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Author Topic: Asexual? Something else? Help Please
b.grace
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I apologize if this is long and rambling. I've kept a lot bottled up lately and I can't talk about it with anyone I know. I'm hoping to get some non-judgmental advice on my sexuality and situation with my boyfriend.

I've always wanted a relationship and have dreamed of getting married and having kids even though I've never felt particularly attracted to anyone. I figured I just haven't met the right person yet or it has to do with trust issues since I am very shy and guarded. I recently turned 18 and I started dating my boyfriend several months ago. At the beginning, I was ecstatic because I thought things would finally make sense. It made me happy to read his corny love notes and hanging out with him has always been amazing and easy. I thought the romantic feelings would come in time. When I kiss him, I feel nothing at all. There's no quick heart rate or butterflies or nervousness or even desire to be around him all the time. I've never felt any of these things, but I kept telling myself I just needed to let my guard down more and I would feel something.

I'm not so sure of that anymore. This summer, I started researching out of curiosity and I'm terrified that I'm asexual, aromantic, or both. I REALLY don't want to be. The idea of sex itself is not revolting to me, but I know I feel no sexual attraction for my boyfriend. It was always a little uncomfortable kissing for extended periods of time, and now that things are progressing past the point of just making out I feel horrible. He tells me to just relax and I apologize for being so jumpy and scared...but I can't tell him the truth of what I now suspect. It's not his fault at all.

The worst part is I feel so guilty because he is so great to me. He is always understanding and sweet, and I love him in the sense that I care about him so much and want him to be safe and happy. It doesn't help that he thinks I'm "the one" and always says how we're going to get married, have kids, etc. He says he would be alone without me and I'm the only reason he's happy. Breaking up with him would DEMOLISH him, but I know it's the right thing to do [Frown] He really suspects nothing is wrong and thinks we are the epitome of the perfect couple. Ahhh so much guilt

Anyway, is it pretty much confirmed that I am asexual at this point? Is it possible it could just be some fear of intimacy or even that I'm repressing being gay? I don't have much reason to believe I am attracted to girls other than finding them equally as aesthetically attractive as guys. I've never had a crush on anyone with the butterflies and all, though I have felt something a handful of times that I don't know how to label. A mini-crush maybe? It was with a guy once and a girl the other, and I just wanted to be around them and thought about them a lot. They also both appeared in my dreams frequently though they were never sexual or anything. I also want to throw out there that I can be aroused sexually if I think about sex for long enough, but sadly never when I'm with my boyfriend.

I really would like to figure things out, but I guess the prevailing issue is how to end things gently. I honestly still want him in my life. The guilt is just getting too stressful to the point where I feel physically sick to my stomach all week. I feel like a horrible human being and he deserves much better. I didn't start the relationship with these intentions. I cannot stress that enough. Please, someone help. I know this is long but I can write a book with everything I've been holding back, so I can elaborate if anyone is willing to work with me.

Thank you for hearing me out.

Posts: 3 | From: United States | Registered: Sep 2013  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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Welcome to the boards, b.grace. [Smile]

Can I first check in and see if you can't give me an idea about how much of these feelings -- or lack of feelings -- are about this particular person, versus a lack of feelings/feelings when it comes to experience with other people? Even outside relationships, things like having any kind of romantic or sexual interest or feelings of desire for others?

I know you spoke to some of that here, but I'm wondering if you could say a little more?

I do want to say that no one is a horrible person because someone has feelings for them they don't share. we're also not horrible people when we engage in relationships and find out, as we often will, they're not the right relationships for us or don't seem to be what we want. dating, especially when we're new to it, really involves a lot of trial and error, and there really are a lot of things we can't know about a relationship before we're actually in it.

As well, someone talking marriage and kids a few months into a relationship? That is MIGHTY fast. And honestly, when people are going there that fast, it's usually more about fantasy than reality on anyone's part. As well, anyone we're in a relationship with who says or gives us the idea that without our relationship, they couldn't go on? That's not healthy. If that's true, then that person is missing some things in themselves and their lives to even be in and co-create a healthy relationship. If it's not true, that's a manipulation, and that's not healthy.

Can you tell me why you feel like you can't be truthful with this person?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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b.grace
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Thank you very much for the quick response [Smile]

I'll try to describe how I feel even though it's hard for me to put them in terms of romantic/sexual interest. (I feel like I don't 100% understand what each feels like.) I can say that with most of my friends and acquaintances, I'm friendly with them but never completely comfortable. I'm always just a little self conscious and private. Then there's my family, closest friend, and my boyfriend. With them, I feel much more comfortable and more out of my shell. I can laugh about stupid things and all of that. In a way, I feel close to my boyfriend, but like a best friend or a family member. Purely platonic. I do like cuddling, holding hands, and small kisses, except I never feel any kind of spark.

I don't know how to describe the other two situations I mentioned because I never had a desire to kiss or touch them either. So...I'm not sure. It just felt really important to me that I had to know them. The girl moved away two years ago and I was surprised at the extent to which I missed her. She was in a lot of my dreams, mainly her coming back in town and me not getting the chance to talk to her, and I always woke up feeling disappointed. The situation with the boy was more or less the same. I just really admired him and the way he talked like a professional public speaker. The last time I spoke to him was at our graduation in May but he is still in the back of my mind and I think about him often.

