An aromantic’s quest to find a stable, loving relationship

Feelings are complicated.  

Relationships are mystifying.  

It’s frustrating when you don’t even know what you want.

For the longest time, I was happy on my own, with no desire to date or sleep with anyone.  In fact, I didn’t want to feel bound to anyone.  And I didn’t feel comfortable with romantic labels, either, especially words like “boyfriend” or “dating.”  

A grey wolf standing on a huge rock, its tail curled up and its head turned to face the camera.
I was quite happy being a lone wolf.  Image by mikelane45 on DepositPhotos

I still don’t feel comfortable with these labels.

What’s more, I’m gay and transgender, which makes my situation tougher to navigate.  But I just don’t like the idea of being locked under a load of social obligations.  I don’t believe in tying anybody down, nor do I want to steal anyone’s freedom away from them. 

Plus, I still don’t understand what romantic love means, despite having asked countless people.  

It seems like most people believe that any relationship with both emotional and sexual connection, must be romantic.  

Really? 

Few people can see that, outside of emotional bonding and sex, romantic love has an extra something to it.  

Perhaps this extra something is the sense of social obligation, of needing to do a list of things to fit the social script of a romantic partnership.  

Not everyone in a romantic relationship would follow this whole script, but there would still be social expectations, which I dislike.

Loneliness During the Pandemic

Yet, sometime into the pandemic, loneliness began to creep into my bones in a way that I had never felt before.  I suddenly desired an intimate companion.  Ideally, we could be like best friends who sometimes have sex. 

Two wolf mates standing together in the snow.
Wouldn’t it be great to have a companion who is both a best friend and a sexual partner?  Photo by semenov80 on DepositPhotos

At the time, I was specifically thinking about a friend I had a crush on.  Though I do fall in love and experience passionate, deep feelings for people, I had never had a serious wish to be intimate with a crush before; I was content to just admire them from afar.  

Maybe the social isolation was changing me, so that I longed for something even my platonic friendships couldn’t satisfy.

Upon further reflection, I decided that I wanted a queerplatonic relationship (QPR).  A QPR is a committed, emotionally intimate relationship that may or may not be sexual; it is not romantic but is not platonic, either.  

For the friend I had a crush on—let’s call him Lucas—he was beautiful in both looks and personality.  Yet, we only had a few common interests.  Plus, he was a dedicated athlete, while all I did was go on an elliptical twice a week.  

And worst of all, though he was warm and friendly, he wasn’t very available.  He was quite busy and was often gone to remote areas with limited internet connection, so I typically had to wait one or two weeks to hear back from him.  

Eventually, I gave up, as I thought it was not meant to be.  Maybe it would be better to stay platonic friends and not seek anything more.

Exploring Grindr and Finding Friends with Benefits

Later, I tried Grindr, a social app geared mostly towards gay and bisexual men.  I didn’t think it would be wise to ask someone to be queerplatonic partners right from the start, so I just looked for friends with benefits first.  

Soon enough, I found a few friends.  One guy, let’s call him Nathan, had a lot of common interests with me, and he was so eloquent, so fun.  

Three months later, I asked to meet up with him for a platonic lunch.  We still liked each other and agreed we could be sexually involved.

All seemed well, and I really could ask him to be a QPP, if I had the courage to do so, but I thought I should wait a bit first, as I didn’t want to scare him away. 

Two grey wolves cuddling affectionately and playing in the snow together.
I would love to be queerplatonic partners with him, but I didn’t want to scare him away.  Image courtesy of mikelane45 on DepositPhotos

Yet, it was here that things started going downhill.  

Nathan grew less and less responsive, saying he was too busy and stressed with work.  I had to wait 2-3 days, sometimes even a week, just to receive a few sentences from him.

For a while, I tried to be understanding, but I was getting frustrated.  I was resentful that I had to basically beg for scraps of his attention.  

At the same time, Nathan must have been annoyed that I wanted to keep talking, because when he gets stressed, he tunes out the whole world.  When I get stressed, I want to talk and seek out social support.  

