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shuttlegirl

Alright, I'm going to do this.....

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Sally

Some poster above said:

"Before the invention of Viagra and other related drugs, elderly/seniors who were married or in relationships simply accepted the period of their life had come when sex no longer existed as a part of their life."

Not really. Many older women accepted it, but the guys just got irritable. Now they're taking Viagra and the women are getting irritable. :lol: This is my age group and I've never yet seen a guy who was OK with sex no longer in their life. It just never seems to stop for them.

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evanescence

Mr. X. doesn't care for jogging.

Because Mr. X. doesn't care for jogging, he'd rather not go jogging with Mrs. X.

Because jogging isn't important to Mr. X., he feels it's reasonable that he not go with her.

Therefore, Mr. X. really didn't want to have his beloved children for the same reason Mrs. X. did,

OK, it's still kind of a "Huh?" for me.

I think you're overthinking this. I think the OP was just expressing some resentment at the fact that her husband wanted (genuinely) a family, without fulfilling the commonly assumed requirement of family life -- sex. In her mind, it's like he somehow cheated. He got B without doing A. He got a degree without passing the courses. That kind of thing.

Evanescence

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Olivier
Although the work is ongoing for you and your wife, you're an example of two people who care more about each other than about maintaining your individual "rights" to a perfect marriage. Very impressive.

Thanks Sally, but I'm not sure it's that impressive - after all have you ever seen the approach of two individuals digging in their heels and insisting on their individual rights to a perfect marriage actually produce one? Ever? Or anything close to one?

To me, the essence of a marriage is to do things together, as a team. If the two of you can't do that, be single. I'm not advocating codependence, but if you can't put your relationship and/or your family first, then why bother having one?

OK, so what do you expect him to do about it? You said that he isn't turned on by sexual thoughts or activities. Do you think he can force himself to get turned on? Do you think you can enjoy sex with a man who clearly doesn't enjoy it or get aroused by it? (I'm asking these questions not to attack you, but because I wonder what you think he might do to meet your needs. To me it sounds like it just isn't possible.)

Things I'd expect him to do about it:

1) Be reassuring. Make an active effort to make his wife feel loved in non-sexual ways to compensate for not doing that sexually (which would only be insincere anyway)

2) Be accepting and respectful of his wife's sexuality. If his wife tells him that she's feeling sexually attracted to him at a particular moment, then there's a world of difference between replying with "You poor thing. I'm really not interested, and I know that must be hard" and "What is it with you and the sex thing? You've got a one-track mind. Why do you keep asking when you know I hate it?" or even "Whatever".

3) Consider what compromises he could make that fall short of sex, but still go some way towards meeting his wife's needs. And actively work with his wife to discover whether there are things that would go some way to meeting both their needs.

4) Make an effort to understand his own needs, and communicate them to his wife in an honest and non-antagonistic way.

5) Be an enthusiastic advocate for his wife's happiness. (At any time, but during sex if it happens, too, as a substitute for self-gratification)

These are not necessarily all things he'd spend time doing for his own benefit if he were not married to a sexual woman. But he is, and there are other people's wellbeings he should be considering - and ditto on the other side. Respect; acceptance; reassurance; help finding solutions to problems; solidarity; honesty. Surely everyone wants these for themselves within a relationship, sexual and asexual alike. You want to get them? Remember to give them. This is the person you love we're talking about - it shouldn't be hard, it just requires focus.

As Sally often points out, that may not be enough. There may be no solution where both people feel their needs are being met. But if you're not BOTH (in case you missed it, I think that's the important word in this sentence :)) focusing on this stuff as best you can, how will you ever know?

Him merely having sex, but feeling bitter about it, is as unlikely to lead to a solution as it is for her to abstain, but feel bitter about it. What he needs to do is genuinely not, in the first instance, sex. Nor should she demand it. If the rest works out, then sex may come. Or not. Or kinda sorta. Not worth even thinking about until the other things are sorted.

I don't mean to be preachy, but that's what worked for us.

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je_suis_napoleon
OK, so Mr X doesn't care for jogging, but goes with Mrs X anyway for the sake of the relationship. This compromise works, and Mrs X consciously or subconsciously believes that it's reasonable to expect this to continue. Then they have kids, locking them into a commitment beyond merely what they have for each other. Then Mr X won't go jogging anymore

But this isn't what happened. The frequency only happened after they started trying to conceive.

