shewolf

Putting my thoughts in order - finding new words

18 posts in this topic

Newb for sure. I've spent 30+ years of my life believing I was a monogamous heterosexual female who was going to be married one day (but not have babies). I've been feeling certain ways about things for a very long time but I recently met a woman I befriended that gave me words I'd never heard before, like aromantic. She got a good laugh out of hearing the different phrases I'd been Googling for the last few years "what is it called if I don't want romantic love but want to have sex" - so many words, so few results. Once she gave me a few words to Google my whole world opened up and now I've been scrubbing websites trying to find "other people like me" but more simply, the right words/terms to call myself. Most importantly, looking for a sounding board to say "Do these things all seem to fit together? Or are there parts to this that don't seem to commonly co-exist and maybe I'm experiencing something different than what I think?"

 

What I've recently arrived at is: grey-romantic, non-monogamous grey-heterosexual.

 

- Gender Identity: I'm cisgender, but call myself "woman on the outside, man on the inside". From a social construct perspective, my gender confuses most people. I have always felt like a woman (and enjoy my female born sex organs), but act in ways and participate in activities that society deems masculine. I hate sports, but I'm a yellow belt in Krav Maga. I take singing lessons but I rarely wear makeup. I took wood shop and auto shop in high school but I'm a crazy cat lady. I hated dresses until I was 12 years old but now I love me a good ball gown and high heels. I have interests that span the spectrum depending on what day it is and how I feel.

- Sexual Attraction: I find both men and women physically attractive. I enjoy watching porn where the focus is on the woman.

- Sexual Orientation: I'm heterosexual.

- Why grey-heterosexual? Because I do not want sex with the person I'm in either QPR or companionship with. I love sex, but only in short bursts that last a few weeks with the same person. I have strong sexual attraction that lasts a few weeks and then it's gone entirely and never comes back. Many times I become repulsed by the thought of ever having had sex with the person after my sexual desire has subsided. I can go a few months without sex and then go crazy on one person for weeks. 

- Romantic Attraction: Is strongly and only tied to sex for me. I'll explain more under Romantic Orientation.

- Romantic Orientation: This is the part I'm struggling with the most. I want romantic love. I believe it exists for other people and I envy them for it. I really really want it. But I don't think that I was not born with the ability to experience romantic love. I've been in what I thought was romantic love, only to conclude that for me, I was simply in a relationship with someone for whom I experience a love that is no different than that of my best friends. I have romantic attraction to people I want to have sex with - I feel the butterflies and the giddiness and I check my text messages constantly and I want to hold hands and ass grab in private, but only with the person I'm pursuing sexually. I do not want a relationship with that person beyond a temporary few weeks (maybe few months) thing. I can't call myself aromantic as I experience joy and pleasure from romantic feelings / experiences. The romantic feelings and sexual attraction both fade together after a few weeks or months. These romantic feelings are short lived, and only experienced where I have a sexual attraction. So I land on grey-romantic. I experience strong feelings of love, but they are feelings towards humans that mean a great deal to me and not romantic love. Just platonic love.  

- Cohabitation: I'm extremely independent and have internal battles between living alone and living with other people. I like the company of roommates, but I actually prefer to live alone in a very friendly apartment building where I could knock on my neighbors door and have drinks/dinner. If I'm in a relationship with someone, I do not want to live with them but my ideal relationship would be one where they live down the hallway of my building. This is all because I get a lot of anxiety about people in my space, moving my stuff, not cleaning up after themselves, not putting the towel back on the rack straight, and so on. I just want to come home and be relaxed, not anxious. I will not ever mix finances with another person.

 

My Ideal Relationship:

This would be one where I have a companionship, or QPR, with someone with zero sexual interaction. Because this companionship is simply about love for another human, this companionship / QPR could be with a woman, man or anything in between. There could be some small acceptable levels of holding hands (I do that with my best friend), or cuddling (I've done that with my best friend), laying on their lap to watch a movie, see each other naked (I like to cook bacon topless sometimes, I live dangerously), and overall have a more committed and deeper connection / relationship than one that I would have with my best friend. This person would be someone that I do not live with. They would live in my apartment building or around the block. We are best friends who do all the fun activities together (hiking, camping, rafting, motorcycle rides, traveling, trips to Costa Rica, trips to Europe, road trips, movies, etc) but we also are committed more than a best friend so that neither of us will grow older alone / lonely. I would refer to them as my partner or my companion. This companion / QPR could "date" other people as would I. It would not be a polyamorous relationship (I've been asked that a few times by people I've described this to). We would just be eachothers number one. If I have a wedding to attend, they're always my date. If I have surgery, they take off work to care for me. All of that vice versa for them. I might go on dates with guys, even for a few weeks or months, simply so we could satisfy eachother "romantically and sexually" (see above, where I experience romantic attraction and butterflies with the person I'm sexually attracted to). At the end of the day, I enjoy romantic attraction and I enjoy sex, but I like to come home to my bed alone and I don't want to form a relationship over romantic attraction or romantic feelings. We would not have children. 

