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Sexual Wife/Asexual Husband - It's A Hard Life

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uhtred

If you are in a relationship with a sexual person and it seems that they are "getting over" wanting sex.  It is likely because they are also getting over loving you.  They may go through motions, buy flowers, cook dinner etc, say "I love you" the requisite number of times per day, but deep down they may have given up on love. 

 

For many (most?) sexuals, sexual  desire and love are intimately tied together. When those go away  you may only be a responsibility, a duty they have sworn to perform. 

 

This of course goes the other way - an asexual is going to have difficulty loving someone with whom they have to perform a repulsive act in order to keep their love. 

 

 

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mozzy85

*cant figure out how to delete a comment so just edited it to say nothing*

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anisotrophic

I'm not really sure what "repeated intentions" refers to... I mean, I think there might be some "asks" that are inherently harder than others? e.g. there's committing to action vs. committing to responding in a certain way.

To whit, I feel like it's not viable for me to ask someone that doesn't think about sex, ever, to initiate. (That's just my situation.) It's true that years of patience and committing to change didn't work. But it seems like once we figured out what was going on, we were more successful in changing approach. (I ask, he's very kind about handling the response.)

@mozzy85 (edited to delete reference to what you wrote)

 

Stuff like initiation & leading sexual activity might need a pattern like I describe above - a sexual partner becomes the one to do this stuff. I think being a full time initiator might not come naturally to a sexual partner, they might need a lot of kindness in responses to make it easier to start/keep that pattern. For me, my partner has a lot of empathy for my experience, that's helped enormously. In the end it takes both...

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Sadsea
8 hours ago, uhtred said:

For many (most?) sexuals, sexual  desire and love are intimately tied together. When those go away  you may only be a responsibility, a duty they have sworn to perform. 

This just sums it up for me - I am feeling particularly negative at the moment.  l feel stressed by the situation but also stressed at the prospect of leaving! 

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Sally
On 9/11/2018 at 2:37 PM, Telecaster68 said:

Honestly I would love to think many asexuals are deeply bothered by the mismatch, but I really don't see it in AVEN posts. I see some asexuals who are, but far more often, I see asexuals with a mixture of obliviousness and denial about the effect a mixed relationship has on their partner. 

 

Well, perhaps I've seen it more on AVEN during the  earlier years, before you joined.   All I'm certain about is that I've seen it often on AVEN, and you're certain you haven't.  

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Telecaster68
1 minute ago, Sally said:

Well, perhaps I've seen it more on AVEN during the  earlier years, before you joined.   All I'm certain about is that I've seen it often on AVEN, and you're certain you haven't.  

Possibly. Maybe what you see as pained helpless cries, I see as lip service and self pity not backed up by any genuine empathy.

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Guest Jetsun Milarepa

....and here we go again!😆 So, enjoy the ride-it's the only one there is going to be ...

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anamikanon
9 hours ago, ryn2 said:

I’m not sure if this (and the rest of the post) was directed towards me or towards the OP/someone else upthread.

Was more of a "to whomsoever it may concern" kind of thing, because it is a danger. Less about what the sexual or asexual intends and more about a cumulative impact, which understanding can't overcome after a while.

 

Also, it can be really hard to explain what the problem is. On my end, it is the unconcern that bites more than lack of sex. In an ideal "midpoint", I wouldn't be able to offer my ace the "perfect" understanding either - if we were having the occasional sex, he'd obviously not be "sex free". And I'm not expecting a "perfect" understanding either. Or any specific frequency. It is more about oblivion. Even if I ask my partner for sex, I am aware that he is asexual and make sure to check that he's ok with what we'd be doing. He is sex indifferent, not averse, but sometimes a person can simply not be in the frame of mind to do something they are indifferent to. I suppose an occasional awareness that we haven't had sex in a while and that must be hard for me, and checking how I am and if he could do something to make me feel better if I am not - including a hug or doing something else together, makes me feel HEARD, even if my need is not addressed. It isn't shoved out of sight, and the relationship proceeds like "perfect" without it.

