Mixed-Orientation Relationship Struggles (Part 1 of 3)

Introduction/Background

This 3-Part Series on Mixed-Orientation Relationship Struggles in my submission for the August Carnival of Aros topic Relationships. This is part 1. Parts 2 and 3 will be linked here accordingly.

My partner identifies as Gray-Aromantic and as a Sex-Averse Asexual. I identify as Demiromantic and Demisexual. My demiromantic “switch” “flipped” for my partner long ago, though I would still categorize my feelings for her as quite alterous in addition to romantic. Recently my demisexual switch has also flipped, and I’ve begun to have sexual attraction to her. Not surprisingly, our differing orientations have caused some struggles in our relationship these last few months.

My partner, for context, is another blogger named Emily. You may know her as luvtheheaven. She has given me permission to reveal her identity as my partner and to post about her on my blog.

One way that Emily and I communicate is through poems that I write. When I’m struggling with something, about our relationship or otherwise, I tend to write poetry about it. I share every poem I write with Emily. Then we discuss the poem, each of our feelings about it, and go from there. It’s been a great way to communicate difficult emotions and struggles.

With all of that said, please read each of the poems I am going to share during this 3-Part Series with its context in mind. The poems were written specifically for my partner, about my relationship with my partner. Some may be overly harsh and a few definitely misunderstand or minimize her gray-aromantic identity. I’m a flawed human being and I’ve made mistakes in the ways I have interpreted and assigned value to things. However, I felt these poems were still worth sharing, as part of a point of time within our struggles to make our mixed-orientation relationship work. I hope readers will find these experiences, told from my point of view (for now…though one day perhaps I’ll be able to include hers), interesting and potentially even relatable. Perhaps our story can help others struggling to make mixed-orientation relationships work.

Words I Couldn’t Say

My first poem in this vein was written on June 20, 2019. Emily and I were having a texting conversation and she said something that triggered a lot of feelings within me. She was speaking about her feelings for me. At this time she was not yet feeling “in love” with me. She also does not experience love as romantic in nature, but rather (in terms of her feelings for me) alterous. I took a few things she said pretty harshly, much more harshly than she intended. I found myself unable to really continue our conversation via text, so instead I took a break and wrote what became my first poem to my partner about our relationship struggles. It would be the first of many to tackle these issues. Once I finished I sent the completed poem to Emily. She read it and we discussed the implications.

Words I Couldn’t Say

How do I tell you?
What can I say?
Tears streaming down my face
Give me away.

But you can’t see that.
You don’t know.
And I can’t speak.
Not ready to show

The hurt deep inside me,
The feelings I dread.
Desires to self harm.
Turmoil in my head.

The reason is stupid.
I knew what I knew.
But explaining it more…
Did I even have a clue?

I did, I do,
I know what to expect.
I just couldn’t anticipate
Feeling so wrecked.

I thought I could do this,
That all would be fine.
I never imagined
Within my mind a line.

A barrier, an obstacle,
Feelings I can’t tame.
A reaction too powerful
My internal shame.

Love is still love
But not the “right” type?
Platonic it sounds mainly
Barely worth the hype.

But I’ve known all along
That could be the result.
So why does it strike my heart
As if it were an insult?

Then radio silence.
Then I couldn’t respond.
Because I couldn’t explain
How these feelings were spawned.

You trusted me to know
To understand, to respect
The things you wouldn’t feel,
But I couldn’t guess the effect.

I’m calmer now, silent.
The tears have all dried.
But I can’t shake my worry,
Feeling that I’ve lied.

I love you, I do.
I can learn to understand.
My entire reaction
Was nothing that I planned.

I’m so very sorry.
I’m sure I’ve hurt you.
I’m slowly learning to manage.
It’s all just so new.

This relationship, these feelings,
Reactions I didn’t predict.
Going silent on my end,
Trying to avoid conflict.

Until I could express,
Could properly relate
The way I was feeling.
The intensity of its weight.

Now I’ve expressed,
explained, elucidated.
I just hope it’s enough
For how long you’ve waited.

I think we can move past this,
And I don’t want you to say
Things that you don’t mean,
Come whatever may.

I can be happy that you love me
In the ways that you do.
And stop with the expectations
That just put pressure on you.

Emily and I discussed the way she feels about me and the way she had described her love. She had likened it in some ways to love for close friends and had mentioned that it might not be the “right” kind of love for me. It was a lot to talk through and work out. It took me an embarrassingly long time to really begin to understand the strength of her alterous love for me. While my own demiromantic “switch” had “flipped” prior to this poem, her demisensual “switch” was still not quite turned on for me yet. Of note, my love for her was not exclusively romantic, but rather more alterous in nature. But as the days went on I felt the romantic feelings stronger and stronger and I longed to express them in more physical ways.

My Confession

It was about a month before I felt the need to express my feelings via poetry again. On July 24, 2019 I wrote another poem to Emily. By this time her demisensual “switch” had indeed “flipped” for me, and she felt that she was in love with me, alterously. I’m demisexual, but my demisexual “switch” had not yet “flipped” for Emily. Still, I was feeling increasing and, to me, alarming sensual and romantic urges towards her. I was well aware since early on in our relationship that Emily identified as kissing-averse, in addition to sex-averse. Yet I kept seeing myself kissing her in my fantasies, my visions, that would come into my mind constantly whether I was spending time with her or on my own. I’d expressed some of this to Emily previously, throughout the month between these poems. But I’d never quite talked about the depth of my desires, what all they entailed, or how difficult I was finding it to ignore them completely. So I wrote this poem.

