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Dealing with your family's expectations


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Recently I've been feeling my family's (especially my father's) expectations regarding my dating life, which ideally is supposed to lead to the birth of grandchildren, getting stronger. I'm 26 y.o. and I guess my family is getting worried, because others are starting families of their own and I have yet to even introduce someone to them. Just a few weeks ago I randomly used a guy from university as a reference, when talking about my courses (don't even really know the guy) and now my family is always asking about him as if I had a crush on him,  bc. why else would I have talked so enthusiastically about a guy for like 10 seconds. *A(g)ro me really wants to flip the table on that* Every time I look at a guy on tv for a few moments longer, they're like "Is that your type?" I was just wondering about Aquaman running around with wet hair all the time, alright? *flips table again* ... It's a sign how starved my family is for learning about my (non existant) dating life ... "We just want to know your prey pattern ("Beuteschema")" my Dad says, but firstly, "prey pattern" sounds really weird (putting it nicely), secondly there is none, and thirdly, even if there were, why would I tell them? Sorry for making this so long and ranting like that, but it just makes me feel kinda frustrated sometimes. I can tell that my Dad is really looking forward to me bringing home a boyfriend. That's unlikely to happen, like ever, but  I just can't burst the bubble either, because he wouldn't understand. I know that I have no obligation to fulfill their expectations, but it still troubles me. How are you guys dealing with things like that or is that even a concern of yours?

Edited by Black Sesame
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I'm 26 too.

My parents are not as annoying (pardon me I couldn't find a better word), but it's clear that they are frustrated that neither me or my brother have never dated (my brother is 30, don't know if he is aro or not, he says he doesn't see the point of having a girlfriend if they always fight... yeah my parents fight a lot).

My father always complained about the fact we are not dating, in particular everytime my brother has a new job he asks if there is women who have the same age as him, if they like the same things as him... Lucky me, he doesn't do that with me... for now at least.

Recently (I'd say for a year), he complains frequently about him not getting grantchildren soon. Sometimes I say that I am happy alone and he says things like "but you say since you are a kid that you want 3 children" (didn't try to explain the husband was optional in this scenario, and that when I was a kid I also wanted a hors and I change my mind).

 

My mother try to be supportive I guess. She must think we are homosexual because she says things like "I don't mind if you date a person of the same sex, it's better than being alone". Of course she is not supportive at all and completely misses the truth.

 

That's kind of annoying because I'd like to be out, but I know they won't understand and I don't want to fight. So I am just dealing with that and get angry in silence.

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@nonmerciThank you for stating you view on this. I'm honestly glad that I'm not the only one. 😊

I do have to say that I know my family only wants what they think is best for me. It's just that they sometimes end up measuring that by standards stipulated by our society, which ends up failing its purpose...

 

1 hour ago, nonmerci said:

but you say since you are a kid that you want 3 children" (didn't try to explain the husband was optional in this scenario, and that when I was a kid I also wanted a hors and I change my mind).

That could have been me 😂👍 Though, I did mention to them that I would prefer adopting a child, if at all. 

 

1 hour ago, nonmerci said:

That's kind of annoying because I'd like to be out, but I know they won't understand and I don't want to fight. So I am just dealing with that and get angry in silence.

I understand that. A few days ago my Dad came across the word "aromantic" for the first time, when I was showing him a pretest for a study about lgbtq+ positive advertising. He was like "What the hell is 'aromatic' orientation?" (no misspelling here) So I ended up explaining it to him rather objectively. He seemed quite taken aback by this concept. For him we are just making things too complicated, after all, he himself is "simply hetero" (that's what he said) and he grew up during a time period where there was hardly any positive awareness for people who weren't. That's why he can't keep up with the differentiation of gender identity, sexual and romantic orientation. So, I guess it's not the right time yet to break the jar 😂

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5 hours ago, Black Sesame said:

He seemed quite taken aback by this concept. For him we are just making things too complicated, after all, he himself is "simply hetero" (that's what he said) and he grew up during a time period where there was hardly any positive awareness for people who weren't. That's why he can't keep up with the differentiation of gender identity, sexual and romantic orientation. So, I guess it's not the right time yet to break the jar

Remind me when I talk about asexuality with my mother. I don't know how to translate her reaction in English but it means "another new concept probably useless that this modern society created". And she is the open-minded one (well, she has an "as long as they are happy this way" view, which is better than my dad who screams "pédé" (insulting French word for homosexual) everytime a homosexual is on TV...) ! I think there is a gap of generation too. I am always more at ease to talk about that with people my age because I know that they were educated about LGBT+, though not about aromanticism necessarily. Well, not all of them, but a lot more than before.

5 hours ago, Black Sesame said:

I do have to say that I know my family only wants what they think is best for me. It's just that they sometimes end up measuring that by standards stipulated by our society, which ends up failing its purpose...

