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glyders

Why does most advice try to make me the jerk?

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anamikanon
6 hours ago, Sally said:

It sounds to  me as though the OP is not asking for advice on how to change their situation, but instead simply asking/reflecting on why advice to persons in their situation seems to be so limited.   I'm really impressed by how sensitive he appears to be toward his wife's feelings, and the lack of bitterness he seems to feel.  

But is it limited? Even when it comes to accepting the partner as they are and coping with the frustration, there is plenty of advice and sharing here. I believe he was talking of the help he seeked outside. With professionals, etc. This too is a diverse range of people and competencies.

 

"Why is advice so limited" is less a question than a statement of not finding what is useful. You can find yourself in a cosmetics store with 500 kinds of eyeliner and STILL think your options are limited when it comes to the perfect shade of magenta with the perfect kind of green shimmer for your needs, if it is absent. Someone else may have the opposite problem - there is so much variety and only two eyes. What can they afford to pick up and realistically expect to use? You request a custom formulation or mix products to get an effect. The answer to "Why are there so few eyeliners" isn't going to get you advice on the realities of the industry, it is going to help you choose the products or formulate something you can use.

 

That is what people are instinctively responding to. They don't see a lack of options or advice, but a gap in using it.

 

I understood not finding enough advice to be because there isn't enough "emotional traction" to support him in the loss of a key area of closeness. For the advice to be enough, something will have to change. In my view, it is deepening the communication and being able to count on aspects that are working so that he feels mostly secure and loved. There have been other opinions. The one from @sushilover too seems to be a coping strategy on the surface, but is actually built on communication and closeness.

 

There is no direct way to change feelings and create acceptance. You have to do something that creates different feelings that are more enjoyable - or at least tolerable.

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uhtred

@glyders this has bothered me for a long time.  If your partner doesn't want sex people try to explain what *you* are doing wrong.  I think there are 2 causes:

 

Asexuality / sex repulsion are not widely recognized.  Most people are not aware that there are some people who simply do not want sex.  This includes counselors. 

 

The other is that *some* people really do behave badly and drive their partners away. This is NOT you, but it does happen and so since most people are not aware of asexuality, they assume this is what is going on. (many have experienced it themselves).

 

You already know you can't fix this.  Leave, Cheat, Live  like a monk.     All bad options, but they are the ones you have been given. 

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glyders

Thank you everyone for your support and advice.

 

I agree communication is key. We do communicate, but after years together and lots of driving into this particular subject, there is little more to say. And one of the strong things in our relationship is that we don't need to - we know we know.

Of course it is a heavily nuanced thing. To explain all I know and understand and feel about it would take a book. My simple statement was what it boils down to in the context of this thread.

 

To fill in some details for clarity, as some respondents seem to be in conflict...

Growing up, she couldn't understand why anyone would want sex, other than to procreate. She put it down to societal pressure. As she came to believe that others did actually want to do it, she felt she was abnormal or broken. So she confirmed.

Several sexual relationships (far more than me) later, we met. By then, she really wanted children. She seduced me. We had what seemed to me to be a 'normal' sexual relationship - certainly better than anything I'd had in my previous two relationships. She was frequently the initiator. Then we had our first child and things stopped. That seemed a normal thing as we were both tired, etc.

After a year or two, for the first time she told me she didnt like sex. By that point, it wasn't indifference, it was repulsion. But she had always wanted two children so she still had to do it. So we went for scheduled sex.

Then we had our second child and it stopped. A couple of years later, she read about asexuality and realised that had been her all her life. So now she identifies as asexual rather than broken and our life together is a lot easier.

 

As for me, life is what it is. We love each other, we have two children we love, we have other things. And we are share an intellectual level and outlook, which is very important to us.

Of course I miss sex, but it is but one part of life and one I was lucky to experience for a year or so. I still get to share her mind.

Sometimes it gets on top of me, but only when I'm down anyway. The last couple of days have been very hard, with negative thoughts spiralling in my head. I had a bit of a cry on her yesterday and I'm building back up now.

I don't blame her at all - she was the victim of societal pressure. Perhaps that is why I am so frustrated that all of the professional advice was so insensitive to her. Before she identified as asexual, not a single professional mentioned it as a possibility. Afterwards, even knowing her repulsion, they either nodded at asexuality and still suggested compromise or went down the trying to 'cure' her route.