 

I'm having a hard time grappling with the romantic attraction. I experience it, and I desire it / enjoy it. But I attach it to sex and don't want it in a relationship. The romantic attraction I experience is more than just lust. I want to get to know the guy, stay up late picking his brain. Get text messages from him, hear from him, meet his friends. Go on dates with him. Hold his hand, caress his face. Maybe that all is just lust and I'm not really experiencing romantic attraction. I have never felt romantic attraction for someone I was not sexually attracted to. I've been reading some threads about how being aromantic sexual is super challenging, and maybe that would explain why I'm having a hard time coming to terms with what to call this. Who would want to be in a companionship with me? An aromantic asexual? I'm worried another aromantic sexual and I would get hairy and we might end up banging and ruining it. lol.

 

Thoughts, reactions welcome. Be kind though. I've already been reading about how I'm not really in the mold of "normal society" for certain. But I'm not really LGBTQ either. I've also read that I can be seen by some in the LGBTQ+ community as homophobic as I'm open to a companionship with a woman but not sex with a woman so I'm actually hiding my true feelings about wanting sex with a woman (which I'm not). Or I've also read that I must not have any feelings to be able to isolate sex like that, that I'm heartless. Feeling lost and overwhelmed right now.

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I can very much relate to a lot of things you mentioned, starting by "finding out late after someone gave me the word I had to google" and ending in the description of a very specific kind of dream relationship that's so different from the way things are "usually done" that I can't picture it ever becoming reality. So at least to me, your thoughts make a whole lot of sense!

 
First of:

I think wanting romantic feelings and aromanticism aren't mutually exclusive. You don't have to be romance-repulsed, in fact, I'd wager that there are quite a handful of aros that'd probably want to experience a romantic relationship or experience it in small portions, but can't follow through (me kind off included. Though what I crave is the companionship that good romantic relationships seem to have, like it's some sort of package deal). That's sorta why it is an orientation and not a choice. You can't help yourself even if you'd want to be different. The definition of an orientation is not an absolute, there is always quite a bit of leeway i'd say and if you feel like the word does something for you than by all means do feel free to use it (gray or not).

 

Being aromantic sexual is definitely a weird as mix up. Some might have a clear discernable line on whom they are respectively attracted to but most I've read about seem to be hella confused most of the time (I know I am) so you're probably in good company over here *g* 

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I recently broke up with a boyfriend of 2.5 years because I was repulsed by the thought of having sex with him (and he's sooooo gorgeous) and had only platonic feelings left for him. He's a very sexual and romantic person and he deserved better than what I could give him. He wanted me to stay. I could no longer stand the anxiety I had every day when I came home and he wanted sex and I just wanted to go to bed or cuddle with my cats. 

 

And, how do I meet people for sex?? If I go on a dating website I don't want to mislead anyone into thinking I'm a potential girlfriend. But I don't want to put "Looking for a Hookup" because I'm not. I am not going to be sneaking out of his house after we bang. We would date, romance me, yadda yadda.

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Your ideal relationship sounds about like my (currently)(my thoughts have changed before) ideal relationship... except maybe not the motorcycle riding :P, but the rest sounds great.  So know that there are other people who would also like your ideal relationship.

 

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38 minutes ago, Star Girl said:

Your ideal relationship sounds about like my (currently)(my thoughts have changed before) ideal relationship... except maybe not the motorcycle riding :P, but the rest sounds great.  So know that there are other people who would also like your ideal relationship.

 

How did you meet this person? 

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Welcome @shewolf

 

I'll be a sounding board! :D 

 

13 hours ago, shewolf said:

Most importantly, looking for a sounding board to say "Do these things all seem to fit together? Or are there parts to this that don't seem to commonly co-exist and maybe I'm experiencing something different than what I think?"

