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Would you say that I'm aro, or something else?


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For a long time I thought I couldn't be aromantic because of how romance-averse and "clueless" the ones I knew seemed to be, but I'm starting to think I might be (maybe I'm just as clueless and romance-averse as those people, lol, looking back at what I wrote ūüôĄ). I've called myself aro for a while now, but I'm still not sure if it's right. Opinions would be helpful.

Condensed life-story: I never grew up.

 

Okay let's make it a bit longer than that ...

I never grew out of the stage where you turn away from the tv when people kiss, I have horrid shivers of discomfort when I see other people rubbing their partner's back or when people talk cute to each other. I never got interested in other humans for romantic or sexual purposes. However, I kept a romanticized fantasy of how a relationship could be, and ofc that sounded like it would be nice. A best friend that you were comfortable with being close to (as in: living with, calling "partner"). Someone to travel with, talk to, share bills with. Basically a person to just walk through life with. None of that cringe-y stuff you see on TV.

I've been interested in complete strangers twice because of how they looked back when I was a teen, but the one I actually made contact with killed every single flake of curiosity when he proved to be nothing like that fantasy image of a "best friend companion". I got angry and quite dramatically dismissed him (it is embarrassing to think about it, but 'young and dumb' I guess, we never got past the "maybe-friends chatting on MSN"-stage).

About 2 years ago I experienced that exact (or very similar) emotion when I picked up a pair of sunglasses, a person who looked like those two previous individuals worked in the store. Now I was able (I think?) to identify it: aesthetic attraction. To me he looked like how I envisioned a god to look. Nothing more to the feeling other than "wow, a walking and talking painting, incredible". I suppose it's so rare for me to feel anything at all for people that the only thing I did feel back then (as a teen) just had to be love? x)

I did get into two relationships during that time, meaning age 15-20, as well (at different times, not at the same time), both started with the other person saying "I love you" and me saying "I love you too?" (when I didn't). I honestly thought that feelings would come, but they never did. First relationship lasted 2 years, I broke up because I felt bad for lying, never said that I lied though. Second one I broke up with after 7 months because he drove me nuts, he was clingy and sexual (first one wasn't clingy at all), after rejecting him for months I was so over it that I gave up trying.

 

Anyway, I'm still in the spot where I feel that a relationship could be nice... if the other person was like me and had no romantic/sexual needs. I'm not sure if this makes me aro or just a very picky romantic? I'm 28 years old now and I know I'm asexual, basically knew that ever since I saw the word, but romantic attraction is way more confusing to me.


If anyone made it through, congrats, I didn't mean for it to turn into so much text.

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ok, here are a few thoughts.

 

You certaily sound aro with a lot of this. the idea of wanting some form of close relationship but not romantic is rather common here. you said in your intro about being an old aven user so you probably know about stuff like queerplatonic relationships and that sort of thing already. Ideas like that are useful for aros as well.

 

21 hours ago, Mika said:

if the other person was like me and had no romantic/sexual needs. I'm not sure if this makes me aro or just a very picky romantic?

picky is an understatement there, maybe you are, but to be honest that sounds far more aro. you want the sort of romance that doesnt involve romance :).

also having fantasies about romance but not wanting romance to happen to you is another thing that is fairly common here.  Might be worth having a quick look through aro identities here and see if any of the labels would be a good description for what you experience. https://www.aromanticism.org/en/identity-terms

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40 minutes ago, roboticanary said:

ok, here are a few thoughts.

 

You certaily sound aro with a lot of this. the idea of wanting some form of close relationship but not romantic is rather common here. you said in your intro about being an old aven user so you probably know about stuff like queerplatonic relationships and that sort of thing already. Ideas like that are useful for aros as well.

 

picky is an understatement there, maybe you are, but to be honest that sounds far more aro. you want the sort of romance that doesnt involve romance :).

also having fantasies about romance but not wanting romance to happen to you is another thing that is fairly common here.  Might be worth having a quick look through aro identities here and see if any of the labels would be a good description for what you experience. https://www.aromanticism.org/en/identity-terms

Thank you for your reply! I did take a look at a list earlier that had about 30 different labels where I only recognised about half (I think it was in the welcome-section?). That was quite a strange experience, coming from aven I thought I had seen it all already. A queerplatonic relationship would be nice for sure, if I liked being around the person well enough ... I have very low expectations of ever entering one of those.

