Aromantic Awareness Week: The “You’ll Be Alone Forever” Myth

SInce I’ve turned 30 years old I’ve started to out right chuckle at the “you’ll be alone forever” myth (and yes it is a myth) directed at asexuals and aromantics. I know aces can kind of brush it off because sex and romance are two very different relationship sauces, but aros have to put more effort into pointing out some of the fallacies behind the “alone forever” mentality.

First of all, half of all marriages end in divorce. That number is a little skewed because that includes all marriages, meaning repeat offenders who get married and then divorced and then get married again. The statistics for first time marriages are a little better and those who wait and get married later in life report being happier in their marriages than folks for got married in their late teens and early 20s. You can look up the most studies on your own time, but when I looked all this up back before realizing it didn’t matter because I’m aromantic, that’s the gist I got out of the available articles at the time.

The thing most people don’t like to think about is “forever” is a long ass time. I’ve noticed most young people don’t realize that there’s life after 30, so the fact that there’s life after 65 must blow their feaking minds. If you think about it, if you retire at 65 but live to be 85+, that’s 20 freaking years of living without income. I hope you nabbed a good retirement package because that’s 20+ years of additional medical expenses that you have to account for also because you won’t be a spring chicken. Then at the very end, there’s Assisted Living you need to account for because you and your hypothetical spouse won’t be able to take care of eachother anymore. Then at the very, very end there’s hospice care because nobody actually lives forever. So the whole “alone forever” thing is heteronormative BS at its finest.

There is never going to be one single relationship that’s going to carry you every step of the way through life. Sure, we love it when lovely dovey couples are like, “oh, my wife/husband is my rock. I couldn’t do it without them.” But we live in reality and reality is messy and doesn’t like to be tied up in a pretty bow. That’s like the winner of American Idol saying “See? Dreams really do come true if you believe in yourself!” like you didn’t watch the first five episodes where millions of people got turned down. All those people did follow their dreams and they did believe in themselves and it still didn’t work out because of luck, fate, or whatever. The same thing happens with romance. We are so focused on the “success” stories that we overlook that for most people, even straight people, it doesn’t work out and it’s really mean spirited to everyone to keep pushing the myth that you’ll be forever alone and that is a bad thing.

So, for everyone else who’s realized they aren’t the star of their own romantic comedy here’s what you do:

1) Start saving up for retirement. I’m not kidding. You do not want to be homeless or cleaning toilets in your 70s. Throw some spare change in a pickle jar, stuff some dollar bills under your mattress, do whatever you need to do to put some money aside and then start looking at retirement savings plans because inflation is a thing and you want your savings to keep up. That way you can save up for a nice retirement home with cute nurses, good food, and lots of new friends with cool life stories. Don’t rush to old age, but don’t dred it either.

2) Get a new hobby. Pick something you like that takes YEARS to master and then find some local clubs or meetups based on that hobby. Rinse, lather repeat. You can have multiple hobbies and that gives you more opportunity to make tons of new friends who share a common interest with you.

3) Realize that who you are now is not who you’ll be forever. If you’re the kind of person who is constantly trying to improve as a person and stiving to be a decent human being you’ll continue to grow and change for the better. I don’t even like who I was ten years ago, I am not the same person I was ten years ago. I want my circle of friends to reflect who I am now, not the person I was 10 years ago. Because of that I’m actually super grateful that I’m aromantic because I don’t have to worry about a significant being resentful that I’ve changed or that my priorities have changed nor do I have to worry about maintaining a relationship with someone who more than likely has also changed as a person. It honestly gives me a headache just thinking about it.

Those are the kinds of things people don’t like to think about when they say, “You’ll be alone forever”. They’re not actually thinking about what “forever” really means. So what if you don’t have somebody to buy you flowers, give you a massage, forget your anniversary, and all that long term relationship crap.

Instead of investing in a relationship, I’ve invested in making myself the kind of person I’m happy to live with long term. I’m not lonely. I have my job that is both really challenging and rewardingin its own way. I have my hobbies. I have my cat. I’m happy and I don’t need another person coming in and messing that up for me just so I’m not “alone”.


AAW Prompts Cont…

After looking over the rest of the AroSecAwarness week prompts I realized that they really didn’t apply to me or I would only be able to write a few quick sentences.

Wed 17- Romantic relationships
I’ve never been in a romantic relationship. This is what helped me realize that I was aromantic, but I think the relationship thing is also because I’m aro/ace. Since I wasn’t sexually or romantically attracted to anyone (or at the very least attracted enough to want to start a relationship), I can’t really say much about relationships. I wish there had been aro/ace characters in the media that I could relate to or more education opportunities that would have allowed me to realize my identity sooner.

Thu 18- Nonromantic relationships
Actually if I really wanted to I probably could have expanded this into an entire post. I genuinely am open to the idea of a QPP (queer platonic partnership), but there really aren’t a whole of resources for me to go about finding a partner in that capacity. I’m not out as aromantic and only out as asexual to a few. I’m out as agender to only one friend. Unless I’m out in the open about who I am I don’t have a lot of faith in finding a relationship.

Fri 19- Coming Out
Since my coming out as asexual to my family wasn’t the most positive experience in general I haven’t really made any attempts to do so again. It’s not a secret, and I have dropped hints with a few of my coworkers, but I don’t plan on being fully out anytime soon.

Sat 20- Future identification
The only good thing about finding my identity as late as I did is that I know this is who I am and this is who I’ve always been even if I didn’t know the names for it. Still it would have been a lot easier if I had known early on that I could opt out of romance and say that it’s not for me without worrying that there was something wrong with me. I think my life would have been better knowing about aromanticism sooner because then I could have used all that energy I spent worrying towards other, more productive things.

AAW Prompt: Discovering Aromanticism

From @arospecawarenessweek‘s prompts:
Write about your discovery of aromanticism. That can include finding out about the term, realizing you were aromantic or on the aromantic spectrum, or anything else about the terms, community, or anything else relevant to your experiences. Definitely feel free to include feelings or experiences that helped your identification.

Discovering asexuality was the doorway to finding out other sides of my identity. I live in a very conservative area so I was always under the impression that you only had two options, gay or straight (or variations thereof). I didn’t know there was a “none of the above” option. Then the ace community talked about romantic attraction and I had to think really long and really hard about whether or not I really was aromantic. What made me hesitate was the fact that I LOOOOVE to read soppy, trashy, brain-bleach-worthy fanfiction. I thought “well, I like to read all this lovedovey stuff…” then I couldn’t really be aro. I didn’t think any of it was at all accurate of what romance actually felt like so I just kept waiting. It took several affirmations about how what I like to read doesn’t reflect on what I am and I had to stop listing to people who kept telling me I just “hadn’t met the right one yet” over and over and over. I took the slow route to sort out my feelings before deciding that, yes, I was aromantic. There was only time that I ever had that “I want to date you” feeling towards somebody and the sequential heartache that came with it not working out. I was 23 at the time and that was the only isolated incident in my life time. I don’t want people to use that single incident as an argument against my identity or an excuse to say I’m damaged or proof that the “right one” exists. I’ve fully accepted my identity as aromantic and asexual and I take pride in the many facets that make up who I am.