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Robin Mok

Being Asian/Chinese and aromantic

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Robin Mok

Like a stereotypical Chinese family, we don't talk about sex or romance. When I was over 20, family friends would ask jokingly if I had a boyfriend, then my parents would brushed off by saying "she's still a kid." Then some other time my mom would abruptly asked if I had a boyfriend in the staircase, with a straight and embarrassed face. 

 

One time I visited my mom's sick mother in the hospital and the old lady started talking about how I would meet someone really nice and "match your family background." I reacted with an unfriendly facial expression and silently kept a distance from her. She apologized, and said she might have said things only she thought was right. I wish my mom could be a little more like her mom, at least the old lady acknowledged my feelings. 

 

In my junior year in college my mom brought up the topic of me getting married someday, even if she knew I had never entered relationships before, I was immediately repulsed. She couldn't get my reaction and said: "But marriage is a huge thing in a person's life..." 

 

She never talked about it again, until she came for my grad school graduation. She insisted going to a remote immigrant community for lunch,  I complied. The ride was rather long and empty, she started talking about this 50-year-old Chinese woman who lived in that community, she never married or had kids, she didn't want to when she was young, and when she was ready she didn't have time for kids and found it hard to find a husband. I was uncomfortable hearing this story, I criticized this woman's logic, although I didn't dare saying "You can still date when you're over 50, hey, it's America...don't you watch sex and the city?" 

 

I said only Asian parents care so much about their children's marriages. My mom denied it. After moments of silence she carefully asked: "You sure you won't feel lonely if you never get married?" 

 

I was upset by the question. 

 

----------------------

 

I thought my problem was loneliness. I thought I should "be with someone" to resolve the emptiness I sometimes felt. But after discovering Aromanticism, I have learned to tell sexual attraction and squishes apart. 

 

My mom has been trying to control me all my life in an unnoticeable way, like many Chinese parents do. I am disappointed by her misunderstanding of singledom, it's okay if she doesn't know aromanticism exists, but equaling singledom with loneliness is a popular presumption in China, it pains me to hear my mother say it. I don't think she enjoys family life so much, she acts like she hates kids, she said I was the reason she couldn't travel the world, she refused to attend my college graduation and instead traveled to southeast Asia with her colleagues, why would she want an overwhelming life for me too? 

 

I feel like I can never talk to her about being aromantic. Would she think I am a slut for only having sexual desire? Would she ask like a robot interrogator: "So, what did you learn from being aromantic and what mistakes would you not make again?" Trust me, lately she is very into this interrogation mode. 

 


 

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fuzzipueo

Sounds like you're running up against cultural expectations. I hope you and your mom can come to compromise soon. Take care.

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Dakkon

Dang parents don't understand the wisdom of the solo regiment philosophy.

 

soloarmy1.jpg

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Feys&Florets

I'm so sorry to hear that. *hug* :cake: I'm part Asian, but my family is fine with me not seeking out a relationship. I can just be the auntie for my nieces and nephews instead. I have a family without a husband.

 

It's difficult because in the end, your mom just wants the best for you. I know in modern Chinese culture there's a stigma called 'leftover women' for women who can't find a husband. (For those that don't know, it's more of a ploy to get as many women married to men in China, since men outnumber women drastically there). But that is very unrealistic in the US culture. 20 is too young to settle down. You have the best years of your life! If the time comes, it'll come. If it doesn't, then don't force it. One cannot force the will of fate. I don't know how you can explain this to your mom that you are flat out not looking and maybe never look, but sometimes you have to be as stubborn as your parents.

 

 

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Robin Mok

Thank you everyone for the kind comments. I appreciate them all!

 

 

 

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Robin Mok

Just a little update...

 

Me and a classmate (a nice gay guy) were supposed to meet up yesterday at Anime Con but he didn't show up. He had totally forgotten, and had scheduled other things to do (and didn't say sorry....).. All of my other friends aren't interested in anime at all and declined to come. Needless to say I feel a little upset. 

