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BraveMind

Miserable and Frustrated

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BraveMind

This section of the forum is an excellent resource and helped me immensely over the past months. Thank you to all who contribute!

 

After four sessions with an excellent sexologist my wife came out as asexual. It was a relief to get confirmation of the sexual mismatch we’ve felt all through our marriage. It hid itself  well for over a decade among life events -- depression after childbirth, stress after a move overseas, minor medical conditions, tiredness from daily mom tasks and work. I was compassionate and patient with her, always putting her needs first. I went many months at a time without intimacy. When it did happen, it was quick and clinical. 

 

After a weekend away together alone in a hotel where she avoided all my advances, we started doing some research. Several asexuality articles and YouTube videos later she willingly went to a therapist. 

 

New to this type of therapy we hoped there would be a “fix” for her, but there is no switch you can simply turn on. I now understand her desires are different than mine, it’s a natural orientation. The therapist explained these mixed marriages rarely work and discouraged us from allowing me to find a partner on the side. The wife promised to try harder, committing to intimacy with me at least two times a week. That was over thirty days ago, we haven’t had sex.

 

I’ve never been cheated on but imagine the feelings I’m experiencing are similar. We’ve been sleeping separately for a few months. Masterbation has started to feel empty and wrong, it doesn’t satisfy me. 

Everything else about our relationship is great -- the kids, the partnership, the trust, absolutely everything except the intimacy. She said she understands the situation and would accept me leaving her, but I don’t want to do that -- we both don’t want that. All our friends and family would be shocked as we appear as such a strong, ideal match couple. She had a few tearful days after our last therapy session, hurt that she can’t meet my needs.

 

I’m sad that my only options are celibacy and infrequent desireless sex with my partner.

 

Suggestions and advice is appreciated. Should we continue going to the therapist? I’m not sure how much more she can help us.

 

 I’ll keep you updated on our progress!

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anamikanon

Don't cheat. You will regret.

 

Celibacy will cause bitterness - from the sound of your post.

 

Consider opening your marriage. One way she COULD meet your sexual needs is to allow you to meet them where you wish.

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Grimalkin

Look, all of your options are going to seem bad.

 

You can stay sexless. You could suggest maybe toning down that twice a week sex session to once a week, to see if she wants to attempt it then, but she's really not doing her best to compromise or meet your needs already and I don't see that changing.

 

You could open up your marriage, as suggested above, but that's not usually an option for most people. It sounds like that's not what you're looking for- you want the full monogamy package. To some people, it works. To you, it might cause even more strife in your marriage.

 

You can separate. This is, and I hate to say it, probably the best option. Because otherwise, things are going to stay exactly as they are now for the rest of your life. Your wife may be perfect in every other regard, but sexual compatibility is no small thing. It's one of the biggest components of a successful marriage.

 

I'm sure you feel trapped right now. Give yourself time to mull it over. I would say keep working with the therapist, as a conduit for communication if nothing else. See if your wife becomes comfortable with the idea of scheduled sex. But don't let yourself wile away the years without any changes. There's some people on this site who have done just that, and they're not happy. You both deserve better than this.

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MichaelTannock

@BraveMind Welcome to AVEN!

 

I'm not sure what advice I can give. I'm sorry.

 

Incidentally, it is a tradition here to welcome new members by offering cake,
ZWughhv.jpg

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ryn2
1 hour ago, anamikanon said:

Consider opening your marriage. One way she COULD meet your sexual needs is to allow you to meet them where you wish.

I’m curious why the therapist discouraged this option, especially if both partners are willing to consider it.

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anamikanon

One other thing I can think of is something that is working very well for my ace and me - move to separate beds for sleeping at night. If my ace is in the mood to offer sex, he asks to stay. If I'm fine being platonic, I ask him to stay, but by default, we sleep in separate beds. It doesn't get me laid more often, but it does take the stress out of nights and our relationship is improving because of it. It isn't a "separation", it is separate sleeping arrangements. And yes, since this happened, we have slept together - both platonically, as well as after sex. It took him a while to offer sex, but even without that, I was already feeling like a new person now that I wasn't lying next to him awake after not having had sex and listening to him sleep or being affectionate every night without possibility of sex, and so on. I started sleeping much better almost immediately and it gave me the energy for life in general as well as our relationship, now that I had the option to participate without feeling forced to constantly behave in a manner I was not.

