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Whatnext

Why hurt sexuals?

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longhaul

Health warning to asexuals - you may want to skip the last long paragraph.

A big part of the reason many asexuals can't accept the idea of the sexual partner going outside the relationship/marriage is the fear that the sexual will develop an emotional relationship with the third party. Then the sexual will have a "complete" relationship with the third party (sex and emotion) and only an incomplete one (emotion) with the asexual. That's very worrisome to the asexual, because why then would the sexual stay with the asexual?

Absolutely right - I forgot about this one temporarily, and that's been mentioned here before. My knowledge of these things is pretty limited, but I think it might be a question of how settled the relationship really is. I know a lot of marriages that have broken up when one partner had an affair, and decided it was better than the marriage. These weren't, as far as I know, with asexuals. These were just marriages that were not doing it for the person who left. From what I know of the people involved, they really couldn't get on with each other properly - and I'm not assigning any blame, just observing problems in the relationships. So worrying that someone will leave for the sex I think is not that realistic. Yes, I can see that you could create emotional ties to the person you're having an affair with. However, if the marriage (or partnership) is settled and strong in other respects, I don't see why that emotional tie to another person would break up the marriage.

Having said that, I could also see that it would leave the asexual partner feeling bad if they feel that they have to be the sexual partner of their spouse/partner. Some asexuals seem to overcome this dilemma by finding ways to bring sex to their relationship in a way that works for both partners. Others want to be the sexual partner but not have sex, which I personally feel is an unfair thing to insist on.

One difficulty for those who decide to find a compromise - monogamous sex, on mutually consenting terms - is that it doesn't always seem to stick. A few people have posted about having it work for a few years, and then not working any more. This is the situation I am in. We came up with a compromise that worked for a few years, but now, whenever we're trying to plan sex, when the agreed time comes he has some problem meaning we have to postpone it. Every single time. It has got to the point where I no longer feel like participating in this approach, because I tend to get my hopes up, feel interested - and then have to do without. For me, this is a lot harder to live with than not having hoped for sex in the first place.

Again, I can absolutely see the problem for asexuals here. If you never feel these urges, you're not going to notice that you have turned down sex every single time for the last six months or whatever it is - it's not physically important to you, so you don't notice. You only notice that your partner / spouse is getting grumpy, particularly when you've turned down sex - and you probably think - why is my partner grumpy about this? I've turned down sex before and they weren't grumpy. There must be something wrong with him/her right now, maybe a problem at work or a health problem or the weather.

So your partner finally blows up at you, points out that every time for the last x months you've turned down sex, makes a lot of rude remarks, and you feel really attacked, defensive, and hurt.

But you agreed to sex, on a mutually consenting basis, and didn't come through, and never noticed. And I know it's not that asexual people don't care, because emotionally you do care about your partners a whole lot. It's that they can't pay attention (sorry for the sweeping generalisation, everyone, but I am just in a really bad mood about this), because asexuals can't feel the sexual attraction that's driving us sexuals completely mad. And then we sexual people get blamed for being unreasonable. Because quite frankly, what's the big deal about sex anyway? Why not just masturbate and deal with the urges that way? Surely the whole world of sexual people are just being wildly unreasonable, and the 2% of the world who are asexual are the only ones with a sensible perspective on sex.

End of rant. Apologies to those of you who found this upsetting - I just needed to offload, and this isn't an attack on any of you, it's about my feelings about my own relationship, and as far as I know, none of you are in it.

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Whatnext

Health warning to asexuals - you may want to skip the last long paragraph.

A big part of the reason many asexuals can't accept the idea of the sexual partner going outside the relationship/marriage is the fear that the sexual will develop an emotional relationship with the third party. Then the sexual will have a "complete" relationship with the third party (sex and emotion) and only an incomplete one (emotion) with the asexual. That's very worrisome to the asexual, because why then would the sexual stay with the asexual?

Absolutely right - I forgot about this one temporarily, and that's been mentioned here before. My knowledge of these things is pretty limited, but I think it might be a question of how settled the relationship really is. I know a lot of marriages that have broken up when one partner had an affair, and decided it was better than the marriage. These weren't, as far as I know, with asexuals. These were just marriages that were not doing it for the person who left. From what I know of the people involved, they really couldn't get on with each other properly - and I'm not assigning any blame, just observing problems in the relationships. So worrying that someone will leave for the sex I think is not that realistic. Yes, I can see that you could create emotional ties to the person you're having an affair with. However, if the marriage (or partnership) is settled and strong in other respects, I don't see why that emotional tie to another person would break up the marriage.

