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Arghh can’t identify feelings!?


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Until now, I (female, 18) have been identifying as aroace, with tertiary attraction towards women. The problem is, now that I’ve thought about it more, I can’t tell whether my tertiary feelings are actually tertiary. Am I experiencing a weird/less intense form of secondary romantic attraction?? 

Basically, I’ve been extremely sheltered for my whole life and have never really needed to/let myself consider having a relationship. That suggests I’m on the aro spectrum and that I’m also shy as heck. I don’t really form many long-term relationships at all, so it’s hard to judge where my feelings would go if I explored them, but when I was a kid I had this one friend G, who I loved to bits. And I don’t mean in a fluttery way, I mean in a deep “you’re amazing and I would bathe in your presence for the whole of eternity and never ask for anything in return” kind of way. These feelings form over a very long period of time and I don’t really have any control over them. Some friends get them and some don’t, depending on various factors. 

The thing that’s holding me back is that I don’t relate at all to the whole “crush” experience. I don’t get sweaty/shaky around the person and I don’t feel the need to be near them every second of the day. That said, I might feel a bit jealous if I wasn’t their most important person or they started dating someone other than me. 

I don’t think the feelings are strictly platonic, but I’m not a hundred percent sure they’re alterous either. Maybe they are? There’s definitely a difference between what I feel for friends and what I feel for people I’d potentially (if they ask) consider my partner:

 Strictly Platonic — liking being around the person and listening to what they have to say. I can put up with major differences in principles and personalities, provided we are reasonable and understanding of each other’s boundaries, etc. Repulsed by thought of kissing/caressing them. Liking to go to places/share ideas with the person.


  • I like spending time with them 
  • I can tell them things without judgement 
  • I can put up with differences because we respect each other’s boundaries 
  • I don’t want to kiss them 
  • I like doing things with them with no feelings or strings attached (eg: going out for lunch and a chat)
  • I’m fine being away from or close to them and distance doesn’t make a difference to the relationship (text can intervene) 
  • I don’t get at all jealous with their relationships 
  • I don’t expect to be their priority 
  • I ask them for advice and know they will give me a solid response 
  • They are fun and respectful and we laugh together 
  • We give each other good, practical advice and don’t sugarcoat things because we know what is good for the other person 
  • I have a completely clear head when talking to them and little to no warmth, but I do love them 

Partner Attraction (not yet identified) — happy to be around the person without needing to go anywhere/do anything. A warm feeling of satisfied comfort. No butterflies but deep aesthetic attraction/a love of them for who they are. Would be happy to live with them forever, but need our fundamental principles/personalities to align. Possible kissing/cuddling but not “necessary”/would enjoy sensual touch and calling each other partners

  • They are beautiful, not just aesthetically but for who they are 
  • I could bask in their presence all day and never get bored 
  • Forms after platonic attraction and over time 
  • I would live with them if they wanted to and would feel a bit hurt/inadequate if they decided to live with someone else 
  • Secretly/deep down want to be their most important person
  • I do not get butterflies 
  • I might feel butterflies after a long time, at least a little, if they kissed me or we formed an actual committed relationship 
  • I wouldn’t be interested in pursuing other relationships if we did 
  • I would be fine to marry them eventually 
  • I don’t get “crush” feelings or feel giddy around them 
  • There is a warm, beautiful, content feeling when I am with them 
  • I want to see everything about them and be vulnerable with them 
  • I need our basic principles and wants to align 
  • I could be away from them but I’d miss having them near me after a while 
  • They make me smile just by existing (but in a quiet way)
  • Fondness 
  • I like doing things together that will strengthen our bond  
  • Emotional based relationship 
  • I don’t need it reciprocated but I also don’t really want them to date anyone else 
  • I often have a clear head around them too, but every now and again, I’m blown over by the intense “wow, their existence is beautiful” feeling that never involves being giddy or “crushy” around them  

One feels “more serious” and intense than the other, if that makes sense. I worked this out yesterday after an aroace friend said they wanted to marry me platonically and I was like “that might be nice”, while also thinking it wouldn’t be very practical/might cause some resentment because, while we like each other’s company, we’re very different and not really committed relationship material. There are some people who I would be friends with but wouldn’t live with, while there are some people who I’m friends with but who I would be happy to live with if we got to know each other intensely over a long time.

I don’t know if they’re different types or just levels of attraction tbh, which is why I’m struggling to work out whether I’m plain old aromantic still or some kind of grey/demiromantic. I think having a definite label would help me explain my feelings to others if I get asked about my orientation. 

So, based on this, would you say the feelings fall into platonic or romantic or something else? Thank you 💚

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 7/5/2023 at 10:06 AM, Sad aro said:

I think that there are no sharp limits between different kinds of attraction. Maybe it would be more helpful for you to find out what kind of relationships you would be comfortable with, with the persons involved, rather than feeling pressured to figure out what you feel. It's ok to not know, you can just communicate your thoughts and needs time by time. For example, you can start with saying that you believe you are on the arospec but yet not knowing in what way. If you also are on the acespec, that can affect your feelings too.

Agree that there are no hard limits :) That’s what makes it so frustrating and hard in a way. I feel like I would want a romantic relationship but I don’t know who with. It’s all so confusing. I’ve been told I sound like I feel romantic attraction and I’ve also been told that I don’t. Honestly I don’t feel like I fit with the strictly aro experience but I also definitely don’t fit with alloromantic either. And then there are the sexual-or-not feelings to deal with. I feel so drained from this constant searching tor answers and at the same time so scared to stop because I feel like I *need* to know. It’s not like I can get out and test things right now and I don’t even know if I want to/how to start working out whether I want to. Realistically I need to just try dating but I don’t think I’m capable of feeling romantic attraction at first sight (if at all) and what if I hurt the person? Also, I’m shy and can’t travel around much so online dating isn’t going to be easy. Arghhhh I wish there was a way of clearing my head and magically finding the answers 

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