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fma_lvr

Misunderstood my gray-ace girlfriend, please help

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fma_lvr

Until very recently I did not understand asexuality or 'gray-asexuality' and didn't know much about it. So, I've been with this girl for a year, and for the first ~7-8 months, we were very active with each other in a physical sense. Anything from sex to kisses and cuddling was generally just fine as often as we wanted. It wasn't constant and there was no PDA but there was consistency. Anyway, she did initiate some of it, but rarely, and seemingly randomly. Now, I never really had any complaints about any of this, but I initiated these things often not out of a sense of personal longing but more out of my impression of what relationships revolve around and focus on. Rather, I suppose I was brought up/taught that a lack of sex/affection is itself a problem in any relationship. I didn't really consider what I wanted or needed for myself, and sometimes I pushed for it when I didn't really want it anyway.

So, about 3-4 months ago now this stuff really died down as my gf (btw I'm 22 she's 19) became more busy with school and stuff, but even when we saw each other and were happy hanging out, she didn't want so much physicality. She quickly seemed to have disdain toward sexuality and even kissing or cuddling, and I took this very personally, thinking it reflected some inadequacy of mine. She told me it didn't, that she just didn't want those things much, and that it was fine....but I was sure she was just placating me. Around this time she told me, as well as some of our mutual friends, that she considered herself gray asexual, and that she wasn't sexually attracted to people. Still, I was perhaps blinded in my mindset that, well, if she was enjoying all this stuff before, she still would if not for some other issue. She's never been one for a lot of direct/clear communication, especially regarding the relationship and her sexuality. 

 

Basically, I found myself confused and hurt, trying to figure out what happened and why this changed. So I observed all these other relationships and thought about what people do, and I tried to suggest all sorts of stuff to her in the hopes of, well, spicing things up, so to speak. I pushed that idea for a while, thinking it was necessary, never recognizing what 'gray ace' meant and what kind of pit I threw myself into. Then I started ramping up all these ideas for romance/attention/praise, saying exaggerated things and buying her stuff and trying to be around her as much as possible, because I figured it would boost her self esteem and that, effectively, I was trying to be a stereotypical 'good, attentive boyfriend'. I wasn't getting positive responses but she wasn't really negative with me either, so I kept at it without realizing how I was affecting her, and that I was smothering and obsessive. I only had good intentions, and I thought I could do this stuff to make her happier, but I was wrong.

 

See, a little over a week ago, she confronted me saying things like "I can't do this anymore" and "you've become too obsessive and smothering, and you want too much physical stuff" and it made me realize that all this stuff I was trying to do to make things better was just making new problems. She said she didn't think I could change as well, that I gave her too much praise and that I had her on an unrealistic pedestal. I think she'd given me hints about this stuff but I didn't really get it, or see how I was affecting her, and I probably just came across as really disrespectful. She stormed off after that, and I saw her around for a few days and we were friendly and there wasn't animosity, but we didn't really try to talk personally or anything. I don't think she considers us together right now, though.

 

So, over the past few days I've been to this site and a few others, learning about what this actually means and what she did need and want. It turns out I'm also a demisexual who's really gray as well. I know I could be happy with her without that physicality, but I didn't understand this stuff at all before, and I'm not sure what to do to try and repair my relationship with her. For the record, it's my first significant relationship at all, and her longest before was about 6 months and she was much less happy in any of them. We've got a really good connection and we were close friends for a couple months before getting together. I just don't understand what to do or say right now, and I want her to understand that I can and will support and respect her, I just worry it's somehow too late. We still have a group of friends together and would end up seeing each other around regardless, but I don't want to lose what we had over these misunderstandings. I've cut contact entirely since Tuesday, and she hasn't reached out to me either.

 

Sorry this is so long but I really want to figure out and understand how I can approach this and prove to her that I just want her company, and that I lost myself in this confusion and struggle over what a relationship, well, means. I might need more information about gray ace people in general, but I don't know how long to wait before trying to talk to her, or really, what I can say/do to show how my mindset has changed.

 

 

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Feys&Florets

If I dare make a suggestion, how about sending the link of this thread to her?

 

Writing (or typing) helps. One can get all their thoughts down, and they have to pause and think about the words to properly articulate what they want to say - speaking doesn't always achieve that. So maybe even, you can write a letter, pen and paper.

