Dear Nancy, I lost my wife of 42 years just a year ago

I lost my wife of 42 years just a year ago, and even though I’ve started dating again, I’m not quite feeling sexually ready yet. In fact, although I’ve been seeing one woman for over a month, the first time I spent the night it was totally awkward and embarrassing. I am wondering if my issue has to do with my guilt or my depression medicine. Any suggestions?

  • Steve – 69 -Exton

Dear Steve,

First let me say, I am sorry for your loss. It can be very complicated emotionally and physically when getting back in the dating game after many years or decades. There are many reasons for erectile dysfunction (ED) and it is the most common sexual problem for men. In fact, according to the Urology Care Foundation, it is estimated that it effects between 15-30 million men. The cause of ED can be both psychological and physical, and my feelings are that in your case it might be a little of both.

Factors that contribute to ED include smoking, obesity, substance abuse, depression, and many medications. The important thing is to go see your doctor promptly and discuss your situation with him or her. My advice is that you talk to your partner as well, if you feel she’ll be supportive and understanding.

There are many easy ways to treat ED. However, what you might need is just time. Coping with your grief of losing your wife may be more than you can handle yourself. It is normal to feel agitated, melancholy, withdrawn, and exhausted at time. If you feel it is keeping you from enjoying everyday life, it may be time to talk to a counselor or therapist. There is no shame in asking for help. Change and transition are a part of life, and sometimes we can all use a little support. Don’t ignore the problem. Please call your doctor today and start finding answers. Good luck!