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How did y'all know you were aromantic/asexual?


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I had been questioning if I was aromantic for a while before this, since I had known I am ace by that point, but I knew I was aro when I was trying to plan a date with someone I knew. The more dating this person became a reality, the more I realised that I didn't actually want to date anyone, not with her at the very least. I found out I was ace when I was reading the Wikipedia article about asexuality of all places, and pretty much all of it resonated with me.

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I figured out asexuality first. Once having sex started being the standard in my agegroup, and I still had no interest in doing that, it was pretty clear that something was different. I found out I was asexual when I found a microlabel that fit. The standard definition of 'no sexual attraction' confused me. At the time I did not know of the separation of sexual and romantic attraction, so I figured asexual just explained all of it.

When learned of aromanticism as something separate, I was confused by what that meant for a while. I realized I was aromantic for sure when I tentatively entered a relationship with a friend of mine I really liked and wanted to feel closer to. And every romantic gesture was like nails on chalkboard. I broke it off and figured that kind of relationship just wasn't for me.

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Rather than identify with "aromantic" and "asexual" the moment I heard them, the process for me was more like groping blindly in the dark until I found the light switch.

I sensed that there was something different about the way I felt about people from a very early age, but had to consciously apply the framework of aromanticism and asexuality for those myriad experiences to finally make sense. Before I did, I simply assumed that those experiences existed independent of one another, and that there was "something wrong with me" for struggling to establish human connection. Perhaps something autism-related, or trauma-related — even though I knew, deep down, that that didn't really make sense. Many of my friends, themselves neurodivergent individuals with and without trauma, have had successful, established romantic relationships with others, after all. So... what, was I just uniquely defective?

Then I guess I looked into it more, and things started falling into place. Oh, maybe I'm aspec after all. Maybe I'm aromantic after all. Like noticing how tense your shoulders have been the whole day and finally letting them relax. That's when I knew I'd struck gold.

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Found out I was aromantic when my friend found out they were ace and started talking about it, kinda why I think it's important for me to talk about my aro experiences. It can help spread awareness and help others figure things out.

I thought I was asexual at first, maybe since that's what my friend mainly talked about since he found out he's ace first, then aro. I guess I related to the lack of attraction but ace still didn't feel quite right. Identified as gray-aroace or simply aspec for a while, also tried the label aroace but it didn't feel right. Then I started questioning being aroallo, so I started looking for more information about that, ended up finding this forum where I could read about other aro people's experiences. That helped, and eventually I figured it all out. I think.

Edited by dewy
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moved to new work, ended up finding two girls were ace. That didn't fit but they were the first time I had really been told you could separate a desire for romance from a desire for sex in such a permenant way. I knew people could have casual sex (me) and i knew people could have love without sex (a few older couples i knew) but i guess i thought of this as a sort of stopgap. there was a perfect ideal of what a relationship should be and if you were lacking any of those parts it was because you wanted them but practically couldn't get them.

(ok, warning for anyone who wants it, I am going to discuss how I thought about sex for a bit here)

Basically the way I thought it worked was i would shag around for a while from my mid/late teens. then at some point i would gain this desire to settle down and start a committed relationship, start looking for something which i had been taught was more 'meaningful' than a casual fuck. I also had that very cynical view that men put up with romance in order to get sex. I didn't really get the idea that a guy might actually enjoy, say, treating his partner to a fancy date for the sake of the date. that was just what you do to get laid in my eyes.

Well the years had went by and i still hadn't had any desire to settle down. I also started realising that the other guys i knew were far more enjoying this idea of romance than i had believed they should, i lost a lot of that grumpy teenage outlook on wanting sex and having a slightly more sensible mindset of what people wanted from a relationship.

meeting those two girls gave me a whole new outlook on how i think about romance and i slowly realise that my idea about having this realisation at some point in  the future that i want to settle down is not a normal way to think about love.

Also, and i have said this partly in jest before but it is true. All this talk about settling down when  i was older was coming head on with a horrifying realisation that i might actually be older.

put all that together and you get me looking up aromanticism and reading aromantic experiences and thinking 'oh balls, this sounds a lot like me'.

