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LuSo

confused about my husbands orientation

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ryn2
5 minutes ago, Telecaster68 said:

It's both sexual and nonsexual. They're not separate things.

They are when the ace is only aware of the nonsexual part and trying (in vain) to be better in that arena.

 

6 minutes ago, Telecaster68 said:

I don't think a relationship in which one partner can be fine for months while knowing the other is miserable as fuck over the relationship is particularly healthy either. 

Agreed if - again - the partner actually knows why.  If all the communication is vague and past one another, the ace may not realize their behavior is a factor... or may get the sense it is and yet not know how to fix it.

 

If it’s really just as easy as “ask me what’s wrong and I’ll tell you,” why not just tell and skip the game-playing of “if you really cared you’d ask”?

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Telecaster68
9 minutes ago, ryn2 said:

They are when the ace is only aware of the nonsexual part and trying (in vain) to be better in that arena.

 

Agreed if - again - the partner actually knows why.  If all the communication is vague and past one another, the ace may not realize their behavior is a factor... or may get the sense it is and yet not know how to fix it.

 

If it’s really just as easy as “ask me what’s wrong and I’ll tell you,” why not just tell and skip the game-playing of “if you really cared you’d ask”?

But your initial reaction seemed to be clueless about any of it, sexual, or nonsexual.

 

I agree it can seem a little game-playing, but then having to specify ways in which you'd like your spouse to take any notice of you.... even post-NRE, don't you each loom larger than anyone else in each other's lives? It feels pathetic and needy to have to ask to be noticed by your spouse. And when you have issued a checklist, there's always the suspicion that they're just running down the checklist so they can get back to ignoring you again.

 

I'm not talking about endless fawning, just, say, noticing a haircut, or actually listening when you're talking about your day, and remembering stuff that's of concern to you, rather than always just chucking out scripted questions regardless of topic.

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ryn2
1 hour ago, Telecaster68 said:

I agree it can seem a little game-playing, but then having to specify ways in which you'd like your spouse to take any notice of you.... even post-NRE, don't you each loom larger than anyone else in each other's lives? It feels pathetic and needy to have to ask to be noticed by your spouse. And when you have issued a checklist, there's always the suspicion that they're just running down the checklist so they can get back to ignoring you again.

I’ve 100% been there, and it used to cause me a great deal of pain. *If I tell my partner I need to hear “I love you” more often, how do I know he means it and isn’t just doing it to shut me up?  I only want it if it’s real!*  It took me a good solid four years of therapy to fully eradicate it but I’m living proof it can be done.  In the end, you do have to ask for what you need, and that’s healthy and okay.

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ryn2
1 hour ago, Telecaster68 said:

I'm not talking about endless fawning, just, say, noticing a haircut, or actually listening when you're talking about your day, and remembering stuff that's of concern to you, rather than always just chucking out scripted questions regardless of topic.

These things tend to come easily to people who need them themselves and not to people who don’t.  It falls under the same thing as “we tend to help people the way we want to be helped, rather than the way that works best for them.”

 

A relationship between two people with the same styles isn’t inherently stronger... it just means you don’t have to talk as much about those things.

 

Also, having the same style early on doesn’t mean you always will. Someone who compliments you a lot because they’re anxious and appearance-focused may stop doing it without meaning harm when they work through their own issues and don’t care about looks more than normal anymore.

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NapoliGirl
10 minutes ago, ryn2 said:

In the end, you do have to ask for what you need, and that’s healthy and okay.

But, to what extent?  Every time you want your hand held, every time you want a hug, every time you put on a goddarn new outfit or get a goddarn haircut, or every time you want to hear an " I love you"?  Every time you want a kiss?  Every time you want those types of things and those types of words that you relate to basic, everyday intimacy?  For heaven's sake!  For some of us, I reckon, that's what we need to do, myself included.  Been there much too long, been reading that script aloud so much longer than I've needed to, very unhappy! 