So I felt abandoned and unwanted, while he probably felt stifled by me, even if I tried very hard to stay polite and kind; I never yelled at him or used any sharp words.

As time wore on, I grew anxious about how our relationship was going to play out.  Would we end it when he started dating, just as many friends with benefits are doomed to do?  

It was only then that I realized that I wanted a stable, loving relationship.  I didn’t just want someone to casually have fun with, even if I do value freedom and autonomy.

Two happy golden retrievers on the grass.  One is sitting and the other is standing on its hind legs.
I want freedom and fun, but I also want something long term.   Image by pumba1 on DepositPhotos

Nonetheless, Nathan gave me no answer when I asked if he was dating anyone. And when I asked him what his hopes and expectations were for our relationship, he didn’t respond, either.  

After a while of waiting, I suggested talking on the phone or in person, so that we could discuss things more efficiently than we could through text.  Nathan ignored my request, and simply repeated that he was busy and exhausted.

Then one day, in a fit of desperation, I confessed that I loved him and asked if he could be my queerplatonic partner.  

I explained that, maybe one reason why we were both so anxious, was because we were both afraid of being abandoned.  But a QPR, despite its lack of romance, is a committed relationship, so we could stay in each other’s lives in the long run. 

I was hopeful at first, since Nathan replied in just a few minutes, rather than his usual 2-3 days.  He said in a jovial tone that he had to wait till his next break to chat, as his boss was looking over his shoulder.  But he would get back to me.  

He sounded lighthearted, didn’t he?  He certainly didn’t sound freaked out or disgusted.

I couldn’t be more wrong.  

A few days later, he unfriended me.  I couldn’t believe that Nathan would do this, especially as he had promised me long ago that he would never disappear on me, since we agreed that being ghosted is hurtful and dehumanizing.  I felt betrayed.  

For days, I cried and endured an emotional pain that I had never felt before, even though we were never involved.

New Hope

During this time of despair, I grew close to another friend on Grindr, whom I will call Zephyr.   Zephyr’s attention was flattering, and the joy of their company helped to assuage the grief I felt with Nathan.  And unlike Nathan, Zephyr was very regular in communication: they texted me every day!  

What’s more, I got the sense that, while Nathan was passive and avoidant, Zephyr was assertive and bold, which was exactly what I needed at the time.  After chatting for three weeks, I met up for a platonic dinner with Zephyr.  

Two wolves in a snowy forest.  One sits while the other stands guard over the other wolf.  They look at peace.
Zephyr was like an alpha wolf, the protective and caring type.  Photo Courtesy of wollertz on DepositPhotos

I was happy with them in person too.  Shortly after, I developed sexual and even crush feelings for them.  I did wonder whether I could ask Zephyr to be my QPP, but after the fiasco with Nathan, I was too afraid to speak up, in case even Zephyr would run off on me.   

To my dismay, I soon developed intense feelings of jealousy towards Zephyr’s future romantic partners—Zephyr was not dating anyone at the time.  These feelings scared me, and what was worse, I had a desire to become their primary sexual partner.  

Yet, Zephyr was alloromantic, so of course I couldn’t demand such a privileged place with them, since I couldn’t give them a romantic relationship, even if they were interested.

But then some weeks later, due to unforeseen circumstances, Zephyr and I decided not to become sexually involved, after all.  

I also confessed to Zephyr that I had a crush on them, and that I had wanted to ask them to be my queerplatonic partner.  Not only did Zephyr not flee with fright at my confession, they even said they were flattered to hear that I liked them in that way.  

In an odd turn of events, I actually became more relaxed after we cut off all potential sexual involvement.  I grew less anxious, since I didn’t need to compete with their romantic partners anymore, and I didn’t need to worry about being dumped if they one day lost interest in me.  

Not long after, I told Zephyr that I started seeing them as an older sibling.  They liked that idea too.  So we became siblings, chosen family.  It seemed like I had found a stable, safe relationship at last.

An Argument and Changes

But good things never last, do they?

