Libido Rollercoasters Going In Different Directions...
March 14, 2014 4:12 PM   Subscribe

After years of his turning me down sexually and not wanting to touch me as I enjoy, now he's interested... and I’m not. Is there anything we can do? [NSFW]

This is long, sorry.

Him: Loves me. Working; supports us both. Extreme introvert. Ongoing struggle with Dysthymia (now treated); diagnosed as on the Autism Spectrum just this week, but high-functioning enough to pass as neurotypical for 35+ years. Low sex-drive that fluctuates, but happy with that. Love Language: Quality Time. Affectionate, supportive, but "difficult to love" by his own admission. Has been getting what he needs out of our relationship. Trying to give me what I need; historically it hasn't held, but this time has worked better than the others.

Me: Love him. Disabled (neurological & autoimmune illnesses), dependent on him for financial support, a visa, and sometimes as a carer. Managing most of the household tasks, Social Secretary for the dyad, etc. Ambivert. High sex-drive. Love Languages: Physical Touch & Quality Time. Passionate and demonstrative. Specifically need sensual/intimate touch from him if he's a romantic partner (sex with others feeds the general hunger, but stop me wanting intimacy specifically with him).

Us: ~15 years together. Love each other. Aligned in values. Live together well; make a good team. Agree on finances, goals, children (there won't be any), etc. Polyamorous since the relationship got serious - in part because of the libido mismatch - and happy that way. Enjoy spending time together, don't want the lack of touch/sex to break the relationship. Living as expats - I don’t get to stay in this country if the relationship ends.

Then: For many years, SomePartner and I have been… scraping by sexually, basically. He goes/went through periods where he isn't interested at all for 2-3 months; I'm an daily-or-more type by preference. We have been through repeated rounds of: me getting touch-starved and distressed; his turning me down while taking care of himself with porn and masturbation (I don't object to porn, though I prefer the actors aren't exploited, but that was hard to deal with when I was so unfulfilled); him telling me that it "wasn't worth" touching me in the ways I was asking for, that sex was "too much effort" (and we're not talking marathons or hours of foreplay here - usually 15-20 minutes total), that he "didn't see the point" of anything that didn't lead directly to him getting off, even holding me while I masturbated. Sensual touch, and sexual activity for my sake were out of the question - we had those conversations repeatedly. He sees no point in sensual touch himself - we snuggle, but about all he enjoys as "sex" is fellatio and penetration.

(And let me be clear, I'm not interested in having sex with someone who doesn't want to! But it hurts to be told there's no point, especially when I was asking for relatively little.)

Literally half of last year we were having sex that didn't get me to orgasm; sometimes, I felt like he didn't desire me at all, just a convenient warm hole. He was sad that sex wasn't working for me, but didn't seem able or willing to change that. Similarly, I could put the "it's not worth it" comments down to poor phrasing and so on - if they didn't keep happening over and over and over again. So many variations on the theme make it hard to doubt the general gist of the message.

Sex, masturbation, pornography and so on are hugely sensitive topics for SomePartner, and carry a lot of shame. Trying to talk about sex with him, pre-Lexapro, would make him shut down on me; he'd be unable to look me in the eye for a few hours. So I got more and more apprehensive over the years about asking him to talk about it (or do it, since even gentle "it's totally fine to say no" initiation had the same results if he wasn't interested. And of course, then he got sad because I wasn't initiating! The irony...)

Finally, by the time SomePartner went onto the Lexapro, sex didn't seem to be doing anything for /him/, either, when we had it. This is hard to phrase gently - please know that I'm not saying this expecting him to be an athlete or model, but he's extremely unfit. His default physical state is tired, achy, and feeling like he's coming down with something. I'm disabled and in constant pain, and I'm the more physically active one. He often doesn’t leave the house for a week at a time because he works from home on a laptop, then spends his free time gaming online; I get out most days, exercise whenever possible, and socialise without him by his choice. (Date nights for the two of us happen occasionally, but almost always at my urging.)

