by Dennis Townsend, Contributing Writer
You and your boyfriend started dating a little more than five years ago, and you’re both in your twenties, and for the most part, it’s been a good relationship. I say "for the most part," because as a child, your boyfriend was diagnosed with ADHD, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and ODD, Oppositional Defiant Disorder. He is prone to bouts of hyperactivity, impulsive behavior, loss of self control and memory lapses. You have been living together for a year, and there is talk of getting engaged, but suddenly you don’t know if you can cope with his mental problems anymore. You love him and that’s a fact, but do you love him enough to take on the challenges that are destined to become a part of the relationship? That’s the big question in your mind at this moment. Should you stay, or should you abandon any dreams of having a normal cohabitation in the form of a marriage?
He gets annoyed and frustrated very easily which often leads into a verbal fight where he gets so angry that he slams his fist against walls and throws things around the room. In your mind you know that he wouldn’t do you physical harm, but watching him get angry makes you unsure and you have a tendency to cringe. And to reinforce the slight fears that you do have is the fact that he sometimes refuses to take his medication because he says that he doesn’t like the way it makes him feel. And so now you don’t know if you can deal with a future with both him and his symptoms. First of all I must stress that I am not a psychiatrist or a medical doctor of any sort, but I can tell you what I have learned after doing research and having discussions with a friend of mine who is in the field of mental health. The following opinions are my own and by no means dictate a viable solution, and is only suggestive information and should be taken as such.
If you are in a relationship like the one described above, the best course of action I would suggest is to leave. The woman in this situation is not up to the challenge, and it sounds like she doesn’t want to be and that’s all I need to know. When you’re choosing a life partner, it's about being open-minded and learning to be a noble person. It’s also about loving and being in love, it’s about something that you can understand that doesn’t make you "cringe" while you’re trying to make it work, and trust me, "foreign and scary" are two deadly ingredients when trying to form a relationship. Also, saying that you’re sure he won’t physically harm you is a crap-shoot and foolish and you don’t ever want to gamble with your life. Can a relationship like this work or does one give up hope? Yes, it can work, but it takes added diligence and the person with the illness has to manage the condition effectively and the partner needs to be temperamentally suited for and at peace with the challenge. It’s plain to see that the woman above is not ready for the challenges but obstacles like this can be overcome, just remember, it takes the right ingredients.