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How do YOU compromise in a mixed relationship?

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Pheedre
On 9/17/2019 at 12:33 AM, uhtred said:

In reality it doesn't work. I spend a lot of my time unhappy. She may as well.

I can only speak for myself, but I'd be willing to bet that she's unhappy as well. I think people assume that since the asexual doesn't want or need sex, that if it's not happening in the relationship, then all is well for them, and they're getting what they want. For me, this simply isn't true because it's hell knowing your partner is unhappy because of something you're not doing, and there's always that anxiety of, oh god when are we going to have "the talk" again, and where will it lead. Also, in my situation, and I'm sure may be the case with other asexuals, I DO want a close relationship with my SO, like emotional understanding and support, but I dont really receive that because he doesn't fully get me, and probably never will. I also would like some intimacy like cuddling,kissing etc, but that doesnt happen either (and I know this is my fault) but, I always have the fear it will lead to sex, so I just don't do it. Trust me, mixed orientation sucks for both parties involved. I'm not suggesting you were stating otherwise, just getting my thoughts out there. All the best.

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SusannaC

@Pheedre, my spouse is a happy man, but am pretty sure it’s because I let him believe all is well and I am happy.  I reached and passed a sense of futility many years ago.  What would talking change?  Not him or me.  He CANT give the intimacy I need and I know I only want reciprocal desire in a sexual relationship. I’ve often thought he never cuddled or touched much because he too, didn’t want that touch to lead to more... As a result somewhere over the years I lost the ability to see him in a sexually attractive way, and that is just the easiest way for me to survive.  I don’t doubt his love anymore though.   I had to work hard on myself to accept his love again( I was resentful) and understand his way of giving and showing love is very different from my way.  
So I don’t talk about the loss of this aspect of married life and it’s become a non issue.  Let him live in his happy place, cause after all, my needs are my own.  This mixed marriage has been incredibly difficult and emotionally stressful and I wouldn’t recommend to anyone.  I’d say be friends instead-the kind that hug and kiss and confide and help each other if need be, but don’t commit yourself to a lifestyle with someone who is inherently different in essential needs.

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glyders

I compromise by not having intimate contact, kissing, sex, whatever.

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Traveler40
40 minutes ago, SusannaC said:

@Pheedre, my spouse is a happy man, but am pretty sure it’s because I let him believe all is well and I am happy.  I reached and passed a sense of futility many years ago.  What would talking change?  Not him or me.  He CANT give the intimacy I need and I know I only want reciprocal desire in a sexual relationship. I’ve often thought he never cuddled or touched much because he too, didn’t want that touch to lead to more... As a result somewhere over the years I lost the ability to see him in a sexually attractive way, and that is just the easiest way for me to survive.  I don’t doubt his love anymore though.   I had to work hard on myself to accept his love again( I was resentful) and understand his way of giving and showing love is very different from my way.  
So I don’t talk about the loss of this aspect of married life and it’s become a non issue.  Let him live in his happy place, cause after all, my needs are my own.  This mixed marriage has been incredibly difficult and emotionally stressful and I wouldn’t recommend to anyone.  I’d say be friends instead-the kind that hug and kiss and confide and help each other if need be, but don’t commit yourself to a lifestyle with someone who is inherently different in essential needs.

Perfectly said @SusannaC and closely echoes much of my situation.  Where we diverge is in never talking about it. Sometimes, I don’t let him get away with altering reality to suit his script.  It’s futile, but I feel lacks honesty to completely dismiss the issue that fundamentally forces us apart.
 

He still seems to effortlessly ignore that which is glaringly obvious.  Is it for peace or is he just that obtuse?  Perhaps a bit of both.  Mostly, I ignore the elephant as it’s the better path at this point as you describe.  However sometimes, I give in to my need to call it like it is.  He knows, but is simply happier getting his way/needs met (zero intimacy and a bustling family around him).  That had its price too, and he accepted it.  

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Ours

I have no idea how to compromise. We’ve been polytonic for 4 years now. I would bring it up and we would cry. (Both of us) he doesn’t want to hurt me but doesn’t know how not to. 

He has begun therapy to accept who he is and to give more of what he is able. 

But full on sex is just not going to happen but sadly he still thinks it might get better.  He’s doing the work now that I did years and years ago. He doesn’t want to be ace. But it’s not up to him it’s up to the universe.

