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teagansk

Sexuals - How to replace empty feeling

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teagansk

Married 19 years. Finally acknowledged my wife is gray asexual earlier this year. I posted a bunch in April when I finally accepted this to be true. While I was grieving, we were still having some sex and I was confident things were getting better. I figured things would be rocky for a while as I accepted that there was no physical attraction from her. I thought we'd eventually settle into a place in our marriage that was overall better than we had been. Giving up the fight and finding acceptance would be a good thing right? I could finally see that her lack of desire did not reflect lack of love.

It has been about 4-5 months since I started to find that acceptance. I never expected this to happen but as I accepted that my wife's sexual attraction was non-existent, over the last several months my physical desire for her has dwindled. I am not sure if I am afraid of the pain or really just realize that what a I seek is not there. Either way, something that has been a huge part of who I am is suddenly gone. I use to think a low desire in me would make my life much easier but it hasn't at all. My sudden lack of desire in itself might not be a huge surprise but I was not at all prepared for the huge feeling of emptiness that remains. Despite being medicated and in therapy with my wife, I am really struggling with depression. I mean, some problems just can't be solved with therapy or medicine and this seems like one of them. I find myself putting energy into other areas of my life (work, friends, etc). However, that spiritual connection that I am accustomed to feeling with my wife is dead. I feel lost. I love my wife and she loves me but it feels more like we are friends. We have a family with kids and I am certain it is God's desire that we are together with each other til the end so leaving (or cheating) is not something I will ever consider. For my wife, she doesn't seem to care. Life just goes on like it always has. No empathy or acknowledgement. I use to feel like we carried the burden of a mixed relationship together but these days it feels like my problem alone, not something we work on to figure out together.

Any advice from sexuals that have gone through this? How do you keep the feeling of connection alive (emphasis on feeling; the spiritual and physical feeling)? Do you struggle to be "happily married" without the feeling of connection? While I am not a sex addict, I have considered going to a SLAA meeting to see if maybe those folks could offer some advice on how to let go of the need for that spiritual connection to a person you love with all your heart. How difficult is it to remain happy in a world where you desperately seek something that cannot be obtained? My super sexy and attractive wife is right there in front of me but it just hurts to be physical with her right now.

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Tarfeather

Sorry, I don't experience that "empty feeling", so I can't help you. I can say as much that if I did experience that, I would definitely opt to consider the relationship a friendship and nothing more.

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Ms.Frankenstein

I feel for you! I'm on the ace side of the equation so I can't relate but it sounds like that really sucks. :(

Are there other ways that you two can connect physically and emotionally without sex? Does she not like any sort of contact or is it just the sticking things in other things that she has no desire for? Are things like cuddling and talking or watching TV or reading together options? Or (as is quite likely the case) am I missing the point entirely?

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butterscotchwm

Not sure if I can help you on this one but I read your story and I just wanted to offer my sympathies. It sounds like you and your wife love each other a heck of a lot, but are not always sexually compatible, which must be frustrating. I mean, I would offer you the Dan Savage approach which is "Do what you need to do to stay together and stay sane." Which doesn't mean cheating, but considering opening up the relationship. You mentioned that you wouldn't be open to that because of religious reasons, which is ok.... And also I understand that what you REALLY want is a spiritual connection with your wife, not just to relieve yourself sexually, I guess...

That's kind of where I start to not understand, as an asexual person. I understand needing to have a sexual release, but you can do that without being attracted to anyone. The whole spiritual / sexual connection that you have with your spouse thing is beyond me... :\. I personally see things like cuddling, hand holding, embracing, (literally just) sleeping together, as very fullfilling, emotionally gratifying experiences with my partner and I don't need anything else.

I hope more non-asexuals comment with their personal stories, I'm sure they'd be of Much better help.

Best of luck!

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Aching

Wish i knew. I am trying to be supportive of my SO, but I don't know how to get what I need, too. It hurts, and I feel like a jerk for wanting to be with her in a sexual way. Nothing prepared me for this.

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Schattenschatz

For my wife, she doesn't seem to care. Life just goes on like it always has. No empathy or acknowledgement. I use to feel like we carried the burden of a mixed relationship together but these days it feels like my problem alone, not something we work on to figure out together.

To me, this seems like the problem. I'm also on the asexual side so I don't know how much I can help, but just from reading what you wrote it doesn't seem like you're actually losing your desire for her, but that you are afraid to initiate things because of what you now know about her sexuality, and the situation is exacerbated by the fact that you now feel alone in dealing with the issue. My best advice is to tell her how you feel; that she has left the burden of dealing with your mixed relationship on you, and you feel that it needs to be a joint effort. It's probably a relief for her to finally not have to worry about sex anymore after so many years of probably thinking there was something wrong with her and trying to make herself feel something she didn't, but that doesn't change the fact that if she wants to make your marriage work, she can't just dump everything on you to handle. If you two can work out a compromise, or can even just get to the point where you're actively talking about what kind of compromise would be tolerable for both of you, I think you will feel a lot better.

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janicecakes

Hi Teagansk, I'm going to pick through everything you said because I am struggling with this also.

Here we go...

"While I was grieving" - I didnt realize after I made this decision also that grieving was a large part of it. My husband doesnt want sex, thats not news to me after 16 years. I feel much better after my decision to stop asking and let it go, however, it hurts.

