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SexualHubby

Marriage w/ Asexual wife about to end

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Sally

In the meantime, it would be good for her and eventually for you emphasize to her that this is not a situation where someone's at fault. It's a situation where two people with differing needs can't really come to a compromise they both like. (Meaning that she may be willing to have some limited sex but you can't accept those limits.) Neither of you can provide what the other needs. Encourage her to look at her life and see what she might want to do with it. If she's been financially dependent on you, help her explore how to get out of that dependence. If she isn't, praise her for what she has been doing. Trying to do all of that may cause both of you to feel better eventually, although it won't seem that way immediately. She will be displaying fear, and that may seem oppressive to you.

Good luck.

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SexualHubby

Thank you for your kind words!

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xsex

I think it's important to remember that due to her lack of sexuality, whatever sexual efforts she is making right now are obligatory and a manulaptive, but temporary, fix for her martial crisis. Additionally, you need to honestly assess your own sexual drive to ascertain if, or how, they have become maladjusted or seriously impaired due to their lack of use and stimulation. Remember the old saying, " Use it, or lose it." I know that my own marriage to an asexual caused this problem to slowly develop within me after living without sex for such a long time. Since I did not resort to cheating on my spouse, I had to obliterate my own sexual needs and desires in order to remain faithful and circumvent my anger due to our sexless marriage. This is something you have to explore within yourself. I wrote before that you two seem to be going through many of the same issues other long term married couples go through when they suddenly wake up, for what ever reason, and realize they have absolutely nothing in common and don't even enjoy each-other any longer. This does not necessarily have anything to do with sex, but usually that is part of the problem. My own experiences with an asexual husband has proven that any attempts he has made to sexually please me have always ended up being nothing more than his short term fix towards a long term problem. Eventually, all sexual behavior ceases to become routine because it does absolutely nothing for him and was only intended to lull me back into accepting our union.

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Sally
Eventually, all sexual behavior ceases to become routine because it does absolutely nothing for him and was only intended to lull me back into accepting our union.

That may have been the case, and may be the case with the OP's wife, but consider it this way: The asexual wanted to be with you, didn't want the relationship to end, may indeed have loved you. It probably won't (and didn't, with you) work well because of the basic incompatibility, including sexual. But the asexual isn't necessarily doing anything terrible in trying that strategy.

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xsex
Eventually, all sexual behavior ceases to become routine because it does absolutely nothing for him and was only intended to lull me back into accepting our union.

That may have been the case, and may be the case with the OP's wife, but consider it this way: The asexual wanted to be with you, didn't want the relationship to end, may indeed have loved you. It probably won't (and didn't, with you) work well because of the basic incompatibility, including sexual. But the asexual isn't necessarily doing anything terrible in trying that strategy.

I did not intend to imply that the asexual partner is doing anything wrong by trying to introduce sex into their marriage in an effort to save a marriage. I mean to say that because they have no sex drive internally they will return to their asexual behavior as soon as they feel their relationship is stabilized. Any sexual person who has committed to an asexual partner has faced the reality of their relationship and understand their partners lack of sexual drive early on in their relationship. If they have decided to stay for the long haul, as I have done thus far, it is because they concluded that the relationship offered them far more in other important areas which they don't want to lose. Usually, the sexual partner eventually will give up on the idea of sex in their relationship even though it's not their preference. In fact, I would surmise that many sexual partner's who remain faithful in a long term relationship will eventually lose a great deal of their own sexual drive due to their obligatory absence. Consequently, I think if this type of relationship is going through enough issues to cause one to consider divorce or separation after many years together then both parties must look at their loss of compatibility in all other important areas of their relationship as the main issue; not sex. Essentially, these married couples are facing the same martial problems that frequently cause divorce amongst all couples. The lack of sex is just an easy area to place the blame instead of looking at the relationship as a whole and recognizing that both partners have contributed to their current martial issues for quite some time.

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Sally

From what I've read on AVEN in this thread, most sexuals who post do indeed have a great deal of trouble with the lack of sex in their relationships.

All relationships have a variety of good and bad characteristics. However, when a sexual and an asexual don't find it possible to come to a satisfactory compromise regarding sex, other issues in the relationship don't seem to be that important. That assumes that they have already tried to compromise and can't. For a sexual, the prospect of no sex into the future isn't good; for an asexual who can't deal with sex, it's just as difficult. Thus even if the two partners love each other and enjoy other aspects of their relationship, the sex thing is going to be an unsurmountable problem. As an asexual who had sexual relationships with great difficulty for decades, I know that love doesn't make everything come out right.

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Olivier
I did not intend to imply that the asexual partner is doing anything wrong by trying to introduce sex into their marriage in an effort to save a marriage. I mean to say that because they have no sex drive internally they will return to their asexual behavior as soon as they feel their relationship is stabilized.
Usually, the sexual partner eventually will give up on the idea of sex in their relationship even though it's not their preference. In fact, I would surmise that many sexual partner's who remain faithful in a long term relationship will eventually lose a great deal of their own sexual drive due to their obligatory absence.

These two statements seem somewhat at odds with each other.

Why should the sexual partner lose their drive if they go without sex? By the same logic, if the asexual partner just gets in the habit of regular sex, they may experience an increase in sex drive, but that doesn't seem to be how it usually works.

Personally, I find that during long periods with little or no sex, my drive goes nuts. It's actually really frustrating, because I'm not usually particularly sex-driven, but after long enough without sex, my drive goes up to the point where it interferes with my work, my sleep, and my appetite, and I resent that.

I think that the reason that the equilibrium tends to drift towards "no sex" over time is that there's nothing that the sexual partner can do to force it in their favour. Ultimately, and correctly, lack of consent trumps burning desire.

Any sexual person who has committed to an asexual partner has faced the reality of their relationship and understand their partners lack of sexual drive early on in their relationship. If they have decided to stay for the long haul, as I have done thus far, it is because they concluded that the relationship offered them far more in other important areas which they don't want to lose.

Indeed. Something which I don't think gets said enough, is that a completely successful sexual compromise is not necessary in order to have a successful relationship.

