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GeorgeSand

Incompatibility isn't the whole problem

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Serran
I've tried explaining it, gently, non-accusingly. He's silent.

I haven't noticed any effect in rational approach. No amount of explaining or convincing works. No amount of being nice. You will not get it as a reward for being nice. But you might get it if you're not nice, so that you become nice again. Sad but that's how it seems to work. Only when everything breaks down then you may have some negotiating power, but as long as things are good the other side feels there's no need to negotiate and compromise. Because there really isn't if you're selfish and uncaring.

I, like so many other sexuals, didn't understand that asexuality was an actual state of being, not a choice.

Ultimately it's both. For example, if someone is alcoholic, what's that? Yeah, he's drunk, it's a state of being. But it's also a choice. With the difference being that it's easier to stop drinking that to stop being asexual. And I'm not even sure you can stop being asexual directly, I think that would come only after changing some other aspects of personality.

OK... seriously, these two sections scare me. You suggest being "not nice" to get a person to "compromise" so you'll be "nice again"? So, what, act like a total jerk to your partner in order to get them to have sex with you, so you'll stop being a jerk? What sort of messed up relationship would that be? I'm totally cool with people stating their needs, but you can do that in a "nice" and also respectful manner. And why would anyone want to be with someone who they felt was selfish and didn't care about them anyway? And NO asexuality is not a choice. I could not "stop being asexual" if I wanted to.

The reason compromise and communication can happen is because two people care about and respect each other. It can be hard. It can suck. It can be scary. It can be a lot of hurt feelings and anger making both sides say things they don't mean. But, ultimately, it works only when two people want to work to make sure BOTH people are happy. And sometimes there is no just absolutely no middle ground where both can be happy. And it really hurts when that happens, but it's a fact of life love does truly not "conquer all" if you're just too incompatible on a relationship need.

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Skullery Maid

Matthew, I'm confused...

Do you honestly think that sex is so important that it's worth throwing out your own morality, kindness, compassion, and empathy for the person who is supposedly your love? And, what philosophical school of thought are you attributing to this premise, that lack of sex justifies treating someone as a means to an end, as a physical outlet, as a toy to be manipulated, as a poor beggar who deserves to suffer for your kindness? Because that's what it is, isn't it... you're advocating treating our loved ones terribly until they put out so that we're nice again? And that, to you, sounds like a morally acceptable way to run a marriage?

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GeorgeSand

I am beginning to realize that the problem with my marriage (I'm sexual with an asexual or grey-sexual husband) is not that our sex drives are on opposite ends of the spectrum. Others deal with communication and compromise.

The next realization you will have is that asexuality isn't one characteristic separate of the others, and that there are going to be many other incompatibilities between a sexual and asexual person.

I had to laugh, actually, when I read this... you know, I'm pretty sure I zeroed in on EVERY other incompatibility we had BEFORE the sex thing. I just couldn't even conceive that a man wouldn't want sex, unless there was something wrong with him or me. Ah, socialization. And it turns out all those other things, well, they ended up not being that big of a deal. I'm able to compromise a great deal (and I assume he probably feels the same.) I have faith that other humans are able to, as well.

What scares me is that in some of our arguments, what my husband has said IS scarily similar to what Matthew stated: He's said something to the effect of, he's got no skin in this game; he doesn't believe in marriage in the first place (and yet he is fiercely monogamous and claims you should do whatever you can do to stay married). He doesn't care as much as me because he doesn't feel he needs another person or companionship, and I can't remember if he said outright or implicated that he's fine just waiting around for me to wait around for him to change.

First of all, I would like to see some change, as I've been willing to change, but I realize that the sex may, or may not be something he CAN change. Because I'm only guessing that he's asexual. Second of all, I want to make it clear that I'm not demanding that he change, but I want to discuss it if it's possible.

In any case, my sense is that he said these things when he was angry and shut down.. Because when he realized how close I came to leaving him last fall, he cried for days. I think it's a defense mechanism. I hope they're not really true.

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Serran

What scares me is that in some of our arguments, what my husband has said IS scarily similar to what Matthew stated: He's said something to the effect of, he's got no skin in this game; he doesn't believe in marriage in the first place (and yet he is fiercely monogamous and claims you should do whatever you can do to stay married). He doesn't care as much as me because he doesn't feel he needs another person or companionship, and I can't remember if he said outright or implicated that he's fine just waiting around for me to wait around for him to change.

First of all, I would like to see some change, as I've been willing to change, but I realize that the sex may, or may not be something he CAN change. Because I'm only guessing that he's asexual. Second of all, I want to make it clear that I'm not demanding that he change, but I want to discuss it if it's possible.

