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just recently discovered I might be aro and I´m in relationship... what do I do?


confused af
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Hi! so... I´m a girl, currently 19 yo and I´ve been dating this one amazing guy for 4 months now. During my life, I´ve never had a crush (dunno what that even is. I can recognise a hot or a cute person but that´s all) I only had one relationship before and it was with a girl. We were together for a year and it was an emotional ride for me. At first, I was really happy that I had someone who cared for me, who loved me. I was pretty sure I like that girl too, we had the same opinions on things, deeptalks etc. But I did all those romantic things just because "I had to". I never knew people weren´t like that! Just recently I found out that´s a sign I may be aromantic (while not asexual... that I´m pretty sure of :D ) I also didn´t like a public display of affection but I thought that´s because we were a gay couple in not so accepting environment. My girlfriend often pointed out that she feels a lack of affection from me and it was one of the reasons why we later broke up (though there was way more to it... it wasn´t one of the major problems between us). A year later, I´ve agreed to date this guy I met in college. The beggining wasn´t really... typical. We had this one really deep conversation when we agreed on everything, it was like finding a soulmate really. Three days later, we were a couple. I was really excited because this guy is way off my league. He works out, he plays the guitar, he can sing, he can cook, he writes me a freaking poems. He is way more romantic than me. I thought that dating a guy in a big city will be way more easier for me and I won´t be afraid to show "my love for him" in public. Boi was I wrong. It´s still the same panic and "oh guess that´s what I have to do now" feeling as I´ve had before. Weird thing is that I don´t mind doing it in private. I like cuddling and kissing and holding hands. But just when we are alone. In our language we have 2 phrases to express "I love you". It´s like 2 stages :D at first there´s  something like "I like you" and if it gets serious enough, there´s an "I love you" phrase that has this really deep and raw emotion in it and it´s pretty serious to say it. We are in the 1. stage and I had to push myself a little bit to say it back. Now it´s okay and I really DO like him but idk what will happen when he will say "I love you" to me. I mean I like him... But do I love him? I´m so confused right now... I don´t know if I´m aromatic or if I have just some severe issues with commitment and intimacy. I don´t want to hurt him, and I don´t know what is a right thing to do. I would say him the truth but idk what that is (he already knows I´m bisexual and is okay with it). I also don´t want to end this relationship and then regret it. He really does love me (even though I don´t get why he does so) but I´m just afraid he will be unhappy with me. 

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Hello! 

Wow i must say i related so much to so many parts here (except that i am asexual hahah) but the feelings of "welp guess it's what i have to do now!" are really prevalent for me as well. 

While you can be aromantic, as it seems like it is your inclination, that doesnt mean you can't be intimate with people and have a relationship like the one you have right now! 

Relationships are meant to be with people who are your friends! I think you should tell him how you feel, let him know that you really care for him and that you really enjoy what you have if that's the case, and just be clear about your boundaries, about what you tolerate and about where you're more willing to concede. 

 

You shouldn't feel pressured to do anything you don't want, but it seems to me that you genuinely do enjoy what you have with him, so just be truthful, think about what you enjoy and what you dont enjoy so much, or what you're willing to do more frequently or less frequently and see where you meet halfway with him! Everything takes a bit of compromise and there's nothing wrong with being uncertain or even with being certain that you aren't in the same level as he is. Dont feel pressured to say "i love you", let him know that your love is shown in different ways.

I hope it all goes well!

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Juste like ebonylanes said. I think you should let him know about your doubts, or maybe just when you'll be sure, and then have a conversation about it. You seem to enjoy what you have with him; but to make it work without feeling uncomfortable, communication and truth are important. He may not be pleased at first, but some people make aro/allo couples work, by discussing what they want from the relationship, what they are ready to compromise on or not (basically, doing what people should do when engaging in a long-term relationship without facing desillusion ha ha).

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thanks so much! I will definitely talk to him. I already told him that I don´t experience love the same way he does and he was really confused. He thought it was because of him but I explained that it´s just how I´m and there´s no need to worry. What I find really annoying though is that I´m so confused with myself right now that I just don´t know what to tell him more. But I guess with time, I´ll understand. Thanks again for your reply :) 

 

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4 hours ago, confused af said:

thanks so much! I will definitely talk to him. I already told him that I don´t experience love the same way he does and he was really confused. He thought it was because of him but I explained that it´s just how I´m and there´s no need to worry. What I find really annoying though is that I´m so confused with myself right now that I just don´t know what to tell him more. But I guess with time, I´ll understand. Thanks again for your reply :) 

 

I suppose you feel confused because you aren't even sure what things you are willing to compromise or not? 