I had been so happy, maybe too happy, with Zephyr.  Though I wasn’t in love with them anymore, I was still very attached and had an almost hero worship attitude towards them.

Maybe my tendency to idealise people was what led to my downfall.  

Zephyr got mad at me for something I said.  They made cutting remarks that hurt me deeply.  This behavior was out of character for them, as they were usually so kind and understanding.

Two wolves on the snow.  One wolf is standing with its back facing the other wolf.  The latter wolf is sitting down and staring at the wolf in front.
Zephyr’s cold attitude was out of character for them.  Image by skovalsky on DepositPhotos

The argument was very painful.  Zephyr added that I was too self-pitying and not proactive enough.  I was angry to hear this, because they completely disregarded the actions and accomplishments I had made over the past month.  

In fact, I explained to them that I was engaging in self-compassion, not self–pity, because I was taking many steps to change my life already.  I wasn’t passive.  Zephyr stuck to their guns, however, and was very dismissive all the way through.

Later, I suggested that we take a break from this topic, and Zephyr agreed.  On the surface, we seemed back to normal, but the distance had grown between us.  We texted each other less and less.  (Zephyr never texted first, by the way.  I was always the initiator.)  

After they accused me of wallowing in self-pity, I took care to focus on positive topics and almost never told them about my problems again.  I couldn’t trust Zephyr anymore.  I no longer felt safe, even if they still cared for me.  

You may think that I ought to talk to Zephyr about this.  Normally I would have, but that argument was so explosive, and when I did try to bring it up the next day when Zephyr was calmer, I was met with so much dismissal and condescension, that I just gave up.  

I didn’t want to go through all of that misery again, nor did I think Zephyr would ever be willing to understand.  

Some Surprising Twists and Turns

Back when I was happily immersed in my siblinghood with Zephyr, I had ceased to feel lonely, even during this pandemic.  My desires for a queerplatonic relationship had faded, and my lust had evaporated.

But sometime before my conflict with Zephyr, my longing for an intimate relationship had revived.  And after our conflict, my wishes for intimacy have risen to a poignant pitch.

A white wolf lowers its muzzle to drink from a pool.  A mirror reflection of the wolf hovers on the water, just like a twin image.
I began to long for a companion again.  Photo Courtesy of actionsports on DepositPhotos

I wasn’t so young and desperate anymore, though.  There was a degree of fervor and hunger in my yearnings, but I didn’t feel as distressed as I did last year.  I could bide my time and set better boundaries with people, too.

And guess what?  I’ve grown interested in my old crush, Lucas, again.

One of my initial doubts about Lucas, was that unlike Zephyr, Lucas was much slower in replying to my messages.  But at least when he did reply, he tried to respond to almost everything I said.  Zephyr’s replies to me, though warm and supportive, were rarely more than a sentence or two.

It irked me sometimes how I would type a long essay full of details, and Zephyr would only respond to one or two of the points I made.  And at times, they chose to reply to a trivial detail, as if they couldn’t see the true point of my message.  

But I had accepted this to be Zephyr’s preference of communication, that I had no right to demand anything.  And since Zephyr replied quickly, I couldn’t expect them to write me such a thorough response, anyway.

A more uplifting thing that happened, however, was that ever since the blow-up with Zephyr, I had spent so much time defending myself, both in writing and in my thoughts, that I eventually believed everything I said—my self-esteem increased.  My self-esteem used to be very low, but now it’s medium.  

And since I didn’t trust Zephyr to be a safe person anymore, I learned to rely on other sources of comfort.  I dived into Medium, a platform where writers share their articles, poems, and short stories.

Happiness and Support on Medium

I love Medium so much.  This is probably the most progressive online platform I have ever been on.  I can talk about being trans, gay, and nonbinary, and nobody makes a fuss.  It’s so fun to chat with other writers, by commenting on each other’s posts.  

Soon enough, I had befriended a number of people, and even grew close to some of them.  Medium was a place where I could stop feeling lonely.  Here was an endless number of people I could talk to.  

