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I think I'm aro but I have a girlfriend and idk how to break it off

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I've been thinking about what I identify as for a while now and I've been thinking about changing it. Near the end of 2020 I picked up the label Asexual. It fits very well for me. I've never experienced sexual attraction and I feel quite repulsed by the idea of having sex. I felt so relieved when I discovered the term and that other people feel the same way I do. So I changed my label from lesbian to asexual homoromantic. At the same time I found out about Asexuality I found out about the term Aromantic. I didn't think much of it at the time and just scrolled past it. But a few weeks later I started really thinking about it and I realized that a lot of the aspects of being aromantic fit with me. There's just one, little, niggling problem. I have a girlfriend. I've been with this girl for 4 years and I've realized that I don't love her in the way I say I do. She's a nice girl and fun to hang out with but I've realized that l don't feel any differently about her than I do any of my friends. Anytime she tries to get us to do something romantic it feels a bit out of place but I go along with it because I don't want to hurt her feelings. We first got together because she confessed that she loved me and I said I reciprocated her out of fear that if I said no we wouldn't be friends anymore. I was also a very lonely person without many friends and I thought that the platonic feelings I had for her could be romantic because I heard everyone else talking about crushes and dating. Ik those two viewpoints are contradictory but cut me some slack I was like 12. We started dating in middle school and now we're both sophomores. I understand now that my feelings towards her were and are completely platonic and no different than my feelings towards my best friends. I have never had any crushes real or fictional, and I have no impulse towards being in a romantic relationship. But we've been together for a long time and she clearly loves me romantically as well as sexually. My girlfriend respects my asexuality but I don't know how to tell her that 4 years of me telling her I love her was actually a lie. I know getting and staying together with her was really shitty of me but I really don't know what to do. She's made comments in the past that if I ever left her she'd do very unkind things to herself. I believe she meant that as a sort of "I don't know where I'd be without you" thing but It's really freaking me out rn. I don't want to stay with her. I hate feeling like I'm lying to everyone and I don't feel like I need a relationship in my life. I'm perfectly content being single forever but I don't know how to break it off. Help and advice greatly appreciated. Thank you so much. 

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I'm not really good with this kind of stuff so I don't know if my advice will help but I would say to be honest and tell her that you're starting to think you're aromantic, too. And, while this isn't possible with every relationship, perhaps try and still be friends. Offer friendship with her because that way she won't really be without you. It will just be a different kind of relationship. And who's to say a friendship can't be a close one. Let her know that being friendzoned isn't a curse. Friendship is a beautiful thing and it's not the end. If she doesn't accept your offer of friendship then I'd say it's her loss and you've done all you can. You deserve to be happy, and being in a romantic relationship as an aromantic is hard enough. She should understand. If she doesn't, it's not your fault. 

This advice may have been obvious. But that's the first stuff that popped into my mind. 😅

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, Guest Help said:

She's a nice girl and fun to hang out with but I've realized that l don't feel any differently about her than I do any of my friends.

 

Ok, hello there mate. I broke the text in parts so you can understand it better, it is a lot of themes so one step at a time. Treating her as another friend is completely fine, you initially thought that she wold be different, and that is fine too. Do not look into the past, yeah it kinda sucks that you vision her as another friend, but you cannot oblige yourself to love romantically someone anymore than you control the future. It is ok, really, own that part of you ^^ that is my counsel.

10 hours ago, Guest Help said:

 I was also a very lonely person without many friends and I thought that the platonic feelings I had for her could be romantic because I heard everyone else talking about crushes and dating.

This is very common here, mistaking platonic for romantic. I won't speak for anyone here, but this happened to me too. I thought that what I was feeling was romantic love, but really it was just loneliness and craving for a connection with someone that had romantic feelings for me. To cut it short, we broke off and they where devastated. I blame myself for it, but I can't look in the past, so I accept that I hurted them but I also accept that if I wasn't in that relationship I would not have discovered I was aro, and I would have made both of our lives miserable. So yeah, you thought it was A, but it was B. Mistakes happens, now you know what you are feeling and that is the important thing. ^^

10 hours ago, Guest Help said:

I understand now that my feelings towards her were and are completely platonic and no different than my feelings towards my best friends.

