Wife will not have sex with me

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tigerman
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Wife will not have sex with me

Postby tigerman » Thu Apr 17, 2014 1:48 pm

I am a 38 year old male and my wife is 44. We have been married 10 years and have two children ages 8 and 7. I suffer from mental illness. I have had seven relapses of the illness since the initial onset...my wife has been with me for every relapse. We have not had sex for at least three years. I always hesitated confronting her about the reason why because I did not want her to feel obligated or do it grudgingly. I finally couldn't take it anymore and asked her why she did not want to have sex. She told me it's because of the mental illness and relapses. She used phrases like, "I now look at you differently" and "I just can't deal with it anymore". She does not want a divorce or even separation. She just wants to carry on and stay married without the sex. She tells me she loves me but to me, it doesn't make sense....how can she love me but not have sex with me? Can anyone offer any suggestions as to what I should do? I don't see the point in staying married if this is the way it's going to be :(

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landschooner
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Wife will not have sex with me

Postby landschooner » Thu Apr 17, 2014 2:02 pm

Are you both Christians? If you are then you both need to bow to the authority of scripture which requires married couples to have sexual relations.

Are you under a doctors care and us your illness generally under control?

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tigerman
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Re: Wife will not have sex with me

Postby tigerman » Thu Apr 17, 2014 2:15 pm

Yes we are both Christians. I doubt quoting scripture at her will work, she's fairly carnal minded these days. I am seeing a psychiatrist regularly and I am currently stable.... I've been stable for about 8 months now.

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Re: Wife will not have sex with me

Postby happilymarriedkate » Thu Apr 17, 2014 3:10 pm

Is it possible that she now sees herself in the caregiving role and not in the wife role due to several relapses in a short period of time? Have you asked for her to go to couples counseling? I am assuming that you are going to regular ongoing therapy as well as psychiatric appointments and taking any meds as prescribed? That would be doing your part as far as taking care of yourself. Is she in counseling or a support group for caregiving issues/support? That may help her as far as getting back into the role of wife.
Last edited by happilymarriedkate on Thu Apr 17, 2014 7:48 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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tigerman
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Re: Wife will not have sex with me

Postby tigerman » Thu Apr 17, 2014 3:21 pm

I don't think she sees herself as the caregiver based on her saying "I look at you differently" and "I just can't deal with it anymore". I think my next move will be a request for couples counseling...

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Re: Wife will not have sex with me

Postby seeking perspective » Thu Apr 17, 2014 3:30 pm

tigerman wrote:I don't think she sees herself as the caregiver based on her saying "I look at you differently" and "I just can't deal with it anymore". I think my next move will be a request for couples counseling...

I thought the exact same thing as happilymarriedkate mentioned, specifically because of those very words.

Our best friends are struggling with intimacy in their marriage, and a lot of it is related to all the worry she's been doing about his health. She's had to see her husband as a person with certain conditions in order to help him heal and recover from some medical problems. Now that those are on the way to being resolved, she is struggling to snap out of that mode and back into wife mode.

When my husband was experiencing depression several years ago, I often felt like I was in caregiver mode--not in actually providing care as much as in monitoring his mood, noting patterns, and occasionally calling the doctor to express concern. If your wife has had to do any of that, she would benefit from some support.
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Re: Wife will not have sex with me

Postby tigerman » Thu Apr 17, 2014 3:39 pm

There's definitely some anger on her part directed at me. I'm not really understanding why though, I never had an affair or was abusive towards her or the kids in any way. To be more specific, it was delusional paranoia that I was dealing with. I'm careful not to dismiss her anger/feelings about the whole thing as I know they are very important.

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Re: Wife will not have sex with me

Postby seeking perspective » Thu Apr 17, 2014 3:51 pm

You say you don't dismiss her anger, but in saying that you don't understand it because you didn't have an affair or weren't abusive, that's exactly what you are doing. She is angry because she had to deal with something hard. She may intellectually understand that you didn't have control over it, but her feelings haven't caught up with her mind yet.