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glyders

Thought the last post was getting too long, so put this in its own...

 

I'm actually rather jealous of my partner for having her identity. Silly things mostly, like having an ace flag pin badge.

Being proud of being a hetero cis allo male isn't easy. If you throw in being celibate though you'd rather not be then it gets worse. The hijacked incel movement sours everything. 

It's a bit like being proud to be English. BNP etc. made that difficult. One of the few things I can think of positive to say about football is that it reclaimed the flag from them.

 

This forum is one of the few places I've found where expressing my sexuality and frustration is comfortable. Ironically, as an atheist, the other place is talking to our vicar (a mutual friend of me and my partner).

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glyders
11 hours ago, Sally said:

I'm really impressed by how sensitive he appears to be toward his wife's feelings, and the lack of bitterness he seems to feel.  

Thank you.

I can be an ass sometimes, but generally I hope I am a nice person.

 

I was very bitter at first, when she couldn't explain what was wrong. Once she realised and accepted that there wasn't anything wrong with her, that she was simply asexual, that made it a lot easier.

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anamikanon

@glyders I think a lot of professionals (like many people earning their bread and butter) don't apply their mind to what may appear to them as a common problem. "Wife refusing sex, seduce her!" and from there they have a template of helpful tips or something and may have missed her asexuality or like many sexuals, heard it but not understood. You probably should not waste money further on them.

 

Stray thought: It could be interesting to have a community maintained directory of asexuality friendly therapists or something. At least professionals who don't spend your money to educate themselves about asexuality while your problems go unaddressed.

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glyders
12 minutes ago, anamikanon said:

Stray thought: It could be interesting to have a community maintained directory of asexuality friendly therapists or something. At least professionals who don't spend your money to educate themselves about asexuality while your problems go unaddressed.

That is a very good idea.

 

Someone mentioned bereavement, and that really hit home. That is exactly it. Life carries on and is mostly good, then something pushes that hollow inside to the front if your awareness.

Perhaps bereavement counselling might be a better fit than relationship or sex counselling? Doubt many would understand, though.

 

Don't worry. I gave up spending money on them a while ago.

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Telecaster68

@glyders

 

There may be loads of sexuals who are happy with a sexless relationship, and of course they'd never feel the need to visit forums like AVEN. But I honestly doubt there are.

 

I do actually know what you mean about the realisation that your partner's asexual making the situation a whole lot simpler (if not easier) than if they'd simply gone off you, or it was some other situational cause. On the other hand, it means you were both operating under a misapprehension for most of your relationship, and the relationship now needs adjusting to work in that new reality, and to me, being willing to make that adjustment is a function of commitment to that relationship, and your partner. It may not, in practice, be much of an adjustment, but it needs to be offered, rather than either partner stick rigidly to the 'I'm x, deal with it'.

 

It's not just about fairness (and if you feel unfairly done by, it will fester, after all), but feeling valued by your partner, and if the sexual partner is the one doing all the compromising, it's not really a compromise. It's totally denying a key need of yours, and though you can stamp on it for long periods, the feeling of bereavement doesn't go away, because the corpse (as it were) is continually in your face. There's no forgetting for sexuals, but asexuals frequently seem to be going blithely on their way thinking all's well (even if apparently quite a few are in unseen agonies over the issue). Over time the whole relationship starts to suffer, in a a slowly growing frog-boiling type of way, and the sexual partner is the frog.

 

That's why I think the 'advice on sucking it up' approach tends not to fly. 

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Philip027
3 hours ago, glyders said:

Being proud of being a hetero cis allo male isn't easy. If you throw in being celibate though you'd rather not be then it gets worse. The hijacked incel movement sours everything. 

It's a bit like being proud to be English. BNP etc. made that difficult. One of the few things I can think of positive to say about football is that it reclaimed the flag from them.

In my opinion, being "proud" of being anything is dumb.  Being gay, being trans, being American, whatever.  You did nothing to accomplish those things; that's just how you are.  All it took was being born, and that was your parents' job.  But even then, your parents didn't choose those traits for you.

 

It only makes sense to me to be proud of something if you actually did something to make it happen, if that was your own accomplishment.