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I learned what asexuality was when I was 27, during a conversation with a friend who was teaching a class about sexuality and she gently suggested I should read about it a bit more. Up untill that point I suspected myself to be bisexual, because I felt the same ammount of attraction towards guys and girls. I just hadn’t found ‘the right one’ and was starting to worry something might be wrong with me. Imagine my surprise when I realised that ‘the same amount’ was ‘nothing’…

Still, reading stories on AVEN I felt a disconnect, because the aces there talked about their girl- and boyfriends and I just couldn’t relate. At the same time, life was a mess because my good friend and colleague had suddenly died and I was doubting if I wanted to continue our business of painting murals. I did, but scaled back a bit and got more into teaching. A good 3 years later I stumbled on this forum (I think through AVEN?) and things started clicking into place. Still took a long time to accept myself but here I am :)

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Im in my late 30's, and have Ace friends, but their experiences didnt match mine. They would talk about how they desire relationships but dont feel sexual attraction. I'll be honest and say I thought it was weird, though didnt say so, just assumed it was something I couldnt understand since I wasnt Ace. Just because I dont understand it doesnt mean I cant accept it. In retrospect it was because I didnt think there was a difference between a friend you fuck and boyfriend/girlfriend. I mean, I knew there was supposed to be something else in theory, but I didnt understand it.

So I would tootle through life quite happily being single, and people would ask if Im seeing someone and I would answer no, just havent met anyone I want to date. I even got married once (the one relationship ive been in), though my former wife would say I acted like I was pretending to love her, not that I actually loved her. I thought this was just insecurity on her part, but she was certain I was somewhere on the LGBT spectrum, I just hadnt found where. Where she got it wrong was she thought I was bisexual, whereas I knew I wasnt. I mean, I could see myself living with any good friend for the rest of my life as easily as someone I loved, and wasnt really sure there was a difference, other then I would be sexually attracted to someone I loved, and I wasnt sexually attracted to men. Therefore I must be straight and I must want to marry a woman. QED. The fact that I didnt want to be in a relationship was unimportant.

Then I heard someone talking about being Aro, and coins started dropping. I knew that sexual and romantic attraction were different things from my chats with my Ace friend, and from my ex wife, but I had never heard anyone explain it from an Aros point of view. I believe my reaction was litterally to say out loud "Oh shit!" I started looking up more stuff about Aromanticism, and started realising how much it matched me. I found this forum (I dont think via AVEN actually, but via a web of links that started with the fandom wiki), and reading experiences here really solidified the idea.

I still had to ask a good friend about their experiences about being in love, how it felt, whether they could identify with songs about love etc, because I still thought they were exagerating (still do for that matter, just accept they're not), but after confirming that these feelings were real and people did feel them, I more or less accepted it. Its not like my life has changed. I wasnt dating before, Im not dating now. I just have a nice word to give people who want to know why im not dating. I also have found a nice place to talk to people who understand my lack of desire to be paired up. I also havent felt a lot of pressure to date. My family have always been open, and have made it plain that I should date whoever I want, or not. Ive also known most of my friends for going on 20 years now, so the lack of dating isnt exactly something new to them, plus with a combination of Ace and trans, its not like most of them have dated loads either (more than me, but still, not loads).

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I don't really identify as asexual, but the aromantic thing came from being in a long-term relationship and realizing he had certain expectations of me and our relationship that I just didn't have and a mismatch in our emotional involvement. We're working through it.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I always knew it except that I didn't know there was a word for it. For as long as I remember I've never been interested by being in a relationship or by sex. I have had a hard childhood and have been rejected a lot by a lot of people my entire life but somewhere inside me I knew that it has nothing to do with it.

I've always been happy this way and always thought of the future as me being single not even once was I able to picture myself in a relationship and I have never been in a relationship!! I have the chance to be that girl that nobody wanted to date back at school time and it didn't change after and I feel really lucky about that because I didn't have to force myself into something I didn't want. I've just lived my life on my own; living experiences, travelling, making things for me, the way I wanted and what I wanted without wondering why I still didn't want a relationship

I found out about the word aromanticism last year only (and I am 40 yo), the first time I read about it I just knew that it was me, the description was just fitting me so well. Then I found this forum and some aspecs people on instagram and I could relate so much to what they were saying. And same for asxuality even if I knew this word before I think I didn't have the need to identify as asexual at this time as it really has no importance for me. 

But now I am proud to say that I am aroace :-D 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • 2 months later...

i figured out i was ace just a few years ago when im still a preteen. looked that word up and said yeah pretty much describes me but i believed in a misconception many others believed in when they first encountered this concept. its that asexuality means youre aromantic as well

i dont even know of aromanticisms existence so i use asexuality to describe my aroaceness and i was corrected of course that asexuality and aromanticism are two different things so ive only discovered the correct label for me a good while ago

boom im aware that im aroace my entire life without actually knowing it if that makes sense

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I had seen a handful of asexual people, both online and in-person, before I started really getting into any SGRM stuff. Since I had a close friend who found out she was asexual when we were fairly young, I was under the impression that asexuality was super common and not a big deal. I thought (and still think) that I was mayyybeee asexual and didn't think much about it.

