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I'm in a sexless marriage!

Tagged as: Marriage problems, Sex<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (12 June 2008) 10 Answers - (Newest, 26 July 2008)
A female United States age 36-40, anonymous writes:

My husband and I have been married almost three years now and we barely have sex. We got married sooner that expected because I got pregnant. We had sex all the time before we got married, but after I think we have three times. When I try to talk about it with him in the first year of our marriage he claims it is because he is depressed. He is seeing a psychiatrist and taking meds. They have helped his personality, but not with us having sex. Lately when I talk about it, he brushes me off and trys to put the blame on me. I am extremely hurt by the situation. He doesn't understand how it is making me feel~ugly, angry, and upset. I don't know what to do about the situation. Please help.

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A male reader, JoJoman Canada +, writes (26 July 2008):

His brushing it off and blaming you is classic behavior for men in this situation. It is probably best to keep in mind that this situation probably would have arisen with ANYONE he had married and does not have a lot to do with you.

What's causing this is low arousal caused by anxiety. Find out what is causing the anxiety and chances are he will want to have sex with you again.

It may very well be that this depression he has is being caused by high anxiety levels. If he doesn't have constant full blown depression and a long history of that, then anxiety and guilt may be shutting down his arousal.

Look into these questions:

Did he have any kind of sexual dysfunction when you were having sex? Especially the last few times?

Look to his childhood and family of origin. Intimacy fears, anxiety and/or depression are often the result of childhood trauma.

Has he turned to masturbation and/or porn use as his primary sexual outlet?

Does he have a history of short term relationships with women?

Sometimes men with these problems find they can only be aroused enough for sex when a relationship is new or at least not yet settled into a routine. Marriage tends to kill their libido and a man who may have been fine sexually before marriage suddenly loses his ability to get sexually aroused by his partner after the wedding. Again, sexual dysfunction such as the inability to ejaculate during sex or having a difficult time getting and holding an erection are both signs of anxiety bases psychological problems.

Therapy is the best way to get to the root of these problems.

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A female reader, pashanoodle Australia +, writes (18 July 2008):

pashanoodle agony auntHi. I agree with the other aunts - I think counselling is something worth a try but only IF you want to see if this marriage can work. Sometimes when things seem so bad - it is hard to imagine that the effort and emotion required to go and put ALL your relationship baggage on the table is worth it....but you might just find that a thrid person/neutral mediator helps the two of you to communicate what it is that you care about and love about the other??

A few years ago my now husband and I had a 'rough patch' in our relationship - we both had been through ALOT and were emotionally drained and disconnected. It all felt very hopeless. At my man's suggestion I went along to a counsellor...and it was great, I heard him express how important I was to him and vice versa, and we actually came away feeling our relationship was pretty strong...and definately worth fighting for. This may not be the case for you...but I guess what I am saying is what have you got to loose?

If you go along and at the end feel that there is no way to fix things - then at least you can say that you guys tried everything...and if divorce is the way it goes then maybe you will be able to cope with that better knowing you both tried??

The other thing...I think it will be really cathartic for you to be able to talk and be heard - by someone (as well as hubby) - you should do it for you too. It may feel 'weird' at first, but give it a try. Just make sure the counsellor is someone you feel you can 'gel' with (give it a couple of sessions to find out).

I think it is quite a positive sign that your husband is willing to go along with you...he must care about the relationship on some level.

The other thing I want you to think about is the path you two have taken in your marriage, it has been pretty full on - you said you got married because of the pregnancy - without knowing each other well (you didn;t know if he had the same ideals and values etc - so it may be easy to wonder now IF you should ever have ended up together in the first place)...then you had the emotional rollercoaster of pregnancy and the birth of your child (huge impact on any relationship), you have both been dealing with your husbands health issues - indredibly stressful, and your self esteem has been affected....all this equals HUGE change and HUGE strain...it is no wonder you are left feeling exhausted and hopeless.

Go along to the counsellor, see how it goes - I really feel TALKING about all that's been going on will only be beneficial. Even if you can come up with a couple of strategies to make some positive difference in your life...it will be worth it.

Good luck and best wishes. x

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A reader, anonymous, writes (17 July 2008):

I have empathy with you; yes, what you are going through is not easy; but as Diovan explained to you so nicley; he is suffering from an ilness; it is not yur fault; all you can do is to offer him lots love and try to be understanding; I can imagine that having to deal with the baby as well; you must be really at witts end yourself at times;

I do suggest you go for counceling with him; you have to try everything; you do not want to walk away and then one day have regrets or wonder ; "what if";

Go for counseling give it your best; It might also help for you; because you need to get somebody to also help you; befor the situation are getting to much for you; do take care of yourself; be kind to yourself and never stop loving and being positive about yourself; you are not to blame for the situation; it is not yur fault;

My thoughts are with you; yes, this is not an easy road; but do try give it your best;

Best wishes and lots of hugs and SMILES

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A reader, anonymous, writes (15 July 2008):

Your husband has depression, of course he is off sex, and the tablets can lower his sex drive too. A good book to read is "Shoot The Damn Dog" by Sally Brompton, this will explain some of what he may be feeling and how you can support him and help him get well. It won't be easy, sometimes you might feel you have to get away, take time out for you and be kind to him, and kind to yourself. You need to bring as much happiness into your family life as possible, he's in battle with an illness that makes everything seem dark and grey. Sometimes there is no cause with depression, sometimes it because something has released some childhood trauma's. Sometimes it merely because of the situation, sometimes it's a chemical response.