 

I've told this to my ace often. Just like I check when things aren't going his way, he could check when things aren't going my way - even if they don't go his way when we have sex, or mine when we go long periods without. The simple fact that we acknowledge that the other person has an intimate difficulty and care matters. An orgasm can be achieved in fifty ways (and frankly, my ace isn't that great at giving them), but the caring of a partner can't be substituted. If that is absent, the feeling of love itself is under challenge. If I am tormented and my partner is fine, clearly I don't matter too much. Where is the love?

 

He says he doesn't remember, and if he does, he finds it difficult to talk about it because he feels like he'd be obliged to offer sex once he realizes I feel bad. So no matter how much he intends, he can't do it when the moment arrives.

 

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anamikanon

In the sense that an unprompted "I know we haven't been physically close in a while and I know how much you like it. Not been in the frame of mind for a while. Maybe next week/month/year/decade will be better" every few days is BETTER than a relationship that simply ignores that one person wants sex, and is unlikely to get it any time soon.

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Telecaster68

Been there. My experience is that this is a really hard point for many people on the asexual spectrum to grasp for some reason, though it seems obvious to me.

 

I'm pretty good at coming up with benign motivations for most actions, but for the life of me I can't see how this is anything other than a fundamental lack of empathy. I understand about anxiety, but the  lack of inclination to seriously do something about the anxiety in itself is an indication of lack of motivation too.

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Serran
2 hours ago, anamikanon said:

In the sense that an unprompted "I know we haven't been physically close in a while and I know how much you like it. Not been in the frame of mind for a while. Maybe next week/month/year/decade will be better" every few days is BETTER than a relationship that simply ignores that one person wants sex, and is unlikely to get it any time soon.

Every few days?

 

If my partner had to apologize for who they were every few days, it would cause constant guilt, depression and anxiety in them.

 

Wanting an ace to do that sounds a lot like...

 

"Hey a fundamental part of your person is making me miserable, I require you to acknowledge how much I hate this piece of you at least once a week and tell me you know you are making me miserable so I feel better"

 

I have no idea how that could do anything but make the ace miserable. I guess misery loves company? Honestly, if someone asked that of me, I would tell them to go find someone they hate being with less than me. Because that just sounds mentally and emotionally exhausting to have to do for the rest of your life. And I wouldnt be able to feel close to someone that required me bringing up what they see as a failing so much and basically apologizing for over and over and over. If anything, it would feel like my abusive ex making me apologize for things ( whether i was in the wrong or not)  all the time, to make me constantly feel bad. 

 

Me and my partner have a sexual relationship. If they stop wanting that, we will discuss and I will either accept or not( I would ). If I felt the need for them to admit constant guilt over it, I would ask for a divorce. Making them dwell on all those negative feelings of guilt and not being good enough all the time would, in my opinion of having felt it, be just downright cruel. And if that is what I needed to be happy, it would never be a healthy relationship. 

 

3 hours ago, Telecaster68 said:

Possibly. Maybe what you see as pained helpless cries, I see as lip service and self pity not backed up by any genuine empathy.

Probably the difference is Sally has been there and knows about the long nights of crying cause you feel so bad you cant give the person you love what they want. So those cries are very familiar. And the only perspective you seem to be able to understand is the sexual's need for sex. So those cries seem alien and like a thing that has caused you pain.

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ryn2

Not trying to make excuses for anyone, just to potentially explain a couple of things based on what anamikanon says their ace partner has said.

 

One of the things my former couples therapist stressed when my partner and I were dealing with parent issues was that we should not suggest or ask about things we didn’t want to do.  For example, if my MIL had not contacted us about doing something for her birthday we should not reach out to her and ask about plans if we were actually hoping there weren’t any.  The therapist felt doing so wasn’t coming across as general caring about MIL, but as wanting to do the things.  The topic under discussion had nothing to do with sex but the logic sounds similar.  Another example would be, if you dislike giving presentations, reminding the boss she hasn’t made you do one in ages.

 

Also, a number of sexual folks here have mentioned stopping, or wanting to stop, all physical affection because having it not lead to sex like it might normally for them is harder than not being reminded at all.  In those cases it’s easy (for me) to see how their asexual partners might come to see avoiding the subject entirely is better than bringing it up.

