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About Whistle

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  • Birthday 12/13/1993

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    ?aro?? ace
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  1. I don't know if I can really cite myself as having been confident in my identity for a long time. But I'm 26 and have been IDing as aromantic (or gray aro, or ??ro?? or oriented aro, or arospec, or oh who knows but not standardly -ro anyways) for somewhere in the ballpark of 3-5 years I think- which, to boot, I learned after I married an allo guy. Experiences and how much knowledge you have of terminology definitely change the context of feelings (I don't believe my attraction has changed in this time, but as I've become more confident in general, and divorced, and transitioned, and been able to feel things out some, I've gotten a better sense of what it is I think- but I still question the definition of it all the time). I get a ton of aesthetic attraction, and more and more recently sensual attraction (I'm very ace but also very interested in cuddling). And do take to caring very deeply for a rare few people in ways that feel profound and Distinct somehow, more than standard friendship. And I very frequently go back and ask myself, "Okay, isn't that mix- aesthetic, sensual, emotional- functionally the same as romantic attraction? Probably?" Which might make sense, I think, but I've also found it more useful to ask myself what I want from whatever particular attraction I have toward whatever particular person, and whether it resembles the I guess classic "romantic" narrative- sweet cuddly things, the potential to eventually having a household together, sharing finances and maybe pets or children. Granted, this is pretty culturally informed, and maybe I have it wrong, but the stereotypical romance thing just... doesn't vibe with me. But it's also further confounded by the fact that I'm very poly, in some capacity, with whatever sort of partnering interest I have. That alone provides some disconnect from the societal norm, though I don't know if that explains everything for me or not. Regardless, I feel like my being poly is very closely linked with my aro/spec identity. It feels like it allows less pressure on putting everything on one person, and more freedom to explore different dynamics with different people, because it doesn't have to mean the same thing for each partner. For examples, I'm currently side-eying two folks as potential partners. One is almost certainly queerplatonic - long-time best friends, but a little warm and fuzzy, and we've generally known for a long time we'll probably share a household eventually, or at least live close together. The other feels closer to what would be classed as a romantic thing (and might be- I'm not honestly sure. It's possible I could be demiro), but I legitimately don't know whether or not I could imagine him being in the same sort of household situation down the line. But both of them I feel very close kinship with and have a very comfortable and trusting dynamic with, and feel very distinctly Close and Important and Valuable to me in ways that none of my other friends do. I don't know what those ways mean exactly in terms of attraction, but they're distinct enough from Friendship that I want to define them as something. TLDR: I still haven't found a satisfying enough definition for romantic attraction to say for sure whether I experience it, or things that are just easily mistakable for it, or where the distinction does or doesn't really matter. But the societal norm of a romantic relationship is something that doesn't seem compatible with who I am or what I want from the types of attraction I feel. There's enough of a disconnect there for me, that "not normal romantic" puts me in the realm of arospec, in my mind.
  2. You may occasionally hear the 'late bloomer' narrative, and it's probably fair to assume that some people start feeling attraction or gaining interest in things later. However, there's absolutely no reason to assume that has to be the case! What you are describing sounds like textbook aromantic to me. I would caution in general, though, be aware that labels like 'aromantic' are tools! If there comes a time where you're not sure if it fits you anymore, it's totally fine to recontextualize your experiences and identify as something else instead. It happens to folks all the time, that one word fits them for a while and then they find that something else fits better. It's much healthier to be open to changing the word for your experiences as needed, then to lean too hard into a label and think that anything you experience forever must fit under that word. But with that in mind, I wouldn't see an issue with using the term aromantic at any age, if it suits you- and it sounds like it does.
  3. 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!