" I am not sure if I am afraid of the pain or really just realize that what a I seek is not there." - THIS. I think this is the hole. I'm realizing it too. The thought that it isnt there and wont be there. Ever. :(

" I use to think a low desire in me would make my life much easier but it hasn't at all. My sudden lack of desire in itself might not be a huge surprise but I was not at all prepared for the huge feeling of emptiness that remains." - Me too. It helps a little knowing its 'just the way he is' and its not me. I'm not ugly or undesirable. However that doesnt stop the pain like I thought either.

"Despite being medicated and in therapy" Therapy didn't do anything for us. Learning about asexuality has been the biggest help for me. Not saying it wouldnt help you or something I just think I maybe expected my husband to 'see the light' after we went and nothing changed. Or it would for a little while and then it would dwindle down to what it was. It just has to be me I think. Who wants sex when you know they dont desire it.

" I feel lost. I love my wife and she loves me but it feels more like we are friends." THIS THIS THIS! I am struggling with this big time right now. If we don't have sex then what makes us any different than friends who happen to have kids and are living together? Since I decided to let go of sex because thats just not who he is, I find myself having a hard time kissing him (which he is fine with, the peck kisses in the morning and night). I had a hard time calling him 'honey' the other day and realized it felt weird. I love him. I know we are IN LOVE. We do have little kids and teens at the moment so we do get a lot of that 'ships in the night' feeling most parents do. But I really have been feeling like best friends hanging out. He works, I care for the kids. Then we keep busy with baby stuff and family. Its hard for me and I find I'm talking to myself more and more, telling myself its okay and we can be in love without sex. I honestly dont know why its such a struggle right now because its been like this our whole marriage. Maybe i'm grieving. ???

"We have a family with kids and I am certain it is God's desire that we are together with each other til the end so leaving (or cheating) is not something I will ever consider. For my wife, she doesn't seem to care." - I wont lie to you, i've fouled up here. And on some sick level I thought, maybe if someone else notices me, my husband will notice me. (this was years ago. Thankfully i've grown a lot since then). It didnt do anything but almost kill our marriage. (duh). I also hoped he would see, and I tried to explain, I'm sexual and do get tempted. But it didnt change anything either. Its just me. Just MY problem.

How do you keep the feeling of connection alive (emphasis on feeling; the spiritual and physical feeling)?

I am so sorry I do not have the answer to this question. I need it though, so if you find it, please let me know! So far on this journey I pray a lot. Even if its just me alone in the bathroom. lol. When I start feeling the empty, or the loss, or the feeling that 'maybe I should ask for sex' but quickly get shot down just from remembering what comes next, I go pray somewhere so Heavenly Father will take this feeling away. It helps a bit.

Do you struggle to be "happily married" without the feeling of connection? *see answer to the last question*

While I am not a sex addict, I have considered going to a SLAA meeting to see if maybe those folks could offer some advice on how to let go of the need for that spiritual connection to a person you love with all your heart. Boy i've thought of this before also. For years I was hoping for a pill to take away my sex drive, or some way to easily become celibate so our problem would be set aside and forgotten. If only. However talking to others in that situation isnt a bad idea. If you find an online group i'll join with you.

How difficult is it to remain happy -I try to think of couples who are amputee's or arn't physically able to have sex. How do they go on without sex? I'm yet to find a website or blog on that. There HAS to be a way.

My super sexy and attractive wife is right there in front of me but it just hurts to be physical with her right now. -I know what you mean. My hubby is so so so handsome from every angle in every way. He's gained and lost weight and it just didnt change, his face, his hands, his back, his feet, all beautifully handsome. Its like a mean joke. Funny. Then the pain sets in.

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Scorned18yearsandcounting

My husband is also very handsome. I prayed for the first few years for him to find me attractive. Then I prayed for me to stop loving and wanting him. Finally, I prayed for him to lose his looks. I've jumped through every hoop a woman can. He doesn't have any attraction towards me. We live as brother and sister. We had our 20th anniversary in June...I was thinking maybe...but NO. No sex. He doesn't touch me at all, I read that some of you get to at least be held and kissed. I get a kiss when he comes or goes somewhere, and that is it. I'm so unhappy. I long for somebody to want me. My sex life died at 35. He stole it, and threw it into the trash. For years and years I have heard, I love you, I'll work on it, stay with me. Now I'm too darn old and worn out to start over. So here I am seeking some sort of something from y'all. My gorgeous husband is 4 feet away, and yet I am all alone. The yearning is the worse. He had no right to marry me and then to hold me all those years. He knew it would never change, but yet he insisted on me staying... Makes no sense. What kind of man doesn't touch his wife? Ice cold...

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RAZS

I wish I had a solution for the empty feeling. I accept that this is the way it is and always will be. But I a lot and she has no idea there's a problem. I'm just starting anti depressants again because I just can't cope with this emptiness anymore

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contradiction

I am on the Ace side of this- and seeing my husband feel so sad and upset because I can't physically provide for him is SO difficult!!!

But you are not alone. You're just too good of a person to want to leave your S.O. or cheat on them.

Honestly, I almost wish he'd cheat on me and be done with it. I feel so terrible that I can't fill that void for him.. but I can't just open up the relationship, since to me, it would be still cheating- I WANT to be the one who fills that void. I am devastated that I can't. I am totally willing to have as much sex as he can take- even if I hate every minute of it, if it would help- but he is still not fulfilled, because no amount of acting like I'm physically attracted will convince him at this point.

