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Romantic Attraction

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4 minutes ago, Natkat said:

I still feel if you have this person you dont know whenever you had a chrush on or not you still fall into the gray-romantic spectrum.

I'm not really as much concerned with labels as I am figuring out my feelings. It would be nice to know if I had a crush because then things would make more sense to me in a variety of ways. Same goes for if it wasn't a crush.

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3 hours ago, Natkat said:

science isnt the only way to look at this and personally I also think science is pretty crapy cause I believe aromantism are more relevant when we look into it culturally

 

Sure, but that doesn't make my point less relevant. I was pointing to an absurd conclusion of the "things don't need to be defined if everyone gets it" logic.

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I think this is going to be a long and informative thread for all of us. ;)

 

First let me preface by saying that although I administer this site, my opinion holds no more value than anyone else's here. I'm just another fish in the same pond.

 

It may seem foolish, but perhaps we can all ask our romantic friends to describe what romantic attraction means to them. I may even go on Facebook and make a total fool of myself, but it might help a lot.

 

Even still, the question of what romantic attraction is has so many books written about it, and they probably all have their own unique definition. Will we really come up with a better solution, one that we all agree on here?

 

Something else to consider, do we really need to define romantic attraction? Can we go about this another way? Maybe it would be better to compile a list of 20 or so "you might be aromantic if..." bullet points. That still leaves the conundrum of dividing aro from greyro. I really don't want it to be some checklist that you have to tick all the boxes to be aro. But the bullet points might help a reader think through things in their own mind. If they've honestly never felt a crush then they are aro, but if they think they have, then they are grey. I'm not really sure.

 

It can also be confusing to define other greyro spectrum terms like Lithro-. Can you be sure you are repulsed by romance, or have you just confused other feeling for romance but you've never felt real romance (so you're aro then right... I guess)?

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12 minutes ago, Blue Phoenix Ace said:

Something else to consider, do we really need to define romantic attraction? Can we go about this another way? Maybe it would be better to compile a list of 20 or so "you might be aromantic if..." bullet points. That still leaves the conundrum of dividing aro from greyro. I really don't want it to be some checklist that you have to tick all the boxes to be aro. But the bullet points might help a reader think through things in their own mind. If they've honestly never felt a crush then they are aro, but if they think they have, then they are grey. I'm not really sure.

I do think this is the best course of action. Emotions are near impossible to define (try explaining being sad), but the effects of it is easier to describe (crying, frowning). It is not specific by nature, and they're definitely not universal, but it's a good reference.

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I feel like a list would both be easier to compile and be more helpful to people who are questioning. This list from tumblr was very helpful to me, and could be a good guide to making ours if we go that route.

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Romantic love and romantic relationships are socially constructed and as such what defines a romantic relationship is going to be dependent on the culture and even more finely defined by the individual. I've seen at least one study that shows 'passionate love' having a different effects on the brain, releasing different levels of hormones than familial love, but that study assumed sexual attraction to be a definitive part of romantic love and obviously didn't take asexuality into account much less aromantic allosexuals. Most other studies I've read have lead me to believe that love is love and the primary difference between different types of love is what we choose to do with it.

 

On a forum I was on a few years ago I created a thread about aromanticism and asked non-aro people to define romantic love. Most definitions people gave me were completely useless 'you know when you know' kind of definitions, but I had a fairly enlightening conversation with one person. I described to him how I experience platonic love, in particular the feelings I had for my best friend, and he told me that was basically how he experienced romantic love. The only real difference between our experiences was he chose to take those feelings and build a monogamous romantic/sexual relationship where I chose to build a platonic friendship.

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Me on Facebook: I'm doing a "research paper" (but really just more curious than anything). In your mind, what are some of the differences between a romantic relationship and a close friendship?

 

Jeff: Sex

Me replied: What about friends with benefits?

 

Leah: I think the feeling of attachment, adoration, and sometimes possession distinguishes romantic involvement from close friendship. And usually sex. You *can* have a celibate romantic relationship, but it's rare in practice -- if the act isn't there, the desire probably is. On the other hand, you can have a sexual relationship without romance, but that tends to unravel, either turning into romance or actual enmity.

