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Costati

Is it worst after 30 yo?

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Hello,

 

I was wondering if there was anyone over 30 yo on the forum because I really wanted to ask something. I'm eighteen right now and I know it's pretty early to start freaking out a bit about that but I have this really huge fear of mine of being an over 30 yo aromantic. In every movies, TV shows and even in real life we can easily observe that after passing the 30 years old step most people start wanting to settle down...be in a relationship and found a family. I feel like for most people it's their ultimate goal and purpose in life and it terrifies to think about all the societal pressure might come from that. I'm also a woman and I feel like it's probably worst because of the famous "tik tok tik tok the clock is tickiiing". I just wanted to ask you. Is it really that bad? Is it really as stressful as I think it might be? And if it is how do you manage it? Did you find some solution to protect yourself from that? 

 

It's a really huge fear of mine and I would love to know if I have any reasons to panic at all or if it's just in my mind. I'm eighteen so I'm sure by the time I'm thirty it'll probably be easier with the world more open...at least I hope but you never know and if it stays the same I wanna be prepared.

 

Thank you anyway for reading this and especially if you can answer. It would be really appreciated :aroicecream:

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ah I can't help because I'm sixteen but this something I worry about a lot too? so you're in good company. All I know is that being aro/ace has gotten a lot harder for me over time already due to freinds' relationships becoming more significant in their lives.

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I met a mature age student at university, she was about 42 at that time. Lived alone with pets, no partner, no kids. She decided all her friends were getting boring and she was interested in getting another degree so she went back to uni and made a whole new set of friends in their late teens/early twenties. So she obviously didn't want to settle down so she made it work for her. The 'tik tok' thing is mostly about the biological clock right? that generally doesn't seem to worry women until around 35, and generally those are the women who think having kids might be a good idea (and so probably shouldn't do it because they become the worst helicopter parents and there children are fairly nasty). You either really want kids- breeding is a life goal for you, or you shouldn't have any- get yourself a foster child if you sway more to the yes side of maybe. 

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I would say that currently things can be very much harder for older aros.
There;s no way I could possibly have come out as aro before I was 40, due to the word simply not existing.
Having had the term (and The Internet) when I was a teenager could have helped me hugely.

It's also impossible to predict the future.
Something which could be good for, younger, aros is that there appears to be a long term shift throughout the industrialised world away from the married couple "nuclear family" lifestyle. Most obvious is the so called "Japanese Marriage Crisis" but you can also see this in census returns from Western Europe, North America and The Australasian subcontinent

 

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On 2/22/2018 at 1:04 AM, Apathetic Echidna said:

I met a mature age student at university, she was about 42 at that time. Lived alone with pets, no partner, no kids. She decided all her friends were getting boring and she was interested in getting another degree so she went back to uni and made a whole new set of friends in their late teens/early twenties.

I really admire the emotional stability of this woman. :o

 

I'm not yet thirty, but my life seriously lacks the highs and lows that most adults probably experience and for which romantic love is a very good source. The greatest highlight recently was psilocybin. O.o

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I'm 35. For me it can go either way. I live with my friend, and we pretty much co-own the house we live in (still paying it off though). People just assume we're in a romantic relationship, and most of the time I just don't correct them unless I have a reason to.

 

I also have some awesome friends, a couple of which even sort of seem to understand the value of platonic relationships.

 

So I guess: it depends. I never really had super close friends growing up, and the only time I had any was for 2 years in college. Then everyone scattered, and keeping in touch faded out into almost nothingness after most of them got married and all that.

 

Don't give in to pressure from other people. This may be hard at first, but you'll get better at it.

 

On 2/22/2018 at 2:04 AM, Apathetic Echidna said:

I met a mature age student at university, she was about 42 at that time. Lived alone with pets, no partner, no kids. She decided all her friends were getting boring and she was interested in getting another degree so she went back to uni and made a whole new set of friends in their late teens/early twenties. So she obviously didn't want to settle down so she made it work for her.

Impressive. I wonder if she'll do it again once her latest batch of friends all get married and become boring? :P

 

On 2/26/2018 at 2:56 PM, Mark said:

Something which could be good for, younger, aros is that there appears to be a long term shift throughout the industrialised world away from the married couple "nuclear family" lifestyle.

Yeah, some people are starting to spread more open-minded ideas around. This reasonably famous person blogs about love in some pretty unconventional ways: http://lissarankin.com/

I quite like her, I can relate to a lot of stuff she says even though she's not aro.