Also, even if it had happened the way you describe, it doesn't address his motives for wanting children in the first place, which is what's in question. He wanted children so badly he was willing to do something that goes against his very nature. That speaks to me of someone who really wanted children. She describes him as a loving parent to the children once they arrived. That doesn't jibe with her impression of someone who only wanted them for show.

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je_suis_napoleon

So, I'm curious about MRS. X's motives for having children. Love of kids? A desire or need to pass on something of herself to future generations? Why is it so hard to believe that MR. X has these same feelings?

And what about single people who have kids? Are they just poseurs, too? What kind of "mental image" are they trying to fulfil? They're not satisyingg ANY partners' needs - does that mean they can't really want kids for their own sake?

What about my uncle and aunt, who took in foster kids out of a desire to help the community, and then enjoyed the kids so much they wanted to keep them and take in more?

To say that just because a spouse is either unable or unwilling to fulfill every single need of his/her spouse, he/she can only have had some kind of backhanded motive for having kids, despite showing every sign of being a good and loving parent to them - not only does it make no sense, it's insulting to parents everywhere. And I'd say the exact same thing if Mr. X came on here casting aspersions on Mrs. X's motives.

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Sally
Although the work is ongoing for you and your wife, you're an example of two people who care more about each other than about maintaining your individual "rights" to a perfect marriage. Very impressive.

Thanks Sally, but I'm not sure it's that impressive - after all have you ever seen the approach of two individuals digging in their heels and insisting on their individual rights to a perfect marriage actually produce one? Ever? Or anything close to one?

I think you misunderstood me, Olivier, or I wasn't clear -- I was complimenting you and your wife for *not* expecting a perfect marriage, but caring enough to be together without expecting perfection.

I can't really understand why the OP would think that her husband had children just "for show." Children are a lot of work. They're not show animals that give you any financial return or social reward. If someone chooses to have and subsequently take care of children, there's really no reason for that other than that they love them.

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Olivier
Also, even if it had happened the way you describe, it doesn't address his motives for wanting children in the first place, which is what's in question.

Not wanting to flog a dead horse, but I don't think it's what's in question at all. You've taken a particular interpretation to the original post that I just can't see, and Carmen has confirmed she didn't mean, and are shaking it like a dog with a bone.

I think you misunderstood me, Olivier, or I wasn't clear -- I was complimenting you and your wife for *not* expecting a perfect marriage, but caring enough to be together without expecting perfection.

Oh, I understood, well enough - maybe it was me who was unclear: I just don't understand why people do that, given that it never works.

I can't really understand why the OP would think that her husband had children just "for show."

I'm sorry, I really, really can't see this. To me Carmen's post read as if he had the kids for all the right reasons, and is a great father, but in a way he's taken a wife for show (and as a way of getting the kids, family scene, etc that he always wanted), and isn't being a considerate or thoughtful or supportive husband. Perhaps Carmen could confirm what she meant?

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Sally
Since I was already into my mid 30's by then, we decided that we wanted to have our family soon after getting married. So for the 2 months that it took for me to get pregnant the first time, we had an active sex life - without me having to beg and plead for it. He didn't initiate but he was willing, because he really wanted to complete that mental picture of the nuclear family. Carmen :redface:

Carmen can certainly jump in and explain more, but the above seems clear that she was referring to his wanting her to get pregnant -- i.e., have kids -- to complete the nuclear family, not simply get married to have a nuclear family. I.e., the kids completed the picture, not the wife.

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starcat

..

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je_suis_napoleon
Since I was already into my mid 30's by then, we decided that we wanted to have our family soon after getting married. So for the 2 months that it took for me to get pregnant the first time, we had an active sex life - without me having to beg and plead for it. He didn't initiate but he was willing, because he really wanted to complete that mental picture of the nuclear family. Carmen :redface:

Carmen can certainly jump in and explain more, but the above seems clear that she was referring to his wanting her to get pregnant -- i.e., have kids -- to complete the nuclear family, not simply get married to have a nuclear family. I.e., the kids completed the picture, not the wife.

Exactly - I took Carmen literally, and at her word. I suppose it's possible that she meant something other than what she said, but I certainly don't see any reason to assume so.

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Olivier

This is what I don't get. That exact sentence to me literally states that he had kids for the right reasons - he wanted them, and he wanted family, and everything that symbolises. Nowhere do a read criticism from Carmen on her husband's role as a father, but merely as a husband.

