Hi all! This is my first forum and it's taken me a long time to get to this point. But you can call me Pieri! I'm a 23 (almost 24 orz) year old, American grad student studying macro/administrative social work with a propensity for long-winded rambling. Ironically, I am very introverted and struggled with undiagnosed social anxiety disorder throughout my teen years, finally got it and my persistent depressive disorder diagnoses in undergrad though. I like RPGs a lot, just got into my first MMORPG (FFXIV online) and I've been playing non-stop when I'm not at my internship. Trying to branch out and be more social and find a sense of community rn and push past my lingering anxiety.
Anyways, onto the actual reason I'm here! I've IDed ace since I was 18 and learned what both asexuality and aromanticism were. However, I clung onto having a romantic identity and tried out a bunch of different labels (heteroromantic, biromantic, homoromantic, and aro-spec sapphic), but none of them quite clicked. It was when I added aro-spec on when I started IDing as sapphic a few months back that something finally clicked...and it was aro-spec. And after a chat with my—thankfully!—very open-minded therapist who knows a lot about sexuality on this topic a couple weeks ago, he was able to help me get to the point to realize that, yeah, I am aromantic and that's okay.
I think I had such a hard time getting to this point because of my upbringing, I was expected to get knocked up, get married, have a kid, and drop out of HS at the age of like 16? Had a bunch of gross ideology forced down my throat about relationships and romance + sex from a very young age as a result and just...ugh. I'm still untangling and getting rid of a lot of it and it's a Mess™️. But I've never been in a romantic relationship, have never wanted one, and have been very thankful that I'm only ever hit on/asked out once in a blue moon. I did have two 'if I had to choose a guy, I guess it'd be you' crushes on guys when I was in HS and early college but the idea of ever being in an actual romantic relationship with them made me feel sick. I do really crave a deep platonic relationship and always have. In hindsight, it's very obvious I've been aro the whole time, essentially.
Since accepting the label, I'm struggling with the occasional bout of feeling "broken" because I don't fit into what society and my family wants from me—now, not even in the relationship department!—even though I know logically that there's absolutely nothing wrong with me. If anyone has some words of wisdom to offer on how they handle those maladaptive thoughts, that'd be much appreciated. But otherwise hello! Hopefully I'll be around here when I'm taking breaks from work or gaming, really looking forward to chatting with people who 'get it'. o7