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BraveMind
1 hour ago, ryn2 said:

I’m curious why the therapist discouraged this option, especially if both partners are willing to consider it.

The therapist was speaking from experience: she worked with two couples that opened up their marriage and both ended in divorce. She had one-on-one sessions with my wife and I'm sure she's aware as I am that my wife won't  handle sharing me.

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BraveMind
2 hours ago, MichaelTannock said:

@BraveMind Welcome to AVEN!

 

I'm not sure what advice I can give. I'm sorry.

 

Incidentally, it is a tradition here to welcome new members by offering cake,
ZWughhv.jpg

Thank your for all the work you do raising awareness about asexuality! :)

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ryn2
7 minutes ago, BraveMind said:

The therapist was speaking from experience: she worked with two couples that opened up their marriage and both ended in divorce. She had one-on-one sessions with my wife and I'm sure she's aware as I am that my wife won't  handle sharing me.

That makes sense, thanks.  Agreed that if both partners aren’t at least poly-friendly it’s not a workable option.

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BraveMind
1 hour ago, anamikanon said:

One other thing I can think of is something that is working very well for my ace and me - move to separate beds for sleeping at night. If my ace is in the mood to offer sex, he asks to stay. If I'm fine being platonic, I ask him to stay, but by default, we sleep in separate beds. It doesn't get me laid more often, but it does take the stress out of nights and our relationship is improving because of it. It isn't a "separation", it is separate sleeping arrangements. And yes, since this happened, we have slept together - both platonically, as well as after sex. It took him a while to offer sex, but even without that, I was already feeling like a new person now that I wasn't lying next to him awake after not having had sex and listening to him sleep or being affectionate every night without possibility of sex, and so on. I started sleeping much better almost immediately and it gave me the energy for life in general as well as our relationship, now that I had the option to participate without feeling forced to constantly behave in a manner I was not.

If we're to stay married and platonic yes, your advice works. We're sleeping separately already since the last therapy session a month ago. She hasn't offered or initiated sex so this arrangement works to her advantage.

 

Sleeping together was stressful for both of us because she knew entering the bed zone increased risk of sex and I couldn't resist touching and massaging her but always ended up denied.

 

At the moment I prefer the bed to myself like you. Gives me time to think about the situation.

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BraveMind
2 hours ago, Grimalkin said:

Look, all of your options are going to seem bad.

 

You can stay sexless. You could suggest maybe toning down that twice a week sex session to once a week, to see if she wants to attempt it then, but she's really not doing her best to compromise or meet your needs already and I don't see that changing.

 

You could open up your marriage, as suggested above, but that's not usually an option for most people. It sounds like that's not what you're looking for- you want the full monogamy package. To some people, it works. To you, it might cause even more strife in your marriage.

 

You can separate. This is, and I hate to say it, probably the best option. Because otherwise, things are going to stay exactly as they are now for the rest of your life. Your wife may be perfect in every other regard, but sexual compatibility is no small thing. It's one of the biggest components of a successful marriage.

 

I'm sure you feel trapped right now. Give yourself time to mull it over. I would say keep working with the therapist, as a conduit for communication if nothing else. See if your wife becomes comfortable with the idea of scheduled sex. But don't let yourself wile away the years without any changes. There's some people on this site who have done just that, and they're not happy. You both deserve better than this.

Thank you for taking the time to reply! 

 

The therapist was steering us towards separation but we love each other deeply, have beautiful children and have invested so much into our marriage in all aspects. I know she'll never give me what I truly want but she's a great wife and worth the effort to keep. She gave I indications a split would not be nice (for example, kids stay with her) but maybe it was a knee jerk reaction.

 

The therapist is excellent and gained my wife's respect, so I will try to use her as a conduit to communication. I'll book an appointment soon as a status report and to discuss why she hasn't kept her end of the deal. 

