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i have known that i was aro for 5 years at this point, but i still dont think ive fully accepted myself.


ashisaro2
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hello friends, by the title you can guess what this is about. i know a lot of other people struggle with this too, so trigger warnings for internalized acephobia and arophobia and just general feelings of dread. pls stay safe and dont read anything that might trigger you !!

 

i discovered the term aromantic the summer before 6th grade (age 10 or 11 for non-americans). at first it meant nothing to me, it was just a new label. i was constantly being thrown new labels since i came out because i grew up chronically online. i knew what most of the "+" in "lgbtq+" meant before i even fully understood what a lesbian was. i was experimenting with labels at the time, jumping between bi and pan and poly and demi just to try and figure out how to explain the feelings i was experiencing. i listened to others about how they figured out their sexualities and they all mostly said the same thing. "you'll know when the label feels right."

and then i tried out asexual, and it stuck. and it was horrible. acephobia was at its peak in online spaces and i completely felt like an outsider. the moment i figured out that the feelings i was experiencing (or honestly, *lack* of feelings) wasnt just something wrong with me, people told me that there was actually something wrong with me, or that i was just too young, or whatever excuse they could muster at the time to explain to me how my identity was just me being a confused little kid.

however, i found safe asexual spaces. it took a couple tries and eventually i accepted myself because the people around me were able to accept themselves too. despite everything.

i was okay with being asexual. once i was able to escape the acephobia i was able to realize i was normal and that sex isnt everything. even allo people can go years without wanting a sexual partner because every human was different. i realized i could fit in, even if it was only temporary.

then, i started school. and i realized i wasnt just asexual, and that there was a difference between romantic and platonic attraction. i was using my romantic attraction as a safety net; i could still fit in if i could joke about my crushes or talk about kissing people.  i could still be considered normal if i was even part allo.

my friends started discovering boys and girls and talked about how much they wanted to date them and would plan their dream wedding in the back of their notebooks during class. i felt so uncomfortable. i knew and was accepting of my trans identity during this time, and i felt the same wave of dysphoria talking to my friends about relationships that i felt when looking in the mirror. i deeply hated this part of myself, and i started realizing that all of the things little kids dream of like getting married and having a family of your own was slowly being ripped out of my hands. the more and more i discovered my identity the more and more i realized that i would never have or want any of those things.

i tried talking about it to my peers but i got the same reaction that i got from the bigots online all those months ago. that i was "too young" and "id grow out of it." and for the first time i genuinely believed them. i was able to get past faceless people on the internet telling me i was different, but hearing it straight from the persons mouth that there was a chance that i could turn out normal? that gave me hope.

i was able to start admitting i was aromantic, but every time i came out i always added "its probably because im too young, i'll probably grow out of it." i held onto that shred of hope for dear life. it let me hate myself a little less. i did this for years, all the way up to freshman year of high school (age 14 or 15.) the sudden wave of acceptance for ace and aro people was astonishing. i finally felt like i belonged. but, the positive messages people were spreading made me reevaluate the lies i had been telling myself. the hope i once had was gone, and i had that same feeling of hate and dysphoria i had as a kid came back. i was already out to most of my online and irl friends and yet i had never met another aromantic person my age. i had no one i could connect to.

now im going into sophomore year (age 15 or 16) and its getting way harder that i could have even imagined. my friends are starting to date and have romantic feelings as well as sexual. every time i am reminded of my identity i get defensive and shut down. i hate that i will never have the same high school experience as everyone, and i will never want to. i hate that when people find out that im aro they always ask 'how' or 'why.' i hate that even my closest friend asks and asks about my identity even though ive told them that its such a sensitive topic for me. i hate that people ask me if i think that theyre ace or aro and describe their (very allo) experiences to me, and it makes me realize how much i will never understand.

im about to turn 16 in a couple months and i hate that this part of me will probably never change. im so sick and tired of feeling this dread every single time im reminded that im not like everyone else. and honestly, most of all, i hate that i wont find real romantic love. i consume so much romance in tv shows and movies and books and it makes me feel so happy. but the second its turned back on me and i dont feel the attraction i so desperately want to feel i just want to scream my head off. i want the fairytale ending ive seen since i was a tiny child. if there was a magic button i could press to accept myself instantly, i would, but it has been years and i am losing hope that i ever will

 

this got longer than i expected, and i honestly didnt mean for that entire last 2 paragraphs to happen. i was just going to explain my story and say "this is why im so uncomfortable with my identity" but i started writing and it just came out and i felt like it would explain a lot more than a story could. im sorry if theres any spelling or grammar mistakes, i have dyslexia, its 3:30 AM, and im not bothering to proofread. if anyone here has even remotely experienced what i have experienced, have you ever accepted yourself? how did you manage to do that?

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Hey up, I won't say I've completely accepted myself but I have came a fair way compared to what I was. Here are a few ramblings that helped me out.

Remember it is possible, if you want, to find relationships that fit with aromanticism. I get the dissapointment of it not being a romantic relationship but if you want to try that sort of thing out it is possible to find. In my case that was a purely sexual relationship but that is just one of a large number of options for what is possible.

Another thing which might help is to remember that, for all their faults, adults can be decent. A lot of that trouble of friends continuing to bring up subjects you find sensitive or always asking why should hopefully fade out a bit. At least in my case I am far more comfortable talking about things to my friends now. When I was at school (although I didn't know of aromanticism) I would never have let my friends know about my lack of crushes or my lack of interest in romance.

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