Jump to content

Dealing with amatonormativity from friends


Erederyn
 Share

Recommended Posts

Something that I find myself getting a bit frustrated with from time to time is dealing with amatonormativity from close friends who know I’m aromantic and have said that they accept me and think I’m valid. We’ve had some discussions about what it’s like to be aromantic and generally how the emphasis on romance in society can be harmful, and I’ve explained to them to the concept of amatonormativity and have had conversations on this with them a couple of times and so forth.

I find however that they’ll still say or do really amatonormative things, and I get a bit disappointed and hurt. I have to wonder how much time they’ve taken to reflect on and challenge their own amatonormative ideas after our discussions. I don’t necessarily expect my friends to do the work of challenging their amatonormativity, and I get that that would take time (although for some of them it’s been at least 3 years) and energy to change something so ingrained, but I did hope it’s something they’d be more conscious about. So it stings a bit when they continue being amatonormative, especially my queer friends. In a way, it feels like they don’t really accept me. Or at least that they accept me, but not aromanticism, if that makes sense? I want to give them the benefit of the doubt, but it makes me wonder sometimes how seriously they take it. I’m not sure if it’s worth it confronting them with it, though. Perhaps I have too high hopes that after learning about amatonormativity, they’d become more mindful of it, and I am taking it too seriously.

Anyway, have you talked to your friends about amatonormativity generally/have you confronted friends about being amatonormative? Do you find that they try to change their amatonormative ideas afterwards/ do you even hope or expect them to challenge their own amatonormativity?

  • Like 1
  • Sad 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

What is it that they're saying and doing that is bothering you? I ask because I feel like amatonormaive things can cover such a wide space, I can't tell what is going on.  

I did actually speak to a friend about it recently. For a different reason though, and not using the word, I didn't even remember that there was a word for this. But I had been reminded about these ideas, about how romantic relationships are placed on such a high pedestal it is like there is no space for anything else. Like any closeness that isn't romantic or through a family bond is considered to not even be that real. I know those things aren't true, but being reminded of the fact that some people think like that still surprised me by the fact that it hurt. Like I had internalized parts of the message and it's been lying there under the surface. I needed to talk to someone about it, even though I knew that the friend I had easiest to reach isn't all that good at helping with weird feelings (though to be fair, neither am I :P)

I did get an interesting response though, that I did not really expect: "Most people don't think like that." Didn't see where these ideas were coming from. Thinking I was mostly affected by my own anxiety and worrying about nothing, really.

And while "You're worrying about nothing" is not especially validating to hear, there is something else to it also. It means that these amatonormative ideas didn't register as true to my friend at all. And he didn't recognise them in people he knows either. It is a subtle disease I think, amatonormativity. It's everywhere, and we see it clearer because we are hypersensitive to it. But I guess, just because the message is there all the time, doesn't necessarily mean people buy into it. So that's what I took out of that conversation. My friend is not super great at being emotional support, but, perhaps more importantly, he isn't being amatonormative either x)

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

59 minutes ago, Jedi said:

What is it that they're saying and doing that is bothering you? I ask because I feel like amatonormaive things can cover such a wide space, I can't tell what is going on.  

I did actually speak to a friend about it recently. For a different reason though, and not using the word, I didn't even remember that there was a word for this. But I had been reminded about these ideas, about how romantic relationships are placed on such a high pedestal it is like there is no space for anything else. Like any closeness that isn't romantic or through a family bond is considered to not even be that real. I know those things aren't true, but being reminded of the fact that some people think like that still surprised me by the fact that it hurt. Like I had internalized parts of the message and it's been lying there under the surface. I needed to talk to someone about it, even though I knew that the friend I had easiest to reach isn't all that good at helping with weird feelings (though to be fair, neither am I :P)

I did get an interesting response though, that I did not really expect: "Most people don't think like that." Didn't see where these ideas were coming from. Thinking I was mostly affected by my own anxiety and worrying about nothing, really.

And while "You're worrying about nothing" is not especially validating to hear, there is something else to it also. It means that these amatonormative ideas didn't register as true to my friend at all. And he didn't recognise them in people he knows either. It is a subtle disease I think, amatonormativity. It's everywhere, and we see it clearer because we are hypersensitive to it. But I guess, just because the message is there all the time, doesn't necessarily mean people buy into it. So that's what I took out of that conversation. My friend is not super great at being emotional support, but, perhaps more importantly, he isn't being amatonormative either x)

Comments that bother me are usually related to invalidating the importance of friendships. Some specific examples are friends saying that romantic feelings are mean "more" than platonic feelings/having strong feelings for someone can only be romantic (gushing about a friend = “obviously a crush”). Or downplaying the loss of a friendship and that it’s not a big deal because it’s not a romantic partner. Or two friends can’t/shouldn’t co-parent and shouldn’t be allowed to adopt children together because friendship is a “less stable and less legitimate” relationship... 

It's nice to read, though, that your friend didn't agree with such ideas/didn't buy into amatonormative ideas, so thanks for sharing that. I think you have a point in saying that we are hypersensitive to amatonormativity and I agree that not everyone buys into it. I have a couple of friends who also don't subscribe to amatonormative ideas, which I'm super appreciative of, and generally I have been seeing more attention given to the importance of friendship in mainstream society, which is uplifting. And it's to be expected that there will be some people in my life who do buy into amatonormativity or that sometimes people will accidentally say things they don't mean to just because it's so ingrained. I guess it's just more frustrating to me with these particular friends because I'd hope they know a little better.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 minutes ago, Erederyn said:

Or two friends can’t/shouldn’t co-parent and shouldn’t be allowed to adopt children together because friendship is a “less stable and less legitimate” relationship... 

