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How (does) your aromanticism affect specifically your family connection (maybe friends too)?


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Allow me to clarify, because that may sound... odd, at first. Maybe it doesn't and I'm overthinking (which, I wouldn't be surprised, but, ah, well, what can you do?), but, just in case you're confused. 

TW: This will be a more intense discussion on some topics of aphobia and past complications due to being aro (if it takes off in any way), I'd assume. 

I don't just mean how it impacts your family to know you won't be getting into a romantic relationship/feeling romantic attraction, which typically means not adhering to the typical nuclear family that is expected of people; or how being aromantic may strain platonic relationships due to the common arophobia, pity, misunderstanding, and just general alienation from each-others experiences. That's an important topic, yes, and feel free to go into that as well, but I was more thinking along the lines of:

- Being a loveless/lovequeer aromantic, and having a strained or just unique relationship with your parents/friends because of this. Being unable to experience intense (platonic?) love, recognize love, understand love, or et cetera along that spectrum, I'd assume would affect your relations in many ways. 

- Feeling uncomfortable expressing love, platonically, to your family or friends; maybe whether this may be physically or verbally. and how that affects your relationships in different ways. 

- The inability to understand/relate to your parents being in love. Is there a certain level of doubt you'd ever experienced with your parents love, and if so, how has that affected your life/did that affect your childhood?

- How has past-friends having had a crush on you in the past affected your future platonic relationships? Are you ever wary of creating new connections or being physically/verbally affectionate, because of that fear of them being romantically attracted to you? 

- Parents encouraging you to date friends/gossiping about possible romantic relations regarding you/telling you that you definitely have a crush on so-and-so/etc.

Sorry if this is too vague of a discussion prompt, I'm just genuinely curious!

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With my friends, there's always an uncomfortable barrier when they talk about relationhships, as they act as though everyone there can understand and relate, even when they know I can't. And romantic attraction is a topic in most of our conversations currently. So sometimes I kind of feel like there's a wall between us, and they are talking to the wall.

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I know this thread is intended to focus on negative experiences, but I am in a rather chill environment and being aromantic has not impacted my relationships all that much. But I'll bring up some experiences that might be relevant, both positive and negative.

It has so happened that the majority of my circle of friends are unpartnered as well, for a variety of reasons. In some cases, I don't know if there is inherent disinterest or its just circumstantial. I have one friend who has come to consider if he's aromantic as well, and me being casually open about it is why this has come up in the first place. In that way, my own aromanticism has actually had a positive effect, I think. We know where we have eachother.

My family has had a bit of a harder time understanding me I think, but it is only to the point of an occasional annoyance, and doesn't really impact our relationship on a deeper level. We're solid. One thing though, my parents (well, mostly my mom, as she was the one I mainly spoke to about this) were extremely encouraging the one time I was in a romantic relationship, even passed the point when I expressed discomfort with my situation. She was trying to find reasons why it would still make sense for me to stay in the relationship. My mom told me that she got a reality-check when she relayed this to one of her own friends, who basically said "if she wants to break up she should break up." And that seems to have jolted my mom back to reason, and we could laugh about it later.

I also have a brother who's cool, and he has a girlfriend who is also cool, so I hope they stay together x) My aromanticism doesn't really affect out relationship either. I once sat in their kitchen and I was talking about how I thought society should reintroduce some more recognition for close platonic relationships, like blood-brothers and stuff like that. She nodding along in agreement and my brother said I had read too many books about space marines. Which was true, but not the reason I held that opinion x)

The only real disconnect is at work. Some don't really believe that my disinterest in romantic relationships is genuine, I don't even know what to do with my boss' views on partnership and the coworkers that are single have this way of looking at it as a self-deprecating joke and I never know what to do with myself when these conversations come up. It is like this whole thing that I can't even approach because none of the feelings there are relevant to me.

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I've been trying to better understand whatever it is romantic attraction is and how I relate to it. I've seen a number of different mental health professionals since I was a teenager and I remember one either diagnosed me or almost diagnosed me with Asperger's when it was still a thing (he never told me what he dx'ed me with, so I really don't know), so I don't know, really, if my confusion between sexual vs romantic vs platonic attraction is just a consequence of Bad Brain Syndrome or that they're literally not actually different at all.

Anyway, as a teenager I did identify as aroace and I remember telling my parents, and they were largely dismissive. It was aggravating, but not necessarily hurtful, if that makes sense? It didn't impact our relationship any. I think the thing causing the most tension between us nowadays (or at least with my mom, I cut my dad off for years ago) is that I'm trans. I am decidedly attracted to men in some form, and my family is doing things thing where they just pretend that I am not trans and encourage me to go to church. My mother and stepfather have been kind of figured out that, after transition, I'll be a gay man, which is a no-no. My whole family views me as a sex-repulsed ace which they are much more okay with, honestly. It doesn't matter whether or not I desire men as long as I detransition and end up as a Christian housewife and mother. What I personally feel has literally never mattered to them, so, for all they care, I could be trapped in a loveless and sexless marriage and that would be fine, so long as I was being a good Christian girl while doing so.

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