Its seems I’m the resistant one now. But really I just don’t want bad sex. I did the whole be honest and tell him what you like and need. And he said he can’t do that. But we can still have sex without that... umm I’m 50 nope I need a bit.

He wants me to do the physical part and I can’t distract him either.

So my compromise is cuddle and hug and say good night. 

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Pheedre
14 minutes ago, Ours said:

I have no idea how to compromise. We’ve been polytonic for 4 years now. I would bring it up and we would cry. (Both of us) he doesn’t want to hurt me but doesn’t know how not to. 

He has begun therapy to accept who he is and to give more of what he is able. 

But full on sex is just not going to happen but sadly he still thinks it might get better.  He’s doing the work now that I did years and years ago. He doesn’t want to be ace. But it’s not up to him it’s up to the universe.

Its seems I’m the resistant one now. But really I just don’t want bad sex. I did the whole be honest and tell him what you like and need. And he said he can’t do that. But we can still have sex without that... umm I’m 50 nope I need a bit.

He wants me to do the physical part and I can’t distract him either.

So my compromise is cuddle and hug and say good night. 

Reading the stuff on this thread breaks my heart because I'm in a similar situation, but I am the asexual. Trust me it's hard from this side too, knowing you're causing the other person such pain. Its hard too because if you work out a compromise, it wouldn't be good for either party because the sexual wouldn't be getting the full sexual experience knowing their partner didn't want it, and the asexual would be giving up a huge part of themselves that they dont want to give, which is potentially  harmful too....I'm at a loss as well, I wish you all the best and hope you can work something out.

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anisotrophic

I don't like the word "compromise".

 

I like to aim for each of us feeling loved for who we are, and that includes our sexuality. That love might find expression in a lot of different ways – ways particular to that couple. Maybe there's charity/gift sex, maybe there's nonstandard sexual activity, maybe there's an open relationship, maybe there's no sex but a lot of love and acceptance.

I think shared empathy is so vital. It seems so many sad stories in mixed relationships have one or both partners feeling a lot of pain because their partner doesn't understand, doesn't care, isn't aware, or lacks empathy. The hard thing is that it takes *two*, and not everyone's partner can meet them on this.

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Pheedre
2 minutes ago, anisotrophic said:

I don't like the word "compromise".

 

I like to aim for each of us feeling loved for who we are, and that includes our sexuality. That love might find expression in a lot of different ways – ways particular to that couple. Maybe there's charity/gift sex, maybe there's nonstandard sexual activity, maybe there's an open relationship, maybe there's no sex but a lot of love and acceptance.

I think shared empathy is so vital. It seems so many sad stories in mixed relationships have one or both partners feeling a lot of pain because their partner doesn't understand, doesn't care, isn't aware, or lacks empathy. The hard thing is that it takes *two*, and not everyone's partner can meet them on this.

Agreed. I'm just struggling because I'm now sex repulsed so, I dont feel like theres much I can do about that. And as I've stated before, trying to have other intimacy is hard when I always think it will lead to something or lead him on. It's a very difficult situation that I wouldn't wish on anyone. I wish I'd known then what I know now, but then I think, I wouldn't have my beautiful children. I do have a great amount of empathy for him now though and AVEN, and particularly this forum has helped with that.

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anisotrophic

@Pheedre I imagine the sense of pressure would only contribute to repulsion.

 

Personally I'm skeptical a mixed relationship can reach a no-pressure state without having the option of "open". (The option is complicated, of course, and doesn't necessarily need to be exercised.) Pressure to have sex is never good, even for sexuals it's a distressing anaphrodesiac.

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Pheedre
6 minutes ago, anisotrophic said:

@Pheedre I imagine the sense of pressure would only contribute to repulsion.

 

Personally I'm skeptical a mixed relationship can reach a no-pressure state without having the option of "open". (The option is complicated, of course, and doesn't necessarily need to be exercised.) Pressure to have sex is never good, even for sexuals it's a distressing anaphrodesiac.

Oh 100%  agree it would be an anaphrodesiac.  Open relationships are hard though, we've discussed it, I just dont know how people do that with children involved in the relationship....

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Ours
1 hour ago, Pheedre said:

Reading the stuff on this thread breaks my heart because I'm in a similar situation, but I am the asexual. Trust me it's hard from this side too, knowing you're causing the other person such pain. 

No one deals with without a  fair amount of pain.

It’s hard on us ‘older’ folks. We just didn’t know about it. Never Asexuality was a thing. Tbh I would have left years ago if I had known. It’s been unfair to BOTH of us. 

