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Everything posted by treepod

  1. Recently I've been casually trying to research potential examples of non-romantic relationship ceremonies, but I haven't had much luck, partially because in using the search term "friendship ceremony" I discovered that it actually refers to a non-legally binding marriage (who's idea of a sick joke was that? I'm annoyed), and "friend/platonic marriage" turns up a lot of articles about people unhappily stuck in sex-less relationships. The only relevant bit of information I found was on adelphopoiesis/adelphopoiia, or "brother making," a religiously recognized relationship between two men that once existed in the Greek Orthodox and Catholic churches. There's been debate as to whether it was either intentionally or unintentionally accommodating to gay men, but either way, it's not that useful to us I think. It's religious and limiting gender-wise, and even though it could potentially apply to me, a guy who was raised Catholic, it's extremely obscure. Anyway, I just happen to think it would be really cool if there were ways of making a big deal out of a non-romantic relationship either by demonstration in front of other loved ones or in private confidence. It might go a long way toward putting romantic and non-romantic relationships on equal footing, culturally speaking. Not sure if I'm looking in the wrong places, or if it's really that uncommon through history/in other cultures. Avoiding cultural appropriation is important of course, but I do want to take a stab at coming up with something new, and having other examples to learn from would help. All I've got to go on so far is something from fiction. There was a book series I read as a kid called The Underland Chronicles, in which there were "bonds," characters who made a pact to be close companions who protected each other to the death. A *lot* of characters died or almost died in this series, so it's a practical thing in their world, but there's more to it than that. Bonds are basically inseparable, the closest of friends, and it's taken so seriously that breaking the terms of a bond lands a person in exile as their court-ordered punishment. The ceremony is done by holding hands and reciting a short poem: "[insert name], I bond to you. Our life and death are one, we two. In dark, in flame, in war, in strife, I save you as I save my life." I think there's an intentional reference to marriage vows, but the similarity ends there. Growing up, I really really appreciated this. I guess you could call it representation in a way. Anyone got anything else?
  2. About etymology- this is true! Words are what we make of them. It's possible it could come to mean love that is not allo in one way or another. I really hope there aren't too many people out there trying to gatekeep. As for other words, I wonder if there's room for terms like the ones the ancient Greeks came up with: agape, eros, storge, philia, etc. Just a thought. "Sex friends" is very succinct! Haha That does sound like it could be amusing too, if other people are confused by it. I don't think I would mind. I was thinking of this too. Not applicable to me personally but it's another complication. I was just like, is this word useful to me? Maybe not!
  3. quick disclaimer: I vaguely remember there was thread a while back addressing controversy about whether aro or ace people coined the term queer/quasiplatonic relationship. I'm really not interested in continuing that conversation. If someone has brought this up before, I apologize for being redundant, but I couldn't find anything because the search bar on this website seems kinda inefficient. Also, I'm in no way implying that we have to have unified terminology as a community. Label yourself and your relationships however makes sense to you. That being said, I'm really tired of the ambiguity surrounding what "platonic" actually means. For one thing, I don't even like Plato, and for another, it's a word originally coined to simply describe love without sex/sexual desire (see here, the etymology: [link]). To me, it sounds like regardless of who came up with the idea of a qpr (like I said, not interested in that convo), platonic seems to ultimately describe allo aces in romantic relationships better than it does us. While it's true that colloquially platonic often = friendship, I think that might just be a result of a false dichotomy society created (if you're not having sex, you're "just friends"). Instead of a qpp, I might call someone an aromantic partner? Lol, I kinda wish "friends with benefits" didn't just refer to sex, but also like, domesticity, commitment, closeness, etc. The "benefit" is my need for constancy is satisfied 😂
  4. Generally I much prefer more explicit representation over implied/non-specific (assuming neither is necessarily queerbaiting), except in the case of Good Omens, where the ambiguity looks to me like a great representation of a queerplatonic relationship. I’ve realized very recently that there’s also degrees of explicitness that can affect how much I enjoy it. For example, The Last of Us 2 and Tell Me Why are both games that feature a trans male character, but the former is less gratifying to me having now seen the latter, even though they are both done respectfully and without making transness their only character trait/plot. In the Last of Us 2, Lev’s identity doesn’t come up very much, especially early on, whereas with Tyler in Tell Me Why, it’s talked about more openly and more in-depth, giving the player a much clearer picture of a trans person’s day to day life. He even gets to have a conversation with another queer person about found family. I just felt so much more at home with that portrayal.
