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Finn

How do I tell my girlfriend I might be quoiromantic?

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So I have a girlfriend and we've been together for ten months now. I'm happy and don't want to break up with her. However, I'm realizing that on my end it's more of a commitment based on friendship and teamwork than what I've experienced last time I had an actual crush, and that with most of the people I've had "crushes" on it was difficult or just not useful to me to differentiate between whether or not I was genuinely romantically attracted to them. How do I tell my gf this without being manipulative but also not hurting her?

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I'm not sure if maybe you have a history of manipulation and that's why you're worried that simply honestly communicating with someone you're in a relationship with would be manipulative, but I have a feeling this might be stemming from the abusive, harmful lies that so many exclusionists spread that being aro/ace is somehow inherently abusive. Let me be clear: your identity is not abusive/manipulative!!! It's just your identity. It's not manipulative to be in a romantic relationship while aromantic. It's not manipulative to be in a romantic relationship and realize that you're aromantic.

As for not hurting her: you cannot control other people's feelings. If she's hurt by your truth, then she's hurt by your truth. If she needs time to process, she needs time to process. If she's happy and comfortable, she's happy and comfortable. The unfortunate truth is that even if we're not doing something purposefully hurtful or malicious, people's feelings can be hurt. We just have to accept that people have their feelings and are allowed to feel them. No, it doesn't feel great to hurt someone, especially when you specifically don't want to, but you aren't doing anything wrong. In fact, you are doing something very brave and wonderful by wanting to open up and be honest about this with your girlfriend. No matter how it turns out, you will both end up happier for having been honest and being able to make your own decisions regarding this relationship.

Finally, how do you tell her? I think you laid it out wonderfully here:
- You're happy and you really care about her
- You don't want to break up
- You don't really experience romantic attraction like other people do
- For you, the relationship has absolutely been committed but based more on teamwork and friendship than romanticism

Something else you might think about is if you want anything about your relationship to change or if you like everything as it is, as that's important information for both of you.

All you need to do is be honest (and I do suggest trying to be a bit concise and not to ramble too much - it can be overwhelming for the both of you).

Then you give your girlfriend time to process. Maybe she needs to ask some questions or wants to do some research or just needs to think. She may be hurt, you may be hurt, there may be tears, there may be hugging and affirmations - you're both allowed to feel your feelings and have your own reactions. Being vulnerable is really hard and really scary but getting to be truly yourself can really make that all worth it.

Good luck!

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On 4/16/2020 at 6:02 PM, horriblegoose said:

As for not hurting her: you cannot control other people's feelings. If she's hurt by your truth, then she's hurt by your truth. If she needs time to process, she needs time to process. If she's happy and comfortable, she's happy and comfortable. The unfortunate truth is that even if we're not doing something purposefully hurtful or malicious, people's feelings can be hurt. We just have to accept that people have their feelings and are allowed to feel them.

As someone who has been through this already, this. You can't control other people's feelings. If she is hurt, let her be hurt. Give her time and space to process and readjust if she needs to. That you don't want to break up will probably be some consolation.

I can't promise that everything will work out, but I can relate my own experience as perhaps some reassurance that it doesn't have to end poorly. I am also quoiromantic! I was in a 6 year long romantic relationship when I started to get some indication I might actually be aro.

I ended up having a frank conversation with her about the situation. In my case it was this:

  • I did want to break up.
  • I still valued and cared about her.
  • We were living together at the time and sharing a bedroom. I reassured her that she didn't need to leave but that when we moved house in a couple months time I would want separate rooms.
  • She was welcome to stay living with me as long or as short afterwards as she liked.

She was understandably very upset. Very, very upset. But we kept talking things through and she stuck around and now, a little over four years later, we're still living together and having a blast. She has another boyfriend now, and who knows where that will lead in the future. But for the relationship between us I strongly feel like having that conversation helped strengthen our relationship overall. I got out of a situation that was rapidly making me more and more uncomfortable and, unknown to me, she'd been harbouring fears that I didn't actually like her because I wasn't doing romance the way she expected or wanted which were completely unfounded but now she knew why that was.