In any case, my sense is that he said these things when he was angry and shut down.. Because when he realized how close I came to leaving him last fall, he cried for days. I think it's a defense mechanism. I hope they're not really true.

From your general description of him, it sounds a lot like he's being a bit depressive and negative due to that. But, yeah, hopefully he'll talk to you soon and let you know if he means the things he said, or if it was just the hurt talking. During our arguments, my partner said quite a lot of nasty things. And I probably said a few things that were not so nice. But, that happens in arguments, unfortunately. It's what is said during discussion that matters, as arguments end up being unproductive in general... which I'm hoping you two can get to a place where you can talk, at least. :)

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Matthew89

I don't need my spouse's permission to my asexuality. You can deny consent to sex for any reason, at all, ever.

Sure you can. And then it's called abuse. You can also cheat, lie, drink away household money, emotionally molest each other in other ways, verbally abuse and what not. If you're a girl going into marriage without telling the guy that you're asexual and then refusing sex in marriage - that's abuse. You may not like it, but I don't care. It's abuse. And as with any abuse there are physical or emotional scars. Ask any sexual living with asexual if he feels emotionally scarred. There are plenty here on the forum, and if a psychiatrist reads how they feel, without reading why, he would say "abuse".

Gandhi's followers were not spouse abusers because they decided to give up sex to follow his beliefs (though, by your statement, Gandhi himself was a spouse abuser cause his wife didn't want to give up sex and his beliefs caused him to do so).

Yea I think all this is repulsive. Not only is it abuse, it's also self-righteous posing. Gandhi was a lustful man who was even sleeping naked with young girls under the pretense of 'practicing sex restraint'. He was having sex since he was 13 years old, and had how many children? He was having sex while his father was dying so later he blames it on sex that he wasn't present at his deathbed.

All in all, a man with many mental issues. And instead of curing these mental issues his followers instead abuse their wives. What does this remind me of? Ah yes, Christian priests who are pedophiles and also have repressed sexuality, and instead of dealing with that they preach chastity and celibacy.

This guy, Gandhi, said that "it's a duty of every Indian not to marry". He had issues.

Neither are the people who decide to do it to conserve chi. Neither are people who just decide to give up sex cause they feel like it. Giving up sex for your own reasons is never abuse.

Yes, it's abuse. You want personal reasons - go solo. I don't like the attitude of "I'm in the relationship but it's all about me me me me me me me, and how others feel doesn't matter to me".

That's like a man marrying a woman, impregnating it, and then saying: "I've given everything to charity, we own nothing and will live in a trailer park". That's abuse and it's cheating because the woman entered the relationship to be able to have a kid and raise it in financial safety. No, he didn't tell her they're gonna live in a trailer park but he had money. So it's misrepresentation, false advertisement, and misleading.

Your body belongs to no one but yourself. I don't care if you're married. If you decide you do not want sex, you can say you don't want sex. No one has to say you need a "valid" reason to say no to sex, not your spouse, not your parents, not your religion.

That's actually quite interesting what you said. Yes I disagree with all of it but that's not the point. I feel like I'm discovering the essence of asexuality. And it is this word "belong" that intrigues me. That inability to share, fear or unwillingness of belonging, being close to someone. Of course when you want to stay on the sidelines, far aside, or in the corner, that there's not going to be sexuality present. It's the merging force, not just with other people but with other things.

And I don't think that your body belongs to you. I don't think that's the case in asexuality. I think it's the opposite - it doesn't. It's not your body. It's this alien piece of flesh that asexuals are unable or unwilling to accept as their own, or at least fully in all parts.

Now, if you turned it around and started belittling/insulting/manipulating your spouse over sex... yes that is a form of abuse. But, just saying "I don't want to have sex for X reason" is NEVER abuse, I don't care if you dislike the reason.

It's abuse. It's like saying "I'm not going to talk to you, wife, for next 3 months at all, because I'm playing Call of Duty". That's abuse.

But what's interesting here is that you don't see it as an abuse. You don't see the other side being hurt, you don't see what's causing the hurt, and you don't care if hurt is there or not. Not only that but you don't consider it has something to do with you. It's not your fault and it's not your problem, right?

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Philip027
And I don't think that your body belongs to you. I don't think that's the case in asexuality. I think it's the opposite - it doesn't. It's not your body. It's this alien piece of flesh that asexuals are unable or unwilling to accept as their own, or at least fully in all parts.