My marriage is wonderful and fulfilling primarily for non-sexual reasons. In fact, outside of sex it's pretty damn close to perfect. Sexually, we compromise and we each do our best. Sometimes that works pretty well for both of us, other times it's more challenging for one, or both, of us. But if sexual compatibility were the only criterion to measure a relationship by, out marriage would have failed long ago, and I'm not sure who would have fled for the exit first. Luckily for us, we've got a whole lot of other things that are right and good, and we both have enough of a sense of perspective to realise that even with the issues we have over sex, we've both got a very fine and valuable thing in our marriage, even if we never work the sex thing out 100%.

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SexualHubby

Lots of great insights here! Thanks for all of the responses to this thread. Still living one day at a time- we're trying to build back things that we can enjoy together- not just the sex (on my part), but I do agree that when sex is dormant in the relationship for a long period of time, I become even more sexual and like Olivier, that interferes with many areas of my life. Unfortunately for us, if sex was completely taken out the the equation, there still isn't much left- maybe we are like the "empty nest" couple who wakes up and finds they aren't compatible after so many years (our son is almost 17 and is very independent- driving everywhere with his car, etc. so it is very close at least in our family to him already being gone). We have a long weekend coming up and unfortunately our lack of planning has not helped us in the compatibility department. I really wanted to do some camping nearby but all campsites are full- I should have had the foresight to look into this 2 or 3 weeks ago- so we'll probably be at home with each other all weekend again and I'll most likely be bored out of my gourd... I wish things were different. So, to keep boredom down, etc., watching movies or reading a good book on my own seems to be one solution, but since we don't enjoy the same type of movies and reading a book is a solitary activity this doesn't help our connection at all.

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veronicasummers

That was a very enlightening question SexualHubby. Often I just skim through posts but I was very interested by what you had to say. In your most recent post you said that even if the sexual problem were removed there still wouldn't be much left and I think that is your answer right there. I know personally, as an asexual female that even open mouth kissing or extensive cuddling makes me feel physically ill. In no way does that mean that's how your wife feels because some asexuals just don't feel particularly inclined towards sex or are bored of it. But for me, when a man starts to push himself on me sexually I become very defensive which can quickly put a strain on even an emotional relationship. The reason I wanted to say this is that it is clear you have made a lot of compromises in your long relationship and I am extremely impressed by your understanding and patience. But if your wife is even the slightest bit like me, there really is no overcoming the sexual aspect because it will always be extremely uncomfortable for her. If on top of that you aren't even feeling close in other areas of your life it may be time to end it. However, I can understand her extreme sadness at losing you because if she has finally found someone that is willing to compromise, the prospect of spending her entire life alone (as finding another man like you would be near impossible) is a very terrifying thing. In identifying with her a really hope you can work things out because being asexual can often lead to loneliness which is a very scary thought. But if you feel you can't take it anymore I understand the need to leave. However if that is the case I really hope you two can stay in touch even if it is just as friends while you pursue the type of physical relationship you need. And as far as your son is concerned, speaking as the child of two very unhappy parents who remained together for practical reasons, once he's out of the house it really isn't a big deal if you are separated. He can see you individually and it doesn't seem like you are particularly resentful towards your wife so I'm sure you could organize some family dinners from time to time. Keep us posted as to how everything works out!

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SexualHubby

Thank you! Once again, enlightened words!

I don't know where we're going- I can't let her attempts to connect with me go unnoticed or unappreciated. But at the same time, I just am not feeling a connection on my end or even a desire for it at this point.

I keep thinking that if I try, it would come back- then I start thinking of the lack of commonality we have.

I talk to friends who say to keep my eyes open, that I will find love and happiness with someone else, but I have not desire to look elsewhere at this point either...and even if I did, at my age (almost 50), I'm not sure if I will ever find that someone who has things in common with me and can really connect with me at the different levels that I desire.

I guess I'll never know unless I take a step away from my marriage, but is that the thing I should do?

I know my wife loves me- she tells me this all the time- I just can't bring myself to saying it without thinking that I'm telling her a lie, which will ultimately get her hopes up too and put us back into a spiral. So right now we are detached as much as we can be in the same house- connect occasionally with hugs and kisses and I know both of us feel unfulfilled.

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Chuchi
Hello everyone- I have been trolling this board now for a few days and finally decided to register and post my story. Any insights, suggestions, etc. here would be most helpful. Sorry, but this post is going to be a long one.

I am a sexual male (I think a pretty normal sex drive) nearing 50 who has been with his asexual wife for nearly half of my life (married 22 years of that time) and who is truly heart broken. I asked for a divorce last week after years of suffering from a low self-esteem, depressed feelings, anger, doubt about the marriage and dwindling love for my wife all because she hasn't wanted sex or even intimacy with me. Earlier this spring I was at my wits end and and began searching out "sexless marriage" through google and came upon a forum about that topic and began to read what others had posted. Most were women in my situation but there were some men and there appeared to be a consensus that a sexless marriage for someone who was taught to value intimacy and sex in marriage as important and a true, special bond with someone you love was LIVING HELL. The forum was quite old and I noticed that there were very few posts after around 2006 (possibly because of the emergence of this site and even the term, "asexual."). Anyway, I struggled with the notion of whether or not I wanted a divorce and finally made up my mind to tell her, which I did last week.

