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Understanding and Celebrating Aromantic Pride


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Hello Community,

As we explore the universe of aromanticism, I believe it means a lot to take a moment to reflect on what being aromantic means to us individually and as a community. Aromanticism, with spectrum of experiences and identities, is often misunderstood or overlooked. However, it is a valid and enriching way of experiencing life and relationships.

I'd love to hear how you first came to realize you were aromantic and how you've accepted who you are. What difficulties have you confronted and what triumphs have you celebrated? How do you find joy and fulfillment in your relationships, whether they’re platonic, familial, or with yourself?

Let's talk about our experiences and help each other in this journey. We can celebrate and raise awareness of our community's diversity when we work together. Aromantic pride is about being true to ourselves and living authentically, and every story adds to the rich tapestry of our collective experience.

I look forward to reading your ideas and stories.

Thanks,

Marcos Andrew

splunk

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Guest JackRyan

Hello Marcos Andrew,

Thank you for initiating this heartfelt discussion. Realizing aromantic was a journey of self-discovery and accepting it has brought me immense peace. Despite facing misunderstandings, I’ve found joy in deep platonic connections and self-love. Sharing our stories is empowering and vital for raising awareness.

Jack

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Posted (edited)

I knew as a kid that I had less understanding for family, romance etc. but I still grew up with the amotonormative ideology and tried until my mid to late 30s to date sometimes, though I have to say I was never big on dating and always enjoyed the freedom of living with out a partner.

for me aro pride is foremost a deshaming activity to bring me back to what I consider my natural balance. I am not against people living their romantic truth as long as they respect that I don't care. Attended two weddings so far and while I am happy for them, I really do not want to be at one again and do not yet know how to break it to friends who might see it as an asshole move. have been told it was not okay to have not attended my cousins wedding. with my social anxiety and people constantly misunderstanding who I am, I am not seeing myself at a pride event in the near future, but I got some stickers recently for me. I try to find pride colored clothes and even thought of producing pride products myself since there is really an absolute lack for microlabels or certain products. I'll order more pride accessories, but I hate jewellery so I am not wearing rings or anything.

I did come out to one person and it went bad, so I am more careful now to who says things that are not safe. I am very unapologetic, so I have to restrict myself there for my safety, but I do post pride things, stop people on the verge of saying bigotted things.

I found vocabulary late meaning months which I think comes from aro being less known and also spec being less known. I knew about aces existing earlier, but still was not aware that there are specs, in general the vocabulary decades ago was much less detailed, so I can only assume more older people finding vocabulary. I try to be an advocate to others in a small manner for finding words for experience because it is so important to find others and feeling less ashamed if you grew up in a toxic environment.

Edited by arodime
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Posted (edited)

Well, my story is pretty simple. 

Realized as a teen (was something about 14 I think) that I don't fall in love. Thought maybe I would fall in love with any of two boys from the class who were nice as people, but didn't. Related at the point to an opera character who couldn't fall in love (and that character was seen as not having place in the human world over it and ended very bad, so yep, the parallel wasn't promising much). Heard "Which boy do you like" and "Why don't you have a boyfriend" from certain girls in the class each time they happened to speak to me, and for several reasons including this came to (temporarily) hate peer company. 

After school things were mostly okay, no one in the university was treating me as inferior, but I still wasn't being particularly close to anyone my age, just not being actively sociable and not feeling many common points, for much more reasons than aromanticism, but I admit they were good people and good to study with. 

Learned about the term aromanticism something like a year ago. Came to identify as such pretty soon. Considered demi at first, because I didn't exclude the idea of having a partner based on personal closeness one day, then decided that even if I find such a partner, my feelings to them would be more platonic than romantic. 

Never dated, as already said. Mostly neutral to fictional romance (there are exceptions). Can crush on fictional characters (right now am not having an active fictional crush, but remember some of the former ones fondly). Am critical of negative tendencies in romantic media and shipping culture and willing to learn more about the flaws, including those related to obsessive or unhealthy character crushes (myself have treated fandom stuff as too serious business and want to be able to avoid it better). 

Love my mother and other family members. Love the world, nature and cultures too. Love my special interests. Love good children's books, mystery books and not only them. Love learning new skills lately. Doing academic research (linguistics) as profession and having creative plans. Basically, a happy person, and wish the same to you! 💚

Edited by Ekaterina
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I've never had crushes, not on people, not on fictional characters, and not on celebrities. I find the idea that other people do a bit hard to grasp.

I'm repulsed by romance, and not just with romance directed at me. I get uncomfortable hearing about it in other people's lives, and even seeing it in fiction. I read a lot of fanfiction, and there was a time when I would open a fandom category and read everything down the list, no matter what it was about. I encountered quite a lot of shipping, and for a time I thought being exposed to it would make me more accepting, but it actually end up doing the opposite. I hate romance and pairings even worse now, and even just seeing a pairing tag makes me feel a bit sick.

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Posted (edited)

It's kind of interesting, because my whole entire queer journey has felt like I have been evolving into my queerness, if that makes any sense?

Like, for example, I believe that although I may have shown a few signs of being trans/non-binary as a kid, I did identify as and even felt like I was a girl; like, I knew what that felt like, but not anymore. It was only until puberty hit me, that I realized that I wasn't a girl. I have dove into what this could mean, and I feel as though it's both me finally coming to my trans realization, and me just naturally becoming who I am after my puberty, and that involved me losing my gender XD. There are recent theories that I don't know if I completely vibe with, that state something along the lines of "what if queerness is related to trauma," which sounds bad, I know, but they don't mean sexual, physical, emotional, or even mental trauma done to you (although queer people who are queer because of those things are fucking valid), but instead they're talking about systematic trauma, or the trauma of societal expectations, that makes you realize who you are as a queer person; and I wonder if me realizing what my puberty meant (me becoming a "woman") played a little part in it, too, since I just couldn't imagine myself being a old lady when I was younger. Having my body morph into what would label me as a woman was a bit of a no fun experience, and me feeling zero connection to womanhood anyways intensified me finding out I was trans.

