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My boyfriend of 6 years recently came out as aromantic


ethanoate
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Hi everyone,

T and I have been together for 6 years. he recently discovered he's aromantic, I am not. It makes perfect sense as he's always felt distant most of the time and we have had arguments in the past because it seemed like he was putting others before me and our relationship.

 

Since he told me, we've been talking a lot which has been good and is helping me understand how he feels. He said he wants me in his life because he'd miss what I bring to it, but that he's not sure he loves me. That hurt, a lot, but I understand, or at least I think I understand. We both are still figuring stuff out and dealing with a lot of unknowns and fears. I know he's scared I'll leave him for an alloromantic person and I'm afraid he will one day say to me that he can't be in a relationship. I want him in my life, and him being aromantice doesn't change a lot - it just gives our problems a name that we can now figure out how to deal with.

 

What has been your experience with alloromantic people in relationships with aromantic people? Can it work? Am I just blind to reality because I love him so much?

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Hi :)

26 minutes ago, ethanoate said:

we have had arguments in the past because it seemed like he was putting others before me and our relationship.

Any specific examples that you wouldn't mind sharing here? There could be an unstated expectation here by you that he should make your relationship more important than other important relationships in his life? E.g. friends. Which might not make sense to him; it could seem like asking him to put you before others every time, rather than him putting others before you? But I don't know the history here, so examples would help.

 

26 minutes ago, ethanoate said:

He said he wants me in his life because he'd miss what I bring to it, but that he's not sure he loves me.

Love is a complicated and ambiguos word. It can mean different things to different people. In particular, it might mean something quite different to him vs. what it means to you. Perhaps he's just wary of setting you up to expect things from him that he doesn't feel he can provide?

 

26 minutes ago, ethanoate said:

What has been your experience with alloromantic people in relationships with aromantic people? Can it work? Am I just blind to reality because I love him so much?

Bear in mind I haven't been in a romantic relationship, but... I think it depends a lot on both your expectations for the future. Would you be happy for things to go on more or less as they are now, or would you like "more" at some point? Maybe discuss to what extent you'd be willing to compromise on any future life plans. What are the "dealbreakers"? If you want marriage, a house together and kids some day, and he wants none of that, probably better to know that now. Try to be honest with one another.

 

Good luck finding whatever path forward is right for both of you; whether that involves staying together or not. And welcome :).

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1 hour ago, NullVector said:

Any specific examples that you wouldn't mind sharing here? There could be an unstated expectation here by you that he should make your relationship more important than other important relationships in his life? E.g. friends. Which might not make sense to him; it could seem like asking him to put you before others every time, rather than him putting others before you? But I don't know the history here, so examples would help.

Before he realized he was aromantic (and before I knew), it seemed like to me that he would often put the needs of his friends above mine. I never asked him to do this, but assumed that since I was his boyfriend, it seemed like I should be getting a bit more attention or thought. I did the same for him. So I felt hurt that he didn't want to pay attention to me or didn't want to do things with me. When I would bring it up he would apologize and promise to try more - which never really worked.

 

Now that we know he's aro, it make sense and I understand (to a degree) what he's going through.

 

Quote

Would you be happy for things to go on more or less as they are now, or would you like "more" at some point?

I can't lie, I would like more from him, but I know that's not going to happen and I'm ok with that. My hope is that now we know why he is the way he is, that we can communicate better and understand what we both need and meet somewhere in the middle. 

 

Thanks for the reply!

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On 01/10/2017 at 10:12 PM, ethanoate said:

been together for 6 years. ........ I'm afraid he will one day say to me that he can't be in a relationship.

I'd say the fact that you have been together for 6 years shows that the sort of relationship you have works for your partner. If T had romance or couple repulsion, which generally are the reasons for aromantics to run from relationships, you wouldn't have made 6 years together. There are people on this site who are or have been in queer-platonic relationships with romantics, I'm not too sure about aros here who have been in 'romantic couple' relationships though or I would link them for some opinions. 

 

I guess the best thing for everyone is to be honest about how you all feel. Maybe avoid the word 'love' as it can have many interpretations, stick to other words to describe feelings and experiences. 

 

On 01/10/2017 at 10:12 PM, ethanoate said:

I know he's scared I'll leave him for an alloromantic person

This is the same sort of fear I have. Romantic love is seen as the ultimate goal for many people, and I sometimes have seen alloromantics throw away deep caring friendships while chasing mutual romantic love potentials (I might have just been around shitty people, but it still happened). So I guess to assuage this fear you will have to think about whether you need your feelings returned on exactly the same wavelength, and whether mutual infatuated love is something you seek as a goal in life. If you are happy without those things it still may take a while to convince your partner as the 'love is a right, not a privilege' trope is deep in most modern cultures. The fact that you know about aromanticism and are learning about it together and communicating is great though. 

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On 10/1/2017 at 6:42 AM, ethanoate said:

Hi everyone,

T and I have been together for 6 years. he recently discovered he's aromantic, I am not. It makes perfect sense as he's always felt distant most of the time and we have had arguments in the past because it seemed like he was putting others before me and our relationship.

