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calmao

What does Aromanticism Feel Like?

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calmao

I personally identify as a Romantic Asexual. In terms of being asexual, I am still trying to figure out to what extent. However, in terms of being romantic I have done even the most cringy stuff from serenades and heartfelt love letters to scavenger hunts down memory lane, lol. If I really like someone I really let them know, I guess.

 

Anyhow, about a year ago I met someone who I always had trouble figuring out whether she was aromantic. She rarely did any romantic gestures, other than hold my hand or perhaps a peck, but only if she wanted to. I could tell she was trying to figure out what she could get more comfortable with so I never rushed her into anything, but as soon as things got a bit serious she bolted. In short, I met her family, she said the L-word in a conversation, I asked her about, and by the end of the week she ended it.

 

Anyhow, I always had a feeling that she was aromantic. Given that that I do not fall under that spectrum it is a bit difficult to understand what was going through her head. I was hoping some of you could help me with this, especially if you identify as aromantic yourself. Thanks!

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MichaelTannock

I've moved this thread from 'Questions about Asexuality' to 'Romantic and Aromantic Orientations'.
 
Michael Tannock,
Open Mic moderator and Questions about Asexuality Co-moderator.

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chandrakirti

Well as an aromantic....seriously an aromantic, I wouldn't hold hands with anyone or give them a peck on the cheek.

Romantic gestures like roses and chocolates are usually met with derision, but I'm amenable to the day to day stuff, like useful presents.

I rarely know that someone's flirting with me, but on occasion in the distant past, when someone has gotten desperate and started being blatantly obvious, I shut them down pronto.

I'm a serious aromantic case though!

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Snao Cone

She might be. Did the L-word seem forced? Did it seem to be said out of reciprocation only? She might have had commitment issues while still feeling some level of romantic attraction, or she might have simply been aromantic. With this basic information, I think she may be aromantic. She may have entered a relationship because she felt like she had to because it's "normal" or that she felt strongly towards you in other ways and assumed it would turn into romantic love.

 

I can relate to how she acted. I've been in situations that would've turned into romantic relationships if I had genuine motivation to have one. Just like with sex, I found myself needing to force certain actions or behaviours that were part of the cultural script, but still felt off for me. When questions or conversations steered away from these shallow cultural scripts, I didn't feel like I could express myself in a way that wouldn't hurt the other person. I avoided getting that far with several people who may have stayed friends with me if the forced attempt at romantic behaviour didn't happen.

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fuzzipueo

I'll give it a go.

 

Not experiencing romantic feelings can make romantic gestures awkward at best and.uncomfortable at worst. While everyone has their own level of comfort with touch, I personally, do not enjoy hugging or hand holding and someone getting too close for cuddling can be beyond intolerable (the only person who can get away with it is my niece). If someone shows interest in that way, I will take a step back from the  relationship and  try to make it clear that I'm not interested, because  I don't want to lead someone  wrong.  

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Galactic Turtle

I'm just completely unbothered by that whole sector of life... from the tension of the "what if's" to the longing to the dating to the sex and to the entire process of coupling up. If people come for me, they're barking up the wrong tree. It's just not on my radar. The same can be said for whitewater rafting. Thankfully not every song on the radio is about whitewater rafting. At least for me sex and romance can be sort of entertaining. I like being a spectator as my friends relay their trials and tribulations. Sometimes it comes off as pretty idiotic but when people I care about have a successful relationship of that nature I'm happy for them and cross my fingers hoping it will last. Unfortunately, the one wedding I've ever been to had terrible cake which was pretty disillusioning. 

 

However in your case it's really impossible to know without asking the other person. Even then, they might not know. From watching my friends it's often the case that people rarely know what they're looking for, they just know what they don't want when they see it and through trial and error maybe they stumble into something that lasts the remainder of their lifetime.

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Nutt

I am still figuring things out for myself, but pretty sure I’m aromantic. 

 

I dont see see holding hands and short kisses as romantic. I previously had boyfriends, but once the L-word was used or serious kissing I would become disinterested. I know I never had strong romantic feelings with anyone because I could not imagine a future with them, wouldn’t introduce them to my family, and don’t feel excited to message them back. Since I can truely say I have never romantically loved someone these are the only indicators that I believe romantic love to be.

