Jump to content
  • 2

Aromanticism and age- discussion


Guest ;afsdkoi
 Share

Question

Guest ;afsdkoi

I feel like this forum is mostly quite inclusive of younger members, but some others still seem to have issues with their aromanticism with their age unshakably attached. For instance, I feel like because of what we face outside of this community, people can seem more defensive about it even on here... Whether that be using their age, if it's on the older end, to validate their aromanticism, (which is understandable but also somewhat detrimental), or feeling misplaced/unsure of it because of their age, if it's younger. And I feel like although not intended, older members putting emphasis on their age isn't the best thing. For example, a statement like 'since I'm this age already, it makes sense that I'm aro, and I've learned to accept that', can twist into 'I'm aro because of my age, which contributes to my acceptance and validates my orientation'. But all of us were kids at some point- aro youth exists, and they're valid. 

(I'm not saying these older members have any ill intent at all, this isn't the case, and it's great they figured it out! It's just that many introductions I've seen from these members seem to have some sort of vague, watery implications attached. You all are great and I mean no harm). 

At some point I had accepted my aromanticism 63% of the way, but I was waiting for some invisble line to cross where I'd feel validated in my existence, in my orientation, and I thought that would come with age. But for me, being aro comes with a stagnant uncertain haze, floating five feet or so above my head. Most of the time it doesn't bother me, but when the wind blows right, I get a faceful of 'wtf, world'. And I'm not sure if that'll ever go away. 

Thoughts? It's a fuzzy line, what with aromanticism and age. But I hope younger members won't rely on themselves aging magically solving their uncertainties, like I did. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

15 answers to this question

Recommended Posts

  • 0

 

2 hours ago, Guest ;afsdkoi said:

have some sort of vague, watery implications attached

Yeah, if you're talking about the "your orientation is fluid, you could just be a late bloomer" thing... I see older Aros (and Aces) bring it up whenever the poster is under about 20. As if turning whatever age suddenly makes you more valid. 

I discovered I was aro in my late teens. There were dozens of signs I missed when I was younger. Even before I'd heard the word aromantic, I remember thinking "When I'm 11/13/16 years old I'll start having crushes". Never happened. But in the back of my mind I'm still wondering if there's a magic age when a switch will flip and I'll want romance, sex, or children.

So I guess, while it's important to remember that no one has to identify with one label their whole life,  it's also important not to invalidate aro youth. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0
Guest ;afsdkoi
11 minutes ago, Sam Spade said:

 

Yeah, if you're talking about the "your orientation is fluid, you could just be a late bloomer" thing... I see older Aros (and Aces) bring it up whenever the poster is under about 20. As if turning whatever age suddenly makes you more valid. 

I discovered I was aro in my late teens. There were dozens of signs I missed when I was younger. Even before I'd heard the word aromantic, I remember thinking "When I'm 11/13/16 years old I'll start having crushes". Never happened. But in the back of my mind I'm still wondering if there's a magic age when a switch will flip and I'll want romance, sex, or children.

So I guess, while it's important to remember that no one has to identify with one label their whole life,  it's also important not to invalidate aro youth. 

Yes! I still hold to the idea that orientations can change, but when I see introductions by younger members who are questioning, and another member says something like 'You're valid BUT remember orientations are fluid and you could oh-so-definitely change,, so just keep that in mind!!!!' I can see that be wavering for those younger aros. The sentiment is great but the rhetoric gets a bit old. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0

Yes! I feel like the initial response for a lot of people, on here or otherwise, when someone relatively young comes on, is them giving some good advice and then saying something along the lines of “just remember, sexuality can always change so don’t be too worried about sticking to a label!” While I, a younger aroace person appreciate the sentiment, I feel like it invalidates the experiences and feelings younger aros have a little. I agree, my sexuality might change as I get older, but people generally don’t say that gay people should “keep an open mind about maybe liking someone of the opposite sex one day” because sexuality is fluid. It seems like that phrasing comes out mostly when talking about younger aro/ace people rather than any other sexuality. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0

I think that is a problem unique to aromanticism (and in parts to asexuality). As both are defined by the absence of something which itself is incredibly vague (there's a reason one of the pinned threads in Aromantic Discussion is trying to define Romantic Attraction and not really succeeding), there often are no specific events which increase the certainty that one is aromantic. It's like trying to prove there are no black swans (or trying to prove that conservation of energy is correct): The only thing you can say is "I guess I haven't had a crush yet. This puts me into the 95/99/99.99 percentile compared to my age cohort. As it is incredibly unlikely that this is pure chance, I'm going to say I'm aromantic."

