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TimeDelay

What does 'aromantic' look like?

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TimeDelay

Starting this because despite reading a number of threads I cannot get my head around what it is to be aromantic. I think it'd be helpful to hear from sexual people who have experience of being in relationships with an aromantic person. What does it look like to a sexual - romantic person? I've been wondering how to tell if my husband is aromantic as well as asexual. 

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Traveler40

Sorry, had to delete

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DogObsessedLianne

I don't quite understand your question (are you getting sexual attraction and romantic attraction mixed up?) so I hope I respond ok!

 

Romantic attraction is the heart-pull side of the attraction, sexual attraction is the "want to sleep with" attraction. Alloromantic Allosexuals (assuming it's the same orientation be it homo, bi, hetero etc) will mix the two up.

 

I'm aroace, though I'm much more romance repulsed than sex repulsed. I wouldn't say I'm grey ace because there is no sexual attraction to anyone and it's just no bother to me if I do or don't, and if I do it's purely from a crude physiological/scientific textbook approach. However, regarding romance being romance repulsed romance makes me cringe, like a suffocating intensity. However, there are aros (like me re ace) who aren't romance-repulsed and will of course experience it differently, though will be something similar to my "no bother to me if I do or don't " re romance, I suspect. 

In addition there are sublabels within aromanticism, obviously romance-repulsed is one of them, but also aplatonic etc. I'm not aplatonic (unfortunately because it would have saved so much heartache in the past), I have platonic and social needs which mean I look to get into a relationship, treat it in the same way I've treated all my school best friends, it gets too romantically intense, I drop the relationship with a lot of relief (though it is worse than that really because I lose a friend), then 6-12 months down the line have the platonic/social need... I feel like a stuck record! Having platonic attraction (called squishes) I've always got into relationships for friendship reasons such as they are cool or some other general admiration. But an aplatonic aro will probably give you a different story

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DogObsessedLianne

@Traveler40 is it your husband who is aro? I wonder if there's also a gender divide (especially in the stereotypical binary world), where women are more ok to show platonic physical affection whereas men are less encouraged to do so by a binary society (and it's only very recently that this has started to become blurred in society, for example my dad being 60 is a definite "man of his times"). And then of course this will affect how it is to be aro based on what is acceptable as platonic? 

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Traveler40

Yes, it is my husband.  I don’t think it’s a gender thing.  For a long time, I thought it was personality and really didn’t know about or understand aromanticism. He comes across as, in an odd way, not fully present at times.  Others see aloof unless he’s had a few beers. Then, he’s comical and witty.  I generally ask him to throw back a beer or two before parties.

 

I used to feel very special because he seemingly opened up to me.  I now realize he actively listened, but never put forth of himself.  I am always “leading the horse”, and he is happy to be led. 

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Telecaster68
29 minutes ago, DogObsessedLiz said:

Alloromantic Allosexuals (assuming it's the same orientation be it homo, bi, hetero etc) will mix the two up.

It's better to say that for us romantic sexuals, the two things are so thoroughly entwined it makes no sense to consider them separately. In fact, almost the only section for whom it makes any sense to think about romantic and sexual attraction separately are asexuals.

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DogObsessedLianne

There's also aromantic allosexuals, and I also know a homoromantic heterosexual just to confuse matters, and I was referring to them being so intertwined that it actually makes it hard for us when we first hear about it being separate. Personality can play a part. Probably the best comparison would be to ask, do they treat you like they treat their friends? 

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Telecaster68

My point was that effectively, for 99pc of the population, they're not really separate, and trying to put everyone in little boxes just leads to the immense amount of confusion about types of attraction which fuels about a third of AVEN's posts.