Let me give some background information now. When I was in my mid-twenties, I courted my to-be wife who is 4 years younger than me. We did have premarital sex (after we knew we were going to be married) and it seemed wonderful enough to me- but I was inexperienced and so it is hard to gauge that against anything. Even during that time, the sex dwindled some but I chalked it up to being busy, preparing for the wedding, etc. Our honeymoon took us to beautiful Jamaica- one of those all-inclusive couples resorts and it was a fun time- but sex was only once during that time, even though I tried to get her in the mood for more. After coming home from the honeymoon, she found that she was having issue with her birth control (hormonal) so she went off of that and asked that I begin using condoms. She told me then that she didn't like the mess anyway (maybe that should have been a clue). Our sex dwindled even more to maybe once a month or sometimes even less. We took a trip overseas to another country for about a month one summer and I believe even though there were very romantic places and moments, sex was only once or so, but when we had it, it seemed fine. Finally, about 4 years into our marriage I was allowed to have sex without condoms as we wanted to start a family. Then our son was born 5 years into our marriage. After this, sexual activity ceased completely for over a year. Gradually it returned but I always initiated and it seemed a chore for her to get ready for it and to actually accomplish an orgasm. Being one who wants to pleasure the other person before myself, I would always give her oral sex (even until my tongue was tired or sore) until she could cum and then we would have vaginal penetration with a condom. Once my orgasm was completed, we would both clean up and there was never any cuddling or close moments- something she didn't seem to enjoy. Oh, I should also add that sex for her was always in the missionary position and with the lights off and under the covers- something that was not very exciting for me. Although at rare times, she would oblige in a doggy position or somewhere else in the house, she made it clear that she was not comfortable and often remarked that she thought that I wanted her to be some type of "porn star," which she was not. Especially after what I thought were wonderfully hot sexual encounters, she would often go into the bathroom and stay there for a long time. I couldn't understand this and often wondered why, if our sex was so good, she didn't want to repeat such episodes or come back and cuddle with me so we could feel some sort of an "after-glow." Anyway, long story short, our sex life has continued on into this year with the same pattern- no real intimacy- no open mouth kiss- no hugging (or if there has been, it has seemed to be one sided on my part)... oh, and always with me wearing a condom. The lack of intimacy is one of the things that has about killed me. Even if I reach for her hand in the middle of the night, it would be pushed away and she would roll over, away from me. Hugs during the day would be rejected. Kisses have been pecks on the cheek or maybe sometimes on the lips but that's it and most often when we say good-bye to each other before leaving for work, etc.

After years of the above, including one period where my wife told me that if I didn't try to initiate sex so much she would (I did not initiate for 15 months- so we never had sex during this time, until I initiated again), we fell into a pattern of just a handful (no pun intended) of times a year... the usual- valentines day, father's day, our anniversary...guess that's about it. During that period of time, I took a job about an hour away that had heavy responsibilities and often did not get home until late at night and had to leave the house early, before she even got up. I loved my job and put everything into it and she hated my job and although there were social events that she could attend with me related to my work, she chose not to. Our son was growing up and she was the main care-giver. We drifted apart- and she had some issues with her knee and lower back- so much so that camping, hiking, canoeing, etc. that involved some physical fitness- and activities that we both enjoyed together in the past could no longer take place between the two of us. The end result was that we found ourselves having very little in common....and we were no longer enjoying each others' company. I should add that about 5 years ago, there was an attempt at talking about our situation- seriously. I tried to get her to see that we needed a sexual connection and maybe if we could try a bit more, other things would begin to get better. I know for some couples this is true- sex helps other areas of their lives- it rejuvenates… for others it’s the other things that have to get better- then the sex naturally follows. The conclusion of our several hours talk (that included tears on both sides) was that she confessed that she never has liked sex and that she has never, ever, not even once had a sexual fantasy. She also told me that she never liked giving me oral sex. After our time of discussion, sex between us became even more strained- and less often, and since then, I have never received oral sex again.

Just over 2 years ago, the job that she considers my "affair" ended. I have to confess that the work I was doing was exciting and I considered it the love of my life- I couldn't wait to leave in the morning to go to it and would often linger later than I had to when my work hours were over, as I dreaded coming home. None-the-less, I was home for the first time in years (with her) and with lots of time on my hands- time I had to sort out and deal with. I should also add that although I never had an affair with another woman, there were women along the way and at my job (the one that was an hour away) especially as this job was winding down, who showed a great deal of attention to me. My mind drifted to a few of them and I knew that if I wanted to, I could have a sexual relationship with one or several of them and "get" what I felt I needed which I wasn't getting at home- but I never took that step. However, I did fantasize about what it would be like sexually to be with someone who could reciprocate and also "enjoy me" sexually.... maybe the fantasy in and of itself was like an affair- I don't know. Anyway, here I was at home and my wife and I in an uncomfortable dilemma. We knew that we were disconnected from each other, and I wanted to take a job in another city that would keep me away from home 3~4 days a week. I wanted my family to move so I would not have to drive 3 hours to and from this work but she would not budge. Conversation turned to divorce then and we both cried. I could say that at that point I was not feeling in love with my wife, although I loved her and cared for her deeply. Once again, long story short, we decided to "work on" our marriage and try to rekindle our love for each other and I took a non-exciting job with less pay, locally.

So, after searching the internet, I bought a program called the Marriage Fitness Program by Mort Fertel.. a great book (highly recommended if both partners are sexual) with a series of audio CD's that go along with the book...and I began working in earnest to try to get back the spark I felt we had had years prior. This involved exercises that begin with positive words to each other- connecting several times (even when both are at work) with simple phone calls, email and texting... and then touching each other (non-sexually) on the arm, shoulders, etc. when you are together... and a date night once a week. We found that some of these activities were helpful but date night was still problematic- we had trouble deciding where to go and finally when I was able to coax my wife out of the house, we sat there and had little or nothing to say to each other. Communication was a problem. We could talk about things we needed to do around the house, the grocery shopping, the menial tasks that we had to do for our daily living but talk about deep content was near impossible...and sex was still almost non-existent. At the end of the summer 2007, our anniversary was coming up and I made plans to really splurge and take her to a resort for the weekend where she would be pampered with massages, facials, etc. - all things that she loves. This was very expensive but it was our 20 year anniversary and we were working towards rekindling our spark. At the resort, my wife seemed to glow! She was truly in heaven. I wined and dined her- gave her every luxury I could think of- even rented the best suite they had. Then on the night of our anniversary after going to a very sheik piano bar, and having drinks, all the while holding hands like two teenagers in love- we went back to our room. I thought this was going to be it! I don't know why but I had imagined there would be lingerie, candles, soft music, etc. and of course, long, slow love-making. Instead, once she was in our room, she said she was tired- quickly got into bed and turned the lights off and rolled over to go to bed. I was left speechless and I laid in our large, cruel bed and cried quietly to myself. The next morning's drive back to our home (2 1/2 hours) was in total silence. Looking back on the events of that night- where I was rejected once again, but this time after much effort had been made to rekindle our spark- I can truly say was when my "spark for her was completely extinguished."

