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Cassiopeia

Internalized arophobia (and how to get rid of it)

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I think one handy trick for internalized prejudice is to imagine talking to someone else who has the same trait that you have and is saying the same things you keep telling yourself. How would you feel about that person, and what would you say? 

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On 13.5.2017 at 1:39 AM, NullVector said:

It does.

I wonder: you wrote that almost a year ago and said you were looking for a 'healthier' way to understand/phrase it. What do you think now?

 

Oh wow it's really been that long hasn't it?

So yeah, that one's a dozy. To be perfectly frank it's still like that. I've got a job now and I'm gonna move again soon. I'm thinking of quitting flat sharing and just get a place for myself, but I'm desperately afraid to do so. It's a big step for me, because it means that I'll "stop pretending like I could share a life with someone without romantic love involved". At least for the time being. 

I mean, theoretically I'll have a home and a job I love and friends who're hours away but still keep in contact, so for all intents and purposes I'll have it good. But I'd still only be "there". Existing in a vacuum. I'd be the literal tree in the forest. If I fall who'd notice? From an outsider's perspective I'll be that one dude who drops in from time to time. 

Since there's no one there who shares my life with me, I exist alone and my existence will be "borrowed" by whoever will have me around. If I don't make an effort, I'll just slowly fade from social spaces. So yeah. That whole stuff hasn't changed at all.

 

I've kinda come to terms with it, though. not being important enough to have a home anywhere can give you a sense of freedom. And I mean, lives still happening you know? It's silly to think that everything's gonna stay that way forever. Maybe something will work out for me =) Maybe it won't. Either way I won't know for sure so there's no sense in sweating the small stuff. As I said: I'll have it good. I accomplished everything I set out to do (even if I don't have people I can share that with), so I should just enjoy my place in life for the time being. If that's not a healthier way to see it, than I don't know xD 

 

There'll be times where I'll be desperately alone, but hey. Life has it's ups and downs for everybody. My downs just happen to be loneliness and existential crisis xDDDD

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8 hours ago, Kojote said:

I'm thinking of quitting flat sharing and just get a place for myself, but I'm desperately afraid to do so. It's a big step for me, because it means that I'll "stop pretending like I could share a life with someone without romantic love involved".

 

I'm in a pretty similar position myself actually. Thinking about buying a place of my own - and it makes a ton of sense financially. But I've shared houses with friends for about the last 13 years and leaving that phase of life behind just feels 'off' somehow...

 

I can really relate to everything else you said too. I'm kind of repeating myself here (it's something I've said a bunch of times on these forums) but I think that leaving university can be tough - and it's particularly tough for aros. Universities are good places for aros (possibly monasteries/nunneries too, hah). Out there in the 'big bad world' of insular couples? Not so good. I don't really have any advice for you. But you have my sympathies. I've lived outside of the university 'bubble' for a good few years now. You get used to it, but things with friends never quite have the same natural, spontaneous feeling they used to. Too many constraints get added. Both voluntairily, by them (partners etc. getting prioritiesd over you) and involuntairily, by societal factors (like the demands of full-time work).

 

It's nice that we have a community here where we can share these sorts of things. I think solidarity and feeling not alone with similar experiences is important.

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On 3.5.2016 at 5:03 PM, artemis said:

Part of me still wonders if it really is just a phase. I'm a teenager, not an adult, in most people's eyes I'm still a child. 

Then I try to remind myself that romantic and sexual orientations are fluid, and even if it is just a phase, I'm still valid.

Sometimes I start thinking: "May this is just phase?" . It makes me sad, and feeling like I don't fit in anything. I try to hammer that fluid-thing in my head, but sometimes it isn't working.  :'(

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I have mostly always been comfortable with myself, I did think for ages that there was The OneTM out there for me and I should save myself for that person (yay for conservative teachings guilt trip!). I just wasn't that interested in finding him. Then there was a point I went 'who cares?' and threw myself into a sexual relationship with one of the only people I have ever been physically attracted to. Then I go back to the super slut shaming high school I went to and was guilty for over a year. How could I have done that without loving him? how come I didn't start loving him? It was only 2 years later that I admitted to the relationship I had to some of my friends. And even then I pretended it was a romantic connection and 'it still hurt too much to talk about' instead of the truth of 'I have no idea what that is meant to feel like and I don't want to be caught in a lie'. Admittedly I didn't know aro was a thing and thought I was broken.  

