Saturday, 5 November 2011

Andrew's Apathy - Depression & Loss of Libido

Dear Babs

I thought long and hard about writing to you. I am a 49 year old professional man. I feel generally dissatisfied with my life. I no longer enjoy my job. My relationship with my wife of 25 years isn't particularly good. We rarely have sex because I'm not really interested in her in that way and anyway I've had problems with maintaining my erection.  I  find sex with other women exciting because it's just sex. I find paying for it keeps it on a business footing - you could say it's a business doing pleasure.  

Our children have left home and seem happy with their lot. When I look at them I feel envious. They seem so happy. I can't remember feeling like that with my wife. It's probably fair to say that I've stayed with my wife because of our sons but now it just feels as if I haven't the energy to leave. It all seems so complicated. My wife doesn't have a clue about how I feel. She's never been particularly interested in sex so I'm assuming she feels quite relieved not to be bothered by me. 

Why am I writing? I keep thinking there has to be something better out there? 

Bab's Response

Hi Andrew

My first thought reading your email was that this man is depressed? I gained that more from reading between the lines than your actual words. Perhaps you could check out this depression  link to check it out or go on Google but put simply the symptoms are:-

Extreme pessimism
Feeling worthless
Decreased Sex Drive
Difficulty focusing or concentrating
Sleeping too much or being unable to sleep
Heightened Irritability
Quiet and sullen moodiness
Lack of interest in hobbies
Persistent irritating health problems
stomach problems

Now to deal with the points you made. That you don't enjoy your work. That you don't feel your relationship is good enough. That you don't enjoy intimacy with your wife. 

If you aren't enjoying your job what's stopping you from making a change? I'm assuming that money is part of it but you are young enough to retrain or perhaps go it alone ? I know the economic climate isn't good but it is possible or, if you improve the pleasure aspect of your life the job could be less of an issue

What stops your relationship from being good enough? I'm wondering if the lack of sex has something to do with it? You say 'she's never been particularly interested' in sex. I wonder whether initially you felt rejected by this and then you've eventually withdrawn?

 There isn't anything I can say that will make you desire your wife but what I can say is that good sex is about communication. So if you improved your communication with your wife it is possible that good sex would follow. 

You mention erectile dysfunction but you seemed to intimate that the problem is eradicated when your feelings aren't involved so it sounds as if the problem isn't physical. Another indication that all is well is if you have morning erections but as a precaution you could get checked out at your GPs. At this point you could discuss any medications you may be taking which can effect sexual desire. 

What I would suggest is that you do some kind of audit on the various aspects of your life to clarify your thoughts and gain some sense of control. It's clear you need to make changes but if you could start small and work up to bigger changes you would gain some confidence in your ability to resolve your difficulties.

I would suggest you talk to your wife about how you feel. As far as the relationship is concerned your choices as I have said on many occasions are lump it, leave it, change it. It sounds as if you've been lumping it for too long? Perhaps it would be more useful to consider the other options? Perhaps you could consider some relationship counselling to help you make that decision? 

There is a very good book on my recommendations page about resolving sexual issues in later life called Better Than Ever which you could find helpful. Finally remember the old question - how do you eat an elephant - the answer one step at a time. I wish you well.

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