Being the spouse of someone with this illness is very challenging. Daily life can be fraught with stress and tension. Your wife has healing to do, and she needs healthy ways of releasing her anger.

Even though your recovery and healing began when you sought treatment, hers may not have begun until she could see that you are really okay. Her recovery couldn't begin until she could trust that yours was complete. What support and assistance does she say she needs in healing from your illness?
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Re: Wife will not have sex with me

Postby Hiswifeagain » Thu Apr 17, 2014 3:53 pm

tigerman wrote: To be more specific, it was delusional paranoia that I was dealing with. I'm careful not to dismiss her anger/feelings about the whole thing as I know they are very important.


Have the relapses happened because you stopped taking your medication when you got better?

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Re: Wife will not have sex with me

Postby tigerman » Thu Apr 17, 2014 4:06 pm

My psychiatrist was gradually reducing my medication each time I relapsed so I was following his orders. He was trying to get me on as low of a dose as possible but I kept relapsing on higher and higher amounts of medication..... It's kind of hard to explain but the long and short of it is it looks like I now will be on a very high dosage for the rest of my life. I guess I do know why she is angry.... She doesn't understand why we (my doctor and I) tried so many times to reduce it. We should have given up after 2 or 3 relapses.

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Re: Wife will not have sex with me

Postby Hiswifeagain » Thu Apr 17, 2014 4:48 pm

tigerman wrote: I guess I do know why she is angry.... She doesn't understand why we (my doctor and I) tried so many times to reduce it. We should have given up after 2 or 3 relapses.

It sounds like that would have been wise. Have you apologized to her for putting her through all those other times? Maybe she's struggling with forgiveness. I can see how she might have felt that you were putting yourself before her each time you took the risk of another relapse.

Are you guys worshiping together? Is she seeing you leading your family spiritually?

I would guess she's probably struggling with feelings of disrespect towards you and feeling like you're another child she has to take care of. There's not much that less sexy than that. I don't mean to hurt your feelings or anything, but if she had to manage the home and you while you were relapsed then it's a likely possibility.

Perhaps things will start to improve with you becoming more stable and showing her that she can count on you again.

I'm sorry you're struggling with this. Mental illness can be so devastating to families. I'll be praying for your family.
You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Isaiah 26:3

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Re: Wife will not have sex with me

Postby tigerman » Thu Apr 17, 2014 4:57 pm

Yes I've apologized. I do feel bad for what I've put her through and what she's had to endure. You haven't hurt my feelings.... It sounds like you've hit the nail on the head..... Thanks for your prayers!

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Wife will not have sex with me

Postby landschooner » Thu Apr 17, 2014 6:17 pm

Apologized for what exactly? Proceeding with a doctor approved plan? That doesn't make sense. Well, not to me anyway. Water under the bridge I guess at this point.

It's probably true that quoting scripture won't help, but it should. That's what the bible is for. To reveal who God is and what He would have from us.

The couples counseling sounds like a good idea.

LS

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Re: Wife will not have sex with me

Postby happilymarriedkate » Thu Apr 17, 2014 8:06 pm

Ok...if you have been diagnosed with delusional paranoia, I am assuming secondary to a diagnosis such as Schizophrenia, Depression or Bipolar, and you have been compliant with treatment prescribed by a psychiatrist, then I don't think you need to apologize. I mean, you may feel like apologizing because this has been tough on her but none of this is your fault. No one wishes for delusional paranoia. Furthermore, I do not blame you for trying to figure out the lowest effective dose of medication. Anti-psychotic medications have many harsh side effects. I think that your wife could possibly be grieving as well. Perhaps these meds have brought home the reality of your illness. Couples can get through these sorts of things. You have to find a "new normal." You both need a support system. And, you need not feel shamed from having a mental illness. I am praying for you and your wife.
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Re: Wife will not have sex with me

Postby neilethere » Fri Apr 18, 2014 12:37 am

HMKate and lS,

Whilst I think you are right in saying he has nothing to apologise for the one advantage in saying 'please forgive me' is that it puts the onus back on his wife. If nothing more comes of it than she thinks about it and realises he couldn't help it then that is fine. If it identifies that she does indeed have a problem then it may help her seek some help.

