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On quantum mech and the meaning of the 'schromantic' label

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The term 'schromantic' was popularized by Julie Sondra Decker aka swankivy and included by her into the book 'The Invisible Orientation: An Introduction to Asexuality'. Idk who the author of the term is.

 

Julie defined it (in an AVEN post in March 2014) as follows:

 

Quote

Schromantic  Describing romance in terms of Schrödinger's Cat--having the possibility of being romantic or aromantic at the same time

 

Please note the word 'possibility', which is very important in the definition.

 

People tend to alter the definition, saying that a schromantic is someone who is rom and aro at the same time, which makes little sense and confuses.

 

In the old-school Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics, a property of a particle exists in a superposition of states until it's measured, when it collapses into a deterministic state ('the measurement affects the particle'). But I understand that the thought of being inherently rom and aro at the same time until one tries to get into a relationship may be unsettling to some :D

 

As a better parallel between romance and quantum mechanics, I prefer to invoke the de Broglie - Bohm theory which assumes that all particles have deterministic properties, but their evolution can't be measured locally; instead, it follows a global guiding equation and could be found out only if the setup of the entire universe ('the boundary conditions') is known, so it's impossible to know the exact properties of one particle without knowing the properties of all the particles in the universe.

 

When applied to relationships, means that one's position on the romantic (or sexual) spectrum can't be determined exactly without knowing the romantic (sexual) properties of all other people at the same time.

 

I think such an interpretation is viable. However, those who tell that you'll necessarily find 'the right partner' are still wrong (making assumptions about your future interactions with other people without knowing those people). The truth is that you can measure your romanticism only as a statistical estimate of your 'romantic wave function' basing on what you've experienced so far. This estimate is however very helpful when it comes to decision-making.

 

Say, I estimate that there's a 90% chance of me being aro and a 10% chance of me being rom, basing on the fact that I haven't had legitimate romantic attraction for the zillion years of my life. When I encounter someone, I assess 1) the benefit that I'd get from dating them if I were romantic, 2) the distress that I'd experience in the relationship if I were aro. If that benefit is less than 9 times that distress, I pass up on the dating opportunity because I estimate its expected value (in terms of happiness) as negative. Upon observing more facts about both myself and about the people surrounding me, I can refine these estimates. It's possible that some of my decisions may turn out wrong, but I know that they were correct according to the info that I had at the time.

 

Comments from those who know quantum physics well (incl., I assume, @Vega , @Simowl , @Dodecahedron314@Zemaddog and @Dodgypotato ) about measurements and uncertainty and how quantum concepts can be applied to relationships are very welcome! ;)

 

Does anyone else here have or wish to try out such a probabilistic approach to decision-making in relationships? :icecream:

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Quantum mechanics and all this stuff isn't honestly something I've yet looked into loads, and barely covered in class... so I don't think I really have anything to add :P 

But I do think it's a really interesting way to look at romantic attraction/relationships! And something I can kind of relate to... I think.

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Tbh, I was initially going to formulate just a statistical approach to determining the romantic / sexual orientation, but then I recalled that the term 'schromantic' exists and thought it was cool to draw a parallel between this approach and quantum studies. The term 'romantic wave function' sounds cuter to me than 'romantic density' ('romantic probability density function' - a function that assigns a probability density to each point of the romantic spectrum), but the downside of invoking the quantum theory is that it scares away people who would try the approach out if it were explained in simpler terms.

 

So I need to think of the best way to reformulate it.

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I think it's an interesting theory. The only thing is, it's impossible to not have any observation at all. If you are romantic at all, you realize when you do feel romantic attraction which instantly becomes a data point. For aromantics, the lack of ever noticing that feeling is in itself a data point.

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That the definition of aromanticism is so categorical ('never experiences romantic attraction') is another consideration. As it's impossible to prove aromanticism by brute force (i.e. by getting in touch with all the adults in the world), a conclusive proof needs to show that one's psychological mechanisms for developing romantic attraction are permanently disabled, which is also a hard task, especially in those who're cuddle-positive, or want a QPR, or are attracted to fictional characters. And those mechanisms might wake up once in a while (as in pon farr :D) / under unexpected circumstances.

 

And I like the continuous model of romanticism that places one on the spectrum according to the percentage of the population that they can get romantically attracted to. I suspect that, for some people, this % is not 0 but still so low that the probability of them ever meeting a suitable candidate is negligible and they can be regarded as aro for practical purposes.