Having said that, I could also see that it would leave the asexual partner feeling bad if they feel that they have to be the sexual partner of their spouse/partner. Some asexuals seem to overcome this dilemma by finding ways to bring sex to their relationship in a way that works for both partners. Others want to be the sexual partner but not have sex, which I personally feel is an unfair thing to insist on.

One difficulty for those who decide to find a compromise - monogamous sex, on mutually consenting terms - is that it doesn't always seem to stick. A few people have posted about having it work for a few years, and then not working any more. This is the situation I am in. We came up with a compromise that worked for a few years, but now, whenever we're trying to plan sex, when the agreed time comes he has some problem meaning we have to postpone it. Every single time. It has got to the point where I no longer feel like participating in this approach, because I tend to get my hopes up, feel interested - and then have to do without. For me, this is a lot harder to live with than not having hoped for sex in the first place.

Again, I can absolutely see the problem for asexuals here. If you never feel these urges, you're not going to notice that you have turned down sex every single time for the last six months or whatever it is - it's not physically important to you, so you don't notice. You only notice that your partner / spouse is getting grumpy, particularly when you've turned down sex - and you probably think - why is my partner grumpy about this? I've turned down sex before and they weren't grumpy. There must be something wrong with him/her right now, maybe a problem at work or a health problem or the weather.

So your partner finally blows up at you, points out that every time for the last x months you've turned down sex, makes a lot of rude remarks, and you feel really attacked, defensive, and hurt.

But you agreed to sex, on a mutually consenting basis, and didn't come through, and never noticed. And I know it's not that asexual people don't care, because emotionally you do care about your partners a whole lot. It's that they can't pay attention (sorry for the sweeping generalisation, everyone, but I am just in a really bad mood about this), because asexuals can't feel the sexual attraction that's driving us sexuals completely mad. And then we sexual people get blamed for being unreasonable. Because quite frankly, what's the big deal about sex anyway? Why not just masturbate and deal with the urges that way? Surely the whole world of sexual people are just being wildly unreasonable, and the 2% of the world who are asexual are the only ones with a sensible perspective on sex.

End of rant. Apologies to those of you who found this upsetting - I just needed to offload, and this isn't an attack on any of you, it's about my feelings about my own relationship, and as far as I know, none of you are in it.

I think you have presented the situation in the most eloquent way possible. If anything I found it exceptionally valid and truthful and totally agree with you. Thanks

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Lucinda
If asexuals find it difficult to find such an arrangemnet becasue of teh sexual world out there - how come he did not appreciate it and did something about it?

What specifically do you think he should have done about it?

I am struggling to understand whether asexuals are non-committal and aromantic as a result or is there anything I can't understand?

There may be things you can't understand about other people; however, the most important person to understand is yourself.

So far you have said that he is a jerk, sarcastic, rude, and implied that he is not human nor honorable ... yet you still have feelings for him. Ask yourself why? Is it at all possible that you fell in love with the pursuit, the flattery, the being told that you are Mr. Perfect and trustworthy ... instead of the actual person? Is it the attention you wanted to maintain which is why you were willing to twist yourself into a pretzel for it?

Are you absolutely sure he didn't do you a favor by walking out the door?

And if there are so many sexual partners to be had, why aren't you out there grabbing one for yourself? Do you think you lack the confidence? Do you think that there are too many others who don't share your values in regards to commitment and monogamy? What is stopping you?

Lucinda

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Ged of Earthsea

Indeed, I don't feel like my a/s relationship is doomed - in fact it's pretty sickeningly :wub: all round.

Really, we're just lucky in that we've each made an attempt to offer as much as we can in compromise, and came to a middle ground that's acceptable, and enjoyable, for both of us. It took some finding, but that middle ground is comfortable for both of us, and not a cause of constant angst on either side. But we accept that it's just luck that in our case, it's there at all, and others' acceptable grounds may simply not overlap.

Ged, you've mentioned that part I underlined once before, I'm sure, and I meant to reply to it then but was too busy to: that's a place we've been to, too. It was actually the long break we took from sex as a result that got me looking for things that might heal those hurts, but instead led us to discovering asexuality as an explanation for years of relationship dynamics that had always defied adequate explanation through libido-mismatch theories, etc, and led me here.

