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GHawkinsOneSix

Long Distance Relationship with possible asexual

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GHawkinsOneSix

Let me first start off by clarifying one thing I think is important; Until recently, I had not researched or read into asexuality and what it all meant for someone who identifies as such. My familiarity with it ended at the "oh-so-no-sex"-door. My current situation therefore caught me off guard and made me play catch-up.  These forums (which were totally unknown to me until recently) have helped me find more information and hopefully a deeper understanding for things. That being said, I do not know whether this is the right forum or even the right community to ask advice from in my situation. Please pardon me if that is the case.

 

For the record, I am sexual, so once again, I am new to all this. I will be sharing a post here I also posted on Reddit (marked in italics here), seeking advice. Now Reddit is a great place, but ultimately here I have been able to find a lot more things and insights I considered useful. Hence I'm giving it a go.

 

 

I am writing this post with the knowledge that the other person in this story will be reading along. Nevertheless, these are my thoughts and feelings on the matter and I have promised I'd make edits should she feel something isn't correct. So we hope that with this post, someone who has had a similar experience might be able to help us. I will be providing a lot of background information, a TL:DR will be at the bottom.

 

About five to six months ago, I got to know a woman through Discord. At that time, my 4-year relationship that I didn't quite feel happy in (not all was bad, not by a long shot, I wouldn't want anyone to think it was) was falling apart and she was there to help me get myself together again. We both share similar interests and we got along really well playing video games, or watching videos together. I realized that despite my recent breakup, I was falling for her pretty hard. One can imagine how relieved I was when eventually the cat got out of the bag and she told me she felt the same.

 

A problem however, is that she lives in the United States and I live in the Netherlands. We are both fully aware that getting to know one another through Discord and via WhatsApp isn't a true reflection of how a relationship between us would be in the future. We decided that meeting one another in real life would be paramount to figuring out what it was between us. Thankfully, we were able to meet very quickly. In March, she came to visit me for a week here in the Netherlands. We agreed both during and after the visit that we both exceeded the other's expectations. We had an absolutely great time together. We spent the majority of the week together, just playing video games, watching videos, listening to music, going to musea, that kind of thing. What not only helped was our aligned interest in things, but that we had a very good understanding of one another's boundaries. Although in larger part, me understanding her boundaries.

 

Prior to her visiting me, another possible problem had come up between us. She admitted to me that she was anxious about meeting me, because she had never been intimate in any form whatsoever with anyone else. She had never kissed someone from the opposite gender (or the same gender for that matter), never hugged out of anything other than friendly familiarity, etcetera. She admitted even feeling somewhat uncomfortable or at a loss of how to reply whenever I made a (joking) reference to intimacy through text.

 

As such, I was very careful when meeting her. I asked her if she was okay with a lot of things before I did, I made sure she knew exactly what I was doing and the moment I felt I was getting close to crossing boundaries, I stopped. Because of this we didn't "advance" past giving each other a kiss, hugging, her sitting on my lap in front PC while we were watching a movie together, holding hands, me giving her a shoulder massage, things of the kind. Nobody will ever hear me complain about that, as I knew fully well what it meant when she told me she didn't know whether she'd be comfortable with things. I know (and she later told me) that those things were already massive leaps for her. And I can't express how much I appreciate I was the one she made those leaps with and for.

 

She has since left for the United States again and we have naturally been keeping in touch. Doubts have however been creeping into her mind since.

 

She fears that she might never be intimate with me in the truest sense of the word; sex. She asked me whether that would be a problem. Not wanting to lie, I answered truthfully I did not know whether that would be a problem.

 

In my previous relationship, my sex-life was less-than-ideal. The problems with my sex-life influenced other things in that relationship and vice-versa, other problems influenced the sex-life. As such, it was a source of many frustrations for me and did contribute to the break-up of that relationship.

 

The woman in question here questions whether she may not be asexual. She is now afraid that it'll become a massive breaking point in any relationship going forward. Especially considering a relationship would be a considerable investment of time and money and would eventually (far in the future) assume one of us would move to another continent.

 

I too fear it may be a breaking point eventually. However, I am of the opinion we should try going forward and seeing what happens. Since this has come up, I have been doing a lot of reading, researching asexuality and what it means to have a relationship with someone who is asexual while being sexual yourself. And that is working off the assumption that she is in fact asexual, which at this point is still an unknown factor. I am after all the first person she ever kissed (yes, I'm still honoured by that), so it's unexplored territory.