  5. There’s always the “about the author” section, where you might be able to mention both terms. I think ultimately, if a reader identifies with your character even in part, they might be inclined to go into doing their own research. And no matter which term you discover first online, it doesn’t take long to be introduced to the idea that romantic and sexual attraction can be separate. Even with people who are neither aromantic nor asexual, if someone comes into their lives who is one or the other, the difference is pretty simple to explain. I understand the worry of misleading the reader, but it might be better to focus less on the story’s educational value and more on making sure it feels authentic and personal. I’m curious, is your story set in a specific real place and/or time period? If so, there are a lot of specific cultural factors to consider about what norms the character is observing and defining against. For example, when and why do people marry? Sometimes there is a drastic difference there between the upper and lower classes, where upper class people more of often marry for economic/political reason, and with a greater age gap/much younger woman, while lower class people marry because they actually fell in love. This influences what expectations are put on your character. Also, what level of autonomy do unmarried women have? Under what circumstances can they inherit wealth or property? This influences your character’s anxieties about her future. There may also be gendered expectations about how men express attraction vs. women, like how men who were more romantic and less dominating might be considered too feminine, while women were pressured to be innocent (not sexual). And it’s possible that women might have been expected to place their husbands above everyone else, while men were permitted to have male friendships that were more important to them, and in many ways were “homoerotic” by modern standards. This influences how your character ultimately defines herself. And again, depending on where and when this story takes place, these details could vary widely. I was basing these examples on Early Modern (Renaissance) England.
  6. I think she was expressing the fact that not all representation is good representation. A male character who isn’t ready for commitment is seen as immature until a particular woman comes along and ties him down. Writers could be basing that trope off of real life people who *might* actually be aro, but they aren’t writing the character with that in mind. So it’s not representation at all, really. Regardless, since it’s a negative trope, it has potential to impact how a person perceives someone who is aro and allosexual. They might not take the orientation seriously, think they need to grow up, and assume they have an unhealthy sex life, which often couldn’t be further from the truth. Also, please, there’s no need to get defensive. We’re all friends here but if you say something that suggests a negative generalization of a person’s identity, expect to be corrected. And no one is suggesting that we youngins are smarter or wiser than you. Lifelong learning, right?
  7. Ooooof I feel this one so much. It's unsettling to think about someone being more important to you than you are to them. Personally I don't feel like I need to be anyone's number one, but if the people around me feel like they do, it makes me feel like I don't have a place. And yeah you're making a generalization, but society is one big imposing generalization and it can be hard to escape. Sometimes it causes your own mind to betray you and you start wanting things you don't actually need. I like this idea a lot. Even if you can't find people who aren't as concerned with finding partners, you can be the person who demonstrates the importance of strong and stable friendships, and that might get others to follow. Because at the end of the day it really is unhealthy for *anyone* to idealize building their entire life around just one person. Also, in my circle of friends, I so often hear things like, "screw the nuclear family, let's start a queer commune!" lol
  8. People here have said things about how lacking romantic attraction is less acceptably human, so I want to add to that and say that I think this is a pretty deeply rooted subconscious association that actually has more to do with society than a literal perception of us as robotic. It’s something I’ve dealt with internally as someone who’s both aro and ace. I agree with the sentiment that my being aro affects me more, partly because for a long time I only identified as ace and I can see now it was an excuse not to deal with the fact that I was aro. I would find myself getting uncomfortable in a romantic situation, and think, “oh it’s because I’m ace,” even though there was nothing sexual happening so that didn’t really make sense. But I didn’t want to think about my lack of romantic attraction because that was a scary idea, that I might have to chart the course of my life with different kinds or relationships. None of my worries were about being less than, only that I didn’t know what to do about it. I see this similar train of thought a lot here, where people panic about being aro because there’s no societally defined path for us. So when an allo person registers that same fact, and says something about how romantic attraction is basically human, I think what they’re really reacting to is the fact that there is no roadmap here, so they default to indignation. All this to say that the more we lift up the value of various platonic relationships or forge our own paths “alone,” the less this perception will come up. It takes time but I’m sure we’re headed in the same direction as the ace community and the lgbtq+ community at large.
