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Fioryn

Gray-romantic Frustrations

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Fioryn

Not sure if this thread has been done before. I didn't see one like it, so I thought I'd go ahead and post it.

I'm gray-romantic. (If I had to choose a specific gray label, it would probably be lith.) I've had a lot of problems when it comes to dealing with crushes and figuring out what kind of relationship would work for me, if any. So I thought... if I have problems dealing with my romantic orientation, surely other grays do too.

So this is basically a venting/advice/insightful thread where people can post their gray experiences. :)

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Una Salus Victus

Tiny vent:

I've been having a lot of questioning moments lately. I don't know if the crushes I've had were actual crushes, if they were romantic or not. There's been times where I can't completely relate to aro's or romo's, but I'm totally more comfortable fitting in with aro's. There have been times where I thought about what I'd be comfortable with doing in a relationship, only to end up detesting being in a relationship anyway.

There's probably a handful of other things that I can't think of right now, but welcome to my lovely grey corner.

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Fioryn

My main frustration is that I get crushes often, but i don't ever have any desire to follow up on them (at least in a romantic way -if I could convert my crushes into squishes and have a QPR, I totally would).

I've tried dating. It was awkward. I always felt like there was something the other person was yearning for that I just... didn't understand. Kissing, holding hands, romantic gestures... I don't see the appeal. And even watching other happy couples confuses me. I'm happy for them, but I just see myself enjoying a romantic relationship.

So I'm stuck with having essentially useless crushes, which is tiresome and confusing.

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Fioryn

There have been times where I thought about what I'd be comfortable with doing in a relationship, only to end up detesting being in a relationship anyway.

This happens to me too! So confusing

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Una Salus Victus

My main frustration is that I get crushes often, but i don't ever have any desire to follow up on them (at least in a romantic way -if I could convert my crushes into squishes and have a QPR, I totally would).

That's another thing I do, if I get a crush, I never think about or want a relationship with them. I'd be more than happy just being friends with them (mostly.) If anything, a QPR would probably suit me better than a normal romantic one, if I did end up in a relationship.

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Gloomy

I've always found myself just fantasizing about being in romantic relationships rather than actually being in one. Of course it doesn't help that the past few years most of my crushes have been on fictional characters or people I made up in my head. However looking back, even when I had crushes on real people when I was in high school, I didn't want to actually tell them and start dating them. Then I'd get jealous if they dated or flirted with someone else. *Sighs*

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Star Bit

I've tried dating. It was awkward. I always felt like there was something the other person was yearning for that I just... didn't understand. Kissing, holding hands, romantic gestures... I don't see the appeal. And even watching other happy couples confuses me. I'm happy for them, but I just see myself enjoying a romantic relationship.

Basically you may not be Lith.

1) Are you sure you have crushes, there are several types of attraction.

List of attractions:

There are 6 types of attraction. They're all typically felt with romantic attraction (and why there can be confusion between attractions) but they aren't needed to make it valid. They can all be felt separately, without romantic attraction, and in different combinations. The desire to act in a certain way can also be separate from the attraction (e.g. sexual attraction with no sexual desire/desire to act on it, or romantic desire with no romantic attraction), but constantly having either of those means the person is sexual/romantic/gray.

· Sexual attraction - the impulse to have sex with a specific person; to give/receive genital involving things from them. Synonyms are sexually alluring, sexually appealing, sexually enticing, sexually tempting, etc.

· Romantic attraction - an emotion; so it doesn't translate well into words, but it can be inadequately put as soft/warm/fuzzy feelings with some degree of fixation (at least in comparison to one's normality with others). This is the base requirement, but some people also have a physical reaction to the feeling and others don’t (i.e. butterflies in their stomach, heart rate increase, blushing, etc. [though those can also be symptoms of platonic nervousness]). Others may react mentally with a dreamy mindset, anxious euphoria, infatuation, romantic fantasies, etc.

· Aesthetic attraction - the pull to look at someone because of their beauty and/or mannerisms, which is different from just recognizing good looks/what’s aesthetically pleasing.

· Emotional attraction - the fixation on someone because of their emotions (optimism, stoicness, etc.), and by extent personality. I would compare it to having a favorite character or admirance.

· Sensual attraction - the impulse to have non-genital physical contact with someone specific.

· Platonic attraction - (aka a friend crush or squish; a play on the romantic word crush) the impulse to further know or befriend someone specific. The desired bond can vary from being friends, to close friends, to best friends. It may include nervousness or admirance, and once the desired bond is reached the squish goes away.

