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SilentShadows

Close Aro/Allo Friendships, Relationships, and Feeling Like Second Best

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Lately, I've been plagued by a vague, sinking feeling.

My friends are mostly all alloromantics of varying gender/romantic identities, which is lovely. I support all of them and have been accepted in return (I currently identify as aromantic grayasexual with no gender preference). I'm especially close with a few friends, and I appreciate them being around to support me and one another. They are all great people, and I am so thankful to have them by my side.

But I keep struggling with the fact that likely, they'll all be partnered up one day and have a person in their life who they're closer to than anyone else, a romantic partner who makes them happy on levels that I could never match, just due to the way romance typically works. Maybe it's different for some, but the way romance plays out in the cases I've seen implies such a deep, intense bond that just... does something for the people involved that platonic connection doesn't match. I know, I know, that's sorta what romance is for, in the case of allos, but.. I don't know. It's kind of like a blow to the gut when I see friends I'm particularly close to find a romantic partner and suddenly they're so... happy, and their world revolves around that person. I'm happy, of course, that they've found fulfillment, but guilty, too, because I inevitably feel a level of jealously and... hurt, I suppose? It's a bit strange - I'm not jealous of the relationship itself, since I'm not really into romance or romantic relationships. The jealously is one that's more centered on not being able to match the connection, in a way.

For example... I had a best friend who I have since drifted apart from due to varying reasons. Anyways, during our friendship they (I'll use gender neutral terms for all my friends, sorry if it's confusing but I find that to be the easiest) got into a relationship. They seemed so... happy, with their partner, much happier than I felt I was able to make them. Of course, I was younger during that time so I'm sure I felt things a bit differently back then, but man was I hurt. The vibrance in them when they talked about their partner and the happiness they felt... it was lovely, of course, to see them happy, but I couldn't shake the feeling of betrayal and sadness. I was their number one confidant for a lot of things, and we were close. But when they got into a relationship, I wasn't their first choice in talking and friendship and whatever else there was. I was... second best, by a long shot.

I never verbalized my feelings. I felt that my feelings were childish, at the time - shouldn't everyone be allowed to have fulfilling relationships? I also was very opposed to the idea of myself being aromantic, and thought I may have been jealous they were dating someone else (I wasn't, and had no romantic feelings towards my friend). I said nothing and we drifted gradually apart due to them spending time with their partner more and changes in personal interests. We speak rarely now, but I have other close friends to fill in the gap that our drifting apart had left. Those friends are mostly alloromantic, though one may be on the aro spectrum as well, however they're not really sure.

Maybe it's due to my past experience, yet whenever my close friends now speak about relationships or looking for one... I feel a bit ill, uncomfortable and anticipating the worst. It doesn't matter to me with distant friends or acquaintances, or oddly enough... some of my close friends, but for a few of them, it really does hit me. The couple of friends who I'd be the most uncomfortable about are the closest, so perhaps that's why? The thought of them growing distant and then ultimately having someone that means something to them on a deeper level than what I could ever provide is... a bit saddening, really. And to reiterate - this is only ever with romantic relationships, my friends having new close friends doesn't really bother me to the same extent. 

I'm not really sure what to do about it, or if I should do anything at all. If I committed to a QPP of sorts, I'd rather not have to deal with romantic partners and the potential scuffle/jealousy that could invoke, so it wouldn't really be fair to ask that of the likely alloromantic people I know. But I still feel a sense of apprehension that in the end, all I'm ever going to be to someone is second best. It'd be so much easier if I could up and say hey, I am crushing on people and want to date them, yet... that's just not how I feel. I don't have interest in romantic relationships, only QPPs and close friendships. I don't think I will end up saying anything just because I don't think it will help, and I apologize for this being a bit long-winded, but...

I am curious, does anyone else ever feel this way? Like you're doomed to always be a second best? And if so... how do you deal with it?

 

Edited by SilentShadows
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I don't really feel like that, so I hope others who can relate jump in aswell. I know there are many. Personally I see romantic relationships as an entire different category to friendship. To be jelaousy of it feels like akin to being jelaous about someone's relationship with their mom.

A question, is it the ranking itself (putting one person above another) that feels bad for you? Or is it that you're not the top most ranked?

I assume you feel different closeness with different friends? That you also priorities sometimes or favor one friend above the other. Are those friends who you don't feel as close to not meaningful to you?