As a result, while age doesn't make aromanticism more valid, I feel like it makes it more certain. There are plenty of people who haven't had their first crush at age 12 or 14 ( https://www.asexuality.org/en/topic/23561-when-did-you-have-your-first-crush/ , not the best source, but I couldn't find anything better), so the general answer to somebody young asking about aromanticism on this forum is (or at least was when I was more active) "You could be aromantic, and it's ok to call yourself aromantic even if you aren't 100% sure about it. You can always reverse it later." In my opinion, often any other answer would be dishonest.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0

That's a very interesting point. I never thought of this as being invalidating.

But as I like to say, it is true that we would never say to a straight person "you may be bi, and just haven't find the person of the right person of the same sex yet". Though it is the same thing as aro : defidefine by the absence of attraction (to the same sex). And some people do discover lately than they are bi and not straight. So in this logic, no one should identify as straight  without keeping in mind it could change.

Young people who ask are probably looking for validation, and this type of response fail to give one. I never thought about it, thanks for that!

6 hours ago, Tagor said:

There are plenty of people who haven't had their first crush at age 12 or 14

Sure but if you look, more than a half had their first crush before 12, and around 3/4 before 14. So it may be plenty of allo who had their first crush after 14, but most of all there is a large majority who have their first crush before 14, and mote than an half before 12.

And according to this poll,  there are still some people who has their first crush after 20. But I don't feel dishonest when I say I am 100% sure I am aro. Not even 99% but 100%.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0
Guest ;afsdkoi

Tagor- I can see your point, what with that sort of response being an honest and cut-to-the-chase answer. And if people are asking for advice, they'd want that sort of honest response, not necessarily one with faked or filtered enthusiasm. Also, it's interesting to see identifying as aro described as saying: I've had little to no romantic feelings for anyone, and I feel this trend will continue, rather than: I'll never have romantic feelings toward anyone ever. I like that stance. Thanks for the reply! 

And yes nonmerci, some people have feelings for another very late on, but let's say a person had their first crush at 20- they would more than likely be somewhere on the aro spectrum, no? Even if someone chooses to identify as aro at 12, but feels romantic attraction for the first time at, say, 13/14, they might be in the grey area, having not had a crush until later on than the majority of allos. This wouldn't always be true, but it could be the case for a lot of 'late bloomers'. 

So even if someone chooses to ID as aro early on, it would be more likely that they are aro-spec. After all, at whatever point in their lives they were, they would've been driven by romance-saturated society to discover aromanticism, as it isn't very well known to begin with. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0
4 hours ago, nonmerci said:

But as I like to say, it is true that we would never say to a straight person "you may be bi, and just haven't find the person of the right person of the same sex yet". Though it is the same thing as aro : defidefine by the absence of attraction (to the same sex). And some people do discover lately than they are bi and not straight. So in this logic, no one should identify as straight  without keeping in mind it could change.

I'd say that you can't rule out that you aren't biromantic (bisexual is a bit easier, as sexual attraction can be more reliably tested). Whether or not this has any results on how you behave is your own decision. (Or at least I would never say that somebody else is definitely not biromantic)

4 hours ago, nonmerci said:

Sure but if you look, more than a half had their first crush before 12, and around 3/4 before 14. So it may be plenty of allo who had their first crush after 14, but most of all there is a large majority who have their first crush before 14, and mote than an half before 12.

According to the "survey" (which can only be seen as rough guidelines, as it is neither representative nor has a particularly large number of responses), 45% do not have a crush before the age of 14, and 27% of those that do eventually have a crush have their first crush after 14. Even more interestingly, 45% of those who haven't had a crush at age 14 eventually do have one. Those odds aren't that low.

4 hours ago, nonmerci said:

And according to this poll,  there are still some people who has their first crush after 20. But I don't feel dishonest when I say I am 100% sure I am aro. Not even 99% but 100%.

