A Life

A weekly podcast about asexuality

A Life #45: Aromanticism

Download (MP3)

Epic topic results in epic runtime. So sit back and enjoy as the panel digs into aromantic considerations with a special guest.

Poll:
How romantic are you?

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January 29, 2011 - Posted by | Podcast

7 Comments »

  1. Yay! I’ve been waiting for this topic. I’ll just jump in, then.

    As Henrik says, and as I’ve mentioned before in a comment I’ve made awhile back, I consider the Aromantic part of me to be more influential/cumbersome than the Asexual. Everyday people don’t ask about who you’re sleeping with and how, but they do ask who you’re in a relationship with.

    I think people don’t find asexuality nearly as strange as aromanticism. In extreme examples I suppose maybe they think that with asexuality, there might be something wrong with you physically, but mentally you’re fine. With aromanticism, you must be a SOCIOPATH or something, because you CAN’T LOVE.

    Romanticism is also much harder to fake than sexuality, or to rationalize away. People may be able to pretend or cope with sex, but it’s probably way harder for an aromantic person to fake a romantic relationship.

    —-

    Something I’ve found and am frustrated with is that there’s very little information about it on the internet, and almost none that doesn’t have anything related to asexuality.

    The other week, I finally found a good time to tell this person who really wants to start a relationship with me that I was aromantic. I did it through email, partly because I didn’t want to explain it to him face to face, (he would have argued with me. He already told me my life will not be complete without kids. I didn’t want to discuss THIS too) but also because I figured I could send him all sorts of links and stuff to back up my claims and help him get a better understanding. I did NOT want to tell him I was asexual, because

    a) Being aromantic is a good enough reason to not want a relationship and
    b) I don’t like talking about those topics in polite company. I’m not THAT good friends with him.

    I didn’t care if he knew I was asexual. I just didn’t want to tell him.

    Anywho, wouldn’t you know it? The only decent link to a definition of aromanticism is from the AVEN wiki (http://www.asexuality.org/wiki/index.php?title=Aromantic). That’s it. There’s something on urban dictionary, and a few forums/blog/yahoo posts, but nothing OFFICIAL. I’m not even asking for an asexual aromanic link. Just aromanitic. It’s like it doesn’t exist. Googling it will, however, get you advice on how to smell good, or to be a romantic.

    This was a really good episode. I think it needs more exploring on the web and in real life. I also agree that a single thread isn’t good enough, for AVEN, because I’m not about to check a thread and see when a new subject starts up. But then again, I know the non-AVEN forums that were devoted to Aromanticism didn’t do so well. Ah, well. Maybe in 30 years it’ll be better known.

    I know this post is long and rambling. Sorry. Thanks for the topic!

    Kelly

    p.s–On a totally unrelated note, I believe one of you guys is a member of the AVENues newsletter. I emailed the address to see if you wanted any help with the layout/design aspect, as I am a recent BFA Graphic Design graduate with no Graphic Design prospects who wants something…Graphic Design-y to do, but haven’t gotten any response. I can also illustrate! So if you need any help, just email me, I’d be glad to volunteer. Or, if not, don’t worry about it.

    Comment by Kelly | January 31, 2011

  2. I really enjoyed the recent podcast on aromanticism. While I have always known that I was ‘different’ from other people I only learned about asexuality about six months ago and it was the most freeing moment of my life. Suddenly I realized that I wasn’t a freak or somehow defective but that there are other people out there that felt the same way. As an aromantic, I have always felt pressure to hide my disinterest in relationships. But as I get older and it is becoming more obvious that I won’t be settling down with someone, I find myself growing resentful of this societal norm. I realize that relationships are the societal norm and I am the minority but it doesn’t change my feelings. It is frustrating to watch once meaningful friendships take a backseat to romantic relationships. I resent this seeming hierarchy that is given to relationships, rating them on a scale of which type is most important. However I am also aware that my resentment is a direct result of my inability to understand what it feels like to want a relationship. I don’t like that I always have to defend my life and my choices, constantly convincing people that yes, I am happy and I prefer being on my own. Listening to this podcast has been very enjoyable as I finally feel like there are people I can relate to. While I understand that relationships and marriage are, and always will be the norm, I find I don’t feel as alone anymore. I have enjoyed listening to old episodes and getting caught up on the podcast. Keep up the good work and I eagerly anticipate the next episode.

    Comment by Alison | February 9, 2011

  3. Very interesting episode, I listened for the entire 3 hours 😛

    An interesting point was made about the shock of a relationship ending: since a romantic relationship is built around the faith that it will last forever, if you are being dumped you will be, necessarily, surprised. What function does that feeling of “forever” have in romantic relationships versus aromantic ones? Friendships seem to be more flexible, while romances lead to either “I want to spend the rest of my life with this person” or “I guess I don’t want that after all.” Is the definition of romance that unattainable stability?