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NapoliGirl
1 hour ago, Telecaster68 said:

But your initial reaction seemed to be clueless about any of it, sexual, or nonsexual.

 

I agree it can seem a little game-playing, but then having to specify ways in which you'd like your spouse to take any notice of you.... even post-NRE, don't you each loom larger than anyone else in each other's lives? It feels pathetic and needy to have to ask to be noticed by your spouse. And when you have issued a checklist, there's always the suspicion that they're just running down the checklist so they can get back to ignoring you again.

 

I'm not talking about endless fawning, just, say, noticing a haircut, or actually listening when you're talking about your day, and remembering stuff that's of concern to you, rather than always just chucking out scripted questions regardless of topic.

Indeed!!  

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Telecaster68
25 minutes ago, ryn2 said:

These things tend to come easily to people who need them themselves and not to people who don’t.  It falls under the same thing as “we tend to help people the way we want to be helped, rather than the way that works best for them.”

Doesn't it behove my partner to do something in the way that works best for me, too? And part of what makes me feel loved is that they've bothered to think about me, and figure me out rather than waiting for instructions.

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uhtred
On 8/15/2018 at 12:01 PM, LuSo said:

Hi there, 

 

I'm sure there have been tons of threads like this but I don't know where to turn right now. I also know that no one here can tell me for sure what is going on with him, but I'd like some opinions.

 

My husband has never had much of a sex drive. He, in fact, had never had a girlfriend before me (he was 26) and had only had sex a handful of times before we began dating. It was better when we met and things were still new, but it quickly waned over the years down to almost nothing. We have sex *maybe* once a month now and I feel like it's always me initiating it. Weirdly, he seems the most interested if he is half asleep in the middle of the night. Even when we have sex he will not touch me very much, he seems to be semi grossed out by vaginas. He has never performed oral sex although he will occasionally touch me with his fingers for a minute or two. Frequently it takes so long that it becomes uncomfortable and he has to finish with his hand or asks me to do it with mine. He has actually asked me to stop in the middle of sex and used his hand or mine. I do believe he watches porn and masturbates, but I'm not sure how often and he seems embarrassed talking about it.

 

I guess I never thought much of it because I was on antidepressants at the time and my sex drive was lower as well, but nowhere near as low as his. We talked about it many, many, many times even then and I just kept trying to express how hurt I was and how much it was effecting my self esteem. He will usually tell me he's sorry and blame work stress, being too tired, or us having different sleep schedules but none of the excuses add up to what's actually going on. Sometimes nothing changes and sometimes he will try to be interested for a few weeks but I can tell he is just forcing it.  At this point I don't even know if it could be fixed. He is just not interested and I know that any effort he makes isn't because he wants me, it's because he wants to do what I need. I realize that's an admirable thing on his part but it's just not fulfilling. My self esteem is now almost non existent. I've gotten so used to feeling unwanted and unattractive that I'm just disgusted with myself all the time.
 

Recently a male friend of mine confessed that he's always been attracted to me and tried to kiss me, (I know, crappy thing to do) I stopped it but I didn't want to at all. It was an absolute shock to my system that anyone in the world wanted anything to do with me. In fact it just made me start thinking things over and realize that this has not been a sexual relationship like any I've had before. I feel resentful and part of me keeps thinking that I should've just done it since it's not like I'd be taking something from our relationship to give to someone else, it'd just be fulfilling a need I have that my husband doesn't seem to want to be part of. I've even briefly brought up an idea of doing something like that but he doesn't want to and it's like he doesn't even get it. He doesn't understand why I'm not fine with the way things are and tells me that sex isn't that big of a deal. It ends up with me feeling like I'm obsessed with sex (I'm not, as I said my personal desire is on the lower side of normal, as every other boyfriend I've ever had has complained about). 

