Savage Love

Reading Comprehension Fail


TSTQ, consider seeing that marriage counselor on your own. It may be just the third party advice you need to clarify your situation.

Also, picture that the way it is now in your marriage is the way it will be. If it's like this in another 5 months, in a year, in 3 years, what will you have gained? Leave now. I agree with Dan: he wants out and is too cowardly to do it, so he's taking the "behave crappily until partner breaks up with me" way. Which is always bad, but especially horrible if you got the partner to marry you first.
Am I really the first one? Cool! Riverside, CA.
damn it, a minute too late....
Both TSTQ and her asshole husband need to grow up. It was a bad idea to begin with and a worse idea to continue it, but neither party wants to call it as such. Instead there's denial from TSTQ and an almost insane amount of passive-aggressiveness from her husband. Cut your losses before you're completely miserable.
@4 "Cut your losses before you're completely miserable". Nope. They are there, already.
TSTQ, have you ever considered the possibility your husband is clinically depressed? I'm sure you don't see any reason for it... he just got married, which is a happy time and all. But I became clinically depressed shortly after getting married... marriage is a huge stressor, happy or not, and for people predisposed to depression, it can send them over the edge. His behavior sounds EXACTLY like my behavior in my first year of marriage. And my husband getting pissed off at me being lazy and "giving up" did not help one bit. Getting on antidepressants did, and it helped me become functional long enough to make it through to the other side.

I'm very surprised Dan didn't mention this possibility. Such a major shift in personality and sexual drive is a huge red flag. Before you give up, try being understanding and tolerant, and suggest medication. He might take you up on it, or after a year he might come out of it. I do think it's too soon to demand divorce without considering he might be mentally ill.
It's the sunk cost bias. It's so common we have a saying for it, "throwing good money after bad". You married poorly, and so you not only wasted some time on somebody who is making you miserable, but detangling from this situation will be difficult. But the sooner you start working on it, the sooner you can fix it. And then you can move on to your now much improved life. Yes, it's going to be hard, and yes people will think you made a mistake. But you ~did~ make a mistake. It's really much, much better to accept people knowing you made a mistake than trying to continue living with the consequences of your mistake so you can pretend to others that you didn't do something foolish. We all do something foolish now and then, part of growing up is learning to accept that, admit that, and then fix it. You don't show maturity by never messing up; you show maturity by dealing well with situations after you've messed up. Because nobody never messes up. So, don't beat yourself up too much, just fix the problem.
TSTQ, as a woman who was married at 22 and divorced at 24, I urge you to DTMFA. You will not regret it. I'm twenty years down the road now, and my only regret is that didn't dump my ex sooner.
So this driven, hardworking, loving, and happy man is suddenly shiftless, unmotivated and dirty? It would be nice if someone -- the formerly loving wife, or at least Dan -- would consider the possibility that the guy is suffering from clinical depression or some other mental/emotional illness, before just writing him off.
Atharaenea makes a good point about the possibility of depression. But if he is suffering from depression, then he has a responsibility to go into counseling and try therapy or medication to get better.

But if he still refuses to go to counseling and get help, I know it would be very difficult for you to leave this marriage. But please consider how much worse it would be if you stay with him and have children with him - then you will really be tied to him forever.
TSTQ, it sounds to me like you're not a wife, you're a meal ticket for a low-rent con man (or mom to a boy). That's the only way I can see of going from "He was driven, hardworking, loving, and happy. We had amazing, cosmic, and connected sex, and we enjoyed pleasing each other." to "We are miserable." in enough less than 5 months that you've not only had time to note there's a big change, you're already writing columnists for advice. Consider the possibility "driven, hardworking, loving and happy" wasn't him, that was just the marketing presentation. Broke his foot on wedding night?! Such timing. How do you know it was broken? Find out _now_ what the ramifications for you are if he maxes out all credit cards he can obtain and is evicted for nonpayment of rent and perhaps damages where you now live. (And your name is on the lease, right? Who put up the security deposit?) Time is not on your side. Know the implications of marital property laws in your state. If you think now is miserable, imagine life with zero times per week and a mountain of debt half of which is yours to pay off, no matter how many years it takes after you part ways, what that will do to your credit score and future prospects, and the delay and obstacles it will create to finding someone that will make you smile every time you see them at 1 year, 5, 10, 25 and 40 years in. And I'm surprised Dan didn't introduce you to LW2 (or 3) for a little morale boosting. In most cities, there are (free) divorced and separated support groups. Many churches sponsor them or simply provide meeting space for them. I've attended them, and heard all sorts of stories; no one will be shocked at yours, or kick you out if you're not separated yet. Gay, straight, or uncertain, well or disabled or mentally ill, young or old or middle, divorced, separated, troubled, lived together and broke up, widowed, all welcome. Often they help each other. Regardless of whether your guy is depressed or bipolar crashed or just using you, take care of yourself mentally; try some things and find what works.
@6 if the husband is depressed it's not TSTQ job to fix it. I feel depression is like addiction, it can only be dealt with when the person is willing to admit they have a problem.

Hell her leaving may do more good in the long run since it may be the kick the pants the husband needs to get his shit together. However TSTQ is not obligated to put up with horrible behavior for years and years on the off chance he's A depressed and B willing to seek treatment for said depression.
I have to agree with both Dan and #6.

