Dear Apositive: i am in love with an asexual guy

General discussion about relationship issues.
Karl
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Dear Apositive: i am in love with an asexual guy

Postby Karl » Sun Apr 13, 2008 5:20 am

I received this question through our contact form on the front page. I figured I'd throw it out to the community to formulate a response.

Hey, maybe if we get questions like this on a regular basis we can make a feature of it?

Hi,

i am in love with an asexual guy, i am not asexual, but sex is not a big deal
to me. i have told the guy that i liked him, but he said he was not interested.
i found out after that he was asexual. i still love him and really want a
relationship with him, even if there is no sex. how do i approach this with
him. do asexual's enjoy kissing/cuddling?

thanks x


Please post your own responses to this question here and then I'll send her the link to this thread.

CierraJo
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Re: Dear Apositive: i am in love with an asexual guy

Postby CierraJo » Sun Apr 13, 2008 6:07 am

I suppose it depends how close the two of you actually are. But if you are close enough to be comfortable with saying "I know you are asexual, but I am interested in a relationship with you that doesn't have to become sexual."

Also, I think it's obvious that asexuals vary greatly on how they feel about kissing & cuddling. But it seems that many asexuals do enjoy those things, many times though it is best to make it clear that you don't perceive such things as foreplay, so the asexual person can relax and not worry about things going too far.

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Placebo
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Re: Dear Apositive: i am in love with an asexual guy

Postby Placebo » Sun Apr 13, 2008 6:19 am

Hey, that's awesome that people are starting to come here for information! I'll take a stab at it, no guarantees, though. . .

Hey X,

First off, asexuality means lack of sexual attraction, but we're still capable of love. That said, just like the rest of the world, we aren't interested in everyone, even in a nonsexual way. So. . . this is going to sound harsh, but it's possible that this guy is not interested in you. That's the worst case scenario, so I figured I'd get it out of the way first.

Now we have to dive in the mire of asexual subgroups. There are asexuals who also consider themselves to be "aromantic" meaning that they don't feel the need for romantic relationships, but rather prefer friendships. So, if you're interested in this guy romantically and he is an aromantic asexual, that could be a sticky point too, as he would prefer to interact as friends.

Then, within the field of tactile contact, we span the whole range. Some of us don't like touch much--even nonsexual touch. Some are OK with casual touch but not more (ie, kissing or cuddling). Then there are some that probably like kissing but not cuddling or cuddling but not kissing, and from there is runs all the way up to people that are willing to engage in some sort of either limited or full sexual activity. Everyone's different, so that's kind of unique to the person you're interested in and you'll have to get to know him to determine what he likes, just like you would in any other relationship.

It all comes down to the fact that if you (and he) are interested in pursuing a relationship, it will take quite a bit of discussion between you two, as it would in any relationship. One difference is that there are a lot of assumptions that people make about ways of expressing their love that do not always hold true, and it makes it difficult to understand about yourself and also to explain to another person, because usually you just assume that you are as you are, and that everyone else is probably similar. That's not always in the case, and in the instance of asexual-sexual relationships, that's even more not the case. Sometimes for sexuals it's easy to misunderstand "lack of sexual desire towards you" as "lack of desire/interest in you" and to feel unloved, and yet the asexual has no understanding of why you are upset, because we interpret love and its sexual expression differently.

Since it's difficult for people to understand always how different they are from others, it's possible that the asexual is saying "no" to you for a variety of reasons. Some of them I mentioned above, or it's possible that he's previously had bad experiences with a sexual due to communications issues, whether they are verbal or sexual. However, it's also possible (depending on how much he reads about human sexuality, etc.) that he doesn't fully understand himself how to explain, either to himself or to you, what he wants.

