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how can i feel better about being aro?


reid
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i figured out i was aro a few months ago. i probably should have been relieved at figuring out why i've never had a crush/found people cute but mostly i'm just sad. my whole life, the one thing i've been sure of is that i've wanted to be in a romantic relationship. how can i get over being really sad that i'll never fall in love?

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i honestly dont have any solutions you have to know that one doesnt need romantic relationship to have a fulfilling life; even if youre incapable of a romantic relationship you still have your friends colleagues family etc supporting you; you can still feel platonic love toward these people. tbh thats enough for me. i love my friends family and classmates enough to forget abt the 'cant fall in love' and 'single forever' thoughts bc im happy even without them

i recommend you to try to stop thinking abt romance so much by hanging out more with people whom youve already built a connection with; for instance i recommend talking with friends; call them! talk to them abt your struggles and its even better if you have fellow aro friends as well. if not then you can always interact with others on this forum

one thread i would suggest you to interact in is this one

 

Edited by sevan
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yeah, know that the idea that life without romantic relationships is worse comes from amatonormativity.  if you want to, you can be in a relationship that's like one in every way except for the presence of romantic attraction.  and even besides relationships of any kind, there's joy in so many things.  honestly i love being aro precisely because of how free it makes me feel.  but the biggest point i want to make is that i'm confident you'll feel differently in time.  i struggled to come to terms with my aromanticism too, but now, 7 or 8 years on, i've been perfectly happy for a while.

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Here's my suggestion. Examine how you're feeling and what you think about it as objectively as you can. Disidentify with it if possible. And just watch. Ask yourself "did I really want this or is it something I've been told I want and believed it?" You would be amazed at how much in your mind comes directly from social conditioning. And also fear. A great many of our decisions and views come from a place of fear. So is there something you fear? And in being confronted with what you feared, you responded with sadness? Just possibilities to consider.

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Other posters have address this already, but I'll add something new (and this just based on my personal experience, it may or may not be applicable to you as I dealt with this for a very long time): Find out another way to deal with loneliness, whether it's through friends, family, volunteering, hobbies, etc. often times, people yearn for romantic relationships when they are lacking sufficient social support. The other thing is a lack of direction in one's life, find out what really makes you tick, why your reason is for existing, and how to deal with the need for social stimulation and support (okay, that was a bit of rephrasing). This really varies from person to person and I think the answers to that lie within you. 

Edited by MulticulturalFarmer
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I'm a bit late, but here are my tips for self-acceptance!

  • Immerse yourself in the community. Seclusion can help breed hate. If you have people around you who support you, uplift you, validate you...that hate can be a lot harder to maintain. Lurk in aro spaces. Participate in them. Go to Pride. Absorb the positivity around you.
  • Look for the positive. Is there ANYTHING you like about being aro? The community, maybe? The way it helps you better appreciate friendships? How it forces you to focus on yourself and know yourself? Whatever that is, celebrate that.
  • Respect your feelings, and give yourself room to grieve and/or otherwise be sad. Toxic positivity can be just as harmful as toxic negativity. Your feelings are valid, even if they're negative. It's okay to be sad. It's okay to need to be sad. Give yourself the room to feel those feelings and they may become easier to cope with.
  • Aim for self-neutrality if/when that is more accessible than self-positivity or self-acceptance. You may never not be sad about missing out on experiencing romantic love. Everyone has regrets in life. Everyone has missed experiences. Recognize this. Don't beat yourself up over it. "I am sad that I haven't experienced romantic love" (validating and respecting your feelings) vs "I am broken for not experiencing romantic love" (putting yourself down and berating yourself for your feelings).
  • Practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is the basis for a lot of therapeutic thinking techniques (such as DBT and ACT) for good reason. Being mindful of what we think and how we approach ourselves is the first step to being able to challenge and confront any harmful thinking patterns we have. (You may not be interested in learning techniques like this in further detail, but I will throw out looking into the concept of defusion, which I've found personally really helpful for reframing the way I treat myself.)
  • Learn about systems of thinking and living that challenge the one view society has forced upon you. Society has pushed amatonormativity and taught you that in order to be happy, you need a monogamous, romantic marriage in which you have kids. Reading about polyamory (aromantic-styled polyamory), ethical non-monogomy, queerplatonic relationships, relationship anarchy, lovequeer, lovepunk, loveless aromanticism, and similar concepts may help give you new perspective and appreciation for the experience you do have. And I don't talk about these because I think you have to relate to any/all of them or want them. They're just ways of approaching love and relationships that go against the norm and reading more about them and the people who live this way can help broaden horizons and introduce new ways of thinking to your own life.
  • Experiment with ways to access what it is you want to access in a way that you can and see if that brings you any comfort/joy. Maybe you date and perform romance. Maybe you write romance. Maybe you take in a lot of romantic media. Maybe you celebrate your friend's romantic relationships. Maybe you partake in shipping culture in fandoms. Maybe you work at a couple's resort. (And maybe these things are too hard for you or make you more sad than happy. That's fine! Pivot and find other things in life that bring you joy instead. Maybe that's working with animals or volunteering at a soup kitchen or spending time at the library or watercolor painting, etc.)
  • Journal. I know it's so suggested that it seems hokey even to a lot of self-help circles, but a huge way that humans process information and experiences is via communication, which is why talk therapy is so big and can be so effective. Journaling helps you direct your thoughts in a more pointed manner than simple thinking and introspection, which can lead to rumination and getting stuck. Journaling is like a self-conversation. Through journaling, you may discover self-acceptance. You may come to new conclusions. You may find your own ways of finding acceptance or happiness that no one has suggested here.
  • Focus on completely different things. Sometimes focusing on a thing, even if you're trying to make it better, can just make you feel worse. As well, hyperfixating on something can cause you to get stuck in patterns of rumination rather than productive thinking/actions. So, counter-intuitive to a lot of the stuff listed above: give thinking about this a break. If it comes up, recognize it, then find something else to do to get your mind off of it. Let's find other ways to spark joy. Go for a run, play with a pet, learn a new language, plan out a road trip or other vacation, call a friend, play sudoku, learn a new musical instrument, sing karaoke, read a book, write, try skateboarding, learn a new style of drawing/painting, play paintball, sew your own shirt, try a new recipe, etc. Fill your life with things you do enjoy. Experiment to find new things you might enjoy. Negative feelings are a part of life, but so too are positive ones. Make room for both.

Good luck. =)

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