Life after that has been hum-drum. I tried to get into my work- became busy again. We have shared nothing in common (except for our son) and any sexual times together have seemed out of duty or guilt on her part- sometimes even as an after-thought (This year, sex was the day after Valentines, for instance...as if the guilt caught up to her for not doing anything on valentines day). Anyway, so that takes us into this year and what is happening to our relationship now.

As I had insinuated earlier- I have never felt fulfilled in my sexual life (as a sexual) and feel a very large hole in my psyche from this. Marriage was not suppose to be this way- I had always been taught and firmly believed in my heart that when I got married, my sexual needs would be taken care of, as I would take care of them for my wife as well and that I would never had to worry about straying or feeling like I would have to feel fulfillment from another or from auto eroticism (masturbation, etc.). But beyond that, I thought that a "sexual connection" with my spouse would add another dimension or another layer of closeness- a bond that takes you even deeper into each other not only at a physical level but at an emotional and spiritual level. All of this has been missing for me- all of my life.

So, I discovered the "sexless marriage" forum... and came to the conclusion (I guess I'm at that mid-life point too) that I wanted a chance at sexual happiness- that life was too short and it's now or never- because I'm too sexual of a person to keep going without feeling connected to someone I love at that level- which I crave but haven't had. I would be taking a risk to divorce. I may never find anyone I could connect with at any level- but I no longer feel truly "in love" with my wife either (after everything that has happened) and felt I could not go on... and so I told her that I wanted a divorce last week and why. During our talks leading up to my revelation to her, she told me that she did not feel that she could ever have an intimate/sexual relationship with neither me nor anyone else. But upon hearing that I wanted out, she was shocked and became quite upset and distraught. Even over a week later, she appears depressed. She cannot eat much as she ends up throwing up. Finally yesterday she went to see her doctor who prescribed an antidepressant and anti-anxiety medication. I have talked to both my family and hers. They have encouraged marital counseling which I have agreed to and we will be going the first of next week…I don’t know if it will do any good. My wife says she wants to try whatever will help keep me from leaving- even sex therapy. She has already had hormones checked several times in the last few years and they are fine. Our son is okay with things so far. He (almost 17 years old) is just concerned as to where he will live and if he will see both of us- although he doesn’t know the details, he has verbalized in the past to both me and my wife that we seem unhappy with each other and maybe we should consider divorce- wow…kids are insightful.

So, why am I here? I’m sure you noticed, the word “asexual” was not used anywhere above. It has only been after I told my wife that I wanted a divorce that I stumbled upon this website. Boy, have my eyes been opened. I spent three nights ago reading until 4 in the morning on this site. I had no idea….and I’m glad I found this site… at least now, I understand. The next day I asked my wife if she thought she might be asexual. She really didn’t know what that meant- so I brought her here and for a brief time, she looked around- she is not embracing it but she does not deny any of it. I truly believe that she is asexual and falls into the 1% of the population that is on that end of the spectrum. She now confesses that she had no emotional connection with me from having sex and even when we were dating and first married, sex was something she did because she thought she was suppose to do it- she felt nothing from it. When it was especially god for me, she felt she was in some kind of “porn movie” or something and felt extremely uncomfortable and distraught. At times, she felt sex was damaging to her (and we haven’t done S&M or other unusual forms of sex). Sex to her own self-esteem, etc. is meaningless and sometimes hurtful. She doesn’t like physical closeness- has never enjoyed French kissing. All the time I thought it was me- something I was doing wrong or that she was broken- but I was wrong on all accounts. All the signs are there of her being asexual. So now, I am at a point at least for the first time in our marriage where I don’t have to blame her (or me) for the way our sex life has been. I know that she just is the way she is and can’t help it. It’s not because of her upbringing and there was never any early trauma, sexual or otherwise- she is who she is. I also don’t have to blame myself. I also know that no matter what kind of program or therapy I or we go through to “rekindle” the spark, it will not change the fact that she does not like sex and does not enjoy the kind of “connection” that we sexuals feel we gain from it. I certainly can’t ask her to go to sex therapy in good conscience. It would be like asking a heterosexual to engage in homosexual acts- I understand all of that now. I understand that she is not broken. I understand that her sexual (or nonsexual) orientation is the issue.

So, I am still angry (and very much hurt and heart broken)- not at her or at myself. I guess I’m angry at God. I ask myself- why me? Why us? Why was I one of the ones that had to fall in love and get married to one of the 1% that is asexual. Why didn’t she fall in love with another asexual so she wouldn’t have to put up with me and all of the sexual tension over the years. I also am angry when I ask myself why it took this long to figure this out (22 years of marriage). Was I not paying attention? Anyway, I’m in a real dilemma now. I said I wanted a divorce and I still am leaning in that direction- My wife is hurting and reeling from this- she says, “I thought we would be married forever- I love you…please don’t leave…I can’t live without you.” From what I’ve read, to stay with her would take compromise- something I’ve already done all of my adult life (and I suppose she has done that too but to a much lesser degree). I don’t know if I can live with the fact that every time we have intimacy, I’m forcing her to do something that is against her will. With her, I will never have the sexual bond and fulfillment that I believe in my heart that married people are suppose to have and are entitled to. I also don’t see the option of going outside the marriage for such a bond…it’s just not me and it is against everything I was brought up to believe. I’m not sure if I can continue in this marriage even though 22 years, a house, a son, our things, our friends, our extended families- so much is at stake. I do know that no one would fault me for leaving, even now. I also know that many asexuals won’t have a perspective where they would understand where a sexual like myself who has been in a long marriage like myself is coming from. But I still encourage a dialogue regarding my story and our issues.

So, what say you, asexual forum? Anyone have any insights, thoughts, opinions?

