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So... am I arospec?


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Heya, I'm here on this forum because while I know I'm asexual, I've recently been toying around with the aro label as well- but am not certain for a number of reasons whether or not it fits.

 

I didn't know that asexual/aromantic were labels that existed, much less were okay, until a good while after I was married. And as I learned more about it (and the discrepancies between how my husband thinks and how I do), I wondered if maybe that was where I fit, and I've been trying to figure out what I feel for my husband, vs how I feel about other people. To me it seems like... he is a friend, yes. (I'm picky about using the 'friend' term- I have anxiety and don't call someone a friend unless they are very close to me). He's a safety blanket of sorts (think the equivalent of holding a stuffed animal when you're young and upset). He's moral support, he puts up with me. So like... he is convenient and I like having him around? And we're mutually beneficial to each other, and I love him yes, but I love a lot of people? And I'm comfortable touching him (I'm not a touchy person, but I'm very comfy cuddling with him, or having sex when I'm in an okay mood), but I think that goes with his designation as "my person" which I'm not sure is really romantic or just... a designated role. But like to me, it makes sense that him having that role would allow for touch in our dynamic, and that with that in mind it's a natural escalation from the reactions I'd have to anyone else. (Someone looks excited about something, who is a friend or acquaintance, I smile and feel happy for them, for instance- but because of my husband's role and our comfiness with touch, I might go up and kiss him). 

 

Like... the phrases "in love" and "romance" make me think of, I dunno, corny dates and things you see on shows and in books, and this googly-eyed thing going on that I always thought was silly. And I always thought it was strange when people said love wasn't a choice. (I remember back in first or second grade when girls started talking about crushes, and they asked who I had a crush on, and I went "Hm well Zach is nice, I guess I have a crush on Zach" and kinda went with it, following the context of how other people seemed to get flustered about disclosing their crushes. And with my first boyfriend, I remember thinking "I could love him if I wanted to... but I don't really want to" so I didn't. And reflecting on various crushes I had over the years, well... I never thought about what I would do if I caught the person, I just sort of admired them.) But then, my anxiety goes "well, okay. So maybe you just have a more logical approach to things" or "maybe your lack of that same sort of sentimentality is due to anxiety" or "well let's be honest, your depression kinda keeps you from feeling passion for anything, so any perceived aromanticism could easily be a result of that" while on the other hand I'm thinking, "okay, but 'just' being x, y, or z with that result... might that be exactly a possible version of what aro is?"

 

But just... ha. I dunno. I tend to get very intensely attached to people, but like... in a "yes good these are my children" or a familial sort of thing (as opposed to my actual family, who I don't have that same fondness for, because I didn't pick them). And because I didn't know aro was a thing until after heteronormativity took its course, well... haha. Here I am, 22, married, asexual as hell, wondering if I'm aromantic... pretty okay with how things turned out, but just trying to classify my emotions (true, I could mark them as irrelevant at this case, since I'm happy with my setup, but I'm also the sort of person, who, well, NEEDS to know)

 

So basically I didn't know if I was on track or not, or if my anxiety was screwing with my perception or something, and wanted some insight from people who are sure of their aromantic-spec identities. 

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This might not be what you're looking for but, really, no one can tell you if you're arospec or not. I think it sounds like you can be, but ultimately no one can say you are or you aren't.

I think (as someone who's also confused of their romantic identity still) just think it over for a while and don't get too caught up in having a specific label - talk it over with people here about what they think/why they ID as arospec, talk to your husband about everything, look at some labels (I personally don't know of any specific lists for arospec identities - maybe someone else can link something?) and see if anything fits!

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Hi, this post might get confusing; we’ll see how it works out.

First off, here’s a list of the romantic orientations associated with the aro-spectrum:

Aromantic - A person who does not experience romantic attraction.

Demiromantic - A person who can only feel romantic attraction to someone they have established a close emotional connection with.

Gray-romantic - A person who is somewhere in between 100% romantic and aromantic; they might only experience romantic attraction on very rare occasions, or feel romantic attraction but not desire romantic relationships, or experience a feeling somewhere in between platonic and romantic.