· And it's possible to find someone charming without romantic attraction. (look up charming's definition/synonyms for further clarification)

· It’s also possible to feel queerplatonically about someone. A queerplatonic relationship (or one sided, a 'queerplatonic squish' aka 'queerplatonic crush') is a platonic relationship that has (or is desired to have) the characteristic(s) associated with a romantic relationship (excluding non-platonic things like sex and making out, although chaste kissing can be platonic depending on how it’s done). This kind of relationship can include an importance/closeness stronger than the best friend norm and/or displaying platonic physical contact above the norm. Some describe it as "super best friends." It’s also known as romantic/passionate friendship, life partner, Boston Marriage, and bromance/womance (latter aka shemance, sismance, and less popular due to clash with other words; hermance). They may or may not have monogamy, live together, sleep in the same room, have kids, or be mistaken for a couple. Romantics and Aromantics can have QPRs. An example would be Turk and JD from Scrubs.

(Some include sex and non-platonic physical actions like foreplay under this term; i.e. say that it only means absence in romantic feelings, but those things are factually not platonic by definition so it's a misunderstanding. Every dictionary defined platonic as non-sexual, and a minority include non-romantic. Quasiplatonic; created for those who want to avoid the use of queer, is also inaccurate because the prefix means the reverse. Aliplatonic has been a suggested alternative. If someone has a relationship that displays queerplatonically but one has romantic feelings and the other doesn't, then it's up to them on whether they call their relationship QP or romantic.)

2) People react to unreciprocation and overreciprocation differently; it ranges from positive to neutral to negative. So maybe you're getting more than you desire and actually desire a low key romantic relationship (which could and could not be looked at as still falling under Gray-romantic).

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float on

I've dealt with a lot of the same stuff. Having all sorts of attraction or interest in people, but just.... not being driven to take it to the next level. or someone is into me, and they're nice and stuff and i could see things happening, but somehow I just don't feel comfortable being more than friends. I just wanted a friend, and they aren't happy with that... it almost makes me feel insulted :( I don't I mean. I don't know the right word to say how I feel, other than a little nervous and uncomfortable :(

And when I do have feelings for someone that should matter, I end up just shying away from them instead. not even trying to be a friend, just keeping them as a peer... IDK.

things have turned out nicely and ended up in a relationship I was happy for, a few times. But of course, being not really sexual and not really romantic either, they had needs I wasn't offering, I had boundaries that they wanted to move past. and if I did try to compromise, like there were times I was romantically or sexually engaging, but it was weird for me, to see how much that stuff meant to them, while I was there feeling uninterested and halfway bored.

and a lot of times people on this site try to justify my "full ace" status, or "full sexual" status, and it's just insulting because for me. when I look at 99% of asexuals, they are clearly different from me in a substantial way, and every time I see someone like me they are either ID'd as grey or sexual or something, or seriously debating whether they really should be ID'd as ace. and every time I interact with a sexual person, even just casually conversing and they throw out some sexual innuendo... it's obvious that I'm not like them. I mean I love sex jokes and inuendoes, but there's a difference between the humor I am feeling and the lust/longing they can often wear on their face.

of course, I'm pretty sure I'm more empathetic than the average person, so I understand why people don't understand how I can be so adamant that I am grey despite their fancy words trying to convince otherwise. it's an emotional realm, that words can't touch.

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Neapolitan_Cat

Problem was figuring out my romantic identity. Went from heteroromantic to gray heteroromantic to now just gray aromantic. I'd say I'm aromantic now but I've had rare romantic attraction. I'd say I'm heteroromantic but it's so rare it hardly ever legitimately happens. I've always been more in love with the idea of being in love with a guy and only like 3-5 times it was actually to a guy

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starry-night-sky

I feel like all my crushes were extremely mild even though at least one of them lasted very long. My feelings never grow intense so I never end up falling in love with someone. Looking back I also feel like a lot of times I just thought I had a crush on someone because I exaggerated thinking someone is cute or interesting into something it's not. For me it's a little difficult to tell if I have a crush on someone or not.

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Fioryn

I've tried dating. It was awkward. I always felt like there was something the other person was yearning for that I just... didn't understand. Kissing, holding hands, romantic gestures... I don't see the appeal. And even watching other happy couples confuses me. I'm happy for them, but I just see myself enjoying a romantic relationship.

Basically you may not be Lith.

1) Are you sure you have crushes, there are several types of attraction.

List of attractions:

There are 6 types of attraction. They're all typically felt with romantic attraction (and why there can be confusion between attractions) but they aren't needed to make it valid. They can all be felt separately, without romantic attraction, and in different combinations. The desire to act in a certain way can also be separate from the attraction (e.g. sexual attraction with no sexual desire/desire to act on it, or romantic desire with no romantic attraction), but having either of those means the person is sexual/romantic/gray.

· Sexual attraction - the impulse to have sex with a specific person; to do genital involving things to their body. Synonyms are sexually alluring, sexually appealing, sexually enticing, sexually tempting, etc.