 

I don't know what to do. I am absolutely in love with him and our relationship is completely solid in every other aspect. I don't want our marriage to fail and he seems completely confused as to why this is even a big deal and doesn't seem to take it seriously.  When I talk to him about it he seems to think I'm suggesting he's gay (he's not, and he's not cheating) or that there's something wrong with him even when I try to be very sensitive and understanding, that's when the excuses start coming. I don't want to lose this relationship because we have a very happy life together and I love him very much, but the situation is getting desperate and I don't know what to think or do any more.

 

Any advice appreciated. Thanks in advance.

 

Oh and I should add that there is also very little affection in general. I knew that he wasn't a super romantic person when I met him but he really only seems to want to touch me when he's been drinking and even then it's just putting his arms around me or kissing me, it's always a peck kiss though, nothing passionate.

 

Sorry to come late to this question. Its a common and really miserable situation. I've been in something similar for >30 years.  I love my wife, I really do, but there is this terrible undercurrent of resentment that she has kept me from ever having a normal sex life.  Its not her fault - she cannot change the way she is wired - but at the same time it seems so unfair that she cannot understand how unhappy she has made me over all these years. 

 

From my experience and from much discussions, I think it is very unlikely that the low sex drive person will change. Ever.  Don't set your hopes on that or they will be dashed over and over again.   Put that out of your mind. 

 

Then I use the trite:  Leave Cheat, Live like a Nun / Monk.        They all suck but I think those are the choices you have. 

 

I would advise against cheating, not for moral reasons, but because I think if you find someone who feels passion and desire for you, you will fall in love and leave anyway - but with lots of guilt. 

 

 

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ryn2
31 minutes ago, Telecaster68 said:

Doesn't it behove my partner to do something in the way that works best for me, too? And part of what makes me feel loved is that they've bothered to think about me, and figure me out rather than waiting for instructions.

Well, I hope you find a mindreader, then.  I never did and ultimately took my therapist’s advice that it would be easier to tackle it from the end I could change.

 

To give a less emotionally-charged example, a friend of mine and I used to study together.  It turns out, we discovered after some pain, that we prepare for exams very differently.  When I can’t answer the question, I want the smallest possible memory-jogger (followed by the next smallest, and so forth) so I can continue trying to come up with the answer.  He, on the other hand, wants to be told the answer on the first failed try in hopes he can remember it next time.

 

Until we figured that out, he thought he was helping me by giving me the answers the moment I started saying I couldn’t remember and couldn’t understand why I was reacting so badly.  I, on the other hand, kept trying to hint him to the answers and couldn’t see why he was acting like he was being tortured.

 

We were helping the way we wanted to be helped, not realizing why it wasn’t working for our partners and getting increasingly annoyed with one another.

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Telecaster68

I don't think that level of thoughtfulness is mindreading or particularly unusual in a relationship. It's just connecting with someone. It happens. Not routinely, but then partners aren't routine relationships. 

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ryn2

Making an effort to do nice things for your partner once you’ve been told what they are (and given updates when they change) is thoughtfulness.

 

Magically knowing what those things are without being told is mindreading.

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ryn2
4 minutes ago, Telecaster68 said:

It's just connecting with someone.

If you’re already taking healthy responsibility for your own happiness, and you partner with someone who is as well, it’s a nice added bonus if you share the same love language or communication style.

 

If you haven’t gotten to the point of having a healthy perspective on owning your own feelings finding someone who mindreads you is more likely to mean entering into a tangled mess of codependence and enabling and angst and misery.

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Telecaster68
30 minutes ago, ryn2 said:

If you’re already taking healthy responsibility for your own happiness, and you partner with someone who is as well, it’s a nice added bonus if you share the same love language or communication style.

 

If you haven’t gotten to the point of having a healthy perspective on owning your own feelings finding someone who mindreads you is more likely to mean entering into a tangled mess of codependence and enabling and angst and misery.

It's more than sharing a communication style, it's intuitive and instinctual. 

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ryn2
13 minutes ago, Telecaster68 said:

It's more than sharing a communication style, it's intuitive and instinctual. 

