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Tarfeather

"No sex" is hard to deal with

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Tarfeather

The last three months of our relationship have been completely without sex. Three months. That's a rather steep drop from the somewhat consistent weekly arrangement we had before.

 

The problem is, I'm really torn on this. It's not like no sex is a complete dealbreaker for me. However, it's very close to that. Even when my partner did compromise weekly, there were already very important things missing for me with the lack of attraction. Then when that stopped, it's just.. definitely this huge important chunk missing from my life, which already makes me very insecure and doubtful about the relationship.

 

Add to that, that the past few weeks (and to a lesser extent the entire last 3 months), my partner has been very stressed with university.. which in her case leads to an "emotional shutdown".. and yes, that in her case actually literally means she's able to feel less. She admitted herself that in the past weeks her feelings haven't been as strong for me, due to the stress.

 

It brought me, for the first time in a long time, to the point where I felt the relationship was more harmful to me than it was enjoyable. And when the semester ended, and her stress dropped off, and still her affection for me didn't return.. Basically, I snapped, and demanded an extended breakoff of contact, to figure out whether I could be more happy without her.

 

... which, in turn, seems to have been a complete surprise to my partner. She literally didn't understand "what she did wrong" (she didn't do anything wrong), or why I was unsatisfied with the relationship. And her lack of affection, did a 180 degree turn, back to where it was at at the best times of our relationship.

 

So, you see.. I have often expressed to my partner over these months how important sexuality is to me, and how much it hurts me to go without. But I never laid it out to her, that this might be a dealbreaker for the relationship. Partly because I still believed other aspects of our relationship would be enough to carry it, and partly because I feel that making her feel pressured unnecessarily would be counter-productive.

 

It's somewhat unsettling, though, to learn that she doesn't even realize, that going without sex for three months, is something serious enough to me to jeopardize the entire relationship. That, if I would want to break up, her first conclusion wouldn't be "Oh so he can't deal with the sexual incompatibility after all". Apparently, even when expressing my needs every few weeks, if I don't say it explicitly, she doesn't get how serious of a deal this is to our relationship?

 

And the thing is, I really don't want to pressure her. I don't want her to feel like she has to have sex with me or anything, because I know then she'd only feel even worse about doing it for me. Still, apparently I've failed to make her aware, that without sex the other aspects of the relationship have to go that much better to make up for it. That if we go for too long not only without sex, but also without other kinds of intimacy that make me feel loved, then.. well, I will not feel loved, and start feeling unhappy in the relationship.

 

Meanwhile, I'm pretty sure that if we were sexually compatible, then it wouldn't be such a big issue for me going through bad phases of the relationship for a few weeks or months. I'd feel inherently less insecure. I'd know that, hey, even if for a few months I'm not getting the affection I desire, afterward there'll be amazing intimacy in the form of sex to more than make up for it. Without that, it's basically like we're in permanent danger of bringing the relationship into negative territory, and it makes any kind of bad phase of the relationship that much harder to deal with.

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Salted Karamel
3 hours ago, Tarfeather said:

Apparently, even when expressing my needs every few weeks, if I don't say it explicitly, she doesn't get how serious of a deal this is to our relationship?

 

And the thing is, I really don't want to pressure her. I don't want her to feel like she has to have sex with me or anything, because I know then she'd only feel even worse about doing it for me. Still, apparently I've failed to make her aware, that without sex the other aspects of the relationship have to go that much better to make up for it. That if we go for too long not only without sex, but also without other kinds of intimacy that make me feel loved, then.. well, I will not feel loved, and start feeling unhappy in the relationship.

If this isn't something you're saying to her explicitly, why are you expecting her to magically know it? Is your girlfriend a psychic, by any chance? I sure hope you're not passive aggressively using your behavior (do this thing and I am sulky; do this thing and I am pleasant) to indicate your displeasure and expecting that to pass for communication.

 

Perhaps you need to say these things to your girlfriend and not to us. Yes, explicitly, using your words.

