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This is my first time posting in any kind of aro forum, but this has been annoying me for a couple of weeks now and I’d like to sort my feelings out. I’m pretty sure I’m ace, but I’m still trying to figure out if I’m aro as well, thus this post was born. I’ve read through several threads of aromantic experiences and such, but my own experiences don’t seem to match...? So maybe I’m something else...

Fair warning: this post got kind of long sorry!! There’s a TLDR at the bottom haha. 

The following is mostly me just throwing random thoughts/facts and such out, in hopes that maybe one of you can discern if I’m aro lol

I’m a pretty big shipper, and I love romance! (Or at least, the idea of it?) I find it incredibly sweet - the thought of finding someone that complements you, having a partner you can rely on and care for (and vice versa). Domestic romance fiction? Yummmm. Slow burn passionate enemies/friends to lovers?? Yessssss!! It’s all just. Great. Although this usually just applies to fanfiction; sometimes when a tv show wastes ages on a romance subplot I get annoyed because I feel like it’s unnecessary and forced when they could be happily friends without all this drama??

I’m also pretty empathetic, so it’s easy for me to extrapolate how people must feel after being cheated on, or how they feel about their crushes, etc. 

For the longest time, I kind of just assumed that I would eventually get a crush that I would gush and think about all the time but nope!! Nothing!! Over my entire high school time, I had three crushes - except now I feel like they were probably  squishes or aesthetic admiration instead. I came to this conclusion after comparing my ‘crushes’ to my friends’ crushes and realising that my crushes were a lot more... toned down? Platonic? Plus I never wanted to actually act on them, I was content to just wait the feelings out, which took max 2 months. I was asked out by a couple of guys, but the thought of actually saying yes never even occurred to me lmao, I was mostly inwardly freaking out about how to let them down gently. 

Not to mention that I literally never thought about relationships unless someone mentioned it or I read fanfiction lol. The idea of me having a romantic relationship just feels kind of... weird. I love physical affection such as hugs, hand-holding, casual touches, etc., and I get plenty of that from my family and friends. My emotional needs are all met. What would I get out of a romantic relationship???? Literally nothing that I don’t already get! 
But at the same time I love the idea of having a partner that I can just. vibe with??? I don’t care about having some ~romantic spark~, I just want someone I can watch tv series on the couch with and cuddle, ramble about our interests together, talk about actual feelings with??!?   But at the same time, I can’t say I’m actually adverse to a romantic relationship because I’ve never been in one; I just feel kind of indifferent about it. Like,,, oh yeah that exists? 
But theNN!!! I get crushes on fictional characters!!! I think? At this point I can’t tell the difference between crushes and squishes. Idk sometimes I see a character and they act so damn precious and sweet or reckless and stupid and I want to love and protect them from literally everything including themselves, yknow??? 

TLDR; i read through a lot of threads, and a lotttt of aros seem to not like physical affection, or they cannot understand (or enjoy) romance at all, they hate PDA, they don’t notice romantic tension, etc., and it’s all just the complete opposite of me. But I still relate to the aromanticism itself. Am I aro, or is there some other thing I was unaware of? Thanks if you actually read through all that ha.

 

EDIT: thanks everyone!! I’m gonna hold off on calling myself aro for now, but this definitely cleared up some things for me :)

Edited by birbsRus
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Your anecdotes read like a lot of "I like romance and affection" and "eh romance probably isn't for me" and they can both be true at the same time. Being aromantic means to not feel romantic attraction at all, much, rarely, unpredictably, just - differently than is the norm. If that's true for you and the label is useful, then you're aromantic.

In terms of comparing yourself, a lot of what you said resonated with me. Romance in fiction is cool, I'm good at putting myself in other people's shoes so relationship emotions make sense, physical affection is nice af, romance doesn't exist until someone else brings it up, and since its not a thing then I have no strong feelings about it one way or another. I can't say I've ever thought about what kind of impressions aromantics give off and it's interesting that this is what you've found!

This is a really great place to talk to aros about your experiences (and other cool shit too) so I'd say you're in the right place haha

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i can really relate to almost everything you said lskdlsfj fanfics and fictional characters are awesome. ideally, having a partner seems cool, but real life is disappointing honestly.. not all aromantics are romance repulsed, it's okay to be aro and still enjoy romance!

Edited by babo_
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You can be aro or aro-spec and still enjoy shipping and not be romance repulsed! :D

I'm demiromantic, but I have only ever had feelings for two people, one a crush that faded after a few months and one person since that I consider myself to be actually in love with (even now). But I don't care about finding a romantic partner, don't really want one......though I used to find the idea of having an S/O to be nice when I was younger. 

If you haven't had a crush or been "in love" in the romantic sense, then you're probably aro! Fictoromantic (having feelings for fictional characters) people can also be on the aro spectrum. But it can be really hard to discern between being really into someone platonically and being in romantic feels for them, so I feel ya!