It's likely he's depressed. If he's willing to see a therapist and psychiatrist, give him a chance to take his medications and improve; he might be a good spouse again. If not, then even if he is depressed, you need his cooperation to make him better; that would mean you should move out.
Being clinically depressed is not an excuse for partner abuse. I've been clinically depressed before and if I had acted like a petulant douche towards my family and friends, I suspect I'd still be clinically depressed- and alone. If that's what's wrong with him, he needs to take some steps for his health at least (his marriage already seems pretty much fucked).
Letter writer #1: Get. Out. Now. 24 is too young to be tied down to a miserable marriage.
Here's a piece of advice that I think should become common: Don't marry anyone, or move in together, until you've been dating them for at least two years.

First year everything is shiny and new. Second year you start trying to figure each other out in earnest, discovering some major differences, and negotiating whether each issue is a deal-breaker or the price of admission. A LOT of couples break up during the second year.
I like it that Mr. Savage didn't jump to DTMFA. I also like that he called the first letter writer's husband on his passive-aggressive cowardice.
I'd rather POUND some sense into Republicans than sleep with 'em.
But that's just me.
@17: Well said!!
TSTQ, do married people have joint liability where you are? Your husband might be running up debts now. Debts that you will have to pay. After you
legally separated, then you can talk to him.
I agree with the ultimatum. But as others have pointed out he may not be depressed. He may be manipulating her or as Dan says wants out and is going about it in the worst way possible.

I would ask why does she want to save this marriage? Is it because she truly loves her husband and feels they're stronger when they're together? Or is it about pride and not wanting to admit she made a mistake.
@6: have you ever considered the possibility your husband is clinically depressed?

I've been through clinical depression - a solid 8 months when I was 25 - and the boyfriend's behavior looks nothing like it to me.

The depressed response to "you're not sexually satisfying me" is "that's because I'm worthless", not "whatever, I can't be bothered".

The depressed response to "you need to get a job" is "I can't because I'm worthless", not throwing a fit.

And I can't imagine deliberately alienating my significant other during that time - she was all I thought I had.

I think Dan's right - this guy doesn't love her, doesn't want to be married to her, and is acting it out passive-aggressively.
Absolutely agree with the commentors saying clinical depression. Get him the fuck to a psychologist or psychiatrist immediately so he can start sorting his shit out.

That doesn't mean TSTQ has to put up with his issues of course - mental illnesses are not a free pass to treat people like shit and take them for granted.
@23 I would ask why does she want to save this marriage?

Because it's not every day you meet someone "driven, hardworking, loving, and happy. We had amazing, cosmic, and connected sex". Sure there's no such thing as "the one", but you don't meet someone you can round up to the one very often!

@24 Not everyone is the same as you seandr! Apathy (including re: sex) and avoidance behaviour are classic diagnostic symptoms. He should get to a qualified medical practitioner to decide.
Just one or two comments for LW2 and no comments for LW3?

I guess in both cases, there's nothing to add to Dan's advice.
@24 depression is different for everyone and internal dialogue can be very different from external. 24 is young, he may not even realize he is depressed (assuming he is and it seems like a really good possibility). At that age I literally had no idea what I was feeling let alone why I felt it. That being said, the only currency the LW should accept is ACTION. Until then, take Dan's advice and separate.
I am willing to cut BBB some slack because we are living in a time of change and infiltration. There isn't an established convention in place yet to reflect that "wife" and "husband" no longer incontrovertibly indicate opposite-sex partnerships.

But it takes someone well acquainted with New England (an area, I grant, that Mr Savage dislikes, going by his comments in this week's podcast), where the endangered left wing of the Republican party still struggles for existence, to be able to give BBB a nuanced answer. "Compassionate conservatives" aren't just Republicans; they're Bushies.

As these things all fall on a scale of how much of X one is willing to tolerate, I'd suggest that the Bs simply imagine Mr Rove pulling their potential playmates' strings from behind the curtain, and advance if they are comfortable with that. I'd guess, though, that the PPs aren't openly bi outside of playtime, won't socialize openly with out liberals, and probably invoke opposite-sexer privilege as often as possible with all the zeal of most members with suspect credentials of a group given to self-purging.

If I were in a sly mood, I might speculate on whether BBB and spouse might not be a better fit with their potential new friends than they realize, but I did say I'd cut some slack.
TSTQ goes to a marriage counselor, explains situation, one of two things happens depending on whether said counselor has head up own ass:

1. The counselor talks about how it's bad to blame other people and that TSTQ needs to figure out what *she's* doing to fuck the marriage up.

2. The counselor tells her to DTMFA in counselor-speak.
All you people diagnosing depression over the internet are complete idiots. LW1's hubby is a deadbeat. Dan's advice to move out is solid. (And here's hoping she realizes marriage to someone who behaves like this for MONTHS is a dead end.)
TSTQ: I type this as someone who married younger than you (though after a lot more time together), is still happily married decades later, and believes in marriage both in the social/legal sense and as a personal commitment. I believe the vows mean something and obligate you to try and work on things.

Leave. The marriage has been lousy from the start, and you just don't have enough positive time together--first few months of starlight and butterflies are not sustainable, even in the happiest most supportive relationship. If you'd been married 10 years to that great guy you saw the first few months, and he had an abrupt personality change AND was willing to work with you, I'd be advising you to get him to a doctor. Because he was still working with you enough to agree to do that AND because you knew what "normal" was for him. There is every likelihood that what you are seeing in your recent husband is normal for him. Biochemical imbalance or random jerkdom, you don't have enough history with him to give him the benefit of throwing yourself at a brick wall for more months and years.
I would like to agree with @11 and @31. (And dan.)

