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Mother of Aro here


CreativeCat
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Hello! 

I'm the mom of a 13 year old Aro/Ace girl. My daughter told me she was Aro/Ace two years ago. I'm 100% supportive of her. 

I do, however, need help understanding something, and I'm hoping you can enlighten and educate me. 

She says she is repulsed by all topics on relationships, and is repulsed by seeing or talking about other people in relationships.

In my mind, I think like this... I'm straight, but I would never be repulsed or upset at someone for telling me they are gay. I would celebrate with them when they found their soul mate. I would think that similarly, a gay person would celebrate if a straight person found their soul mate. Another example of my thinking. I'm not repulsed by someone who's Trans, and I would assume that they aren't repulsed by a non-Trans person. 

I'm wondering, is she going to never want to congratulate or celebrate with those who do find and embrace relationships? And if so, then how can I help her to navigate this world without seeming rude or impolite to those who are in relationships. 

So, my hope then, is that you can help me to better understand and relate to her. I'm open and full of love here. No judgements coming from me. I wish to learn. Thank you for letting me in, and for accepting me. 

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Hi!

So romance repulsion is definitely a thing, for aros, and alloromantic people. Personally, I fluctuate between romance (and sex) positive, indifferent, and adverse for other people's relationships. I still am happy for my friends. Sometimes, I even enjoy hearing about their relationships. However, every now and then, I'll be talking about romance and get the urge to just get out of the situation. I don't really get why, it just is how it is. And when romance is turned on me, it's the same. Just one big "NO" and feeling super uncomfortable.

As for what's helped me, I would recommend that she set boundaries with her friends. So they know what she is okay with discussing, and what she is not. I did that when I came out to one of my best friends, and so far, our discussions around that matter have been much more comfortable for me. She also has similar reading tastes to me, so can sometimes warn me if a scene will make me uncomfortable.

Additionally, I would make sure that she is aware of how her interactions change due to her romance repulsion. It took someone saying (not to my face) that he hated me for me to realize that my "ignoring" boys (so people wouldn't think I had a crush on them) was actually me being incredibly mean to them until they left me alone.

I also found this thread, which talks about different ways romance repulsion may occur.

I hope any of this helped!

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1 hour ago, Neon Green Packing Peanut said:

Hi!

So romance repulsion is definitely a thing, for aros, and alloromantic people. Personally, I fluctuate between romance (and sex) positive, indifferent, and adverse for other people's relationships. I still am happy for my friends. Sometimes, I even enjoy hearing about their relationships. However, every now and then, I'll be talking about romance and get the urge to just get out of the situation. I don't really get why, it just is how it is. And when romance is turned on me, it's the same. Just one big "NO" and feeling super uncomfortable.

As for what's helped me, I would recommend that she set boundaries with her friends. So they know what she is okay with discussing, and what she is not. I did that when I came out to one of my best friends, and so far, our discussions around that matter have been much more comfortable for me. She also has similar reading tastes to me, so can sometimes warn me if a scene will make me uncomfortable.

Additionally, I would make sure that she is aware of how her interactions change due to her romance repulsion. It took someone saying (not to my face) that he hated me for me to realize that my "ignoring" boys (so people wouldn't think I had a crush on them) was actually me being incredibly mean to them until they left me alone.

I also found this thread, which talks about different ways romance repulsion may occur.

I hope any of this helped!

Thank you! Yes, this is incredibly helpful! 

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Hello,

it is great that you are so supportive of her. I'm sure that knowing you have her back is already a great comfort for her.

11 hours ago, CreativeCat said:

I'm wondering, is she going to never want to congratulate or celebrate with those who do find and embrace relationships? And if so, then how can I help her to navigate this world without seeming rude or impolite to those who are in relationships. 

