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Am I aromantic or anxious and/or not met the right person yet?

Guest Emily

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Guest Emily

Ok so I guess aromantics are probably tired of answering these type of questions, but I’m not comfortable enough to ask a friend yet. This is because I’m scared he’ll say yeah you probably are aromantic and that thought makes me panic. I think finding your labels is supposed to make people feel understood and at ease but after going down the aromantic rabbit hole it just makes me want to cry. And I don’t want to/mean to see being aromantic as missing something, but relating it to me feels like that. I’ve always been a hypochondriac so I tend to go down rabbit holes a lot about what is ‘wrong’ with me. A few days ago I spiralled over the idea I’m an autistic woman, and again I know logically there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being that. I still could be that, and all these identifiers/labels are muddling my brain up. What I do know though no therapist/doctor has ever given me like the seal of approval, is that I’m anxious and depressed. I’m annoyingly both, and so one big thing in my life is I ruminate over and over about my past present and future. A big fear of mine the older I get (I’m 24) is that I’m too late for a lot of things, have permanently missed out and thus fucked over my life. Relationships and sex is a huge part of this. I just can’t work out what I feel and have felt, whats just more anxious ‘hypochondriac’ rumination, and how much my mental health has pulled me back from chances to meet the right person and thus whether that is what’s actually happening to me.

I’ve also been extremely cantered around romantic love. Since a child that has been the endgame, it’s what I write, read and watch, it’s what I dream and daydream about. So as time went on and it didn’t happen for me the more it felt like a cruel joke, the girl so in love with love never finding it herself. And now, maybe not being capable of doing so. It’s hard to equate aromantic as me because of this, and it’s why the idea makes me so so sad. I’ve seen that other aro people like to read romance because it feels like magic to them, and this could be true for me too, if I’m brutally honest gay fanfiction has been my safe escapism for a long time and (my theory) I think largely due to the fact there’s no woman to trigger my anxiety to relate to. But the thought of only being able to see this magic and not touch it kinda breaks my heart.

So my love life, if you can even call it that, goes like: lots of truth or dare kisses in primary school, always looking around for my crush as a kid like I read about in books, wanting to be admired by others in that wanting way, getting to secondary school and soon falling behind my peers and alienating myself from them (ie taking fake sick days, this was when I first experienced depersonalisation onto depression), I think (?) I had a crush on this one guy but I certainly never truly perused him but I was shy and at that age wanted HIM to make a move and also he mostly had girlfriends while I knew him, then I had my first kiss while very drunk and it wasn’t pleasurable from memory (but neither not pleasurable, it was just like pure physicality where my lips didn’t know what to do) , and then a guy pursued me for the first time on this clubbing holiday and I enjoyed the attention but always found his lips too big lol so again idk that the kissing was ever pleasurable but maybe that’s just because I didn’t actually like him back, we also exchanged oral sex but again idk how much I actually liked HIM to enjoy pleasuring him, then he confessed quite sweetly to me but of course I gently rejected and let our conversations peter out when we flew home and he wanted to try long distance. I had another kinda gross experience with a guy on this double date with my friend where he kinda just slapped his thing on my hip in bed and I had to get up. And again, I didn’t enjoy kissing him but neither liked him. This is when I started to panic about being unable to enjoy kissing. Throughout university I pretty much didn’t date but again my mental health made me isolate a lot. I realised I was bisexual and slowly started exploring dating apps, particularly for women. I’ve now been on dates with three different girls and with each of them I encouraged myself to go meet them by saying we could always just be friends and to treat them as friends initially. Even though we met on tinder/bumble the romance was never explicit, like they didn’t ask me on a date, so with the first girl I panicked messaged her saying where I stood and now we are just friends, though loosely. I’m sort of seeing where things go with two girls now, and the thing I feel like an awful selfish human because 1 I evaluate and organise things too much, like already saying well I’d like to date you for a while but not forever, I want to experience things with you because I want to have experienced things with more than one person in my life. So I’m already cutting me and them short, and idk if the space I freak out about losing in a relationship is just because I’m depressed or what. Like what do I actually want that space for? I freak out about the idea of being with someone so much in a week but like what would I be doing instead? Am I just afraid to let someone in wholly? And then 2 I met up with one of those girls 3 times in 2020 and I kinda used the pandemic as an excuse after she asked to kiss me and I said no, and then haven’t seen and hardly spoken to her for the best part of a year but I’m reluctant to let the opportunity of her go because with time the idea of her becomes more and more appealing. Key word being idea because I still don’t feel like I really know her. So I still kinda wanna ask her out again but of course she may not be interested anymore. So I freak out about being selfish and using people this way. 

