Am I Sacrificing?

I am such a jerk that when it comes to my friends and family, I will sacrifice everything to maintain a certain level. I think this is because I’ve seen a lot of crap in my life and I think that I can’t do anything on my own. Or, maybe the reason is so ineffable and buried so deeply that I will never, ever figure it out. In any event, I will sacrifice every aspect of my life and myself to maintain an even keel. The problem with this, however, is the fact that when things start breaking down within me, I don’t necessarily know what the cause is. I don’t take as much time for introspection as I really should and so, when it comes to why I’m doing X, Y, or Z, I may not always know until I take a time out to think about it.

After my last post, TH and I have been working on things. We’ve been communicating more and more with each passing day. It’s very much like a honeymoon stage, which worries me. I know that’s how things work out between two people when they have a huge fight and are establishing their relationship anew. All of my divination attempts have reminded me that we’re starting over, that this is a time to take the relationship to its proper place, etc. So, I know that this honeymoon phase will last for only so long before we start actually having to live and prosper. And I have to admit that I’m a little worried about what will happen when we’re both living under the same roof again.

But, the thing is that this post isn’t about my worries for the future; this is about my worries for the now.

All week, we’ve been having sex. I’m not overly worried about it since I do have a tendency to want sex once in a blue moon. My only problem is that I’m wondering if I’m sacrificing myself and my thoughts on my sexuality in order to make him feel better? It’s something that I’ve been thinking about a lot in the last day or two. I’ve wondered if my sexuality really is what I think it is or if it’s actually something a little different. The problem with defining your own sexuality is that it’s fluid and shades of gray; it’s not easy. However, it’s easiest to define myself as asexual at this time until I figure out more of what’s going on in my head.

And at this time, I wonder if my definition isn’t quite incorrect, but if I’m doing this in order to maintain a sort of pleasant buoyancy in our relationship. Obviously, this is a conversation that I need to have with TH, but it’s only something that came to me yesterday and I’m not ready to voice my worries as of yet. The thing is, if I am willing to sacrifice something I feel is accurate in describing myself, what does that mean for our future? And another thing, how the hell do I figure that out?

“And You Always Knew It Wouldn’t Be Easy.”

Somehow I found
A way to get lost in you
Let me inside
Let me get close to you

Lost In you by Three Days Grace

I spent a good portion of yesterday, holed up underneath one of my altars while I listened to really sad music. Since TH had taken R to a family barbecue, I was left to sit and wallow in a way that I haven’t been able to do since TH told me he was going to move into his mother’s house on Friday. I found out a lot of things about myself yesterday that were frightening. I realized that while the horror of my life with my ex-husband was terrible, it wasn’t nearly as horrible as an honest broken heart. I realized that no matter what TH says about us or thinks about us, I’ll probably never be what he needs me to be. I realized that no matter how old I am, cutting is still an issue with me (though I didn’t). I realized that wallowing really hurts but is the only way a person can get past the broken heart. And I realized that no matter what, I felt like I was forever going to be unloved and unwanted for who I am.

When TH brought R back, I was hiding underneath my table. The only thing that was missing from that particular picture was me sucking my thumb with Professor wrapped in my arms. (Professor is a bunny my mom had when she was a kid that got passed down to me. He’s living in a hermetically sealed box right not because of the bed bug infestation we had last year.) I turned the music off and said something. I don’t know what, but it caused us to start talking. And I told him that I couldn’t do this anymore. I hurt so badly and the ache is so painful that I would much rather not continue to feel this way. I told him that I couldn’t live in stasis until he had his head screwed back on right. And I did something that is stupid and you’re not supposed to do in a relationship – I delivered an ultimatum. I said, “I can’t keep hurting anymore because you ran way because of troubles and heartaches. Either you move back in or you don’t, but you need to decide now.”

And he looked at me, with hardly a blink, and said, “Let me get my bag of stuff from my mom’s. I’m coming home.”

It’s weird when you get what you want from someone because it scares you. It scared me so much to hear him say that he would come home because I had delivered that ultimatum. You would think that I would have been happy to get something I wanted, but not really. It’s only after you deliver an ultimatum that you realize the person may only be agreeing to it out of their own selfish demands and wants. So, I took it back. And I said, “No, no. I take it back. I just can’t do this. You need to go and find yourself and figure things out and I’m left mending the pieces,” or something. And I told him that this wasn’t fair to me, to R, to him, or to anyone really. I reminded him what our core problem was here: a lack of communication. And I said, “Does it matter? Are things really going to change because you suddenly start communicating with me? Or is this going to be a two-week change and we go back to the way it was?”

So, we started talking.

