I'm worried about romantic attraction.

Questions and discussion about your sexuality and how it's a part of who you are as a person.
BunsenBurn
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I'm worried about romantic attraction.

Unread postby BunsenBurn » Sat Oct 10, 2020 11:36 am

So, I'm ace, and I feel I am panromantic, but recently I've been thinking about it. I sometimes feel like I have a strong desire to be around a person, and I feel like if I was in a relationship with a person I could easily learn to love them, but I just don't feel that around many people? I want to be in a romantic relationship, but nobody I interact with I actually feel romantically attracted to. There's no one that I would be willing to ask out, and nobody has (or likely will) ask me out, as I am male and it is expected of me to be the initiator. I have no idea how to do this, or how to even recognize someone that I would love. I do think I have the ability to be romantically attracted to people, but I would need the relationship to begin as more of a close friendship with the possibility not shut off, or for them to interact with me a lot. This is especially difficult now that the pandemic is ongoing, I had difficulty attending social events before and always found myself out of the loop, but now I especially feel isolated. I'm 17 and have never felt like I truly romantically loved someone, I have felt the beginnings of it possible in the past, but I have never actually acted on those feelings, or allowed them to develop. I am already worried that I have not been in a relationship yet at this point in my life, but this especially pushes it. In addition, while I am decently sure I could fall in love with a man, I have a lot more difficulty imagining myself in a gay relationship than a straight one. I believe I could, but I find it hard to actually think of one. I think this might be internalized homophobia, or heteronormativity? But I don't know how to do that, and I don't know how to recognize that I am developing a crush on someone, or what that feels like, and I don't trust myself enough to believe I have a crush on someone or I am ready to start a relationship to let it develop. I worry that I am behind most other people on this, and that scares me. How do I do this? Is this normal to feel this way?

BunsenBurn
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Re: I'm worried about romantic attraction.

Unread postby BunsenBurn » Sat Oct 10, 2020 1:20 pm

I also feel like I would be happy in a polyamorous relationship, but I do not know, as I have never been in a monogamous or polyamorous relationship before. I apologize if this is the wrong place to talk about this issue, it's just something that I worry about a lot.

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Re: I'm worried about romantic attraction.

Unread postby Siân » Sun Oct 11, 2020 5:34 am

Hi BunsenBurn,

You know, being 17 and having never felt romantic love seems pretty normal to me. A few things have to come together for romantic relationships to be on the cards. Part of that is about your own development, as different people start having e.g. romantic feelings at different ages, but even more of it is about the chance factors that bring us together with people we connect with romantically. Sure sometimes people have big, giddy crushes that they recognise instantly, but plenty of romantic relationships come from gradually building intimacy and feelings over time - which from what you describe sounds like more your style.

If you're wanting to create opportunities for romantic relationships then one of the biggest things I think is to create opportunities to meet and connect with more people in general, since most of us don't fall head over heels for most of the people we meet. As you say, finding connection is harder in the pandemic, which is creating a huge amount of isolation and I am so sorry that that isolation is hitting you too. Do you want to talk about pandemic-friendly ways of making new connections, or deepening existing ones?

The one thing that I do want to touch on is that you have referred a couple of times to allowing yourself to develop feelings, or grow relationships. Do you find yourself holding back in some way? Can you say a little more about that?

Again, what you're describing is pretty normal. I'm allosexual AND alloromantic so I know that my experience isn't exactly the same as yours, but I was a late bloomer - didn't really have a lot of sexual or romantic feelings until 18 or so, and even that was ahead of a good number of my friends who were well into their 20's before meeting people they connected with in either of those ways.

I know that you also raised questions about polyamory, heteronormativity, and gender roles in dating but I didn't want to overwhelm you with everything at once! We can obviously return to those too - just let us know what you want to focus on first!

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Re: I'm worried about romantic attraction.

