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AutistAro

Wanting more but not really? Amatonormativity sucks.

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Anyone else yearn for ‘something more’, but a romantic relationship isn’t it?

 

I’m pretty sure the reason I think these things and feel so distraught is because of all the romantic saturation in Western society. Ya’ll know what I’m talking about. All those ‘finding the one’ stories and giving everything up for your ‘one true love’. Those ‘I’m miserable but I found someone and now my life has meaning’. Those ‘friends to lovers’ stories. Soulmates. 

 

I was an avid shipper. It wasn’t until my online friends announced their dating status that I...broke? Not one, but TWO couples. Aiyaiyai. I was heartbroken. Because I thought they were going to ignore the group chat. Ignore me. Hell, I thought I was being invasive if I private messaged them. I just, didn’t know what to do. 

And I got so fed up with the shipping bulls*it. The romance. The soulmate AUs. The pairing up of every character and having the aro character happy to be alone and totally uninterested in being with anyone. Shipping. The thing that fueled me and made me fuzzy and happy now hurts and feels stupid.

 

Like. I don’t want to be alone. I’ve realized, after coming out of my autistic head, that I actually like talking to people. I like having friends. Better yet, I love spending time with people I really like. Love chatting about interests or whatever. Small talk with those I care about and really like isn’t uncomfortable nor dumb. 

 

But realizing that a lot of people don’t want to get that close with their friends. Hell, what do I even want these days? Do I really want that intimacy I’ve read and seen so much about? Do I really want to be vulnerable with people I wholeheartedly trust?

Then I wonder, what if someone reciprocated what I felt for them? Would I like that? Would I be put off? Would I want to go back to not knowing them that well? Or what if they want more of my time? More of my attention? 

I’ve never dated. Never been interested in that. I was too self-absorbed and in my own head back then to even understand people. So, I have no experience whatsoever. None. Zero. Zip. Nada.

 

I just don’t know what I want with people. And even now I go in circles. I daydream and see myself with them, or with some faceless figure, doing all sorts of things. Romantic, platonic whatever. Point is we’re close. Really close.

Then I snap back to reality and feel so...lost. Not disgusted, no. But...would they or anyone really want to be that close to me?

 

I’ve read a lot of ‘found family’ stories. Stories where all the characters care for each other and try their hardest to be there for each other. They won’t sacrifice anything, but...they’re close.

 

Relationships of all kinds take effort, I know that. You can’t control who people would rather spend their time with. I know all that.

 

I think I’m going in circles now. Sorry. But it’s frustrating when I think about it.

 

I really think it’s that amatonormativity. The strongest bond with ‘friends’ is nothing compared to ‘romantic partners’. Romance trumps all. This society I live in has too many restrictions with ‘friends’ and ‘partners’. It sucks. It really sucks. I hate amatonormativity. 

 

I’m not too concerned with finding a specific label for me. AroAce is fine. I’m fluctuating too much, and I’d really love to just be indifferent and move on. Agh.

 

Anyone else struggling with these sorts of feelings? I figured my...solution is to write fanfics relating to these feelings. I’m a little scared my friends will read it and...know. But coming out seems scary. Especially because...what if they think I’m crushing on them when I’m not? Or they feel uncomfortable that I’d like to be a bit closer and they don’t want to? 

 

Ahh. Feelings. Relationships. Humans. Why it gotta be so complicated dammit.

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Hey there friend 👋 I relate quite a bit to what you’re saying. I’ve actually been having this problem lately with one of my friends, I want a deeper closeness with him, but it’s not even close to romance. There are many aros that want to form close, strong bonds with their friends, jsut not romantic ones. Trust me, you’re not alone in your feelings. And I totally feel you on the “social norm” (lol not even gonna try spelling amatorn however you spell it XD) it’s frustrating that romance triumphs everything, like why? Why is friendship just, “friendship?” It’s actually one of the reasons I’m looking forward to traveling, the possibility of moving to a society where coupling up is less common sounds great to me. And as for your friends, aw I’m sorry you’re nervous, I understand. But as long as you are respectful to them and you explain to them that you don’t want a romance, just something closer, a closer platonic bond, I think that will be a good step in the right direction. I’m sorry if this didn’t really help, it’s a confusing topic for me as well but I hoped that I could give some insight. Have a great rest of your day/night 💚

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Yeah, I empathize with your emotions too.
I liked shipping in the past and used ships as catalyzer for some of my own emotional needs.
It was great in my head but as I gained real life experience with other people who felt romantic towards me I realized I don't want any of that.
And that, for me, shipping is just a fantasy but nothing more (nowadays I don't ship or not romantically anymore).
 