We talked about the asexual issue because I accused him of this being the actual issue. I told him that everything else all a cover, but it’s this possible indefinite lack of sex thing that scares him the most and that’s the issue. And finally, finally he agreed with me. I knew that, subconsciously, that things were going to be difficult when I said, “Yes, I am asexual.” I just never really anticipated how difficult it would be.

But, it is difficult. I’m ace; he’s not.

Our discussions went around and around the issue, stabbing at it, and then backing away. I told him that I don’t want to have a relationship with someone who is scared and not sure if they could be celibate – maybe – for the rest of their lives. I can’t just assume that my sexual desire will come back in the future. I have to assume this is a permanent fix for me. If I say even remotely what I think – that sexuality is fluid and changes over the years – then that could give him hope. And I don’t want him to hope that things will work out, be better, because what if they aren’t? And I admitted that to him. I told him that I don’t want to even cuddle with him anymore because I’m worried he’ll hope that it will lead to sex because, you know, he’s twenty-five and in the prime and blah, blah, blah. It sucks when you pull yourself back so much because you are scared of hurting the person you love so very much, but sometimes, it’s something you have to do.

Though, I don’t really recommend it.

He explained that it didn’t really matter to me about the asexual stuff and the scary future he may have in which he never has sex again. He said the point was that he loved me, he wanted me, he didn’t want to watch everything fall apart because he was scared and worried. He said he wanted to try. He wanted to find out if we could find a way to make things work around this. He told me that our life together – the one we forged with our son – is something that he wants to make work because, as he said throwing a sappy card I got him for his birthday, “I want this.” I looked over the card, a fairy tale story about knights and dragons, and the ending was “happily ever after.” And he said to me, “I want this and I want this with you.”

I want that, too, but I’m so scared that he’s going to take two, four, seven years and then say, “I’m done. I can’t handle this ace thing anymore,” and leave me. And I’ll be back where we started. I told him last night that my hope button is broken. I told him that I don’t have any faith in what he wants because I just can’t hope and have faith and then get torn down asunder again.

And he reminded me. He reminded me of all the things he’s done for and with me over the years in regards to this sex stuff. He’s never coerced me. He’s never forced me. He’s never yelled at me for not giving him sex. He’s stopped in the middle because he accidentally triggered me (after months of celibacy). He’s stopped because I’ve asked him to. He’s comforted me, after the fact, when I started freaking out about not being normal and being a horrible human being because we don’t have normal, societal sexual relations. And he said, “I’ve done all these things in the last six years. You can’t assume I’ll do a complete 180 and start forcing you against your ace thing.” And he’s right, of course, but I’m still scared.

The pain of it all
The rise and the fall
I see it all in you
Now everyday
I find myself sayin’
I want to get lost in you
I’m nothing without you

“Remember How We Were, We Really Were, Before This Disaster Came and Tore Us All Apart.”

I should have known these walls would cave in
I should have never left my heart there on the line

Hurricane by Theory of a Deadman

I think one of the worst things that we do when our lives blow up is all of the remonstrating we have with ourselves after the fact. You’re practically writhing on a roasting spit from hell, turned over and over again by no one but yourself. And in that moment, while you’re torturing yourself with all of the things you could have done to prevent the flaming destruction of your life, you are very, very busy forgetting a key factor. And that key factor is that hindsight is 20/20. So, it’s easy to go back through and see where you screwed up, inventorying all of the wrongs you committed in an effort to figure out where it all went wrong. The problem is that you may not actually be at fault for that destruction, but a bystander as your life goes down in flames. Even if that’s the case, it doesn’t really matter because you’re still too busy, categorizing your fuck-ups while watching girly romantic movies (for women, anyway), ugly sobbing into your pint of Coffee Coffee, Buzz Buzz Buzz.

I’ve thought long and hard over the course of the last few days. In my more rational and clear-thinking moments, of which there are precious few, I know that I am not the cause of this. I know that there is nothing I could have said, nothing I could have done that would prevent TH from needing to “run away.” And in effect, that is precisely what he has done. As he has made it clear to me, he never said he wanted to end things. He never said he didn’t want to be a part of my life or our son’s life. He just needed to put everything on hold while he sorted out his thoughts and emotions (an indefinite hold). While I can understand that desire on the most basic of levels, it doesn’t mean that the facts aren’t the same. He still walked out of the house and is living in his parents’ basement. He has still made both my life and my son’s life harder because he is not here. And he has broken my trust at the most fundamental levels because now, if we do get back together and attempt to live happily ever after, I will always worry that he will “run away” again when things get too difficult.