  4. I'd be inclined to believe it's a combination of things, possibly some genetic tendencies (oxytocin receptors? I dunno!) mixed with us contextualizing our experiences in the framework we experience them in. My speculation on this is that asexuality would have more of a genetic component- sexual attraction seems like it ought to be a more cut-and-dry one from a genetic perspective? But I wouldn't be surprised if there are cultural factors that can influence them as well. Aromanticism is a tricky one though, because "what romance is" (and the level of emphasis around it) is itself so culturally/socially defined. So "what romantic attraction is" seems to me like it would be subjective too. I mean... just for myself, I'm still struggling to work that one out. I know I have disconnects from the idea of romantic attraction- just interested in other things more than the prospect of being expected to check in with someone consistently- which could well be related to neurotransmitters (I have adhd and an anxiety disorder too, so that would make sense to me!), and baffled by the perception of people as ranking this sort of "fairy dust" as important as general compatibility in choosing partners. But on the other hand, I definitely do feel intense attractions, the mix of which I'm still trying to sort out things like "is this sensual and aesthetic attraction in assorted levels, or is it romantic? and is there a meaningful distinction?" and even "do I really lack romantic attraction, or do I just shy away from the idea because the ideas of romance and sex are so deeply linked in our expectations, such that I associate romantic gestures with things that could escalate to sex?" (I ask myself this combination of questions a lot as someone who is asexual and ranges wildly and without warning between sex-neutral and -averse and on rare occasion -favorable, doesn't want the expectation of possibility of sexual behaviors to be present, and only learned this all after I married an allo guy). I don't think the specific set of attractions I feel (and don't feel) happened because of specific events by any means- I've identified a tons of different ways (straight, pan, panro demi, panro ace, aroace, "ace and grayromantic enough to keep me on my toes", and now tentatively "oriented aroace (kind of bi-adjacent)") based on the information I had at the time- but I think the kinds of attractions I have felt over time have stayed consistent throughout- I've just gained insight into how to contextualize them, as I've grown older and learned more about lgbt+ experiences. These personal senses of my own orientation are going to take more study on my part, certainly! But my point is, considering how subjective we are with our definitions of "romantic attraction is what you think it is," it seems like it has to be culturally informed at least. That is, the way we feel things could certainly have genetic components, but we define them based on what we know.
  5. So. At the local lgbt+ club today we were talking about bi+ folks a lot in celebration of bi month, and while I stayed quiet because I don't identify as bi, it got me thinking again about how I define my orientation. I'm definitely ace, and I identified as full-on standard aro for a while as well, but lately I'm questioning that. I know there are multiple types of attraction, and that even with or without any of those people can want relationships or different versions of relationships or not want relationships at all for a number of reasons, so it gets pretty messy as to where the distinction really matters. But I'm someone who likes to have a fitting label, as a tool to help understand my experience yknow. I definitely experience aesthetic attraction- people are pretty, and cute, and I adore people! And I've had the odd case of sensual attraction- just wanting the casual cuddles / arm around kind of interactions with someone, but I don't know if those were Really Crushes of some form or just "I'm touch starved and this person was nearby and therefore a handy daydream component" (not that I acted on any- each of those cases were someone I just newly chatted with a bit). I'm also prone to, when a person does or says something that can be construed as having possible subtext regarding interest in me, I'll get excited sort of hyperfocusing on my interactions with them? Even if I wouldn't have thought about them at all previously. And on occasion, there will be someone I find myself admiring/appreciating intensely, and it's like... I don't know if that's what a romantic feeling is, or alterous, or if I'm just soft toward people I admire? All this, adoring people, loving their aesthetics, and naturally tending towards being tender to people I care about... it feels like muddy territory, and I'm always baffled when I encounter a distinct sort of feeling about someone, and am always determined to identify what that is. At the same time, I theoretically like the idea of a relationship (though I don't know how much time/focus I can really put into one- I like doing my own thing, and not being expected to check in with someone specific I guess)- I like the idea of being tender towards someone, and having that sort of standard dynamic of allowing casual touch, putting an arm around or cuddling or whatever (especially since I have a large personal bubble in general- I do not initiate touch unless it's already established as the norm with that person). And I guess I'm trying to figure out how that fits with the feelings I have (though of course I understand that a relationship can be whatever all parties agree to, regardless of attraction or lack thereof). While I have this sense of "there are people of some different genders I have found myself feeling various intrigued or adoring things about," I've been sort of (noncommital ehhh noise and wavy hand gesture) about considering myself Oriented Enough To Identify That Way, I guess because I feel like feelings are hard to pin down and it's difficult to get a satisfying enough definition of what they are. Anyways, I'm interested in hearing about experiences of folks who are gray aro, or oriented aros- what do your various attractions feel like to you? Why do you identify the way you do? How do you differentiate the different sorts of things you feel for different folks? And where does that distinction matter or not matter for you personally?