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fma_lvr

I'm curious about that idea but I'm trying to give her space right now, even if it's difficult. Most of why I posted this here though is to see specifically how, well, similarly oriented people would deal with and think about this. I'm damn sure I'm not as bad as the 'sexual egocentric assholes' I've been reading about anyway, but I am sure I haven't come across as empathetic to her lately.

 

Also, I had figured eventually I'd be better off talking in person, but only because she always really preferred that to any text or phone communication anyway. It certainly does feel better to type this stuff out, either way.

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Feys&Florets

I didn't mean texting or phone - I meant a full, proper letter, written by hand. Start off with 'Dear [insert name] and ending with Sincerely [insert name]. Something that takes a lot more time and effort to allow you to sort through all your thoughts.

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fma_lvr

Isn't that too...err, old-fashioned? Or aren't we too young for that? I think I've written all of 5 letters in my life and all to my grandparents after being told to do so. 

 

I'm not trying to be antagonistic, I'm just genuinely bewildered by this idea. 

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Homer
13 minutes ago, fma_lvr said:

Isn't that too...err, old-fashioned? Or aren't we too young for that? I think I've written all of 5 letters in my life and all to my grandparents after being told to do so. 

Why would that be? And why would it matter whether something is old-fashioned or how old one is in the first place?

 

Writing really helps to organize your thoughts. A hand-written letter also shows a certain level of determination and effort. It doesn't make much sense to go down that road if you're uncomfortable with it, though.

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fma_lvr

I think it's less discomfort and more an issue of not really understanding how to go about it. 

 

Either way, I'm trying to figure out how important the space/no contact I'm giving is right now. She didn't ask for or initiate it, and I don't want her to misinterpret it as coldness. Also, she did talk and make jokes a little with me in the few days after the fight, so to speak. Still, I worry that if I try to talk personally right now, even in sending a letter, it might tell her I'm still this obsessive and smothering person. I doubt I could expect she'd necessarily read it...but again, I've little knowledge regarding the idea of writing a letter under such circumstances.

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Homer

Frankly, I'm totally not a fan of this giving space thing. One issue is this "coldness vibe" that you mentioned. Another is that there's a significant risk of growing apart in such a situation (been there. Sucks. 10/10 not recommend).

 

She's probably not sure how to go about it either atm, but since you're still in touch with each other, I wouldn't let that die. Maybe don't write a letter of 11 pages to pour your heart out (when you couldn't even be sure that she'd read it apparently), but instead leave a short note... I made up my mind, I found something out, I would like to talk things over yet I don't want to push you, just let me know when you're ready so we can sort this out.

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obsequies

I don't know about her feelings, but when I was in my first "in real life" relationship we did do physical stuff a lot at the beginning, and my ex would frequently bring it up afterwards. Personally, even though I didn't want to be touched, and I really didn't want sex, I was still trying to be "normal" and make him feel good. I was quite upfront in the relationship though, and told him long before we ever went out that I was asexual, so your situation is a little different. After a while this cooled off quite significantly on my end because, quite frankly, I was very certain that I was never going to be "normal" and trying to do so just made me feel awful, and disgusting. It wasn't anything he did, just as it's clearly nothing you did in that regard, she's just on her own journey, and she's clearly still young and figuring herself out.

 

Giving her space isn't necessarily a bad thing, but if she's spoken to you since and has been joking, maybe it's good to keep in contact. Clearly she's not opposed to speaking to you, and it would seem she still has some connection to you, which "giving her space" could give the wrong impression. Maybe if you followed her lead and kept it light and relax for a little while that would help show her you aren't trying to be pushy, but you clearly still care.

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fma_lvr

See that's my big fear. I mean, I know she needed space before but giving it 100% right now may or may not be the right decision. Really, honestly, that's what my stepmom told me to do, and since she's a woman in her 50s I said 'okay if that's what the best choice is.' I guess the point is just that....if I'd just totally left her alone for like a week, maybe a month or two ago, telling her I would do so, she'd probably have appreciated that breather. Now, I am unsure. 

 

I should note that I'm also kind of avoiding our whole group of friends as a result, since I would usually just drop by their current/my old college to hang out with them, and her. 

It's tricky, I get the idea that "letting the dust settle" is necessary but the extent of that time is confusing to me. I'm sure just going away for a whole month would be too much, but I don't know how I'd come across if I sought out communication soon when it's been less than 2 weeks.

