Where To Go From Here
I've been reading a bunch of threads and decided that it's time to join and start my own. I am only out as poly (or something like it) to my partner and lack a community of friends to talk to right now due to various circumstances so if this is long and stress filled and whiny, sorry about that. I haven't had anyone other than my partner to talk to about this and it's hard.
Anyways, background info! I'm 21, female, recently came out as pansexual, kinky, queer...basically I am all the LGBT/alt sex labels. Hahaha. My partner is trans*, male identifying, and monogamous to the core. We've been in a relationship for 2 years and are looking at marriage as in option in the future.
On top of this, I am a highly sexual person. It feeds into my spirituality, my kink, a large part of my identity. I suspect part of it is also my age and that this is also my first "real" relationship. Either way, I have a high sex drive. On the flip side is my partner who is ace and so here is where I sit.
Originally, it was a lot of guilt on wanting sex and him not. Then it was guilt about doing things on my own without him. Then I let it go, stress and life got in the way and I didn't think about it much. I began to consider things, went back and forth with myself and decided that an open relationship is something that appealed to me. I would like to remain with my current partner but have the ability to have casual relationships with other people. I'm open to developing LTRs with them but it's not what I'm primarily looking for. My partner has had very bad relationships in the past. 2 girls cheated on him and twisted their relationships into open ones without his consent.
I am trying very hard to be patient with him but the idea of another open relationship in any form or fashion is very scary to him. He is an alpha and I am his and his alone. I don't understand his mentality or the monogamy aspect (and much of our views on sex, love, and relationships clash too!) so I try very hard to be patient and cope with my feelings on my own.
I'm feeling lost again. We had another discussion about it the other night. We were going to go to a gay bar and it brought up fears for him of someone hitting on me. It ended up turning into an hour of me reassuring him that I'm a big girl and can turn people down. He knows these things in his mind of course but his heart won't listen and he still fears that I'm going to leave him for someone "better".
I don't know what to do. I'm struggling with waiting. I'm struggling with being monogamous when I want to try this new thing. I don't know how to reassure him any better than I already am. He says he's going to try to read The Ethical Slut but it scares him.
I guess I'm just looking for support...general thoughts....thanks.
Ace? Is that asexual? Alpha? Something else?
Assuming it means asexual, you are in a tough situation since your partner does not want sex rarely or at all and you have a high sex drive. Asexual/sexual relationships can work but you two are fundamentally mismatched. Love is not enough without basic compatibility. He can offer you more sex even though it is not his favorite activity if he wants monogamy. I personally think it is very difficult to maintain monogamy in a 'mixed' relationship like yours. An open relationship is an option recognizing he can't meet your sexual needs.
Is he in counseling to deal with the myriad issues that can come up with being trans? I don't mean to imply he is weak - transfolk are incredibly strong and courageous. But it is a difficult road that may involve some serious issues about his body. I ask because do you realize there is no way you can reassure him out of deep seated fears? They are possibly internal problems that your reassurance cannot touch or ease.
I am also concerned about his desire to control you to manage his fears. That never works. He was that fearful about just going to a gay bar? That is not a good sign. You cannot fix his fears by agreeing to be controlled or by reassuring him. The reality is that you can leave anytime. He needs to face these fears, find their roots and pull them out. This is not your problem. You can support and encourage him but you cannot fix this. Is he controlling in other ways? If he is, and refuses to get help, I encourage you to leave.
I don't have any advice really, I always find myself scratching my head at the sexual/asexual monogamous relationship. For one sex is clearly going to be a need at some point, for the other it is not a concern. I think sealing this type relationship in the monogamy model is setting the countdown to the end of the relationship. As a sexual person I could not imagine not being able to express myself that way and to have the pleasure and sense of well-being that sex brings.
Is there any compromise from your partner on that issue? Or is he simply not interested?
Your problems resonate well with me, I have a similar life situation.
We've been discussing about polyamory for a long time, my partner is also trans* and I think that not being cis-gendered makes him think that he can't find other partners, it's too risky for him etc. He has a low self esteem. I feel like much of that is his own internalized transphobia (omg he's so hot ;) ).