More often it’s dysfunctional.  People who don’t grow up having to do it... don’t do it.  They cheerfully (or less so, on crappy days) ask for what they want and need.

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Telecaster68

I don't think you have the necessary knowledge to be able to write off relationships like that. 

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ryn2
6 minutes ago, Telecaster68 said:

I don't think you have the necessary knowledge to be able to write off relationships like that. 

I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree and someday you can let me know.  I’m pretty sure no one could have convinced me back in the day.

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Telecaster68

Oh, patronised twice in one day. 

 

I don't think the definition of a healthy relationship is one where nothing is understood unless it's explicitly articulated. 

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ryn2
19 minutes ago, Telecaster68 said:

Oh, patronised twice in one day. 

 

I don't think the definition of a healthy relationship is one where nothing is understood unless it's explicitly articulated. 

Not patronizing, just reflecting on my own experience.

 

A healthy relationship is one in which both/all parties have worked through their own stuff, set and respect good boundaries, and aren’t afraid to ask for what they need.  If those things are all true and you’re “on the same wavelength,” win.

 

If they aren’t true and you find someone who seems to be on the same wavelength, it’s probably an unhealthy wavelength you won’t ultimately benefit from sharing.

 

Two emotionally strong, healthy people who share a love of marathon training?  Great.  Two exercise bulemics who do?  Not so great, even though they sure will bond over it and feel like they’ve found their soulmates.

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anamikanon
17 hours ago, Telecaster68 said:

Oh, patronised twice in one day. 

When you use stereotypes from personal experience extensively, any criticism will seem patronizing. For several pages of this discussion, you have taken a problem that has little to do with asexuality and used it as an example of typical responses. The fact of the matter is that you describe a partner who doesn't care and you speak about them like you don't care either. It is basically a relationship breakdown that you are describing and not at all typical of relationships (other than those headed for divorce). Then you place the burden of decades of misery on the other partner and you use it to explain how deceit is not necessarily worse than other inadvertent actions in a marriage.

 

I understand that you find it patronizing, but for people in loving relationships, both the uncaring partner and complete lack of regard for being honest with them is hard to recognize as "typical" of a "relationship" and it is very hard to agree with a stubborn dismissal of consequences when the idea of being in a relationship usually means caring about consequences of our actions to a partner.

 

Let me put it like this. For two people who don't give a fuck about each other and are not likely to notice cheating and who for some mysterious reason remain in a relationship as well as whine anyway, and one of them wanting sex outside the marriage as well as to enjoy some unspecified positives of the marriage, cheating is probably the least of their problems, even if it happens. You are right. 

 

But this is not "typical" of relationships. Even when there is discontent, there is a measure of interest in not actively harming a partner. Therefore cheating causes mental stress for such people. Not necessarily all, as you point out.

 

This is an opinion. I don't have statistical research on how many people want/don't want/are indifferent to hurting a spouse.

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ryn2

Since a few people responded... there’s also some question of broader context in play.  If a partner used to be very “in tune” with and attentive to little details about you but has since stopped, there are a number of possible explanations.

 

A partner who is still very attentive to others, but just not to their partner, may be taking their partner for granted/losing interest/upset with the partner/reacting to a comparable decline from the partner’s end/refraining from doing things the partner seems not to like/etc.

 

A partner who is no longer attentive to anyone may be among other things depressed or otherwise unwell, preoccupied, or (on a positive note) behaving differently due to personal growth with or without therapy.

 

On the other hand, though, a partner who is generally inattentive and always has been, or was only attentive in “NRE mode,” is probably just someone who doesn’t feel the same need for attention/need for attention in the same areas the partner does.

 

None of that changes the value of asking for what you need, but oftentimes what’s “going on” with a partner isn’t related to/reflective of their feelings towards their partner and relationship.