I dream a lot a lot about sex and romance, but idk how much dream you reflects real life you and your wants and feelings. For asexuality too, idk that I’ve really ever looked at someone and thought about their genitals if that’s something people do. But I can imagine sex with one specific person as more desirable than another. Same goes for romance, but I’m beginning to be like wtf even IS romance? If we’re talking ‘butterflies’ even that is hard to extract from nerves. I’m definitely been nervous around people before, like the two people I think I had crushes on, and maybe some excitement mixed in but it’s really fucking hard to tell. Like when I go on dates I mostly feel nervous and motivate myself with the thought of going home after and that sounds awful, but idk if it’s just depression and anxiety and also, again, not the right person. I’m like that with my friends too so (the going home bit, not nervous.) If romance is big gestures well I think I want a lowkey epic love story but it’s just so hard to know these things without experience. So then I feel like I should date more and gain that experience and then come back to whether I might be aro or not, but beyond hooking up with people dating feels a bit like using others then. I guess it’s all about clear communication, like saying I’m just seeing where things go, but still. 

I do love the idea of having your ‘person’, a partner for life. I absolutely want a family and children. I want a wedding. I want to be special to someone and them special to me and I want to use my whole heart for someone, want it to ache like it does reading romance stories. Want the belly swoops in real life. But I’ve also always been best friend orientated and I also want to have that ‘special connection’ with them. So then I think about having a best friend and a romantic partner and the difference and it’s such a head fuck, cos sure there’s sex but that’s not romance, so then what? Exchanging gifts? Wanting and giving more appearance based compliments? Wanting to cuddle each other to sleep? Just the mere words of calling each other girlfriend or wife or whatever? Toxic things like jealousy?? Like heartbreak and the trials portrayed in romance stories? Like surely not. I guess that nervous excitement I don’t experience when meeting a new friend, but there’s a satisfying warmth of finding someone you click with. I don’t think I’ve met enough people I find attractive to know about those initial butterflies instead, and my brain is just struggling to decipher what’s sex and romance and friendship and just appearance attractiveness and what’s me being weirdly calculating like oo that person might fit my fantasy and then what’s just being intimidated by a person. I think this is long enough and I’m rambling now but yeah. Last point is that I’ve seen the glossary terms for aromanticism and all these words just,,, exhaust me. I wasn’t that bothered with sexuality labels either like I say I’m bisexual but I’ve always kinda been of the attitude I’ll like whoever I meet and that’s that. What will be will be. I’d think that way about falling in love too but there’s way more anxiety riddled into this. Anxiety, shame, sadness. There’s always something I fixate on like this, whether is autism or depression or thinking I have ibs or cancer etc. And again, I KNOW aromantism is not something wrong like that. I want to be comfortable with the idea of relating it to me as well as to others but it just makes me feel kinda sick to do so. Like I’d love to meet my One tomorrow but I also feel not ready to share my embarassing life like that and have this selfish notion of wanting to have experienced more people and stories w them before meeting that One. Which is stupid because is that not my goal, is that not how I think I’ll be happy for forever if not a long time. Like what if it did happen tomorrow? I just can’t predict how I’d feel and act and want. Andddd I’m rambling again ok thank you if you reply? 

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i'm still fairly new to the community, so take this as you will.

you do sound like you could be aromantic, though i think it's important to clarify that aromanticism is not a dead end of sorts; you can still engage in romantic activities and relationships.

2 hours ago, Guest Emily said:

I do love the idea of having your ‘person’, a partner for life. I absolutely want a family and children. I want a wedding. I want to be special to someone and them special to me and I want to use my whole heart for someone, want it to ache like it does reading romance stories.

i can personally relate to this in a way, and i understand that discovering you're arospec might seem like a huge let down in this sort of situations. however, you can do all of those things and be aromantic too, just maybe not the "aching" sensation that comes with love. (keyword: maybe)

also, i don't think you're being selfish or using people if you explain to them first that your relationship is only gonna be temporary, it's common for people to experiment within their love life. and not wanting to kiss i feel is something you should talk about with future partners when setting boundaries.

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Hey.  You can totally have a partner and be aro.  You can totally date and be aro.  I'm aro and i've had two girlfriends and two boyfriends lol

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