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Why I feel uneasy when someone shows romantic interest


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Personally, I've never been able to grasp the purpose of dating. I can't tell from the start whether or not I'd like to pursue a relationship with someone I don't know well, let alone someone whom I don't know at all! I don't feel comfortable with it because the person who'd ask me out clearly feels that "spark", so there are certain expectations I am supposed to live up to right from the start!!! I can't take this. I can't tell from the start whether I like him or not. I just can't. Given this, I feel pressure. Because I don't know the person well enough. So it makes me want to run away. I'm not ready to come out to a stranger. It's too much for me. I can't handle it. 

 

Besides, I don't get why we have to make extra efforts in order to try to impress the other person (dressing differently than usual, going to expensive places, etc.), and I don't understand the point of those "games" (if s/he replies to my message X hours later, I'll do the same ; why doesn't s/he call me already?! ; I'm just going to ignore him/her to see what happens). Why can't we just let things happen naturally by chatting, hanging out like friends do, and coming to each other's house? xD

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I definitely think hormones/some kind of "specialised" neurological activity is to blame for most of that :) (feeling like you 'like' someone you don't know well or at all, I mean!). I've read a theory that most people have a sort of subconscious set of qualities they prefer in a partner, and the more boxes someone ticks, the more likely they'll develop strong feelings for them. I think even if that is true (I feel it could be), a lot of it would still be idealising the other person (again, blinded by intense feelings, which I also think are partly behind those "games" you mentioned that people play. They can make people manipulative, even if they don't realise it) and they'll either lose interest or perhaps develop a stronger bond/deeper interest over time if they get to know them better.

I do feel that it's a better idea to dress more like you normally would for dates, and just do something more 'casual' or at least not spend a lot trying to impress someone, because that's not sustainable and they'll see the real you eventually anyway, then they may get the impression you've become lazy and 'too comfortable'.

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Thanks for writing that @Ice Queen. I've always been too weirded out by the idea of dating to try it, but I could never quite put my finger on why that was. I attributed it to cowardice and awkwardness around the opposite sex, but what you wrote fits me much better, I think (and hey, it's also kinder to my ego :P:aropride:)

 

So, why is dating a thing? I think it partly comes down to an odd idea many people seem to have about relationships: that friendships and sexual relationships need to be very clearly deliniated and segragated and if you want the potential for a sexual relationship with somebody then you must indicate this from the outset and follow the 'romance track' rather than the 'friendship track' to get there. This entire concept makes literally zero sense to me O.o. It just does not compute. But it does seem to be something that is commonly believed by 'romantically inclined' people. It's also referenced in popular culture. See Joey's explanation to Ross in Friends on the concept of 'the friend-zone' for an example.

 

 

EDIT: Well, I was trying to over-rationalise it as usual, but quite possibly @Untamed Heart's explanation is more on the money here: hormones/allo-romos and their weird brains xD (their brains have some sort of 'romance-module' that we're lacking and it gets stimulated, I guess?!)

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1 hour ago, Untamed Heart said:

I do feel that it's a better idea to dress more like you normally would for dates, and just do something more 'casual' or at least not spend a lot trying to impress someone, because that's not sustainable and they'll see the real you eventually anyway, then they may get the impression you've become lazy and 'too comfortable'.

With romantic love you go from “Stepford lady” to sniffing your partner's armpits. :D And back...

3 hours ago, Ice Queen said:

I can't tell from the start whether or not I'd like to pursue a relationship with someone I don't know well, let alone someone whom I don't know at all!

It's absolutely incomprehensible to me.

 

I admit that romantic love at its best seems nice. It is at its best when it acts like a kind of “friendship accelerant”. But often enough the opposite is true and the person whom you would have given your life for (at least in your imagination) is, one year later, just another hated ex. Because romantic love has a very high failure rate to pick good friends for you.

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I feel uneasy because I've met a lot of guys who are not willing to accept 'no' for an answer. I don't know how I'd feel if a woman or NB expressed interest, because it's never happened. But allo hetero guys can be so pushy, especially the ones who come on to a woman who does absolutely no flirting and gives off zero signs of interest. I've had enough bad encounters that I tend to get uneasy as soon as I think it's possible he's interested in me. 