Tigerman, my wife has been hospitalised five times due to her depression/anxiety so I understand a bit on where your wife is coming from. Kates comment about a 'new normal' is very apt.

Praying as well.

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Re: Wife will not have sex with me

Postby happilymarriedkate » Fri Apr 18, 2014 2:35 am

Neilethere,
I do appreciate your perspective as the spouse of someone with a mental illness. As a mental health professional in the field of chronic and persistent mental illness, I feel as if the idea of apologizing or asking for forgiveness continues the stigma that this kind of illness is different from any other kind. I do not think any one would be suggesting that he ask for forgiveness from his spouse if he had complicated insulin dependent diabetes which required multiple hospitalizations. Again, the difference may very well be a caregiver/ spouse's perspective vs a professional one. And I certainly do not want to minimize the caregiving role at all. But, the stigma of mental illness being different than any other illness is a detrimental one.
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Re: Wife will not have sex with me

Postby Hiswifeagain » Fri Apr 18, 2014 5:20 am

HMK and LS

The apology I was asking about was not apologizing that he has a mental illness. He stated that he probably should have stopped trying to adjust his dose after the 2nd or 3rd relapse. I realize that he was following the advice of his doctor, but we are responsible to evaluate the risks and benefits of such decisions. His wife and children suffered because of the choice he made to listen to that doctor. I am not scolding him or condemning him or anything of the sort. He made an honest mistake. I do believe saying "I'm sorry I made what turned out to be a bad choice in listening to that doctor, I'm sorry that you and the kids suffered because of it" would go a long way in helping her to move past it.

ETA: I know you did apologize and I do believe it will help. The above mentioned "would go a long way" was theoretical.
You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Isaiah 26:3

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Re: Wife will not have sex with me

Postby mamame » Fri Apr 18, 2014 5:25 am

I absolutely agree with you Kate.
He shouldn't apologize for HAVING an illness. But he may need to apologize for the way he has managed it.
Was his wife involved in the decisions to attempt reduction again? She has a unique perspective on his situation. His medical decisions affect her as much as they do him.

I like the diabetic analogy. But if the diabetic repeatedly tried to take less insulin and the spouse was left administering emergency care - I think that would be something to apologize for.

....posted from phone

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Re: Wife will not have sex with me

Postby happilymarriedkate » Fri Apr 18, 2014 5:41 am

Mamame, you raise a good point re: if OP's wife was involved in the treatment decision to lower the dose. Certainly, she should have been included.
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Re: Wife will not have sex with me

Postby cbmike » Fri Apr 18, 2014 5:41 am

Hi. Friendly neighborhood paranoid schizophrenic here.

A cascade of relapses is hardly surprising if your doctor tried to lower your dose repeatedly. I find having one episode makes it more likely I will have another one soon, or at least come close to another one. I was on antipsychotics for 4 years, and have now been off of them completely for a year and a half. They are miserable drugs, and anyone whose been on them would understand why one would want the minimum possible in their system. Honestly, I applaud your doctor for being willing to try so hard for that. It's often easier to overmedicate to be "on the safe side", than it is to try to minimize a patients discomfort.

Now as for the caregiver mentality, I will agree this is probably central to the problem. My wife went through a phase like this, and she knew I was schizophrenic when we started dating. I don't think you should apologize. I think you should make clear to her that you want to change this dynamic. You need to encourage her to vent to you: about friends, work, worries, fears, etc.... She needs to feel you taking care of her somehow. It would probably also help for you to take up some form of hobby, new or old, or recommit to a goal at work if possible. It might help for her to see you showing some ambition, something that tends to be squashed by mental illness and medication alike.

My wife has seen me psychotic plenty of times; she's even had me pink-slipped once. We still have a great sex life. You can too if both of you are willing to work at it.

ETA: I'm not convinced an apology is what their relationship needs, regardless of whether it would be right or wrong for him to give one. IME, it would do him much more good to cast himself in an active role by saying something akin to "We have a problem. I want us to fix it."
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