Aromantic and Gray-romantic

In 2008, 15% of all books sold in the US were romance novels, and 25% of Americans had read at least one.  Novels, movies, music, and most of all people; we are constantly told about the importance of romantic love.  If you’re dating someone, people want to know when you’re getting married.  If you’re not dating, then offers are made to set you up, or of the dating sight that so-and-so found useful, or reassurances that the right person is out there for you.  Because if you’re not in love, you must be looking for it, right?  If you’re not with someone romantically then either you just broke up, or you’re going to be with someone soon.

Someone who says they don’t want to be in love is looked upon as a Scrooge, most of the time.  And someone who doesn’t feel romantic love because it’s not part of who they are isn’t even acknowledged in society.  It’s never discussed as being a possibility, that people don’t feel it.  There’s so many kinds of love, but more than any other it feels like romantic love is stressed as being ‘the’ love.  It’s this quest to find it, this mythic journey.

But what about people who don’t feel it? Or rarely feel it?  It doesn’t make you wrong, or broken, or a freak.  A few hundred years ago making marriage decisions based on love would have been ridiculous, and yet now we’ve swung so far in the other direction that making relationship decisions based on anything other than romantic love is disdained.

How do you cope with a romantic based society when you’re aromantic (not feeling romantic love at all) or gray-romantic (feeling very little or for short intervals)?

cadewuver:

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A message from Anonymous
I went to a sleepover recently and I've known I'm pan for a couple of months now but we had to share beds. My friend and I are both Christians, and know that if we were ever to date women, we would both be disowned. But we said "if you were a guy, I'd totally date you," and sharing the bed and cuddling made it hurt. A lot. A lot a lot. Because we could make each other happy. But neither of us can sacrifice our families for this. It hurts.

I think one of the most painful things is having to chose one love over another.  I wish I had words to help you, sweetie.  I do think that love is a gift, and ever if you and your friend can’t be together the way you want, you do have love, both from her and your family.

A message from Anonymous
Recently my sister opened up to me and told me that she terminated a pregnancy last fall because she wasn't at a point in her life where children were an option. I've always been pro-choice, but having it affect someone so close to me is much different than talking about it in theory. I don't know what to say to her or how to act, but I want her to know that I'm here for her. Any advice?

Give her a hug.  Let her know that you love her.  Deciding to have an abortion is not an easy thing.  The abortion itself affects a person both physically and emotionally.  I’m pro-choise as well, and I think that sometimes it is the right thing to do, but right is not easy.

If your sister is just now telling you after months, I’m guessing she didn’t have a lot of support at the time.  I don’t know if she had anyone to talk to or to be with her.  I think the best thing that you can do is let her know that you’re there if she needs to talk.  Maybe she doesn’t.  Maybe she just needed someone else to know.  maybe it’s part of her grieving, and she needed someone else to feel for the child that she doesn’t have.

That is your sister, and the child would have been your niece or nephew.  It’s normal for this to affect you; there’s a difference in believing something and having it touch you.  It’s not hypocritical, if that’s ever something you worry about.  You can know that something is right and still have it hurt.

Listen to your sister, not just her words but her body language.  Try to be aware of when she needs support, but respect her if it’s something she doesn’t want to talk about.

And be kind to yourself as well.  Allow yourself to grieve, to be sad.

I’m making this reblogable in hopes that people have suggestions.
To start with, these are emergency crisis phone numbers for every county in Minnesota.  They should be able to direct you or him to the right place.  They should all be there 24 hours a day.
There’s also a national suicide hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
This is Minnesota’s Public Mental Health web site.
I pray that something here is useful.

I’m making this reblogable in hopes that people have suggestions.

To start with, these are emergency crisis phone numbers for every county in Minnesota.  They should be able to direct you or him to the right place.  They should all be there 24 hours a day.

There’s also a national suicide hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

This is Minnesota’s Public Mental Health web site.

I pray that something here is useful.

A message from Anonymous
So I've never actually spoken to you before but you have some really great insights and I don't really have anyone else to talk to about this so...here I am! So for the last couple of years my friendships have been falling apart and I'm starting to wonder if it's my fault. I'll meet someone, we'll get really close, and stay that way for one or two years and then suddenly everything will get really nasty and we stop speaking. I've had issues with anxiety and depression my whole life and these-

-flash friendships are starting to get really demoralizing. I want to be able to have close friends and relationships but I’m starting to question if I’m even capable of sustaining any sort of connection worth having. Sorry, I meant to ask a question but it just got really rambly. :(

II

Hello darling! First of all, thank you for trusting me enough to come here and ask.

The fact that you are able to sustain friendships for a couple of years seems to tell me that you are capable.  It’s important to remember that friendships are multi-sided.  It’s about you and the other person and outside influences as well.  And things like anxiety and depression can influence that as well.  Are you coping alright with those right now?

You say that this has been a problem for the last few years.  Did you have longer lasting friendships before?  Has something changed recently?  For example, going to college opens a lot of doors and bring a lot of wonderful new experiences, but by its very nature many things, including friendships, are often shorter.

When you look at the periods just before things ‘get nasty’ is there anything they have in common?  It can totally be coincidence, but self reflection is a good thing and if you can pinpoint a shift or something it might help.

There is nothing wrong at all with getting rambly here.  You can also always submit a post if you want, which gives you more room.

If there’s more questions you want to ask or more details to add please always feel free!

A message from Anonymous
I came out as ace for my first times ever last night and tonight, to my best friend and my close sister. My friend just said, cool, send me more info, what else is going on. I wanted to hug her. My sister said to be sure I wasn't limiting myself and that I couldn't possibly know because I'm a virgin. The second hurt a lot more than the first, but I'm still glad I came out. I'm glad two people close to me know who I am. For me, it makes the pain worth it. - starkRavingSane

I am glad beyond words that your friend was so accepting.  And there is a wonderful freedom in people knowing your true self, even if they don’t understand completely.

For some reason I was not getting notifs about asks.  I’m sorry to anyone who has had an ask sitting in the box for a couple of days.

A message from dustdevil41319
I'll be blunt: I'm pretty sure I've spent my whole life denying my sexuality. I'm terrified and emotional and feeling rather alone right now, but I'm finally ready to start being honest with myself. I don't know if I want a hug, or a slap in the face, but the thought that there might be someone out there who understands is comforting.

Sexuality is such a complex thing.  It can be very confusing no matter what, but when it’s something outside of what most people think it should be it’s even harder.

It’s a brave thing, sweetie, to be honest with yourself.  

Your sexuality is your own, and there’s nothing wrong with it.  I hope you learn to become comfortable with it.