Him being sad with me has helped as has him giving me love in anyway he can and me looking for it. 

I don’t feel pretty or sexy but I do feel loved. We have have some horrible heartbreaks they we have seen each other through and talking about awful times helps for some reason. 

I do hope you journey has less pain soon 

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Pheedre
10 minutes ago, Ours said:

No one deals with without a  fair amount of pain.

It’s hard on us ‘older’ folks. We just didn’t know about it. Never Asexuality was a thing. Tbh I would have left years ago if I had known. It’s been unfair to BOTH of us. 

Him being sad with me has helped as has him giving me love in anyway he can and me looking for it. 

I don’t feel pretty or sexy but I do feel loved. We have have some horrible heartbreaks they we have seen each other through and talking about awful times helps for some reason. 

I do hope you journey has less pain soon 

I'm just glad that most of the sexuals, from what I've read, understand that it sucks for the asexual too. I was under the impression that most people would think it was the aces fault, and that if there was no sex in the relationship that they were the "winner". I can only speak for myself, but not being able to give your partner what they need and not  being fully understood by your partner or society for that matter is very lonely, it really is a lose lose situation. I add to this that I did read someone's post recently, where they felt like they had been tricked into marriage and that really bothered me so I appreciate your "It’s hard on us ‘older’ folks. We just didn’t know about it. Never Asexuality was a thing" comment, because, yeah, had I known, things may be different, I just knew I was in love and wanted to be like everyone else. Sorry babbling lol.

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Traveler40
3 hours ago, Pheedre said:

Open relationships are hard though, we've discussed it, I just dont know how people do that with children involved in the relationship....

One of the things I’ve learned across the last 2.5 years is that your mind traps you most.  In my 20’s I never conceived of marrying an asexual man and judged the unfaithful harshly. In my 30’s, I couldn’t solve my sexless marriage, but it never occurred to me to open it as that was “beneath me”.  Likewise, it never seemed like it would be an option from either party as it wasn’t compatible with our moral compasses. 
 

Then, along came my 40’s and the kaleidscope shifted: I’d been celibate for years and my youth was slipping away.  As well, my circumstances had changed, and I could no longer handle my high libido alone; It was a desperate time. My husband was a good man, we had two very young children and a few crappy options to consider.  The once unimaginable slowly became an idea which grew with time. The key to fruition was communication: All paths led to the open option in time.
 

I am certain my children have never had an inkling. In fact, I believe it was even easier when they were younger as they accepted more. I met my lover when the kids were 7 and 4. Our children are still young, but they are aging which means more questions.
 

Our schedule has morphed organically and casually. My lover has never been in our home (at my husband’s request), and he had never met our children until my husband unilaterally brought them to meet him about 5 months ago. That was both unexpected and shocking at the time. Since then, our children have spent quite a bit of time with my lover, and he has now become an emergency contact at school. They call him at will as they would any of my friends. Frankly, my daughter has a huge crush on him which is just kind of weird for me.

 

In any case, my point is that I’m living what was once unimaginable quite happily. At the outset, my lover wanted to date, but I secretly never thought we would.Then he wanted me to spend an entire day with him - nonsense! Later, he wanted to spend the night somewhere which I laughed at. We never dreamed he’d meet the kids...the list goes on and on. What was once crazy and “no way that could ever happen” happened. It was slow, organic and involved all parties at each step.  
 

The bottom line:  Try not to discount what could be out of habit. Situations are born from those at the helm. Communicate, open your mind and get creative with solutions if you hope to make a better life. We all are just out there trying to do our best each day with what we have before us. I try to do that with as little collateral damage as possible. 
 

I practice keeping an open mind and open heart. Nothing seems quite so difficult anymore.

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Pheedre
1 hour ago, Traveler40 said:

One of the things I’ve learned across the last 2.5 years is that your mind traps you most.  In my 20’s I never conceived of marrying an asexual man and judged the unfaithful harshly. In my 30’s, I couldn’t solve my sexless marriage, but it never occurred to me to open it as that was “beneath me”.  Likewise, it never seemed like it would be an option from either party as it wasn’t compatible with our moral compasses. 
 

Then, along came my 40’s and the kaleidscope shifted: I’d been celibate for years and my youth was slipping away.  As well, my circumstances had changed, and I could no longer handle my high libido alone; It was a desperate time. My husband was a good man, we had two very young children and a few crappy options to consider.  The once unimaginable slowly became an idea which grew with time. The key to fruition was communication: All paths led to the open option in time.
 