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4 hours ago, SoulWolf said:

I live with my friend, and we pretty much co-own the house we live in (still paying it off though). People just assume we're in a romantic relationship, and most of the time I just don't correct them unless I have a reason to.

Oh man, that's pretty much exactly what I want...

If you don't mind me asking, is your friend alloromantic or aromantic? And if they are alloromantic, does it effect anything or play much into both of you living together?

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All your answers are honestly really and a lot of them are pretty reassuring actually. Thank you so much. I didn't want to answer sooner because I didn't really know what to say or which questions to ask but I think @Digestive Biscuits asked a really good one. It would be interesting to know :). Your situation @SoulWolf with your friend sounds pretty idyllic x). I would to live with my best friend till we get older but I'm scared we'd have to be separated because of her dating life. She's the only close friend I have so I'm really attached to her.

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20 hours ago, SoulWolf said:

I'm 35. For me it can go either way. I live with my friend, and we pretty much co-own the house we live in (still paying it off though). People just assume we're in a romantic relationship, and most of the time I just don't correct them unless I have a reason to.

Awww, that sounds so beautiful!!! :arolove::aroicecream:

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Hey @Costati

 

I'm 32. Things change as you get older, I guess. Some change is good and some less so. I miss the amount of spontaneous interaction with big groups of friends I had when I was youger. As your friends get older, they do tend to disperse, pair off, start families, and other things like work pressures also eat up that 'spontaneous' time. So that sucks a bit (but hey, as @Apathetic Echidna pointed out, there's always the possibility of making a totally new set of friends!)

 

On the plus side, as you get older, I think it becomes easier to make peace with having a different set of priorities to most people and to care less what they might think about yours. Which segues nicely into...

 

On 21/02/2018 at 10:20 PM, Costati said:

I just wanted to ask you. Is it really that bad? Is it really as stressful as I think it might be? And if it is how do you manage it? Did you find some solution to protect yourself from that? 

 

Someone at the meditation place I go to once described one of the goals or benefits of the activity as "finding a secure place inside". If you've got that, from meditation, or whatever, it doesn't really matter what other people say or think about your lifestyle (within reason; I don't mean to trivialize the contexts where social disapproval can actually get people - women in particular - killed, but I'd hope and assume you'd not at risk of that?). I mean, realistically, what is the worst that people who disapprove of your choices can do? (Tut loudly?! :P)  And how likely would they be to actually do so? If you consider those questions, you may find that your fears are being exaggerated in your imagination?

 

So I'm kind of a hard-core stoic in that sense xD. Here's some advice from Epictetus for you (more here)

 

Quote

Some things are in our control and others not. Things in our control are opinion, pursuit, desire, aversion, and, in a word, whatever are our own actions. Things not in our control are body, property, reputation, command, and, in one word, whatever are not our own actions. 

The things in our control are by nature free, unrestrained, unhindered; but those not in our control are weak, slavish, restrained, belonging to others. Remember, then, that if you suppose that things which are slavish by nature are also free, and that what belongs to others is your own, then you will be hindered. You will lament, you will be disturbed, and you will find fault both with gods and men. But if you suppose that only to be your own which is your own, and what belongs to others such as it really is, then no one will ever compel you or restrain you. Further, you will find fault with no one or accuse no one. You will do nothing against your will. No one will hurt you, you will have no enemies, and you will not be harmed.

 

Oh, and welcome to the forums, since I don't think we've met so far :aropride:

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22 hours ago, SoulWolf said:

Don't give in to pressure from other people. This may be hard at first, but you'll get better at it.

 

Yes! And just to add to this, if I may: practice listening attentively to yourself, if that makes sense, and you'll get better at discerning what is your own authentic desire vs. social conditioning about what you "ought" to want. You can then better identify and amplify that 'signal' hiding in amongst the 'noise'.

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2 hours ago, NullVector said:

Someone at the meditation place I go to once described one of the goals or benefits of the activity as "finding a secure place inside". If you've got that, from meditation, or whatever, it doesn't really matter what other people say or think about your lifestyle (within reason; I don't mean to trivialize the contexts where social disapproval can actually get people - women in particular - killed, but I'd hope and assume you'd not at risk of that?)

I don't think we can draw a hard line here, it's a spectrum. Social “disapproval” with less serious consequences than DEATH can still be extremely nasty (e.g. becoming a virtual pariah, completely disempowered and pushed to the fringes of society).