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SavvyPineapple
Posted (edited)

I think what cemeted my aromanticism for me was that whenever I was in a romantic situation, I would focus entirely on trying to behave like people did in romantic movies, or mimicking the other person. I didn't feel anything other than anxiety that I was letting the person down or behaving incorrectly. A boyfriend once advised me to "relax and let go", which made no sense because if I stopped trying, I'd just be sitting there catatonic. I felt nothing, and nothing about being close or "romantic" was enjoyable.

 

One of the cheesy sitcom lines was that you know you're in love when all the songs make sense. They've never made sense for me. Butterflies, longing to see the person, longing to be near them and be touched by them ... I've never experienced any of it. The closest I've ever come is the devotion and loyalty I feel towards a best friend.

 

And when I think I may want a significant other, the only reason I can think of for it is so that I could have someone to hang out with frequently, and know that they would likely make time for me. I don't long for anything but platonic companionship.

 

I've said the L-word to people, but only because I felt cornered into it. It feels hollow and meaningless, and I only said it to make others  happy. I feeks like a horrible lie, and I hate it, and I usually resent people who push me to say it. I know I can't mean it they way they want it, and it makes me feel inadequate.

Edited by SavvyPineapple
Extra paragraph
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asexyhuman

I identify as aro, but I often have a hard time finding the line between friendships and romance, and I tend to think that how I think about romance has a lot to do with the way that the media portrays it. I've never been able to see myself ending up in a romantic sort of relationship, and at this point romantic movies/books/tv shows just end up making me sad.

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calmao
On 3/10/2019 at 6:15 PM, Snao Cone said:

Did the L-word seem forced? Did it seem to be said out of reciprocation only?

She said it first, in conversation when I met her family for the first time. That evening I asked her about it because well she was not known for "expressing her feelings". And the moment I asked her she freaked out started saying that it was such a "loaded term" and that we had misheard her, but I have my doubts on that. Then started begging me not to break up with her, yet she ended it only a few days later and not even in person.

 

On 3/10/2019 at 6:15 PM, Snao Cone said:

She may have entered a relationship because she felt like she had to because it's "normal" or that she felt strongly towards you in other ways and assumed it would turn into romantic love.

I feel that might have been the case. She had not had a real boyfriend in like over ten years, there was one guy in-between but apparently that was short-lived. I only new about the first boyfriend, which she broke up with him the same fashion, the guy went to go visit her after they'd been together for a few months and she broke it off once he was on the plane back. Fast-forward ten years later or so and I got the exact the same treatment, at least I got to the second visit!

 

Yet she did tell me on a few occasions that when she first met me she was not looking for a relationship. Apparently she had also told her friends and family that she would be happy never being in one. Anyways, eventually she said yes to me. I took things at her pace because I was considerate of her situation however I always made it known that I wanted it to be romantic in the end. Yet once things started getting more serious she decided to eject.

 

So yeah, maybe she got in because it was the "normal" thing to do or she did feel some sort of feelings towards me, I learned about queerplatonic relationships and squishes recently, but not to the extent that I had "romantic" wise.

On 3/10/2019 at 6:15 PM, Snao Cone said:

I found myself needing to force certain actions or behaviours that were part of the cultural script, but still felt off for me.

Interesting commentary. Never thought of it like that.

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calmao
On 3/10/2019 at 6:33 PM, Nutt said:

I am still figuring things out for myself, but pretty sure I’m aromantic. 

Good luck figuring it out! I am still figuring out where I fall under the ace spectrum.

 

On 3/10/2019 at 6:33 PM, Nutt said:

I dont see see holding hands and short kisses as romantic.

Yeah, I feel like she saw this in the same fashion.

 

On 3/10/2019 at 6:33 PM, Nutt said:

I previously had boyfriends, but once the L-word was used or serious kissing I would become disinterested.

Yup, she said the L-word and I tried some serious kissing and well look how it ended.

 

On 3/10/2019 at 6:33 PM, Nutt said:

I never had strong romantic feelings with anyone because I could not imagine a future with them

Interesting way to phrase "romantic feelings" that does not involve the usual touch or butterflies explanations. Maybe she felt this way I do not know. Her sister and friend did tell me that I did nothing wrong. She just said it would not work for her, but that is all I got.

