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AceofTrades

How do I tell my husband?

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AceofTrades
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My husband and I have been together for 10 years and we have 2 kids. I just realized I'm Ace about...4 days ago when I read about it and everything just clicked about how my life has been. I never even knew it was a thing, I just thought i was broken and tried hormones, porn, foreplay, you name it and nothing worked. I enjoy affection and I have sex to take care of his needs although I dont really seek it out. Now I need to tell him but I dont know what to say or how to say it so it goes smoothly and without hurting him. What would the sexual partners suggest or what would ypu have liked your partner to say when they came out to you? Thank you!

Edited by AceofTrades
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uhtred

OK, this is a really unfortunate situation. No anyone's fault but unfortunate.  Its not so different from his realizing that he is gay. 

 

A lot depends on him, but for most sexuals, sex is vital to a happy romantic relationship.  Do you think it is for him?   You have to be perceptive - there is a lot of shame about desiring sex, so many people will lie and say that its not important, or that doing without is OK - when in fact it is very important to them. 

 

If he needs sex to be happy (which is the most likely situation), then you need to know more. 

 

Does he need *sex* or *desire*? The first you might be able to provide, but the second you can't. 

 

If sex is enough, is it something you are content doing, without feeling resentment? How much and what sort of things does he need?

 

Are you and he OK with his getting sex elsewhere while staying married?  (that may not work).

 

There may be no solution - in which case divorce is better than living with one or both of you miserable.   I suspect you have been unhappy -  not really understanding why you felt the way you do. At the same time its likely he has been  aware that there was a problem but not understood it. 

 

 

I'm the sexual in a sexual / near-asexual relationship, and I only discovered asexuality recently.  I've spent 30 years of marriage feeling like my wife didn't really love me, and wondering what was wrong with me that caused that. 

 

 

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anamikanon
9 hours ago, AceofTrades said:

My husband and I have been together for 10 years and we have 2 kids. I just realized I'm Ace about...4 days ago when I read about it and everything just clicked about how my life has been. I never even knew it was a thing, I just thought i was broken and tried hormones, porn, foreplay, you name it and nothing worked. I enjoy affection and I have sex to take care of his needs although I dont really seek it out. Now I need to tell him but I dont know what to say or how to say it so it goes smoothly and without hurting him. What would the sexual partners suggest or what would ypu have liked your partner to say when they came out to you? Thank you!

First, I'd say know what you want. Are you simply looking to share your explanation or are you looking to use that explanation to refuse sex? What and how you say will depend on that.

 

If you are okay having sex with him to keep him happy, you can simply explain that you are asexual, which is why you don't feel a lot of the urges around sex - which he will have noticed. It may help the two of you get more insight and plan your sex life better so that it is less stressful for you and he has a clearer idea what to expect. Be prepared for sexuals to go through some major psychological shit for a few months after discovery. It will definitely change your relationship somewhat. How much depends on how happy he is with the sex life the two of you have currently.

 

If you are planning to refuse sex going forward, it may be better to tell him flat out.(Edit: Something like "I don't enjoy sex and I don't want us to have sex again. I think I may be asexual.") It is going to be brutal for him and your relationship will probably go through a rough spot, but there isn't an easy way to do this. Taking sex off the table is taking sex off the table. There really isn't a "soft approach" and the more you mumble, the more longdrawn the pain may get from misleading hope, confusion, etc.

 

If he seems fine with your sex life and you don't have a problem and finding out about asexuality merely provided some answers to some puzzles, you may want to consider not fixing what ain't broke. Or mention it in a casual way as a descriptor for yourself rather than a "serious talk". (Edit: Something like "Just figured out I'm asexual. That certainly explains a lot of things, doesn't it?" It may be wise to mention that you aren't expecting a change in your sex life - because for sexuals, that is also called "cue panic")

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anisotrophic

@AceofTrades I brought the concept of asexuality to my partner; we discovered it together. (It was brought to me by a therapist I went to see for gender issues.) So I don't know how it would have felt for him to bring it to me, but in the end I suspect I experienced much that is similar.

 

Here's some emotions a sexual partner is likely to experience:

 

Relief - it wasn't because I was unloved or deficient, there was nothing I could have done

 

Despair - there is nothing I can do. I love my partner so much, sexuality is something I feel when I feel romantic love - I wanted him, specifically. I was grieving, even though I lost something I never really had.

 

Trapped - with kids, it's now extremely difficult for me to change my life course. (This was greatly reduced by my partner saying an open relationship would be ok someday.)

 

Dismay/nausea - I felt sick to think I'd pressured my partner for sex he didn't want. Feeling upset about consent.

 

Anger - mostly at the world, for misleading me into thinking everyone has the potential for sexual desire -- and they it is especially present in men.

