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gray-romantic or something else?


iris
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I wonder if I'm gray-romantic, based on one of the definitions from AVENwiki: Experience romantic attraction but not very often.


For those to whom that applies, when you do feel romantic attraction, is it consistent based on person? I'm wondering if this definition would include a case where you sometimes are and sometimes aren't romantically attracted to a particular person.


Sometimes I'm interested in my relationship and sometimes not. My spouse is much more romantic than I am, and I feel suffocated sometimes. Sometimes I feel the urge to play the role to make him happy. The sexual side of the relationship works for me; we work well together in taking care of life's responsibilities; but I find him needy and overly affectionate. I know sometimes he feels let down because I can't meet his romantic needs. However, sometimes I do feel affectionate and romantic. It's so confusing.


I didn't notice feeling this way before, but on the other hand, I feel like I've been pretending for a long time. Did I not notice this because I blamed my lack of engagement on being depressed (particularly its symptom of not enjoying things you normally would)? I had been so depressed through almost my entire dating/marriage history that it's hard to sort out cause and effect and "what I'm normally like." 


I didn't date a lot before we married, and we've been together 14 years. But trying to look back, I wanted relationships but would usually panic once I was in them. I always thought it was because it wasn't a good match, but maybe I was primarily driven to relationships by sexual attraction (and loneliness)? In college I would flirt on instant messenger, but it didn't really occur to me that the guys I was flirting with could be interested in dating me. I figured they weren't and enjoyed it anyway. 


I'm not very educated on this yet, so I apologize if I've grossly misinterpretted that definition by thinking it might apply to me. I truly mean no offense. 
 

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2 hours ago, iris said:

I'm not very educated on this yet, so I apologize if I've grossly misinterpretted that definition by thinking it might apply to me. I truly mean no offense. 

Labels are really for your own self, a shorthand to express how you feel and experience the world, so no one will be offended with whatever words you use to describe yourself. We are generally fairly chill here anyway. Welcome :aroicecream: I hope someone more relateable comes along to comment, but I will try while we wait for them to find this. 

 

I am greyasexual not greyaromantic so I can sort of add insight, yet not. 

2 hours ago, iris said:

when you do feel romantic attraction, is it consistent based on person? I'm wondering if this definition would include a case where you sometimes are and sometimes aren't romantically attracted to a particular person.

I had one experience of not being attracted to someone at first and it developed later, but it was not possible to pursue a relationship so I never found out if the attraction would wax and wane. Actually none of my attractions I have followed through long enough to find out if they would even die down after a period of time. I'm probably not being very helpful at all. 

 

I did just mention in another topic that these shifting feelings and attractions probably fit under a term that uses the word 'flux' (or 'spike'). Pretty much all of those fit under the greyaromantic/greyromantic umbrella. I am sorry that you feel suffocated sometimes, that is a fairly common feeling so that exact description (along with drowning) pop up quite a lot when aromantic spectrum are in relationships with romantic people. It is amazing you have been together 14 years, but in that time have you sorted out a place or time for you to be together with no romance? like playing tennis against one another or something like that (I only mention tennis because direct competition seems to deaden the romantic intentions in most people except the most hopeless). Pretending can eventually make you feel dead inside, I don't believe 'fake it until you make it' ever works, so I guess my final comment would be to tell your partner how you feel when you don't feel interested in romance and maybe ask them to tone it down or focus on non-romantic things. Feel free to totally ignore me. I still feel I am pretty bad at this giving advice and comments thing. 

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For me I am demiromantic, and for me that expresses by my lack in any romantic feelings towards people normally. I am very interested in people and am happy to spend time with them and even offer my help in any way they need. I enjoy being a part of what they do. tho usually we just hang out and y'know be friends... idk.. but no one feels any different from friends. I'd date someone and, well I liked them and felt flattered by their attention, but even tho I recognized we were dating, I just I behaved towards them like they were just another friend except, one I saw all the time, and talked to all the time. a best friend basically. But, that wasn't really enough for them. IDK.