For me it fluctuates a lot, so sometimes handholding is really nice and others it makes me wanna bolt and slap someone. This knowledge comes from experiencing, and being open to either liking something or disliking it, without any frustration attached! Although i understand it can be really infuriating when some things you just dont like no matte rhow much you make yourself try (think of it like a..peanut allergy: your body just wont allow for that interaction!!) 

Ultimately though, just be kind to yourself and have patience. No one asks you to know everything right now, so just go accumulating experiences and deciding what you enjoy or don't!

 

One thing i discovered helps couples is to make a Want| Wish | Won't list where you write down on your own the things you like and want, the things you think of doing and the things you absolutely will not do, and he does the same and then you compare that list and see what you can compromise and what you have that is isimilar or very different. I think it's a tool that promotes very healthy conversation, so if you do use it, i hope it helps!

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13 hours ago, confused af said:

A year later, I´ve agreed to date this guy I met in college. The beggining wasn´t really... typical. We had this one really deep conversation when we agreed on everything, it was like finding a soulmate really. Three days later, we were a couple. I was really excited because this guy is way off my league. He works out, he plays the guitar, he can sing, he can cook, he writes me a freaking poems. He is way more romantic than me. I thought that dating a guy in a big city will be way more easier for me and I won´t be afraid to show "my love for him" in public. Boi was I wrong. It´s still the same panic and "oh guess that´s what I have to do now" feeling as I´ve had before. Weird thing is that I don´t mind doing it in private. I like cuddling and kissing and holding hands. But just when we are alone. In our language we have 2 phrases to express "I love you". It´s like 2 stages :D at first there´s  something like "I like you" and if it gets serious enough, there´s an "I love you" phrase that has this really deep and raw emotion in it and it´s pretty serious to say it. We are in the 1. stage and I had to push myself a little bit to say it back. Now it´s okay and I really DO like him but idk what will happen when he will say "I love you" to me. I mean I like him... But do I love him? I´m so confused right now...

Sadly I don't have advice because I'm in this exact situation. Are you me? lol

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On 1/30/2020 at 12:19 AM, ebonylanes said:

I suppose you feel confused because you aren't even sure what things you are willing to compromise or not? 

For me it fluctuates a lot, so sometimes handholding is really nice and others it makes me wanna bolt and slap someone. This knowledge comes from experiencing, and being open to either liking something or disliking it, without any frustration attached! Although i understand it can be really infuriating when some things you just dont like no matte rhow much you make yourself try (think of it like a..peanut allergy: your body just wont allow for that interaction!!) 

Yeah, that´s exactly it. I just don´t know where is the line. I also don´t want to make the situation weird. I just go with the flow and then I feel... almost attacked? by all the gestures. I´m very overwhelmed when I´m with my boyfriend, I have to mentally prepare for everything. But when I´m not with him and we are just texting, it suddenly doesn´t feel like such a big deal and I hate myself for making a fuss of it. It feels like I´m living in two different worlds. I´m okay with the theory of relationship but practise those kind of actions is just so hard. It´s also that I never knew something like "aromatic person" exists, I literally just found out 4 days ago. I´m still trying to figure out what is going on with me. I wish someone could sort all those things for me but that´s sadly not how the world works :D . 

On 1/30/2020 at 3:57 AM, ClearBlueSea said:

Sadly I don't have advice because I'm in this exact situation. Are you me? lol

I´m sorry you have to go through this... Maybe, if you are okay with it, we could chat about it? :D 

 

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On 1/31/2020 at 1:29 PM, confused af said:

Yeah, that´s exactly it. I just don´t know where is the line. I also don´t want to make the situation weird. I just go with the flow and then I feel... almost attacked? by all the gestures. I´m very overwhelmed when I´m with my boyfriend, I have to mentally prepare for everything. But when I´m not with him and we are just texting, it suddenly doesn´t feel like such a big deal and I hate myself for making a fuss of it. It feels like I´m living in two different worlds. I´m okay with the theory of relationship but practise those kind of actions is just so hard. It´s also that I never knew something like "aromatic person" exists, I literally just found out 4 days ago. I´m still trying to figure out what is going on with me. I wish someone could sort all those things for me but that´s sadly not how the world works :D . 

I´m sorry you have to go through this... Maybe, if you are okay with it, we could chat about it? :D 

 

Aaah i understand so well the part of "feeling attacked when with him, and feeling totally chill when not with him", it does feel like you're in two different worlds. I feel like for me i just need to be clear when certain gestures and actions are being too much saying things like "maybe not now? i dont feel very comfortable so could we stop?". I think it's a bit scary to feel the need to draw these limits, after all "shouldn't this be natural and easy"? But even despite being aro or not, people still need to negotiate boundaries to make relationships work healthily.
 