But to be cheated on, and have to give permission for it? and know about it?? and know that it's someone else that can provide true full happiness in MY relationship??

Trust me- the other side sucks too. It is a HUGE void in my heart to know that even if he never does find someone else, that I'm not his one and only. that there is another part that I can't provide no matter how hard I try.

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Trephena

OMG -there is so much pain and emotional suffering here it is soul destroying and what makes it worse is that only those of you who have experienced it can really understand. The rest of us are just bystanders who mainly can only offer sympathy. However I think Scorned18yearsandcounting you have got to plan an exit strategy here. I was in an abusive relationship for most of my marriage where ironically the best part was the very good sex life (however this brought the problem of feeling like I was providing the services of a hooker as the rest of the time I was being put down). I decided to stay until both kids were through Uni and in jobs but withdrew sexually. It then became a strange way of life -a couple on the outside but two separate people under one roof but with two incomes it was 'comfortable easy living'. When I withdrew the sex my husband complained of feeling rejected - I know he saw me as the 'trophy wife' - someone to parade and show off to work colleagues etc.married to dull partners (didn't affect his verbal abuse of me though when they weren't around!) so I still obliged on that front. One day I came home from work and he announced he wanted to sell the house and divide up the proceeds. A huge bombshell but I realised it would have been too stressful to resist. So to cut a long story short I found myself having to start a 'new life' at 50+. It may not have seemed like it at the time but it was the best thing to happen for years. I moved to a new town, new job, became much more laid back, joined a social group so had a busy social life and started internet dating (you need a steady head for this as it can be a minefield but fortunately it worked for me). So what I am saying it doesn't have to be a 'death' sentence if you plan ahead (helps if you are good at managing finances as you may struggle at first). Remember you are the author of your own destiny - have courage there is probably a brave New and happy horizon out there but you have to move towards it, it certainly won't come to you. This advice also applies to janicecakes too. As for teagansk -without trying to be disrespectful of your religious beliefs 'predestination'was a concept used to keep the masses in their place and is anachronistic in the 21st century. If you want to believe that all the suffering in the world is 'God's will' then that is of course your prerogative. However if such a deity exists then I would like to think empathy and compassion were characteristics that epitomized a superior being. This life IMO is not a dress rehearsal and being a martyr to misery is not mandatory. Furthermore both of you may find your quality of life improves if you separate as finally you can be true to yourself.

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ropesend

I think one of the key things you mentioned is that "For my wife, she doesn't seem to care." That is probably leading to the empty feeling. If she cared maybe you wouldn't feel so empty. You are seriously depressed and feeling alone, but for your wife, things are just "like normal". That doesn't seem to be fair to me. It seems like she is content and getting exactly what she wants. But what about you? And yet, your commitment is beyond what I think I could give.

I am new to this forum and new to this whole concept. My husband and I cannot talk about sex without feelings of extreme anger from him. I think he is hetero-romantic but not heterosexual. He claims it is all about a back injury but his lack of desire started about 6 months into the marriage and it's been 10 years now. We have had sex once in the last year and it took a huge fight just to convince him to have sex with me and ended without climax for either of us. I am on the edge of leaving and struggle with the desire to cheat daily. My husband would never cheat on me, and I feel like if I cheated on him it would be the lowest basest thing in the world.

I admire your commitment to your marriage and your commitment to not get divorced or cheat. And it's great that you are in couple's therapy. But I don't think I will be able to do the same thing as you. My husband refuses to talk about this with me (or do therapy), and he expects me to just to live a "complete life" with everything but sexual intimacy. He likes to hold hands, take walks, make me wonderful dinners, watch romantic movies and he tells me he loves me all the time. But sex (in all forms) is off limits. I cannot bring it up, initiate it, or ask for it. We can't even talk about the fact that we're not having it.

I am sitting here crying as I write this. I don't want to get divorced or cheat. The only other option I have is just to give up. I have been thinking that maybe if I try to make it "my idea" like say that "I have decided to abstain from sex for the next two years of our marriage"... then maybe it will give me back that sense of control. I'm sure two years of no expectation of sex would be a welcome vacation for him. For our relationship it would be a period of no fighting, no struggle and total peace. But for me I'm afraid it would feel like a sad and lonely place to be, like my life is passing me by. How can I turn it around to be something empowering? Like a choice I made - not something I am forced into? Or worse yet, was tricked into?

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Lady Girl

My husband refuses to talk about this with me (or do therapy), and he expects me to just to live a "complete life" with everything but sexual intimacy. He likes to hold hands, take walks, make me wonderful dinners, watch romantic movies and he tells me he loves me all the time. But sex (in all forms) is off limits. I cannot bring it up, initiate it, or ask for it. We can't even talk about the fact that we're not having it.

I am sitting here crying as I write this. I don't want to get divorced or cheat. The only other option I have is just to give up. I have been thinking that maybe if I try to make it "my idea" like say that "I have decided to abstain from sex for the next two years of our marriage"... then maybe it will give me back that sense of control. I'm sure two years of no expectation of sex would be a welcome vacation for him. For our relationship it would be a period of no fighting, no struggle and total peace. But for me I'm afraid it would feel like a sad and lonely place to be, like my life is passing me by. How can I turn it around to be something empowering? Like a choice I made - not something I am forced into? Or worse yet, was tricked into?

