From the inbox #450

“My Ace Story (Sorry, this gets pretty long!)

Seeing so many people send in their story made me want to send mine, so hope it’s not wrong of me to do so. There’s nothing particularly sad about it, I think.

So ever since I was around…somewhere between 4 and 7, I knew I never wanted children. Children were a hassle. And I thought sex was super gross (hell I still do) so that kinda took out a crucial piece if I wanted them to be 100% mine. People regarded getting married and having children so highly, I thought I was weird because I never really wanted that.

I felt a little alienated because I never wanted sex and I was always ‘putting off’ dating. In elementary school I was like ‘I’ll get my education, that’s most important’. Middle school was that, amended with waiting until college. Then I got to college, and I realized I didn’t want to at all. Especially because I go to college out of town with thousands of people that don’t live there either, and long distance relationships did not appeal to me.

I was part of the whole ‘no one would ask to date me seriously, they must be joking to mess with me’ club. I got asked by three people, two who were very good friends at the time and one who was a year above me asking me to prom. The first two I was too close to, and the third I thought was a joke, especially since that class saw me as ‘the smart girl scared of bugs’ (separate story). Point is, I was made fun of in that class so I assumed this guy (who I didn’t know very well outside of this class) was asking me as a joke. There wasn’t much he knew of me either. But there was another problem that came from that: I wasn’t…interested in being a date.

I don’t like most social gatherings, whether I know most people there or not. That’s always been true. I didn’t even go to my senior prom (junior prom got taken away my sophomore year because of the juniors so I didn’t have to worry about). But going alone didn’t appeal to me, and the thought of going as a date was a sour thought too. That was one of my first hint that dating wasn’t a thing for me.

Another of my hints came from this crush I had for 2 or 3 years. It was the last crush I ever had, but in the middle of that, a very close friend of mine had a crush on him as well. My mom insisted that it would destroy our then 5+ year friendship (which it didn’t), but I thought it was fine. She ended up confessing for me and her one day in a class the three of us shared that we both had interest in being his girlfriend (I was too shy and this was the only crush I ever even attempted to gain favor with). When she came back and told me that (which is not what I asked her to do), I protested. The reason was because I didn’t want to be his girlfriend. I just wanted him to know I liked him and that was it. Two(?) things had occurred to me at that point: that I had felt the same about every crush I had prior, and that being in a relationship was never my end goal. I thought that was normal up to that point but that was really when I started questioning myself.

Fast forward to sophomore year of college (I believe): I’m standing in line at school to wait for an event. I was talking to a pretty close friend, and while waiting we got on the topic of love lives (which neither of us really had). The things she was saying really sounded like what I had been going through, and she mentioned that she was asexual. Suddenly the years of being confused, feeling weird…made perfect sense. And it was that simple. I’m asexual. It made me feel much better. I was 19 and I finally knew more about myself. I’d been telling myself I was heterosexual because other than not actually wanting to have sex, I did like males. I had no proof to anything contrary. But now I knew.

Fast forward a few months. On a trip either back to school or back home, I’d expressed to my mother how I felt. She was totally fine with me being ace, and said it made perfect sense when I explained it to her. I also expressed disinterest in dating, and she thought she was to blame. She hadn’t had any relationship that ended well since I was born, which included my dad. It had nothing to do with her, it was just…how I felt. She even agreed to me after I explained why I didn’t like dating, that she might be the same. That made me feel better.

Something that made dating more unappealing was a show based on true events called Fatal Attraction. For those don’t know, it’s where relationships end because someone in the relationship gets killed, either by the other partner in the relationship, or someone outside (such as but not limited to an ex) was jealous and took matters into their own hands. As if dating wasn’t already unappealing, it was also SCARY AS HELL. It may be a little risk, but considering my orientation in such a sex-driven society, it was a pretty high risk for me. Especially after hearing how it ends for people who reject interested parties. That cemented how much I didn’t want to date.

Fast forward again to around a month or so ago. I was connecting with more people I knew that I hadn’t known were ace. Knowing more ace people made me feel happier and happier (I make it a point to high five anyone I meet that’s a fellow ace). Then I found out one of my friends is ace/aro. I hadn’t (knowingly) met anyone aromantic, so I finally had a chance to know more about it. So I asked her, and it seemed to resonate with me some, but I was still debating with myself. I hadn’t had a crush since my crush from high school transferred senior year, and that had been just fine with me for the past near 5 years. I had to evaluate with myself, did that mean I wasn’t attracted to people anymore?

I had never wanted to date people. Every time I thought about it, my mind hit a roadblock somewhere. I love hugging but that’s as far as my physical affection ever went and ever wanted to do. I didn’t want to risk someone who wanted sex you know, /killing/ me. I had no goal for it, and I realized that dating had never 100% appealed to me. And I’ve only ever liked people in an aesthetic sense. Platonic relationships are amazing to me. I love having friends (I even have a friend I’m pondering if she’s a platonic soul mate, but I don’t want to tell her at risk of weirding her out. I might just be overthinking it. We’ve still never met in real life.)

So at age 21, I realized I was likely aromantic. For a while, I thought I was lithromantic (Since it’s attraction without desire of having it returned) but after a while I just…didn’t think of anyone past ‘Oh you’re attractive, but I don’t want to date you’. I still think that about anybody. Gender stopped mattering when I was told it’s ok to think anyone’s attractive (You would think I wouldn’t have to be told but when you grow up in a household where homosexuality is frowned upon by the adults, your primary thought is ‘I don’t want to see what happened if I break that unspoken rule’. Hooray Christian upbringing!). Until I find something that makes more sense, that’s what I’ve thought.

Now I’m 22 (yes, my birthday was in that past month) and happily declare I’m ace/aro. If I don’t claim who I am happily, who else will? I’ve got to accept me for me. Sorry this was literally all over the place. It feels nice to tell someone without it being linked back to specifically me. I will continue to live my life as ace/aro, happy to be not-single (I hate the term single, it implies you want that status to change) and happy to be me!”

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