 

As for the letter, would I really just write and mail a letter? Something simple and nice like that? 

 

Also, I don't know if I mentioned this, but we are in a group chat together with all these friends, and I've just been avoiding talking in there for a few days, which is unlike me at least. I'm sure she didn't expect me to just be gone, and she was fairly friendly during those few days, but she hasn't sought out any personal communication with me either....under these circumstances, I'm not sure she would even if given a few weeks.

 

 

Oh yeah, it is true she's not opposed to speaking with me it seems. Maybe I should mention: on Monday evening she and I, as well as several friends, played a fun card game together that we would sometimes play as a group. She laughed at some of my jokes, I laughed at some of hers, she said a few simple things to me, it was nice....but none of that was really personal. I don't think she wanted to talk about the relationship at all yet, at least. Whether she would now, I don't know either.

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obsequies

Is she the kind of person who enjoys her time alone? I'm very much an introvert, and I have social problems so I never know what the acceptable behaviour is in certain situations. I mean, I won't go out of my way to contact someone for fear that they might think it's random or weird or annoying, and sometimes just because I don't feel like I need that constant contact. However, if someone were to initiate it, I would happily reply. Is she at all similar? Could she just be giving you space as well, and perhaps waiting for you to take the time you need to maybe sort your own thoughts out?

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fma_lvr

She does enjoy her time alone. I suppose that I hadn't considered how much, as I ended up infringing upon her independence. Also, yeah, she generally doesn't communicate on her own a lot, preferring to join a conversation or respond to people. I'm generally that way as well but I push myself to be outgoing actually. 

 

Well, even when we were really good together, she didn't like to text/call often. I think it was all about face to face interactions with her. I don't know what she thinks about me right now but it's plausible that she has or at some point will just want me to initiate that sort of discussion. 

 

Actually, if it matters, there were times last summer when we hadn't seen each other in weeks and we didn't text a lot and she would suddenly text me or ask to come see me. I think that was only because we physically had not been around each other in a while.

 

I'm also wondering about the position of a gray asexual who is sex-favorable but has very little desire for it. I'm sure that's what she is now. That and, well, how to show her I've learned about it and I won't push that physicality anymore, since apparently it's not necessary for a relationship, and neither of us really need it.

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fma_lvr

So I'm thinking I know what to say to her, and I've been reading through posts here about gray ace mentality and desire, which is really helpful for me. I'm just trying to make sure I don't make a mistake in either waiting too long to try to talk about it or not waiting long enough and coming across as obsessive/pushy/smothering again. I'm also not sure if there's any sort of appropriate gesture to go about. See, I think there's a line right now where we aren't considered together but I'm also not just some scorned ex or whatever, and I don't know how or when that could get crossed with time, or if I could ruin it by trying to talk too soon. She confronted me at the end of march, and I haven't contacted her at all since, but I saw her around until last Tuesday. I guess I'm wondering....what's the appropriate time frame for this? And what are the risks on either side of it?

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Jenna444

I'm not sure if this will help, but try asking yourself how you'd approach the situation with a close friend that was pulling away? Maybe I'm oversimplifying, but I don't see any harm in at least telling her you're sorry for overdoing it and that no matter what happens, you care and you're in her corner. Then let her decide whether to reach out or not. IDK, just a thought. Either way, glad to have you here! 👍

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fma_lvr
1 hour ago, Jenna444 said:

I'm not sure if this will help, but try asking yourself how you'd approach the situation with a close friend that was pulling away? Maybe I'm oversimplifying, but I don't see any harm in at least telling her you're sorry for overdoing it and that no matter what happens, you care and you're in her corner. Then let her decide whether to reach out or not. IDK, just a thought. Either way, glad to have you here! 👍

Thanks, I appreciate that. I'm just really indecisive about it. I'm glad to have found this place and be learning about this stuff though. It seems that for a long time I thought asexuality was, well, an utter disinterest in sexual activity. That a person can't be asexual or even gray-ace if they have been and enjoyed sexuality. However, in reading some stories and information here I became confused, and I found out that I didn't actually know what sexual attraction itself was, and that I've never experienced it. Or, maybe I've experienced it with only this girl, but I'm not so sure of that either. I pushed for it often but only because I wanted to do well by her and because my idea of a relationship was based on what society had kind of taught me, which includes this expectation that 'if there isn't sex you're doing something wrong and that's bad' but that was impersonal and objective for me.

