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Feeling Left Behind...


OpenAce
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Hi, I posted this on AVEN but didn't get much of a response so I thought I'd post it here...

So, just wondering if anyone else had this:

I put a lot of energy into my very limited number of friendships (I'm introverted and have a very small group of specifically chosen friends). I like spending tonnes of time with most of them, I'll go out for lunch with them, go to the movies, go to the local pool, talk to them until the early hours of the morning, etc

But, they have/want relationships. One just broke up with his girlfriend and was trying to explain how that felt (me being aro and not getting the whole romance thing). He said like imagine if one of my closest friends started choosing someone else over me because I wasn't giving them all my attention/always showing my feelings for them. And I realised that that is kinda how I feel. Ok, I know that a romantic relationship/break-up is pretty different to this but, that is kinda how I feel alot of the time- like I'm not a high priority for some of my friends because in their lives they consider their romantic whatever more important. And I think it's fair enough, but platonic attraction is the strongest form of attraction I experience and like I said I choose all my friends carefully and pour time and energy into those relationships. And I've got one friend who generally puts me first (he's currently dating) but he has a crush on me, and I feel like that's why; and that as soon as he gets a girlfriend I'll just be pushed down the list again...

I guess what I'm trying to ask is "is anyone else tired of always coming second because you're 'only friends'?"

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Yes, I am always tired of coming second to people who view their romantic relationships as more important than friendships.  I think a lot of other people here feel similarly.  It's frustrating and hurtful to be ignored and denied companionship because I don't participate in these weird cultural rituals and don't experience a very particular kind of attraction.

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Yep, this has happened to me as well. It's also happened that I was super close with a couple of people, and I thought they felt the same way, but later on I figured out that the only reason they were prioritising me was because they were thinking about me somewhat romantically. As soon as that went away, they went all distant. That sucked. They also had a hard time understanding that I would prioritise a friendship if I'm not romantically interested in the person. At the time, so did I... lol. But it all makes sense now.

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Ok, so update...

I was explaining this today to my friend who first described the analogy to me.

And from his reaction I got the feeling that he was kinda saying it wasn't really the same connection (I know this- obviously); but it also kinda just felt like he was saying that I couldn't really feel sad about it. Like, he got it but...

Almost like I'm not able to be sad about 'breaking up' as friends cause we were never actually 'together'

IT's just hard I'll leave it at that- my friends are romantic/sexual and I've just gotta live with that like they live with my aro/ace

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2 hours ago, OpenAce said:

Almost like I'm not able to be sad about 'breaking up' as friends cause we were never actually 'together'

From my perspective, modern culture has some really messed up notions around the assumed shallowness and disposability of friendship vs. romantic relationships.

 

Maybe part of the 'problem' is stemming from 'too much' security and comfort in the modern world? We don't actually need to depend upon friends for our survival in the ways we used to. For example, I can't imagine somebody having a similarly disposable relationship towards their hunting buddy (in primitive cultures) or war buddy (in modern ones) who had SAVED THEIR LIFE on multiple occasions. That would probably be a relationship deemed worthy of cherishing and preserving...

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On 01/12/2017 at 1:54 PM, Eklinaar said:

Yes, I am always tired of coming second to people who view their romantic relationships as more important than friendships.  I think a lot of other people here feel similarly.  It's frustrating and hurtful to be ignored and denied companionship because I don't participate in these weird cultural rituals and don't experience a very particular kind of attraction.

With the irony of being called "too specific" when you try to talk about several non romantic forms of relationship which you are actually interested in.

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for me personally, long term i'd be looking for a QPR. But in the context of this post, I'm refering to the (close) friendships i have with other people, this is the kind of non romantic relationship I want with other people currently.

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I hate the whole 'relationship hierarchy' in general. Maybe it's because I'm aro, but I hate how romantic partners are automatically most important. That's like having to choose your husband over your children. Who could choose? There are many different types of relationships you can have with people, and they're all important. Family, friends, romantic, sexual, etc. Even your pets. Yeah, some people are more important to you than others. Say, choosing to help your family instead of your coworker. But that's more to do with how close you guys are than actual relationship status. Why does one person always have to be above the others? Why can't they all be equal? If a guy wants to hang out with his friends instead of staying in with his girlfriend, he should be able to. It shouldn't automatically make him a shitty boyfriend. Just the whole "you'd choose your friends over me?" thing is the worst. Like, no. I'm not choosing anyone over anyone. I just want to hang out with my friends. I just think it's stupid, honestly. /end rant

 

I personally haven't felt left out because of that since high school. Only one of my friends is in a relationship, and, thankfully, she doesn't do that. 

