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Galactic Turtle

Is "learning to love" actually a thing?

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Galactic Turtle

Hello humans!

 

So my parents keep insisting that it's normal for women my age to think they're not interested in men and insisting they don't want to marry. At this point in time I'm over a year out of college and haven't found myself being attracted to men at all the way I'm supposed to while many of my friends have engagement plans on their radar. I never know what to say when they ask me about someone's son they know or a celebrity. I just don't like them. They could be handsome, yes, but that's really just an observation. On a rare occasion they can be witty and make good company too but overall I see no value in hanging around them. From the second I started having co-ed classes I didn't understand the point of them. They're just so different. 

 

But there's this persistent idea that women were created to help men, right? Because of Christian creation myths. On top of that marriage is important to a lot of people. Then there's this idea that I'll fall into some sort of aimless delinquency if there's no man to take care of me or that I'll make myself into some type of target.

 

Then comes in all the hypothetical questions. I was raised to value education, ambition, and success. If all of those qualities are present then my mom says I can "learn to love" that person later or "grow used to" being a type of emotional support. And I've always been a little strange. I've had to make adjustments my whole life. Sometimes I don't and they say "that's what makes me who I am" but I can't just say I don't like men without a good reason. 

 

But why can't I end up living somewhere quiet with a group of good women without being a nun? Why is me even entertaining that idea an indication of me "hanging around too many white people who want everything to be gay"?

 

And I'm not asking to date girls. I just prefer their companionship.  I understand them. They're not as strange to me. I'm wondering if doing what comes naturally will end up having all these consequences they talk about and if "learning to love" is a concept I'm just too undeveloped to understand.

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FranciumSenpai

You don't necessarily have to "learn" stuff like that if it's human instinctive nature. You don't learn that kinda of stuff. You either are capable or not. Just kinda with sexuality. Either you are born with the attraction or not. This is fine. Your parents (and most of their generation, tbh) have this notion that "girls will be girls, boys will be boys" so it's "okay if you don't wanna do" cuz like "no proper lady does" which is just a thing they teach because of gender roles which are overrated. Just be you. And if they have a problem.. well... too bad. Just because they are your parents doesn't necessarily mean that they are 100% right about everything, nor does it mean that they know everything and a half. It's fine.

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Diamond Ace of Hearts

Is it a thing? Sure, it can be, but that's no reason to assume it will happen for everybody.

 

However, I don't understand the mentality that would want to "learn to love" (or want someone else to). If you are willing to try and learn to love someone or learn to love in general, great, but what if you can't learn to love/love that person? How long do you keep trying before you admit that it's not for you? If you think it isn't for you, why would you start trying in the first place? Why would you encourage someone else to try it if they've said they're not interested? If love is going to happen for someone it will happen, if it's not, it's not and there is nothing you or they can do to change that.

 

Love is a vine across the path of life; you stumble across it and find sweet fruits on it. People looking for that fruit tend to pick up more than their share of barren twigs or poisonous snakes before they find a vine, if ever they do find one at all.

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Amber79

Yes you can learn to love someone, but you can't learn to fall in love with someone, and even with time there's no guarantee you will ever learn to feel for someone on any level. Your parents are trying to normalise your attitude towards marriage and relationships because thats what they've grown up with. It's the norm to them and their generation were often told to put up with things or felt they had to be in a relationship as that was what was expected, as a result they don't understand the other options. Like you I would love to end up with companionship rather that a sexual or romantic relationship, though I wouldn't mind it being a man. People often fail to see the value in platonic relationships because society and the commercial world we live in places such a high value on sexual and romantic relationships. All I can say is, be yourself, trust your own feelings on the subject and follow what you want to do, rather than what you're expected to be. In time your parents may begin to see you're happy and content with the life you have and become happy with that themselves. But don't feel pressured to be in relationship you don't want in order to fit other peoples expectations, I did that once and it caused me so much pain both in the short and long term.

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Euna
59 minutes ago, Amber79 said:

Yes you can learn to love someone, but you can't learn to fall in love with someone, and even with time there's no guarantee you will ever learn to feel for someone on any level.

This.

 

I think it's not a good idea to try to force yourself to fall in love with someone.  Possible, maybe.  But the truth is, most people don't change much - in fact, often they become more cemented in "who they are" as they get older - so if you don't "click" with someone now, it's not like marriage or children is going to magically change that. 

