Need help breaking free from addiction?
1-888-993-3112
Call 24/7 for treatment options. Ad Info & Options

My Depressed Husband Won't Sleep With Me. What Should I Do?

Question:

My husband has been going through severe depression for almost a year now. It manifested itself physically, so he was only diagnosed a few months ago. He is on medication and doing some what better. I have researched and read all materials online I can find. I have been incredibly supportive and he shows me on a regular basis that he is appreciative. I adore him and won’t give up. However, we have had almost no sex life in a year! Sex has been a big part of our relationship. I stay strong for him every day. He goes to bed and I cry for hours. I’m afraid to let him know how I feel, because I don’t want him to feel worse than he already does. It has been so long since we’ve been intimate in any way. And honestly I can’t even kiss him anymore because it sets me off. I need him. Self gratification isn’t working either. My fantasies consist of him which only depresses me. What should I do?

This Disclaimer applies to the Answer Below
  • ‘Anne’ is the pseudonym for the individual who writes this relationship advice column.
  • ‘Anne’ bases her responses on her personal experiences and not on professional training or study. She does not represent herself to be a psychologist, therapist, counselor or professional helper of any sort. Her responses are offered from the perspective of a friend or mentor only.
  • Anne intends her responses to provide general information to the readership of this website; answers should not be understood to be specific advice intended for any particular individual(s).
  • Questions submitted to this column are not guaranteed to receive responses.
  • No correspondence takes place.
  • No ongoing relationship of any sort (including but not limited to any form of professional relationship) is implied or offered by ‘Anne’ to people submitting questions.
  • ‘Anne’, Mental Help Net and CenterSite, LLC make no warranties, express or implied, about the information presented in this column. ‘Anne’ and Mental Help Net disclaim any and all merchantability or warranty of fitness for a particular purpose or liability in connection with the use or misuse of this service.
  • Always consult with your psychotherapist, physician, or psychiatrist first before changing any aspect of your treatment regimen. Do not stop your medication or change the dose of your medication without first consulting with your physician.
Answer:

<

p>The way you describe your situation, you are in quite a bind. You are highly sexed and suffering from lack of your husband’s attention, devoted and loyal and unwilling to stray, and unable to take care of yourself. There is no way out of of this bind except for your husband to return to functioning, it would seem, and apparently, although he is doing better, your shared sexual life has not returned to normal.

<

p>The most desirable solution to your problem would be for you to help your husband to return to your marital bed and function normally again. You’ve provided precious few details about what prevents your husband from doing so. Depression can affect people in various ways. It can destroy their motivation and desire to have sex. Certain antidepressant drugs can interfere with a man’s ability to sustain an erection. Then there are different levels of depression’s overall severity ranging from mild sadness to a profound hopelessness, suicidality, and fatigue so severe that it is difficult to get out of bed. Keeping this in mind, the following questions might be reasonable to ask.

<

p>Have you pursued all appropriate avenues for depression treatment for your husband? If the medication is helping, that is wonderful. But is he exercising or participating in cognitive behavioral psychotherapy? Has any sort of stimulation therapy (such as ECT) been discussed as possibly being appropriate? It’s not necessarily the case that more treatment will produce a better result. It could be overwhelming, in fact. But, it also possibly could be helpful for him to do more than simply, passively, rely on medication to get over his difficulty.

<

p>Assuming that your husband is not so paralyzed with depression that he cannot function, have you talked with him and shared how you are suffering from his absence? If he can move around the house, and think about things occasionally which are not depressing he might also be capable of helping you out in the bedroom. Though he may not be motivated to engage in sex at first, his mood may change once he becomes excited. If he has an erection problem secondary to medications, there are various medications that can help with that too. What I’m getting at is that he doesn’t have to be feeling randy himself in order to help you out.

<

p>If it is the case that your husband is just truly not capable of functioning, then you really need to find another outlet for your frustrated energies. Since masturbation isn’t doing the trick, you may wish to supplement those efforts with ways to either tire yourself out, or distract yourself from what you are missing. You might look into a program of vigorous exercise, for instance (whatever might get you to stop obsessing over sex; it’s harder to do that when you are fatigued). Alternatively, you might watch a movie or something to distract yourself.

<

p>It could be worth you pursuing psychotherapy yourself, actually, as the stress of doing all this caregiving for your husband, and holding yourself to such high standards has to be very great and take a great toll on your own moods and tolerances. As you say, you cry each night. Have you considered that you, yourself may be depressed, and might benefit from treatment for depression?

<

p>I hope that some of these ideas prove helpful to you. This seems like a very difficult to resolve situation, and you seem like a very devoted person. I hope you find a way to reduce your suffering, and that your life returns to a greater semblance of normal soon.

More "Ask Anne" View Columnists

Comments
  • Annonymous

    My husband has suffered from depression for the last 12 years, and has been getting better the whole time. He's on meds, goes to therapy, and is less angry and withdrawn. But he still has NO sex drive or intamacy. He does not reach for me, it does not occur to hiim. I can get him to "hellp me out" in the bedroom, but it feels hollow, what I want is not so much sexual release as to feel intimate and desired by HIM.

