Author Topic: 7 year relationship. No sexual desire. She wants to get married. Any Counselors?  (Read 12859 times)

Fish Sweet

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I don't know if your girlfriend is anywhere on the ace spectrum, but I am, and your story make me wonder if that might play some part in your situation.  There are plenty of asexual, gray-ace, etc. people for whom attraction and desire are dependent on very specific factors/only apply in specific situations, and who can go long periods without sex and then happily reengage with it.  Maybe this is the case for her, maybe it isn't, but I wanted to offer this perspective.  I am asexual, and I have a girlfriend who is not.  We are not intimate (although I know this is not the case for all ace folks.) Our relationship works for us at this time. 

If that fact changed, and my girlfriend came to feel that mutual intimacy was very important and necessary to a relationship, we would ultimately have to break up.  This wouldn't be anyone's "fault," not really-- not mine for not wanting to engage in intimacy, not hers for wanting something very personal and fulfilling and important for most humans, not out of lack of respect or love or willingness to make the other happy, but because our fundamental needs have become mismatched.

Your girlfriend's reasons don't really matter, in this case-- whether she's lost her sex drive, a matter of personal conviction, religious mores, she only wants to get it on in the confines of holy matrimony, whatever.  They are all good, fine personal reasons to not get intimate, and you can love her and respect her wishes.

And your reasoning-- wanting to be intimate and know you share intimate chemistry and compatibility before tying the knot-- is a very good, valid, fine reason too, and to be respected too.   

This isn't a matter of 'fault' or even being unrealistic-- your girlfriend may be perfectly accurate in her judgment that she'll be able to happily and enthusiastically be with you after you've exchanged vows.  But you're mismatched, fundamentally incompatible on this point, and couching it in terms of "if only she'd stop being selfish and do XYZ for you" or "if you really REALLY cared about her you'd stop being selfish and just propose already" is only going to hurt the both of you.  I think you should take a break from each other, at minimum, and work from there.

ysette9

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I don't know if your girlfriend is anywhere on the ace spectrum, but I am, and your story make me wonder if that might play some part in your situation.  There are plenty of asexual, gray-ace, etc. people for whom attraction and desire are dependent on very specific factors/only apply in specific situations, and who can go long periods without sex and then happily reengage with it.  Maybe this is the case for her, maybe it isn't, but I wanted to offer this perspective.  I am asexual, and I have a girlfriend who is not.  We are not intimate (although I know this is not the case for all ace folks.) Our relationship works for us at this time. 

If that fact changed, and my girlfriend came to feel that mutual intimacy was very important and necessary to a relationship, we would ultimately have to break up.  This wouldn't be anyone's "fault," not really-- not mine for not wanting to engage in intimacy, not hers for wanting something very personal and fulfilling and important for most humans, not out of lack of respect or love or willingness to make the other happy, but because our fundamental needs have become mismatched.

Your girlfriend's reasons don't really matter, in this case-- whether she's lost her sex drive, a matter of personal conviction, religious mores, she only wants to get it on in the confines of holy matrimony, whatever.  They are all good, fine personal reasons to not get intimate, and you can love her and respect her wishes.

And your reasoning-- wanting to be intimate and know you share intimate chemistry and compatibility before tying the knot-- is a very good, valid, fine reason too, and to be respected too.   

This isn't a matter of 'fault' or even being unrealistic-- your girlfriend may be perfectly accurate in her judgment that she'll be able to happily and enthusiastically be with you after you've exchanged vows.  But you're mismatched, fundamentally incompatible on this point, and couching it in terms of "if only she'd stop being selfish and do XYZ for you" or "if you really REALLY cared about her you'd stop being selfish and just propose already" is only going to hurt the both of you.  I think you should take a break from each other, at minimum, and work from there.
Great perspective. Thanks for sharing.

And now I’ve learned a new term for today: “ace spectrum”.