 

I don't know if I've ever actually experienced anything remotely similar to romantic attraction. I do not understand what it is or what it would feel like. Knowing what I know now, every single person I even considered as a teen were reflections of my own expectations, meaning only strangers would do because people I knew weren't like the made up images in my head. Even the images in my head have never been romantic, the scenarios have always been about just making a deal with someone to tag them as "partner" and make a team. Innocent, naive.

You know, the closest relationship I've ever had was with a friend that I had between age 8 and 12. We spent almost every day together, and we got very close, almost as if we were family. She's the only person that I ever got upset about losing. I didn't feel anything when I left those partners I had later on, and I've had other friends come and go. I suppose I don't get attached that easily, but yeah, I suppose a friendship like that, and just put "partners" on it, and that would be alright by me.

 

To come back to that list: I don't know. I don't think I am fray as my teenage years could suggest, it was never a romantic interest. I might be wtfromantic, because I honestly don't get it, or maybe I'm just a regular aromantic person? Some of the labels on that longer list I don't understand, what is neurodivergency?? Sigh.

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On 12/16/2020 at 12:26 AM, Mika said:

"wow, a walking and talking painting, incredible"

Relate to it greatly. 

 

On 12/16/2020 at 12:26 AM, Mika said:

I never grew out of the stage where you turn away from the tv when people kiss

and, again, relate to it. I thought it would pass but still eww. [22f-egg]
Interesting, I just noticed, kissing/sex is gross  only if it is developed characters. Porn and another nsfw content in internet is just neutral. Like "whatever, I don't know you". IRL it is 100% gross. Don't throw in my face your amatonormativity. 

Overall: this is really, like 80%, alike my expirience.The only thing I did not have realtionships. I did have an online friend that was good with me, that later confesed to me he loved me. I started ghosting him in soon after this confession. I felt traped when I talked to him from that moment. Ffs i did not see that comming. We talk sometimes, once a year maybe, and last time he confessed he was (when he confessed +- that year) thinking about marrying me. Eww, gross, chill please. I would never give up or put on hold my goals and dreams for marriage. Still, before this conffession he was really special friend that I could totally trust. I wouldnt mind if someone like him (he has NO career goals, it is no-no go for me) be my qpp, he was really nice as friend.
Anyway, all rest is 100% relate. And I am sure (99%, lol) I am aro. I do think you are as well. Some human beings are really aethteticaly blessed. Had first "crush" because of his voice. As soon I started knowing him in romantic way (I was 13-14, don't blame me) and I started getting used to his, now usual, voice - all magic was gone (so do I)

p.s. sorry for spelling, i am to lazy to fix it
 

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On 12/16/2020 at 8:44 PM, Mika said:

To come back to that list: I don't know.

Ok, no worries.Those lists can be useful for some people in finding a different facet of aromanticism than whatever stereotypes they had before arriving here, for example looking at people with ideas of romance very different from the clueless, romance averse sort you talked about at the beginning. Sometimes these lists provide an identity that fits well, sometimes they dont.

While it is true you could be a very 'picky' romantic it seems that being aromantic is very likely. your reply really sounds like how many aros think about the idea of a long term relationship with a good friend.

On 12/16/2020 at 8:44 PM, Mika said:

I suppose a friendship like that, and just put "partners" on it, and that would be alright by me.

that is very similar to how I would think about a long term relationship

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Thank you both for your replies, I'm glad others can relate x) I am pretty sure that I am not romantic since I've more and more realised that I don't feel anything like that for people. With sexuality it was easier because that's pretty straight to the point, I've never doubted that I'm asexual, romantic attraction is such a fuzzy concept which leaves room for doubt.

I will just go on and call myself aromantic, there's no point in doubting it when I have literally never felt differently, I was just less knowledgeable as a teen.

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A lot of this is a big mood, especially breakups with "romantic partners" being far less impactful than long time early teen years friendship breakups hitting far harder. (In fact, I similarly had a guy I dated when he confessed more out of curiousity and wanting to see if I would develop those feelings back, and when he got afraid of how chill I was about the possible commitment side of things and wanted to break up, I was more or less just "yeah cool, figured as much" and got felt far worse that my bestfriend at the time got really sad and angry on my behalf than about the break up itself lol)

And some people just do look good, yeah. It's the good old "you admire a Monet painting but you don't want to have sex with it" but applied to romantic side of things too. Especially the  "A best friend that you were comfortable with being close to (as in: living with, calling "partner"). Someone to travel with, talk to, share bills with. Basically a person to just walk through life with. None of that cringe-y stuff you see on TV." part, which was weird to my highschool friends when I mentioned that's how I saw myself ever being a thing with anyone.