So every time we had sex, it'd end with SomePartner sounding like he was going to cough up a lung, or cramping agonisingly somewhere, or otherwise in pain immediately afterwards. And the "during" part wasn't much better - he didn't actually seem to be enjoying it, and I… well, I get a lot out of enjoying my partner's enjoyment, so even sex that doesn't get me off can be amazing for that - but this wasn't managing even that part. For his part, he’d just pump away unexpressively, orgasm, and be in pain. He'd hurt me frequently without intending to, trying without enough lube, tearing my labia doing something I'd just warned him was hurting, or putting his weight on my bad hip and not listening when I yelped and repeatedly asked/told him to move. He wouldn't understand when I told him what hurt or asked him to do what felt good. I have trouble breathing if he's on top of me, and we can't use my favourite positions any more, because of his physicality. It… really wasn't good, but it was all I had, because anything else "wasn't worth it" to him.

We’ve been to five or six couple’s counsellors, including a sex therapist, without solving these issues. We’re making some headway with our current relationship counsellor. (I’m also in individual therapy.)

By the middle of last year, I was desperately trying to work out if redefining this as a chaste/companionate relationship was the way to save it. I didn't do well constantly wanting something I couldn't have, and although I've taught myself that his rejection/lack of interest isn't personal, I have a lot of trouble looking past the repeated "too much effort"/"not worth it" comments. Since our relationship was mostly okay apart from the sexual aspects, I wondered whether changing my expectations might make that part easier. I said as much during a counselling session with SomePartner; SomePartner, however, heard this as my threatening to leave him.

Recently: SomePartner started Lexapro about 6 months ago. And his libido disappeared. We haven't had sex this year, and to be honest, I haven't missed it. It's hard to be enthused about sex that isn't doing much for either of us, and about a partner whose default state seems to be "Bleh."

He got the infamous Lexapro anorgasmia, too. That actually helped the few times we’ve tried since he started the meds; since he wasn't going to get off regardless of what we did, he was investing a bit more in my pleasure, and better at listening to me when I asked for what I'd been asking for all along. More importantly, he was suddenly willing to touch me in ways that I enjoy, despite their not being explicitly sexual - so for the last few months I've been getting all I needed out of that intimate non-sexual touch, snuggles and him stroking my back and whatever. And that's been good - I really haven't missed the sex.

He's been apologising to me lately, post Lexapro, for "not being good" at sex & touch, and at learning when I tell/show him what works for me. And it's heartbreaking, because I don't think it's for want of trying, but I can only really say that for these last ~6 months.

(Also, last July I started seeing OtherPartner. I’m having great sex with someone who gets as much enjoyment out of my pleasure as I do out of his. So not only was my yearning for sex-at-all being met, but I've had intimate touch that worked for me in both relationships, and a wonderful equilibrium in my life. I wasn't asking SomePartner for something he couldn't give, and I wasn't using OtherPartner as a substitute, but overall I was happy and feeling loved and... it was all just good, even though (because?) SomePartner and I weren't doing this thing that kinda sucked for both of us.)

And Now: SomePartner’s sex drive is coming back. And I'm just going "Oh god, no. I can't. I can't." Some of my reactions feel like those I get from PTSD, wild and desperate or wanting to just run & hide. He asked me a week or two back whether I was interested in sex with him at all, and I had to say... well, not yes. I feel awful about that, but I don't desire him that way now. I explained why - that it's hard to be enthused about sex that's not doing anything for me, and that the fact he doesn't seem to enjoy it, and that it leaves him in such pain, means it's harder still - and I thought he got it...

But a night or two later I went to bed to find him sitting there naked telling me that he'd been thinking about how nice it would be if I went down on him, and would I? And I just thought "FFS, why did you bother asking me if I was at all interested, if you weren't going to listen to my answer?" I do see the irony after being the one wanting/asking for so long. But I was generally more tactful about it, and respected his telling me his libido had disappeared.