I completely understand the whole needing to “run away” thing. I most people do. I honestly believe that every person gets to a point where they are entirely fed up with everything and need to take some time for themselves. However, the problem I have with how he went about it is that most peoples’ ideas of running away do not mean walking out on your family. It means that you go to another room. It means you ask your spouse for time alone while you mull things over. It means that you go for a Sunday drive and admire the scenery for a while. It means you walk around the mall. It means you go out to lunch by yourself. It means a lot of different things, none of which equate to actually moving out of your homestead and leaving your family members in the lurch.

In those rational, logical moments, I remind myself that he is very young. While only five years actually separate us on the physical age level, in the realm of emotional maturity, we are vastly beyond each other. I am only his second relationship in his entire life. And in the course of that relationship, we have had a lot more downs than we have had ups. We have had a lot of pain filled changes in the last six years, not all of them horrible, and it’s a lot for someone who has never been in a long-term relationship prior to me to handle. In those moments, I can compassionately understand where he is coming from and in a way, I can forgive him for what he has done to us. I don’t like it. I don’t agree with it. In fact, I still want to punch him in the face because of this. However, I can understand and even sympathize because he is young and he doesn’t know any better.

Even though I can see where he is coming from, even though I can kind of understand it, I still end up feeling like my heart has been broken. I still end up listening to really depressing music, like I was when I was 16 and my then-boyfriend broke up with me for no apparent reason. I remember that week of our being broken up like it was yesterday. I was depressed. I didn’t shower. I didn’t eat. I didn’t sleep. I didn’t do anything but lie blankly in my bed or my mother’s bed and just stare at the walls. Sometimes, to take my mind off of the pain, I would read a book or twenty. And then we got back together and the heart-break subsided until months later. I literally feel like I need to be doing the same thing all over again, only instead, I have to be a mom and do all the things moms do so I can’t really wallow.

And that kind of pisses me off a little because it shows that I’m the more responsible person here.

When I’m done being rational and being angry, then I end up wallowing in the mire of guilt that continues to plague me. As I said above, there is nothing worse in an emotional upheaval of this level than the recriminations you pass on yourself. I’ve sat around for hours, just mulling over how I could have prevented this from happening to myself and to my son. I will do the laundry and there I am, wallowing in guilt. I will cook some dinner and there I am, wallowing in guilt. I’ve been wallowing in the guilt, trying to figure out where I went wrong. I must have screwed up somewhere, right?

I’m not very demonstrative in my affections. I used to be, but as the years past, I haven’t been. I find it easier to keep people at arm’s length because then it won’t hurt so badly when they fuck you over. (Ha. Ha. Ha.) The thing is that I’ve been trying to be a lot nicer to TH lately (the last six months or so). I haven’t been demonstrative of my feefees or anything, but I’ve been saying kinder things to him. It’s a physical prod a lot of the times and stuff just spews out of my mouth that is nicer than I normally am. About a month ago, I told everyone he was a very good father and a good boyfriend. A while back, I told everyone that he is awesome. These are some things, but I wonder if my failure was in not telling him that, specifically? He was there when I said those things, but they weren’t to his face, so perhaps there is my failing?

However, TH suffers from excessively awful bad self-esteem. I honestly don’t know what caused it or why it started. It really doesn’t matter what the cause of his bad self-image is because I can’t fix it. No matter what I say, who I say it to, and when I say it, he will always feel like he is a poor substitute or that he doesn’t measure up to anyone else in his life. I have extremely poor self-esteem, myself. I understand how it is, but either you contend with the negative feelings about yourself and deal with them as they come, or you ignore them completely. No matter what I say, how I say it, when I say it, where I say, or what I’m saying, if he doesn’t deal with his self-esteem issues, then it’s going to continue to cause a problem for him. I could metaphorically make him to be the walking on water type of guy – not that I would – and it really wouldn’t matter. Whatever lies at the core of his poor self-image is a monster he has to fight on his own.

I can’t fight it for him.

Another ongoing issue is that he has a very hard time of letting things go. In all the instances he provided where he felt that I didn’t care about him, they were all very old occurrences. I’ve thought about this some and while those instances could have helped to feed the self-esteem beast eating apart his insides, However, I honestly wonder if those items he mentioned were his attempt at grasping at straws. I honestly worry that this self-esteem thing, this feeling like I don’t need him or want him thing, is all just a very big cover.