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Valentine18

I do agree with katydid that you do need to make sure it's been discussed, clearly and bluntly so she definitely understands how you feel.  At the same time, I understand that you don't want to make her feel bad and/or pressured.  It's a fine line that's really hard to walk.  What you wrote is very clear, would you ever consider just letting her read your initial post?  The fact that you are on here, looking for help, should make it clear that this is a big problem for you and then if she's willing to talk and try to work things out that could be wonderful for your relationship.

 

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Sally

I think the point is, Tar, that she doesn't want sex.  With you or anyone.  You know that, I'm sure.  She doesn't want sex probably to the same  degree as you want sex.   Do the two of you have a solution to dealing with that?  If not, why continue?

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Tarfeather
6 hours ago, katydidd said:

If this isn't something you're saying to her explicitly, why are you expecting her to magically know it? Is your girlfriend a psychic, by any chance? I sure hope you're not passive aggressively using your behavior (do this thing and I am sulky; do this thing and I am pleasant) to indicate your displeasure and expecting that to pass for communication.

It's not that I don't explain these things to her rationally. It's that my words often don't reach her, unless there is some emotional distress for her that forces her to become emotionally aware of the things I say. This isn't just the case in the area of sexuality, it's just the area of sexuality where this poses the greatest threat to our relationship.

 

For instance, I've in the past given her advice about university, finances, etc., which she refused to take or act on. Only when the lack of her action had tangible effects on her, did she start taking the advice seriously. Her own description of that was, "Back when you said that, the words didn't mean anything to me, because it wasn't real to me".

 

About no sex being a potential dealbreaker? I've told her three months ago. Since that, I've brought up how important sex is to me every few weeks. Repeating the fact that this might some day lead to me breaking up, seems pointless, since I've already expressed this, and repeating it would only serve to make her feel coerced.

 

1 hour ago, Sally said:

I think the point is, Tar, that she doesn't want sex.  With you or anyone.  You know that, I'm sure.  She doesn't want sex probably to the same  degree as you want sex.   Do the two of you have a solution to dealing with that?  If not, why continue?

I doubt that this is the case. She's described sex as a pleasant experience, and she's not a person who would lie to keep the peace. She also expressed that she misses the feeling of closeness that comes with sex, although she also admitted that she sometimes wished she could just "be allowed to be asexual". So, she seems to have both positive and negative associations with sex, it's not as simple as her wanting to not have sex as much as I want to have it.

 

The reason our compromise has broken down over the past 3 months is actually once again her OCD. Just before we stopped, she had a scare of being pregnant, which was rather irrational as we do make very sure that doesn't happen. In fact, I haven't even ever ejaculated during sex, not to mention all the other measures we take to prevent pregnancy. But she has no concept of rationality when it comes to things like this. To her, any chance at all, is devastating and something she can't stop worrying about.

 

 

As for a solution, there doesn't need to be one. My problem the past few months, has been more that I haven't felt loved. Even before we stopped, having sex was more like a bandaid for this feeling I had, that my partner didn't have the same kind of affection for me that she used to. With what happened recently, I for the first time in months feel like that affection has returned, and if that's indeed the case, I'm okay with not having sex again.

 

As I said, without sex, the relationship otherwise needs to be in a really good shape, and as long as that's the case, I see no issue. I guess I was just mindblown that my partner didn't even realize, that with the relationship going "meh" otherwise, and sex being completely out of the picture, that this would be enough of a reason for me to want to break up.

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MrDane

@Tarfeather

i have this rather simple arrangement with my wife. We agreed upon sex every fourteen days. She never wants it, never has and never will.  Can enjoy parts of it, though. I told her, that I felt lonely and depressed, and part of it was due to lack of sex, but also that I felt like she forgot about nuturing our love during the normal days. I started noticing that she never touched me anymore, not even passing me in the hallway. I noticed how my kisses towards her (like goodbye, im off to a meeting at school. See you perhaps first tomorrow!) turned into odd kisses. Her always moving her head a bit, so my kiss would land on her forehead. I noticed how a hug, from me, would never be more than two seconds. I noticed how I said 'honey!' And she didnt. I noticed how it was difficult for me to receive her love and how I slowly started thinking about alternatives to working on our difficulties. My point is, that as well as sex never flyes in on her radar, she never noticed all that I mentioned above. She was completely unaware. The conclusion was, that she was so much in her 'me-bubble' that she didnt realise she forgot about the 'loving, relationship-bubble'. And she didnt tell me about the shift in her ways to express love/togetherness as she didnt notice. I told her about a month where she never touches me once, only during the sex-quickie.

