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In a relationship with aro/ace, can it work?

Guest pangirl

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Guest pangirl

I am writing to ask some perspectives on my relationship with my special friend. So, I am a pan/poly and he is aro+ace + touch averse (he has never been in any kind of relationship or had crushes). I also have other romantic/sexual dating partners. 

We have been friends for 3 years now. Friendship has developed closer and more and more intense over these years. We see 3-4 times a week, we go out, to hikes, films and restaurants, have cup of tee, travel, go to parties and other social gatherings, cook together etc. We chat daily. We ask each others perspectives on most issues of life. We have met each others families and childhood friends. He helps me, supports me and is really sweet. I am his closest friend and relationship, while I have other relationships too. He has lot of friends, but he likes to maintain distance to people both physically and emotionally. He has not even told anyone he is aro/ace. He likes to hang out in a group and I am the only one he meets regurlarly just a two of us. Our bond is so strong and flirting so open that everybody around us comment on it all the time. I have asked about this too, whether he is actually flirting or are we other just getting it wrong. He laughed and said that of course he is, who wouldn’t flirt with a girl like me. But we have no physical contact as he cannot take it (with anyone). 

He does not like to talk about emotions and I very rarely manage to get him to say anything about us either. I try to be very sensitive about this, because it really seems to cause him anxiety. While ago I asked him whether he still thinks we are just friends. He replied that of probably not, but he still doesn´t want a romantic/sexual relationship and can’t we just let it be what it is. When I asked what it is then, he says he has no idea and he is not comfortable to talk more about it right now. 

Somewhat new phenomena is that he does not wan’t to talk about my crushes/dates. We used to talk about them a lot. But now he does not reply if I say something. He  has even left party of our friends twice because ”you obviosly had something going on and I did not wan´t to stand on a way”. My idea of this is that he is afraid of losing me to romantic relationships, but I cannot know as he does not wan't to talk about this.

I am trying my best. Most of the time everything is fine, nice, warm and fun. But – of course – I am in love with him, also romantically. I have told it to him couple of times and he says he knows it and he is ”very fond of me in his own way but cannot feel what I feel”.

This is not all easy. I would wan’t to have physical closeness and more talk of emotions, I would wan’t him to let me closer to me in all ways. Sometimes that desire is so strong that I just cry and have to keep distance for him for a while. He understands this and gives me my space to get myself together. If I didn’t have my other romantic dates, I don’t think I could manage this. 

If I could choose, I would choose not to be in love with him.  I´ve tried it all: dating other people, focusing on family and friends, keeping myself busy, using time to myself and things that make me happy, taking ”breaks” from this friendship (this made us both very unhappy). I can’t help it, it does not change.  

Are there happy endings in stories like this? And by happy I don’t mean him suddenly becaming a romantic person and falling in love with me. No, he is who he is. I am who I am. Happy ending for me would be something we both can live with and be mostly satisfied. Do people get relationhips like this function?

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You both might want to look into QPRs (or queerplatonic realtionships), and looking into alterous or queerplatonic attraction might be helpful for him. 
I think y’all might also want to talk about whether or not you prioritize your crushes/dates over him, y’know? Let him know that he’s not “standing in the way” of anything, and I understand that he doesn’t like talking about this but I strongly encourage it, especially with how important this relationship seems to be to both of you

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Guest pangirl

Thank you for your perspective. I´ve also thought that it might be useful if he read something about these issues. He has never done that, it was more like a life experience based identification from his part (I have never been interested in anybody, not sexually or otherwise people seem to be and that´s it). I was the one linking him something about asexuality and aromantic people. It would be easier for me to talk if we had some consepts, but this has not been important for him - at least so far. 

I would want to talk about everything. But cannot push him eather as the need to talk is mine: ne never starts any kind of discussion of this sort and it not easy to get him to participate and very often he just pulls back if I try too hard. And you are right, queerplatonic relationship is what we sort of seem to be having, in practise.  I'll try to introduce some information about this for him to think of. 

And I could not prioritize anybody over him even if I planned to. It does not work like that - and this has been the reason many of my dates have failed.

Currently the girl I am dating is poly and in other primary relationship and this seems to be going better. But the truth is, we have not discussed my other dates at all and i agree it is not ideal situation as they seem to affect him.

When it comes to the type of attraction, he has been very strongly of the opinion that it is only platonic. It is not by business to challenge his views about his own emotions, but it is hard for me to read it as plainly platonic one. Not that I am reading it as romantic one either, but this "alterous" seems more like it. 

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  • 2 months later...

I think regardless of what you are to reach other, every relationship needs communication. If not it will not thrive in the long run. Maybe you could try to discuss your relationship through the relationship anarchy smorgasbord (google that term to get the info). To talk about what kind of activities you'd have as a relationship and what kind of activities you won't. Then you can be clear about that you'll do those activities he doesn't want to with other people. Your needs are equally important as his.

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