 

I could never feel a sense of pride for being ace.  I did nothing to earn that.  It's just my nature.

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Telecaster68
1 minute ago, Philip027 said:

In my opinion, being "proud" of being anything is dumb.  Being gay, being trans, being American, whatever.  You did nothing to accomplish those things; that's just how you are.  All it took was being born, and that was your parents' job.  But even then, your parents didn't choose those traits for you.

 

It only makes sense to me to be proud of something if you actually did something to make it happen, if that was your own accomplishment.

 

I could never feel a sense of pride for being ace.  I did nothing to earn that.  It's just my nature.

I'm the same, but I can understand how the idea of being proud of being gay/American/short/whatever is a reaction to people trying to make you feel ashamed of that trait.

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Philip027

Well, yeah, I do think that trying to shame someone for something they had zero control over is even more dumb.

 

For me though, the proper retort to someone trying to shame me for being ace (not that I've ever actually had that happen; I take steps to try not to hang out with intolerant jerks) wouldn't be to try to say that I'm actually proud of it, because I'm not (and I feel it would carry a slight air of smug elitism, regardless).  Rather, all that I can really say is that I didn't choose this trait, it's just how things are.  If they can't accept that, they aren't worth my time.

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chandrakirti

It's like saying Why do you have blue eyes? or I'm proud I have freckled skin....it's just a thing. We're all different. Being angry for any of those traits just hurts the angry person.

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NapoliGirl
On 8/27/2018 at 3:31 AM, glyders said:

But, again, I genuinely am trying to understand why just dealing with it seems to be so ignored.

Just "dealing" with it is not sustainable for many sexuals, because of the very real need for a marriage that involves both emotional and physical intimacy.  For many, that's what defines a marriage, that's what makes marriage unique.  I know that's the obvious/uncomplicated response.  But this is coming from a girl who doesn't like ketchup on her fries, who doesn't like melted butter with her lobster, and who doesn't like ice cream on her apple pie.  Just keeping it simple and real here.

Edited by NapoliGirl
too much about my situation, again!!
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MrDane
On 8/26/2018 at 7:30 PM, glyders said:

My partner is ace, I am not. She came out after our second child, and we haven't been physically intimate since (almost 7 years ago). She says she only sees the point of sex in order to get children and now she has the two she wanted.

 

I have read quite a bit looking for advice, talked to professionals, etc. Pretty much all the advice I've received is unbelievable that a health or relationship guidance professional could give it.

Essentially it seems to boil down to two options:

1. Convince my partner to compromise. Well, how horrible is that? She doesn't want anything to do with physical intimacy, nothing. So, they are suggesting I somehow cajole/emotionally blackmail/whatever her to do something physical that she doesn't really want to do. Now that has a name...

2. Have an affair/leave. Well again, not a very nice thing to do. How would people react if I left her because she had an accident that left her scarred? There's no difference, really.

 

So why does virtually all the advice centre on those avenues? Why so little on anything positive I can do to cope better myself? Perhaps there isn't anything, but then at least an acknowledgement of that would be better than ignoring it.

I guess that perhaps it is because they still see it as an illness rather than an orientation and so she either needs to be cured or as a hopeless cause.

A bit simple, those advice givers! 

1. Convince her to compromise? It could be expressed differently! Try to explore if there are anything which she can be okay with participating in, whiich gives you a feeling of sexy times. Massage, hand job, toys...

2.have an affair/leave? Compiled into one as “be a jerk and lie to the love of your life or butt out”

I would vote for a few other options:

3.agree upon opening the relationship and let you get partnered sex elsewhere. (Could be under arranged forms, like swinger clubs, finding a regular lovemaking-person) one-nigth-stands and prostitutes are a possibility, but I wouldnt like that game. To many sad stories.

4.tell her, that you go to get sex, though she dislikes, and if she chooses to stop the relationship, then it is not just your decision because of your steathly manoveurs. I think you have the moral rigth to seek sex in your life  unless it was a firm agreement from the beginning. “There will be no sex, ever!”

5.masturbation-galore (not always sufficient in terms of meeting your needs. No points on the intimacy-scale. Doesnt keep my depression away)

6.abstinence/celibacy (ask a catholic priest for guidance about that! (Joke!))