For yourself, you know best if you are aromantic, and I don't say that nobody can say with 100% that they are aromantic. My response was directed at why I wouldn't answer "yes, you are aromantic" but give a more nuanced reply probably involving the age/the passage of time in some form to a post roughly saying "Hello, I'm 14 yo and have never had a crush. Am I aromantic?".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0
On 1/17/2021 at 2:35 PM, Guest ;afsdkoi said:

You're valid BUT remember orientations are fluid and you could oh-so-definitely change,, so just keep that in mind!!!!

the best way i think to put it is that it is because orientation is fluid and that they can change that younger people are valid. 

@Tagor it’s certainly okay to say that someone being young may mean that their sexuality may change - that’s the typical and generally accepted as standard/best response to what is normally an incredibly vague question of “idk am i aro or not” with very little/very confusing information to supplement. that’s not a problem period. more of the issue that i’ve seen is the attitude that being young somehow takes away from how aro you actually are. it’s not super common thing i see tho. definitely more on aven from alloaros in threads that get about the same amt of replies. (but also, more vocal minorities in larger communities like aven so)

Edited by cyancat
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0
11 hours ago, Tagor said:

According to the "survey" (which can only be seen as rough guidelines, as it is neither representative nor has a particularly large number of responses), 45% do not have a crush before the age of 14, and 27% of those that do eventually have a crush have their first crush after 14. Even more interestingly, 45% of those who haven't had a crush at age 14 eventually do have one.

I don't get it. How does 27% of people who has a crush avec 14, give you 45% of people who have a crush after 14?

 

Here's the number I have after removing the "never had a crush" answer and calculate a new percentage :

Before 8 : 18,9%

9-10 years : 14,7%

11-12 : 17,9%

13-14 : 21,05

15-20 : 20,95%

After 20 : 7,4%

So here there is no 45% of people who had a crush after 14. Only 20%, and 5% here, and excluding the one who never had a crush, it gives 27% of people.

Then it depends if we see things half-empty or half-full. Tout see 27% of people who had a crush after 14, I see 73% of people who have their crush before.

That would make 3 people on 10 who have their first crush after 14, that is not that much.

 

I'm not saying it is not likely to change of course, in particular as 40% tends to have their first crush in their teen years (I regret a bit that in this poll, 15 to 20 are put together, 15 and 18 are not the same at all). But we still won't give that sort of response to a gay or a straight person and I don't know what to think about the fact we always do it for aro or ace people. I never really though about it before, but now I think it is somehow link to the idea that romantic feeling and sexuality is supposed to miraculously awaken at some point in our life and that if it hasn't, we are just not mature enough yet.

 

On 1/18/2021 at 7:14 PM, Guest ;afsdkoi said:

And yes nonmerci, some people have feelings for another very late on, but let's say a person had their first crush at 20- they would more than likely be somewhere on the aro spectrum, no? Even if someone chooses to identify as aro at 12, but feels romantic attraction for the first time at, say, 13/14, they might be in the grey area, having not had a crush until later on than the majority of allos. This wouldn't always be true, but it could be the case for a lot of 'late bloomers'. 

Yeah you are right. The poll don't let us know if people who respond are gray or not but there must have been in it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0
2 hours ago, nonmerci said:

don't get it. How does 27% of people who has a crush avec 14, give you 45% of people who have a crush after 14?

I calculated the percentage of people who haven't had a crush by the age of 14 (as those are the people who are likely to ask in this forum) but eventually are going to have a crush. There are 19 (15 to 20) + 7 (20+) + 31 (no crush) = 51 people who fall into this category, 26 of which eventually have a crush. So the percentage of people having a crush is 26/51 = 45.6%

But as you said, it's a big difference if you have your first crush at 15/16 or 20, so the 19 in the 15-20 box are somewhat unreliable. This survey was just the first thing I found whilst googling for a statistic, and originally was only supposed to support the qualitative statement that there are people who have a crush after the age of 14. It was never intended for any kind of qualitative analysis, and frankly isn't really sound enough for it. If someone finds a better statistic I'll be glad to have it. (Though this poll being on AVEN has some benefits too, as it includes an "aromantic" option, most of the audience knows that not having had a crush is an option, and there are no people mistaking sexual attraction for a (romantic) crush)

2 hours ago, nonmerci said:

But we still won't give that sort of response to a gay or a straight person and I don't know what to think about the fact we always do it for aro or ace people.

I think the reason it's mainly an issue for aro and ace people is because straight and gay people have a fixed point where they can say that feelings should have developed. The moment they do have a crush/fall in love/experience sexual attraction, they can somewhat reliably say that their body has changed enough that if they experience attraction to gender x, they'll notice it now or in a short time (as I think it is reasonable to assume that there aren't specific neural processes developing for attraction to each gender completely independently). So if they know they generally experience romantic or sexual attraction, but (as far as they know) only to a specific subgroup of people, it's relatively safe to assume this wont change dramatically.

