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Everything posted by eatingcroutons

  1. You may be interested in these results from a survey that went around late last year - there are definitely more of us out here who identify as aro and poly! I feel like a key commonality between aro and poly attitudes is pushing back against the amatonormative narrative that we must all prioritise a single romantic relationship over all other relationships in our lives. Before I identified as aro I definitely knew I didn't want to be in an exclusive relationship of any kind, and I know at least one other person on Discord who identified as poly before they knew being aro was a thing.
  2. Don't try to soften your response in a way that might give them false hope. You really need to be clear and direct. Far, far too much of society teaches us to treat a "no" as a "try harder", and you don't want to give them an inch that they'll try to run a mile with. Don't make excuses like, "I've got other stuff going on in my life right now." Tell them some variation of, "I'm sorry, but I don't feel the same way and I'm not interested in that kind of relationship with you." Practise some alternative phrasings if it helps! But whatever happens, do not give in to the urge to equivocate. Something I also find helpful: Tell them that if they need some time to get over their feelings, you'll understand if they need space. But also tell them that if and when they feel comfortable continuing your existing friendship, without expecting anything more, you still care about them as a friend and you'll be there.
  3. Yeah, I'm not really sure I can give a good answer based on the OP alone. Some thoughts on the specific points, though: "i caught my mom and a guy kissing": To be honest, if it's her house, it's not unreasonable for her to kiss people in it. "she tried to trick me into thinking he had already left like two hours before": This seems like a strange thing to do, unless there's prior history and context, and I'm not sure what to make of it without knowing the prior history and context. "she was drinking at the time": Is there a reason you mentioned this? Was it causing some kind of problem in particular? "i’ve made it clear how uncomfortable i am with men in the house even if i knew them": As others have said this may be a point where you and your mother need to compromise. Perhaps agree on some ground rules about prior warning when someone's going to be visiting the house, and about areas that are off-limits to guests. "she crossed the line": Again I feel like there's prior history and context here that I'm missing. What is the "line" that you agreed on with your mum?
  4. When I was your age I definitely felt the way you do about romance, crushes, and romantic movies - and I now definitely identify as aro. So I think it's really fantastic that you're aware "aromantic" is a thing a person can be. I just felt like a weirdo through most of high school 😅 That said, you may "turn out to be" alloromantic, you may not, and both of those things are totally okay! More generally my advice to you would be: Regardless of how you identify, your personal boundaries are important and other people should respect them. If you're uncomfortable watching romantic scenes in movies when other people are in the room, that's a boundary you're allowed to enforce, end of story. Don't feel pressure to definitively pin down exactly how you feel with a label, if you're not sure what fits you best. You've got plenty of time to explore who you are. Conversely: Don't be afraid to identify with a label if you're not 100% sure whether it's "right" for you. I promise you even adults are never 100% sure of anything, and that's fine. Likewise: Don't worry about whether you're "[identity] enough" to identify as a given identity. If it feels right to you to identify that way, you're allowed. The way you describe yourself now doesn't have to be the way you describe yourself forever. It's fine to identify in the way that makes most sense to you now, without knowing if you'll feel the same way forever. I'm not sure what kind of "advice" exactly you're looking for but I hope that helps...!
  5. Welcome! And here's some ice-cream: (Ice-cream was offered to me when I joined so I figured I'd pass on the tradition!) I had a hard time grappling with the idea of identifying as aromantic for a while. When I first found these forums I said I was "struggling" with it but after a few discussions I realised it wasn't a "struggle" for me so much as... a process of recalibration. A process of re-framing my understanding of my own approach to life, and my expectations for my future. And in fact all of that re-framing felt really good to me! It felt great to consciously acknowledge and accept the fact that I don't ever want a romantic relationship. But it also just... took me some months, maybe a year or two if I'm honest, to fully settle in with all the implications that had for the rest of my life. And to be properly comfortable with describing myself as aro. It was a journey! All of which is a roundabout way of saying, there's nothing wrong with taking a while to come to terms with and feel comfortable with identifying as aro. Take your time, take a look around the forums, feel free to reach out and ask questions and share your own experiences
  6. My approach is generally to focus on getting people to understand my experiences, rather than any particular label or terminology. I find it's a lot easier to start with explaining something like, "I'm just not interested in finding a romantic relationship. It's taken me a while to realise that I have no desire for things like that - that when I like and care about someone that doesn't mean I want a relationship with them. But I'm much happier and more comfortable since I've realised that about myself!" When I talk about my experiences in a candid and honest way, people seem more willing to take them at face value. People may still ask questions, in particular about whether "I've never wanted this yet" means "I'll never want this ever", but it's only particularly belligerent assholes who'll double down on the idea that I'm fundamentally wrong about what I think and feel. And once people understand and accept your experiences to some degree, you can move on to, "...and a lot of people who feel the way I do identify as aromantic, which I think describes me pretty well too!"
