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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » How best to explain an asexual romantic relationship to others?

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Author Topic: How best to explain an asexual romantic relationship to others?
mizchastain
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I didn't have a problem telling my parents, but I did run into problems explaining to some people I know. They didn't believe it meant anything other than friendship (I don't like to use the term "more than friendship", because friendship is actually much more important to me than romance). I don't really know how best to get across that just because I don't want sex doesn't mean I'm incapable of romantic love. I considered calling it "the opposite of friends-with-benefits", but that's a bit flippant and I'm not sure it would get my point across entirely. I do understand that it might be a weird concept to some people, but it kind of annoyed me that they didn't take my word for it.
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Heather
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I think one of the biggest troubles with this, especially to older generations, is that so much of the time romantic = sexual to people, either in their experience, how they understand those terms more generally, or both.

In other words, nonsexual = platonic = not romantic. And the only other option is sexual, which thus = romantic.

So, if you're up for more explaining, and want to help them try to understand you better, it might help to explain what "romantic" means and feels like for you.

[ 05-16-2012, 12:17 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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plain milyeh
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Romantic friendship? I like those.
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mizchastain
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Honestly I'm having difficulty putting it into words to myself. I do know it feels different from just being friends, but exactly how is hard to say.
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Heather
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Can I try and help by asking questions to help you find some clarity?

If so, how about maybe starting by comparing a contrasting a non-romantic friendship that's important to you with a romantic relationship that is or has been? How were your feelings different? What was different about those relationships?

If you were to seek out a friendship and seek out a romantic relationship, what's different about what you'd be looking for?

Mind, might I also ask how important it is to you, especially given how important friendship is to you, for other people to grok this? In other words, what do you feel like you need other people to understand for? How will them not understanding impact you?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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mizchastain
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It's still quite hard for me to put into words. Friendship is so important to me now because I have very little experience with it and it's only recently that I've been able to make good friends. It definitely feels different, but saying precisely how it is different is difficult. I can say that I'm a lot more open with him. We talk about sex even though neither of us has plans to put it into practice, and that would probably sound even weirder to someone unfamiliar with the concept, but it works for us. We've both helped each other through difficult times, he's seen me at my worst and he's told me about his worst points from before I met him. I have told some of my friends about my difficulties but not told them all the details, while I can tell him more about it. It helps that he's had a lot of the same problems I've had, so I know he knows what it's like, and I actually feel a bit awkward that I've had fewer opportunities to help him (though I wouldn't wish problems on him).
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