 

Sad we're doing this so close to Christmas. :P

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ryn2

Yeah, there’s no good time but coming into the holidays is hard.

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BraveMind
3 hours ago, anamikanon said:

One other thing I can think of is something that is working very well for my ace and me - move to separate beds for sleeping at night.

Do you have kids and if yes, do you think you and your partner sleeping separately affects them? One of mine is old enough to be aware we are not sleeping in the same bed and I wonder if this causes them some concern. 

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Traveler40

My advice is to not stop communicating and never forget yourself.  It’s so easy to do that in the vortex, but perhaps you can learn to compromise as some here have done.

 

Keep reading and define how you’d like your life to be.  If this is it, then learning to be happy in that context is your focus. If it’s not, then define what you need to change, how you’d like to do it and keep communicating with your wife.

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anisotrophic

@BraveMind :( I'm sorry, the situation doesn't sound good.

 

Intimacy with my partner means a lot to me, more than even I'm conscious of. There was a moment in him talking to his therapist where his therapist observed, "it sounds like they're a lot happier after you have sex". And he proceeded to observe me and concluded my happiness was really responding to sex, and... I guess that was important.

 

TBH twice a week sounds ambitious? Given how distant you are at the moment from that...

 

Um. Here's my tactics, although my partner is male so the dynamics may be different, but...

 

- as @Traveler40 just noted, tons of communication; we both express empathy for each other's experiences

- I never expect him to initiate, ever -- I think this is unnatural for him and I don't want him to feel any pressure to be something he isn't

- I don't expect him to express desire for sex or specific sex acts

- I discuss my experience of desire without any immediate sense that we have to take action

- if he's not up for standard sex, I ask if he is willing to hold me while I masturbate

- I try to give a long lead on requests, vaguely on the order of a couple days, eg "I'm sorry, I really miss you. maybe we could be intimate again sometime soon" (note: depending on how he's feeling a positive response could be as short as hours, even 10 minutes (!) -- but the "space" for him to think about it matters)

- I express gratitude and genuinely focus on it: he's doing it to make me happy

- I struggled with issues of consent, and accepted that yes is yes -- I had to force myself to have sex at first, actually, once I understood he didn't desire it, and got upset and he comforted me (ironic yeah)

- it feels like an act of trust on my part, that he won't make me feel shame about my desire, which makes me feel loved

- want/willing/won't lists of what a partner is ok with -- don't expect any "want" but I was surprised how big the "willing" was (my mistake was to assume a lack of desire was a lack of willingness)

 

I think issues of consent (and feeling rape-y) may loom larger when the ace partner is female. That's a common experience for allo partners. So is losing desire for someone when you know they don't desire you -- I pushed myself through that, but a lot can't feel it, and I think one thing that made it possible for me is that my partner does find sex pleasurable once it's happening.

 

That's all for a situation where we have a pretty high amount of sex (is my impression) for mixed relationships (around 1x week).

 

We had therapists but they were individual, not sex therapists but instead a LGBTQIA+ therapy practice. Also does BDSM & open/poly so there's a good background to draw on with stuff like consent. My therapists attitude to open/poly was "maybe someday": not wrong, but not something to approach as a solution as I was working through it.

 

She also did challenging things like ask me, "but why do you need him to want you sexually?" 😂

 

I'd splutter, "but, but" and had trouble answering. Helped me decide I didn't need it, but I sure would chew on it.

 

It took me around six months to feel happy! Not a fast process. Lots of tears on my part, and him comforting me, which might seem weird but I couldn't have adjusted without knowing he was there for me in every way he could be.

 

PS. We came to the realization of asexuality after over ten years married, at the start of this year, been together around 15.

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Chimeric
4 hours ago, BraveMind said:

discuss why she hasn't kept her end of the deal. 

She may not be able to.

 

From the way you've described the situation, it sounds like she's well aware of the stress that she's putting on you. Knowing that, perhaps there's a deeper reason why she won't keep up her end of the deal?

