Trapped in marriage with impotent husband

All Woman


Dear Counsellor,

I’m a very troubled wife. I’m married to a much older man whom I’ve known for some years. Before marriage I told him I wanted kids, and he agreed, but after marriage I found out that he’s impotent.

I feel trapped because we never have sex, and I need kids. I don’t see him doing anything to correct the problem, and my biological clock is ticking. What should I do? I’m very worried.

It is most unfortunate that your husband chose to be more than economical with the truth and misled you to believe that he was ready and capable to start a family. One wonders what else he has not shared with you prior to marriage. This is precisely why premarital counselling is recommended, so that pertinent facts can be revealed and that informed decisions can be made regarding marriage.

It is true that individuals can lie in these sessions, but a perceptive counsellor would identify truth from fiction and place them before the couple for their deliberation. But now that the horse is already through the gate, it is a question of damage control.

Erectile dysfunction or impotence is treatable, and so your husband needs to visit his doctor and address the issue. You did indicate that he may not be interested in getting medical attention, which is a common response from many men who feel embarrassed to disclose their inadequacies to anyone, not even a doctor.

As much as you feel deceived and disappointed in your mate, you should find a way to encourage him to seek help.

I’m not sure of his age, but if he is taking medications for any chronic illnesses such as high blood pressure, he may develop erectile dysfunction problems. However, the doctor could change or adjust the medication.

Sexual problems are a couple’s problems and must be addressed by the partners involved. Cursing him out would further devalue him and cause him to withdraw, making your life more miserable. Have a heart-to-heart talk with him and let him know that you are prepared to set the appointment and even accompany him to the doctor.

If physical causes are ruled out, then there might be psychological reasons for the condition, which a counsellor trained in sex therapy could help to resolve. Performance anxiety is often the main problem, that is, the man is more preoccupied with performing up to his partner’s expectations or standards, instead of relaxing and enjoying the moment.

The doctor will also have him do a fertility test to ascertain his capacity to impregnate you. If there are challenges in this regard, the doctor can make the appropriate referral to a specialist.

You may need to consider adopting as an option down the road.

So, begin the conversation with your husband today. Have a civil conversation, not an intense argument. Sitting down with a counsellor would be helpful as well in order to address the trust and deception issues that may manifest in other areas of the relationship.

Wayne Powell is a relationship counsellor. Write to agapemft@gmail.com; check out his work overseas on www.seekingshalom.org, e-mail powellw@seekingshalom.org

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