He backed off when I declined, of course, and hasn't been consciously pushing the issue, but he's all handsy and the body language and the ways he's touching me have changed and I'm getting angry and distressed about it. I was sleeping yesterday and woke up just before he came in to nap himself; I ended up getting up, snarlingly frustrated, because a sleeping SomePartner was groping me in painful ways while completely unconscious.

And at the same time, he came to me the other day, all sad and small, saying, "So, if we can't save this, would you consider staying around and living with me? And just being friends and housemates?" He feels like we don't have much at all that we do together, and that we're not going to survive, and it's heartbreaking to see him so sad about that.

But then, I know how it feels; I was clawing at the walls last year feeling like either the relationship was going to break or /I/ was going to break, largely on account of the untreated dysthymia. And it still hurts that it took us getting to that point for him to fucking do something about it.

It’s a bitter, painful irony knowing that after years of rejection, of trying to be philosophical and not take it personally that SomePartner didn’t want me the way I wanted him, I’m now the one who’s shut down sexually, and he’s the one having to face the rejection. My libido remains active and high, but it's flatlined where he’s concerned and I don't know how to resuscitate it. Honestly, I don't know if I want to - I want to want to, but that's not the same thing.

We’re in therapy already, but what else can we do? How would you approach this? Is there hope for a companionate relationship? Can I reignite my interest after so many years of rejection and disappointment? Is it worth it given that his sex drive will ebb away again in time? Have you been here - what happened? Where do we find hope and a way forward? What do we do?

In case you can't tell, this is a painful and sensitive subject; please be gentle if you can? Feel free to PM, or you can e-mail me: someone.elses.story [at] gmail. Thanks, MeFites.
posted by Someone Else's Story to Human Relations (18 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

I can't imagine you haven't thought of this simple solution, but it's worth the clarification to get insight into his mindset: Would he want to go outside the relationship for sex the way you do? (Assuming that's within the boundaries that you've both set.) Would that make it an unacceptably "companionate" relationship?

Is a companionate relationship something that he doesn't want, that you don't want, or both?
posted by supercres at 4:27 PM on March 14, 2014

It was distressing to read about your sex life with SomePartner because it sounds unfulfilling and at times painful.

It's completely natural for you to want physical affection and sex with your partner. The fact that he doesn't seem unable - just unwilling to listen to and respect your needs makes him sound selfish.

I also think it's a problem if one partner continually turns down sex (by saying "it's not worth it"!) but still uses porn to masturbate on a regular basis.

You deserve a partner that cares about your needs and loves you enough to try to meet them.
posted by fireandthud at 4:48 PM on March 14, 2014 [4 favorites]

This is going to be a very difficult question to answer, because you're asking us to tell you what you want. I noticed in your past questions that not being able to figure out what you want in life is a recurrent problem for you, but I feel like this conversation would be better had between you and your therapist (in individual therapy) than between you and the internet strangers.

The major issue seems to be that if you can't keep your partner visa, you get deported. I also read your past question about that, and you clearly seemed to be saying that you don't want to be deported and want to stay where you are. You do not believe that there is any other way to stay where you are other than being on this person's partner visa. It seems like a very bad thing to have your future happiness dependent on whether this person has you as a partner or not, when your relationship is this far on the rocks. I think you should see an immigration lawyer to discuss whether there might be other ways for you to stay in this country that you want to stay in.

Because I think it's fine if you guys want to stay roommates - I certainly can't tell you whether it will work out in the long run or not, but it does seem tenuous given that you'd likely both be seeing other people while potentially he is resenting you for not wanting a romantic relationship anymore with him… it just sounds like it could turn into a problem.

