Losing Hope But Trying

Glad I found this group.  I almost didn't write the story, because it echoes so many before it, but here goes...

I've been married for over 10 years to a woman whom I love and desparately desire.  We have 2 kids. 

Our sex life has been sparse (2 to 5 times a year I'd say) ever since our first child was born around the time we were married, and now it is just non-existant.  Before even finding this group, I came to a conclusion that seems to be the consensus here:  I'm living an unacceptable existence, and action is required.  I shared this perspective with my wife, and she said she doesn't know how to help because I am the one unsatisfied with the way things are.  When I explained that I find the lack of closeness unbearable and I will have to make our platonic, friendly, co-parenting relationship official (i.e. get a divorce) if we can't find a way to become close and intimate again, she finally started trying to do something about the depression from which she has suffered for a very long time.  The depression stems from having very challenging children and from having lost her chance to participate in the world beyond being a mom.  She sees herself as locked into being a mom and only a mom, despite being a brilliant student with nearly infinite opportunity prior to kids.  I believe she could still do so many things beyond parenting, but the depression prevents her from summoning the will to try.  Anyway, she's seeing a doctor, trying anti-dep medication, and she has even agreed to attend marriage counseling, though she is not investing herself in the counseling because she doesn't believe it is worthwhile.

So now I'm in a pattern of wait and see.  I respect that my wife is taking action and trying, and I need to give her a month or two or perhaps more if she needs to try other medications and try other paths.  My plan is to stick with her and try to be hopeful as long as she is trying and taking action.  After reading all the stories from this group, I'm not terribly hopeful, but I want so much to be.  I want it to work out, but I know what I have to do if it doesn't.  If she tries everything she is willing to try, and she still has no desire to be close to me, including sex, then that is it.  I will not settle into a stable pattern of constant distance from my wife whom I desire so much because it will simply drive me crazy.  The kids make it very difficult though; I don't want to destabilize anything for them or cause them to suffer from guilt or anything.

One thing I'm very interested in:  Has anyone with a similar situation with the lack of interest based in depression seen this work out in the end?  All the stories here seem to have unhappy endings, with the silver lining simply being the opportunity to seek a close relationship with someone else.  I'd rather make it work with my wife....thx for reading.

striverman striverman
36-40, M
7 Responses Mar 15, 2010

As DryCreek and Eva suggest, I'm going to continue to be loving, supportive, and patient while my wife is taking some action. She definitely wants to stay together as a couple, and she is willing to make an effort.<br />
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I'm learning from all of your perspectives, including the hopeful/encouraging ones and the pessimistic ones. KonaP, I did read your stories and the responses, and I realize I may be on the same path as you, just a bit earlier. I'm just hopeful I'm not. Thank-you all.

I do have to agree with DryCreek on this one, but only because a) your wife is showing signs of 'trying' and b) you so badly want to work things out with your wife before giving up! That's GOOD! If there is even a glimmer of hope, or signs your wife's efforts are paying off (i.e. she actually decides, on her own, to be intimate with you....whatever that looks like) make sure she knows just how FLIPPING awesome that is and how utterly HAPPY she's made you! I used to say to my husband that I really was just a simple soul....desire me and have s*x with me, and i'm happy! But even that was too much for him! I'm sorry, however, that you find yourself in this situation like all the rest of us here, have, for whatever reasons. It is SO difficult, but you are amongst people who most definitely understand! I wish u all the best, i really do! And keep posting...it'll help!

Striver - the critically important point here is that she is making an effort to fix the problem. In my book, that warrants some patience. I believe some of the anti-depression meds can also kill libido, so be sure to discuss the whole picture with her docs.

Hi there -<br />
My H suffers from depression as well. Unfortunately, we will be getting a divorce soon; he has been going to the counselor and trying meds for his depression but recently admitted he will never want, or be able to give, affection and intimacy in our marriage.<br />
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I encourage you to go to my profile and look for a story about spousal depression that I posted a couple months back.........the folks on this forum had some great comments and suggestions. KungFuChic hit it right on the head with her comment on my story.<br />
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Please keep reading and sharing.

My father of 85 once said "Man does not live by sex alone", meaning there are important issues of marriage, and survival than sex, or intimacy. In a way he is right, but he is from the old farm school of thought and does not want to change the ideas of today's love and need.<br />
A counselor said to set a time each week just to spend time with each other a few hours. Something like a theater, dinner, clubbing, park, etc. Once you get use to doing it you will always have time for other action. The counselor also said you should help clean the house, to get time to be together. Work together, or get in line for attension with the kids.

Welcome to the group, and don't worry, another story is definitely worth sharing, especially if it helps YOU. <br />
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It sounds like you are taking some good first steps. If depression is the problem, anti-depressants can work wonders. Individual counselling for her might also be in order. I know a lot of bright women who put their careers on hold to be mothers ... during that time still found fulfillment in volunteering at their kids schools, or in the community, or running a business from home. How long till the kids are in school full-time?

I suggest that you stop getting sucked into the association between your wife's depression and your wife's loss of love for you. There are plenty of folks here in this group who suffer from depression and still crave sex from their non-loving spouses. I submit that as sufficient evidence. Heck, I am willing to bet that YOU are starting to suffer a little bit of depression too. <br />
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Anyway, I wish you peace and sorry you have to be part of our group.