Posted by: Shula Asher Silberstein | 20 July 2011

What’s Missing?

In the past, I’ve found asexuality painful at time. It seems like I always feel attached to somebody — usually someone who is a close friend — and I could see myself being with that person forever, or at least for whatever part of forever we’re allowed to both be on this earth. But invariably, the close friends that I love don’t love me back in the same way. They love me — as a friend and as a brother. But no further. So at some point, every time I love someone, I have to tear down my own illusions of what I think could and should be and face the fact that I can’t have the relationship I want with this particular person. It’s depressing and lonely and sometimes I’ve wondered if it’s because I’m asexual that I feel this way, even though I know sexual people are more than capable of having their hearts broken. But it just seems different.

Anyway, this morning, while throwing out the trash, I had a revelation that I’m not quite sure how to explain. It occurred to me that there’s something…missing in my internal list of what I want in a partner. I’ve been focusing on the ways that some of my close friends would be right for me if only they felt that way too. But if I keep finding people who would be better as friends than as partners, then surely there’s some error in my thinking about the whole thing that attracts me to these people in the wrong way.

I don’t know yet what is missing. Fur sexual people, as I understand it, one of the essential components of a romantic relationship vs a friendship relationship is sex. Since I don’t experience sexual attraction, obviously the desire to have sex with my partner is not the missing thing. But something is…

This is something I wrote the other day about what I’m looking for in a partner:

I represent a challenge because I want someone to penetrate me emotionally. I want to feel so strongly about someone that I can’t help but tell them everything and for it to not scare them away, for it to make them cleave more tightly to me. Kinda like my core and their core are magnets. I’m looking for the one who understands the things I can’t tell most people about who I am, the one who sees me, all of me and goes, “Yunno, you’re pretty cool.” before I say it about myself.

I’m pretty sure whatever it is that I need to change about my thinking, whatever’s missing, is locked in that paragraph somewhere. It’s odd in a way how I apply the language of sex to something that is mainly non-sexual for me. But obviously, since this came from some writing I did when I was feeling especially lonely and asking myself what it was I needed that I couldn’t find, this represents my deepest feelings at the moment of what I’m looking for. In true keeping with my panromanticism, I don’t care whether my partner is male, female, in between, from some other planet, or anything else. I do care about whether that emotional connection is there. Although I would like to date a female-identified person because I’ve always dated men and it’s done nothing for me so far, and would like to see what dating a woman would be like. And being gender-neutral/male-leaning, it makes more sense for me to be with a trans person or at least someone who is female-leaning. But hey, I’m open to whatever the universe gives me in that department. I’m not picky, at least not in that sense.

This desire for the deepest emotional connection is what confuses me sometimes. I meet someone and I feel a sense of kinship with them, some kind of bond that goes deeper than having just met, and wanting to get to know them further. I have, in the past, called this a “crush” and assumed it was romantic. But now, I’m not sure. How can I tell if my desire is to get to know someone further as a friend or to explore the possibility of having a life partner? Where is the line between friendship and romance? Is there one, and does there need to be one? For me there has to be one somewhere because lately I have been feeling very deeply that I want to find a partner. But for me, a partner mainly means someone to share my life and my feelings and my goals and my values with. Sure, cuddling and holding hands is nice. I probably would like that a little. And there are certain other things I might want only in the context of a relationship (though I have never wanted a fully sexual relationship.) But when I’m looking for a partner, I’m not thinking about or wanting those things. I’m wanting that emotional connection.

So I’m still not 100% sure what I’m missing in my thinking about partnership, but I think part of it has to do with the blurring of the line between friendship and romance. Yet there is something, something elusive, that makes a romantic partnership different than a friendship for me, and that something is what I need to find before I can ever hope to find the person I’m looking for.



  1. I have the problem than I often tried to make things more romantic than they are because I felt guilty I thought there would be something more romantic than what I felt for those people and I felt like I was just a kid dreaming of something unreal. Maybe we just needed to find ourselves before finding someone to really fill the empty place left in our wholeness.

  2. it looks like you are attracted to your friends because it is safe. You know that they will not be interested in having a relationship with you as a relationship means – having sex. You know, that they will not return your affection regardless what it is based on. As you know, today the world is, more or less, based on emotional connection that is supported by the sexual attraction. No matter whom you have a relationship with, they will want to have sex. Being attracted to your friends is safe – it’s a protection mechanisms that you have developed not to hurt yourself. If you do want to have a partner, you need to find another asexual person that will understand where you come from and what you are looking for. The rest of the world will be in a huge confusion and will have a hard time understanding the lack of the sexual interest.

    i don’t think you are missing parts in understanding of what you are looking for in a relationship. I think you are doing everything not to get hurt.

    • I’m not quite sure where you’re coming from here. For one thing, I never stated that the friends I’m attracted to are sexual in the first place, so the issue of sexual vs. asexual (which is a false dichotomy anyway — sexuality exists on a spectrum) is irrelevant. In any case, the bigger issue is that if I were trying to protect myself from hurt, I think I’d find a better way to do it than putting myself in situations that lead to heartbreak for me.

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