I Think My Husband Is Depressed and I Know He Can't Let Go of the Past

It has only been a month or so since the last time we had sex, I don't really count the time span.  It's not what I want, but I feel so limited about what I can do about it.  When we talk about it, it ends up in a fight.  I know he tells other people that he is in a sexless marriage, even makes jokes about it.  I don't think it's funny.

I love him, I don't know if he finds me attractive or not.  He never comments on my appearance, good or bad.

I went to therapy to see what was wrong with me. 

We can't talk about sex or intimacy without arguing or he brings up something from the past that bothered him and hasn't occurred since... but he'll bring it up again and again using it as a crutch or excuse why we don't do things.

I'm at my wits end and don't know what to do about it.

Tialee Tialee
41-45, F
10 Responses Feb 16, 2009

It's not your fault he feels emasculated because you make more money than he does.... I think a lot of men feel this way when women end up the "bread winner".... it's "money", not their "maculinity" ...<br />
Good luck to you!!!! :-)

Thank you all for your comments. I already feel more hopeful about this situation knowing I am not alone. Until today, I had no idea there were so many people in the same situation!

I find this very interesting. I see both sides here and some of the same issues. I too do all the work. She says she is fine and or refuses to focus on the issue which is affection and lack of making changes. I am the one making all the changes. Of the 10 or more years I've been struggling with her most of it was spent on countless side issues because she would say something stupid, bring up the past, and cause me to follow. I would then also bring up the past, but with much better detail and escalate her desire to distance herself from me; very much the opposite desired affect. She constantly puts herself down, when I try to admire her curves and body and I try to tell her how much she turns me on, but she take every compliment and drives it into the mud. When I try to talk about sex or intimacy, she does every thing to avoid it. When I try to touch her, she pushes me away. When I try to initiate foreplay she literally puts up with it until she can't stand it (2 minutes) then she gets forceful and pushes me away. When I ask for intimacy it is met with a sigh and usually an excuse as to why now is not a good time. I generally have to ask three or four times over a month or month and half to get a yes, which is still met with a sigh as if it is a chore. She accuses me of making her feel bad or making her resent me and the things I say, yet she's always the root cause.<br />
I too believe that continuing to give in to this manipulation is only fueling the situation and enabling the behavior.<br />
The problem is that you will again have to make some changes, ultimatums, and do all the follow through. Be sure to put them in the context of your feelings, your needs, and what you will and will not put up with. Idle consequences only become rewards.<br />
Good luck and keep sharing. Your story and the comments help us all.

Wow, yea, get this guy to a psychiatrist post haste. Does he have trouble sleeping at night, does he sleep during the day? His sex drive is obviously off, how about his appetite?<br />
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I'd really also suggest he look into Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. The idea that you making more money than him being emasculating is something that indicates more deep seated issues.<br />
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In a lot of ways, it sounds like you're coddling him too much. You're giving and giving, and not getting much in return. Continuing this can result in someone who builds very low expectations for themselves. By not insisting that what he's doing is NOT OK, you are enabling the behavior.<br />
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I wish you luck, but one way or the other, you're going to have to take a stand. If you continue the relationship, you're going to have to put a stake in the ground to keep him reminded.

OMG - Yes, that's why I went to counselling. I was hoping it would inspire him to follow through himself.<br />
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55 - There are some things that he has talked about - his x girlfriend was very controlling. He went without sex for a long time when he was single, he knows he has low self esteem. He accuses (sp?) me of making him feel like less of a man - partly because I make more money than he does. When he has expressed things that I do that make him feel sad or bad, I make changes in my behavior.<br />
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It seems whenever I get a ray of hope that things will improve, it is very short lived.<br />
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I strongly feel he needs to go to therapy. I am willing to go to marriage counselling with him, but I am frustrated to be the only one taking steps to improve this.<br />
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His idea of making improvements is to research sexless marriages on the internet and make jokes about it with my friends. It really hurts. I want to confront him on some of those things, but I am afraid he will just take that as more of me putting him down.<br />
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He admitted to being depressed but then said he was feeling better so he wouldn't have to go on meds. I really feel he doesn't want to get help, and I'm not going to be stuck in this forever.<br />
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We used to have a really good sex life. My sex drive isn't what it used to be, so I'll admit that the amount had started to slow down... but he stopped showering regularly, and started drinking more, and wearing the same clothes for days and days.... many signs of depression. When I point it out to him, I am being a b****. <br />
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I'm not ready to give up on him or us yet. But I'm sure an ultimatum will have to come at some point.

My marriage (now over) was also at an impasse. For many years. He was focused on his needs, which in turn made me feel like, "What about MY needs?" so when I would freely give, he just took, feeling that he deserved, and vice versa with me. So we each bgan hoarding the Gimme's and keeping score. The point us:when it gets to that level, you BOTH have to WANT to fix what's broken....so, in your case, you will have to do something to shake up the peace (ie:go to couseling on your own)

I tell him my feelings, but we always go back to the past with bad experiences he has had. A peace keeper may not be a bad idea, but I can't get him to follow through on therapy. I don't want to be the only one trying to improve our relationship. Lately that's how I feel.

U guys need 2 talk 2 each other with the help of a peace keeper !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

She suggested that I try to get him to go to a therapist, and then perhaps we can go to therapy together. I have suggested that he go, even just to talk to someone impartial. He seems to agree to the idea, but doesn't follow through.

Hi, Tailee. I'm sorry to hear that you've run into this impass. I have to say that it sounds like he's so totally focused on his own needs that he's forgotten that meeting your needs are part of his responsibility in a marital relationship.<br />
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So what did your therapist say? Did he/she provide any insight into what's going on?