 

On 3/10/2019 at 6:33 PM, Nutt said:

wouldn’t introduce them to my family,

This point I always wondered about. Her grandparents lived nearby but she never invited me over despite her constantly visiting them. Her sister had to basically force herself into my house by excusing herself to use my restroom because she knew she would not meet me otherwise.... haha. And her mom basically asked her straight out that she wanted to meet me and arranged the "meet the parents" meeting. Yet in both of these instances she was acting a lot more reserved and not her usual self. One time she even froze up!

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Homer

I guess since we're talking about an absence of something (there is no "degree" of asexuality or aromanticism), it would probably be better to approach the subject from a "what doesn't it feel like" POV. Now since you're romantic, you have an idea of what romantic feelings are like for you - when they occur, what they consist of, what they make you want to do, you get the gist. Then imagine that none of this happens at all. People's mileage will vary, but there's not much use in trying to explain other people's feelings (particularly since we don't know that person).

 

I think that this would be a more relatable approach.

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calmao
On 3/11/2019 at 8:20 AM, SavvyPineapple said:

whenever I was in a romantic situation, I would focus entirely on trying to behave like people did in romantic movies, or mimicking the other person.

Yeah, maybe she was doing this as well. What I did notice was that during the few times that she did initiate "romantic actions" they were often short and reactionary. For example, she would hold my hand or link arms briefly when were on our way to a restaurant but that was pretty much it. Also she would only cuddle for like five minutes we watched a movie or something and then just sit there. Lastly, she would only kiss me back rarely did she initiate a kiss. The only times I can remember her doing so was when I picked her up from the airport or when her sister visited once. Yet when I initiated a "romantic action" I felt like she would indirectly try to limit the interaction.

 

On 3/11/2019 at 8:20 AM, SavvyPineapple said:

Butterflies, longing to see the person, longing to be near them and be touched by them

Well butterflies feels weird, but I do agree that it is an indication that you really like somebody. Butterflies in one's stomach essentially feels like good embarrassment. Like your body saying I'm stressed but I'm motivated to do something or see this person again. Physically it indeed feel "fluttery"... haha... nothing else like it. Longing to see someone can result in two forms. In the digital age, it is the expectation of wanting to receive a message/call and being happy when you do finally get it. Also, you get a feeling of sadness or some might say a pit in your stomach if that person is going away for a while, lol, not just for groceries. As for longing to be near them or touched I feel like that is more on an individual basis, but I also identify with it. Some people still love but are less "touchy".

 

On 3/11/2019 at 8:20 AM, SavvyPineapple said:

And when I think I may want a significant other, the only reason I can think of for it is so that I could have someone to hang out with frequently, and know that they would likely make time for me. I don't long for anything but platonic companionship.

It is good that you know what you want. I always think this is important because things can end sour as it did in my case because you can lead the other person to expect something that will not happen, essentially "string them along", and that is not fair to him/her. As for the bolded statement, I feel she might have started clung to our relationship as long she did partly for this reason. However, platonic or romantic, it has to be a "two-way-street" or a "give-and-take". I was taken advantage of and would always do stuff for her and make time for her yet I rarely got anything back in return. So be aware of that as well.

 

On 3/11/2019 at 8:20 AM, SavvyPineapple said:

I've said the L-word to people, but only because I felt cornered into it. It feels hollow and meaningless, and I only said it to make others  happy

I don't know, but she said it she had been drinking and her family was there so perhaps she felt pressured into it, especially since her parents were telling me their love story, to make them happy or maybe she just let it slip, I don't know.

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calmao
18 minutes ago, Homer said:

it would probably be better to approach the subject from a "what doesn't it feel like" POV. Now since you're romantic, you have an idea of what romantic feelings are like for you - when they occur, what they consist of, what they make you want to do, you get the gist. Then imagine that none of this happens at all.

Good way to wrap your head around this question... Interesting.

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SavvyPineapple

I would recommend reading about The Five Love languages. It's on Wikipedia.

 

I would guess that your love languages are physical affection and words of affirmation. Perhaps she's communicating love in a different way?

 

My preferred love languages are Time and Acts of Service. Which means I'm unlikely to kiss someone or use the L-word, but I'll bend over backwards to try to make their life easier and more enjoyable, and always be willing to drop what I'm doing and share my time.

 

My dad is the same as me, while my mom is heavily favoured toward physical affection and words of affirmation. So he'll make her tea and try to fix things that he's worried will annoy her, and he does these things out of love. But my mom often feels ignored, because he's busy around the house doing things instead of being affectionate. 

 

It helps to define and understand each others languages, so that you can recognise when you are being loved in a different way.