This is what I referred above. You know it is platonic feelings. You can tell her this, this is something that is real, this is knowledge about yourself that at the beginning you did not know. Do not expect to know every answer about yourself from the start. The path of self discovery is what makes us better people. So if you want to break it off, this is something you should mention in the conversation, because it can help her understand a bit more.

10 hours ago, Guest Help said:

My girlfriend respects my asexuality but I don't know how to tell her that 4 years of me telling her I love her was actually a lie.

You did not lie. Do not believe that you lied because you didn't know at the beginning. You love her, just not the same way that she loves you. There are different kinds of love. Amatonormativity tells you that romantic love is above all, but that is not true. Your love to her is just as valid and important and strong as her love to you.

10 hours ago, Guest Help said:

 I don't want to stay with her. I hate feeling like I'm lying to everyone and I don't feel like I need a relationship in my life. I'm perfectly content being single forever but I don't know how to break it off. Help and advice greatly appreciated. Thank you so much. 

If the first part is true, then it is ok. But before you make any decision, my honest advice is for you to speak to her and explain her your feelings. Explain to her from your point of view what you feel, how you feel it and why. Do not end the relationship if you have any kind of love for her, not before explaining to her your side of the story. I think that you are a bit scared because you think you lied to her for years, but your feelings are not a lie. Yeah being single is awesome, and if that is what you want, go ahead and tell her that you don't think it's gonna work anymore the relationship and end it. But maybe you can find a happy medium with her, maybe you she accepts you as you are. Idk your situation, and there are lots of variables, but what is core is that you have to have a deep convo with her. And for that I recommend that you have a lot of patience (and coffee :3). Write every point that you want to discuss with her in a piece of paper so you do not forget, sit her down and just start talking. Take it slow. If by the end, one of you agree that the relationship should end, then that's it. But I don't think ending it without talking to her first should be done. A dear friend told me that giving an explanation about why it's happening (the break off) is the least I can do when ending the relationship, cuz we are all humans at the end of the day, and having an explanation gives peace of mind in the long road, for both (that is what my friend believes). Hope it helps, here some coffee (insert tasty coffee cup )

Edited by Blake
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Hey! I'm a sophomore too and I had a boyfriend for a year. 

For me it felt like I was trapped in a situation that was very confusing and scary for me. Everything I felt was so confusing and I'm still not entirely sure what label I fall under, but I do know that I'm way happier now that the relationship is over. 

All of the advice above is perfect and you should totally listen to them, they said all that I could say and more. Talk to her, let her know what's going on, and if you feel like it needs to happen, make the break. 

But I would like to add one more thing. When I broke up with my boyfriend, I had the best afternoon of my life. I felt free and amazing and so happy. But the following week was rough, and even though I now know that I'm aromantic, it still felt like there was a piece of me missing for a while. 

So I'd tell you that if you decide to break up with her, you should write down your reasons. and if you ever happen to feel like you're not sure about your decision, take a look at your note and remind yourself about those things. It might be hard to let go of a relationship you've been (if you're like me) playing along with for four years. 

But you've got a whole fricken forum here to help, and a thousand people who've gone through the same thing, so be strong, and remember that you're not in this alone. 

All the best luck!

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4 hours ago, Blake said:

You can tell her this, this is something that is real, this is knowledge about yourself that at the beginning you did not know. Do not expect to know every answer about yourself from the start. The path of self discovery is what makes us better people.

Exactly. OP, I would definitely recommend to sit down with your girlfriend and tell her, in detail, the evolution of your emotional discovery. Part of being a sovereign being is to be honest to yourself and to others. This is something I'm striving to do every day. If your girlfriend doesn't take it kindly, oh well.

 

14 hours ago, Guest Help said:

She's made comments in the past that if I ever left her she'd do very unkind things to herself.

Do you have her parents' contact info? If not, get it, and let them know if she tries to attempt such a thing.

 

14 hours ago, Guest Help said:

But we've been together for a long time and she clearly loves me romantically as well as sexually.

Based on this, I think it would be wise to part ways from her temporarily after you end it, so she can let her feelings for you subside. If she doesn't take time away from you before you two jump into friendship, I worry her feelings for you might linger longer, and might even get stronger, as I imagine she'd be contacting you regularly. After her feelings for you have subsided, I'd say it's safe to enter friendship. This one may be a bit risky, though, as her feelings for you could return, and I don't think there's any way for you to know for sure if she's over you romantically and sexually.

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