I’m all ears….

Desperate, lonely and broken,

SexualHubby

This is truly sooooo soooo sad....... I feel in the same position as you....... I was a single, divorced person of 50 when I met (I thought was the love of my life) he was just awesome......well for the first few months our sex life was ok......(nothing great but ok) but after that it dwindled ...big time.....now after being together for 4 years.....there is just nothing.....no sex, no cuddling...no intimacy....it's just soooo empty....it's like he has this split personality.....people think he is this jovial, party animal......and when we are at home he just switches off......

wish I knew what to do..... sad sad day!!!!!! Good luck friend......it just doesn't seem worth it does it?

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T.Van

Sounds like your wife is trying to save the marriage in desperation. She is afraid of you leaving. She loves you, but probably still doesn't really like sex -- and rather, sees it as a duty, an obligation to keep the marriage together. She's trying, but from my standpoint it doesn't look like it will work out in the the end. Maybe she also thinks there must be something 'wrong' with herself and is trying to act sexual -- in denial of her asexuality.

I mean, I have tried some things by myself to try and MAKE myself sexual, but it doesn't work. I don't know why I do such things. I guess I just wonder what is so great about sexuality. People talk about sex as if it is so great and wonderful, so I wanted to know what they were talking about. . . . I still don't get it though, and I am as asexual as before. I would be very stressed out and depressed in her situation -- but of course, if it were me, I would have left a lot sooner . . . in fact, I don't even plan on getting married in the first place (especially to someone who is not also asexual) because I am aware of the complications such as you two are experiencing.

Well, I hope you both find some way to live a happier life. Try to make the best decision you can.

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xsex
Sounds like your wife is trying to save the marriage in desperation. She is afraid of you leaving. She loves you, but probably still doesn't really like sex -- and rather, sees it as a duty, an obligation to keep the marriage together. She's trying, but from my standpoint it doesn't look like it will work out in the the end. Maybe she also thinks there must be something 'wrong' with herself and is trying to act sexual -- in denial of her asexuality.

I mean, I have tried some things by myself to try and MAKE myself sexual, but it doesn't work. I don't know why I do such things. I guess I just wonder what is so great about sexuality. People talk about sex as if it is so great and wonderful, so I wanted to know what they were talking about. . . . I still don't get it though, and I am as asexual as before. I would be very stressed out and depressed in her situation -- but of course, if it were me, I would have left a lot sooner . . . in fact, I don't even plan on getting married in the first place (especially to someone who is not also asexual) because I am aware of the complications such as you two are experiencing.

Well, I hope you both find some way to live a happier life. Try to make the best decision you can.

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xsex

I too have been married for over 30 years to a asexual male partner. For the majority of our relationship I did not understand why my husband did not desire sex, nor displays of any physical warmth or attraction to me. For many years I frequently became jealous of any female coworkers whom he developed a warm and extra friendly relationships with. He always responded that he was not having an affair, and that I was mentally unbalanced and paranoid. He never once even hinted that he was physically incapable of developing a sexual relationship with these women due to the same issues which were affecting our sexual life. However, he did form unusually close relationships with a few of them who clearly had a sexual attraction to him. After 17 years of marriage, he confessed to me once that he never really had a sexual desire for me. At the same time he told me that he was quite attracted to a few women now and then. It is too difficult to express how painful and devastating it was to here this from him. Knowing what I do thirty years later, I feel that he intentionally wanted me to believe that his lack of sexual drive within our marriage had everything to do with me, and nothing to do with his own lack of sexuality.

I would like to hear from other sexually normal spouses if they have gone through any similar humiliating, and ego deflating role reversals created by their asexual spouses in their spouses attempts to hide their real issues from you? I would also like to know if their asexual spouses have shown a tendency to develop close relationships with people of the opposite, or same sex as their own sexual relationships become a major issue in their marriage? I also would like to hear from any sexual partners of asexual spouses that believe the lack of intimacy and sex in their relationships have created serious problems for their own sexual ego, or related depressions and feelings of rejections? I only ask because these are issues that I have been dealing with throughout my long marriage.

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Olivier
Knowing what I do thirty years later, I feel that he intentionally wanted me to believe that his lack of sexual drive within our marriage had everything to do with me, and nothing to do with his own lack of sexuality.

I would like to hear from other sexually normal spouses if they have gone through any similar humiliating, and ego deflating role reversals created by their asexual spouses in their spouses attempts to hide their real issues from you? I would also like to know if their asexual spouses have shown a tendency to develop close relationships with people of the opposite, or same sex as their own sexual relationships become a major issue in their marriage? I also would like to hear from any sexual partners of asexual spouses that believe the lack of intimacy and sex in their relationships have created serious problems for their own sexual ego, or related depressions and feelings of rejections? I only ask because these are issues that I have been dealing with throughout my long marriage.

Firstly, I'd advise against using the term "sexually normal" to mean "not asexual". It sort of implies that asexuals are aberrations based on their orientation. We've got past that with homosexuality, and hopefully we can get past a stifling normativity with asexuality, too.

But yes, my wife has suggested in the past that I was the abnormal one, because she felt that everyone was more like her, and some of the things she said were hurtful. We're probably a bit even on that score, frankly, but we've given it up now.

And yes, at our worst the rejection led to a bout of either clinical depression or something very close to it. Again, we're pretty even on that score too, as it happens, as my very sexual approach to our honeymoon sent my wife into a bit of a tailspin.

In my own case, I had tried to avoid feelings of rejection by trying to will away my own desires, as they only led to conflict that damaged my most important relationship. When, not surprisingly, I was not able to will away my sexuality, I felt like a failure and it didn't help that those times when I'd failed to suppress my desires were precisely the times where my wife explicitly rejected my advances, as when I was keeping a lid on things to a degree those issues didn't arise. In hindsight, it's plainly not healthy to go down that route, but depression can rob you of perspective, and then it snowballs.

My wife, however, never really developed any particularly close relationships with other men. She has close male friends, but no more than I have close female friends.