  9. Besides the white ring thing, I’m starting to consider getting a ring that is an arrow, and wearing it on or near the finger I wear my ace ring on. Seems like that would also be a pretty clear message for those who know.
  10. Sorry if you were hoping I’d provide some cool examples, but I’m actually here to ask if anyone else knows of any nonfiction writing out there, historical or modern, prose or poetry, where the author talks about having a lack of romantic attraction. Not so much like an article like “my life as an aromantic person” ARO 101 type of thing, meant be digestible for readers outside the community, but something more nuanced and less explanatory. I thought of this recently because I was daydreaming about what it might be like to write a memoir, and how I could hypothetically include this part of my life without needing to sound like a textbook providing definitions, interjecting clarifications, and footnotes for people who have little or no idea what being aro means. The literature nerd in me is sorely missing some representation here.
  11. I’ve imagined alternating between “partner” and “friend.” And honestly if other people get confused about what exactly our relationship is as a result, good. I’d just find it funny. “Companion” seems like the most accurate term for me, but it has some doctor who connotations unfortunately so I’m still debating that one. Also, the word “friend” had a lot of interesting associations back in the day (I mean like ~400 years ago). Let’s just say it went way beyond what we think of in terms of commitment and affection. What I’m trying to say is that words are what you make of them, ultimately.
  12. Playing Stardew Valley is one of my favorite tools for de-stressing and just generally having a good chill time, and now it’s also providing me with a little extra affirmation for being aro. For those unaware, it’s a bit of a farming simulator “sandbox” type of game where you can develop your land into basically whatever you want, and interact with the townsfolk. This includes helping them out, making friends, and even getting married. This last bit always put me off a bit, because there’s a list of villagers who are considered “marriage candidates” and getting closer to these people gradually nudges you into a romantic narrative. However! The most recent update of the game added the option of one particular character who can become your platonic housemate. His name is Krobus, and he’s a friendly monster (shadow person?) who lives in the sewers because he’s afraid of being persecuted by the other villagers. Once you develop a close enough friendship with him, you can invite him to live with you, offering him better protection. I just recently got to this point and it’s honestly so heartwarming... he’s a little insecure about being “so physically different” and afraid of being found out, but he likes to venture outside in the rain, and sometimes he attempts to make human food for you. You can hug him, too. I appreciate this new change to the game a lot because there are a bunch of other aspects that I thought were really presumptuous. For instance, there’s a fortune teller that will tell you that she sees you and the “marriage candidate” you’re closest friends with being together, and the last house upgrade comes with a baby nursery full of non-removable furniture. But with Krobus around, I get to straight up defy all of that (pretty sure it cancels out getting married). It’s pretty satisfying. So anyway I just wanted to share in case this sweetens the deal for anyone considering playing the game. Plus I almost can’t help but rave about it haha
  13. Oh gosh yes! I've had a pretty similar journey, accepting my asexuality relatively easily. For a while I was even lumping in aro stuff under my ace-ness to avoid confronting the label of aromantic as something that might apply to me. And then when I finally started calling myself aro, I felt the need to say greyaro because of a """crush""" or two. I've also always wanted children, but being a single parent sounds extremely difficult so that has also probably contributed to my reluctance to, as you said, give up on having a "traditional family." Yeah I get that. I can definitely feel right now that simply being "apathetic," or not caring, is the easiest alternative. Sometimes that can be avoidance in disguise, though, at least in my experience. Like I thought I was in that sort of mindset, but then some things happened and suddenly I was getting that frustrated, stuck, "I'm broken" feeling again. Now I think I need to find some sort of confidence, and a truer break from amatonormativity that actually makes me happy with where I'm headed in life.