 

Kitsy: My thoughts on a "Close friendship" ...........We have a history..shared life events..love being together, not jealous when not together, would sacrifice for each other, a confidant, accept their/my idiosyncracies....have fun together...no sexual interest in the friend whether male or female......as in I could sleep in a bed with them and the interaction would be the same as if I were with a sister/brother. Thoughts on a "Romantic relationship"....... .We have a history together or are developing one....love being together, not jealous when not together would sacrifice for each other, a confidant, accept their/my idiosyncracies....... heart flutters or there are some psycho-sexual feelings when they are around.....want to be in physical contact a lot as in you can hardly stand it when you aren't touching.......this tends to wane when you've been together a million years but physicalness should always be part of a romantic relationship, even if it is only hugging, snuggling or holding hands. That's all I've got.

 

 

 

I highlighted the interesting stuff in bold (obviously). I'm not sure it's very clear though.

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On 4/7/2016 at 1:40 AM, breaddd said:

I feel like the best people to put this into words would be grayromantic people.


Not necessarily, this is even a sorta grey murky area for me as well. That's the tricky thing about being in the grey area: you might have some faint romo traits, but not enough to relate to being romantic. Sometimes that can get confusing.  There's always going to be some doubt on which end you are, what you feel, how you think you'd go with relationships etc. It's like a romo limbo of sorts, for me at least.

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The reason it's so hard to pin down a definition is because it is an emotional experience and therefore it is subjective (subjective is still valid, but is not objective). Subjectivity means it is based on personal experience, such as your cultural, religious, family, or personal history. There can literally be as many definitions of romance as there are people on Earth. For me, I consider romance to be similar to a close friendship with the addition of components such as sexual and/or physical intimacy; passion; limerance; verbal, legal, or implied commitment; often an expectation of longevity; and the non-passive intent to be romantic. Obviously not all of these are required as would be the case in an asexual romance likely not including sexual intimacy.

 

Or we can just decide to define it as lovey-dovey weirdness that none of us understand. ;)

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Okay, so speaking as someone who's lithromantic, and had a crush turn into a squish, here's my opinion on defining romantic attraction.

 

The difference between platonic and romantic attraction, for me, is exclusivity. When I feel platonic attraction towards someone, I want to be a significant part of their world, but not the center of their universe. I want to get close to them and make them happy, but I don't feel the desire to always be close to them, or be a major source of their happiness. When I feel romantic attraction towards someone, I want to be their everything. I want to be the one who is there for them, 100% of the time, providing everything and anything they want or need--except when I actually end up doing it, or get asked to do it, I feel really gross. 

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I just don't use the word "attraction" when  I describe myself. I say "I have no romantic feelings for anyone." Because I wouldn't say I'm not attracted to anyone. But I just don't have romantic feelings. 

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15 hours ago, omitef said:

The difference between platonic and romantic attraction, for me, is exclusivity.

That is a really good point, the lack of jealousy is a big thing. That was one of the red flags that prompted me to look into what aromaticism is. (Well, I actually looked up "asexuality but for feelings" mostused_whatsapp_emoticons_hashslush5.jOh dear. Now, that is why school sex ed should have this aro and ace talk.)

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2 minutes ago, Cassiopeia said:

That is a really good point, the lack of jealousy is a bit thing. That was one of the red flags that prompted me to look into what aromaticism is. (Well, I actually looked up "asexuality but for feelings" mostused_whatsapp_emoticons_hashslush5.jOh dear. Now, that is why school sex ed should have this aro and ace talk.)

Yeah, it's kind of a problem that Sex Ed classes are decades behind modern talk xD They just recently started acknowledging gay people, but I seriously doubt most places even talk about bisexuality, let alone gender, romantic attraction, etc.

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15 hours ago, omitef said:

Okay, so speaking as someone who's lithromantic, and had a crush turn into a squish, here's my opinion on defining romantic attraction.

 

The difference between platonic and romantic attraction, for me, is exclusivity. When I feel platonic attraction towards someone, I want to be a significant part of their world, but not the center of their universe. I want to get close to them and make them happy, but I don't feel the desire to always be close to them, or be a major source of their happiness. When I feel romantic attraction towards someone, I want to be their everything. I want to be the one who is there for them, 100% of the time, providing everything and anything they want or need--except when I actually end up doing it, or get asked to do it, I feel really gross. 