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SexualHubby
My wife, however, never really developed any particularly close relationships with other men. She has close male friends, but no more than I have close female friends.

Exactly! - same here...during a time that I was especially desperate, I even searched our room, her cell phone records, our own phone call records, etc., looking for clues of an affair. I didn't realize the asexuality aspect and thought that for sure if she wasn't putting out with me, she must be having an affair. My searches were in vain- she never has had any close male friends.

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xsex

I don't think that the phrase "sexually normal" implies that asexuality is an aberration, or denotes any other negative connotations. However, asexual instincts are obviously "atypical" in regard to the sexual propensities of other humans. The word's "sexually normal" correctly connote that human asexuality clearly falls outside the norm, which is essentially all I intended to imply. Fortunately, I'm not here to debate the political correctness of my wording as I'm certain that facts have little bearing on any political agenda. I just wanted to ask the partners of Asexuals how their "atypical" relationships have effected their emotional stability over the years. Do others feel their ego or sexual libido has been damaged as a result of their abnormal relationship, or have the sexual issues frequently caused them to become suspicious, jealous or distrustful of their partners? I'm also wondering how long have others in this type of a relationship dealt with the problems it created before they fully understood there was a biological factor behind the problems they were having? Have any others had their asexual partners attempt to explain their biological lack of sexual desire long before they discovered a name for it? If your asexual spouse never really tried to explain their internal lack of sexual desire for you or anyone else, how do you feel now after years of dealing with the problems it created, knowing your partner never tried to share or explain to you what was going on inside their heads? Personally, I feel he betrayed me all these years by hiding what he knew about himself even though he didn't have an actual name for it.

Since the day he casually left me a note and told me to check out this site because it would explain his feelings about sex, I have increasingly become more upset and angry when I think about all of the fights, doubts and depressions that could have been avoided over the years if he just had explained his true feelings regarding sex. What about you?

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AVENCakes

Xsex: What did your (ex?) husband mean when he said he was attracted to those women? If he does feel sexual attraction for other people- just not you- even if it's very rarely, then that's not entirely asexual.

However, asexual instincts are obviously "atypical" in regard to the sexual propensities of other humans. The word's "sexually normal" correctly connote that human asexuality clearly falls outside the norm, which is essentially all I intended to imply.

That sounds more like sexually common than normal. Not wanting sex is just as normal as wanting an average amount of sex or constantly wanting sex- there's nothing unusual about any of them. The middle one is much more common, it's the peak of the bell curve, but that doesn't mean it's the only normal one.

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Sally
I don't think that the phrase "sexually normal" implies that asexuality is an aberration, or denotes any other negative connotations. However, asexual instincts are obviously "atypical" in regard to the sexual propensities of other humans. The word's "sexually normal" correctly connote that human asexuality clearly falls outside the norm, which is essentially all I intended to imply. Fortunately, I'm not here to debate the political correctness of my wording as I'm certain that facts have little bearing on any political agenda. I just wanted to ask the partners of Asexuals how their "atypical" relationships have effected their emotional stability over the years. Do others feel their ego or sexual libido has been damaged as a result of their abnormal relationship, or have the sexual issues frequently caused them to become suspicious, jealous or distrustful of their partners?

Xsex, it definitely sounds as though you're quite angry. I'll give you perspective from one asexual (who just several years realized she was one) who had a 10 year marriage and a 30+ year relationship, both with sexuals. At no time during that long period did I know, understand, realize, or think possible that I was anything other than a very odd person because I really didn't want sex and didn't know how to do it, basically. I simply thought I could learn to like it and do it better, so I kept trying. I know that's hard for you and other sexuals to understand, but I certainly wasn't trying to cause harm to my husband or partner, or myself. Most asexuals who have been in sexual relationships were simply trying to get along as best they could, with the (little or no) knowledge they had at the time. You probably know that many homosexuals in times past were trying to be heterosexual because they didn't feel they had the right to be different. It was often the case with asexuals years ago.

However you feel that your husband damaged your relationship or you, I hope you don't carry that over to anger at all asexuals. And there's no "political agenda" when we talk about normal or not normal. Normal is a word that means "OK" and anything else means "not OK." You can understand how that makes us feel. We are normal to us. You are normal to you. No one should really be compared to anyone else.

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SexualHubby

Just a quick note/reply: xsex, yes you are angry- I went through this too. If you read my story then you know that it has been 22 years of marriage and 24 in the same relationship. I have felt all of the emotions and the damage to my sexual ego as well as even losing interest in sex at times...or the opposite- getting so horny and nothing to do about it except for masturbate and hope for the best by myself. The clincher was during our 20 year anniversary get-away. So for the last 2 years I started planning how I would leave but work and other things kept me busy until my summer break this year when I finally told her I wanted out. She asked me if I no longer loved her- I told her "yes, I felt no more love." Even though she is trying now to make some compromises and has been to therapy over this whole issue (which I do appreciate because she does try to initiate now), I still can't feel a connection. She says, "I love you," but I can't return those 3 very simple words. So, despite her not knowing what was up with herself (she felt she was somehow damaged all along or that I was over-sexed or both), and couldn't tell me, the damage has been done- so much so that I don't know if we will ever be able to connect as a couple. I will say that in our case there are other factors at work, so if it was ONLY the sexual/asexual aspect at work here, maybe we would be able to connect, but for a sexual like myself, so much is attached to the sexual portion of a relationship. I'm sure that not having the intimate sexual experience with my wife for sometimes a year or more at a time, and even when there was sex, it was quick, inpassionate or indifferent, made me want to connect less with my wife in other areas as well which caused a falling off of other things that we had in common over the years. Good luck to you! You have just recently discovered your spouse's asexuality. I too was angry when I first discovered the same, but with time my anger has subsided and I do have more understanding.

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Olivier
I don't think that the phrase "sexually normal" implies that asexuality is an aberration, or denotes any other negative connotations. However, asexual instincts are obviously "atypical" in regard to the sexual propensities of other humans. The word's "sexually normal" correctly connote that human asexuality clearly falls outside the norm, which is essentially all I intended to imply. Fortunately, I'm not here to debate the political correctness of my wording as I'm certain that facts have little bearing on any political agenda.

