Romance, or Who Even Knows?

Originally posted On Tumblr but reposted here for archiving. Please note that my views and personal identification have changed since this was first written. Please see my about for details on how I identify.

My romantic orientation has gone out of the window in the last few months, and I thought that maybe writing it all down would help me to sort my thoughts and feelings out. Under the cut because no one really wants to hear about this.

Before I knew about asexuality, my romantic orientation didn’t come into it. Romantic and sexual orientation were of course one and the same and they were both hetero-until-proven-otherwise.

When I learnt about asexuality and started identifying with it, my romantic orientation was ‘obviously heteroromantic’. I’ve written before about my skewed perceptions of how you could find out you were bi so I won’t go into that again, but basically I realised that all that was a load of rubbish, so if I hadn’t felt romantic attraction to a girl then I most likely wasn’t biromantic.

However, after I got my asexuality straight in my head and started plunging deeper into the depths of sexuality discussion and also dipped my toes into aro/alloromantic chatter, I started thinking a bit. I’d noticed over the past few months that I had a lot more internalised homophobia going on than you’d expect from a woman who thought everyone was bisexual, and I wondered if that was affecting how I saw the world.

I’d had a few moments in my life where I just really wanted to be friends with girls, but was that just my internalised homophobia talking? Maybe I’d had crushes on these girls and just suppressed it!

It was a thought to ponder, and I decided that, since I’d come out of a long period of Very Serious Feelings for a boy and wasn’t meeting anyone new anytime soon, it would be best to wait until I move to uni, because then I’ll get a fresh new set of people to crush/squish on, so it’ll be much easier to get a data set for my feelings for boys I like and my feelings for girls I like. So I stopped thinking about it for a bit and just classed myself as ‘hetero/maybe bi’romantic (as you might have noticed me calling myself on a post or two here).

Recently, however, I’ve started thinking about my romantic orientation again. I think it must have been reading things about people ‘faking’ crushes that got me started, because I took a long, hard look at what I felt with crushes, and wondered if what I felt was any type of attraction at all.

It’s been a long time since I’ve had a non-serious crush on a boy, but, as far as I can remember it (I really need to meet new people and get new data because retrospective stuff doesn’t count for anything), there was no real feeling involved in my crushes. It sounds silly, but as far as I can remember, my crushes went along the lines of ‘he’s pretty and might be cool I’ve decided I like him’, rather than ‘I like him because he’s pretty and cool’. It might not seem much of a distinction, but for me it’s the difference between just pretending I feel something and actually feeling something.

So that’s lead me on to thinking about aromanticism an the aro spectrum. As I mentioned above, I’ve had Very Serious Feelings for a boy recently, and I’m also obsessed with a wonderful celebrity called Misha Collins, so I think it’s very unlikely that I’m aro. Aro spectrum, however, is a different kettle of fish. WTFromanticism crossed my mind in my ‘do I crush on girls’ stage, because if I can’t tell if it’s romantic or platonic then I probably fit that definition, but now I’m not sure if I even really crush on anyone, so I’ve started wondering about something grey-ish and possibly very demi. I’ve started wondering ‘what even counts as an emotional bond, anyways’, and trying to work out if what I feel for Misha Collins counts as romantic or just obsessive, and whether seeing him being nice to his kid counts as an emotional bond, and when exactly my V Srs Feelings for this boy started and why – or if they even started at any point other than the point I originally thought, i.e. when I first met him and decided (?) I had a crush on him.

The problem (I use problem loosely) with realising I’m ace, I’ve found, is that it makes you doubt. The idea that we’re all generally the same, and therefore that what I feel is probably what the rest of the world feels, is a main tenet of most psychological approaches and most people’s lives. But when you find out that the rest of the world doesn’t see things the same way as you when it comes to sexuality, it makes you wonder – what else about me doesn’t fit the norm? Is what I think is a crush what other people think is a crush (obviously not since there is generally a high sexual content, apparently)? Is what I think is a normal level and occurrence of romantic attraction what other people think is normal?

It doesn’t help that possibly faking crushes all my life has given me a lot of internalised arophobia to sort through. Life is hard enough when you realise you’re unlikely to find someone who won’t want sex who’s romantically attracted to you and vice versa, it’s even harder if the vice versa will be a lot harder than previously thought, but romantic ideals are so deeply instilled in you that they feel like they’re a part of your being.

…So, that’s basically my entire thought process on romance currently. If anyone wants to fix all my life problems and explain what I should obviously identify as (because I know that it’s often easy to see which way the cookie probably crumbles when you’re outside being told what’s happening on the inside, even if it is right to give people the free will to realise and validate their own identity), please feel free to throw your hat into the ring and message me. Even if you don’t have any clue, feel free to message me because the fact that you’ve read through all this shows some severe dedication.

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