Unread postby Raffles » Sun Oct 11, 2020 11:17 am

Hi!
I just wanted to pop in to say that you're normal! I'm also ace. I currently identify as panromantic, but I might be aro the more I think on it. I've had 2-3 crushes in my whole life (I'm 20). I really relate to what you said about wanting a relationship but not necessarily wanting to date. I too have never been in a relationship. If it makes you feel any better, I know plenty of other people my age who haven't been in a relationship either.
Not sure if that helps at all, but I just wanted to say that you're not alone!

BunsenBurn
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Re: I'm worried about romantic attraction.

Unread postby BunsenBurn » Sun Oct 11, 2020 11:43 am

Thank you for the response. I would like to talk about pandemic friendly ways of making new connections, I find I am having trouble talking to people (even ones I go to school with) and communicating with them. Before the pandemic, I only really interacted with other kids at school, sometimes over text, I didn't hang out at people's houses or anything. I found that I had trouble making plans with people as I had to schedule around my parents and my schoolwork, and I decided to avoid the mental tax of having to also do meetups with other kids outside of school. I am hopeful that I will be able to develop deeper or more personal friendships in college, where I have more control over my own schedule, where I go, and what I do. However, I worry that I might be behind everyone else then when it comes to it.
I find myself sometimes feeling like I could develop a crush on someone, but I usually instinctively ignore this until it goes away. This is either fear of rejection or knowing that they would not be interested in me in that way. I get this very rarely, and it does not usually last for long. It's like, an intense desire to be around a person and a general feeling of affection for them? I don't know exactly how to describe it. Sometimes I have felt this feeling about friends (both male and female) but I always ignore it as I am afraid of destroying the friendship by trying to explore these feelings. I am not sure if they are a crush, or just general friendship.

BunsenBurn
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Re: I'm worried about romantic attraction.

Unread postby BunsenBurn » Sun Oct 11, 2020 6:36 pm

I just... I want to be in a relationship, but currently there is nobody I can think of I want to be in one with, and even if their was, I don't know anything I could do to initiate one, so I just generally feel bad about it.

Sam W
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Re: I'm worried about romantic attraction.

Unread postby Sam W » Mon Oct 12, 2020 7:00 am

Hi BunsenBurn,

That fear of being "behind" when it comes to dating or even just friendships in college is a really common one. Which tells you something in and of itself, because it means there are a bunch of people your age who are in a similar position. Meeting new people right now is obviously tricky, but are you open to exploring things like digital communities or hang-outs?

Those intense feelings you describe may indeed be a crush, and it's okay if they don't stick around long (some crushes are pretty fleeting). But with the ones you try to ignore out of fear of rejection, what do you think would happen if you let them run their course, whatever that may be? Not even necessarily with the intent of acting on them, but just to see how it goes.

Too, with wanting to just be in a relationship, do you have a sense of what parts of that experience (touch, emotional closeness, etc) you're craving?

BunsenBurn
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Re: I'm worried about romantic attraction.

Unread postby BunsenBurn » Mon Oct 12, 2020 12:40 pm

I am open to online spaces, I just have no idea where to find any to just talk to people my age that have a culture I feel comfortable in (a lot of teen spaces feel awkward for me for some reason). I'm not sure what would happen if I allowed the feeling to run its course, I feel like it could develop into a full on crush? But I don't know how to handle that emotionally, I feel extremely uncomfortable with the idea that I might develop feelings for someone who does not reciprocate these feelings. I am not sure why I want to be in a relationship, I think it has something to do with a desire for companionship and emotional closeness to someone, as well as wanting to love someone romantically and be loved back in this way. I understand that may sound petty or silly, I'm just trying to verbalize what I feel like sometimes.

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Re: I'm worried about romantic attraction.

