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ruth

is romantic orientation even a thing?

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I am pretty skeptical on the whole idea of "romantic love". I don't have a stable opinion of it yet but I'm leaning towards the idea that it's all made up. To me, "romantic love" is sexual attraction and a close friendship combined. I don't see it as a whole new type of love. Are aromantics just people who are aware that what defines as romantic love is very vague? Not to mention it's something wholly unique to humanity.

 

I don't know, I am what you would consider an aromantic so maybe I'm skeptical because I have never felt it before.

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I'm sorry, but this is... Not right at all.

First of all, asexuals exist. To say that romance is merely a combination of sexual attraction and friendship is extremely acephobic. Plenty of people experience romantic attraction without sexual attraction, and you need to respect that.

Secondly, as someone who is the opposite- I experience sexual attraction, but not romantic attraction- I am VERY offended by the implication that if I were to enter a sexual relationship with one of my friends, that would qualify as "romantic". None of my attractions are romantic, no matter how they may or may not overlap.

 

I understand that romance can seem almost fake at times from an aro perspective, and I don't think it's wrong to try to think philosophically about the nuances of different types of attractions people feel (or don't feel), but please, please try to be careful with the conclusions you come to. Try to think about things from different perspectives, and be very careful what labels you try to put on others for them. It's really not fair to try to assume other people's feelings; No matter how it may sound to us, deciding that alloros are just making it up and don't "really" feel romance is just as horrible and disrespectful as it is for them to assume that we're making things up and not "really" aromantic. Please have respect for other people's feelings, and let them label them for themselves.

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It's hard to picture something you don't feel. While it's something I don't experience, that doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

I see the romantic love people have for others every day. The important take away I think, is that we have to find it within ourselves not to have to understand how it happens, or understand what it's like (there's plenty of media on that, really!) to experience romantic attraction-- we just need to trust people to know what they feel. Do we always know? No. But we push people not to question what we say about our own orientation, it's only fair that we provide the same.

 

TLDR; I understand where you're coming from, and I certainly don't mind philosophy, but we must have empathy. It's something we have to demand from other and from ourselves.

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I'm not trying to disrespecting anybody. I'm only confused as to what makes an attraction romantic from an objective standpoint

 

 

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This sounds rather like quoiromantic.
Though do be aware that there are mis-definitions of the term are to be found on the likes of Urban Dictionary.

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7 hours ago, ruth said:

I'm not trying to disrespecting anybody. I'm only confused as to what makes an attraction romantic from an objective standpoint

 

 

 

Simple. It's romantic if they feel like it is. At the end of the day, no matter what activities someone decides to take part in in relation to their attractions, or what it looks like to outsiders, it's about what they feel, not what they do. Romantic attraction isn't some combination of other feelings, it's a feeling in itself. Everyone says it is, and I see no reason why we should assume that they're lying, or too stupid to understand their own feelings.

If I say I'm friends with someone, would it make any sense to question whether friendship is even something that exists or if it's just a misinterpretation of other feelings? No. If I say I'm friends with someone, then I'm friends with someone. So why do that to romance? If someone says they feel romantic attraction, then they feel romantic attraction. The end.

Now, what makes certain acts romantically coded is a fine question for sociologists and anthropologists, but I don't think it's at all right to make assumptions about other people's feelings. And, again, I really don't like the implication that my attractions could be in any way considered romance, and I really, really think assuming romance has to do with sex is extremely unfair and disrespectful to asexual people.

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I felt that way, until I learned about asexuality. At that point, I was like "wait, WHAT?" and had to re-evaluate my entire definitional structure... 

The term aromantic wouldn't exist if what we both initially assumed were actually true... nor would asexual... 

So the only assumption I can make is that there IS something else that I don't know how to see. It's like everyone else has a sense that we don't have... We always assumed that they were talking metaphorically about this extra sense, but no, really they do have it and we don't...