So, I suppose the point is that after seeing and understanding all these terms I seem to be a sex-favorable asexual myself. Not quite cupiosexual in that sexuality isn't important to me, but I had sought it out for what I thought it must signify, not for itself. I knew this before, but not what it meant, and I was perhaps afraid to communicate with her about it. It's really fascinating. People in high school and even college would always talk about who was hot and what was attractive in some physical sense and I had no idea what they were talking about or why. My interest was always tied to either some vague curiosity or an idea of satisfaction for her. I didn't think a person could be asexual and not be repulsed by it though, until now.

Anyway, I definitely want to talk to her about this, and to try and apologize, but I figure I ought to wait at least a little longer. Either way, any advice or info would be really appreciated.

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Jenna444
1 hour ago, fma_lvr said:

Thanks, I appreciate that. I'm just really indecisive about it. I'm glad to have found this place and be learning about this stuff though. It seems that for a long time I thought asexuality was, well, an utter disinterest in sexual activity. That a person can't be asexual or even gray-ace if they have been and enjoyed sexuality. However, in reading some stories and information here I became confused, and I found out that I didn't actually know what sexual attraction itself was, and that I've never experienced it. Or, maybe I've experienced it with only this girl, but I'm not so sure of that either. I pushed for it often but only because I wanted to do well by her and because my idea of a relationship was based on what society had kind of taught me, which includes this expectation that 'if there isn't sex you're doing something wrong and that's bad' but that was impersonal and objective for me.

So, I suppose the point is that after seeing and understanding all these terms I seem to be a sex-favorable asexual myself. Not quite cupiosexual in that sexuality isn't important to me, but I had sought it out for what I thought it must signify, not for itself. I knew this before, but not what it meant, and I was perhaps afraid to communicate with her about it. It's really fascinating. People in high school and even college would always talk about who was hot and what was attractive in some physical sense and I had no idea what they were talking about or why. My interest was always tied to either some vague curiosity or an idea of satisfaction for her. I didn't think a person could be asexual and not be repulsed by it though, until now.

Anyway, I definitely want to talk to her about this, and to try and apologize, but I figure I ought to wait at least a little longer. Either way, any advice or info would be really appreciated.

I get what you mean. I wish I had figured myself out as well as you have when I was your age. I think I came to terms with being an ace when I was about 25. Didn't know the word "asexual" but I knew sexual relationships weren't for me. When I learned the word later, I assumed the same as you, that it meant sex-repulsed. I knew I enjoyed touching myself sometimes (sorry, tmi), so I figured I wasn't. Once I learned that it didn't necessarily mean repulsed, everything clicked. 

 

You're very perceptive to notice that society's expectations have had such an effect on sexual activities. I know for a fact that countless aces have done things that they didn't want to, and aren't happy about the end results, simply because they thought they were supposed to. Figuring this out so early on is an advantage for you. I commend you for that. 👍

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Chihiro

It's upto you decide how long you wanna wait before you talk to her. I wouldn't consider keeping distance as negative, if you use that distance to learn or improve yourself. And I agree with jenna^ - when you talk to her apologize and tell her how or what has changed that can better the relationship and then she can decide whether or not she wants to continue and on what terms.

Also DON'T write letter. Like you said it's old fashioned but the important reason not to do that is because that was not how you guys communicate. Use the method that you guys use the most to communicate or the method you guys enjoy/prefer the most for communication.

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fma_lvr

Ah that makes sense. She was never keen on much communication that wasn't face to face. I am still learning and improving myself. I realize though that, well, if not for this situation....I don't know if I ever would have recognized these things, and the problems wouldn't have fixed themselves. It probably would have just gotten worse and more confusing for both of us, until we really snapped and became resentful or something. From an emotional standpoint I'm sure that's not the case right now, as she certainly could have made an effort to avoid me or not talk to me at all. At one point actually on Tuesday with our friend group on campus she came to sit at the only available chair close to everyone, which happened to be right next to me. I saw this and asked her simply if she wanted me to move, and she said "no you're fine." So she doesn't seem to have that sort of disdain and/or animosity which worried me, but that doesn't mean she wants to talk personally yet. 

