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Question for Sexual in a relationship with an Ace

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Serran

As someone that has been lied to about a need ... just come clean. I would rather my partner tell me the truth, even if it hurts, than lie. To lie and say its ok and cheat will destroy anything you have together. If you come clean, she may be upset but she may also understand. At the least the ability to decide together will leave you with good memories instead of making everything (at least for her) tainted by the lie. Your whole life together will become a sore point. Its better to at least part as friends, or at most have her permission to "play". 

 

It doesnt make you a bad person to want it. I think, part of why people lie, is they cant accept their own needs as valid and OK if it might make someone else unhappy. But, they are. They just might not be compatible with your wifes. But you wont know til you talk about it.

 

Now... to answer the original question. 

 

I can feel intimacy from sexual acts. I didnt for 30 years, but then I met my spouse and omg I get it. It is bonding and fun and I just love having her body under my control.

 

However... I dont need it. If she said OK im not into this anymore, we would be fine. I can cuddle and kiss and play games and get it all. 

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ryn2
2 hours ago, InProgress said:

Well said. One quality that I've been able to put my finger on that has felt like it's missing is playfulness. I think that's why my husband's recent reciprocation of flirting has been so satisfying, whether it leads to sex or not.

Assuming one’s partner is not wholly sex-averse/sex-repulsed, it’s a lot easier to be playful if there’s not a 100% guarantee the activities of the moment are either leading to 1) something the partner does not enjoy or, if that’s turned down, 2) hurt feelings and a fight.  Finding sexual activities both can enjoy - even if they’re not the traditional endpoints for sexual encounters - can definitely make it easier to relax and up the fun factor.

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Serran

Yeah. If my flirting and playing lead to PiV, oral or other things like that being expected I would not enjoy it. Since it only leads to either nothing, or what we both like, then it is fun.

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Lara Black
On 8/9/2018 at 1:27 PM, Telecaster68 said:

People seldom stick neatly in categories, even if they fit at one time or another (and they don't, often). Trying to understand the world as though they do, doesn't work. 

I agree with Tele here – it looks like an oversimplification. If we can live without sex or can find other ways of expressing intimacy, it doesn’t mean we don’t need sex – or that sex isn’t the most convenient way to express intimacy. I sometimes use the metaphor of losing a limb – if a person without a leg or an arm still manages to have a full, happy life – does it mean they didn’t need that limb to start with?

So, I’d say we also need to factor in how well people handle loss.

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ChainReact
On 8/12/2018 at 10:09 AM, anisotropic said:

I think you may be a bit quick to dismiss.

 

Having sex without feeling condescended to isn't exactly the same as needing someone that desires you. If that's what your issue is, can you confront that?

 

It doesn't feel like condescension when my partner allows me to engage in dom behavior. This is one way I've adapted. It is ground I tread carefully, but it works very well for me.

 

I still suggest you discuss your unhappiness more with your partner, and when you do that, give a really hard look at whether you can adapt to finding satisfaction in sex with them. You could commit to trying your damnedest to achieve that – and you can look into getting a therapist for yourself or both of you, to help you navigate that – while also asking about an open relationship.

Someone pretending to be into you is, in my opinion, both a lack of desire and condescending. It’s lovely that she tries to make me feel good like that, but it’s counterproductive.

 

I’ve been trying to talk about my unhappiness, but it is so hard to be forthright with my feelings when I know they’ll hurt hers. I told her about how much our lack of a sex life affects me and this lead to some tears and a reminder that it’s something she’s been trying to work at. It makes me feel awful that the fact that she has to try is the problem, but that she wants to make it work so she is trying. She simply doesn’t understand the need to be carnally wanted. We’re planning on doing some counseling. I really want to ask about opening the relationship, but I am afraid. I am also afraid that the temptation of finding someone who really wants me will be too much for me to resist. That may sound pathetic, but it’s a desire that keeps me up at night and makes my skin crawl.

On 8/12/2018 at 10:27 AM, ryn2 said:

 

These are two pairs of things where both can’t really be 100% true.  Either the last thing you want is to part, or (that’s the second-to-last thing, and the actual last thing is) to live a sexless life.  Either the relationship is the most important thing in your life, or meeting your need for the right sort of sex is.