 

I had written about him earlier but deleted them all, because I was afraid he would see it and be weirded out. 

 

The significance of meeting him is that nobody who didn't shared a meal(or two) with me in school had asked me to hang out after I graduated, but he did.. I wasn't told when some people left the country and relocated, I wasn't invited when someone got engaged, I sometimes feel like they aren't obligated to invite me to anything anymore, so they avoid me....

 

..but he was so nice when he asked if we could meet up even if we aren't classmates any more. 

 

It sounds silly, really. Why do I care so much. He is nice to everyone, but I've only got a handful of friends. He seems to be an amazing multi-talented person who I'd totally totally love to befriend with, but I am just this pathetic failed 26-year-old Chinese intern who can't love themselves and still grills over their accent for not being perfect and is in constant fear of relocating back to China. 

 

....

 

He was born around the same day as my former squish person "J", a Chinese boy I befriended with in high school. I just found out a few days ago. It seems irrelevant.

 

I was terrible to J, everyone including me thought I was in love, although J never had intense feelings for me; our friendship ended silently when J got married and had kids. 

 

Back then, nobody knew someone could be aromantic, nobody knew I didn't actually love J. 

 

It sounds really really silly that when this nice classmate came around, it reminded me of my past..... and when he didn't show up, I felt flat-out stupid for overthinking. 

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Robin Mok

AVEN has been a good place for me to talk. 

I feel the urge to share my anxious thoughts, but less and less with people I know in real life. I am afraid of them judging me and pushing me away not just because of my romantic and sexual orientation, but my behaviors that sometimes seem autistic as well.... I have always found it hard to think and act like a "normal" person. 

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Robin Mok

Some updates, and sorry if anyone is getting the notifications. Cancel them if you can...

 

.....

 

My roommate returned home from business trips, and I couldn't help to share with her the story of my no-show classmate

 

Me: Why would someone confirm to meet twice but ended up forgetting?

Roommate: Is he popular?

Me: Yea, he choreographs. He performs in Denmark. 

Roommate: No wonder, popular people forget things like that all the time. 

Me: Okay. 

Roommate: They just have better things to do, good friends would just assume that. It's usually not-so-friendly friends who care about this stuff. 

Me: Better things? He told me he was washing his dog and then having an electric violin class later. 

Roommate: (Laughed hysterically) 

Me: I even commented something nice under his dance videos but he didn't say anything back.

Roommate: Of course, only nobodies would comment back. 

Me: He usually does... like real nice. 

Roommate: Er....IDK.

Me: I was afraid we weren't have stuff to talk about other than anime, so I googled him and read interviews about him. 

Roommate: Interviews???

Me: He was like, doing this pole dance thing. 

Roommate: Whaaaat? Where?

Me: At a avant-garde gallery. 

Roommate: Can I see? Do you have videos? 

 

.....

 

We agree that sometimes Americans invite people to random coffee meetings or art show meet-ups, like a polite thing to do, like how Chinese would say "I'll buy you dinner next time." 

 

But confirming twice seems sincere about meeting up for real.....

 

.....I know my biggest fear is he hates me, or sees something I wrote here and thinks I am not worth hanging out with. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Jarl Surf

I'll pray for you.

 

Sounds quite rough. I can't quite understand it myself, but it does seem stressful, anyone could agree with that. 

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Robin Mok

Thanks for all the nice comments above. I feel better. 

 

----

 

This is a wrap-up for my weekend no-show classmate: 

 

The invitation made me happy and I imagined him being a very good friend even till later in life. It felt like I had met another squish, I wanted to hug him like a human teddy bear, but after all, he is 30  and has seen so much/done so much, strangers and journalist fell for him head over heels; and I am just not that intriguing a friend. We are only loosely bond by previous classes and interest in anime. He already has his nice cool "family" made up by nice cool dancers. 

 

At some point at work I was listening to Yeah Yeah Yeahs and let myself be angry while drawing. 

 

I don't want to judge myself any more. I want to forget about it. Maybe he won't even ask to hang out again, and that's okay.