Hahaha, oh man. You're a riot.

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Skullery Maid

What scares me is that in some of our arguments, what my husband has said IS scarily similar to what Matthew stated.

In any case, my sense is that he said these things when he was angry and shut down.. Because when he realized how close I came to leaving him last fall, he cried for days. I think it's a defense mechanism. I hope they're not really true.

1. Eeek.

2. I hope so too.

In answer to your question about timing... I think 2 years sounds like a fair time period. The truth is, when you're done, you're done, and only you know when you've hit that point. And while I personally believe we owe it to the people we made commitments to to try, you've tried. You are unhappy in a way that you shouldn't have to be, and if you find yourself at that "i'm done" point, I don't see why you shouldn't allow yourself to embrace it.

Your body belongs to no one but yourself. I don't care if you're married. If you decide you do not want sex, you can say you don't want sex. No one has to say you need a "valid" reason to say no to sex, not your spouse, not your parents, not your religion.

That's actually quite interesting what you said. Yes I disagree with all of it but that's not the point. I feel like I'm discovering the essence of asexuality. And it is this word "belong" that intrigues me. That inability to share, fear or unwillingness of belonging, being close to someone. Of course when you want to stay on the sidelines, far aside, or in the corner, that there's not going to be sexuality present. It's the merging force, not just with other people but with other things.

I hate to burst your bubble, but I'm sexual and I very much agree that one's body is one's own. To think otherwise is to have had the privilege of no one ever trying to use your body against you. That's not a sexual orientation thing, that's an experience/ personality thing.

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Serran

1) Under the logic of "you cannot deny consent, or it's abuse, unless your partner is OK with that" rape can never happen, especially spousal rape. Which, is such a scary idea it's not even funny.

2) Not desiring sex is not "rejecting your body". I am totally cool with my body. Granted, I wish I could change a few things, like my hair is too curly for my tastes. But, yeah, that isn't rejecting my body either. And yes, it does belong to me. I can SHARE it with someone OF MY CHOICE if I want to. But, it's mine. I am merely consenting to share it. They don't own it. They are not entitled to it.

3) You are the one saying it's all about "me, me, me" ... the sexual. The asexual being hurt by having sex? Tough, go solo (though, I am pretty sure Skullery and the OP would be hurt if their partner decided to break up with them right now over the sex issue). However, the sexual being hurt by not having sex? Act "not nice" until your asexual partner will do anything to stop the mean behavior, even hurt themselves. Do you not see how that is totally disrespecting and ignoring the asexuals needs to meet the sexual's? Both parties needs are important. That's why communication is important. And if you CANNOT come to a spot where you both MUTUALLY want to do something (yes, asexuals can want to have sex to please their partners, we can consent to that...) then no, you can't expect the person that doesn't want to do something to just do it anyway, forget their own needs.

Relationships are about BOTH parties (or more, if poly). However, no one is ever entitled to ANYONE doing anything they don't want to. It would be incredibly cruel of me to force my partner into doing things that I want, that hurt me to not get, if he doesn't want to and has said so. I will NEVER force him to cuddle with me, it causes him distress. He will never force me to have anal sex, it causes me distress. That's called mutual respect that each person decides where their boundaries are themselves. And if I was feeling so hurt by him denying me something I want that I couldn't take it, I would leave him. Because I can't force him to want something I want. Or to do something he doesn't want to. That would be called disrespecting him and his ability to decide for himself what he will or will not do. And acting mean to him to get him to do it just so I stop acting mean, I am pretty sure most people would call THAT abuse. However, him saying "I don't want to" is not abuse. Just like an asexual saying "I don't want to have sex" is not abuse. Ever.

Though, yes, an asexual should (if they know it themselves, you can't really tell someone what you don't know) be up front before a relationship starts that they are asexual and do not want sex. However, some people were unable to discover that until already in a relationship. At which point, both parties have to decide together what will work or not work. Not, "I am a sexual. I am hurt by lack of sex. Therefore I don't care if it hurts you, give me sex or you're abusing me"...

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GeorgeSand

Yeah, look, Matthew, I've had friends convince me that this is emotional negligence on his part... abuse's consort. It's bullshit. If my husband was trying to manipulate me or make me feel unloved on purpose, that would be one thing. But he's not. As negative as he is, as hurtful the things he's said are to me, he's not withholding sex just to make me suffer. He doesn't masturbate. He doesn't look at porn. He doesn't look at others and comment or, I believe, even think about others in terms of whether they're attractive - because he really just doesn't care about sex. In the same way that I could care less about baseball. I have no IDEA what's going on in the world of baseball. It's preposterous to believe that he's changed his entire nature just to hurt me or as a way to make me suffer.