 

Last, “sex-indifferent” probably means different things to different people.  What some people have described sounds less like “indifferent as in I’m really fine with it; it’s just not something I would care about doing if my partner didn’t want it” and more like “indifferent as in it’s not repulsive to me, but there are a million things I’d rather do than have sex and cleaning the toilet and taking out the trash are definitely among them!”

 

Uhtred is probably right in thinking a lot of ace partners don’t realize losing interest in them sexually means losing interest in them completely.

 

Again, not trying to excuse anyone.

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ryn2
3 hours ago, Telecaster68 said:

I understand about anxiety, but the  lack of inclination to seriously do something about the anxiety in itself is an indication of lack of motivation too.

This is where I’m more willing to give people a pass, I guess.  “If you don’t get - successful, to my standards, I might add - help for your mental health issues, you clearly don’t actually care about me” just doesn’t sit right with me.  That said, as I mentioned above, I also don’t think anyone is obligated to stay in a relationship where the other person’s mental health issues are too problematic for them.

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ryn2
3 hours ago, anamikanon said:

I suppose an occasional awareness that we haven't had sex in a while and that must be hard for me, and checking how I am and if he could do something to make me feel better if I am not - including a hug or doing something else together, makes me feel HEARD, even if my need is not addressed.

This totally makes sense, but I can also see how asking that can feel too much like initiating sex.  Saying it and then immediately turning the partner down - oh, I don’t want to HAVE sex; isn’t there something ELSE I can do? - seems mean.

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anisotrophic
39 minutes ago, ryn2 said:

What some people have described sounds less like “indifferent as in I’m really fine with it; it’s just not something I would care about doing if my partner didn’t want it” and more like “indifferent as in it’s not repulsive to me, but there are a million things I’d rather do than have sex and cleaning the toilet and taking out the trash are definitely among them!

Gosh yeah. The latter does sound a bit repulsed to me, but my partner really hates chores, hah... I agree that semantics are fuzzy, in the same way I feel "gray" sometimes seems to get used to describe "willingness to have sex". 

 

45 minutes ago, Serran said:

If my partner had to apologize for who they were every few days, it would cause constant guilt, depression and anxiety in them.

I don't experience it as a constant apology or guilt, but a continuous acknowledgement of the asymmetry, at least the way my partner and I go about it. I'm also apologetically acknowledging sexual feelings fairly readily. Both directions, it's not a big deal apology, more in the sense of "sorry I know this is an annoying thing for you" acknowledgement one makes, like on par with a "sorry I forgot to tidy up my dirty dishes, thanks for tidying them" acknowledgement? Someone could be perpetually bad at tidying but also acknowledge the effect it had on others... but not have it be a huge guilt issue.

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Serran
20 minutes ago, anisotropic said:

 

 

I don't experience it as a constant apology or guilt, but a continuous acknowledgement of the asymmetry, at least the way my partner and I go about it. I'm also apologetically acknowledging sexual feelings fairly readily. Both directions, it's not a big deal apology, more in the sense of "sorry I know this is an annoying thing for you" acknowledgement one makes, like on par with a "sorry I forgot to tidy up my dirty dishes, thanks for tidying them" acknowledgement? Someone could be perpetually bad at tidying but also acknowledge the effect it had on others... but not have it be a huge guilt issue.

Im a bad housekeeper, so is my spouse. We both talked about it and discussed it. But, Im not going to make them constantly apologize when they forgot to throw their paper plate away, either. I am well aware they dont mean to, they just get distracted and forget. If I want them to do it, I remind them to do it. If I do it, I dont need them to apologize and thank me. Constant criticizing of them for not cleaning in the form of demanding they apologize or ill be upset would be... ew. I would absolutely hate that sort of relationship. 

 

But, its also a lot different when who you are causes significant emotional distress to your partner and the dishes were forgotten. One is a minor annoyance to your partner, the other makes them feel unloved and undesired. Most aces Ive talked to have guilt over it. And to make them apologize will be making that guilt grow. And that will cause a pretty nasty headspace for them. Thats why a lot dont want to do that. And I dont blame them. 

 

When I wasnt attracted to anyone I felt guilty a lot. And that demand would have lead to more guilt and feeling pressured to have sex more from that. And it would have felt very gross overall. 

 

That isnt lack of empathy. Its wanting to be free to be who you are without constantly apologizing for it because your partner disapproves and wishes you were different. 