Inaya

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I'm not sure if anyone's asked this (apologies if so), but what was her plan if you didn't propose to her? Irrespective of the whole no-sex thing (which she didn't think/know was even an issue until just now), what was she going to do if you didn't pick up on her poorly communicated (until now) desire for marriage? Before she knew that she could even use sex as a bargaining chip.

Was she planning to leave you if you didn't propose on the cruise? Like... if she needed you to propose to "prove" your commitment--what if you didn't provide that proof? What was her endgame? The rules are different now the she has leverage, but what was her mind like prior to knowing she had that leverage?

zoochadookdook

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I'm not sure if anyone's asked this (apologies if so), but what was her plan if you didn't propose to her? Irrespective of the whole no-sex thing (which she didn't think/know was even an issue until just now), what was she going to do if you didn't pick up on her poorly communicated (until now) desire for marriage? Before she knew that she could even use sex as a bargaining chip.

Was she planning to leave you if you didn't propose on the cruise? Like... if she needed you to propose to "prove" your commitment--what if you didn't provide that proof? What was her endgame? The rules are different now the she has leverage, but what was her mind like prior to knowing she had that leverage?

I think she hadnt really contemplated it as an option. I assume now she's thinking if I cant get on board with marriage she will have to leave. We didn't really feel like fighting tonight.

zoochadookdook

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Hey all so neither of us wanted to fight tonight. I dont believe the cruise is refundable/transferrable so I'm thinking we're going on a trip. I have no doubt we need some time apart or to set a date by which we establish breaking up or similar.

ysette9

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Hey all so neither of us wanted to fight tonight. I dont believe the cruise is refundable/transferrable so I'm thinking we're going on a trip. I have no doubt we need some time apart or to set a date by which we establish breaking up or similar.
That is a big step for you to be saying that and it must not be easy. I just want to recognize the hard work you are doing here.

zoochadookdook

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Hey all so neither of us wanted to fight tonight. I dont believe the cruise is refundable/transferrable so I'm thinking we're going on a trip. I have no doubt we need some time apart or to set a date by which we establish breaking up or similar.
That is a big step for you to be saying that and it must not be easy. I just want to recognize the hard work you are doing here.

I mentioned to her a few times I'd rather she go with her sister/friends but she just kind of brushed it off. I did tell her I didn't want it to be awkward/to go if it was just focused on engagement and we did need to set realistic dates of what we need and such in the relationship or decide when to call it.

MDfive21

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I think the OP is just engaging in the Sunk Cost fallacy.  That's a hard one to work through. 

http://time.com/5347133/sunk-cost-fallacy-decisions/
Yes, and he has spent his entire formative adult life with this personal, so he has no other experience for comparison. He doesn’t *know* how much better a better relationship could be because he has only experienced this disfunction. It is hard to appreciate what you’ve never experienced.

i've made this mistake before. 
"we've come so far, we can't quit now.  i can't do all this 'work' and let some other guy reap the benefits!  i have to see this through to the end"



zoochadookdook

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I think the OP is just engaging in the Sunk Cost fallacy.  That's a hard one to work through. 

http://time.com/5347133/sunk-cost-fallacy-decisions/
Yes, and he has spent his entire formative adult life with this personal, so he has no other experience for comparison. He doesn’t *know* how much better a better relationship could be because he has only experienced this disfunction. It is hard to appreciate what you’ve never experienced.

i've made this mistake before. 
"we've come so far, we can't quit now.  i can't do all this 'work' and let some other guy reap the benefits!  i have to see this through to the end"

Yeah fair point, and it seems like a sound rationalization but I'm making it clear to her I am unhappy/unfulfilled in our relationship. I'm not set against marriage but there's some serious work/changes/damage control before I can get to that level. Probably more time than she wants to wait but that's her right as well.

simonsez

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One more thing.

Not “working towards marriage” (whatever that means) is not the problem in your relationship, it is the symptom. You need to treat the root cause, not the symptom.