On 4/16/2020 at 6:02 PM, horriblegoose said:

Finally, how do you tell her? I think you laid it out wonderfully here:
- You're happy and you really care about her
- You don't want to break up
- You don't really experience romantic attraction like other people do
- For you, the relationship has absolutely been committed but based more on teamwork and friendship than romanticism

Something else you might think about is if you want anything about your relationship to change or if you like everything as it is, as that's important information for both of you.

All you need to do is be honest (and I do suggest trying to be a bit concise and not to ramble too much - it can be overwhelming for the both of you).

Then you give your girlfriend time to process. Maybe she needs to ask some questions or wants to do some research or just needs to think. She may be hurt, you may be hurt, there may be tears, there may be hugging and affirmations - you're both allowed to feel your feelings and have your own reactions. Being vulnerable is really hard and really scary but getting to be truly yourself can really make that all worth it

Seconding all of this.

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I'm late to this thread but I wanted to add some thoughts here as another quoiromantic, in case it makes any difference for @Finn or anyone else passing through:

Is there something about the relationship that you're hoping to change? What are you hoping to get out of telling her?

I think this is an important consideration here because, as you figured, there's a risk of "I don't have romantic feelings for you" being interpreted as "I want to break up" or something along those lines. If you do want to maintain your relationship with her as it is, and if you do want to foreground that/assure her of that, then she might be confused by what you're trying to get at by telling her this. I recommend trying to approach the issue in practical terms: Are there currently any things you've been doing together, things she says, etc. that haven't been working for you? It should be possible to bring up some of those and discuss what your honest preferences are while assuring her that you still want to be together.

And if you don't want to change absolutely anything about the relationship, then... you might ask yourself what you're hoping to accomplish with the conversation.

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Posted (edited)
On 4/23/2020 at 4:13 PM, Coyote said:

And if you don't want to change absolutely anything about the relationship, then... you might ask yourself what you're hoping to accomplish with the conversation.

I just want to be honest. It's unfair to her to be in a relationship with someone who can't feel the same way without her consent.

Edited by Finn

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1 hour ago, Finn said:

I just want to be honest. It's unfair to her to be in a relationship with someone who can't feel the same way without her consent.

I'd encourage you to think through this perspective a little more. How precisely forthcoming is she with you about the exact nature of her feelings to you? Does she go into a lot of detail? Does she express an expectation that you respond in exactly the same way?

Your concerns aren't based on nothing, and it's understandable to worry about these things -- especially when you've been encouraged to see the distinction between friendship feelings and romantic feelings as a big, important gulf of inherent difference. It's a point of view that I encounter a lot, even (especially?) in the aro community.

My current wonder, though, is -- do you feel like you're already being dishonest? Relating to her the way that you do, even if it's different than what she feels, isn't some crime to be confessed. You haven't been lying to her unless you've, well, told any actual lies. You can never completely control what assumptions other people make about you.

Plus, more than that: I'd argue there's nothing wrong with partnerships where the partners don't feel the exact same way about each other, because that's a part of what it means to be different people. People have different love langues, different communication preferences, different affection preferences, different ways of processing emotion itself -- there's always going to be some kind of difference at play between any two people. I think trying to precisely mirror each other in everything, right down to the level of exact emotions, can mean putting a detrimental amount of pressure on yourself, and that goes for this or any other relationship in general.

One thing that only the two of you can answer: Do you think she's currently unhappy with the relationship? Has she expressed any dissatisfaction with how you talk to her, how you treat her, how you honor your commitments to her? Has she given you any reason to believe you're not already doing enough?

It sounds like you're experiencing some insecurities about making sure she's as happy as you are in the relationship. I don't know her and I don't know what the relationship between you is like, but I figure basically one of two things can possibly be true: 1) either there's something different you could be doing, and she can tell you, or 2) there's nothing wrong, and she can tell you.

Have you broached that subject with her before?

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