Jump to content

Struggling with my romantic identity.


Recommended Posts

JMSuttonPhotoowl

I am lost about my romantic orientation. The long and short of it is I'm not sure if I am repressed biromantic or that I am wishing I was biromantic, because all my hetro relationships  have not worked. I'm curious if dating a woman would work better for me. When I have wondered if I can be romantic with a woman, I often wonder if I am forcing myself to. I'm concerned if I try and date a girl and find out I'm still just hetro romantic, that I would be misleading her (I am currently wondering if I have a squish on a girl, or if I just like being her friend.)  But I don't know, and  I wish this was as clear as me realizing I was Ace, I didn't need to "try it out, " to know that part of myself. 

The current advice I have gotten about finding your romantic orientation is  to look at your younger self.  I have reflected and I can say I hung out with girls more then guys,  but I had strong crushes/squishes on guys through out my formative years.  Yet, I drew a lot of women and created more female characters in my youth then male (this changed in high school, but I digress.) Yet when I played with my stuffed animals, they all had complex heteronormative relationships. It didn't help I grew up in a conservative home , and I was an obedient child. To illustrate, I starkly remember telling my dad about a bi character I made up, and he told me bi people don't exist. Though I was sad, I took his word because I trusted him. It wasn't until college I was retold about bisexuality and accepted  my dad was wrong; it was real.  But reflecting on my childhood isn't enough, I'm still lost.  
Has anyone else struggled with this( feel free to share your struggle too)? Does anyone have advice,  guidance or insights to share?  Is there any other exercises I can try to clear the air for myself? 

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a pretty similar struggle. I still wonder if I am aromantic and just pretend to want a relationship. I have gone on many dates with men over the years, but they always ended up making me uncomfortable and sad. I have also been thinking about trying to date women, but share your concerns about leading someone on. For me, the difficult thing is that I never crushed on anyone, though I would carefully look for men who I liked enough to potentially date. It's been tough; I do not want to be aromantic since I do like the idea of marriage and having a partner, but I still have never felt truly interested in dating anyone. I really feel you; I am not sure if I wish that I am romantic or am romantic.

I'm sure someone in the comments will have advice for you, since I am going through the same thing and can't be too helpful.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Oof kinda relate. I've never been in a romantic relationship so even though I think I want one a lot of times I have this doubt that maybe I'm aromatntic and not suit for romantic relationships.

Link to post
Share on other sites
colliethefurry

If you aren't sure, there's nothing wrong with adopting the label "bicurious" until you are sure. :) And that way, you aren't leading anyone on if you do date a girl. You can just tell her you're bicurious and interested in giving dating women a try.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey @JMSuttonPhotoowl. I'm a lesbian, and although I've never been in a relationship, I found that it's abundantly clear that I'm attracted to women. I live in Greece, where gay men and lesbians are rarely acknowledged as "not the butt of a joke" by wider cishet society, and bi, aro, ace and trans people are rarely acknowledged in general (ironic, when you consider our history). This can make one's search for identity extremely difficult, and the difficulty doesn't stop when one either finds their identity, or finds that they can't narrow their identity down any further, because of the societal conditions I mentioned. I don't think I'd have fully accepted myself if it weren't for my IRL queer friend group. AVEN was a great help, but so was having a support system IRL.

 

And yet, after all this time (2.5 years since I accepted I'm sapphic, 1.5 year since I accepted I'm a lesbian, 5 months since I accepted I'm sexual), I'll confess that sometimes I still feel guilty about being attracted to women. I've been getting better at it, because I've gotten to a point where I can rationalise the guilt away. (Example: I'm not "predatory" for having normal desires towards women, I don't have any intention to hurt a woman, let alone a woman I'm interested in, and the thought alone makes me sick, and I'd never act on any desire of mine without the other party's explicit conscent.) but sometimes, it still rears its ugly head when I least expect it.

 

Have you ever heard of compulsory heterosexuality (or "comphet", as it's sometimes referred to as)? According to wikipedia, 

 

"Compulsory heterosexuality is the idea that heterosexuality is assumed and enforced by a patriarchal and heteronormative society. In this theory, heterosexuality is seen as able to be adopted by people regardless of their personal sexual orientation, while heterosexuality is socially promoted as the natural state of both sexes, and deviation is seen as unfavorable."

 

Comphet is unfortunately a really common phenomenon among sapphic women. They'll end up entirely suppressing their attraction towards women, and if they're bi, act solely on their attraction towards men, or if they're lesbians, fake an attraction towards men to act on (which sometimes makes them believe that they can be attracted to men, even when that's not true. Speaking from personal experience.) Which leads me to the next point:

 

2 hours ago, JMSuttonPhotoowl said:

Yet when I played with my stuffed animals, they all had complex heteronormative relationships. It didn't help I grew up in a conservative home , and I was an obedient child.