The only question I feel confident answering is the one about whether it's worth it to try to motivate yourself to have sex with him - no. It's not. The way you describe him as a sexual partner sounds extremely unpleasant. Don't have sex with people just to make *them* happy.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 4:52 PM on March 14, 2014 [16 favorites]

I think you should find another way of staying in the country because this relationship is very obviously a source of intense and continuous agony to you.
posted by tel3path at 5:09 PM on March 14, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I'm sorry, this is a hug for you. What a tough thing.

I think your reaction to his not wanting to sleep with you makes a lot of sense. But did you grope him unwarranted while he was sleeping, or show up naked in his bed and ask for sex even after he said he didn't want to have it with you? I think you did not do these things because you say this: "And let me be clear, I'm not interested in having sex with someone who doesn't want to!"

Has he shown you the same consideration for your physical boundaries as you showed him (ceaselessly, for many years, I might add)? Has he shown you the consideration you and your body and mind deserve? This Internet stranger doesn't think so, but I am not really sure - so I'd advise you to think about this, if you can.

How would you approach this?
Honestly, I would try to get some distance from the situation. Go away for three weeks or a month. Just get some space so I can think and understand myself and how I feel about everything, without my significant other or anyone else with a dog in the race around to influence me. I can be pretty easily influenced by other people, particularly in cases where lots of emotions are involved - I am not my most rational self with emotions that I do not understand very well - so I find that taking space and time to myself to think, write about how I feel, cry in bed by myself, look at the stars, etc... that time is very valuable for figuring out matters like this. It's how I figured out how to leave a man that I loved dearly but who was hurting me very deeply, and I am very grateful and glad that I got that time to myself to give my true feelings the space to peek their faces out and let me know what was really going on both outside and inside of me, and how I truly felt about it.
posted by sockermom at 5:32 PM on March 14, 2014 [8 favorites]

What were the immigration lawyer's suggestions?
posted by oceanjesse at 5:44 PM on March 14, 2014 [7 favorites]

Best answer: I have a lot of trouble looking past the repeated "too much effort"/"not worth it" comments.

Just be extra sure you're clear in your own head that he's saying it's too much effort for him, that it's not worth it for him. That's selfish and tedious but it's not the same thing as saying you're too much effort, and you're not worth it.

Is there hope for a companionate relationship?

Sure, of course there is. A million people on Ask will say "if there is no sex, you're just friends without benefits!" but I think that's a deeply shallow definition of what makes a relationship.

Can I reignite my interest after so many years of rejection and disappointment?

I think it's perfectly fair to say to him "I'm willing to work on reigniting my sexual interest in you if you are willing to invest in me sexually the way I've been asking you to. Let me know if you need me to re-articulate what that looks like, or need it in a different way, maybe written."
posted by DarlingBri at 5:47 PM on March 14, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks for your answers so far.

A couple of clarifications:
supercres, I knew I'd forget something! SomePartner has had other partners before (mostly snugglebuddies rather than sexual partners, given his libido) and still has the option, but he's functionally monogamous these last few years. His response to the question of other partners is that he finds the notion of dealing with people exhausting as it is; why would he want another relationship to maintain? That may change, of course, but that's where he is now.

treehorn + bunny, I'm not asking anyone to tell me what I want (or what my partner wants). (The question you reference was two years of therapy ago; I've been working on it.) I'm asking what the options are so we can hear about things we haven't thought of ourselves, get perspectives we haven't considered, and learn from the mistakes of others. I can sift through those options and decide what I want for myself.

There are lots of unconventional relationship models out there that we don't tend to hear much about; I'm hoping to hear about some of them. My hope is that, given alternatives to think about and options to consider, I can find ways forward that will work for me and SomePartner can decide which models work for him. We're short on ideas, and too close to the issue here & now to think outside the box; that part is why I'm asking the Internet.

I know what I want right now - I want myself and both my partners to be happy and loved. The equilibrium state I described was wonderful, we all were happy, and I would be delighted if it had continued indefinitely.