  14. It's been a good few months since I've really been active here, but I guess that's because I've had a lot to work out on my own. I'm almost afraid to say so, since I tend to think of myself as pretty clearheaded and self-aware. I don't care to admit that I might still be struggling a bit with my identity. The fact is, though, I'm way too good at compartmentalizing my emotions and hiding things even from myself. It turns out I was harboring a lot more denial/self-hate about being aro than I realized, and it took more than a few external forces to really bring that to my attention. Long story short, I think I may have been clinging to the idea that I might, maybe, be able to feel romantic attraction once in a blue moon, so now I feel extra angry and sad that this is not actually really the case and/or isn't worth paying attention to. And here I was thinking I had already made peace with everything some time ago... I think I'm starting to get better now, but I thought it would be worth it to reach out and ask if anyone has some experience to share about accepting things the way they are and learning to love it. Thanks y'all, I'm forever glad to have this place to come back to where there are people who understand.
  15. Growing up I guess I was pretty romance favorable, though every time someone showed interest in me I’d get like, offended, and really indignant about the whole idea of dating them. Even if I thought our feelings had been mutual. I was romance favorable in the sense that I liked the idea of it, but when it actually came down to it I would get pretty squicked out. More recently now that I’ve loosely concluded that I’m greyaro and/or lithromantic, and therefore that it isn’t worth paying attention to the rare and fleeting feelings I have for some people, I’ve stopped having a favorable opinion of romance (in relation to myself) and am now much more neutral to repulsed. Although it’s very situational. To me it it seems to have something to do with letting go of societally enforced ideas about what I’m supposed to want in life.
  16. Alright so, I’m joining this topic because I’m not sure I wrap my head around all of it either. This all seems to be dealing with differing ideas about what “platonic” actually means, right? I’m trying to suss this out: —people who describe something as alterous tend to see platonic as being to do with friendship only —people who disagree with the above usage see platonic as its own separate thing, on a different level to either friends or romantic partners, and therefore to them alterous is redundant? I agree that there seems to be a linguistic inconsistency with romantic ->> romance and platonic ->> friendship. Another wrinkle in all of this is that the term queerplatonic also linguistically implies that it is something different from platonic. So what makes it “queer?” When dictionaries say platonic defines something non-physical or non-sexual, we should maybe consider the societal context, where people usually don’t separate romantic and sexual attraction, or for that matter any other attractions. My understanding of queerplatonic relationships is that they lack to some extent romantic attraction but contain one or more other types (emotional, aesthetic, sensual, sexual, etc.). Unless I’ve misunderstood and there are some people in QPRs who are not attracted to their partners in any way? So here’s a shot in the dark, could platonic then refer simply to any relationship that does not contain attraction? In this case, alterous and platonic could coexist, where both describe something “else” but only alterous can go along with queerplatonic. Although don’t some people use the term platonic attraction? That really throws a wrench in my idea...
  17. This is a very nice sentiment. Ditto
  18. I chose one other person, with separate sleeping arrangements. Because although I like being cozy with people, sharing a bed is something I’ve never understood the appeal of. Especially on a nightly basis, it seems sort of cumbersome. And I like my personal space. Someone could be invited into that personal space from time to time, but not as a given. Actually, funnily enough, my parents (who are still married) sleep in separate rooms, as did my grandpa and his second wife. So I guess it’s a common enough preference in my family, though a little different in my case since it’d be a qpr, wherein the person is ideally like a longterm close roommate.
  19. This hasn’t really happened to me (maybe a point of privilege) but I am often worried that sometimes after coming out to someone as a way of stating that I’m unavailable, that person could interpret it as a phase, something they can wait out until I get over my inhibitions or whatever. Maybe I’m just paranoid, but it feels like they don’t take me seriously. If I’m asked whether being aro/ace has to do with trauma or body confidence, that seems like a red flag...
