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xstatic ☆゚°˖* ᕕ( ᐛ )ᕗ
2 minutes ago, dbarnes said:

@xstatic  When you say he needs a lot of time do you mean time to himself?  Is he very introverted?  My wife is, and she can be perfectly content without speaking or touching each other for hours or sometimes days.  We have gone 4 days with zero physical contact.  It honestly makes me feel needy, but yeah.  I need it.  

 

I didn't.  I just meant that he needs time to really take things slow.  However, he actually is an extremely introverted person.  He needs recovery days.  He needs no contact days.  I don't know how that will affect our future, but I understand his needs.

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anisotrophic

@dbarnes it sounds like therapy would be a good idea. I had a lot, my partner had some. You're not a spoiled child for having an emotional need for sexual intimacy with someone you love.

 

Sex is typically connected to love for sexuals. They feel unloved without it, they express their love that way, they are likely to "fall out of love" without it, and they are likely to "catch feelings" if they open a relationship and have sex with others.

 

I now approach sex with my partner as an act of trust (as I feel disarmed by my own desire vs his lack of attraction). I tend to express a lot of gratitude & it makes me feel loved. But compromise works best when a partner is very indifferent-to-positive about sex, not if a partner is averse.

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dbarnes
3 hours ago, xstatic said:

I didn't.  I just meant that he needs time to really take things slow.  However, he actually is an extremely introverted person.  He needs recovery days.  He needs no contact days.  I don't know how that will affect our future, but I understand his needs.

I understand.  My wife is the same way.

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dbarnes
2 hours ago, anisotropic said:

@dbarnes it sounds like therapy would be a good idea. I had a lot, my partner had some. You're not a spoiled child for having an emotional need for sexual intimacy with someone you love.

 

Sex is typically connected to love for sexuals. They feel unloved without it, they express their love that way, they are likely to "fall out of love" without it, and they are likely to "catch feelings" if they open a relationship and have sex with others.

 

I now approach sex with my partner as an act of trust (as I feel disarmed by my own desire vs his lack of attraction). I tend to express a lot of gratitude & it makes me feel loved. But compromise works best when a partner is very indifferent-to-positive about sex, not if a partner is averse.

@anisotropicThat's how I feel.  It's no just that I want to get off for me.  I actually get something out of it on a deeper level.  That's the other thing I'm afraid of if we were to open our relationship.  I know me and I know I'm afraid I would fall for someone and that would hurt my wife.  I "burn hot" in that sense.  I really need to have a talk with her about whether she is averse to sex or just indifferent.  I honestly am not entirely sure because sometimes she seems as though she s and sometimes she seems as though she isn't.

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anisotrophic
2 hours ago, dbarnes said:

That's the other thing I'm afraid of if we were to open our relationship.  I know me and I know I'm afraid I would fall for someone and that would hurt my wife.

Yes, I think misunderstanding sex as "just lust" is a common fallacy that both ace & sexual partners are liable to run into -- for an ace partner, sex doesn't have this meaning... so they're going off what they learn from partners/society. And people/society aren't great about describing how sex is about love & bonding.

 

Regarding aversion: ideally you could learn what makes things unpleasant, e.g. why you initiating is unwelcome. Knowing "why" helps you avoid those things & come up with alternative strategies. You should also be communicating about what things are bad for you, but it's tricky to navigate with empathy. (And it feels to me like it's likely to be particularly tricky to be raising issues now, when your partner came out years ago, and you're only now making a reflection/learning effort...)

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dbarnes
37 minutes ago, anisotropic said:

Yes, I think misunderstanding sex as "just lust" is a common fallacy that both ace & sexual partners are liable to run into -- for an ace partner, sex doesn't have this meaning... so they're going off what they learn from partners/society. And people/society aren't great about describing how sex is about love & bonding.

