Trying to get boyfriend to be more open minded!

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Trying to get boyfriend to be more open minded!

Unread postby Lola_May » Wed Apr 29, 2020 3:00 pm

My boyfriend and I have lots of discussions and occasional clashes of opinions which is an important part of our relationship. We always have something to talk about and we are both comfortable talking about our feelings as well. However, when having discussions involving his whole family or other groups of people he isn't quite as good at listening to other people's opinions.

One topic that has caused me immense frustration is about the validity of asexuality. I know one person who identifies as asexual and have known another in the past. I really don't know enough about it to have much of an opinion on it. However, I do feel defensive of the people I know/have known in their freedom to be able to confidently identity as asexual and not have people making judgements about it.

My boyfriend seems to have come to the conclusion that asexuality is a manifestation of depression and other mental health issues. He is very set in the thinking that as human beings we all some behavioural characteristics engraned in us. He really struggles to see the nuances of other people's experiences! I myself am in the belief that it is a lot more complicated and still want to read stories of first hand accounts and any research papers on the subject. Ultimately I want to remain open minded and sympathetic.

My boyfriend is lovely and one of the kindest people I know. Outside the realms of heated discussions/arguments he treats people very well whether they a complete stranger or a friend. He is also very supportive of the lgbt community (as well as under-represented people in general) and has friends who are gay and bisexual. He hopes to go into medicine and is starting at university in September. I really just want him to be able to have a bit more of an open mind about this topic but don't know where to begin with resources that discuss it. Are there any resources you would recommend? Are there any that present research or a mix of different opinions/experiences?

Also as a bit of extra information my boyfriend is dyspraxic and has some features which are quite similar to autism (I think it can be part of dyspraxia but not entirely sure). He is very strict about his schedules and likes to have lots of rules and boundaries. I think this can sometimes apply to how he sees the world around him sometimes as well.

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Re: Trying to get boyfriend to be more open minded!

Unread postby Jacob » Wed Apr 29, 2020 3:39 pm

Hi Lola!

I'm afraid there's no magic crow-bar to open a partner's mind with. It's really his responsibility to push himself to recognise the limits of his guesswork around what an asexual person is thinking.

Really any conversation where someone is being strongly opinionated about the validity of a certain groups' sexual identity or gender expression rings a whole bunch of alarm bells for me.

Mental illness being part of someone's experience does not invalidate their identity! Our mental health contributes to all aspects of ourselves including sexuality. That fact doesn't make us any less authentic.

I think that goes for cognitive conditions like dyspraxia - I have a diagnosis of that too by the way! Our actions and attitudes to others are still our own. It is still OK for anyone to tell me that the way I'm speaking is not cool, or that they don't want to hear me be dismissive of others' asexuality.

It sounds like you have already provided a positive example of what being more considerate of other peoples' stories and identities looks like I think that on its own can make a big impact, however it's a very slow acting medecine that doesn't always work. Instead of convincing your boyfriend, I also think it's acceptable to set limits around things you'd like him not to discuss with you.

Not everything should be up for debate! And if you feel that way, I feel that this is something you could say to him.
"In between two tall mountains there's a place they call lonesome.
Don't see why they call it lonesome.
I'm never lonesome when I go there." Connie Converse - Talkin' Like You

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