When I read someone’s article or write a comment to them, I feel connected and happy.  I don’t have to fear overwhelming anyone, either, because there are so many people I can write to.  It encouraged me how many writers express their joy and appreciation when I write long, thoughtful comments on their articles.  I, in turn, feel appreciated and valued as a reader.

It’s especially easy to connect with people on Medium, because many of them write so openly about their personal lives and feelings.  It feels like a kind of heaven to me, since I can bond easily even with strangers, with our mutual confidence and support of each other in our suffering. 

A family of three white wolves.  They stand or sit on some sandy rock.  In the background are more rocks, greenery, and water.
Medium was becoming a safe haven for me.  It was easy to find company and emotional connections.  Photo by cybernesco on DepositPhotos

After my sadness with Zephyr, I wrote an article that I titled “Self-Compassion Is Not Laissez-Faire.”  My article was borne out of anger, but I wrote the piece in a calmer, more collected tone.  

It became one of my most popular articles.  Readers loved it very much, and they told me that I was very compassionate and thoughtful.  

Wow…at the time, I had only wanted to vent my anger and write a long and detailed rebuttal to Zephyr, as a sort of revenge.  But I didn’t realise that my essay could be comforting and helpful to other people, too.

More and more, I feel that I’ve found a home on Medium.  The writers here are so welcoming and accepting.  I enjoy talking with them, and they like talking with me.  I get invites more and more often to events, and I even joined some groups, on and off of Medium.  

Within this larger community, I don’t feel alone anymore, even though my relationship with Zephyr is still in limbo.

My Secret Love for a Boy with a Golden Retriever

Soon, I felt very moved by some of the articles on Medium about love.  I felt so touched, that I took out a poem I had written about Lucas before I started my Grindr adventures.  

I had been very fond of this poem, though I believed that it was written in such an opaque, symbolic  way, that nobody would understand it but me.  Still, I was determined to edit this poem to a point where even strangers could understand and enjoy it.

I named my poem, “My Secret Love for a Boy with a Golden Retriever.”  To my amazement, readers loved my poem.  They especially praised the vivid imagery I used, which stunned me, because I had worried that the imagery would be too wild and alienating to readers. 

A man stands facing his golden retriever.  The happy dog stands on its hind legs and raises its paws to hold its owner’s hands.  They are in a sunlit park.
This isn’t actually my crush, but the vibe is right.  Image courtesy of DaltonStyle on DepositPhotos

They even enjoyed my Lord of the Rings reference at the beginning, where I talked about the Misty Mountains, goblins, and the hobbits.  Again, I had thought that my Lord of the Rings reference had come out of nowhere and that readers would find it offputting, but no, I had misjudged once again. 

In fact, an editor of the pub I submitted this poem to, chose my poem to be featured as one of her poems of the week.  Every week, she would choose two poems to be featured.  She even put my poem into her reading list of favorite poems!  

I was already thrilled by such a positive reaction from readers and the editor.  But what followed astounded me even more.  I am a relatively new writer on Medium, with a small following and an even smaller portfolio of work–I had only published 6 pieces of work, including this poem, at the time.  But one day, “My Secret Love for a Boy with a Golden Retriever” suddenly boomed in popularity.  

Before, my article with the highest number of views only had 123 views, which had already seemed amazing to me.  But my poem about Lucas had more than a thousand views…almost all of the new readers were from outside of Medium.  I had no idea how people found the poem, since Medium stats aren’t too informative about the exact sources of our traffic.  

This figure only rose higher and higher.  Right now, my poem has reached 8.5 K views and 2.2 K reads–the latter means that the person took the time to read the entire piece.  I think most people believed from the title that it was a short story or personal essay, only to find that it was a poem, and not everyone likes poems. 

Screenshot of author’s Medium story stats page.  The title is “My Secret Love for a Boy with a Golden Retriever”.  The stats are 8.5 K views, 2.2 K reads, 26% ratio, and 22 fans.
The ratio is the percentage of people who clicked and read to the bottom of the page.  The fans are the people who clapped for my stories.  Unfortunately, only paid Medium members can clap, and 98% of my viewers were from outside of Medium.  Screenshot by author.