Even as a sexual, there are times I don't want to have sex. If my husband forced himself on me, that would be it, the end.

I don't care whether you're with a sexually compatible person or not, you're not going to have a good relationship if you can't at least TRY to be empathetic, to see the other's perspectives on the shit in life that just comes with the territory. Finances, emotions, sex, work equality. All of it. If you go around solely blaming the other person for your relationship woes, you'll get nowhere.

Furthermore, doing something to someone when they don't want to do it doesn't improve EITHER of your situations. Talk about putting up walls! Even TALKING to my husband when he doesn't want to talk leads us closer to breaking up. Let alone if I threatened him. I can't see how that works with ANYONE you actually care for. Why you would threaten someone you love. That's... that's just not love.

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Matthew89

Yes, threatening can be love. Obviously not the useless unconditional kind of love. But if you care about someone and he's, say, a drug addict, then you can threaten to leave him if he doesn't stop. And that can improve the situation for both of you.

OR

You can daydream about love and unicorns and rainbows and have a miserable life because things won't magically improve on their own, nor are sweet words known as effective problem solving tactic.

Also, abuse can be unintentional. And it quite often happens out of love.

Either way, with that much talk of love and lalalah you got no gambling chips. Nothing. You're stuck with him for next several decades and you're going to either slowly watch how your love turns into resentment or how a huge part of your lifeforce is cut away and gone. He has full control of the situation and if needed he will even cry like a baby for days binding you with emotions, and once back in control you got nothing. Nothing on him. And he won't do anything for you because he doesn't need to.

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GeorgeSand

I think I'm being pretty realistic, actually. I don't think I'm going to wake up tomorrow and get a man who wants to make passionate love to me every day and cuddle all the time in between.

I think I'm being fair, knowing that there are still things I could be doing better and that one of those things might be exactly what he needs. Giving him time to heal from the very hurtful thing I did to him. I would expect the same in return, if the tables were turned. I love him, and I think part of love is wanting peace and healing and happiness for the other person, and doing whatever is within your power to bring those things about. It may not be possible. I do believe that. But until I've done everything I can, I'm not giving up. I can be a better person, a better wife, for him.

And you know what? While I become incredibly lonely sometimes, incredibly lonely, and my heart breaks thinking about how much I would love to share my passion and love with my own husband, and can't seem to... I'm a STRONGER person, a better person because of the difficulties of our marriage and my willingness to keep looking for ways to improve myself. The things I'm learning will make me a better wife for someone else, if this doesn't work out. So I'm not getting "nothing" out of this. I've been forced to center myself in ways I hadn't in my previous 24 years of life. I'd call that a net gain, no matter the outcome.

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Sally

Either way, with that much talk of love and lalalah you got no gambling chips. Nothing. You're stuck with him for next several decades and you're going to either slowly watch how your love turns into resentment or how a huge part of your lifeforce is cut away and gone. He has full control of the situation and if needed he will even cry like a baby for days binding you with emotions, and once back in control you got nothing. Nothing on him. And he won't do anything for you because he doesn't need to.

That's pretty strongly stated by someone who doesn't know the person you're talking about -- and very unhelpful.

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GeorgeSand

Right. Also:

You're stuck with him for next several decades and you're going to either slowly watch how your love turns into resentment or how a huge part of your lifeforce is cut away and gone

I think that resentment is something that is within one's own control. It may come up from time to time, for me, and certainly for others, but I deal with it, and it's not necessary to feed it. I could remain resentful about A LOT of things in my marriage, and I'd bet you that's true for most people - but whether we allow the resentment to command our lives or not is up to us. I CHOOSE to look at this a different way, because I believe anger is only rarely a helpful emotion.

Not that I don't get unreasonably angry, obviously, I've already proven that I do indeed sometimes lose my temper on these forums! But when it does happen, it seems good not to hold onto it; let it go. Be zen.

Maybe we should try the same thing for ALL our unhelpful emotions, what do you think? Let these emotions inform us, but not control our actions. Maybe it only seems to me that I can't control my loneliness and sadness. Maybe they're just as within my control as my anger.

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Lady Girl

Maybe we should try the same thing for ALL our unhelpful emotions, what do you think? Let these emotions inform us, but not control our actions. Maybe it only seems to me that I can't control my loneliness and sadness. Maybe they're just as within my control as my anger.

