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Sooty Owl

Things you've never understood about romance

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I was wondering what you guys really can't seem to understand about romance. I guess we all have difficulty understanding the basic stuff like what crushes feel like and whatnot, but what about everything that encompasses this whole romantic culture we live in?

 

I, for one, can't possibly understand how a lot of people seem to find extreme jealousy romantic. I just saw a post where a guy said that if a girl wanted to marry him she'd have to cut off all contact with other boys and everyone was gushing about how the fact that he was so protective was romantic and cute...

No it's not, it's abusive.

And I'm not saying everything romantic peeps are like that (thank god!) but I see that a lot and it's driving me crazy.

 

Something else I don't understand is this rule of "you can't date someone that your friend used to date". I mean, if you're friends, it means you have stuff in common, so it's not that surprising that you'd fall for the same person, and I don't see why you're expected to never date one of your friend's exes AFTER they broke up. If you caused the breakup or if you openly thirsted after the person, then I can understand, but if the breakup had already happened and there's no way they're ever getting back together, then where's the issue? Why have I witnessed multiple persons cut off one of their friends because that friend started dating one of their exes??? This makes no damn sense.

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Can I say everything? Cause I really don't understand stand anything about romance. It's all just completely irrational to me.

 

I'll add some specific ones.

 

This has more to do with monogamy, but it is heavily tied in with amatonormativity, so I'll include it: cheating. I just don't understand the sense of ownership that people for others. I just don't get how people don't want their partner with another person.

 

I don't understand people who get married and then get divorced soon after. I mean, what is the point? What does that achieve beside wasting a while bunch of money?

 

Love at first sight. I realise that most people probably don't experience this but still. You can't love someone you literally just met and don't even know a thing about beside what they look like. Love at first sight is really just mutual attraction at first sight. And well, I don't think it takes a genius to figure out that attraciton   love.

 

I don't get how flirting works. At all.

 

I don't get how some romantics just can't be friends with someone they're attracted to. The fact that "The Friend Zone" is a term that exists, as well as the existence of so called "Nice Guys™", is proof that this phenomenon exists.

 

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I think it is to do with loyalty. If you start to date your friends ex then you are not being very loyal to your friend. Its just one of those things i guess ! 

 

It befuddles me when people come out of a relationship and they want to get into another one almost immediately. Or when people always seem to want to

be in a relationship, they are always looking to be in one. They have never really spent that much time alone because they have always had a partner. 

 

Just sounds too complicated for me ! 

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I don't even understand romance as a feeling, much less everything that's associated with it.

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Why is egregious and obtrusive PDA in romantic relationships a thing? It's happened multiple times where I will actively be having a conversation with someone and their romo-person just comes up to them and starts putting their face all over them, apropos of absolutely nothing. I don't know what sets it off and it's honestly really disconcerting. Bonus points if, like most of these instances, it's happened multiple times and continues to happen directly in front of me and other people despite the fact that I am quite clearly and visibly really frickin' uncomfortable with all of this. :nopapo::stopapo:

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I don't understand how dating is different than a really good friendship. 

 

@Zemaddog Cheating is less about ownership and more about loyalty. When you get into a relationship with someone, you commit to being in the relationship on certain terms. Sometimes, one of these terms might be, "You're not allowed to be romantic or sexual with people other than me." And that's just a personal preference. Some people have modified versions, like "You're not allowed to be romantic with people other than me," or "You're not allowed to be romantic with people unless you explicitly tell me" in the case of polyamorous relationships. It's largely about trust--you trust your partner(s) to follow through with your mutual agreement. And if they don't follow through, they've taken advantage of your trust and you have less reason to trust them. 

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Why is it that, once people get into a romantic relationship, they only want to talk to their friends if they're significant other isn't around? Like, why do friends become second best?

 

Why do people get back together even after they've had a really bad breakup and can never have a healthy relationship? WHAT ARE THEY GAINING

 

Why do couples who are really excessive with PDA never understand that they're making everyone else around them feel weird? Do they just not pay attention??????? ? ? ? ?

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The We-Must-Do-Everything-Together. What if they aren't into your hobbies? Doing something in a group is nice, but having the same group for everything is a bit unrealistic? Are you clones or what? Are you just repressing your personality?

 

The phenomenon of the One. Do people seriously think their special person is perfect? Aren't there any flaws? Does that not worry you? It always felt unlikely, artificial to me.

 

Courtship and other love rituals. Doing something specific to please someone? Fine. It actually proves that you know that person well enough, and you know they love apple-cinnamon tea, so you get them some. But cliche stuff like buying a dozen of red roses, teddies, bonbons? The whole diamond ring, white dress, black tux, white cake thing? Even alternative weddings doing the same old ritual, just with different colours? Seems like an expensive hassle.

