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Elliott, LPCC, NCC
Elliott, LPCC, NCC, Psychotherapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 7664
Experience:  35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.
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Hi, Ive been in a relationship with my partner for 10 years.

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Hi, I've been in a relationship with my partner for 10 years. I am the first woman she's ever been with. I'm grateful we're still together, but our road was always rocky. In the beginning when things were new, we were very intimate and had sex often. Then it slowly turned into a few days out of the month. Then it stopped completely. She has told me that its just how her previous relationships were also. I left things alone and now we're here today seeking counseling and advice.
About 2 weeks ago I woke up to her masturbating. It seemed like she was awake making sure I didn't notice. I woke her up because I was confused. We hadn't had sex in so many years that it was uncomfortable to watch her pleasure herself. We fought about it but let it roll off. The 3rd night it happened again but this time from 3am-6pm once every hour. I didn't sleep at all so in the morning we fought again. She SWEARS she has no recollection or memory or remembers what she was dreaming of. I thought I was going crazy. Within 2 weeks, its happened numerous nights. Its now to the point where we are sleeping in different rooms because we are losing sleep. She's frustrated that I keep making this a big deal and I'm confused.
I tried to make a move one night and she pushed me away and told me to stop. I told her id sleep downstairs so I wouldnt get horny and try again. I went downstairs and within 10 min, I could hear the bed moving through the ceiling. I snuck upstairs and listened to her play with herself for 30 min.
We're on the verge of giving up. We had many unresolved conflicts and I don't know if I triggered her "acting out" somehow. I asked her for more affection and attention which led us to fight again. I Dont know what to do except seek help from a couples therapist.
Its obvious what she's been doing is affecting me terribly. I miss the intimacy web had.. and when I fall asleep, she plays. When I tell her its ok to masturbate a long as we can talk about it, she flips out and says I'm crazy. She has no idea what I'm talking about. please help me!!! She has her own issues, and I know we both need to work at this, but I really am afraid that this will be over.
I'm a 32 yr old Sagittarius and she is a 34 yr old Virgo.
Seeking expert testimony is a sign of strength. A personal relationship with a caring professional is proven clinically effective.

Dear friend,

I believe that I can help you.

It is possible that your girlfriend has fallen out of love with you, but it is more likely that she is suffering from depression..

She has lost interest in your relationship, has separated herself from you, is very irritable, and seems to be in a depressed mood.

Here are the official symptoms form the DSM-IV psychiatric criteria manual:

Major Depressive Episode

DSM IV Criteria

A) Five (or more) of the following symptoms have been present during the same 2-week period and represent a change from previous functioning; at least one of the symptoms is either (1) depressed mood or (2) loss of interest or pleasure

Note: Do not include symptoms that are clearly due to a general medical condition, or mood-incongruent delusions or hallucinations

1) depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day, as indicated by either subjective report (e.g., feels sad or empty) or observation made by others (e.g., appears tearful). Note: In children and adolescents, can be irritable mood.

2) markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities most of the day, nearly every day (as indicated by either subjective account or observation made by others)


3) significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain (e.g., a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month), or decrease or increase in appetite nearly every day. Note: In children, consider failure to make expected weight gains.

4) insomnia or hypersomnia nearly every day

5) psychomotor agitation or retardation nearly every day (observable by others, not merely subjective feelings of restlessness or being slowed down)

6) fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day

7) feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt (which may be delusional) nearly every day (not merely self-reproach or guilt about being sick)

8) diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness, nearly every day (either by subjective account or as observed by others)

9) recurrent thoughts of death (not just fear of dying), recurrent suicidal ideation without a specific plan, or a suicide attempt or a specific plan for committing suicide

B) The symptoms do not meet criteria for a Mixed Episode

C) The symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

D) The symptoms are not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication) or a general medical condition (e.g., hypothyroidism)

E) The symptoms are not better accounted for by Bereavement, i.e., after the loss of a loved one, the symptoms persist for longer than 2 months or are characterized by marked functional impairment, morbid preoccupation with worthlessness, suicidal ideation, psychotic symptoms, or psychomotor retardation.

Masturbation gives her relieve from anxiety which she may have with her depression. To admit it is embarrassing for her. She may also be doing it in her sleep as well.

I suggest that you both go together to a marriage and family therapist to try to increase your level and temper of communication.

The therapist will pick up on her depression.

She may wish to see a therapist herself about her depression, which seems pronounced.

You may, in the interim, suggest this workbook for her or have it sent to her (or delivered electronically to her computer):

Product Details

The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Depression: Using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy to Move Through... by Patricia J. Robinson and Kirk D. Strosahl

Because this situation is affecting you as well, you will no doubt benefit from this book as well.


This can be turned around but she must be able to recognize her part in it and come to terms by means of action.


If you cause undue stress in her life (and you did not indicate that you did) then try to become aware of how you related to her, particularly while she is so terribly irritable and touchy.


I wish you both great success and healing and to that end I shall keep you both in my prayers.


Warm regards,




Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I truly believe she is not depressed. She is happy in her day to day activities even though she is stressed out. I just don't understand the masturbating at night in sleep. She tells me she is still in love with me or else she would've left.

The evidence points to depression. A depressed person can show a happy face to the world but she cannot fool you and because she trusts you the most she reveals her true nature which she cannot hide from you.

She masturbates for self-therapy, whether conscious or unconscious. She is not merely a sex addict.

I'm sure that she loves you but cannot show it because she does not love herself.

If you are a true believer than I will not go against your beliefs..

My opinion is not based on belief but on the criteria she demonstrates, which is the basis for mental health diagnosis.

I wish you both great fortune

Warm regards,


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