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Lithro or limerence?


Untamed Heart
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I've only recently started learning about aromanticism and asexuality, but I still have questions about where I actually fit in, or even if I do. So far, I've thought lithromancy fitted me but also wondered if I might be limerent. I've just never been totally comfortable in a relationship when I have pursued them, and I've never seen them as a necessity in the same kind of way that many others seem to. In short, I am a lot happier being single, and wouldn't care if I never had another boyfriend again. 

When I have had boyfriends in the past, my feelings always seemed to come and go or waver and they never seemed to progress into anything stronger than kind of lukewarm, accompanied by bouts of numbness, anxiety and feelings of being trapped. Also, I get depressed. Any excited feelings I had when getting to know them kind of disappeared once we started to actually be a couple, and I kept wondering either when my feelings would develop further or when it was going to end. They've always felt like a lot more effort than necessary, and in truth I haven't got a lot else out of them that I couldn't have got from a really good friendship, less in most cases if I'm honest. I don't care about sex at all, and while I have enjoyed hugging (a lot) and doing sensual stuff with some romantic partners, I don't even think about it when I'm single. 

I hate even just having crushes too, as it's the same 'feelings there then not there' crap! It's like being on a pirate ship with a particularly sadistic crew, who pretend to make you walk the plank, only to keep telling you you're allowed to come back on board cos they're only messing with you. But one day they'll probably just push you in anyway.

I ended my last relationship because I ended up feeling the usual numbness, anxiety and guilt because I couldn't feel the way he did about me - I wanted to, but realised I had ended up trying to fake it to make it and knew it would only get worse. I had even felt worried and kind of annoyed with myself when I first started getting a crush on him, thinking "ugh, not this shit again..." though I was actually a lot happier being with him to begin with than I was with past boyfriends. I was certainly a lot more excited for our first date, though felt like dying the day it rolled round. I didn't really feel a whole lot towards him when we went out, but I still wanted to give him a chance cos I'm apparently a sentimental idiot or something - I figured since my feelings came and went anyway, and I'd been single for the best part of 10 years (through choice), that things might be different this time. I mean, while I was happy being single, it didn't mean I couldn't be happy with him. 

But soon enough, I felt like I wanted to back off, though I berated myself and tried to fight it since he never did anything to make me feel like running away. I didn't really even feel like I was a girlfriend. 

I had to admit to myself there was something wrong when I went home after seeing him one night, and to take my mind off being in a (perfectly nice) relationship, I ended up getting really engrossed reading some online topic about how cow's udders change during pregnancy. I'm not even a farmer...

Sorry if this is not all that clear. I'm sure there are things I've missed out too. I just feel like I'm on the verge of finding out my romantic orientation after so many years of wondering, but I still need some clarity.

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Ah, thanks so much for the reply :) I really wanted to clear things up some more, because I felt like I wanted to write my ex a letter to explain what I've found out since we split. It wasn't his fault and unlike in my past relationships there was a lot more mutual respect and care between us. And maybe it might be useful for him to know about in future. I just hurt him a lot, though he is a very understanding person and I think he would appreciate knowing what was really going on, as I had no real clue why I always felt that way until now.

I've even spoken to a mental health professional before about it, and came away empty handed. I don't consider myself totally aro since I do get the initial attraction, it's just the actual relationships I can't handle. 

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8 hours ago, Untamed Heart said:

Ah, thanks so much for the reply :) I really wanted to clear things up some more, because I felt like I wanted to write my ex a letter to explain what I've found out since we split. It wasn't his fault and unlike in my past relationships there was a lot more mutual respect and care between us. And maybe it might be useful for him to know about in future. I just hurt him a lot, though he is a very understanding person and I think he would appreciate knowing what was really going on, as I had no real clue why I always felt that way until now.