I’ve thought about this for a while and it doesn’t necessarily track. I don’t deny that TH has bad self-esteem or that I am not overly demonstrative in how I feel about him. I do not deny that I could have done better, though I know that I wouldn’t have done any better if given the chance. I wonder, honestly, if the core issue is the asexuality thing. It’s a big bite to swallow for any man, whether they are a normal hormonally charged twenty-five year old or not. The prospect of possible never having sex ever again is something that most people, most normal people, would find impossible to fathom, much less to live with. And I can’t help but wonder if the lack of sex is why he feels like he’s not an integral part of my life. Apparently, emotional connections are all fine and dandy, but it is the physical connection that means the most.

Obviously, I’ve had sex with TH. We have a child together. However, the fact remains that sex holds little to no interest to me at present and I honestly do not know how long this will last. I have to assume it’s a forever thing just to be on the safe side. I can’t get someone’s hopes up with an indefinite unknown hanging in the balance. And I can’t help but think that societal norms regarding sex are being played out here. Someone – not me – equates sex with love and tenderness and happiness. Someone else – definitely me – equates sex with a biological need to reproduce and equates love, tenderness and happiness with the emotional connection two people can have. Society, however, has this ridiculous need to obsess over sex and how it is part and parcel to a relationship.

In some cases, that is the case.

However, when it comes to an asexual, that is definitely not the case.

I just worry that the actual reason for all of this heartbreak is that I can love someone, unconditionally, without sex complicating matters. I don’t need to feel someone in a physical way in order to know that I love them, cherish them, and enjoy their company. I don’t need that in any context to make me feel better about myself. Sure, when I am interested, the sex is pretty darn awesome. But that doesn’t mean I need it in order to feel like a human being. I don’t need it to complete me. And maybe TH does because that’s who he is as a person. And if that’s the case then, you know, things will either be completely over, as I think will be the case, or he’ll realize that an emotional connection is more important than a physical one. And things might work out for the better.

I would like to hope, but my hope button is broken.

I’m caught in a hurricane
I’m leaving here dead or alive
And I know that I’d be willing to feel the pain
If it got me to the other side
Cause I only hurt
Oh, hurricane
Yeah I can feel it hurt
Oh, hurricane

“Your Baby Doesn’t Want You Anymore.”

It’s over.
It breaks your heart in two.

It’s Over by Roy Orbison

Things have been incredibly difficult for the last two weeks. TH and I have been having difficulties of varying natures for a while now – some say he is at fault and some say that I am – but I always kind of assumed we’d plod on. I thought of our relationship in terms of the turtle who eventually wins the race. It would just continue to take its sweet as time until one day, we both realized that we had lived the rest of our lives together. That’s probably pretty pathetic. Point of fact, it sounds a little like romantic drivel, in a way. I’m not one for romantic flights of fancy anymore. I’ve grown up and grown past that, but I did just kind of always assume that we’d just always be together.

Imagine my surprise when he says that he’s going to move out. “I think we need a time out,” he says to me.

I wasn’t overly surprised by it. As I said, things have been pretty cagey between us for a while. But, I honestly never thought he’d have the gumption to say that to me. I always thought that if, push came to shove, and anyone was actually debating about leaving it would be me. But I have to admit here that I’m a complete idiot about things, too. I’m that asshole who will always forgive, will always forget, and will always take care of the basics. I will be the one to slave and make sure the bills are paid. I will be the one who takes care of the house. And I will be the one to constantly allow more and more irritations to build up until I finally explode.

It really is surprising that he actually took his balls in his hands and finally made a decision.

It looks like I’m a single parent now.

In Which I Explain My Foray into [Gray] Ace.

Mom, if you read this, please don’t tell me. I’d like to remain blissfully unaware on that river in Egypt.

Some time last summer, I was having a complete thermonuclear meltdown to one of my closest friends. She’s an online friend and the term “close” is subjective. She actually lives four or five states away, we’ve never had tea or coffee at a local shop, and we’ll probably only ever know one another in the murky world of Internet relationships. I was whining to her about how “abnormal” my sex life is. I explained to her about the “the sex camel” and how I most assuredly am one. And then, I tried to put into words about how I felt about sex, which probably came out completely wrong and convoluted. But, being a friend and being awesome means that she got what the fuck I was saying. And she says to me, “You know, Aubs, it sounds like you might be an ace.” And while I’m scratching my head with images of camels in my brain and camels trying to have sex and then not having sex because it’s all stored in a hump on their back, I started researching asexuality.

Of course, coming into this whole terminology, I started thinking about worms. However, while being able to reproduce without any sexual contact would be really fantastic, although possibly boring because it would probably end up being more like cloning yourself, the term as applied to human sexuality isn’t on the same level. It has nothing to do with being able to, or unable to really, reproduce via mitosis. As Wiki said, “Asexuality (or nonsexuality) is the lack of sexual attraction to anyone or low or absent interest in sexual activity.” Oh. Hm. Yes, I guess that sounds reminiscent of a sex camel.