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To begin, I should say that I have chronic mental illnesses that like to crop up in severity from time to time. In regards to my sexuality, I used to think for the longest time it was because I wasn't mentally or physically well that I had no sexual attraction to anybody or anything. I thought that once I achieved the state of "better" that it would "return". Here's the catch, I never experienced sexual attraction in the first place. It was because I was programmed to be believe that sexual is the default state of people. So, obviously, I thought, I had to be sexual even though I never experienced that type of attraction before.... maybe I was just a late bloomer. Similarly, I'm slowly trying to accept that I'm on the aromanticism spectrum as well. Lucky me, all the "A's". I've been told all my life that romantic orientations are the "default" for everybody. One day I'll find the right person. One day I'll fall in love (romantically). However, it just doesn't sit well with me. When I was younger, I firmly believed that it would "one day" happen.............. even though I never really felt anything more than what I now recognize as having squishes. I'm not quite sure where else I'm going with this mind-vomit... I guess I'll close with: I'm trying to be okay with not being "normal" and having the "default setting". I'm farther along in accepting my asexuality and I'm working on (starting?) accepting my aro-spec romanticism. I don't know, heh, there's so many layers and sides to human attraction. I'm not sure I'll ever fully understand this stuff, but the least I can do is try to be okay with myself having these feelings and also these lack of feelings.

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On 21/08/2017 at 6:05 AM, Apathetic Echidna said:

I have mostly always been comfortable with myself, I did think for ages that there was The OneTM out there for me and I should save myself for that person (yay for conservative teachings guilt trip!). I just wasn't that interested in finding him

Yep, me too (her, in my case)

 

Not sure if you saw this post earlier in the thread from @Cassiopeia. That one was sooooo relatable to me :-) 

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@NullVector yes, I saw that one. I have a insta-wtf reaction when 'The Sex Talk' starts off as "when two people really love each other....." but no one blinks an eye, yet when a Catholic science teacher mentions humans as being monogamous the class bursts into laughter. like ...like.......I don't get people.  

 

plus I have never seen a relationship fix depression, if anything it makes you more mentally unstable. I have no idea where most of this sort of advice comes from! 

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On 9/5/2017 at 1:05 AM, Apathetic Echidna said:

I have a insta-wtf reaction when 'The Sex Talk' starts off as "when two people really love each other....." but no one blinks an eye, yet when a Catholic science teacher mentions humans as being monogamous the class bursts into laughter. like ...like.......I don't get people. 

I mean, both situations involve people being equally shortsighted, but mononormativity (...is that the word?) is I think somewhat less ingrained in most of society as a whole than amatonormativity. I don't think it's a stretch to say that more people are aware of the concept of open relationships and such than of aromanticism (and certainly, it's probably the case that the poly community is bigger and more well-known than the aro community), so it would possibly be more likely that they would call mononormativity out as BS than amatonormativity.

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On 7/20/2016 at 4:19 PM, SoulWolf said:

I also get scared of physical affection and general touching, because I have no idea where the lines of "appropriateness" are. And I actually like physical affection and touching and hugs... but I'm scared of making it obvious that I like those things, in case people think I'm really after something else entirely.

 

SAME.  I realized the other week that I usually go the entire week without coming into physical contact with another person (beyond maybe handshakes at work meetings) except for Friday nights when i hug my friends goodbye after hanging out.  Even around them, when we're watching movies or whatever, I try very hard to keep from touching anyone too much because I'm so worried about crossing some invisible line that everyone else sees and understands except me.  ( As an Ace I also find it super uncomfortable to be in physical contact with someone when a sex scene suddenly pops up on screen.  Even just being in the same room with everyone I have to scroll tumblr on my phone or something, cause I don't want to look at the screen.)

 

Like, I just want to hug someone or hold hands or lean on someone during a movie who won't get the wrong idea that I "want something more" or whatever...Sometimes I second-guess my want for a life companion/QPP as me just being touch-starved...