For a while he acted more "husbandly", in order to advance the relationship and to get kids - to reach his goals. Now, not so much. Can't see the other interpretation no matter how hard I try.

Just goes to show nothing is really "literal" when two people can read that sentence and come to opposite conclusions as to its meaning :)

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Sally

People get married for all sorts of reasons, and stay married, and have children, or split up, ditto. If we look closely enough, we can all find circumstances where we feel used by someone close enough to us for it to make us feel bad. Humans try to get what they want/need however they can, and not always with enough care about how others feel. I don't think this is an example of an insensitive asexual using a sexual, but I can see how a sexual would feel it is.

But I don't think our interpretations have been opposite, just from different perspectives as we read someone's posts. We bring our own feelings and thoughts to whatever we read and react very individually.

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je_suis_napoleon
For a while he acted more "husbandly", in order to advance the relationship and to get kids - to reach his goals.

Right - to reach his goals of "completing a mental picture of the nuclear family," having "that image of the nuclear family," and "the 'idea of family'." I don't see how that can possibly be open to any interpretation other than him wanting children to complete some mental image. I mean, she comes right out and says so! If she had meant that he wanted children because he loved children, or for some other reason, why would she clearly and openly state that it was for this reason? And then do so without saying why she had this impression?

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Sally

The person we're not hearing from is the husband, though. We're hearing someone else's interpretations of his intentions. Trying to interpret the interpretation is getting into murky territory.

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evanescence
For a while he acted more "husbandly", in order to advance the relationship and to get kids - to reach his goals.

Right - to reach his goals of "completing a mental picture of the nuclear family," having "that image of the nuclear family," and "the 'idea of family'." I don't see how that can possibly be open to any interpretation other than him wanting children to complete some mental image. I mean, she comes right out and says so! If she had meant that he wanted children because he loved children, or for some other reason, why would she clearly and openly state that it was for this reason? And then do so without saying why she had this impression?

To me, the "wanting to complete the mental picture of the nuclear family," taken IN CONTEXT of the OP's entire description of her husband, suggests simple bitterness that he wanted the end (kids) while skipping the means (sex) -- NOT that he wanted kids for the wrong reasons. I guess I'm sensing the intent behind the OP's words rather than taking her words literally.

E.

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Cheerio_Koroke

I'm very lucky that my only relationships have been in my earlier teens were sex was not exactly an expectation. Now that I've come to understand myself through the whole asexuality thing, I don't think I could ever date a sexual for those exact reasons. It's important to them, but it's not important to me and it's not something I want and even something I actively do not want. Active wanting + Active not wanting = 0. Nobody wins.

Because I've never been in the situation, and I've certainly never been married, I guess I'll share a different side of this that I'm sure is a large factor, and that is how the kids feel.

My mom is a very social person. My dad is not. My mom works part time in a very social job. My dad works full time at night, where mom works during the day. Dad sleeps during the day so that he can work at night. I'm at school during the day. There was maybe an hour where we saw each other every day, and a phone call from Dad around 11pm. On their days off together, mom wanted to go out because she never got to go out with her husband. On Dad's days off, he just wanted to relax, spend time at home, and avoid social pressure. Both of my parents felt like their needs were not met, and for about 10 years, they compromised hardcore for each other by just not talking about it. After 16 years of marriage, they divorced.

I'm not whining when I say that I was the person who hurt the most and continues to hurt the most, because I have to watch both of them. Dad is happily remarried. Mom is dating. Dad is very stable, staying at his house is always pleasant. Mom has nights where she talks about Dad and how she never thought she'd be where she is, how she wants to run away, how "this is my song to your father" (usually some angsty pop song about mistakes and losing people) and it frustrates the hell out of me. I want her to move on. I dont' want to hear about the divorce any more. I don't want to be dragged back through it again because it sucked. And yet it seems to happen time and time again because she continues to hold in her feelings to this day.

The big mental dillema that I faced was that I knew:

1) I am a product of the love between my parents, which was falling apart (if their marriage was a mistake, was I a mistake too? If the love doesn't exist any more, or if it didn't work, what does that make me? Will I always remind them of a bad time in their life? Of lost love? Since they're getting divorced, it means that at this moment right now, they wouldn't have made me. If their love made me, does divorce UN make me? so many questions.)

2) My parents talk to me every day

3) People's opinions influence other people.