 

Side note - I do believe in the Christian story of Creation, but what I remember is God said "It is not good that man should be alone."  I think Eve was created more as a friend and life companion rather than just a "helper". 

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Diamond Ace of Hearts
1 hour ago, Amber79 said:

Yes you can learn to love someone, but you can't learn to fall in love with someone

Yeah, that's a much better way of putting it than what I came up with.

 

People who go looking for love are most likely going to end up learning to love (or not) but those who let it come to them will fall in love.

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Laplace

If learning to love is a thing, it's the first class I've outright failed so far 😕😆. It's pretty normal to relate to your own gender more, mainly cause that's a big point of commonality. As a guy, I feel more comfortable when talking with men. I'm definitely not attracted to them, it's just easier to relate (most of the time anyway) cause there's a shared sense of identity. Like everyone has said, be yourself. Society parrots the idea  it's good to be your own individual, so I just took that to heart. I don't blame people for adhering to "traditional" beliefs, but it's just hypocritical to say one thing and then try to shackle you to their own code.

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gisiebob

learning to love is certainly a thing. but that is not the intent of your line of questioning. good luck out there human!

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Deus Ex Infinity

Love as a feeling tends to grow and change on itself over time. That's why it is sometimes used in the phrase of "learning to love" something or someone. It's usually an emotional experience that would become deep and deeper while descovering new aspects about the things you cherish.

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Rhaenys

I think it depends on the type of love like the smaller aspects of "doing" part where you physically show affection like kisses, buying stuff for  birthdays, texting them saying stuff like you miss them etc, can be learnt.

 

The feeling part I think it will be difficult and almost impossible to learn especially if you're aromantic.

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Sally

Think about what you believe and what you want (and don't want).  Realize that your beliefs and wants will likely change throughout your life.  

 

And don't listen so much to your  parents.  Listen to yourself.  You're old enough now to be the most important person in your life.  

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MaybeIBelongSomewhere

.

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Galactic Turtle
On 6/16/2017 at 8:34 AM, FranciumSenpai said:

You don't learn that kinda of stuff. You either are capable or not. Just kinda with sexuality. Either you are born with the attraction or not.

But doesn't attraction develop over time? Like first it's usually romantic attraction in someone's younger years then as they hit puberty, sexual usually develops alongside it and then those two usually match. If that doesn't happen, it's indicative of a deficiency but it could still be hidden somewhere somehow. So that's another premise for learning, I suppose. But then people say it's more common for that to happen with women. Like maybe internalizing a message of prudishness more than I was supposed to without knowing it.

 

On 6/16/2017 at 9:19 AM, Diamond Ace of Hearts said:

but what if you can't learn to love/love that person?

I don't know if people who get married love each other like they do in movies or if they just work together well and in the process of working together you learn to share spaces and such and that's what "learning to love" implies. Like I can learn how to work well with a person except when any type of touching is introduced my brain just switches to emergency mode.

 

On 6/16/2017 at 11:24 AM, Amber79 said:

People often fail to see the value in platonic relationships because society and the commercial world we live in places such a high value on sexual and romantic relationships.

I keep trying to say this as well! I don't know why it can't be this way. I don't see why those three types of relationships can't be seen as equal.

 

On 6/16/2017 at 4:02 PM, Deus Ex Zero said:

It's usually an emotional experience that would become deep and deeper while descovering new aspects about the things you cherish.

That seems easily applicable to platonic relationships too! ^_^

 

 

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FranciumSenpai
8 hours ago, Galactic Turtle said:

But doesn't attraction develop over time? Like first it's usually romantic attraction in someone's younger years then as they hit puberty, sexual usually develops alongside it and then those two usually match. If that doesn't happen, it's indicative of a deficiency but it could still be hidden somewhere somehow. So that's another premise for learning, I suppose. But then people say it's more common for that to happen with women. Like maybe internalizing a message of prudishness more than I was supposed to without knowing it.

All attraction is subjective to the person experiencing it. For some it takes time, for some it's almost instantaneous. It even depends on the type of attraction you're talking about too. But that's what makes it beautiful. Even the most basic of things can be so complex because no two people experience the same emotion/feeling/life event the same way.

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StrandedX02
On 6/16/2017 at 11:24 AM, Amber79 said:

People often fail to see the value in platonic relationships because society and the commercial world we live in places such a high value on sexual and romantic relationships.

Totally agree!