7.find a hobby. (Even hardcore drug-crazed meth-addicts, who constantly chases the next fix, cant really replace their sexual desire, with their ‘meth-hobby’ .They may not be able to feel the love anymore, though)

 

 

 

 

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glyders
On 9/16/2018 at 1:27 AM, NapoliGirl said:

Just "dealing" with it is not sustainable for many sexuals, because of the very real need for a marriage that involves both emotional and physical intimacy. 

I suppose I don't buy that it is a need. Food, water, air are needs; sex is a desire. A very strong desire, one where a lack aches and tears at you, but it isn't needed to live. After all, I went for many many years without it before finding my partner.

I don't really accept the idea of a right to be happy, either. Of course one should avoid deliberately making other people unhappy, indeed actively try to make them happy. But that isn't the same as a right to be happy. 

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NapoliGirl
4 minutes ago, glyders said:

I suppose I don't buy that it is a need. Food, water, air are needs; sex is a desire. A very strong desire, one where a lack aches and tears at you, but it isn't needed to live. After all, I went for many many years without it before finding my partner.

Semantics, I guess, is your sticking point?

A need to sustain life is how you define a need.  Okay.  In that sense then sure, otherwise I would have died right after my honeymoon! (Me and everyone else who "needs" these connections in their relationships. )

 

But one can define needs more broadly.  

 

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glyders

I see my reaction to lack of sex as weakness. My desire for it makes my partner unhappy, so if I was a good enough person I'd be able to bury it. Sometimes I can manage it, go a few days without that hollow feeling in my stomach. 

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ryn2

I guess I see it more like SAD (seasonal affective disorder).  And no, I don’t mean to imply the desire for sex is pathological; it’s just the most comparable example I can come up with.

 

People with SAD suffer when they don’t get enough hours of daylight.  They feel depressed, have trouble concentrating, and are generally less effective.

 

They don’t need daylight to survive, but they need it to thrive and to enjoy optimum mental health.

 

I don’t know that it’s true for all sexuals, but some of the sexuals who post here describe issues similar to SAD symptoms if they don’t have sex regularly.

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Pan Ficto. (on hiatus?)
1 hour ago, glyders said:

I suppose I don't buy that it is a need. Food, water, air are needs; sex is a desire. A very strong desire, one where a lack aches and tears at you, but it isn't needed to live. After all, I went for many many years without it before finding my partner.

I see it as a need comparable to like, talking? In that you certainly won't die without talking, but if your partner has no interest in talking to you and actively avoids it for days or even weeks on end, then you're missing a very emotionally vital aspect of your relationship even if no one actually died as a direct result of just not speaking. Sex is like that for many sexual people in a relationship, I think. You can't just snatch something as integral to the human condition as speaking away from a person and expect that everything will be okay, if that makes sense??

 

Sex isn't a 'need' or even that important to me personally, but I think for many sexual people talking is a good comparison to the level of 'need' for sex. You can survive just fine without talking.. but the lack of it will lead to a bit of a mess in the long run.

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ryn2

It also seems to vary in importance and impact from person to person.  I’ve seen people here use the conversation analogy, but I’ve also seen others talk in a more SAD-similar way about how not having sex makes it hard for their bodies to regulate brain chemistry and leaves them depressed.

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uhtred
2 hours ago, glyders said:

I suppose I don't buy that it is a need. Food, water, air are needs; sex is a desire. A very strong desire, one where a lack aches and tears at you, but it isn't needed to live. After all, I went for many many years without it before finding my partner.

I don't really accept the idea of a right to be happy, either. Of course one should avoid deliberately making other people unhappy, indeed actively try to make them happy. But that isn't the same as a right to be happy. 

Imagine putting someone in a dimly lit room.  You provide food, water, place to dispose of waste. The room temperature is regulated to be withing a normal comfort range.

 

They won't die.  But this is essentially solitary confinement and many people believe that if used for a long time it constitutes torture. 

 

People "need" things to be happy that they don't need to live.  Lack of those things is a serious issue .

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NapoliGirl
51 minutes ago, uhtred said:

People "need" things to be happy that they don't need to live.  Lack of those things is a serious issue .

That is the essence.  Thank you, @uhtred.for this uncomplicated, pure, post. Why do we need to make things so f***ing complicated??