I am certain my children have never had an inkling. In fact, I believe it was even easier when they were younger as they accepted more. I met my lover when the kids were 7 and 4. Our children are still young, but they are aging which means more questions.
 

Our schedule has morphed organically and casually. My lover has never been in our home (at my husband’s request), and he had never met our children until my husband unilaterally brought them to meet him about 5 months ago. That was both unexpected and shocking at the time. Since then, our children have spent quite a bit of time with my lover, and he has now become an emergency contact at school. They call him at will as they would any of my friends. Frankly, my daughter has a huge crush on him which is just kind of weird for me.

 

In any case, my point is that I’m living what was once unimaginable quite happily. At the outset, my lover wanted to date, but I secretly never thought we would.Then he wanted me to spend an entire day with him - nonsense! Later, he wanted to spend the night somewhere which I laughed at. We never dreamed he’d meet the kids...the list goes on and on. What was once crazy and “no way that could ever happen” happened. It was slow, organic and involved all parties at each step.  
 

The bottom line:  Try not to discount what could be out of habit. Situations are born from those at the helm. Communicate, open your mind and get creative with solutions if you hope to make a better life. We all are just out there trying to do our best each day with what we have before us. I try to do that with as little collateral damage as possible. 
 

I practice keeping an open mind and open heart. Nothing seems quite so difficult anymore.

Oh wow. Thank you so much for sharing that, what a story! I've never heard of such a situation, and that it worked out for you is amazingly awesome 😊 I don't know if I could be as strong as your husband in this situation though, I'm, for some reason too concerned about what society would think, or how it would affect my kids if they found out. I would also be very jealous of my kids meeting a lover, and in my husband's case, I KNOW he'd get so swept away with love or infatuation for this person, it would take away from our family and I would be resentful. It's too bad because open marriage seems to be the only way I can see him being happy, but it would make me miserable, or as miserable as I am now, so I don't see the point. Kudos to you and your husband for making it work though!

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anisotrophic
2 hours ago, Pheedre said:

for some reason too concerned about what society would think, or how it would affect my kids if they found out

I've not exercised the option (I've told him "you'll probably have to push me out the door" and he said "I know") but I hope if/when that happens, whatever challenges arise, we'd defend each other from outside negative views and work together to ensure kids experience stability and love.

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Traveler40
11 hours ago, Pheedre said:

I'm, for some reason too concerned about what society would think, or how it would affect my kids if they found out. I would also be very jealous of my kids meeting a lover, and in my husband's case, I KNOW he'd get so swept away with love or infatuation for this person, it would take away from our family and I would be resentful

Hmm, well society has no idea what’s happening in my life, and I am the least likely suspect if you knew me. We live in an ultra conservative, upscale community and the gossip would destroy my kids. I protect our lives at all costs. People are so closed minded and generally judgmental; I understand and act accordingly. I know this, as I used to be in the judgmental camp so would never place my kids in harm’s way.
 

This secret is very manageable.  We go with the, “If you’ve got nothing to hide, hide nothing!” attitude. We have run into friends of mine around town, and they think he’s been a guy friend of mine for ages. You’d be hard pressed to see us as anything else since we are. We flaunt nothing romantic, ever.  Frankly, we enjoying hanging out laughing and talking more than anything. It’s hard to explain.

 

Jealousy is another animal, and I can’t speak to that. My husband has not one jealous bone in his body. He’d prefer this NOT be our situation, but he owns that it is.  He also knows I am head over heels in love with my lover. Again, it’s not ideal for him, but he understands the nature of the beast and general situation.  Why did he bring the children to meet my lover?  Because they were aware of my friend, yet had never met him. This created a kind of mystery in time, and by bringing the parties together, successfully squashed all question. It was one of the best decisions made to date.

 

My kids think my lover spends too much time with his guy friends - which I speak to frequently.  They’ve met an ex-girlfriend of his once, and always tell me they think he should get back together with her, get married and have babies.😂 I know he looks decades younger, but I really believe my kids think life is a Disney film....🤷🏻‍♀️
 

Anyhow, everyone is different. You have to figure out what’s right for you and your husband as a team. What works for one may not for another.  The only thing I can say for sure is keep communicating. That has suffered in my house over the last year in particular which isn’t ideal. Life, it’s always a work in progress!

