I am still confused about my orientation, however for a while I have been really thinking I am aro. Looking back to my childhood, I do have a couple early signs. 1) It could be because I was raised by a single mom, but I never wanted to marry or have my own kids. 2) I always thought that being in love was a burden to your potential success or could become a crutch in general (the latter probably stemmed from action movies where the villain would capture the protagonists loved ones to manipulate them). 3) When I was 13, I had a crush on one of my friends, but when he said "I love you" or spoke romantically I got really grossed out. I did not like that he changed how he behaved around me and did not understand why we could not just act like super close friends. 4) I got into an online relationship when I was 14 which lasted about 3 years. That could have been a way to have a relationship like I thought I should, yet have some predetermined distance. 5) When I was 18 I started "dating" IRL and I was very confused because I had different pursuers who I liked equally. I became so emotionally overwhelmed because I wanted them both in my life and did not understand why romantic restrictions were making it so I had to pick one and kick the other out. I tried just being friends with both, but it got so awkward and weird. I felt like I was torturing them or something.
However, after that, I kind of just accepted that's what people do and went with it. I think that's why I'm having such a hard time now accepting that I am aro, because for the past 3 years (I'm 21) I just mimicked what was expected of me which makes me pretty romantically experienced. Since I was a kid I always thought love would cure the world, so I always felt like I loved everyone. I cared deeply for people and I think I needed people to care deeply for me due to some childhood trauma, but now that I have grown up a bit more and am able to love myself, I realize the love was not romantic nor do I feel comfortable being in a situation where someone completely depends on me for emotional support. I know friends support each other all the time, but it is scary to me to think someone would function less efficiently or happily if I were not present and vice versa.