It was flattering that over two thousand strangers were interested enough to read the whole poem, especially since it’s a long one.

It’s funny that thousands of strangers now know about my secret crush.  I wonder how Lucas would react if (or when) I told him that I had written a poem about him that had gone semi-viral.

Regardless, I take this to be a favorable sign.  I’ve confided to many friends and even strangers on Medium about my situation, about my love for Lucas.  And I’ve promised that I would tell him about my feelings.  Even if he says no, I would have at least tried.  

My Present Plans

At this point, I feel that even the term “queerplatonic relationships” isn’t enough for me, as it also implies something I don’t quite want.  My fellow aros may hate me for saying this, though some of them may secretly feel the same: 

“Queerplatonic relationships” sounds cute and fun, but it also suggests a segregation from all other intimate relationships, at least for me.  

Over these past weeks, I’ve spoken to more alloromantic friends, and I think that aside from my aversion to some romantic labels, my feelings aren’t that different from theirs.  I do desire emotional connection, physical and sexual affection, and a steady companion who makes me feel safe.  

Two white wolves running through the forest together.
Aside from the romance labels, maybe what I seek isn’t that different from what my romantic friends want.  Maybe a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.  Photo courtesy of waitandshoot on DepositPhotos

As I’ve alluded to near the beginning of this essay, even alloromantic folks, such as these friends, feel uncomfortable with certain conventions, such as sharing a bank account, co-owning a car, sleeping in the same bedroom, doing their partner’s laundry, and so on.  Different people have different preferences.

There are some relationship gestures that I used to hate too, but have now grown more open to.  For instance, I became okay with the idea of living with my partner and even meeting their family. 

Maybe I desire something similar to what my romantic friends want.  Maybe I’m demiromantic, someone who can feel romantic attraction if there’s a close emotional bond.            

I’m still not comfortable calling my experiences “romantic” in any way, but perhaps a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

So I go with no labels now.  I want somebody to love who would love me back.  We could be together.  If it doesn’t turn out well, we could part ways but hopefully still stay friends.  

But I have to try.  Even if he isn’t interested, I am confident that we can still be friends.  Maybe we would be lucky and my confession would bring us closer, no matter what the outcome.

After surviving my experiences with Nathan and then Zephyr, I believe I’ll be alright.  Suffering and sorrow in relationships don’t scare me so much now.  I would embrace the sadness as well as the joy.  Even if Lucas does say yes to me, our relationship might not last.  It may even turn sour and crash and burn.  

But let’s not give up hope before anything has even started.  Maybe I will be fortunate and find a stable, loving relationship one day.


Thanks for reading! This post was a response to the Carnival of Aros prompt, “Stability,” by Roboticanary, for March 2022.

10 thoughts on “An aromantic’s quest to find a stable, loving relationship

  1. This blog article helped me learn more about a relationship world that I had little to no knowledge about. Thank you for sharing this with us. It expresses the ups and downs of your experiences so well!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haidan, thanks so much! I was so afraid of being judged by people for having unconventional experiences, especially for being an aro and whatnot. So many ups and downs indeed, haha.

      Btw if I may ask, as a demiromantic (if you still use this label), how can you tell the difference between romantic love and deep platonic love? I still have trouble distinguishing them. So I want to know whether I might be demiromantic or something else, haha.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Heh for me was always pretty simple and stereotypical: If I daydreamed about eventually marry them, that’s romantic love! If I wanted to hang out with them but never wanted to be called a romantic relationship term (e.g. their girlfriend/fiancee/wife/etc.) then that was deep platonic love. Kinda surface level but that’s the first distinguishing factor that popped into my head.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Interesting! Well, I honestly don’t want to be called any romantic relationship terms at all, except maybe lover, since we can interpret it as a sexual partner. As for marriage, uh, I’m okay with a role play thing, but as for marrying them in reality, I’m not sure if I really want to marry anyone, haha. By “not sure”, I don’t mean “no”. I mean I don’t know but leaning slightly towards no.

