Monday, February 20, 2017: Write about some of the complications you’ve come across as identifying or existing on the aromantic spectrum. You can include ways you’ve worked out problems that occur, or things you might still be struggling- it’s all up to you.
Figuring out I was aromantic was a process mainly, like I stated in yesterday’s blog post, I hadn’t heard of the term “aromantic” until I got more involved on Tumblr. At the time I was discovering my aromanticism I was in my first, and only, relationship with cisgendered allosexual male.
Growing up I had always questions what was romantic attraction/love because around me I was one of the few people who hadn’t experienced it at the age of 15/16. At that age, where I was slowly getting more into Tumblr, I had only known of three sexualities: Gay, Straight, and Bisexual. And because I hadn’t had a relationship, and I hadn’t questioned my gender or sexuality I identified as straight. And because of this amanormative world I was, I guess, brainwashed into thinking even at a young age because I was 15/16 and hadn’t had a relationship I either didn’t deserve one or that it was abnormal to not have one yet.
And because of this self hatred that developed because of my lack of romantic experience, and lack of knowledge on aromanticisim and aromantic terms I did something that I would probably do differently today. Today I realised I experienced what is called a squish, if you don’t know what a squish is it’s when an aromantic person has a desire to have a platonic relationship with someone. I had a guy friend that asked me out and I said no to and our friendship got awkward and we kind of fell out of sync, and because of this I developed what I’d now know to be a squish. But because I didn’t know what it was I thought this was a crush (I now realise all my “crushes” were actually squishes). So when he later asked me out for the second time, I said we should give it go (I actually never gave a direct “yes” answer I said something like “let’s give it a go”). And because of this amanormative world I did something I kind of regret now, it was push my “friends” away and focus more on my relationship. I used quotation marks around friends because even then, because we’re at school and we spent nearly every day together, we were more friendly than friends you’d keep for life because we had to spend every day but weekends together. And I felt like they were more closer to each other than they were to me, even before I had a boyfriend.
I started questioning my (what would be aromantic) identity around the two year nearly three year mark of our relationship (we never made it to three btw). I know for definite that my asexuality played apart in our break up, because of the fact that he and I were both uneducated on it, and I still didn’t know what I was and wasn’t comfortable with. There were a lot of problems at this stage in our relationship but I personally feel that discovering my aromanticism played a part in understanding what I personally wanted in this relationship and that was I didn’t want it to be romantic. And because of this our relationship ended badly, I am probably mostly at fault. We didn’t communicate well and we haven’t spoken since. I hold a grudge to be honest, and things that he said or did could be seen as aphobic.
I should probably mention that the only person in real life that I came out (as asexual and aromantic, at the time I hadn’t questioned my gender yet), to was him not willingly though (long story short because he didn’t have a phone I lent him my Ipod, which was connected to my iMessage and I told one of my internet friends and he saw it). And because of this, and the lack of knowledge on aromanticism in my family I’ve experienced indirect aphobic comments, or forcing me to conform with the amanormative world. What I mean by this is that at family dinners, or even just watching a TV programme the idea of my having a boyfriend, or getting married, or having kids will come up. My mum in particular speaks about queer people as if her children couldn’t be queer, which I am. I feel like my mum only knows about “LGBT” people she doesn’t know that there’s more more identities that have been added and realised over the coming years. And because of that it’s lead to confusion, and/or indirect coming out from my side. For example my mum will bring up the idea of me getting a boyfriend/husband (sometimes she says or girlfriend/wife but she has this tone her voice that makes it kind of disapproving) and I’ll full out say no, and that’d lead her into asking if I’ll be alone for the rest of my life and I answer with yes. And because of that, my indirect coming out as aromantic several times during the year, she thinks that I’ll be sad and lonely, when in fact it’s the exact opposite.
I know I probably should just come out but it would be so hard to explain to her all of my identities and for her to understand it. I know for one that she thinks that my firmness on not having a relationship is because of a bad break up and that it’ll be just a “phase” (she’s directly told me that my opinion on not having kids will change in the future, and it won’t). My mum is also biphobic, and as someone who slightly identifies with panromantic as well as aromantic it indirectly makes her panphobic too. And I just know that she probably won’t even try to understand aromanticism because to her that’s “not normal”. And I don’t feel like I have to, I love where I’m at with my aromantic identity I shouldn’t have to explain it to anyone. But I will eyeroll at anyone who brings amanormativity or heteronormativity into the conversation.
I feel like the dependence the world has on romance and sex has brainwashed people into questioning aromantic (and asexual) people because we don’t fit this “new normal” and that makes it harder for us to live as we want to live, without questions on our relationships and because of this world it’s made it harder for people to appreciate platonic relationships at the same level as romantic relationships. Because as the world has got dependent on romantic love, it’s put it above platonic relationships when they should be equal. Friendships are so important. Not just romantic love. And some people don’t need or want romantic love, but some people can’t understand it because they’re so dependant on finding their “true love”, their “soulmate”. But maybe someone’s soulmate or “true love” is platonic love, or familial love.
I love being aromantic, and no arophobic people, nor this amanormative will change that.