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How do you define romance & what part of it bugs you?


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I've noticed that there seems to be a lot of gray area in what it means to be Aro. Not only are there different levels of being turned off/uninterested in romance, but there's also the fact that different people define romance in different ways & each person seems to be bothered by different aspects of it. For some it may be the hand-holding & pet names, while others might find dating or sharing a living space uncomfortable. Still others might be bothered by the whole thing & only wish to do friends with benefits or something like that. How do you define romance & what part of it bothers you?

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I've long since given up on defining "romance", although there are a lot of things associated with it that I could complain about! But most fundamentally, I really dislike the idea of making a long-term commitment to any person.

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I define romance by open mouth kissing and I HATE THAT

But it's also a certain ambience you give off, that according to my exes I have never exuded.

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Ah, this question. It is an interesting one, partly because I never found the specific answer to it. But I do have a story. See, I floundered here for a long time. I mean, with sexuality it is pretty straight forward, that thing, I don't want to do it. Good to know. But how do I know if I want 'romance' if I don't know what romance even is? I had come to some level of acceptance that I could allow myself not to know, when I entered a relationship with a friend of mine who is really liked and it just didn't feel right. It was long distance, nothing that much had changed in a practical way.

So, I spent a bunch of effort trying to pick out and isolate the part of this that bothered me. And while in the end, I decided that the discomfort in itself was enough reason to break up, I have some things that felt wrong about it. It is hard to explain, but the concept of being a "girlfriend" sat wrong with me. It was like I stepped into a roll and a bunch of expectations came with the role that didn't fit me. I was expected to act in ways and care about things that fit into the concept of girlfriend instead of me- the person. It was weird. So, while I definitely knew I was no fan of kissing or pet names, there was also something harder to define, that sat wrong like bad shoes.

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I'd define "romantic" as wanting to be "in a relationship".
Wanting to have (at least one) and be "girlfriend", "boyfriend" or similar.
Wanting to merge identities with "partner(s)".

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Agreed with @Mark on this one. wanting to be in a relationship, have a romantic partner. I would also add actively wanting to do romantically coded activities, e.g. dates, kissing etc. (not just being ok with them but desiring them)

I think one of the things that I think of for romance is doing something entirely for the sake of that partner. e.g. if I went to see a film with a friend no matter how much I like that friend I am valuing the whole experience. If it were romantic it would not matter in the slightest what was going on in the film. similarly for a meal out or any other form of date.

I think in a romantic situation the other person can be all that matters or the other people are all that matter. In a non romantic situation I might be getting something from the fact it is that person I am with, but I still put the event first.

As for what part of it bugs me, I think it is the level of constant pressure to stay true to the relationship in a way that hurts other non romantic relationships. In my case when I tried for romance back at school I got complained at for talking to other girls, for spending too much time with my friends and for not texting back fast enough. Now some of that is probably youth and inexperience but I think it is also that the way romance is set up pushes people towards doing that. If someone believes this one relationship is above all others because of some special, almost mystical bond then of course they are going to react like that to any percieved threat against it.

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15 hours ago, Mark said:

I'd define "romantic" as wanting to be "in a relationship".

This pretty much sums it up.

Romance is an internal drive rather than a visible action. I'm happy to do plenty of romantic coded things like hand holding, kissing, hugs, giving flowers and chocolate, having picnic 'dates', lying together on a picnic blanket under the stars, as long as it is all no romo. If someone wants to be in a relati❤️nship I would be uncomfortable doing any of these things. 

Except people feeding each other and baby talk. That makes me queasy. 

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9 hours ago, Apathetic Echidna said:

Romance is an internal drive

That's my impression of romance, and I'm just uncomfortable with that drive being aimed at me, because I know I can't reciprocate.  

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On 2/12/2021 at 12:26 AM, eatingcroutons said:

most fundamentally, I really dislike the idea of making a long-term commitment to any person.

Agreed. I really like the ebb and flow of friendships, and how you don't have to share everything with them. Maybe a small part of me wants that 'one' who you can always talk to, but who really wants to deal with all the lovey bits?

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To me romance is the expression of love through actions and words. You genuinely care about them, want to spent time with them. But to be quite honest, I have a hard time grasping the concept of love and romance. So much of it seems irrational and idealized. To me long term relationships are based on being used to each other, I don't understand how anyone can feel honest interest, lust or affection for someone else, at least not longer than the flutter in the beginning. Don't get me wrong, I have tried, but it just seems to not be for me. I feel more happy, more energetic, more productive and just all around good being on my own and even if a relationship has several perks, like sharing difficulties and comfort, it doesn't seem like something to want. Maybe I will meet someone that'll feel different, maybe I won't. For now, I am happy to accept this characteristic of mine. 

