community Member

Sorry for the long post - this is a daily struggle of mine.
My partner was diagnosed with ADHD when he was younger but his mum chose not to do anything with it because she didn't believe in it. Fast forward to two years ago, the honeymoon phase of our relationship had worn off and all his habits and lack of ability to listen was really starting to get to me. He's really messy, and I've always been quite tidy. At the start of our relationship, I would clean up after him, but after a couple years I started asking for his help or even just tidying up after himself. He was almost incapable of this which is when I started to push him to explore ADHD/see if he has it and potentially treat it (he'd do things like lose a cup of coffee by leaving it in the pantry, forget to close the front door because he got a call and our dog would escape, or completely miss a deadline because he fell down an internet rabbit hole). That was about a year ago. Since then, I've had countless emotional breakdowns, I've been diagnosed with anxiety and depression (probably had it for years longer) and I see a therapist weekly.
Part of my anxiety is largely about having a tidy home, not having clutter everywhere etc. I don’t think I’m OCD but I definitely get angry when things aren’t in the place they belong. I’m the kind of person who leaves a room as if they were never there and he is the kind of person who leaves a room as if he’s been living there for weeks and i have to beg for days for him to tidy. There have been times where I've told him I am not happy at home and I reiterate what I need from him and many times I have threatened to leave because I just can't handle it. Sometimes it's good for a week or so until he goes back to his old habits.I just don't feel like a priority or like he really cares about me and each time I feel let down by him I get so angry! I feel like it's my fault because I'm the one who has the problems and if I didn't have these issues or like things a particular way, everything would be fine.
Each time we have a serious discussion, we discuss him going to a GP regarding ADHD and he seems keen to do it but he never follows through and it just becomes this never ending cycle.

Can ANYONE relate to anything like this? I'm starting to go insane and question everything about my life and relationship and wonder if I'm only making myself more depressed by living with my partner or being with him at all. I almost feel like I could only be happy by living alone?

10 Replies 10

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi, welcome

Well happier living in love with a more compatible partner I’d say.

He has already been diagnosed so his symptoms are there so without medication they won’t improve.


beyondblue topic is there room for stubbornness?

Youve said “his mother didn’t believe in it “(ADHD) I’d also question if you have taken the place of his mother in terms of chores and picking up after him.? Many young men (and women) allow their partners to do this. It’s really inconsiderate.

Will it improve- no, highly unlikely. How do I know this? Well my first wife was the same, lazy as, she chose to be the home maker while I worked 3 jobs to keep our head above water. But she’d sleep till 1pm and I changed nappies more often than her. Yes, been there and if you stuck with this guy and had children you’d be worse off with huge regrets.

But if you left you’d eventually recover and then you could take the option of another relationship. It won’t take you long to realise if he is tidy, considerate and mature.

Im sorry if I come across blunt. I confess I have a staunch belief that nobody has a right to leave a mess for others to clean or won’t pay their way or have any other expectations that are biased and unrealistic.

You deserve better.

ps Yes, your anxiety and depression is likely to improve if you moved on.


Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear Berenbel~

I'd like to join Tony in welcoming you here. From what you say things simply cannot go on as the have before for any great length of time. You have anxiety and depression, things that that make life difficult enough. While you may have an aversion to mess I'd consider thngs go a lot deeper than that. The fact you do not feel loved and valued is horrible. I cannot see any reason to doubt yourself -though sadly that is something humans do when treated with little care.

In any true partnership both people try to look after the welfare of the other. They may have a conventional division of labor, or may engage in things equally. either way it is balanced. Each can rely on the other.

By the sound of it you had been placed in the role of mother/carer, looking after after a person who for whatever reason requires everything from tidying up to ensuring deadlines were kept.

Simply getting him to report to a doctor, then give the commitment away just about at once is discouraging, frustrating and simply gets nobody anywhere.

I honestly cannot see how this is your fault, the basic problem seems to be you partner will not or cannot take an equal share of the load, if only for your sake.

May I ask if you have investigated the treatment, both medication and therapy, for his diagnosed condition? Perhaps there might be some hope there, though I would imagine (no I'm not a doctor) that this might not be cut and dried but involve a degree of time and trials.