        I feel strong emotions towards words, and I understand that I must have learned the associations. I don’t think I was always so anti these terms, so I must have connected them to some negative experiences. It’s such a puzzle to me, lol.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. That was really cool hearing your story!
    I can relate to not wanting to tell people – I made a new friend recently who I’m pretty sure I’m alterously attracted to, but when I tried to explain QPR’s to my flatmates, they were all receptive but couldn’t quite wrap their heads around how it was different from platonic and/or romantic relationships. So although it’s a good sign that I didn’t have to explain what ace and aro were, I’m worried that if he’s not familiar with other attraction types, I won’t be able to explain my feelings in a way that doesn’t make it sound like just a crush, and I’ll just make things awkward :P.

    Which is kind of ironic, because I’m autistic and poke fun at neurotypicals on a regular basis for “overcomplicating” interactions and not just straight-forwardly explaining what’s on their mind. And yet here I’ve gotten myself in the same situation XD. Although (not sure if you’re neurotypical or not, but) after reading your story with all the emotional detail, I think I understand better where people are coming from mentally when they perceive those types of interactions as complicated.

    Also I love the wolf photos :).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Mia,

      Thanks for your comment! 😀 It cheered me up when I woke up to your reply, haha. I’m autistic too. Yeah it would be great if they could be more straightforward so I didn’t have to take years (decades) trying to decode their endlessly complex and ever-changing social rules, LOL. But at the same time, there are terms that people just throw around without clarifying what they mean, as if they think I will automatically understand just from reading books and watching movies about romantic relationships.

      If I can, I might use metaphors to explain how I feel. For instance, with Nathan, my feelings were very feverish, intense, and maybe puppy love. So at one point, I felt like Nathan was a meteor shower crashing through my world, and I’m now a completely different person. I wasn’t comfortable with romantic labels, but I thought of him calling me his sunshine and I would call him my starlight. Yeah some people may see this as romantic, but I don’t. It’s profound but not romantic to me. I used this metaphor in a Facebook aro discussion group, and many people could relate to what I’m saying! So sometimes, I feel like my feelings are bigger and more intense than “romantic love” as portrayed by popular media, if that makes sense.

      With Zephyr, my love felt deeper and more mature. Still profound but calmer, like falling deep into an ocean. And before I met Nathan, my crush on Lucas felt very naive, very hopeful but also full of pining and helplessness, much like puppy love, lol. But after falling back in love with Lucas after my break with Zephyr, my love for Lucas is full of longing and fantasies, yes, but it also feels more confident, like I feel colorful magic buzzing through my skin and I love it. But I also recognize that if I don’t get to be with Lucas, I will survive. Plus, unless he is like Nathan, we could probably still stay friends and continue to be in each other’s lives. I treasure friendship more than anything anyway.

      Yay you’re the first person who mentioned the wolf photos! 😀 (I also shared this article on Medium and Facebook for more feedback). I felt a lot of anxiety writing up this piece, because it makes me feel so vulnerable, and I was afraid of being judged for my unconventional relationship desires, and my lack of certainty when it comes to my labels. (Still can’t decide whether demiromantic would fit me or not. Though quoiromantic is definitely me.) So, I made myself feel more relaxed and confident when I included all these cute wolf photos, partly because wolves are my favorite animals, and partly because I make it look like a wolf story, so it gives me some safer distance from the content, so to speak, haha.

      Oh no, yeah, I hope I don’t explain it like it’s a traditional romantic relationship to my crush, too. I’m trying to meet him in person, but it’s hard because he seems to always have a reason to put off the meeting, even though he said we could hang out. It’s as though I’m asking him out but not really. The hangout itself is supposed to be platonic. I just want to confess in person so I can at least see his reaction, and have the chance to calm him down and explain further if he freaks out. In any case, I might say something like: “Hey Lucas, I really like you, and um…do you want to be together?” Or “Do you want to be my partner in crime?” LOL. Then I could elaborate depending on his reaction.

      P.S. I’m going to try pasting my reply to you on your blog, in a separate comment here, since this comment is already too long. My apologies if you already received my reply on your blog—I couldn’t see my reply posted on the page and didn’t get any awaiting moderation notification, either.

