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Dr. L
Dr. L, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1166
Experience:  Psychologist, Marriage and Family Therapist
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My partner and I have been together for a year and a half.

Resolved Question:

My partner and I have been together for a year and a half. After three perfect months together his depression broke out. (According to his psychiatrist it had been there for years. He was in an unhappy marriage for years, split as soon as the second child was born but stayed at his home to be with his children until they were a bit older.His ex wife doesnt let him see the children and playing the game give-me-more-money-or-else, which he refuses to do, he is already sending a lot of money, so he s waiting for the social services to do their work.) The fact is that as soon as he stopped being with his children he got depressed. He finally accepted it last summer but only been in medication for three months now and just starting therapy after I left him no choice. It has been really hard for me but decided it was worth the effort so I stand by him.
The problem now is that we haven't had a normal sex life all the past year because of his stress and now that he is taking the drugs he can't because of them. I have been having a very hard time telling myself that this is not because he doesn't want me, and he insists on this-we talk about everything-but still, after so long my self esteem is pretty low. Plus, because of my very hard life before him and the depression issue, I have become quite pessimistic about my future. I feel that there will always be problems, I feel ugly, I keep duelling on his past, I keep thinking that even if he wants me he wont for long and also distrust him as I have read that whilst on antidepressants the most common effect is that u can't have an orgasm but u r still able to have an erection. He insists he wants me and loves me, we have come really close with the depression and he has made huge efforts I believe for my sake as well. But will things improve? Will we ever have a normal sex life? The rest has improved enormously, he is already mostly himself again. But I feel I have run out of strength. I want him very much and I miss the closeness sex gives terribly. Now that he is so much better it is a pity that I am exhausted and can't cope. I don't want to ruin things, but will it ever be ok again?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. L replied 1 year ago.

Dr. L :

Good Morning,

Dr. L :

I would like to help you with your question.

Dr. L :

I am so sorry that your husband is struggling with depression and the impact that has on your marriage. The good news as you point out is that the depression is lifting and he is doing much better emotionally. And yes...while you have stood strong as a supportive partner..there has been a cost to your own emotional and physical health.

Dr. L :

Let's look at the issues you present:

Dr. L :

Sexuality. Of course you want and need the closeness that comes from sexual intimacy. You love your husband and you want that experience that love making provides. The long period of depression and the medication have had consequences on his ability to perform. Have the two of considered Viagra or one of the other common erectile dysfunction drugs? I strongly encourage you to see if his physician would recommend this.

Dr. L :

Your emotional health.

Customer:

the physician recommended it but my partner refused. He was working for pfizer, the company that produced viagra and says the consequences are worse. nevertheless, would one night make a difference?

Dr. L :

Have you considered getting individual therapy? It would seem that you would benefit greatly from sitting down with a therapist to discuss your low self-worth, your feelings of being ugly, and all that you have recently experienced.

Dr. L :

Hmmm. And is your husband saying what those consequences are?

Customer:

I have. It seemed i went through mild depression myself. But wouldnt anyone feel as I do? even if u dont have depression?

Dr. L :

And...how is his physician approaching this issue? Is he saying that your husband will never recover the ability to have an erection or orgasm?

Dr. L :

Absolutely...what you experienced would be enormously difficult on any relationship!

Customer:

That u need other medication to treat the side effects of the medicine etc. I havent talked with his physician, would he see me alone?

Dr. L :

You could ask the physician for such a meeting. It would be up to him whether he would agree to that or not. It is definately worth pursuing.

Customer:

yes, I think I do need to see him. I need to be reassured that it is due to the medication. My partnes swears it is but something tells me there is more to it and that it will surface in therapy.

Dr. L :

The number of men taking medication for erectile dysfunction is huge...millions and millions. I don't know what side effects your husband points to...but the reality is that there are risks with everything you put into your mouth...from eating white bread, to eating beef...and so one must weight out the risks versus the benefits. I think you would likely say that the benefits would far outweigh the risks. But...is he clear with you what the risks are? It is only by knowing the full extend of those risks can you make an informed decision.

Dr. L :

You are right...if there is a psychological component to this....it can arise in therapy. However, your husband will have to be open and honest with the therapist for this to occur.

Dr. L :

And...from what you have written...I can see that several possible links...

Customer:

I think that he is over optimistic on the length of his therapy, he believes that he will get well too soon and that our problems will be over

Customer:

like?

Dr. L :

For example...he seems to have experienced trauma from being unable to parent his children in the way he had dreamt/desired....so having sex leads to having children...is he afraid to have sex because he fears having another child and then having that child also leave his life...

Customer:

yes, he did have the second child by mistake..

Dr. L :

The length of therapy depends on how hard he works. The therapist does not have a magic wand....he must work harder than he has ever worked in his life to address his history..to work through the pain...

Customer:

I mean the taking the madication

Dr. L :

There may be other issues from his own childhood as well that are getting hooked. For example, if he felt abandoned by his own parents...

Customer:

of course he did..