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calmao
3 hours ago, SavvyPineapple said:

I would guess that your love languages are physical affection and words of affirmation. Perhaps she's communicating love in a different way?

Yup, I would say you hit my love languages right on the money. As for her, she said once that her language was "quality time". But here is the catch, for her, at least from my experience, it meant undivided attention when she wanted it. If she needed me to make time for her I would, if she wanted to talk about something I was there, etc. However, she was more than capable not providing me with it at times. For instance, the first time I stayed over at her place she literally told me to leave ten minutes after waking up, sometimes when I wanted to her talk about something she would divert the conversation, and the first time I visited her, when she moved temporarily due to job stuff, she literally fell asleep before I was even ready for bed. So while yes she enjoyed "quality time" I felt like it was only a take situation, and rarely a give.

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Tempesta
On 3/11/2019 at 1:20 PM, SavvyPineapple said:

I think what cemeted my aromanticism for me was that whenever I was in a romantic situation, I would focus entirely on trying to behave like people did in romantic movies, or mimicking the other person. I didn't feel anything other than anxiety that I was letting the person down or behaving incorrectly. A boyfriend once advised me to "relax and let go", which made no sense because if I stopped trying, I'd just be sitting there catatonic. I felt nothing, and nothing about being close or "romantic" was enjoyable.

That's a very good way to put aromanticism into words. Before I knew of its existence I always wondered whether I had some sociopathic traits or something, because I was only ever mimicking romantic behaviour. If I were to "relax and let go" and let things come naturally, I too would just be sitting there minding my own business.

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blueheroness

I'm so aro I thought you meant the "L-word" was Lesbian and was totally confused as to why that didn't answer the question. (Im assuming your male) Hahaha

 

I'm sorry!  Ok... But seriously being Aro I'm immediately and furiosuly uncomfortable the moment someone might be seeing me romantically or sexually 99.9% of the time. I've never been on a real date and never been kissed or any of that sex stuff. I held hands with one guy who was gay and was my friend. We just hung out and held hands and ate ice cream bc it was my bday. And one other guy bc we were praying, I'm religious, and then neither of us knew how to unawkwardly release hands after we had been praying without appearing like we were disgusted. So we held hands for a few sec after the prayer. We were just too nice. We laughed about it and thankfully that was that. (He was a close platonic friend.)

So I don't know what your friend was thinking. She may have wanted to feel something and was testing it out. I know there was one guy I really liked in college. I felt very safe around him and had a ton of fun. I didn't know I was aro/ Ace at the time and I was trying to figure out what I felt about him. 

Which was very confusing for both of us , I think,  because I wanted to "keep him" but I didn't know in what way. I wanted to keep being around him.

I liked his family (I was friends with his brother first actually) and we had similar interests. I felt like he just "got" me in a special way. 

I liked how he treated me. But when I sensed romantic/sexual interest from him I would be very anxious and like.. Run away. 

So it could be that she liked you as much as she possibly could. But she found her limit. 

I honeslty think that guy and I were something like soulmates. He was the closest I'll probably ever get to wanting to be in a relationship. But even then something about it didn't feel right to me. Now I know that it's bc I'm aro/Ace. 

I don't know if my rambling is helpful at all. But I just wanted to share the ways I related. 

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IceHurricane

Technically, it's not what we feel, it's what we don't feel. It's not really a feeling itself, but a lack of romantic feelings. We feel like an ordinary person just minus the romance. We don't really care about it or understand it, or know why it's such a big deal for everyone. It's not natural for us. I know myself and other aros can be in romantic relationships for whatever reasons, and we may try to be romantic, but it's just not natural. It's forced. We don't really think about it, and it's not important to us. Certain romantic things might make some people uncomfortable, or it just doesn't do anything for them. Some aros might like physical touch and the sensations from 'romantic' gestures like holding hands and kissing, but from my understanding of it, it's more about the feelings you get for someone. So whatever you feel for anyone you've ever crushed on or dated is what we lack. I've dated a few people and tried the whole romance thing, but emotionally, I've never viewed them as more than a friend. Going from friend to romantic partner, there was literally no change emotionally. We did romantic stuff but I didn't gain anything from it, it was all for their benefit. It was important to them but not to me. There was an emotional imbalance. You might feel like you're giving a lot and not getting enough back emotionally when dating an aromantic person. 

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