Aromantic Representation and Erasure: Why I Get So Worked Up Over It.

The obvious short answer is that I’m aromantic, which probably is enough reason in itself. But it’s so much more than me being aromantic that’s the reasoning behind it. There’s everything I’ve went through to get to the stage that I’m at now with my acceptance of my own aromanticism. Because I wasn’t always this accepting of my own identity.

I have probably slightly touched upon this topic in all of my recent blog posts that talk about aromantic representation or erasure and my aromanticism but I don’t think I’ve gone into detail about my own acceptance of my own aromanticism. Because it wasn’t easy. And it took me longer to accept myself being aromantic than it did when I accepted my asexuality. My asexuality I accepted right there and then, I saw the word asexual and went “yeah that’s me” but because of certain circumstances that I’ll now go into it took me longer to accept being aromantic.

The first thing would be that I was uneducated on aromanticism and the fact that I probably had internalized arophobia because of amatonormativity. This played a big part in me not accepting the fact I was aromantic because at the time I was questioning myself I was in a relationship. So when I saw the word aromantic I automatically thought “no I can’t be aromantic, that’s not me, I’m in relationship. There’s no way that I can be aromantic,” and so because of that I looked at the aromantic spectrum because I made myself believe that because of this romantic relationship I was in there was no way that I couldn’t feel romantic attraction, because otherwise what was I in this relationship for? But looking back on that relationship it never was romantic for me, it was what I thought was romantic. When asked out I never said yes, I actually said and I quote “let’s give it a try” this shows that I was never really sure on a romantic relationship and the fact that I had turned that same guy down once before. Also I had never really knew what romantic attraction felt like, I just denied it because you’re “supposed” to feel this attraction because who are we if we don’t have this goal to end up married, and in love? And because I was in what I thought was a romantic relationship I denied and denied what I wasn’t feeling to the point where I think I faked it so much that I ended up believing it myself. I loved him platonically I can’t deny that, I loved being his friend, and we had so much in common. But because of that and the fact that we slowly fell out of sync and out of friendship when he asked me out the first time I missed being his friend so much, that I confused it with romantic attraction and having a crush on him.

When I realised I was in fact aromantic I denied it because I feared that I’d lose him as a friend, to which I did in the end, all I ever wanted was a friendship but because of my lack of education on aromanticism and my internalized arophobia because of how I was taught to want and need a romantic relationship I mistakenly took what was a deep platonic relationship into something that was romantic. Due to that I broke boundaries that I hate myself for now.

My lack of education made me realise too late that I’m somewhat touch adverse and romance repulsed. The more I understood my aromanticism in this relationship the more I realised there was boundaries I had that I didn’t realise. The more I realised how touch adverse I really was. I just made myself break them because that’s what you’re “supposed” to do for the person you love. I realised that I was romance repulsed in a way that is probably strange, because I’m okay with it for other people, but the minute a character starts kissing another I become uncomfortable and that’s where I want it to stop. Maybe it’s also due to my sex repulsion as well because most of the time kissing leads to sex when it comes to media. I’m okay with small kisses, like a peck on the lips/cheek/forehead etc but the minute it lasts for over like 30 seconds that’s when I want it to stop. My touch adverseness is probably what you could class as both “normal” and “strange” at the same time because I don’t want anyone to touch me, especially strangers but if we’re close like friends, and sometimes family then I’m okay with it. I sometimes or rather most of the time go through phases where I don’t want even people close to me to touch me either.

There’s something I also want to bring up that probably played apart in not accepting my aromanticism. And it’s those motivational quotes for the future pictures. If you don’t know what I mean it’s when there’s a photo it can be minimalist or have a couple on it and it’ll say something like “you’ll find love” or “your prince charming is waiting for you” or whatever. It’s really dehumanizing towards people who don’t experience romantic attraction because they aren’t true for people like me who won’t get this. And it’s very invalidating. I think I see at least one every two days. I understand that the lack of education on aromanticism probably means that they don’t know that these pictures are harmful towards some people, and that they probably don’t mean no harm when they make them. But I truly do hate them. Because when I was younger and I was the only person in my friend group without having a boyfriend I clung to these pictures. I even had a “love quotes” app that I scrolled through daily to make myself feel better (or worse in some cases) and I saw these quotes and saw myself as unloveable and ugly, and that was the reason behind me not having a boyfriend, I had been asked out in the past by the unnamed person above and a few others (like two), which I had always said no to. But it never clicked that it wasn’t because I was unloveable it was because I was aromantic. I just never had the word for it.