 

Sure, a lot of what you posted seems to logically fit together in ways that are pretty similar to what others here have posted. I think everything you wrote about wanting to keep different aspects of your life separate (romantic-sexual vs. platonic partners, living arrangements and finances vs. those of partners, etc.) - rather than wanting to merge everything together in some super-union with one person - is something that a lot of people here (myself included) can totally relate to. Plus a stong desire to maintain personal autonomy and avoid co-dependency.

 

13 hours ago, shewolf said:

Googling for the last few years "what is it called if I don't want romantic love but want to have sex"

I can relate - although I think I struggled for a while to admit to myself that this is what I wanted (as all my 'role-models' growing up were in very conventional long-term monogamous romantic-sexual relationships, so I probably intuited that this is what any decent, self-respecting person ought to want for themselves...)

 

13 hours ago, shewolf said:

Romantic Orientation: This is the part I'm struggling with the most. I want romantic love. I believe it exists for other people and I envy them for it. I really really want it.

How come? What is it you envy that they have? What do you feel you're missing out on by not experiencing romantic love in the same way as most people?

 

13 hours ago, shewolf said:

The romantic feelings and sexual attraction both fade together after a few weeks or months.

I get the impression this is also the case for a lot of standard romantic-sexual people. They call it "New Relationship Energy" in the polyamorous community. Although maybe your 'drop-off' in levels of romantic-sexual attraction is a bit more dramatic than some other people's?

 

13 hours ago, shewolf said:

Cohabitation: I'm extremely independent and have internal battles between living alone and living with other people. I like the company of roommates, but I actually prefer to live alone in a very friendly apartment building where I could knock on my neighbors door and have drinks/dinner.

 Sounds good. University halls were pretty much perfect for me in this respect.

 

13 hours ago, shewolf said:

If I'm in a relationship with someone, I do not want to live with them

Same. Although I allow for the fact that my feelings could change, were I to actually ever get into one of these "relationship" things :P

 

13 hours ago, shewolf said:

I will not ever mix finances with another person.

Also same (with the same caveat, - although I'm a bit more sure I would not want to do this one!)

 

13 hours ago, shewolf said:

I like to cook bacon topless sometimes

That is...oddly specific! O.o Is it just bacon?! 

 

13 hours ago, shewolf said:

Who would want to be in a companionship with me? An aromantic asexual?

 

Yeah, sounds like that could work. There's more than a few of them here and my reading was they've expressed desires along similar lines to your "ideal relationship". There would probably be enough people out there potentially "up for it" to locate one IRL. I guess the question would be how/where to advertise it... (as I presume that conventional dating websites are not at all optimised for finding these types of relationships?)

 

13 hours ago, shewolf said:

Or I've also read that I must not have any feelings to be able to isolate sex like that, that I'm heartless.

 

Naah, that's just your standard people being judgemental of preferences a bit different to their own. Nobody thinks it's an issue when you don't develop romantic feelings for your tennis partner, or martial arts classmates, or whatever; but for some reason if the physical activity of sex is involved it's expected that you will and seen as a bit pathological if you don't. I dunno, people have all sorts of strange ideas!  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

 

 

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10 minutes ago, NullVector said:

Welcome @shewolf

 

I'll be a sounding board! :D 

 

 

Sure, a lot of what you posted seems to logically fit together in ways that are pretty similar to what others here have posted. I think everything you wrote about wanting to keep different aspects of your life separate (romantic-sexual vs. platonic partners, living arrangements and finances vs. those of partners, etc.) - rather than wanting to merge everything together in some super-union with one person - is somethig that a lot of people here (myself included) can totally relate to. Plus a stong desire to maintain personal autonomy and avoid co-dependency.

 

I can relate - although I think I struggled for a while to admit to myself that this is what I wanted.

 

How come? What is it you envy that they have? What do feel like you're missing out on by not experiencing romantic love in the same way as most people?

 

I get the impression this is also the case for a lot of standard romantic-sexual people. They call it "New Relationship Energy" in the polyamarouns community. Although maybe your 'drop-off' in levels of romantic-sexual attraction is a bit more dramatic than some other people's?

 

 Sounds good. University halls were pretty much perfect for me in this respect.

 

Same. Although I allow for the fact that my feelings could change, were I to actually ever get into one of these "relationship" things :P

 

Also same (with the same caveat, - although I'm a bit more sure I would not want to do this one!)

 

That is...oddly specific! O.o Is it just bacon?! 