This guy does not sound like a depressed person, he sounds like an extremely selfish, pathological liar. (Believe me, I have one of each of those people in my immediate family). Broke his foot on his wedding night? Doesn't want to work? Went from perfect to terrible in 5 months? Yeah right.

The letter writer needs to (a) Be a big girl, admit she got duped and make a big mistake (it happens to us all), and (b) get the @#$@# away from this guy as fast as possible. If he thinks he can get pity from her, he will try to take everythign she has and then some.
@31 No, we're not diagnosing depression, we're saying he should get to someone who can make that diagnosis. Your dismissal of it - over the internet - is the position that is truly ignorant and idiotic.

Really, all this shows is that the stigma attached to even a suggestion of clinical depression is still strong, that people don't really believe it's an illness. Imagine someone writing in with post-natal depression and similar symptoms and you would never get the same responses.

Again - this is stuff the LW can do *in addition* to putting herself in a better position. Because some people actually take an interest in the wellbeing of people close to them. Drastic, I know.

And what's with all the conspiracy theorists who think that someone held down a full-time job for years and broke their foot just to lure someone into a marriage? Seriously people?
If she moves out, she's still on the lease. This guy doesn't seem like someone I'd trust to pay the rent, so she could be on the hook for that. I don't know the legality of it, but maybe it would be better to move his stuff out and change the locks the next time he leaves the house.

And um, what's a squart?
@35 I'm shocked nobody else cottoned onto that, too! TSTQ, if you move out, YOU will end up being on the hook and having your credit trashed when your husband doesn't pay rent. Depending on where you live, you can also be found "at fault" in a divorce for "spousal abandonment" (really) for moving out and not cleaning/cooking/sleeping with him anymore, even if he's a complete deadbeat. That can really affect how much of your shared finances and debt you end up with if you get the wrong judge.

Instead, make sure when you move out that you get yourself financially disentangled from him. Get your name off the lease, make sure you don't have any joint credit cards or bank accounts, etc. Even if you're not ready for divorce yet, separating your finances is a prudent move - you can always re-mingle them if things get better, but you can't get the money back if he goes on a wild spending spree with YOUR credit.
If the husband did wind up getting a diagnosis from a health care professional it may well be bipolar disorder, not depression.

Though of course the early, sunshine-and-sprinkles phase of the relationship is bound to be sunshine-y and sprinkly (so to speak), he may have also been in a hypomanic or manic state -- romance and marriage can certainly kick one into high gear, imagine what it's like for someone already predisposed.

And some people plummet into depression once the higher phase ends, which may be where he is, now. I'm not sure either phase is his baseline.

NONETHELESS, the letter writer needs to get her own oxygen mask on, as it were, and then see what can be done. It's hard not to feel even *more* selfish under these circumstances but it's essential and it's not selfish. Good luck.
If the husband did wind up getting a diagnosis from a health care professional it may well be bipolar disorder, not depression.

Though of course the early, sunshine-and-sprinkles phase of the relationship is bound to be sunshine-y and sprinkly (so to speak), he may have also been in a hypomanic or manic state -- romance and marriage can certainly kick one into high gear, imagine what it's like for someone already predisposed.

And some people plummet into depression once the higher phase ends, which may be where he is, now. I'm not sure either phase is his baseline.

NONETHELESS, the letter writer needs to get her own oxygen mask on, as it were, and then see what can be done. It's hard not to feel even *more* selfish under these circumstances but it's essential and it's not selfish. Good luck.
My objection to Dear Abby and Dr. Phil type advice givers was never that they were too puritanical. It's that the questions were too easy. There was never any grey area so there was never a need for nuance or insight. Any idiot could give the advice they gave, no degree or experience needed. That's what we've got with TSTQ, and that's why I'm disgruntled with Dan on this one. Of course she needs to get out of that marriage! Any 8th grader could tell her that. Same for the letter writer's grandmother. It's too obvious.

Want insight and nuance? Well, the folks who are bringing up possibilities of depression or other mental illness are right, but that's obvious too.

I'd be more interested in a real quandary like if the husband's injury kept him in a wheelchair so he couldn't work or if he was keeping house but not making much money, something so we'd have to weigh pros and cons, loyalty against self preservation. (If we really think that depression and alcoholism are diseases that affect the brain as opposed to any other part of the body, why does it feel so skunky if a new wife abandons a husband who's come down with M.S. or cancer but not with a mental illness?)

I'd also point out that waiting a year or two instead of marrying after a good whirlwind few months is no guarantee. Marriages after a short acquaintance can work out beautifully and marriages after a long one can still fail. I'd be interested in comparative statistics.
@26 Him being a good guy and a great lover in the past really doesn't matter unless he's willing to continue being that guy in the present.

Like I said she needs to ask herself is trying to save this marriage because she feels it's worth holding on to? Or is she doing it because she doesn't want to look foolish?
It's not an uncommon reaction to depression in men to get angry. It's also very difficult when you are depressed to do *anything* at all, even go to a doctor for help. While I don't think the LW should stay forever, getting her hubby to a doctor and trying one or two medications isn't too much to ask. It's also well known that job loss is very hard on men, more so than for women. Job loss and a major life change like marriage--very stressful indeed.

If he refuses to try, then walk away.