I considered doing this when I found out I was aromantic, but it had already been a year since we broke up so I figured he was over it and it would be weird to bring it back up haha. Perhaps I would've told him had I known earlier, because the whole "it's not you, it's me" thing was a pretty shitty way to end things off, even though I had no way to articulate it at the time. I think it's great that you're doing what I was too scared to do, so if you want I'd love to know how it goes!

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Hi there @Untamed Heart! What you are describing definitely sounds like lithromanticism. It seems that you feel an initial attraction to somebody and then when they start to reciprocate the feelings, you feel uncomfortable. I kind of felt the same way from the one relationship I got into. It was very smothering and the whole thing just felt unnatural to me. I haven't wanted to try to re-create it ever since. Welcome to the boards!

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Well, he got the letter today but I haven't heard anything yet. I was super nervous this morning though! I gave it to a mutual friend (wimpy, but it's just how things are now).

Thankyou also, Blue Phoenix Ace. I can't believe it's taken me so long to get here!

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I got a reply today, he said he'd been thinking of what to say and still didn't know, but that I didn't need to worry about anything (so I guess he doesn't really know what to think). I'm not sure I don't regret sending it, either. Some of my old diaries tell a slightly different story than I feel I remember, though I've noticed I often left out specific feelings I still distinctly remember having when I think back, so I don't think they're totally reliable records - like, one of my boyfriends saying he had some time to kill on his shift and would I like to meet him for a bit? I actually spent a whole five minutes debating with myself over whether to go or not - not mostly because I was almost home, either. I did in the end, but none of the things I expressed while with him felt really 'genuine', if that makes sense? More like I was doing and saying things that I felt I should, than being totally honest and saying I'd rather go home and see him later.

And the odd feelings of unease/uncertainty I had at work sometimes, when I was going out with my second boyfriend and my colleagues were asking me about him and I was pretending to be more enthusiastic about being with him than I really was, and how having him round my house just felt "ok", not "I'm so glad you're here!". Thanks for being such a great record keeper, past self! 

But I can't take it back now anyway and maybe I really am right? I did have 'omg this makes so much sense' moments when I first started learning about aromance and asexuality.

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I do feel happier in general, still trying to ignore this 'voice' that keeps whispering get a boyfriend, because it always sucks! I mostly wanted him to know because he was a lot nicer than most of my exes were to me (no abuse or anything like that, but just less caring I guess? Also most of them just cut contact without saying anything about dumping me). Grateful for the experience and for getting the motivation to find out what this 'thing' actually was, just sorry it had to be him. 

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I'm not sure how old you are, but that little voice gets more distant over the years. You had a 10 year stint being single, so it sounds like you're already able to take care of yourself. That's a big part of why a lot of people seek a relationship. A bigger piece though, is the societal pressure. Once you become more comfortable with the idea that's it's just fine to be single, then you'll stop worrying about it. That's not to say that nobody will ever come along to change your mind. It's just that you won't necessarily be looking for it or thinking you need it.

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That's true. I'm 33, still living with my parents but I feel I could do OK, if not flourish at being independent later on (I do see myself living alone, or with a 'rent mate' at most).

I wasn't looking for anyone when I got with him; I'd joined the art group my friend was in after changing to a part time job in September, and I was slightly drawn to him, though didn't really talk to him much at first (social awkwardness, don't really get attached that easily to others, plus I've just never really gelled with men as well as other women. I only really have two close friends, who are both female. The only guys who really show up on my radar, if romantic feelings aren't involved, are ones who I've already made acquaintances with through work or something else, but even those I don't have too much else to do with). I didn't feel attracted to him until January? Even then, I was doing the fantasising but not doing anything about it thing, until he started actually talking to me lol. I still wish I could go back to then...

I really love being single xD but that voice thing has been there for a long time... I think if I had to have another relationship, I'd choose a QPP if I could, but I can see it would be very difficult for me to actually find the right person to have one with.

But thank you for the advice :) it's been really helpful, even just browsing this forum. I've still got a lot of questions and stuff I'm trying to work through, but I want to question everything right now! xD 

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