I can only speak from my own experience as a 26 y.o. aroace. In my case I feel strongly repulsed by any form of public affection and intimate topics, meaning that even holding hands or just stroking each others back in front of me can already make me feel uncomfortable. This does not mean, however, that I do not support other people's relationship. I am still genuinely happy for them and congratulate them. Just, maybe from a bit further away. When I was your daughter's age, coping with that was really more difficult. Now, 13 years later I honestly can't say that I am less repulsed than before, but in a society where romance and all kinds of intimacy are a vital part of people's lifes, its impossible to avoid completely. Over time I have adapted a lot. I avoid what I can, and when I can't, I just endure it. In my case, I'm not out to anyone, so I can't really say anything, but if I were, I would like it if people who know about my situation would respect my feelings and not be too affectionate in front of me, but if certain forms of affection are important to them, I would also respect that. Communication and mutual respect are the most important factors in my opinion.

It is just a thought of mine and it might be a little bit of a stretch, but interacting with many people from different cultural backgrounds has helped me a lot in coping with different opinions and the like, as well.

This of course is only from my perpective and your daughter might have a different experience. I still hope that this could help you in some way.  

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26 minutes ago, Black Sesame said:

Hello,

it is great that you are so supportive of her. I'm sure that knowing you have her back is already a great comfort for her.

I can only speak from my own experience as a 26 y.o. aroace. In my case I feel strongly repulsed by any form of public affection and intimate topics, meaning that even holding hands or just stroking each others back in front of me can already make me feel uncomfortable. This does not mean, however, that I do not support other people's relationship. I am still genuinely happy for them and congratulate them. Just, maybe from a bit further away. When I was your daughter's age, coping with that was really more difficult. Now, 13 years later I honestly can't say that I am less repulsed than before, but in a society where romance and all kinds of intimacy are a vital part of people's lifes, its impossible to avoid completely. Over time I have adapted a lot. I avoid what I can, and when I can't, I just endure it. In my case, I'm not out to anyone, so I can't really say anything, but if I were, I would like it if people who know about my situation would respect my feelings and not be too affectionate in front of me, but if certain forms of affection are important to them, I would also respect that. Communication and mutual respect are the most important factors in my opinion.

It is just a thought of mine and it might be a little bit of a stretch, but interacting with many people from different cultural backgrounds has helped me a lot in coping with different opinions and the like, as well.

This of course is only from my perpective and your daughter might have a different experience. I still hope that this could help you in some way.  

Thank you so much for sharing! This is so helpful! 

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  • 1 month later...

I though I would add a bit just in case you are still around checking this.

@Neon Green Packing Peanut is completely right about setting boundaries, however knowing where your boundaries are is a learning process. I was in my early 20s and still finding new things to avoid, but also finding places where I could push further. Exploring the boundaries is just as important as knowing other people realise there are boundaries (and will respect them). Basically what I am trying to say is be open in case she wants to explore but let her know there is always a safe no-relationship zone that she can retreat to.[my own example was a friend announcing his engagement and I was horrified as I was completely taken by surprise (and by his instant expectation of joy from me), he had to give me some time and space (a few days) until I could work my mind around to being happy for his happiness (even explicitly asking him if it is what he really wanted). All because for me Marriage=Romance and Romance≠Happiness while Happiness=Happiness]

 

One thing worth encouraging her to explore is whether or not she has touch aversions. Because I had very physically affectionate friends when I was growing up I don't perceive many things as romantic as they were things I did with friends fairly often, like hand holding, hugs, cheek kisses, sharing blankets, sharing umbrellas etc. This is of course very influenced by the society you both live in, and what is generally acceptable in public and private social situations. The outward social perceptions of certain actions can be painful to deal with, sort of what I'm trying to say is... thinking that everyone around you thinks you are in a romantic relationship can sometimes be just as repulsive and hurtful as more direct conflicts. 

Edited by Apathetic Echidna
My text did a weird font
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It also strikes me that, at 13, how your daughter reacts to relationships likely isn't set in stone yet. There's a lot that's in flux during adolescence, including one's sense of self and sense of boundaries. Especially if she's getting pressure at school or elsewhere outside the home to find people attractive and pressure to be in a relationship. I know even now at almost 37, when I'm around people who are hyper-fixated on relationships and romance, it's unpleasant for me. But I've also learned to be genuinely, sincerely happy for my friends when they find a healthy romance/partnership(s).

 

Keep the lines of communication open. She's got an incredibly supportive mom already, you can help her figure stuff out.

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