 

Since he told me, we've been talking a lot which has been good and is helping me understand how he feels. He said he wants me in his life because he'd miss what I bring to it, but that he's not sure he loves me. That hurt, a lot, but I understand, or at least I think I understand. We both are still figuring stuff out and dealing with a lot of unknowns and fears. I know he's scared I'll leave him for an alloromantic person and I'm afraid he will one day say to me that he can't be in a relationship. I want him in my life, and him being aromantice doesn't change a lot - it just gives our problems a name that we can now figure out how to deal with.

 

What has been your experience with alloromantic people in relationships with aromantic people? Can it work? Am I just blind to reality because I love him so much?

 

 

Well, this is very interesting. I believe what he meant to say, what that he's not, "in love with you" but he loves you (as a friend).

 

Being in love, is romantic. It's also known as limerance. Do Google that word and read about it.

 

Love, itself, is acceptance. In which friendship, is acceptance, therefore friendship is love.

 

Perhaps, your boyfriend needs to do more searching, do further self-articulation, then lay it out on the table for you to examine and learn about.

 

I've tried and failed miserably to be in good platonic relationships with alloromantic women; they're romantic will is too strong and starts to drive them slowly insane when I rebuffed their advances. Even though I told them what I was upfront, they just don't care, even if they read the information and understand it. In some people, romantic attraction is a monster they can't control, let alone reason with it.

 

What I would like you to do, is have him join this forum if he hasn't already and have him speak up from his perception of the situation. I'm glad you joined this forum and are asking for help and to gain insight as to what's going on with him.

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  • 1 month later...

 

I agree with the others about being honest with yourselves and each other about how you each feel and how your needs are or aren't being met.

 

My situation is different from yours, but perhaps it would be of interest to you. I recently started identifying as aroflux. My spouse is alloromantic. 

 

Our issues tend to center more around physical affection and verbal romantic declarations. I know I fall short of meeting his romantic needs in general, and at times rather spectacularly (when I'm not feeling romantic at all, when it feels too much in quantity, or when it's just too romantic even on my most romantic day). I know it hurts him and he feels rejected. It has been painful for both of us.

 

I didn't know what I should do about it or what it meant. But learning about aromanticism, I started to wonder if it's just what is normal for me . . . and maybe it's fine? Maybe it's fine as long as we both find the relationship worth its challenges . . . Figuring all this out isn't easy. It's a work in progress.

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my ex is allo.  to be blunt, it was a fiasco.  i mean, your orientations don't match, that's like a heteroromantic person dating a homoromantic person, even if they are both bisexual.  (we're both heterosexual.)  i'm not saying it couldn't work, just that it's not ideal conditions.  i was uncomfortable in the relationship; throughout those 8 months my depression was worse than almost ever, and my bf obviously wasn't thrilled that i didn't want to be romantic with him or even around him too often.  breaking up was definitely better for both of us and i'm so happy we're still friends.  it's up to you and your boyfriend what to do in your situation and i wish you luck.

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I'm currently in a relationship with an allo. It's difficult, but we're making it work. 

 

As long as you both are fine with compromising, your relationship should be okay. All relationships have to have some compromises, not just allo/aro relationships. Don't expect more than what he can give you, and he should be able to spare a few romantic gestures every now and then for you. I often forget that romance is a thing in relationships and my girlfriend has to hint at things for me to get it. Half the time her hints don't work so she has to actually spell it out for me. She plans all the romantic things, I'm just there for the ride. She knows I don't care about that stuff, but it's important to her so I do it anyway. We take each other on dates. Movies, dinners, picnics, the whole works. To her, it's a romantic date, to me, it's delicious food and an awesome movie with a good friend. Just more hand-holding. Who doesn't like food and movies? It's a win-win situation. We cuddle, we take couples selfies. Friday night Skype sessions. Things like that. She wants me to get her a ring for Christmas because she really wants a ring but thinks it's sad to get yourself a ring. It's not all the time, so it's not like It's suffocating to me like other romantic relationships have been. Just compromising. She doesn't push me, and I don't mind spending a few hours or dollars for her because I gain a loyal companion out of it. Also, we normally avoid the word 'love'. It's sort of a reminder to her that I don't love her, and that doesn't feel good. Sometimes we'll say things like "I love you, but you're being a real pain in the ass", as a joke, but no real love statements. 

 

I guess one thing you should work out together is what is important to both of you. If he can't give you things that are most important to you in a relationship, then you guys probably won't last. You'll be left wanting things that will never come. But since it's been 6 years and you guys are still going strong? I don't think you should have any issues. If things are fine how they are, I have faith that you guys can stay together for a long time. That is unless one or both of you are unhappy with the way things are. Again, you need to talk to each other. What you want now, what you want your futures to look like. If you want kids and he doesn't then what are you going to do, etc. Lots fo discuss. 

 

I said this above, but I'll say it again because it's important: Don't expect more than what he can give you. Appreciate the things he does for you, no matter how small. If you expect a lot from him, and he doesn't give you what you want, then you're just going to be unhappy, and if you're going to be unhappy in your relationship, then maybe it's not right for you guys. 

 

As for the not putting you first thing, I hate to admit it, but I'm guilty of this. I see everyone close to me as equals. I don't put some people above others. There's no importance hierarchy of people close to me. Friends, family, partners. They're all equal. It's like having a bunch of amazing friends and them asking you to choose a favourite. I love all my friends equally, why do I have to choose? If it's important to you, then maybe he can try to make more of an effort. But for him he probably doesn't realize, or think it's that important. Is it a deal breaker for you? Can you be happy with not being first choice? 

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