 

But when I develop feelings for someone, well, it - it's kinda noticeable for me, tho it takes a bit to admit it, that I'm beginning to feel romantic towards them, and for me, it's kinda like wanting to be with them and a part of their life, and I feel it its a different sensation in my heart for romantic feelings, IDK more washed-over but also more intense, and well generally different. like if you touch a table and touch a wall it feels different, but they're both smooth and cold, so what do you say? I feel the table and I know it's the table. I feel the wall and I know it's the wall. (well technically, I can say the wall feels to have small smoothed-over bumps to it, but shh let's pretend I don't know how to identify its difference in feel for the sake of the example) there's subtle differences, enough that I immediately identify which one as which. but, there's not really a good way to identify that difference in words.

 

 

 

At first I assumed that my feelings towards various people was normal attraction, like I can think back and say I had a lot of crushes in high school! But see actually: I am grey-sexual. so my feelings of attraction are sexual attraction alone, but I lack any interest in acting upon my feelings lmao. I just like feeling attracted, and that's enough. And also I like kissing people I'm attracted to, and generally being close and touching them in some way, like side-to-side or something. not really cuddling, but cuddling basically. half-cuddling. And, the reason I know it's sexual... well.. let's just say if we get really into kissing I get aroused, and so that's enough to know it's sexual. but, it just feels like it is sexual attraction, and not just some other attraction, it feels sexual. I felt uncomfortable ID'ing as Ace, and was looking for a way to say I wasn't, but couldn't until I had more confidence in saying it. Because everyone says an ace don't wanna have sex, and I don't wanna have sex, so what could I say?? and - what it was was, that it definitely feels sexual. that's the honest truth, that it don't feel like it ain't sexual, even tho I never get sexual desire.

 

But I first had to realize that maybe I was ace, before I could identify that my attraction definitely felt sexual, to know I wasn't ace. before, I wasn't able to identify that feeling, like I felt it but I just - well I thought it was being attracted, which it was, but when I learned that I didn't want sex, I thought maybe it was just aesthetic attraction. Until I wanted to kiss someone lmao. that's when I knew it was sexual, er, because it felt strong enough as a feeling, that I could identify it for sure for sure. between experiencing it again, and remembering the people I'd kissed before, and how I felt about them - I remember the sensations of really getting into kissing certain people enough. And that was when I knew I had to be grey. But I had to both be able to identify the feeling for sure in the present, as well as remember times when I felt it before in the past.

 

 

 

And it wasn't until I could identify what was sexual, before I could slowly begin to identify what was romantic - especially since, it turned out later that everyone I was romantic towards, was someone who wasn't in my life. and - it feels differently from other interests in people. Again, just, subtly too subtle to name why it is, but enough that when I feel it I know it's different. So, see, I find a lot of people aesthetically attractive, and I do feel drawn towards certain friends based off their personality and interests. but those, like, it's liking someone, as a friend or by their looks. For sure it's liking them, but it doesn't feel like attraction, and attraction for me feels like "this person is really important" even tho there's no reason to feel that way. I just want to talk to them, be with them, be a part of their life. er, that's in-words no different than for friends, but again, the way it feels... it's different enough, and consistently, that I know it ain't the same feeling of "liking".

 

For me, being demiromantic, there's a very noticeable difference between just liking someone as a friend, and being attracted to them romantically. I don't like the cliche term "more than friends" because it implies better. it isn't better. it's just... the feelings are different, and in the precise way that  they are different, it is better, more, more powerful, more consistent, fuller, whatever word you wanna throw at that. but, really it's like comparing a rich red leaf to a gorgeous blouse that isn't rich in any of its colors. that leaf sure is a richer color than anything that blouse has to offer! but it don't make sense to say one or the other is more beautiful. they're both beautiful in different ways! So I'll say romance is more than just friendship.. but that's like saying that red leaf is more than just that red blouse. it isn't really. just in a precise way, it's more. at least for me, heh.