 

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amendax

Hi, I am Ana. I am now in my 20s. Just saw your post. I, like you, am brought up in Chinese culture and it is so awful of being pressured to date. And my parents would 'forewarn' me about the loneliness and regrets of not having a family. You know all about the competitiveness of Chinese, from school, to boyfriend, to job, to salary, to housing, to marriage, and to the next generation kids. 

What will happen in 50 years when we go to old school gathering and everyone else is talking about their children? But then why do we need to join in the competition? Yet can we be sure that we won't regret in 50 years time?

 

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Dakkon

Sorry to hear about your classmate being a no show, stuff like that can really put you down especially when they give you a good impression that they would be there, I had a similar experience recently.

 

If a person cares enough they can make the time to be there or at least acknowledge and apologies for their failure to do what they say. I guess a lot of people today don't value having a good reputation.

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OperationalWolf

To be honest like ... people are just who they are. I myself don't really like having friends because .. I don't fit into socializing and stuff. I'm just afraid of being like everyone else and It's hard for me to be like everyone else, I had friends who really I enjoy hanging out with but slowly .. they just turned against me.

 

It's .. just a nightmare to have friends and it just bugs me because majority me wanted attention and forcing it just made things worse. It's the same goes for affection for me, If I feed my crave for affection -- It's just gonna starve for more. I don't even get affection, not even from my parents because I never really got much attention from them when I was a kid.

 

But basically, We can't change society for what it is today unless we do something about it. But what you can do is be yourself, trust yourself. If you wanna be this and that, it's up to your decision and not anyone else's opinion or saying. And I'm Ayan, nice to meet you.

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nerdperson777

I guess I'm lucky that my mom's side is not very traditional, but my dad's side is.  I said when I was 10 that I didn't want kids while my friend wanted 3-4.  Parents didn't take it seriously but when I say it now, they're freaking out.  That's what you get for not believing me.

 

I would guess I grew up romance repulsed because with the way I was living, weakness could only lead to disappointment.  That's what I learned from living with my mom.  Her untraditional-ness overpowered my dad's traditional-ness in influencing me, but still it's kind of irritating when I get comments about it.  I had an aunt once talking about me finding a husband.  Then once I was with a cousin who had a new baby.  She asked if I wanted to help her change her baby which I declined.  She thought she was getting me prepared for kids.  I shut her down when I said that I wasn't having kids.  Being with my dad's side gives me a wake up call as to how traditional and gendered they like everything.  I like my not-very-gendered life.  It lets me be me more.  I would not have survived if I was forced to wear dresses and pressured to find a guy.

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deltamagna

I can totally relate to the whole singledom = loneliness thing. My parents are Chinese and this year they've started dropping some hints that I should start looking for a partner. It's never really come up before but I guess turning 25 flipped a switch or something. They're super worried that I'm going to be lonely when I'm older and I don't want them to worry but I don't know how to make them not worry. Every time I bring up my feelings about marriage (i.e. I don't want to get married) they just brush it off like "never say never, you're still young. You'll find someone" etc. I guess it's good to hear that I'm not alone. I hope it gets better for you soon. 

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Rynar

I'm in the same boat, my parents already started talking about it when I was 16.

They were like don't choose that kind of partners and have grandchildren so I told them I won't get married let alone dating and kids.

My dad immediately shouted that I was being ridiculous, that everyone has to marry and have kids because it's according to the society the way of life so it's a must.

My mom is somewhat less persistent about that at first, however she still wants grandchildren and I'm like "you have my sister for that haha..."

Nowadays, she doesn't care anymore if I don't marry or not having kids, she just doesn't want me to be lonely so I have to atleast date when I'm older. According to her, everyone wants to be loved and in some way or another it's true but not in the way of dating and marrying is the answer.

The reason I would only feel lonely is because someday my friends have less time to hang out with me because their own families rather than not having a partner.

 

Maybe you can be stubborn long enough to change their mind? that's how I did it.

 

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