 

It’s important to know which is which because any solution will likely involve - to some degree - choosing between them.

 

Even if you don’t feel comfortable discussing the whole thing with your wife presently, you need to sort this part out for yourself as it will inform your subsequent choices.  

Ryn2, you are spot on. I human thinking may have lead to an understanding of logic, but that logic does not always inform our feelings. We can feel things in ways that are totally contradictory, counter factual, and counter productive. I guess it’s then up to our minds to decide what to do with those feelings. 

 

As for for which I want more, I don’t know. There’s the part of me that wants to do what seems to be the right thing and avoid causing pain to my wife, to conform to societal expectations and norms, to preserve my reputation, and to stay true to the persona I maintain with family. Then there’s the part of me that wants me to be true to myself and my needs. The part that thinks suppressing those needs will inevitably lead to worse problems down the road. 

 

Both sides of me are in conflict, and both paths will lead to regret in some way. 

 

I wish I could split myself and split the universe. 

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ryn2
34 minutes ago, ChainReact said:

We’re planning on doing some counseling.

Hopefully this makes the conversations themselves easier.

 

35 minutes ago, ChainReact said:

I am also afraid that the temptation of finding someone who really wants me will be too much for me to resist.

This, too, is a choice.  There is no one right answer for everyone but don’t lose sight of how you’re actively choosing this path if you do indeed take it.

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InProgress
1 hour ago, ChainReact said:

As for for which I want more, I don’t know. There’s the part of me that wants to do what seems to be the right thing and avoid causing pain to my wife, to conform to societal expectations and norms, to preserve my reputation, and to stay true to the persona I maintain with family. Then there’s the part of me that wants me to be true to myself and my needs. The part that thinks suppressing those needs will inevitably lead to worse problems down the road. 

 

Both sides of me are in conflict, and both paths will lead to regret in some way. 

Man do I GET this... all of what you said actually. I'm so tired of the constant conflict inside my own skin. My husband and I are on an upward trend at the moment, but I shared with him last night that the same way he is terrified of losing me, I am terrified he'll lose the interest he's been showing me lately. I guess I take solace knowing we're both *currently* doing all we can to find our common ground. But yeah, what you've said here resonates a lot.

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ChainReact
46 minutes ago, InProgress said:

Man do I GET this... all of what you said actually. I'm so tired of the constant conflict inside my own skin. My husband and I are on an upward trend at the moment, but I shared with him last night that the same way he is terrified of losing me, I am terrified he'll lose the interest he's been showing me lately. I guess I take solace knowing we're both *currently* doing all we can to find our common ground. But yeah, what you've said here resonates a lot.

It relieves me greatly to know that I’m not the only one who feels like this. It’s hard to know if the things happening in your head are normal or even sane when they’re things people just don’t talk about.

 

I’m glad you’re on an upward trend and I hope it continues for you. My wife is going to try to improve our sex life, but my big problem is that she’s just doing it for me. It just isn’t the same. I’ve explained this to her, but we agree that there really isn’t much beyond that she can do. I’ve told her I will try to just be accepting. I guess we’ll see how it goes.

 

I still really want to discuss opening our marriage, but I’m still too nervous to broach the topic, especially if she’s putting forth extra effort. 

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ryn2
4 minutes ago, ChainReact said:

I still really want to discuss opening our marriage, but I’m still too nervous to broach the topic, especially if she’s putting forth extra effort. 

If she ultimately gets the sense that all this putting herself outside her comfort zone wasn’t so much to improve/save the relationship as it was to let you reassure yourself that her best is not enough and that you’re justified in going outside the relationship for sex, she’s probably not going to receive that better than she would a two-way discussion upfront.

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ChainReact
8 minutes ago, ryn2 said:

If she ultimately gets the sense that all this putting herself outside her comfort zone wasn’t so much to improve/save the relationship as it was to let you reassure yourself that her best is not enough and that you’re justified in going outside the relationship for sex, she’s probably not going to receive that better than she would a two-way discussion upfront.