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On 01/09/2017 at 11:52 AM, MandraSedai said:

I guess I'll close with: I'm trying to be okay with not being "normal" and having the "default setting". I'm farther along in accepting my asexuality and I'm working on (starting?) accepting my aro-spec romanticism.

I think that' s the main thing. You being okay with you :hugs:. Being "normal" is vastly overrated anyway :P. Much more important to be happy than "normal" (whatever that means) I think. Forcing yourself to fit into "normal", when you're not a good fit for whatever you think it is, will probably make you very unhappy. 

 

Further up, you wrote:

On 01/09/2017 at 11:52 AM, MandraSedai said:

Similarly, I'm slowly trying to accept that I'm on the aromanticism spectrum as well. Lucky me, all the "A's"

 

I think from the context above that you meant "lucky me" sarcastically. I suppose it's true that "all the A's" might make it even harder to relate to most people than having just one or two of them. But perhaps in other ways it is actually lucky. You don't have to experience the pain of romantic heartbreak or not ever finding the right romantic life-partner. You don't have to solve the problems an aro-sexual might have to, about how to find sexual partners where mutual long-term appreciation and respect is present outside the context of a romantic relationship (yeah, there are days I wish I was asexual, it seems like it could make my life easier in some ways; but the feeling passes).

 

That all ties back into self-acceptance. I hope you can keep working on it :). Maybe having a read of this thread can help?

 

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I have never had any sort of romantic feelings towards anyone, and for so long I have felt broken and as if something was wrong (still do, just less so). I had heard of aromantic people, but I never really thought of it applying to me after years of feeling broken. It wasn't until the last month or so that I even thought that hey, this might apply to me to.

 

Once the idea that I might be broken had entered my head, it's been hard to get rid of that feeling. I must say though that for me as soon after I relised that I was aro I told one of my friends who I new accepted aromantic people as valid, and that has helped some.

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On ‎20‎/‎07‎/‎2016 at 9:19 PM, SoulWolf said:

I also get scared of physical affection and general touching, because I have no idea where the lines of "appropriateness" are. And I actually like physical affection and touching and hugs... but I'm scared of making it obvious that I like those things, in case people think I'm really after something else entirely. I'm kinda working on this... some of the people I hang out with are very huggy and touchy-feely... (martial artists are weird)... so I enjoy that. I haven't really tried to initiate any hugs or whatever yet... but I guess I can work up to that.

Honestly I relate to the max. Even now I have a QPP and we've discussed physical contact and what we both want they usually always initiate physical contact and I don't know what to do. I like closeness, yet when entering into the QPR I had a lot of internalised arophobia and I thought that even though I knew they had a "friend crush" on me as they called it, they probably would want more out of the relationship (romance, making out) than I was able to give. This feeling I have around being inadequate has prevailed into our QPR (even though I now know that they are demiromantic) and although the idea of relationship anarchy has helped me a lot not to worry about placing my relationships into different boxes, I am still dealing with the feelings of "appropriateness" that SoulWolf was talking about.

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Yes, I love this thread so much. When I first came on here I mainly kept seeing about people talking about how they always knew they were aro. For me this wasn't the case, ever since I was a little child I loved love and wanted my prince to come for me. I saw how in love my parents were with each other and how that made them happy. I didn't really know any other adults that weren't parents of my friends so all the adults I knew were married and happy. I thought the only natural step was to fall in love and get married too. 

 

I started to convince myself that I loved these random guys, because I knew I should love and I didn't know the difference between friendship love and romantic love and I never experienced non platonic feelings. So I would start dating my friends who were boys but the second it became non platonic I would get uncomfortable and break up with them. So by the time I was 14 I had 13 boyfriends each of which only lasted around a week. So I was known as a player in my school. 

I still don't fully accept my aromanticism, I hope that I will find my soulmate and that I will be happy ( I am happy now). But I know that's probably not gonna happen. I am also a huge overthinker so I'm always scared for my future that all my friends won't care for me as much as their partner. And I will be lonely. But I guess time will tell.

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