In the last year, since that conversation, I’ve done limited research on the topic. Outside of Tumblr, there doesn’t appear to be a lot of discussions about it. And I will fully admit that it wasn’t like I was really looking for those discussions. Just thinking about my own sexuality, whether I have one or don’t have one, makes me uncomfortable. Looking into the information as provided by that awesome friend, I had to admit that a lot of what was being said could easily be describing me. However, there are a lot of factors one has to take into consideration before they just jump all willy-nilly onto a little-known topic.

I’ve been on birth control for almost the last ten years, in some form, which has been linked to lower levels of sexual desire. For a long time, I believed that my lack of desire was because of the birth control pills I was on. I figured it was just one of those awesome side effects some women got – some women being, you know, me – and some people didn’t. My best friend, BFMA, is a sexual creature the likes of which the gods have never once seen. And her birth control consumption didn’t seem to impact her sexual desire, but obviously, I was the “lucky one” here because it did effect me.

I’ve taken myself off of hormone based birth control pills. On the one hand, since I’m not having sex, there’s no point in shelling out the money for them, but also because I’ve wanted to test this. I’ve been on and off birth control pills in the past, but never really paid attention to the connection, or not, of my sexual desire. I’m paying attention now. And while I’m not scientist and I have no control group or anything, I can safely assure anyone who cares that I haven’t even remotely been interested in having a self-made orgasm, much less the kind you have with other people.

The thing is that I wasn’t entirely positive about whether or not I was turning to this definition to make my life “easier” or if I was sticking a band aid over my fragile psyche. As a person who has survived numerous sexual assaults, it really isn’t surprising that I have a distinctive lack in sexual desire. Let’s face it: when you’ve been used in that way, it really puts a damper on everything else. The thing is that I have never really considered sex in the way that societal norms dictate how people should view sex. I’ve thought long and hard about my past thoughts on sexual activity and I’ve had to admit that I’ve always been deeply disturbed by the whole process. This leads me to believe that as much as I’m running toward something that may, in a way, make things seem easier, I’ve actually kind of always been this way and it’s only been in the last year that I had a name that fit.

While most of my sexual activity came after my first sexual assault, I’ve been doing some deep digging. It’s hard, sometimes, to analyze your thoughts on sexuality and sexual activity back when you were still playing with Barbie dolls and My Little Pony, but I’m the sort of person that wants to know. I want to be sure that I’m not just sticking myself into a category because it’s easy. I want to be positive that I’m not going to make things easier by subsuming my identity to match whatever I find online. And I’ve had to come to the conclusion that while sex made me uncomfortable post sexual traumas, it also made me pretty fucking uncomfortable prior to those instances. I don’t know what, specifically, my thoughts on it were other than some internal debate about how I would probably like it, you know, but how I really wasn’t interested in, you know, going out to find out.

But, as a teenager with thoughts and feelings and stuff, you go out and explore. I’ve taken as much time as I can, which isn’t a whole helluva lot, to verify the impulses that set me into motion into a previous sexual activity outside of a relationship. And I have to admit that I was doing those things because I wanted to be liked. I was doing those things because it was supposed to be normal. And I think, a big part, was because I wanted the attention. In none of those instances can I say, clearly, that I enjoyed the act. In none of those instances can I say, clearly, that it was good. And in none of those instances can I say, clearly, that a magical box was turned to “on” inside my uterus that said, “LET’S DO THIS ALL THE TIME.” I just did those things because it was expected, honestly, and that bothers me on a different level that I’m probably never going to discuss.

Thing is that I’ve been looking into this for long enough to feel, finally, comfortable with the idea that I may, in fact, be “asexual.” I don’t think I fall directly under that definition, but I don’t think anyone can really define their sexual orientation with certainty. Everything in that category, to me, is kind of shades of gray so I can say, “I fall under this category,” and just not mention that there are “buts” in there. Some of those buts are as follows: I experience self-made orgasms, which would make it seem like I’m just all about myself and not about any of my partners. I can fully say that I find movie stars attractive, though I can’t say if I’d act on that sexual attraction or not. I can tell you that I have a very rich fantasy life that may or may not include a sexual situation.

To put it bluntly, I don’t fall into societal norms when it comes to my sexuality. Point of fact, I don’t think I ever did.

Interesting Links

  1. How Stuff Works: What Is Asexuality?
  2. Asexuality at AVENWiki
  3. Asexual FAQ
  4. Under the Ace Umbrella
  5. Gray/Grey-A Asexuality