7 hours ago, AutistAro said:

But realizing that a lot of people don’t want to get that close with their friends


It hurts. Still does. I hate amatonormativity for this very reason.
It's like they won't let you get emotionally closer because the place in their heart is reserved for their romantic interest/soulmate/whatever.
And I felt on edge when I talked to friends who are dating. As if every minute I would cross some invisible line and they would tell me to back off.
It never actually happened but there is the distinctive fear for it. I relate to the feeling of being an intruder, like you'll rain on their parade without intention.
The worst part for me was realizing you won't have the highest priortiy in their life. Ever.
They (probably) won't be viewing you as important as they are to you. That feels like a sting into your heart.
This is where I feel being aro can get really lonely.

Personally, once I came to termes with my aro-ness I realized that friendship is all I want and need.
And I hindered myself in platonic friendships because I was afraid I'd come across as "wanting more" (amatonormativity once again).
I don't care about romance at all (or I'm repulsed by it) I only want to feel a real emotional connection to someone.
For a friend, I would go to the end of the world and back, I would overcome hell and heaven. When I give a friend my word, they can fully rely on me.
But I know not many people would do it for their friends. I often feel alone with my feelings.

 

7 hours ago, AutistAro said:

I figured my...solution is to write fanfics relating to these feelings.


Funny, I just started to write a fanfiction with zero romance in it. And I plan on keeping it this way.
It's the best way to express my feelings at the moment. I also love the found family trope. I can relate a lot to it!
Coming out is not an easy thing to do. If your friends find out and you talk about it you need to clarify you are not crushing on them.
They will understand if you take enough time to explain, I'm sure.
You are not alone with your feelings.

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@AutistAro you’re welcome 💚

10 hours ago, NotHeartless said:


Personally, once I came to termes with my aro-ness I realized that friendship is all I want and need.
And I hindered myself in platonic friendships because I was afraid I'd come across as "wanting more" (amatonormativity once again).
I don't care about romance at all (or I'm repulsed by it) I only want to feel a real emotional connection to someone.
 

Wow, this really hit home. I’ve always told my friends that I love them and that I care about them, and I do, so much. But they don’t think the same way, I think they believe I’m coming off as weird or too clingy. I absolutely hate that amatonormativity does this, with friendships it’s like you have to take it to the “next level” or something like that, no one can have a close emotional connection with their friends. Ugh, why can’t this society realize that people just want a close bond with their friends, someone they can rely on and love? Society’s rules suck. But thank you for sharing, this thread really helped me. Thanks again 💚

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17 hours ago, Anything_but_allo said:

 I absolutely hate that amatonormativity does this, with friendships it’s like you have to take it to the “next level” or something like that, no one can have a close emotional connection with their friends.

The concept of "next level" only makes sense alloromantics. (Possibly not even all of them.)
Even for aros who arn't romance repulsed changing to a romantic relationship is likely to feel like a "downgrade".

 

17 hours ago, Anything_but_allo said:

I absolutely hate that amatonormativity does this, with friendships it’s like you have to take it to the “next level” or something like that, no one can have a close emotional connection with their friends. Ugh, why can’t this society realize that people just want a close bond with their friends, someone they can rely on and love? Society’s rules suck.

Normativity is the opposite of diversity. 

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@Mark summed up beautifully, thank you. And you’re right, being “normal” is the opposite of being an individual and having your own unique interests and lives. Funny how society goes on about how you need to be unique and how we should be diverse, yet society itself is the one that makes up rules about how we need to live our lives, ironic. Thank you again!

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17 hours ago, Anything_but_allo said:

And you’re right, being “normal” is the opposite of being an individual and having your own unique interests and lives.

It's possible for "normal" to describe something which is how the majority do things.
With "normative" there's the expectation that everyone will do things that way. Coercion, of some kind or other, is invariably where this is the case.
Ironically the type of relationship promoted by amantonormativity may not even be "normal" in terms of what people would do given a free choice.

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On 1/20/2019 at 8:59 PM, NotHeartless said:

It was great in my head but as I gained real life experience with other people who felt romantic towards me I realized I don't want any of that.

Pretty much exactly this. 