And I agree that at least some of people answering 20+likely are somewhere on the aromantic spectrum.

Edited by Tagor
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0
17 hours ago, cyancat said:

that’s the typical and generally accepted as standard/best response to what is normally an incredibly vague question of “idk am i aro or not” with very little/very confusing information to supplement

idk, I've seen it on posts where a teen has written a well-thought-out explanation of their experiences, and older members come in with "orientation is fluid, it could change any day!!!". (mostly on AVEN tbh)

It's important for youth to know that you don't have to stick with one label your whole life, but maybe some questions that encourage introspection would be more helpful in these cases. "It could change any day" sounds a lot like "it's a phase", especially if you're a teen just learning about asexuality or being aromantic. 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0
12 hours ago, Tagor said:

It was never intended for any kind of qualitative analysis, and frankly isn't really sound enough for it. If someone finds a better statistic I'll be glad to have it.

I tried to find one but I only got websites giving advices to parents when their kids have their first crush. Not very helpful for this case.

12 hours ago, Tagor said:

There are 19 (15 to 20) + 7 (20+) + 31 (no crush) = 51 people who fall into this category, 26 of which eventually have a crush. So the percentage of people having a crush is 26/51 = 45.6%

OK I get it now. So it is 45% of people who never had a crush after 14, who developped a crush after 14. Thanks!

 

Maybe it's just a way of formulate things. If someone says "you can identify now but remember that orientation is fluid", what people hear is "you can say it but not too much because it will probably change later". Maybe if it was phrased more this way : "some people have their first crush later in their teen years, but what you say here is sounds like an aro experience so you can totally use that label", it would be more focused on the "yes you are valid" and so a better answer? I don't know.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0
On 1/18/2021 at 12:01 PM, Tagor said:

It's like trying to prove there are no black swans (or trying to prove that conservation of energy is correct): The only thing you can say is "I guess I haven't had a crush yet.

Some sort of beliefs are justified by direct experience or the senses alone. But some need more than that, they need inference: beliefs about the distant past, the future or nonobservable phenomena and beliefs with a general content.

Obviously "There are no pink swans" needs inference to be justified [pink swans, because black swans exist!]. It even needs inference to believe that the Ancient Egyptians didn't land on the moon. Though this belief is extremely well-supported and near certainty.

But we know our own past attraction patterns well. 100% coverage by direct experience, which we do nearly always remember.

The one thing we don't know is our future attraction pattern. That's true for both a*-orientations (aromantic/asexual) and non-a*-orientations (straight, gay, ...). No fundamental difference! To generalize into the future it needs an additional inference.

But we apply a different standard when counter-evidence arrives (why?):

  • for for a*-orientations (counter-evidence: crushes, feelings sexual attraction): the label was a false positive ("Turned out I never was aro").
  • for non-a*-orientations: the label was correct in the past and now the orientation has changed.
Edited by DeltaV
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0
On 1/18/2021 at 2:34 PM, Aroacerabbit said:

“just remember, sexuality can always change so don’t be too worried about sticking to a label!”

Personally I've seen quite a few messages from younger people who seem to be stressed out, for want of a better phrase, about finding the "right" label to define Who They Are and What They Are Experiencing. Which isn't surprising! A huge part of the typical teenage experience is being confused about and experimenting with how your perceive yourself and your identity. And so certainly when I've said things like "it's okay if you're not sure about what label(s) you want to use right now, and it's okay if they change later", my intent has been to reassure people that they don't have to have everything figured out right now and forever.

I guess to me it's similar to telling a teenager who's anxious about whether they really truly want to be a doctor that hey, regardless of what you want or decide now, if later on you find yourself changing your mind halfway through med school, that's perfectly okay! Nothing in life has to be permanent if you later discover it isn't right for you.

That said, I give the same advice about both aromanticism and careers to questioning adults as well, so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 0
On 1/27/2021 at 11:04 PM, eatingcroutons said:

Personally I've seen quite a few messages from younger people who seem to be stressed out, for want of a better phrase, about finding the "right" label

Excellent point! I hadn't thought of that. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You are posting as a guest. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Answer this question...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...