 

I can't promise her it won't be a problem, she can't promise me it won't be a problem, but then again, I feel like very few relationship at the start are able to promise each other the world. Considering the amount of things we have going for our relationship, and those things are very numerous, I really want to see if we can overcome anything that might be a problem. (In order to display how serious I am about this, I am investigating how to and have the intend to go as far as request unpaid leave to live with her a month to figure things out, one day at a time, while not 3000km apart)

 

So the promised TL:DR; Does anyone have any advice on how to proceed in a long distance relationship where one part (me) has no problems with intimacy, while the other part (her) feels like she may continue to have intimacy problems, which may or may not be a problem going forward (and is for now the only problem we have identified)?

 

Is there anyone on these forums that feels comfortable at least giving me another perspective on this? I'm pretty much afraid of this killing a chance at a relationship before we have explored the possibility of having one. Yes, I am very much in love and I'm willing to go to great lengths to figure out how to make this work.

 

Thank you for reading.

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Jade Cross

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Iam9man

Third person perspective: that definitely sounds like love! Love doesn’t necessarily conquer everything but I’d never advise anyone not to pursue it. Living together for a month (if you can afford to take a month off work) sounds like a great idea. I’d recommend going on the assumption that sex is off the table. This will reduce stress for both of you. Good luck!

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ryn2

I think the main thing for you to consider at this point is:  would you still want to have a relationship with her if you knew for sure she would never want to have sex with you and, if so, what form would you want that relationship to take (romantic relationship with sex that only one partner really wants; sexless romantic relationship, QPR, friendship)?

 

Also, the “why” of how her life to this point hadn’t involved any physical intimacy might provide you (both) some clues... has she always wanted a romantic, sexual relationship but just not found the right person/been afraid/etc., or has it never really been something she thought to look for?

 

Asexuality isn’t really a problem with sexual intimacy.  Some asexual people are willing to have sex for their partners and others are not.  Some sexual partners are okay with what asexuals can provide and others are not.

 

In short, if you are certain you need sexual intimacy to be happy in a romantic relationship, you may want to pursue this particular relationship as a friendship instead.

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GHawkinsOneSix
Posted (edited)

Thank you for your replies. 

 

And thank you ryn2 for asking some questions. The only answer I can give to some of them is that I don't know an answer to some of them. Which is why I want to find out those answers.

 

She has said before she had never felt attracted to anyone like she has been feeling to me. Only once before did she approach something close to a relationship, but the person that was with was had so many red flags she cut that off immediately. Which was the reason I am the first person anything has ever happened with.

 

Therefore, I do not know whether that came from a lack of interest, or rather a lack of meeting the right person for the ball to start rolling. That she was willing to make a trip to the Netherlands and get that ball rolling, however slowly, makes me hopeful it was a case of not meeting the right person yet. And that I turned out to be that person.

 

I understand asexuality doesn't exclude sexual intimacy per definition. But in this case, she holds a fear that she is asexual and that will result in an exclusion of sexual intimacy. We have also discussed several other possibilities in that department that causes her to feel the way she currently feels; a lack of experience, a lack of prior interest, prudery as a result of cultural experiences, among a few others. We have also discussed the possibility of therapy to find out which it is, which I would obviously support her in, through all means possible to me.

 

She has told me that it has always been hard for her to connect to people because of her hearing disability. She therefore tremendously appreciated all the effort I went through to make sure that disability was a non-issue when she was here. I still find myself habitually turning to people when talking to them so they can read my lips or turning on subtitles in Youtube videos even when not required. As such, that is another possible explanation for the way she is currently feeling.

 

Taking all of the above into consideration, we (minor edit here, this is part of what we discussed) see the following possibilities;

  1. It turns out to be a non-issue between us, one that got resolved by spending time together and figuring things out as we went.
  2. It turns out to be a non-issue between us after therapy helps us work through any "problems".
  3. It turns out to be an issue but one we both compromise on to make it work.
  4. It turns out to be an issue but one she is willing to compromise on to effectively turn it into a non-issue.
  5. It turns out to be an issue but one I am willing to compromise on to effectively turn it into a non-issue.
  6. It turns out to be an issue that neither of us is willing to compromise on.

I think it should go without saying that possibilities 1 and 2 are ones we both desire most. 

