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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been married for 31 years - great marriage with 3 grown kids. My husband had a radical prostatectomy for prostate cancer and ended up with ED. The treatments so far have been unsuccessful. There is the possibility that they will be successful in the future and that he will get better over time. My husband, who used to be a loving husband who was always after me sexually just shut down after his surgery. I told my husband that I am fine without intercourse but I cannot be in a marriage with no intimacy or affection. I am talking about hugging, kissing, cuddling, etc. at this point because I would never pressure my husband to do what he was incapable of doing. My husband has cut off all physical contact and affection. I have made my needs clear to him again and again but he does not touch me.

I asked my husband if he has lost his desire for me and he says no. I know that something is wrong. I know it is not me, it has to do with him. He won't open up to me or discuss it. I realize that ED is a tremendous deal for a man, that he must feel that he has lost his manhood, etc. I don't feel that me needing a physical relationship with him is asking too much.

Sometimes I am OK with it, and sometimes I feel so lonely and feel like I cannot take it. It is worst on weekends when he ignores me because that is when he would make love before he had his surgery. I am not the type to cheat. The thought never crossed my mind before prostate cancer. I believe that it is wrong in both a moral and religious sense, because it would be breaking my vows. I love my husband, I am very attracted to him and he is the man that I want. When I am constantly ignored however, I find myself thinking of going outside my marriage. I doubt that I would act on it, but I do think about it. I don't want to ever cheat. But the thought of it is like my emotional "out" when I feel so sad about his behavior.

Do you have any advice for me. I am trying to shut down my need for intimacy but it is not happening easily. I have always been a faithful and devoted wife. I would like to stay that way but I don't know how to cope with this situation.
 

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Get yourself a vibrator and support him. He is severly depressed right now. This is a major blow to his manhood/ego. Now is not the time to be thinking about other people. Please be the one to start the hugs and kisses and let him know that you love him no matter what.
 

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Is your husband in any kind of counseling/therapy? If not he should be.

Do you ever initiate intimacy? If so what is his reaction? If not why not?
 

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Sometimes men feed off of your actions....if you're more loving/affectionate it might make him lighten up and become more affectionate with you.

All you can do is try, right?
Dont expect anything back, if you do you will be setting yourself up for failure from the beginning. Give it some time and see if his actions towards you change.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
These are good suggestions. I do occasionally approach him, but I should do it more. I am so used to him approaching me in the past. If I hug him he will hug me back but then quickly loses interest.

I think the problem is that although he says he has not lost his desire for me that he has lost his libido. I don't know if it is due to emotional or physical reasons. I think that he is so upset that the treatments for ED are not working, that it is depressing him.

In the past he was affectionate when he wanted sex. The two are intertwined for him. Since he cannot have sex he has stopped being affectionate.
 

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Try doing His Needs Her Needs together. Identifying each others most important needs might help right now.
 

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I agree with you. We need affection, kindness and intimacy also. How long ago did he have the surgery? Did you talk to his physician? Do you have hobby or interest to occupy your time?
If H can take care of himself, taking a trip or to spend time with your children could be beneficial.
 

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May be it is too much of a deal for him to take lightly.May be he is not able to come out openly about how bad he feels about his current situation>May he feels sad about the way he ahs become and is so depressed.

Life throws so many questions at us.This one is a very tough time for you.I hope you find your happiness and peace back and so does your husband.May be empathy will work things out and ease your current problem.
 

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Amanda, after 31 years of marriage, you can do this. Right now, his needs come before yours. His whole identity as a man has shifted and any pressure on him has to be difficult for him to handle. Give him time and space to heal. Be affectionate and be honest about what you need, but be as compassionate as you can possibly be. I really think things will turn around for you when he's processed the changes in his body emotionally.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Thank you for your replies. I tried reading a book about improving your marriage recently but it had a fair amount of sexual advice and I really found it painful to read. I will look into reading His Needs Her Needs, but I find it too difficult to read about sexual advice for couples who are not facing the challenges that we are facing.

I am very gentle and supportive towards my husband. Everything I have expressed here I do not express to him. I am not demanding about intimacy. But I guess I am also in a state of crisis mourning the intimate relationship that we once had.

In the past our sexual relationship revolved around his needs and desires but it worked well for me. He has no history of being tuned into my needs for intimacy. He has been a good husband, but that is just how it worked for us.

I do think that he is deeply upset about his ED and cannot talk about it. He has never been one to express weakness. He is actually a very upbeat and positive person. He actually acts like everything is fine now. He just won't touch me. He acts like living like roommates is great.

I like the idea of spending more time with my children and finding a hobby. If I were busier it I would not think about this so much, and it would help to uplift my mood.

Thank you for your advice, comments and support. Maybe time will help to work this out.
 

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It might be painful to read about sexual advice right now, but that might be exactly what you need to do. HNHN has a chapter on it, one chapter of many, identifying it as one need that it is very important be met in a marriage. It talks about men needing it, but if you can read about it from your own perspective, and work on it with your hubby from your perspective, I think you and he might really benefit from it.

