From the inbox #688

“I have heard of alterous attraction, but I cannot understand what it actually means, practically speaking.
What I found on google is that it is based on emotional closeness. I understand how that differs from romantic attraction, because in that case emotional closeness is not the only factor, but romantic gestures are involved, ecc… But how does it differ from platonic attraction? I assumed platonic bonds were about emotional closeness as well.
I am not trying to invalidate anyone, I just need actual practical examples of how these two types of attractions differ.”

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From the inbox #632

“My sister is only 15 and so the types of relationship don’t make much sense to her at all. She only really knows the whole “I like you” part but not the ways you can be attracted to someone. I want to be able to explain it to her since makes comments sometimes about how she thought she liked girls and normally prefers them but is dating a boy and it confuses her a little. She’s shrugging it off as being ‘Bi-lesbian’. But no matter what she identifies as I feel like she could always benefit from being able to tell the difference. So ANY advice on how to explain the difference would be appreciated. Right now she thinks there is “Liking someone” or “Being friends”. That romantic relationships are just being friends with them. As a Demisexual Panromatic person I found never being taught the difference to be very damaging and isolating for me. It caused years of unnecessary pain and confusion, doubts and “I’m broken” type thoughts. I don’t want to chance that with my baby sister. She can be anything and my family will love her all the same. I just want to give her the information in a way she understands, so she can be more sure of herself.”

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From the inbox #472

“Hey, I know a non-romantic crush is generally called a squish, but is there a word for non-romantic flirting? Like, I’m actively courting this person’s friendship but I don’t want to date them?”

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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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From the inbox #428

“Okay, so. There’s this new kid at my work, and I’ve only known him a couple days, but I kind of really like him. Not in a romantic way or anything, but I just really want to get to know him and get closer to him. Is this what a squish thing is? I’ve never really experienced this before, and I’m kind of freaking out about it.”

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From the inbox #419

“Hello!
I’m working on a project about different types of attractions. Maybe you guys can help me figure out the difference in a crush and a squish. I mean I know what they are but I’m trying to figure out a simple way to explain a squish to someone who hasn’t had a squish and a crush to someone who hasn’t had a crush.”

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From the inbox #363

“Hey, I’d have something to ask you guys…

I have someone in my life I feel deep and strong attraction for. Nothing romantic nor sexual though, only a very strong attraction that could despite all that easily be linked with being in love; I can relate to all those posts that evoke missing, needing someone you’re in love with. I feel like he takes all the room in my heart and not one day passes without me thinking about him.
I’ve had this feeling sticking to me for almost two years.
I do fancy hugging, going on long walks, talking about anything and everything, and maybe also holding hands… Anything that would be normal between a father and daughter (he’d be old enough to be my father) but nothing beyond that. So I don’t feel like I could call this romantic attraction.

I’d like to know how you’d call this kind of attraction ? Purely platonic ?

Thank you for reading and looking forward to hearing your opinions 🙂

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From the inbox #139

“Maybe I might feel love, but not in the way that I should. I love my friends. I love the people in my life. But when it comes to romantic love….even when I have a crush on someone it isn’t the way it should be. It doesn’t come naturally for me to have a crush on someone, it’s like I have to force it. Same for relationships. Like when I am in one yeah I can be a good, even great, girlfriend. But it’s hard for me to feel the way I should. Maybe that type of love just isn’t for me. I mean, people say that in relationships love shouldn’t be something that you have to force. Yeah you can fight and have disagreements but love still comes easy does it not? I feel like I’m longing for something that I can not feel. It’s like, I want to be able to love. I want to be able to not have to force myself to like someone, but I don’t know how to. It just doesn’t come naturally. In the end yeah I can love someone in the relationship way but it’s forced. Maybe in the end that type of love just isn’t for me.”

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From the inbox #87

“I think I’m asexual, I mean, I’m twentish and I never experienced sexual attraction for anyone, so maybe…? And I never had a crush, but lately there is a person I feel a strong bond with and I don’t know what it is. I asked my friends but they say they understand when they have a crush because they have sexual attraction for this person and this can’t help me. So how do you people understand when you are in front of just a really strong friendship or a crush/someone you love?”

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From the inbox #49

“My names Tom and a little weird in a good way. I’m asexual so I spend my time round men to much and rarely get to chat to women without it getting about sex.

I was wondering if any women want to chat platonicly during their free time. Can be about anything or nothing just just a hello. Kind of a Facebook pen pal.”

(Thomas James)

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