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IndigoBro

523d

Advice please on a common conflict with my fiancée, who has ADHD. While doing a task, she drops something by letting it go. She sees it, and instead of pick it it up, steps over it. Depending on what it is, I may find this highly distressing. For example, something dirty on my pillowcase is a big no no for me. I feel extremely uncomfortable because I feel like I can’t bring it up. I learned one time that she is highly sensitive to my criticism and insists she can’t do things any other way because of ADHD, so I don’t bring it up anymore. I want to be understanding and sensitive to her feelings. I also am intensely uncomfortable. I try to leave the room and pretend I’m not thinking about it. Even when I brought it up in a caring and understanding way I could tell she felt overwhelmed by the criticism. We come from very different backgrounds regarding cleanliness and organization, handling of household objects. I think she fears that I might see her as lazy or careless, which I do not. I simply see an issue between us that I want to resolve. I want to set a boundary around certain specific things I am not okay with, even if she doesn’t understand why it’s important to me. Her refusal to discuss with me makes me feel like she doesn’t care how uncomfortable I am. She accuses me of fears of bacteria and cleanliness that are unreasonable and not logical. I see where she is coming from, and I am not sure. I am used to doing what makes me comfortable, why do we need to test the edges of safety? She calls it ADHD vs OCD. What do we do? What am I missing? Advice from an ADHD and/or OCD perspective is appreciated.

    • beater.queen

      491d

      As for leaving stuff on the floor, give her a bucket to put things in. The task of putting the thing away seems daunting to her so she is just avoiding it altogether. I have buckets in every room of my house that are for putting away later when I have a little dopamine to do it. It might seem like a small task to simply pick it up and put it away, but to us adhders it's a waste of our time and no fun at all. Thus, if the issue is stuff is always on the ground, give her a space in each room to have a place to save for later. I call my buckets the pending places in each room. Picking it up isn't the issue. Wasting time to put it away is. The pending place is technically a version of putting something away but for later when that item can be addressed in the adhd brain. I empty my pending places as I'm motivated to do so. Don't worry tho, she will remember exactly what is in each pending place if you need something that ended up there.

      • Seae

        485d

        @beater.queen this is brilliant. I do this, but not as efficiently. A bucket would be way better than a haphazard pile, and way less overwhelming. Thanks for the idea!

        • beater.queen

          485d

          @Seae thanks! It was my mom's idea!

    • beater.queen

      491d

      My bf has found away to clean the house without offending my sensitivity for being considered lazy bc of my adhd. He used to try to involve me but it always ended up with me in tears for feeling so bad about how I was okay with living. He's a clean freak and the best thing we've found that doesn't trigger me is if he handles the main chores like dishes, sweeping, and mopping. Basically the stuff that needs to be done daily. My contribution comes from the bigger projects around the house. So he made a list of about 10 things (there's more but I thought I'd get overwhelmed if there were too many things on the list) that I can do when I'm feeling a dopamine rush. It works out really great bc I knock out 3-4 things at a time when I have the motivation to consult the list. The bf adds to the list and reorganizes it to keep it fresh and undaunting as I knock sets of tasks off. It works really well, bc it doesn't make me feel bad about being unable to do the daily chores and he's always so proud of me for knocking a bunch off the list once or twice a month (I don't get a dopamine rush that often). The trade off is the list contains bigger projects of varying degrees of time so I'm able to pick what I want to do from the list rather than do the things that will kill my very rare dopamine high faster. The mixing up the order of the list is important too, bc for a while I would just avoid the top of the list and do the bottom things he would add that had less priority, but the priority tasks stressed me out, so he did some adhd research and someone on the internet suggested changing the list order once or twice a week so it is completely random. It works really well. Adhd is very difficult when it comes to chores bc there is no natural production of dopamine like there would be for a neurotypical who already has a consistent supply of dopamine. Thus, adhders can only do these menial tasks when we have a dopamine high. Dopamine is produced when we do something entertaining or fun only whereas for neurotypicals its never really depleted so they can do those tasks easily. When I lived alone, I found that I was able to hype myself up for chores with music and dancing, but getting to the point where I felt motivated to actually do the thing was difficult. It's so much easier now that my bf helps out around my house and we have that system in place.

    • AnimalBoy

      492d

      Honestly you might wanna look into how to give criticism to those with RSD and coping mechanisms for cleaning up after yourself when you have ADHD. The current issue that you're facing right now is that she's not cleaning up after herself properly, and there definitely ARE ways around it but she has to know them to know that, but the overarching problem that is going to affect your relationship even when you get past this is that she seems to be having an RSD response to you trying to set boundaries and give her constructive criticism. That's also a part of ADHD and it can make communication and cooperation harder and therefore make being in a relationship difficult to navigate in a healthy way that doesn't always end well.

    • Eren2273

      523d

      I have ADD and OCD. While I do agree that she should pick up things she drops on the floor, you can't let your fear of contamination control you either because it'll only make your OCD worse. Please be careful and make sure that your actions aren't avoidance, what's best for OCD is facing the discomfort and anxiety and not avoiding it. :) Have you tried sitting down with her and very gently explaining that things can't be left on the floor? It could cause someone to trip and get hurt, etc. Make sure she knows that what you're telling her isn't meant as criticism, and it's not some kind of fight like OCD vs ADHD. It's simply communication between partners about what's best. If that doesn't work, I would recommend suggesting she gets a therapist. Therapy can be a big help

    • MustHaveThat

      523d

      Oh man, I feel so bad because your girlfriend could be me... I am so happy you are not letting her down, because my husband is understanding since 15 years, although I give him a hard time here and there. So what I can tell you is I can hear a little shame in her reaction. I think it would help if you really show her and tell her what you told us, but tell her you want respect from her as well and that there are certain areas that are yours, like your pillow...

    • Rhoda

      523d

      It might be worth it to do a few counseling sessions together so you can have a third party help navigate the discussion. It doesn't have to be more than one or two sessions.

    • busy_bee

      523d

      That's a difficult situation! This is gonna be long but I'll try to offer some thoughts. First off, it sounds like you've already taken great steps to try to address this with her but she might be experiencing some RSD commonly associated with ADHD. As someone with ADHD and OCD, I'm obsessive and compulsive about really specific things (having "outside clothes" on in the home / germs) but not others (leaving things out, especially in random and wrong places). Some of my habits really bother my partner. While I'm insecure about my cleanliness and behaviors, I recognize that it's not just about me. I think it's about picking battles, for both of us. We each have things we compromise on and make extra efforts on. For us, my partner often (and is usually very willing and agreeable) to picking up random things off the ground that I leave (ex. clothes I've taken off immediately after coming home from work because they're dirty) and I have learned that some of my habits are unacceptable for our home (such as leaving food out, which really bothers them). We talk about these things calmly and openly usually when both of us are not in a heightened state and it's on each of us to make a concerted effort towards our behaviors. Just because I have ADHD doesn't mean I can't change. It's really hard sometimes and I feel bad for not being perfect all the time but I know effort is important in our relationship. I would hope your fiance would feel similarly because that's how successful relationships work! Everyone puts in effort! Do you think she would be willing to see a therapist or get some ADHD coaching? Is she on this app or actively seeking support for her ADHD in other ways? I think there are a lot of little steps that can be taken, and positive feedback/reinforcement from you will go A LONG way! Don't give up hope :)

    • AstraDragon

      523d

      So my personal experience with my ADHD is if I start to feel overwhelmed by a task I just "shut down." This might be what she is dealing with. Try asking her how she is feeling in that moment. Try to be positive and encouraging. Negativity will cause a larger shut down.

☝ This content is generated by our users and it is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision

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