 

 

With all due respect, and with no belittlement for your need for intimacy, unwilling sex as a woman is physically uncomfortable, even for someone who isn't ace. There's no sense of intimacy or love, just a really uncomfortable prodding (sorry!) - and that's without the mental and emotional turmoil that can sometimes go along with being asexual. I don't mean to make you feel guilty for wanting these things, and I do applaud you (seriously) for being willing to work with her, and for all of the positive things you have to say about her. It's easy to come in here frustrated and feeling used and to paint your partner as a terrible, no good, very bad woman, and you haven't done that, which speaks volumes on behalf of your love for and commitment to her. But if she isn't keeping her end of the deal, it may be because, given the choice between feeling terrible she can't provide a thing that you need, and compromising the part of her that is required to make that possible, the former is the lesser of two evils.

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anamikanon
6 hours ago, BraveMind said:

Do you have kids and if yes, do you think you and your partner sleeping separately affects them? One of mine is old enough to be aware we are not sleeping in the same bed and I wonder if this causes them some concern. 

I have a son. He is disabled, and I don't think particularly cares where we sleep. He loves us both and the home is harmonious and loving. That matters. I'm fairly certain of this, since even the slightest raised voices usually cause him to get distressed. He's not one to hide his disapproval. lol

 

But he isn't bothered by this. Not very surprising, since our home isn't particularly given to stereotypes.

 

A bigger concern is my mother, who also lives with us and is prone to anxiety attacks. She hadn't been particularly good to me in my growing years, and I have suffered considerable emotional neglect from her and abuse from my father that led to several rather unpleasant choices on my end rather than to be with them. I had fully removed them from my life before old age and mental disability brought them crashing back. I don't really like her, but she isn't able to live on her own, and so.... well... can't kick puppies kind of thing. If she thinks there is something wrong with our relationship, fifty kinds of mental hell will break lose, because she is basically worried about abandonment in her old age, no matter how much I or anyone else reassures her and deals very poorly with change.

 

Our relationship isn't hostile exactly. We get along. I hold no anger, mostly because at this point, she is not even the person who did those things to me, both dad and her came to me as very vulnerable old people (dad has since died). But she has become rather sentimental in her old age and can get really melodramatic and emotional about me being her daughter. I am not able to relate to that at all. Whatever fictional close relationship with her daughter she is imagining is entirely fictional. It can get really claustrophobic when she "worries" about me, because she has absolutely no understanding of me as a person, any kind of trusting relationship or even mental ability to understand now if explained. And she can really hover with relentless "worries" questioning at me non-stop till I can't sneeze without her wanting me to go to the doctor.

 

She tends to be very nosy and judgmental (more mental illness than abusive - imposing things she felt compelled to comply with on me). We were a bit worried that seeing us sleep in separate beds will bring about a bout of very intrusive questioning and worrying and advice that neither of us wants from her, but so far, she doesn't seem to have caught on to anything being "wrong" given that my ace sleeps in a room that is supposed to be his to begin with, I guess. And well, me wanting space is not exactly a surprise to anyone.

 

So she is probably seeing this more as a choice we are making for whatever reasons rather than anything wrong in the relationship.

 

But overall, given that personal space is sacred in our home (mom and kid have their own spaces too) I don't think us sleeping separate is going to worry anyone as long as we are loving with each other and there are no fights.

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anamikanon
9 hours ago, BraveMind said:

If we're to stay married and platonic yes, your advice works. We're sleeping separately already since the last therapy session a month ago. She hasn't offered or initiated sex so this arrangement works to her advantage.

Well, I did say that. Sleeping separate isn't likely to get you laid more often, just reduces the stress of constantly controlling how you act and allows you time to be "yourself".

 

Quote

Sleeping together was stressful for both of us because she knew entering the bed zone increased risk of sex and I couldn't resist touching and massaging her but always ended up denied.

Well, if sex is a "risk", I think it is better for your relationship that she feels safe about you, even if it means you not being able to do things with her body that she doesn't want. "Can't resist" being applied to your uninvited actions with someone else's body is plain..... bad and I am sure you can think of other instances where "can't resist" has been applied to unwelcome sexual actions and see where this will go unless you STOP. Being married to someone does not entitle us to their bodies, though I accept that sex is a reasonable expectation in marriage. However, your circumstances are unusual, and the reasonable expectation is not likely to be fulfilled.

