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Aromantic questioning as someone who has dated in the past


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Hi all!

I'm sure this is the kind of post that you get a lot here, but I've recently been questioning if I am aro/arospec after I got out of a relationship (broke up with a girl). I had previously identified as lesbian/queer, and also in the past as ace and demi. I have also been in romantic and sexual relationships with men in the past. One of these I knew I had no romantic feelings for before or over the course of the (short) relationship, it was more a platonic and sexual thing (but very romantic on his side eek). Another was a longer term relationship, over almost 2 years. I didn't have romantic feelings for/a crush on him at the start, but as the relationship progressed I eventually got the point (a long time after him) of saying I love you and believing I was in love with him. I am still a bit murky about this, but I think I probably genuinely loved him, albeit maybe not so intensely as he had loved me. Both of those relationships ended quite badly with me breaking up with them. I would say that I broke up with them feeling trapped in various ways, even if I did love the long term one. It was like I was yearning for something else/feeling the need to experiment more. After the second one I came out as a lesbian, believing that was why I didn't really have crushes on men. I had thought that I'd had one crush on a girl about 4-5 years in the past, but that was it apart from some girls where it is possible they were crushes but i'm unsure and thinking they might have been more squishes/swishes. I after breaking up with the second boyfriend got on tinder and started dating girls, and there was one that I was quite looking forward to the idea of a romantic relationship, but she moved away when we had only been on two dates so it is hard to asecertain if there was really something there. And then I was in a short relatinship with another girl some months later. I broke up with her for unrelated reasons but also because I didn't feel like I really had romantic feelings, like I didn't feel as into her as I should. This with the way I always felt when I was younger and through my life (pretty clueless what romantic feelings are actually like and constantly asking what a crush is/never having one when all my friends did and would ask me mine) led to me questioning whether I am aromantic. I think my ideal future could be one with a qpr and maybe casual sex. I really like the idea of not having the pressure of romance and to fall in love but still having a close and loving relationship. I sort of mentioned this questioning to a family member and a friend and they both seemed sort of skeptical and like I was jumping to conclusions and sort of seemed to go for the 'but you were in love with your boyfriend weren't you?' and 'you'll meet the right person someday' sort of things, or the sort of 'everyone can feel like that, not having crushes when you are young isn't that unusual'. 

So I guess what I'm asking is, does anyone have a similar (or similarly confusing) experience with romance and questioning, and what do you think?

*also for context I am 20.

Edited by th-emptyhearse
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Hey there!

I think I have a similar experience to you! (You inspired me to create an account and make my first post).

I'm in a relationship right now and I've been in one other relationship before that.

My first relationship ended because I felt trapped, couldn't really imagine spending my life with that person, felt like I loved her a lot less than she loved me. So I related a lot to your reasons for ending your relationships! I've constantly had feelings that I wasn't as into my partner as I should be. When I told my ex after figuring out I'm aromantic, she was glad to finally understand why I stopped (romantically) loving her all of a sudden.

My current relationship: I didn't really have romantic feelings at the beginning either. I had no idea I was aromantic, this person had had a crush on me for a while, we had a lot in common, we were good friends, and we were casually hooking up. I started dating because it felt like that was the "right" thing to do - we did all the things people did when dating, we just... weren't dating. Over the course of the relationship it started feeling less weird to say "I love you" and i got comfortable being romantic with them - but mostly because I felt like that's what I should do, and it makes them happy. Once I read about aromanticism everything clicked - all the issues I'd had with relationships just made sense. We're still together, by the way, since we both enjoy the relationship a lot and they are OK with their romantic love not being reciprocated (I still love them platonically very much!).

Also, when I discovered I was bi, I tried dating a guy but it ended pretty quickly, and that led me to believe I was sexually attracted to guys, but not interested in dating them. Now I've realized it's just everyone that I'm not romantically attracted to 🤣.

It's been a very confusing experience, since I've been in two longterm relationships - but for both of those I dealt with so much guilt about wanting out, and I feel much more comfortable now.

(TW: arophobia)

Spoiler

I've come out to a few people and I also got the "you'll meet the right person someday" but they just don't understand how much it makes sense to me. Keep in mind alloromatic people have a hard time understanding - it's soo hard to prove you don't experience something. It's like cilantro - it tastes like soap to me, it tastes great to other people, but they have no way of understanding how I experience cilantro.

 

What do I think? I think it's very likely you're somewhere on the aromantic spectrum - i relate really hard to a lot of what you're saying. Just keep in mind that there's all kinds of aromantic-ness - you might only feel romantic attraction rarely, or feel it less strongly, or only after you really know someone well, or not at all. The exact label isn't important - what's important is that you use this newfound knowledge to be confident in what you want out of life and be comfortable with who you are!

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On 4/1/2021 at 4:54 PM, flapi_bird said:

Hey there!

I think I have a similar experience to you! (You inspired me to create an account and make my first post).

I'm in a relationship right now and I've been in one other relationship before that.

My first relationship ended because I felt trapped, couldn't really imagine spending my life with that person, felt like I loved her a lot less than she loved me. So I related a lot to your reasons for ending your relationships! I've constantly had feelings that I wasn't as into my partner as I should be.

Oh my gosh I'm so happy someone feels in a similar situation to me, thank you for your reply! And I really relate hard to this part of having feelings that I wasn't as into them as I should be!! 

On 4/1/2021 at 4:54 PM, flapi_bird said:

My current relationship: I didn't really have romantic feelings at the beginning either. I had no idea I was aromantic, this person had had a crush on me for a while, we had a lot in common, we were good friends, and we were casually hooking up. I started dating because it felt like that was the "right" thing to do - we did all the things people did when dating, we just... weren't dating. 

I really relate to this too. One of my past relationships was a friend that I started hooking up with and since I thought we did like all the things that a couple do and he was saying that he loved me eventually I felt pressured to say that yes I was his girlfriend, and that we were a couple. Like I didn't say it because I had romantic feelings but because it, like you said, felt like the 'right' thing to do. 

Also I'm so happy things clicked for you and that you have a relationship that works for you, that's lovely! 

And thank you for that last bit, it is important to keep in mind. I do feel more comfortable acknowledging that I might be arospec and I think I'll just keep it in mind and just see how it goes from here! :) 

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