Customer:

in conclusion... probably stopping the medication wont fix things...

Dr. L :

Stopping the medication is not advisable until he has the depression under control.

Customer:

yes, of course, I meant after that

Dr. L :

And...how long do you envision him taking medication?

Customer:

three more months and then gradually reducing

Dr. L :

Do you feel that is tolerable...

Customer:

no

Customer:

not anymore

Dr. L :

Okay...if he is going to come off medication in 3 months or so...then why would he not be willing to use Viagra during that short period?

Customer:

I really dont know.. but how often can u use it?

Dr. L :

They now have daily use tablets...which means that you are ready for sexual activity at any time.

Dr. L :

I am going to ask a very personal question and please feel free to say that you do not want to answer this...

Customer:

then... him not considering it... that's not very positive is it?

Customer:

of course

Dr. L :

Is it sexual intercourse that you are most desperate for...or are other forms of intimacy acceptable right now...

Dr. L :

Meaning that he might stimulate you to orgasm with his fingers/hands?

Customer:

we are really close, he is tender and loving he speaks sweetly, he does everything else. but he doesnt do these u suggest very often. he does occasionally, rather rarely.., but I's not what I want. I want to feel he wants me

Dr. L :

Him not wanting to take Viagra as a short-term solution...well...he may be so terribly fearful of the science that it is just something so noxious in his mind that he cannot see himself using it. But...I would certainly see that this is an important discussion to have.

Customer:

we have, he just thinks his treatment will finish soon

Dr. L :

Yes...and so part of the issue is that you have begun to feel that he does not desire YOU...and there has been to date nothing he says or does that convinces you otherwise.

Dr. L :

Your own sense of being a "woman" has been compromised by his depression...and that is at the very core of what you are experiencing....

Customer:

I am confused, he says differently, but he shows no desire for me

Dr. L :

As a woman...you want to be loved....and how you have interpreted this is that you are not lovable...

Customer:

yes..

Dr. L :

Yes..it is confusing...and likely it is an internal battle for him as well.

Customer:

so... what now?

Dr. L :

The what now is:

Dr. L :

You ask to speak to his physician so that you can get a clearer understanding of what is happening to him physically

Dr. L :

You get yourself into therapy to address your own brokenness about feeling unlovable.

Dr. L :

You sit down with your husband and have an open, honest discussion about him taking Viagra or a similar erectile dysfunction drug (for which you will have already had a discussion with the physician so you know the options). And in that discussion you tell your husband that this issue of sexual intimacy has broken you to the point that you feel rejected by him and completely unlovable as a woman.

Customer:

yes, I will do all these

Dr. L :

You build up a support network of friends and family who can tell you in no uncertain terms that you are loved...that your friendship is valuable to them...that you bring joy to their life...that they are there for you every step of the way for the rest of your life...

Customer:

I have very good friends, very supportive, have helped me through the death of my sister and my divorce

Dr. L :

Then you...let those messages of love come into your heart and fill it with a renewed sense of hope. And...you make it your daily business to connect with at least one person a day who you know loves you inside and out and you allow yourself to bask in that love.

Customer:

mmm..ok

Dr. L :

Do you see what I am suggesting here?

Customer:

yes, of course..

Dr. L :

Let these people hold you up so that you stop going inside and feeling alone and afraid.

Customer:

but there are feelings of worth that u can only get from the person that knows and loves u most, your partner

Dr. L :

Your inner self has been very damaged...it needs new messages...new energy...

Customer:

absolutely

Dr. L :

It is like cleaning out a messy closet....getting rid of all the junk so that you can put in new things and have order and beauty...and peace.

Customer:

thank you, XXXXX XXXXX been very helpful...

Dr. L :

You are very, very welcome.

Dr. L :

It has been my honor to have helped you think through this.

Customer:

I thought I had done these already, I was ready for something beautiful and steady, I wasnt expecting new trouble after everything I had been through

Dr. L :

You have been a very strong woman...and you have lost your way...you will get back on that path!

Customer:

I will seek u on justanswer again

Customer:

thanks again, I have a lot to think about, and to talk and do

Dr. L :

Yes...I understand! You walked out of one terrible situation thinking that you were on the road to happiness...and now you have taken another detour...rest assured that you will find your way again...

Customer:

i will

Dr. L :

It will be my pleasure to chat with you again. Just ask for me by name..then your question will be directed to me.

Customer:

bye bye

Dr. L :

I will say good bye and take care!

Dr. L, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1166
Experience: Psychologist, Marriage and Family Therapist
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  • I can go as far as to say it could have resulted in saving my sons life and our entire family now knows what bipolar is and how to assist and understand my most wonderful son, brother and friend to all who loves him dearly. Thank you very much Corrie Moll Pretoria, South Africa
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  • I can go as far as to say it could have resulted in saving my sons life and our entire family now knows what bipolar is and how to assist and understand my most wonderful son, brother and friend to all who loves him dearly. Thank you very much Corrie Moll Pretoria, South Africa
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