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Dr. Paige
Dr. Paige, Psychologist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1427
Experience:  Ph.D. Licensed Psychologist
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Withholding of affection

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My husband and I have always maintained a fun rapport between us, but we do have a serious problem in my opinion. He slowly began to withhold affection from me two years ago, when he got a different job. Our once passionate kissing, tender cuddling totally stopped. For two years-a mechanical peck/hug whenever one of us left/leaves the house. For a year, sex only happened if I initiated it. Now-no sex for 5 months, no matter what I have tried-sexy lingerie, new perfume, sensual massages-nothing has worked.  The kissing has improved slightly at times. We've had many talks about this-which usually turns into arguments. He denies having an affair-laughed when I asked him. He insists he still loves me, finds me beautiful, etc, he just isn't in the mood for sex, due to job/financial stress. This doesn't make me feel any better-he knows how much I am hurting and will not compromise. We've been sleeping in seperate bedrooms for the past month now, my choice-I can't stand the constant rejection anymore. It's killing me inside. I feel like I'm his undesirable friend instead of his wife. He tells me if I leave him he'd be VERY upset and that things will get better "in a year or so, when money matters improve..." Is our marriage salvageable? My husband has ADD, I forgot to mention.

Hello. I'm sorry he is putting you through this. Your situation is actually quite common. Stress causes physical reactions in all people to different extremes. With men, stress can adversely affect sexual needs and performance. When you couple that with the decreasing testosterone which occurs with men even at the early age of 30, you can have this exact problem occur in relationships. Men can be very embarrassed about the inability to be able to please their wife or be able to physically perform and therefore will withdraw such as you describe. The fact that he will not discuss it with you or compromise is the issue that you need to resolve more than the problem itself, because the problem may be beyond his control and caused by stress, therefore be a sore subject to him. Men do not like to open up and admit they are having a problem like women do.
Your marriage is salvageable, BUT only if you can get him to be involved in the solution. You can't do it all yourself and you shouldn't expect to, Marriage is a 50/50 arrangement. I do think that couples/marriage counseling would be a great benefit to you both, but getting him to break down and actually go would be your obstacle.
I know you have spoken with him about this in an exhaustive manner, but try changing your approach a bit and tell him that you really need his help. Try to take the blame and finger pointing away from the conversation and make it about asking him what he thinks the solution should be. Explain to him that you understand how the stress does effect him and you would like for him to understand how it it effecting you as well. Tell him that you should both be a team together trying to solve the problem which has arisen in your marriage and you have to have his help in making it work.
I would also try looking for male counselors in your area. I say male because men who have an issue about counselors believe that women are just trying to get someone to be on their side and they will feel cornered if two women are attacking their short comings. A male counselor will be able to relate with your husband and he will feel more comfortable. I would approach your husband in a way where he would be doing you and your marriage a great injustice if he lets his behavior and pride get in the way of fixing a problem. He is going to have to understand that there is no weakness in admitting that he has a problem which needs to be fixed and trying to "act like a man" isn't going to solve this. This is not all of your responsibility. He has to want to help. You can't make him do this, but you can encourage and support him and look at it as something he can't control and that you are willing to help him. Even if you are seething mad at him, by having this attitude with him, it may cause him to let down his defenses a bit and open up. If he feels he needs to defend himself and his actions, he will never open up to you.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I was wondering what your thoughts were about my husband having ADD-if I could have more insight on ADD's effects on relationships that my be a little helpful.

Of course being diagnosed with ADD can cause strain on a marriage as well. In most cases, however, the issues that you describe are not directly related to his diagnoses, but I am also not his mental health professional and they are the one with the specific answer you seek. While not every patient is the exact same and the effects are different, the main problems that ADD cause are forgetfulness, having over emotional responses to things, not being organized, etc. more so than having a physical sexual effect. HOWEVER, that being said, if he is having problems at work because of his ADD, this can in turn cause overall stress which can cause the problems you describe. So while ADD is certainly a factor in people's lives and relationships and there can be a connection to what you describe, it generally is not a direct correlation with the specifics you describe.
You didn't say if he was getting any kind of treatment for his ADD or not which can also be a factor. Some medications can have a physical effect as well. So to answer your question, yes there can be a connection, but not direct. His ADD does not make him not want to have sex with you. It can cause stress from other factors which can cause the physical problems. If he sees a Dr on a regular basis for this problem, perhaps you can go with him to a visit and express your concerns directly to his Dr and see what they have to say based on his specific situation.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

He does not see a dr about his ADD, I asked him why-he said "Eh, it's no big deal.." I guess I forgot to mention that he does fly into verbal rages over anything that doesn't go his way at times. Including, in the past, if I would try and be extra affectionate. "Will you STOP IT?!?!" I would hear which would make me cry. I have lost my temper too about his unloving behavior, but cry more often than anything. I have been more physically ill over the past year than in the last five combined (stomach cramps, insomnia.)

If he doesn't see a Dr, has he been officially diagnosed or is this a self diagnoses he has placed on himself? Generally true adult ADD can cause work related issues without treatment. If he is doing ok in his job and has had no problems there,I would question if he really has ADD or if it is just an excuse he has for his behavior.
The emotional outbursts are certainly a concern. I strongly suggest you look into getting counseling for both of you on this. As I said, if only one person is fighting to keep the marriage together, it will not work. Getting your partner involved in finding a solution is going to be the key to success. He isn't just going to change one day. It just isn't going to happen. You can't do this yourself. Is it possible for you to stay with a friend or family member for awhile and separate yourself from the situation for awhile? If he doesn't think you will actually leave, he doesn't have much motivation to get help. If he sees a sign that you are willing to leave, he may have some level of understanding how his actions are causing problems and to what level of severity.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I did leave him once and stayed with my mom for a few months. He called me and asked me to come back to him, that he was sorry things would be better. I loved him and I went back to him-things were great for a few months, then-same old, same old. I do think I need to leave again, I just don't know if I'll have the strength to. I don't want to still love him but I do.I can't figure out if he really loves me or if I'm just like a posession to him. In January he called me 23 times in 2 hours when I didn't pick up my cell-I feel trapped, confused, hurt, angered-everything, if that makes any sense.

He may have some control issues. He may also feel trapped as well. If he is having a legitimate problem that he feels helpless and too proud to fix, he just isn't being forced into facing it. It's hard for me to say without speaking with him directly what exactly is going on with him. I do think that you need to do what is best for you. I know you love him and of course you should, don't feel bad for that. You need to feel loved and you need to be treated fairly. At this point, you have to consider your options. If you stay and nothing changes, how is this going to make you feel? If you find the strength to leave and go through the pain of separation, it can force him to make the changes he needs or he will blame you for it and continue to act stubborn which will show you that he isn't interested in your feelings or changing.
I think you need to leave whenever you feel you are able to do so. If he keeps after you and calling you, you can make going to counseling a condition of you coming back. His reaction to that will tell you if he loves you or if you are just a possession. You need some time on your own right now to decompress and do some things that make you happy. You have to find happiness again within yourself before you can consider the marriage and his willingness to meet you in the middle to find a solution together.
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