Same for me. I know that want the best, but we don't have the same definition of what is best. Just like when my father criticize me for being a teacher because I was good at school and look for a job with a better pay. Two different opinions of what makes me happy or not.

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That sounds exhausting, I'd be mighty annoyed if my family did that to me.

 

I have never experienced any pressure from my family at all, they never ask about partners, never talk about me having children, they never talk about their "future grandchildren" or anything like that. The closest they've come to that is mother once said something about how she probably will never have grandchildren. I have told her about me being asexual (which was an accidental coming out), I do have two brothers as well, but none of them have showed any interest for relationships, so I suppose that was just a matter of fact statement.

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7 hours ago, nonmerci said:

Remind me when I talk about asexuality with my mother. I don't know how to translate her reaction in English but it means "another new concept probably useless that this modern society created". And she is the open-minded one (well, she has an "as long as they are happy this way" view, which is better than my dad who screams "pédé" (insulting French word for homosexual) everytime a homosexual is on TV...) ! I think there is a gap of generation too

I guess it is difficult for many parents to understand these new forms of identity. But what is the use of an oversimplified concept that fails to represent many members of our society in a way they feel comfortable with...Maybe in a few decades a more diverse concept will have become the norm. Would be nice. 

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@MikaIt's good that you were able to tell your Mum 👍 

Well, luckily I still have my two brothers who can take care of the grand-children on their own, so our family line won't die out because of me haha

Don't know why they keep teasing me about things like that all the time these days. Maybe they're just bored at home 'cause of Corona ... Most of the time I just give an ambiguous answer and shrug it off.

In Japanese there is the saying "shouganai" meaning "It can't be helped", which I try to think of in these moments. 😉

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That can be really frustrating! I've had similar experiences. I come from a very family-oriented culture, so I've had a lot of pressure to be romantically involved/get married and have children from my family ever since I've turned 20ish. It was really difficult at first and I would get into arguments with my parents, but I kept standing my ground. I haven't come out to them, but I've been firm about not wanting to get married/have children. I know they get disappointed and frustrated and they find it really sad that I won't be giving them grandchildren. My brother has taken care of that haha, but my mom especially still wants grandchildren from me and to see me get married. However, after many years of steadfastly telling them that this is not the life I want, they've become more (grudgingly) accepting of it (or at least less in denial). I even told my mom last year that I don't view partnerships as necessarily having to be romantic and that I want to focus on my friendships and on being an aunt. I could tell she didn't fully understand it and she was still sad about it, but she didn't argue with me or pressure me or tell me that I would change my mind. So that's some progress! It only took ~8 years haha. 

I hope that your family can come to accept you and what you want in life! 

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On 12/19/2020 at 10:08 PM, Song of Dawn said:

I have never experienced any pressure from my family at all, they never ask about partners, never talk about me having children, they never talk about their "future grandchildren" or anything like that.

Lucky you.

My sister is pregnant. It has stopped now. Can't still believe it.

On 12/19/2020 at 2:52 AM, Black Sesame said:

"We just want to know your pray pattern ("Beuteschema")" my Dad says, but firstly, "pray pattern" sounds really weird (putting it nicely)

No, it sounds like from a comedy about an ultra-religious family:"How often do you pray? We just want to know your pray pattern!"

Sorry, sorry, I know, I know, you mean "prey pattern". Aaand that sounds weird.

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1 hour ago, DeltaV said:

My sister is pregnant. It has stopped now. Can't still believe it.

Congratulations! I have high hopes that my older brother and his girlfriend will solve that for me soon.

 

1 hour ago, DeltaV said:

No, it sounds like from a comedy about an ultra-religious family:"How often do you pray? We just want to know your pray pattern!"

Sorry, sorry, I know, I know, you mean "prey pattern". Aaand that sounds weird.

Ah, this is really too funny. But honestly, they might just as well ask me about my pray pattern. ;-) Thx for telling me, gonna change that right away haha. (My smartphone keyboard does not have English, so I write from German...It's actually a wonder that I don't make more mistakes)

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12 minutes ago, Black Sesame said:

they might just as well ask me about my pray pattern.

to be honest that does sound a lot nicer. I've never liked the idea of viewing relationships in a sort of predator/prey way. 

 

On 12/19/2020 at 8:49 AM, nonmerci said:

but I know they won't understand and I don't want to fight. So I am just dealing with that and get angry in silence.

I'm in pretty much the same situation as this, its not that my parents would be openly hostile to me but just that I know they wouldn't understand.

In my case it is also that I really don't want to explain this to my grandad (who will be told if I tell my parents). He is a kind man but is also the most openly romantic man I have ever known, his life has always been lived around love and he even annoyed a lot of the family by bringing in a new woman after my nan died. I really do not want to try to explain to him the idea of not wanting romance.