It was so hard for me to accept that there was nothing I could have said or done to make my parents understand each other. I was the only person who saw them both, so I was the only person who could have possibly mediated, but that was not my responsibility and no matter what I said things would have been the same. I still don't wholeheartedly believe that. It was so hard to accept that it wasn't my fault.

My parents put me in the middle hardcore and I can't just get a new dad or a new mom like people can change their names back and get remarried. I still have to see them and deal with them while they go through their emotions and I have to live knowing all the wrongs they did to each other and having heard them screaming and crying and throwing things...

The older your kids get, the more complicated they become, and the more energy they will need from you. The more stressed you will be. Don't let it be like my parents where you let things go on way too long. It has been psychologically proven that two happy households are better for a child than one unhappy one, but if it happens when they are younger, at least they won't feel it as much because they won't really understand and ponder all the implications and reasons. When they get older and they understand, they won't look back and say "could I have prevented this?" And they won't be in high school facing some of the most life-changing, stressful, hormonal, provocative times in their life when divorce gets thrown in their face. Trust me, sucks.

If, after a few years, you feel you're getting nowhere and you're not communicating and it's going to be a driving issue between you that will split you up, as a person who had their life torn apart by a selfish divorce, I ask that you don't let things go on for too long. Don't be like my mom and dad and hold in your feelings until you explode.

Augh, I ranted. Just thought that it could be helpful, since I can explain the feelings of divorce first-hand. And it's not selfish to get divorced. It's selfish to throw your kids in the middle of a failing relationship, divorce or no. They won't want to see you go through tough times, and trust me, they'll pick up on it eventually. Especially having girls...female intuition is astounding sometimes.

MY VIEW IS ENTIRELY BIASED. It is based on the hell I was personally dragged through. The dynamics of marriage are a mystery to me. I haven't gone through what my mom and dad went through in their positions, I can only say how it felt watching them go through it from mine.

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Sally

Cheerio: Here's one way to look at your situation. (Not the in-between situation; I went through that when I was a teenager and I know it's awful. But it will eventually stop, and you will not always feel in the middle.)

You were not a product of your parents' love; you were a product of your parents' act of sex. You contain parts of both your parents, but you are unique, an individual, and you can develop yourself as your own "product." The fact that the love that your parents once shared does not exist anymore does not mean you as an individual are different, or that you don't really exist anymore. You always have been you; you always will be you. You are a completely separate individual from either of your parents.

:cake:

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ClaireE

I do not have the experience to give advice but could I just say that I could envisage getting into a similar situation if I had not heard experiences like yours or become aware of Aven so thank you for plucking up the courage to share your problems. It is hard to imagine a need you don’t have and it is hard to be confident about addressing issues if you have not come to terms with who you are. I hope that he finds out the things you have found out here and comes to understand your feelings better as a result.

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goldengirl

Carmen~

OMG sister, this is the story of my life. Only you actually got your husband to give you children. I have been with my husband for 12 years and am now going to go forward with divorce. Here is my story:

First of all thanks for taking the time to listen. My name is Jenni and I am in a marriage with an asexual man. I have know him for 12 years, married 9 and there has been no change in his lack of sexual desire, despite my having tried every way possible to change him. I know it is not just me, he is not attracted sexually to anyone. The final straw for me was about a month ago when he wanted intercourse (after about a 6-9 mo. lapse - I loose track it is so infrequent) and afterward I suggested we do this more often. His response was and eye roll and a discusted snort...like that was never going to happen. I am completely checked out now. I am seeing a divorce lawyer and will be serving him with the papers in a couple of weeks.

My problem is that he is a good man, I do love him (like a brother or very good friend), we have everything else going for us...fun, companionship, laughter, we share 2 dogs, (obviously no kids). We are together 24/7, we have many common hobbies, we throw fabulous parties and have a lot of fun together. This has worked for me for the last 12 years, but I now want the ability to find more for myself and I cannot do that being married. I am committed to my decision, but I do not know how to tell him. I almost feel guilty, that this is not enough of a reason to get divorced, or that I am being selfish and immature. I have even asked several times in the past if I would be allowed to "date" if he wasn't able to give me what I needed sexually. He said no. He is not unaware of how frustrated I am with this situation and yet he has not changed his position in 12 years.

Any words of advice on how to speak to him about this without sounding selfish or even without making him feel I have squashed all of his wonderful qualities also?? I want out, but I don't want to hurt him or damage his sense of self-worth.

Any words of encouragement or advice would be appreciated.