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Pheedre
10 minutes ago, Traveler40 said:

Hmm, well society has no idea what’s happening in my life, and I am the least likely suspect if you knew me. We live in an ultra conservative, upscale community and the gossip would destroy my kids. I protect our lives at all costs. People are so closed minded and generally judgmental; I understand and act accordingly. I know this, as I used to be in the judgmental camp so would never place my kids in harm’s way.
 

This secret is very manageable.  We go with the, “If you’ve got nothing to hide, hide nothing!” attitude. We have run into friends of mine around town, and they think he’s been a guy friend of mine for ages. You’d be hard pressed to see us as anything else since we are. We flaunt nothing romantic, ever.  Frankly, we enjoying hanging out laughing and talking more than anything. It’s hard to explain.

 

Jealousy is another animal, and I can’t speak to that. My husband has not one jealous bone in his body. He’d prefer this NOT be our situation, but he owns that it is.  He also knows I am head over heels in love with my lover. Again, it’s not ideal for him, but he understands the nature of the beast and general situation.  Why did he bring the children to meet my lover?  Because they were aware of my friend, yet had never met him. This created a kind of mystery in time, and by bringing the parties together, successfully squashed all question. It was one of the best decisions made to date.

 

My kids think my lover spends too much time with his guy friends - which I speak to frequently.  They’ve met an ex-girlfriend of his once, and always tell me they think he should get back together with her, get married and have babies.😂 I know he looks decades younger, but I really believe my kids think life is a Disney film....🤷🏻‍♀️
 

Anyhow, everyone is different. You have to figure out what’s right for you and your husband as a team. What works for one may not for another.  The only thing I can say for sure is keep communicating. That has suffered in my house over the last year in particular which isn’t ideal. Life, it’s always a work in progress!

I think it sounds like you guys are handling it beautifully, it's not something I feel like I can handle at this point in my life, and my kids are a fair amount older than yours, but will still be with us for a long while yet before they have their own lives. It is really nice to hear how others are making it work though so, again, tysm for sharing. 💜

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GlamRocker

@Sinking_In Didn't have to. My husband knew what I was like going into our relationship. I told him I may never have sex with him at all. Later, after being married for awhile, I felt bad about this and tried to make a sex life for us, because I realized I didn't want to force him into celibacy. But, as it turns out, he has crippling sexual anxiety and is happier without sex in his life, too! I should have known something was up when he put up with my sexlessness for as long as he did, anyway! Or even happily agreed to marry me when I told him I may refuse to have sex with him EVER!

 

I wish he had more healthy feelings about his sexuality, but we ARE in a very happy place together and his sex issues don't seem to bother him very much since he managed to get in a relationship he loves being in without having to deal with sex stuff at all! Maybe he's "effectively asexual," but he doesn't think of himself that way, and might be offended to be THOUGHT of that way, since he thinks it isn't correct. He seems to think if he ever worked through his sex issues that he would want to have plenty of sex! The catch is, he doesn't seem to care enough about the potential sex he could be having to even give his issues any effort! I've actually tried to help him with his issues, but he seems to be happier just masturbating, hanging out with me, and forgetting all about it!

 

Oh, as for the "forced celibacy" part... this is STILL on his part, too... as I suggested opening our relationship so he can have sex with other people. He HATED this suggestion.

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Pheedre
1 hour ago, GlamRocker said:

@Sinking_In Didn't have to. My husband knew what I was like going into our relationship. I told him I may never have sex with him at all. Later, after being married for awhile, I felt bad about this and tried to make a sex life for us, because I realized I didn't want to force him into celibacy. But, as it turns out, he has crippling sexual anxiety and is happier without sex in his life, too! I should have known something was up when he put up with my sexlessness for as long as he did, anyway! Or even happily agreed to marry me when I told him I may refuse to have sex with him EVER!

 

I wish he had more healthy feelings about his sexuality, but we ARE in a very happy place together and his sex issues don't seem to bother him very much since he managed to get in a relationship he loves being in without having to deal with sex stuff at all! Maybe he's "effectively asexual," but he doesn't think of himself that way, and might be offended to be THOUGHT of that way, since he thinks it isn't correct. He seems to think if he ever worked through his sex issues that he would want to have plenty of sex! The catch is, he doesn't seem to care enough about the potential sex he could be having to even give his issues any effort! I've actually tried to help him with his issues, but he seems to be happier just masturbating, hanging out with me, and forgetting all about it!

