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Fictional love stories seen by aro eyes


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Posted (edited)

If you do ship/support/are invested in any particular fictional romance, feel free to tell what it's like for you and what do you like about it! Especially if there are very few fictional couples that got your heart or genuinely impressed you (and looks like this is a frequent situation), it's very interesting to know what could make them special for an aro perception. 

If you want to discuss a particular fictional romance you don't quite understand or are confused about, this is also a place for such discussions. 

Edited by Ekaterina
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Posted (edited)

So, this may be a niche type of romantic relationship, but in a book series called Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard, there's a side romance between two women that I couldn't help but "fall in love" with. I think it's them already being established and having already confided in each other about their own traumas, and their own messed up ideologies, that makes it bearable and waaaaaay better than the main character pairing, in my opinion; and that it feels more realistic? Same with another couple that consists of two men, and the main character's parents, etc etc. It isn't necessarily me only liking romantic couples that are already together, or have already confessed to one another, since in a fifth installment of the book series (this book is actually just short stories of what all of the characters are doing in the future, or some are about specific characters' pasts) there are couples where it shows them getting together or it shows how couples already established got together, and I liked it very much (my favorite would have to be the short story about a princess and a common river-boat captain getting together)! The author herself can write decent brewing romance, it's just the MCs that I have a hard time dealing with, I guess.

There are other romantic couples that I like in different book series (like the Dark Crystal series, Graceling series, Daughter of Smoke & Bone series, etc), but there isn't necessarily any ground-breaking reason for why an aro like myself loves them so much. Sometimes I just - I don't know - like the in-general romance without thinking too much about it, and then other times I know how glaringly obvious that a romance did not need to happen at all.

It is kind of funny, though. I often have a very potent aromantic perception of romance when it comes to writing things for myself or others, but when it comes to consuming media that has romance within it - I kind of just lose that perception? Sometimes? Unless the romance is ungodly awful. Or if the characters have clearly ambiguous feelings towards each other, that I often dub as non-normative attractions or tertiary attractions, to which then I headcanon the couple as a QPR.

Edited by The Newest Fabled Creature
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Posted (edited)

Established harmonious couples are a thing I also am often inclined towards. In one of my favourite Agatha Christie's novels Hercule Poirot's Christmas, there are two long-married couples I like pretty much, one of them a peaceful soft man with self-esteem issues and a confident artistic mildly sassy but caring woman, another an emotional artistic man with issues about letting go of the past and a rational motherly woman. I like how they work as personalities balancing each other, how the characters understand and support each other, and helping personal growth of the characters. (Well more growth of the two guys gaining confidence/overcoming trauma, the two ladies are more static in this case) 

Another couple I am actively invested in is from the same novel and counts more as "romantic" - these are guy and girl who meet each other and bond during the story. But what I love about this couple is their kindred spirits dynamics - starting their acquaintance from being visitors from different subtropical lands not feeling comfortable with the English climate and mentality, getting to know each other better and fascinated more and more with each other, realizing each other's longing for a place to belong as well as an adventure streak (turned out both pulled a crazy plan of assuming false identities just out of curiosity about something, which also was hilarious). Do I see them as "typically romantic"? Can't say; the dynamics in the novel involve a dance together but no kissing/gifts/this kind of stuff. I kind of feel a sensual part here but sensual attraction is its own thing. 

Another couple I love a lot lately, from another work by the same author, is in fact a villain couple which doesn't stop being harmonious despite being villain (well also since it's a mystery novel they are surprise villains, but still); they are kind of established (it takes some time for the story to show they are in a relationship, but they already are at the starting point). I love them for being another good example of complementary opposites harmony (chaotic overconfident sassy guy and cold determined girl, an effective duo of Chaos+Order balance), as well as genuinely mutually caring and devoted to each other and working together. They are probably the most "typical romance" out of the characters I mentioned here. The heroic couple in the same novel is also pretty cute, also the "working together" part and the "Chaos+Order" part in a different way (only in this case the girl is chaos and the guy order), but I kind of am more invested in their friendship (they are childhood friends) than in their eventual romance. It is cute through, for the slight comedy parts I guess. 

Edited by Ekaterina
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I don't read a lot of romance novels, though I started reading thru my first one recently -- a story by Ana Huang, her protagonists are of often Asian women of colour -- as she is one herself. It's a typical friends/rivals to lovers with an interracial twist, it's basic, but I find it tolerable. I like how she describes things.