 

 

Yeah, sounds like that could work. There's more than a few of them here and my reading was they've expressed desires along similar lines to your "ideal relationship". There would probably be enough people out there potentially "up for it" to locate one IRL. I guess the question would be how/where to advertise it... (as I presume that conventional dating websites are not at all optimised for finding these types of relationships?)

 

 

Naah, that's just your standard people being judgemental of preferences a bit different to their own. Nobody thinks it's an issue when you don't develop romantic feelings for your tennis partner, or martial arts classmates, or whatever; but for some reaoson if the phyical activity of sex is involved it's expected that you will and seen as a bit pathological if you don't. I dunno, people have all sorts of strange ideas!  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

 

 

I'm new at this whole quoting functionality and I haven't figured it out on my phone yet.

 

That was super super helpful. 

 

I agree with the idea that my feelings could change about certain things (though unlikely).

 

The romantic love thing. Why do I really really want it? It looks fun. I envy people that experience it. It looks dreamy. Mostly, this is just baggage that I've carried for 30 years, feeling like I deserved romantic love but that no one was deeming me worthy of it.  Of course I've determined in the last year that this was never really true, but all those romance movies and Disney princess happily ever after fucked me up really bad and I'm just still in recovery. I know I don't want it, but shaking the idea is hard.

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30 minutes ago, shewolf said:

I'm new at this whole quoting functionality and I haven't figured it out on my phone yet.

Yeah, it's a bit fiddly to do it on phones! 

 

30 minutes ago, shewolf said:

The romantic love thing. Why do I really really want it? It looks fun. I envy people that experience it. It looks dreamy.

 

I can see this. At the same time, I've observed there can be one hell of a "come down" after that "high" and when you see what a mess some people's lives can become after relationship breakdown (and just how much sheer vitriol there can be between ex-lovers) it makes me not desire it at all! Most people seem to over-idealise such things and only look at one side of the equation...

 

30 minutes ago, shewolf said:

 Of course I've determined in the last year that this was never really true, but all those romance movies and Disney princess happily ever after fucked me up really bad and I'm just still in recovery. I know I don't want it, but shaking the idea is hard.

 

Yeah, that. I think being aro and female probably has some unique challenges. I have the advantage of being male xD We're supposed to think all of that is yucky, 'girly' stuff and it's pretty much mandatory for us to act like we hate it (even if we secretly love it - as I suspect more than a few guys do!). But I also think that, in some ways, being male can be a disadvantage for an aromantic. Cos if romance is less "in your face" then it can be much harder to work out that you're aromantic (and thence pursue the types of relationships you genuinely want, as opposed to society's defaults). Plus you're also less likely to be directly subjected to overt romantic intent from the opposite sex and find out that way - due to the gendered expectation that men romantically 'pursue' and women are romantically 'pursued' (how does THAT feel to you, by the way?)

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8 minutes ago, NullVector said:

Yeah, it's a bit fiddly to do it on phones! 

 

 

I can see this. At the same time, I've observed there can be one hell of a "come down" after that "high" and when you see what a mess some people's lives can become after relationship breakdown (and just how much sheer vitriol there can be between ex-lovers) it makes me not desire it at all! Most people seem to over-idealise such things and only look at one side of the equation...

 

 

Yeah, that. I think being aro and female probably has some unique challenges. I have the advantage of being male xD We're supposed to think all of that is yucky, 'girly' stuff and it's pretty much mandatory for us to act like we hate it (even if we secretly love it - as I suspect more than a few guys do!). But I also think that, in some ways, being male can be a disadvantage for an aromantic If romance is less "in your face" then it could be much harder to work out that you're aromantic (and thence pursue the types of relationships you genuiniely want, as opposed to society's defaults). Plus you're also less likely to be direclty subjected to agressive romantic intent from the opposite sex - due to the gendered expectation that men romantically 'pursue' and women are romantically 'pusrued' (how does THAT feel to you, by the way?)

The come down is awful. It. Is. Awful.

 

I like being pursued romantically. But only because it brings me pleasure, some sort of dopamine high. And then after I've had my fill of it there is a massive crash. Like a drug addiction to romance and sex. I only want a little bit here and there. Like a hobby? Lol. But not some sort of emotion that should be taken seriously, life planned upon, and no driving how I live my life.

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5 minutes ago, shewolf said:

I only want a little bit here and there. Like a hobby? Lol.