If future medical support does give hope then the question becomes being if your condition will allow you to remain on the scene to see if they are effective. A risk of course. You may very understandably not want to after so long.

Apart from having medical support yourself do you have anyone in your life to support you on a personal level. A family member or friend perhaps who can listen, care and maybe offer some perspective?

Please let me know what you think


Hi white knight,

Thank you for your response.

At the beginning of our relationship I absolutely did pick up after him but it didn't take long before I realised I wanted a partner and not a lazy housemate. It wasn't until a few serious conversations with him that he actually gained some sort of responsibility around the house. Before that he would listen to me ask for help wouldn't properly make the effort.

I'm really scared to look back later on in life and feel like I've wasted it. I just have so much hope that things will get better but the hope is deteriorating. I can't see myself even having children at this point and I feel like that's partly because I'm not 100% convinced I'm living the life I should be..

I really appreciate your point of view.. like I mentioned, I'm starting to question my own beliefs and it's reassuring hearing from someone who has been in a similar situation in the past.

Community Member

Thank you Croix.

I really just don't feel like it's a partnership and I don't feel like I can rely on him.

After making this post, I was quite upset. I thought I was hidden but he had seen me crying and we ended up having a long conversation. This is nothing new, and we have had far too many considering how silly these issues are. I ended up leaving the house for a couple of hours. He told me later that he'd booked an appointment with a GP on Thursday. This doesn't mean much to me. I've always told him actions mean more to me than words so I guess I'll see what happens on Thursday..

I have done research on what kind of treatment he may need and I know it may involve behavioural therapy as well as medication. I've never been under the impression it would be a "one appointment and you're fixed" kind of thing. He's gone as far as to research who he would like to see as a psychiatrist. I think he has false hope that he is able self-improve without professional treatment, as silly as that sounds. I know he is really concerned he may seek medical advice and be told there is "nothing wrong with him", and I think that would really put him in a horrible headspace. I think he has a hard time getting past that too, the "what if?". I think his mother's denial has planted a seed in him, too.

I've stuck around for the last four years. I'm generally a really positive person. I've already been let down by him so many times. To be honest I feel stupid for still sticking around. Each time medical involvement comes into the picture I regain hope. It's hard because his ADHD is mostly what prevents him from getting assistance and I feel like I cannot blame him for that. It's just really hard. I think I could stick around... I wouldn't really know what else to do or where else to go.

I must admit that things have improved a lot since we first started dating, however it's not enough, considering the amount of time passed.

I'm grateful to have a life long best friend who I am able to talk to about all of this and she is aware of everything. She has always taken my side and reassured me I'm not crazy. After years of this though, I have started questioning both of us because I'm still in the same situation.

Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear Berenbel~

I'm glad you have a freind to lend you perceptive. Sometimes it is too easy to take the load on our own shoulders and think it is some shortcoming in ourselves that has contributed to a bad situation. Human nature I'm afraid.

I'm also glad you have researched treatments, at least now you know that if the diagnosis is confirmed it will still be a long road.

If he heard you crying and went out off his own bat and booked an appointment then I guess that might be a sign of care. It is simply that good intentions wear off quickly, not at all an uncommon thing.

I'm sure you have done so already, but reassurance about his doctor's visit can make a difference. As can being firm - or tears. You are the best one to judge there.

Thinking of leaving is only natural, as is wanting a family. The tone of your last post left me thinking you wanted to remain with him, at least for now

Would that be right?


Community Member

Hi, I hope you're doing well! I know this post is a few months old - but I came across this when googling about a very similar situation that I am in.

My partner of 3 years was diagnosed with ADHD as a child, however he's not really sure what treatment (if any) he got for it. He is in his early 20s now, and has expressed to me his feelings of being overwhelmed/overstimulated, fidgety, easily distracted, hyper focused and difficulty listening when in a group of people or with any background noise.