 

It's more that sometimes the attraction to someone could be more sexual than romantic - ie we want to fuck them rather than walk off into the sunset with them, but on the other hand we don't just want to fuck them, some conversation, dancing, flirting, etc. is also needed - and sometimes more romantic than sexual - ie we'd love to get a little cottage and wicket fence with them, and this would fuel the need to fuck as a way of confirming that romantic relationship. And all stops in between. And this changes so that with the same person, in the same relationship, sometimes it's more fucking and less romanticism, and sometimes it's more romanticism and less fucking.

 

Your alleged homoromantic heterosexual friend, for example, I'd be reasonably sure would up for extensive snogging with same sex partners, because it's romantic, and would want some conversations, flirting etc. with their opposite sex partners.

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DogObsessedLianne

Or snogging could be classed as sexual (or at least sensual) - I know that the friend in question would question your idea but obviously I can't speak for her (and suggesting "alleged" is looking at someone else from your personal lens), and however much I'd agree that the larger portion of the population will be same attraction be it romantic or sexual (aroaces included), it's much more complicated than how you portray. 

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DogObsessedLianne

Self knowledge isn't about "putting people into little boxes", only because you don't understand what many on here are going through doesn't mean any boxes are fueling any posts, but all on here are trying to make sense of what they are experiencing that is "out of the norm for society". And I apologise for the poster of this post because I think it should get back on topic.

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SusannaC

Still not close to understanding what aromantic looks like

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Serran

Aromantic asexual.... shouldnt be that difficult, if you think about it. Imagine yourself with your bestest friend in the world, who you have no romantic or sexual feels for. Now imagine that bond is all you want, no romantic or sexual urges exist. Or, if you lack really close friends without sexual or romantic feels, imagine your sister/cousin/brother/whatever. 

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Winged Whisperer
3 hours ago, Telecaster68 said:

In fact, almost the only section for whom it makes any sense to think about romantic and sexual attraction separately are asexuals.

And also the partners of asexuals and close friends for the sake of understanding them. But also there's a lot of utility outside of asexuality too, mostly in the Bi community. Like there are bisexual people who nonetheless have their romantic orientation for only one gender or vice versa, and there are also people who are heteroflexible, aka, heterosexual identifying people who would be more accurately described as heteroromantic-bisexuals with a preference for the opposite gender. Of course, on your main point you're right though, for allosexuals sex and romance are very deeply intertwined.

 

Anyway, on topic: it's very highly doubtful that someone in a marriage is aromantic. Aromantic asexuals can much easier spot their differences from everyone else compared to romantic aces, and even if they don't, they still don't want "loving" relationships, since they're aromantic, and so it's unlikely for them to even get into a relationship in the first place.

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Memento1

If you want to understand your partner, it seems you should ask him.  What does he see as romantic?  How does he feel differently about you than about his friends?

 

As to the larger discussion here, I think most people can understand aromanticism, but only through the sexual lens: an allosexual aromantic (a "player" who loves casual sex but not emotional intimacy or commitment).

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anisotrophic

@Memento1 many people in mixed relationships find themselves here on AVEN, trying to navigate the relationship without their partner being willing to discuss/communicate. (Indeed, @Winged Whisperer is in a similar situation, as was @Telecaster68.)

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TimeDelay

Hmmm...*scratching head*

 

I do appreciate the responses, thank you.

 

Okay, I'll try to give this context. I have been with my ace for nearly thirty years. He was raised in a religious family (think extreme) and believed himself messed up badly by this. He has now read some of the information on AVEN and says he identifies with the asexuality definitions/descriptions but he thinks most people would. He's not sure he is asexual and still wonders if he is 'different' due to his upbringing and he also still thinks that maybe if he met 'the right person' he would want a 'normal' relationship. I have tried to persuade him that he IS 'normal' and it's okay to accept himself as he is.

 

He says he loves me very deeply; that he would die for me.  He does not kiss me, reach out to touch me even casually, snuggle up with me on the sofa, lean into me when we are side by side, put his arm around me, rub my hand or thigh when nearby, suggest dinner dates or weekends away together etc etc etc.  I could go on describing all the small signs that suggest one person is romantically inclined toward their partner. I do these things, without even thinking. He has never acted this way toward me. He says he just never thinks of it. 