 

I wonder if I should tell her all I learned about asexuality here, as well as the mistakes I made, and the fact that the space has been good for me as well. Oh and, Jenna, I think I've always been aware of the way society views these things but I viewed myself as broken or wrong and was sure I had to simply submit myself to these ideas, regardless of what I want/need. I...didn't even fight that really, for the same reason I don't curse in front of my family or wear pajamas outside or speak openly with strangers. I'm just aware that what's "normal" and what I would do in many situations if given free reign socially, don't always coincide. I just sigh and say "well this is another one of those things I'm supposed to do/not do, I guess that's okay."

 

For the record, never once did I blame her for this lack of physicality as it went away, but I complained and expressed confusion and asked 'why' sometimes, blaming myself and feeling sure I had to improve the experience. I'm sure that's why I came across as needing it all the time. Anyway, I'm not sure how to approach the idea that, well, despite what she's been thinking, I really don't need all that stuff, and to show her how genuine I am about it. 

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nanogretchen4

In my opinion this relationship is in the process of breaking up, and you shouldn't resort to desperation tactics to prolong the agony. As you point out, this is the longest relationship your girlfriend has yet been in. My guess would be that she has a somewhat short attention span and loses interest after the limerance period, and is generally not ready for a longterm commitment, which is common at her age. It's not just that she wants less sex or no sex. She wants less of everything. Less romance, less time together, less emotional connection. It seems like everything you do annoys her, because she just doesn't want to be in the relationship anymore but for some reason she hasn't quite mustered the nerve to be completely honest about her feelings and put you out of your misery. It's not you, it's her.

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fma_lvr
3 hours ago, nanogretchen4 said:

In my opinion this relationship is in the process of breaking up, and you shouldn't resort to desperation tactics to prolong the agony. As you point out, this is the longest relationship your girlfriend has yet been in. My guess would be that she has a somewhat short attention span and loses interest after the limerance period, and is generally not ready for a longterm commitment, which is common at her age. It's not just that she wants less sex or no sex. She wants less of everything. Less romance, less time together, less emotional connection. It seems like everything you do annoys her, because she just doesn't want to be in the relationship anymore but for some reason she hasn't quite mustered the nerve to be completely honest about her feelings and put you out of your misery. It's not you, it's her.

I respect that, but from what she told me I'm very sure it's related to her stress and the issues of physicality. Even more recently with these problems, we've enjoyed our time together. There's a deep personal connection that won't go away for either of us, it was there from the start even before we got together.  Also keep in mind that neither of us have any expectation of just not seeing each other around anymore since we have all these friends together, and she wasn't making any effort to just avoid me or refuse to talk to me in those few days we still saw each other last week.

I'm quite positive she still likes me but that I had stressed her out so much she....probably didn't think it was worth it anymore. I won't be desperate about it, and actually I see the worst case scenario as us trying to just repair the friendship itself for a while...and I don't mind that really. 

Well, I'm planning to try talking to her tomorrow or the next day, probably. I was going to wait a little more but spring break is next week and I would just see her on campus if we were to talk. I know she wanted me to change and I'm sure it would've brought everything back, but I didn't see it until now. 

 

Well, specifically, what could I say to her? I'm not the best at communication anyway, and I want to come across as opening up as opposed to simply pleading, as that's not my intention anyway. I'm not certain as to how I should approach this.

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Jenna444

@fma_lvr I would just say that you still care about her, she's special to you and you're always there for her, even if she just wants to be friends. That would show her that you truly aren't after her for physical reasons and you still respect her as a person. It also gives her some space to say "yes, let's be platonic" if that's where she's at. Let us know how it goes! 👍

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fma_lvr

Do you think it's a bad idea to open up a bit about my mistakes and what I've learned, though? It seems really important but I don't want to come off as pushy or anything. I wouldn't flood her with words or get emotional either, of course. Just a few things to get off my chest, so to speak.

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Jenna444

@fma_lvr I think if she wants talk more, yes, it would be a great idea to share what you've learned and what you wish you would have done differently. However, if she's not ready to discuss everything after you make your "opening statement"....maybe it would be best to hold off for a while. I know this probably seems really wishy-washy and you're probably wanting more definitive answers, but because I don't know her or how she feels...I can't really say for sure. But it sounds like she's one of those people who doesn't want to say too much all at once, and you seem like the opposite. Sometimes a sensitive people-pleaser who can seem overwhelming to those who are more distant, simply because we care so much that we try too hard. I'm definitely like you, so I understand your place. Trust me, I get it. I haven't had a sexual relationship, but I've had similar instances with family relationships and friendships where they're just like "Go away, you're too much" and cut me off. It's insanely painful and it makes you paranoid. I empathize/sympathize with you because I know you truly meant to help the situation. I hope something I've said helps you out.

