This post is going to use many terms for different sexualities commonly used by the asexual and aromantic communities. I will link to a definition on the first use of every term but if you’re unfamiliar with common ace/aro terms I recommend you consult this list of ace terms first.
As detailed elsewhere, it took me a lot longer than many other people to work out what my sexuality and romantic orientation are. After much soul searching I finally realised I was asexual. I also came to the conclusion I was homoromantic. I had only ever experienced crushes on women, so this was a natural conclusion to make. I could develop them quite easily so I definitely wasn’t on the aromantic spectrum.
However, following a recent mess where I lost one of my friends I experienced the most terrible heartbreak over it. For months I couldn’t do anything without something reminding me of him, and I would break down in tears at the thought that we would never again be friends. This feeling was so intense it seemed much worse than when I’d broken friends with others in the past. It followed the pattern of a television breakup more than a platonic disagreement.
I know we were not in any relationship more than friends. But I can’t help but wonder if my feelings had become something different for him. If not romantic, then alterous or just something different to the platonic bond I had with the rest of our group. I’m more upset over losing him as a friend than I would be losing any of the others, of that I am certain. Which begs the question: what did I feel for him? Was it romantic attraction, alterous or something there is no word for?
If it was romantic attraction, then that would mean I am not solely attracted to women. But I still know that I am not attracted to men in general, and I only felt anything other than platonic attraction for him after we had been close friends for over a year, in a kind of demiromantic fashion. Is that a thing? Being fully alloromantic for one or more genders and then being demiromantic for others?
It was difficult for me to tell whether or not I felt romantic attraction over the still raw (despite the thing happening 3 and a half months ago) heartbreak the situation evokes in me. So I have tried imagining myself in romantic situations with him compared with women I know I have crushes on. Two days ago I was sure it was romantic, but now? I have very good visualisation skills and I can play a silent film in my head of me in a restaurant with a woman I’d like to be in a relationship with and I feel all happy and tingly. When I play the same scene with him & try to pretend the fall-out didn’t happen and it just feels awkward.
So I’m not so convinced any more that I felt romantic attraction towards him. Rather I believe it was alterous attraction, which I’ve struggled to understand the meaning of given that I’ve only seen it defined as something between platonic and romantic attraction. I am pretty confident in saying that what I desired with him was a relationship closer and stronger than the one we had within our group of friends, but not a romantic relationship.
The point is rather moot now anyway since it’s certain that we will never make up from the argument we had, given we both reject the other person’s viewpoint entirely, and whatever I feel for him is evenly matched by anger and disgust at what he said to cause the argument & what he said to finish it. The only reason I pursued my attempt at understanding it was to fully understand my own romantic orientation.
So to conclude, I’m still homoromantic as far as I know. I define this for myself as attracted to like-genders, not necessarily solely people who identify as fully female. That could be women, demigirls, greygender women, genderflux people whose gender varies from woman to agender, and other non-binary identities where there is a femme aspect. If I ever do develop romantic attraction for a man or non-binary individual not specified above then I will revisit this at a later date.
I’m panalterous though most people are still unaware of alterous attraction so it’s not something that I would ever really tell anyone about unless they were to ask.
I believe being autistic is why I’ve struggled for so long to find labels that fit how I feel. I am not very skilled at putting words to feelings, and so it takes a lot of digging around to find accurate labels – I’m still not certain what my gender is; I am questioning but I’m not really ‘out’ as questioning at the moment among my offline friends & certainly not family.
Most of the time I find that no label truly fits how I feel so I use the closest one until I find something that fits better. I end up with long lists of matching genders to types of attraction, and finding my head spinning trying to work out who I really am. It’s never as simple as it seems to be for others. It takes me a whole essay to describe my labels. And now, all I need to do is to accept that this is okay.