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I'd just like to say that I'm nowhere near an expert on quantum mechanics, I read a book on it once.

 

In all honesty, the idea of being romantic and aromantic at the same time doesn't make much sense to me. The only way that I can make sense of this is if someone can't tell if what they are experiencing is romantic attraction or not. The only way to tell would essentially be to try and start a romantic relationship, at which point the person would be able to tell if it was romantic attraction or not. But then that just sounds like quoiromantic.

 

I honestly don't feel like you can latch this aspect of quantum mechanics to romanticism. I realise that all of quantum mechanics is weird and unintuitive, but this schromantic just doesn't sit right with me. How can you experience something, and not experience something at the same time? The instant you think about it, it's like a particle being measured and it collapses into one state or the other. Unless you don't know if what you experience is romantic attraction or not, in which case you're either quoiromantic, or it's something like alterous attraction.

 

Sorry if that's confusing to you; I'm probably as confused by this schromantic as you are reading my rambling.

 

 

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I agree with Phoenix. It's very interesting. However it doesn't make sense. The only time when you would be in a point of a/romantic superposition is when you are very young. According to this theory, aromantic people would always be in a point of superposition. The only way you could make an 'observation' and therefore 'flip' into a stat of either romantic, or aromantic, would be if you were to feel romantic attraction. And therefore you could only ever be in a state of superposition or be romantic.

 

Thus if you're comparing to quantum theory, all aromantics would be schromantic. And that in itself does not make sense, as Zema explained in his post above.

 

I do love your de Brolie - Bohm theory comparison, though! My romantic wave form is trapped in an infinite well.

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At first I didn't get this at all, but I think I'm getting there. It's an interesting thought exercise.

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@RedNeko Yeah, sorry, I'm terrible at explaining things to people.

 

13 hours ago, Zemaddog said:

The only way that I can make sense of this is if someone can't tell if what they are experiencing is romantic attraction or not. The only way to tell would essentially be to try and start a romantic relationship, at which point the person would be able to tell if it was romantic attraction or not. But then that just sounds like quoiromantic.

 

Right - I was trying to explain quoiromanticism and alterous attraction first and foremost, as the theory would make little practical difference to those who're 'clearly romantic' or 'clearly aro' anyway. In my perception, the term 'schromantic' describes someone who uses a quantum-like paradigm in the research of their position on the romantic spectrum; it's not a separate orientation itself.

 

8 hours ago, Dodgypotato said:

According to this theory, aromantic people would always be in a point of superposition.

 

Alas that's a flaw of the definition of aromanticism, as of any definition containing a universal quantifier ('for every person X in the world, I can't be attracted romantically to X'). It's easy to prove that one is romantic by providing one example, whereas a proof of aromanticism requires either exhaustive search (meeting every adult in the world) which is impossible in practice, or some kind of sophisticated diagnostic.

 

When people state 'you haven't met the right person yet', they refer exactly to the fact that a universal statement can't be conclusively proved by mere partial search. I've been looking for an antidote to this argument because I can't prove that my brain isn't hard-wired with a romantic attraction mechanism. The partial search has only given a statistical evidence (not even a strict proof) of that, in the 'epistemic superposition' (for decision-making purposes) of my romantic orientations, aro is much more probable than romantic.

 

Therefore, I find it more practical to explain my romance repulsion (which I feel is in superposition) as 'dating an adult randomly selected out of those whom I have considered dating or would consider it if I knew them has a negative expected value to me basing on what I know so far' instead of 'dating any adult in the world has a negative value to me'. That's partly because most romantic sexuals in my environment have a good understanding of the concept of an expected value. Yes, I've been lucky to have such an educated environment.

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5 hours ago, Dodgypotato said:

The only way you could make an 'observation' and therefore 'flip' into a stat of either romantic, or aromantic, would be if you were to feel romantic attraction. And therefore you could only ever be in a state of superposition or be romantic.

 

Actually, experiencing romantic attraction is not the only way to make things clearer. Perhaps the many-worlds interpretation provides the most convenient explanation: I imagine that there are a lot of possible worlds, I'm romantic in some of them and aro in the rest of them; when I encounter someone e.g. aesthetically attractive (who I think would be a candidate for a crush if I were romantic) and I don't feel romantic attraction to them, this observation doesn't totally determine my orientation, but it does remove some of the worlds where I would be romantic, and therefore increases the epistemic probability of me being aro. In quantum terms, an interaction with a person doesn't collapse our romantic wavefunctions into a single label, but we do get entangled :euphemism:

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