 

Vulnerable/shame - I feel desire for my partner, he doesn't feel it for me. I have a "need" he doesn't have.

 

You wrote "to take care of his needs" and I think this point needs a lot of empathy and communication between partners. I think it's valuable to unpack his needs and why you have been willing to have sex. (A) remember that these are emotional needs, not physical ones - otherwise one could just masturbate - so what are they? Does it make him feel loved? wanted? And can some if it (especially the "need to be desired") be filled in ways that aren't sex? The "five love languages" might be helpful here. you may want to reassure him that you want him to feel loved and wanted, you just can't feel those things sexually (B) why did you have sex, then? to make him happy? Because you love him? Do you want to continue to do so? Understanding this "why" matters, because there's unhappy answers he might use to "fill in the blank" here if you don't explain a more positive one.

 

The question about an open relationship is likely to come up at some point; think about how you feel about it. It might come up with a sense of urgency, as a "quick fix", but in general it should be approached carefully and deliberately, it introduces more complications. While I have the option, in theory, I haven't exercised it and don't plan to any time soon. I really appreciate the future option, but I love my partner and he's available for sex, if I ask.

 

Therapy helped. I had a lot with my LGBTQIA+ savvy therapist (who I meant to see for gender issues). He had a bit with another therapist at the practice. We never had couples therapy, maybe because our we both felt happy with our communication -- but the therapy helped us independently understand ourselves and our relationship. I needed a lot more of it, I had to change myself to adapt. You may want to encourage your partner to talk to a therapist, to understand his own needs.

 

I hope this helps... I don't want you to feel broken or guilty. I can only hope your partner thinks the same way. Asexuality is unknown, it's not something to fix -- no more than homosexuality is -- and it's a situation where you genuinely didn't know.

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MrDane

There is a good chance, that you are hurting him, by not telling. Tell, and allow him to face facts. 

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AceofTrades
10 hours ago, anisotrophic said:

 

 

I hope this helps... I dont want you to feel broken or guilty. I can only hope your partner thinks the same way. Asexuality is unknown, it's not something to fix -- no more than homosexuality is -- and it's a situation where you genuinely didn't know.

 

It does help, thank you. Some of it, like equating my situation with finding out I'm gay is kind of hurtful because its not the same, I'm still attracted to him, I'm just not craving sex. 😕 Honestly he's not really helping either. I've told him if he actually spent time with me and showed me he loves me, makes time for me, it would be easier for me to show physical affection to him. He knows what I need and I'm making an effort for him, but it's like he just doesn't care. I feel we're so broken but I'm the only one who wants to make things work.  😞

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uhtred
15 hours ago, AceofTrades said:

 

It does help, thank you. Some of it, like equating my situation with finding out I'm gay is kind of hurtful because its not the same, I'm still attracted to him, I'm just not craving sex. 😕 Honestly he's not really helping either. I've told him if he actually spent time with me and showed me he loves me, makes time for me, it would be easier for me to show physical affection to him. He knows what I need and I'm making an effort for him, but it's like he just doesn't care. I feel we're so broken but I'm the only one who wants to make things work.  😞

Would it really help?  If you are asexual, then no amount of affection is going to make you want sex. OTOH, if you don't desire sex with him because of the way he behaves, that is entirely different.  Are there cases where you have actively desired sex?

 

I say this because I ran around in circles for , well more than a decade, trying to be desirable to my wife.  She complained that I wasn't romantic enough, that I didn't show non-sexual affection etc.  I think it was only on our 25 anniversary, staying in a romantic old hotel in Venice, after a wonderful day of fun, and romance etc - when things still were not right, that I realized that there was no "right" situation.

 

Its OK if there is no situation where you will want sex - that is how you are.  (and in a sense I think it IS like being gay - there is no situation in which a gay person will want sex with an opposite sex partner.  Just be careful  not to send him on a hopeless quest for the impossible. 

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ryn2
2 hours ago, uhtred said:

Just be careful  not to send him on a hopeless quest for the impossible. 

 

18 hours ago, AceofTrades said:

if he actually spent time with me and showed me he loves me, makes time for me, it would be easier for me to show physical affection to him.

It’s hard, too, because those changes really feel like they will help when suggested... but then when the time comes it turns out they don’t actually help after all.

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anamikanon
On 3/25/2019 at 5:06 AM, AceofTrades said:

I've told him if he actually spent time with me and showed me he loves me, makes time for me, it would be easier for me to show physical affection to him.

Regardless of a/sexuality, this sounds like he isn't meeting your needs for intimacy right here.

 

Some kind of professional help may be useful, because it is sounding like he isn't registering what you say (or doesn't care).

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