It also sounds like she needs a larger support network, some friends or family might be able to help with getting him to the doctor or with some help cleaning.
Compassionate conservatives are like jackalopes. Sure, I've seen photos of them, but I still don't believe they exist.
@36 is right. LW1, I know of another woman in Portland who is in a very similar situation. Hell, I am wondering if this is you.

Anyway, I know people in the area who have rooms to rent at very reasonable rates in quiet neighborhoods. Message me if you're interested. An affordable room will let you save up some money to break the lease. This would also be a good time to borrow money from family members, who would probably be thrilled to loan you the cash in order to see this disaster marriage ended. Even on my ill-advised overpriced apartment in downtown, breaking the lease could be done for $2000 or so. If I had a sister in your position, I would happily lend (or even gift) her that money to get her the hell out.
@TSTQ - really, just dump him. The ability to recognize, admit and correct mistakes is a far, far more attractive human quality than persistence in denial.
"My partner doesn't work, do chores, or in any way contribute to our house or lives, I care for them like they are a giant child. Am I right to be upset?"

I can't tell if these people all have Stockholm syndrome or 0 self esteem.
I'd be interested in hearing whether the LW decides to suggest to hubby that he speak to someone who can diagnose depression and whether he accepts that, considering he's already rejected the marriage counselling. Maybe he'd be more open to realizing he has a personal problem ... or not.

Either way, I like the "get your name off the lease" idea.
First! Yeah!!

Oh, wait- no...shoot.

What is with people posting simply to announce that they're first? Is it like an eBay auction, waiting to pounce and hit "post comment"?
TSTQ -- this is almost identical to my situation. 17 years later...I'm trying to divorce the ahole! We did counseling and yes, helped us stay longer but ultimately, divorce was the best option. You are young.... move on and find yourself a real man. There are plenty of them out there, don't sell yourself short. Or else, you will be like me - in your 40's wishing I divorced him that 1st year.

Good luck!
This is the second time today I've seen a story like this on the internet.

"My spouse is a complete jerk, but I don't want to leave. How do I fix this?"

I don't get it.
I was previously married and have kids. When I started dating my ex-BF, he was charming, motivated, and clean. We were dating four months when he moved in, and he wanted to get engaged two months after that. Thank goodness he moved in - how quickly he showed how dirty, irresponsible and mean spirited he was. He would disappear for hours on end, say he went to AA meetings but smelled of beer, and the sex died quickly because he couldn't perform. I was his meal ticket. By September, I told him it wasn't working and it took two more months to get him out. Bottom line - if they are looking for someone to babysit them, they will put up a great facade for as long as they need to.
I should mention the ex-BF was great with my kids until he moved in. Then he became a world class jerk to them.
I'm not sure moving out is the best legal advice, Dan. She should consult a divorce lawyer before she risks getting a judgment against her for her husband's sloth. Also, to many commenters here, there are always two sides of every domestic story. Don't make your mind up based on only one side. Signed, a divorce lawyer.
@27, well, I have some thoughts for LW3 (STI). I'd say that she has an ethical obligation to notify any recent one-night stands if & when she does test positive for an STI. So she shouldn't have sex with people unless they give her a way to contact them later.

Also, in calling herself "queer" rather than bisexual, she might want to check her assumptions about just how boring and straight everyone else is.
@45 This letter could easily have been written by somebody dating my ex. I supported him for years as he lived like a dead beat. Couldn't find a job (I'm not qualified! It's hard!), can't go back to school (My grades aren't good enough! It's hard!), can't be bothered to clean the house (It's hard!) because all he does all day is jerk it and play wow. Mention to him it'd be nice if he pitched in, and he throws a fit, blaming me for all his problems. So I worked. And cooked. And cleaned. And hoped he'd get his shit together.

In my case, it was neither Stockholm syndrome or 0 self esteem. I loved the guy, and he knew perfectly how to play to that - every time I got close to dumping him, he'd sense it, and apologize / go to a therapist for a couple of weeks ("I'm depressed!" "I have ADHD!" "I can't do this!"). Then he'd slowly work back to being a deadbeat. I was young enough (and dumb enough) to believe that he would change and grow with enough time and support.

This went on for 6 years. Then, I met a terrific man who made me realize that not all men are deadbeats. I dumped my bf, and started dating the other guy. Before we broke up, the ex promised he'd change, if I gave him just a bit more time. I asked him how much more time he was going to need - six years seemed like plenty. He had no response.

The ex was in some ways a perfect manipulator of people. He knew exactly how much he had to apologize and give in order to keep playing off people's good intentions. So that he could get away with addictive and abusive behavior the rest of the time.

The thing that really makes me sad is that he plays our breakup off as though I were a CPOS and he's the aggrieved party (I did have some CPOS behavior for about 2 weeks before our breakup, so this is partly true). I'm sure it gains him some epic sympathy points with women, to start the cycle all over again. It's disgusting.
Look up Narcissistic Personality Disorder and run.
TWTQ, I am in agreement with what @35 & @36 said.

I, sadly, am in a similar marriage. I knew him 2.5 years by the time we got married, but never lived with him, which was a big mistake. I wasn't happy, but figured things would change. They did, and it would get better for awhile and then just revert back.

I made the mistake of buying a house, fortunately, in my name only as his credit is a joke. However, I was not smart and did put his name on one of my credit cards, which he ruined. He lost his job, though I had been begging him for months to find something else and after it happened, he admitted I was right.