 

I know that for both of us, possibility 3 would be entirely dependent on the compromises we'd both make. But I am almost certain that possibility 3 is workable even on the long run. It sadly depends on so many factors we don't know at this point.

 

Possibilities 4 and 5 are the ones we are very much uncertain about. Again it would obviously depend on the compromises required to turn it into a non-issue, but she does not know if she'd be able to compromise for me and "go on with it" because this is new territory for her. Likewise, I don't know if I'd be okay to not have sexual intimacy, because that is also new territory for me. And neither of us knows whether 4 or 5 would be sustainable for the other. So preferably, we don't end up with 4 or 5.

 

Possibility 6 is the one we both fear and don't want to have as an outcome. Possibility 6 would however mean that one by one, the other possibilities were struck off the board (not necessarily in order, I would never mean to imply that I'd ask her to compromise for me before I'd consider making a compromise for her). 

 

I guess at this moment I am more using this list to also put things in order for myself. Sorry if this post stopped making sense a few sentences in.

 

------

 

On an unrelated topic, I only just found out about this forum, I guess I overlooked it when I was making my post. Should a moderator find it better to move this post over there, please pardon me putting it in the wrong place to begin with.

Edited by GHawkinsOneSix
Minor edit to reflect more accurately what we (her and me) have discussed.
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Serran

Compromise seems like a good plan. However, it is a very difficult and painful road to walk in reality. So, if it turns out she doesnt develop that sort of attraction, even if you two try to compromise, it could not work out. 

 

The thing with aces having sex is, even if they can do it, it lacks desire and passion. Something is missing because they are doing it as an act of service, not mutual pleasure and desire. And, it often leaves sexuals feeling unsatisfied. With how thoughtful you seem, it is possible it could even cause you to feel a bit like you are taking something she doesnt want, even if she consents to it. 

 

Be prepared for a range of hard experiences to work through if you do try this. It can work. Some mixed couples get it to. It is just tough and you need to be realistic. Her deciding she can do sex, may not solve it. 

 

And on the flip side, you deciding you can do no sex could still leave her feeling guilty and hurt she cant be what you truly want. So, that also may not solve it. 

 

Its a very complicated and messy situation at times that reauires a lot of honest communication..

 

Though yeah she might just need to go slow and trust you fully to feel sexually. I first felt it at 30, because my partner was so respectful and patient and amazing. So who knows. 

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ryn2

It sounds like you are both putting a lot of thought and caring into this, which certainly gives you the best chance of succeeding, and I hope things do work out for you.  Just pay careful attention to how you feel as you go along... in the end, if it just isn’t doable for either of you, dragging it out doesn’t make it easier.

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Homer

Moved to For Sexual Partners, Friends And Allies

Homer

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GHawkinsOneSix
Posted (edited)
On 5/6/2019 at 9:27 AM, Homer said:

Moved to For Sexual Partners, Friends And Allies

Homer

Moderator

Thank you.

 

I've been talking to my supervisor at work, which is also a very close friend of mine, about this situation. I'm quite nervous with all this going on and she has always been able to read me like an open book, so as a friend she wanted to know what was up. Insert basically the entire story as written above.

 

My supervisor told me that a lot of what I described reminded her of herself. She also had problems with intimacy and despite having a relationship for a few years now, she still sometimes has. During the visit in March, I also brought her (the woman in the story) over to my workplace (she wanted to meet my colleagues). Based on how that went, my supervisor says she feels more like she's just afraid of the unknown, as opposed to having a big problem with intimacy.

 

My supervisor proceeded to list things I had already forgotten; the fact while at my workplace, she grabbed my hand, she put her arm around me, pulling me into a hug, all while being "watched" by people unknown to her. I realise that throughout her time here, there were quite a few more of those occurrences; sudden shoulder massages or back rubs without warning, her grabbing my hand that was on the shifter while waiting at a red light, her trying to pull my hand out of my pocket while walking together (I had assumed she didn't want to hold hands, she did). And though I very well understand that those things most likely took conscious effort, she still did them. It was an interesting point I hadn't thought about.

 

Since starting this topic on Saturday, I actually stopped discussing all this with her. I absolutely don't want to put her up against the wall on this and I know I had sort of been doing that prior to this (it's part of why I made this topic, to get another perspective on this, she encouraged me to do so for herself as well). Although I told her I posted on reddit and I posted on AVEN, I realise I never linked her to here. Reddit has been quiet so I really, really appreciate everyone that has taken the time to read my story and give their thoughts on it.