It's good to know that things are working out for you - I like the functioning sense of perspective bit. We could all do with more of that. Thanks for sharing. My experience and the soul-searching that followed led me here too. It is true that there is a great sense of relief and enlightenment after discovering AVEN. I hope something similar comes the OPs way.

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Ged of Earthsea

Thanks adn you are right about what you wrote. Perhaps I am having difficulty m,oving on because I still have feelings for him and I never considered sex as the most essential part. Irrespective of the physical part, he has considered me the "perfect partner" in how I dealt with him, treated him, loved him, etc. If asexuals find it difficult to find such an arrangemnet becasue of teh sexual world out there - how come he did not appreciate it and did something about it? More importantly, merry-go-round or otherwise, why go and "pretend" to have sex with someone else knowiong that it would lead to the same conclusion? You are right he is not wearing glasses to see these issues and he doesn't seem to want to wear them either.

Hey. I can't judge the person you're talking about, but I empathise with your confusion. I realised very very late in life that there are people who have very different emotional and mental make-up from mine. People who can say things very passionately and not mean it at all, people who can completely separate emotional and physical in a relationship, people who can completely forget I exist the moment I leave the room, and basically, people I should never spend time with because I will get hurt (and thankfully it has hardly happened). I think it took very long because I am not that way and the people I am usually around are not that way. Then, someone walks into your life and despite initial misgivings you commit mentally and emotionally and it takes a while to see that this wasn't the best idea.

What I'm saying, very inarticulately, is that I agree with you. People are very different and there are people who will only hurt us, but we don't always choose whom we fall in love with. And then it hurts. My God it hurts. And what seems grossly unfair and would be unimaginable if reality wasn't spitting the fact in your face is that the other person doesn't hurt the same way. (here I would say, they may be hurting, but just dealing with it very differently) In the end, it takes a while to heal. Knowing the other person is a douche doesn't seem to help as much as it should. Here's the one comfort I take from the situation: if it hurts, it meant something. At least to you. It's a sign that you're a loving, emotionally functioning being. That there is some essence within you that you haven't completely killed, as some appear to have.

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BlackRose

A big part of the reason many asexuals can't accept the idea of the sexual partner going outside the relationship/marriage is the fear that the sexual will develop an emotional relationship with the third party. Then the sexual will have a "complete" relationship with the third party (sex and emotion) and only an incomplete one (emotion) with the asexual. That's very worrisome to the asexual, because why then would the sexual stay with the asexual?

... worrying that someone will leave for the sex I think is not that realistic. Yes, I can see that you could create emotional ties to the person you're having an affair with. However, if the marriage (or partnership) is settled and strong in other respects, I don't see why that emotional tie to another person would break up the marriage.

More to the point, I don't see why the asexual doesn't fear the sexual leaving because of lack of sex. It seems overly controlling to say "I'm not going to have sex with you or compromise at all but you can't have sex with anyone else either." Almost an abusive dynamic. Seems like basically forcing the sexual to leave.

Even if there is a chance of the emotional tie breaking up the marriage, it seems likely to be a smaller chance than lack of sex for the sexual breaking up the marriage (which a third person could fix).

It has got to the point where I no longer feel like participating in this approach, because I tend to get my hopes up, feel interested - and then have to do without. For me, this is a lot harder to live with than not having hoped for sex in the first place.

... But you agreed to sex, on a mutually consenting basis, and didn't come through, and never noticed. And I know it's not that asexual people don't care, because emotionally you do care about your partners a whole lot. It's that they can't pay attention (sorry for the sweeping generalisation, everyone, but I am just in a really bad mood about this), because asexuals can't feel the sexual attraction that's driving us sexuals completely mad. And then we sexual people get blamed for being unreasonable. Because quite frankly, what's the big deal about sex anyway? Why not just masturbate and deal with the urges that way? Surely the whole world of sexual people are just being wildly unreasonable, and the 2% of the world who are asexual are the only ones with a sensible perspective on sex.

You sound really hurt and upset about your relationship. I think this has more to do with your partner being an inconsiderate asshole than being asexual (similar to Whatnext's situation, I think). I don't think most asexuals are inconsiderate assholes. Your partner sounds somewhat abusive and manipulative to me and I don't think this relationship sounds like a healthy situation for you to be in.