  7. For what it's worth, this isn't just an idea I'm proposing as a hypothetical - I've gained quite a few new friends through my existing friends' romantic relationships. In some cases, those new friendships have outlasted the original friendships! Social anxiety does make things harder - but on the other hand, you don't have to become best friends with this person overnight. It's fine if it takes you a while to warm up to each other. The fact that you were both anxious could well indicate that you both wanted to make a good impression and get along for your friend's sake - and that's not a terrible foundation to begin a new friendship! If I can give another bit of advice though: Don't put all the onus on your friend to act as a "bridge" and mediate the relationship between you and her partner. Again, make an active effort to reach out and build your own relationship with her partner. Maybe even talk to your friend about it - say you'd be interested to get to know her partner, since if your friend likes this person enough to date her she's probably pretty cool! If your friend's partner is at a different college, well, presumably there are ways your friend and her partner communicate and socialise at a distance? Maybe suggest the three of you do something together virtually. And of course if your friend's partner comes to visit, make an effort to include her in anything sociable you're doing with your local friends - even if it's awkward at first. Just, in general, try to avoid mentally or actually segregating "your friend's life with you" from "your friend's life with her partner", because those do NOT have to be mutually exclusive and incompatible things. Most people have space in their lives to care about and be close to multiple other people.
  8. For myself, I don't want verbal or physical affection directed my way in real life - I absolutely cannot stand pet names, and am not generally interested in kissing or other physical affection outside of sexual situations. For my friends, I love seeing them being affectionate with their partners - it makes me happy to see them happy. In fiction, I have very little interest in stories where the focus or the purpose is about characters falling in love and getting together. I also get exasperated by stories where characters "fall in love" with little more pretext than the old Avril Lavigne justification. But I do enjoy stories where romantic feelings make things complicated or messy or painful in interesting ways. Where romantic feelings are unrequited, or where characters are attracted to people who would be *terrible* for them, or where falling in love makes life more difficult for everyone involved. In that sense I "ship" literally anything and everything that I think would make for an interesting story.
  9. Have you met your friend's partner? Are they part of your social circle? If not, I highly recommend making a conscious effort to build a relationship with them. I see so, so many people on these forums terrified that when their friends get into romantic relationships, they'll lose a friend. Whenever my friends get into romantic relationships, I see that as an opportunity to make a new friend. The vast majority of the time, if a good friend of mine likes someone enough to start a romantic relationship with them, I'm probably also gonna get along with that person. People in (healthy) romantic relationships still have friends and other people they love outside of their romantic relationships. Make the effort to become part of your friend and her partner's social circle. Make the effort to include her partner in yours! And chances are you'll end up with more people in your life, not fewer.
  10. Here's something I read the other day which you may find helpful: You can definitely be bisexual regardless of what actual sexual experiences you've had. But you might find it less stressful to worry less about figuring out RIGHT NOW what label best applies to you, and instead give yourself time and space to see what sorts of attractions you experience (or don't experience).
  11. In my experience, "friends with benefits" usually means someone you have a sexual but not a romantic relationship with. My understanding of "platonic dating" would be more like, setting an evening aside to spend with one of your best friends to go out for dinner and a movie because you like spending time with them.
  12. I'd do exactly what I've done for all my "milestone" birthdays: Invite all my friends and family to a fun venue where we can have a minimum of ceremony and a maximum of partying.
  13. I'm definitely interested!
  14. Eh, I guess there's a parallel in the sense that people who do something different to what society sees as the standard life path may face stigma. But that's an incredibly broad category of people.
  15. Seconded. Most of my friends weren't in relationships when it came time for our equivalent of prom. So as a group of friends, we used our +1 tickets to invite a group of friends we knew from another school, and all had a great night hanging out together.