You’re insights are very helpful. I just need to work up more gumption to bring the conversation there. 

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anisotrophic
5 hours ago, ChainReact said:

Someone pretending to be into you is, in my opinion, both a lack of desire and condescending.

Yeah, my partner doesn't pretend for me – I think it is better, even if it seems harsh.

 

5 hours ago, ChainReact said:

this lead to some tears and a reminder that it’s something she’s been trying to work at. It makes me feel awful that the fact that she has to try is the problem, but that she wants to make it work so she is trying. She simply doesn’t understand the need to be carnally wanted.

Well... that's the crux of it? It's unclear to me if you're asking her to try to desire you – or she's trying to do that – but if a partner is ace(ish), this doesn't seem productive. (And may feel like their orientation isn't truly accepted?) Anything you try has to be ... literally anything else? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I think everything @ryn2 says tends to be pretty solid. :)


To be fair, asking about "open" does seem to have to be part of giving something to get something? More acceptance? Trying on your own end? I don't know. A therapist is good because they'll help you find blindspots. If @ryn2 happens to be busy. ;)

 

Aces are, in effect, colorblind people being told that "red" and "green" are vividly different colors... they don't have the same experience of the world, and your intuitions about each other may be way off.

And yeah. It's really painful to not be desired. It probably contributed to my gender identity falling apart.

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ryn2

“Open” normally implies, to @anisotropic‘s post above, a mutual acceptance that both partners may need to go outside the primary relationship to get some need met.  While - if she’s truly ace - this may not mean your wife taking on a secondary sexual partner, she may want to seek another partner for other reasons...

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ChainReact
12 minutes ago, anisotropic said:

Yeah, my partner doesn't pretend for me – I think it is better, even if it seems harsh.

 

Well... that's the crux of it? It's unclear to me if you're asking her to try to desire you – or she's trying to do that – but if a partner is ace(ish), this doesn't seem productive. (And may feel like their orientation isn't truly accepted?) Anything you try has to be ... literally anything else? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I think everything @ryn2 says tends to be pretty solid. :)


To be fair, asking about "open" does seem to have to be part of giving something to get something? More acceptance? Trying on your own end? I don't know. A therapist is good because they'll help you find blindspots. If @ryn2 happens to be busy. ;)

 

Aces are, in effect, colorblind people being told that "red" and "green" are vividly different colors... they don't have the same experience of the world, and your intuitions about each other may be way off.

And yeah. It's really painful to not be desired. It probably contributed to my gender identity falling apart.

I haven’t asked her for anything at this point. I’ve just stopped suffering in silence (not that I’ve never brought it up before, but I’ve always shut down very quickly when I could see it was upsetting her. She isn’t entirely sure that it’s an orientation thing, so she is going to try to be more into sex. Obviously, I can’t just say what someone else’s identity is if it’s in flux for them, but I’d be surprised if it turned out that she was fully allosexual and had a sexual awakening of some kind. But I’ve been surprised by many things. 

 

I think you’re very right about the colorblind thing. Just a little bit ago, she was saying that she didn’t think it was uncommon for married couples to go more than a year without sex. I said I didn’t see how people could survive that. She got upset that I was dismissive of what she was saying, so to her it must have seemed perfectly reasonable whereas to me it sounded absurd. 

2 minutes ago, ryn2 said:

“Open” normally implies, to @anisotropic‘s post above, a mutual acceptance that both partners may need to go outside the primary relationship to get some need met.  While - if she’s truly ace - this may not mean your wife taking on a secondary sexual partner, she may want to seek another partner for other reasons...

And I would be more than happy to let her explore in any way she wants. I’ve always been that way and told her as much years ago when she was talking about a crush she had developed while we were married. As long as she comes home to me, I want her to do what makes her happy. And if she didn’t come back, I doubt my disapproval would have made much of a difference anyway. I think it’d be better to have her happy, with or without me, than unhappy with me.

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anisotrophic
On 8/13/2018 at 1:43 PM, ryn2 said:

“Open” normally implies, to @anisotropic‘s post above, a mutual acceptance that both partners may need to go outside the primary relationship to get some need met.  While - if she’s truly ace - this may not mean your wife taking on a secondary sexual partner, she may want to seek another partner for other reasons...

