I've already heard from the chorus of skeptics:
"I can't believe you're giving up Linda Land."
"You and Mike have broken up so many times. That's never a good sign."
"Why would you ever want to live with small children again?"
"Are you sure you want to do this?"
"Better you than me."
I certainly don't have to defend myself, as you and I both know. But you're my loyal, beloved readers and my life is literally an open book. I have no problem telling you what's going on; as I've said before, I hope some of you can be inspired by my life and/or learn from my mistakes.
It's true--Mike and I have split up so many times over the past two and a half years that my friends can hardly keep track of our current status. I was always the one to break it off. Why? I've written before about geniuses who appear to have not one iota of common sense. Mix that in with total disorganization, streams of consciousness that wear me out to the point where my ears are bleeding, obsession with Black Ops and working on trigonometry problems (!) when God knows there's more important things to do, absolutely no concept of time, and chronic tardiness (yeah, I said tardiness and I'm not even a school teacher). As much as I loved him, it was more than I could handle.
Our very first break-up was over his showing up late for a date, and that was just the beginning. "Why the hell can't you be anywhere on time?" I've often asked. No, shouted. I'm neurotic about being on time and respecting other people's time. When he'd arrive how many minutes late or even entirely forget we were supposed to do something, I came to the conclusion that I simply wasn't important enough. Fuck that--I am important and if I can't be treated well, I'm out of there. I was living on a baseline of frustration, with occasional spikes of happiness. I deserved better.
"How hard is it to get someplace on time? It's like you're half genius and the other half is fucking retarded!" I've screamed, my chest heaving in anger. "What's wrong with you?"
When he totally forgot his daughter's kindergarten graduation because he was working out at the gym, I realized something is, in fact, wrong. I've long suspected he had ADD, but never took my hunch seriously; I was more like, yeah, the whole world has ADD. Just look at your goddamn watch once in a while.
But he missed his kid's graduation. So I got online and started researching, specifically what it's like to have a partner with ADD.
Feelings can get hurt when the individual with ADHD blurts out thoughts without tempering them, forgets important events, doesn’t follow through with promises, or gets distracted from their partner’s conversations. An individual with ADHD may have difficulty seeing things from their spouse’s point of view.Oh, hello. I approached Mike with my armchair diagnosis. He did his own research and said it was like reading the story of his life. He'd always felt different and could never identify why; they didn't test for those things when we were kids. We went to a counselor who affirmed that Mike's behaviors certainly indicate ADHD. She said she was surprised that he's been able to achieve the level of success that he has and asked how he's managed in business all this time without a diagnosis.
Sometimes partners feel like they are parenting their ADHD partner rather than the relationship being equal. They end up being the one to provide structure and reminders. They end up feeling frustrated, disappointed, and fed up when their ADHD partner does not comply.
"People are pretty forgiving," he said, referring to the instances where his behavior seeped into the business world. He hadn't had such forgiveness in his personal life.
When you truly understand, there is nothing to forgive. Remember that line in my book?
Things are different; I understand now. I give him several gentle reminders when he has to be somewhere and I don't get pissed off when he doesn't show up on time. The other night I watched him organize his coin collection--his way of preparing for our move. Before, I would have said, "Are you kidding me? Start throwing shit into boxes, for christsake!" But I just said, "You know you're doing an ADD thing now, right?" and he said, "Yep." And we both laughed. Shit will make their way into boxes eventually.
I'll never forget an exchange we had last fall. At that time, I knew so many women struggling with breast cancer (which can suck you know what) and I was feeling especially apprehensive about my yearly mammogram. Mike took me in his arms and said, "You never have to worry. I will always take care of you."
What's a little ADD where there's that kind of love between us?
Between Mike and his ADD, on top of living with small children again and my own picky-picky neuroses and self-diagnosis as a Highly Sensitive Person, we have a reality show in the making. The spiritual books on my shelf say that people come into our lives to teach us lessons. In my comedy act, I mention that I have the patience of John McEnroe in five o'clock traffic. Well, it looks like these people I'll be living with at least for the duration of our 1-year lease are going to teach me how to be patient. There's no turning back. There's no running away.
The house is 4,000 sq. ft. That's a good thing. Wish us well.