UncommonNonsense Posted July 13, 2016 Share Posted July 13, 2016 As some of you know, I'm out about being ace. But I'm not very open about being aro. Even with Mum. Mostly, this is due to me thinking that most people have never heard of aromantacism. I mean, if asexuality is unheard-of, aromanticism is so rare as to be virtually non-existent. Anyway, a couple of days ago, we were talking about identity-policing. This is something she had never heard of, so I used examples that I've seen on AVEN a few times to illustrate it. I said: Think of it like this. Some aces want relationships, because they still desire romantic companionship even if they don't want sex to be part of it. But some people think that if you're in a relationship, you can't be ace, because I guess they assume all romantic relationships to be sexual relationships, and they think that a person can't be ace if they're having sex, regardless of whether that person feels sexual attraction or a desire to have sex or not. So some people say that if you're in a romantic relationship, you can't be ace. That's an example of identity policing - you can't belong to our group if you do x, despite x really having no bearing on the group's identity at all. I had mentioned a few others too, like 'you can't be ace if you have a sex drive' and 'you can't be ace if you've been the victim of sexual violence' (some people seem to think all ace survivors of rape/assault are identifying as ace only because they were traumatized by sex and are now afraid of it... total unmitigated bullshit, but some idiots believe anything), but those examples didn't end up making Mum think about aces and romantic orientations the way the 'you can't be ace if you're in a relationship' one did. Mum thought about this for a minute. Then she asked me whether aces who desire romantic relationships have a harder time than those that don't. And I told her that in my opinion, people who are romantically inclined and those who aren't just face different challenges, with neither group having it harder than the other. The romantically-inclined face more challenges in finding someone who is likewise seeking a non-sexual romantic relationship and they often deal with a lot of heartache when finding out that someone they really like or even love isn't compatible because of the sex thing. But that people like me, who are aromantic and don't seek out romantic relationships often face feeling lonely when all their friends pair off into couples and abandon all their pre-couple friends. I also told her that since our society promotes romantic relationships as the be-all and end-all, friendships are not given very much importance, and that society doesn't accept family-like groups created by platonic friends as being anything approaching equal to couple- and parent-hood, so it can make creating a household very hard for aromantics. When society itself lacks a framework to explain the kind of relationship/family/companionship you want, you'll find creating that relationship/family/companionship almost impossible. So the identity policing conversation evolved into a conversation about romantic orientations. Mum had never thought of romantic orientation as being something that could be seen as separate from sexual orientation, but she's hetero in both kinds of orientation, so she never faced any of the conflicting emotions that have let people like us to question whether sexual and romantic orientations could be distinct things. She's also 70, so none of these thoughts and terms were around during her formative years. I'm just amazed that we actually had that conversation, and when I aligned myself with the aromantic side of the coin, she didn't question it or disparage it! I'd been stewing for months about how and when to have the 'I'm Aromantic!' conversation with her, since she still sometimes makes comments about my lack of a dating life now and then. Maybe I'm finally making some inroads! We'll see... after all, I still have yet to have the 'Guess what! I'm Agender!" conversation with her... Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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