 

Possessive jealousy. No idea how that works.

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4 hours ago, omitef said:

I don't understand how dating is different than a really good friendship.

Same.

 

Which is why I especially don't understand why people seek out complete strangers for dates. Like, why on earth would you pick a complete stranger to do all these intimate things with, when you (presumably) already have friends you're much closer to?

 

Also, when two people have been together a while, and live together, (probably married), everything becomes "we". There is no more "I". So my friend got married... she no longer exists - she is now two people, and I have to take both of them into consideration about everything.

 

9 hours ago, KF81 said:

It befuddles me when people come out of a relationship and they want to get into another one almost immediately. Or when people always seem to want to

be in a relationship, they are always looking to be in one. They have never really spent that much time alone because they have always had a partner. 

Yeah, I'm actually concerned for people like that, it seems to me like they're fundamentally disconnected from themselves somehow.

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52 minutes ago, SoulWolf said:

Also, when two people have been together a while, and live together, (probably married), everything becomes "we". There is no more "I". So my friend got married... she no longer exists - she is now two people, and I have to take both of them into consideration about everything.

 

Even weirder is that they *like* that sort of thing. It's some kind of bizarre, cognitively induced euphoria, probably an evo psych adaptation to keep humans from eating their young or abandoning their in-group or something... But it's so uncomfortable and inconvenient when a society starts to be able to embrace diversity (like aromanticism!)... 

 

So today's horror story on this topic:

I'm currently dealing with the ramifications of being an aromantic-allosexual in an allo-allo friend group.

 

Long story short, I'm renting a room from a couple that I befriended years ago. The woman (let's call her Daphne) in the relationship is a sweet, snarky, tough little bartender and one of my BFFs; the guy is a lovable but spoiled man-child (let's call him Bert) who I'm decent friends with, but everyone basically agrees he has a lot of growing up to do. Our friend group sees her in basically the same light as I do, and every now and then there have been muttered conversations about whether Daphne and Bert will last as a couple. 

 

So, within a week of me moving in, I intuit that Daphne and Bert have indeed outlived whatever it is that allos get out of their relationships; soon Daphne has confirmed this by confiding in me, whereas Bert is simply moping and not talking about it. 

 

Within a month, they have privately broken up, but he'll be moving out in September once I'm gone, so my room is secure and they'll just keep working on things. 

 

To the point:

 

As far as I'm aware, they're true alloromantics. (I think she may be demisexual, and is definitely casually bisexual; he is certainly your average straight cis male with all the attendant cultural baggage.) This means that (what to me would be) a simple, bloodless break with maybe some continued sex thrown into the mix, the last two months have been fraught with emotion and surreptitious conversations and Bert - the poor brat - getting his hopes up that maybe they'll work out and he'll get to keep cuddling and having sex with Daphne.

 

This is made doubly awkward by the fact that up to this point, it had been months since they'd had any kind of intercourse, and even more months since they'd been regularly affectionate beyond a little normal hugging/cuddling (so I kept questioning what the hell they thought they were getting out of any of this, aside from cheap rent). IOW, they'd been sustaining their dying relationship on the idea of love simply because they love each other "as people" - again raising the question in my mind WTF the difference could be between a "relationship" and a good close friendship. 

 

So while this is all going on, and Daphne's officially ended it and Bert's kinda moping and mostly avoiding being home, she and I get drunk with a friend one night, the friend goes home, and Daphne and I have a conversation about hooking up, because we've always had a non-romantic thing for each other but she's always been with Bert.

 

For me, the aro-allo, this is a perfect situation as long as it's what she really wants and is comfortable with. So we kiss and it's fun and we go to bed separately, and the next day when we're both free and sober we do hook up and it's a fun time. 

 

Further philosophical complication enters my mind as I've observed, since then: 

1) I'm completely fine with what happened, it was all done 100% consensually and with no sense of betrayal or fucked up power dynamics / manipulation. She is also cool with the situation and we have been completely normal around each other since then (which is not often the case with allo-allos after they hook up with a friend). 

2) Meanwhile, Daphne and Bert continue to be extremely emotional (in private) with regards to their breakup. Last night she was drunk and crying until about 3:00. 

3) In conclusion, what I'm seeing is that while they're both sad about the breakup, they're also both apparently guiltless in how they're going about the whole thing, despite their grief about it, which implies some dissonance in their concepts of love, sex, etc.

4) Also, he's still horny for her and she's horny in a more ambivalent way, yet in their situation they're not *emotionally* prepared to seek out gratification elsewhere, with the exception of me in her case, and that only once probably because Daphne and I have deep trust in each other. So all that is pretty telling.