· Romantic attraction - an emotion; so it doesn't translate well into words, but it can be inadequately put as soft/warm/fuzzy feelings with some degree of fixation (at least in comparison to one's normality with others). Some people have a physical reaction to the feeling and others don’t (i.e. butterflies in their stomach, heart rate increase, blushing, etc. [though those are also symptoms of platonic nervousness]). Others may react mentally with a dreamy mindset, anxious euphoria, infatuation, romantic fantasies, etc.

· Aesthetic attraction - the pull to look at someone because of their looks and/or mannerisms, which is different from recognizing good looks/what is aesthetically pleasing.

· Emotional attraction - the fixation on someone because of their emotions (optimism, stoicness, etc.), and by extent personality. I would compare it to having a favorite character or admirance.

· Sensual attraction - the impulse to have non-genital physical contact with someone specific. Platonically displaying this above the norm qualifies as a type of queerplatonic relationship (QPR). I would compare it to how many people have the urge to act toward their pet(s), though this term is typically applied to other humans. There are 3 forms of sensual attraction; platonic, romantic (which while similar; past making out obviously not being platonic, actually differ in the way it's done and the person's expression while doing so), and sexual (in the sense that it’s a kink done for sexual arousal, not because it includes sex/genital contact --which is under Gray-asexuality).

· Platonic attraction - (aka a friend crush or squish; a play on the romantic word crush) the impulse to further know or befriend someone specific. The desired bond can vary from being friends, to close friends, to best friends. It may include nervousness or admirance, and once the desired bond is reached the squish goes away.

· And it's possible to find someone charming without romantic attraction. (look up charming's definition/synonyms for further clarification)

· And not everyone is into making out (there are cultures that don’t have it), nor do people need romantic feelings to desire to make out (or be in a romantic relationship for that matter). So whether you do or don't desire it, it isn't an indicator of orientation.

· It’s also possible to feel queerplatonically about someone. A queerplatonic relationship (or one sided, a 'queerplatonic squish' aka 'queerplatonic crush') is a platonic relationship that has (or is desired to have) the characteristic(s) associated with a romantic relationship (excluding sex and making out). It can be an importance/closeness stronger than the best friend norm and/or displaying platonic sensual contact above the norm (which depending on the culture may include chaste kissing, although a person preferring chaste kissing or no kissing does not make them aromantic). Or in short, "super best friends." They may or may not have monogamy, live together, have kids, or be mistaken for a couple. Romantics and Aromantics can have QPRs. An example would be Turk and JD from Scrubs.

(The following is currently under some definitions of the term queerplatonic, but others agree these should be split up into another term; possibly Quasiplatonic; an alternative term for queerplatonic for those who want to avoid the gay interpretation of the word queer, but the prefix quasi does not actually reflect that and means the opposite; nor does the word platonic hold up under it either; as the word cannot include sex or romance)

A quasiplatonic relationship (QSPR/ QZPR) should mean a friends with benefits relationship that can involve making out and/or sex (though FWB should suffice, but it may be useful for people in committed FWBs who dislike the term because it’s commonly used without commitment).

A quasiromantic relationship (QSRR/ QZRR) should mean a relationship that someone does not want to call romantic because it is (accurately) QP to one and romantic to the other.

But currently it means this: "Someone who identifies as quasiromantic may see their attraction as non-traditional or may feel it differs from crushes, perhaps a mix between platonic, romantic, aesthetic, or somewhere completely different and/or it involves other non-traditional aspects, such as rare attraction, or attraction but non-physical, non-platonic but romantic, etc." I don't know how long it's been around; it's not too popular so i don't think that long (maybe because it doesn't make much sense) . So maybe this can be corrected. It doesn't really hold any of the quasi meanings either.

And to clarify the remaining types of relationships that were not mentioned, a relationship does not need romantic attraction nor romantic desire to be romantic (nor does it need typical romantic things), it simply needs to have what is categorized as romance (even if mutual absence in romantic attraction is desired). Just like neither sexual attraction nor sexual desire are needed to have a sexual relationship; simply being sexually active is. So past the obvious mutual romantic attraction option that has atypical or hyporomantic/sparsely romantic things (and it still being a romantic relationship), if someone’s relationship resembles it enough and has no possible way of saying those things are applicable to normal friendship behaviors of any kind, then it is a romantic relationship. An example would be people who desire a FWB situation with queerplatonic characteristics; which is 99% the same as a normal romantic relationship minus the romantic feelings. Think of it like colors; there are many ways to make certain colors, but all those ways are still that one color.

2) People react to unreciprocation and overreciprocation differently; it ranges from positive to neutral to negative. So maybe you're getting more than you desire and actually desire a low key romantic relationship (which could and could not be looked at as still falling under Gray-romantic).

Yeah, that's why I'm not sure I'm Lith. You're probably right about me wanting a less intense relationship than what I've dabbled in before.