Generally we have been conditioned by society to want certain things, so our minds keep throwing those things at us. But it is idealised in the mind, a perfect scenario.......the reality is never like that. Also, generally there are no aversions or repulsions in the mind as it will automatically shy away from stuff you would be really uncomfortable with. So your mind might be showing you something that in real life would make you feel trapped and nauseous.

I have found that discovering my aversions and repulsion boundaries has really cut down on the partnered fantasies my mind has. Sure, I still want to live with someone because the alternative is worse for me, but my mind is more realistic and gives me fantasies of the perfect asexual flatmate and different breeds of dogs. 

 

Amatonormativity sucks but at least we can try to address any internalised issues we have with it. 

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17 hours ago, Mark said:

It's possible for "normal" to describe something which is how the majority do things.
With "normative" there's the expectation that everyone will do things that way. Coercion, of some kind or other, is invariably where this is the case.
Ironically the type of relationship promoted by amantonormativity may not even be "normal" in terms of what people would do given a free choice.

Yea that’s true, and I do reliable that something deemed, “normal” could jsut be how society normally does something. And yes you’re right! I know that many people would do relationships differently if they weren’t told how to do so.

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On 1/23/2019 at 2:07 AM, Apathetic Echidna said:

Generally we have been conditioned by society to want certain things, so our minds keep throwing those things at us. But it is idealised in the mind, a perfect scenario.......the reality is never like that.

Definitely. Also, I couldn't get rid of the feeling that my "yearning" for romance IRL doesn't actually have an internal motivation / desire behind it.
Now I know why and I'm able to see right through the conditioning and can spot personal reasons why I thought I'd need some sort of romantic relationship.
It's all a hoax. I'm thankful for my experiences although some of them were really unpleasant. But I think you learn the most when it hurts.
 

On 1/23/2019 at 2:07 AM, Apathetic Echidna said:

I have found that discovering my aversions and repulsion boundaries has really cut down on the partnered fantasies my mind has

Interesting, it's similar for me. My mind became pretty much "partner fantasy free" which feels like I got rid of a burden.
I feel way more relaxed since I admitted my repulsion and accepted my emotions.

If I may say so, I find your fantasy of living together with a flatmate (and dogs) perfectly understandable.
Especially since I kind of live your fantasy already; I share a big apartment with a close friend.
Everyone has their own space but we usually spend much time together anyway.
Honestly, I've never been happier with my housing situation. Another friend lives just down the street.
So much for "lonely miserable single people". We need to find others who want to live the same way
(which can be diffictult, I know).

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I relate with this so heavily! It's like we put arbitrary boundaries on friendship and dating and it's so hurtful and restrictive. I know I had to come to turns recently that I need to hold back from friends things they may view as romantic or too much for their sake. I don't want to have these boundaries, but it's the only way I get to have control and make a choice. Finding the ideal people/person who break this amatonormative system has been good for me so far.

 

One way I figured out I was aro was for the longest time I had this dream of a partner, a cat, a kid, all the romantic bells and whistles. And I met someone who clicked on all those levels. But then when we got together I couldn't deliver on the romance, the possessiveness, the hierarchy. I could pretend for him for only so long, but the initial excitement of being close with someone wore off when it became too much. Experience does help shape dreams, and now I have completely different ones.

 

I want to see more writing and possible write more where aro characters are able to escape amatonormativy and feel loved and safe. And maybe that's a flat with dogs. That's valid. It's going to be hard to find the right people, the right situation. But even romantic people aren't happy all the time, just gotta find the right opportunity and be honest of your feelings with others.

 

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On 1/24/2019 at 6:40 AM, Zthefrog said:

But then when we got together I couldn't deliver on the romance, the possessiveness, the hierarchy.

That's what I find repulsive about romance. It just makes no sense that anyone would want to be treated in such as way.

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you guys absolutely said it!  since my first and only romantic relationship ended (actually, pretty much since it began, lol), i haven't desired another one.  even before it, before i started questioning being aro, i never explicitly thought i'd like to be in one, i just kind of assumed eventually i would be, and it would be good, but i didn't think much about it.  also, I felt this: 

On 1/23/2019 at 4:34 AM, NotHeartless said:

I'm thankful for my experiences although some of them were really unpleasant. But I think you learn the most when it hurts.