 

At the very lower end of the spectrum even in a society so tolerant, that not the slightest disapproval about your lifestyle ever occurs, sticking out probably produces some minor stress. Leo Tolstoy postulated three “motive causes” for human action: feeling, reason and suggestion. “Suggestion” includes routine but also a sort of “hypnotic power” of society that acts on the individual and to which we submit ourselves unconsciously.

 

So if you stick out (and aren't part of the right subculture), you get the wrong “suggestion by society” (in the aro case: love, love, ❤❤❤❤ love is the greatest thing ever) and don't get the “correct” one. And this may cause you to “over-concentrate on verifying the expediency of your feelings” (freely adapted from Tolstoy).

 

And this causes stress, obviously. But you have to suck that up; it's also basically an unsolvable problem because there is something like … free speech (and this applies to a non-totalitarian concept of “free speech”).

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On 28/02/2018 at 10:24 AM, SoulWolf said:

I wonder if she'll do it again once her latest batch of friends all get married and become boring? :P

Hopefully that is a long way off, but since then she has started working in various mentoring positions so now she has a constant 'supply' of young fun people not worried about marriage or kids to become friends with (in a totally not creepy way) 

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On 2/28/2018 at 6:49 AM, Digestive Biscuits said:

If you don't mind me asking, is your friend alloromantic or aromantic? And if they are alloromantic, does it effect anything or play much into both of you living together?

He's definitely very allo. We were actually in a "romantic" relationship for 1.5 years more than a decade ago, and I think that's a big part of what led me to realize that this relationship stuff doesn't really work for me. So I had to break that off, but I made it clear I definitely still wanted to be friends... and it hasn't been completely smooth sailing or whatever, but somehow it works. So, yay. :)

Every now and then he says he's still in love with me, which makes me cringe, but I know that's just his way of loving, and I can appreciate it for what it is. I suppose it's harder for him to appreciate my way of loving, since it doesn't really fit in the conventional boxes, and it's hard for me to explain, and most of the time my feelings for humans are almost non-existant... but as long as we communicate and sort out our differences in a civilized way, it works.

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On 28/02/2018 at 11:15 PM, DeltaV said:

I don't think we can draw a hard line here, it's a spectrum. Social “disapproval” with less serious consequences than DEATH can still be extremely nasty

Yeah, agreed. And sure, I picked an extreme example; but it was mostly to suggest that the personal consequences of social disapproval are generally less severe in practice than what we can build them up to be in our imagination (and can sometimes happen in practice as well; but very rarely and probably not to us). But I suppose our somewhat paranoid imagination vis-a-vis the consequences of 'not fitting in' makes sense from an evolutionary perspective? For a social primate, being ostracized by your community quite probably would mean death, so it makes sense as a thing to be (often unrealistically?) afraid of.

 

On 28/02/2018 at 11:15 PM, DeltaV said:

 

At the very lower end of the spectrum even in a society so tolerant, that not the slightest disapproval about your lifestyle ever occurs, sticking out probably produces some minor stress

Agree with this too. I've noticed a sort of 'anxiety baseline ' in myself and that could well be the source of it! But I also think you can do things to train yourself to feel less of that stress/anxiety than you otherwise might :)

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@NullVector : I don't disagree of course my fears are exagerrated. That's fear...it's basically the point. I'm not gonna go into details but I was traumatised as a child and also bullied of course I am paranoid when it comes to other people and other people reactions. If you read my presentation (but I don't think you did and it made sense because you really don't have to x), I've talked a bit more about my need for exterior validation. So if you're interested to know how big and disproportionate my fears are about a lot of things you can get the point by reading that I think. Anyway, that's why I'm asking the question to be confronted to the truth about my fear (that I make for myself by taking into accounts each of the exeperience that were share on this thread). That's how I deal with my fear I rationalize it to desimplified it (if it makes sense x). Don't worry about me on that. I'm working on it.

P.S: I don't think it's a really awesome idea to tell someone their fears are exagerrated tho...obviously I don't mind because I've already accepted all about that but a lot of people could feel like you invalidate their feelings by saying they don't have a reason to be afraid because in theory it's not that bad. Like yes, it is the truth, but I'm not sure it's the best thing to say to someone that could be anxious or having some trauma due to this fear. Fears are always more deeper than what they really is about like if someone is afraid of water maybe they almost drowned as a child and that's really the reason why they're afraid of water. 