Make sure he keeps taking the tablets and seeing the doctor. Try to be as loving and kind as you can. Take the pressure off sex. If he dosen't want have sex, can you make love to him, or can he make love to you. Sometimes a cuddle or a massage can bridge the gap of the lonliness you both must be feeling, and allow normal sexual relations to return. Another good book is John Grey's "Men are from Mars, Women are from venus", I suggest you take a look. It's the recommended book for marriage communication problems.

Please keep in touch, I know it's hard, and I know your starting to think it's your fault, but it's not. Your husband has an illness, which has probably humiliated and taken all his pride. It's not fair that you are starting to feel this way too. It's his illness, you can help, but you also deserve happiness. Remember to take good care of you, and see to your own needs and desires.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (15 July 2008):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

It has been a month since I first posted my situation. I truly appreciate the responses. I finally got my husband to somewhat open up about the situation last night. I finally found out the truth that he has not talked to his doctor about the depressant drugs affecting him. He also claims that because of me not fully understanding the situation and me being angry over not having sex has made it harder for him to be close to me. My response to him was that we have to talk about it at sometime and between our monthly discussions about it, I have not brought up the topic and have tried to be close with him. Everything has been unsuccessful.

He now wants to seek marriage counseling. I guess I am at the point that I am even questioning doing this. We have already wasted three years. Our sexless marriage began one week after getting married, which I was about 2 months pregnant, and he became depressed. (He still has not given me the reason of why he became depressed, but claims it has nothing to do about me or the baby.)

I guess my new question is if it is worth doing the counseling. What is there for us to go back to when our marriage has never been successful? Our problem didn't happen after a year or years, it happened after a week! You would think that would be the happiest time in marriage. What chances do we have of making it work or going back to our pre-marital stage of the relationship?

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A reader, anonymous, writes (12 June 2008):

You have my empathy. I have been there, very similar situation. I tried everything, even went with him to see his psychiatrist a few times, but unfortunately for us, we could not resolve the problems and agreed on a divorce. It was difficult, we loved each other, but it was not enough.

Good luck!

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A reader, anonymous, writes (12 June 2008):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Thank you for your responses. I truly appreciate it. I think my next step is to press him on letting me go with him to see his psychiatrist. I tried before, but he made excuses for me not to go. I didn't force the issue because I was just happy at the time that he was seeking help. Overall, it is just a horrible feeling that what should have been the happiest time of our relationship has been the worst. What chance do we have for success when we never could make it work from the beginning? I don't know.

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A female reader, Fiona xxx United Kingdom +, writes (12 June 2008):

Fiona xxx agony auntI can imagine that his anti-depressant tablets are lowering his libido; and he should speak to his doctor about this. In addition, I believe lack of sex in marriage is a symptom of illness in itself; and if you are ill it is the last thing that will be on his mind.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (12 June 2008):

I understand why you are stressed out, my ex and me lived together and the last year together, he did not touch me at all. We all need to satisfy our needs, if you are not happy, I think you should look for professional help along with him.

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A female reader, pashanoodle Australia +, writes (12 June 2008):

pashanoodle agony auntHey there. This is such a difficult situation - I can see why you are so stressed though, this 'problem' has far-reaching implications for your whole relationship! If your self esteem is being so negatively affected, how are you going to want to be intimate with him IF he ever wants to? How will you feel close to him in any way? How will you feel valued in your marriage? How will you feel positive about him? It's like a viscious cycle isn;t it!!

I'm afraid I don;t know what advice to give other than to suggest that you think about seeking professional help for yourself around this. You say he is trying to lay blame with you? In what way? Do you feel you are to blame for what's happening?

I am assuming there is a lot of "stuff" that is impacting on you two - it is great that he see's someone for his depression, but do you know if he is working on the sexual issues also? Have you ever been invited to attend WITH him, or see his psychiatrist for your input? Maybe that would be worth considering. If he isn't willing for you to be involved with that - then I think you should get support for yourself...it is clear that your marriage is in crisis and he is refusing to even acknowledge your concerns or to work with you. You need to talk through and think about what you want, what you are willing to try, what you need from him in order to be able to stay..that kind of thing.

Sometimes issues like this are so "personal" that you feel you don;t want to tell anyone...have you spoken with anyone close to you about this problem or have you tried to carry it/deal with it yourself for 3 years? All while raising your baby!! You don;t need to do this on your own, find someone you can feel comfortable with and talk...get started for YOU. You will loose more and more of yourself if you don;t and your relationship will not improve if that happens!!

Take care.

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