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Hi. I posted this on AVEN as my kinda introduction, but since I haven't posted here yet, I thought I may as well put this here too.

 

So, I'm not the only one who's gone through this - definitely not - but all throughout my younger years, I knew nothing different beyond heterosexuality. The school I went to and the place in general that I grew up in never spoke of topics such as sexuality, gender or even mental health - all of that was so taboo that no one mentioned it at all, and those who did were outcasted and shunned on that community's forums. This led to my years in primary education, where in the first, I became friends with a boy. Already, I received teasing from other kids, such as the tune of "so and so, sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G", and as my year grew up, crushes began to become more prevalent amongst my peers. With all the pressure to fit in within such a judgemental community, I forced myself to believe that I had a crush on/was in love with the boy they used to tease me about, simply because that seemed like the simplest option and what would only seem natural to my peers. It wasn't until this boy started liking me in the beginning of high school that I suddenly stopped 'liking' him because I didn't want to be in a romantic relationship with him, and in fact much preferred us being friends.

But in that school, it was abnormal not to have a crush, and so I had to find myself someone else to 'like' not too long after the boy left the school. Thus, I forced myself to think that the close relationship I had with one of my best friends was equatable to a romantic one and decided that I had 'feelings' for her. Then, I moved and didn't have to worry about that anymore once she broke off contact with me due to the homophobic stigmas in that place.

 

Not too long after moving, another boy ended up liking me. I had convinced myself I was bisexual at this point, even though I hadn't felt any sort of romantic/sexual attraction towards either the boy or ex-best friend from the old school (but I'll focus on that later because I didn't even realise that - I thought my strong platonic feelings had to be equal to romantic/sexual attraction because that was the norm of the place I grew up in). Anyway, I agreed to date this new boy, and we were only together for a week or two. During that time, I was incredibly uncomfortable with the relationship, especially because of how fast things were going and how sexual he was. We had sexted, and when he told me he'd 'finished' (trying to be as non-descriptive as possible), I felt confused and disgusted, because I had only seen it as absurd innuendo humour the whole time. He even showed me where he stashed his condoms and that made me feel even more uncomfortable, realising he was already prepared to do the do and making that clear. I couldn't even bring myself to kiss him when the moment arose. All the romantic gestures he made to me already made me feel so uneasy that kissing him seemed impossible to do without gagging. But, that's not his fault, and I should have known sooner. I broke up with him after the week we'd been together, unable to handle it anymore and feeling guilty that he seemed to like me so much when I couldn't return those feelings for the life of me, so I knew it would be better for his sake to end things quickly before his feelings got any more serious. Because of that experience, I decided to label myself demisexual after doing a tiny bit of research, which - amusingly - was the closest I got to realising the truth.

 

A few months later, I formed another strong platonic relationship with someone over the internet. It took a while before we started dating because they had formed feelings for me, as I thought I had done for them. I thought they were female at that point, so I started labelling myself as a lesbian instead, thinking that maybe I just liked girls which was why I felt so uncomfortable and repulsed towards my short-term boyfriend. They then told me they were non-binary, so I thought that might make me pansexual, but I wasn't really sure about that. Even so, we stayed together for about a year, and during that time, we met up twice in real life. Both times, I found myself feeling uncomfortable again, and every time they said 'I love you', I felt bad because I didn't feel like I could say that with meaning like they could. I forced myself to initiate a kiss with them, thinking that that may relieve my discomfort. Lo and behold, it didn't, and I honestly felt a little gross afterwards, but I forced myself to pretend to enjoy it because I didn't want to hurt their feelings.

Later on, I broke up with them because I was having a crisis. However, they have stayed friends with me since and I can happily say that I consider them to be my best friend.

 

 

So, after all these experiences, I was left feeling incredibly lost and confused. Both relationships I'd had, my partners hadn't done anything wrong, but I never felt right in those relationships regardless, and whenever things got sexual outside of jokes, I couldn't help but feel repulsed to the idea of actually having sex with them, or anyone. I just decided to call myself gay, because I knew for certain I wasn't straight, but I didn't know what I was.

Luckily, I had been brought into a safer environment, where LGBTQ+ was actually talked about at this new school, and the people weren't as judgemental or pressuring, so I felt no need to assign myself any more crushes and have been so happy being single. All of my discomfort is gone this way. However, asexuality and aromanticism was never mentioned on any of the LGBTQ+ boards the school has, so I was still left feeling like I was broken because of my thoughts and feelings towards sexual and romantic relationships.

 

Then, it happened - and this is why I wholeheartedly believe that the media is so important when it comes to inclusivity and diversity: a character from a show I came to adore was said to be aromantic asexual (although the character is no longer explicitly aro, but still ace), which was the first time I'd ever heard about either orientations. It was a big stepping stone for me, because in being the writer and roleplayer I am, I wanted to portray all of the characters accurately whenever I wrote about them, including this one character. I found myself researching more deeply into asexuality and aromanticism and found myself scarily relating to almost every description. Something clicked, and I realised I might have been aroace this whole time.

I felt so stupid for not realising sooner. Never having had a celebrity crush or being able to understand looking at someone and thinking you'd like to have sex with them. Never understanding why love was so exaggerated in the media. My aesthetic attraction being more prominent than any other kind of 'physical attraction' (e.g: Parent: "Didn't they look hot?", Me: "I liked their crocs-" LIKE- anyway-). Always preferring friendships to romantic relationships.

Yet, I also felt sad and afraid. All my life, I'd been raised to believe that growing up and getting married and starting a family was the ultimate goal of being human. The notion that it wasn't that way for me had me feeling outcasted and feeling as if I could never truly be happy without love, because that was all I knew. But then, I realised that that wasn't true at all. I felt so much more happy and comfortable out of relationships than being in them. Friendships have always meant more to me than romantic relationships. I never actually felt the need to outwardly seek a sexual or romantic partner. And most of all, the definitions of asexual and aromantic just sit right with me based on my past experiences, and my present ones.

 

 

Gosh, that was a lot. But that's my story, and how I came to terms with being aroace. Also, if you managed to read all of that, big round of applause for you!!

I might share about the specific things that made me realise I fell under those orientations at some point in the future, but this was a lot to write and my fingers are tired so that'll probably be a lot later.

 

But yeah, hi!

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