I know there's a really fine line between you deciding to be celibate and feeling forced into it. But, the bottom line is that even if you would rather not be, if you really don't want to be you can leave and seek out a new partner. So, I'm in a similar situation as you and I decided to give it an honest try. Which meant to me, if I couldn't be happy with him without sex, something else was going to have to happen.

I will say this, deciding to be celibate and actually being okay with it, doesn't mean you'll never fight. You probably won't fight about this anymore though. I don't think you should feel tricked into it, because right now, it sounds like you know what your options are.

I pretty much knew when I did decide, it wasn't going to be for two years or a certain amount of time. I kind of figured it was going to be for as long as we are together (which I'm hoping is for many more years). Anyway, I do know how you feel, and I don't know if anything I've said is any help. But, I thought I'd say something since I can relate.

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NullFame

Well.... It's late, I'm tired, and I didn't fully read every comment (I did quite a bit, still).... In short.. I'm highly sexual.. I've met a girl, who's asexual... we haven't even met yet (video calls only), but we can't let go of each other, we're such big help to each other. I also hate sex. But I'm still addicted to it. She'd be a huge help for my problem. But I would also need at least some sexual activity in my life. And I've always thought, that as long as she accepted my sexuality, and had sex with me sometimes (it doesn't always have to be SEX sex), and thought it would be just a massage, and maybe got the emotional pleasure from knowing I'd like it (just like from cuddling, for example?), everything would work out. And I always thought she doesn't need to have the physical pleasure, just the emotional, it would make the sex just as fulfilling... but after reading this topic... would I someday start feeling empty, too? I do have been secretly hoping, that maybe there's a reason for her asexuality, which could be fixed (I won't talk about it though, I'll let her figure it out herself), but that's most likely not the case... I was rrreally confused... and disappointed for a few weeks.. probably the first month... but it was surprisingly easy to accept it in the end! I mean like I said, I would be okay with it the way I described. I've accepted it easily. I've accepted it early. I have good reasons to accept it. What do you guys think... what will happen in the end? I consider sex as not important, and I think the same energy could be used in a lot of other things, and I do have lots of plans and goals. I'm still ...overly highly sexual....

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Tarfeather

Well.... It's late, I'm tired, and I didn't fully read every comment (I did quite a bit, still).... In short.. I'm highly sexual.. I've met a girl, who's asexual... we haven't even met yet (video calls only), but we can't let go of each other, we're such big help to each other. I also hate sex. But I'm still addicted to it. She'd be a huge help for my problem. But I would also need at least some sexual activity in my life. And I've always thought, that as long as she accepted my sexuality, and had sex with me sometimes (it doesn't always have to be SEX sex), and thought it would be just a massage, and maybe got the emotional pleasure from knowing I'd like it (just like from cuddling, for example?), everything would work out. And I always thought she doesn't need to have the physical pleasure, just the emotional, it would make the sex just as fulfilling... but after reading this topic... would I someday start feeling empty, too? I do have been secretly hoping, that maybe there's a reason for her asexuality, which could be fixed (I won't talk about it though, I'll let her figure it out herself), but that's most likely not the case... I was rrreally confused... and disappointed for a few weeks.. probably the first month... but it was surprisingly easy to accept it in the end! I mean like I said, I would be okay with it the way I described. I've accepted it easily. I've accepted it early. I have good reasons to accept it. What do you guys think... what will happen in the end? I consider sex as not important, and I think the same energy could be used in a lot of other things, and I do have lots of plans and goals. I'm still ...overly highly sexual....

Heheh, those kinds of concerns and thought processes seem familiar to me. One thing to keep in mind, if you haven't slept in the same bed with her yet, it is way too early to say that you've accepted not having sex. I know that it's very tempting to assume that you can deal with it, but.. please take my advice and don't assume that.

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NullFame

Well.... It's late, I'm tired, and I didn't fully read every comment (I did quite a bit, still).... In short.. I'm highly sexual.. I've met a girl, who's asexual... we haven't even met yet (video calls only), but we can't let go of each other, we're such big help to each other. I also hate sex. But I'm still addicted to it. She'd be a huge help for my problem. But I would also need at least some sexual activity in my life. And I've always thought, that as long as she accepted my sexuality, and had sex with me sometimes (it doesn't always have to be SEX sex), and thought it would be just a massage, and maybe got the emotional pleasure from knowing I'd like it (just like from cuddling, for example?), everything would work out. And I always thought she doesn't need to have the physical pleasure, just the emotional, it would make the sex just as fulfilling... but after reading this topic... would I someday start feeling empty, too? I do have been secretly hoping, that maybe there's a reason for her asexuality, which could be fixed (I won't talk about it though, I'll let her figure it out herself), but that's most likely not the case... I was rrreally confused... and disappointed for a few weeks.. probably the first month... but it was surprisingly easy to accept it in the end! I mean like I said, I would be okay with it the way I described. I've accepted it easily. I've accepted it early. I have good reasons to accept it. What do you guys think... what will happen in the end? I consider sex as not important, and I think the same energy could be used in a lot of other things, and I do have lots of plans and goals. I'm still ...overly highly sexual..

Heheh, those kinds of concerns and thought processes seem familiar to me. One thing to keep in mind, if you haven't slept in the same bed with her yet, it is way too early to say that you've accepted not having sex. I know that it's very tempting to assume that you can deal with it, but.. please take my advice and don't assume that.

Yup, I'm giving it a second thought. And.... it wasn't just about not having sex...

