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How did you know and/or find out that you were aromantic?


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Hello all! I'm hoping this ends up with a lot of posts. I checked the longest posts and there wasn't a question like this.

 

What factors played into your discovery that you were aromantic? How did you know? What about your aromantic experience really told you that you could find this label meaningful/discriptive of your experience?

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I am pretty sure I have told you this story before, but to get things going, I'll start x)

I never really grew into this whole interest in relationships, partners and sex as my peers seemed to. At age 13 I was diagnosed with aspergers syndrome so it was not a big surprise that I was behind on the social development side, and my general disinterest was taken as a side effect of the diagnosis by my family so that's what I assumed. As I got into my 20s, this started seeming weird, and I thought about it some more, eventually finding the term asexual. I didn't think the definition fit me, but I found myself a microlabel that did, and now I am more comfortable in being asexual. Finding the asexual community on aven is how I came to know that aromaticism is something separate. So then I started thinking about if I was also aromantic. The confusion there is that 'romance' is hard to define. I had no idea what defined a romantic relationship once the sex was removed.

So, still thinking about what aromanticism means and how I fit into it, I started having some sort of feelings for a friend of mine. I think this is relevant to your question, so I am going into my internal debate in detail here. On one hand, I wasn't really interested in the classic romantic, coupley stuff, but on the other I did definitely want us to be closer. I was wondering how much time it is reasonable to think about a person before you have to admit that it is a romantic feeling. But also, how much of that is heteronormativity? Is it just because a friendship between a guy and a gal are expected to turn out like that? Considering how much I have relied on my best female friend, how much a day being a good day depended on if I saw her during lunch in highschool, and I never thought that had to be romantic and neither did anyone else. Well, that was a point towards aromanticism. Anyway, those things were going through my head, and since this was an online friendship, I had only seen that guy IRL once before, and I had another trip to his city planned, I elected to wait with acting upon any of this until I had met him face to face once again and see how I felt. Before this visit, he confessed his feelings to me, and I tentatively agreed that we would be in 'sort of' a relationship, with the understanding that I had been wondering if I was aromantic and wasn't sure how this would work, and me being for-sure asexual.

And this is how I started to know. Because even though not much had actually changed, we mostly hung out online, played the same games as before, I still felt uncomfortable. Every little thing made me uncomfortable, but it wasn't until a month in that I started admitting that to myself. Before then I just kept telling myself it was fine, nothing much had changed, I had no reason to feel this way. But I did. It was clear that all of the 'sort of's I had added to this relationship went completely over my (boy)friend's head, he was puppy-dog exited about having a girlfriend. My other friends too, though it was more subtle, seemed to expect me to behave in a girlfriend-like fashion and it just didn't fit. My handle here, 'Jedi' is actually a reference to this time. We were all into starwars at this point. And in the setting we played, the jedi were forbidden from forming romantic relationships and this was always showed as a sacrifice. And I started to be envious of it. Oh, to have romance be forbidden and so never having to worry about it. I could wear my distinct jedi robes and everyone would know I was a jedi and therefore unavailable. 

Realizing this and also that I was avoiding my (boy)friend, I broke it off, on the grounds that I was, it turns out, actually aromantic. And that's how I knew. I guess it was just the ghost of heteronormativity messing with me after all. Now I know that I do want to feel close to my friends, but not like that.

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Oh blimey, I wrote a whole blog on this ages ago, good question.

https://roboticanary.wordpress.com/2021/02/03/my-journey-to-aromanticism/

The short answer is I found two friends who were asexual and for the first time in my life learnt the idea of splitting romance from sex as a desire ( I mean, I knew I could have casual sex outside of romance but the idea of a complete desire for one without the other was something I had never heard, I just assumed I would eventually drift into wanting something more traditionally romantic as I got older). That led to some introspection where I looked back and realised that I had never got involved in a long term romantic relationship because I didn't really want one and didn't put much care into getting one. Combine this with a slow realisation that, horror of horrors, I had infact got older already and I wasn't settling down with a partner any time soon. Maybe this aromanticism idea might be something I should consider.

Behind that was a whole lot of dealing with baggage from a degree that utterly fried my brain especially towards the end, and working out that the reason for my lack of love life was not for the litany of self hating reasons I had set up.

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i just never really understood why people liked typically romantic things, and noticed i never really felt those feelings, and wwhile im still trying to figure out my identity, i know im definitely arospec!

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At first I realized I was asexual. I'd already heard about aromantism but I didn't really recognized my own at that point. I always had squishes on guys so I thought I was heteroromantic at first. Then I heard about greyromantism and I convinced myself I only had three "crushes" in my whole life (which actually were strong squishes and aesthetic attraction). I was happy with this label for a while but the reason I realized I am actually aromantic is kinda sad?

Due to lack of representation for greyromantism I started thinking about changing my label. I felt like I wasn't "queer enough", not "aromantic" enough if I was "only" greyromantic. So I started digging into aromantism and realized: all my "crushes" were actually squishes. It was pure luck.

Of course greyros are completly valid,definetly "aro enough" and absolutly fantastic <3

It's sad that society still makes us think we have to be "enough" of something to be recognized, even in our own identity

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