 

You have to take a step back and recognize that the only honorable way to have sex is if your partner comes to you willingly.

 

Quote

At the moment I prefer the bed to myself like you. Gives me time to think about the situation.

I have personally found it quite relaxing to have my bed to myself. While you are thinking, you may want to consider that you are fairly adamant about wanting sex and she is fairly adamant about not wanting it. This is not sounding like a trusting closeness apart from the sex otherwise as well, and you need to figure out what to do about that.

 

You need to think about what exactly it is that you are preserving. An unpleasant status quo? A sense of entitlement over an unwilling person? A relationship that is very rewarding apart from the sex? Only good reason to be with her, is because you want her in your life, regardless of the cost you are paying in frustration. Everything else is likely to be delaying the inevitable.

 

If you are serious about saving this relationship, you have your work cut out for you. Before sex, you will need to get to a point where she wants your physical affection and that takes building trust and respect and the safety that her refusal has weight and she can rely on it to feel safe.

 

A complete tangent: You have mentioned kids. Kids can be very draining on energy, and it is quite common for women to lose interest in sex after children are born. Whatever the reason. Exhaustion, spending most of the day in a very platonic kind of loving with grabby kids and feeling all "touched out" by the end of the day or being in a different mental mode and feeling unprepared or caught offguard by a sexual/romantic "mode" of loving and not having enough time to adapt mentally.... there are really many reasons. 

 

If your wife appears stressed by childcare (or even simply overall exhausted at the end of the day), it may get you eventually laid if you take on more childcare. It will give you more opportunities to be with her in a loving way without her feeling stressed by your presence and "get used" to you. Moms are suckers for men who love their kids (even when said men are their husbands). Any help with young kids can feel like a reward - seriously. But most importantly, she will hit the end of the day slightly less exhausted, because you will have taken some of the load off (and maybe if you are a bit more exhausted, you'll be less "raring to go, whether she's prepared or not"). Another good idea may also be doing some romantic things as a couple. After kids sleep, or organize a babysitter, etc and find time to discover having fun with each other again. Give her an opportunity to be attracted to you rather than expect her to act on an attraction she isn't feeling.

 

Edit: And for god's sake, if she agrees to try, CHECK on her comfort and don't go an inch beyond it. Don't try to push her if she starts and gets reluctant. You may succeed, only for her to refuse to try again and "risk" it. If she feels safe that she can stop without you being all over her, she is more likely to feel safe to experiment.

 

And I am saying this as someone very sexual, who came to see a husband's touch as pure poison when sex was demanded - I am not here because I'm refusing sex, but then, the ONLY way he could have sex with me was if he threatened to make a drunk scene and terrify the sleeping child awake at 2am. I wasn't in the mood, and I was never given the mental safety or space to be interested in a lover before being deamanded to deliver. Needless to say, I dumped him the minute I could. Sex is very intimate. Feeling forced to do it is a recipe for seeking exits.

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uhtred

@BraveMind Its a really difficult situation.  Many of us are in this spot - married to someone we love, but without the option of a happy sex life.  It can lead to long term misery for at least one, possibly both people.   I think it is rare to find a solution that makes both people happy.

 

Leave, cheat , live like a monk.    Sucky choice.   (for some people an "open" relationship works - and that can be a solution.  For most though, I think it is difficult to avoid developing feelings fro the 3rd person. 

 

 

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anewman

Tough one, and I feel for you. Lots of excellent advice already which I won’t even try to add to.

 

All I could think to add is, have you discussed other ways (without going into tmi, other things than full sex itself) that might be mutually acceptable for expressing intimacy? It obviously depends on what, for you, constitutes a fulfilling level of intimacy, and on what, if anything, your wife is comfortable with. And obviously needs you to both be open to communicating!

 

 So obviously this won’t always work, but for my wife and I being more creative with intimacy and interpreting what sex means a little more liberally really helped us find a balance between what I wanted and what was fun/comfortable for my wife. We also found that the conversation itself made sex fun again and took some of the relentless seriousness away from all our discussions around the topic.