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Larien

3. Like MadRat mentioned, we can’t control who we fall in love with. It’s probably also fair to point out that asexuals are few and far between – it probably would be easier for aces to be with other aces, but from what I understand asexuals only really started to connect with one another and realize, "Hey, we're not alone!" once the internet became popular. Plus a lot of people, many aces included, enjoy companionship and avoid being alone. I definitely agree with you that issues 1 and 2 above need to be considered, but unfortunately human nature (as well as knowledge of one's asexuality) isn’t as black-and-white as that.

Thanks but to point (3) in specific - becasue asexuals are few and far between and one cannot control whom we fall in love with - why wouldn't asexuals hang on to someone who makes these compromises and accepts the limitations as a demonstration of love and commitmnet. I am struggling to understand whether asexuals are non-committal and aromantic as a result or is there anything I can't understand?

Dynamics of healthy relationships go a lot deeper than sexual compatibility, and human nature goes a lot deeper than lust and other basic instincts. People fall in love for reasons other than sex. I agree that everything would probably be easier if asexuals stuck with asexuals and sexuals stuck with sexuals, but in practice it really doesn't work that way. There's not always a way of knowing whether or not you're sexually compatible with someone before you've already started to care about them as a person.

Asexuals aren't inherently non-committal. Really, I agree with virescence and the others who have stated that your ex is simply an asshole. Decent people don't leave loving partners without some sort of an explanation. While, sure, many asexuals are aromantic, from what I understand it's not as a result of bad past relationships, but instead it's simply the way they are.

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BlackRose

There's not always a way of knowing whether or not you're sexually compatible with someone before you've already started to care about them as a person.

There is: just ask questions when you first start dating someone, like "How important is sex to you? How often do you masturbate? What's your ideal sex life? What are your fantasies?"

Part of the problem, though, is that people don't think to do this, or don't realize how important it is do this.

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Larien

There's not always a way of knowing whether or not you're sexually compatible with someone before you've already started to care about them as a person.

There is: just ask questions when you first start dating someone, like "How important is sex to you? How often do you masturbate? What's your ideal sex life? What are your fantasies?"

Part of the problem, though, is that people don't think to do this, or don't realize how important it is do this.

True. *shrug* I guess it depends on comfort level. I'd probably be creeped out if someone asked me that when we first start dating, but that's just me and I admit I'm a little different. ;)

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nleseul

There's not always a way of knowing whether or not you're sexually compatible with someone before you've already started to care about them as a person.

There is: just ask questions when you first start dating someone, like "How important is sex to you? How often do you masturbate? What's your ideal sex life? What are your fantasies?"

Part of the problem, though, is that people don't think to do this, or don't realize how important it is do this.

Or they think their partner will be all "OMG this creep just wants to talk about sex all the time!!" if they try to ask those questions.

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BlackRose

Or they think their partner will be all "OMG this creep just wants to talk about sex all the time!!" if they try to ask those questions.

Well, then you'd know you weren't compatible, but that would be an unreasonable and unfair reaction to trying to get to know each other and establish compatibility. And no one should get called a "creep" for doing so. (I know you weren't saying that.)

You're right that it can take courage to bring it up cause it can be a personal topic, but I think it's important to do so.

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Larien

Or they think their partner will be all "OMG this creep just wants to talk about sex all the time!!" if they try to ask those questions.

Well, then you'd know you weren't compatible, but that would be an unreasonable and unfair reaction to trying to get to know each other and establish compatibility. And no one should get called a "creep" for doing so. (I know you weren't saying that.)

You're right that it can take courage to bring it up cause it can be a personal topic, but I think it's important to do so.

I agree that it should be discussed, but at the same time I admit to being a little hypocritical. If someone randomly started asking me stuff like that when we'd first started dating, I'd probably be convinced that, "This person is more interested in having sex with me than they are in me as a person." I'm not repulsed by sex and I'd be willing to have it with someone, but I'd have to be convinced that they like me for who I am as a person before I could trust them enough to do that with them.

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nleseul

You're right that it can take courage to bring it up cause it can be a personal topic, but I think it's important to do so.

Sure. But there is a real stigma on talking openly about sex that makes it a completely rational fear in a new relationship.

It doesn't help that everyone is taught to assume that they already know the answers without asking: All men want all the sex they can get; all women can be talked into sex if you buy them enough jewelry. Everyone wants basically the same things sexually, and any weird fetishes you might have are optional things that don't even need to be thought about until you've been having normal sex for years and get tired of it.