 

Regarding aversion: ideally you could learn what makes things unpleasant, e.g. why you initiating is unwelcome. Knowing "why" helps you avoid those things & come up with alternative strategies. You should also be communicating about what things are bad for you, but it's tricky to navigate with empathy. (And it feels to me like it's likely to be particularly tricky to be raising issues now, when your partner came out years ago, and you're only now making a reflection/learning effort...)

@anisotropic  She came out roughly 2-3 years ago, but it's been hard to get her to talk about any of this.  Also the learning and research I have done has been on going.  It almost seems like she takes offense to me trying to learn more about it.  Just yesterday she saw I had bought a couple of books on the subject and she asked me if her being asexual was really that big of a problem.  Of course I said no that she wasn't the problem and I was just trying to learn more about it so I can try and better understand it and we can try and work on a solution.  This has been an ongoing thing.  It always comes up and one of us always feels left behind it seems like.  

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Telecaster68

I wonder if maybe she's not getting a proper grasp on it because you're underplaying it too (understandably). The truth is, her being asexual is a problem for your relationship, and does need some action of some sort. That's not to blame her or say she's broken, but I can see how she might think everything's fine from the response you described here.

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ryn2
1 hour ago, Telecaster68 said:

The truth is, her being asexual is a problem for your relationship, and does need some action of some sort.

Maybe going with “your” (“our,” if OP is the speaker) “mismatched orientations are a problem for your” (our) “relationship[....]” would come across better to OP’s wife, because the issue isn’t that she’s ace; it’s that she’s ace and OP isn’t.  Or, conversely, the issue is that OP’s sexual and she’s not.

 

”Your asexuality is a problem for our relationship” is difficult to distinguish from “you are a problem for our relationship,” and may just make her defensive.

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Telecaster68
5 hours ago, ryn2 said:

Maybe going with “your” (“our,” if OP is the speaker) “mismatched orientations are a problem for your” (our) “relationship[....]” would come across better to OP’s wife, because the issue isn’t that she’s ace; it’s that she’s ace and OP isn’t.  Or, conversely, the issue is that OP’s sexual and she’s not.

 

”Your asexuality is a problem for our relationship” is difficult to distinguish from “you are a problem for our relationship,” and may just make her defensive.

Yep the problem is the mismatch, but it is definitely a problem, and OP shouldn't minimise it, for his own sake. There's nothing wrong with his needs, or hers. 

 

Experience speaking here. I suspect that to sexuals, it's just so mind blowingly obvious that no sex is a problem that we assume our partners will know what we really mean is 'of course it's a problem, and a huge, urgent one, and we both know it, but I know you feel the pressure so I'm being positive and supportive rather than nagging and trusting you to get on it'. 

 

The asexual just hears 'not a problem, therefore no action needed'. 

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ryn2
33 minutes ago, Telecaster68 said:

OP shouldn't minimise it, for his own sake.

Oh, 100% agreed.  I just thought focusing on the mismatch and not on one end of it or the other might work better.

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ryn2
35 minutes ago, Telecaster68 said:

we assume or partners will know what we really mean is 'of course it's a problem, and a huge, urgent one, and we both know it, but I know you feel the pressure so I'm being positive and supportive rather than nagging and trusting you to get on it'. 

Yeah, that’s definitely not going to get results.  I’m probably not even ace and I still thought “it’s not an issue” (and silence) meant it wasn’t an issue.

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Telecaster68

I think most people assume if you understand 'no it's fine you forgot my birthday again' doesn't actually mean the speaker's happy, you'll understand that 'your lack of desire isn't a problem' comes from the same place. 

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Serran
1 minute ago, Telecaster68 said:

I think most people assume if you understand 'no it's fine you forgot my birthday again' doesn't actually mean the speaker's happy, you'll understand that 'your lack of desire isn't a problem' comes from the same place. 

But people are different. When I say its fine you forgot my birthday or our anniversary etc I really mean its fine. Its something hard to remind myself of that people actually care about that stuff. So when my wife says its fine, I take her at her word (which she genuinely doesn't care). 