 

On 8/13/2018 at 2:18 PM, ChainReact said:

And I would be more than happy to let her explore in any way she wants. I’ve always been that way and told her as much years ago when she was talking about a crush she had developed while we were married.

Well... although that bidirectionality is a common tactic for fairness, I think I'd also observe the difference between literal equality and equal consideration. That is, when something is literally equal treatment, it doesn't necessarily impact people the same way.

So... an optimal balance in what's given & received may be different from a literal equality, contextual to how people are affected by it.

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ChainReact

@anisotropic, interesting point about equality, although I don’t know how important eqaulity is in this situation. I the fact is that I’m distressed, and eventually something will have to give. I think “distraught” is the word I’ve been looking for to sum up what’s happening with my brain. I feel distraught and I’ve been suffering in silence for years and I’ve reached my psychological limit. 

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anamikanon
On 8/11/2018 at 4:34 PM, ChainReact said:

The question is: will my wife ever trust me to watch my show with someone else and still come home for dinner? Will I need to secretly watch the show with someone else? Or will I have to completely leave her behind to actually enjoy the show. 

I would not recommend option 2 to anyone, ever. No matter the reason. Cheating poisons relationships. You will have had a fix for your hard on and damaged fifty other things in the process. And this is without getting into the dishonesty of it. Simply not worth it, even though avoiding difficult choices seems tempting. The bypass may seem easier in the short run, but I don't know anyone whose relationship has benifitted from cheating long term.

 

It may be better to discuss honestly and take it from there. Your needs matter and if they aren't being met, you have a right to bring it up and explore possible solutions. If she cannot accept that, it may be better to separate and then honestly pursue a new relationship.

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Telecaster68
4 minutes ago, anamikanon said:

Cheating poisons relationships

So does refusing to address one partner's misery. 

 

Quote

You will have had a fix for your hard on and damaged fifty other things in the process. 

It's about more than a fix for a hard on, and those other things were already damaged. Infidelity has just made the ace fully appreciate they're damaged. 

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ChainReact
2 minutes ago, anamikanon said:

I would not recommend option 2 to anyone, ever. No matter the reason. Cheating poisons relationships. You will have had a fix for your hard on and damaged fifty other things in the process. And this is without getting into the dishonesty of it. Simply not worth it, even though avoiding difficult choices seems tempting. The bypass may seem easier in the short run, but I don't know anyone whose relationship has benifitted from cheating long term.

 

It may be better to discuss honestly and take it from there. Your needs matter and if they aren't being met, you have a right to bring it up and explore possible solutions. If she cannot accept that, it may be better to separate and then honestly pursue a new relationship.

I know that you’re right, and I don’t think that I have it in me to go that route, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t sometimes think about it and that I’m not extremely tempted if the opportunity presents itself. Really, the possibility that an affair could in theory go on without being discovered and allow the illusion of a totally happy home life is what makes it sound appealing in some sense. But I know myself too well and I would feel far to awful to keep the secret and it would just be incredibly damaging. 

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ChainReact
4 minutes ago, Telecaster68 said:

So does refusing to address one partner's misery. 

 

It's about more than a fix for a hard on, and those other things were already damaged. Infidelity has just made the ace fully appreciate they're damaged. 

I agree that it’s about more than a fix for a hard on, but I think it’s very unfair to refer to an asexual as “damaged”. The relationship may be damaged, but there is nothing inherently wrong with my partner’s sexuality. It just isn’t compatible with mine. 

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Telecaster68

I meant the fifty other things that anamikanon referred to as damaged, not a person. 

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anamikanon
2 minutes ago, Telecaster68 said:

So does refusing to address one partner's misery. 

No one is disputing that, but having already had one spoon of poison still doesn't make the second spoon a bright idea.

2 minutes ago, Telecaster68 said:

It's about more than a fix for a hard on, and those other things were already damaged. Infidelity has just made the ace fully appreciate they're damaged. 

