Me and romantic desire

I don’t know what my romantic orientation is (or if the concept is even useful to me). I had settled on wtf/quoiromantic, but have also wondered if aromantic is really more accurate, and after reading Queenie’s Greyromanticism 301 post, I feel like greyro could be a possibility. But! Right now I’m not really concerned with finding a label; it doesn’t currently matter to me which of those, if any, is the best fit. So this is not a “what am I??” post, but just a (slightly fragmented) overview of some of my history of romantic (or not) desires.

As I’ve seen a lot of other people say, when I first found out I was asexual and learned about the concept of separate romantic and sexual orientations, I assumed without question that I was heteroromantic, because I’d previously had crushes on guys and wanted to have a boyfriend. But now I’ve started wondering if I actually experienced romantic attraction to those guys/actually wanted a normative romantic relationship, or if I was just brainwashed by compulsory heterosexuality.

I was lonely a lot as a young teenager, and dreamed of having a best friend. I also dreamed of having a boyfriend—because I thought they were two separate things. Now I can see that I wanted the same thing from both relationships—someone who would care about me, be there for me, like me a lot. There was really no difference in what I wanted from a boyfriend and what I wanted from a best friend. But I imagined the best friend as a girl, and the boyfriend would’ve of course been a guy. I didn’t even consider the possibility that I could have a guy best friend who wasn’t my boyfriend (or that I could have a girlfriend!).

When I had crushes on guys or “liked” them, which did happen to me with a number of different guys, and when I thought abstractly about having a boyfriend, I never actually wanted all the typical trappings of a romantic relationship—as far as I remember I never thought about kissing or touching them in any way, didn’t think about romantic dinners or going on dates or receiving flowers from them. What I wanted was the commitment—to know that someone really liked me (not in a romantic way, but just as a person) and wanted me in their life in a long-term, definite way. All my life, society had told me that the only way to have this long-term committed partnership that I wanted was through a (heterosexual) romantic relationship. So no wonder I thought I was heteroromantic for so long.

I never assumed I was allosexual (or, as I would have thought of it at the time, the same as everyone else sexuality-wise), because it was obvious to me that other people wanted something—sex—that I didn’t. But I assumed I was heteroromantic because I did want society’s idea of a romantic relationship.

I think the stories I wrote when I was younger provide an interesting look at how I saw romance and what kind of relationship I wanted, since I could write whatever I wanted and give my characters the relationships that I viewed as ideal. I wrote sweet romances with a close bond between two people but no physical element, as well as stories of strong male-female friendships with no romantic component (like the Cinderella story I mentioned in this post). In the latter cases, that friendship was always both characters’ primary relationship; neither of them had a closer friend or a romantic interest or partner. And it was the same with the romantic relationships I wrote—the two romantic partners were also best friends.

One story I wrote ended up being pretty much my ultimate “this is how I feel about romantic relationships” story. A girl ends up in a new setting with two guys she’s never met before, and she develops a romantic relationship with one, based on physical attraction (aesthetic and sensual, I guess; maybe kind of sexual, but I didn’t think about that really or go into any detail about it), and a friendship with the other, based on common interests and deep conversations. At the end, she kind of has to choose between the two guys, and she chooses the friend. It’s kind of ambiguous whether she’s decided that she actually loves him romantically, or just that she values this relationship over the other, considering the friendship more real and meaningful than the fairly shallow, superficial romance.

That ambiguity, and the fact that the friendship wins out, is pretty much a perfect illustration of how I feel about romance. I don’t know if I feel romantic attraction—I just know I want a deep friendship with someone, something more solid and definite and committed than friendships are normally viewed as. Romance without friendship doesn’t really make sense to me; I know it’s a thing (see the comments on this article [the article itself is very sex-normative, unfortunately], where some people say they don’t consider their partner a friend at all), but I could never have a relationship like that.

I used to think that I just conceived of romance differently from most people, but now I’m starting to wonder if maybe other people are feeling something that I don’t. Maybe what I always saw as romance is more of a queerplatonic relationship. But, maybe there is an element of romance to what I want. Who knows? I don’t, and for now, I’m okay with that.

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9 thoughts on “Me and romantic desire

  1. luvtheheaven March 18, 2015 / 8:51 pm

    Thanks for writing this about your experiences! ;) I really appreciate reading it.

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    • cinderace March 20, 2015 / 10:42 am

      :) Thanks for commenting and reading!

      Like

  2. tsuchi March 21, 2015 / 7:19 pm

    Your experiences sound amazingly similar to mine!

    I identify as a demiromantic asexual, and my ideal relationship is pretty much the same as you have described here; a super deep friendship, perhaps with a few borderline romantic things that I’m not actually sure if I consider romantic or platonic. This has puzzled me a lot because I keep wondering whether I really want a romantic relationship, or if I’ve just internalised that romance = closeness and commitment automatically. Being demiromantic really doesn’t help separate the two, either. I’m not even sure if my ideal of a queerplatonic relationship is different from my ideal of a romantic relationship.

    I also write, and pretty much every significant relationship in my writing can be summed up into “they’re really, really, really good friends, but they’re not romantically involved”, though things like casual touching and forehead kisses were also present.

    I’ve had one romantic relationship that convinced me I was demiro, because it was so intense and afterwards I suddenly developed a desire to have a romantic relationship with someone when I had had nothing of the sort before.

    *shruggy motion* Romance. I don’t even know.

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    • cinderace March 23, 2015 / 6:31 pm

      Thanks for commenting; it’s always nice to hear from people with similar experiences. :) Yeah, I wrote in the post following this one about how I always saw romance as synonymous with commitment, so I always just assumed I wanted a romantic relationship because I didn’t see any other models for the kind of relationship I wanted. I’m really glad to know now that there are other types of relationships out there, but it’s still hard to say exactly which one is the best fit for me.

      I’ve really enjoyed looking back on my old writing and seeing what it says about me and what I want/wanted; I never fully thought through or wrote about my actual feelings on these things, but they did come out in my fiction and it’s nice to have that source of insight.

      Haha, “*shruggy motion* Romance. I don’t even know” pretty much sums it up. :)

      Like

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