Where to Start??

*I* am the guy who's suffering from depression and withdrawing from the relationship.  However, this is almost a "chicken or the egg" question that bears further examination.  For instance, my therapist says, "Well, why *are* you depressed?  Why are you withdrawing?"  And the only answer I can come up with is self-defense.  I have lived in a relationship for TWENTY years that is all about her.  I moved 1,000 miles away from MY home to be with her.  Her entire family lives here - I never see mine (but that's honestly not her fault).  It's all about her. 

When we were in our twenties, we had sex about once a week - she claimed that she never had a big sex drive.  It has only gotten worse over the years. So now, in our early 40's, we are having sex about once every 6-8 weeks - and that is only after she gets drunk (that makes me feel real good!) 

Over the last 10 years or so, I have become the whipping boy for everything that is wrong with us emotionally, physically, financially, sexually, ...ummm...what's left?  Oh, yeah, our kids have ADD because of me.  There isn't a damn thing that I can do that pleases her or is right.  If I go to the store and pick out a new white shirt, she'd say, "White?!?  Why didn't you buy a BLACK shirt?"  If I came home with a black shirt, she'd say "Why didn't you buy a white one?"  I just can't win. 

Three years ago, we bought a new house in a community in which we'd always fantasized about living.  It wasn't our "dream house" but it was big and in a great neighborhood.  It was a 120-year-old fixer-upper and I learned how to be a handyman after all these years.  I remodeled our dining room, our family room, demolished the old cement steps and built a new wooden porch/entryway, bolstered the old porch, rewired, and replumbed many parts of the house.  All of the work I did, if I can say so myself, was beautiful (and MANY people have asked me to do work on the side for them!).  Anyway - at NO POINT did she ever say, "Thank You" or "great job" or "that's wonderful".  NOTHING.  It just kills me.  Recently, we started remodeling the kitchen and she said she wanted to hire someone to do it because she said she wasn't confident that I knew what I was doing.  I said, "I didn't know what I was doing before I started any of those other projects and they turned out great, didn't they?"  Her answer: "Well, you've never tiled a kitchen counter before."  Sheesh.

Finally, there is no physical contact in our relationship - and I don't mean sexual, either.  She will go out of her way to avoid touching me - at all costs.  If we visit friends and I am sitting on the couch, she will pick a chair on the farthest side of the room.  Her excuse, "I want to talk to other people."  If there are no other seats EXCEPT next to me, she will choose to sit on the floor.  We went to marriage therapy last year and I sat on the couch first, somewhat toward the middle and she moved as far to one side as she possibly could without sitting on the arm of the sofa.  Our therapist said, "You look like you are avoiding your husband sitting way over there," my wife got defensive and said that she just want to use the armrest.  When I come into the kitchen and I approach my wife, she will walk ALL THE WAY AROUND the breakfast island to get something that would be more easily reached by walking toward or past me.  If I try to hold her hand, she will tolerate it for about 20 seconds and then drop it.  She tells me that I'm "too needy" and that most people in the world are F*ed up and need too much "validation" as she calls it.  She said people who truly love each other NEVER have to say it or physically demonstrate it, they just show it through daily actions like making dinner and vacuuming the rugs.  I asked her if she thought the reverse was true - that you could tell someone how much you hate them by the things you DON'T do!

No wonder I'm depressed, huh? 
Rael Rael
46-50, M
8 Responses Jul 21, 2007

I wanted to say, also, that some of this smacks of substance abuse. Perhaps your wife's drinking and inability to be intimate are part and parcel of the same issue. It's only a suggestion, but if you look up Al Anon on line? It's a place for friends and families of alcoholics - really great support when trying to cope with drinking and the other behaviors that result from it. I'll step off the soap box and simply add that my support goes out to you.

Rael, Spend some time reading through the posts here. Amidst the information, and support, you will find a major repeating theme that appears to apply to you. It sounds like you are in an abusive relationship. As our concise and direct friend Mr. Horny says, it's up to you to decide how to deal with it.

Well, I've learned one thing, kids. Drinking and posting don't mix...<br />
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I don't regret what I said, I just wish I would've said it better.<br />
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Sorry, and uh, thanks for the comments/support!

My friend you have all our sympathy but at the end of the day it is you will have to act before you sink further in the mire.Sex or lack of it is only part of the real problem.IfI spoke to your wife there are things i would say to her unrepeatable in "polite" company<br />
Keep the faith & peace be with you!

Thanks, ElleMeza: as far as therapy goes, when the therapist agreed with my wife, the therapist was brilliant. When the therapist agreed with me, she was a stupid idiot who didn't know her *** from a hole in the ground.<br />
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We are having a lot of financial issues now because of the move (remember that movie "The Money Pit"?) Our kids are failing miserably in school and we can't seem to help them. My wife finally left a job after 18 years that she hated and now she thinks she hates this new job even more after taking a $10K paycut. My mother has been put into a nursing home due to Alzheimer's this year, ummmm....what else...oh, yeah - we caught our 12-year-old son smoking pot. Gee, it's just been a real winner of a year for ol' Rael.

Hun, now I'm depressed!! search for who you were, and slowly take back what you so readily gave up.think of the example you are giving your children, marrage is 50/50 some times you may have to settle for 45 and same with her but you gave up who you were, you can reverse it slowly but steadly. Good Luck

lillyann: you hit the nail RIGHT ON THE HEAD. I am living in her parents marriage. However, when we met, we were 1,000 mile away from her parents and she was not like this. It was only after we moved near her parents that the tides turned. Her father passed away 10 years ago, and of course, she would never move away from her widowed mother now.

wow - sorry to hear you having such a hard time....anyway - welcome to the club, not one any of us really wants to belong to.