 

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I totally feel this way. I guess the solution is what @Holmbo described—not ranking things? I dunno, just a theory. 

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I think for me I try to remind myself that just because I'm not my friends' first choices because they have romantic relationships, doesn't mean I'm not a significant part of their lives?

Also sure, it kind of sucks sometimes, but I know that they'll still be there when I need them, even if it takes a bit more organising on their part. And, you can always put yourself first! Treat yourself like your own romantic partner; take yourself on cute 'dates' and go to that museum or restaurant or movie on your own, prepare your favourite meal and light some candles for the atmosphere for the heck of it (idk what people in relationships do lol). 

Finally, just because friends are largely busy, doesn't mean you can't still make plans with them and be close! And there's something to be said for teaming up with your best friend's SO to make their life infinitely more difficult :P 

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15 hours ago, Holmbo said:

To be jelaousy of it feels like akin to being jelaous about someone's relationship with their mom.

It's only that even teenagers know their mom for more than a decade. But a romantic partner of 3 weeks is usually regarded as more important than a friend. Aro thinking, sure.

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Interesting thoughts, you all got me thinking, haha.

15 hours ago, Holmbo said:

A question, is it the ranking itself (putting one person above another) that feels bad for you? Or is it that you're not the top most ranked?

I assume you feel different closeness with different friends? That you also priorities sometimes or favor one friend above the other. Are those friends who you don't feel as close to not meaningful to you?

For me, it's more of the importance? Like romantic relationships are regarded as deeper/more important than friendship. Ranking itself is a bit of a bummer, but it's not exactly the same - I wouldn't be jealous, really, of friends they have, though I might be a bit sad I miss out on certain activities. As for close friends as opposed to friends that are a bit more distant, I'd say they are both meaningful! But it's on the same level, in a way? Distant friends can become closer, and closer friends can grow distant. Yet romance is on a totally different level of closeness.

1 minute ago, DeltaV said:

It's only that even teenagers know their mom for more than a decade. But a romantic partner of 3 weeks is usually regarded as more important than a friend. Aro thinking, sure.

^ This explains it quite well. I feel the most "kicked in the gut" so to speak when someone I've known and been close to for years finds a romantic partner and very quickly grows to trust them and are even closer to them than they are to me, despite us being friends for years. I suppose it's a bit of a different feeling for me as well, since friendship is my deepest and strongest of non-familial relationships, while for others (allos, that is) romance tends to be the relationship type that they hold as the deepest and strongest. 

6 hours ago, Giu said:

And there's something to be said for teaming up with your best friend's SO to make their life infinitely more difficult :P 

This made me smile, haha - I definitely appreciate being there for my friends and seeing them happy, though not being first choice can be a bit saddening. Self-care and self-"dates" almost sound great though, I always find getting out and just occupying myself can chase away the negative thoughts.

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I relate....and have specifically had issues of friends just....not making time for me at all because once they started dating someone suddenly all their free time was occupied by their partner....even though had previous discussions with said friend that indicated them understanding the value I put on friendship such that didn't think they would do that.  I don't think they even realize they're doing it.  For me it's less "I must be top ranked person to this person", and more "I want this person to actually prioritize me enough to care to spend time with me, rather than having other people consistently prioritized over me".  So it's rough, yeah.....at this point most of my friends are online friends who are also aro tbh.  I don't particularly have good advice for dealing with it (bc have generally become rather jaded about such things in recent years), but yeah, big relate.

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10 hours ago, DeltaV said:

It's only that even teenagers know their mom for more than a decade. But a romantic partner of 3 weeks is usually regarded as more important than a friend. Aro thinking, sure.

True

But let's take this a scenario then. Your friend were estranged from their mother (for some third party reason) and never knew her. Suddenly when your friend is 25 they have a chance to finally connect. Connecting with their mom makes your friend so happy and she spends lots of time hanging out with her and talking on the phone, building their relationship. In that case would you feel jelaous that your friendship couldn't have provided her with that?

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I definitely relate. Sometimes I wonder if I actually want a partner or if I just want someone who cares enough about me to prioritize spending time with me. You described my feelings almost exactly. I want a relationship that means as much to the other person as it does to me. I would do almost anything for my friends, but I always feel that sinking feeling that you described when they get a significant other. Like, yes, I'm happy for them, but I always brace myself to be pushed aside. DM me if you want to talk more. I think I understand you, and I'm still learning on how to deal with the feelings myself.

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