I also want to want SomePartner in ways that are compatible with the ways he wants me, which seems more difficult. Perhaps it's impossible in a sexual context, after all that history. For the last half-year we had that sorted; now that things have changed, I want to find a way to make things work as well as they were. That part, of course, is entirely on us and our therapists.
posted by Someone Else's Story at 5:55 PM on March 14, 2014

Best answer: I'm sorry, but it sounds to me as though this relationship is over in terms of romance and sex.

He is unwilling or unable to listen to you and what you want. He is unwilling to even talk about sex. He says that sex with you is too much effort.

You've (quite reasonably) given up on sex with him.

All of these things, and please understand I am saying this with compassion, point to something pretty much unfixable. That being said, the fact that he's apologizing is the ray of hope here. You just need (with help from your therapist) to get from apologizing to doing.

There may be some things you can try:

- Exercise for him. Not just for your sex life but for his health. Join a gym together (I understand you may have limitations in terms of what kinds of exercise you can do).
- Seduce each other. More to the point, he needs to seduce you. This isn't some silly gender essentialism thing; he needs to win you over.
- Make Date Night a regular thing. My boyfriend and I have every Tuesday set aside for ours.
- Say to him, flat out, "I do not feel as though you respect anything about my body or my sexuality, because of XYZ. That has turned me off. I love you and I want us to have fun happy sex again. How do we work together to address these problems? You can't shut down. You need to be an active partner in fixing this or it is not fixable. How would you like to approach fixing this?" Give him a few days to think and respond, but put a definite deadline on when you are having the next conversation.

Good luck. I honestly don't think this is salvageable at this point, but I hope I'm wrong.

I'd also suggest printing out your question and taking it to your next therapy sessions, both singular and couple.

posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:20 PM on March 14, 2014 [9 favorites]

Have you asked the immigration lawyer whether a companionate or similar relationship model would affect the visa, if it were known to the Immigration Bureau?
posted by Bentobox Humperdinck at 7:03 PM on March 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Any time sex hurts me*, with my highly into it and loving partner who immediately changes what we're doing to stop hurting me (when he can - mid-orgasm it can be hard to move obviously, but he still usually manages to stop hurting my cervix), I have a hurdle to overcome the next time we have sex. It's a very clear relationship between 'this hurt last time' and 'I hope it doesn't this time'. He usually makes sure that I get to control things a bit, and that we take it slowly. You have years of hurt and injury, with dismissive hurtful words and behaviours on top of that, and a refusal to change or listen.

Your partner deliberately and repetitively continued sex acts that hurt and injured you - you overcame it with a high libido and now that you don't have that libido/attraction to compensate, you have no desire to. The solution is not to keep doing what hurt you, with someone who hurts you repeatedly (no matter the underlying reasons).

Yes, he's sad. But he's doing nothing different now her wants sex compared to when he didn't - you are still being hurt and injured and he is dismissing that. He needs to reconnect with you properly before sex can be an option, but it sounds like you're utterly unattracted to him (thanks to years of dismissal and hurt) and that may be impossible to overcome.

And as someone who has been there, done that, the kind of partner who habitually hurts you during sex, refuses to change their actions to stop hurting you, who dismisses your suggestions, is not going to make for a good platonic housemate. Sex is a communication, and he's proven over and over that you don't get to be listened to or respected.

*In an unpleasant way.
posted by geek anachronism at 8:02 PM on March 14, 2014 [11 favorites]

If you decide you want to try to muster sexual interest him again, increasing the amount of nonsexual touch he's giving you might help you get there over time. If he's, say giving you a long massage every night that could make you feel more physically interested in him eventually.

But honestly... I think if you weren't dependent on him to maintain your current lifestyle, you would have left him already. If that's the case you should think about whether you're staying for reasons that feel good for both of you.
posted by metasarah at 8:54 PM on March 14, 2014 [4 favorites]

I am not sure how possible it is for you to both have your needs met, no matter how modern the arrangement. You want intimacy, and a partner who's mindful of your needs, and who wants to fill them. Realistically, there will be an upper limit to how much movement there can be in his style of communication, even if he's strongly motivated to change, and I guess only you can say whether he is or not. From here it seems the changes he wants to make are about pleasing his needs.