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Cirdan

Maybe tell him that you respect his lack of desire not to have sex but really can't see how you can keep going on. That it's unfair to expect him to change who he is and that both of you will be happier apart (you getting what you want, him not having to deal with the pressure)?

I'm not sure there is an easy way of avoiding damaging his self worth. However you go about it you're saying that it's over - it's for selfish reasons but you have the right to be selfish (just as does he).

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evanescence

Any words of advice on how to speak to him about this without sounding selfish or even without making him feel I have squashed all of his wonderful qualities also?? I want out, but I don't want to hurt him or damage his sense of self-worth.

My suggestion would be to make it about your personal needs, rather than making pronouncements about the needs of married couples in general. To an asexual it can feel insulting to hear, "sex is the foundation of marriage," or "sex is the glue that holds marriage together." Our reflexive response to such statements is "Oh yeah?" And ultimately we're right: there is no single prerequisite to a happy marriage, it all depends on what the partners want. If you want sex and your husband doesn't, obviously there's a serious problem in your marriage, but it doesn't mean that all good marriages depend on a steady diet of sex.

So... avoid trying to paint yourself as the normal or righteous one. Avoid making general statements about the importance of sex in marriage. Respect his right to his own nervous system. Tell him that you understand and respect his lack of sexual need, but that you've learned, over the years, that sex is an important need FOR YOU. Tell him that you love him and appreciate all his wonderful, unique qualities, but that you're reached the painful conclusion that the two of you are simply incompatible. Tell him it's nobody's fault, it just is.

Good luck,

E.

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true_love

Dear Carmen,

You're in a horrid position, I feel for you so deeply after years of doing the "begging for sex" routine. It hurt like hell and I never got over it until I eventually fell in love with someone else.

Are you still in love with your husband? I wish I could offer something that would work but when I was in the situation of begging my husband, nothing worked. I felt I tried everything. Playing hard to get was the most soul destroying as of course he could care less! And then when I eventually gave in and touched him, he would still push me away.

A big part of me thinks my husband might be gay but has completely suppressed it - as a result suppressing ALL of his sexuality - making him appear asexual. Is this something that has ever crossed your mind with yours?

Juliette

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shuttlegirl

First of all thanks for taking the time to listen. My name is Jenni and I am in a marriage with an asexual man. I have know him for 12 years, married 9 and there has been no change in his lack of sexual desire, despite my having tried every way possible to change him. I know it is not just me, he is not attracted sexually to anyone. The final straw for me was about a month ago when he wanted intercourse (after about a 6-9 mo. lapse - I loose track it is so infrequent) and afterward I suggested we do this more often. His response was and eye roll and a discusted snort...like that was never going to happen. I am completely checked out now. I am seeing a divorce lawyer and will be serving him with the papers in a couple of weeks.

My problem is that he is a good man, I do love him (like a brother or very good friend), we have everything else going for us...fun, companionship, laughter, we share 2 dogs, (obviously no kids). We are together 24/7, we have many common hobbies, we throw fabulous parties and have a lot of fun together. This has worked for me for the last 12 years, but I now want the ability to find more for myself and I cannot do that being married. I am committed to my decision, but I do not know how to tell him. I almost feel guilty, that this is not enough of a reason to get divorced, or that I am being selfish and immature. I have even asked several times in the past if I would be allowed to "date" if he wasn't able to give me what I needed sexually. He said no. He is not unaware of how frustrated I am with this situation and yet he has not changed his position in 12 years.

Any words of advice on how to speak to him about this without sounding selfish or even without making him feel I have squashed all of his wonderful qualities also?? I want out, but I don't want to hurt him or damage his sense of self-worth.

Any words of encouragement or advice would be appreciated.

Hi Jenni!

It's been a while since I could get back here -

I'm fresh out of advice - although I would say be glad that you didn't have children. It's the children that are making this situation so incredibly difficult to me. I would leave if it weren't for them. At times I feel like I can 'live with' the brother/friend thing - but - there are many times that I can't. I know that keeping a marriage together 'for the sake of the children' isn't necessarily the best thing - but I made a commitment and now have a family. Do I destroy a family for my own happiness? Or do I put my own happiness aside for them. How can my happiness be hinged on one aspect of a marriage? It's a tough decision. One I'm not ready to make yet. Perhaps when the girls are older.

