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fagricipni

fagricipni's Confused Intro Post

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I think it has been about a year since I was introduced to idea of aromanticism, and I have been trying to find my place on the aromantic spectrum ever since.  The current: quoiromantic demiromantic biromantic demisexual bisexual labels were my best approximation at the time I joined 6 months ago.  I haven't changed any labels yet, but I still may.

 

I'm not purely asexual, though I do think I fall somewhere in the asexual spectrum.  I have not been very enlightened by any of the attempts to define romantic attraction or romantic interaction that I have seen here or elsewhere; nor do the main descriptions of "limerence" that I have relied upon in the past help: I always find myself saying "well kind of" or "maybe" for some pieces, "no" for others, and "yes" for a few.  Confusingly, back when I was 29 (15 years ago), I did describe myself as being "in love", but I am no longer so sure.  I am reminded of the statement that Saavik makes in the novelization of Star Trek 3.  She is stated to be half Vulcan and half Romulan in this novel (though it is never stated in the movies) and has taken a human lover: "Perhaps I am not capable of love, as humans know it," Saavik said.  "But as you cannot explain it, I am free to define it for myself.  I choose to define it as the feelings that I have for you."  

 

The point of bringing up this type of conscious definitional choice is to contrast it with what I did back in 2004 with the descriptor of "in love"; that was more akin to a colorblind person assuming that their perception of purple was the same a non-colorblind person's of purple.  At the time, I was working on the assumption that feelings that I was describing as "being in love with someone" was at root similar to what alloromantic people describe as "being in love with someone".  I am now quite sure that there are some decided differences between my experience with romantic love and most alloromantics experiences with romantic love.  

 

This has been a lead-up to my describing my experience with the what has been described as the "litmus test currently in use" here. I have "just finished" with categorizing my answers to each question as yes or no or something else and writing a text answer to many questions.  I have not actually gone back and tried to add up my score yet; this section is just my general impression of the test.  The first is that I have found the meaning of some of the questions to be nearly as uninterpretable as the classic sentence "Colorless green ideas sleep furiously"; I mean I know the meaning of the individual pieces, but put together I can't piece together what he means; this is why some of the questions have a "binary" answer of neither yes nor no.  I know that his reliance on metaphor is a problem with the test, but I also wonder how much my difficultly is exacerbated by my high-functioning autism.  Also, it is possible that some concepts don't easily cross over from alloromantic minds to aromantic minds.  I also see a number of flaws in the test beyond inclarity of questions; but I'm not going to do a full commentary here.

 

So, what is my impression before going back to try to actually score the smegging thing?  Even before I got to few questions indicating a degree of sociopathic problems; eg, question 156, "Have I sometimes threatened to kill someone else if I did not get my romantic dream?"; I still felt that the test was leading me to the conclusion that I am missing major parts of quite a number of characteristics of romantic attraction.  The expression "demi-romantic" came to mind, not the aspect of its currently established meaning of not experiencing romantic attraction until a deep emotional connection is already established, but just in the original meaning of the roots with "demi-" meaning simply "half-".  And even eliminating the questions indicating sociopathic problems, I still don't honestly think that I'll even really reach close enough to even to round my level of romanticism to "half".  

 

Now, I have counted up the yes answers to each section of Park's test and come up with a total of 31 yes answers, and I have a strong feeling about a number of those being false positives; the clearest example of an almost-certain false positive is my answer to his question 174, "Do I believe that 'falling in love' is a natural phenomenon?": "Technically, yes I do: the phenomenon occurs in too many cultures even when it is strongly disapproved of to be purely cultural."  It seems strange that my acknowledging the fact that these passionate attachments between people occur in too many cultures to be a purely cultural phenomenon should count as a point toward my romantic love "score".  It also seems that Park imagined one to have one person in mind when answering the questions, while I had a number of people in mind and asked have I manifested this characteristic to even a small extent toward any of them.  I still only got 31 and I find many of those questionable to a varying degree; ie, is that what he's really talking about?;  I expect that my "true" score would be 15 or less.  