 

Im sure some people view it differently. But if someone isnt comfortable with that dynamic, no one should be downing them for it. 

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Telecaster68
1 hour ago, Serran said:

Probably the difference is Sally has been there and knows about the long nights of crying cause you feel so bad you cant give the person you love what they want. So those cries are very familiar. And the only perspective you seem to be able to understand is the sexual's need for sex. So those cries seem alien and like a thing that has caused you pain.

I've been there, just from the sexual side. Why the assumption I haven't?

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Telecaster68

There's a big difference between daily self flagellation and apparent total obliviousness while apparently cheerfully getting on with your life as your partner slowly crumbles internally.

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ryn2
5 minutes ago, Telecaster68 said:

There's a big difference between daily self flagellation and apparent total obliviousness while apparently cheerfully getting on with your life as your partner slowly crumbles internally.

From my own experience, I think it can sometimes be a lot less clear what the problem is than people might think.  I know some people are both self-aware and excellent, clear communicators who have probably made it explicitly obvious exactly what in their relationships affects them positively and negatively, but other people... aren’t.

 

With my partner, nearly all the time, the answer to “is something wrong?” or “what’s wrong?” is “I don’t know.”  If I try to guess/suggest what it could be, it’s still (delivered with increasing frustration) “I said I don’t know.”  My assuming it’s  something to do with me only puts us both in a worse headspace; the safest working assumption is “he’s upset about something but if it was me he would say so.”  Typically I do ask if it’s something related to me and he says no.  At that point, I have to let it drop.

 

Could some, or even all, of the problem be that we aren’t having sex?  Sure, it could literally be anything.  If that is the issue, though, the message isn’t coming across.  I know my situation from a sex standpoint is atypical but I doubt I’m the only person whose partner isn’t able to voice concerns.

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RejectedWife
On 9/11/2018 at 8:10 AM, Wandering Around said:

Let's get the usual info out of the way first. My husband and I have been together 14 years, married 11 of those years. Neither one of us had any idea he was asexual. This is a recent revelation that explains so many things. Our sex life started off hot and heavy but then cooled so quickly it left my head spinning. It was so easy to blame it on differing work schedules, having small children, being exhausted, etc. 

 

Truth of the matter is, it was none of those things and the more time that passed the more evident that fact became. 


Years of what felt like constant rejection from my husband has stripped me of my self esteem. I live in a constant state of anger, sadness and frustration and despite the obvious love I have for him If I had found this out before we were married I would not have done this to myself. Marriage does not make this better in fact it makes it so much worse.

 

It has been a special brand and mix of emotional hell, mental anguish and physical frustration that I would wish on no one. 

 

We have spoken of compromise that entails me seeking to fulfill those needs outside of our marriage. Even with that it isn't easy, dating in your 40's is a muddy mosh pit of disappointing interactions. Trying to do so in this unique situation with little to no self esteem is depressing at worst and laughable at best. To be honest I don't want to have to look elsewhere I want a well rounded relationship that includes, sensual, romantic and sexual interactions with my husband. I can't have that and the depression that realization has brought about has been hell on both of us. 

 

Knowing that having a lover on the side is as good as this is ever going to get for me (unless we divorce) hurts, saddens and wounds my soul and spirit in ways I do not have words for. 

 

I know this sounds mean but he's so happy with a hug and kissing me on the forehead I could scream most days. I know that sounds harsh, but it's true. He's all smiles - fine and dandy - while I feel like something scraped out from under a rusted lawn mower. 

 

Most days I want to scream into the sky about how unfair this all is, others it's hard to even care and I feel as if I'm just waiting for it all to end. 

I feel the same way. As long as THEIR needs are met, it seems that ours really don't matter to them, and scrolling through the posts I see no remorse for inflicting non-consensual celibacy upon their marriages. As much as I love my husband as a spouse, it seems that he loves me more like a pet. 4 years ago I almost died from the frustration. I swallowed all my meds with the intention of getting into bed and sleeping forever. Instead, I passed out in the shower before ever making it into the bed. He found me and called an ambulance. Why? He could have been rid of me, and I could have been at peace :(

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RejectedWife
6 hours ago, anamikanon said:

Was more of a "to whomsoever it may concern" kind of thing, because it is a danger. Less about what the sexual or asexual intends and more about a cumulative impact, which understanding can't overcome after a while.