I don't think my bf is consciously trying to manipulate me like that. He just has this really childlike naiveté/ innocence. He sees us as perfect and having a happily ever after I suppose. I can't really think that way anymore. This is my first relationship and his first serious one. When he says things about marriage and children, its usually over text and I don't know how to respond. I'll either wait a little while to see if he sends something else that changes the topic or I'll make a point to say that those things are a very long way away. He wanted to get an apartment together for freshman year but I said I wasn't ready for that. I want to convince him he doesn't need me to be happy. He's centered his life around me and that's not healthy, but it makes it that much harder to hurt him. I'm feeling myself break down with guilt a little more every time I hear about how perfect and important I am to him.

It's funny that I feel like I can talk to him about anything but can't tell him what I'm typing here. I'm scared of 1. hurting him and 2. being judged and misunderstood. Up until recently, I thought asexual meant cell reproduction so I couldn't imagine anyone understanding, especially him since he is positive I am as happy as he is. It would feel like telling him I've been pretending to like him for eight months. He's not the strongest emotionally, and I would never blame him for being sensitive, but I don't think I could handle him breaking down in tears. I'm the type of person who struggles to tell someone no, so this is really taking a toll on me. Also I think he may be homophobic just from one passing comment. I've learned not to bring up that topic since my family is homophobic and it leads to arguments when I try to defend the other side. I'm not sure about his viewpoints on other sexualities. It's a mess either way

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Heather
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That helps, and thanks for trusting me with all that honesty.

You know, it sounds to me like really, right now, the big issue is this relationship and what you want to do about it.

It seems like not only is that a crisis for you right now you need to figure out how to deal with, but that figuring out your orientation this early in your life experience, and with you feeling like you have so few feels about it in a lot of ways, just also isn't likely to be doable. In other words, to start to get a handle on our orientation, we've got to have some patterns we can observe with our feelings and relationships. We can't soundly base all of that on just one relationship, or without some good experience in our range of feelings about people as a whole.

And, of course, whatever your orientation may or may not be, I'm not sure how relevant that even is per this relationship. because what strikes me as relevant is not how you may or may not feel about all people, but how you feel about this one. And I hear you saying you're not having sexual feelings with this person, nor feeling comfortable being sexual with them. I hear you saying you aren't having romantic feelings for this individual, either.

Whether this person is or isn't included, in a broad way, in your sphere of attraction, the fact of that matter is that, as an individual, you're not feeling those things for or with him. Make sense?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Heather
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(Also, can I check in with you to see if you think identifying as asexual -- even if it does turn out to be how you feel best identifying -- might be an easier out for you from this relationship? That's not a judgment or an accusation, I just could understand if that might be part of why you're tying these things together right now, especially since it sounds like you don't feel okay about leaving something because it simply isn't working for you or isn't what you want.

IOW, "It's not you, or me, it's my orientation," can certainly be/seem a much easier out than, "I don't feel the things for you you feel for me, and I just don't feel comfortable being sexual with you.")

[ 09-06-2013, 05:21 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Molias
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Hi b.grace,

I wanted to step in and say something about you feeling bad about wanting to break up with your boyfriend. It often is really sad and painful to end a relationship with someone when we still care about them in some way and want the best for them. But I think that drawing things out because you're afraid to break up can actually be more harmful for both people in the long term:

The person who wants to break up can feel like they're lying, having to hide their true feelings, and might end up engaging in physical intimacy they don't actually want to, and the other person may very well eventually realize that something's wrong and that their partners emotions and responses feel forced. I have been the person who's waited to break up with someone because I felt guilty, and I've dated someone who didn't break up with me because he "didn't want to hurt me," and both times that delay caused a lot more hurt feelings than there would have been otherwise.

Breaking up is also often really painful, of course, but it gives both people a chance to heal and move on. He'll probably be really sad if you break up with him, sure, but like Heather said, if he's relying this hard on the relationship for his own happiness, that's something he needs to work on on his own as it's not a really healthy place for him to be.

I have a question, as well; you said in your first post "It was always a little uncomfortable kissing for extended periods of time, and now that things are progressing past the point of just making out I feel horrible." Are you continuing to do any of these things that make you feel so bad? I don't have a real sense of what, if anything, you've said to your boyfriend about this, but if his only response is to tell you to relax and continue to try to do those things, that's pretty troubling. I'd really encourage you to stop doing anything that makes you feel like that.

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Heather
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These three links might be useful when thinking through some of this:
• Should I Stay or Should I Go?
• http://www.scarleteen.com/article/boyfriend/getting_through_a_breakup_without_actually_breaking
• http://www.scarleteen.com/article/words/when_the_time_comes_0

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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b.grace
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I just realized this is in the wrong section, oops.
Thank y'all both so much. It really did help to type all of this out because it makes everything so much more clear than it has been in my head. The relationship is what is troubling me the most right now and now it's painfully clear that it needs to end, even if it hurts.

Molias, to answer your question, we haven't gone all the way but things are starting to move in that direction. It's only been the past few times I've seen him and I've pulled away and said I was uncomfortable every time. I've been anxious knowing that I'll probably go through this same pattern every weekend now. I realize I should stop now while I still can since it's making me feel so bad.

Heather, I actually feel like orientation would be a harder way out because I'm so scared and unsure. It's a lot easier to be honest under the anonymity of the Internet. I would much rather just be normal and be able to experience relationships like everyone else. There's no one I feel I can talk to about orientation and I'm scared to label myself as asexual because it's not a life I want for myself.

There's a lot I need to work through, but thank you so much. This really helped a lot.

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Heather
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How about for now, you focus on making some choices with the relationship, then we can come back and talk orientation later?

If that sounds good, you know where to find us. [Smile]

And honestly, ALL orientations are "normal," so in the meantime, maybe just let that float in your head so this can be something that doesn't add extra stress for the time being.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 67933 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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