Unread postby Mo » Mon Oct 12, 2020 5:08 pm

I think a desire for closeness, companionship, and a reciprocal love makes a lot of sense as a reason to want a relationship! A lot of people crave that sort of close intimacy with someone, and it certainly doesn't sound silly to me that you'd want that.
In terms of letting your feelings develop into a crush, and discomfort around feelings being unreciprocated, that's understandable; it can hurt to have strong feelings for someone who doesn't return them. The tricky bit, though, is that there's never going to be a way to know, if you have feelings for someone you know (vs. a celebrity or other person you don't know personally), whether they return those feelings without asking them about it, and you probably wouldn't want to have that conversation with someone if you didn't already know you had a crush on them. That risk of unreciprocated feelings is, generally speaking, part of having romantic feelings for other people. It can be tough, and I don't want to downplay that discomfort you feel when thinking about it, but I don't know a way to avoid the potential for it, if that makes sense.

I will say that right now is a tough time for a lot of people to find or develop relationships (at least in the US, where it looks like you're located); the isolation required by the Covid-19 pandemic makes it harder to meet or spend time with new people, and because the pandemic is causing a lot of upheaval in people's lives there are plenty of people who aren't able to focus on dating or relationships at all. I don't want to say that to be discouraging, but just to acknowledge that this is a tough time for relationships for a lot of people; if you are finding it tough to try to navigate right now, you aren't alone.

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Re: I'm worried about romantic attraction.

Unread postby Sofi » Mon Oct 12, 2020 5:10 pm

That doesn't sound silly or petty at all, it sounds perfectly normal. Most people want companionship and emotional closeness, not always in a romantic way, it could be more platonic. However it sounds like you do want romantic love. It's also okay for you not to be sure! Take time to explore this, perhaps these feelings could develop into a serious crush, but you won't know until you try it. Just be patient with yourself in the process.

I want to make sure I touch back on the subject of meeting and connecting with more people during this pandemic. Sam mentioned online spaces and communities, so I wanted to give you a couple options. Of course, you can start conversations in the Scarleteen message boards and connect with users like you on here. There is also a website called Q Chat Space where you can chat with other teens in the LGBTQ+ community. Do either of these appeal to you, or are you looking to try something more like a dating app?

I also thought this might be helpful: https://www.scarleteen.com/article/disa ... es_crushes
It is an a list of things to do (and not do) when you have a crush. Navigating new crushes isn't easy, so know we are always here to talk or listen!

BunsenBurn
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Re: I'm worried about romantic attraction.

Unread postby BunsenBurn » Mon Oct 12, 2020 6:10 pm

Thank you both! I will try to avoid the worry of unreciprocated feelings, although I don't know if that will totally do it or not? But the next time I notice myself doing it I'll try to not just shove it down automatically? Both of those appeal to me, I'm not specifically looking for a dating app to just connect with people (being in a relationship would be nice but sometimes I just struggle for friendship outright). However, I worry about joining teen spaces online, as those (in my experience) tend to be very relationship dominant, if that makes sense? Like, virtually everybody in the space who speaks often has been or is in a relationship, many people are in one with each other, and... I don't know... I feel awkward there? I don't know if anybody else struggles with this as well though, it's just something that frustrates me about a lot of teen online spaces. I'll check out Q Chat Space, though.

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Re: I'm worried about romantic attraction.

Unread postby Sam W » Tue Oct 13, 2020 7:16 am

Hi BunsenBurn,

With the crush feelings, trying to ride it out rather than instantly pushing it down may work a little bit better. You don't even have to dwell on the feelings; if it's more comfortable for you to acknowledge they're their and then let them run their course, that's an option you have.

I hope Q Space turns out to helpful, and you're certainly welcome to continue chatting with people here as well (while a lot of our threads are questions and answers, there's also lots started by users looking to have conversations with other users). If you're noticing the spaces you've tried in the past are relationship heavy, what about looking for ones that center on a specific hobby or area of interest? That might shift it so that most of the conversations are ones you feel more comfortable participating in.

BunsenBurn
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Posts: 16
Joined: Tue Oct 06, 2020 3:34 pm
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Location: US

Re: I'm worried about romantic attraction.

Unread postby BunsenBurn » Tue Oct 13, 2020 2:18 pm

Thank you, I will try that, it sounds like it would help!


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