For me, there's not hard line for what im comfortable with and what im not. I navigate the motions and sometimes handholding will be totally fine and other times it wont be. There isn't a clear line and so you just have to be honest that certain things feel better sometimes and others don't. Some days i'm just feeling extremely aro ace and all my actions will be with a completely platonic intent without any romance attached, and that is okay. 

Whatever you feel, that is okay and you just have to learn your signs, learn what works and when, but take your time, you dont need to have it all figured out right now ^-^

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Woah I just read your explanation of your situation after posting something similar trying to get some clarification. I'm in a similar situation but for me it's more like, in the beginning of the relationship it's fine doing romantic stuff and then it just gets gradually harder and harder to the point where I feel guilty for doing those things and not telling the person I'm with that I actually don't want to. In the past I've just broken up with them at that point to be done with it. I just assumed I'd fallen out of love or that I had some bad commitment problems, but now I'm realizing I probably never was in love. I've never had crushes or something similar, just cared a lot about certain people. Thing is, I'm in a relationship now and don't really know how to handle it since I'm at the stage where I'm starting to question everything and don't like doing anything romantic or so anymore. I'm wondering if it'll be fine again if I push through or if it'll just be like this until I finally break up with him. 

 

Woah sorry to just dump everything on what is supposed to be your post, I just started writing and I couldn't stop 😅. Anyway hope you can figure things out with your limits and do's and don't's. Good luck 👍👍

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On 2/3/2020 at 9:09 PM, Pandanose said:

Woah I just read your explanation of your situation after posting something similar trying to get some clarification. I'm in a similar situation but for me it's more like, in the beginning of the relationship it's fine doing romantic stuff and then it just gets gradually harder and harder to the point where I feel guilty for doing those things and not telling the person I'm with that I actually don't want to. In the past I've just broken up with them at that point to be done with it. I just assumed I'd fallen out of love or that I had some bad commitment problems, but now I'm realizing I probably never was in love. I've never had crushes or something similar, just cared a lot about certain people. Thing is, I'm in a relationship now and don't really know how to handle it since I'm at the stage where I'm starting to question everything and don't like doing anything romantic or so anymore. I'm wondering if it'll be fine again if I push through or if it'll just be like this until I finally break up with him. 

 

Woah sorry to just dump everything on what is supposed to be your post, I just started writing and I couldn't stop 😅. Anyway hope you can figure things out with your limits and do's and don't's. Good luck 👍👍

Ohhh this sounds like it causes a lot of emotional trouble on you :(( sorry to hear that.


From what you say, you seem to care a lot about the person you're with, so maybe you could try to explain to them how you feel and that this doesn't necessarily mean that you won't want to do things ever, just that you don't enjoy the pressure of having to do it, without a choice since you're in a "romantic relationship". You don't even have to have a clear idea of where in the spectrum you are to explain to them how you feel. I think you just need to be clear about it, about the fact that you get disenchanted and that this has happened before (to make it clear that it isnt because of them, your brain just works like this).

 

Ask yourself if you consider breaking up because you dont like what you have, or if it's  bc you want to relieve yourself from the pressure of having to act romantic with them, and then decide if breaking up would be a good decision for you or not. 

If the person you're with hears you, and understands your side then im sure you can reach some sort of middle ground, setting down some limits as to where your disposition goes and findng out which things you're more comfortable with than others. 

I dont think breakup needs to be the Plan A solution, so i hope talking about it helps!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sometimes you just read things and go "holy heck, these are my people".  That just happened to me here - I feel like I could have written every post in this thread at some point or other in the past couple years.  I've ended relationships because I didn't want to keep up the forced romantic facade, I've been in a relationship and thought "Wait - what if I'm aro?" and "Where are my boundaries?", I've made a Want | Will | Won't list.

If it helps, I feel a lot more comfortable and settled now because I spent a while experimenting and deliberately trying to find out where my boundaries were.  I'd try most things once, and then analyse how I felt about it, recalibrate, and be honest with the other people involved about what was happening.  Most importantly, if you want to be with someone, you deserve someone who wants from you the things that you're willing to provide or at least compromise on.  Splitting up and being friends is a totally acceptable option if he wants more than you're willing to provide, so don't be afraid to prioritise what you need in the relationship - though from the sounds of things, him being super receptive to your boundaries sounds achieveable and lovely.  @confused af I'd be interested to hear how your conversation goes, if you're willing to share!

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