That's why it is important that people develop labels and language to use to talk about the ways they deviate from those norms. Precise discussion of sexuality (or its lack) may be frowned upon, but labels are pretty easy to toss out there. If you can just say "I'm asexual," that'll communicate roughly where you stand to a potential partner, without having to get into specific fantasies or masturbatory habits or anything.

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Not-You

I always ask how often my date masturbates the first time we go out. Usually right after I pick her up to go to dinner.

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theo_tatertot

I always ask how often my date masturbates the first time we go out. Usually right after I pick her up to go to dinner.

Just in time to turn the car back around ... :P

But seriously, the issue of when/what/how to talk about this stuff is one of the reasons I follow the forums on here. There doesn't seem to be a single best answer, and I wish I could get a better handle on it. I think I've screwed up when it comes to communication about sex/sexuality, but maybe it's not just me but rather a general incompatibility thing. So frustrating...

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test account

Hmm.

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test account

Double post.

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BlackRose

I am really baffled at some of the responses to my comment:

If someone randomly started asking me stuff like that when we'd first started dating, I'd probably be convinced that, "This person is more interested in having sex with me than they are in me as a person." I'm not repulsed by sex and I'd be willing to have it with someone, but I'd have to be convinced that they like me for who I am as a person before I could trust them enough to do that with them.

And wouldn't you want to know early on that they felt the same way? What's wrong with saying exactly that? I guess I don't understand the logical leap from "partner wants to talk about how we see sex" to "partner doesn't like me as a person."

But there is a real stigma on talking openly about sex that makes it a completely rational fear in a new relationship.

What? There is? I mean, obviously it might be inappropriate if you don't know the person at all. But after a few dates? If you've kissed the person? Maybe my experiences are unusual (I'm used to dating other people who are highly sexual and kinky) but I just don't see how talking about sex with someone you've already kissed or gone out on dates with a number of times is at all stigmatized.

It can mean they are 'relationship' people who are offended by impertinent questions about their private life. If you're not interested enough to spend time getting to know them personally, you may as well conclude you're incompatible.

Well, I can understand not wanting to share private fantasies, but I think general questions about the role of sex in someone's life and in a relationship are important, and talking about stuff like that is a way of getting to know someone personally. If you've been on a few dates and you're considering a relationship with someone, how can just generalities like 'sex is very important to me' or 'sex isn't that important to me' be too personal?

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test account

Hmm.

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Not-You

I am really baffled at some of the responses to my comment:

BR, I think the problem here is that you said one should ask these questions "when they first start dating," and a lot of us are interpreting that to mean within the first...I dunno...5 dates or so? And that is probably inappropriate at that point. Because the only person who is going to be comfortable talking about their masturbation habits that early in a relationship is the same person who is going to be comfortable having sex that early in a relationship as well.

Reading more of your posts, I think you really just mean that the "sexual habits" conversation should happen before the actual sex begins. And that's not necessarily a bad idea.

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Asexy Existentialist

It can mean they are 'relationship' people who are offended by impertinent questions about their private life. If you're not interested enough to spend time getting to know them personally, you may as well conclude you're incompatible.

Well, I can understand not wanting to share private fantasies, but I think general questions about the role of sex in someone's life and in a relationship are important, and talking about stuff like that is a way of getting to know someone personally. If you've been on a few dates and you're considering a relationship with someone, how can just generalities like 'sex is very important to me' or 'sex isn't that important to me' be too personal?

I suppose it's more about how and when it's done than anything else. There are some people who start asking questions such as "what do you think about when you masturbate?" and "what turns you on?" when they've only been on one date. My reaction to that is, "Excuse me? Do you even know my last name? Who the heck are you anyway?"

Well, I'm never going to date. Looks like it's time to pick up a few cats!

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test account

Hmm.

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Sally

Well, I'm never going to date. Looks like it's time to pick up a few cats!

You certainly don't have to ask cats about their masturbation habits. What you see is what you get.

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BlackRose

BR, I think the problem here is that you said one should ask these questions "when they first start dating," and a lot of us are interpreting that to mean within the first...I dunno...5 dates or so? And that is probably inappropriate at that point. Because the only person who is going to be comfortable talking about their masturbation habits that early in a relationship is the same person who is going to be comfortable having sex that early in a relationship as well.

