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My aromantic self-discovery--last night!


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Last night I decided that I may be aromantic. I probably am. Perhaps you can confirm?

I’d heard the term before, and I guess knew what it meant, but I never thought about it applying to me. Until last night.

I’m a 50 year-old single, straight, allosexual, cisgendered guy, successful (by my own definition), considered attractive, quite stable and happy, with no interest in marriage or kids.

Now, finally, after 50 years of life experience, I realize that I’ve never really been interested in marriage, long-term capital-R Relationships or kids. I never really pretended to be, but I guess I always sort of considered myself an “agnostic” in this regard---meaning, I’d believe it when I saw it. As if one day I’d be blindsided by some kind of all-consuming romance and find myself face-to-face with a woman I could literally not live without. Someone I wanted to spend the rest of my life with and possibly have children with. I always thought that unlikely... and I knew it was something I couldn’t will into being. But I guess I always thought there was a CHANCE.

But now I’m thinking that there isn’t a chance. Not because the ideal woman for me definitely doesn’t exist, or that I’ll never find her (although those things are likely too!), but because even if I were to meet such a woman, I wouldn’t be interested in her… in that way. If I found her, I’d want to have awesome kinky sex with her, drink with her, and do all kinds of fun things with her. But I probably still wouldn’t want all the trappings of “romance”. I’d be happy cuddling with her for limited times, making out with her (more for sexual pleasure than romantic fulfilment), and having intense intellectual discussions. But I’d probably still only want to see her once a week. And, sure as hell, I wouldn’t want to live with her.

I’ve never lived with anyone outside my family. I’ve had about half a dozen “serious” relationships, which basically means I was sexually involved with someone I saw regularly (usually once a week) for over a year. My longest relationship shockingly went on like this for about five years. Five years of once-a-week and no cohabitation, and in fact it was a fairly secret relationship. She was probably quite frustrated by this but somehow tolerated my more-or-less unspoken “limits”. Most of my "serious" relationships were very sexually oriented and several quite kinky (that's a whole other story, lol). One of my relationships was officially poly. Some were unofficially poly, i.e. I cheated. Somehow my thinking and behavior led me more to questioning monogamy than questioning romance.

For a while I thought the thing was that I was polyamorous. That’s why I couldn’t be so excited about monogamous romance---I just didn’t believe in the monogamous part. And maybe I am poly. But perhaps it’s being aromantic that ALLOWS me to be poly? Perhaps I’m polyamorous, but certainly not polyromantic! I don’t have a problem loving. I do feel love for many people. But being “in love” is something that doesn’t happen for me.

Generally when I’m in a relationship, my partner gets more and more emotionally involved, and it becomes clear over time that they’re becoming more in love, and moving further and further down this inevitable road of commitment. If not marriage, at least wanting to spend more and more time together, spend more time together with other friends, travelling together, cohabitation. I would find myself hating the prospect of those things. I’d resist. I’d always tell myself… I guess it’s just not a balanced relationship. She’s way more into me than I am into her. And inevitably I’d extricate myself from the relationship when things became too intense for me, and too hurtful for her.

Also I was starting to realize that I was a bit of a loner. Very independent. Highly self-sufficient. Eminently qualified at entertaining myself. Emotionally mature to the point of virtually never needing emotional support---often, instead, supplying it to others. Often my married friends express jealousy at my independence, my freedom, my fully evolved mancave.

I’ve sometimes said that not getting married allowed me to become self-sufficient to the point where I’m not motivated by NEEDS. It seems a lot of people get into trouble when they get into relationships/marriages to satisfy needs. We see this all the time, don’t we? They need someone to protect them, provide for them, give them companionship, encourage and motivate them, cook for them, etc. If you don’t NEED stuff like that, then your only motivation to be in a relationship is DESIRE. You simply WANT to be with that person all the time. Sounds pretty romantic, right? I sometimes even convinced myself that I was MORE romantic than others, because when I did find “the one”, my motivations would be entirely love and lust and connection and chemistry---not need.

But now I’m thinking that this very passive position of skeptically waiting to be surprised by an overwhelming romance is not really “agnostic”---it’s positively atheist. I just don’t personally believe in romance. And although it runs completely opposite to the vast majority of society, surely that’s okay, right?

Happily, I was brought up with a healthy self-esteem and I can’t say I’ve lost any sleep over all of this. Which may be why it took me 50 years to get to this place. I don’t mind being “different”, nor do I intend to crusade. For me it’s just an interesting and probably important moment of self-discovery. Being a thinking person, I find this stuff fascinating. And, it’s wonderful to find a community of people I can talk openly and anonymously about this with! So thank you for being here.

That’s my aromantic story. Nice to meet you all. Let’s not fall in love! ?

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Hey there!

I'm in a situation really different than yours. Maybe what I can say about my personal experience isn't exactly relevant to you.

That said, I think it's ok if you want to identify as "aromantic" or "on the aromantic spectrum". You're not hurting anyone by doing that. It's just a label that you can put on if you want to. The founder of AVEN, who, yes, I know is a problematic guy, at least had it right when he said labels are tools, in my opinion. Use them if they fix or better something, like your self-worth or you validation or how you like to express yourself, and put them down if they are making the situation worse or feel clunky. If calling yourself aro or aro-spec feels like a way of validating the way you do your relationships, go for it. If it feels limiting, you shouldn't feel any pressure to use it as a label.

Whatever you decide to do, we're glad you're here and even if you decide you aren't aro spec and therefore aren't part of this community, we're glad Arocalypse was here for you and could help you figure it out.


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