 

Hopefully, tomorrow I will know more regarding that unpaid leave thing and whether it's something I can make work. Supervisor reached out to the department head that asked HR for me, he has no reply yet. So I'll wait. Department Head got the "ask someone else" treatment, so he's doing just that.

Alright so, final update. Turns out that it's a favour my employer would do for me, which means I am in the hands of the gods when asking my boss. So yeah I'll have to ask her quickly what her plans are.

 

If that's so, I'll be bringing it up again with her and include this topic and that with my supervisor (who has given permission for me to share her story) in the conversation.

 

I'll make sure to post an update here when there's a development in that. 

Edited by GHawkinsOneSix
Bureaucracy, I hate it
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GHawkinsOneSix

This afternoon, I got the word that unpaid leave was possible but was considered a favour from the employer to the employee. Since getting word from my department head about the leave thingy was basically my "go-code", I initiated the talk.

 

For the people that care about the outcome of that talk, I won't lead them on without need; Me and her decided to continue as the very good friends we already were/are and not pursue a romantic/sexual relationship. It should be obvious that it is not the outcome we necessarily wanted, but we are in mutual agreement that its best for both.

 

Now for the more in depth explanation;

 

We spoke for nearly 3 hours about this, so everything said was well measured and based on feelings and thoughts, not impulses. I linked her this topic and she read it very thoroughly and entirely before even replying to me again.

 

It turned out that I underestimated how much effort it took for her to do what she did whilst with me. To the point that when she had returned to the United States, she really felt like she had to recover from it all. She never shared that with me in depth because she wanted to really make it work and didn't want to scare me off. She didn't hold back in talking about it this time. She told me that basically every step she took, was based on her thinking I had an expectation of it. That was, like I mentioned before, not the case, but she still felt at that moment it was true.

 

When she was back in the US and alone with her thoughts, she really evaluated whether that was something she could've kept up for a longer time. She basically kept evaluating that up until now and even then continued. And after reading this topic, she realised it was not the case. She wouldn't be able to keep up with what she thinks would be my expectations. And I'll readily admit it is easy for me to say I have no such expectations. but after all this, I am also conscious enough to recognize that saying and thinking it now is different from living through it. I may now have no expectations of progressing in a certain direction now, but I am not able to promise that'll always be the case. And we both correctly came to the conclusion that's not good for either of us.

 

Like mentioned before, we agreed to continue in certain ways like we were already doing but without the expectation of being each other's lovers. We already had a great friendship and we both endeavor to make that last. We greatly enjoy each other's virtual "presence" during our gaming, we enjoy the ramblings we send to one another in text, we enjoy the random moments we have together despite being physically apart. That won't change.

 

I'm surprised at how calm I am about all this. In large part I think because it didn't really come as a surprise, even if obviously the hope was for another outcome. I've also evaluated a lot about myself these past few days of reading here and from other internet sources. I think the outcome is for the best.

 

Thank you everyone for reading my struggles and pitching in. I don't know if I'm going to hang around here on these forums now, I did get a lot of new insights about myself and my thoughts towards sexuality. So I might as well give it a try.

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ryn2

I’m glad you agreed on how to proceed, and that you will be able to maintain a good friendship!  I know this isn’t what you hoped for but it’s positive overall.

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Philip027
On 5/5/2019 at 9:30 AM, ryn2 said:

Asexuality isn’t really a problem with sexual intimacy.

It kinda can be a problem though, if you would define "sexual intimacy" as two people having mutual, enthusiastic sexual desires toward each other.  That is something an asexual can never provide, imo.

 

Even aces that are perfectly willing to engage in sex might see their mixed relationships dissolve because they still lack that special something (the mutual desire) and in many cases, the sexual partner can still easily detect this.  It can result in an uncomfortable "rapey" sort of feeling on the sexual partner's side.

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ryn2
1 hour ago, Philip027 said:

It kinda can be a problem though, if you would define "sexual intimacy" as two people having mutual, enthusiastic sexual desires toward each other.  That is something an asexual can never provide, imo.

Oh, agreed that it can cause a problem.  What I meant was that asexuality isn’t defined/the same as “having a problem with sex.”  That’s more likely to be sex repulsion.

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