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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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  • 5 months later...

Hi!

I just want to point out that it sounds like you suffer from limerence. Researching the topic will likely really help you understand yourself and what is going on in your relationships.

The topic is a little too involved to share everything in one post, but here are some highlights:

-chemical highs and lows triggered by romantic thoughts/daydreams/fantasies about another. This person is termed your "Limerent Object" or "LO."

-you experience extreme motivation towards anything that gets you closer to your daydreams with your LO, i.e. willing to learn a new language they know or... give up many aspects of a relationship that might be important to you if it just means a chance at being with them 😏

-your attraction tends to grow on the cusp of "possible but unlikely." In other words, I would wager a guess that at times in your prior 2-3 year relationship, when things were "good" you actually felt like there was something missing, but when things got rocky (maybe you even had a couple almost breakups?) then you would kick into high gear and push to really make things work! Your attraction would grow stronger. Likewise, daydreaming about a partnership with an aroace friend is tantalizing currently out of reach, but seemingly so feasible.

 

 

I, as another reply recommended, recommend time. Time enough for self awareness. Seeing as this post is now a few months old, you've minimally had a few months. I'd maybe give yourself some more time with this new idea of limerence, too. I actually have limerent tendencies myself and am only just scratching the surface of living my life with the knowledge. Many sources demonize the condition and I really don't like that. I think limerence is an incredible and very real phenomenon. I think knowing about it helps someone who deals with it understand themselves more. I think it can actually be a great motivator in your life. I would be happy to help out as best I can, personally, with your journey if you want to reach out, but honestly, you will likely find a greater wealth of knowledge surfing the web or reading the few published books on the topic.

I wish you the best of luck in this and any and all future endeavors ❤️🙏

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Has this young lady already told you she's not interested in romantic/sexual relationships? If so, whatever your decision is, if you truly value her friendship you will have to honor that. You will also need to be completely honest with yourself about your reasoning for making that decision. That's all I can say since I don't know your situation.

Meanwhile I'd like to share some ideas that have helped me out. Many years ago I took an interest in Buddhism after losing a friend to suicide. It was a time I was experiencing a lot of confusion about myself. There was a book I read in that time by one Surya Das whose theme I believe was the alleviation of suffering by letting go of ego. One particular chapter that was devoted to the subject of love had a particular effect on me. In it he calls out the notion that one is bereft of love simply because we lack a romantic partner. If we take a look at our lives we would see we have much love from family and friends that is just as good. He also examines the concept of "True Love" through the lens of impermanence (a core concept in Buddhist doctrine). First of all, there is the difficulty brought about by the fact that we cannot control who people are, what they want, or how they feel. So there is already a high bar to clear there. Then there is the fact that, even if we find our perfect SO and live "happily ever after," in the best case that only lasts until one of us dies. Then the surviving partner is left only with memories and grief. And this ties in to the Buddhist teaching that our suffering is caused not by the conditions of our lives, but by our wanting those conditions to be different. In other words, attaching a personal value to things outside of ourselves thinking them to bring us inner fulfillment. However, since impermanence is a condition of existence, whatever we attach to inevitably changes. And when that happens, and we continue to attach to what no longer is but was, we suffer. 

The remedy is twofold. First to accept that impermanence and suffering are part of existence, and let go of what we are attaching to when it is necessary. Second, to cultivate a sense of compassion for the suffering of others. Your friend is a good example. She does not experience romantic or sexual attraction, and is uncomfortable with confessions of love or shows of affection. Yet she likely is approached by would be suitors on a regular basis. This is a type of suffering she experiences you can have compassion for, while letting go of the prospect of having a relationship with her. And by "letting go," I'm not talking about repressing your feelings and saying "this is fine." I mean honestly examining your feelings and ideas, processing them, and letting go of what you don't need to hold onto.

I hope this helps.

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