 

If you looked at me as a kid, you'd assume I was aromantic, because of my strong aversion towards romance. The truth is, I only had a strong aversion towards the heteronormative kind of romance shown in pieces of media where I was meant to identify with female characters. I always related to male characters, I had only male friends, my attitude was "girls are icky, they have cooties" same as them, and we all conveniently ignored the fact I was supposed to be a girl. I regularly told them that I'm not a girl, I'm just their friend. The one time I acknowledged romance, I wished I could have been born a boy so that I could date girls, because girls were prettier. But I'd never admit that to anyone, going "EW GROSS" when a kiss was shown on screen.

 

Well, now I'm a nonbinary lesbian. Who you were as a kid doesn't define your adult self, ESPECIALLY when you're coming from a deeply heteronormative background. One of my nonbinary friends told me that they wish they could express themselves as a kid, but were too scared of breaking the gender roles imposed on them. They told me they wished they could have acted more like me, outright rejecting gender roles as a child. And I don't even feel like I was 100% true to myself as a kid.

 

So, unless you've grown up in a completely accepting society, where your parent(s) or guardian(s) regularly told you that it's okay for you to be attracted to people of the same gender (both as in being gay and as in being bi/pan/onmi), or to not be attracted to people at all, and encouraged you to explore your gender identity, and urged you to always be true to yourself, and the social stigma of visible gender nonconformity was nonexistent, I'd argue that looking at your younger self is really not a good metric for finding your current gender identity or romantic or sexual orientation. Because, to quote a phrase I've seen floating around online, "Sometimes you're so deep in the closet that you're just chilling in Narnia".

 

Now, if you try to date women, I can give you a piece of advice. Be extremely upfront with them. Explicitly state that you're asexual, and that you're still questioning whether or not you're biromantic. This way, you'll both be at the same page, and they'll try to accomodate you, rather than be confused because they think you're just as attracted to women and confident in your attraction to women as they are. There's absolutely nothing wrong with questioning, but when a questioning person enters a relationship, they should take extra care to be open and honest with their partner, so that neither party expects something that the other party can't provide.

 

However, I'll say one thing. Maybe you can relate to that, maybe you can't, either is okay. But I'd say that if you regularly think of women in a romantic light, or think that it would be neat if you found yourself in a relationship with a woman you loved and trusted, or daydream about being in romantic situations with women, OR if you try to suppress these thoughts or feel ashamed about them afterwards, I'd say that this is a pretty good indication that you are indeed attracted to women. If you find that this is the case, I'd strongly advise you to look into "impostor syndrome", as it might make you feel less alone.

 

I wish you the best of luck in your search! If you find that you have any further questions, feel free to ask me or PM me!

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
JMSuttonPhotoowl

@Life Of Tass Oh my god this has been so helpful. I might even read it again because there is just so much here to take in.  Thank you so much for the information  and sharing your personal experience.  I'll certainly PM you if I have more questions.  Thank you!

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
JMSuttonPhotoowl
17 hours ago, Steel13 said:

I have a pretty similar struggle. I still wonder if I am aromantic and just pretend to want a relationship. I have gone on many dates with men over the years, but they always ended up making me uncomfortable and sad. I have also been thinking about trying to date women, but share your concerns about leading someone on. For me, the difficult thing is that I never crushed on anyone, though I would carefully look for men who I liked enough to potentially date. It's been tough; I do not want to be aromantic since I do like the idea of marriage and having a partner, but I still have never felt truly interested in dating anyone. I really feel you; I am not sure if I wish that I am romantic or am romantic.

I'm sure someone in the comments will have advice for you, since I am going through the same thing and can't be too helpful.

Agreed and I am glad I am not the only one struggling with this

Link to post
Share on other sites
30 minutes ago, JMSuttonPhotoowl said:

@Life Of Tass Oh my god this has been so helpful. I might even read it again because there is just so much here to take in.  Thank you so much for the information  and sharing your personal experience.  I'll certainly PM you if I have more questions.  Thank you!

You're very welcome! I'm glad I could help! :)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh ok I relate to a lot of this. Not sure if I'm hetero or biromantic. Also grew up in a conservative home where I suppressed interest in ANY relationship because "ew gross" felt like the only acceptable answer until I was in college. But IF I really am bi, then I definitely would have more intensely suppressed attraction towards girls. My worry is that I'm just wishing I were biromantic to fit in with my friends, none of whom are straight. Maybe I should take this worry less seriously since I know I spent several years convincing myself I wasn't asexual because of Impostor syndrome, but I'm really not sure... 

 

I don't think I had crushes on girls in middle or high school, but I only had a couple crushes at all until college. And I'm sure I spent more time staring at pretty girls than boys, if that means anything. In college most of my crushes (at least most of the most noticeable ones) were guys, but now I'm having a really hard time deciding if the few potential crushes on girls really were crushes or not. How do you know?? There is one that I am pretty sure was a crush, but if I'm wrong about that one, then the rest could be easily explained away too... And then there are female characters in tv shows that I just adore and I feel like I would 100% date if I could, but they're fictional, so I don't know if that means anything. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...