 

Saying that you are only interested in friendships/platonic relationships has the connotation of being cold or emotionally distant. But that doesn't actually say anything about what the relationship feels like to the people who are in it, only that it goes against the grain of what a deep connection is "supposed to look like."

 

I'm in a book club where we often have books that touch on love and relationships, attended by people of all (adult) ages, with a huge diversity of life experiences. And whenever a book like that comes up, I'm pretty fascinated by what they value. I can safely say that if I actually tried to describe the relationship with my QPP-ish friend to someone in that group, it would confuse the hell out of them. (That's why in general, I'll just say things like "I'm going on a trip with my friend this weekend" and let people believe whatever they want.) 

 

I think that's exactly what @Galactic Turtle is running into. Her parents don't understand how she could possibly be satisfied with the kind of partnership she wants, because they and virtually everyone else they've ever met wouldn't be.

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Amber79
4 minutes ago, StrandedX02 said:

I think that's exactly what @Galactic Turtle is running into. Her parents don't understand how she could possibly be satisfied in the kind of partnership she wants, because they and virtually everyone else they've ever met wouldn't be.

That's the thing though, they have experienced forms of platonic love, they just don't value it in the same way until it's gone. Every friendship that lasts is a form of platonic love, to go through many years together through it's ups and downs is a platonic relationship. The love you have for parents, siblings, your children are all forms of non romantic, non sexualized relationships, platonic in nature. They are all complex, intense relationships every bit as important as romantic love in life, just as needed by everyone, but these types of love (excepting parental) are marginalised in a society obsessed with sexual relationships. That means the even people in a long term platonic friendship which has lasted many years would not call it love, despite that it is. If that friendship ended, through argument or death, it would be just as devastating as a broken heart or loss of a partner. But still, we mustn't call it love or value it too highly. My sister recently lost a high school friend to cancer, they'd known each other since 9 years old. It was so hard for her, just like losing a romantic partner, but she'd never have called it love before her friend died. Sexual people say we're missing out, but I think in some ways we understand the nature of love better because it's not distorted by sex, or over romanticised fantasy.

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Petra&9

I can relate well. 

I feel like I don't know how to properly love, because all the representations I see from friends, family, strangers on the street and yes, even the media seem alien. 

Having awesome close friendships seems to not do it justice.

I wonder if I'll ever be able to have the experience of falling in love. On good days I think I'd be perfectly happy with platonic relationships only, but on other days I entertain the thought that there is something missing in my life for it to be complete. But then I cannot force love and I also wouldn't want to hurt anyone while trying to "develop" it (and most likely fail anyway). 

Of course it doesn't help either that my family is trying to push me into some kind of "proper" relationship.

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Amber79
2 hours ago, Petra&9 said:

I can relate well. 

I feel like I don't know how to properly love, because all the representations I see from friends, family, strangers on the street and yes, even the media seem alien. 

Having awesome close friendships seems to not do it justice.

I wonder if I'll ever be able to have the experience of falling in love. On good days I think I'd be perfectly happy with platonic relationships only, but on other days I entertain the thought that there is something missing in my life for it to be complete. But then I cannot force love and I also wouldn't want to hurt anyone while trying to "develop" it (and most likely fail anyway). 

Of course it doesn't help either that my family is trying to push me into some kind of "proper" relationship.

Ignore the media completely, representations are not realistic. Happily ever after doesn't exist. Falling in love settles over time into loving partnership from the experience of friends and family, friends who share a deep physical and emotional bond. But, from observation and asking some personal questions of friends and family, if you remove the sexual component what you get is a very close loving friendship where you share money, living space and take on responsabilities like parenthood. Essentially this can be and has been done by people who have only ever been platonic. Falling inlove; not being able to stop thinking about the person, butterflies, nervousness and adrenaline rushes, don't last even if the relationship does. Your parents are missing the point of the 'proper' relationship, the idea is it should make you happy, not them, a common mistake among parents apparently. If or when you find the relationship that fits you, and I'm sure you will, I'm sure they'll be fine.

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songchick

I have learned that the best way to love is that way which is most natural for the person intrinsically.  For me, I express my love by being a mental health worker, by writing essays and keeping up friendships with many people.  My mother and brother also, I love them very much.  I really can't learn how to love a partner sexually, or how to be in a relationship.  It is very unappealing to me.  To try would just be a matter of dishonest pretending.  It makes my skin crawl.  I don't think that is something that can be "corrected" or unlearned.

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