I knew I was aromantic as soon as I realised there was a word for it. I’d never been interested in dating. Romance made no sense to me and I didn’t see why people were always looking for it. I started faking crushes when I was 11. It was easier to seem like everyone else. I was already dealing with the bullying that came with being visibly Muslim. It was this same year that a kid was called terrorist in my class and while my teacher put the offender in detention, I still remember the kid and their friends faces of glee. They’d found it hilarious. By the time I’d finished middle school I’d learnt that human beings are awful, even adults. Especially adults (but that’s for another day).
Anyway, back to the topic at hand, I started faking crushes at 11 and I’d change who I had a crush on every year all throughout middle school. Afterwards, however, I stopped because I didn’t see the point in faking crushes anymore. It seemed to only lead to people trying to set me up with others. No thanks. So I stopped. Thankfully, people assumed it was because I was Muslim and religious ( it wasn’t) so they respected it. I had, and still do have, other problems with that assumption in regards to religiosity and the whole idea of judging people by non-existent and extremely subjective signs of piety, but at the time it worked for me so I ignored it.
So high school was very quiet and I had no problems with my orientation, at least at school. Home was a completely different issue. One of my cousins decided she wanted to get married at 16. Really unbelievable, I know. Her parents were okay with it and they knew the guy. After this no one would shut up about me looking for a husband. I was older than her by like a month and so everyone was comparing us. It got really tiring. As soon as I graduated high school, all the aunties were hitting me up about marriage and finding the right guy. That only made it really clear to me that I never wanted a romantic relationship. I told my parents that I didn’t want to get married ever. They stopped talking to me for a really long time. I now say that I won’t get married till I’m 30 and they laugh at me and I feel like dying. It’s really awful how focused on love, sex and marriage our societies and cultures are.
Anyway, in my first year of university, my best friend told me and my other bf that they were aro and when they explained what it meant, I felt an instant connection. Finally I could put a word to what I felt. It was liberating. I wasn’t alone. I wasn’t broken. They were other people who didn’t feel romantic attraction. I had a community. I had never felt happier. It honestly was like a breath of fresh air. For so long I had thought that there had to be something wrong with me. Everyone else was interested in dating and marriage and romance and I wasn’t. I wanted nothing to do with it. I didn’t get how you could love someone romantically and when people tried to describe it it’d go over my head. It made and still makes zero sense to me.
Now, even then I hadn’t realised I was asexual. I identified as pansexual up until a couple of months ago. I knew I would never have sex because I was sex-averse bordering on sex-repulsed in regards to myself (I can read a PWP fanfiction just fine), but I thought people were beautiful and I was not thinking that about just one gender. I hadn’t realised there were other types of attraction (sensual, aesthetic etc) so I thought it was normal to think of people as beautiful but never wanna touch them. I thought that was pansexuality, with the option of touching or not touching. It isn’t. Sexual attraction was definitely not something I understood properly, but I know better now. I also had some pretty weird views of asexuality back then. I thought it was having absolutely zero interest or attraction in others. Like, you wouldn’t even have an opinion on them being beautiful or not. That asexual people didn’t have any kind of attraction to other people. It was really weird.
But recently I got to searching about being sex-aversed/repulsed because it did not make sense to me how people could look at someone and decide on the spot they would bone them. I mean sure I could fake it based off if I thought someone was pretty or not, but I couldn’t feel it so I kept thinking people were faking it like me. I guess they weren’t.
My discovery on being ace may have taken longer but I have a better relationship with it than I do with my aromanticism. Sex is not a topic in a Somali household. It’s never brought up so I’ve never had to defend myself in regards to like I have my aversion towards romance. I’m extremely repulsed by the idea of doing romantic things like going on dates. I’m fine with hanging out with a friend one-on-one but as soon as it’s called a date I feel sick and I nope out pretty quickly. Even when it’s said jokingly, I just cannot handle romance. But again, I’m fine with it when it’s other people or reading it. All of my repulsion is when it involves me. I’m fine otherwise.
Long story short, I always knew I was aro but I’m glad I have a word for it now. I didn’t realise I was ace because sexual attraction is really confusing, but I’m really happy I found it because I thought there was something wrong with me. I have a better relationship with my asexuality because I didn’t have to hear my family make fun of me about it as they have with my aromanticism.
And I’ve never come out to them, nor will I ever come out to them. But again, that’s for another post.
Thank you for reading this extremely long and rambling first post. Take care!