    Another question I would like to see further addressed (maybe on the aromantic board cough nudge) is, for those who can’t handle existing as an island, how do you resolve the inherent loneliness and the need for human connection? I tried living alone for a year. I survived it, but my friends who knew me from before said that the experience left me visibly scarred. I don’t want to do it again, but it seems inevitable. What do we do when our housemates get homes of their own? Will our lives revolve around our work? What living options are there for us?

    Thank you for recording this. I’m looking forward to the next episode.

    Comment by Max | February 9, 2011

  4. >>for those who can’t handle existing as an island, how do you resolve the inherent loneliness and the need for human connection?<>Romanticism is also much harder to fake than sexuality, or to rationalize away. People may be able to pretend or cope with sex, but it’s probably way harder for an aromantic person to fake a romantic relationship.<>As Henrik says, and as I’ve mentioned before in a comment I’ve made awhile back, I consider the Aromantic part of me to be more influential/cumbersome than the Asexual.<<<
    Same for me, too. These days, being asexual is almost a nonissue for me, unless someone else brings up the topic.

    Comment by amyb | February 14, 2011

  5. (it ate half my comment last time, i think)

    –for those who can’t handle existing as an island, how do you resolve the inherent loneliness and the need for human connection?–

    Not every person has this. I don’t. I don’t think I’d miss people if I were stranded on a desert island, honestly, but I get along with them just fine when I’m around people, which, these days is rarely, when old friends come back to town, or at relatives’ houses on holidays and birthdays.

    But I think your question involves living alone, and I’d say maybe housemates or something. I don’t really understand the desire for someone to be in the same house with you, I prefer to come home to an empty house and get away from people, my home is my castle, and I’m the only person allowed to be there. ^_^ Your life doesn’t have to revolve around work, but housemates leaving is a legitimate concern if you have them. You don’t have to be alone all the time even if you live alone, you know. You could visit friends or have them over seven days a week, if you wanted to, and have enough friends to do so.

    –Romanticism is also much harder to fake than sexuality, or to rationalize away. People may be able to pretend or cope with sex, but it’s probably way harder for an aromantic person to fake a romantic relationship–
    Excellent point. I “faked” sexual attraction for many years (I can enjoy sex sometimes from the stimulation, I’m just not attracted to people), but being romantic just DOES NOT work for me. My BF complained constantly about things like how I never said “i love you” or wanted to cuddle or just kiss and make out, I never did little romantic gestures. I was ok with having sex with him, but I don’t “talk dirty” or wear “sexy clothes.” I really, really don’t understand being romantic. Even watching commercials this time of year for Valentines Day gifts sort of confuses me.

    Comment by amyb | February 14, 2011

  6. Continued: First, OMG you folks mentioned me. [squeal] (I wrote my last comments before I had actually listened to the episode, while i was downloading.)

    I’m asexual but I think of myself as aromantic first, then asexual, if that makes sense. It’s more important to my existence.

    As for the way people respond to aromantics, I get called a robot who can’t love a lot of the time, or people think there is REALLY something wrong with me, and my life must be miserable. It goes back to people unable to accept difference.

    the “all men are aromantic” is offensive for a lot reasons. Of course, it’s not true, and also because it supposes all women are, and I certainly am not. Even when I was in a relationship, it was SO MUCH HARDER for me to deal with romance than with sex. And he didn’t understand why I didn’t get all “mushy” from romantic gifts and gestures, or why I didn’t like being all affectionate physically. Men are expected culturally to act more interested in the sex, but certainly many are romantic! Stereotypes are just bad, esp. when people think there are NO exceptions. People think I’m female so I must be romantic and want a husband and kids. I do not.

    There’s a lot of cheese in my life, and I like grocery shopping sometimes! hehe. It’s not the cheese I can’t stand, it’s the mush.

    For me, the worst thing about being aromantic is everyone thinking it’s pathological. People assume terrible things about me, everything from sexual abuse to horrible mental and social problems. And people think I’m terribly unhappy, because they think you need sex/romance to be happy. It’s very frustrating.

    Comment by amyb | February 24, 2011

  7. I’m aromantic as well! I enjoy living alone but get lonely sometimes. After your friends have romantic relationships, they’d rather spend time with their significant other, so you’re out of the picture, and I hear countless people telling me “don’t you want a relationship? Don’t you want to grow and learn more about yourself? Why don’t you want a boyfriend?” First of all, I’m a lesbian and have emotionally intense connections with plenty of women, more so than is considered normal, and I’m a gray A so that complicates things. I tend to get the “you have childhood/relationship issues” or “you’re afraid to be in a relationship” (not true, BTW. I’ve been emotionally hurt by lots of women and they don’t even know it. If I didn’t want a relationship, I never would’ve gotten so emotionally involved with them! To the extent it kinda creeped some out because they thought I wanted romance, using evidence that I got them a Christmas present or generic birthday card.) Drives me nuts. There really needs to be more validation and discussion of the topic.

    Comment by Brynhild Tudor | March 12, 2011


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