I understood that you meant no offence, which is why I thought I should mention that those words have caused offence here in the past, that's all.

I just wanted to ask the partners of Asexuals how their "atypical" relationships have effected their emotional stability over the years. Do others feel their ego or sexual libido has been damaged as a result of their abnormal relationship, or have the sexual issues frequently caused them to become suspicious, jealous or distrustful of their partners?

Yes, I've had episodes of jealousy or distrust.

Long ago, we went though a period where dealing with her unknown and unnamed asexuality just got too much for my wife, and her failure to be able to resolve things internally led her to what we recognised in hindsight was a mild depression. At the time though, all I was was a mood change for the worse, and a tendency to avoid me. During this time she was working erratic shift work, and many others in her job used drugs to help get them awake for a shift, or asleep after one. So I suspected she was hiding drug use from me. That wasn't a pretty episode.

At other times I've harboured suspicions that she was a repressed lesbian, who wouldn't admit it to me because she still wanted our relationship for other reasons, and was suspicious to the point of imagining possible lesbian affairs on no greater grounds than that she had taken up a musical instrument, and her teacher was a lesbian.

I'm also wondering how long have others in this type of a relationship dealt with the problems it created before they fully understood there was a biological factor behind the problems they were having? Have any others had their asexual partners attempt to explain their biological lack of sexual desire long before they discovered a name for it?

In our case, seventeen years.

But to be fair, there were only two or three years where there were problems for my wife, and two or three years where there were problems for me. At other times we were just fine, with other factors almost imposing a compromise on us without any effort on our part. Initially, there were many years when my wife thought she (or I) simply needed to improve our technique, and that could be achieved by practice and experimentation. That was great for me, and my wife didn't mind it either until it became clear to her that that method wasn't producing the desired results and might never do so. Later we both had busy careers, including shiftwork for my wife, and long antisocial hours for me, so we had sufficiently few opportunities for sex that the problems that came from me wanting more sex than my wife was comfortable with simply didn't arise. Later still, we started a family which gave my wife a motivation for plentiful sex other than sexual attraction.

The other thing, obviously, is that she did make it known that she didn't much enjoy sex. But she also made it known that she accepted that I did, and she was willing to compromise on that basis. But that wasn't enough to tip us off to asexuality - firstly neither of us had heard of it, and secondly we were well aware that sexual desire mismatches caused problems in sexual/sexual relationships, and simply treated any problems we were having as falling in that category. And to some extent those problems are quite similar anyway, although in other ways they are not.

If your asexual spouse never really tried to explain their internal lack of sexual desire for you or anyone else, how do you feel now after years of dealing with the problems it created, knowing your partner never tried to share or explain to you what was going on inside their heads? Personally, I feel he betrayed me all these years by hiding what he knew about himself even though he didn't have an actual name for it.

Since the day he casually left me a note and told me to check out this site because it would explain his feelings about sex, I have increasingly become more upset and angry when I think about all of the fights, doubts and depressions that could have been avoided over the years if he just had explained his true feelings regarding sex. What about you?

Well as I said we'd devoted enough energy to dealing with mismatched desire that discovering asexuality wasn't a huge surprise, so that element of betrayal wasn't really there. I have in the past felt more betrayed by the fact that my asexual spouse was the one to initiate all our initial sexual encounters, including one before we were even a couple. But we've spoken about it enough to both have a good handle on what was going on in our heads that led to that.

I don't think we had those fights or doubts or periods of depression because of a lack of honesty. Rather it was a lack of self-knowledge and the simple fact that our situation doesn't have an easy solution. Lots of people don't make it work, and we have. We're proud of that, and feel no need to berate ourselves for not having handled every aspect of it perfectly at the first, or even second or third, attempt.

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daveb

As an asexual no longer in a relationship this thread is enlightening. Like many others, as I've come to realize through AVEN, I tried to "do sex" and enjoy it. I thought the problems I had with sex were in large part due to lack of experience (my first real long term relationship only happened in the last few years, well into my 40's). At the time we broke up I still hadn't discovered AVEN or the term "asexuality". It's hard to understand something if you don't have the words or experience to put it all together.

By the same token I think it's perfectly understandable that the sexual partner might feel anger once the truth is known. Just as some asexuals feel anger or frustration that they are asezual. For others, like me, that knowledge brings a sense of relief and even happiness, at finally coming to a better understanding of one's own self.

I applaud anyone, sexual or asexual, especially those in "mixed" relationships, who tries to understand themself and/or their partner and figure out how to deal with any issues. The lack of visibility of asexuality is not helpful to anyone. The more it becomes "common knowledge" the better off everyone will be. People for whom sex or lack therof in a relationship is important will be able to make better decisions about relationships when they have some knowledge to work with.

Best wishes to all :)

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AVENCakes
The lack of visibility of asexuality is not helpful to anyone. The more it becomes "common knowledge" the better off everyone will be. People for whom sex or lack therof in a relationship is important will be able to make better decisions about relationships when they have some knowledge to work with.

this is very true. Anger on the part of a sexual partner is understandable, but it's still a bit infuriating when they think their partner purposefully misled them. The fact is- most asexuals don't realize they are. From what I've seen, the lack of visibility ends up leading to two extremely generalized groups- People who think they're like everyone else, they just haven't had enough experience/met the right person/been repressed by their upbringing, etc and People who thinke veryone else is just faking sexual interest because the media tells them to.

People don't lie about being sexual, they genuinely think they're the same as everyone else, or will be able to fix themselves to be the same as anyone else. It is a very emotional time so I know why people are angry about it, but the asexual partner is probably just as hurt as you are.

