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i might be aro/grey but it's hard to tell


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first of all, I'm so glad I found this site — though my friends vary in orientation, theyve never really had to think about if they could fall in love in the first place, and it made my self-discovery kinda lonely. when I first started questioning how I felt, I thought I was just broken or smth, no offence to everyone on the aro spectrum reading this (though you've probably had a moment like mine at some point too). everyone around me was falling in and out of love with so much fervor that i felt like an outcast sometimes cause I Could Barely Relate. but reading stuff here (and on AVEN) gave me hope that maybe I fit in somewhere i just couldn't grasp yet :D so here I am, v eager to learn!

i used to identify as bisexual but now I'm not so sure. I thought I've had a fair amount of "crushes" before but a friend and I had a discussion lately abt past "crushes" and I came to realize that the way she saw crushes was quite different from the way I saw them. some examples:

1. she told me that she couldn't imagine contentedly staying friends with anyone she has seriously liked before. idk how common that is but I dont think I've ever even wanted to pursue a "relationship" with anyone I've liked before at all. if i had to describe what I desired from them that made me think I had a crush, it'd be the way I wanted to be close to them, so to speak. I wanted us to have a special connection, but engaging in traditionally romantic stuff never felt necessary to me. I did some research and a "squish" seemed pretty spot on for how I felt abt my past "crushes", but I'm confused as to where I'm supposed to draw the line between wanting to be close to someone as a particularly important friend and wanting to be romantically involved with someone (disregarding sex). where do y'all draw it?

2. I've experienced jealousy — once. And it was cause i felt like a friend (who I thought I had a crush on) was replacing me and I was losing my special status as her best friend LMAO. funny thing was, she said she felt the same abt me and another friend I was making at the time, but she's never liked me "that way", so I'm chalking it up to a platonic rather than a romantic kind of jealousy, if that makes sense... other than that, everyone I've ever "crushed on" could like / be dating someone else and I wouldn't really feel resentful about it. my lack of jealousy is telling me something but my desire to be "special" to someone tells me something else... does wanting to be special to someone = romantic attraction?

3. whenever someone tries to get close to me with obviously-romantic intent (emphasis on obvious cause I'm usually oblivious to these things ???) I get uncomfortable and a little grossed out (?), while my friends actively seek the opportunity to bond w people romantically (even strangers, which I try to understand but I simply Can't)... is it just cause I'm nervous/scared? is it cause of the person themselves? am I being immature? I dont feel repulsed by platonic skinship (my friends are super touchy and it blurs the lines even more ;_;) or cheesy declarations from my friends but when I'm aware that the other person wants something from me other than friendship I get queasy and look for ways to divert the mood. send help lol

sidenote: I know I like romance theoretically. Having a special person I can bond w for life sounds appealing (sex is cool too) and i get really invested in fictional stories under the romance genre. But every time I've been confronted w it, or a potential for it to bloom, IRL, I feel gross (not the sex part just the romance part). I wonder sometimes if I just havent found the right person, but that's a query only time can answer :| 

this next part's gonna make me sound callous af, but I've also never liked the maintenance and obligatory aspects of Real romantic relationships (e.g. constant attention and interaction, acting as emotional support, effortful gestures that take me out of my comfort zone, etc.)... the things I would do willingly and the effort I'd voluntarily put in close friendships sound like a chore when I think of pouring them into romantic relationships, where they're unspokenly required. I'm typing this in as an afterthought cause I'm aware that my capacity for romantic attraction is separate from my willingness to commit to relationships (I have trouble committing to friends too sometimes, so it could just be my personality) but it might be relevant?

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Welcome to Arocalypse! I'll try to address some of your points as a grayromantic person myself and with what I've heard from alloromantics. 

1. I don't really think its a line that's drawn rather than a completely different realm. Platonic feelings/attraction and romantic feelings/attraction can overlap when you feel them for one person, but they're different feelings. I can't speak to the inability to be friends with people I'm romantically attracted to because my romantic attraction isn't strong and doesn't mean very much, but that is something I've frequently heard from my alloro friends. 

2. I've heard this from a lot of aros. It's hard to watch a close friend suddenly prioritize someone else. Jealously does not need to be romantic. 

3. I and several aros I know also get really upset when this happens. It could happen because you're nervous or because you don't like the person, but try to think of a scenario when it wouldn't upset you. Try to think of a person whom you would actually want to make romantic advances on you. Craft the ideal person in your mind. Do you want to be romantic with them? 

And to finding romance nice theoretically and maybe finding the "right person" in time, that doesn't change if aromantic feels like a nice identity for you right now. And many alloromantic people have had a variety of romantic interests by the time they are in their early twenties. So you could be aro/aro-spectrum, and that might be more useful for you than identifying as a late bloomer. It's absolutely your own choice in the end, though. And how you identify can be changed at any time :)

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Thanks for replying, I really appreciate it :D

your response to #3 gave me a lot to think about. i actually often find myself fantasizing about being in idealistic romantic situations, but despite the stories my imagination might conjure, when i'm confronted with situations for it to actually happen IRL i feel antsy and distressed :// it's difficult to articulate but i think this captures it well HHHHH: bd0f238bd4787b46a1299373beeafb950086304b.jpg


and to your last point, i understand :). i'm still thinking about what to call myself and how to label how i feel at present, but i know these things shift over time so i don't feel that pressured to put myself in a box and stick to it all my life. all i really want rn is to be able to understand myself better really, so thank you for being a big help! :D

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