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I'm in love with an aro-ace friend of mine and I don't know what to do

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Long post ahead, sorry for bad English.

Hello! I recently started looking more into the aro-ace community because I wanted to understand how a friend of mine feels. I’m still new to the idea and as someone who experiences both romantic and sexual attraction, it’s been hard to fully understand how my friend feels. I apologize if I say something wrong or weird, I’m still learning about the subject. This is my story; an emotionally troubled teenager who fears that one day no one will love him, who’s lost all hope and thinks that he’ll ruin everything by expressing his feelings.

I’ve had very few experiences with relationships. I’ll spare you the details, but basically, I’ve been in a “romantic” relationship for about 2 to 3 years. We broke up about a month ago and I think it might have been my fault. I feel like I’ve been too clingy and oppressive with this person. We’d text almost every day, go out from time to time and I couldn’t stop thinking about them. It came to the point where I couldn’t focus on anything other than them. It was too much.

I started noticing that their responses were a bit “drier” than usual; I was worried and asked if something was wrong but they said it was all good. I asked my aro-ace friend for advice (at the time, I didn’t know she was aro-ace), since she knew this person pretty well. She said that I should try to take a break and stop texting them all the time.

So, I followed that advice. I didn’t see or hear from them for two weeks straight. Those were the longest two weeks of my life. From time to time, I and my friend would text each other, to update them on the situation.

Eventually, I decided to text them back; I said that I was sorry if I had done something wrong and that I was open to change. But, as expected, it didn’t work out. They said that they weren’t ready for a romantic relationship and that we should just stay friends. We’re technically still friends although we only rarely talk if at all, but that’s also because we don’t get to see each other that often due to different school schedules (unfortunately, this is will be a recurring theme in the story, as most of my friends have different schedules. Covid is still kind of a big deal where I live, and I’m not the most extroverted guy out there).

At first, I was devastated, as I’d never felt so much pain and anger towards myself before. I felt like there was no solution at all and I struggled to keep myself together. I wanted to end it all, to leave behind everything I’d done and start a new life. I didn’t want to talk with anyone about it, not even my parents. Eventually, I told my dad and he was very supportive. The same goes for my mom.

But the one that helped me the most was my friend. She was the first one I told that I and that person broke up. She comforted me and was there for me. She helped me get through a tough moment, and I’m so glad she did.

From then, we started to talk more and more. Even though we’ve known each other since middle school, we weren’t that close. But now, we’d text each other about once every two days. We’d always have something to talk about; aside from my past relationship, we’d talk about school, animals, past life experiences and just random ideas. I felt something different, but I wasn’t sure if it was “attraction” of some sort.

One day, we were talking and the topic of “relationships” came about. She said she wasn’t worried about being in a relationship because she’s aro-ace. At the time, I didn’t really know what “aro-ace” meant, so I asked to elaborate. “I don’t feel romantic or sexual attraction for anyone”, she said. To be honest, I was a bit weirded out and I didn’t know how to react. We didn’t talk about it that much. I still felt something though, and I brushed it off thinking “Maybe she hasn’t found the right person”. I feel so stupid and arrogant for feeling that way.

Eventually, I decided to tell her how I felt; I didn’t expect anything really, I didn’t go “Hey, I hope she likes me!”. I knew that wasn’t possible and I still hadn’t fully understood the complexity of the term “aro-ace”. The conversation went a bit like this:

-Hey, um, there’s something that I need to tell you. I’ve been wanting to say this for a while now, but I don’t know if you’ll understand and I don’t want you to be angry at me-

-Don’t worry, If you want to tell me something, do it and don’t waste time-

-Ok… so, basically, I think that I like you. Like, a bit more than as a friend. It’s ok, I know you’re aro-ace and everything, I just really wanted to tell you, I’ve been holding this for a while now and it doesn’t feel right to hide it from you. I want to stay friends-

-Oh, I understand. You know you’ll always be a good friend. I think you’re just a bit confused and you need time-

-Yeah, maybe you’re right-

I think I could’ve done better. At the time, I didn’t really know what to feel.

We’d still talk about “liking people” or stuff like that, but only when she brought up the topic. She said that occasionally she has dreams of people confessing their love to her and that it makes her uncomfortable. She said that she doesn’t know how to react in these situations, but she doesn’t want to do anything about it.

One day, we met at recess. She told me about something that happened in her class that day, but I was too distracted. Her eyes were like little black marbles, and I couldn’t stop looking at them.

From then, I started noticing how much I liked her presence. I can’t put into words how much I like talking to her.

However, a part of me knew that this wasn’t right. I don’t want to put her in a difficult position and make her feel uncomfortable. I don’t know what to do. I don’t even know where I want this to go; I don’t want to lose her like that other person. I feel that if I confess, and explain how I really feel, it could hurt our friendship to the point where we wouldn’t talk anymore. I fear that she would feel upset with me and I don’t want that.

But I also feel like “not telling” would be a bad choice. I don’t want to hide anything and this could also hurt our friendship.

I’ve read here on this forum a story of two people who were in a relationship despite one of them being aro-ace. Of course, they had their own special rules and exceptions to make things work.

So, in the slight chance that she likes me back (which is kind of unlikely), I think I’d be able to give up many things, if it’ll make her happy. I know that it’s a difficult decision, that I’m still young and I don’t know everything in the world. What I realized is that, in any relationship, the experiences lived together and moral support (or any kind of support, really) are what’s the most important. The rest is secondary.

I’m still new to the term “aro-ace” and I’m willing to learn more. I didn’t who to ask for help, so I figured out it would be best to ask here.

So, what should I do? Should I risk it all and confess or keep this to myself? And if I choose to confess, how should I approach this? I’ll be grateful to read your replies and suggestions.

Thank you all for reading. I hope you all have a wonderful life and a great day.

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You were in a relationship for a relatively long time, and breaking up with that person was really upsetting for you, then over the past month you developed feelings for someone else (or realized you had those feelings.) With all that put together, I think you need more time to let things even out & to process your breakup. I'm not saying that your feelings aren't real, just that now isn't the time to start pursuing a new relationship.

You already told her that you like her and it sounds like she doesn't feel the same way. I get that you want to be honest about your feelings, and I do think that's a tough spot to be in, but if you double down there is a good chance that it'll make her uncomfortable due to what she's said about her dreams.

I know it can be hard to get your mind off someone you like, but for now I think you should try to focus on your hobbies, spend time with other friends, etc. Do things that make you happy. Join a new group/club and try to meet new people. If you're still crushing on her in a few months then maybe tell her for the sake of honesty, but definitely add that you don't expect a relationship and that you're fine just staying friends.

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I think you should try to keep to yourself. Try not to put your friend in an uncomfortable place. By telling people that she is aroace, your friend is implying that she does not want to be in a relationship.

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