Several people have been very focused on the masturbation question. That was just one example of the type of question that you could ask to discover compatibility within the first 5 dates. Someone who is more reluctant to talk about masturbation habits could still talk about sexual compatibility in a different way, for instance "When do you think it's appropriate to have sex in a relationship?" or "I'm generally not comfortable having sex in the first few months of a relationship; what do you think?" or "I'm asexual" or "I have a low sex drive and I don't think sex is that important in a relationship; what about you?"

Reading more of your posts, I think you really just mean that the "sexual habits" conversation should happen before the actual sex begins. And that's not necessarily a bad idea.

I agree that you should talk about sex before the actual sex begins. But that's not quite what I meant.

What I meant was that it's a good idea to have general discussion about sex and sexual compatibility within the first few dates or so. Even if that's just "I'm asexual" or "I'm looking to build a relationship for a while before we even talk about sex." People should know what kind of relationship they're getting into, and it seems like a lot of problems are caused when both people assume the other thinks the way they do.

After reading the comments, it occurs to me that it may be a good idea to start with less personal questions to see how the person reacts, before discussing more personal things like masturbation habits. I have to admit my bias here: I'm very open about sex and I do usually have sex and talk about sex within the first 5 dates or so. I was surprised that people would think that inappropriate or unusual; it seems very common to me. But it just goes to show that there are lots of different approaches to relationships and it's easy to assume other people think like you.

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Whatnext
If asexuals find it difficult to find such an arrangemnet becasue of teh sexual world out there - how come he did not appreciate it and did something about it?

What specifically do you think he should have done about it?

Considering all the struggles he had had with past relationships and the difficult situation he found himself in; I would have thought he woudl ahave appreciated someone at last who is willing to make a compromise that he said that he loved. Whne you love someone you don't walk out on them and if he was not willing to make compromises don't you think he owed me an apology or an explanation or a form of closure. We are talking about a 34-year old not a kid.

I am struggling to understand whether asexuals are non-committal and aromantic as a result or is there anything I can't understand?

There may be things you can't understand about other people; however, the most important person to understand is yourself.

So far you have said that he is a jerk, sarcastic, rude, and implied that he is not human nor honorable ... yet you still have feelings for him. Ask yourself why? Is it at all possible that you fell in love with the pursuit, the flattery, the being told that you are Mr. Perfect and trustworthy ... instead of the actual person? Is it the attention you wanted to maintain which is why you were willing to twist yourself into a pretzel for it?

Not really it is none of that; I have enough attention from friends and from other people who pursue me; don't get me wrong I am not big headed about it and though consider it flattering, I don't react on it in any way unless I get emotionally involved with someone. Perhaps I still have feelings for him because in my opinion it is far more difficult for sexuals to find a faithful and loving partner and in a way his asexuality gave me a feeling of comfort that IO would not be cheated on. I know myself that I never had and never woudl have cheated on him. In a previous relationship despite various negativities of my sexual partner, I still did not cheat. It is simply who I am whether good or bad. I wanted to be with someone that I love and neither one of us cheat - he may have presneted that dynamic in some way but I might be wrong again.

Are you absolutely sure he didn't do you a favor by walking out the door?

He might have but teh confusing situation he left me with is more annoying than you think. I am asking fro closure., Is having a converstaion with him to close the chapter such a difficult thing to do? If I were that importnat to him, does he just walk out and forget about it? We may come to teh same conclusion of breaking up but at leat logically, mentally and emotionally I would not be in turmoil.

And if there are so many sexual partners to be had, why aren't you out there grabbing one for yourself? Do you think you lack the confidence? Do you think that there are too many others who don't share your values in regards to commitment and monogamy? What is stopping you?

It is not lack of confidence but I live in a part of the world where gay guys are infrequent and far apart; I have a high profile job and that adds to teh strain of being selective and discreet. The fact that he was mature and presnted himself to be decent (which I don't think is the case) made that link go stronger.

Lucinda

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longhaul

I've got behind....

More to the point, I don't see why the asexual doesn't fear the sexual leaving because of lack of sex. It seems overly controlling to say "I'm not going to have sex with you or compromise at all but you can't have sex with anyone else either." Almost an abusive dynamic. Seems like basically forcing the sexual to leave.

Even if there is a chance of the emotional tie breaking up the marriage, it seems likely to be a smaller chance than lack of sex for the sexual breaking up the marriage (which a third person could fix).