 

Best of luck going forward.

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anisotrophic

It occurs to me on reading all the advice, that something a lot of mixed relationships confront is something I'll dramatically title: The Straight.

 

I mean that in a navigation sense, steering between two dangers.

 

On one hand: an asexual partner that feels stressed, pressured. Having sex when they aren't comfortable doing so: really bad!! Also bad in a really corrosive way: feeling like they can't be close to their partner without a sense of sexual pressure. Many aces are romantic and/or want nonsexual physical intimacy: to have a loving relationship, they need to be able to experience those things without feeling any pressure to have sex. A sexual partner that isn't giving an ace partner this nonsexual space may actually be abusive, or an ace can feel a lot of painful inadequacy. They may become avoidant or unsympathetic to protect themselves.

 

On the other hand: a sexual partner that feels their needs are abandoned, or that they must erase themselves to avoid hurting their partner. They don't want to ask for things, for fear of creating pressure. They wait for their partner, and it never happens. They feel guilt about their own desire. In some cases, they want physical affection, and aren't getting that either. They may start to "fall out of love" because sexuality and physical affection were entangled with their love. They feel rejected or abandoned by forgotten promises for intimacy, trapped in a permanent sacrifice.

 

Navigating the straight takes a lot of communication and it's probably particular to the couple.

 

We each have our tips. Avoid these rocks! Avoid those! On some level we each have different, very personal straights to navigate, in other ways there are common patterns in the sorts of navigational hazards you're likely to encounter.

 

Pretty much all of us have one basic piece of advice: communication. In my experience, recognizing all these dangers, and that you're navigating these things together -- as a "meta" discussion -- is an important conversation to be having with a partner. Communicating about how to communicate.

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ryn2
2 hours ago, anisotropic said:

On one hand: an asexual partner that feels stressed, pressured[....]  On the other hand: a sexual partner that feels their needs are abandoned, or that they must erase themselves to avoid hurting their partner.

Everything you said was very true!  Regarding the two shorelines that border The Strait, communication is indeed huge because without it both partners are working from and making decisions based on assumptions (which may not reflect their partners’ real thoughts or feelings at all).

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nanogretchen4

You say that sexual incompatibility is the only problem in your marriage, and that everything else is great, including the trust. You also mention that your wife threatened you with an ugly custody battle in the event of divorce. Let's stop and think about that. An amicable divorce with a good coparenting arrangement is clearly what would be better for the kids unless you are a totally unfit parent. If she thinks you are a totally unfit parent, she should be divorcing you immediately for the children's sake, not trying to use your children to keep you trapped in the marriage. We can hope that she is only bluffing and actually cares what is best for her kids. But I don't think you should rely entirely on hope here. I think you should immediately and discreetly research divorce and custody laws in your area. Make sure you know of a good divorce attorney that you can hire if needed. Also research arbitration options. That way in the event of a divorce you can start by proposing an uncontested divorce with joint custody, yet be prepared to protect your interests and the interests of your kids if it comes down to a legal battle.

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Traveler40
3 hours ago, nanogretchen4 said:

You say that sexual incompatibility is the only problem in your marriage, and that everything else is great, including the trust. You also mention that your wife threatened you with an ugly custody battle in the event of divorce. Let's stop and think about that. An amicable divorce with a good coparenting arrangement is clearly what would be better for the kids unless you are a totally unfit parent. If she thinks you are a totally unfit parent, she should be divorcing you immediately for the children's sake, not trying to use your children to keep you trapped in the marriage. We can hope that she is only bluffing and actually cares what is best for her kids. But I don't think you should rely entirely on hope here. I think you should immediately and discreetly research divorce and custody laws in your area. Make sure you know of a good divorce attorney that you can hire if needed. Also research arbitration options. That way in the event of a divorce you can start by proposing an uncontested divorce with joint custody, yet be prepared to protect your interests and the interests of your kids if it comes down to a legal battle.

I completely agree.

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ryn2
18 minutes ago, Traveler40 said:

I completely agree.