what did I forget to do!!! I totally forgot to pinpoint it as it happened. I chickened out and said nothing. I used hours mumbling to myself scared, hurtful, rejected about where my relationship was going. I should have said:"come on, honey! Give me a real kiss!" And this could have cast a ligth on the issue and made her/me deal with it there. The result migth have been the same. But I would have dealt with it and so would she.

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Telecaster68
Quote

As for a solution, there doesn't need to be one. My problem the past few months, has been more that I haven't felt loved.

There absolutely does need to be a solution to that Tar - you're sexual, so the lack of sex is part of it, as is the general lack of responsiveness. They're not really separate things, much as AVEN likes to break things down to constituent parts, come up with alternatives that don't quite address the central problem, and announce the issue solved...

 

If there isn't a solution, you'll just end up getting depressed.

 

Quote

If this isn't something you're saying to her explicitly, why are you expecting her to magically know it? Is your girlfriend a psychic, by any chance? I sure hope you're not passive aggressively using your behavior (do this thing and I am sulky; do this thing and I am pleasant) to indicate your displeasure and expecting that to pass for communication.

There's an important difference between making a big deal of something in order to induce guilt and manipulate someone, which is passive aggressive, and someone you're close to being oblivious to your natural behaviour.

 

In general, humans read each other's behaviour (the frequent exception is when someone's on the autistic spectrum). I don't just mean over sex, I mean in general. If someone comes into work looking tired and lacklustre, people will infer they're ill or down for some reason, and solicitously ask how they are, or take the piss, depending on the workplace. If someone's acting angrily towards a traffic cop, people infer they're protesting about something the cop's telling them, maybe speeding, or parking illegaly. If you come home from work grumpily, the natural assumption is you've had a bad day at work (or maybe on the journey home). If your boss is glaring at you, it's reasonable to conclude their displeased with you and try to figure out what they're unhappy about, and do something about it.

 

So in a relationship, most people would have information on the mood of their partner, and be able to infer potential reasons, and out of empathy for the person they care about, ask a few questions, or if they know from experience that, say, the post-work partner just needs to vent a bit, then stick around to be a sympathetic ear. Or if someone's clearly really happy about something, maybe laugh and joke with them. Or whatever. I don't think it's wrong or being passive aggressive to expect your partner to pick up something of your moods, and at least tentatively put together why you might be acting that way. It's about theory of mind.

 

I know that sex (or its absence) is very much a live, talked about issue in Tar's relationship, and I don't think it's unfair to expect his girlfriend to notice he's down, think about why that might be, and given she has the information that (a) sex is important to him and (b) they're not having sex, infer that the absence of sex might be why he's acting upset. That's not him being passive aggressive, it's just a straightforward human interaction.

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Tarfeather
1 hour ago, Telecaster68 said:

There absolutely does need to be a solution to that Tar - you're sexual, so the lack of sex is part of it, as is the general lack of responsiveness. They're not really separate things, much as AVEN likes to break things down to constituent parts, come up with alternatives that don't quite address the central problem, and announce the issue solved...

 

If there isn't a solution, you'll just end up getting depressed.

You don't have to be asexual to understand the difference between love and sex. Yes, a lack of sexual intimacy in my life is a source of depression for me. But that's not my partner's responsibility, nor anyone's. I'm not entitled to sex, and so until the day comes around I find somebody who actually desires me sexually (which might be never), I will have to accept the situation as it is.

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Salted Karamel
4 hours ago, Telecaster68 said:

There's an important difference between making a big deal of something in order to induce guilt and manipulate someone, which is passive aggressive, and someone you're close to being oblivious to your natural behaviour.

