Aromantic but not by choice?

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KurtisC
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Aromantic but not by choice?

Unread post by KurtisC »

Hey,

So I'm in my thirties and all my relationships have been pretty abusive. I've not been with anyone for two years. This makes me feel pretty shit and I'm working on understanding that it doesn't mean there's anything wrong with me & I'm getting there.

Can I use the term aromantic? I feel like a phoney because I really become sexually attached to people, though it's rare, but I think that may be influenced by amatonormativity. Using the term panics me because I don't wanna shut myself off from people because I love very deeply. However, I feel like a failure everyday because I've never been loved by a safe person (which sounds like abuse trauma! Sorry just figured that out).

I like the term aromantic because I love open relationships a lot more than closed ones. But then I get mad at myself like, 'this is why you don't have anyone!!' But that's the patriarchy. hmmm.

Thank you so much for this lovely space to air these feelings.
Sofi
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Re: Aromantic but not by choice?

Unread post by Sofi »

Hi there,

I want to begin with a gentle reminder that labels for our sexuality exist to make things easier for us and provide space and community. They should feel like they fit, and provide comfort. If you don't feel that connection to a label (aromantic in this case), you don't have to use it and no one will make that decision for you.

That being said, it sounds to me like you might just not have found a healthy relationship that fits your needs and standards. I might be wrong, but aromantic people experience little to no romantic attraction to other people. They may, however, choose to have devoted partnerships. Also, you mentioned you become sexually attached to people, so I want to mention that not all aromantic people are asexual. Lastly, whether you prefer monogamy or nonmonogamy does not determine your sexuality - many people love open relationships and feel romantic attraction/feelings for their partners.

Since you're the expert on your own sexuality, may I ask, do you feel like you identify with the label 'aromantic'?
KurtisC
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Re: Aromantic but not by choice?

Unread post by KurtisC »

Thanks for the reply, that really, really helps!

Hmm, well, I don't believe I experience 'romantic' attraction, but I do experience specific-person focused attraction and sexual attachment, so I think people may classify that as 'romantic' attraction.

I adore the label 'aromantic', but I don't think it fits me. What I want is to use terms coined by aromantic people, such as 'amatonormativity', and 'relationship anarchy', never close my relationships and live close by friends who I love and love me, who I can be sexual & intimate with.

I think I wouldn't classify myself as 'romantic' or 'aromantic' - I'd never leave lovers or friends to focus on one person for a long amount of time. I don't want to invade aromantic communities but I think I fit, kind of. I just don't want to be a butt! I think I'm worried that I'm like this through trauma - but monogamy and romance isn't the standard, natural thing for everyone to want anyway, we're just taught that it is.

I think wanting it causes a great deal of harm in my life, and always has.

There probably isn't a label for me beyond 'I keep my relationships open' but when I say this it scares me, because i feel I'm missing out on a safe, monogamous perfect relationship with a guy - like the Disney Princess idea. But there's no guy in my life wanting to close a relationship with me, so it's an unfounded fear. I'm sure it will work out fine.
Marisha
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Re: Aromantic but not by choice?

Unread post by Marisha »

Hi KurtisC,
So I'm in my thirties and all my relationships have been pretty abusive. I've not been with anyone for two years. This makes me feel pretty shit and I'm working on understanding that it doesn't mean there's anything wrong with me & I'm getting there.
This really freakin' sucks!! I'm really sorry to hear that! Though I'm happy to hear that you've at least escaped the abuse and have been able to live away from it (hopefully?) for the last two years. How has your heart been lately?
This article might have some helpful advice for you to think about as you navigate this emotional journey. I would also recommend surfing through our "abuse" tag, just to look around and find what suits you. Every survivor's journey is different in that we all require an indefinite amount of time and care to recover from past wounds.
10 of the Best Things You Can Do for Your Sexual Self (at Any Age)
Can I use the term aromantic? I feel like a phoney because I really become sexually attached to people, though it's rare, but I think that may be influenced by amatonormativity. Using the term panics me because I don't wanna shut myself off from people because I love very deeply. However, I feel like a failure everyday because I've never been loved by a safe person (which sounds like abuse trauma! Sorry just figured that out).
No need to apologize, it's totally understandable! I think what's helpful to keep in mind about labels is that the words you use to describe yourself to the world may not be perfectly accurate to the many different textures you experience within, but they are helpful placeholders to tell the world what it is you want to communicate about yourself for the time being. I identify as bisexual because I figure it's the least complicated way to tell other people I'm attracted to more than one gender without the additional baggage of using a lesser-known and minorly controversial term like 'pansexual.' What about the term "asexual" or "aromantic" feels like a good representation of the sexual/romantic behavior you plan to approach dating with? And by the way, I don't think there's anything inherently invasive about socializing in ace spaces when you're questioning. But if a person is put off by the label you use to describe yourself or the way you go about exploring your identity, that's a good indicator that they're not good company :)

It's awesome to hear that you're already spending time learning the language of these spaces. There's a whole rainbow of terms to chose from under the ace umbrella as well, as I assume you might know. Check out this article if you want more inspiration! Just the Basics, Ace: An Asexuality Primer

I'm sad to hear that it sounds like you're struggling with this idea that wanting a relationship is what's harming you since it sounds like it's also something you want. In the current diversified dating landscape among both straight and LGBTQ+ people alike, I think it's possible to pursue any kind of relationship - whether platonic, romantic, or sexual - that you want. You just have to do the work of figuring out what that is, and what's more, you have to learn the red flags of an abusive relationship so that you may avoid falling into another one. Again, I recommend the abuse tag, but we have a specific article about healthy relationships that I'd like to recommend as well. It's like a one-stop-shop!
Quickies: Healthy Relationships
What I want is to use terms coined by aromantic people, such as 'amatonormativity', and 'relationship anarchy', never close my relationships and live close by friends who I love and love me, who I can be sexual & intimate with.
Let's talk about this. Why, to all these things? Talk about why these terms appeal to you, what they mean to you, who gave them to you. Why is it important that these relationships never close? Why is it important that these partners be your "friends"? What does that mean to you, versus having this kind of relationship with a bf/gf/partner?
KurtisC
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Posts: 20
Joined: Tue Aug 18, 2020 12:06 pm
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Sexual identity and orientation: idk i like girls
Location: uk

Re: Aromantic but not by choice?

Unread post by KurtisC »

This really freakin' sucks!! I'm really sorry to hear that! Though I'm happy to hear that you've at least escaped the abuse and have been able to live away from it (hopefully?) for the last two years. How has your heart been lately?
This touched my heart, thank you. I am safe and doing well! Thank you. It has been tough but I'm getting there.

Thank you so much for your reply, you helped loads and gave me a lot to think about.

I think identifying as aroallo helps me a lot, at least to navigate some cultural bullsh*t. I see that I'm not a phony and it doesn't have to be something set in stone; it's empowering!

Thank you so much, I loved your reply.
Marisha
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Re: Aromantic but not by choice?

Unread post by Marisha »

You're very welcome! :D
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