    Its been at critical mass for two years, and I'm tired of waiting. We have spoken frankly about the situation, and he feels badly about it, and loves me, but years and years of waiting and feeling lonely, like I"m in a relationship with a boy that I'm in love with who doesn't feel the same way for me.

    Not willing to leave him, but needing some self care and love, I've decided to date again.

    Not ideal, still painful. But I found NO OTHER SOLUTION. At least I feel fulfilled, now. Sad, but better.

  • Anonymous-1

    As a clinical psychology student, please allow me to offer a different perspective.

    Depression can be very difficult, I should know as I have suffered from mild depression in my early twenties. It is not easy to "pick yourself" up and move on and sometimes even regain an interest in things once enjoyed. There will be a gradual process here and people must understand this. Wives and husbands are obligated to understand, support, and unconditionally love their spouses no matter how depressed they become. If there is true love then a sex like won't become utopia. Of course, the intimacy of one's relationship helps to make it special, but that shouldn't be what defines the relationship so much that it destroys a bond or love.

    One of the most important things most people fail to realize is that intamacy is like an accessory, it should only be "worn" or used a few times durng a relationship. It should not be something that creates the foundation of a relationship. What if someone becomes paralyzed and cannot be intimate, will love and support end? My point: love will help to bring him out and that might include psychotherapy such as family counseling or couples therapy. Maybe talking and interacting with him (in a different way). The gradual process will only speed up if people understand the very difficult hole depression puts you in.

    Good luck

  • Anonymous-2

    I am so sorry you are going through this as I can totally understand because I am as well. My Husband has been depressed for about 2 yrs now and its just getting worse, our sex life is pretty much gone and I cant even get him to go seek help for his depression, its not like we dont at all its just there is just no emotion attached to it. WE have talked about this, well I have talked about it he just listens and says hes sorry. The one thing I can recomend to you is do not give up on him and do not act like this problem does not exsist, you must talk to him about how you feel he is still your Husband the man you love and you do deserve to feel loved and desired. Honestly I dont wanna have sex all that offten but when I do I want to feel a connection with him and not feel like Im having sex with a stranger or feeling like we are just going through the motions. I know he loves me he is kind and caring but for what ever reason it doesnt show in the bedroom. I dont think its fair for someone to tell you to pretty much deal with it and to find ways to distract yourself REALLY? that is truelly horrible advise, it is not your fault and this is NOTHING wrong with you for wantign to connect with the man you love.... It sounds to me lke your Hubby needs to talk to his doctor and maybe try different meds... Talk to your Husband you have the right to let him know how hurt you feel and its because you love him so much is the reason why you need and want that close special connection that keeps your bond of marriage together..

    Good luck to you and your Husband

    from one unhappy and concerned wife to another

  • Barry O,

    Im so sorry for your problem. Ironically, I am chonically depressed and I get hyper horny and my mate isnt too sexual....so jsut another cruel twist of fate and irony. But if you were my wife, you might be inclined not to fix me since when depressed, sex is the ONLY thing that feels good.

  • depression sucks!!!

    I too suffer with derpression and have done for as long as long as i can remember!! right now, i dont want to have sex at all. my husband is frustrated and i try to help him. give him suggestions on how to make things better for us. he chooses to be angry and critical. support and care would improve things....

    its a hard thing to go through and i do sympathize but being supportive and loving through this is tough for youboth but hang in there!!!

  • A

    I keep reading info on the net in order to find out what I can do to help her. I have read all the posts and yes, one thing to be careful is that I am wanting to fix, her, to help her. I have forgotten that I need to find out what I need to do as well to help myself while going through this.

    At this point I am about to call it quits, yet find that hard for the amount of love that I feel for her. She has been very loving, very good, but when she gets these attacks with extreme headaches or gets her episodes and hides away from the world for days at a time, sometimes a week or more I become really worried. I am two days away from my birthday on Valentine's day and we have not seen each other much in the last month.

    First she "hid" away as usual, when going through her episodes, then texted me saying her seven year old son was in the hospital, having been bitten by a spider. She disappeared from me then for about two weeks and that is when I found out, that she had been hospitalized due to her condition.

    I went to visit her with two friends waiting for me in the parking lot, in case she would get aggressive towards me as it had already happened around Thanksgiving time. I went there, she did get aggressive, so I picked up a guitar I had there, ( I used to sing songs to her and we had nice romantic dinners ). When I picked up the guitar she got really aggressive, so I left, told her that my friends where in the car waiting for me and she somewhat calmed down a little bit, knowing I had company and witnesses to this behavior.

    She had been begging me to see her, called me a few times being really nice to me, because I did not go during those two days, when she wanted me ... I went on the third or fourth day, she again attacked me. I walked in at night, after work and put a rose onher pillow, slowly woke her up and she was raging, angry at me and asked me to leave. She had threatened to call the police, so I actually called 911 asking what to do, if she would call and file a false police report. As she was claiming to call the cops on me to say that I hit her. She actually started screaming and I ran to open the door of her apartment, since some neighbors where there, which I had seen before. I told them "guys, nothing is happening from my side here, I am just removing things I have here and will be out in 2 minutes", they looked at me and nodded in agreement, seeming to believe me, more then her saying that I was violent.