 

In general, humans read each other's behaviour (the frequent exception is when someone's on the autistic spectrum). I don't just mean over sex, I mean in general. If someone comes into work looking tired and lacklustre, people will infer they're ill or down for some reason, and solicitously ask how they are, or take the piss, depending on the workplace. If someone's acting angrily towards a traffic cop, people infer they're protesting about something the cop's telling them, maybe speeding, or parking illegaly. If you come home from work grumpily, the natural assumption is you've had a bad day at work (or maybe on the journey home). If your boss is glaring at you, it's reasonable to conclude their displeased with you and try to figure out what they're unhappy about, and do something about it.

 

So in a relationship, most people would have information on the mood of their partner, and be able to infer potential reasons, and out of empathy for the person they care about, ask a few questions, or if they know from experience that, say, the post-work partner just needs to vent a bit, then stick around to be a sympathetic ear. Or if someone's clearly really happy about something, maybe laugh and joke with them. Or whatever. I don't think it's wrong or being passive aggressive to expect your partner to pick up something of your moods, and at least tentatively put together why you might be acting that way. It's about theory of mind.

 

I know that sex (or its absence) is very much a live, talked about issue in Tar's relationship, and I don't think it's unfair to expect his girlfriend to notice he's down, think about why that might be, and given she has the information that (a) sex is important to him and (b) they're not having sex, infer that the absence of sex might be why he's acting upset. That's not him being passive aggressive, it's just a straightforward human interaction.

I disagree with your whole premise here. The line isn't drawn around whether communicating via mood rather than words is meant to be manipulative, but whether it's intentional at all.

 

If you come into work and just happen to look tired and lacklustre because of what's going on in your life and people happen to pick up on it, sure. If you come into work and you really, really want to talk about what's going on in your life so you do your best to look as tired and lacklustre as possible, sighing and yawning at every possible moment until your coworkers as what's wrong, that is passive aggressive. The correct action would be to say something like, "Hey, this crazy stuff's been going on in my life," and to talk about it— not to act a certain way until people ask you about it like it was their idea to have a conversation (or until they don't ask you about it and you resent them for not noticing your behavior and what it obviously means).

 

If a boss is glaring at you until you pick up on their displeasure instead of directly and clearly communicating what you did wrong, that's a terrible boss. And no boss should be expecting their employees to start operating differently just because they glared and huffed and frowned without discussing with the employee what it is that they need to change.

 

Anywho, this is all a moot point because the OP already clarified that they did discuss the topic with their girlfriend but the girlfriend is apparently living in some kind of bubble where things don't matter until they affect her personally. That's a different issue entirely. But I wanted to back up and correct this idea that it's a reasonable expectation for anyone's romantic partner to just pick up on their behavior in lieu of using actual words to discuss their feelings, and that the onus is on the partner to pick up on the meaning of behavior rather than on the person who is feeling the thing to discuss the thing clearly and verbally, because that's awful relationship advice.

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Telecaster68

People simply do pick up on behaviour though, and infer things from it. It's routine, and as such, not at all unreasonable to expect it will happen in a relationship. Once you've picked up your partner is unhappy, it seems churlish to ignore it. You seem to be assuming it's always a tactic so should be pointedly ignored. I'm saying communication doesn't have to be explicit for mlst people to understand it. Subtext is part of every interaction between people.

 

And clearly talking should follow, or even be there as well. It's the wilful blindness to other people's emotions that seems unreasonable to me.

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lux aeterna
12 hours ago, MrDane said:

@Tarfeather

i have this rather simple arrangement with my wife. We agreed upon sex every fourteen days. She never wants it, never has and never will.  Can enjoy parts of it, though. I told her, that I felt lonely and depressed, and part of it was due to lack of sex, but also that I felt like she forgot about nuturing our love during the normal days. I started noticing that she never touched me anymore, not even passing me in the hallway. I noticed how my kisses towards her (like goodbye, im off to a meeting at school. See you perhaps first tomorrow!) turned into odd kisses. Her always moving her head a bit, so my kiss would land on her forehead. I noticed how a hug, from me, would never be more than two seconds. I noticed how I said 'honey!' And she didnt. I noticed how it was difficult for me to receive her love and how I slowly started thinking about alternatives to working on our difficulties. My point is, that as well as sex never flyes in on her radar, she never noticed all that I mentioned above. She was completely unaware. The conclusion was, that she was so much in her 'me-bubble' that she didnt realise she forgot about the 'loving, relationship-bubble'. And she didnt tell me about the shift in her ways to express love/togetherness as she didnt notice. I told her about a month where she never touches me once, only during the sex-quickie.

what did I forget to do!!! I totally forgot to pinpoint it as it happened. I chickened out and said nothing. I used hours mumbling to myself scared, hurtful, rejected about where my relationship was going. I should have said:"come on, honey! Give me a real kiss!" And this could have cast a ligth on the issue and made her/me deal with it there. The result migth have been the same. But I would have dealt with it and so would she.