There is research on infidelity that shows that it benifits no one. Not the person getting cheated on, not the person doing the cheating and not the person the cheater cheats with. I'm not moralizing here, that is not my style. If you could be selfish and make it work, I'd say that. But to the best of my knowledge, cheating doesn't do anything useful long term unless of course all the relationships in question are merely facades.

 

There is also research that the cheating couple end up together long term in a very small % of the relationships (I don't have the data on hand here and am too lazy, but it was close to 10%). Chances are better if the cheating happens with an ex-lover than a new partner, but still not very high. So even if the original relationship broke up and went away completely, the chances of the cheating relationship succeeding in any fashion are low and long term secrets too are stressful. In the end, it causes a lot of pain and regrets and shame. Particularly so for the person doing the cheating, because they end up also shouldering the guilt of the pain of the other two.

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ChainReact

@Telecaster68, and as for not addressing a partner’s misery, I agree that it’s a problem. However, the blame does not rest squarely on my wife’s shoulders. I grew up in a pretty conservative Midwestern home, so I know a thing or two about keeping your unhappiness to yourself if you think it will make others uncomfortable. 

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Telecaster68
2 minutes ago, anamikanon said:

No one is disputing that, but having already had one spoon of poison still doesn't make the second spoon a bright idea.

There is research on infidelity that shows that it benifits no one. Not the person getting cheated on, not the person doing the cheating and not the person the cheater cheats with. I'm not moralizing here, that is not my style. If you could be selfish and make it work, I'd say that. But to the best of my knowledge, cheating doesn't do anything useful long term unless of course all the relationships in question are merely facades.

 

There is also research that the cheating couple end up together long term in a very small % of the relationships (I don't have the data on hand here and am too lazy, but it was close to 10%). Chances are better if the cheating happens with an ex-lover than a new partner, but still not very high. So even if the original relationship broke up and went away completely, the chances of the cheating relationship succeeding in any fashion are low and long term secrets too are stressful. In the end, it causes a lot of pain and regrets and shame. Particularly so for the person doing the cheating, because they end up also shouldering the guilt of the pain of the other two.

Two wrongs don't make a right, but I don't think someone ignoring their partner's misery can claim any moral high ground. 

 

I'd like to see the research you mention, and your third point wasn't really relevant. 

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Telecaster68
3 minutes ago, ChainReact said:

@Telecaster68, and as for not addressing a partner’s misery, I agree that it’s a problem. However, the blame does not rest squarely on my wife’s shoulders. I grew up in a pretty conservative Midwestern home, so I know a thing or two about keeping your unhappiness to yourself if you think it will make others uncomfortable. 

Me too about keeping feelings down, but it doesn't sound like she jumped on the case when you did say something. Would you have responded in a similar way? 

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anamikanon
8 minutes ago, ChainReact said:

I know that you’re right, and I don’t think that I have it in me to go that route, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t sometimes think about it and that I’m not extremely tempted if the opportunity presents itself. Really, the possibility that an affair could in theory go on without being discovered and allow the illusion of a totally happy home life is what makes it sound appealing in some sense. But I know myself too well and I would feel far to awful to keep the secret and it would just be incredibly damaging. 

What ifs are really tempting. I agree. I am poly, though not seeking a partner and at least twice a week I contemplate having a new partner for sex. I even tried dating, but interacting with so many people irritated me and I stopped. I am simply not in a phase of life or frame of mind to add yet another relationship to the complexity of those I already have. That doesn't stop me from day dreaming. lol. Doesn't help that my ace is totally supportive. So it seems like a bright new feasible idea till I think it through and drop it. Over and over. lol.

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ChainReact
3 minutes ago, anamikanon said:

No one is disputing that, but having already had one spoon of poison still doesn't make the second spoon a bright idea.

There is research on infidelity that shows that it benifits no one. Not the person getting cheated on, not the person doing the cheating and not the person the cheater cheats with. I'm not moralizing here, that is not my style. If you could be selfish and make it work, I'd say that. But to the best of my knowledge, cheating doesn't do anything useful long term unless of course all the relationships in question are merely facades.