    So, that is the last time I saw her. We have had plenty of good times, lots of weeks of love and great sex. Yet with this last episode, she has gotten more and more violent. She refuses to take her medicine, but keeps texting me and calling me ... After 4 attempts from her side to contact me yesterday, I called her back and she hung up on me. She still keeps close communication with my mom, as they had become friends. She had done this in the past during a breakup and somehow we ended up getting back together.

    I know that from what I wrote here in the most part, it may seem as a horrible relationship. No, it has had great moments for weeks at a time even months. One thing, I have noticed is also that she has this guilt towards sex, when she goes to church a lot. She is not naturally very sexual, yet when we start having sex, she loves it just as much as I do and that seems to make her happy in life, as well, as me. When we sleep together and wake up together, having sex at night and in the morning, well, everything seems to be right. The problem for this is that she lives a bit far away from me, so I cannot always do this. The pattern has been, that we sleep together she is happy and the most one of the most loving persons I have met in my life. It feels like a family with her and her kid at home. So, as long as I stay with them, it is fine, yet I do need to drive back to my home for work and to take care of things, so when I am away the problem starts. If I am away one day, she misses me, two day she misses me and may start getting cranky ... if not at the third day of not seeing me, she definitely gets really upset and we start arguing again.

    At this point, I am almost hopeless and feel that this has gone beyond repair. Again, she texted me to never call her again, yet she will start calling me the next day. She tried contacting me yesterday four times in the day, the last one, since I did not answer and cater to her needs, the last message was "delete my phone number", I did do that. She texted me again the next day, some weird message, I decided to call her, that is when she said "who is this" ( of course she knows my voice well ) and then hung up.

    Last thing I had told her, was that if she still did want a relationship, she would need to take her meds, exercise well and a few other things that I wanted as a condition, as rules for us to be together. I have a hard time wanting to talk to her or meet with her as she keeps requesting, since all she does is start criticizing me, finding faults which are not really there, or may be in a very minuscule way and magnifies them. I feel this is something she does to evade the fact that she needs to deal with her own things. So, yes at this point even though I love her and would want to see her, the idea of her criticizing me again, just hurts me.

    I am in pain and searching for any knowledge that can help. This has made me study a lot about bipolar as well as unipolar disorder. She was diagnosed with "Major Depressive Disorder" which is really Unipolar. Yet I believe that she may actually be Bipolar, since I have seen her in times of extreme happiness, only to plummet the next day if I am not there. I have lost a really good job in the past, mainly from not being able to focus well, from being preoccupied when she would disappear like this during her episodes. She basically just shuts the door and will not answer her phone for days, just covers herself up to her head and sleeps.

    The last thing to add, is that we have been together for a year, yet I know her from 4 years ago. The first time we started dating was four years ago. Since I met her, we would be fine for a while, then she would disappear, stop calling and I would move on with life, not knowing about what was going on with her. She would then get better and come looking for me, my arms would be open again. It is only in the last year, that I realized what was going on, when she decided herself that we should commit and have an official relationship. This time around, she even kept insisiting that we should marry and kept asking for a baby ... yes, she became a wonderful person to me, besides this condition. It appeared very manageable, as long as I was around with her everynight, yet after this last episode, it seems really tough.

    Again, I am reaching out for help, since some details are just too much and I cannot be telling all my friends in detail what is going on. A few friends and family have listened to me, but nobody knows how to deal with it. Everyone is just telling me to walk away, to move on. It's really hard, specially knowing that this time around we started dating about a year ago and right around my birthday which is in two days on Valentine's day.

    thank you !

    A

  • Michelle

    This is for ...

    "I think that's a bit selfish - - Oct 19th 2008"
    I dieagree with you about being understanding. When you are normal and live with a depressed person it is a very hard life to live.

    My husband is depressed...he claims if situation all goes away he will be normal. He has the best doctors and family support and had been in the clinic for 1 week one time a 2 weeks a month later. Also had done out patient for 4 weeks and he still has not improved. He does what he wants...doesnt listen to anyomne and convicned himself that he is right and we are all wrong. He ignores his children, me and family and sleeps his life away.

    Where is it that the spouse has to understand and put up with this behavior. I have done everythiong possible but do it for him. He has no emotion and I am getting fustrated and I am afraid that I willl lose my soul because of him.

    You can only di so much for someone like that. He is very selfish and self centered and he only thinks of himself anf never asks about anyone. He is distant from me and our sex life in non exsistant.

    I deserve better then what he has given me..he brings nothing to the table and just takes from me and takes from me.He has everyhting a man should want and he throws it away like trash with me and the kids with it.

    Ao I dont agree that the spouse shouild have unconditional love for them...I do pray for his recovery and hope he can find happiness.

Close

Call the Helpline Toll-FREE

To Get Treatment Options Now.

1-888-993-3112 100% Confidential

Get Help For You or a Loved One Here...

Click Here for More Info.

Close

Call The Toll-FREE Helpline 24/7 To Get Treatment Options Now.

100% Confidential
Get Treatment Options From Your Phone... Tap to Expand