 

  1. Not true for me. It depends on how intense my squishes are, but the most intense I ever had had the same need for exclusivity as in my most intense crushes. (and the same level of intensity too)
  2. Doesn't work with polyamory.
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17 minutes ago, Spud said:

Yeah, it's kind of a problem that Sex Ed classes are decades behind modern talk xD They just recently started acknowledging gay people, but I seriously doubt most places even talk about bisexuality, let alone gender, romantic attraction, etc.

Well, the sad thing is, at that point I was out as queer, and I was active on tumblr and several LGBTQ chats for years, but I still did not know the word "aromatic".

 

@Rising Sun

1, Jealousy with squishes? :o That is something new. I never had it.

Is it similar to the romatic variety?

 

2, It'd make sense, I guess it could be true. Sorry, I don't really know. The whole thing does not happen to me.

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Not jealousy like in romance. More a need to be each other's most important person. If the other person has a romantic partner, it doesn't matter, but you want your platonic relationship to be more important anyway, to be the first in terms of emotional intimacy and attachment. 

So, I wouldn't qualify this as jealousy, but still as a need for some exclusivity.

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So more along the lines of wanting a bff, not the "I'm gonna rip your face off if you even dare to look at my spouse" type of thing.

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16 minutes ago, Rising Sun said:

2. Doesn't work with polyamory.

 

Actually, it still works with polyamory, because you can have multiple people at the center of your universe.  

 

13 minutes ago, Rising Sun said:

Not jealousy like in romance. More a need to be each other's most important person. If the other person has a romantic partner, it doesn't matter, but you want your platonic relationship to be more important anyway, to be the first in terms of emotional intimacy and attachment. 

So, I wouldn't qualify this as jealousy, but still as a need for some exclusivity.

 

That's interesting. For me, I don't really want my platonic relationship to be more important than my squish's potential future romantic relationship. I want our friendship to be equal in importance.

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But isn't exclusivity by definition limited to one person ? I thought that because of that, it could only be used in monogamy.

Personally, I'm very monogamous, so I have this need to have a bond where we both are each other's most important person for life, I need a bond that we're alone to share.

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3 minutes ago, Rising Sun said:

But isn't exclusivity by definition limited to one person ? I thought that because of that, it could only be used in monogamy.

Personally, I'm very monogamous, so I have this need to have a bond where we both are each other's most important person for life, I need a bond that we're alone to share.

 

Well, exclusivity means something that's not shared with others, and you can have a group of people you're exclusive with, like polyfidelity. I'm pretty monogamous too, and it'd be ideal if my squish didn't date anyone and just kept up a great friendship with me, but at the same time, if pursuing romance and other intimate relationships makes her happy, I'm all for it, no matter what shape or form it takes.

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Hmm, I am definitely seeing exclusivity is a good keyword to distinguish crush from squish, and romantic attraction from platonic attraction. I can agree with @omitef that with polyamory, you could be exclusive with three or more people, instead of the traditional two. Exclusivity sounds better than jealousy too. The jealousy springs from a desire to be the "one and only" with a person. Seeing or imagining them with someone else filling that role can cause jealousy (among other bad feelings).

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On 15/04/2016 at 7:16 AM, omitef said:

The difference between platonic and romantic attraction, for me, is exclusivity. When I feel platonic attraction towards someone, I want to be a significant part of their world, but not the center of their universe. I want to get close to them and make them happy, but I don't feel the desire to always be close to them, or be a major source of their happiness. When I feel romantic attraction towards someone, I want to be their everything. I want to be the one who is there for them, 100% of the time, providing everything and anything they want or need--except when I actually end up doing it, or get asked to do it, I feel really gross. 

This explanation seems to work well for me. Since I have experienced the former, but not the latter type situation.
Also find the idea of someone else wanting to be "my everything" to be not attractive in the slightest.

 

I expect people I care about to have their own lives to live...

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On 16/4/2016 at 5:59 AM, Blue Phoenix Ace said:

Hmm, I am definitely seeing exclusivity is a good keyword to distinguish crush from squish, and romantic attraction from platonic attraction. I can agree with @omitef that with polyamory, you could be exclusive with three or more people, instead of the traditional two. Exclusivity sounds better than jealousy too. The jealousy springs from a desire to be the "one and only" with a person. Seeing or imagining them with someone else filling that role can cause jealousy (among other bad feelings).

 

I don't really agree with this. With both, I want some exclusivity. But I experience jealousy only in a romantic context, so I think, on a personal level, that jealousy describes the difference much better.

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