So, how is it going at the moment?

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Sally
13 hours ago, Tarfeather said:

About no sex being a potential dealbreaker? I've told her three months ago. Since that, I've brought up how important sex is to me every few weeks. Repeating the fact that this might some day lead to me breaking up, seems pointless, since I've already expressed this, and repeating it would only serve to make her feel coerced.

You keep bringing it up, but you haven't broken up.  Like any person who keeps hearing the same "threat" (I don't mean you mean it as a threat), the very repetition-without-action removes any meaning from what you say.

 

13 hours ago, Tarfeather said:

She's described sex as a pleasant experience, and she's not a person who would lie to keep the peace. She also expressed that she misses the feeling of closeness that comes with sex, although she also admitted that she sometimes wished she could just "be allowed to be asexual". So, she seems to have both positive and negative associations with sex, it's not as simple as her wanting to not have sex as much as I want to have it.

 

She said she misses the closeness, not the sex.  I liked the closeness also, but I wished very much that my partner could feel that closeness without the sex.  If he had been able to do so, I certainly wouldn't have associated closeness with sex.

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Tarfeather
8 hours ago, Sally said:

You keep bringing it up, but you haven't broken up.  Like any person who keeps hearing the same "threat" (I don't mean you mean it as a threat), the very repetition-without-action removes any meaning from what you say.

That's rather reductionist and intellectually dishonest. This would only be true in a universe where partners don't care about each other's feelings unless they somehow influence each other's actions.

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Telecaster68
8 minutes ago, Tarfeather said:

That's rather reductionist and intellectually dishonest. This would only be true in a universe where partners don't care about each other's feelings unless they somehow influence each other's actions.

But that seems to be where your girlfriend is, Tar. You've made your feelings clear, I'm sure, but it's only when you said you wanted a break that it sunk in. She might believe she cares about your feelings in their own right, but her actions don't bear that out.

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Sally
1 minute ago, Telecaster68 said:

But that seems to be where your girlfriend is, Tar. You've made your feelings clear, I'm sure, but it's only when you said you wanted a break that it sunk in. She might believe she cares about your feelings in their own right, but her actions don't bear that out.

Or she cares about your feelings but really can't do much about them except by doing what she really doesn't want to do, because she's afraid you'll leave.  Is that really what you want?  

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Blondbear
On 30/9/2017 at 11:06 PM, Tarfeather said:

The last three months of our relationship have been completely without sex. Three months. That's a rather steep drop from the somewhat consistent weekly arrangement we had before.

 

The problem is, I'm really torn on this. It's not like no sex is a complete dealbreaker for me. However, it's very close to that. Even when my partner did compromise weekly, there were already very important things missing for me with the lack of attraction. Then when that stopped, it's just.. definitely this huge important chunk missing from my life, which already makes me very insecure and doubtful about the relationship.

 

Add to that, that the past few weeks (and to a lesser extent the entire last 3 months), my partner has been very stressed with university.. which in her case leads to an "emotional shutdown".. and yes, that in her case actually literally means she's able to feel less. She admitted herself that in the past weeks her feelings haven't been as strong for me, due to the stress.

 

It brought me, for the first time in a long time, to the point where I felt the relationship was more harmful to me than it was enjoyable. And when the semester ended, and her stress dropped off, and still her affection for me didn't return.. Basically, I snapped, and demanded an extended breakoff of contact, to figure out whether I could be more happy without her.

 

... which, in turn, seems to have been a complete surprise to my partner. She literally didn't understand "what she did wrong" (she didn't do anything wrong), or why I was unsatisfied with the relationship. And her lack of affection, did a 180 degree turn, back to where it was at at the best times of our relationship.

