Dating , OKCupid , asexual , asexuality I met Sam on an online dating site, and we clicked immediately over a love of literature and a shared dream of someday owning property cut into the side of a mountain. More broken hearts than boyfriends. Besides my obsession with tall guys, I also had a habit of dating drifters: Sam was the opposite of all of these things.
He was ambitious and talented and accomplished. On our second date, we had some of the best pizza in Brooklyn, and too much red wine. He paid the check and we went to see a dance show in a church basement. At one point, I put a hand on his knee and left it there. Things moved quickly after that. I had to fly home to visit my family for the weekend, but Sam stayed persistently, sweetly in touch.
He emailed me a mix of songs to listen to on the flight. It sounds crazy now, but I was falling in love, and imagined her forgiving me someday in the future, like when she was a bridesmaid in our wedding. He was working insane hours trying to prep for the launch of his new social media company, but we managed to meet up every evening, for a party, or a drink, or dinner, or just to crash at my apartment. Let me be clear: He asked me to be his girlfriend almost immediately, though, and this made me feel even more secure in waiting.
I thought we had all the time in the world. Reader, I thought he might be The One. Was he romantically attracted to me? Was he sexually attracted to me? When he said he wanted to wait to have sex, should I have been more suspicious? Thanksgiving was approaching and Sam said he was thinking about inviting me to celebrate it with his family.
I would be meeting his brother and his dad, but not his mom; she had died of cancer a few years before. After dinner, we could go to another party, to meet all his friends.
One Sunday morning, we stayed in bed late, cuddling under the covers, relishing the autumn sunlight streaming through the curtains. I told him I was in love with him and he said it back, without hesitation.
Then we started to fool around and I said I wanted to have sex. It felt like the right moment, and he went along. I was on top and he came inside me.
I reiterated that it was no big deal; we would practice and it would get better. Work was busy, he said. We took a cab back to Brooklyn after the show, but he just dropped me off at my apartment, asked me to bring down his cell phone charger, and went home to his own place. He insisted he was just tired. The day before Thanksgiving, he texted and asked me to meet him at my favorite bar. I felt my stomach drop. At the bar, I felt nervous, cold, stand-offish.
Sam ordered a glass of wine for me, sipped his whiskey and, without much ado, said he had something to tell me: You like men and women? I had never heard of asexuality before. Trying not to cry. I burst into tears. I felt deceived, mistreated. I wondered how I could ever show my face there again. Sam walked me home and we spent the night talking. I took a deep breath. Trying another angle, I told him that I was still in love with him, and would stay with him while he continued to work on this in therapy, but he shook his head.
Eventually, it got too late for him to go home. When he put his arm around me in bed, it was like a drug, and I wanted at least one more hit. It was becoming more and more clear that whatever he was going through had nothing to do with me.
My feelings, my commitment, and my sympathies were irrelevant. There was nothing I could sacrifice that would convince him to stay with me. My thoughts raced all night, looking for a way out. On Thanksgiving morning, he left, and I took anti-anxiety medication and spent the holiday in a fog.
I met some distant relatives for dinner at a French brasserie and ate my profiteroles, but on the subway home I started crying again so hard that a teenage boy came over and offered me a fistful of deli napkins, which only made me cry harder. It seemed to take ages to get over Sam -- I was actually embarrassed at the disproportionate amount of time I spent grieving over this relationship, compared to its actual duration.
Cheer up honey, said one of the songs. There is something wrong with me. This is just the way that I am. After Thanksgiving, many of my friends rallied to be there for me in my heartbreak, but they were all skeptical of his reason for the breakup: And it just looks like such a dodge, from the outside. I watched an asexual woman marry a sexual man, who had decided to give up sex to be her partner he says he never really liked having sex anyway.
He kissed his bride and then she nuzzled her head into his shoulder. I thought of Sam, the clean soap smell of his skin, the feeling of his arm around me in bed. I thought of what I was willing to give up in order to make him stay.
Not all asexuals desire romantic relationships, but what they do share in common is a desire for recognition, validation, and acceptance. I still think of Sam as the one who got away. What wounds me to this day is that I believed him, and I was willing to accept him for who he was, but he was unable to let me in.
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