5) So bored with the whole alloromantic thing.

 

Anyway, sorry for the ramble - I had to get this off my chest to people whose POVs on this topic I actually understand and identify with. Tried to approach the situation as an amateur naturalist, hope it was interesting. :P

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5 hours ago, omitef said:

Cheating is less about ownership and more about loyalty. When you get into a relationship with someone, you commit to being in the relationship on certain terms. Sometimes, one of these terms might be, "You're not allowed to be romantic or sexual with people other than me." And that's just a personal preference. Some people have modified versions, like "You're not allowed to be romantic with people other than me," or "You're not allowed to be romantic with people unless you explicitly tell me" in the case of polyamorous relationships. It's largely about trust--you trust your partner(s) to follow through with your mutual agreement. And if they don't follow through, they've taken advantage of your trust and you have less reason to trust them.

I did say I didn't understand it didn't I? xD Thanks for the clarification, it would be useful to know this so that I don't accidentally offend someone in the future.

 

5 hours ago, omitef said:

I don't understand how dating is different than a really good friendship. 

This. I can't believe I forgot to say this.

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I don't understand how as soon as two people get into a relationship, the way they act around each other changes dramatically. 

I don't understand why cheating is such a big deal. I don't understand why it can break up an otherwise strong and healthy relationship. I mean, if that was all it took for people to break up, how strong was the relationship really? I get the trust thing, but other violations of trust don't seem to cause people to break up as much. But apparently cheating is a HUGE deal for romantic people. I'm sure it makes sense to them, but it sure doesn't make sense to me!

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17 minutes ago, Quinoa said:

I don't understand how as soon as two people get into a relationship, the way they act around each other changes dramatically. 

This!

Like... you're literally just changing how your labeling your relationship and doing more romantically-coded things. Why should that make you treat each other differently? Ugh that confuses me.

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@comedyofaros I hope they figure things out! Keep in mind that even if you are friends with both of them, it's not your job to figure things out for them. That's a good thing, because you can't really figure things out for them.  

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@Quinoa @Cassiopeia 

Yes, one of the challenges of being a good aro friend is to avoid saying, "Well, why don't you just stop having this problem? Seems simple..."

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On 31/07/2016 at 9:01 AM, Sooty Owl said:

I, for one, can't possibly understand how a lot of people seem to find extreme jealousy romantic. I just saw a post where a guy said that if a girl wanted to marry him she'd have to cut off all contact with other boys and everyone was gushing about how the fact that he was so protective was romantic and cute...

No it's not, it's abusive.

 

I don't get exclusivity in the first place.
Though I do see a certain irony in this senario. Given how common it is for people getting into romantic relationships to dump friends even if their partner does not demand it.
Agree that someone demanding this is creepy, controlling and potentially abusive. It certainly isn't in anyway "cute"!
IMHO it's a possible "red flag".

On 31/07/2016 at 10:32 AM, Zemaddog said:

This has more to do with monogamy, but it is heavily tied in with amatonormativity, so I'll include it: cheating. I just don't understand the sense of ownership that people for others. I just don't get how people don't want their partner with another person.

I've never got why anyone would want monogamy. Interestingly "cheating" is not confined to monogamy, though seems crazy for someone to ask for something they don't actually want.
To me partners having other partners feels the most natural thing in the world. Whereas someone wanting me as their only partner seems somewhat immature, clingy and creepy.

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On 31/07/2016 at 4:24 PM, Dodecahedron314 said:

Why is egregious and obtrusive PDA in romantic relationships a thing? It's happened multiple times where I will actively be having a conversation with someone and their romo-person just comes up to them and starts putting their face all over them, apropos of absolutely nothing. I don't know what sets it off and it's honestly really disconcerting. Bonus points if, like most of these instances, it's happened multiple times and continues to happen directly in front of me and other people despite the fact that I am quite clearly and visibly really frickin' uncomfortable with all of this. :nopapo::stopapo:


At a wild guess I'd say this is about putting you "in your place" in terms of their romantic relationship being at the top of the hierarchy. Where as you who are "just talking" is a very long way down.

 

On 31/07/2016 at 8:13 PM, Cassiopeia said:

The We-Must-Do-Everything-Together. What if they aren't into your hobbies? Doing something in a group is nice, but having the same group for everything is a bit unrealistic? Are you clones or what? Are you just repressing your personality?


With the optimal group size always being two people?

 

On 31/07/2016 at 8:13 PM, Cassiopeia said:

The phenomenon of the One. Do people seriously think their special person is perfect? Aren't there any flaws? Does that not worry you? It always felt unlikely, artificial to me.