 

There is also research that the cheating couple end up together long term in a very small % of the relationships (I don't have the data on hand here and am too lazy, but it was close to 10%). Chances are better if the cheating happens with an ex-lover than a new partner, but still not very high. So even if the original relationship broke up and went away completely, the chances of the cheating relationship succeeding in any fashion are low and long term secrets too are stressful. In the end, it causes a lot of pain and regrets and shame. Particularly so for the person doing the cheating, because they end up also shouldering the guilt of the pain of the other two.

I’ve read a lot of the same on the topic, so I know that it’s an objectively bad idea. But sometimes, when you stare over the edge, there’s a small part of you that’s tempted to jump, even though you have no intention of hurting yourself. 

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cbc
15 minutes ago, anamikanon said:

Cheating poisons relationships

Cheating is something that happens in relationships that are otherwise already troubled. Or "poisoned", if you will. Not trying to defend it as the wisest choice in terms of dealing with those troubles, but it's hardly sullying something that's the epitome of a healthy partnership. Happily satisfied partners don't go searching elsewhere.

 

7 minutes ago, anamikanon said:

There is research on infidelity that shows that it benifits no one. Not the person getting cheated on, not the person doing the cheating and not the person the cheater cheats with.

Would legit looooove to see that research. Pretty sure I could come up with anecdotes that refute some of those points at least.

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anamikanon
2 minutes ago, Telecaster68 said:

Two wrongs don't make a right, but I don't think someone ignoring their partner's misery can claim any moral high ground. 

 

I'd like to see the research you mention, and your third point wasn't really relevant. 

I don't know who you see here ignoring their partners and claiming moral high ground. I think you may be projecting from your experiences with one specific ace. Actually no ace has chimed in on this yet and no one at all has suggested ignoring a partner's misery at all - whether sexual or ace.

 

Unless I missed something. I saw @ChainReact's post and simply commented on that. I don't think he is saying that his wife is ignoring his misery. In fact I'm pretty sure he describes her being oblivious to it.

 

1 minute ago, CBC said:

Cheating is something that happens in relationships that are otherwise already troubled. Or "poisoned", if you will.

This is actually not true. It is a monogamous myth. You can love more than one person. Good camaraderie often develops into cheating without the original relationship being in trouble at all. Plain old attraction, small intimacies that seem harmless escalate. People routinely have poly relationships without original relationship being in trouble. The cheating isn't caused by the attraction but by the poor boundaries - which anyone can have. Marriage isn't some magic innoculation.

 

1 minute ago, CBC said:

Would legit looooove to see that research. Pretty sure I could come up with anecdotes that refute some of those points at least.

 

Read the book Not "Just Friends" - it has references to that research and a lot more other research as well and really covers the subject of infidelity very well, without moralizing and using a lot of data.

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ChainReact
6 minutes ago, Telecaster68 said:

Me too about keeping feelings down, but it doesn't sound like she jumped on the case when you did say something. Would you have responded in a similar way? 

I would have responded differently, but I’m a very different person. And I do think she earnestly wants to do something, it’s just been difficult to explain the depth of the problem to someone who totally doesn’t get it (like telling a colorblind person that their pants and shoes clash horribly).

6 minutes ago, anamikanon said:

What ifs are really tempting. I agree. I am poly, though not seeking a partner and at least twice a week I contemplate having a new partner for sex. I even tried dating, but interacting with so many people irritated me and I stopped. I am simply not in a phase of life or frame of mind to add yet another relationship to the complexity of those I already have. That doesn't stop me from day dreaming. lol. Doesn't help that my ace is totally supportive. So it seems like a bright new feasible idea till I think it through and drop it. Over and over. lol.

I’m glad that you can relate. It’s the over and over part of the daydreaming that makes me occasionally wonder what I’m capable of. 

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cbc

I will definitely look that book up, sounds interesting actually.

 

Fair enough about the poly point, yeah. I suppose I was coming at it from the persepctive of the discussion being about a clearly unfulfilled partner in what was intended to be a monogamous relationship, and in that sense if neither person is polyamorous, cheating is indeed a sign of an already-existing problem within the partnership.

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