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An aro or yet another bad guy?


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Hello everybody!

I don’t even know whether I am in the aro spectrum (and if I’m really there), but when I recently came across this topic, I felt like… I was there, and I was excited and relieved at the same time.

I give you some highlights, sorry if this will be longer than expected, maybe you can help me figuring out:

- I’ve never said “I love you” in my life, even though I I had several relationships

- If I see photos of marriages I feel some kind of rejection feelings 

- Even public displays of romantic affection (especially on social media) give me mixed vibes

- In all my past relationships i had a inverse proportionality between romantic investment and sexual activity. When I felt (totally) free I was able to manage things somehow, but when I felt that my freedom was violated I lost every interest

- I adore to be lonely (totally alone) for the most of my day, but I also love to share moments with my friends and family. In any case I don’t want a romantic relationship (at least for now) but it’s the case for almost all my life. 

- I feel my live is generally fulfilling, and I think love is an important part on my life, but not part of what people identifies as romantic love, and that I reject: something that is more similar to sense of possession (“you belong to me” vibe). 

- Current relation is for me the most satisfying I’ve ever had till now (I turned 40s since quite long time). Even though we hear from each other on a daily basis, she is committed to another person (she says she’s committed to me too). We also share personal and deep thoughts but I see this more as a friendship with no strings attached and high quality sex. I think about her and I’m happy she’s in my life, but I also think that if we involve in a more committed relationship this would be the beginning of the end.

What do you think about this? Am I in the aro spectrum, or I’m just another stupid jerk who doesn’t want to commit to a serious relationship?

I hope that’s not spam, and I don’t want you to substitute a psychological session, but just get some feedback from you.

Thanks in advance, I wish you a pleasant 2023!

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I wanted to say you should ask yourself if you've felt romantic attraction towards anyone and if so, how often (as that's the definition of aromanticism), but I know from first-hand experience it might be difficult to differentiate between the types of attraction.

I think friendships, other platonic relationships, or whatever is going on in your current relationship definitely show you do want to commit to a serious relationships; Just not a romantic one. Though I can't speak for you and your experiences, it seems you're aro and visibly romance repulsed, but don't take it as me forcing labels on you. If you want to seek more accurate descriptions of your feelings, you could read up on different orientations and labels under the aro umbrella and see if anything fits :^) But of course your don't have to adopt a million labels just because the internet tells you to, I for example just use aromantic.

I also wish you a happy and thoughtful new year :^)

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I think its worth setting out that your options are not 'aro' or 'another bad guy'. If you believe that framing you will probably find yourself siding with aro regardless of whether or not it is an idea that fits you. 

Romance is one possible part of a relationship and even people who feel a desire for romance can put that that for other things. 

You might be aro but more importantly, the things you have written, aro or not, do not make you a bad person. If the people involved in that relationship you talk about consent to the way that relationship is, understanding what they are involved in, then I don't see what about it would make you a bad person.

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Hello, and thanks for your comments!

I can say I've never looked for a romantic relationship in my life. What happened is that I met some girls, I felt in some way “romantically attracted”, but after a very short period of time I didn’t feel nothing anymore… So at the end I’ve just thought it was more a physical attraction or some kind of very time-limited “obsession”.

I know that no-one can put labels, and that I’m the only one who can figure out my orientation, and I'm quite convinced that I'm somewhere in the aro spectrum, but time will tell me more!

Also, I don’t feel like a “bad man” (but maybe someone that doesn't know me at all could think that): I’m really open with people I've a relationship with about what I am and what I desire or be able to give. This probably ends in attracting fewer people, but no-one can complain I’m faking something and relationships are healthier. 

Of course there will always be someone judging me as a “person without love” (which is false, because I give and receive love) or “a limited person that doesn’t want to settle down”: but I’m an adult and I can just ignore these comments :)

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I don't know if you saw this post floating around twitter or not, but your post talking about being a "bad guy" reminds me of a twitter conversation we were just having where someone was ascribing aromanticism to men in general because of current dating culture. What makes the so-called "player-type" man a "bad guy" is that these men are misogynists who do not view or treat women as people. These men aren't simply uninterested in commitment. They are uninterested in treating women with respect. Committing to a women in any sort of actual relationship would require a basis of respect and thinking of her as a fellow person (and just because a man seems to commit to a relationship doesn't mean he is actually doing the work required for a relationship commitment). This is a by-product of a larger culture of abuse (where systematic abuse like racism, misogyny, cissexism, heterosexism, fatphobia, etc. are supported by medium systems of abuse such as perpetuated by capitalistic work force and large religious systems are supported by small systems of abuse like intimate partner abuse and child abuse), where men are encouraged to not seek out a partner but rather a tireless caretaker and give nothing to their "partner" in return. And breaking it down even further to just look at men who are only interested in sex but not romantic or committed relationships, the problem isn't that they are interested in sex without relationships. It's that they commonly:

  • Aren't honest about this and often mislead and lie to women to get what they want (even preferring to lie if it's a woman who's only looking for sex as well)
  • Use this an excuse to be selfish and ungiving, not caring about their partner's safety, health, or pleasure (ex. being lax about protected sex, lying about multiple partners while especially not using condoms, expecting blowjobs but never even asking about if their partner got off or had a good time, utilizing sexual coercion, etc.)
  • Use this as an excuse to treat women as a sex object rather than a human being with thoughts and feelings
  • Manipulate the other person into giving them time and energy, then ghost (or even mock and then ghost) when they get what they want (sex)
  • Brag about their exploits, again treating women like tokens (objects) to be collected
  • Turn around and demean and degrade women for falling prey to their manipulation

Aromantic doesn't mean not wanting a commitment or committed relationship. Aromantic means low or no romantic attraction. Some aros even want committed relationships, whether that be a queerplatonic relationship, committed friendship, or even a committed romantic relationship.

Not wanting a committed relationship is often a common desire amongst aromantics, but it's not what defines being aromantic. It's also not inherently a bad thing. It gets conflated as a bad thing in order to protect the abuse culture (and amatonormativity and patriarchy in general, all of which are heavily tied to each other) and protect men who are mistreating and abusing women from accountability of their actions. If the focus stays on them "not wanting commitment", then we're not addressing the real issues, such as misogyny and dehumanizing women and amatonormativity/not making room for multiples types of lifestyles.

Edited by hemogoblin
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