From the inbox #823

“I’ve never been a social person in the first place, although I have had two “relationships” that both lasted for less than a few days because I definitely know I’m asexual, but I’m still confused whether I’m aromantic or homoromantic. Or something. These purely innocent relationships just made me feel extremely uncomfortable, but if it were expressed platonically I would’ve been fine.

So then, I decided to stop giving into peer pressure as I didn’t enjoy the idea of dating and I don’t see it in my future. I also have no desire for starting a family.

Why I’m saying all of this is because my younger brother (who is not in highschool) had been yelling at me to get a boyfriend because I’m a senior in school. I asked why and his answer was “because you need a life”. I kept asking but he just kept saying the same thing. “You’re a loser if you don’t have one. When I’m in highschool I’ll get a girlfriend. You’re a boring idiot.” He’s usually nice to me and everything so… Okay? Puberty has graced him and it seems like a lot of people share his views and see life as meaningless if you’re single, as if you can’t rely on yourself for your own happiness.

My dad had also had a convo with me about kids. I told him I would never have any because they’re not my thing. His answer? “Okay sweetheart, but it would be really good if you did. It would make me happy.” From him it just sounds like he’s guilt tripping me and it wouldn’t have bothered me otherwise. I’ve had a similar thing happen with my aunties who tell me I’ll change my mind or blatantly ignore me when I tell them no and keep going on with their conversations. It gets frustrating when it’s shoved down my throat.

My sister agreed with my brother (who is also young) but I don’t get why they think that way. At least my mum hasn’t talked to me about it and I don’t think it would bother her if she knew, but that’s that. How would you treat this?”

Here are the replies

From the inbox #821

“So I’ve always had the notion of being poly, because I feel the same affection towards everyone, because I love everyone, but in different ways and at different levels. I’ve had alot of relationships that I have quickly regretted going into, after realising I wasn’t all that into this person. I’m coming to the realisation that perhaps, it is platonic love, and that is why this is happening to me. I’m demi-pansexual but I don’t necessarily have to love someone, my emotional bond can be something like a really good friendship bond. But I’m starting to wonder, and I aromantic? I’ve been questioning this since I read a post about aros being able to be a hopeless romantic, and we’ll I’ve always been told “you want a wedding not a marriage” maybe I’m attaching myself onto people quickly because I feel a need to experience my “happy ever after” I’m sorry I’m rambling, but I’d like some advice please.
I’ve spoken to my partner about this, he’s part of the spectrum too so he’s very understanding.

I’ve also, never really felt that mushy love, the joy of being by one person all the time. But I can commit to people, I put so much effort into people, but I struggle to find a benefit of mine that isn’t a safety blanket and a friend.”

Here are the replies

From the inbox #780

“I identify as demi panromantic and I have a question. I’ve only had straight relationships and I find it really hard to be attached to people. (Trust issues and BPD kind of do that for you). But I would love to date a girl. I have no idea how to go about this though. Especially being asexual and also kind of realizing neither guys, girls or anything in between finds me interesting or attractive.
I mean, I just left a 5 year relationship and I wasn’t very happy when I fell out of love with him. But now there’s this hole in my life. I ended up meeting a girl that I get along with really well and I love her to pieces. When I met her, we hit it off like that. Wasn’t until the end of the night that I found out she was 14. (I’m 23.) I don’t get along with people my age and even in the groups and fandoms I join feel alien to everyone.
I love this girl and she’s my best friend but I can’t get it out of my mind that my feelings are wrong and sick.
So my question is this. How do I go out and try to make friends if I’m terrified of the world around me? How do I go out into the dating world when I’m scared that my sexuality will cut down my choices. (And the fact that I have never had sex before and most people who have expect it out of the people they date.)
Is it normal the way I feel about this girl? Is there something wrong with me mentally? I’m scared and I really need support and advice.”

Here are the replies

From the inbox #765

“Hey there! Just wanted to share my identity confirmation (at least for now) with the community. I identify as a woman who feels attraction (romantic and maybe sexual) towards men, but only about 2-3 times per year.
Over the years, the allo & heteronorms pushed on my by allos (straight & queer alike) which perpetuated the idea that my desire for intimacy towards guy-friends as a girl couldn’t be platonic caused me to feel not allo enough. Because of that, I’ve wondered a lot if the abnormality/”impossibility” of how I felt according to allos was socially constructed out of hetero and allo normativity or if it existed because the way my attraction worked really wasn’t how it did for them. At the same time, the sense of community aspec people seemed to have over never experiencing sexual attraction towards others made me not feel ace enough, either. If I felt attraction towards men but it was predominantly platonic, was I ace or was I allo? The answer was neither, and both.

Now, rather than feeling torn between being one or the other, I’ve decided to center myself where I am, right in the middle.

So, here I am, both an asexual and and allosexual and yet still aspec person who does (and doesn’t) experience sexual attraction. I exist and I’m valid! I identify as a heteroromantic graysexual, and I’m here to dispel the myth that all aces are non-allos & all allos are non-aces!”

Here are the replies

From the inbox #742

I saw your post about what a squish is. I’m still fairly new to the ace world. Going on two years being openly asexual. And I wanted opinions on how to approach someone about being your squish?

As the definition stated it’s an intense feeling of attraction, liking appreciation, and/or admiration for person you usually want to get to know better and become close with. It’s different from just wanting to be friends and that there is an intensity about it and it is proportion sense of elation when they like and appreciate you back.

There have been many times in my life where I met a person or made a friend that I liked so much that I just wanted to be around them, hang out with them, and talk with them all the time. In a way that goes beyond just saying you seem cool let’s be friends. But most the time I’ve had these encounters we never even become close friends because of conflicting schedules or distance. The one time in my life this wasn’t the case was with a friend of many years and when our schedules finally matched up we quickly went from close friends, to best friends, to now being a hetero romantic asexual couple for the past year and a half.

But I digress.
In recent years I’ve made a few ace friends and there’s one in particular that I have found a kindred spirit with. They’re pretty introverted and spend most their time with family instead of friends so it’s difficult and sometimes I feel bad even attempting to ask them to do stuff and half the time I don’t even know how to ask. I just want to get to know them more but I don’t want to force them to go out, or spend money, or interact with people they don’t know either.
I also don’t want them to think it’s weird that a hetero romantic ace in a relationship has an interest in becoming squishes with an Aero ace.

Is that weird?
What should I do?”

Here are the replies

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.”

Here are the replies

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.”

Here are the replies

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?”

Here are the replies

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!”

Here are the replies

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.”

Here are the replies