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Depressed Husband

Question:

We have been married for over 25 years, a basically wonderful marriage. Financially, we are fine. I am a teacher, and hubby is a surgeon. Lately all he does is attends business dinners, meetings, teleconferences, or just stays late at the office, then comes home and sleeps on the couch. I know that he is not fooling around because I arrange his schedule for all of the above. He does not come to sleep with me. If I endeavor to wake him, he screams at me, so I have, therefore, stopped trying to wake him. He sleeps until 3 or 4AM. We have had little communication in the last month. My depression has dug itself into a deeper tunnel. Hubby has always been there for me when I have been sick for whatever reason: knee operations, childbirth, depressions, etc. Now, that I am well, I seem to be ignored. I am very involved with his work: organizing and scheduling and assisting with his studies, surveys, and insurance forms. I don’t know what else I can do. I have tried to discuss this with him. His answer is always that he is just tired. I feel that there is more to it. Thank you.

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Answer:

It isn’t clear what is going on with your husband on an individual level, but it is clear that your marriage is suffering something awful right now. Don’t take the responsibility for the failure of your marriage right now onto yourself – it is as much your husband’s fault as your own. Instead, insist that you both get into marital counseling as soon as is possible.

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p> I suspect that you may have some communication issues to work through. I say this because it would seem that you have needs that are not getting met by your husband, and you are not finding a successful way to communicate the urgency of your needs to him. You need to be able to do that. Therapy is a safe place to be able to do that.

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p> If your husband refuses to participate in therapy, tell him that he needs to make time for it because your marriage is sick and it is making you sick as well. If he continues to refuse therapy (or some mutually acceptable format for working on the marriage – you’ll know it is acceptable when you feel less frustrated) then you can probably conclude that, at least for now, your husband has placed his career needs in front of your own. That sort of thing is not healthy for any marriage. Good luck in asserting your message, and don’t give up on it until you feel less frustrated. There will be a way to solve this.

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