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fma_lvr

I have had that sort of issue with family as well actually, I realize. I think approaching it with that mentality might help as well. I certainly wouldn't want to overwhelm her and I don't plan to ask for anything. 

 

I should say, I'll end up seeing her in a group setting, I'm not sure how I would ask to speak privately with a sense of comfort and care as opposed to just seeming desperate or emotional. I guess I'm just wracking my brain trying to understand how to approach that, because I know it's a delicate situation. Sorry to ask something so trivial, but really, communication or lack thereof was probably our biggest issue, and flubbing that now would be much worse.

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Jenna444

@fma_lvr Maybe if she seems open to you in the group setting, casually ask if you can talk to her "for a minute"? That way she doesn't feel trapped into a 2 hour emotional discussion or anything. ;) I know some people (possibly like her) get anxious if they think they're going to have to talk about their feelings when they're not ready, especially for a prolonged time. Just a thought.

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fma_lvr

Well, I need to focus on respect, that's for sure. I became so caught up in all these ideas and this mentality of fixing stuff that I'm pretty sure I just came off as disrespectful a bunch. If I can be easygoing about it all, in a comfortable sense, that might be much better, at least for a decent conversation. I'm kind of trying to understand how she sees me/us right now, because I'm pretty sure she doesn't consider us together but also that I'm not some scorned ex or whatever. That, and there's an obvious expectation that we wouldn't just totally disappear from each others' lives anyway, I mean, last year she basically integrated herself into my friend circle in college, and there's no way she expects me to just leave it behind. Nobody's taking sides or anything either since there's no spite. Also, I didn't get the...vibe, shall we say....that she wanted me to just be gone forever. I mean, she really could have avoided me and refused to speak to me, or been really negative about/toward me, but she never was in those few days after it all went down. 

I'm reiterating some things here but I guess if I felt I had some insight into the mindset of a person in such a situation, perhaps loosely, "soon after an apparent but somewhat unclear breakup wherein there's no hate and nobody did anything really terrible/unforgivable/vicious" in a sense. That and again, I know she still cares and has feelings for me. Sometimes you can just tell from the way a person looks and speaks that they really care and aren't really cold to you, even if they are angry. I may have noticed that less before than I did recently. That's what I think, at least. Can anybody relate to that, or to a similar situation? I'd appreciate whatever somebody could say, really.

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Amelys

I don't know how much my story can help, but I was in a similar situation (almost scarily similar), the only difference being that I was in the place of your girlfriend. My ex-boyfriend also wanted a more physical relationship, something I am not capable of, which led to him doing the exact same thing you did. 

This of course frustrated me to no end because it gave me the feeling he wasn't seeing "me" but an image he had created in his mind. This went on untill I finally had enough and  I confronted him about it. After this I didn't really talk to him for a while, I wanted to think if I still wanted to give the relationship a go, or if I had enough. When I calmed down and felt strong enough to confront him about it I sent him an email to talk it over, which we did in a neutral setting, and that helped.

Like Jenna said you can simply ask her if she wants to talk, you can also send her an email telling het that when she's ready you would like to discuss this with her, if she still cares like you think she does, I believe she'll listen.

As I said, I don't know how much this can help, as me and my ex ended breakin up anyway, but there were various reasons for that, this was only one of them.

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moved topic to SPFA

Jayce, Asexual Relationships moderator.

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fma_lvr

Well I don't know how it was with you but the issue here seems to be that she thinks I'm a really sexual person when I'm not. I pushed for these things a lot because my family and I guess society in general taught me that it's basically required. I was under the impression that, in an objective sense, a lack of physicality in a relationship is itself a problem, and a sign of some inadequacy or loss of attraction. Now, I think that she was doing so much in the beginning because she was placating me, while I pushed for it so much later because I was trying to placate her. I was sure that trying to improve the physical affections and whatnot was....a solution to an unknown problem. What I've learned though is that my push for that physicality was the problem. That's something that wasn't ever clear to me. 