On 12/16/2020 at 11:44 PM, Mika said:

Some of the labels on that longer list I don't understand, what is neurodivergency??

Also, since I didn't see this part being responded to, it is essentially a catch all umbrella term for people who have brains function differently compared to what is considered "normal" by social norms, ie. the most common example given is people with ADHD/people on Autism spectrum but it also applies to personality disorders/people with mental health issues as well. From my experience, there are a lot of aro (and/or ace and/or nb) autistic people, though it doesn't necessarily mean all autistic people are at least one of them.

I didn't see stuff like that being brought up much on AVEN for what little time I was on there ages ago, but I see aspie community fairly involved in aro groups, really.

I hope this wasn't an unnecessary addition since you already decided to use the label, just wanted to add some additional context for the last part and chime in that a lot of your experience sounds familiar to me?

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4 hours ago, ApeironStella said:

A lot of this is a big mood, especially breakups with "romantic partners" being far less impactful than long time early teen years friendship breakups hitting far harder. (In fact, I similarly had a guy I dated when he confessed more out of curiousity and wanting to see if I would develop those feelings back, and when he got afraid of how chill I was about the possible commitment side of things and wanted to break up, I was more or less just "yeah cool, figured as much" and got felt far worse that my bestfriend at the time got really sad and angry on my behalf than about the break up itself lol)

And some people just do look good, yeah. It's the good old "you admire a Monet painting but you don't want to have sex with it" but applied to romantic side of things too. Especially the  "A best friend that you were comfortable with being close to (as in: living with, calling "partner"). Someone to travel with, talk to, share bills with. Basically a person to just walk through life with. None of that cringe-y stuff you see on TV." part, which was weird to my highschool friends when I mentioned that's how I saw myself ever being a thing with anyone.

Also, since I didn't see this part being responded to, it is essentially a catch all umbrella term for people who have brains function differently compared to what is considered "normal" by social norms, ie. the most common example given is people with ADHD/people on Autism spectrum but it also applies to personality disorders/people with mental health issues as well. From my experience, there are a lot of aro (and/or ace and/or nb) autistic people, though it doesn't necessarily mean all autistic people are at least one of them.

I didn't see stuff like that being brought up much on AVEN for what little time I was on there ages ago, but I see aspie community fairly involved in aro groups, really.

I hope this wasn't an unnecessary addition since you already decided to use the label, just wanted to add some additional context for the last part and chime in that a lot of your experience sounds familiar to me?

Oh, I don't mind more replies to the thread at all, I enjoy reading about others experiences! To be honest the only thing I felt when I broke up with the 'romantic partners' that I had was relief and a sense of "finally it is over" (I did feel bad for them for about a week though, for some reason they took it very badly).

Thank you for explaining neurodivergency, I've never heard that expression before.

 

I didn't grow up surrounded by other people my age when all the stuff is supposed to change, the group of people that I used to be with gently left me behind at around age 12/13. I didn't quite accept it despite noticing it and being frustrated about it, so I kept following them around until the summer holidays where I turned 14, after that I was on my own for the remainder of my teens. I think part of the reason I was left behind was because I didn't change like they did. They cared about makeup and clothes, none of which I had developed any interest for at that age, and the mindless talk about boys and such didn't really strike me as anything more than silly banter, that I'm now guessing that it probably wasn't.

In one way I'm thankful that I grew up without peer pressure, I never felt like the weird one.

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On 12/15/2020 at 10:26 PM, Mika said:

I never grew out of the stage where you turn away from the tv when people kiss, I have horrid shivers of discomfort when I see other people rubbing their partner's back or when people talk cute to each other. I never got interested in other humans for romantic or sexual purposes. However, I kept a romanticized fantasy of how a relationship could be, and ofc that sounded like it would be nice. A best friend that you were comfortable with being close to (as in: living with, calling "partner"). Someone to travel with, talk to, share bills with. Basically a person to just walk through life with. None of that cringe-y stuff you see on TV.