My philosophy is that we can't control our emotions as easily as we can our thoughts. We can consider things to think that might help us out during times of experiencing negative emotions so that we can more quickly escape their stronghold on us.

I generally feel negative and say or do unpleasant things and then feel as though I return to a more reasonable state of mind. I sort of just let myself feel bad now, but make an effort to remember that I don't want to do or say things I will regret. I also try to remember that I don't always feel negative and I hope that it doesn't last long.

I used to let negativity take hold and have control...for days on end it seemed. I realized that can make you sick and maybe I should try to do something about it.

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GeorgeSand

Hmmm, I think in some sense you're right, LG. "We can't control our emotions as well as our thoughts." But do you mean we can't control our emotions, period? Not sure if that's what you're saying.

But I also think that you can use thoughts to control your emotions. I can think of so many instances where I just "wallowed", and let the anger build into this huge monstrous cloud that touched everything in my life, all the time. I've used thought and reason, to control that anger, bring it down, and eliminate it. I mean, not over everything. But whereas I used to spend, say, 85% of my day angry or resentful (about whatever, not just the husband and lack of sex!), I would say I'm faaaaaaarrrrr less so now. Most days, not angry at all, about anything. Life's too short, I decided! There are things that used to send me into a rage that actually make me smile a bit now.

Anyway. I think we're saying the same thing. We can choose to focus on thoughts that make us feel resentful, or we can choose to focus on thoughts that make us feel love, or afraid, or sad, or whatever. And, of course, that's easier for some people to do than others, especially if they are anxious or depressed (that's a chicken-or-the-egg thing for me).

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Lady Girl

Yeah...I think emotions happen fast. To an extent we can control how we express our emotions (and our thoughts help us out there), but the initial feelings just seem to be. I guess an example would be getting angry in public...we can't stop getting angry, but by realizing we don't want to embarrass ourselves by yelling (or whatever), we can stop ourselves from making a scene. We will probably still be angry, but thoughts and outside influences can affect behavior that might be connected to the negative emotion.

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Tarfeather

*yawns and rubs eyes* "Good morning everyo-" *notices starts of Matthew's post and over 1 page worth of followup* What the FU--

@sadwife, Skullery: Honestly, I personally don't even *get* the whole thing about being "positive", etc. I mean, from my perspective, this world is pretty shit, right? Personally, trying to make myself think "This world isn't so bad/my life isn't so bad" would screw me up, because trying to be positive when the world around you clearly isn't that positive, is a recipe for making yourself feel broken and depressed. "It's my fault I feel so bad, it's something inside of me", when really, there is every indication that "Yeah, my life does suck this much, I have the right to feel like this." That's not saying you shouldn't try to make yourself feel good, e.g. by what Serran suggested (essentially escaping into a dream world), but with regards to the real world, I'll never understand that people want to see it for anything better than it actually is.

Anyway, one's life may seem to include everything, but it still may be lacking vital things. Sure, you may have financial security, but what about stuff like self-expression? There are many needs beyond the basic ones that, if unfulfilled, can make you unhappy. The way you react to the absence of sex is a prime example.

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Tarfeather

The point of relationships is EXPECTANCY of certain things from a partner. If you don't expect anything from your partner that means you consider him worthless in every way, or maybe he really is.

Some things partners don't want to do. Like to go to work. Do the dishes. Clean the room. Take care of the kids. And so on. But in a normal good relationship you EXPECT that your partner will do these things even if he doesn't want to.

And that's the difference between a good relationship and quasi-relationship where two selfish people are making their lives miserable.

You're not going to do well at work doing only things you want, you're not going to do well in school doing only things you want, you're not going to be a good parent by letting your kid do only things it wants, and why would it be any different in a romantic relationship. It's just an excuse to be selfish. But relationships where one side does not care for the needs of the other is not a healthy relationship and probably won't work out.

You have a sad and bitter outlook on life. If you really have made all these experiences in your life, that you can't just be yourself and it'll be okay, that you have to force yourself into all kinds of things just to live your life.. Yeah, I do feel sorry for you. That's not how my life works, though. Me and my partner, we're both selfish. You'd be amazed how much two selfish people can actually care about each other and sacrifice for each other, without there being any "expectations" of the other doing so.

Except that in the East when you decide to forgo sex you also decide to forgo companionship with women. In Hinduism, when you decide on a marital life, it is your duty to sexually satisfy a spouse. Sleeping in the same bed as your wife, avoiding sex and pretending you're some kind of eastern mystic is abuse. That's what it is. And I don't care if that person puts on a robe and calls himself a philosopher.

I tentatively agree.