As for favourite tropes, I like meet cute, and established relationship. I also like both friends-to-lovers & enemies-to-lovers equally (this statement is apparently controversial in the aro community, with people complaining they're both "unrealistic", like yeah of course it's gonna be unrealistic, it's fictional??). Another 'controversial' one is " fake dating" -- it's like a slow burn to me hence why I like it.

I personally would like to see more romance stories with disabled protagonists, as I am disabled myself and feel like this perspective on romance is different to how non-disabled people view it. Obvious bonus if it's LGBTIA±-centered.

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6 hours ago, Lovebird said:

I don't read a lot of romance novels, though I started reading thru my first one recently -- a story by Ana Huang, her protagonists are of often Asian women of colour -- as she is one herself. It's a typical friends/rivals to lovers with an interracial twist, it's basic, but I find it tolerable. I like how she describes things.

As for favourite tropes, I like meet cute, and established relationship. I also like both friends-to-lovers & enemies-to-lovers equally (this statement is apparently controversial in the aro community, with people complaining they're both "unrealistic", like yeah of course it's gonna be unrealistic, it's fictional??). Another 'controversial' one is " fake dating" -- it's like a slow burn to me hence why I like it.

Despite lot's of books I end up getting include romance in them, I fairly often don't try to get romance books at all, unless it's queer romance that intrigues me; I usually buy fantasy or fictional graphic novels, with a premise that I like, to where I get jump-scared by a romance that luckily isn't so bad most of the time. With some of these books, I end up loving how things are described and some of the fantasy series I have do this very well - almost to a fault of breaking apart simple dialogue or not getting to the point fast enough (lol). The tropes that often dominate these books, and which ended up being tropes that I like, are friends/enemies-to-lovers, destined-to-be (if written well), and opposites attract (this may be the only trope I'd say is my all time favorite, and doesn't have to be romantic at all, where as other ones are immediately seen as such). Like how you said, the first trope isn't liked by some aros and I completely understand, and in some cases, completely agree with that, but I am also a believer of if you don't see your romantic partner as a best friend, then if the relationship fails - what then? I don't think two, or more, people should stop talking to each other or stop doing stuff together just because a certain relationship dynamic ended; unless it's necessary to cut ties, of course.

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Recently bought The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood, heard some good things around it & the author in general. Hoping it's worth the read. 

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The only bit of media that has relationships that I don't actively hate is Murdoch Mysteries. On that show, the writers idea of a romantic relationship is having people spend time with each other and be familiar toward each other. It comes across as a whole lot more normal and healthy than many romance cliches.

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13 minutes ago, Picklethewickle said:

The only bit of media that has relationships that I don't actively hate is Murdoch Mysteries. On that show, the writers idea of a romantic relationship is having people spend time with each other and be familiar toward each other. It comes across as a whole lot more normal and healthy than many romance cliches.

I heard about this show, and good things. Your commentary makes it sound more interesting, maybe I'll look out for it. 

Also, fully agree that it's a healthier relationship pattern than many media cliches. It isn't the only work in existence that does it through, so hope you can discover more stories that suit you. 

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4 hours ago, Ekaterina said:

It isn't the only work in existence that does it through, so hope you can discover more stories that suit you. 

Thank you, I hope so too. If more romance stories followed that style, I would like romance more, and I would have healthier and more respectful attitudes around the topic.

I realize that I am responsible for my own attitudes, but I refuse to accept stories that celebrate unhealthy or abusive attachments. 

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I'm not really into original fiction that is written as romance, because I don't like being "fed" with it by default. It's simply not satisfying for me and I'm seeing it as sort of limiting. I prefer to explore relationships that aren't canonically romantic – writing fanfiction about them and talking to other people who ship them, too, is giving me a lot of fun. I like many ships – both couples and polyships – but I do have my favorites that I consider my comfort ships. At this moment, my favorite pairing is Kristoph Gavin/Apollo Justice from "Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney". Their relationship was ignored by the canon to the level that it can be read literally any way you like and that's what I like about it. I mean, they canonically weren't a couple, I'm saying that their bond was ignored and it gives you much more possibilities for interpretation of what was between them before the first episode of the game.

Spoiler

(between Kristoph's appearances in "Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney", too, and later in episodes 4 and 5 of "Phoenix Wright: Dual Destinies" when Apollo becomes absolutely cold towards Phoenix, not talking about him copying his former mentor's posture and gestures, and he even repeated Kristoph's words during the cross-examination)

The part about tropes, I don't think I have a preferred one, but I'm definitely not into things like "love of the first sight" or "soulmates".

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