On the other hand, I spent. so long. questioning my aromanticism. I had never had a crush before; I wasn't sure if I was a late bloomer (and I'm still not sure), or if I was having crushes I didn't realize were crushes, or if I was aro-spec but I just hadn't found the perfect label yet. I wasn't even sure what I felt, and I thought I'd find the perfect little word to fit me. I discovered and searched through so many really obscure labels that no one's ever heard of.

Then eventually I found this site, and saw people telling others that they don't need such specific labels to convey their orientation/lack of orientation, and that not having labels to fit you doesn't mean you aren't valid. I started labeling myself as aromantic! 

I never had an "aha" moment, no moment where everything just clicked into place. It was more like "huh, maybe I'm aromantic but maybe I'm not."
 

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This was my first post here and i realized i never said how i knew so here you go.

I went on plenty of late night google searches,endless articles and just trying to figure out something.The main thing i googled was "why am i not having crushes" or "when is it not normal to have not had a crush" I think i genuinely believed there was something wrong. But then i found the word Aromantic or asexual i'm not sure which one i found first.And then i had this moment of "oh this might be me :0".At the beginning i only used aro because i thought i was too young to be ace but then after a little i just thought "it does describe me so why am i not using it".I think the first day i was truly confident with the aro label was memorial day.I wore an aro bracelet made out of loom bands outside for the first time and i was so scared that someone was gonna see it or question it so i was kinda covering it.now i wear beaded bracelets with both flags proudly and i don't give a shit if someone sees. 

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I came across the term asexual when I was 15 (I now realize how lucky I was because asexuality was even lesser known back then. No, I'm not a dinosaur 😄). I had the chance to talk to other teens online who felt very similar to myself. I did have some sexual experience at one point but it never changed the feeling that I felt different and that people I was in a relationship with (or tried to be with) felt kind of different than me. They wanted and desired me on a level I was hardly able to imagine or process.
I didn't initiated sex and it wasn't important to me. I felt indifferent towards it (still do) and the "strongest attraction" I do experience is aesthetic and sensual attraction (which I thought for the longest time was "sexual attraction" because I didn't know better).
I wasn't disgusted by sex, but bored with it - besides in fiction, esp. books, where I do can enjoy it if it's well written. On a rational level, I kinda do understand why people like it and that it feels good but I wouldn't be sad if I never would have sex again. I don't care about it.

Aromanticism came later because even the asexual community I hung out online didn't really use the term by the time. There were plenty of people who didn't feel the need for romance in their life but there were also people who had a partner or wanted children, etc. I understood I felt different when I sat down and talked to someone who had a crush on me and attempted building a relationship with me. I realized I felt different towards this person but couldn't describe it.
For the longest time, I liked the idea of romance. But, as with sex, in real life and directed towards me, it isn't appealing. If I made an attempt at a romantic relationship, I wanted to go back to being friends again/being "just friends" shortly after because it always felt better. More natural to me but I still didn't get why.
One fine day I discovered the English AVEN forums and was introduced to the term aromanticism and that people do feel this way and that's okay. The years before, I always thought of myself as strange and that there was something wrong with me. I then realized what I tought were crushes were actually squishes. I "only" love people platonically, not romantically. Years later and a good amount of therapy later, I finally accepted it's just the way I am and that it's not childhood trauma or a so called avoidant attachement style (what I thought for some time too). I do form strong and lasting bonds with others, but they are on the platonic side. This kind of connection makes me the happiest and most fulfilled, whereas romantic relationships make me feel uncomfortable and like I'm lying to myself and the other person (a feeling I detest).

That's how I figured. I did question myself for a long time and sometimes I still have a few doubts about my orientation(s), but overall I just feel very understood by the ace and aro communities. More than by allo folks which speaks for itself, I think.

Edit: to this day, I have zero desire to do anything society seems to label as fulfilling or necessary to achieve happiness in life (marriage, children, owning a house, growing old together with "the one", etc.). I stay away from this circus and I'm happy with my life as it is. I just wish I had more friends. :)

Edited by NotHeartless
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I realised I was that way because I never really felt the need or want to date, or kiss. Never fell in love or had a crush, and never found anyone hot or sexually attractive. I also never got it when people wanted to be in relationships or when they talked about romantic love or how hot people are. I never understand the want or need people had for relationships, or boyfriends/girlfriends. When I saw people crying over heartbreak or complaining about cheating, or when it ended, I was like, why even bother going into the relationship if you know it’s going to end eventually?? 

 

I also never got people’s obsession with romance and sex. Or the media’s obsession with those things. Why every person or ever character in a book or movie had to be in a relationship or marry. 