I also don't know if it makes sense to try to abstract "libido" from the relationship as a whole, or to portion off painful memories of longstanding rejection, especially in the context of continuing dismissal.

Also: when I was in a very stressful relationship, I was ill all the time. Bronchitis, skin conditions, muscle spasms, digestive problems, one thing after another - at one point my hair was falling out in chunks. And I do not have an autoimmune or any other kind of systemic illness. What I'm saying is, extreme stress, just by itself, can do that to someone who's not immunocompromised (although of course, stress eats at immune function on its own). Given your underlying conditions, I have to ask how staying with someone who causes you this kind of stress and unhappiness might impact your health, now and over the long term.

Hoping this isn't too blunt, but. If you were free to live in the country you're now in, would you stay with him?

Can you predict with 100% confidence that coming back would mean misery? Would it be worse than this?

Maybe there are options you haven't considered - maybe you could have a completely different life, in a totally new place that's not the old one and isn't this.
posted by cotton dress sock at 10:52 PM on March 14, 2014 [7 favorites]

I know what I want right now - I want myself and both my partners to be happy and loved. The equilibrium state I described was wonderful, we all were happy, and I would be delighted if it had continued indefinitely.

What were both of you getting from the relationship at this time? Companionship, freedom from pressure to have sex, rebuilding other ways of communication? What do you and OtherPartner get out of your relationship with each other? Why did that particular state work for everyone?

Sounds like there may be some anger between the two of you. His sexual behaviour sounds angry. Your lack of sexual interest in him may be an expression of your anger at his previous rejections. When my marriage ended, we had a lot of anger with each other. It expressed sexually. He didn't set out to hurt me in bed, but if I was uncomfortable or it hurt a bit, he didn't particularly care. Sex was a chore. We separated very shortly after things between us reached that point.

There may be some way back from that state of affairs. I couldn't find it, and no one I've known has found it. Sometimes, what's broken is precious and unique and irreplaceable, and you want to fix it at all costs. Other times, it's something you could fix, but it just makes more sense to replace. Visa issue aside, what sort of relationship is this to you?

Cotton dress sock raises an excellent point about stress, happiness and health. You need to take care of yourself, here.

I'm an expat as well, by the way - no idea what country you're in, but I am surprised that you must stay in this relationship or risk deportation... forever. Even if that's what the official paperwork says, life is messy and unpredictable. In my country of choice, officialdom said that I would have needed to stay married to my ex for a defined period before I could apply to stay here on my own - separation from him in that defined period would equal deportation. I've since met people who were given permission to stay here after separating from partners during that defined period. Everyone's situation is different. Talk to an immigration adviser or lawyer. If money is an issue, find a local law school and see if they have clinics. A family law clinic might be able to refer you to an immigration clinic or practitioner. You may be able to stay where you are and not be with your partner.

No sense in staying with someone who isn't and hasn't been fulfilling you for such a long period of time. I don't get a sense of love from what you've written. I get a sense of making do and resignation and low expectations for mutual satisfaction. You deserve more. He deserves more. I hope you both find it.
posted by Grrlscout at 12:06 AM on March 15, 2014 [5 favorites]

This is kind of blunt, but I promise I'm not trying to be hurtful or inflammatory:

He's been a dick to you for years. At pretty much every point of the relationship you describe, he's asked you to make accommodations for him with no consideration of your feelings. Now that your roles are somewhat reversed, he's already discussing ending the relationship - because you not doing what he wants is a much more immediate problem than the decade+ that he spent not doing what you would like.

