I did not always identify as aromantic.
For a long time, I did believe in the whole romantic myth that one is truly happier with a romantic partner, and I wished for one. I longed for the time when I would finally live those idealized shared moments with my beloved: having breakfast together, taking long walks hand in hand, talking about everything and anything for hours, kiss passionately like in my favorite love scenes in movies…

Each of my attempts at romance destroyed those ideals.

My first attempt convinced me that romantic gestures (offering flowers, for instance) are often not done out of a genuine desire to please the other person, but dictated by conventions which force people (whether they are actually in love with their partner, wish they were, or only want to appear to be) to act the part. The second one showed me that a close friendship was as rewarding a relationship as I could wish, and that there was no need for more. The third attempt finally made me realize that I did not want a romantic relationship, but only some of the things that are associated with it – and not enough of those to want to make a romantic relationship worth all the trouble that came with it.
Once again, the problem was that I did not want a romantic relationship for itself, but for everything that I had always seen associated with it. And it is hard to avoid those associations. Romantic love (like sex) is everywhere – in advertising, in fiction, in magazines. It is usually equated with happiness (very few books or movies have a happy ending which does not include the main characters being romantically involved) and represented as one of the most important personal achievements; the idea is that finding true, mutual romantic love is pretty much the most desirable event that can happen in someone’s life.
Of course, I wanted to be happy. And I had low self-esteem for a long time, so when I daydreamed about finding romantic love, I imagined finding someone who would see something valuable in me, who would love me for who I am, even though I did not really believe that could ever happen.
I am not sure I know exactly how I got over that. I remember two moments, both related to the person who was involved in my third and last romantic attempt, but I had had thoughts about aromanticism before, although I do not remember them very clearly. The first of those two moments happened when I realized I was interested in him, and thought he was not and would never be. I was very upset for a few days, and then I told myself it was ridiculous to hope for something that would never happen and to only get unhappiness out of it. I reminded myself that I had friends who did care about me and value me, parents (and a dog) who loved me. I vowed to stop daydreaming about romantic relationships and to dedicate my energy to being a good friend, someone my friends could count on. Then, I found out that this guy was in fact interested in me – very much so – and immediately I forgot my resolutions. Until about a week before seeing him again, when doubts began creeping in. I told myself I was a coward, afraid of change, and went to meet him. About one hour after, I realized it was a mistake and ran away (no, not because I had anything to fear from him – I was perfectly safe -, just because I really did not want to be there and could not bear it one more second).
It turned out that this guy was not a suitable partner for me, for several reasons. But I also realized that I was not suited to romantic relationships. The first time he mentioned a future visit (before I had actually gone to meet him and ran away), I felt trapped and pressured. I also realized that becoming romantically involved with him came with expectations that I was not sure I wanted to fulfil. It was all going too fast, I was no longer in control (not to say that he was; rather, the romantic relationship we were building was), I could no longer do my own thing… It was unbearable.
Going from one near-extreme to another, I have become rather cynical about romantic love. I now tend to say that romantic love probably does not actually exist, but that we are conditioned to want it and believe in it by our environment. I do believe in love in general – I love my parents, I love my dog, I love two of my friends -, just not in romantic love. To me, romantic love is just love with added expectations and behavior – both things which do not suit me, so I have opted out. I do value love very highly, but to me, romantic love is overrated.
Let the author know what you think about her views on love, in the comment section below.  You also find her blog here. Peace!!

Written by Sidney Ochieng

Child at heart and mind. Feminist. Story teller. Fledgling data scientist. Your future boss

5 Comments

Closet Case

there Is a fine line between pessimism and reality.

she's associated romance with what she's seen on t.v. ..and I think that all she knows romance to be..i think the moment that tie is severed there might be hope..
in real life,nothing is ever as it seems on telly..its never that simple and there aren't always happy endings..but that shouldn't stop us from living?
she needs to create her own story..her own 'gone with the wind'..
she should stop having such a morbid out look on life..or at least love! so what if flowers are conventional and seem to be the ploys of social conformists? some people just dont know any better-that doesnt mean its not a genuine gesture,does it?

maybe she's right…maybe romance isnt for her..i mean,she's tried three times right? that's MORE THAN ENOUGH to deduce this,is it not?(i hope you can read into my sarcasm here…)

here she is dreaming about,"….having breakfast together, taking long walks hand in hand, talking about everything and anything for hours, kiss passionately like in my favorite love scenes in movies…"
and she's not a romantic she says?
huh…
for a moment there i was beginning to doubt the irony of that…

Reply
cdooh

Have you read the last posts that I put up? You'd realise that at the time she identified as asexual. And as for her dreaming about "breakfast" I think its because that was what society had come to expect her to want. She's just really in touch with her emotions to decide that she doesn't want a romantic relationship. How many times does one have to try for you to say that something isn't for them? 5? 10? At what point would you say that it's enough?

I'll get the author to answer your question too. Thanks for commenting!!

Reply
sgyreju

@Closet Case

Thank you for commenting!

First things first – that blog post was written a bit over a year ago. I was in a different place in my life back then. In particular, I loved trying to figuring out the universe and writing big theories about things. Fortunately, I got over myself and that's over now 🙂

Now, about the post. What I tried to explain was that the only reason I ever sought romance was that movies and books made it look like the best way to be happy. Basically, I sought it for the wrong reasons – not because it was something I genuinely wanted, but because it was something I thought I should want. But I found out that I can get love, support and happiness in other places, and since romance has, so far, brought me only problems and never any satisfaction, the logical conclusion would be that romance is overrated as far as I'm concerned and that I don't really need it.

Who knows, maybe I will meet someone special some day and will understand what's so great about romantic love. But for now, I don't believe it's necessary to my wellbeing and happiness. And why should I think it is? Why should I pursue something that never worked out for me so far and which I don't seem to need?

I'm absolutely not pessimistic about this. I'm perfectly fine with the fact that I'm single and that when I imagine my future, I'm always single in it. Somehow people seem to find that sad. I think, on the contrary, I'm lucky – my happiness doesn't depend on eventually meeting a special person, something which isn't guaranteed to ever happen.

Reply
sgyreju

@Closet Case

Thank you for commenting!

First things first – that blog post was written a bit over a year ago. I was in a different place in my life back then. In particular, I loved trying to figuring out the universe and writing big theories about things. Fortunately, I got over myself and that's over now 🙂

Now, about the post. What I tried to explain was that the only reason I ever sought romance was that movies and books made it look like the best way to be happy. Basically, I sought it for the wrong reasons – not because it was something I genuinely wanted, but because it was something I thought I should want. But I found out that I can get love, support and happiness in other places, and since romance has, so far, brought me only problems and never any satisfaction, the logical conclusion would be that romance is overrated as far as I'm concerned and that I don't really need it.

Who knows, maybe I will meet someone special some day and will understand what's so great about romantic love. But for now, I don't believe it's necessary to my wellbeing and happiness. And why should I think it is? Why should I pursue something that never worked out for me so far and which I don't seem to need?

I'm absolutely not pessimistic about this. I'm perfectly fine with the fact that I'm single and that when I imagine my future, I'm always single in it. Somehow people seem to find that sad. I think, on the contrary, I'm lucky – my happiness doesn't depend on eventually meeting a special person, something which isn't guaranteed to ever happen.

Reply

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