 

So, you see.. I have often expressed to my partner over these months how important sexuality is to me, and how much it hurts me to go without. But I never laid it out to her, that this might be a dealbreaker for the relationship. Partly because I still believed other aspects of our relationship would be enough to carry it, and partly because I feel that making her feel pressured unnecessarily would be counter-productive.

 

It's somewhat unsettling, though, to learn that she doesn't even realize, that going without sex for three months, is something serious enough to me to jeopardize the entire relationship. That, if I would want to break up, her first conclusion wouldn't be "Oh so he can't deal with the sexual incompatibility after all". Apparently, even when expressing my needs every few weeks, if I don't say it explicitly, she doesn't get how serious of a deal this is to our relationship?

 

And the thing is, I really don't want to pressure her. I don't want her to feel like she has to have sex with me or anything, because I know then she'd only feel even worse about doing it for me. Still, apparently I've failed to make her aware, that without sex the other aspects of the relationship have to go that much better to make up for it. That if we go for too long not only without sex, but also without other kinds of intimacy that make me feel loved, then.. well, I will not feel loved, and start feeling unhappy in the relationship.

 

Meanwhile, I'm pretty sure that if we were sexually compatible, then it wouldn't be such a big issue for me going through bad phases of the relationship for a few weeks or months. I'd feel inherently less insecure. I'd know that, hey, even if for a few months I'm not getting the affection I desire, afterward there'll be amazing intimacy in the form of sex to more than make up for it. Without that, it's basically like we're in permanent danger of bringing the relationship into negative territory, and it makes any kind of bad phase of the relationship that much harder to deal with.

 

I was in a sexless relationship for years, honestly, a relationship makes sense when both partners are happy. When a relationship makes you depressed or sad or unfulfilled it is a wrong relationship, not only for you but also for her.
As soon as you find a more compatible partner (and you will eventually do even if you think now that it is impossible) you will quickly realize that suffering in a relationship is a nonsense.  

She could be in one year with somebody who shares the same point of view of sexuality and intimacy and you could be with somebody who passionately desires you, and wants to  make love with you and stay in bed all morning, where passion and closeness and happiness make you feel like you are drunk, and all those things maybe are not happening because you are trying to avoid face the end of a missmatched relationship.

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Blondbear
1 hour ago, Telecaster68 said:

But that seems to be where your girlfriend is, Tar. You've made your feelings clear, I'm sure, but it's only when you said you wanted a break that it sunk in. She might believe she cares about your feelings in their own right, but her actions don't bear that out.

Again, that logic doesn't make sense at all and I see it again and again. It is not about "caring" or about "love" or about "making clear that it is not personal" it is about people being not compatible and being sad together. If I want kids and my partner doesn't want them, and I am miserable, it doesn't matter how much she cares of how much is "not personal" at the end of the day I am depressed and not fulfilled and a relationship in that context doesn't make any sense.

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Telecaster68

The caring isn't about whether or not she has sex. It's about about noticing your partner's needs and responding to them and could apply to any aspect.

 

In this case, she clearly is willing to have sex because she understands Tar needs it. Then other stresses kick in and she apparently becomes unaware of those needs, or doesn't care about them as she did previously. Then Tar suggests a break, and she becomes able and willing to have sex again. That sounds like she's making a conscious choice to deal with a partner's concerns, or ignore them, depending on how it directly, immediately, affects her.

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Tarfeather
8 minutes ago, Telecaster68 said:

Then Tar suggests a break, and she becomes able and willing to have sex again.

No, never said that, don't know where you get that from?

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Telecaster68

I got it from this:


 

Quote

 

I snapped, and demanded an extended breakoff of contact, to figure out whether I could be more happy without her.

 

... which, in turn, seems to have been a complete surprise to my partner. She literally didn't understand "what she did wrong" (she didn't do anything wrong), or why I was unsatisfied with the relationship. And her lack of affection, did a 180 degree turn, back to where it was at at the best times of our relationship.

 

 

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Tarfeather

I don't see any mention of sex there, not even an implied one.

