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How do you talk to people who don't understand?


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Hi, so I am very new to the aromantic community. I'm still not even completely confident in identifying as aromantic but am going with it because it feels comfortable. For a long time I felt like I was doing something wrong because I am 23 and had never dated or found someone I wanted to date even though I like the concept of romance. I also never understood how people knew which gender they were attracted too if they hadn't dated someone before and wondered for a while if I was bisexual. Eventually I decided that asexual and aromantic seemed to fit best and it has definitely helped knowing there are other people who have similar experiences to me. 

I am only just starting to have conversations with my family and friends about identifying as aromantic and asexual and am finding it difficult to explain things when they clearly view relationships differently to me. I find I am getting comments like "your just overthinking it" and "you'll meet the right person and you'll just know". I don't think anyone is trying to be dismissive, but because they know I like the idea of romance in books and movies, I feel like they don't believe that I don't feel comfortable with the idea of me being in a romantic relationship. One of the people I spoke to tried to convince me that being in a romantic relationship is an important part of becoming more selfless and a better person. They didn't seem to understand when I tried to explain that you can learn those things in any relationship. They just said "being in love is different". 

How can I explain being aromantic to someone when they don't understand what is like to not experience romantic attraction or want a romantic relationship and when I don't even know what romantic attraction feels like so I can't definitively tell them its something I don't want? 

I would appreciate any advice on how to navigate conversations that result in slightly negative reactions to coming out.

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You coul explain that it is not something that you "want", but something you don't feel. You can also explain that they'll probably was attracted to people before they find the "one" : they were able to say if they are attracted to girls, to boys, to both; what is their "type", what the attraction feels like... Which isn't your case obviously. Thenexplained them that the same way they wouldn't feel comfortable in a relationship when they are not romantically interested, you are not either and so you are fine single.

You can also use analogy to explain. It could help them realize how stupid this statement is. Would they say to a straight man that he is bi and just have find the right man yet? If someone says they don't like chocolate, would they say he just haven't met the right chocolate yet? (you can replace chocolate by any meal or even activity, like running, or I don't know).

You can also talk about them about amatonormativity and how singularize romantic relationships in compare to other types of relationship is a social construct.

 

You can also spare yourself the explanation and gives them ressources. Someone I knew say that he's husband had a very hard time believing he was demi-boy, even if he explained to him in all the way possible. Then he shows his husband a documentary on the subject, and the husband finally gets it... after 10 years of not really accepting it. Sometimes people understand better with testimonies and stories. Resources are limited on aromanticism, but you can say, for instance, that it is like being Jo in Little Women when it comes to Laurie : she really likes him, but she can't fall in love with him. Or maybe buy them Loveless by Alice Oseman (I haven't read it but it is one of the few books on the subject).

 

However it is possible that it will take time. The thing is, aromanticism lead people to reconsider their view of the world. Alloromantic people may never question that romance is a need, that it is required to have a meaningful life, or even to grow as a person. They give it a very important place in their life. Recognizing the existence of aromanticism forces them to question that point of view, and it is hard for some people, who will then rationalize it by saying it will change later or things like that.  They fail to understand some people don't think or feel like them. In this case, it takes patience.

 

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When I'm around people who aren't likely to want or accept a full explanation of my orientation, I usually just tell them that I'm focusing on my studies/career and don't really have time to date.  Maybe it's not ideal, but it saves me from an awkward conversation.

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