  6. I'm one of the odd aros in a married relationship, so I look pretty dang straight to outsiders. I'm out to friends about being aro/ace, and not terribly interested in being out to my family or my husband's family (they're conservative in a way that would be condescending about it, I don't like them much, and they wouldn't really be worth the effort), but as for the general public... I want to be out- not so much for my sake- people don't bother me about things, since I look like a straight married person; but for visibility. I just think of how I didn't know aromanticism and asexuality even existed and were valid identities til after I was married, and while I wound up in a good place anyways, knowing about those things could have saved a lot of confusion earlier in life, and I don't want other potential aros and aces to feel out of place because nobody knows the words for what they feel. ...Okay I mean I'm shy as hell and I live under a rock anyways and I doubt I'd be likely to spread word much offline, but I like the idea a lot in theory.
  7. I personally think it's SPECTACULAR realizing that nothing has to have romantic subtext. I mean, realistically, other people may take things that way, but for you personally? No confusion needed! I LOVE people, a LOT. I think people are adorable, and I get squishes out the wazoo. If I talked to these people, I would probably sound like a little kid with a crush tbh. But man, I don't have to confuse it for anything. It is what it is, no wondering what my feelings are doing. I can love people and that's that! Not to mention now I think it's actually cute when people show the social cues that tend to go with crushes, because it no longer feels threatening.
  8. Whistle

    Cute things!

    Okay but honestly the moment I saw the thread title, I went "I'm a cute thing" I'll be good though, hehe. Here's my 'dog' tag on tumblr. Which also happens to include this cute thing in it.
  9. My close friends and people I'm comfy with, I'm out to, no problem. With one of my friends who I'm, not as close to but hang out with sometimes (she is a convenient mall buddy), an opportunity arose kinda by accident. I don't remember how it came up, but I made some kind of joking comment about how I was either asexual or a repressed lesbian. She kinda went "Wait, really?" because she recognized the term because she actually knew someone else who was asexual. So I'm like... well, that saves a lot of confusion, and just confirmed it there. Now, my mom on the other hand... well, that'd be too complex. If I actually out and told her she'd internalize it eventually and be fine, but I definitely anticipate there would be too many awkward questions if I did. For now she's under the impression that I have a pretty low sex drive due to my anxiety meds. I've mentioned to her that some people just don't feel sexual attraction to begin with, regardless of their drive, and that I don't really, but she's pretty convinced that it's the meds, and that she swears she's seen me kiss my husband passionately or something... like a) she necessarily perceived it correctly, and b) that's related to anything. I certainly don't want to bother with the split attraction model with her; I'd never hear the end of it! (Don't get me wrong, some people I wouldn't mind questions from. But my mom grates on my nerves very easily, and I don't always have much patience with her) As for the general public, I'd love to be out about ace/aro as kind of a visibility thing, because... I mean I didn't know about ace/aro until after I was married, and you all have certainly seen all the cases of people assuming they're straight and being woefully confused. I wish aromanticism and asexuality were more visible, and that people... knew what they are, even if they weren't necessarily to the point of being widely accepted. It definitely would have saved me a lot of confusion (and made explanations easier) if I knew that they were options to begin with, rather than defaulting to straight/gay/bi being the only choices. Unfortunately, I lack the patience to handle the questions that would ensue (since nobody knows what it is, and if I wanted to tell people about it I would do it very thoroughly to ensure understanding). I do wear a black ring and secretly daydream that someone who's done research will notice it, but I know that realistically won't happen. Aces and aros are invisible, and I'm camouflaged as a straight person anyways, having a husband and all, so I never even get the opportunity to bring it up.