 

If you want someone to know what you mean, its best not to say the opposite. Caring about what you care about isn't universal and people might misread your meaning by giving it their own bias (me and holidays in general dont mix, I was raised by JWs so people caring about them is just weird to me). So where you are trying to say "big deal but im not willing to make it a fight, but I need you to change your behavior" the other person could be hearing "neither of us finds this a big deal so we are on same page, its cool". 

 

Especially troublesome if the person isnt good at reading subtle body language for signs you are upset. 

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Philip027
7 minutes ago, Serran said:

But people are different. When I say its fine you forgot my birthday or our anniversary etc I really mean its fine. Its something hard to remind myself of that people actually care about that stuff. So when my wife says its fine, I take her at her word (which she genuinely doesn't care). 

Yep, that.  I also mean it when I say it, so it's difficult to comprehend the mindgames at play when some other people say it (but don't mean it)

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ryn2
44 minutes ago, Telecaster68 said:

I think most people assume if you understand 'no it's fine you forgot my birthday again' doesn't actually mean the speaker's happy, you'll understand that 'your lack of desire isn't a problem' comes from the same place. 

If that’s a game you play regularly with your partner,  they’ve learned to read it as a passive-aggressive message of displeasure, and they normally *do* get it, yes... but otherwise you’re just setting yourself up for disappointment and resentment unless your partner by luck happens to share all the same feelings about things as you do (which, in the case of a sexual mismatch, is unlikely).

 

Like the posters above, my birthday is just another day.  The only time I’ve ever (as an adult) been upset that it got forgotten was when my partner then got super-defensive and went after me verbally when I joked about not getting a card.  It was his reaction that upset me, not the forgotten birthday.  So, if you told me it was no problem that I’d forgotten your birthday I would take it at face value (especially if I said “really?” to give you one last out and you again said it was fine).  I would also be relieved that we (seemed to) see eye-to-eye on it.

 

I grew up in a household where nothing was ever said directly and mindreading was expected and required, too, and even I would get it wrong with someone I trusted to be honest with me.

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Telecaster68

I suspect Brits don't see it as mind games, we see it as manners. I'm not saying it's right or healthy, but layering in some subtext is more likely to be on the radar, and not a completely unpredictable way of responding. 

 

People who are genuinely, honestly, completely okay with having their birthday forgotten are so rare that I think it's reasonable to play the odds and assume that for whatever reason - passive aggression, diffidence, fear - they're just not feeling able to say what they feel and do in fact mind. It's more likely, after all. 

 

You know your partners well enough to know they genuinely don't care about birthdays. What if you knew them well enough to know they did care about their birthday, but then they said 'no it's fine' to it being forgotten? Wouldn't that spark at least a bit of cognitive dissonance worth checking up on? In other words, the possibility they're deliberately injecting some snark to make their point and express their irritation? 

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ryn2
3 minutes ago, Telecaster68 said:

 

I suspect Brits don't see it as mind games, we see it as manners. I'm not saying it's right or healthy, but layering in some subtext is more likely to be on the radar, and not a completely unpredictable way of responding. 

 

I was actually wondering if some of it was cultural.  In the part of the US where I live therapists stress asking for what you want/need, owning your emotional health, teaching others around you that you take people at face value, etc.  So, there is more expectation that 1) people will say what they mean and 2) if they choose not to say what they mean, the consequences of so doing (good or bad) are “on them.”

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ryn2
7 minutes ago, Telecaster68 said:

People who are genuinely, honestly, completely okay with having their birthday forgotten are so rare that I think it's reasonable to play the odds and assume that for whatever reason - passive aggression, diffidence, fear - they're just not feeling able to say what they feel and do in fact mind. It's more likely, after all. 

You just found three of them in a row here, so some of that may be cultural as well.  My sample size is ridiculously small but I do know my one good British friend is always (what feels to me like ridiculously, to the point it makes me really uncomfortable) horrified that no one has celebrated my birthday, that Christmas is not a big deal, etc.  Her family experience of the holidays is clearly vastly different than mine was.

 

My ex’s family hails originally from the UK and has a much stronger family holiday tradition than my family did.

