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Dealing With Friends Being in Romantic Relationships


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The other day I met up with a friend. I had offered to drive her home, and while we were walking to my car she pointed out a cafe and said "That's where my partner works." The whole ride home I was wondering if she meant romantic partner. I guessed she was, as if it were a friend she probably would have just called them her friend. When I got home, I looked at Friend's social media accounts to try to figure out if she was dating someone. I felt pretty bad for internet stalking her instead of just talking to her, but I can be really bad a talking to people. Friend's twitter profile picture was of someone I didn't know kissing her on the cheek. After digging further I found that she was in fact dating this person. Friend's Partner is non-binary and uses they/them pronouns, which is why Friend had said "partner" instead of "girlfriend" or "boyfriend". I knew I should feel happy for her. She looked so happy in all of those pictures with her partner. But instead I felt mildly upset. I don't know if it's because I was jealous that Friend's Partner was getting attention from Friend that I was not getting, or if I was mad that she hadn't told me sooner. We don't talk about relationships often. We talk about everything, and keep nothing from each other. Except that I only hear about her relationships in passing, often months after they are over. I was also mad at myself for not feeling happy for Friend.

 

I had this terrible thought that I was probably mad because my philosophy is: "I can't have my friend because I don't want them, and if I can't have them, no one can".

 

I have another close friend who has sex a lot, but rarely finds people she is romantically attracted to, and has never been in a stable romantic relationship. I don't feel jealous that she is having sex (but I'm a little worried for other reasons). I think I worry that if my friends are in romantic relationships, then they will care less about platonic relationships, and i will be pushed to the side.

 

I was super upset when Friend set up a Pinterest wedding board. I started to think about how in the future she may settle down with a partner and she may give me less thought. Then I worried that all of my friends would find partners and I would be all alone. Part of this is probably irrational, but I worry anyway.

 

I also realized in looking at Friend's Partner's twitter account that they have the same name as the person Friend said she took to queer prom when I told her I would be out of town that weekend. While I was out of town I was texting Friend, and she said she was at queer prom. When I got back I asked her about it and she said something along the lines of "It was fun. I went with this person named (Friend's Partner). I didn't know them that well. I met them at a party and was like 'do you want to go to queer prom with me?' , and they were like 'sure'" I was a little jealous that she had gone with someone else, but didn't want my being out of town to impede on her fun, so I was glad that that didn't hold her back from going. Otherwise I thought little of it. Now I know that I could have played this little part in Friend getting together with Friend's Partner. That's another thing that sort of upset me.

 

Sorry for the really long post, but I needed to rant and get all my feelings out. (Rereading my post I realize that I am a very jealous person) Hopefully other aros will understand where I am coming from.

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I personally don't get very jealous in these situations, but I easily get mad if they start to ignore me or if they are putting me appart of anything I would normally be a part of. (dinners, discussions, etc.) I understand that they might want to spend time with their special one, but , hey, I'm still your friend!!!

I think being jealous is okay, as long as you are not hurting anyone ^_^

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I definitely understand where you're coming from.

 

One of my best friends is in a relationship right now, and it isn't too bad. They aren't grossly affectionate or anything like that, which is nice.

 

But even though my friend has made it a point to try to avoid being one of those friends who leaves everyone else behind for their romantic partner, I think it's just something that's deeply embedded in romantic culture. Often, friends don't realize there's a boundary that they can't cross, especially when they're friends with an aro person. I know that personally, she'll either ignore the rest of us, or she'll bring me along places where it ends up just being us and her boyfriend, and that's really isolating, even if she's just trying to include me in her life.

 

It makes me really salty. Like, I want people to put equal time and value into their friendships as their romantic relationships, but at the same time, it seems like they're so incapable of doing it successfully that sometimes I'd rather they just leave me out of it altogether.

 

On 7/18/2016 at 0:44 AM, Juno said:

I was super upset when Friend set up a Pinterest wedding board. I started to think about how in the future she may settle down with a partner and she may give me less thought. Then I worried that all of my friends would find partners and I would be all alone. Part of this is probably irrational, but I worry anyway.

 

If that's irrational, then call me irrational too, because I totally feel the same way. I always fear that my friends will one day all leave me for romantic partners and I'll be alone. :/

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Whenever one of my friends "finds someone" or gets married, or has a baby or whatever... I can't help but think "it was nice knowing you, RIP"... like they're dead to me now somehow. I never really thought about why I did that until I found this place. It makes sense now...