It also identifies a host of other needs in a marriage, affection being the primary one for most women, and that chapter is before the sexual needs one :) It really might open his eyes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Ok Hope1964, I will buy it and read it. Thanks.

I would like to say that I really appreciate all of the advice. I also appreciate that you have been somewhat hard on me, because what I really want is to have my marriage work.

Thank you thatgirl for those comforting words. I think that you are right about everything you wrote.
 

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Just a quick note to say how much I admire you for posting this.

You are one of the "good guys" and if the world had more people like you, it would be a better place and that's for sure.

Stay strong and with you standing by your husband like this, I am sure you will both get through it.

Not much more I can add on the advice side, but, well, good on you.
 

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OMG Amanda, your husband had CANCER. He could have DIED ! and because of an ILLNESS, he can't have sex at the moment, is feeling like less of "a man", and therefore is very depressed about it. Not to mention what all the treatments and meds he may be on are doing to him.

HOW ABOUT YOU CUT HIM SOME SLACK !! This is not about you right now. You have been his wife for 31 years, and when he needs you the most, your complaining ??

Remember that whole "In sickness and in health stuff from your wedding vows" ? People get sick sometimes. It sucks but its reality.

I lost my father to cancer and my mother lost a breast to that terrible disease. You need to step up here, stop making this about you right now, and do the right thing by your husband. Give the poor man time to heal both physically and emotionally and things will improve for the BOTH of you in time.
 

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OMG Amanda, your husband had CANCER. He could have DIED ! and because of an ILLNESS, he can't have sex at the moment, is feeling like less of "a man", and therefore is very depressed about it. Not to mention what all the treatments and meds he may be on are doing to him.

HOW ABOUT YOU CUT HIM SOME SLACK !! This is not about you right now. You have been his wife for 31 years, and when he needs you the most, your complaining ??

Remember that whole "In sickness and in health stuff from your wedding vows" ? People get sick sometimes. It sucks but its reality.

I lost my father to cancer and my mother lost a breast to that terrible disease. You need to step up here, stop making this about you right now, and do the right thing by your husband. Give the poor man time to heal both physically and emotionally and things will improve for the BOTH of you in time.
Wow.
 

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Chris989 : I hear you. I was a little rough I admit, but cancer is a very sore spot for me. And honestly, I am trying to give Amanda a harsh "wake up call" perspective. This wasn't a WS, it was an illness. But again, I hear you. ):
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
Thank you for the nice words Chris. Your kind words mean a lot to me.

Prostate cancer is not a very deadly cancer - only 3% of men die from it. The treatments are very harsh because they affect a man's identity and sexuality, thus it is a couple's disease. My husband needed treatment, but is very, very far from being at risk for death at this point.

I am trying to be a better person, and cope with this situation as well as I can. I have been completely supportive of my husband at every step. But I have spent a lot of time in tears as I experienced the intimacy in my marriage come to an abrupt halt. I do hope that it will come back over time. I also feel alone with this. While friends and family know that my husband had surgery no one knows about his ED. While I am talking about it here I would never discuss it with my friends; I feel it is personal. Your comments and suggestions are helping me to be a better person.
 

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Thank you for the nice words Chris. Your kind words mean a lot to me.

Prostate cancer is not a very deadly cancer - only 3% of men die from it. The treatments are very harsh because they affect a man's identity and sexuality, thus it is a couple's disease. My husband needed treatment, but is very, very far from being at risk for death at this point.

I am trying to be a better person, and cope with this situation as well as I can. I have been completely supportive of my husband at every step. But I have spent a lot of time in tears as I experienced the intimacy in my marriage come to an abrupt halt. I do hope that it will come back over time. I also feel alone with this. While friends and family know that my husband had surgery no one knows about his ED. While I am talking about it here I would never discuss it with my friends; I feel it is personal. Your comments and suggestions are helping me to be a better person.
I've experienced it for a year, not because of prostate but because of diabetes, AD's and heart medication. Took a year to recover and it is truly like the end of the world to a man. He is depressed and feeling inadequate, especially because he feels he cant perform for you. I was at the point of not wanting to go on if that significant of a pleasure to me was lost.

I'm assuming he had it removed. Did they sever nerves, if that's the case he may not ever recover. For a man, no erection means no orgasm, no orgasm is extremely frustrating. As men get aroused they have a chemical build up that drives them to completion, when it can't be completed it can be an hour before the arousal can come back down. It's torture during that time for a male. Sounds like he doesn't want to get aroused to avoid that.

That's my two cents.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
He did have his prostate removed and had about 25% of his nerves removed. This means that he has a chance of recovering 75% of his prior erection capability by two years after surgery. He had no ED before his surgery. Apparently orgasm and erection are separate and a man can orgasm even if he cannot have an erection. The orgasm after prostate surgery is not the same because there is no ejaculate and does not feel the same. My husband says that he can have an orgasm. He has not has the orgasms with me - I guess that he is doing it on his own. I have suspected that this may be part of the problem.

It is as if he has a new and different body. I think that his libido is lower. I guess we will just have to work things out with our new reality.

The truth is that I would never cheat on my husband but I have been mourning the end of our intimate life as we knew it. Thank you for your post jkw4338. I think that you understand what I am going through.
 
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