The next realization you will have is that asexuality isn't one characteristic separate of the others, and that there are going to be many other incompatibilities between a sexual and asexual person.

Sometimes it is and sometimes it isn't. For my girlfriend, her asexuality is clearly a result of the rest of her personality. But then there are asexuals who are "normal" in every way, except that they don't enjoy sex. So, don't generalize.

I'd say this is also typical. You can only negotiate if you have an advantage. Like, if the other side if afraid of losing you. Once you don't, it's done. And I think a marriage gives a safe haven because the person knows divorce is your only gambling chip, and it's unlikely you're going to lose it.

http://therationalmale.com/2011/08/19/the-cardinal-rule-of-relationships/

Wow, that article starts somewhat reasonable, and then suddenly:

Once this precident is set, she will progressively have less respect for you – exactly opposite of the popular conception that she’ll appreciate your compromising for her and reward you for this.

Yes, obviously that will happen, because all women think and work the same way. *All* of them, without exception. Does this dude also follow /r/theredpill or something? If this guy is really giving advice to people, I shudder to think of the relationships that have been destroyed by people taking him seriously.

Except that your husband isn't above it, he's BELOW it. For example, my ex-gf was shy, and afraid and uncomfortable with sexual stuff. That's not above it, it's below it. It means sex controls you, instead of you controlling sexual urges. Your husband just picks and chooses philosophy that he can use to justify his own behavior. Is he a Buddhist? Or just citing Buddhism? If he's a Buddhist, what else does he do besides avoiding sex?

Again, tentatively agree.

Ultimately it's both. For example, if someone is alcoholic, what's that? Yeah, he's drunk, it's a state of being. But it's also a choice. With the difference being that it's easier to stop drinking that to stop being asexual. And I'm not even sure you can stop being asexual directly, I think that would come only after changing some other aspects of personality.

You have no idea what you're talking about, do you?

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GeorgeSand

Honestly, I personally don't even *get* the whole thing about being "positive", etc. I mean, from my perspective, this world is pretty shit, right? Personally, trying to make myself think "This world isn't so bad/my life isn't so bad" would screw me up, because trying to be positive when the world around you clearly isn't that positive, is a recipe for making yourself feel broken and depressed. "It's my fault I feel so bad, it's something inside of me", when really, there is every indication that "Yeah, my life does suck this much, I have the right to feel like this." That's not saying you shouldn't try to make yourself feel good, e.g. by what Serran suggested (essentially escaping into a dream world), but with regards to the real world, I'll never understand that people want to see it for anything better than it actually is.

A few points, here. Let's start at the end:

1) How come YOU get to decide what the world "actually is"? :) I mean that in a friendly way. But really, I suspect your view of the world is just as limited by your own experiences as most of us. I also don't believe in "good" and "bad" as concrete things. What's good for one person may be bad for another. I don't believe there's any universal scale of goodness and badness. Just rules about how the universe works, and then goodness and badness within the structure of human society, which is certainly a flexible concept. That's my personal belief, and may not be others', I understand.

2) With this in mind, I do understand that if one feels their situation is shit, it's hard to hear that they should "just change their attitude". I come from a background of genetic bipolar and mental disorders - EVERYONE in my father's family is affected. All his siblings, his parents and grandparents. I was treated for juvenile depression. I was very depressed when I married my husband...new city, isolation, mother died, etc....And my husband's whole approach to it was, "Why are you so depressed? Just change your attitude." Oh man, I hated him for that. But after a life of fighting off depression... damned if it didn't work! I haven't been in the mental arena of "Everything is horrible, I hate myself, life is worthless" for six or seven years. That's a long time, for me.

I know this doesn't work for everyone. My dad went off his meds and ruined his entire life, for instance. So no, just drowning yourself with anthems of, "Everything is fine" is not the answer. But drowning yourself in anthems of "Everything is shit" seems equally unhelpful.

3) But I do really, truly, believe that there's a lot in life to be enjoyed, and we're pretty darn fortunate. And WOW the world is amazing! I mean, I really believe that. That's not a "lying to myself" thing. Many of the people I know are caring, funny, intelligent, accepting, forgiving. There's so much to be enjoyed outside - snow and trees and wind and sun and the smell of the earth and cut grass and the sounds of birdsong and frogs. Have you HEARD a symphony? I mean, human beings blow through these objects and rub sinews across strings and pluck at metal wires, and eighty or so of them get together and make this thing called MUSIC, playing in tune and in sync. Like, wow. Really, wow. I can go down to my living room, turn on the TV, and watch pretty much anything I want. Probably more than I want, in truth. I can watch people in electromagnetic form (well, formerly) who are now DEAD on a hunk of metal and plastic on my wall. I can peer at Jupiter or Saturn from my driveway through a tube with some glass and mirrors. WHAT?!