He, too, lay around the house, doing not much. He admits to depression, but there is no money for him to get help and he won't look for free help. He didn't work at more than the smallest part-time job for two years. But I was too much of an idiot to do something about it. Because I didn't want my friends and family to think I was a loser. But I am a loser because I have tolerated this so-called marriage for 10 years.

I pay for 85% of our expenses. I work 80 hours a week at two jobs. He has managed to find some more work, but it still isn't much and I constantly have to give him money, so I guess I end up paying for most of our pathetic lifestyle. Our sex life has deteriorated to nothing and I have no desire anyway because all I do is work with a broken down house to show for it.

I wish someone had told me to move out in the early months or years before things got so difficult to separate. I agree that you should kick him out, though first you should call a legal hotline or ask some free legal service what kind of shit you can expect by doing that. I do agree that he may be clinically depressed, for the variety of reasons you gave AND because the reality of marriage is pretty overwhelming.

Maybe he does want out like Dan said, but I don't really think that is it. Some people are just like him and my husband. They are seemingly good people, but they are lazy and will just go along doing WHAT THEY WANT. It doesn't matter how much they love you, it never will. You shouldn't be married to someone that will not hold up at least 50% of expenses and housework. That I can say with complete authority.

Before you do anything else, tell him you think he is depressed and needs to seek help. If he still blows you off, then at least you tried. Kicking him out will be a good shock to his system. You didn't marry him to be his mother. Let him pay his own way or live in his car. It will be kinder to do this to him now that let the years roll by like I have. Maybe he will snap out of it eventually and you won't have to divorce him. But don't take him back until he gets a decent job and admits he is depressed and/or an asshole AND goes with you to talk to someone about what marriage should be. Good luck.
@56 I'm begging you to take your own advice and get out. It's not too late to start over. You can't get the years you spent with him back but you can make sure to not wasted another second of time on him.
@54 "The thing that really makes me sad is that he plays our breakup off as though I were a CPOS and he's the aggrieved party (I did have some CPOS behavior for about 2 weeks before our breakup, so this is partly true)."

Something to consider for people considering cheating while knowing that they should really break up first.
TWTQ - Hyperfocus and perfect then a complete turnaround? Inability to do the chores of life? Video game and porn heavy usage? I wonder if you are dealing with someone with undiagnosed adult ADHD? Melissa Orlov has some great writing on this subject -…

My partner has ADHD and is medicated/working on it with professional experts and let me say, its still hard work on my end. Untreated would be a deal breaker.

Bottom line, no matter what is wrong with him if he refuses to work on it then consult a divorce lawyer, protect yourself and take the space Dan suggests.
TSTQ it's admirable you want to try to work on the marriage.

My depression looked exactly like yer hub, except if my hub asked me to do some laundry, or empty the dishwasher, etc. I did it.

I knew I was a mess and while I wasn't contributing $ I needed to give anything everything else I could muster as he was carrying the bigger burden.

Even while I was an f-ed up mess I still had a responsibility to my partner not to make him do it all.

So I would agree with many people that if he refuses to do anything besides video games and porn, you need to take steps to separate.

The only person you can change or fix here is you.

I've heard people relate experiences like yours and say "It was a starter marriage, I should have known better, now I do." If you feel peer or family pressure not to fail at this-LET THAT SH*T GO!

Do you really think you need to stay in this horrible life crushing hole just so they don't judge you? That's where your work on you begins.

In CA. you would start proceedings by filing for legal separation (this addresses many of the concerns others have cited i.e. moving out/lease ramifications, etc.)

Start calling the bank, your credit cards, etc. and taking his name off things, COVER YOUR FINANCIAL BEHIND FIRST.

My one caution about getting him professional help, getting him to use it and possibly changing; Is that I have had a recurring depression 10 years after recovery, his might come back and you would be here all over again.

You are young, you made a mistake, you have the rest of your life to learn and figure this stuff out, leaving is not the worst possible thing that would happen. You getting derailed from the life you want and being tied to him 'til death do you part' would be the worst.
A relative of mine was in a similar situation to #1. She made her husband move back home with his parents. When he got low enough, He was able to find a rehab facility that dealt with both alcoholism and mental health issues. He now goes to AA, takes his antidepressants and is the loving, hardworking man she originally married. So Dan, you're right about someone moving out. And it doesn't necessarily mean she has to DTMFA.
Holy crap, TSTQ is a doormat for sure. *My* wife reamed me out about being unemployed after only 3 months after I got *laid off*, back when we were only living together. I was doing all the cleaning and eating at the Y daily the whole time. I figured it was the least I could do with all my spare time.

Dan is right. This guy is a complete waste of skin. But if he wants out of the marriage, he's going about it all wrong. He should at least have the ability to live without his wife's income. Which makes him as dumb as a bag of hammers on top of it all.

While *you* can't imagine deliberately alienating someone when you're depressed, I sure as hell can. That's typically the first thing I do when I'm depressed, I start pushing people away, getting angry at them and generally wanting the whole world to just fuck off and leave me alone.

So yeah, there's a decent chance this guy's depressed as all hell, and you should give him that chance.
Man who sits around house = deadbeat
Woman who sits around house = normal
It's perfectly reasonable to think LW1's husband may be depressed; I think there's some evidence that's the case. It's also possible to react to that possibility with the following, highly useful phrase:

Who gives a fuck?