 

Oh, as for the "forced celibacy" part... this is STILL on his part, too... as I suggested opening our relationship so he can have sex with other people. He HATED this suggestion.

You are very lucky that you are in a relationship where the lack of sex isn't an issue *sigh* sounds perfect! 😍

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Sinking_In

Lots of good discussions here, and helpful info. Thank you all!

Obviously, a mixed relationship is not ideal for either party, and a lot depends on what exactly it is people want from their relationships. I wish I could give my wife a sexless marriage, but I know myself well enough that I would have to part ways if it had to come to that, or take on a lover. Nothing against my wife, at all, it's just simply asking too much of me, just as it would be asking too much of her to request sex every day (I'd expect her to part ways if I were so demanding, as well).

 

@Traveler40 I've come across your story in other threads, and I commend you and your husband for making it work. I for one could be mature enough to take on a lover without it affecting the love of my own family, but my wife can be jealous (she admitted as much that she envied the close, platonic friendship I have with another woman, already), and she knows herself well enough to know that she could not handle knowing I had an intimate connection, even one that is only physical, with another woman. The subject was broached a long time ago, even before I found AVEN, and just knew that sex with me was of the absolute lowest priority for her. She then told me if I needed to get it elsewhere, to never, EVER, tell her about it unless it directly threatened our relationship. So I could do it, but if she found out, she'd be mad? That was hardly a green light, and sounded more like a warning, so I've not brought it up, again. That was in our 30s, so maybe when we hit our 50s I should ask, again? ;)

 

Anyway, I'm making it work, for the most part. She was willing to put more effort in for a few weeks, then a few weeks have passed with zero effort, so I'm starting to see a bit of a pattern emerge with her: when things are bad, zero physical intimacy will occur, indefinitely, and when things are good, there will be a few sexual encounters followed my a month or more of complacency. At least I'm learning what to expect, and knowing is half the battle.

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iwouldrathercuddle

This thread is very helpful i'd love to read about some more experiences

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Mackenzie Holiday

I've been in a mixed relationship before, but the thing was I didn't realize I was along the asexual spectrum until after that relationship had ended. There was never a formal compromise, we just kind of found our equilibrium naturally. It was really rough at the beginning, though, because I was young and I hadn't found out yet that how I feel about sex and how most other people feel about sex is VERY different. I was kind of blindsided with the reality that most people in a relationship in fact do want sex and for it to be kind of a regular thing, while it hadn't even occurred to me to think about my partner sexually at all until a few months in when she told me she wanted sex to be a part of our relationship.

 

I didn't stop to think that it might have just been who I am, I assumed that it must have been something wrong with me that I couldn't get into it. And because I thought there was something wrong with me, so did she, so we "worked on it" together. That was really rocky and it kinda worked in that it taught me habits that masked my aceness really well. I eventually became so comfortable around her that I wasn't totally uncomfortable with expressing my libido through sex. Eventually I started to even have cravings for sex physically just because that's what we had conditioned my body to do with my libido. Sure I had to mentally check out and pretend I wasn't there when we did, but I assumed everyone had to do that (turns out most people don't have to do that). This wasn't at all a good sex life for me, but it wasn't bad either. I was mostly numb through it, so I have pretty neutral feelings toward it. But I have really positive feelings about the relationship overall (she's still one of my closest friends and I love her to bits).

 

But once the relationship ended and time allowed my body to kind of reset, I realized that even though I had learned to be okay with having sex in that relationship, it was never what I actually wanted, and I had only done it because I thought I should want to. So even though it didn't feel like a compromise at the time, there was a lot of compromise, and because it was based on a misunderstanding of who I am, it was doomed to be an unsuccessful one. Even though we weren't unhappy with it and we made it work, it wasn't positive or fulfilling either. But I did learn a lot about myself through it all. I learned about a lot of things I don't like, but a couple things I do. So I have a much clearer idea of what I want in a relationship going forward.

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My two tips, one for asexuals and one for sexuals:

 

Sexuals - Turn down sex sometimes. I know it sounds counterintuitive, but the point here isn't to get more sex. Your partner can only do what they can do... getting more shouldn't be a goal at this point. Here, the goal is to ease the pressure. If you turn it down once, even just once, it lets your partner off the hook from assuming you're always, actively disappointed. Gives a little room to feel their own desire, in whatever form they can muster. 