If you feel like discussing this privately with me, feel free to private msg me!
I am sorry you hurt and are struggling. :(
Is the right to support and nurture not an expectation in your relationship agreements? Is that why you have to cope with your feelings on your own? Is he neglecting your needs because all the attention (his and yours) are on his? Do you need a talk with a good friend? A counselor?
What does he plan to do to address his fears? What's the "insecure" stem from? What need does he have that needs feeding, and feeding from WHO?
You do not have to understand him coming with "monoamorous" wiring. You have to accept this is how he's wired -- he is wanting to love only one at a time. He does not have to understand your polyamorous exploring desire. You want to love more than one at a time.
What you DO both have to come to agreement on? Is the shape of your shared relationship.
Is it going to be OPEN relationship model? Or remain CLOSED?
You could talk to each other about those sorts of things. Then discern -- what serves BOTH your needs best? And if Opening does not serve both well, and Closing does not serve both well? Break up clean, and be friends instead so you can both be free to seek elsewhere in the romance department.
You have a long list of incompatibles there already with this:
But if most of this trouble is caused by INTERNAL things, if he doesn't want to work on it, with or without a therapist? Nothing you do will fix it.
Sigh. I had a BF like this and after a while it felt draining and like I was throwing "reassure" down the black hole of need while my own needs were going unmet -- my need to be with a stable, secure partner who did not require so much propping up.
I guess I'm just looking for support...general thoughts....thanks.
It is not easy to discern when it is your first serious rship.
BTW, that was my first serious BF too. I think I had to have that experience to LEARN where my limit line was. And once reached it, I had to learn HOW to break up. It was spectacular in how it dragged on. I was trying to be nice and he was clingy. That's there I got "3 strikes" as my own personal limit. It helps ME to not hang around longer than I need to. If I see progress, that is one thing. If nothing is happening -- I may love you, but I don't have to have endless patience for people who do not want to own their responsibilities in relationship, put in their part of the work, or neglect MY needs. I do not exist to just be someone else's propper upper. Neither do you. There's nurture and support of your partner and then there's being in a one sided relationship where you give and give, and they just take.
It was just easier the next time with the next BF to break off fast, clean and then not be available for a while. No answering calls, emails, etc.
I'm still friends with my exes but that break up time -- best everyone deal with it on their own with their other friends.
So I guess I'm suggesting is something like this:
1) You could make up your mind about what your time limit of tolerance is.
2) Let him know that, and let him know you expect him to work on his things. If you see progress/effort being made alright. (specify the progress too into measurable things -- "you go to a therapist weekly" is measureable. "Get better" is not. Focus on behaviors he must do to honor your agreement, not feelings he must feel.
3) Give it time, see if he follows through or not on your agreements.
Thank you for all the responses everyone. Sorry for the late reply. My internet has been shaky and life has been busy. I guess the easiest way to do this is to respond to one at a time.
Ace does mean asexual. Sorry for not clarifying that! I forget it's not a common term.
I agree it is a difficult match. Part of it is that he has become asexual over the course of the relationship due to his personal body issues. Sex is not something he needs to feel connected to me; cuddling works just as well as him. No, he is not in counseling. Neither am I. I'm getting back into school so I can use school counselors but he is uninsured and we do not have the money at this time. Hopefully in a few months he can but it's very dependent on jobs, etc.
He has expressed wanting to compromise with an open relationship or a polyamorous relationship but is held back by many of his fears and poor experiences with it.
Thank you very much for the offer. It's nice to know that there are others out there in similar positions.
There is only so much talking one can do with a partner before it begins going in circles and I get too frustrated. It's definitely not that he isn't willing to listen and respond, it's that I'm tired of it. Like I said before, I'm trying to get into school so I can have counseling; I can't afford it any other way at the moment. So I've turned here for the time being.
His needs are more internal. I have addressed, and continue to address, his external needs. We make sure to check in with those constantly, especially during periods of stress.
I'm not quite sure how to respond to the rest of your post. Breaking up is not an easy option for me and not something I'm seeking to do. I can see this working as an open relationship in the future but I simply struggle to find the patience within myself while he works on his issues.
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