I can empathize with you on the frustration and difficulty of telling him. As hard as it is - being gentle but direct is probably best. The words in your post say it all - and say it very well. I doubt that he's 'unaware' of your frustration - he probably doesn't get it and doesn't see the point of acknowledging it since he won't change because of it. I've made my frustration clear to my husband and yet it's like I'm talking to a wall. When I've made the 'we should do this more often comment' he's always agreed. Of course then we've gone a year or more without.

OK, I'm probably not helping here, just babbling. - If nothing else - know that you aren't alone - that it isn't you - and that you deserve to have a relationship with a man that includes sex if you want it. You aren't weak or a failure for moving on - you are making a decision that is extremely difficult but that will ultimately allow you to find a relationship (s) that are more satisfying to you as a whole person - without suppressing a real and vital part of yourself. Good luck to you in what I am sure will be a very difficult time.

Carmen

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shuttlegirl
Dear Carmen,

You're in a horrid position, I feel for you so deeply after years of doing the "begging for sex" routine. It hurt like hell and I never got over it until I eventually fell in love with someone else.

Are you still in love with your husband? I wish I could offer something that would work but when I was in the situation of begging my husband, nothing worked. I felt I tried everything. Playing hard to get was the most soul destroying as of course he could care less! And then when I eventually gave in and touched him, he would still push me away.

A big part of me thinks my husband might be gay but has completely suppressed it - as a result suppressing ALL of his sexuality - making him appear asexual. Is this something that has ever crossed your mind with yours?

Juliette

Hi Juliette,

I'm not entirely sure I'm still in love with my husband. I care about him very much.... and love him in some ways - but 'in love'. I think that might very well be gone. The thought he might be gay has more than crossed my mind. But in all honesty - gay or asexual - it doesn't change my situation. He refuses to discuss it with me or a counselor - refuses to acknowledge that it's an issue that needs communication and discussion. We generally have a good platonic relationship - brother/sister, buddies - but physical intimacy is non existant and thus, for me, emotional intimacy has been eroded. I've taken to sleeping on the couch most of the time just to avoid my discomfort in sharing a bed.

In either case, I feel paralyzed to change anything. It was difficult to get us to the first marriage counselor. After a year and a lot of money - nothing changed - if he can't communicate with me or an outside source - then I'm stuck. I could try and find another counselor - but it's been difficult to find good reccomendations - and 'shopping' with him is not really an option. In a family of 4, three people are absolutely happy and satisfied with the status quo - I'm the odd one out. And I can't bring myself to break it apart - at least not yet - not with a 4 year old and almost 3 year old. So, I sit and wait - and contemplate my options.

Carmen

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shuttlegirl
The person we're not hearing from is the husband, though. We're hearing someone else's interpretations of his intentions. Trying to interpret the interpretation is getting into murky territory.

I agree - and despite my efforts and our marriage counselor's efforts. It is a topic that he will not communicate about. When I'm met with silence or complete dismissal despite repeated efforts to discuss the topic - I can only interpret his intentions / feelings / motivations.

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shuttlegirl
The big mental dillema that I faced was that I knew:

1) I am a product of the love between my parents, which was falling apart (if their marriage was a mistake, was I a mistake too? If the love doesn't exist any more, or if it didn't work, what does that make me? Will I always remind them of a bad time in their life? Of lost love? Since they're getting divorced, it means that at this moment right now, they wouldn't have made me. If their love made me, does divorce UN make me? so many questions.)

2) My parents talk to me every day

3) People's opinions influence other people.

It was so hard for me to accept that there was nothing I could have said or done to make my parents understand each other. I was the only person who saw them both, so I was the only person who could have possibly mediated, but that was not my responsibility and no matter what I said things would have been the same. I still don't wholeheartedly believe that. It was so hard to accept that it wasn't my fault.

My parents put me in the middle hardcore and I can't just get a new dad or a new mom like people can change their names back and get remarried. I still have to see them and deal with them while they go through their emotions and I have to live knowing all the wrongs they did to each other and having heard them screaming and crying and throwing things...

The older your kids get, the more complicated they become, and the more energy they will need from you. The more stressed you will be. Don't let it be like my parents where you let things go on way too long. It has been psychologically proven that two happy households are better for a child than one unhappy one, but if it happens when they are younger, at least they won't feel it as much because they won't really understand and ponder all the implications and reasons. When they get older and they understand, they won't look back and say "could I have prevented this?" And they won't be in high school facing some of the most life-changing, stressful, hormonal, provocative times in their life when divorce gets thrown in their face. Trust me, sucks.