 

Also, it can be really hard to explain what the problem is. On my end, it is the unconcern that bites more than lack of sex. In an ideal "midpoint", I wouldn't be able to offer my ace the "perfect" understanding either - if we were having the occasional sex, he'd obviously not be "sex free". And I'm not expecting a "perfect" understanding either. Or any specific frequency. It is more about oblivion. Even if I ask my partner for sex, I am aware that he is asexual and make sure to check that he's ok with what we'd be doing. He is sex indifferent, not averse, but sometimes a person can simply not be in the frame of mind to do something they are indifferent to. I suppose an occasional awareness that we haven't had sex in a while and that must be hard for me, and checking how I am and if he could do something to make me feel better if I am not - including a hug or doing something else together, makes me feel HEARD, even if my need is not addressed. It isn't shoved out of sight, and the relationship proceeds like "perfect" without it.

 

I've told this to my ace often. Just like I check when things aren't going his way, he could check when things aren't going my way - even if they don't go his way when we have sex, or mine when we go long periods without. The simple fact that we acknowledge that the other person has an intimate difficulty and care matters. An orgasm can be achieved in fifty ways (and frankly, my ace isn't that great at giving them), but the caring of a partner can't be substituted. If that is absent, the feeling of love itself is under challenge. If I am tormented and my partner is fine, clearly I don't matter too much. Where is the love?

 

He says he doesn't remember, and if he does, he finds it difficult to talk about it because he feels like he'd be obliged to offer sex once he realizes I feel bad. So no matter how much he intends, he can't do it when the moment arrives.

 

It seems to me that there is quite a bit of narcissism attached to this. In many If the posts I've read, it's very important to aces that they not feel "pressured", but there seems to be zero concern about the frustration their spouses feel. 

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Telecaster68
1 hour ago, ryn2 said:

From my own experience, I think it can sometimes be a lot less clear what the problem is than people might think.

But that's just another Catch 22 for the sexual. If we ask for clarity, it's pressure and/or demanding apologies. If we don't, then asexuals can't be expected to know what the problem is. 

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anisotrophic
3 hours ago, Serran said:

its also a lot different when who you are causes significant emotional distress to your partner and the dishes were forgotten. One is a minor annoyance to your partner, the other makes them feel unloved and undesired.

Actually, I used the example of chores because asymmetry in performing household labor has also been a major stressor in our marriage. It's something that can be become major when someone feels taken for granted, persistently, and their partner just doesn't seem to respect how it impacts them. Promises get made and broken.

 

Marriage is compromise. It's imperfect, we can't always change ourselves, we should feel loved without needing to change what can't be changed. And adapting to things that can't be changed is, I think, easier when the impact we have is acknowledged.

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starweb
35 minutes ago, RejectedWife said:

It seems to me that there is quite a bit of narcissism attached to this. In many If the posts I've read, it's very important to aces that they not feel "pressured", but there seems to be zero concern about the frustration their spouses feel. 

I was married before I knew I was ACE.  I thought my lack of desire for sex was the result of some forgotten trauma or my extreme religious background. It was years before I hit the big O and that happened when I discovered I could dissociate by writing silly fanfiction scenarios in my head and concentrate on that. That was a massive guilt trip because it was supposed to be all about him...I was supposed to concentrate on what was going on and I couldn't, no matter how hard I tried.  I decided to have sex twice a week because (guilt trip again) If I didn't, he would stray and it would be my fault. He turned to porn, which HE felt guilty about but I didn't care. 

 

It was all about him. I cared. I was upset that I couldn't initiate it and that there was no spontaneity which I knew he wanted.  I can't talk about it. I did not get, and still don't get, how sex is associated with true love. I believe it to be true for some,  but it doesn't compute inside my brain. Everything about it is like giving a tone-deaf person a baton and standing them in front of an orchestra and telling them to conduct something. You can raise the baton and look around but that's about all you can do.

 

Now our marriage is sexless because of severe health problems. I'm very sorry for him, because I know it was important to him, but for the first time in my married life, I'm not walking around with this cloud of guilt over my head. Some of us do care, a lot. 

