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Can You Be Aro if You Understand Romance (Or Kind Of Do)?


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So, a lot of people on the forums seem to talk about this misunderstanding of romance or just not getting it. As for myself, I like romance. I like seeing people smile as they look into each other's eyes, and then kiss. It seems nice and intimate to me. I've even written stories where the romance was obvious and I think I got the chemistry down.

However, when it comes to myself: Kissing is two people smooshing their lips together for what? I like learning about people, but I have no interest in pursuing anything further. I imagine getting married, but it's vague and about no one, or someone that I, as a teenager with a writer's brain, made up from nothing so I could say that it will happen one day.

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There are parts of romance that I understand & parts that I don't, but I think what makes a person aro, is the lack of interest in having that for yourself.

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Oh, tons of us love fictional romance! Me included. I've written a fair amount myself too. Like Angrboda above there, there are aspects I get and aspects I don't. Typically, for me, I don't get the drama of it - i remember friends in middle & high school used to say stuff like "it's called a crush because it crushes you", and I just thought that sounded a bit dramatic. it's why i like it in fiction, i think. the spectacle is fun! it's not so fun when it's assumed that everyone experiences it. (and, of course, I'm very happy for friends who are happy in their romantic relationships. i do like seeing people happy (: )

But yeah - there is no one way to be aro. literally the only requirement is a lack of romantic attraction! A lot of us tend to talk about being confused by alloros on here because it's such a relief to be able to talk about it with others who both understand, and won't assume you're being snide about someone's lived experiences. 

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Agreed with others here, your understanding of romance doesn't dictate how aro you are.

I experience romantic attraction towards fictional characters, and to a point that helps me understand what the big fuss is about because I can actually look to my own feelings.

Some things about IRL romance can still be confusing though, like the drama nisse mentioned. Or how some people hold dating in such high regard but are also shallow/petty with it. So yeah one's comprehension of romance is rarely black-or-white (even for alloro people, I presume)

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@Apex So, I was wondering about fictoromanticism. I don't believe I am like that, but during my mental health crisis a few years ago, I had a psychosis event where I believed in this fictional world. It's a long story, but I imagined having lived a life with someone fictional. I made her up in my head based off a book I was writing at the time. I don't know how much of it was romantically inclined, other than a moment where I thought I had kissed this fictional character, and the hand holdy stuff.

Outside of the psychosis, which broke thankfully, I don't have an attraction to fictional characters. Things just are. My OCD brain is a little obsessed about sex, but there is no want involved, I think. It is more like living a nightmare in my head when the obsessions come.

Anyway, does this sound like fictoromanticism, or was my brain just playing tricks on me?

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2 hours ago, SirBeastling said:

@Apex So, I was wondering about fictoromanticism. I don't believe I am like that, but during my mental health crisis a few years ago, I had a psychosis event where I believed in this fictional world. It's a long story, but I imagined having lived a life with someone fictional. I made her up in my head based off a book I was writing at the time. I don't know how much of it was romantically inclined, other than a moment where I thought I had kissed this fictional character, and the hand holdy stuff.

Outside of the psychosis, which broke thankfully, I don't have an attraction to fictional characters. Things just are. My OCD brain is a little obsessed about sex, but there is no want involved, I think. It is more like living a nightmare in my head when the obsessions come.

Anyway, does this sound like fictoromanticism, or was my brain just playing tricks on me?

I would say no. Ficto people have a history of attraction to characters, it's not typically a one-time thing. Fictosexuality/romanticism also isn't related to psychosis. The vast majority of ficto people know that the characters they like aren't real, and a good portion of them are just having fun. Some do believe the characters exist in another universe, but that they can't interact.

For me, it's an important part of myself but also something that I treat more or less like a hobby. My brain doesn't play any tricks on me in regards to how real the characters/worlds/etc are. So to me it sounds like your experience was more related to the psychosis than fictoromanticism

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On 11/12/2021 at 12:19 AM, SirBeastling said:

So, a lot of people on the forums seem to talk about this misunderstanding of romance or just not getting it. As for myself, I like romance. I like seeing people smile as they look into each other's eyes, and then kiss. It seems nice and intimate to me. I've even written stories where the romance was obvious and I think I got the chemistry down.

We have loads and loads of slippery & vague terms in the discussion – like romantic attraction. But at least the problems with these terms are kind of well known.

Now you put the focus on another extremely ambiguous term: to understand.

“Understand” has, very broadly, at least two fundamentally different meanings:

  1. To intellectually understand – to know how something works, or why
  2. To empathize; or more narrowly to be sympathetic or tolerant towards something

“Understanding romance” in the manner of (1.) is likely not at all rare for aros.

It is more common for us to not “understand” romance in the manner of (2.). Here the connection is obvious: other humans feel a type of emotion that is completely alien to me as an aro – so obviously it is difficult to me to empathize.

Still if you can empathize regardless, it does not mean you are not aro. That inference would be quite ridiculous. E. g. nobody thinks you need to be gay to empathize with the problems a gay couple has!

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8 hours ago, DeltaV said:
  1. To intellectually understand – to know how something works, or why
  2. To empathize; or more narrowly to be sympathetic or tolerant towards something

“Understanding romance” in the manner of (1.) is likely not at all rare for aros.

It is more common for us to not “understand” romance in the manner of (2.)

I'm wondering on what you based yourself to say this? Just curious. Personally, not feeling romantic emotions doesn't prevent me to empathize with others.

 

Anyway I think aros can understand romance. Some do, some don't, but it sayd nothing about how much "aro" you are.

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4 hours ago, nonmerci said:

I'm wondering on what you based yourself to say this? Just curious. Personally, not feeling romantic emotions doesn't prevent me to empathize with others.

Of course. I don’t claim that aros have less empathy in general.

It was just about aros’ empathy for alloromantics when it comes to their romantic issues. Wouldn’t we assume it is at least somewhat reduced?

Empathy means to experience a situation from another person’s perspective. If you do not feel and never felt romantic emotions, you cannot in your imagination recreate the sequence of emotional states which play out in romance situations. This must be some sort of an obstacle. We may still empathize using analogies, metaphors, etc., but it would be in a roundabout way.

This board also confirms this: many posts here express their bewilderment about romance. And that’s not restricted to silly contemporary traditions, but the very basics of romance. Still not a “lack of understanding” in the manner like we might not understand why 0.9999999… = 1. We probably all intellectually understand romance as a rule-based behavior. But empathy seems to be a bit lacking.

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