Seriously, does it really matter THAT much whether he's depressed or not, i.e. whether we attribute his behavior to a mental illness or a character flaw? Sure, from a social/political perspective it matters, and for employers I suppose it's relevant too. But on a personal level, if someone's that toxic to be around, the first and foremost thing is to GET AWAY from them -- not to try to suss out whether it's OK to cut them out or whether you're inadvertently adding to the oppression of the mentally ill, blah blah blah.

Some mental illnesses turn people into assholes, and some forms of assholism are difficult to distinguish from mental illness. From the point of view of those around them who are trying to survive and carve out a decent life for themselves, the question of which is which -- and whether it's their "fault" or not -- is really kind of irrelevant.

I'm partly playing devil's advocate here, but not entirely. Life's too short to waste it trying to play Mama Bird with damaged people who, for whatever reason, don't have it in them to give nearly as much as they take.
@66: How do you figure that?
For the love of god, don't have a child with this man unless you two get this straightened out. Don't try to have a kid hoping that will force him to change his life. Don't have an "oopsie" baby. I'll pay for one of you to get sterilized.
He doesn't want out. If she dumps him he has to work and he doesn't want that.
It's always fascinating how quick people are to stigmatize mental illness--it's a character flaw; he's lazy; he's a deadbeat; he should know that he's mentally ill and should be seeking help; mental illness is just an excuse for poor behavior--and how slow and sometimes stubbornly unwilling to ackonwledge that the resultant stigma often prevents people from seeking the very help they need.

If TSTQ want to remain in her marriage and wants things to improve, it would seem expedient to take an active role in improving the situation, which mean actually communicating with her spouse. If he refuses to communicate with her, I see no reason for her to persist in trying to improve the relationship or even remain in it. However, making treatment and recovery the sole responsibility of a person with mental illness only serves to stigmatize the failure to recover and completely neglects the role of a social support system in the recovery from mental illness.
Some commenters have mentioned mental illness and Bi Polar Disorder for TSTQ's husband. NY Times had a great article about a bi polar woman in a marriage (with kids to boot). Her husband carried the burden (and I would have loved to hear his side of the marriage). The comments that follow are fascinating:…
What @31 said. Probably. I lost patience after reading a few dozen comments saying that LW1 needs to grow up but her poor husband is probably depressed and sad.
I think that it's also important to note that, of the nine symptoms listed in the DSM-IV-TR for a major depressive episode, one needs only have five, one of which must be:
     •depressed mood
     •loss of interest
which means that there are 326 different ways to be diagnosed with major depressive disorder. Moreover, of the remaining eight symptoms five can be evaluated without a subjective account from the patient, so there are plausibly 12 different way to be diagnosed with major depressive disorder without having to report any of the symptoms that the public may generally associate with depression.

In other words, "he doesn't sound depressed" and/or "I have clinical depression and that not how I act(ed) during an episode" are not sensible ways of evaluating if someone else is depressed. That is basically what people mean when they say, "Depression looks different in different people".

My overall concern is that some commenters seem to be taking a predominately, if not exclusively moralistic, approach to TSTQ's dysfunctional marriage--her husband is a lazy, manipulative deadbeat; sure he may be mentally ill, but it is his responsibility to seek treatment and his failure to do so thus far makes him a lazy, manipulative deadbeat. Given that mental illness is not necssarily, immediately recognizable due to societal pre-conceived notions of what a particular mental illness may "look like", placing the burden of realizing, let alone acknowledging, that a change in behavior and affect may be the manifestion of a mental illness solely on the shoulders of the person experiencing such change and then demonizing that person for not knowing that they needed help unfairly stigmatizes the mentally ill and can, in fact, hinder their seeking of treatment and prevent their recovery.

The guy refuses to go to couples counseling. Given that fact, how is the letter writer supposed to force him to seek treatment for depression? He needs to be the one to seek treatment because, as a competent adult under the law, he is the only one who can force himself to do it.

She can certainly bring it up, but, if he refuses, there is literally nothing she can do except to save herself.

Also, speaking as someone who has serious mental illness in my family, it is absolutely possible for someone who is suffering from mental illness to be a manipulative asshole, getting loved ones to enable the worst aspects of the illness in order to avoid realistic treatment. Why are you insisting that the two things are mutually exclusive?
TSTQ, if you don't want to divorce him, consider seeking an annulment. It sounds like there may well have been an element of fraud in the marriage. And you certainly didn't marry the man you thought you were marrying.

Yes, legally separate your finances. Yes, encourage him to see a shrink -- he may be clinically depressed, and he might be treatable. But you hanging around and enabling him won't help him get better if that is the case. And you need to protect yourself.

Spoken like a man who hasn't gotten his wet in a lonnnnnng time.
Why are you insisting that the two things are mutually exclusive?

I didn't see anything in mjpam's posts that said they were mutually exclusive at all. And if, for whatever reason, the situation is not salvageable, mjpam also said get out: "If he refuses to communicate with her, I see no reason for her to persist in trying to improve the relationship or even remain in it."

Let's say TSTQ's husband is lazy or evil. The best thing to do would be to protect herself financially and take the steps necessary to get out of the marriage.

Let's say TSTQ's husband is depressed or otherwise mentally ill. The best way to help him get the treatment he needs is to give him a wake up call by protecting herself financially and taking the steps necessary to get out of the marriage.

Let's say that taking those steps does wonders for TSTQ's husband either by making him see that he won't have TSTQ to support him while he plays video games and watches porn or by getting him into a treatment that works for his mental illness. Let's say TSTQ's husband does a turn around and goes back to being the hardworking happy cosmically connected man she thought she was marrying. Great! Let's say that doesn't happen. Then at least she's out of the marriage.