I think she wants to see that i'm dedicated to getting our relationship to marriage-as she always planned to be married some day-thus dating with intent.
I bet you anything that she will start dating someone else after you break up and she will get engaged, married and have a baby within 2 years. If she wants to get married, she can. Just not to you, since you are incompatible. There's no sense in entering an unhappy marriege with your eyes wide open.

I have no doubt she could!
Well okay then.  Set that bird free.

zoochadookdook

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One more thing.

Not “working towards marriage” (whatever that means) is not the problem in your relationship, it is the symptom. You need to treat the root cause, not the symptom.

I think she wants to see that i'm dedicated to getting our relationship to marriage-as she always planned to be married some day-thus dating with intent.
I bet you anything that she will start dating someone else after you break up and she will get engaged, married and have a baby within 2 years. If she wants to get married, she can. Just not to you, since you are incompatible. There's no sense in entering an unhappy marriege with your eyes wide open.

I have no doubt she could!
Well okay then.  Set that bird free.

We're going to have this trip to reflect and get on the same page. Hoping to have a good bit of clarity by the time we get back.

mm1970

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Quote
Yes, this is the project manager in me coming out, but you should have an idea of what things you can reasonable try next, a reasonable timeline for that, and identify on your head criteria by which you can judge whether it is worth continuing to sink time and effort into this or cut your losses and move on.
PMs, unite!  This was very good.

Also with the sunk costs.

And Kris was spot on.

zoochadookdook

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Quote
Yes, this is the project manager in me coming out, but you should have an idea of what things you can reasonable try next, a reasonable timeline for that, and identify on your head criteria by which you can judge whether it is worth continuing to sink time and effort into this or cut your losses and move on.
PMs, unite!  This was very good.

Also with the sunk costs.

And Kris was spot on.

Ironically enough my degree is in MIS and I'm looking for jr PM positions/business/system analyst positions lol. Yeah we're going to set timelines together. Already brought it up so she's aware neither of us is interested in wasting time         

ysette9

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Great! You’re moving down the right path then. Good luck.

Chaplin

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Hey all so neither of us wanted to fight tonight. I dont believe the cruise is refundable/transferrable so I'm thinking we're going on a trip.

That's more sunk-cost thinking. No matter what you do, you don't get the money back, so whether you go or not should be based on whether or not it's a good idea to go.

I have no doubt we need some time apart or to set a date by which we establish breaking up or similar.

And there's the answer to whether you should go or not.

I'm not sure why I'm contributing to this thread. It's a bit like watching a movie and yelling at the character on the screen not to go into the scary house but they can't hear you and do it anyway.

So much wisdom has been offered in the responses. You asked for help and advice and you have received a wealth of well though-out, well supported responses. I don't think I've seen a thread with such consistent responses.

ysette9

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@zoochadookdook - thinking of you. I hope you are making good progress. Good luck.

iris lily

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@zoochadookdook - thinking of you. I hope you are making good progress. Good luck.

I think it is fine that the OP has left this thread for a while to think over its contents.

oP, I encourage you to stay away for a while. You have heard everything we have to say. You dont owe anyone feedback! But in a while, give us an update. Be well.

Boofinator

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OP is probably on his cruise. I too wish him the best of luck on figuring out his life path.

zoochadookdook

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Hey all on day 5. Just got some spotty wifi in caracoa. Trip is good. Food everywhere. Burnt to crisp. Same old cordial relationship. I'll have a  better update when I return the 26

ysette9

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Hey all on day 5. Just got some spotty wifi in caracoa. Trip is good. Food everywhere. Burnt to crisp. Same old cordial relationship. I'll have a  better update when I return the 26
Nice to hear from you. Enjoy your trip and WEAR SUNSCREEN. (Plenty of cancerous and pre-cancerous things removed from many of my family members so I’m extra cautious)