I honestly have no idea what I am haha. My feelings are so conflicting. Definitely somewhere in the gray/aro area though, I think.

Argh, just found a typo in that post. I meant to say "just don't see myself enjoying a romantic relationship"

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SpeedinThroughSpace

I'm still awfully confused about the romantic orientation thing. At first, I thought I have to be romantic. I've been in a relationship, I loved my girlfriend and I loved the emotional intimacy of the relationship. I never had a crush on her, if crushes are what people describe them as. I thought she was beautiful and I liked the way she looked at me (I was always the odd one out as a kid/teen and never fit in, so someone just looking at me with friendly openness was new and rare and awesome). I wanted to become friends. I didn't have any friends at the time for real. Well, we did become friends, then we became a couple. I was okay with that, I was happy with her. But I never experienced any crush-like feelings, like butterflies or obsessive thoughts about her or anything of the sort.

I never cared about relationships before her, and never again afterwards. I don't understand romance much. I don't like shipping, fictional or otherwise. I have zero desire to find a partner. When I hear people talking about their romantic relationships (in real life as much as on here), I sit there all puzzled and unable to actually relate. I easily identify with some 'typical' aro experiences, but I have been in love before, so I'm probably a bit romantic? Then again, I put a real lot of love and commitment into my friendships already, and in retrospect I'm unable to say what was different between girlfriend and a best friend bond for me. On the other hand, this one romantic experience in my life is a very treasured memory for me. She was not only my first girlfriend (that kind of felt important at age 15), she was also the first friend I had in years, the first person to like me truly for me in a while, she was the first person outside of family I trusted with some important, personal things... and I figured at the time that what I felt for her was romantic, although I was never sure what exactly that is and what makes it different from friendship. Still, saying it wasn't romantic now feels like invalidating this precious experience, and I can't do that.

The romantics do and say things that make little sense to me. The aros sometimes do, too. Most aros on here sound like really independent people. I can't relate to statements like "Why would you choose to be with a person over a good job you'd have to move for?", for example. I would totally choose my close friends and family over a career. I'm a pretty committed person.

But I don't want or care about a relationship of romantic nature. I prefer friendships. I don't feel like I have relationship needs that can't be fulfilled by having a best friend (I have an awesome best friend, we're like brothers :)).

Yeah, me is confused. :unsure:

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Blue Phoenix Ace

It feels like just about everything in this thread is something I could have written about myself (despite a few conflicts lol).

I think a good analogy is having an odd craving for chocolate cake, but every time you eat the cake you gag and/or vomit. And yet the next day... you still just gotta have that cake. The craving is both maddening and frustrating. It's like an itch you can never scratch. You know that you dislike the cake, but you still reflexively want it.

Does this mean I should avoid chocolate cake? What if I just haven't had the right kind of chocolate cake? Or maybe yellow cake is what I should be after? But, it's not as easy as just trying a slice of cake. I don't want to puke again if I don't like it... And on and on it goes.

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Star Bit

@Speed

Maybe you felt queerplatonically for your first girlfriend.

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SpeedinThroughSpace

@Speed

Maybe you felt queerplatonically for your first girlfriend.

Maybe I did, yes. I didn't know anything like queerplatonic was a thing back then, though, so I didn't think of it that way. What people here describe as a QPR sounds a lot like what I'd like to have in terms of relationships, now and back then alike.

The thing is just that it was so long ago and it felt so important that any reevaluating on it feels deeply wrong, you see?

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SpeedinThroughSpace

It feels like just about everything in this thread is something I could have written about myself (despite a few conflicts lol).

I think a good analogy is having an odd craving for chocolate cake, but every time you eat the cake you gag and/or vomit. And yet the next day... you still just gotta have that cake. The craving is both maddening and frustrating. It's like an itch you can never scratch. You know that you dislike the cake, but you still reflexively want it.

Does this mean I should avoid chocolate cake? What if I just haven't had the right kind of chocolate cake? Or maybe yellow cake is what I should be after? But, it's not as easy as just trying a slice of cake. I don't want to puke again if I don't like it... And on and on it goes.

Sorry for the double post; I can't figure out how to multi-quote on mobile.

Far as the cake analogy, for me it's more like "I had chocolate cake, I really liked chocolate cake, I have a lot of very fond memories of chocolate cake, but I have only cravings for other cakes and whenever I think I should try chocolate cake again sometime, I'm just pretty meh about it and would rather eat some other food." I feel like I might enjoy a relationship if I happened to stumble into one again, but I don't have the craving so I don't seek it out. I seek out friendships because I actively want them, though. It's weird, perhaps...

I sometimes reflexively want the cake because everyone else has it or wants it, and I feel left out and think I'd need cake of my own. Then I think more deeply about it, and I realise I don't really want the cake, but the company of a cake eating party.

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