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On 11/24/2020 at 4:37 AM, birbsRus said:

I’m a pretty big shipper, and I love romance! (Or at least, the idea of it?) I find it incredibly sweet - the thought of finding someone that complements you, having a partner you can rely on and care for (and vice versa). Domestic romance fiction? Yummmm. Slow burn passionate enemies/friends to lovers?? Yessssss!! It’s all just. Great. Although this usually just applies to fanfiction; sometimes when a tv show wastes ages on a romance subplot I get annoyed because I feel like it’s unnecessary and forced when they could be happily friends without all this drama?? 

Yep yep yep! All of this, yep! I've been shipping for years, I love sappy romance novels, I love recycled fanfic tropes. And I also feel you so hard on TV romance subplots, god, they're so boring!! Just make these characters friends!! I think for a relationship to work for me, it has to appeal to the types of attraction that I do experience: sexual and platonic. If the platonic attraction is interesting (they have an unlikely friendship, they fit really well together-- or they don't fit really well together and it's intentional) and/or the sexual attraction is interesting (the characters have chemistry, or sexuality is a prominent plot point (aka forbidden gays) then I'm all for it! Otherwise it falls a bit flat for me. 

On 11/24/2020 at 4:37 AM, birbsRus said:

But at the same time I love the idea of having a partner that I can just. vibe with??? I don’t care about having some ~romantic spark~, I just want someone I can watch tv series on the couch with and cuddle, ramble about our interests together, talk about actual feelings with??!?

Aaaah yes!! Give me a good snuggle buddy!! IMO, casual platonic touching and intimate conversations should be much more mainstream with platonic friendships, but especially in America those things are pretty much exclusively tied to romantic relationships or non-platonic/sexual relationships. I think it's perfectly natural for people to want these things, and I also think that the desire for physical touch and intimacy is not always inherently romantic. 

On 11/24/2020 at 4:37 AM, birbsRus said:

a lotttt of aros seem to not like physical affection, or they cannot understand (or enjoy) romance at all, they hate PDA, they don’t notice romantic tension, etc., and it’s all just the complete opposite of me

Tbh it's a mixed bag for me. I love physical affection (I'm not ace, and my sexual identity has nothing to do with my romantic identity lol). And while I don't "get" romance, I still enjoy it a lot in my media-- though my tastes are perhaps a bit more picky than other people's. I notice romantic tension... sometimes? I'm pretty bad at it- but I honestly don't attribute that to my aromanticism, I think that's just me. Idk, I think these things are less like a checklist of rules for being aromantic, and more like a list of possible signs/symptoms. Not all aros are the same, and not all of us like/dislike the same things- just like most other groups of people. We're diverse! There are even aros who want and will willingly enter romantic relationships! (I believe the term is cupioromantic) (and sidenote, these relationships are perfectly fine and healthy if there is enough communication involved. Think of it like a sex-neutral or sex-positive ace: while they don't feel sexual attraction, they might be willing to have sex for the sake of their partner. An aro might be willing to enter a relationship with a close friend even though they don't feel true romantic attraction.) I think you could definitely still be aro- though you don't have to be, obviously. It took me a few months before I was confident enough to say I was.

The important thing to remember is that at its core, your romantic identity is about how you, personally, experience/don't experience romantic attraction. It can affect, but is not defined by, the way you view romance in your media, the types of relationships and social activities that you want, etc etc. Being aromantic is not about hating romance, it's not about being uncomfortable by romance, and it's not always about not wanting a romantic relationship, believe it or not. It's about whether or not you experience romantic attraction. And no one else, not even the most experienced aromantic out there, is going to know exactly how you feel: only you can know that.

It might take some time to figure out exactly what you do feel (or what you don't), so I encourage you to do some deep thinking about this stuff! What kind of a relationship do you want? What would make you comfortable? What would make you uncomfortable? When you feel attraction (whatever kind it is) towards someone, is it guided by the desire to be in a relationship? Or is it guided by the desire to be close friends, or to be sexually intimate with that person, real or fictional?

Anyway, hope this wall of text had at least a couple points that could help you! If you're looking for any other labels, here's a good resource for you! Specifically, here is a list of identities, and here's a list of relationship terms. You might not fit any of them perfectly, but it's a good jumping off point if you're feeling stuck. And in any case, welcome to the forums!! Hope to catch you around :)

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wow ok so i relate really hard to all of this? the main thing that helped me was actually being confronted by the possibility/becomings of a romantic relationship and suddenly, violently realizing that the romantic feelings i thought i had were more akin to squishes or maybe alterous attraction? which, i would perhaps recommend looking into? it helped clarify a lot for me anyway.

Edited by cyancat
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