Now this is the reason why I’m more vocal now on aromantic erasure and representation than I used to be. Because I fully accept myself being aromantic and I don’t want young people, old people, whatever age they are who are questioning if they are aromantic,  or if they don’t experience romantic attraction but don’t know the word aromantic to go through what I did. Aromantic representation in the media is so important, it needs to be shown, to be normalized that not everyone experiences romantic attraction, that not everyone wants to date someone. That people are fine living without a romantic partner for the rest of their lives. It’s not about me anymore, I’ve gotten to a good place with my aromanticism I don’t want anyone to experience what I did. I don’t want them to suffer from the pain of thinking that they’re unlovable, ugly, or broken. I want them to see that they are perfect as they  are. That not experiencing this attraction is normal. That having boundaries as an aromantic person is okay and that you shouldn’t break them for anyone.

And you know what having aromantic representation will not only educate but it will also start to break down the arophobia that some of us face daily. It’ll stop families, the media, etc force feeding the idea that everyone grows up to get married and finds the love of their life. It will normalise platonic partnerships. It will show that platonic relationships are not lesser than romantic relationships. It will show the importance of platonic relationships. And most important of all it will teach young children that if they discover that they are aromantic that it’s okay to be aromantic. 

It’s because of all of this that I won’t be silenced when I see aroace characters’ aromanticism be erased. It’s why I’ll speak up about arophobic ships in fandoms. It’s why I’ll continue to speak up about my aromantic journey, and the importance of aromantic representation until we get it. It’s 2017 aromantic representation is more important than ever.


5 thoughts on “Aromantic Representation and Erasure: Why I Get So Worked Up Over It.

  1. Pingback: Can We Stop Dehumanising Aromantic People?! | ACELAUREN

  2. Pingback: Aromantic Erasure & Why it Matters – Social Gender

  3. Thank you for sharing your story. I must say that it echoes my own journey in discovering my aromanticism.

    When I was younger and still in my school years, I never had ‘crushes’ on or ‘fancies’ of anybody. Class peers would try and pair me up with people, which used to make me seethe. I wasn’t aware of aromanticism then, so thought they were trying to mock me [I’m non-white and lived in a racist area]. Moreover, while some people think it’s well-intentioned, I’ve always found matchmaking rather patronising. Fast forward to early adulthood and, still, I never felt any romantic attraction. I never had a boyfriend, and compounded by racism, I’d accepted that nobody would look my way.

    Eventually, somebody at university took an interest in me and wanted to go out with me. I declined him at first and he seemed to be accepting, until almost a year later, when he brought up the issue again. I still didn’t feel romance, but like in your situation, I said I’d ‘give [him] a try’. Also, people around me were ‘overjoyed’ the rare times I mentioned having a partner. I became trapped in false validation of what became the darkest period of my life so far.

    Sometimes, I wish I’d said no, but at the same time I learnt how toxic amatonormativity and monogamy are. The ‘relationship’ soon turned abusive and triggered my depression. My ex also didn’t like my relationships with family and other friends while being with him. After the ordeal, I realised I didn’t fit in such an environment. What it also reinforced was that even before the abuse, I never loved him; at most, I’d considered him a confidante. I’d forced myself to be ‘romantic’ because society had expected me to be that.

    A few more years (and other toxic male encounters) later, I stopped believing I was ‘unlucky in love’. I knew with more conviction it was more than that, despite not pinpointing it. I believed I was ‘antiromantic’ for a while, until one day, a friend mentioned [her] demisexuality. I’d never heard the term, so had a read online, where an article about it had also mentioned aromanticism. When I read about *that*, I felt a torch ignite in my head. Aromanticism was me. Since realising that, I’m much more self-confident and know how best to respond to other people. It’s also made me appreciate even more the types of relationships I do have.

    Like you, I try to make aromanticism (and other orientations) more visible by talking about it. The problem I find is that few are introspective (and honest) enough to discuss issues like that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for sharing your story with me!

      I feel the exact same way as you do about sometimes wishing you said no, but there are times where I think if I did say no would my road to discovery have been longer (because I believe parts of that relationship helped me understand the difference in what I was and wasn’t feeling) or would I have ended up doing the same thing with a different person just later on.

      It’s things like this that make me want to share my story and my road to acceptance (especially with being aromantic since that one took me longer) because there might be someone out there who needs it, and with how little awareness aromanticism gets at the moment I hope that somehow people who need it, whether that be a community, someone they can relate too, I hope they can find it.


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