 

Got it - romance and sex as 'recreational drug use' xD And a QPR for help with the more serious stuff

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1 minute ago, NullVector said:

 

Got it - romance and sex as 'recreational drug use' xD And a QPR for help with the more serious stuff

Yea basically. That's a strangely accurate way to put it. Lol

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3 hours ago, shewolf said:

And, how do I meet people for sex?? If I go on a dating website I don't want to mislead anyone into thinking I'm a potential girlfriend. But I don't want to put "Looking for a Hookup" because I'm not. I am not going to be sneaking out of his house after we bang. We would date, romance me, yadda yadda.

I have no clue. I struggle with that myself tbh. You could always state exactly what you want in a dating app, but chances are you'll just earn a lot of confusion. For most people it seems to be an all or nothing situation. =\

 

57 minutes ago, NullVector said:
12 hours ago, shewolf said:

Who would want to be in a companionship with me? An aromantic asexual?

 

Yeah, sounds like that could work. There's more than a few of them here and my reading was they've expressed desires along similar lines to your "ideal relationship". There would probably be enough people out there potentially "up for it" to locate one IRL. I guess the question would be how/where to advertise it... (as I presume that conventional dating websites are not at all optimised for finding these types of relationships?)

I think there's a meet up forum here? Though most people are probably long distance if you try the forum. If side relationships are ok you could also ask poly, gay or lesbian aros. I feel like that sort of companionship could form out of any sort of friendship with most aros, so that might work. Some might join a Pride or hang in LGBT+ spaces, so that might be a good start to look for meetups IRL.

I feel like, keeping shit separated while still having some sort of company that's not temporary in nature is a very common wish amongst aros.I wouldn't merge my finances with anyone either and I'd only like a shared living space if I get my own room/rooms.

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4 hours ago, Kojote said:

I have no clue. I struggle with that myself tbh. You could always state exactly what you want in a dating app, but chances are you'll just earn a lot of confusion. For most people it seems to be an all or nothing situation. =\

 

I think there's a meet up forum here? Though most people are probably long distance if you try the forum. If side relationships are ok you could also ask poly, gay or lesbian aros. I feel like that sort of companionship could form out of any sort of friendship with most aros, so that might work. Some might join a Pride or hang in LGBT+ spaces, so that might be a good start to look for meetups IRL.

I feel like, keeping shit separated while still having some sort of company that's not temporary in nature is a very common wish amongst aros.I wouldn't merge my finances with anyone either and I'd only like a shared living space if I get my own room/rooms.

I seem to remember a "Not Looking for Anything Serious" option on PlentyofFish when I used to be on there. That would surely cover at least the sex part, since I dated a ton of guys from there that went no where. Lol. 

 

It's the companion part I'll struggle with. Been trying to convince my best girlfriends to start a Golden Girls type house with me but they're all hung up on finding the one and getting married :/

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Regarding your gender, keep in mind that gender expression is different from gender identity. You can have a masculine style of expression and still identify as completely female.  

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On 16/06/2017 at 1:02 PM, Kojote said:

I think wanting romantic feelings and aromanticism aren't mutually exclusive. You don't have to be romance-repulsed, in fact, I'd wager that there are quite a handful of aros that'd probably want to experience a romantic relationship or experience it in small portions, but can't follow through (me kind off included. Though what I crave is the companionship that good romantic relationships seem to have, like it's some sort of package deal). That's sorta why it is an orientation and not a choice. You can't help yourself even if you'd want to be different.

I more see it as desiring romantic coded things and activities rather than romance. My feelings towards 'relationships', 'dating' etc have always tended to be "Yes, but not like that". (Whereas the more common aro reaction appears to be "hell no!").
Something I really hate is the whole bundling/package aspect to normative relationships.
 

On 16/06/2017 at 4:06 PM, shewolf said:

And, how do I meet people for sex?? If I go on a dating website I don't want to mislead anyone into thinking I'm a potential girlfriend. But I don't want to put "Looking for a Hookup" because I'm not. I am not going to be sneaking out of his house after we bang. We would date, romance me, yadda yadda.

My experience of trying to use dating sites is that even if I can get through the typical gender (very few even have non binary options) and monosexual obstacles there's little in the "what are you looking for" options which actually fits me.
 

6 hours ago, Ettina said:

Regarding your gender, keep in mind that gender expression is different from gender identity. You can have a masculine style of expression and still identify as completely female.  