 

 

 

 

But, this wouldn't be a great example for greyromantic for you, as if we assume you're grey, it's the type of greyness that is sort of... it's there but not a major powerful feeling that takes over. from the sounds of what you're saying. IDK you tell me if it makes sense for you the way I said it just now :)

 

for me, when I'm attracted (romantically) to someone, it's a very powerful emotion, it's hard to ignore it. it hurts to be denied closeness with them. I'm sure there are people who identify as romantic who don't feel it super powerful like I do, so if you felt that your interest in romance was enough for you to ID as romantic, don't feel weird about it :)and if on the other hand you think you want to ID as greyromantic, well, I think that fits just fine if you feel it fits you :)  if neither is good enough tho, that's ok too, keep looking into labels. I don't know anything more than the more abstract ones. Aromantic, grey, demi, lith, cupio, and romantic. Technically I suppose I could ID as lithsexual, but it didn't occur to me until recently, and I'm happy with greysexual. Maybe if I have some more conversations with lith folk, I might switch labels, but I'm not too interested in investigating labels right now, heh.

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wow @cute kitty Meow! Mewo! that was really interesting, especially your wall/table and leaf/blouse analogies. I have some issues with identifying the difference between attractions ~ so basically I am patting a wall and a table and only discover the differences when I look directly at them :P

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@Apathetic Echidna and @cute kitty Meow Mewo! - Thank you for sharing your experiences. That helps. 


You each brought up a term I hadn't seen yet that are helpful to me - flux and lith. I think flux is a good way to describe me, and I can kind of relate to lith. Reciprocation has in the past ended my attraction to certain people. I can think of one very strong example from when I was younger. With my spouse, it is different, but him being very affectionate and/or romantic can sometimes shut down my romantic inclination towards him for the short term, when I might've been open to it otherwise.


@Apathetic Echidna, that's a good question you ask about having time together that's not romantic. I like your tennis suggestion! Hmm, I guess not consistently? Sometimes we have that, for example shopping. It's something for me to think about, for sure, because it'd be nice to have a reliable time when I don't stress. You're absolutely right that pretending does make me feel dead inside, and I agree that 'fake it until you make it' doesn't work, from experience. I think that's good advice to tell him when I don't feel romantic. Difficult but necessary. 

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On 11/10/2017 at 1:05 PM, cute kitty Meow! Mewo! said:

But I first had to realize that maybe I was ace, before I could identify that my attraction definitely felt sexual, to know I wasn't ace.

 

On 11/10/2017 at 1:05 PM, cute kitty Meow! Mewo! said:

And it wasn't until I could identify what was sexual, before I could slowly begin to identify what was romantic

These make a lot of sense to me. That you need to consider what you might be to figure out what you are or are not. That it helps to narrow down what is romantic by sorting out what isn't. That seems like a good strategy for me to try because I realize I have trouble distinguishing attractions. Defining terms has been a challenge for me (e.g. romantic). How does it apply to me or not, and what does it mean in the first place? Marriage is a term I've thought about in the past several months, before I came upon the aromantic topic. What does it mean/what's its purpose for me? And not having a good answer, I tried to look at how other people answer those questions for themselves, to see if I can find what fits for me. It's like I took a lot of things for granted when I was younger, didn't think about them critically, and then one day realized I'm not sure. It seemed like I had answers at the time, but not anything I could articulate now, so who knows. And I feel silly of course, asking these questions so far in, but I see how much I didn't know when I was young. It makes me more aware of how much I must still not know! Trying to figure out answers is important for figuring out how to go forward, I think.

 

On 11/10/2017 at 1:05 PM, cute kitty Meow! Mewo! said:

for me, it's kinda like wanting to be with them and a part of their life, and I feel it its a different sensation in my heart for romantic feelings, IDK more washed-over but also more intense, and well generally different.

 

On 11/10/2017 at 1:05 PM, cute kitty Meow! Mewo! said:

for me, when I'm attracted (romantically) to someone, it's a very powerful emotion, it's hard to ignore it. it hurts to be denied closeness with them.

Thank you for these descriptions. It has been difficult to find descriptions or helpful definitions.

 

On 11/10/2017 at 1:05 PM, cute kitty Meow! Mewo! said:

if we assume you're grey, it's the type of greyness that is sort of... it's there but not a major powerful feeling that takes over. from the sounds of what you're saying.

Yes, this is exactly how I feel these days. Sometimes there's a romantic feeling but not especially powerful.

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