      Like

    2. Hey Mia,

      Thanks for your reply! I spent more time thinking about my reactions to different labels. To my surprise, I’m not bothered by the labels spouse, husband, fiancée, mate, or lover. “Partner”, “significant other”, and “romance” make me nervous. “Relationship” I have mixed feelings about. “Dating” and “boyfriend” I still hate the most, lol. I talked to my therapist about this yesterday, and she also thought it was interesting how husband/spouse/fiancée don’t bother me. (I forgot to tell her that I’m okay with lover and mate.)

      Hmm…I wonder if it’s because I see marriage as so far and improbable for me, that I don’t see them as realistic threats? “Lover” and “mate” could be seen as more sexual than romantic, at least to me. And “mate” sounds very animal kingdom to me, which makes me feel more reassured, because I often feel more comfortable with animals than with humans, if that makes sense?

      Ugh yeah I hate how lacking in terminology we are. It’s similar to how it’s hard to explain my nonbinary gender feelings to people, because I have to borrow binary terms to explain them since not many people know about identities beyond the binary. Yeah I find it challenging to explain QPRs, too. I recently saw a couple of posts by other aros who are in a happy relationship, but didn’t feel like QPR was the right term, though they don’t think they feel romantic about it. One of them said they’re not sure if it’s platonic/sexual/alterous or whatnot, and maybe it doesn’t even matter what the label is; it just is what it is.

      I’ll share the links to their articles in case you’re interested:

      “Steady as a Rock in an Earthquake” https://mesotablar.dreamwidth.org/27712.html (This was also a part of the March 2022 Stability prompt Carnival of Aros event)

      “I’m Gay, Aromantic, and In Love”
      View at Medium.com

      It’s additionally hard because yes, I can use whatever label makes me comfortable (or use no labels). But if I want to explain how I feel to friends, because I want them to understand, then I can’t just think about my definitions of labels. I have to think about theirs, too. And I try hard to navigate language while defining terms, even though definitions can vary depending on the person’s memories attached to the term.

      Wow yeah an app for QPRs (or other non-romantic emotionally intimate relationships) would be helpful. I hope they won’t use the term “dating” app, though. Maybe they can call it a “social app” or a “connection app”.

      Like

      1. (Just letting you know that I won’t have my computer for a couple days, but I did see your responses – longer response coming soon.)

        Liked by 1 person

  3. “Plus, unless he is like Nathan, we could probably still stay friends and continue to be in each other’s lives. I treasure friendship more than anything anyway.”
    That’s the best kind of friendship. I wish more people could talk about this kind of thing without it creating permanent awkwardness – I know for me personally, it doesn’t change anything about the way I view the relationship if a friend says they’re attracted in a non-platonic way and it’s not mutual, but I feel like sometimes in those situations the other person then finds it too awkward to keep interacting normally. I guess it’s part of humanity being social creatures prone to anxiety though – it takes a fair amount of self-confidence and objective perspective on social interaction, I think, to have those kinds of honest conversations and walk away again being perfectly okay with how it went as far social awkwardness goes.

    That’s interesting that you prefer discussing in-person. Personally, I do better discussing that kind of thing via written communication. I don’t know if it’s entirely because of how my brain works or simply because most of my close friendships in the past have formed online so that’s how I’m used to having the conversations, but I find it easier to convey what I mean accurately when my social brain’s not distracted by keeping track of my body language and avoiding eye contact and all those things, and I can revise what I’m saying before hitting the send key, etc. Although I suppose it depends on the person – my current target (okay, that makes me sound like a hitwoman or something doesn’t it…) seems to prefer in-person interaction over text hangouts, so in that case it may not work as well online as it does for relationships that are already entirely online-based.

    Ah, sorry about that! I just checked, and it looks like my anti-spam plugin got overzealous and dealt with a flood of spam comments on the post by sending *everything* to the trash pile. I’ll whitelist you so that doesn’t happen again.

    Liked by 1 person

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