 

I have tended to ascribe his lack of romantic behaviour to being another hang up from his childhood. I also secretly feared that perhaps he didn't want to do any of this stuff in case it led to sex/he found me repulsive.  Since I have assured him I will never expect him to have sexual contact with me his behaviour has not changed. It was only after finding AVEN that it occurred to me that he may not only be asexual but aromantic too.

 

Tbh if he was here I would just talk to him about this but he is away for the weekend so I asked you all instead. Mind you, talking to him is pretty much like reading a thread on AVEN so...yeah...😅

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Anthracite_Impreza

I may be sticking my oar in where it doesn't belong, but I know on this site there are many touchy-feely aros, so lack of touch isn't necessarily an aro thing. Maybe touch just isn't his love language? You could ask him how exactly he sees you (best friend, lover, partner, special, whatevs) and try to gauge from there?

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Ace Of Hugs

Well, I identify as quoiro, not aro, because I don't have a clear idea of what "romantic" means.  It seems to be like the old line about porn:

 

"I can't define it, but I know it when I see it." :D

 

I have a small number of friends I feel incredibly loyalty and affection to, but I don't see that as "romantic".  No candlelit dinners, or long walks holding hands.  More likely "crashing on the couch eating junk food" and "walking through a bookstore looking at new releases"…

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Telecaster68
28 minutes ago, Anthracite_Impreza said:

I know on this site there are many touchy-feely aros

Genuinely, Anthra, surely if they're touchy-feely with their partner in the kind of way TimeDelay describes, I don't think that would line up with being aromantic. It's pretty much textbook romantic behaviour, possibly bordering on sexual.

 

50 minutes ago, TimeDelay said:

He does not kiss me, reach out to touch me even casually, snuggle up with me on the sofa, lean into me when we are side by side, put his arm around me, rub my hand or thigh when nearby, suggest dinner dates or weekends away together etc etc etc.  I could go on describing all the small signs that suggest one person is romantically inclined toward their partner. I do these things, without even thinking. He has never acted this way toward me. He says he just never thinks of it. 

Sounds horribly familiar to me, and its effect is insidious. You can rationally lecture yourself that it's just how they are forever, but you just don't feel loved, in that visceral deep assured way, and if it goes on for long enough, it plays on insecurities till you're fairly surely you're just objectively unattractive. (And yes, I know this isn't rational, but that's the point - touch short circuits all that rational stuff, and so does its absence).

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Anthracite_Impreza
15 minutes ago, Telecaster68 said:

Genuinely, Anthra, surely if they're touchy-feely with their partner in the kind of way TimeDelay describes, I don't think that would line up with being aromantic. It's pretty much textbook romantic behaviour, possibly bordering on sexual.

Well, perhaps not all those things no, but hugs, leaning, arms and holidays can all be friend things.

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Telecaster68

... and if they're friend things, they're not really 'partner' things, hence them not really doing the trick in romantic relationships.

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TimeDelay
53 minutes ago, Anthracite_Impreza said:

I may be sticking my oar in where it doesn't belong, but I know on this site there are many touchy-feely aros, so lack of touch isn't necessarily an aro thing. Maybe touch just isn't his love language? You could ask him how exactly he sees you (best friend, lover, partner, special, whatevs) and try to gauge from there?

I used to think this too, about the love languages. My husband finds it very difficult to talk about his feelings and has not found the words as yet to describe how exactly he sees me. Maybe if he gets to a place of really trusting he can show affection without having to worry it will make me want sex, then he will figure out if he is a touchy-feely person or not.

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anisotrophic

@TimeDelay setting aside "what is romanticism" I fully agree with discussing "love languages" and expression of love. This helped my partner and I a lot. We've been together a decade and a half but seems like we never approached it explicitly.