I agree that it’s important to be prepared as well, but also caution that some people tend to deliver dramatic ultimatums when feeling threatened or cornered.  If your partner is prone to overdramatic statements under duress you may want to see how the conversation progresses when things are calmer.

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BraveMind
21 hours ago, anisotropic said:

as @Traveler40 just noted, tons of communication; we both express empathy for each other's experiences

- I never expect him to initiate, ever -- I think this is unnatural for him and I don't want him to feel any pressure to be something he isn't

- I don't expect him to express desire for sex or specific sex acts

- I discuss my experience of desire without any immediate sense that we have to take action

- if he's not up for standard sex, I ask if he is willing to hold me while I masturbate

- I try to give a long lead on requests, vaguely on the order of a couple days, eg "I'm sorry, I really miss you. maybe we could be intimate again sometime soon" (note: depending on how he's feeling a positive response could be as short as hours, even 10 minutes (!) -- but the "space" for him to think about it matters)

- I express gratitude and genuinely focus on it: he's doing it to make me happy

- I struggled with issues of consent, and accepted that yes is yes -- I had to force myself to have sex at first, actually, once I understood he didn't desire it, and got upset and he comforted me (ironic yeah)

- it feels like an act of trust on my part, that he won't make me feel shame about my desire, which makes me feel loved

- want/willing/won't lists of what a partner is ok with -- don't expect any "want" but I was surprised how big the "willing" was (my mistake was to assume a lack of desire was a lack of willingness)

These could be the 10 Commandments for Sexuals in Mixed Marriages, etch them in stone. :)

 

The key ones I've been falling on: 

 

1) expecting her to initiate: she never does, except on my birthday but even that's rare now.
2) long lead on requests: I've entered her room in my bathrobe to ask, ready to go on a few occasions. 
3) non-standard sex: I wouldn't accept anything other than "real" sex before but our last encounters were like this - me rubbing against her or me masturbating while touching her.

 

Coincidentally I mentioned to the therapist that our sex always feels rape-y (even used that exact wording). After all the effort of following the rules above and walking on eggshells to avoid making her uncomfortable, all I get in the end is no where near what I need, it's unfulfilling. 

 

I will chat with her tomorrow about how she's feeling and when we can try sex next.
 

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BraveMind
20 hours ago, Chimeric said:

. There's no sense of intimacy or love, just a really uncomfortable prodding (sorry!) - and that's without the mental and emotional turmoil that can sometimes go along with being asexual.

Sincerely, thanks for all the kind words.

 

"Prodding" is how she described what sex feels like to her. More exactly, she said it's similar to her sticking a cotton swab in her ear. :)

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BraveMind
5 hours ago, nanogretchen4 said:

An amicable divorce with a good coparenting arrangement is clearly what would be better for the kids unless you are a totally unfit parent.

As I wrote it was possibly a knee jerk reaction -- she felt threatened or cornered and harshly played the keep the kids card. She is feisty which is one of the reasons why I love her. I don't believe she would try to cut contact for me. She knows I love them and they love me immensely. I'm a very active parent.

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anisotrophic

@BraveMind I fear to really absorb the enormity of the difference, it might help to think about how willing you are – assuming you are a het male – to have sex with another man. Assuming, I guess, no homophobia on your part. Or a woman you feel absolutely no desire for.

This might kill your own desire. It does for a lot of sexuals, I think it's often a gut-wrenching realization to have. But, I think sexual partners that don't take it this seriously are going to have a lot of trouble managing their expectations. 😕 

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nanogretchen4

If they were my kids, I would not be content with thinking my spouse possibly or even probably wasn't going to hold them hostage despite having threatened to do so. I really think you should go ahead and investigate your legal options. The relationship therapist has already recommended divorce, and your wife's stalling strategy was to promise sex twice a week but instead there has been no sex for over a month. It does not sound like she is able to compromise much if at all. If she goes back to the therapist and admits that compromise is off the table, I predict the therapist will bring up divorce again and your wife will feel threatened or cornered again. Does that mean she gets to try and force you to stay by making threats again? No, because that is an abusive nightmare. 

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