Of course you didn't traumatize me and that was really a small thing so everything is okay but I mean...the subject of fears is a bit bigger than some paranoid thought implanted by society on how everything that is not in the norm is supposedly wrong.

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On 3/2/2018 at 6:45 PM, NullVector said:

Yeah, agreed. And sure, I picked an extreme example; but it was mostly to suggest that the personal consequences of social disapproval are generally less severe in practice than what we can build them up to be in our imagination (and can sometimes happen in practice as well; but very rarely and probably not to us).

Well, we live under a constitutional system, a good code of manners and an effective (with some serious exceptions) law enforcement, which all manages to keep social peace, so yeah. Also, nobody really ever got remotely that pathologically “obsessed” about aromanticism (or asexuality) as about homosexuality, for example.

On 3/2/2018 at 6:45 PM, NullVector said:

But I suppose our somewhat paranoid imagination vis-a-vis the consequences of 'not fitting in' makes sense from an evolutionary perspective? For a social primate, being ostracized by your community quite probably would mean death, so it makes sense as a thing to be (often unrealistically?) afraid of.

Probably yes…? Sadly there's rarely something not speculative about how we exactly ended up with our emotional makeup.

 

It would be ‘funny’ if we apply base instincts, which developed for simple social settings of maybe some dozens of people, to a complex society of up to 300 million people. Surprising that we aren't all far more neurotic if that's the case.

 

Okay, at least Trump can be instinctively imagined as chest-thumping big boss without sacrificing much nuance. xD

On 3/2/2018 at 6:45 PM, NullVector said:

Agree with this too. I've noticed a sort of 'anxiety baseline ' in myself and that could well be the source of it! But I also think you can do things to train yourself to feel less of that stress/anxiety than you otherwise might :)

I don't think it's really settled how we should assess harmful/self-defeating patterns and emotions. More like Freud, in the sense that they are at least somewhat rational on a deeper level, considering the patient's situation and life experience? Or more like a CBT psychologist, that they are just flat-out irrational and we have to train ourselves to get rid of them with repeated exposure and rational insight?

 

Historically the first approach was generally more popular (very broadly – not necessarily including such crap controversial ideas as the Oedipal complex and castration anxiety, of course). But that's hardly an argument. A stronger argument is that CBT becoming the dominant form of therapy didn't pay off much in tangible benefits for mental health on the population level. For minor problems, I'd obviously prefer the CBT approach, though.

 

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7 hours ago, Costati said:

If you read my presentation (but I don't think you did and it made sense because you really don't have to x), I've talked a bit more about my need for exterior validation.

Are you referring to your introduction thread? I read it now, to get a better idea where you are coming from.

 

7 hours ago, Costati said:

P.S: I don't think it's a really awesome idea to tell someone their fears are exagerrated tho...obviously I don't mind because I've already accepted all about that but a lot of people could feel like you invalidate their feelings by saying they don't have a reason to be afraid because in theory it's not that bad. Like yes, it is the truth, but I'm not sure it's the best thing to say to someone that could be anxious or having some trauma due to this fear. Fears are always more deeper than what they really is about like if someone is afraid of water maybe they almost drowned as a child and that's really the reason why they're afraid of water. 

 

Hmm, that's a really good point. I'm sorry :(. When I write advice on here, I try to write something that's helpful. It's based on my own experiences and what has helped me, but that experience is quite limited. Sometimes I forget that other people's experiences are different to mine. I've not had to deal with trauma, so I don't know from personal experience what works to overcome it. I'll try and choose my words more carefully next time.

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@DeltaV What you're saying is actually really interesting to me because it points out how in the US the CBT approach is the most popular one which is something that I completely forgot and put a lot of sense in my réaction. In France psychanalitic approach (if that's what it's called.. Freudian approach's anyway) is the more reputed one. 

 

This way of thinking and seeing psychology especially has been a huge part of my education (and life) with my dad being a psychiatrist (and me following a therapy for almost four years now). It really explains why I found it a bit Weird to tell someone that fears are exagerrated. Because we're really on the going further approach here. I completely forgot that it weren't like that in the US. Things make more sense to me now x).