  20. It seems like you can also get intriguing results from searching “what is a friend crush” Like I think there is some amount of overlap, for the same reason a lot of these examples bring up sexual stuff: because most people don’t separate types of attraction. To me, the strongest way I’ve been able to see the difference is through real-life interactions, wherein I witness someone being attracted to me, or talking to me about someone else they’re attracted to.
  21. I have a tough time with defining things using words, oof. This is hard but here goes: 1. Maybe not much. I guess if I could realistically call them a companion, i.e. they hold a separate distinction from the rest of my friends, including long-term exclusivity and an understanding that we're sharing our lives together. But I guess if I was non-monogamous I would feel differently about that... But there's something that rings true about the word "companion," in any case. 2. Not really. Personally I kind of think of squishes as mostly occurring with people who are new to me. They're all about intrigue. Plus I'd strongly consider being in a QPR with one of my longterm friends, someone I've certainly never had a squish on but is nonetheless very special to me. 3. It'd be nice, but I don't really think of it as a strong want. I'm usually 100% down with whatever they want, so long as we get to be friends 4. Physical intimacy/closeness (to a degree, probably less so than what one might consider standard in a romantic relationship) and a special companionship, as I described in answer 1. I probably would feel weird calling them simply my friend, but equally weird calling them my girlfriend/boyfriend/etc. Even "partner" doesn't exactly seem right, because people have romantic/sexual connotations attached to that word. To Mark's question: For me, the distinction is I don't feel obligated to perform amatonormative expectations or measure up to someone else's romantic attraction towards me. There is just something very relieving and satisfying about saying, "this is different," because of the way romance traps me into participating in something I can't really reciprocate. From experience with people who expressed romantic interest in me (or indeed other people), I can just tell they're experiencing something that is way out of my depth, even if I can't quite say what.
  22. When it comes to analyzing your feelings and your past, only you can decide whether those things make using the term aromantic (or similar) on yourself useful. But based on what you've said here, I think it might be worth looking into demiromanticism, as well as the varying ways people describe a queerplatonic relationship, which can include a "friends with benefits" sort of situation. Read about others' experiences and compare them to your own, and ask yourself what it is that you want.
  23. treepod


    I’ve been thinking about this off and on for a while. Looks like you haven’t been online in quite some time, but just in case you come back I want to amend what I said about what romantic attraction is like. Until recently, beyond knowing that my attraction to others is fleeting, inconsistent, vague, and rare, I didn’t have a good reference for what it is I actually want out of a relationship and what I’m comfortable with. Turns out, not much. At least in the way of “romantic” gestures. So I’ve been considering that it’s probably more accurate for me to base what I consider romantic attraction on what the desired action is with the person, and not whether they make me feel giddy or whatever. Because platonic/queerplatonic, sensual, and aesthetic attractions exist, and those don’t have to correlate with romantic interest at all, so feeling things like I described before doesn’t really actually signal romantic attraction anyway. And because something can sound like it’d be enjoyable on paper but in practice make me uncomfortable or indifferent. td;lr, I now think that the most important thing is to explore what you really strongly desire to act on with another person, if anything at all. You might be surprised to find that alloromantic folks can be way more enthusiastic and, er, active than you anticipated. At least that’s my experience.
  24. Of course! I guess I was mainly referring to how difficult it is to present it in a way that non aspec folks can understand, without brushing up against amatonormativity too much. Like what raavenb2619 just said: It’s probably a good-natured attempt to normalize it, but they don’t get that in this case, trying to make it sound relatable erases the fact that it is in fact very different from what non aspec people are used to, and that distinction needs to remain clear so that we can express what we need. But it is a distinction that is regardless hard for me to put into words
  25. Yeah it’d be really great to hear some thoughts from people who are more experienced in this. I’m kinda just shooting in the dark too
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