My Confession

I’m having so many desires
They’re all in the same vein
Images I can’t stop seeing
Impulses I need to contain

It’s not like I haven’t told you
But still you might not quite know
How hard it’s been to ignore them
Or how deep these urges go

I don’t want to hide things from you
But I’m afraid of what you’ll think
If I tell you how much I want it
How your aversion makes my heart sink

I know it will never happen
Not even once, not at all
And who am I to wish for it?
Where did I get that kind of gall?

Yet still I can’t help fantasizing
Of a new type of intimacy
Our faces coming together
Lips touching without difficulty

It’s an urge I can’t put to words
A pull drawing me towards you
A need to express my affection
Something I feel I must do

As if without it I can’t convey
My romantic feelings’ strength
Like it’s not possible without
Going to such a great length

I don’t want to pressure you
Or make you feel negatively
But I can’t just keep this inside
I have to try to make you see

To understand how hard I’m trying
To be okay with what we have
To not want more than you do
To not let it all make me sad

I want so badly for this to work
I love you more than I can say
But I have started wondering
If I can stand living this way

We have slept next to each other
Something you never imagined
I had so much fear before it
So much relief after it happened

But now my fear is different
More tangible and alarming
That I might ruin this for us
That it’s you I’ll end up harming

People tell me to think about me
What I really want and need
It was a theme of therapy
That I don’t want to mislead

“If I decided I couldn’t do this”
Words I once said to a lover
I still regret the harm they caused
It took so long to recover

Yet now I almost feel them again
Right on the edge of deciding
What I can live with and without
What is surviving versus thriving

I can’t seem to let this one go
As much as I wish that I could
If I knew how to flip the switch
I need you to know that I would

But my life is not that simple
And my feelings are much too strong
For me to ignore them completely
It would always feel quite wrong

I can give up sex entirely
That is not much of a concern
But there are other things I want
Types of touch for which I yearn

Kissing you gently on the mouth
Kissing your cheek or your nose
Other forms of intimacy
Being together while changing clothes

Other desires are smaller
But still present nonetheless
Wanting to bathe together
This is a lot to confess

My sexual switch hasn’t flipped
But sensually I want more
To touch you in ways I don’t dare
There’s so much I can’t ask you for

None of this seems sexual
To me, but it might to you
I’m so ashamed of my feelings
And the way that they grew and grew

What we have is what you imagined
For yourself and your co-parent
But it’s not all that I wish for
That’s sadly become apparent

I don’t want to try to change you
But I can’t really change myself
What I’ve wanted out of my life
I can’t put my dreams on the shelf

I know that we are poly
That another could meet my needs
But these are things I want from you
I don’t know where all of this leads

“I feel so damn sick and dirty,
I can’t stand it anymore”
Lines from my favorite movie
That resonate at my core

I don’t want to risk losing you
But I can’t hide this forever
So I’ll send you this poem now
Hope for the best from this endeavor

This poem was a really difficult one for me to write, and especially difficult to share. I feared a negative reaction. Or I feared I’d hurt Emily immensely because of the things I still wanted. But she was actually very understanding and patient with me. She expressed a ton of empathy and compassion on the day I shared the poem with her, as well as throughout the days that followed. Still, I felt inherently “wrong” and “bad” for having these urges, fantasies, and feelings. This led to a really difficult time in my life. I sunk really low and as a result needed to withdraw from many things for a time while I focused on self care. Emily was by my side throughout all of this. She was an enormous support in my life.

Love

Emily’s support, as well as my growing realization that she would love me regardless of the thoughts going through my head or the impulses I struggled with related to her, led my to write a new poem. On July 29, 2019 I wrote a happy poem, and one of my first non-rhyming poems in quite some time. I’ve posted this poem on my blog previously, so the title below will link to that. But I’m posting the whole poem again for the convenience of my readers.

Love

Thinking of you
Dreaming of us
Our future together
Our family to come
The way you smile
And how you laugh
Brightens my day
Warms my heart

Our brief touches
Our long conversations
The way we embrace
How you hold my hand
The joy that I feel
When we’re together
Talking and touching
Sharing intimately

The things I can tell you
The way that we talk
So open, so honest
So full of heart
Loving you deeply
Feeling in return
Your love for me
Its strength and depth

How you said
“I love you so much”
What that meant to me
How I felt it inside
Such immense happiness
Butterflies and more
Security and comfort
Knowing how you feel

The commitment we share
How you haven’t left
Despite all the heartache
The misunderstandings, the pain
Your fears and worries
You haven’t given up
You stay

When I thought
All along
No one could
No one would
But you did
You do

You are my world
You have my heart
My loyalty to you
Knows no bounds
Eternally grateful
Sounds too religious
But I do feel it
Such great appreciation
Seemingly endless
To have you
In my life
Close to my heart

This is real
This is true
And for once
I’m starting to believe
In what could be
If you did stay
If we could have
The future we’ve planned
It’s worth fighting for
You’re worth everything

So I’ll try
To let myself believe
That you’re here to stay
That what we want
Matches up
That we can become
A family
Filled with
Love

I felt better for a while after this poem. I was still working on myself, but Emily and I were in a good place overall. She had expressed a willingness to try certain things with me, such as what she refers to as “chaste kissing” (a peck on the lips), as well as an understanding and acceptance of the desires I have that she is not willing to try. Still, I felt turmoil over my urges/fantasies/feelings and, as you might expect, our period of relative peace did not last too long.

I’ll say more on that in Part 2.

2 thoughts on “Mixed-Orientation Relationship Struggles (Part 1 of 3)

  1. Pingback: Mixed-Orientation Relationship Struggles (Part 2 of 3) – The Demi Deviant

  2. Pingback: August 2019 Roundup: “Relationships” – A Carnival of Aros

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