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anamikanon

Unhealthy/Dangerous relationship patterns

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anamikanon

On another group I am on, we are doing an interesting exercise, where we are looking at unhealthy relationship patterns that were described or played out in the group with a view to learn to spot and stop them.

 

I thought something like that may be useful for our group too. We see a lot of people making similar mistakes, and a checklist/reflection trigger could be useful in seeing if we can gain insight from the experiences of others. A lot of stuff is "obvious", but we end up doing it anyway, or don't see when we do it ourselves. It could be a handy resource for new people trying to figure out sexual-asexual relationships or general relationship conflicts, etc

 

For example, one thing I often do, that hasn't helped our relationship is SPEED. I have a very fast "turnaround" time, where a new insight comes to attention, gets analyzed, absorbed and I'm ready to try applying it in a very very short time. Can be minutes! My partner has often said that he finds it unnerving, because by the time he's realized there is a problem, I'm already halfway to fixing my side of it and expecting him to take it seriously too, except he hasn't even got to the point where he's figured out next steps. Also, me not waiting for him, can make me miss aspects that are very valuable because of his insight, because I've moved so fast, he hasn't got around to articulating them. So when he does, it is like "oh, but I'm already..." I am learning to go slow. It doesn't happen in most things, but when it came to the mismatch because of his asexuality and my sexual nature... I guess I felt the stakes were too high for me and didn't matter as much for him, so I was anxious that important things be addressed... particularly in the initial days.

 

For that matter, we'd been in a happy relationship for three years, including reasonably good sex. He realized he was asexual only when he moved in and panicked at the prospect of really frequent sex. When he realized he was asexual, he was really in a space of self-awareness and overwhelmed and not really looking at impact on me. I think if I'd gone slow and given him time to find out what he would prefer going forward instead of jumping to conclusions of catastrophe for myself and reacting to every insight he had as he explored the subject in terms of impact for me, I'd have spared myself a lot of stress. Instead, I accepted his asexuality, started changing my own behavior in order to not "hurt" him, even though he'd never said I hurt him, and made an even bigger mess for myself.

 

His solution to sexual frustration, for example, was simple - having sex!!! We'd been doing it for three years already. He did not see why all of a sudden I was seeing my desire for him as a violation, when he's been the same person all through. Edit: He's usually soft-spoken, but this was one subject where he really got angry over me overruling his consent for sex as though he wasn't capable of thinking for himself. He may not feel desire, but he had validly agreed to sex and if I didn't want to have sex, to say that instead of calling it concern about him.

 

Many of the issues that were the end of the world in those days didn't really last beyond those days. For example, the frequent refusals for sex. At that time, he was just celebrating himself being okay even if he didn't like sex, and was enjoying refusing sex and it being fine. It wasn't about me, it wasn't about refusing sex with me, it wasn't about a hundred things that I went through. In fact, when he realized I was taking it like that and was distressed, he immediately cut down on the refusal-binge. He genuinely didn't mind sex and was happy to engage any time, and that phase simply was the sheer freedom of being okay even if he had no interest in sex and not about denying me.

 

A large part of the misery I created for myself was my instant reactions to transient situations (even as I advised people here to not do it, lol)

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anamikanon

Learning on his end about this was that sex was really important to me. D'uh.

 

In the sense, how important sex was, and how much I started panicking and reading into things when he said he was asexual and refused to have sex a couple of times was a complete surprise to him when he realized how hurt I was. He didn't think it would be a big deal - I've never thought it a big deal if he wasn't in the mood for sex. But coming on the back of him calling himself asexual.... he was completely blindsided by how much it would matter to me.

 

Frankly, I was blindsided too.

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ryn2

I do the spot it, assess it, fix it! thing too.  It’s a skill that serves me well at work but not one that helps out with personal relationships.  I need to get better at just sitting with discomfort and not instantly rushing to solve things.

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