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xsex

Thank all of you who have responded to my questions. It has really helped. I am angry, very angry. I'm not angry that my husband and I have just recently discovered the name for his sexual nature, I'm angry because he admitted to me that he's always known that he lacked any sexual drive and he hid the truth about his feelings regarding sex because he was afraid I would leave him. I've been married for 35 years and been a faithful wife out of love and respect for him. I have just started a trial separation and all I can think about is that he allowed me to be plagued with suspicion, jealousy, depressions and self esteem issues surrounding my womanhood throughout our whole marriage because as he say's now his sexual orientation was embarrassing for him. I can't begin to explain all of the problems that constantly rocked our marriage all because he was more concerned about his ego than helping me understand why he didn't desire me. Unlike many of you, my husband stopped all sex with me by my mid 30's. I myself was a highly sexual person when I met him and he knew that about my nature. He saw how deeply his lack of affection and sexual desire for me was seriously damaging my own ego and causing bouts with depression, but he still would not tell me what he knew about himself. I keep asking myself what our life could have been like if he had just told me about his sexual nature. I am a very understanding person and have always shared my deepest thoughts and feelings with him. Yes, I feel betrayed, very betrayed. All he had to do was explain what he felt about sex in general and it would have saved us both from years of unnecessary pain and fighting. Since our sex life stopped early on in our marriage, he knew I was not leaving him over that problem. So the only reason he allowed me to go nuts with suspicion and feel rejected and depressed was because he was more concerned about protecting his ego than helping me salvage my own. I think the only reason he finally admitted it to me recently is because I'm 57yrs. old, disabled and have massive scars on my chest and stomach from a double masindectomy and other related Cancer surgery. Maybe he thinks I wouldn't leave him given all the issues I have physically that prevent me from finding another partner in life. Unfortunately, he forgot that I discovered long ago that love is not dependent upon sex. He taught me well.

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Sally

That was all very hard for you. What I'm not understanding is why you continued with the marriage so long when you were so unhappy, enduring a complete lack of sex and many physical problems.

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xsex

Xsex: What did your (ex?) husband mean when he said he was attracted to those women? If he does feel sexual attraction for other people- just not you- even if it's very rarely, then that's not entirely asexual.

I'm not sure exactly what he meant when he told me that he did occasionally find other women attractive. Maybe he meant he found certain women enjoyable or intellectually stimulating. I do remember that it was the only time he ever tried to tell me that sex didn't interest him that much. I had been married to him for about 20 years by then, so I already knew that we had big problems in that area of our relationship. Maybe he just said that because he didn't want me to think he might be gay. (Sorry if this is not the politically accepted terminology) After all, this is the same man who chose to endure countless accusations and endless suspicions from a jealous wife instead of trying to explain to her that he never desired or enjoyed sex for as long as he could recall.

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xsex
That was all very hard for you. What I'm not understanding is why you continued with the marriage so long when you were so unhappy, enduring a complete lack of sex and many physical problems.

I remained married because I loved this man deeply, we were best friends, we shared hobbies, interest, parenting, and he always supported and encouraged me to go after what I wanted and needed from life. The disabilities I have and the Cancer I survived were not caused by my marriage, just life. I am not separated from him right now because we have discovered a name for his sexual orientation, because I have learned to live with that issue long ago. I'm upset and angry because I think he should have tried to help me understand what he did know about his sexuality all these years. We are separated because we have grown very distant from each-other in the last six years of our marriage, neither of us our happy with each-other, and I can't shake my anger over the fact that he never explained any of these sexual feelings he knew he didn't have. I'm trying to understand what those who are asexual have written in their post about being confused about their own feelings before they found a title that explained it clearly. I'm beginning to wonder if my husbands lack of a sex drive was something he couldn't discuss because he didn't have any words to describe it. I have painted a picture of a total jerk, but it's far from the truth about him. Thirty years of marriage will create a lot of baggage, both good and bad. And yes, you are hearing from an angry woman right now. After all, I may be losing something I can't replace and something I've worked hard at keeping together for 35 years of my life. I guess that has put me in a nasty mood.

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SexualHubby

I totally understand...You have endured longer than I have. I really don't know how you did it, like others have said. You have my utmost respect and empathy. I hope that whatever works out works out for the betterment of you- you certainly deserve it. And, if there is chance for love with someone else or back with your husband, I truly hope you find it. This is one thing that I'm still struggling with- to leave or not to leave. I haven't moved out of the house but for all practical purposes, we are separated with me living in another bedroom and connecting as roommates now plus a bit more at times. It is very difficult as I have anger too... but probably not as much as you in the way you describe it, he knew but wouldn't explain- mine tried to explain but I wasn't listening.

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xsex
I totally understand...You have endured longer than I have. I really don't know how you did it, like others have said. You have my utmost respect and empathy. I hope that whatever works out works out for the betterment of you- you certainly deserve it. And, if there is chance for love with someone else or back with your husband, I truly hope you find it. This is one thing that I'm still struggling with- to leave or not to leave. I haven't moved out of the house but for all practical purposes, we are separated with me living in another bedroom and connecting as roommates now plus a bit more at times. It is very difficult as I have anger too... but probably not as much as you in the way you describe it, he knew but wouldn't explain- mine tried to explain but I wasn't listening.

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xsex

I started out weeks ago responding to your postings about your marital problems, feelings and uncertainty over staying or leaving. I think I said you could be writing about my marriage except in my relationship it's my husband who is asexual. Do you remember? I guess yours, and a few other postings really forced me to admit how strained and difficult our daily interactions have been for quite a long time, and the feelings of betrayal just put me over the top. Fortunately, we own a beautiful home in the mountains that is fully stocked and decorated, so all I had to do was pack some personal items and my cat in order to leave and begin a trial separation. When a couple has remained married as long as you and I have, thinking of divorce seems to be so much harder. At least I feel that way. Unlike you, we are not trying to save our marriage and the longer I'm away from him the more I'm feeling at ease with myself and living alone. I've always thought that trial separations were a danger for struggling marriages, and I'm beginning to see why. Neither I nor my husband are trying to work through our issues and I think we're both enjoying our separate peace. If we continue on in this manner I'm pretty sure we will begin dreading any effort at reconciliation. I hope for your sake you can reconnect somehow because I fully understand how it feels when you lose that loving feeling and become a stranger in a strange land in the place you once called home. Good luck to you as well.

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