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Yes, they have those chemicals. But thing is, I don't know how the heck to present the whole situation to a guy who asks me out. What am I supposed to tell him?

 

"First, I can only even CONSIDER entering a relationship with someone if we become best friends (naturally, nothing pushed, just like friendships happen) in the first place, which takes lots of time. Because otherwise I just can't. Besides, I can only feel sexual attraction to a guy I know to some degree, but this is just a necessary condition, and not always sufficient. Also, considering I DO become sexually attracted to a guy, there's no guarantee we'll also form a bond strong enough for me to care about him at my most intense degree."

 

Who the hell is going to believe me? 

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14 hours ago, DeltaV said:

It is at its best when it acts like a kind of “friendship accelerant”. But often enough the opposite is true and the person whom you would have given your life for (at least in your imagination) is, one year later, just another hated ex.

Exactly what I've always thought- and why does everyone seem to hate their ex's?? I mean, sometimes it might end in an ugly way, but surely the whole point of the relationship was that you liked this person. How can that so quickly turn to hate just because you're no longer romantically entangled?

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6 hours ago, Ice Queen said:

But thing is, I don't know how the heck to present the whole situation to a guy who asks me out. What am I supposed to tell him?

 

"First, I can only even CONSIDER entering a relationship with someone if we become best friends (naturally, nothing pushed, just like friendships happen) in the first place, which takes lots of time. Because otherwise I just can't. Besides, I can only feel sexual attraction to a guy I know to some degree, but this is just a necessary condition, and not always sufficient. Also, considering I DO become sexually attracted to a guy, there's no guarantee we'll also form a bond strong enough for me to care about him at my most intense degree."

 

Who the hell is going to believe me?

 

Um, decent human beings, hopefully? Maybe this would be a good "test" for them :P Although I get that it's hard - and maybe also not advisable - to be this open with somebody you barely know. But, assuming you felt okay to explain it very earnestly like that, they shouldn't just discount your explanation out-of-hand. That's pretty much them assuming they know you better than you do >:( Despite barely knowing you!  (so, probably not somebody you want to become friends with anyway). I mean, they could at least be disappointed but still actually believe you...

 

You can choose to be honest, but you can't choose to be believed ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

 

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11 minutes ago, NullVector said:

 

Um, decent human beings, hopefully? Maybe this would be a good "test" for them :P Although I get that it's hard - and maybe also not advisable - to be this open with somebody you barely know. But, assuming you felt okay to explain it very earnestly like that, they shouldn't just discount your explanation out-of-hand. That's pretty much them assuming they know you better than you do >:( Despite barely knowing you!  (so, probably not somebody you want to become friends with anyway). I mean, they could at least be disappointed but still actually believe you...

 

You can choose to be honest, but you can't choose to be believed ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

 

Oh, and in addition to all that, they must also know that I don't want children. Ever. Not now, nor later, nor when I am 40. 

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On 12 May 2017 at 3:50 PM, SamwiseLovesLife said:

Exactly what I've always thought- and why does everyone seem to hate their ex's?? I mean, sometimes it might end in an ugly way, but surely the whole point of the relationship was that you liked this person. How can that so quickly turn to hate just because you're no longer romantically entangled?

This baffles the hell out of me too. How do people go from loving someone to actually wanting to literally hurt them on purpose? I cannot wrap my head around this concept at all... and I've read lots of complicated psychology stuff... it doesn't even help!

 

On 12 May 2017 at 3:20 PM, Ice Queen said:

What am I supposed to tell him?

 

"First, I can only even CONSIDER entering a relationship with someone if we become best friends (naturally, nothing pushed, just like friendships happen) in the first place, which takes lots of time. Because otherwise I just can't. Besides, I can only feel sexual attraction to a guy I know to some degree, but this is just a necessary condition, and not always sufficient. Also, considering I DO become sexually attracted to a guy, there's no guarantee we'll also form a bond strong enough for me to care about him at my most intense degree."

 

Who the hell is going to believe me? 

Maybe it'd be easier to just say "I'm only interested in friendship" at first... and only if you get closer to bother explaining the rest? I definitely wouldn't say all that stuff to a stranger... I actually wouldn't even accept friendship from a stranger who asks me out, that'd just creep me out so much I wouldn't even want to be friends with them.