  10. Yeah the idea of romantic (and/or sexual) attraction as any kind of glue baffles me for sure. I like to call it 'fairy dust' (think in fantasy novels where it's always more worthwhile to do something without magic, even though you could easily use magic to do the thing). I joke that my husband's good enough that he didn't need the help of fairy dust to catch me- but on the other hand, oh boy would I be screwed if it weren't for him using it! Also it hit me a few weeks ago that... the common theme in songs of "I saw you across the room and I felt this pull" or w/e? It's actually... a thing? That people feel? I mean probably exaggerated to some extent but like a real phenomenon, weird.
  11. Awh, I'm all for cake and ice cream!
  12. I've been in three relationships. First one was during an early entrance to college program (I spent my junior and senior year of high school on a college campus, with other kiddos in the same boat). At the Academy, how it generally happened, since we had all this freedom and lived and went to school together, we'd see people start dating in that... well, two people would start hanging out and getting closer and closer until everybody knew the two were dating, and the couple in question would eventually catch on and admit it. I found myself in one such relationship, my first year at the Acad. A guy liked me, I was astounded and overly pleased that someone actually liked me wow (I'd had a rough middle school / high school time before the academy, lol), and I liked cuddling with him and hanging out. It definitely made me uncomfortable when he'd text me heart emotes at night, though (I'd always text back "what are you less than threeing about"), and I eventually broke it off (I remember thinking once, actually, "I could love this boy if I wanted to, but... I don't really want to." so I didn't). Second relationship wasn't long after, when a guyfriend from high school (who, mind you, dated his way around our whole friends circle just about) and I were talking a lot over facebook chat (he was a jerk, but a charming jerk, and it was refreshing to be able to have blunt conversations because I wasn't worried about hurting his feelings- because he was a jerk xD). He was interested in a relationship, I kinda went with it (but never felt okay accepting the relationship request on facebook, so it was never 'facebook official'). We hung out once over break, I kissed him once, I avoided him the rest of winter break until I was safe back at the academy and broke up with him over facebook chat because it just... didn't feel right to me. I still talk to him now and then, but am very grateful that he's since moved on (a couple times, via a couple other girls in my friend circle). Come to think of it, second year at the Academy, I almost wound up in one of those gradually-start-dating relationships with another close guyfriend of mine. He was cute, I loved hanging out with him, he was a great friend, hung with the friends group a lot, and I had a crush on him for a while, I thought- except I don't think most people generally reflect on their crushes, think "nah, it wouldn't work because x" and then stop crushing and go completely back to normal. The summer after graduation, another guy from the academy started talking to me more via facebook chat. We had interacted some at the academy, wound up loosely in the same friend group on occasion, had brief interactions, we waved and smiled when we passed eachother (once pulled an all-nighter talking on facebook chat and then walked across campus to get breakfast together), but we weren't really close in my mind at all. Not at the time, anyways. We wound up chatting with each other online a LOT, him looking for excuses to keep conversations going, dropping hints via suspiciously romantic pages on webcomics we were both reading, me being excited and flattered by the whole thing, someone who shared interests with me and was comfier to talk to and- liked me? and once again, I rolled with it. Pretty happily this time. We talked online a lot, he visited now and then, we'd cuddle and watch movies or go for walks or play video games near each other. We were close, we were dating, we communicated very well, we assumed we'd get married- and we did. (Though I definitely rushed the wedding some because family was stressing me out and I wanted out of the house) And it's been comfy and convenient, I like the companionship, the financial stability, the general support, and I love him of course. There was some stress on us for a while before we figured out I was asexual, but understanding that made a HUGE difference in how happy we were- and so did, more recently, learning I'm aromantic. Now I know that ! he has feelings that exist! and he understands that while I have trouble remembering to return that affection and remind him of it, I do love him, just minus all the fairy dust. So... aro ace, happily married somehow, in a relationship that wound up working out pretty well for both of us. He's sappy about me, I love him and think he's convenient to keep around. All good, ha.