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On 2/16/2021 at 12:14 PM, Constanze said:

To me romance is the expression of love through actions and words. You genuinely care about them, want to spent time with them. But to be quite honest, I have a hard time grasping the concept of love and romance. So much of it seems irrational and idealized. To me long term relationships are based on being used to each other, I don't understand how anyone can feel honest interest, lust or affection for someone else, at least not longer than the flutter in the beginning. Don't get me wrong, I have tried, but it just seems to not be for me. I feel more happy, more energetic, more productive and just all around good being on my own and even if a relationship has several perks, like sharing difficulties and comfort, it doesn't seem like something to want. Maybe I will meet someone that'll feel different, maybe I won't. For now, I am happy to accept this characteristic of mine. 

Yeah, I can totally relate to this! For me, before I knew the term 'aro' I thought of relationships as a way to get emotional connection via intellectual activities and pursuits, and let's just say that that worldview is not terribly common, sadly. Some people seem to think of it as being overly stoic and not discussing emotions, which can make for a bad friendship or (romantic) relationship, while others don't think that that's a thing a relationship should be based on.

I do agree with what you said about relationships potentially having 'perks' and whatnot, but for me, just getting past the whole superficial views of lust and beauty means that I've rarely gotten to try out aromantic people's 'dating' (aka QPRs), and it doesn't help that a lot of my friends do prioritize their boyfriend/girlfriend over me, so I guess I"ll just have an android (robot, not the phone or tablet!) and a dog to keep me company in the near future.

 

Edited by MulticulturalFarmer
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To me romance is wanting to be in a committed relationship. This relationship may or may not included "romantic coded" activities like kissing, holding hands, and going on dates (I really see no difference between dating and going out with a friend, aside for the intention). It may or may not lead to moving in together and merging lives. To me it is the commitment and the internal identification that "this is a romantic relationship" that makes it romantic.

None of it "bugs" me, it's just not something I'm interested in having myself. I like living alone, but that applies to not wanting a platonic roommate just as much as it applies to not wanting a live-in romantic partner. I don't like hierarchical relationships, but I'm not interested in any of the non-hierarchical poly forms of romantic relationships either. I just don't want that sort of committed relationship and I have no fundamental sense of what romantic feelings would be like or why I would want to experience them.

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I always saw/treated romance as "a best-friendship with extra steps/benefits" , which probably explains a lot about how I view my orientation now.

I just never fully grasped what made a romantic relationship different from a platonic one, aside from kissing I guess?? I actually don't mind kissing (although experience is limited), but is that really the only thing that makes it different? At least whats considered socially acceptable.

I like romantic-coded things in fiction, and seeing two people with really good chemistry interact, but when I try to replicate the same thing it always fails. My longer relationships lasted because I was friends with that person before, and the shorter ones ended because I confused sexual attraction for romantic (? I think at least, still experimenting with that theory).

The only thing I "hate" is that not even alloromantics can decide what the proper definition of romance is.

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On 2/18/2021 at 3:43 PM, MulticulturalFarmer said:

Yeah, I can totally relate to this! For me, before I knew the term 'aro' I thought of relationships as a way to get emotional connection via intellectual activities and pursuits, and let's just say that that worldview is not terribly common, sadly. Some people seem to think of it as being overly stoic and not discussing emotions, which can make for a bad friendship or (romantic) relationship, while others don't think that that's a thing a relationship should be based on.

I do agree with what you said about relationships potentially having 'perks' and whatnot, but for me, just getting past the whole superficial views of lust and beauty means that I've rarely gotten to try out aromantic people's 'dating' (aka QPRs), and it doesn't help that a lot of my friends do prioritize their boyfriend/girlfriend over me, so I guess I"ll just have an android (robot, not the phone or tablet!) and a dog to keep me company in the near future.

 

I understand, it's hard to find someone with a similar mindset like this, that prioritize intellect, wether worldviews and wants align and all that. It seems so forced sometimes too, like everyone has a partner just because it is what they think is proper and like they can't function without someone else. What you said about friends is very true too, but I am a person that is very introverted and only has a few well picked friends, so I'm not often bothered by this. I have so many interests on my own that I don't feel like I depend on having any kind of relationship, romantic or not. 

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On 2/12/2021 at 4:12 PM, alto said:

But it's also a certain ambience you give off, that according to my exes I have never exuded.

Whoa, really?! Probably explains why I never dated anyone for longer than like 2 or 3 months 😂

On 2/13/2021 at 2:47 PM, Mark said:

Wanting to merge identities with "partner(s)".

*hard cringe*

😬😬😬

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On 2/20/2021 at 5:48 PM, Constanze said:

I understand, it's hard to find someone with a similar mindset like this, that prioritize intellect, wether worldviews and wants align and all that. It seems so forced sometimes too, like everyone has a partner just because it is what they think is proper and like they can't function without someone else. What you said about friends is very true too, but I am a person that is very introverted and only has a few well picked friends, so I'm not often bothered by this. I have so many interests on my own that I don't feel like I depend on having any kind of relationship, romantic or not. 

I come from an introverted culture within my country but most people who live in urban areas are quite fake and artificially very loud and extroverted, so there's a conflict between people from my region and the mainstream society, that's probably why I have these issues. I have a few friends from my area that I talk to occasionally, but not often.

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