In fact, this logic might be what TSTQ needs to hear in order to help her feel good about divorcing her husband. It's natural to have misgivings about giving up on the marriage so soon. It feels like failure, and it feels like she's doing something bad to someone she still loves. But TSTQ, look at it like this. Divorcing your husband the best thing you could do for him. It's not a selfish act with our own self interest in mind. It's a selfless act, something you do for him. You divorce, and he gets his act together one way or the other. Win/win. Go for it.
Before you take Dan's excellent advice about moving out, make sure you see a lawyer about establishing a date of separation. You don't want to end up paying this loser spousal support, or at least minimize it as much as possible.
In my mid twenties I went through two significant periods of unemployment. The first lasted a year and a half and the second lasted about nine months. After many years of structured schooling (at which I excelled and pursued through a competitive graduate program) I was not only completely clueless about how to deal with looking for a job, I was also paralyzed by a fear of failure. It's of course very fortunate that I had some savings and family support and that I didn't have a spouse. I spent many days on end playing Sudoku and watching Law and Order in my sweats. It took until 15 months into my first unemployment stint to finally listen to my parent's suggestion and go to therapy. I wasn't clinically depressed, but it helped. So did time. Gradually my pace of sending out resumes increased, gradually networking became more comfortable, I started going on interviews and getting positive feedback and eventually the whole episode passed.
I mention all of this because it seems to me that this gal's husband might relate. The timeline just doesn't feel so desperate to me that I'd be ready to write him off. He broke his foot, recovery took some time, he lost his job, coupled with his injury may have hurt his ego, it sounds to me like he's only been a "deadbeat" for about 2 or 3 months. That just doesn't sound like enough to write him off as a permanent louse, just someone struggling to get his act together and overwhelmed and using avoidance tactics. I'm not saying it's excusable, but I don't think the letter tells the whole story. For example, does this guy have a history of failure? I certainly didn't and don't since. And his wife says he had a solidly successful history leading up to now.

None of this is to say I support quickie marriages, and therein might lie other stories for both parties involved.
Interesting that most everyone here dog-piles onto TSTQ's freeloader husband. Yes, IMO he is a POS, he prolly doesn't want out of the marriage cuz then he'd have to take care of himself. But how about a reality check for TSTQ? Seems she went into this marriage with her "rainbows and unicorns and happily-ever-after" blinders on. There's great lessons to be learned, but only if she chooses to be truly honest with herself about her part in all this.
Getting on antidepressants did, and it helped me become functional long enough to make it through to the other side.
-------Late to the party, but if TSTQ's spouse is truly depressed (or bipolar), and TSTQ is concerned about resurrecting their sex life, she better not hope antidepressants will make it any better. SSRIs are known boner-killers.

@24: Depression manifests itself differently in men than in women. You went through it for eight months? Try sixteen YEARS. Trust me, his behavior is not atypical.

@31: No need to insult us. TSTQ's spouse could be depressed AND a deadbeat.

Overall, I'm catching a whiff of someone who simply doesn't want to be labeled a divorceé at age 24. Trust me, TSTQ, there are way worse things in life. I say GTFO and let him figure it out. (Setting up all the legal infrastructure mentioned on this board, of course, before G'ing TFO.)
@82: "After many years of structured schooling (at which I excelled and pursued through a competitive graduate program) I was not only completely clueless about how to deal with looking for a job, I was also paralyzed by a fear of failure."

Now there's a ringing indictment of post-secondary education if ever I read one.
I've lived through something similar to this as well. My husband and I were together for three years, living together for two, when we got married. About a year after that he fell down the depression rabbit hole and stayed there for five+ years. There were no signs that this was going to happen before that time. And it was awful. In him, the depression came out as being as much of an asshole as humanly possible. I couldn't do anything right, all of the decisions I made were the wrong ones, and everything was my fault.

I'm not sure why I stayed, other than I have always had self esteem issues and the attacks from him just fed into them, and I felt like I deserved it for wanting to get married in the first place. He refused to go to therapy because apparently therapists are useless. The situation only started to get better after *I* was in therapy for the third time in those five years, this time for uncontrollable anxiety and panic attacks, and finally told him that if he didn't get his shit together I was leaving because I couldn't take it anymore. I had a drop dead date and if things hadn't improved by then I was out. I had a plan, and he knew it. Surprise, surprise, things got better. Two years or so later we're better together than we've ever been. He's back to being the man I married. Maybe even an upgrade from the man I married.

Was it worth staying for? I'm not sure. I suspect if I woke up tomorrow six months into his depression again I would pack up and leave without a backwards glance. I'm still not quite right and may never be quite right again. My patience is short, minor questions about how I've done something make me cry, and I catch myself flinching away from decisions. I think I'll bounce, eventually, and have been working on growing a spine of my own. But TSTQ, decide now what your boundaries will be, how much you'll tolerate, and don't hesitate to protect yourself when those boundaries are crossed. Your husband won't look out for you.
@35: In possible answer to your question about Dan's word "squart": I think he's describing what happens when one feels a fart coming on, and it becomes a bad case of the "Hershey squirts" instead--yikes!
But that's just a guess. Dan?

