The thing that put my self-acceptance into motion was an email I sent to the podcast The Struggle Bus. It’s a kind of intersectional audio problem page with two women answering listener questions in a way that is sensitive about sexuality and all of the ‘isms’, and I was desperate to get an answer to a question.
But I didn’t dare say it in real life.
What I wanted to know was whether aromanticism was something I should be trying to fix in myself, or whether it was just who I was and nothing to worry about.
The email I sent to them, which was read out on the show, said this:
Subject line: Help! Aromantic – do I need to be fixed?
Hi Sally and Kate!
I’m a long-time listener to the show and wanted to get in touch about something I’ve not felt able to talk to anyone about.
I’m a lesbian and when I was a teenager, I pretended to be straight (to myself as well as the world). I pretended to fancy boys and I assumed that all my friends were also pretending to fancy boys. I dated, felt nothing, finished with them, dated more, ended it, you get the picture.
This left me with a weird feeling that all relationships were fake. We all just made it up and pretended it was real.
In my late teens I left home and came out as a lesbian. I fell in love with a woman, let’s call her Penny. We dated for a few years and when it ended, it broke my heart. I was in so much pain, but I was also in shock – I had no idea that heartbreak was a real thing until then, because of my theory that every relationship was faked!
Over the next few years I dated a few women but never felt much so the relationships never ended up lasting. I was fine with that. I was dating because I felt I should, and it was just what people did. Later, in my late twenties, I fell in love again. Let’s call her Julia. We were together for several years and since we broke up, I have been single. I have hook-ups for sex but am not interested in anything more in-depth.
Over the last few years, as I’ve been single, it has been clear to me that other than the two times I was truly in love, with Penny and Julia, I have had no interest in romantic relationships at all. I’m fine with being single. I don’t seek out a girlfriend. I periodically have sex, which is fine, but I don’t want more than that.
Then I came across the term aromantic – or aro – and realised that that was what I was. I’m definitely not asexual, but where romance is concerned, it’s like you could attach me to any number of machines and it would show zero response. I feel like if I met someone as a friend and fell in love with them, like with Penny and Julia, I could have a relationship again, but I’m not seeking this out and I don’t really care if this happens.
The thing is the people around me think I must be sad or lonely being single. Also, all the single people I know are desperate to meet their other half! It really is just me in all the lesbian social groups who’s not looking for a spouse.
I haven’t mentioned the word aromantic to anyone, I feel like I’d need to explain something that I don’t fully understand myself.
My question for you is this: is this something that is wrong with me? Is this something I should be trying to fix? Or is it just a different state of being that is fine and good?
Thank you so much.
The amazing thing is that they read it out and answered, giving their perspectives. You can listen to their sage words here and just go for it and subscribe here. You can also read more about my own story here.
If I hadn’t written to them and had such a thoughtful and sensitive answer, I’d have probably tried to forget about the whole aromantic thing and carry on denying it was an issue. But, thanks to them, I didn’t, and so they are partly responsible for this site existing at all.
Big thanks to Kate and Sally.