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6 minutes ago, IceHurricane said:

If a guy wants to hang out with his friends instead of staying in with his girlfriend, he should be able to. It shouldn't automatically make him a shitty boyfriend. Just the whole "you'd choose your friends over me?" thing is the worst. Like, no. I'm not choosing anyone over anyone

Yeah, i can see where romantic people are coming from though- they were raised that way, with that mind set. We changed our view cause (some/most) of us don't feel that way. But, i do wish like it felt less like a competition sometimes...

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here comes a rant.  i feel like allos don't treat friendship as important regardless of whether or not they're in a relationship.  like, let's say they bail on plans, even if it's not in favour of spending time with their partner, that still says something.  this is of course a generalization; my roommate feels the same way, despite being allo--she's just a considerate person.  we've been disappointed to find that people like us are rare.  we tried to have a housewarming thing when we moved in, invited around 20 people, and literally no one showed up.  some made lame excuses for why they wouldn't come (such as studying on a saturday night--we saw on their snapchats that they were not doing that), some said they would and then flaked, some were noncommittal, some didn't even respond to our invitation at all.  on top of that, invitees were fucking around in the group chat like "why don't you invite so-and-so" like it's their decision or something.  there are more details but i'm not going to get into them, just know that the whole thing cost us a lot of energy, stress, and money--my roommate was on the verge of tears a couple times--and all for nothing.  and when we talked to friends about it, they were basically like, "yeah, what's the big deal?  everyone does that."  but they shouldn't!  i was appalled.  and this is just one of the more prominent instances of many.  like, by this point i'm shocked when friends DO follow through with commitments they've made.  i acknowledge we've only known each other about a year--my best friend of 13 years is ALWAYS there for me--but one of the aforementioned "friends" has been dating this girl for maybe 2 months and he literally spends more of his life with her--taking into account all 24 hours of the day--than without her.  i've hardly seen him since.  and he spent a lot more time with me back before they started dating, when--yup, that's right--he was romantically attracted to me.  surprise.  oh, and he's very smart and doesn't have any mental illness or disability but his grades are suffering and he's dropped a course.  surprise.  man, thinking back to when i was with my ex and didn't want to spend much time with him (partly as in, no more than with a good friend because of course i didn't consider him more important than one, even though he was already a pretty good friend, and partly as in, i was figuring out that i was aro and the idea of doing romantic stuff with him made me, well, not want to, so i spent LESS time with him than with many of my friends)...anyway, i now realize how rare and awesome his respect of my boundaries was; pretty much anyone else would have dumped me long ago.  let me summarize the revelations covered here: 1. most people don't really care about their friends beyond "they're people with whom to have fun when it's convenient for me, which isn't often" and 2. spending all the live long day with your partner, no matter who or what else suffers for it, is not only totally normal, but expected, i.e. if you don't, you're not a good partner.  i find both of these very sad.  

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I used to try and include my friends partners in any group plans I had. I worked from a theory that a friend of a friend is probably like-able enough to be my friend too. Which is how I worked out that most of my friends relationships were based on sex or how rich their partner's parents were because I didn't see romantic attraction as an unpredictable thing. Plus being around young lovey dovey couples got very annoying. 

 

Now I don't bother. I am happy doing things by myself a lot of the time, so my friends get irregular and infrequent chances to see me for a big event where friend time is understood as priority number 1, or we have a standing 'date' time where partners are allowed but will likely be frozen out of the conversation. Though working one-on-one time into breaks around work seem pretty sustainable if we work near each other....unless they start dating a co-worker. 

 

On 02/12/2017 at 9:08 PM, OpenAce said:

And from his reaction I got the feeling that he was kinda saying it wasn't really the same connection (I know this- obviously); but it also kinda just felt like he was saying that I couldn't really feel sad about it. Like, he got it but...

Almost like I'm not able to be sad about 'breaking up' as friends cause we were never actually 'together'

That is a very amatonormative view. Breaking up a relationship between friends should be more traumatic because basically they are all long term relationships based on mutual likeability. And for aros where friendships are our major life relationships, basically we are 'together' with all our friends. 