 

It would be easier, I think, to determine where I fit on the aromantic spectrum if I were romance-repulsed, but I am not romance-repulsed; indeed, I am more positively inclined toward romance than negatively inclined.  Though, I had not considered the Borderline Personality Disorder-like splitting -- exemplified by Park's questions in Section Y: When romantic love is over, it sometimes becomes hatred -- as a normal part/stage of romantic attachments, even though it seems frightfully common to me once Park pointed it out.   I do like some typically romance-coded actions in the right context: cuddling, being affectionate (physically and emotionally), sexuality.  

 

Honestly, the more I write the less sure I am as to where I fit in.

 

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Posted (edited)
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[After questioning what some people seemed to be describing as "friends with benefits".]

First, I don't do purely physical sexual activity; it seems that my sexuality can not be triggered without affectionate feelings for another person.  I'm not quite sure how to define affection here. It is not, in and of itself, a romantic feeling about another person; though, I can't see having romantic feelings without it -- it can exist without romantic feelings.  I do not limit the meaning of affection to meaning a desire to express caring feeling by touching; eg, hugging; I often express affection in other ways.  (I don't know if without a pre-existing desire to touch, if I could enter into a FWB with someone; I'll worry about that when I come to it.)

The point I'm trying to make is that what I call FWB sex is going to involve a lot of cuddles, caressing, etc. -- it's not about just sex.  This is getting really confusing -- I can love you and be having sex with you on a regular basis and not be in love with you.  [I was still defining "in love" as what I experienced. as noted in my intro post above] How do I explain that simply? 

Someone suggested that a good expression for what I described wanting was "affectionate sexual friendship".  Part of my response was:

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I do like "affectionate sexual friendship" as a term; it nicely separates in to terms that are meaningful on their own what I want.  Well, I'd change "affectionate" to "physically-affectionate"; when I am seeking what I have described, the "emotionally-affectionate" aspect will already exist.

What's really nice is that I can say that I want friendship without the physical affection or sexuality; or friendship with the physical affection, but without the sexuality; or friendship with the physical affection and the sexuality.  In that last case, [I would now add: I would hope that] the separation makes it easier for the other person to answer that they want the friendship and physical affection, but not the sexuality -- it is virtually certain that I would accept that even had I really wanted all three.

It seems that I have had trouble with the romantic element as shown by this post from 2015: 

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I know that in a sense it is awfully late to be asking this question -- the relationship in question ended 8 or 9 months ago --, but it seems that I need some help figuring things out for possible future use. I had what could be called a "friends with benefits" relationship: we were sexual, we were affectionate, and we were friends. Some things that I told her early on were that I was poly, so I don't do exclusivity; and I won't get married (to anyone). After a few months, she wanted to be boyfriend/girlfriend, and I couldn't get any answer to what that meant.

What I am asking is what she might have meant. We were bestfriends, physically and emotionally affectionate, and sexual. (Perhaps I should not have agreed to be boyfriend/girlfriend without understanding what she meant, but I did, and that is how I know what it was not about.) It was not about exclusivity: she did not insist on exclusivity, even after. It was not about moving in together, we had agreed that that was not a current issue, though we would consider that later. (We never reached that point.)

I'm just don't know what would characterize a boyfriend/girlfriend* relationship other than being bestfriends, being emotionally and physically affectionate, and being sexual.

I suppose I actually ask my question here.

Edited by fagricipni

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The term Friends With Benefits describes at least two different types of relationship.

One might better be described as "Entirely Sexual". This tends to be favoured by allos and what you tend to find if you look up the term online.
The other being "Sexual (or otherwise non-platonic) Friendship". This tends to be favoured by aros. Sometimes allos withing kink and poly communities.

The other possible complication is that allos can have expecations of such relationships transitioning into romantic ones.

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