So, no, it's not all a mushy gushy fantasy world I'm living in. Those are real things.

We have all our basic needs met, which is more than many people. We have all the material things we could ever want, all the food, really amazing food if we're in the mood, plenty of hobbies. Yes, we're working on the emotional/esteem/actualization part of Maslov's hierarchy... I don't see any reason to be bummed about that. But then, I don't get the "World is shit" perspective. :P

4) Of course you have the right to feel bad about the bad things. Bad things exist. But feeling bad about the bad things didn't really make life better for me, or even help me to address the bad things. They just crippled me. Maybe that's not true for others. So I guess what I was saying is that you let them inform you - hmmm, I feel hurt; this must be important. And then I guess the next step is to go on and try to figure out if the hurt comes from a wrong perception in your own mind or from a valid perception of the situation. And then choose what you want to do about it, instead of feeding that anger or resentment, etc, because at that point, the emotion has already done its job. It's a very pragmatic approach, I suppose.

I still need to work on this, obviously. :) And this is so good for me, to kind of be laying all these ideas out instead of letting them remain jumbled in a tangled knot in my mind. So thank you for your guys' patience. :)

Tarfeather, out of curiousity, do you really believe there's not much good in your life right now?

EDIT, more thoughts:

It seems you are young, in Uni, and thus I might venture to guess, stressed and at least a little poor. Those alone are solid reasons to feel overwhelmed. I hope it gets better for you...

Since we have at least one fellow Bjork fan following this thread ;) - I'd like to quote one of my favorite Bjork songs:

"If you wake up, and the day feels broken: Just lean into the crack... and it will tremble, ever so nicely; you'll notice how it sparkles down there.

I can decide what I give but it's not up to me what I get given."

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Tarfeather

Hmmm. I thought about what you said. This is what I realized: When I said "This world is shit", I meant "The human society and culture we're forced to partake in is shit". To me, there's not much difference between the two statements, because I can not possibly imagine life independent from the mainstream human culture. I depend on them for living space, for food, and heck the fact that I share the same planet with them will mean that they're eventually gonna nuke either me or my ancestors out of existence anyway. To me, this society is "the world", and I absolutely detest and loathe it.

Yes, there are awesome things in "the world" in general. There's the people I like, for one. There's amazing and interesting and curious stuff. But it all feels like islands in a sea of despair and hopelessness to me.

There's a lot of good in my life ever since I met my partner. Like, it's such a drastic difference, it's why I realize now that no, this wasn't me being depressed. This was my life being terrible. Now that there's a woman in my life who actually loves me for who I am, I feel that the whole thing is a lot more bearable. I even feel motivated to do things, to change things, to improve things.

But overally, logically, I realize that I will never be able to change much. I will live out my small life. It will be worthwhile because I have someone important to me. But in general, the feeling I have about this world is sitting in a bus with the driver steering full steam ahead toward a cliff. And everyone else in the bus agreeing that's the perfect direction to go. So.. yeah, I'll have fun on my seat, but I'm not gonna try to save the bus.

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GeorgeSand

Yeah, I think you and my husband are similar. It doesn't even seem like depression, at least, for him. It's just his worldview.

I, on the other hand, think that humanity has just gotten better and better over time! More knowledgeable, more empathetic towards each other. Still selfish, but less so, it seems like. Yet I understand how frustrating we all are. Our wars, our pollution, our racism, etc. We're working on it, aren't we? On the whole? Or does that not seem true to you?

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Tarfeather

Yeah, I think you and my husband are similar. It doesn't even seem like depression, at least, for him. It's just his worldview.

It's more that, at least to me, this worldview doesn't have much to do with depression. As I said, partially it's the opposite, because when your emotions about the world around you and your rational view of it are in line, you end up feeling better. I've felt depression, it's much worse than this. Depression isn't "Everything sucks", it's "Nothing even matters, I'm drowning". I'm much happier with the former, especially since there's a lot of stuff in my life that doesn't suck and that I can enjoy.

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Corretto

Being 'very unhappy' is way different than being [chronically] depressed. Firstly, separate the two..."saving the bus" may be a bit ambitious; just get off it. I sense you've pushed the 'next stop' button already when you refer to the partnership you have [^^^] "There's a lot of good in my life since I met my partner"'

IMO there's a whole paragraph of +ive vibes there that should blow the gloom-doom stuff away; or at least provide the ammo.