yeah.  but i do want other types of relationships.  i'm not in a big rush or anything but i would like to have a sexual relationship (without going into detail, i was just in such a weird place with my ex that it made everything complicated).  now, i could have my pick, but i'm picky, and even if i found someone i was attracted to and it was mutual and we were comfortable and everything, i'd always be afraid he was or would become romantically attracted to me and that would make me uncomfortable.  same thing with qprs.  it's like, if i were with someone who likes girls, i'd be uncomfortable, and if i were with someone who doesn't, they'd probably be uncomfortable or wouldn't want the qpr the first place.  i've thought about asking my straight female best friend of 14 years about calling our relationship that, but i realize what we call it shouldn't change anything.  i love her so much and i know she feels the same way and i'm so lucky.  we might actually be living together in a couple years.  it's just that she's never dated, and i know eventually she will, and will most likely get married, and i'm ashamed to feel this way because i know she's not like this, but i'm scared she'll have less time or even less love for me.  i'm not suggesting i don't want her to love other people, or even that i won't; i just want to be with her for the rest of my life.  she'll always be the most important person in my life--i'm not fond of hierarchy, i just can't imagine this not being the case--and the idea that it won't be mutual is a very difficult one.  i do want (and have) other friends too, in fact my most common 'relationship daydreams' are about a small group of friends with whom i have a lot in common and can just talk, hang out, go on little adventures, and be there for each other.  oh man, i've talked about this before, but most friends, at least most of mine, are not reliable; they'll rarely commit to getting together, and even if they do, they'll flake out.  i miss my high school friends.  they're so great but i rarely see them either, which is more understandable because of the distance, but i'd travel 10 hours to see them and they can't go 1?  again, this is me:

On 1/20/2019 at 5:29 AM, NotHeartless said:

For a friend, I would go to the end of the world and back, I would overcome hell and heaven. When I give a friend my word, they can fully rely on me.
But I know not many people would do it for their friends. I often feel alone with my feelings.

i actually think the #1 thing which would make me happier overall is friendship like i conceptualized above, like i'd rather have that than any sort of partner or anything else i can think of.  i absolutely love spending time in solitude, and i just started a topic about my self-love, saying that even if i never had anyone but myself i would always be giving and receiving love, but i do like to share love and life with others, and i do sometimes desire relationships--even ones which would surely be disastrous--just to spice things up, i guess.  what else?  shipping.  i've contributed to the shipping thread, but to sum up, i do like it, in the same way i would like relationships for myself.  i don't ship romantically, and i do experience romance repulsion in response to fiction as well as real life.  many times i've gone to read something which appeared as though there would be no romance, but there was.  i have read a couple aro stories, one of which has stuck with me.  but i have to admit, probably my favourite fic ever was 513k words (i usually go under 5k) and one of the main plot points was a romantic relationship.  it was just really beautifully written.  final thought:

6 hours ago, Mark said:
On 1/24/2019 at 1:40 AM, Zthefrog said:

But then when we got together I couldn't deliver on the romance, the possessiveness, the hierarchy.

That's what I find repulsive about romance. It just makes no sense that anyone would want to be treated in such as way.

yup.  i'm also poly, and as i said, non-hierarchical, so i have like a double objection to amatonormativity.  and i'm a feminist (intersectional/egalitarian; terfs suck) and i've seen/heard of men and women in borderline abusive relationships and many don't even seem to realize it.  so yeah, i definitely think we're better off in many ways, but this struggle with different types of relationships is for sure one of the great challenges of being aro.

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12 hours ago, aro_elise said:

now, i could have my pick, but i'm picky, and even if i found someone i was attracted to and it was mutual and we were comfortable and everything, i'd always be afraid he was or would become romantically attracted to me and that would make me uncomfortable.  same thing with qprs

I relate. I can imagine myself in a QPR but I have a hard time letting go because I'm rather afraid people will fall for me again.
Also I haven't met anyone yet I would like to be in a QPR with. I have friends and I love them but most of them are in exclusive relationships
(hell, I do wonder sometimes if the wife of one of my friends I have talked about here before thinks I'm flirting with him -_-).
Also, I completely relate to your wish to spend the rest of your life with your friend of 14 years but your fear of losing her to someone else.
It's bitter just to imagine and the fear isn't completly unjustified even if your friend is different. There is always the risk they'll spend more time with their SO than with you or begin to act different once they are in love.
Don't feel ashamed, I experience these feelings too.

12 hours ago, aro_elise said:

my most common 'relationship daydreams' are about a small group of friends with whom i have a lot in common and can just talk, hang out, go on little adventures, and be there for each other

Also this. It's the same for me. I dream of a group of friends who are there for each other no matter what, and where everyone is reliable and communicates openly.
 

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