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8 hours ago, SoulWolf said:

 

Maybe it'd be easier to just say "I'm only interested in friendship" at first... and only if you get closer to bother explaining the rest? I definitely wouldn't say all that stuff to a stranger... I actually wouldn't even accept friendship from a stranger who asks me out, that'd just creep me out so much I wouldn't even want to be friends with them.

I get your point...so I could wait and see until we become friends and then tell him the truth? Because the thing is, I can't ever become BEST friends with someone who doesn't believe me. So it's really twisted. And assuming he does believe me, there's still no guarantee that we'll ever form such a strong bond...because great people who are worthy of such a level of trust are hard to find nowadays....I hope it makes sense. At the moment there are two people in my life whom I call my soul friends. I love them both tremendously. (I tried a queerplatonic relationship with the boy, but it failed because a life partnership isn't possible...he wants to be a father someday and can't imagine life without children, while I'm the exact opposite - I don't want to be a mother ever. As for the woman, well, I knew from the start I'm not what she looks for.) I see these people as gifts and I consider myself very lucky to have them in my life. But you can't find people like them in every corner... And if you also add the fact that I don't want children at all... 

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9 hours ago, SoulWolf said:

This baffles the hell out of me too. How do people go from loving someone to actually wanting to literally hurt them on purpose? I cannot wrap my head around this concept at all... and I've read lots of complicated psychology stuff... it doesn't even help!

I don't think there is any logic.. It's just insanity. And people think we're the odd ones D:

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11 hours ago, Ice Queen said:

I get your point...so I could wait and see until we become friends and then tell him the truth? Because the thing is, I can't ever become BEST friends with someone who doesn't believe me. So it's really twisted. And assuming he does believe me, there's still no guarantee that we'll ever form such a strong bond...because great people who are worthy of such a level of trust are hard to find nowadays....I hope it makes sense.

I understand. Yeah, people that awesome are rare. I used to worry about friendship and how rare it is to find people worthy and that stuff... then I gave up on it entirely because the odds were just so low. I figured I'll just be my own best friend, and I'll ignore everyone else. And then I ironically made a new friend soon after. And I tried my best to avoid analyzing everything, basically just let it all flow naturally and see what happens... because if all else fails, I've still got myself - I don't really need a friend... aaand now we're actually really close friends. I semi-explained the aro/ace stuff around the time when people do that thing where they ask how long each person has been with their current partner, how they met, etc. I explained that my "partner" is actually my friend, and that I have no clue how romance works, and no interest in it, etc. She seemed genuinely impressed more than anything else, lol. So I guess my point is, try not to worry about figuring out how good of a friend a person might be in the future when you're just getting to know them, or about when to say what, etc. There is no way to figure it out intellectually (as far as I know). Intuition might help, if yours functions and you can trust it (mine is a work in progress, but it did help out in my case).

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2 hours ago, SoulWolf said:

I understand. Yeah, people that awesome are rare. I used to worry about friendship and how rare it is to find people worthy and that stuff... then I gave up on it entirely because the odds were just so low. I figured I'll just be my own best friend, and I'll ignore everyone else. And then I ironically made a new friend soon after. And I tried my best to avoid analyzing everything, basically just let it all flow naturally and see what happens... because if all else fails, I've still got myself - I don't really need a friend... aaand now we're actually really close friends. I semi-explained the aro/ace stuff around the time when people do that thing where they ask how long each person has been with their current partner, how they met, etc. I explained that my "partner" is actually my friend, and that I have no clue how romance works, and no interest in it, etc. She seemed genuinely impressed more than anything else, lol. So I guess my point is, try not to worry about figuring out how good of a friend a person might be in the future when you're just getting to know them, or about when to say what, etc. There is no way to figure it out intellectually (as far as I know). Intuition might help, if yours functions and you can trust it (mine is a work in progress, but it did help out in my case).

Well, my intuition is almost non-existent :p. Like I said - it is impossible for me to anticipate whether or not I'll form a bond with someone I barely know at all xD. This is why any sign of pressure is something that makes me run away. 