I'd stop rehearsing the shit stuff which you stew-on and chuck it on the curb-side and just navigate one corner at a time. You appear to be logged into nav-gate at the moment and looking far too ahead of yourself. Good luck [apol. for the thrashed analogy...you started it!] :ph34r:

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Tarfeather

"saving the bus" may be a bit ambitious; just get off it.

Good idea. Do you happen to have a spaceship you could lend me? :>

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GeorgeSand

Yeah, Tarfeather, I was thinking about this this weekend. I'm happy that life with your girlfriend seems to have made life seem a little less shitty for you. I'm happy for your own sake, and happy because of what that might implicate for me! Maybe the different perspective I offer my husband IS worth something to him, even if he doesn't outwardly acknowledge it.

There are a few good TED talks about our pessimistic view of society/humanity, and what the data actually suggests. I have to run off, but when I have time I'll link to them. Up to you, obviously, if you're interested to hear them. :)

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*a*rteest

I love listening to all kinds of TED talks. They're great.

SSW, what worries me is that he simply doesn't seem to want to work this out. I truly see you trying to process all this, but is he willing to come here and just maybe read a bit? I see you doing a lot of this soul searching but not him...then he has the nerve to cry when it all falls apart.


It's hard to tell whether this refusal to discuss anything is a sense of entitlement (he just thinks the marriage will work if he remains a bump on a log), or a medical condition (such as depression) or he's truly ace and aromantic. If he simply doesn't want to talk about these issues you can't even determine whether he's ace or not...and just KNOWING he's ace will give you some clarity as to where you stand with him.

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Sally

In a practical sense, it doesn't really matter if a person who demonstrates by action (or inaction) and words that he doesn't want sex says that he's asexual. The relevant fact is that he doesn't want sex and won't have it, and if his partner wants sex, the problem will remain. I know that him telling his partner that he's asexual would constitute a sort of closure, but still, the divide between them will remain.

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GeorgeSand

Okay, so I was gonna argue that if he isn't asexual, that still leaves some room for me to work out the issue and see if I can fix it; whereas if he is definitely asexual, that's it, not likely to get anywhere if he isn't willing to compromise. So I hope that it's some other issue.

But, then I say to myself: "C'mon, he's at least greysexual." Problems with past girlfriends because of it, all the statements about how he just doesn't think it's that important and never has. I mean, there's the small possibility it's all just a defense mechanism, but I guess if he's unwilling to let go of that defense after all the time together and everything we've gone through... why would I think he'd be willing to in the future?

This would be so much easier for me to accept if I couldn't see all the progress we've made in other areas. I mean, for the first 3 or 4 years, we did almost nothing but fight or cry. And now, I feel like I have a partner. We have projects together. We laugh together. We shop together. Even in the last year, even since the affair - progress. Ugh. If we had remained in the depressing, destructive place we started, this would be so much easier. After our affair, for about a week, he let down those defenses, and for the FIRST TIME I really saw that I DID mean something to him more than just a pet or buddy to keep around. And now I know. I don't know if it's better or worse that I know, honestly.

There's a part of me, too, that wonders if the only reason we don't fight anymore is because I try to keep us in a happy place, and just avoid all the icky subjects. Then again, it seems to have at least partially worked. He didn't start doing more stuff with me until I had basically decided to stop bringing up those subjects; didn't walk away from the video games until I started keeping to myself more. Then again, I probably didn't communicate my requests in the nicest way those first few years. Then again, I think I've since become very mature and diplomatic in the ways I've tried to address things like spending and finances, housework and other home projects, and the rudeness with which he treats all and any of my friends and family (he just refuses to socialize with them, period - will leave his chair empty at dinners, etc.) Mmm. I can play this back-and-forth game with myself for forever. It's a problem I have. That's why I'm still here, I suppose. Always seeing "the other side" and doubting myself.

I'm afraid to ask him to read ANYTHING on this website. Anytime I bring up sex, the whole week is shot... he's thinking about it, and our problems, and the affair, etc., and all this thinking just puts him in a dark mood. The walls go up. I lose my partner. So... I'm screwing up my courage, waiting for the right time, the right mood.

I can't play this game forever. I know.

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BerenErchamion

I really don't think "advice" from the misogynistic PUA/RedPill bible is worth taking seriously.

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Sally

He didn't start doing more stuff with me until I had basically decided to stop bringing up those subjects

That's a pretty important point to remember.

To be very simplistic, you either want to be with him or you don't.

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