  16. I'm very much the same - love travelling, love moving countries to start a new adventure. In some ways it does make it difficult to maintain older friendships, but on the flip side, I know so many people in so many countries now that most times I travel there's someone in the area I can catch up with, or even stay with. Sometimes going to catch up with old friends is my excuse for travelling in the first place! Maintaining longer-distance friendships is something you have to put a bit of active effort into, but it doesn't have to be much - even the occasional text/message to be like "Randomly thought of you, how are things?" or "Saw this bunny photo and thought of you" can be enough that you're still vaguely in touch, and then the next time you're in the same city you can catch up properly. As for how the rest of my life is going as an adult aro (although some of this is on hold due to the pandemic): - I have a job that I really, truly love where I get to work with great people on something I'm passionate about. It's taken me a while to get here - at one point I went through like five different jobs in 6 years - but it's always been important to me that my career is something I care about doing. When I'm in the middle of an exciting project I have to actively restrain myself from working outside my normal hours 😅 - I've never lived alone, and would never want to. I've always lived with at least one friend as a housemate, and still do. It's great to have someone to hang out with at home, both to enjoy fun times with, and to share the more boring and practical aspects of living with. - I actively participate in two different team sports. Great for my mental and physical health, and for socialising and making new friends. I also volunteer as a coach for one of those sports, which I really enjoy because I love sharing my passion for the sport with others. - Whenever my friends get into romantic relationships, I make an active effort to get to know their partners, include their partners in our social circle, etc. I've seen a lot of people in aro spaces complaining that when their friends get into relationships, they lose a friend. I find it's the opposite: I usually *gain* a new friendship with my friend's partner. - Pets are difficult if you travel a lot, but I have a great housemate who can take care of mine while I'm away, as well as good friends living nearby who can come and check on our pets if we're ever both away at the same time. Our local pet shop also has a home visit service. If you're worried about committing to a pet because you may move countries, you could adopt an older animal, or a shorter-lived animal. - I've got a couple of friends who are generally up for casual sex, which is great for when I don't feel like going out to find someone to hook up with.
  17. "I enjoy your company but not in a romantic way" is pretty clear. But generally: be honest, be direct, don't leave any room for ambiguity about the fact that you are not interested in a romantic relationship with them. When I've been in this situation I've also told people that I understand if they want some distance/space from me for a while to deal with their feelings.
  18. I love the freedom of my life being entirely my own. I love knowing that when I feel like changing jobs or moving countries I don't have to take into consideration anyone else's life plans. Every now and then it hits me all over again that there's a whole world out there, and if I want to do or try something I can just go do it, because I answer to nobody but myself. I love that feeling. (Pandemic aside of course...)
  19. "I am aromantic and simply not able to reciprocate your feelings" is in no way a mixed message. The way she behaves around you is not necessarily a secret "message" to be decoded, and the actual message she gave you was explicitly clear about her identity and her intentions towards you. You need to respect the messages she gives you using actual words, not look for imagined "messages" that you think say something you want to hear instead. What you're doing - secretly doubting her understanding of herself, and secretly doubting whether she's been honest with you - is not good for any kind of relationship, friendships included. If you're genuinely uncertain about her feelings and intentions then you always have the option of asking her with actual words to clarify them. But you need to either do that, or genuinely accept that what she's told you directly is the truth. This is a sad situation to be in, but it's also a you-problem that you need to figure out for yourself. You need to be explicitly, brutally honest with yourself and ask: Do I still want to be friends with this girl even if we never get romantically involved? What value does this friendship have to me in and of itself? Does that value outweigh the pain of being so close to something I will never have? One thing you're definitely doing wrong is assuming that if you feel like a relationship is special, there must be a possibility it could become romantic. Others have already commented on different expectations of levels of affection between friends, and the difference between how you feel and what someone else wants. This is again unfortunate, but you can't unilaterally decide the type or extent of relationship the two of you have. No matter how much you click, if she doesn't want to be romantically involved with you, it's not gonna happen. So again the questions you need to ask yourself are: What value does this friendship have to me in and of itself? Does that value outweigh the pain of being so close to something I will never have?
  20. Speaking personally, I also have a very high libido and experience sexual attraction very frequently, but am entirely uninterested in any kind of romantic behaviour or relationship. So yeah, people like us definitely exist! I've had my fair share of sexual partners, both by hooking up with strangers and through casual sex with friends. It's not always the easiest thing to navigate, and sometimes people get more attached to me than I'm comfortable with. But as long as you communicate clearly (and avoid people who don't), it's definitely possible to pursue relationships that are sexual but not romantic, with varying levels of emotional intimacy.
  21. Yeah, agreed. I know plenty of people who work hard and lead ambitious and successful lives while being in romantic relationships. I've always been a hardworking and busy person, but I don't think that has anything to do with being aro - I also put a lot of time and effort into maintaining my non-romantic relationships.
  22. I personally do, absolutely. I mean there are levels of it - it's not often that I see someone I find hot enough to be outright distracting. But I definitely notice when I find someone sexually attractive. And there have been times I've approached and hooked up with people purely because I find them physically attractive. I can't say when exactly it started but I was definitely finding specific people attractive by the time I was a teenager.
  23. Oh interesting, I'd be curious to see how others feel about the experience! Do you know if there's a transcript anywhere?
  24. When someone who's posted a question thread marks one of your replies as the answer to their question, your "solved count" goes up.
  25. Funnily enough, back when I was doing my PhD (and well before I'd ever heard of aromanticism as a concept) this used to be my go-to excuse for avoiding romantic relationships: I didn't want to have to take anyone else's academic/professional plans into account when deciding which country to move to next...!
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