Sounds not unlike religious faith to me.

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I am just barely romantic enough to "get" romance in most of these ways :facepalm:and yet I identify with aromantic people so so so much more than romantic people, or even asexual people! it is weird. 

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I hate how society seems to beat it into peoples heads that romantic relationships are the only ones that really count and how people can just cut off from everyone they've known before said relationship.

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11 hours ago, Hey you in the corner said:

I hate how society seems to beat it into peoples heads that romantic relationships are the only ones that really count and how people can just cut off from everyone they've known before said relationship.

Yeah. I also never understood how it's totally understandable to travel great distances to see a romantic partner or relatives, but not a friend. If you travel that far to visit a friend, there must be romance involved. ¬¬

 

Or how it's completely acceptable for friends to move far away from each other, and the friends left behind are supposed to be supportive and not the slightest bit upset. Or, even weirder, when all the friends left behind actually are supportive, and I'm the only one that's upset... and I don't want to tell anyone this because they'll assume there must be romantic feelings involved! >:(

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The thing I really don't get is that calling someone your girlfriend or boyfriend seems to be such a big deal. My cousin is dating someone and my family refers to him as "*Cousin's name*'s friend". They put a weird emphasis on the word friend, as they know that my cousin's relationship with this guy is not platonic. But they refuse to refer to him as my cousin's boyfriend.

One time, before she was with her current boyfriend, my cousin was with another guy. When my dad asked her if she would call him her boyfriend, she responded "I would say we're dating, but I wouldn't call him my boyfriend." Why do people think ace and aro labels are confusing when labels for romantic and sexual relationships seem so complicated?

The other thing that people make a big deal of is saying "I love you" for the first time in a relationship. For a while I thought: 'why would you date someone you don't love or don't feel comfortable telling you love?' I guess if you go on a blind date or a date with someone you met through a dating site it makes sense. I also think I am much more liberal with my "I love you"s than most people. I tell my friends and family I love them often. "I love you" was the replacement for "goodbye" with my friends and I for a while.

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On 8/2/2016 at 3:55 AM, SwankyPants said:

I am just barely romantic enough to "get" romance in most of these ways :facepalm:and yet I identify with aromantic people so so so much more than romantic people, or even asexual people! it is weird. 

 

Same here, I keep pondering that I'm probably more gray/quoi/something, but I also acknowledge that it doesn't really matter since the distinction won't change how I live now that I'm consciously some-kind-of-aro.

 

For those of you who saw my last post about my roommate(s): I was thinking a lot about my roommate today and a long, close conversation we had last night. I've had a rough life with many good arms-length friends and associates, but not many that have reached this depth. I realized that she gets me more than almost anyone else in my life, and personal (emotional/psychological) intimacy is rare for me, but when I thought about what that might mean for "us" (big heavy quotes to clarify I'm aware of the dissonance in the implication) I went right back to being bored with the idea of a conventional relationship. Fortunately, in our recent conversations, we've talked about basically committing to being BFFs for life with potential for sexual benefits, and maybe in the future we'll be roommates again, and we'll definitely visit each other, but otherwise we'll just go our own way, travel, work, and do our own things. Sort of a nomadic-style non-monogamish QPR or something... haha.

The idea of it assuages the subtle demi-romantic feeling I tend to have toward long-term good friends who I can trust with my feelings, but also fits my other preferences. So that's kinda nice. :P

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I'm another one who doesn't understand why jealousy, obsession, and possessiveness are seen as romantic instead of as abusive.  To me, all three are major red flags and they'd have me running in the opposite direction.

Another thing that perplexes me is how predatory and just plain assholish a lot of romantic tropes really are.  Like the one where a guy relentlessly pursues a woman who clearly wants nothing to do with him, and the 'happy' ending being that she eventually gets exhausted and broken down enough to agree to date him.  That isn't romantic!  That's an entitlement-poisoned creep being a total dick!  There are so many of these, and they just make zero sense to me.

 

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20 hours ago, UncommonNonsense said:

I'm another one who doesn't understand why jealousy, obsession, and possessiveness are seen as romantic instead of as abusive.  To me, all three are major red flags and they'd have me running in the opposite direction.

Another thing that perplexes me is how predatory and just plain assholish a lot of romantic tropes really are.  Like the one where a guy relentlessly pursues a woman who clearly wants nothing to do with him, and the 'happy' ending being that she eventually gets exhausted and broken down enough to agree to date him.  That isn't romantic!  That's an entitlement-poisoned creep being a total dick!  There are so many of these, and they just make zero sense to me.

 

Aka the entire plot of twilight. 

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