Before I understood asexuality, I would automatically reject any romantic behavior/dating invitations/indications of interest from everyone, not because I didn't like them, but because I understood dimly that they were feeling something that I wasn't, and so I had to reject them then because it wasn't going to work, from my perspective. I'm an aromantic asexual, so I didn't "fall in love" with them, for instance, so it would have been cruel to "lead them on" from my perspective. I didn't have the words or even well articulated feelings to explain that what I wanted was friendship, and so given that their question was "Do you want a romantic/dating relationship?" my answer obviously had to be "no." There was no room in the discussion for explanations of expressions of love or anything like that, I couldn't counter with, "What I'd really like is an deep, meaningful relationship that will initiate as a friendship and deepen over time into a very intense one-on-one relationship," because when I phrased it in words, it came out as, "Let's just be friends"--which in my language is the ultimate form of bonding, and to them was the ultimate form of rejection. So that's something to keep in mind when talking to him. Not only sexual expectations, but your relative expectations of what your relationship "looks" like. . .to him, to you, to the world. . .might be very very different.

Good luck!
"Now it's right for me to be me."

Phil Halvorsen, from "The [Widget], the [Wadget], and Boff" (Theodore Sturgeon)

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Emmarainbow
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Re: Dear Apositive: i am in love with an asexual guy

Postby Emmarainbow » Mon Apr 14, 2008 4:33 pm

Placebo wrote:Before I understood asexuality, I would automatically reject any romantic behavior/dating invitations/indications of interest from everyone, not because I didn't like them, but because I understood dimly that they were feeling something that I wasn't, and so I had to reject them then because it wasn't going to work, from my perspective. I'm an aromantic asexual, so I didn't "fall in love" with them, for instance, so it would have been cruel to "lead them on" from my perspective. I didn't have the words or even well articulated feelings to explain that what I wanted was friendship, and so given that their question was "Do you want a romantic/dating relationship?" my answer obviously had to be "no." There was no room in the discussion for explanations of expressions of love or anything like that, I couldn't counter with, "What I'd really like is an deep, meaningful relationship that will initiate as a friendship and deepen over time into a very intense one-on-one relationship," because when I phrased it in words, it came out as, "Let's just be friends"--which in my language is the ultimate form of bonding, and to them was the ultimate form of rejection. So that's something to keep in mind when talking to him. Not only sexual expectations, but your relative expectations of what your relationship "looks" like. . .to him, to you, to the world. . .might be very very different.

Absolutely exactly that.
I'd also say that you might have to deal with a lot of being pre-dating, even if he does agree. lots of being friends v close. Hmmm. Good luck, be prepared for some graft, and it may well work. *hugs*

(although of course, no promises and he might just not want to go out with you etc, but I wouldn't want to either crush your hopes or get them too high)

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Dargon
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Re: Dear Apositive: i am in love with an asexual guy

Postby Dargon » Tue Apr 15, 2008 4:21 pm

I'd like to applaud Placebo's post.

I have nothing to add, but some things I'd like to reiterate.

As has been said, on most every aspect, from desire and comfort with various forms of physical intimacy, from hand holding to kissing, and even to sex itself, asexuals run the whole gamut. Merely knowing that your friend is asexual tells you little to nothing about his desire or comfort with romantic relationships or any forms of physical intimacy. These are things that only your friend can tell you.

Unfortunately, x, there is no clear cut path for you to take. As Emmatainbow has said, there are many, many things you an your friend must deal with in order to learn about each other and gain a better understanding of each other before you can begin dating.

Placebo did say one thing I would like to expand upon, concerning your "xpectations of what your relationship "looks" like." Perhaps what I will say isn't the same as what Placebo meant, but it is perhaps something that should be addressed. Society ingrains in us an idea of exactly what a relationship should "look like," and perhaps even what it should be. You fall in love, you kiss, you cuddle, you have sex. Society tells us that if there is no physical intimacy, especially if there is no sex, then it is not a romantic relationship. Many people , myself included, have been tricked into thinking they cannot have a meaningful relationship by this image society places upon us. Now there are many people who truly feel they cannot have a meaningful relationship without sex, or without physical intimacy, but that isn't the case for all people. Some people are able to have deep and profound emotional relationships without so much as touching one another. Unfortunately, because of the image of what a relationship should be, these people are often left thinking that their relationships have little value, despite how emotionally intimate they may be. X, from your letter, it sounds like you feel that you are perfectly able to have a happy, meaningful, intimate relationship without sex, which looks very different from what the world expects a relationship to look like. This is likely something you need to discuss and explore with your friend.

As has been stated, there is no guarantee that what I have said is the case with your friend. It could be one or several of the things I and the others have said, it could just be that he's just not into you.

X, I wish you the best of luck.