I agree this could be an abusive dynamic. In my case I don't think it's the case, nor even that it's overly controlling. It is an attempt to control, I think, but intended more as a sensible thing, like telling your partner to wear a seatbelt.

In my case, lack of sex in itself isn't going to break up the marriage, though in other cases I could definitely see this happening, so it's a fair concern. The whole thing seems driven by fear, though. Fear that something bad will happen, that it's not normal, and probably lots of other nameless fears of the unknown.

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You sound really hurt and upset about your relationship. I think this has more to do with your partner being an inconsiderate asshole than being asexual (similar to Whatnext's situation, I think). I don't think most asexuals are inconsiderate assholes. Your partner sounds somewhat abusive and manipulative to me and I don't think this relationship sounds like a healthy situation for you to be in.

Bear in mind this is all in the context of long marriage. I'm upset about this situation, not about the relationship as a whole. You're only hearing my side of it, also. Actually, he's pretty considerate, and not an asshole compared to 99% of the guys I've ever met. He may be a little manipulative, but only in the way most people are - trying to get things sorted out in a way that works. I wouldn't say he's even being selfish here - in fact, I suspect that this is not the case at all. The problem is that he just can't pay attention to the problem, because as far as sex is the problem, it's not his problem, and he can't really pay attention to it any more than a completely blind person could pay attention to the blueness of the sky.

I don't think I'm being unfair in wanting him to take this more seriously, even though there are serious obstacles in his way. I don't think he's being unreasonable in not noticing any of this. It's just an impasse. We may fix it temporarily, but I'm losing faith in the idea that we might come to some permanent arrangement. Having said all that, for people wondering if a/s relationships can work, I should point out that we are still married.

In response to the stuff about discussing sex early on in the relationship, we didn't, and I don't think it would have helped, because we didn't know our specific needs, boundaries, or in his case orientation, very clearly. I think if both people - and I guess this applies most to older and more experienced couples - understand their orientation and desires pretty well, then a conversation about it would not be that difficult, if brought up at a time when they are already emotionally intimate.

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Manticone
As far as "the compromise" goes, the thing we sexual folks need to realize is that, while going without sex for longer than we'd like is fucking horrible for us, the asexual partner is being asked to submit to pseudo-rape. Being forced to be celibate is awful, but being forced to give your body to somebody (even if it is somebody you love) is even worse.

I completely agree with everything here.

And depending on the asexual individual, sex might leave them cold, but be 'okay' - for others, it might be a *very* unwelcomed experience.

Pressure also doesn't have to be 'obvious' - insofar, as I think many sexual partners might be VERY accomodating, but an asexual partner might still feel a certain amount of guilt if they don't give in to sex. So in a sense, they might still go along with something they'd never do normally, or never want to do if they didn't feel guilty or as if they were letting their partner down in some way.

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Lucinda

Whatnext, thank you for letting me get inside your head so that I can better understand the questions you asked. I reread your initial post to the board and it struck me that he was neither looking for a sexual nor romantic relationship with you, or perhaps anyone else. Despite having been in past relationships, he did not know how to express himself romantically. Furthermore, he stormed out the one time you tried to kiss him. Some folks don't like kissing, so be it, but they usually just state so and say what they prefer instead. But to freak out indicates to me that this was not part of the framework of the type of relationship that he was searching for.

I'm almost inclined to think that he was looking for a best buddy or ???. Could I be too far off? What threw me at first was his whole spiel on infidelity, but perhaps "not cheating" to him meant you not having better friends or spending more time with others than you do with him. He told his friends he cheated on you and you are pretty certain that he didn't actually have sex with anyone else ... so I can't help but wonder if he even knows what he is talking about??

So to answer one of your questions, yes it could be possible that he is both aromantic and non-committal in the sense that you mean.

Since he is not looking for a sexual relationship, he may not see that you were making compromises for him nor would he imagine that he would have to make compromises for you. Even if he found an activity he liked, he would consider it elective. When you seemed to be upset and said you wanted to give him his space, he could have very well thought that this was the closure as he said he can't believe you think that. He could very well think that leaving would be best for both of you ... especially if it all seemed too overwhelming.

I understand that you are in turmoil especially when it appears that he didn't follow the proper social protocol when ending a relationship. However, he may think that he did. I agree with you that the dynamic he was seeking is something other than what you and I can possibly know. What I do know; however, is that I can't help but feel sorry for someone who has to beg another to be in a relationship with them.