Lithromantic - A person who feels romantic attraction but does not need their feelings to be reciprocated, or who does not like receiving romantic gestures. Also called “akoiromantic / akoineromantic.”

WTFromantic - Also called “quoiromantic.” The romantic orientation for people who find romantic orientations confusing, or who don’t perceive a clear difference between feelings of romance and friendship, or for whom the idea of “romantic orientation” does not apply.

I’ve taken them from here: http://anagnori.tumblr.com/post/67669933207/words-and-concepts-used-in-asexual-communities

 

There is also aro-flux, but I’ve forgotten how to define that. If you’re looking at that list and going ‘oh no, it’s so confusing’ feel free to just ignore it.

What you talked about with not understanding other people’s talk of romantic love and choosing  people to have crushes on a things  that aro-spec people might experience, as is having a different understanding of what your relationship means than your partner does (which is what I think you are describing in the first paragraph). As Simowl said, we can’t tell you if you are aro-spec, but I think these are valid indicators for you to start to consider if you are or not.

 

As for the metal health side of things, again I can’t give you a straight, solid answer (sorry, I wish I could) but I do have some experience with mental health and being aro. I don’t have anxiety but I have experienced depression, and I have had episodes of psychosis (probably, it’s the current diagnosis) so I understand feeling uncertain about what you’re experiencing. I don’t know if saying this is helpful, but even if it turns out your current feelings are due to your mental health that doesn’t change the fact you experienced them, and if during that time you related to the aro community and the aro label helpful to you in any way then that is still a valid reason for those actions.

 

The familial-type bonding is something I can relate to. I also would think of my closest relationships in that way.

 

Other things I can think of that you might find useful to read are this list called ‘You might be aromantic if…’ http://anagnori.tumblr.com/post/69145328274/you-might-be-aromantic-if

Also, I thought this post might be useful to you. It’s by someone who is aromantic (though they are allosexual) who is married WARNING: This is a shipping blog with sexual content. This link goes straight to the post I’m talking about, but even then there is an image of two people kissing at the side http://pecanpie.co.vu/post/127829348115/theres-nothing-in-particular-i-just-like-stories

This post is unfortunately long, so feel free to ask questions if you get lost or it doesn't make sense. Or ignore it if none of it is helpful :)

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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. 

 

44 minutes ago, RedNeko said:

even if it turns out your current feelings are due to your mental health that doesn’t change the fact you experienced them, and if during that time you related to the aro community and the aro label helpful to you in any way then that is still a valid reason for those actions.

 

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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Romanticism is much harder to define for oneself. It can be confusing to know the difference between romantic partner and close friendship if you haven't ever felt romantic attraction.

 

Have you discussed this at all with your husband? Perhaps he might be able to help you figure it out. He may be biased, but it's always good to get opinions from different viewpoints, and he knows you a lot better than we do.

 

Good luck! :cake::icecream: 

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I'm glad my post is helpful!

 

I've seen people in a few places talk about realising they're aromantic while in a long-term relationship/married, so your curcumstances aren't that unusual :) Phoenix makes a good point, talking to your husband would probably be a good idea.

 

EDIT: Forgot to say, but don't worry about the whole 'special snowflake' thing. There's nothing wrong with being able to describe who you are and your experiences in life, and there's nothing wrong with finding the words you need to do that.

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3 hours ago, Whistle said:

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 love this. It defines the aromantic experience so well. I'm going to keep the quote as one of my favourites for future use !

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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.

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  • 2 years later...
On 4/5/2016 at 3:29 PM, Whistle said:

"Well, okay. So maybe you just have a more logical approach to things"

I can relate to this in SUCH a deep level!!

I was also confused when people said they were devastated that their crush is with someone else because I usually didn't care if my crush liked someone or was dating anyone. I thought I was just stronger emotionally and knew how to deal with rejection better or something 😂

A crush was always someone I generally felt good around and so I allowed myself to think about them in a romantic way..? But they were all just squishes after all, I discovered very recently.

 

On 4/5/2016 at 11:46 PM, Whistle said:

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.

I want this ❤️

I feel so happy when I hear stories like this ❤️❤️

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