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Steve2050

I wonder why people continue to use the word "cheat". The whole concept of cheating refers to something "not agreed upon". So, when A and B get married there is an agreement, whether outspoken or not, that they will have sex in quantity and quality that are considered 'standard' or average, slowly diminishing in quantity and increasing in quality over time. If these parameters are not met because both agree on a different level everything is fine. But all the messages read here are written by either A or B who clearly believe the agreement has not been complied with because the other one changed the rules some time after the wedding. As soon as an agreement has been broken it is healthy to think about alternatives. Healthy. Having sex with another partner is healthy. Not the only solution, granted, but healthy. There should not be an ounce of guilt, either moral or social, because that other sex relationship is a consequence, not a cause. Of course one should talk this over with the beloved one but once it becomes clear that the sexless other is comfortable with having changed the rules of the game there are no longer rules. How can one possibly cheat if there are no rules? I have been married for 37 years to a wonderful woman who is nowadays clearly to be defined as asexual. I drew up a list of 23 reasons why we wouldn't have sex. Until she exploded and clearly stated she doesn't like sex. What part of "I have healthy sex with another woman" is wrong? Which one of us has been cheating?

Thanks for reading and thinking about it. And if it lessens the pain of only one of you the battle is won.

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Autumn Season

Well.... It's late, I'm tired, and I didn't fully read every comment (I did quite a bit, still).... In short.. I'm highly sexual.. I've met a girl, who's asexual... we haven't even met yet (video calls only), but we can't let go of each other, we're such big help to each other. I also hate sex. But I'm still addicted to it. She'd be a huge help for my problem. But I would also need at least some sexual activity in my life. And I've always thought, that as long as she accepted my sexuality, and had sex with me sometimes (it doesn't always have to be SEX sex), and thought it would be just a massage, and maybe got the emotional pleasure from knowing I'd like it (just like from cuddling, for example?), everything would work out. And I always thought she doesn't need to have the physical pleasure, just the emotional, it would make the sex just as fulfilling... but after reading this topic... would I someday start feeling empty, too? I do have been secretly hoping, that maybe there's a reason for her asexuality, which could be fixed (I won't talk about it though, I'll let her figure it out herself), but that's most likely not the case... I was rrreally confused... and disappointed for a few weeks.. probably the first month... but it was surprisingly easy to accept it in the end! I mean like I said, I would be okay with it the way I described. I've accepted it easily. I've accepted it early. I have good reasons to accept it. What do you guys think... what will happen in the end? I consider sex as not important, and I think the same energy could be used in a lot of other things, and I do have lots of plans and goals. I'm still ...overly highly sexual....

Hey there. ^^ I am not sexual, so my opinion might not be all that helpful. But I've been thinking that there are people who need sex for the pleasure and others who need it for emotional connection, in many cases it's both. A sexual life may not hold the same emotional importance to all sexual people. If you have other activities (talking, cuddling, ...) which can make you feel very close to your girlfriend, then it might work out. Still I'm with Tarfeather when he says that you have to be physically close first in order to know how the absence of sex affects you. I would recommend to tell her about your doubts, so that if you cannot deal with the situation after all, she would at least know what is going on and she would have the option from the very beginning to reevaluate your relationship.

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Steve2050

Dear Samurai: you didn't have to say that you're not sexual. The sentence "I've been thinking that there are people who need sex for the pleasure and others who need it for emotional connection" gives you away. I'm sexual. We need sex for physiological reasons. And we WANT sex for the pleasure and for emotional connection". You'll understand the difference if you think about being thirsty. If you're thirsty you need water. Hence you want water. If you're not thirsty you don't need water and therefore you don't want water. In the case of sex you're never thirsty. Nothing wrong with that, except venturing what other people need.

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Autumn Season

Dear Samurai: you didn't have to say that you're not sexual. The sentence "I've been thinking that there are people who need sex for the pleasure and others who need it for emotional connection" gives you away. I'm sexual. We need sex for physiological reasons. And we WANT sex for the pleasure and for emotional connection". You'll understand the difference if you think about being thirsty. If you're thirsty you need water. Hence you want water. If you're not thirsty you don't need water and therefore you don't want water. In the case of sex you're never thirsty. Nothing wrong with that, except venturing what other people need.

Uhm, OK. So what about people who only want sex when they are in a relationship? (I am not talking about demisexuals btw.) They want sex, but not without the romance(/ platonic love). How do those people deal with their "need"? I mean, if I were thirsty and didn't have water until I was in a relationship, I would die.

EDIT: Well, you are probably talking about a "need" as in "in order to be happy/ comfortable". If so, then I can understand that. I never said that sexuals don't need sex to be happy.

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Serran

I wonder why people continue to use the word "cheat". The whole concept of cheating refers to something "not agreed upon". So, when A and B get married there is an agreement, whether outspoken or not, that they will have sex in quantity and quality that are considered 'standard' or average, slowly diminishing in quantity and increasing in quality over time. If these parameters are not met because both agree on a different level everything is fine. But all the messages read here are written by either A or B who clearly believe the agreement has not been complied with because the other one changed the rules some time after the wedding. As soon as an agreement has been broken it is healthy to think about alternatives. Healthy. Having sex with another partner is healthy. Not the only solution, granted, but healthy. There should not be an ounce of guilt, either moral or social, because that other sex relationship is a consequence, not a cause. Of course one should talk this over with the beloved one but once it becomes clear that the sexless other is comfortable with having changed the rules of the game there are no longer rules. How can one possibly cheat if there are no rules? I have been married for 37 years to a wonderful woman who is nowadays clearly to be defined as asexual. I drew up a list of 23 reasons why we wouldn't have sex. Until she exploded and clearly stated she doesn't like sex. What part of "I have healthy sex with another woman" is wrong? Which one of us has been cheating?