Would you feel better if you rang him up to officially end it?

Lucinda

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Whatnext

Whatnext, thank you for letting me get inside your head so that I can better understand the questions you asked. I reread your initial post to the board and it struck me that he was neither looking for a sexual nor romantic relationship with you, or perhaps anyone else. Despite having been in past relationships, he did not know how to express himself romantically. Furthermore, he stormed out the one time you tried to kiss him. Some folks don't like kissing, so be it, but they usually just state so and say what they prefer instead. But to freak out indicates to me that this was not part of the framework of the type of relationship that he was searching for.

I'm almost inclined to think that he was looking for a best buddy or ???. Could I be too far off? What threw me at first was his whole spiel on infidelity, but perhaps "not cheating" to him meant you not having better friends or spending more time with others than you do with him. He told his friends he cheated on you and you are pretty certain that he didn't actually have sex with anyone else ... so I can't help but wonder if he even knows what he is talking about??

So to answer one of your questions, yes it could be possible that he is both aromantic and non-committal in the sense that you mean.

Since he is not looking for a sexual relationship, he may not see that you were making compromises for him nor would he imagine that he would have to make compromises for you. Even if he found an activity he liked, he would consider it elective. When you seemed to be upset and said you wanted to give him his space, he could have very well thought that this was the closure as he said he can't believe you think that. He could very well think that leaving would be best for both of you ... especially if it all seemed too overwhelming.

I understand that you are in turmoil especially when it appears that he didn't follow the proper social protocol when ending a relationship. However, he may think that he did. I agree with you that the dynamic he was seeking is something other than what you and I can possibly know. What I do know; however, is that I can't help but feel sorry for someone who has to beg another to be in a relationship with them.

Would you feel better if you rang him up to officially end it?

Lucinda

I cannot thank you enough and appreciate enough your perspective. To be clear, he was looking for a relationship; not just a best buddy; but the fact that he is an aromantic asexual, he was not emotionally nice and often made sarcastic and condescending if I say something romantic that is not in any way related to sex. That used to be a big blow for me especially when I did not do that very often and the times I have done it it was absolutely sincere. I also want to correct one misconception - I did not give him space to think things through; it was teh opposite when he stormed out he said maybe we need a break to clear our heads and I gave him just that.

You may be surprised to know that I met him by coincidence 2 days ago in public and he felt very uncomfortable just like I did and I said that I wanted to speak to him. He admitted his mistake and his asexuality yet the part I did not understand is blaming me for not making contact with him after he stormed out! He said that I was always the mature person in the relationship and he simply doies not look back, apologize to people or correct mistakes which I found unreasonable. When I faced him; yet delicately; with the asexuality issue he claimed to have been impressed by how much I know and how I handled him. I gave him advise about relationships generally and showed him how much I care for him. He said that he would need few days to process teh infomation becasue it made sense and would be back in touch with me. The next day he got in touch and was a completely differnet person - ultra rude, unyielding and admitted that no one would be able to live with him with his aromantic asexual manner. When I asked him why do you pursue relationships then he said that he wanted to feel desired but was unwilling to react back emotionally or physically. The disappointing part was teh fact that he only made contact with me to find an excuse to pick up some stuff that he left at my place and that was teh end of story. Apart from being aromantic asexual; I think the guy needs professioanl help in other areas that make him as irrational, insincere and ungrateful. In as bad as I feel about being supportive to him until the last minute, you are right about teh fact that having him out of my life may be a blessing. I wish he was deep enough to have a simialr perspective to yours!

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Sally

The next day he got in touch and was a completely differnet person - ultra rude, unyielding and admitted that no one would be able to live with him with his aromantic asexual manner. When I asked him why do you pursue relationships then he said that he wanted to feel desired but was unwilling to react back emotionally or physically. The disappointing part was teh fact that he only made contact with me to find an excuse to pick up some stuff that he left at my place and that was teh end of story. Apart from being aromantic asexual; I think the guy needs professioanl help in other areas that make him as irrational, insincere and ungrateful. In as bad as I feel about being supportive to him until the last minute, you are right about teh fact that having him out of my life may be a blessing. I wish he was deep enough to have a simialr perspective to yours!

The guy is a rude jerk. The possibility that he may indeed be an aromantic asexual has nothing to do with that, any more than the fact that some romantic sexuals are rude jerks. I am really uncomfortable with that combination of traits, even stated in passing.

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