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Lost jobs, differing interest in sex, self-harm; how can we get back on the right track?

By Anonymous June 4, 2009 - 8:57am
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Through searching for an answer about my sex life I found this site, and thought I would search the depression area for help.
My boyfriend(of 2 yrs) has recently(over the last5 mnths) shown little to no interest in sexy anymore, I feel that I am the man and he is the steriotyped"woman" as I want sex frequently.

We both recently lost our jobs, altho we dont leave until a few weeks,is stress the cause? or depression? He seems to lack motivation sometimes, and will make a list to eat better and go to the gym more but then it never materialises which makes him feel worse, hes irritable and if i mention it he gets defensive and feels hes not good enough etc.

I have suffered from depression since an early age, and self harm used to be on my toplist of controlling thoughts(never suicide just pain to distract) When i found out i was to lose my job I started cutting again, but I am reasonably well controlled in comparison to a year ago.

I'm just starting to get to the end of the line, as to me..having sex makes me feel like we are a couple, instead of mates who have a laugh sometimes and live together, its really getting me down, but if i talk about it...he snaps and anything sex related(even on tv) he finds difficult.

what to do what to do, any advise would be great. hmmph

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Thanks for sharing this post! With the struggling economy, a lot of people think of giving up on job searching are called discouraged workers. Discouraged workers are often people that are overqualified for the jobs they apply for, or older veteran workers that would be too costly for many companies to hire, or people in areas where employment prospects are scant. A lot of people are unemployed, and looking for a pay day that doesn't come in the form of a government check. It's best to keep faith, and keep on keeping on looking for work. The economy is predicted to begin recovery later this year, so there may be cash today for discouraged workers before they know it.

June 10, 2009 - 1:27am

Hey, Anon, welcome to EmpowHer. Thank you for your question.

You and your boyfriend are dealing with a LOT all at once. Let's look at it one thing at a time, I think it might help a little.

First of all, lost jobs: This is huge for each of you. That said, it may even be harder for men sometimes than for women. While women today are self-sufficient and independent, I think that men are still raised to be "breadwinners" and when they can't do that, it's a very personal and vulnerable place for them to be. It can make them feel impotent in all areas of life, not just the bedroom. Yes, it's very, very possible that your partner's loss of his job is causing him stress, worry, possible depression and a lack of libido as well. Our hormones and chemistry can go all out of whack at a time of intense stress, for either men or women.

This doesn't reflect on you. You and he are different people, and people just simply don't handle things in the same ways. It is not to say that your response is right and his is wrong, or that his is right and yours is wrong. Both of your responses are exactly what they should be -- for each of you individually.

I'm wondering if the behaviors you name -- like making lists for better eating and exercise that don't happen -- started before the job loss? Has he always been like this, or is this a new behavior?

Has your boyfriend ever been evaluated for ADD/ADHD? I ask only because I have ADD and he and I share some symptoms that you mention. ADD people are full of projects that we never finish, full of intention that we can't seem to accomplish, full of plans that never seem to materialize, and feel very defensive when we can't get things done. If you think this is a possibility, I can find you some more information on it.

I'm sorry you've suffered from depression from an early age. Are you being treated for it now? Are you on any medications? I'm quite concerned that you have returned to cutting; it's good that it's "reasonably well-controlled," as you say, but I sure want you to see your therapist or psychiatrist about it. It signals intense stress on your part, and I want you to be able to find better coping mechanisms for it.

Are you both actively looking for jobs now? Does that add tension to the situation?

Do you feel like you are putting some pressure on him about the sexual situation? That kind of pressure to perform can make things worse. If a person is already feeling down, at loose ends and depressed, that kind of a "command performance" seems about as possible as lifting a car with your bare hands.

It would probably be incredibly helpful if each of you could seek some individual therapy, especially now before your job ends and benefits may go away. I think your boyfriend may benefit from talking to someone neutral and confidential about the situation, and you would benefit from talking about the self-harm and the strain that the mismatched sexual desire is having on you. Might this be an option for you?

June 4, 2009 - 9:15am
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