Show them statistics of divorces.

Joke aside, I'm pretty sure that a friendship is actually more stable than a romantic one. I don't know a lot of stories when friendship ends badly, usually it is more people who can't find the time to see each other or things like that. And that won't be the case for two friends who adopt together. Of course a child will change the friendship dynamic, but so is for romance, and I think they are equal for that.

 

I don't have a lot of these things but I must naturally avoid these conversations... or don't have a lot of friends. And the one I am the closer too don't want to hear about marriage before she get a job (before she said "before I finished my studies" but now they are finished, it doesn't work anymore). What can annoying me is how everytime people get close, allo ship them and think they can share that intimacy without being in love. But usually I see that on the Internet, not with my friends.

Oh I almost forgot, there is this time when one of my best friend forgot I was aro and seemed very disappointed when I reminded her. I don't remember what she said, and after I said qi was aro she said nothing, but I remember the disappointment on her face, that hurts.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

17 hours ago, Erederyn said:

having strong feelings for someone can only be romantic ... downplaying the loss of a friendship and that it’s not a big deal because it’s not a romantic partner ... friendship is a “less stable and less legitimate” relationship ... 

I see, that does suck.

It might be tone-def of me to come with advice (to a moderator no less), since I know very little about what you've already done. But there is this one dynamic that I have noticed that you might want to utilize. I think discussing things like amatonormativity in general can easily get kind of abstract, and everything makes sense and they agree but it kind of stays in a different brainspace than your actual life. Humans you are actively speaking to though, those are real. So, I think it might be worth bringing it up (I avoid saying 'confronting' because that puts in mind a more aggressive discussion) but in a "Hey friend, do you actually believe in that thing you just said?" Like "You really think the relationships I form are 'no big deal'?"

Hurting a friends feelings is real. So assuming that your friends don't want to hurt you, it might make them more likely to reflect?

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

22 hours ago, nonmerci said:

Show them statistics of divorces.

Joke aside, I'm pretty sure that a friendship is actually more stable than a romantic one. I don't know a lot of stories when friendship ends badly, usually it is more people who can't find the time to see each other or things like that. And that won't be the case for two friends who adopt together. Of course a child will change the friendship dynamic, but so is for romance, and I think they are equal for that.

Yeah, exactly. I think there's actually been a general upward trend in platonic co-parenting because people are realizing that it's more stable. 

22 hours ago, nonmerci said:

Oh I almost forgot, there is this time when one of my best friend forgot I was aro and seemed very disappointed when I reminded her. I don't remember what she said, and after I said qi was aro she said nothing, but I remember the disappointment on her face, that hurts.

I'm so sorry that happened to you, that's awful! :( 

 

4 hours ago, Jedi said:

It might be tone-def of me to come with advice (to a moderator no less), since I know very little about what you've already done. But there is this one dynamic that I have noticed that you might want to utilize. I think discussing things like amatonormativity in general can easily get kind of abstract, and everything makes sense and they agree but it kind of stays in a different brainspace than your actual life. Humans you are actively speaking to though, those are real. So, I think it might be worth bringing it up (I avoid saying 'confronting' because that puts in mind a more aggressive discussion) but in a "Hey friend, do you actually believe in that thing you just said?" Like "You really think the relationships I form are 'no big deal'?"

Hurting a friends feelings is real. So assuming that your friends don't want to hurt you, it might make them more likely to reflect?

That's a good point, they might not have realized that it hurt me. I'll definitely give that a try, thanks!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, Jedi said:

It might be tone-def of me to come with advice (to a moderator no less)

Be free to give advices, in particular when they are good! Moderators are just users who wan take action when something problematic is going on, but we are normal people. We too have struggle and need advice.

And this advice is a good tool, never thought about it.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
On 1/21/2021 at 4:26 AM, Erederyn said:

I think there's actually been a general upward trend in platonic co-parenting because people are realizing that it's more stable. 

That is amazing! Is it specific to a country or region? because I'd love to know more

 

The advice @Jedi gave is really good. If you don't already know the term, you might also want to look at information about limerence, especially the information about duration, just as extra backup knowledge when confronting your friends on their bias

Link to comment
Share on other sites

15 hours ago, Apathetic Echidna said:

That is amazing! Is it specific to a country or region? because I'd love to know more

Yeah, I find it quite exciting! These are the articles I had seen this in:

https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20181218-is-platonic-parenting-the-relationship-of-the-future

https://hilltopmonitor.jewell.edu/mating-sites-and-the-rise-of-platonic-co-parenting/

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2020/oct/31/i-wanted-to-meet-a-mate-and-have-a-baby-without-wasting-time-the-rise-of-platonic-co-parenting

16 hours ago, Apathetic Echidna said:

If you don't already know the term, you might also want to look at information about limerence, especially the information about duration, just as extra backup knowledge when confronting your friends on their bias

Thanks for the suggestion!

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think your friends saying amatonormative things is probably just pressed into their subconcious from society, so when they start to talk they say amatonormative things on accident, like when a musician starts to write a song, and then realizes the song has already been written and they've just heard it so many times it leaked into their subconcious. Maybe if you just point it out sometimes(not all the time tho or you might seem annoying) they'll try to get better about it.

  • Like 2
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
Reply to this topic...

×   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...