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On 11/05/2017 at 9:08 PM, Ice Queen said:

Personally, I've never been able to grasp the purpose of dating. I can't tell from the start whether or not I'd like to pursue a relationship with someone I don't know well, let alone someone whom I don't know at all! I don't feel comfortable with it because the person who'd ask me out clearly feels that "spark", so there are certain expectations I am supposed to live up to right from the start!!! I can't take this. I can't tell from the start whether I like him or not. I just can't. Given this, I feel pressure. Because I don't know the person well enough. So it makes me want to run away. I'm not ready to come out to a stranger. It's too much for me. I can't handle it.

It does seem as though many allos can make a quick decision on if someone is (potential) partner or "just friends". As well as having a fairly fixed idea about "what they want".
I've always though that there should be something along the lines of how to get to know people without pressure or expectations. Which opens possibilities rather than closing them.
Indeed my concept of an "ideal date" is more along the lines of being able to hang out and chat. Maybe with some kind of notes/questionnaire to ensure that nothing important gets overlooked.
There are "dating activities" I'd be just as much open to with half a dozen people as one...
 

On 11/05/2017 at 9:08 PM, Ice Queen said:

Besides, I don't get why we have to make extra efforts in order to try to impress the other person (dressing differently than usual, going to expensive places, etc.),

Also why would you want someone else to do this to you? Someone being themselves is impressive, doing things like dressing up seems to be setting up for disappointment.

 

On 11/05/2017 at 11:43 PM, NullVector said:

So, why is dating a thing? I think it partly comes down to an odd idea many people seem to have about relationships: that friendships and sexual relationships need to be very clearly deliniated and segragated and if you want the potential for a sexual relationship with somebody then you must indicate this from the outset and follow the 'romance track' rather than the 'friendship track' to get there. This entire concept makes literally zero sense to me.

It makes little sense to me too.
Difficulty is that I seek friendship with people whom I find sexually attractive. Even though this is very much socially the wrong thing to do. Most likely very counter productive when it comes to the typical alloromantic. Something I find very hard to avoid doing though.
Whilst I can intellectually understand the concept of a 'romance track' it's not something I could actually do. Especially not in the "leading role".

 

On 15/05/2017 at 11:55 PM, SoulWolf said:

Maybe it'd be easier to just say "I'm only interested in friendship" at first... and only if you get closer to bother explaining the rest?

This still seems difficult. Since concepts like transitioning a platonic friendship to a sexual friendship are brand new to most people. As also are things like the difference between primary and secondary attraction along with sexual and romantic attraction being (very) different things.
How does one even express interest in in a sexual friendship related to primary sexual attraction? Or that one would be open to such a thing...


 

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On 5/19/2017 at 9:15 AM, Mark said:

I've always though that there should be something along the lines of how to get to know people without pressure or expectations. Which opens possibilities rather than closing them.
Indeed my concept of an "ideal date" is more along the lines of being able to hang out and chat. Maybe with some kind of notes/questionnaire to ensure that nothing important gets overlooked.

There are "dating activities" I'd be just as much open to with half a dozen people as one...

 

Absolutely! Like I was saying here, somebody should make an app for this! :D

 

On 5/19/2017 at 9:15 AM, Mark said:

Difficulty is that I seek friendship with people whom I find sexually attractive. Even though this is very much socially the wrong thing to do. Most likely very counter productive when it comes to the typical alloromantic. Something I find very hard to avoid doing though.

 

Me too. I didn't even realise at the time that's what I was doing (before I heard about aromanticism) but it probably was.

 

On 5/19/2017 at 9:15 AM, Mark said:

This still seems difficult. Since concepts like transitioning a platonic friendship to a sexual friendship are brand new to most people. As also are things like the difference between primary and secondary attraction along with sexual and romantic attraction being (very) different things.

 

What do you mean by "primary and secondary attraction"? I've not come across that concept before.

 

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5 hours ago, NullVector said:

Me too. I didn't even realise at the time that's what I was doing (before I heard about aromanticism) but it proably was.

Before the term "aromantic" was coined I was aware that I wanted friendship in ways which were other than the platonic way everyone else seemed to think of it. Also that though "relationships" were often seen as like friendships they were (obviously) different in ways I could not describe.
 

 

5 hours ago, NullVector said:

What do you mean by "primary and secondary attraction"? I've not come across that concept before.

This article does a reasonable job of explaining the difference.

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