That sounds exactly like me. Nowadays, I try not to look away when watching tv, but seeing people lapping at each other really isn't a very pleasant sight. I also have the same thing with rubbing the back, never thought I would find others, it's rather specific after all. For me, even the sound of rubbing is making me feel uncomfortable. My brother likes to do this with his girlfriend at the dinner table (or massaging each other). It's making me lose my appetite, but of course I can't tell him that, so I can only endure the shivers. 

Comparing our experiences like that I am inclined to say that you are, like me, very very likely aromantic. But of course that can only ever be a suggestion. Maybe it's not necessary to define aromantic that strictly for yourself yet. If you are comfortable with it, just think of yourself as on the aromantic spektrum, no need to completely deny the possibility of experencing romance or other forms of companionship. I hope you find an answer for yourself. 

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6 hours ago, Black Sesame said:

That sounds exactly like me. Nowadays, I try not to look away when watching tv, but seeing people lapping at each other really isn't a very pleasant sight. I also have the same thing with rubbing the back, never thought I would find others, it's rather specific after all. For me, even the sound of rubbing is making me feel uncomfortable. My brother likes to do this with his girlfriend at the dinner table (or massaging each other). It's making me lose my appetite, but of course I can't tell him that, so I can only endure the shivers. 

Comparing our experiences like that I am inclined to say that you are, like me, very very likely aromantic. But of course that can only ever be a suggestion. Maybe it's not necessary to define aromantic that strictly for yourself yet. If you are comfortable with it, just think of yourself as on the aromantic spektrum, no need to completely deny the possibility of experencing romance or other forms of companionship. I hope you find an answer for yourself. 

My bonus sister and her boyfriend would do it at the dinner table. There's something so possessive and intimate about it, like it's not meant to be done in front of others? That's how it felt to me, anyway, and I'm glad to see that I'm not alone in that regard.

I've used the word aromantic for myself for some years now. I've felt like it for considerably longer but denied it due to having a vivid imagination (that I later realised had 0 romantic intent/relationships/attraction at all), and also because I don't mind the notion of a relationship, which is something that is only ever displayed as being something romantic in today's society. I've been quite unsure due to reasons stated above, but after a while it felt like I was just denying the obvious.

The reason I made this thread was because this forum is filled with people that I assume experience similar things, and that it wouldn't hurt to just put it out there. I'm about 99% sure I am aro, but that 1% is like "maybe you're just very picky or demi", and I mean, how am I supposed to know that? On top of it all I'm a natural loner, I don't long to spent physical time with people, I don't long for making friends (even if that would be nice I guess), so if I am in fact demi... how am I supposed to know when I never develop any close relationships? The only close relationship I've had was with that friend when I was 8-12, I don't know if I have attachment issues or what (as in, I never get attached?), but everyone else have come and gone without me batting an eye.

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6 hours ago, Song of Dawn said:

My bonus sister and her boyfriend would do it at the dinner table. There's something so possessive and intimate about it, like it's not meant to be done in front of others? That's how it felt to me, anyway, and I'm glad to see that I'm not alone in that regard.

I feel the same way about this, though I have no idea where it comes from. I definitely wasn't taught to feel/think that way, so I can only attribute it to my aroace aversion of intimacy.

6 hours ago, Song of Dawn said:

I'm about 99% sure I am aro, but that 1% is like "maybe you're just very picky or demi", and I mean, how am I supposed to know that?

Right? It's impossible to prove, because there is no way to foresee whether things will change in the future. Currently the evidence strongly supports me being "aromantic", so I will identify myself as such until the unlikely event of it being falsified. It has its perks as well, after all love and relationships can seemingly be a lot of trouble...

Anyway, I'm happy to be able to connect with like-minded people here :)

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45 minutes ago, Black Sesame said:

I feel the same way about this, though I have no idea where it comes from. I definitely wasn't taught to feel/think that way, so I can only attribute it to my aroace aversion of intimacy.

Yeah, I have no idea where I got that from either, maybe it's because my family wasn't an affectionate family that way, we don't really ever touch each other, so maybe that contributes to it being weird to me? I don't know

 

47 minutes ago, Black Sesame said:

Right? It's impossible to prove, because there is no way to foresee whether things will change in the future. Currently the evidence strongly supports me being "aromantic", so I will identify myself as such until the unlikely event of it being falsified. It has its perks as well, after all love and relationships can seemingly be a lot of trouble...

Anyway, I'm happy to be able to connect with like-minded people here :)

Yeah, better to just live according to how things are not and not bother with what might be. I'm also quite happy to be aroace due to how many potential problems I avoid... x)

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