I know all of that may feel unrelated, but this is how I came to my aro realization, though a bit different.

I do feel like I was always aro or "destined" to be aro, if I wasn't always non-binary, because although I did feel strong emotional attachments to other kids my age and dubbed them as "crushes," I never once wanted to be in a flimsy romantic relationship with them, nor did I want those other kids to like me back. I dreaded the thought of anyone asking me out as I got older, and I kept on pushing marriage as a "to be done in the future" thing that I didn't even entertain as a thought, unlike my childhood friends who would keep on talking about "being married one day." But, once I realized the closer I got to being in high school, and so the closer I got to becoming a young adult, I also realized how much more closer I got to that "future thing" and I would start freaking out about the prospect of me being expected to get engaged at some point. It's not that I have anyone in my family who would force me to do that, but it was expected (until I came out to a few family members) for me to find a partner eventually; because high school, and especially college which I am now attending, are places deemed where you'll meet your "forever person," or they're places where it's assumed you will be dating the most. When I realized that I wasn't developing any crushes for years, or what I thought were crushes since my childhood, I started questioning if I was even capable of doing so, and I became very suspicious as to why I didn't want romantic relationships, as well. I wish I had experienced that feeling of relief that some other aros have said that they felt, at the exact moment when I realized that I was aromantic, but instead I didn't want to accept that part of myself for a long time. The biggest obstacle was overcoming my internalized arophobia, and finally accepting myself is probably the only main triumph I have in my aro experience; well, also finally making it clear to my mom without coming out that I don't want a romantic relationship with anyone, would maybe be considered an achievement, I guess.

I find that most of my fulfillment in relationships comes from my family, since I am able to do the most with them, and I get some fulfillment from a couple of my platonic relationships if I am able to do things with my friends. I get fulfillment from myself as well, I do love and enjoy being alone, but I often like group company with me so that I don't have to feel like I have to be on guard by myself, and because I love a small crowd that I'm familiar with (I don't prefer one-on-one company as much, usually with my own friends actually, but I make due since I like their presences anyway and sometimes I can only hang out with one friend at a time). I do often question if I am aplatonic-spec, since more often than not I don't try to make any new meaningful platonic relationships with others, nor do I feel a pull to try to create those kinds of relationships even if I do like the person I recently talked to. I mean, I still create new friendships every once in a while, because there are times where I do feel that pull, or it's because sometimes I have allowed the other person to create the friendship, and sometimes I do feel the want for a new best friend, but most times I feel this tiniest bit of aversion in getting to know another human being. More often than not, I actively want to create familial relationships with others than platonic ones. So, that's why I think I could be on the spectrum of aplatonicism. I have questioned if it all could be social anxiety, and while I do sometimes get anxious out in public, it's not like I actively avoid strangers nor not like them. Other than the fact that my platonic attraction is just turned off from people occasionally, I can be a bit introverted and I'm also autistic, so I think those play a role in how I interact with strangers and not exactly how I feel about them. I have only ever been to one pride event which was with a friend a little bit after covid, but usually those events are centered around Drag performers which my State has been trying to ban, but I do hope to attend a future pride related meet-up with aro paraphernalia and show off my pride for being aro, and to show any potential closeted or questioning aros that they're not alone.

Edited by The Newest Fabled Creature
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Man, all these responses are super interesting and in-depth. My experience is just a real text-book case lol. Never had crushes on anyone, was never interested in romance, never had a full understanding on the topic. I never acknowledged the fact that I was so disengaged with romance, I really didn't care and nobody else noticed or cared either. It wasn't until I was a teen that I found out that these feelings of mine were also shared by many other people and had a name and everything. Needless to say, I was very pleasantly surprised when I read about Aromantic experiences and facts and related to pretty much every bit of it!

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  • 3 weeks later...

For a long time, I was very oblivious to people being in romantic relationships. It was something that I never particularly understood or cared for, either. People would ask me out, and I would just wonder 'why?' and being generally grossed out. I would get asked who my crush was throughout middle and high school, and when I told the truth (that I didn't have one), I was called a liar. I don't think I really cared though, because I knew that I was telling the truth. Never lied about having a crush, as that thought never even crossed my mind until I discovered the aromantic community.

I knew that I wasn't straight for a long time, probably since middle school, when I discovered the term asexual. However, I didn't feel allowed to describe myself that way since I was ~14 and thought I was too young. So, I pushed it away. It came back to the surface during the pandemic, and I proudly identified as asexual. However, something still felt off. Everyone in the asexual community talked about feeling romantic attraction and their partners, and I just didn't get it. I read up on aromanticism and experiences regarding being aro, and all those childhood memories came flooding right back.

I'll be honest - admitting being aro was hard, much harder than accepting my asexuality. I thought I'd be alone forever, that nobody would love me in any sense of the word. I had phases where I fully accepted being aro, and others where I tried to make myself alloromantic. I've come back around to accepting my aromanticism after some time considering myself a gay man in recent months due to some personal reflection. I know I'm on the asexual spectrum, but I don't really use that label much nowadays, mainly opting for queer (less constricting for me).

Personally, I feel much more pride and connection to my aromantic identity than I ever have. This is who I am, and I highly doubt this is going to change. I have a great support network of friends and family that support me for me. I find joy not only in my identity, but also in my friends, family, and hobbies (art and music, mainly). I just wish there was more space for positive aromantic experiences, so much of it is focused on suffering and loss, and that's not the full picture for a lot of us!

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