If, after a few years, you feel you're getting nowhere and you're not communicating and it's going to be a driving issue between you that will split you up, as a person who had their life torn apart by a selfish divorce, I ask that you don't let things go on for too long. Don't be like my mom and dad and hold in your feelings until you explode.

Augh, I ranted. Just thought that it could be helpful, since I can explain the feelings of divorce first-hand. And it's not selfish to get divorced. It's selfish to throw your kids in the middle of a failing relationship, divorce or no. They won't want to see you go through tough times, and trust me, they'll pick up on it eventually. Especially having girls...female intuition is astounding sometimes.

MY VIEW IS ENTIRELY BIASED. It is based on the hell I was personally dragged through. The dynamics of marriage are a mystery to me. I haven't gone through what my mom and dad went through in their positions, I can only say how it felt watching them go through it from mine.

Thank you so much for your perspective - it was good to hear from a child of a similar situation. I don't ever want to let things go that far - not for any of our sakes. It's hard to put in perspective - because we each come from parents who've been married for 45+ years, and of the friends we have who've been divorced - there were no children involved. I'm a stay at home mom - and it's a decision we both feel strongly about (the same way) - which is why I've considered putting off a divorce / stay decision until the kids were in school. If we were to divorce now, we'd be forced to put the kids in day care and it's something neither of us wants to do. I know that it's not a horrible thing, and it's a personal decision - but we do feel strongly about it. Ack - I just don't know. But I truly appreciate your story - and it's given me some new things to think about.

Carmen

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shuttlegirl
Ah, but you really DID mean sex, Olivier! We know you. You're just an exceptionally semantically-slippery sexual. *MAJOR SNARK* :lol:

I added a bit to my last post, and edited it out again because it was personal, and (I felt) not particularly relevant, but I'll post it now because I think it's important, if only to make sense of what I posted before...

I have a successful sexual/asexual relationship, which has nonetheless had some sex-related problems, as anyone who has read my posts, and certainly you, Sally, know. For a time, I found myself in Carmen's position of being the one doing the heavy lifting to resolve the emotional impact of these problems, while my wife (by her own admission) avoided helping, not to hurt me, but because she wished to avoid the whole conflict that surrounded sex. But by good communication, and our shared commitment to making our relationship work, we realised that we would both have to work together to sort things out, and we did. We're good like that. During that entire process of healing the damaged parts of our relationship we did not have sex. It's the attitude shift to making it a shared problem that you can unite against that's important to progress, not the sex, and I'll stand by that as not just semantics, but something that has profoundly affected my life for the better. Again, I'm speaking from experience, not some rosy ideal of how this stuff should work.

If I'm sounding defensive, it's because I believe that being able to strip out the real problem from the interwoven fabric of relationships is important and worth defending, and I strongly feel that when you get to the heart of the problems facing sexual/asexual couples, frequency of sex is rarely the root cause, but merely an easily latched onto symptom of not dealing well with accepting differences in needs (by either side or both). It's a bit chicken and egg, but just making a compromise on sex - and not working on true acceptance by BOTH partners - will not work, in my opinion.

Right, which is why I started that section with "And" instead of "But."

Whether you meant sex or taking out the trash is beside the point of my question.

So why bring it up? Especially as I specifically said I was talking about something completely different.

But, just for the sake of discussion, let's do a quick litmus test to see if it really isn't necessarily about sex, by changing a variable.

Let's say that it's about jogging.

Mrs. X. really loves jogging.

Mrs. X. loves jogging so much she wants Mr. X. to come jogging with her.

Because jogging is so important to Mrs. X, she feels it's reasonable that she should want Mr. X. to come along.

Mr. X. doesn't care for jogging.

Because Mr. X. doesn't care for jogging, he'd rather not go jogging with Mrs. X.

Because jogging isn't important to Mr. X., he feels it's reasonable that he not go with her.

Therefore, Mr. X. really didn't want to have his beloved children for the same reason Mrs. X. did,

OK, it's still kind of a "Huh?" for me.

OK, so Mr X doesn't care for jogging, but goes with Mrs X anyway for the sake of the relationship. This compromise works, and Mrs X consciously or subconsciously believes that it's reasonable to expect this to continue. Then they have kids, locking them into a commitment beyond merely what they have for each other. Then Mr X won't go jogging anymore, and Mrs X either has to (1) suck it up, (2) leave (and leave her kids), or (3) leave with the kids (and render them fatherless). She's in a position with three poor choices, and not a whole lot of control over how she got there, which is stressful. To the extent she had control, she may have regrets over her choices. What's not to understand?