With both of these being a spectrum rather than a binary. With it typically being assumed than these are the same and must be at one extreme or the other.

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You're not homophobic for wanting a strictly platonic relationship with a woman. Back when I identified as aromantic pansexual, I was told that I was a fuckboy with commitment issues. People will make up anything they want to explain what they don't understand.

 

Only you can decide your labels, but I think that, if romance is strictly linked to sex for you, and the sexual attraction only lasts for a short period of time, maybe that's more of a matter of relationship style, than romantic orientation. I know a French guy studying in America who frequently complains about "wanting a relationship, but not really." He has a super casual girlfriend and they're in an open relationship. Both of them engage in various romantic-sexual relationships of various intensities, but when he goes back to France, they're together. He calls it "drifting." I feel like the kind of romantic relationships you're describing are similar, in the sense that you don't want to pursue a traditional, long-term monogamous relationship, but rather, take connections as they come and go.

 

You could also be cupioromantic (i.e. you're aromantic, but still desire a romantic relationship). Here is a link to a tumblr with posts on cupioromanticism.

 

Also you don't have to be anywhere on the aromantic spectrum to experience queerplatonic attraction, or to be in a queerplatonic relationship. Both of my current queerplatonic partners are alloromantic. One of them has a boyfriend, and the other is dating around. 

 

I think the last comment I have, though, is sympathy. It sounds like you've spent a lot of time thinking about this, and a lot of time struggling to figure out your identity. That's a brave endeavor for you to undertake, and I'm glad you chose to share your story with us. I hope you'll be able to find your ideal relationships someday.

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Everyone's comments are super incredibly helpful. Thank you all so much.

 

I really really don't want the traditional relationships. I like short bursts or relationships and then I move on to the next thing. I enjoy romantic feelings and experiences simply as a pleasurable experience and when I'm done I tuck it away and move on to the next. Like sex, is a pleasurable dopamine high. So are romantic experiences. When they are done they are done and they carry no future purpose. I don't know that I will ever find the right "companion" for me , it will be hard. Because while I want their companionship, I won't be tied down to them. Which means when I decide to pick up and move to the next city, they can come. Or not. I won't stay behind for them. And if they come with me and things don't work out its separate paths for both of us with no "but I moved here for you" blaming. I move around the world. Every 3 ish years on to a new country. Majority of people are not going to just follow me where I please.

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On 2017-6-16 at 3:44 PM, shewolf said:

- Gender Identity: I'm cisgender, but call myself "woman on the outside, man on the inside". From a social construct perspective, my gender confuses most people. I have always felt like a woman (and enjoy my female born sex organs), but act in ways and participate in activities that society deems masculine.

 

Just some more thoughts on this... I'm pretty much in the opposite boat - born male, not really interested in typical male activities. Personally, I identify as agender because for a long time now I've wondered just how useful the concept of gender, as opposed to biosex, even is. People are people and enjoy what they enjoy. You can have a penis and enjoy dancing and dolls or have a vagina and enjoy martial arts and sports. The whole construction around "this is what men should be like" and "this is what women should be like" that is gender is weird and super confusing to me.

 

On 2017-6-16 at 3:44 PM, shewolf said:

Who would want to be in a companionship with me? An aromantic asexual?

 

Not such a silly idea. As an aro/ace myself, I'd probably go for the style of relationship/companionship you described above this. They'd have to be ok with you having sex with other people though obviously, so that's definitely not everyone.

 

On 2017-6-19 at 7:41 PM, Mark said:
On 2017-6-16 at 10:02 PM, Kojote said:

I think wanting romantic feelings and aromanticism aren't mutually exclusive. You don't have to be romance-repulsed, in fact, I'd wager that there are quite a handful of aros that'd probably want to experience a romantic relationship or experience it in small portions, but can't follow through (me kind off included. Though what I crave is the companionship that good romantic relationships seem to have, like it's some sort of package deal). That's sorta why it is an orientation and not a choice. You can't help yourself even if you'd want to be different.

I more see it as desiring romantic coded things and activities rather than romance. My feelings towards 'relationships', 'dating' etc have always tended to be "Yes, but not like that". (Whereas the more common aro reaction appears to be "hell no!").
Something I really hate is the whole bundling/package aspect to normative relationships.

 

This, this, this. I'm also in the same boat. I desire a lot of romantically coded physical contact - cuddling, holding hands, very occasionally kissing - but have no desire (or ability, if i'm being frank) to be in a romantic relationship.

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