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6 hours ago, IceHurricane said:

I hate the whole 'relationship hierarchy' in general. Maybe it's because I'm aro, but I hate how romantic partners are automatically most important. That's like having to choose your husband over your children. Who could choose? There are many different types of relationships you can have with people, and they're all important. Family, friends, romantic, sexual, etc. Even your pets. Yeah, some people are more important to you than others. Say, choosing to help your family instead of your coworker. But that's more to do with how close you guys are than actual relationship status. Why does one person always have to be above the others? Why can't they all be equal? If a guy wants to hang out with his friends instead of staying in with his girlfriend, he should be able to. It shouldn't automatically make him a shitty boyfriend. Just the whole "you'd choose your friends over me?" thing is the worst. Like, no. I'm not choosing anyone over anyone. I just want to hang out with my friends. I just think it's stupid, honestly.

Have you encountered the concept of Relationship Anarchy? The non hierarchical and varied view of relationships dosn't appear to entirely be an aro thing. Even though it may be more common amongst us.
 

6 hours ago, OpenAce said:

Yeah, i can see where romantic people are coming from though- they were raised that way, with that mind set. We changed our view cause (some/most) of us don't feel that way.

Seems like I've always though of this as a poor way to treat people.

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40 minutes ago, Mark said:

Seems like I've always though of this as a poor way to treat people.

So have i, but i've thought that about lots of social behaviour norms when it comes to shaming people or saying they're "shitty". I just know that other people, sadly and for whatever reason, dont think this way.

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I talked to my friend about this. I basically thanked her for not being like most people and pushing me to the side once she got a boyfriend. It was a nice conversation. Deep. Heartfelt. We don't get too feely in our chats, so it was long overdue. She told me she'd never favour her boyfriend over me. I was there first, and even if I wasn't, both of us play a big role in her life. She makes sure to make time for all the people she's close to. I love my friend. <3 I wish everyone was like that. I'm sorry you guys have to deal with the feelings of being left out. No one should feel like that. Aro or no. 

 

@Mark I haven't heard of that before! It was an interesting read. I'll have to look into it a bit more. Too bad that isn't the norm. :P

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Oh yeah, all the time. Thankfully most of my friends aren't in relationships, but I've definitely lost a few friends down the line because they thought their s/o was more important than the friends who had stuck by their side for years.

 

It also bothers me how there's so many cultural rituals you're allowed to partake in when you're dating someone, like my sister was always allowed to bring her boyfriend to family events but I can't bring a friend I've known for ten years because our relationship isn't romantic and therefore isn't seen as having the potential to be permanent or lead to marriage.

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On 12/12/2017 at 4:00 PM, techno-trashcan said:

It also bothers me how there's so many cultural rituals you're allowed to partake in when you're dating someone, like my sister was always allowed to bring her boyfriend to family events but I can't bring a friend I've known for ten years because our relationship isn't romantic and therefore isn't seen as having the potential to be permanent or lead to marriage.

From my POV it's how much you can find yourself excluded from if you are not in (or interested being in) a couple.

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I agree with so many things posted in this thread. I'm in my 30s, which (apparently) is the age where you are supposed to be in a relationship with a family already, and so most people seem to pay less attention to their friends. I've always been friend-focused, and as i grow older, i seem to be in a minority, because everyone else puts relationships and family first, and friendship second. I don't think that one is more or less important than others, because i don't believe in ranking your relationships. But as someone who doesn't want romantic relationships, i'm probably always going to be a second place for the people I'm friends with. I know that not all allomaromantic people are like this, but still i wish i knew other aromantic people in person, because it's nice to be around someone who understands what this feels like. Thank goodness for online spaces like this one!

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1 hour ago, byebyeshadowlands said:

I agree with so many things posted in this thread. I'm in my 30s, which (apparently) is the age where you are supposed to be in a relationship with a family already, and so most people seem to pay less attention to their friends. I've always been friend-focused, and as i grow older, i seem to be in a minority, because everyone else puts relationships and family first, and friendship second. I don't think that one is more or less important than others, because i don't believe in ranking your relationships. But as someone who doesn't want romantic relationships, i'm probably always going to be a second place for the people I'm friends with. I know that not all allomaromantic people are like this, but still i wish i knew other aromantic people in person, because it's nice to be around someone who understands what this feels like. Thank goodness for online spaces like this one!

 

Yep, you just described my social life.

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On 12/2/2017 at 8:38 PM, OpenAce said:

Almost like I'm not able to be sad about 'breaking up' as friends cause we were never actually 'together'

Also just realised that this is particularly true towards my squishes

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