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Telecaster68

Yep, therapists do that over here too. It's just not what most of us are brought up to do. I think the idea is that directly saying what we want might make the other person uncomfortable, and is therefore bad manners, and impoliteness is social death. It's more socially acceptable to be depressed.

 

Sometimes it seems that verbally, the English are playing chess and everyone else is playing draughts.  My theory is that it's because there's no part of England where we have to make allowances for English not being a first language, so everyone can play with the nuances and ambiguities that native speakers have, and it all gets very complicated.


ETA: if you're into this stuff, Watching The English by Kate Fox is a fantastic read. She's a well respected sociologist who does her stuff on the English, including, magnificently, noting how a queue of Brits can spot someone thinking of pushing in, and instinctively close up to stop this happening. This happens. I've been there and done it, but didn't realise it was a Thing till she articulated it.

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ryn2
11 minutes ago, Telecaster68 said:

In other words, they're deliberately injecting some snark to make their point and express their irritation? 

That only works in an environment where that’s a common and accepted way to express irritation.  Where I live it’s seen as passive-aggressive and the “right” approach is not to reward it, to the point others give you crap for “getting sucked into it again.”

 

That said, if I knew that was how my partner expressed “something is wrong,” I would ask what was wrong if it happened.

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Telecaster68
2 minutes ago, ryn2 said:

That only works in an environment where that’s a common and accepted way to express irritation.

Like, say, England.

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ryn2
2 minutes ago, Telecaster68 said:

Sometimes it seems that verbally, the English are playing chess and everyone else is playing draughts.  My theory is that it's because there's no part of England where we have to make allowances for English not being a first language, so everyone can play with the nuances and ambiguities that native speakers have, and it all gets very complicated.

That’s certainly a possibility.  I grew up amongst 100% native US English speakers, but many of them were only second- or third-generation residents so it’s likely their own families had a different experience.

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ryn2
Just now, Telecaster68 said:

Like, say, England.

Yes.  I’m not saying it doesn’t apply to you and your friends, just that this probably helps explain why we react a bit oddly to some of the interactions you describe (and vice versa).

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Telecaster68
Just now, ryn2 said:

That’s certainly a possibility.  I grew up amongst 100% native US English speakers, but many of them were only second- or third-generation residents so it’s likely their own families had a different experience.

I think in the US, the need to be straightforward and not use irony has become a cultural norm, rather than it being conscious now. Pretty much the opposite has happened in the UK (and to an extent Ireland and Australia). 

 

One of Kate Fox's conclusions is that Brits default to irony, and I think she's right. 

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Telecaster68
1 minute ago, ryn2 said:

Yes.  I’m not saying it doesn’t apply to you and your friends, just that this probably helps explain why we react a bit oddly to some of the interactions you describe (and vice versa).

Oh it does apply. We're a snarky, sarcky bunch of passive aggressive tossers ;)

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ryn2

Yes, outside one’s friend group (and sometimes within it) irony and sarcasm are considered negative traits here and are associated with immaturity and an inflated sense of self-worth.

 

I’m not saying I personally see them that way but I’ve been chastised enough to get that others do.

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Telecaster68

The only time irony and sarcasm are negative here is if you're not very good at them.

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ryn2
4 hours ago, Telecaster68 said:

I think most people assume if you understand 'no it's fine you forgot my birthday again' doesn't actually mean the speaker's happy, you'll understand that 'your lack of desire isn't a problem' comes from the same place. 

To go back to this, it’s probably a lot more true in England than it is in the part of the US where I live.

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ryn2
Just now, Telecaster68 said:

The only time irony and sarcasm are negative here is if you're not very good at them.

Yeah, that’s pretty much the opposite where I live...  here it’s “you know, *you* may think you’re funny but you’re actually an a**hole.”

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Telecaster68

That the two things will necessarily correlate? Aren't they both just about looking past the surface meaning of a phrase and considering wider knowledge of the person and the world when considering what meaning they intend?

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