  13. I assumed straight for a while of course (here's to heteronormativity), then I realized that there were other options besides gay and straight, and that they were okay! and for a while (when I realized that um wow let's be honest girls are really friggin cute and I am a sucker for pixie cuts) I assumed I was panro demi- because I hadn't experienced sexual attraction but still figured I probably would eventually, maybe when I was married (I had a conservative upbringing and wanted to wait til after marriage anyways), and, well, I had squishes galore that I thought from context (and the lack of knowledge of the term 'squish') that they were probably crushes. Fast forward, I got married, panro ace? Until my husband and I had a conversation that started getting me thinking that I was more in line with aromantic. So... heteronormativity's a mess, everybody is adorable, and I have no feelings ever
  14. I've had convos with my husband before, he knows I was back and forth about it. I had him read through this thread and the links, and he said "You're definitely aro ace. And that's okay." I'm glad he's such a good sport (I knew he would be either way, but I still had phenomenal luck to wind up with someone so supportive in general)- and laughed at his quick response.
  15. RedNeko, thank you! That is exactly the kind of response I was looking for when I posted this. Honestly I wanted the aromantic label, but kinda needed a little confirmation from someone. Even though I tell people the exact same thing about asexuality, it really is helpful to hear it from someone else where I'm in kinda unsure territory. So... thank you for this. I also definitely appreciate the two links you shared- I'd seen the first one before, but gave it another read, and definitely could relate to a lot of the points on it- things like the idea of a squish making things make more sense, having trouble seeing the difference between different kinds of relationships (see, my confusion about my marriage, ha), and the general idea of getting the most benefit out of the companionship of a romantic relationship rather than any other aspect, looking for the same things in a date as a friend... A lot of these had me staring at the list going "Is that... not normal?" and it was definitely nice seeing that put into perspective some. And yes! Finally, a resource from a married aro, sounds like they're in a similar boat to mine. Thank you so so so much for that last link- I was actually super relieved to see talk from another person who wound up in a marriage and didn't realize the potential for aromanticism until later. This bit in particular (granted, with cuddles instead of sex, ha): " The biggest catalyst for me realizing my aromanticism came when we were having an argument where my husband told me, “you know, sometimes I feel like we’re just best friends who live together and have sex”. I thought, “yeah, isn’t it great?” I mean, that’s what romantic love is for a lot of people, right? What could be missing from that? It got me thinking, though. What is the difference between romantic love and a best-friendship? I love my husband. I love to spend time with him, have new experiences together, relax together, talk, joke, and to do nice things for him. Then again, I can say all of those exact things about my best friend and they’re all equally true. " I've had conversations like this with people before, too! When I was younger, high school or something, I tried to puzzle out what a relationship meant. They seemed to involve some kind of sexual desire, sure, and being close friends as well, and... what else? I wasn't really sure, but people said love couldn't be explained so I kinda left it at that. I certainly didn't revisit that again until recently when I learned about aromanticism. (It actually came up for me when my husband was reading up things on AVEN- he was trying to give someone an allosexual perspective, when someone else commented "That's... not sexual you're describing, that's romantic" - which got me thinking. My husband fits somewhere with the ace spectrum, but he's STILL so much cuddlier and more affectionate and sentimental than I am, then...??? And that's when it clicked, well crud, maybe aro might fit me. I've just, as I said, mental illness among other things (being in a married situation? ha) still gave me doubts about whether or not I was "allowed" to use the label, I guess, or if it fit me or if I was just subconsciously trying to be some special snowflake and 'justify' my lack of sentiment or something... but seeing these links, a married aro perspective, and that little "even if it turns out your current feelings are due to your mental health that doesn't change the fact you experienced them" just make me feel so relieved to see, and much more comfortable with the idea.
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