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Holmbo

Aromantics are all around us

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Recently I've come to realize how many of the people I know could be categorized as aromantic, even if they don't use the term.
About two years ago I met up with a former classmate of mine, because we had moved to the same town. When we were talking over dinner I shared with him that I recently realized I was aromantic. He told me he had considered if he was too and shared with me his struggle in interpreting his feelings.

At my new job in this town I befriended a colleague. Recently I asked him if he'd ever been in love and he told me no, even though he has a girlfriend.

And last spring I was on a trip with a friend. We talked about relationship and I told her about my aromanticism. She shared with me that she had never been in love and the main reason she was looking for a romantic relationship was to have a co-parent to raise children with.

 

I think the distinction for people who chose to identify as aromantic is not really the lack of romantic feelings, but rather that it affects our relationship choices. All those three people I mentioned are, or plan to be, in committed romantic relationships. Even though they don't feel romantic attraction.

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There's a few people I know who I think could be arospec. I know someone who said that she doesn't date, and I also know a man in his 40s who is single and has never been married. Another person I know broke up with her boyfriend because she thought of him as a friend. In my head I imagine all of them to be arospec.

 

I definitely think there's more aromantics than we realize, because there's probably a lot of aromantics out there who would identify as aromantic if they knew the term for it, but because of a lack of awareness for aromanticism they don't know about it and don't know how to put their feelings and experiences into words. 

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Question: What would you say that means for aros who are still interested in pursuing romantic relationships?

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(I have a more to say but I'm not exactly sure how to word it, so here's a little anyways.)

Yeah I've been thinking about this too. I know it's a common experience to feel "broken" before realizing you're aro/ace, but honestly? I never felt that way.

 

I felt weird sometimes about being aro but it just seems pretty normal to not like people. I think it has to do with the culture surrounding romance, how it socializes people into needing it, even if it might not be exactly what they want. I also have a couple of friends who could be aro or aspec, and one of them even briefly identified as aro, but I think she's struggling with the fact that she thinks that she needs romance. She keeps entering into relationships even though we all know she's trying to see if she even feels anything for them.

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22 hours ago, Artemis's Aro said:

(I have a more to say but I'm not exactly sure how to word it, so here's a little anyways.)

Yeah I've been thinking about this too. I know it's a common experience to feel "broken" before realizing you're aro/ace, but honestly? I never felt that way.

Hmm I wouldn’t per se say I was feeling broken, but most definitely somewhat different. I am not entirely sure but I think not really being "in love" is socially accepted, especially if you are an adolescent and your feelings won’t be taken seriously anyways. I think the main reason why I felt different was based in being ace. It was weird to always question whether I was straight or gay since I'm not attracted to anyone in that way.
(-> I am in no way trying to say you are no aro enough because you aren't ace or anything!)

And yeah I would assume people who aren't as in tune with themselves or simply don't know the term probably don't even realise they are Aro. 
Oh and it's probably really common not to realise it if one isn't ace. I am actually really impressed, if people figure out they are aro while being sexually attracted to people.

 

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I think a part of it can be from a lack of viability and education on what aromanticism actually is. But also I can definitely relate to desiring a romantic relationship even if you don't feel romantic feelings. The world is built for couples imo.

That being said, within my own campaign of spreading aro awareness I have had some friends say that they do relate to what I describe when I explain what being aro means to me. So I agree that there are more aros then we think! 

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I think it's extra easy to be undiagnosed aro in (at least) American society, where we put an unrealistic emphasis on "finding The One"... So a lot of people who are actually aro have been trained to think that they just haven't found The One yet... 

OTOH: I, at least, tend to assume that everyone else is just like me until proven otherwise... So, I think that subconsciously I assume that everyone is aro until evidence shows otherwise... Clearly I'm wrong, but that's just how my brain works... 


(By "extra easy to be" I mean, it's easy for that to happen. Not that it's easy on the individual, in case that was unclear)
 

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On 11/2/2019 at 2:15 PM, Holmbo said:

I think the distinction for people who chose to identify as aromantic is not really the lack of romantic feelings, but rather that it affects our relationship choices. All those three people I mentioned are, or plan to be, in committed romantic relationships. Even though they don't feel romantic attraction.