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MrDane

How about this: I, the sexual, do a ton of different things to please her. She, the asexual, never does the one thing that would really please me. Say: “Come get some!” Why? Because the one thing, which is extremely important to me and directly linked to the level of my happiness, and which she is quite neutral towards, and okay with doing, never flyes in on her radar? I do make it my priority to observe what she needs and help providing it. It does not require a doctors degree to know, what I would really like. I have also said it out clearly quite a few times before her aceness bloomed. I am sorry to say, that it is not just about her radar. It is an ace-person, not accepting my need as valid. It bugs me more than if she forgot how much I enjoy milk in my coffee. 

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ryn2
4 hours ago, MrDane said:

How about this: I, the sexual, do a ton of different things to please her. She, the asexual, never does the one thing that would really please me. Say: “Come get some!” Why? Because the one thing, which is extremely important to me and directly linked to the level of my happiness, and which she is quite neutral towards, and okay with doing, never flyes in on her radar? I do make it my priority to observe what she needs and help providing it. It does not require a doctors degree to know, what I would really like. I have also said it out clearly quite a few times before her aceness bloomed. I am sorry to say, that it is not just about her radar. It is an ace-person, not accepting my need as valid. It bugs me more than if she forgot how much I enjoy milk in my coffee. 

Doing other nice things normally only requires not complaining about them.  That’s not good enough with sex...  with sex, everyone wants you to act like you genuinely want and enjoy it too (no starfishing!), and pretending to enjoy it is seen as rude and disrespectful, so you can’t fake it but you have to fake it extra-well.

 

If you had to put on a When Harry Met Sally level performance every time you took out the bins you might look at “nice things” differently...

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Serran

Its hard to initiate sex when you dont want it or find it uncomfortable / unnatural. Its something that you can remind yourself 100 times about then still forget once you stop repeating it. Then it seems never the right time. When do you ask? How? Do you interrupt the movie? That seems weird. Etc, etc. You might think of it and wait for an opening but since its weird and awkward for you it never seems right...

 

Honestly, I want sexual stuff now but I still forget some days. And other days I dont ask cause it just never seems right time to ask. And other times it feels like my partner is into other things. And...and...

 

Its not easy for some people. Even if its something they might like and  / or know their partner wants. 

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anamikanon
29 minutes ago, Serran said:

And other days I dont ask cause it just never seems right time to ask. And other times it feels like my partner is into other things. And...and...

This is something my ace has said too. In the days when we were still trying to be sexual. That even if he remembered to offer, sex seemed out of context with what was going on, and he wasn't quite sure how to ask/offer or how to stop an ongoing routine and "suddenly ask about sex". He simply didn't see where in a "routine" sex fit. If we'd really been talking about sex, so he definitely knew it was on my mind and/or that I was frustrated, he would wonder if it seemed like he was offering because I told him to offer and if that would seem unnatural and fake to me. Using a code word to indicate that he was interested and letting me do the initiating also felt fake to him.

 

And the "fake" of it also worried him, because I wasn't interested in him pretending and he didn't want to make me uncomfortable... and everything felt fake to do deliberately...

 

I told him many times that any time he was happy and interested in getting me off would work (he mostly didn't like being touched) and to not overthink it, but to him, it is really not a spontaneous action and everything  involves thinking so...

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uhtred
2 hours ago, Serran said:

Its hard to initiate sex when you dont want it or find it uncomfortable / unnatural. Its something that you can remind yourself 100 times about then still forget once you stop repeating it. Then it seems never the right time. When do you ask? How? Do you interrupt the movie? That seems weird. Etc, etc. You might think of it and wait for an opening but since its weird and awkward for you it never seems right...

 

Honestly, I want sexual stuff now but I still forget some days. And other days I dont ask cause it just never seems right time to ask. And other times it feels like my partner is into other things. And...and...

 

Its not easy for some people. Even if its something they might like and  / or know their partner wants. 

I think what makes this so frustrating for all involved is that it does seem so obvious to the sexual person. 