I sort of look at it like physicists with dark matter. They know it's there, because there's a hole in the model that needs to get filled. They know the shape of this thing, because they can see where there's this missing stuff, but they can't actually tell what it IS. That's what romantic attraction/love is to me. I can see where it fits into other people's reactions and the things that other people say, but it's basically a giant invisible hole that I can't actually see myself... 

Being new to the aro community myself, I am not sure if this is a common way of thinking about this or not, but it helps me...

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22 hours ago, ruth said:

I don't have a stable opinion of it yet but I'm leaning towards the idea that it's all made up. To me, "romantic love" is sexual attraction and a close friendship combined. I don't see it as a whole new type of love. Are aromantics just people who are aware that what defines as romantic love is very vague? 

I did initially wonder this as well.

 

Having thought about it some more, I now lean more towards the idea that romantic love is its own thing (at least to the same extent that sexual attraction and friendship are their own things). I think romantic crushes are of a different character to sexual 'crushes'. I don't know what it's like for you, but I don't think obsessively 24/7 about doing non-sexual activities with someone I'm sexually attracted to. That does seem to be typical of romantic crushes, from what I've observed of them or read about them.

 

7 hours ago, Jot-Aro Kujo said:

Romantic attraction isn't some combination of other feelings, it's a feeling in itself. Everyone says it is, and I see no reason why we should assume that they're lying, or too stupid to understand their own feelings.

 

I wouldn't put it as "too stupid to understand their own feelings". But how certain are you really about that first sentence? (I'm inclined to agree, but I'm far from certain about it). It seems harmless enough to me to speculate that romantic love may be some sort of epiphenomena that can be explained in terms of more basic feelings. I mean, would you consider Buddhism's abhidhamma (which breaks down all mental phenomena into a finite number of constituents - cetasikas) or particle physics (which breaks down all physical phenomena into a handful of subatomic particle interactions) similarly offensive?

 

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15 hours ago, NullVector said:

I don't have a stable opinion of it yet but I'm leaning towards the idea that it's all made up. To me, "romantic love" is sexual attraction and a close friendship combined. I don't see it as a whole new type of love. Are aromantics just people who are aware that what defines as romantic love is very vague? 

 

I definitely understand where you're coming from, because I thought the same thing for a long time. But the thing about aromanticism is... for many of us, we just don't feel it. So of course we wouldn't have a concept of it, or have a very fuzzy concept of what it is. When I was younger I thought like that, that romantic relationships must be a mix of friendship and sex and... surely something else? but I was never able to identify what that other thing was. 

I didn't used to have any idea that sexual attraction was real thing either until I learned about asexuality! I just kinda assumed that... people made choices to pursue sexual things but I didn't know what the big deal about it was. There's such a wide variety of human experience, and not all of us feel every attraction out there. But just because we don't feel it, doesn't mean it doesn't exist and isn't very real to others!

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@Jot-Aro Kujo

i have said countless times im not trying to invalidate anybody. the sole reason why i am unsure of my own opinions is because i acknowledge asexuals who desire romantic relationships exist. i admit that my initial statements were misleading but please do not accuse me of aphobia

 

i just wanted to know how people defined romantic feelings, that is it.

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What others have said really gets to the point, I think, but I can reiterate it again: attraction labels are, by definition, never going to be objective. There are definitely societally-agreed upon definitions of things like romantic attraction very very broadly, but every time I have asked alloromantics about their definition, each individual has said something slightly different. I can't remember if I've shared those definitions, but I could share what I've heard if it would help to illustrate with examples.

 

If you're interested, there's a thread on Arocalypse HERE (link also below) that talks about defining romantic attraction, and there are many definitions there you can find. There's also an old thread that mentions defining romantic experiences HERE (link also below) you could check out. Ultimately, though, it is impossible to define romantic attraction objectively, although it is true that what we see portrayed in media seems to have patterns. I also second Mark's suggestion to look at quoi, because some of the questions you're asking ring with that experience.

 

 

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