I also have generalised anxiety and like having things neat, clean and organised as it helps me with my nerves. I have had troubles with my partner not helping me with our chores, forgetting special events or remembering important deadlines and feeling like I have to constantly remind him, feeling as though he isn't really listening to what I'm saying and just waiting for me to finish so he can blurt out the words running through his mind. He also struggles with getting frustrated easily and aggressive (e.g. stressed out in traffic and GPS stops working so punching his dash till his radio pops out). He is never angry or aggressive towards me, however being around someone with a short fuse is extremely difficult for me and my anxiety, and I can often feel on edge. I also worry that our relationship can take the form of a parent/ child relationship - as I feel I am more mature, organised and socially aware. I feel that I am carrying so much extra emotional weight.

Although we are together all the time, I can often feel quite alone and unsupported - even though he tells me how much he loves me all the time, his actions often aren't in line with his words. After every argument, I break down and we have a long talk and he tells me he's trying, he will get better, he's going to be more conscious of my feelings and that he's sorry etc - but it's like a broken record. Things are better for a week and then he forgets or becomes distracted and the cycle repeats itself. Like you, any talk of seeing a doctor or working on our issues is never followed through and is just forgotten until the next time I speak up.

I shed a tear reading your post because I felt I could really relate. It is a really difficult situation to be in when you love someone a lot, and feel they love you so much too, but it just doesn't feel like enough sometimes.

I really hope you are doing well and taking care of yourself - this thread has made me feel like I need to take action on my own situation. ❤️

Hi RoseForo,

I had forgot about this post and decided to check it to see if there was any new comments I had missed (which I had). When I made this post, I was more depressed than I had been in years and I was absolutely at my wits end. Shortly after, I was diagnosed with seasonal depression which gave me some answers as to why I was feeling SO bad about this situation, being the end of winter. That's not to say my feelings weren't valid, because they absolutely were.

A lot has changed.

Your comment brought back a lot of emotions and memories for me. I felt as if I was reading a diary of mine. It's one of the hardest positions to be in, I can genuinely say I understand what you are going through. One thing I left out of the original post is that my partner was scared to get tested as he was concerned he would be told there was nothing wrong with him and all the issues he has are his own fault.

The tiny first step is booking that first GP appointment to get a referral for a psychiatrist. Something I've learnt with my partner is that I need to help him, help himself. This was really important with that first step. Even if you have to book it for him (ask him first), at least it's done. Help him research adult ADHD psychiatrists so it's not another thing he gets lost with. Ultimately, a friend of ours telling us she was diagnosed is what made my partner actually book that first appointment (wish it me but i'll take anything). My partner was diagnosed and given a prescription within the same day and we noticed immense change right away.

This is still a huge work in progress for us, but at least now, he is able to actually learn new behaviours or tasks. Prior to this, while he had good intentions, he didn't have the ability to act on them. At the moment we are trying to get him in with a psychologist to assist him in learning new behaviours. Remember, medication only works when it is taken.

Something we've also found helps SO MUCH is an app called Tody. You can put in chores to do (or literally anything) and set the frequency and they come up in a list like a phone reminder in the app. Please look into this app, it is SO worth it. I would ask my partner to clean the bathroom and it would take him 3 hours, but now he knows exactly what needs to be cleaned and when to clean it. It's also really helped me with my anxiety because generally once I start, I cant stop. The app helps me to know that things will be done, when they need to be done. Happy to chat more

Community Member

Hi Croix,

I am sorry I missed your last message.

Good intentions do wear off quickly, I'm guilty of that myself.

I stuck around and that doctors appointment actually led to something. We've finally started our long ADHD road. My partner has been diagnosed and is being treated (see prev comment for a little more info). Life is very different now! It's a little easier too. He still makes mistakes every now and then but it is nothing like he used to. I also no longer have that thought of "what if he went to a doctor" consistently in the back of my mind. I find myself getting a lot less anxious. He seems capable. It's also nice to see how it's changing his life, work and hobbies too!

Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear Berenbel~

I'm glad to hear from you again, and feel happy for you htat you are no longer in that 'should I stay' mode that was running though your thoughts.

Then it was hopeless, now there is hope and it makes such a difference.

It is surprising what small the blocks can be, fearing to find our he had nothing wrong with him might seem small but in fact is a very real block, I guess associated with fear that one will have to blame oneself with no way out for all those things that were wrong. Thank goodness that is now over.

Please do keep in contact and let us know how things go, we are always here