 

In my case, I've turned my wife down for sex maybe 3 times in 30 years. So whenever it is, its basically a sure thing.  For me the "moment' is pretty much always right. I'd love for her to interrupt a movie, or wake me in the middle of the night, or grab me when I get home from work - anything that gave the impression of interest and desire. 

 

Interrupting is easy - if you are an asexual with a sexual partner, just grab them and start kissing. 

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anamikanon
On 8/18/2018 at 1:05 AM, ryn2 said:

If it’s really just as easy as “ask me what’s wrong and I’ll tell you,” why not just tell and skip the game-playing of “if you really cared you’d ask”?

This, I think is the crux of communication issues overall. Most people are culturally conditioned to not be "inconvenient", particularly in stating individual needs and find it hard to do so unless anger shovels those words out. It isn't just about sex, it is about everything. Many people will not be the only person to ask for wine if everyone else is drinking beer. Logically, it makes no difference. One bottle or the other - whether to buy or pour from, but being different and having wants/needs different from others can be difficult to state. Gets more difficult the more personally important it is. And very very hard if it means it will be difficult for the other person, also in a personal way (as the ace-sexual gap can be).

 

But really, asking is the healthiest thing you can do for a relationship, before the unmet needs register to be so strong as to cause feelings of deprivation, neglect, misery or perceptions that the other partner is deliberately cruel in not caring, etc.

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MrDane
On 8/19/2018 at 7:59 AM, uhtred said:

I think what makes this so frustrating for all involved is that it does seem so obvious to the sexual person. 

 

In my case, I've turned my wife down for sex maybe 3 times in 30 years. So whenever it is, its basically a sure thing.  For me the "moment' is pretty much always right. I'd love for her to interrupt a movie, or wake me in the middle of the night, or grab me when I get home from work - anything that gave the impression of interest and desire. 

 

Interrupting is easy - if you are an asexual with a sexual partner, just grab them and start kissing. 

Rigth! ...and if it was just because she woke up and couldnt fall asleep again and just thougth she could give me the offer because she, at that moment, would be okay with it and I would be happy about being considered with this gift and I wouldbe happy to say: “ I truly appreciate your offer, but at these wee hours I will choose to get some sleep”. Point is, she knows what is important to me.

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MrDane

My point was, that when I want to give her more joy or show my appreciation/love, then I have a ton of things I could do. It can be hard for me to tell what is number one thing to do. It quite often shifts a bit. Coffee or cleaning/tidyingthe house or garden usually is on the top five. She knows what is almost always on my top two. 

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ryn2
38 minutes ago, MrDane said:

My point was, that when I want to give her more joy or show my appreciation/love, then I have a ton of things I could do. It can be hard for me to tell what is number one thing to do. It quite often shifts a bit. Coffee or cleaning/tidyingthe house or garden usually is on the top five. She knows what is almost always on my top two. 

...and mine was, how many of those things you do to show appreciation and/or bring joy are things where you’re simultaneously expected to show great enthusiasm about doing them AND never fake that enthusiasm because doing so is offensive?

 

It’s normally okay to do the dishes without fanfare as long as you don’t gripe the whole time, and to say “I did the dishes because not having to deal with dirty dishes makes you happy.”  No one expects you to act like doing the dishes is your favorite thing in the world, or to stay in the moment and not let your mind wander, etc.

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MrDane
On 8/22/2018 at 11:57 PM, ryn2 said:

...and mine was, how many of those things you do to show appreciation and/or bring joy are things where you’re simultaneously expected to show great enthusiasm about doing them AND never fake that enthusiasm because doing so is offensive?

 

It’s normally okay to do the dishes without fanfare as long as you don’t gripe the whole time, and to say “I did the dishes because not having to deal with dirty dishes makes you happy.”  No one expects you to act like doing the dishes is your favorite thing in the world, or to stay in the moment and not let your mind wander, etc.

Good point! I cant ask for her to be enthustiastic or to not be bored, but perhaps shift focus on to, what is nice about it. At best!? And be open and honest. Then I will try my best to focus on good things too.

damn! This is difficult! 

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