That's why I kind of struggle with really identifying as aromantic. As a romance neutral heterosexual aromantic my current stance on romantic relationships is that even though I'm not actively seeking them, if the opportunity arises I'm not that opposed to at least trying to get it to work out. (Note that I haven't had that much experience with failing relationships, so this might change with when my sample size gets larger) If I hadn't been curious enough to research the term aromanticism when I stumbled on it by chance I'd probably have been fine in a romantic relationship just occasionally wondering why other people behave so irrational.

 

Some thoughts regarding heterosexual aromantics:

I think another factor which might foster undiagnosed aromantics is that some people, at least for some time, just don't care. Why should they? Unlike most other orientations your body doesn't force you to figure things out (for example by falling in love with a person of the same gender) and sexual attraction is easy enough to ignore. And at least in my experience societal pressure isn't that high either as because of the sexual attraction you "get" what people are talking about so the perceived distance in experience isn't that high. Later in live, when this pressure might rise, people tend to not have the time any more to read through pages of forums on the Internet just to figure something out they at this point have lived with just fine for half their life.

 

 

6 hours ago, LBMango said:

OTOH: I, at least, tend to assume that everyone else is just like me until proven otherwise... So, I think that subconsciously I assume that everyone is aro until evidence shows otherwise... Clearly I'm wrong, but that's just how my brain works... 

Interestingly, my approach is just the opposite. For some reason I always assume two people even just looking at each other funny are in love and then try to prove this. If I can't find additional evidence for it, the assumption is probably wrong. I guess it's just that I'm a pessimist and always prepare for the worst case scenario, and that couples seem to form out of the blue so this is needed to have any chance at spotting them in time.

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18 hours ago, LBMango said:

I think it's extra easy to be undiagnosed aro in (at least) American society, where we put an unrealistic emphasis on "finding The One"... So a lot of people who are actually aro have been trained to think that they just haven't found The One yet... 

 

Part of amantonormativity is to dissuade questioning of the premise that these kind of relationships are (best) for everyone.
Hence ideas like "wrong person", "not ready for", etc. There are similar attitudes related to heteronormativity and mononormativity.

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17 hours ago, Tagor said:

And at least in my experience societal pressure isn't that high either as because of the sexual attraction you "get" what people are talking about so the perceived distance in experience isn't that high. Later in live, when this pressure might rise, people tend to not have the time any more to read through pages of forums on the Internet just to figure something out they at this point have lived with just fine for half their life.

This was pretty much exactly my experience. I had plenty of sex in my young adult years without finding someone I wanted a committed relationship with, and that was normal. In my late twenties I kept having sex, and did occasionally think it was odd that everyone I knew seemed to have found multiple people to try out relationships with, and I hadn't yet found any - but I figured I was just picky. It was only because I spent so much time involved in fandoms online that I happened to stumble across the word "aromantic" in my early thirties - at about the same time my mother shifted from saying, "Don't ever settle for a relationship just because you think you should!" to worrying about my lack of a love life and "missing out" on having children. If I hadn't found a community of people who agree that it's perfectly acceptable to be single forever, I may well have started to think there was something wrong with my attitude to relationships. 

 

I know I've used religion as an analogy before, but I still remember the moment in my late teens when I was like, wait, there are people who genuinely take all this stuff about god(s) seriously? Like, no shade on anyone who does - I was just honestly unaware there were people who are genuinely religious until my late teens. Until that point I'd assumed that everyone participated in religion purely as a historical/cultural practice like I did, not because they actually believed it was true.

 

I wonder how many people are out there going through the motions of "romance" because it's a historical/cultural practice, assuming that everyone else feels the same way? People who, if asked whether they genuinely feel romance the way movies and love songs and poetry describe it, would be like, "Obviously not - nobody actually feels that way!"

 

People who would be shocked to discover that there are people who do actually feel that way about romance - and who, once they discover that fact, might come to identify as on the aro spectrum?

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