 

@NullVector Don't worry about it. It makes a lot of sense you gave that advice without thinking about that if you've been raised in the US with this all different point of view of psychology. I don't blame you for it. I think it could be seen as a cultural shock x). I wasn't that offended by it like I said. I just want to warn you how it could have sounded because I'm really close to a lot of person dealing with anxiety and I think there might be some on the forum and I know how it could have impacted them. But I think it's a good thing that I could point it to you. It's Nice sometimes to have a reminder of how different people and their experiences are from yours. I always like it personally when it hits me in the face like it did for how psychology is seen differently across the globe. It makes life more interesting. (I might be the only weird person who thinks like that tho)

 

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On 2/21/2018 at 10:20 PM, Costati said:

I was wondering if there was anyone over 30 yo on the forum because I really wanted to ask something. I'm eighteen right now and I know it's pretty early to start freaking out a bit about that but I have this really huge fear of mine of being an over 30 yo aromantic.

So, I'm very new here, but in response to some questions @NullVector asked me to consider, I think I've put together some thoughts here that might help you?

 

Short version is: Not being in a romantic relationship doesn't mean being alone, doesn't mean not having social support, doesn't mean not having anyone to share living arrangements with. You're still very young and have about a zillion years to decide what is gives your life meaning. It definitely does not have to be doing the romance thing.

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On 2/21/2018 at 5:20 PM, Costati said:

... In every movies, TV shows and even in real life we can easily observe that after passing the 30 years old step most people start wanting to settle down...be in a relationship and found a family. I feel like for most people it's their ultimate goal and purpose in life and it terrifies to think about all the societal pressure might come from that. ...

 

Sorry to resurrect a somewhat older thread, I'm making my way through the forums for the first time and I guess I'm just itching for someone to talk to about these topics! haha
I'm a mid-30's cis-female, who has just very recently realized that the life I have been living can be identified as "aromantic". Nothing about me has changed, this is just the way I've been since I can remember. The only thing that's changed recently is that I found out there was even a term for it, and I've been SO EXCITED to be able to validate who I am and even find other people online like me. 

But anyways, regarding your questions, I can give you an account of my experience. The main factor that really made me start thinking about "diagnosing" my orientation is that I DON'T WANT those things that society tells us we are supposed to want. I've never wanted to couple up, find a mate, settle down, build a family. So it wasn't about wanting to, but not being able to because I'm aromantic. I'm aromantic because I don't want them to begin with! The whole concept of tying myself to another person, merging with them to build a life, is just not in my emotional vocabulary. I can't fathom what people find attractive about it ... sure, I know the words that media has taught us to believe about how wonder partnerships are. But those words don't resonate with me, I can't imagine myself being happy in that situation. And, even when I have tried to date people in the past, being WITH someone (in the couple-sense, not in the sexual-sense) is immensely uncomfortable, spikes my anxiety, and my gut reaction is to just get away from it! I don't feel like I am missing out on anything, and I actually think I would be very unhappy had I tried to force myself into the socially expected couple construct. 

 

Now, of course, there are varying degrees of aromanticism, so you might not be as extreme as I am. The idea, though, is that you live your best life. Try things, and stick with what works. I can't get into the position of being a couple without getting the scratch and needing to run away. So I've allowed myself to be happy without that. I have dear friends, a great career, an active extracurricular life. I'm confident in my own space and have built my own sort of family around me. I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything.

 

 

Quote

... I'm also a woman and I feel like it's probably worst because of the famous "tik tok tik tok the clock is tickiiing". ...

 

This statement might have been true even 20 years ago. But we, and YOU, are VERY fortunate that we're now in a world where women ARE being their own people. There is still some push-back, you'll still get some of the baby boomer generation making comments about when are you going to make babies, what about a family, blah blah blah. But in truth, I've found North American (I can't speak for the rest of the world) culture to be VERY accepting of the idea of a single professional woman without ideas of family building. Without giving too much away, I'm a doctoral level researcher, published and known in my field. I've had three immediate mentors throughout grad school and postdocs, all female, only one of which has the typical married and kids relationship. Women predominate throughout my particular research field, and you see the entire spectrum represented, and no one really questions it. I have not felt it necessary to even hesitate to say that "marriage and children are not my thing" to anyone that I encounter in my public life. And I have to say that it has been comfortably accepted the entire way. And, if you find yourself with a ticking time-bomb uterus at some point, there are plenty of options available to you, regardless of your a/romantic classification. Just take it a day at a time, let your body tell you what YOU want, and deal with it when you get there. Nothing is out of reach anymore, you really are allowed to be whoever the heck you want to be. 

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