 

The most important thing for us was to realize the most important issue for us was with communicating/feeling loved, not the sex itself.

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TimeDelay

@Telecaster68 I'm sorry you have suffered. You're right about touch short circuiting everything. I know that nothing is going to change in my marriage. It's not my husband's fault, he is who he is. What I have to do is decide if I can continue here, like this. Did I read that you are no longer in the relationship that brought you to AVEN? Are you doing okay now?

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Anthracite_Impreza
12 minutes ago, Telecaster68 said:

... and if they're friend things, they're not really 'partner' things, hence them not really doing the trick in romantic relationships.

I know, I'm just saying that touch or lack of isn't a good way of determining romantic vs aromantic.

 

8 minutes ago, TimeDelay said:

I used to think this too, about the love languages. My husband finds it very difficult to talk about his feelings and has not found the words as yet to describe how exactly he sees me. Maybe if he gets to a place of really trusting he can show affection without having to worry it will make me want sex, then he will figure out if he is a touchy-feely person or not.

It took me nigh on 7 years 'in a relationship' to come to the conclusion I'm romantic, so I can empathise with the guy. He might be alexithymic, unable to describe feelings (well), as I am.

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Telecaster68
Just now, Anthracite_Impreza said:

touch or lack of isn't a good way of determining romantic vs aromantic.

It is if you exclude the 'friendship' touches - so cuddling up on the sofa, hand on the thigh (or elsewhere vaguely sexual).

 

3 minutes ago, TimeDelay said:

@Telecaster68 I'm sorry you have suffered. You're right about touch short circuiting everything. I know that nothing is going to change in my marriage. It's not my husband's fault, he is who he is. What I have to do is decide if I can continue here, like this. Did I read that you are no longer in the relationship that brought you to AVEN? Are you doing okay now?

Yep, we separated almost a year ago, and we're both doing better now. For me, it means I'm free to embark on a relationship where I do get those needs met, and for her, it means she has nobody expecting anything more than a housemate relationship with her (she's sharing a house with an old - male - friend who I'm pretty certain is equally asexual as she is. 

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Galactic Turtle

Kind of like asexuality, the term is used so widely (albeit less so than asexuality, I think) that it could look like anything. An aromantic person could be happily married with kids. An aromantic person could be a hermit living in a cave.

 

The type of aromanticism that actually matters in terms of having any distinct impact on reality is that the person in question won't be interested in having a partner or if they do, the other person might not find them matching up on all the various emotional cues or expectations. This type of incompatibility is likely to end a relationship.

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TimeDelay
15 minutes ago, Anthracite_Impreza said:

It took me nigh on 7 years 'in a relationship' to come to the conclusion I'm romantic, so I can empathise with the guy. He might be alexithymic, unable to describe feelings (well), as I am.

One last query before I go to bed, if you don't mind, how was it you came to understand you are romantic? I mean, was it a series of things or one light-bulb moment? Alexithymic - Another new word for me to google..I'll have to do that tomorrow; it's 1AM here and I'm jacked. G'night.

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TimeDelay

@Telecaster68 I'm glad to hear that. Life is far too short to spend so unhappy. I have a feeling that my H only wants a housemate too. We're due to continue our 'talk' when he gets back from his weekend away. Thanks for your input. Sleep well.

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Anthracite_Impreza
25 minutes ago, TimeDelay said:

One last query before I go to bed, if you don't mind, how was it you came to understand you are romantic? I mean, was it a series of things or one light-bulb moment? Alexithymic - Another new word for me to google..I'll have to do that tomorrow; it's 1AM here and I'm jacked. G'night.

I think I kinda had it in the back of my head since the beginning, but since I didn't seem to feel it at the same intensity as most I dismissed it. In the end I figured thinking about him whenever soppy love songs came on, my increased touchy-feely-ness and the fact that I couldn't write his name for a long while without putting a love heart after it, all counted as romantic. 

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