Originally posted on Tumblr but reposted here for archiving. Please note that my views may have changed since it was first written.
I’ve been thinking about this post quite a lot recently. In short, it’s about what part of your identity you see as the important bit – your sexual orientation or your romantic orientation.
I read this post when I thought I was alloromantic, and I vaguely remember deciding I was part of the group who saw their romantic orientation as more important. That’s a load of rubbish (or possibly just a load of internalised acephobia) – I prioritised my asexuality, because that was the bit that was going to affect my life. The fact that it’s taken me so long to even question my romantic orientation surely proves that all I ever thought about was my asexuality; I just liked to pretend that I was ‘normal’ because I’d managed to get lost in the ‘we may be asexual but we can still love so we’re not weird please love us’ rhetoric.
Now, however, I’m not sure which group I fit in. Or rather, I know which group I fit in, but it wasn’t the one I was expecting – I’m still in the sexuality over romanticism group. I still reblog more ace-related stuff, I still have an (admittedly lovely) ace icon,and if two different people shouted for an ace and an aro respectively, I’d almost certainly turn towards the person who wanted an ace. The only time I ever relate more with aromanticism is when I’m in an overly-romantic ace space (or when I talk to my friends about the ace characters they’re writing and feel horridly certain that they’ll be romantic even though I haven’t asked).
I’ve been trying to work out why that is, and I can’t quite put my finger on it. It could be (almost certainly is) arophobia, just like how I thought I would prioritise my romantic orientation because of acephobia. However, somehow that explanation just doesn’t sit quite right with me. It’s similarly possible that being a hopeless romantic for eighteen years of life has made it hard for me to relate to aros who’ve known they’re aro since the dawn of time. I think that’s likely a part of it, but not all of it. Although I still use greyromantic rather than greyaromantic, the more terrible love-story films I watch (such as the sickening Love Actually), the more distanced from romantic society I feel.
It could also be that I’m not ‘fully’ aromantic – or that I’m still not entirely sure what labels to even give my romantic orientation. It could be that there’s more of an asexual community on tumblr than an aro one, and my confidence in my orientation feeds off that community.
Talking of community, actually, has made me feel like I’ve hit the nail on the head, and can wrap all those theories into one. There have been a lot of people in the aromantic tags recently talking about how asexuality and aromanticism aren’t the same thing, and that allosexual aros exist, and the idea always makes me a little bit uncomfortable to think about because I’m sex averse and want to see the aro tags as a safe and sex-less place.I identify more with asexuality than aromanticism because I’m sex-averse but a hopeless romantic who’s not entirely aro, and so I feel more comfortable in a completely nonsexual community than a nonromantic one, therefore I feel more comfortable in the ace community than the aro one (because I can deal with romance a lot more than sex, at least for now). That leads me to feel more comfortable in my asexual identity than my aromantic one because I don’t spend as much time in the aro community because it doesn’t feel as safe, and that makes me identify more with asexuality, basically just creating a giant and unending loop of wanting to run away from sexual people but not being quite as scared of romantic people (or even hanging onto them like a child as a form of arophobia).
And if none of my rambling made sense to you – don’t worry, barely makes sense to me either.