Thanks for reading and thinking about it. And if it lessens the pain of only one of you the battle is won.

Discovering that you cannot handle a sexual relationship is not removing all rules of a relationship. There is no "it's not cheating because they won't have sex with me". It still VERY much is, if your partner is not OK with it. Your wife has told you honestly that she does not like sex. That leaves it up to you if you ACCEPT that change in relationship dynamic, or not. If you cannot, then discuss other options. If you cannot come to any options you both agree upon, then leave. It's no different than any other change in a relationship - some will be deal breakers, some will not. That's why marriages don't always last. People grow, find things out about themselves, change, etc. Many sexuals even deal with mixed libido relationships, or different sexual needs, or parts of their lives where sex just isn't interesting... and still isn't a license to get it elsewhere, unless it's discussed and agreed upon.

I am used to relationships meaning lots of physical affection, personally. I assumed sharing beds, cuddling, kissing, being romantic. Nope. My partner isn't into all that. It's ... gimme sex and that's about all I want to touch you for. There is none of that romantic, intimate sharing that I actually like. Just sex, which I dislike. Does that mean I should be allowed to go spend the night at another guys house to get what I want, because I wrongly assumed he'd be into it? Nope. He would not be OK with that, so it's cheating. Even though he did give me it at the beginning and didn't tell me he didn't really like it until years into the relationship.

My ex was really into BDSM, that was the only way he could enjoy sex. I THOUGHT I could handle it, but ended up not being able to. Especially as he progressed deeper into that stuff and ended up admitting a need for a polyamorous arrangement. He told me his needs and desires. I told him mine. They didn't line up. I wasn't angry with him for wanting more people, but it did end up being a deal breaker between us. If he had gone out and done something with another person before we had agreed it was OK (which we never did, as we broke up) then that would have been cheating.

If you cannot handle your wife having no sexual desire, that is fine. If you want an open relationship, discuss it. If you feel you need that, tell her so. But, to do it without permission is and always will be cheating. Her not being able to fulfill your desires doesn't change that. Just like my partner and ex-partners have always had things they couldn't do for me, that was still past that cheating line, but I wouldn't cross it and hurt them just to get what I want. I'd rather end things if I needed it that much.

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Steve2050

Dear Serran. We're getting to the heart of the problem here. You say ". If you cannot come to any options you both agree upon, then leave. It's no different than any other change in a relationship - some will be deal breakers, some will not. " This means that in your set of values we both have to agree on one or more specific options before we actually make such a decision. I agree. However, when she moved from providing a sexual life to become an asexual person she definitely did not ask me whether I agreed. So this means she doesn't have your set of values. That's what I meant by breacking the rules. You cannot have two sets of rules because it would be chaos. And once the rules have been broken there are no more rules. And if there are no more rules you cannot break something that doesn't exist!

tbc

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Tarfeather

The whole concept of cheating refers to something "not agreed upon". So, when A and B get married there is an agreement, whether outspoken or not, that they will have sex in quantity and quality that are considered 'standard' or average, slowly diminishing in quantity and increasing in quality over time.

I call bullshit on that. =/ Making such an agreement is not going to be healthy, or very mature. If that's your idea of marriage, you have other issues to work on than worrying about cheating.

Discovering that you cannot handle a sexual relationship is not removing all rules of a relationship. There is no "it's not cheating because they won't have sex with me". It still VERY much is, if your partner is not OK with it. Your wife has told you honestly that she does not like sex. That leaves it up to you if you ACCEPT that change in relationship dynamic, or not. If you cannot, then discuss other options. If you cannot come to any options you both agree upon, then leave. It's no different than any other change in a relationship - some will be deal breakers, some will not. That's why marriages don't always last. People grow, find things out about themselves, change, etc. Many sexuals even deal with mixed libido relationships, or different sexual needs, or parts of their lives where sex just isn't interesting... and still isn't a license to get it elsewhere, unless it's discussed and agreed upon.

I am used to relationships meaning lots of physical affection, personally. I assumed sharing beds, cuddling, kissing, being romantic. Nope. My partner isn't into all that. It's ... gimme sex and that's about all I want to touch you for. There is none of that romantic, intimate sharing that I actually like. Just sex, which I dislike. Does that mean I should be allowed to go spend the night at another guys house to get what I want, because I wrongly assumed he'd be into it? Nope. He would not be OK with that, so it's cheating. Even though he did give me it at the beginning and didn't tell me he didn't really like it until years into the relationship.

My ex was really into BDSM, that was the only way he could enjoy sex. I THOUGHT I could handle it, but ended up not being able to. Especially as he progressed deeper into that stuff and ended up admitting a need for a polyamorous arrangement. He told me his needs and desires. I told him mine. They didn't line up. I wasn't angry with him for wanting more people, but it did end up being a deal breaker between us. If he had gone out and done something with another person before we had agreed it was OK (which we never did, as we broke up) then that would have been cheating.