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Telecaster68

To precis: You said 'maybe we should have a break because I need to think about whether I want to continue', and her response was to do a 180 and return to previous levels of affection, which include sex. 

 

Or am I misinterpreting what you said? 

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Nidwin

Tar,

Is your girlfriend capable of experiencing deep emotions or feelings towards you or towards anyone else (e.g. family, friends) ?

 

If she doesn't experience those deep emotions or feelings, anything out of the ordinary will make any attempt to "simulate" that closeness and affection vanish. Stress, fatigue and a craplist of other stuff make it a hassle for folks like me to show or simulate affection. So it's possible that this will happen on a regular basis Tar, if she's like me.

 

I wish you the best, as I did in the past, Tar but you know my point of view on the subject and I think both of you aren't compatible enough.

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Tarfeather
3 hours ago, Telecaster68 said:

To precis: You said 'maybe we should have a break because I need to think about whether I want to continue', and her response was to do a 180 and return to previous levels of affection, which include sex. 

 

Or am I misinterpreting what you said? 

She's asexual, so she doesn't express affection through sex.

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Telecaster68

But previously she had sex because she knew you like it. Then it, and other affection stopped. Despite you making it clear, this somehow didn't land with her, and it had no consequences beyond you being unhappy, but you being unhappy wasn't sufficient for her to amend her behaviour. However, when there were consequences *for her* - you suggesting a break - the issue became important enough to her for her to change her behaviour, and become more affectionate, with or without sex. In other words, your welfare in itself isn't as important to her as her need to not be affectionate. When it's her welfare at stake, ie you'll leave, the issue becomes important enough for her to change. 

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MrDane
16 hours ago, lux aeterna said:

So, how is it going at the moment?

Working on an agreement that works. I try to be more open and ask more. 

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lux aeterna
54 minutes ago, MrDane said:

Working on an agreement that works. I try to be more open and ask more. 

And did she tell her how she feels?

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nanogretchen4

Tarfeather, it doesn't sound to me like your girlfriend has ever had genuine sexual or romantic feelings, or that she was ever an enthusiastic initiator of any stage of your current relationship. What does seem to have happened is that she has become dependent on your friendship. Maybe she has no other close friends, or maybe she just doesn't deal well with change. So when it appears that she is about to lose you, she panics. She does things she doesn't want to do, like submitting to sex. Or she tells you what you clearly want to hear, like maybe she is in love with you after all. It will be far better for all concerned if you face facts. She would be far better off with a friend who just wanted to hang out and do regular friend things with no romantic or sexual strings attached. You would be far better off with a woman who actually wants to be in a sexual and romantic relationship with you.

 

Your frequently repeated belief that no woman will ever want you like that does not hold water. As I recall about a year ago you got an offer from a woman who wanted to be your girlfriend on the condition that you would make a monogamous commitment to her. I notice that she was actively trying to initiate a relationship, instead of being the subject of a lengthy experiment to see if she could develop desire for you. You went to your current girlfriend fully intending to break up with her and take the better offer, at which point she for the first time said something that you interpreted as meaning she was in love with you after all. That worked, and you stayed. In hindsight, does that seem like a sincere, unpressured declaration of love from your girlfriend, or a desperation tactic? And since it worked, don't you think she's likely to try it again the next time she feels desperate?

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Tarfeather
1 hour ago, Telecaster68 said:

But previously she had sex because she knew you like it. Then it, and other affection stopped. Despite you making it clear, this somehow didn't land with her, and it had no consequences beyond you being unhappy, but you being unhappy wasn't sufficient for her to amend her behaviour. However, when there were consequences *for her* - you suggesting a break - the issue became important enough to her for her to change her behaviour, and become more affectionate, with or without sex. In other words, your welfare in itself isn't as important to her as her need to not be affectionate. When it's her welfare at stake, ie you'll leave, the issue becomes important enough for her to change. 

Uhm.. This is the same principle as the other thing. Like, when you were hoping for sex and get rejected, you might end up being moody and withdrawing. But that's not necessarily an intentional change of behavior, it's just a natural reaction. Likewise, my partner didn't intentionally change her behavior when she was afraid of losing me. She had a genuine emotional reaction, which ended up unintentionally affecting her behavior.