To me, Carmen's husband is being like the South Park Underwear Gnomes:

Phase 1: Acquire the trappings of family: wife, kids, house, dog...

Phase 2: ....

Phase 3: Profit: have a great marriage, live the apple pie image of happy families.

It's him that seems to have fudged over what's involved in Phase 2.

I'll admit - I found this part of the thread a little difficult and it's taken me a while to reply. Olivier has interpreted my intent / feelings best. To further advance the Mr and Mrs X scenario I would add the following. Mrs X to a certain degree has learned to accept that Mr X doesn't like to jog. But she is frustrated by the fact that: Mr X won't make an effort to occasionally jog (couple times a year maybe?) with Mrs X , he doesn't want her to jog alone nor does he want her to jog with others. Because he doesn't like to jog (not something Mrs X can change) - Mrs X is expected to completely cut jogging out of HER life - and that's the part that Mrs X finds most frustrating.

Anyway, I do appreciate all of the dialog - even when I felt somewhat defensive. Thank you to everyone who took the time to reply and offer different perspectives - while I am still not sure how to proceed - it's good to know that I'm not entirely alone.

Carmen

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Lucinda

Maybe he views sex as strictly for procreation?? Not having recreational sex before he met you seems to indicate that this could be the case?? Now that your family is complete, sex may no longer seem a necessity.

I guess that would break the stereotype that men want sex all the time and engage in it as much as possible. Likewise, there still seems to be the stereotype that women are not as interested in sex as men are and will let the man set the level of activity within reason. There are still both men and women who hold these beliefs.

There may be an ideal of the mother role happening here ... the honorable Madonna. Is that possible?

What is your goal of going to marriage counseling? When you went before, what reason did you give your husband as to why both of you should attend?

Lucinda

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PrairieGhost

Everyone seems to have really addressed your questions really well already, but I thought I'd chime in as well and add my two cents...

I'm an asexual in a relationship with a sexual, and fortunately in my case, I knew I was asexual before we got together. I made the conscious decision to do something I wasn't crazy about for the sake of someone that I was crazy about, because I knew going into the relationship that I was never going to feel the same way about sex as he did.

He had his doubts at first about our relationship, but with hard work on both our parts, we achieved compromise and eventually harmony. He was very patient with me, let me have control over the situation (being able to say "No" without feeling guilty was a big help), and made sure I enjoyed the experience as much as he did... (mmm, full body massage!) The most important factor in all of this is understanding--my own understanding of myself, his understanding of me, and mine of him.

In past relationships--relationships where I was unaware yet of my asexuality--there was constant discord and frustration. Nevermind understanding how my partner felt--I couldn't understand how I felt! I was constantly nagged by this feeling of "what's wrong with me? why don't I want sex? why can't I keep a relationship healthy?" It was only after it occurred to me that I was asexual that I was able to step beyond that negative thought process and approach the situation from a constructive angle.

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true_love

I was glad to see you were able to come back to the conversation Carmen. I feel like I've found in you someone who is in the same boat as me! The BIG difference being the children of course.

I was sort of relieved that you're starting to fall out of love with him, because I know the pain of being in love with someone who treats you like a jerk sexually and now that I'm in love with someone else (a full blown heterosexual bloke who actually (incredibly) fancies me!!!) ... it enables me to see my husband's love for what it is. I don't quite understand what it is, but your mention of brother/sister and buddies struck a chord.

One time when it really came home to me, I came downstairs after my bath with just a towel around me, and sat with him and he dried me off sweetly and affectionately - and exactly as though I was his daughter or little sister.

What to do though? It seems sensible to postpone a serious decision until the kids are in school - 2 or 3 years from now? But what can you do in the meantime about your own happiness? Can you get out and make some new and meaningful relationships? There is no reason you shouldn't do that openly - and I don't mean for a minute jumping into bed with other men, but as the emotional intimacy is eroded with your husband, why shouldn't you get some emotional intimacy elsewhere? Bizarrely, I feel hugely more emotionally intimate with the friend I'm in love with than I've ever felt with my husband, although I have not had sex with this friend. Knowing that he WANTS to makes all the difference.

xx

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