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Telecaster68
3 minutes ago, starweb said:

I was married before I knew I was ACE.  I thought my lack of desire for sex was the result of some forgotten trauma or my extreme religious background. It was years before I hit the big O and that happened when I discovered I could dissociate by writing silly fanfiction scenarios in my head and concentrate on that. That was a massive guilt trip because it was supposed to be all about him...I was supposed to concentrate on what was going on and I couldn't, no matter how hard I tried.  I decided to have sex twice a week because (guilt trip again) If I didn't, he would stray and it would be my fault. He turned to porn, which HE felt guilty about but I didn't care. 

 

It was all about him. I cared. I was upset that I couldn't initiate it and that there was no spontaneity which I knew he wanted.  I can't talk about it. I did not get, and still don't get, how sex is associated with true love. I believe it to be true for some,  but it doesn't compute inside my brain. Everything about it is like giving a tone-deaf person a baton and standing them in front of an orchestra and telling them to conduct something. You can raise the baton and look around but that's about all you can do.

 

Now our marriage is sexless because of severe health problems. I'm very sorry for him, because I know it was important to him, but for the first time in my married life, I'm not walking around with this cloud of guilt over my head. Some of us do care, a lot. 

Yes, some do, and they tend to be the ones who end up posting; in the same way as sexuals who don't really care about lack of sex don't post, or who just end a relationship when there's a hint of sexual problems. By definition, these boards tend to be inhabited by those of us who are engaged in trying to find a solution, and feel there's unequal effort from our partners.

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ryn2
2 hours ago, Telecaster68 said:

But that's just another Catch 22 for the sexual. If we ask for clarity, it's pressure and/or demanding apologies. If we don't, then asexuals can't be expected to know what the problem is. 

I’m not saying there’s an easy way - or even any way - to fix it... just that things that seem duh obvious and/or well-conveyed to one person may not be to another.

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ryn2
2 hours ago, RejectedWife said:

It seems to me that there is quite a bit of narcissism attached to this. In many If the posts I've read, it's very important to aces that they not feel "pressured", but there seems to be zero concern about the frustration their spouses feel. 

A lot of the folks who post on here (well, a lot of folks period) mention dealing - or having partners who deal - with mental health challenges of one sort or another.  One thing that often comes along with battling (or not battling) substance abuse, anxiety, depression, and other issues is a miserable sort of narcissistic focus... things inside the struggle are too hard to leave much time/energy/whatever for things outside it.

 

I’m not saying that’s true of all mixed partnerships, or that it explains or justifies everyone’s behavior, or that asexuality is - or always coexists with - mental health issues.  It’s just something I’ve seen mentioned fairly often here.

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Telecaster68

Can you see how to sexuals, the bottom line from a lot of asexuals seems like 'tough, deal with it, because I can't even work out if I'll make an effort', even though it's probably not what's in an asexual's head?

 

A bit like sexuals don't feel they're dumping someone just over sex, even if that's what it seems like to asexuals, I guess.

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Telecaster68
2 minutes ago, ryn2 said:

A lot of the folks who post on here (well, a lot of folks period) mention dealing - or having partners who deal - with mental health challenges of one sort or another.  One thing that often comes along with battling (or not battling) substance abuse, anxiety, depression, and other issues is a miserable sort of narcissistic focus... things inside the struggle are too hard to leave much time/energy/whatever for things outside it.

 

I’m not saying that’s true of all mixed partnerships, or that it explains or justifies everyone’s behavior, or that asexuality is - or always coexists with - mental health issues.  It’s just something I’ve seen mentioned fairly often here.

This is true, but it does make it hard to take seriously any insistence that asexuality is never anything to do with mental health issues, when there's such a common cross over.

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ryn2
3 hours ago, RejectedWife said:

He could have been rid of me, and I could have been at peace :(

If he wanted to be rid of you, you wouldn’t have the problem to start with.

 

That said, I can’t personally imagine (except perhaps in cases of abuse where only one person was making it out alive and the only question was who) hating someone - let alone a partner or ex - so much, or being so indifferent to them, that I wouldn’t try to intervene in their death... unless they had made it really clear to me that they wanted to die and that they’d made the choice in sound mind.

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