 

When I say I'm not a sexual person I don't mean that I can change or accept that she doesn't want these things so much. I mean that I didn't personally want it probably 80-90% of the time anyway. I pushed for this stuff regularly even though I often wasn't in any mood or anything. I was doing all this because I was sure I needed to, for the sake of the relationship. Until very recently I hadn't tried to effectively separate my mindset of "relationships are based on sexuality and affection, that's just how it is" from what I was doing and what I wanted. I knew next to nothing about asexuality or gray aces until just a few days ago, and I had misinterpreted a great deal.

 

I'm convinced now that I'm a relatively sex-favorable demisexual, and that primary sexual attraction isn't something I have ever experienced. Even secondary, probably only with this one person ever. I used to think asexuality meant a person had no sex drive whatsoever and was repulsed by sex entirely, which is apparently sometimes the case anyway.

 

The reason I posted this in Asexual Relationships is because after actually learning a bit bout these things, I've come to realize that, in this relationship, I didn't really care about sex or affection but thought it was supposed to be important, and she...is likely the exact same. It took this situation to make me realize that about her, and I was....always kind of ashamed for not wanting it all as much as everybody else seems to. I didn't really suffer, but if I had known that we could have a nice relationship without a persistent physical element, and that it didn't reflect some insecurities or inadequacies, and that it would be okay, I wouldn't even make a fuss. I wouldn't even have to compromise, probably. She does have an interest, but it's low and rare. I do have a fairly small interest as well, but I don't really care and I wouldn't be frustrated because I had that whole physical aspect tied to happiness/success/romantic interest. 

 

In some specific sense, for clarity here, in the first 7 months or so anything physical was apparently fine for us. Sometimes it was sex, sometimes just cuddling or kissing or anything else. I didn't want or need that much of it but I didn't mind really, and she always seemed to enjoy everything, so it was nice, because really, I was just doing all this to please her. Now, after that point, she started saying she didn't want these things. At first she often didn't want to have sex, and I'd ask why (because she was always up for it for so long) and she'd just say "I just don't want to." So then she didn't want any open mouth kissing, ever, which she always seemed to enjoy before. "I just don't want to." Regular kissing, cuddling, everything sort of faded away in a few weeks' time. She'd still want all these things (except open mouth kissing) on occasion, but it quickly went from "every time we see each other" to "maybe once every month or two" and I took this VERY personally. Perhaps worse to me at the time, it seemed totally random. I felt like I couldn't affect her desires anymore, when I was sure I could before. I asked many questions and she didn't seem to have much of an answer, or she would be vague. She'd talk about it not being necessary for her anymore and I didn't understand. She would tell me "it's fine" so much I thought she was just sparing my feelings about all this instead of being honest. I was sure that, in some sense, I wasn't doing a good enough job, with some physicality or other issue. That I wasn't attractive anymore or something. It really ate at me, but...these thoughts were, shall we say, impersonal. It wasn't about me needing affection, it was about this idea of how a lack of affection is objectively bad according to everything I had heard about relationships. So I observed other people and really focused on this, thinking I had to do something differently, that I had to give more attention and praise, to be more responsible, to do all this stuff that....apparently, with what she told me later and what I now understand a gray ace to be, didn't matter. That I was just smothering her now and that there was no inadequacy. That nothing under the sun would have her want more of this, and that, really, it wasn't my fault that she didn't wanted to be physical much. That's all I ever needed to know for sure but maybe I learned it a little late because I've surely convinced her for a while that I can't be happy without that physicality, and that's not the case. Keep in mind I never played the 'blame game' and claimed there was something wrong with her, but I did  take it in and feel certain I had been wrong. So my insecurity kept rising as a result, and I actually feel more secure about myself than I did a couple months ago, just over these ideas. 

 

You see, what I need to figure out now is just how to express this properly to her and have her  understand that not only do I not need the sexual side of things, but that I was suffering over it too and I was confused and that really, I'd be happier knowing it's not necessary for either of us. It's not that I'm a hypersexual trying to be with a gray ace, it's that I'm a gray ace who tried to be a hypersexual because I didn't realize I didn't need to, to keep a relationship good and healthy.

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Amelys

Like Feys&Floats suggested you can try to tell her by writing it to her or by sending her this link. Usually I'm not too fond of talking by text (facebook, texting,... just annoys me) because you lose a lot of conext, beginning with facial experssions and voice inflections; but a full text does tend to be more structured and easier to follow.

 

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