 

Asexuals - So the thing with sex is, it just sort of happens. Sex doesn't have to be scheduled or even signaled if both people want each other. Sex just... happens. So, if you find yourself with a frequently frustrated partner and you don't understand what made them think of sex, or why they thought you were interested, it may be a good idea to have a talk. Tell them outright that you do not notice the little signs of sexual interest. You're not trying to make them feel rejected, you just genuinely aren't aware. Explain to them that sex may need to be more... explicitly signaled... than they're used to. Find some methods that work for you. 

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Sinking_In
On 10/18/2019 at 2:50 AM, Skullery Maid said:

Sex doesn't have to be scheduled

Unfortunately, in my situation, my wife had forced it into a scheduled situation: no more sex allowed in the house unless kids are gone, leaving only lunchtime meetings when scheduled :( That didn't work out well at all. There may of course be the odd miracle once or twice a year where the kids are not around, and we're in a place to be spontaneous. It did happen once, this past year, like that.

 

On 10/18/2019 at 2:50 AM, Skullery Maid said:

Sexuals - Turn down sex sometimes

Recently, we've just taken sex off of the table, completely, and she suggested I find a girlfriend to take care of all my sexual needs. This wasn't said in a mean spirited way, and she seemed almost happy and relieved to suggest it. This was only just recently, so nothing has been set in stone, just yet. Gotta wrap my head around it, and make sure we're all on the same page.

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2 hours ago, Sinking_In said:

 

Recently, we've just taken sex off of the table, completely, and she suggested I find a girlfriend to take care of all my sexual needs. This wasn't said in a mean spirited way, and she seemed almost happy and relieved to suggest it. This was only just recently, so nothing has been set in stone, just yet. Gotta wrap my head around it, and make sure we're all on the same page.

My suggestion here... do wrap your head around it. And keep discussing it. You're going to want the open relationship, so even if the offer was initially offensive or if your gut reaction is to say no no no I only want you, just... let it be open. Your wife's confidence in allowing an open relationship may waver... I had years of going back and forth and back and forth. My partner was fine with a lot of things in theory that she wasn't fine with in reality, and the open relationship had a tendency to come and go based on her mood. Definitely don't take that option off the table, because you really are going to want to use it at some point. 

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Sinking_In

@Skullery Maid good point(s). We discussed it tonight. It started with her asking "okay, so are we doing this?" (after asking how my therapy session went). She was obviously thinking about it. So we talked, and I could tell she experienced what you described, the reality of it was different than the theory behind it, especially when she realized I might end up seeing someone regularly (in theory, of course). Of course the flip side of that is seeing many women, not a better option (to either of us, really). In the end, we decided to move forward with the open marriage. She had legitimate concerns, same as mine: the kids should never know, our friends shouldn't know, our family shouldn't know (because it's none of their business anyway, and we don't need judgement). We talked about who, what, when, where, why and how, though she said she ultimately does not want to know any details. She'll of course know when I'll be seeing someone else, but that's probably about all she cares to know. Makes sense to me. It will be a balance between not hiding it, but also being discrete and respectful about it. She said it might be easier to find a married woman already in an open relationship, one with some experience with it. I have my work cut out for me, that's for sure. I looked at a few dating sites when she first suggested I find someone, and I have to be honest, it looked more daunting than exciting to me. I've dated online before, it's how I met my wife, actually, but it wasn't on a dating site, per se. Now it's swipe left, swipe right, like, wink... I think I'm going to try and be a little more organic with it. I'm much more approachable in person, I think. No rush. If it happens, it happens, but now it can happen.

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Davida

I am benefitting from this conversation and I thank you all so much for sharing. ❤️

 

@Sinking_In, I hope you'll keep sharing your reflections on this new chapter of your life. Many of us will benefit hearing how the new agreement with your spouse goes, especially because it is unfolding as we speak.

 

I began talking with my husband about how I truly feel regarding sex only very recently. For all my life, I believed I was broken, and I had to fix myself to have a normal life. I didn't understand what asexuality as an orientation meant until even more recently. I didn't have the context or vocabulary of asexuality as an orientation when I began to be able to articulate how I truly feel to my husband. All I knew was that I had to stop trying to force myself to be different; I had to let go of the belief that I'm not good enough. I told him I chose him and still choose him above all others to be my partner for life. But, I would set him free if that's what he needed. I told him although it made me uncomfortable, I would devote energy to learning to adjust to an open marriage if that's what he wanted. He wants to stay with me, and only wants me. I am relieved, but the issue of where do we go from here remains. I need to speak with him regarding what I've learned about asexuality and how strongly it resonates with me. I can't believe how scary that seems... 