It's clear emotionally and physically that you really don't want anything to do with this relationship, but you're trying to rationally sell yourself on it for practical reasons - financial, legal, etc.
posted by Benjy at 12:09 PM on March 15, 2014 [9 favorites]

There are lots of unconventional relationship models out there that we don't tend to hear much about; I'm hoping to hear about some of them. My hope is that, given alternatives to think about and options to consider, I can find ways forward that will work for me and SomePartner can decide which models work for him.

I'm not really sure that there are lots of unconventional relationship models out there… are there? I haven't heard anyone mentioning any here. I just worry when you respond by saying this that you're basically looking for any way to stay with someone who hasn't been treating you well enough, because you are dependent on him. I see the problem as being finding solutions to make you more independent, otherwise you can be put in a very difficult position very easily. It saddens me to think you might feel like you have to give blow jobs for room and board, you know what I mean? I get the sense that you were offended by my comment about not knowing what you want, but I didn't mean to offend - I really think there is more for you to consider before you say that you want to find any feasible way to salvage this relationship. Agreeing that sockermom and geek anachronism have great insights.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 4:58 PM on March 15, 2014 [4 favorites]

I was in a situation very similar to yours quite recently. True, we were married and monogamous, and I didn't have a physical illness, just some pretty severe depression which led to functional alcoholism. Same on the visa, though, and same on the sex. We went to counselling, and it didn't work. I was too hurt and angry. I couldn't bring it back.

I was psychologically preparing myself while in England to come back here alone, with no savings and no job and no idea what the hell I was going to do, since I couldn't stay there. I knew that in my case the relationship wasn't going to recover.

As it turned out, his company transferred us back to the States. And I hoped that coming back would change things. It did not. So we decided to split last spring.

I spent years pretending that we could basically live the rest of our lives as "friends without benefits". Because we *are* very good as friends, and we absolutely do love each other-- that way. But not being able to be lovers took too much of a toll on us, and ate away at the friendship too, until the only way to bring it back was to end the charade of a romantic relationship. It hurt him a lot at first, as his desire was on the resurgence at the time. But he realized quite quickly that he'd known on some level that this wasn't working for some time and accepted it. If this is the decision you have to make, hopefully the same will hold true for you. I am having the best divorce ever-- no kids, no shared property, he lets me use the car, we made dinner at his place the other night and watched Silence of the Lambs. We get along so much better now that we're free to embrace the platonic nature of our relationship.

It was fantastic to start getting touch, and sex, again. As I said, we were monogamous, and I had been rejected and then unattracted for many years, and I had started going freaking CRAZY. I still haven't got finances figured out, and the depression's only gotten significantly better since a suicide scare in December that friends saved me from. But I'm still glad I did it. He's glad now too. It's better for both of us.

Your situation is complicated in ways that mine was not (though it sounds like you're not crazy and drinking half a fifth of whiskey every night, so I might have had a couple of my own extra complications.) But I knew I had to leave, I did so, and I'm glad. Scared about how I'm going to pay my rent, but I know I'll manage, and it was what I needed to do. So if it is what you need to do too, know that it's entirely possible for someone in a rather similar situation. Especially if you, unlike me, happen to have things like job skills and decent work experience.

I hope this helps rather than just being depressing. Just my anecdata. YM, as always, MV.
posted by Because at 11:51 PM on March 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you to everyone who responded to this post, publicly and privately. I especially appreciate those who took the time to share their experiences with me despite this being both a private and very painful subject.

I did learn a few things - not least that the Asperger's/Autism could be a much larger factor in the issues we've been having than we'd ever realised (especially since he didn't realise he had it for most of his life!). With the diagnosis being so new, we're still trying to work out how it affects things and how best to move forward, so that knowledge is very useful and opens up a new set of resources to explore.

We do love each other, as I mentioned, and outside the sexual sphere we have a good relationship. We want to make this work if we can, or find a way to remain in each other's lives if the romantic/sexual relationship is unviable. We have continued to talk (and yes, both therapists have seen this post), and will doubtless be doing so for a while yet.
posted by Someone Else's Story at 12:51 PM on March 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

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