Ensalada Filosófica. -Crítica y opinión sobre diversos temas comunes.-
viernes, 11 de septiembre de 2015
AN AROMANTIC PRIMER
What does it mean to be aromantic?
An aromantic person is someone who doesn’t experience romantic attraction.
Are all aromantics also asexual?
No! Aromantics exist in every sexual orientation group. There are plenty of aromantic asexuals but there are also aromantic heterosexuals, aromantic homosexuals, aromantic bisexuals, and aromantic pansexuals. Aromanticism is about lack of romantic attraction, not sexual attraction. The most common individual is someone who experiences both romantic and sexual attraction and whose two attractions match, and usually these matching romantic and sexual orientations get rolled into one identity word: “straight” for someone romantically and sexually attracted to the opposite gender, “gay” for someone romantically and sexually attracted to the same gender, etc. However, besides asexuals, there are cross-orientation allosexuals—people who experience primary sexual attraction and whose romantic and sexual orientations don’t match—and aromantic allosexuals are a variation of this.
Isn’t an aromantic allosexual just somebody who wants sex but [is a commitment phobe/is afraid of intimacy/is too immature for romance/is sexually promiscuous/doesn’t want to be monogamous, etc]?
No. Being an aromantic person is not the same thing as being somebody who does experience romantic attraction but chooses not to form romantic relationships. An aromantic person doesn’t experience romantic attraction at all. Ever. It doesn’t matter how much they like someone, how much they love someone, or if they want some type of partner. Aromantics don’t experience romantic attraction. They could technically choose to participate in functionally romantic relationships but they’re still not going to experience romantic attraction to their lover/partner. They can form a primary partnership with someone and love that person completely but they still don’t experience romantic feelings.
Do aromantic people want to live alone forever and never have any relationships more serious than common friendship?
Nope. Some aromantics are perfectly happy living alone and being, for all intents and purposes, “single” with only ordinary friendships and/or sexual relationships on the side. But a surprising number of aromantics, asexual and allosexual, actually want a primary partner or multiple significant relationships that go beyond contemporary standards of “friendship.” These ideal partnerships could include any or all of the following: permanent cohabitation, child rearing, taking care of each other during physical/emotional trials, varying degrees of physical affection, financially supporting each other, traveling together, owning property, etc.
The most common type of partnership aromantics, particularly aromantic asexuals, express an interest in is essentially an intimate friendship that has all the qualities of a life partnership or marriage, without romantic attraction and/or behavior (and usually no sex either).
The term “queerplatonic” was coined in the aromantic community to describe these relationships that are more than common friendship yet not romantic in nature. Some romantic allosexuals question how these relationships are any different than any “close friendship,” and that often comes down to what the aromantics want from their relationship(s). A commitment to live together forever, to raise a family together, to put each other first just like any pair of primary partners would, sharing the highest level of emotional and/or physical intimacy you’re willing to share with anyone, spending more time with each other than you do with anyone else, buying a house together, signing on as each other’s power of attorney in case of medical emergencies, pooling finances, etc are all things that ordinary, common friends don’t do because they’re doing it all with their respective romantic-sexual partners instead. A pair of common friends in adulthood generally don’t live together, don’t share a great amount of physical intimacy, don’t go to each other first for financial support/emotional support, don’t have any expectations of each other that go beyond talking on the phone or getting together for coffee or whatever. A pair of common friends have a mutual understanding that they’ll drop each other in favor of their own romantic-sexual partner, if they have to or want to—in big ways or small ways—and this is especially true if one or both friends is married and/or seriously committed to a long-term romantic-sexual partner. Aromantics interested in a partnership or multiple partnerships want more from those nonromantic relationships that the average romantic person believes is natural or appropriate for a nonromantic relationship. An aromantic allosexual may have sex but also have a nonromantic-nonsexual partner who they put first, above their sexual companions. That alone is radically against the normative organization of relationships based on romantic-sexual supremacy. “Friendship” is an inadequate word to describe nonsexual-nonromantic relationships that function as primary partnerships or otherwise go far beyond common friendship in expectations, emotions, and behavior.
If you want all that serious stuff with somebody, you must love them romantically, no matter what you claim, because only romantic feelings cause interest in those behaviors.
That’s an incredibly narrow-minded, boring mentality. You’re entitled to be as narrow-minded as you want, of course, but if you insist on being that way, please keep your mouth shut in the presence of aromantic people who want or have nonromantic partners because it’s none of your business and nobody cares what you think.