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Lin345
On 9/16/2019 at 9:33 PM, uhtred said:

Its a constant struggle for us with me the sexual and my wife near asexual.  We both have fuzzy boundaries but things constantly shift.  The basic pattern is that that she will gradually decrease sexual activity (both frequency and variety) over several months to a year.  I'll get less happy.  MInor / gentle comments will have no effect.  Eventually either she will recognize how miserable I am, or I will say something much more specific.  Our frequency and variety will pick way up again, then the decline begins again. 

 

As far as I can tell,there is no end to the decline, frequency just keeps dropping toward zero. 

 

Funny thing is that she always claims to like sex, just never "now". 

 

In reality it doesn't work. I spend a lot of my time unhappy. She may as well. 

Hiya, I’m kind of figuring this asexual thing out for myself. Always felt LTA because I have zero interest in sex, I find my husband attractive and he’s so sweet... really wants a sexual connection, but even without me ever knowing this asexual was a thing, said he married me knowing I wasn’t that into it. Even though I don’t ever initiate sex (I feel bad because this is what he really wants), I do enjoy sex with him. He is a great lover and we have great sex. Afterwards I’m always like... why don’t we do this more (I just recently realized why..), then trigger the conversations about how he is tired of being the only one to initiate and cue my guilt at being a terrible wife. I’m responding to your post because it is possible IMO to enjoy sex, but not want it. I want to remember to initiate sex for him, but I never remember. She probably does feel LTA, I told my husband just to ask... but we’re not there yet. Hope it gets better for you both. 

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anisotrophic

@Lindsag345 another framework for understanding sexuality, especially in women, is the idea of "responsive desire" – there seems to be a pattern, especially in women, of experiencing desire only in response to being desired. This can lead to patterns (esp. in heterosexual couples and female partners) where someone will almost never initiate, but is interested in sex when their partner initiates. The territory here between sex-indifferent/favorable asexuality and responsive desire is a confusing one IMHO.

 

Ideas that might favor identifying with responsive desire – interest in sex in response to flirting and hints of sex, desiring to be flirted with and have a partner initiate, enjoys spontaneous sex, potentially strong desire in response to a partner initiating.

 

Ideas that might favor identifying with sex-indifferent/favorable asexuality – more responsive to explicit requests for sex rather than flirting, finds being flirted with stressful, ambivalent response to a partner initiating, wants sex to be predictable/scheduled, would be just as happy to have a partner not initiate and never have any sex.

That's just my stab at distinctions and definitions. One's own identity is ultimately an act of introspection and communication with partners.

My spouse identifies as asexual and had sex with both genders, he now considers that history as "going along with others desires". He does have sex with me (maybe once or twice a month; I initiate with an emphasis on it being OK for him to say no) – because he loves me, I'm sexual & experience sexual attraction/desire, and he values giving me the affirmation and love I experience with sex. But he does find it a positive experience. So I could also see him identifying himself as experiencing responsive desire that wants low pressure & has very low libido/interest in sex (perfectly happy without it). Ultimately, it's his identity and I think I appreciate the forthright framing of asexuality, it sets my expectations.

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uhtred
3 hours ago, Lindsag345 said:

Hiya, I’m kind of figuring this asexual thing out for myself. Always felt LTA because I have zero interest in sex, I find my husband attractive and he’s so sweet... really wants a sexual connection, but even without me ever knowing this asexual was a thing, said he married me knowing I wasn’t that into it. Even though I don’t ever initiate sex (I feel bad because this is what he really wants), I do enjoy sex with him. He is a great lover and we have great sex. Afterwards I’m always like... why don’t we do this more (I just recently realized why..), then trigger the conversations about how he is tired of being the only one to initiate and cue my guilt at being a terrible wife. I’m responding to your post because it is possible IMO to enjoy sex, but not want it. I want to remember to initiate sex for him, but I never remember. She probably does feel LTA, I told my husband just to ask... but we’re not there yet. Hope it gets better for you both. 

If you don't mind my asking, I'm curious how you can both enjoy something and not want it.   I ask because that is how my brain works- for me "enjoying" and "wanting"  seem completely tied together, unless there is some reason the "thing" is bad for me or immoral (say an addictive drug) 

 

It might help if people in my situation could understand how that works for people who feel the way you do. 

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