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well actually um. the person who i dated who i was closest to, I didn't tell anyone I was dating them. my closest friends figured out we were dating and talked to me about it and i talked about it then. but i never just out and said we were a thing. i was really unsure about how I felt about her, and how she felt about me, how serious we were, all sorts of things... I just wasn't ever comfortable talking about us with others. tbh it was kinda stressful for me to do that, but at the same time the idea of sharing it was more scary. by sharing it, i would make it real, which i wasn't ready to acknowledge... 

 

I am probably aromantic btw, maybe demi. but my point is... well sometimes things aren't easy to share with people you are the closest to. some things are easier to share with a stranger than someone close to you. there are some things about me I hope never to share with anyone. 

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Yeah, friends getting into romantic relationships is probably one of the things I dread most in terms of other people. That's probably why most of my closest friends are either arospec or just don't date much at all (out of the 3 people I consider best friends, only one of them has ever been in a relationship). I still worry irrationally about it sometimes though, and feel really selfish about it, because I definitely want them to be happy, but they're the ones who make me happy and I don't want to lose them.

 

Also, its super awkward living with friends who are dating each other, especially when you're romance-repulsed. I mean, I'll be sitting in the kitchen having a conversation with them and all of a sudden one of them will just get up and monopolize the other person's face for like 30 seconds to 1 minute, and I'll just be sitting there in the corner staring intently at the nearest non-person object, being intensely aro and going "welp, this just got incredibly awkward". And other times there'll be a short lull in the conversation and one of them will suddenly tell the other "hey, we should go to bed and watch Buffy together" and they'll just leave abruptly like that. These aren't even that close of friends relatively speaking, but they could at least be a little more subtle and less abrupt?? 

(Sorry for kinda hijacking the thread, but this has been going on for a week and I needed somewhere to rant about it)

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Same here. My only friend in school started dating a couple of months ago and I'm feeling the loss quite deeply right now. I don't want to begrudge her their relationship because she deserves one, but at the same time, I wish she'd spend more time with me like she used to.

 

It's also fairly awkward, because sometimes I just need some body contact (because I'm stressed or nervous) and I used to lowkey cuddle up against my friend but now she's got her girlfriend and I don't know if cuddling would be inappropriate when they're sitting together and also all the other invisible lines that I can or cannot cross. And I'm not very good at picking up verbal or visual cues either, which makes it a little awkward when they're discussing something really private and I just barge in and fuck I wish I knew what to do and how to cope but I don't.

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I can relate to this; I've heard a lot of fellow aros, and a lot of websites, mention that if you are platonically attracted to someone, you're not supposed to experience jealousy when the other person pursues romantic or platonically intimate relationships, but personally, I think it makes sense to be jealous for two reasons:

 

1. You are expected to prioritize romantic relationships over friendships in this society

 

2. Society teaches us that love is a limited resource, and that the more relationships you have, the less meaningful each individual relationship is

 

I've had personal experience dealing with both factors, on both the receiving and giving end. Back when I was in my first relationship, I felt extremely uncomfortable with my girlfriend because I felt like she kept trying to monopolize me, every time we were together. Except my friends never seemed to mind--they thought it was "cute" that my girlfriend wanted to spend so much time with me. I've long since quit hardcore romantic relationships, and have worked on building intimate friendships instead. I have a mutual squish right now, who I often worry about getting into a romantic relationship; I fear that her potential boyfriend would pressure her to tone down our friendship out of jealousy. But then something ironic happened--I met someone who I developed a crush on. And as I started to consider a soft-romo relationship with my crush, I approached my squish and talked things out with her. I asked my squish how she would feel if I got into a romantic relationship, and then I told her I was considering a relationship with a crush. I also told my squish that I'd never spend any less time with her, just because I got into a romantic relationship with someone else. And she said she'd do the same for me. While a romantic relationship never worked out between me and my crush, I'm still glad that my squish and I talked things out about our boundaries when it comes to romantic relationships. Even though I still get jealous if I think she's starting a romantic relationship, I can reassure myself that no romance will ever kill our friendship, because we promised each other that romance never would.  