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1 hour ago, roboticanary said:

to be honest that does sound a lot nicer. I've never liked the idea of viewing relationships in a sort of predator/prey way. 

I'm feeling the same way. It also reduces the search for a partner to its most primitive and shallow form. Maybe that's why this question makes me more upset than others. 

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18 hours ago, Black Sesame said:

I'm feeling the same way. It also reduces the search for a partner to its most primitive and shallow form. Maybe that's why this question makes me more upset than others. 

To be fair, nobody takes that term seriously. It's obviously meant to be funny. I just don't get the joke.

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13 hours ago, DeltaV said:

To be fair, nobody takes that term seriously. It's obviously meant to be funny. I just don't get the joke.

You're right. I still feel weirded out by the word, especially when my Dad uses it, even though I know that he just wants to tease me in a funny way. He's always been like that. When I was 12 y.o. and we still had cable telephones, a boy from school called me and my family was all excited about witnessing my "first sprout of love". My Dad was like "Oh, is this your boyfriend?" and so on, while I was just standing there, regretting that this guy got my phone number. This might have annoyed most teens, but to aroace-me this just dealt double the damage. No guy has ever called me on my home number again after that.

Sorry for making such a big deal out of it. Am I taking these kinds of things too seriously?

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I'm 27, and my parents have definitely been worried about my lack of romantic prospects, especially in the last year or so...I've definitely had the "we want you to get married and have children" talks, if not in those exact words. I want to tell them that I'm not worried about not finding a partner and frankly feel pretty good about the idea of being single but then that also leads into the "I don't know if I'm ever going to want to raise kids by myself" conversation which ultimately I think would be much harder to have....especially because I'm not entirely sure myself what my feelings are there. (At least my brother and sister both definitely want kids, and my brother just got engaged so hopefully that will take some pressure off me.)

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3 hours ago, Most Appropriate said:

(At least my brother and sister both definitely want kids, and my brother just got engaged so hopefully that will take some pressure off me.)

It definitely does for me, because I know how much my parents are looking forward to having grandchildren and I won't have to completely deny them this wish of theirs, they will just have less or maybe I will adopt one...we'll see. 

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On 12/22/2020 at 10:27 AM, Black Sesame said:

Sorry for making such a big deal out of it. Am I taking these kinds of things too seriously?

What I meant here was: The language surrounding romance is very rarely serious. That is, it should not to be understood literally.

It's chock full of "cutesy" metaphors, teasing, cringy jokes and wild exaggerations. The intentions behind it are nonetheless mostly very serious. Including for third-parties like "concerned parents".

It can be compared to the job seeking process. The intentions are very serious here, but what is said in the process should not be taken seriously at all.

This is of course a problems for aros, who simply do not have any desire to engage with that nonsense. Honesty is not an option. It's very taxing.

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On 12/25/2020 at 8:40 PM, DeltaV said:

What I meant here was: The language surrounding romance is very rarely serious. That is, it should not to be understood literally.

It's chock full of "cutesy" metaphors, teasing, cringy jokes and wild exaggerations. The intentions behind it are nonetheless mostly very serious. Including for third-parties like "concerned parents".

It can be compared to the job seeking process. The intentions are very serious here, but what is said in the process should not be taken seriously at all.

This is of course a problems for aros, who simply do not have any desire to engage with that nonsense. Honesty is not an option. It's very taxing.

That makes a lot of sense to me. It's really difficult to navigate through all that, but I guess to some extent we can't really help it. Thank you so much for your input.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello Black Sesame,

I am late in the game but I just came upon your post and since I face exactly the same issues with my family, I thought it wouldn't hurt to answer anyway.

So basically, for the last 2 months and especially around Christmas, my dad was all over the fact that I might have a boyfriend this time next year. That I wouldn't spend Christmas at their house anymore. Stuff like that. Every time I would just walk away (one time I went to the basement, trying not to scream in desperation to be quite honest), because in fact I still don't know exactly where I stand with my romantic orientation - I am pretty sure I am aro, but it takes time to fully accept it in an environment that expects everyone to marry, buy a house and have 2 children. I am just not ready to have this conversation with my parents but I keep telling them that I am fine and happy on my own. Which they don't believe, in fact I think my dad assumes I am a lesbian.

So I guess I can't really help you besides giving you a heads up, that I know exactly how you feel. It isn't easy, but we will get through it, I suppose. And some day, if you feel like it, you can sit down and explain to your dad how you feel and what your goals in life are. And if none of those are about getting married: It is your life and not your parents!

Ich komme übrigens aus Österreich, woher kommst du? Ich hab mir schon bei "Beuteschema" gedacht, da ist jemand deutschsprachiger unterwegs, was du später ja sogar bestätigt hast :) Wenn du dich austauschen willst schreib mir gern eine Nachricht, ich würde mich freuen. Es kann manchmal einsam sein, wenn man niemanden kennt, dem es genauso geht..

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