Also--GOOD call on TSTQ's situation!
TSTQ: Move HIS stuff out, change the locks, and talk to a good lawyer about what you can do to protect your credit rating and identity. Find out what your legal rights are, and go from there. Good luck!
SSRIs often just keep one from having an orgasm as easily, when they affect sexual performance at all -- they don't necessarily affect the enjoyment of sex and I've never heard that they affected erections. On the contrary, they're sometimes prescribed for premature ejaculation. For a fair percentage of SSRI users, I'm told, there's no sexual difference. Wellbutrin is another possibility -- apparently that seldom or never affects sexuality (some people report an increase in libido/orgasmicity).

Depression is a pretty big libido-killer for a lot of people, so frequently the state on antidepressants, even with sexual side effects, is still sexually better than before.
@90, my husband was a house husband for several years, and I have to disagree. He was tremendously helpful as a house husband. He kept the place clean, looked after the kids, made sure supper was on the table, paid the bills, and basically contributed to our overall well-being. I did not "come home to a filthy house every day". And I did respect him. (and still do, now that he is no longer a house husband.)
Hunter, I know several stay-at-home dads, and while they often feel isolated and frustrated (as do stay-at-home moms), I haven't heard them say that they are disparaged as deadbeats. Do you have any evidence to support your belief? Here's a list of a bunch of Daddy blogs, if you feel like going through them for evidence that people think they're deadbeats.…
@Hunter78 what 66 said had nothing to do with house husbands. Neither did the original letter. Nobody likes people who sit around while the other person does all the work in the house and out. For the record my husband was awesome while out of work and with a one year old. I think house husbands are changing the face of American culture in an amazingly awesome way. What you said should be addressed but what 66 said really shouldn't. The guy LW1 is talking about is most definitely not a house husband. In this day and age of busy lives and tough economy everyone has to contribute and if you don't you are a deadbeat regardless of your gender. Or if you are depressed.

Please tell Bisexual But Bipartisan that the definition of a "compassionate conservative" is someone who takes away your food stamps and then tells you how sorry he or she is that your children are starving!
Too Soon, remember to SEPARATE YOUR BANK ACCOUNTS and get your name off of any joint bills including the rent BEFORE you move out. After a crappy relationship, the last thing you want is collection agencies arriving to collect your partner's debts.
About the first letter, I don't get how a "driven, hardworking, loving and happy" boyfriend turns into a lazy, hateful, selfish wanker overnight. On the WEDDING night. That just don't happen, do it? Something doesn't smell right.
Dan have read you for years and always thought you were a pretty good guy. What an asshole thing to say about Republicans tho. All Republicans are bad? Pretty small thinking.
Spends all day playing video games and jerking off. No job. Filthy apartment. It could be clinical depression, but it also sounds a lot like the average life of a 24 year old dude. That's more or less what I was doing at 24. Only difference - I didn't have a wife bringing home money, so I had to work a part time job to pay the very few bills I had ($250/month rent! I miss those days. Except for the part where I had to live with four filthy dudes to pay that little rent).

No relationship is worth working very hard at when you're under 30 and there are no children or major financial entanglements. Chalk it up to a youthful mistake and move on before you have something more serious than a rental lease and memories of "cosmic" sex keeping you together.

TSTQ one final thought. Cut him off sex. Even once a week shitty sex is too much sex. If he asks throw his own line back at him, "Oh honey I would love to but it's too much effort to get you off."
@99 SSRIs have helped many people, myself included. Certainly, they don't work for everyone, but to say that they are "almost useless for most cases of depression" is a stretch.
Liberals suck
Haha I love people's logic. "Hey I was a bag of shit when I was 20 something, all 20-something's are, this broad is crazy for expecting any different!"

Sure some 24 year olds are sitting around doing jack all, but some 24 year-olds are busting their ass in law school, some are starting up their own business, working as engineers, working on their masters, slogging through med school, photographing concerts and festivals - and a lot of these people (men included!) want someone to settle down with. And yes, every one of those are specific examples are literal people who either are or recently were that age.
@70 you nailed it. Weekly sex, not having to work and having a women to yell at when she dare suggest he get off his lazy ass. He doesn't want out, this is HIS perfect relationship which is why she should leave ASAP. And not turn around.
@95 is spot on! TSTQ, take Yikes Too Soon's word.
I also agree with Tito (@105) that CallezCal's (@70)
comment nailed it.
But I DO have one thing to add, however:
By moving TSTQ's husband's stuff out, changing the locks,
putting HER money into separate accounts, and seeking advice
about protecting her credit rating and legal rights, the ball goes
into HIS court.

Is he willing to get off his lazy ass to stay with her?
If not, THEN, to TSTQ I DO recommend DTMFA.
And, as Tito says, not turn around.
Wasn't it Obama who sold us out to the banks ? Yes, the same way that bush sold us out to the war machine. They are both the same, D-baggers are the same kind of stupid as tea-baggers.
Sounds like neither of them likes to work very much. If the sex was good, and they had a closeness and were both pulling for the team she probably wouldn't mind working Iam guessing but complaining about working an "exhausting full time job" are white girl problems. If this guy could do some housework and please some pussy, they would have what they need to make it out of this.
Everyone seems to be really eager to lawyer up and say fuck the person I swore to stick by. I don't know if there is a lot of bitterness ? But bitter people seem to believe that the right thing to do is to make their happiness a blood sport a d it seems to be coming out in these comments. No trial separation, no nothing just "get a lawyer, pack your shit and consider it a throw away marriage" (like I should have when I was in my 20's and enamoured by the guy I thought I had nailed down." Don't project your mystery and selfishness onto them, they are young BUT if its not a team, it is bullshit.