Will probably edit this later

 

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I started identifying as demiromantic in the middle of last year but I was still a bit unsure? I looked at the definition and it connected with me. Its weird because I was very aware of what aromanticism was before, I had done a lot of research, and yet I never considered it until then (probably due to aroallo stigma/erasure). Then on New Years Eve last year I went on the aro subreddit and I was like 'oh shit I really am aro' and it hit me like a truck. A few days later I discovered the arospike label and I was like 'yeah that fits better than demiro' although grayro also fits.

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On 9/25/2022 at 9:02 PM, NotHeartless said:

I

Edit: to this day, I have zero desire to do anything society seems to label as fulfilling or necessary to achieve happiness in life (marriage, children, owning a house, growing old together with "the one", etc.). I stay away from this circus and I'm happy with my life as it is. I just wish I had more friends. :)

Same here no desire for the "society requirements" as I call it but I never thought I would be at 40 yo without friends because people don't accept who I am. Fortunately for me I am a very lonely person but having good friends, knowing long last friendship is something I would have wanted. :-D

It took me a while to find out about aromanticism and now I accept myself the way I am and hope that someday people will like me as I am (platonically of course, as a friend) even if in my country people don't know what aromanticism is for the moment. When I say that I am aromantic they just think that I am not a romantic person like the romantic things couples do so it will take time I guess 

Edited by Nessa
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12 minutes ago, Nessa said:

Same here no desire for the "society requirements" as I call it but I never thought I would be at 40 yo without friends because people don't accept who I am. Fortunately for me I am a very lonely person but having good friends, knowing long last friendship is something I would have wanted. :-D

That is sad, and unfortunate to hear about that you don’t have any friends because they don’t accept you :(. How about all of the people on the forum, are they your friends? Are you close with any of them?

Depending on which country you are from, maybe you can go to an aro meet-up?

Also, what is the flag in the background of your profile photo?

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21 minutes ago, Storm_leopardcat said:

That is sad, and unfortunate to hear about that you don’t have any friends because they don’t accept you :(. How about all of the people on the forum, are they your friends? Are you close with any of them?

Depending on which country you are from, maybe you can go to an aro meet-up?

Also, what is the flag in the background of your profile photo?

I am talking with 2 people that I met on this forum on Instagram sometimes but not really close to any of them. 

I have 2 people in my life whom I can maybe called friends but not always sure that they really accept me. One is a girl I met at a concert a long time ago we kept in touch and we talk a lot but sometimes it more like she talks to me because she has nobody else to talk to. The other one is a guy I work with in some short movies in which I act he is the director. We talk a lot but I don't know if we can say that we are close friends I think he is the one who accept me the most he is really open as his sister is genderfluid and polyamorous.

But well who knows maybe I will find some new friends in the future.

My profile picture is the aro flag with and ace flag in the shape of an ace. I found it on internet

I am from France but I havn't find any aro meet-up for the moment aromanticism is really totally unknown here.

 

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3 hours ago, Nessa said:

I am talking with 2 people that I met on this forum on Instagram sometimes but not really close to any of them. 

I have 2 people in my life whom I can maybe called friends but not always sure that they really accept me. One is a girl I met at a concert a long time ago we kept in touch and we talk a lot but sometimes it more like she talks to me because she has nobody else to talk to. The other one is a guy I work with in some short movies in which I act he is the director. We talk a lot but I don't know if we can say that we are close friends I think he is the one who accept me the most he is really open as his sister is genderfluid and polyamorous.

But well who knows maybe I will find some new friends in the future.

My profile picture is the aro flag with and ace flag in the shape of an ace. I found it on internet

I am from France but I havn't find any aro meet-up for the moment aromanticism is really totally unknown here.

 

For the last part (I seem to be unable to select that), try messaging in the visibility and pride forum page to see if anyone else lives in France and wants to meet-up? I think I saw someone else in the forum who lives in Paris.

As for friends, I was wondering, do you have any friends from high school or university? Any long time ones who stuck around and are still friends with to this day? What about siblings? Co-workers?

 

You have an interesting life, I have to say. 

Do you maybe have any hobbies that might enable you to meet-up with others who share the same hobbies or interests as you? Attend a convention, perhaps? Maybe you’re part of a fandom. 

Thank you for replying to me, and answering my questions:). I appreciate it!

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@Nessa I understand the struggle of making (new) friends. I'm younger than you, but it certainly isn't an age thing. In my age (late 20s) people tend to settle down, get married, etc. which isn't a great phase, especially when you're aro but still desire to feel a deeper connection with others (just not on a romantic basis).
Greetings to France btw, I'm your friendly neighbor from Germany. The land in which being aromantic is just as unknown. Je ne peux pas parler français...alors que j'adore la langue. Eh bien, peut-être un peu mais c'est rouillé. 😅

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