If you cannot handle your wife having no sexual desire, that is fine. If you want an open relationship, discuss it. If you feel you need that, tell her so. But, to do it without permission is and always will be cheating. Her not being able to fulfill your desires doesn't change that. Just like my partner and ex-partners have always had things they couldn't do for me, that was still past that cheating line, but I wouldn't cross it and hurt them just to get what I want. I'd rather end things if I needed it that much.

I don't understand you, sorry. Are these so called "rules of a relationship" really that much more significant than being a good partner in the first place? You would accept being deliberately deceived by your partner about what they desire in a relationship, but you would not accept being "cheated on"? It's probably because I don't subscribe to mono-normativity, but to me both of these things seem like equally significant breaches of trust.

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Sally

However, when she moved from providing a sexual life to become an asexual person she definitely did not ask me whether I agreed.

"Providing a sexual life"? She's a person, not a store. As a person, she is free at any time to decide what she wants to do with her body. You have the same freedom. But the important "rule" in a marriage or any close, living relationship is that partners agree to talk about what they individually want and need. If A wants sex and B doesn't want to have sex, then the partnership probably won't work. But it definitely won't work if A decides "the hell with A and the marriage, I'm going to go get what I need." Make a clean decision, don't poison it with feelings of revenge.

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Serran

Discovering that you cannot handle a sexual relationship is not removing all rules of a relationship. There is no "it's not cheating because they won't have sex with me". It still VERY much is, if your partner is not OK with it. Your wife has told you honestly that she does not like sex. That leaves it up to you if you ACCEPT that change in relationship dynamic, or not. If you cannot, then discuss other options. If you cannot come to any options you both agree upon, then leave. It's no different than any other change in a relationship - some will be deal breakers, some will not. That's why marriages don't always last. People grow, find things out about themselves, change, etc. Many sexuals even deal with mixed libido relationships, or different sexual needs, or parts of their lives where sex just isn't interesting... and still isn't a license to get it elsewhere, unless it's discussed and agreed upon.

I am used to relationships meaning lots of physical affection, personally. I assumed sharing beds, cuddling, kissing, being romantic. Nope. My partner isn't into all that. It's ... gimme sex and that's about all I want to touch you for. There is none of that romantic, intimate sharing that I actually like. Just sex, which I dislike. Does that mean I should be allowed to go spend the night at another guys house to get what I want, because I wrongly assumed he'd be into it? Nope. He would not be OK with that, so it's cheating. Even though he did give me it at the beginning and didn't tell me he didn't really like it until years into the relationship.

My ex was really into BDSM, that was the only way he could enjoy sex. I THOUGHT I could handle it, but ended up not being able to. Especially as he progressed deeper into that stuff and ended up admitting a need for a polyamorous arrangement. He told me his needs and desires. I told him mine. They didn't line up. I wasn't angry with him for wanting more people, but it did end up being a deal breaker between us. If he had gone out and done something with another person before we had agreed it was OK (which we never did, as we broke up) then that would have been cheating.

If you cannot handle your wife having no sexual desire, that is fine. If you want an open relationship, discuss it. If you feel you need that, tell her so. But, to do it without permission is and always will be cheating. Her not being able to fulfill your desires doesn't change that. Just like my partner and ex-partners have always had things they couldn't do for me, that was still past that cheating line, but I wouldn't cross it and hurt them just to get what I want. I'd rather end things if I needed it that much.

I don't understand you, sorry. Are these so called "rules of a relationship" really that much more significant than being a good partner in the first place? You would accept being deliberately deceived by your partner about what they desire in a relationship, but you would not accept being "cheated on"? It's probably because I don't subscribe to mono-normativity, but to me both of these things seem like equally significant breaches of trust.

Being deliberately deceived would mean one knows exactly what they want before they enter such a relationship. Learning more about oneself is not deliberately deceiving someone. Neither is admitting this is OK short term, you thought it would be the same long-term but it just isn't.

With my current partner, I am his longest relationship. In the same way an asexual thinks "this is just what you do" about sex, like it or not (and I was told by MANY people that they didn't like sex, but act like they do cause that's just what you do, when I discussed my "issue" with "normal" people), many people think "this is just what you do" when it comes to things like cuddling and such. With my ex, I was his FIRST relationship, he was scared to admit his BDSM desires because it's taboo and he was even more scared to admit his poly-interest because that is even more taboo. In the same way I will not be angry if someone I date figures out they are homosexual, I am not going to be angry when they figure out their likes/dislikes. That's part of life - people figure out things and they may not figure out something you like.

I didn't know asexuality even EXISTED when I first entered my current relationship. I had issues with sex, but I was told it was because I was doing it wrong, or my partner was, or I just needed to loosen up, etc etc. So, my trying and trying wasn't "deceiving" it was simply listening to stupid advice cause society claims everyone loves sex. But, ya know, when EVERYONE you know says it, you tend to believe it. Five years in, I just couldn't do it anymore.. I didn't want to try to like it and love it and want it. Did that change the relationship? Yeah, of course. In the same way my partner telling me he really didn't want to share the bed anymore did. In the same way my partner saying he really didn't want to cuddle anymore did.

These were things we both did because that is what society expected, we were supposed to, we were OK with at the start... but ya know, when you really don't like something, it wears on you after years. And we both had the things we ended up on that with. That does NOT mean I can just go get what he can no longer offer from someone else, same as he can't get what I can't offer from someone else. That isn't how a monogamous agreement works. It's not "give me everything I want, or I go elsewhere" - that's unrealistic and idealistic. If you want to be monogamous, you accept you don't get a lot of what you want. No person can give it all, that's why poly - logically - makes more sense. No one person can be 100% compatible with you. You decide which things are deal breakers, which aren't and go with that.