You’re allowed to disbelieve other people’s relationships and feelings—even though it makes you a douche bag—but if you’d like to minimize your levels of asshole, you won’t tell another human being what they feel, as if you know better than they do or as if all feelings and relationship desires in every single human adhere to one universal set of rules.
Why do some aromantics get into relationships that look exactly like a typical romantic-sexual relationship, with someone who is romantically and sexually attracted to them?
Because they like who they’re with and they like (or don’t mind) the behaviors in the relationship, even if those behaviors don’t strike them personally as “romantic.” Some aromantic people are strongly put off by anything that feels “romantic” to them, but other aromantics don’t mind “romantic” behaviors at all. Some aromantics even like traditionally “romantic” behaviors in their intimate relationships; they just don’t view them as romantic but rather as intimate or emotional or caring. Sometimes, an aromantic person in a “romantic” relationship can be just like an asexual in a sexual relationship: they’re not in it for the romance and/or the sex, they could happily do without the romance and/or the sex, but they do want the emotional connection and the behaviors marking a relationship as a partnership. So if they develop feelings for someone who’s a romantic allosexual with utterly conventional ideas about relationships and the condition of having an important relationship with them that goes beyond common friendship is participating in “romance” and/or sex, then the aromantic (or the asexual) will go along with the parts that they don’t need in order to get what they want. If they were to meet another aromantic and/or asexual who could relate to them exactly as they most prefer—giving all the emotional connection and/or physical affection without any of the sex and/or romance—then they would.
Do aromantics want kids?
Some of them do. Why experiencing romantic love would have anything to do with being a parent is beyond me, but there seems to be an assumption that aromantics (and asexuals) want to be alone forever and therefore don’t have any inkling toward child rearing whatsoever. This isn’t true categorically. Some aromantics don’t want a primary partner but do want kids. Some aromantics want a primary partner or a group of committed companions AND kids or no kids.
How do aromantics feel about physical (nongenital) affection?
Some of them love it, and some of them hate it. Some of them like certain types of touch and not others. Some of them prefer to reserve heavy physical affection for partners, and some like sharing it with all of their friends.
Do aromantics love anyone?
I can forgive the potential offensiveness of this question only because of the general social atmosphere of our amatonormative culture inevitably creating such ignorance. The answer is yes, aromantics do feel love. Romantic love is not the only form of love in the human experience. (If it’s the only love you’re capable of, that’s your business, but you don’t speak for an entire species.) Aromantics don’t experience romantic attraction. They’re otherwise fully emotional human beings. They can love their family, their friends, their children, their pets, themselves, and their partners.
“I wish I were aromantic because then my life would be so much easier, I would never feel heartbreak, romantic relationships suck.”
Being aromantic doesn’t make life easier. It often makes life more difficult, at least if you’re an aromantic who wants a nontraditional partnership or nontraditional friendships. Being aromantic doesn’t automatically make you less emotional, less sensitive, less passionate about people and relationships, or more comfortable with being alone. Some aromantics experience love that’s just as intense or even more intense than a lot of other people’s romantic feelings. Aromantics can be heartbroken by their romantic friends leaving them in the dust to pursue traditional romantic-sexual relationships, and then to add insult to injury, romantic people act as if the aromantics have no right to be hurt because it’s “natural” for people to want romantic relationships and put their romantic partners above everyone else, including “best friends.” Aromantics can feel painfully alone in the world because they don’t see anything in mainstream media or culture that affirms them as okay and real.
The point is, if you don’t know anything about aromantic experience, you don’t have any right to talk about it or say that aromantics have it better and easier than you do just because they aren’t hung up on romance. You’ve got your pain, and aromantics have theirs.
How do you know if you’re aromantic?
The annoying answer is that only you can decide whether your feelings toward others are romantic to you or not. Nobody else can really know for sure. For some aromantics, it’s easy: they are utterly disinterested in anything and everything that’s traditionally romantic, maybe even disinterested in having a partner altogether. For other aromantics, it’s tricky to figure out because they may like some behaviors that are designated “romantic” even though they’d prefer to experience them in a friendship or a partnership that doesn’t quite function as a typical romantic relationship. Some aromantics feel intense love and attachment to others, and this can make it difficult to discern one’s aromantic orientation because our society tells us the only intense love is romantic love (but that’s bullshit).
You have the sole right to decide whether your feelings are romantic or not, whether the central relationships you desire are romantic or not, and therefore whether you’re aromantic or not. Aromanticism doesn’t look the same for all people, and it doesn’t have to.