 

Another way I work to manage platonic jealousy is through relationship anarchy--which is the practice of defining the structure of your relationships based on the individuals involved. In relationship anarchy, love is limitless, which is opposed to the narrative that society gives us of love being a limited commodity that you can only share with one significant other. The fact is, there are multiple kinds of love, from romantic to platonic, and by building more relationships in any category of love, you are expanding your capacity to love, not reducing your own capacity to love. To quote Andie's Log, which is one of the major guides to relationship anarchy, "You have capacity to love more than one person, and one relationship and the love felt for that person does not diminish love felt for another. Don’t rank and compare people and relationships - cherish the individual and your connection to them. One person in your life does not need to be named primary for the relationship to be real. Each relationship is independent, and a relationship between autonomous individuals." So I try to look at romantic and platonic relationships that way--if my squish is building relationships with others, that's a good thing, because it means that she's sharing love with more people. And I'm grateful that she chooses to share that love with me. Granted, this second way of managing platonic jealousy depends on you and your friend or squish to have a mutual desire to build a strong companionship. If the platonic attraction is one-sided, unfortunately there's not much you can do.

 

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  • 1 month later...
On 7/18/2016 at 0:44 AM, Juno said:

The other day I met up with a friend. I had offered to drive her home, and while we were walking to my car she pointed out a cafe and said "That's where my partner works." The whole ride home I was wondering if she meant romantic partner. I guessed she was, as if it were a friend she probably would have just called them her friend. When I got home, I looked at Friend's social media accounts to try to figure out if she was dating someone. I felt pretty bad for internet stalking her instead of just talking to her, but I can be really bad a talking to people. Friend's twitter profile picture was of someone I didn't know kissing her on the cheek. After digging further I found that she was in fact dating this person. Friend's Partner is non-binary and uses they/them pronouns, which is why Friend had said "partner" instead of "girlfriend" or "boyfriend". I knew I should feel happy for her. She looked so happy in all of those pictures with her partner. But instead I felt mildly upset. I don't know if it's because I was jealous that Friend's Partner was getting attention from Friend that I was not getting, or if I was mad that she hadn't told me sooner. We don't talk about relationships often. We talk about everything, and keep nothing from each other. Except that I only hear about her relationships in passing, often months after they are over. I was also mad at myself for not feeling happy for Friend.

 

I had this terrible thought that I was probably mad because my philosophy is: "I can't have my friend because I don't want them, and if I can't have them, no one can".

 

I have another close friend who has sex a lot, but rarely finds people she is romantically attracted to, and has never been in a stable romantic relationship. I don't feel jealous that she is having sex (but I'm a little worried for other reasons). I think I worry that if my friends are in romantic relationships, then they will care less about platonic relationships, and i will be pushed to the side.

 

I was super upset when Friend set up a Pinterest wedding board. I started to think about how in the future she may settle down with a partner and she may give me less thought. Then I worried that all of my friends would find partners and I would be all alone. Part of this is probably irrational, but I worry anyway.

 

I also realized in looking at Friend's Partner's twitter account that they have the same name as the person Friend said she took to queer prom when I told her I would be out of town that weekend. While I was out of town I was texting Friend, and she said she was at queer prom. When I got back I asked her about it and she said something along the lines of "It was fun. I went with this person named (Friend's Partner). I didn't know them that well. I met them at a party and was like 'do you want to go to queer prom with me?' , and they were like 'sure'" I was a little jealous that she had gone with someone else, but didn't want my being out of town to impede on her fun, so I was glad that that didn't hold her back from going. Otherwise I thought little of it. Now I know that I could have played this little part in Friend getting together with Friend's Partner. That's another thing that sort of upset me.

 

Sorry for the really long post, but I needed to rant and get all my feelings out. (Rereading my post I realize that I am a very jealous person) Hopefully other aros will understand where I am coming from.

 

 

I identify a lot with what you're saying. I have two roommates I live with, who are really more platonic soulmates than they are friends. We've been through too much together and loved each other too much to be simply friends anymore. One of them is aro ace like me, but the other is grayromantic, and graysexual, and she is the definition of platonic soulmate. I love this girl deeply, just obviously not romantically. We're inseperable. We finish each other's sentences. She recently joined a dating website, and while I want her to find someone who makes her happy, and to have everything she wants, I can't help feeling jealous, and maybe a little scared, you know? We've all decided to already spend our lives together, even buy a house together, and she assured me that is never going to change, but part of me will always be afraid of everyone marrying off and leaving me alone I guess, lol. I always feel less alone when I come to this forum though, so that means a lot to me too :)

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17 minutes ago, Saber_Wing said:

We've all decided to already spend our lives together, even buy a house together, and she assured me that is never going to change, but part of me will always be afraid of everyone marrying off and leaving me alone I guess, lol

 

There's a chance that could all work out, depending on the partner she meets. If he's OK living with the three of you, then you might be in good shape.

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