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aro in a romantic relationship...



Hey so I'm new here, but I really have no one else to talk to about this who understands and I'm desperate. Ok so, I've been in my first relationship for almost 2 years in college over the course of which I found out I was ace and aro. My partner was and is very accepting, they did not mind that I was ace and later when I told them I thought I was aro they accepted that too, but here is where the problem lies.

Romantic physical contact or any romantic gestures (and just platonic physical contact too sometimes) makes me very jumpy and claustrophobic and just very uncomfortable. They are very touchy and I feel bad whenever they ask for a kiss or a hug or to hold my hand because they get sad if I don't do that for them. One night I told them I didn't really like or feel comfortable kissing them because I wanted to be honest, and we then spent an hour talking after that about our relationship. They got pissed off and then incredulous and silent. They told me a relationship was about give and take, which made me feel guilty because they gave up a lot to be in a relationship with me, like cuddling and frequent physical and verbal affirmations they would probably typically receive in a romantic relationship. I am not a romantic person and it kind of repulses me. I value simple actions and situations more than words and physicality, and thats probably a way that my partner and I are incompatible.

 I don't want to just take from my partner, and I don't know if my partner gets nothing from being in this relationship. They deserve more. I don't know if I'm being stubborn and my partner is right, or if I'm right in not doing something I'm uncomfortable with for a brief second. Does it make my partner feel the same level of discomfort that I feel when they kiss me, when I don't kiss them? 

My partner does not want a qpr, and I don't want a romantic relationship so it's falling somewhere in the confusing middle? The other night they asked for a kiss twice and I really couldn't do it because I can't lie to myself or force myself to do something that makes me uncomfortable. They then put their fingers to their lips and then smooshed them onto my lips without asking, laughing saying it was an indirect kiss. I don't know if I'm being unreasonable and they make me feel like I am so I don't know who to trust. That made me inwardly mad and squicked out. I thought of it in terms of consent. They took what they wanted from me/gave me what they wanted just because they thought I should want it? Or that I should want to give it? I'm just so confused. We are living in a dorm together btw. I almost fear or at the least dislike whenever they come lean on my bed while I'm laying in it because I know they're going to put some kind of romantic gesture on me. 

Anyway sorry this was so long, but please help me I really am lost and I'm just so tired. It seems like I can never win with my partner, and it always seems like they're right and I don't know who to trust. 

Thank you ?


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So... being guilted into things that make you uncomfortable is not a healthy relationship. There's a difference between, say, saving your partner the last cookie out of love even though you really wanted it, and forcing yourself to shove down a fight or flight reaction to please your partner. A lot of us have felt these feelings you're having when trapped in a romantic situation, and we call it romance repulsion. You feel repulsed, but it's not the person who's repulsive, it's the romance. Does that sound right?


When I first discovered I was aromantic, I found it difficult to put into words what I was feeling. You feel like you're explaining it properly, because you have all of this inside knowledge, but to people who have no concept of any of this, it just... doesn't always translate. You know? "Discomfort" sounds like "butterflies"; "I don't like kissing" sounds like "You're not a good kisser" and so on. It becomes a lot easier to defend your feelings once you wrap your head around the idea that you're never obligated to love somebody. Not only that, but that non-romantic love is just as valuable as romantic love.


10 hours ago, chimchimmy said:

I thought of it in terms of consent.


Good. You hold on to that.

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So let me get this straight:


1. You communicated clearly to your partner what your physical and sexual boundaries are.
2. Your partner told you that they want you to compromise your boundaries so that they can get what they want out of the relationship.
3. On another occasion, your partner straight-up ignored your boundaries, forcing an intimate act on you without your consent. 
4. You feel uncomfortable in your partner's presence because you believe that they might intentionally force acts of intimacy on you without your consent again.


I'm going to be blunt here and remind you that kissing someone without their consent is sexual assault. You may not want to call it that, or think of your partner in those terms, but legally and ethically your partner assaulted you, and their behaviour as a whole is throwing up an awful lot of red flags.


If you choose of your own free will to compromise on your boundaries for the sake of your partner or your relationship, that's a decision you're allowed to make. Most relationships involve some sort of compromise. But you are not obliged to do things that make you uncomfortable just because your partner wants you to. And there is never, ever, any justification for your partner taking what they want from you by force just because they want it.

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