 

Your original point was that she doesn't care about my feelings, no? Well, that's true to an extent. Often she doesn't care, or doesn't care very much. However, she still does care enough to listen, and at times she will also feel sad about what I tell her. It's just that she very quickly forgets. It's just a general thing with her, emotional things don't leave much of an impact on her memory, even if she can feel strongly in the moment. Still, I'm happy that she listens to me, and that we can be open about everything. We might simply need to work on our communication more, and figure out ways to better deal with stressful times.

 

23 minutes ago, nanogretchen4 said:

Tarfeather, it doesn't sound to me like your girlfriend has ever had genuine sexual or romantic feelings, or that she was ever an enthusiastic initiator of any stage of your current relationship. What does seem to have happened is that she has become dependent on your friendship. Maybe she has no other close friends, or maybe she just doesn't deal well with change. So when it appears that she is about to lose you, she panics. She does things she doesn't want to do, like submitting to sex. Or she tells you what you clearly want to hear, like maybe she is in love with you after all. It will be far better for all concerned if you face facts. She would be far better off with a friend who just wanted to hang out and do regular friend things with no romantic or sexual strings attached. You would be far better off with a woman who actually wants to be in a sexual and romantic relationship with you.

 

Your frequently repeated belief that no woman will ever want you like that does not hold water. As I recall about a year ago you got an offer from a woman who wanted to be your girlfriend on the condition that you would make a monogamous commitment to her. I notice that she was actively trying to initiate a relationship, instead of being the subject of a lengthy experiment to see if she could develop desire for you. You went to your current girlfriend fully intending to break up with her and take the better offer, at which point she for the first time said something that you interpreted as meaning she was in love with you after all. That worked, and you stayed. In hindsight, does that seem like a sincere, unpressured declaration of love from your girlfriend, or a desperation tactic? And since it worked, don't you think she's likely to try it again the next time she feels desperate?

Uhm.. that's a lot of reading into things. As for us being friends, yes, this is true. She has no romantic or sexual feelings for me. It's also not that she's aromantic, in fact she has romantic feelings for one of my friends. She's very open about this. We're generally very open about our feelings.

 

She does need friends, and lately she's improved a lot on that aspect. When we got to know each other, she used to avoid everyone. A year or so ago, I started taking her to the local pub with my group of friends, and those meetings have become very important to her. She often says herself now that she wants to change her life and stop being so isolated, and I'm very happy for her and the progress she's making.

 

What changed isn't anything she said, but her.. well, feelings, as far as I can read them. And I can read them very well. What I crave isn't any verbal affirmation of love, but her touch, her gaze, her hugs that speak of caring about me and wanting me and not letting go of me, much better than words ever could. I've been missing that for the past months (even though she did still do these things, but the feeling behind it just wasn't the same to me as it was before our quarrel), and now I definitely felt like that was back. Maybe it's not, who knows, it was only for a short time and we won't see each other again for a while, but if it is back, then it's definitely something I wouldn't want to give up for anything.

 

I'm not looking for a monogamous relationship. Nor is my partner looking for a monogamous friendship (well, duh). Both of us might find other people in our lives who can give us things we can't give each other. But that's no reason for either of us to give up what we have in each other.

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Telecaster68

Tar, Tar, Tar.... 

 

Whether it's calculated or not, you're in a relationship with a woman who feels nothing romantic for you, but does for one of your friends. She'll tolerate your acting mildly smitten with her as long as she's not too stressed. When you propose to step back from the 'relationship' she ups her game to keep you around and agonising over the crumbs you're being dropped. This has been going on for years and I'm sure she knows exactly how you feel. 

 

This may or may not be intentional on her part, and I'm sure she cares about you in her limited way (though I'm far from convinced she's as unaware of these push - pull patterns as you n to think she is), but the bottom line is these are clearly the rules of the game for this relationship and they won't change. 

 

Take six months out from it, and follow through on whatever opportunities come your way. If they don't work out, go back to her. She's really unlikely to have found anyone else who will be as willing as you to put up with her distance in the meantime. 

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