 

I submit exhibit A, the thousands of posts from so many sexuals in these forums, so desperately trying to make things work, so terribly unhappy, so seriously in "need"!!!

Let's just cut the s**t already.

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ryn2

Assuming the profile and posts are accurate, the poster debating whether it’s really a need... is sexual, not ace failing to understand the importance.

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uhtred

The importance of things varies with the person.  I generally take the approach of believing someone who says that something is necessary for them to be happy - no matter what that something is. Sometimes of course there may be no practical way for them to have the things that make them happy, but that doesn't make them any less important. 

 

Sometimes the things that make someone happy also come at a great cost (usually not money). Its up to them whether they are willing to pay that cost. 

 

I think all we can do here is to through discussion help people become more self-aware of what things are really important to them so that they can make the best decisions given the reality of their situation. 

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glyders

I hope I'm not offending people; I'm talking purely about how I feel about myself and do not intend to do anyone else down.

As an intelligent, self-aware human being, I feel I should be able to rise above my desires. If I can't and it hurts someone else, then that shows that I am not a good person.

 

Before anyone brings up Maslow, I am familiar with the pyramid. However, the further up you go, the more tenuous calling it a need seems to me. Sure, they are all things that help make life better, but people do live happy, productive lives without some of them.

 

And, for the avoidance of doubt, I am in a very mixed relationship - she is sex-repulsed and my ideal would be several times a day.

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uhtred
8 hours ago, glyders said:

I hope I'm not offending people; I'm talking purely about how I feel about myself and do not intend to do anyone else down.

As an intelligent, self-aware human being, I feel I should be able to rise above my desires. If I can't and it hurts someone else, then that shows that I am not a good person.

 

Before anyone brings up Maslow, I am familiar with the pyramid. However, the further up you go, the more tenuous calling it a need seems to me. Sure, they are all things that help make life better, but people do live happy, productive lives without some of them.

 

And, for the avoidance of doubt, I am in a very mixed relationship - she is sex-repulsed and my ideal would be several times a day.

Why should you rise above your desires?  Desire drives all sorts of actions, some  of them wonderful.   In a few billion years the sun will burn out, and a few trillion the universe will be cold and dead.  The end point is the same, its how you get there that matters.

 

What point is productivity without happiness, an how can you be happy if your desires are not met? 

 

Some people are happy without things that *other* people desire, but that is different. There are many things some people desire, that I do not - no reason for me to seek those things. I should put effort into seeking the things that *I* desire. 

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ryn2

Different people put different things at different points on the priority list, though.  It’s another place where I don’t think there’s one right/best answer for everyone.

 

Those who place happiness at the top of the priority list will make different choices and suffer differently from different sacrifices than those who prioritize things differently.

 

I don’t think it’s as simple as lumping those differing priorities into “it’s still really happiness you’re putting first; it’s just that [different priority] makes you happy.”

 

I’m not saying that’s what you’re doing, uhtred; I’m generalizing based on things I’ve seen over time across other threads.

 

I’ve found it’s sometimes difficult for people with differing top priorities to understand where one another are coming from.

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Philip027
8 minutes ago, uhtred said:

Why should you rise above your desires?

I think the point of conflict is when one's desires infringe upon another's.  Once that happens, a lot of people can't just be perfectly "okay" with stepping over other people just to get what they want.

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glyders
On 9/20/2018 at 4:05 PM, Philip027 said:

I think the point of conflict is when one's desires infringe upon another's.  Once that happens, a lot of people can't just be perfectly "okay" with stepping over other people just to get what they want.

Exactly.

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nanogretchen4

It sounds like your wife used you to get what she wanted, namely two children. Her belated honesty about her sexual orientation was remarkably conveniently timed for her. At any rate, if she has given you permission to seek sex elsewhere, it would not make you a jerk to take her up on the offer, although it sounds like casual sex on the side would not meet your emotional needs.

 

Friends who live on different floors of the same house and parent two children together don't sound much like a married couple. That sounds more like an amicably divorced couple with a good coparenting arrangement. If you were to just make it official and actually have an amicable divorce with a good coparenting relationship that would not make you a jerk, at all. That would be a completely reasonable and decent thing to do under the circumstances. That way you could have essentially the same platonic relationship with her that you have now while finding someone more compatible to have a romantic and sexual relationship with.

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