Ace dating anxiety

I’ve dated a few guys in my time, and all of them were very sexual beings that thought they could convert me or “convince” me that I want sex. The last guy I dated was a proud, arrogant guy who thought the world of himself and was in love with the idea of having a girlfriend. He’d tell me what he’d do with me “the minute I let him” and it made me so uncomfortable. He was incredibly possessive, and the last time I hugged him, he did not let go after a long while even when I tried to pull away and I suddenly felt UNSAFE near him, just this big scream of this is not okay. I realized in that moment he’s so strong, he could easily overpower me. I’m glad I broke up with him, 'cuz when I did he showed his true colors and threatened physical violence on my friends for turning me against him. Nope. All me, dude.

The two guys before that had past trauma that made them really clingy and thought that affection meant sex and physical pleasure. They got frustrated with me and I was often accused of “taking advantage” of them and “not caring enough” when my love language was too subtle for them.

After the last guy, I realized that I might be ace. And that in itself is hard. Especially with this pandemic going on. Kisses used to be okay but now the thought of it makes me want to curl into myself and disappear. Trying to find companionship as an ace woman is hard, and I’m left constantly feeling broken and inadequate because I don’t and won’t put out. I’m not. I know I’m not. That’s not the issue.

I found a really sweet guy on a dating site. We’ve met up a few times now, and it seems to go well every time. He talks about future activities as though he’s serious, and I’m okay with that. A little older, but still as nerdy as I am and fun to talk to and hang out with. I’ve explained to him that I’m ace, that I don’t have any interest in that. He seems to understand me, but I’m scared he’s not yet shown his true colors. What if he turns out the same as the others? What if he’s lying? What if I can’t get as attached to him as I’d like to? The feeling of love and having a crush doesn’t hit me often, and it hasn’t here, so what if that’s a sign?

I still live with my parents. I work in the family business. I’m messy and disorganized and I’d rather play a game or work on art than clean. I’ve been stuck in this life stasis for years and I’m afraid of leaving home. My mother has severe health issues, my dad is depressed and doesn’t talk to anyone but us. Neither get out much and I’m scared for their quality of life if I leave home for too long. There’s this huge weight and pressure on my shoulders to stay put, and it’s so crippling that I struggle to feel good helping around the house. I do a chore and feel proud, and the response I get is to do more chores and do them urgently. I’m constantly demotivated.

I’m scared that he’ll find out and decide that I’m not worth it.

I grew up believing that you can’t love someone until you love yourself. I don’t love myself. Is that why I don’t feel attachment? Even to my friends, I adore them, but I am prepared to never see them again if I have to… I see my flaws and I hate them, I hate myself, and I always have. I’ve been trying very hard to be kinder to myself and find ways to think positively, but changing a lifetime of self-induced trauma is so difficult.

Thirty one years and I’m still a newbie at this dating thing. I want this to work, but I feel so broken inside and afraid that I can’t live up to his expectations. I’ve seen aces in successful relationships before, getting married or just cohabitating, and I’d like that someday. I don’t want to be alone.


hi zennilyn!

thank you for sharing your story, thoughts, and frustrations. as an asexual biromantic, i understand you completely. i’ve had abusive partners who expected and forced more when i never wanted that and clearly drew that line. it’s such a nauseating experience and i’m so sorry you had to go through that with your ex. i wish people could understand better, i wish it so so much.

as far as the future goes, there absolutely is hope in you finding a partner that makes you feel comfortable, loved, and not forced to do anything you don’t want to do. i also hope the current person you’re seeing does show his true colors soon so you feel secure in this relationship. i look forward to hearing any updates you want to provide on it because i’m rooting for you completely.

when you say you don’t love yourself though, i hope you are able to find that self-love in the near future. it’s a very personal experience of coming to terms with the bad stuff and raising up the good stuff. like you said, it’s hard to reverse a lifetime of trauma. but i believe in you to give it the time, thought, and effort to one day getting to that point.

sending you all my love, comforting wishes, and good vibes from one ace to another. you are never alone, my friend.



Hey, @ZenniLyn! I am sorry to hear you’re struggling right now.

I understand a little of what you are going through, as I am an ace woman myself. I’ve been happily married for nearly a decade to my “non-ace” husband, so I just wanted to let you know that it is possible to find someone who loves you for you, and to have a relationship that doesn’t revolve around physical intimacy. It’s a little trickier to find someone who understands asexuality and is okay with having some boundaries, but once you do find them, it’s almost a guarantee that your relationship will be as strong, if not stronger than most “normal” relationships.

It’s great that you’ve found someone who seems to understand the things that are and are not important to you. A little piece of advice I like to give out to my friends and younger family members who are just getting in to dating is to take things slow. People tend to show their true colors once they’ve gotten more comfortable around you, and this can take 4-6 months (in my experience), but could ultimately take longer especially if the relationship is a long-distance one or one where you don’t spend a lot of time together in person. Once people get comfortable, their real personality slips out every now and again if they’re not being genuine, and this may throw up some red flags in your head.

Fundamental compatibility is important. My husband and I have SO MANY hobbies and passions that we both share, so neither one of us feels like we are missing out on anything. Are there things you have in common with this guy? Do you share any interests or hobbies? I know that that can ultimately cause problems in a relationship if there are just no shared passions and the relationship started out based on physical attraction on either persons’ end. (I know that some Asexual people don’t experience physical attraction at all, but some can experience aesthetic attraction as in “Oh, he’s cute!” but that’s kind of where the train of thought ends.)

The best thing you can do when in a relationship or potential relationship with someone is to be 100% transparent and honest about who you are and how you do things. If you are afraid that if he knew something about you that he would leave you, then you absolutely want to let him know right away. I understand wanting to stay around and help your parents as much as possible, but you can’t let it become a huge burden on your own life. You only live once, and in my opinion it’s unreasonable to put your own dreams and aspirations on the back-burner and try to carry the weight of the entire family on your shoulders. There are things that your dad could do to help with his depression, and I think it may be a good idea to encourage him to seek those things out. He has an obligation to his family and his wife to be healthy and take care of them. There is something called “caregiver burnout” which is extremely common within families or relationships wherein an individual is chronically extremely ill or disabled and requires constant aid. It sounds like both you and your dad may be experiencing this.

I do think that you need to work on harnessing more self-love towards yourself. I’m challenging you to get a piece of paper and write down just 5 things that you like or appreciate about yourself. Are you a hard worker? Do you do what you can to help those in need? Do you care about others? Are you kind? Do you have any talents? Write anything down, and see that those things have value. Not everyone is capable of those things.

You are absolutely not alone, and there are things you can do and work on to make things easier. I’m not saying it will be easily, but it will be worth it.

Best of luck,


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