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In Sickness and In Health...

20 Aug 1999
by Troya Renee Yoder
as originally posted on Suite, Pituitary Disorders

It is three in the morning and I lie awake, frustrated, depressed, and very confused. My wife, after spending most of the night on the living room couch, just slipped quietly into our bed. This routine has been going on for nearly three of our four years of marriage. I want to be close to my wife like we were in the past, but the continued rebuffs and rejections have finally sunk in that she is no longer interested in me in that way. So, I roll to my side and turn my back, trying desperately to fall asleep wondering how long I can withstand this feeling of abandonment and overwhelming loneliness.

During our first year of marriage, she was full of life, a loving person whom I turned to when I needed comfort and support. She was my best friend and the one I chose to spend my life with for better or worse, in sickness and in health. Now, she is a different person. I never know what awaits me when I come home from work. Some days she is happy and the next extremely depressed, fatigued and itching for a fight over the smallest detail. However, one thing is always consistent: she keeps her distance, never showing the affection typical of newly married couples, seldom holding hands, hugging, or kissing. I no longer feel close and connected with her as I did in the beginning of our marriage. The continued lack of closeness and intimacy has begun to permeate all aspects of our marriage, sending both of us on an emotional rollercoaster. Often it causes trivial fights where one of us spends the night on the living room couch, and many evenings in complete silence as the ashes of discontent flare in both of us.

What happened, I keep asking myself, to change our relationship so drastically? I am confident that I have not changed, although she often disagrees. Inside, I feel like the same old lug that she decided to elope with in a small picturesque wedding chapel next to a babbling brook in the smoky mountains of Tennessee. At first, I and many of her doctors, contributed the changes in her personality to the birth of our two lovely children. However, the lack of interest in me, both physically and emotionally, has continued and become more pronounced. I questioned whether my wife was correct and that I was not the same person she married. Granted, I put on a little weight over the time of our marriage (not a direct result of her culinary talents) that is typical of the middle age male. I am also acutely aware that I have become more moody partially from high stress levels at work. But I know the main source of my erratic disposition is the problem developing between us. I am still firmly convinced that I did not change drastically enough to be the source of the problems in our marriage.

Finally, I approached her about the rift developing between us. To my relief, she confirmed that she still loves me, although I have difficulty believing her. She attributes the drastic changes in our relationship to simply “falling into the routine of marriage that happens to all couples.” I refuse to accept that this is all that “marriage” has to offer since none of our married friends experience similar troubles. I know that, if in fact she still loves me as she professes, there has to be more to our problems.

After many visits to multiple doctors, a potential source of our problem became apparent – abnormal levels of the hormones prolactin and testosterone. The medical professionals treating my wife have successfully abrogated some of the major symptoms associated with these hormones; however, her problems with physical closeness and libido remain. While this forced celibacy is still a major issue of contention in our relationship, I keep reminding myself that she has a chronic illness and that her lack of interest is not personal. I no longer make advances towards my wife. I hope that eliminating the guilt associated with her rebuffs and removing her need to “sneak” into the room after I fall asleep will allow us to work on the simple pleasures of marriage - the good night kiss or falling asleep embraced in each others arms. Although difficult, I try to stay positive about the situation and our marriage, and I pray that eventually this condition will correct itself naturally or through additional medical intervention. I desperately want to re-establish that personal connection with my best friend, my soulmate, and one of the three people I love most in this world.

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