Q. I’m not sure if anyone can help me. I am writing to you because I am too depressed and embarrassed to discuss this with anyone. Every winter I am affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder. I get very lethargic. I want to sleep all the time. I gain weight and lose my sex drive. So every year for the last five years, my doctor puts me on an antidepressant. This medication helps me since I can, at least, function on it. But the medication makes my sex drive even less than when I am just dealing with SAD. When I am on the antidepressant, I have no sexual desires at all. Of course this takes a toll on my relationship because my girlfriend gets tired of me not wanting sex for at least half of the year. She feels like our relationship is put on hold in the winter due to my depression, and then not having any sex drive as well. During the summer months, sex is not a problem for me. I have a great sex drive and love every minute of it. I have talked with my doctor and she said that this is a problem for lots of people. She said that people often have a poor sex drive when they have SAD, and antidepressants tend to decrease the sex drive even more. Her attitude was that I just needed to put up with it.
I want to ask you and the folks that read this if they know any way I can stop this from happening every year? I want to have a normal life all year, not just six months of the year. I am feeling so desperate that I am willing to try anything.
Sexless in Winter
A: You might want to try discussing your situation again with your physician. Perhaps you didn’t describe your problem to the doctor as well as you did to me. I realize that talking to your doctor about sexual matters can be difficult; however, if you don’t let her know, she can’t help you. If for some reason you feel like you can’t talk to her or that she’s not listening, then it may be time for you to find another doctor. It’s important to have a good rapport with your physician, no matter what the problem.
Let your doctor know your physical symptoms, as well as how this problem is affecting your relationship and life. There may be other medications that don’t have the same side effects, and/or other ways of dealing with your depression.
P.S. Does anyone out there have anything that has worked for them in the winter? We certainly get our share of cloudy days in Michigan, and winter can seem long. What has worked?
Should we keep money separate?
Q: My boyfriend recently moved in with me. We haven’t known each other that long – probably about six months. The reason we decided to live together was because of financial difficulties that we were both having. I have a house, so he moved in with me. So far it’s working out well, and I love living with him. So why am I writing to you? Well, the other night he said he would like to combine our checking accounts because it would make it much easier for us to pay bills. I have never had my finances mixed up with anyone, and I’m not sure I want to start now. For me, my money is my money and his money is his. And, as long as we both pay our fair share of the living expenses, neither of us needs to know what the other makes or spends. That’s the way I see it.
When I told him this, he started crying and said, I don’t want a real relationship, and that I must not trust him if I wasn’t willing to combine our incomes and expenses. He said if I was really committed to making our relationship work, I would not hesitate to combine our lives in all ways.
Do you think he is right? Is there something wrong with me for wanting to keep our finances separate?
To Each His Own
A: There are many ways couples choose their financial arrangement. It’s up to each couple to choose what works best for them. But in choosing a financial agreement, it is important that each person is able to express his needs, both financially and emotionally, before coming to a resolution.
In your case, your boyfriend’s reaction seems extreme, given the shortness of your relationship and the fact that you say that you moved in because of financial issues, not because of a commitment to each other.
Is there a commitment in this relationship? I believe this is your most important question right now. If there is no commitment, I don’t think it’s wise to combine your financial resources. My second question would be: Do you feel that you’ve had sufficient time together to make a commitment? These are the two questions that you need to focus on as a couple before you even get to handling financal issues. When you do get there, let me know and I’ll give you some ways other couples have solved that problem.