Relationships are not "OK, we are like this NOW so we're like this forever" - people change, the relationship changes. It's going to do that a lot. I know sexual couples that go through periods, long periods, where one or the other doesn't want sex. One couple I know is going where one doesn't, the other does then by time the one that doesn't wants it again... the other one doesn't anymore. I know couples where major values changed, religions changed, etc. It just happens. People figure themselves out. My cousins are hardly recognizable as who they were when they first got married. These changes don't negate all the rules you agreed to.

If you feel that you had an agreement to have sex a lot AND breaking that is a major breach of trust then...the solution isn't "I will hurt you for hurting me". That's not healthy. That's toxic. And isn't going to end well if your wife is against it.

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El-not-so-ace

This is really eye opening for me as an ace just reading through all of this. :o Sorry I can't add to the topic, but I do wish you all the very best with these challenges. This is a grim reminder to me in case I ever do eventually date someone who has these kinds of needs.

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Steve2050

There is no revenge. If you accept that a person is entitled to change, because time makes you change, then you should divide changes introduced by one partner in two categories: those having no bearing on the partner and those that do. Nobody can introduce a change with a bearing on the partner without a prior agreement with that partner. If they do it means their decision is more important than that of the partner. Which means imbalance. And it won't work. If you are justifying that her decision is fine without a further look at it I'm afraid there isn't much more to be said. Creating an imbalance in a couple is never a good thing. That's all I say. You can never justify it...

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Serran

So, if doing something she finds important hurt you, you wanted to stop doing it and she didn't want you to... you think you should continue doing it because there is no agreement not to and it's a change that would have an effect on you both?

Nearly every change when you are married has some bearing on the partner, because lives are so intertwined. If every change required approval of your partner, that would mean you aren't allowed to be your own person and your life, body, mind and soul belong totally to your partner and you need permission to be yourself. Not very healthy, imo. And if I needed PERMISSION to stop doing something that hurt me in any way, I would stay single forever.

No one said "without a further look", I have said multiple times to talk about it. Talking is awesome. But, if I spent the night in another man's arms because my man can't do that for me anymore, he would be totally justified in considering me a cheater. And most people would consider me as such. If my partner goes off and has sex with another woman, because I lack sexual desire, he would still be cheating. And most people would consider him a cheater.

If one is to say "I need sex. You cannot offer it. I need to get it elsewhere or we need to separate" - imo, that is fine. Stating needs. Or "I need sex, you cannot offer it, what is a solution that would work for us?" etc. Saying "All of our relationship agreements are null and void because you realized sex isn't something you want" ... well, you can if you want. But, it's simply not how healthy relationships work, unless you break up then yes all agreements are null and void. Renegotiating the relationship is what happens all the time. I can/can't do this or that, happens all the time and changes frequently. "I don't care what you say, I'm gonna do what I want because you can't give me what I want"... not so much. And not likely to be successful or popular.

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Sally

There is no revenge. If you accept that a person is entitled to change, because time makes you change, then you should divide changes introduced by one partner in two categories: those having no bearing on the partner and those that do. Nobody can introduce a change with a bearing on the partner without a prior agreement with that partner.

Sorry, but if someone's feelings change OR they finally realize how they feel, that change involves their feelings. THEIR feelings. The partner doesn't get to veto the change in their feelings.

You seem to feel that this woman is breaking a business contract. You can maintain that claim however long you want, but it simply doesn't work in human relationships.

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Steve2050

Serran, to your previous comment:

We can turn everything around. "if your partner is OK with it". She didn't ask me if I was ok with it. " That leaves it up to you if you ACCEPT that change in relationship dynamic, or not". True. And I did accept the change. For 20 years. Now that I made move No. 2 it's up to her to ACCEPT that change in relationship dynamic. Twenty years will do. (It) "still isn't a license to get it elsewhere, unless it's discussed and agreed upon." Agree. Therefore she should have discussed with me and we should have agreed on her changing to a non-sex policy. She didn't. And so forth. In a nutshell, you cannot cast the first stone, break a window pane and immediately after call a truce. Any major change should either be discussed or lead to another move. Otherwise it looks like all rules that were governing our marriage when we married could be changed unilaterally by her, not by me.

Now your own situation seems to be similar. When you got together, was he already like that? (i.e., only sex and no cuddling). If he was, why did you get together? If he wasn't, he changed the rules unilaterally. Totally unacceptable. However, if he changed the rules AFTER you decided you disliked sex but didn't tell him, he's not to blame. I am in favor of transparency: talk, agree and proceed. The other procedure, proceed, disagree and talk, is totally unacceptable, and save an unexpected situation ( illness, accident, etc.) there is no way you can possibly justify it. Hence the "permission"issue you mention. I wish she had asked for permission when she decided to delete sex from my life. You and I wouldn't be writing to each other.

Thanks for caring!!!

---------------------------------

Which brings me to Sally's comment:: THEIR feelings should be valid for BOTH. And as to a "business contract " if you feel that any commitment is a business contract then you're right. I don't. If you have a child and one day you FEEL like leaving, you're breaching a personal commitment, definitely, not a business contract. And if by THEIR feelings you're just envisaging the parent's, not the child's, then there is not much more to be said: May you have a wonderful life!!!

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