Before I get started, I need you all to know that this is just my personal experience. Everyone who has made it to my position has taken a different road from me and has experienced different stops and views along the way.
I identify as asexual and aromantic. My journey to this realisation has been hard. I’ve been searching for my true identity since 2013 and I only fully connected to myself last year. I’m sharing my journey today in the hope that my experiences will help someone connect to something inside themselves and help them on their journey to self-acceptance.
I first labelled myself as asexual in 2019, but I’d had my suspicions since 2016. My boyfriend at the time wanted to have sex with me and I couldn’t put into words exactly how much I did not want to do that, how repulsed I felt at the idea of it. I felt terrible, because I’d be conditioned to believe that if you love someone then you would eventually get married and end up having sex with them to try and have kids. This was something I could not and still cannot fathom. I’ve always said that if I wanted kids I would adopt or foster them and I believe this to be the first example of my sexuality shining through my everyday life.
I wrestled with the thought that I had led this boyfriend on for ages and was part of the reason I broke up with him originally, because I felt I could never live up to his expectations for a relationship and the future. If you’re reading this, I’m sorry. In 2019 I was scrolling through Facebook and found a post about asexuality things and it resonated with me so deeply that after I read it, I wondered why I had never considered that I was ace before. Once I read the post, I found myself googling the term and reading more and more about it, and each article and info graphic I found just cemented the idea in my mind as being correct. It didn’t take long for me to accept that I wasn’t broken, and it wasn’t wrong to not want sex, and that there was a whole community of people out there who felt the same as I did. I finally belonged.
Finding myself as aromantic was much harder. How can I confirm to myself that I had a lack of interest in romance? I always thought that I was biromantic, because I had the same feelings towards men and women. In 2020, I again found myself looking through articles and info graphics, and I found myself looking towards more romance options and realising that I had feelings for more than just men and women. So, I tried something different. Instead of struggling for years to figure out what I was feeling, I decided to speed run it. Each month I would pick a different label, trying to see if it felt right with me and sat comfortably. I found myself getting close with demiromantic and so I decided to look into terms relating to demi. Then in June last year, I decided that my label for the month would be aromantic. The moment I said it out loud to someone, it just clicked into place.
I said it to a few other people as well and the feeling of it being right didn’t go away. So, I looked back. I looked back and analysed my past relationships to see if I had actually loved them or if I was projecting what society thought I should be doing on them. I tried to see if I loved them in the way society told me romantic love was supposed to be – the fact that I had to be told what romantic love was in the first place should have been a big clue. But as they say, hindsight is 20/20. I have found some people I wish to spend my life with. These people are those who I have formed a strong platonic bond with, and I want to spend the rest of my life with them and are referred to as squishes. I treat my squishes with the same love and respect and trust that I’ve learnt is given within a relationship. I consider myself to be in a relationship with them because they are some of the most important people in the world to me. I want to share in their lives and achievements because I love them with all my being, and I can’t imagine life without them. People tell me I’m missing out because I don’t have a significant other and don’t plan on having kids, but I tell them that I have found the people I want to spend the rest of my life with, and the fact that we aren’t in a romantic relationship should have no bearing on that statement. I love my squishes to the end of the earth, and beyond that into the stars I thank every day.
It took seven years for me to find myself and become comfortable in my own skin. I have been extremely lucky to find myself in such a short time since I began questioning, and I thank the stars every day that I was supported throughout this process. I’m a part of my university’s LGBTQIA+ club, and my story is one of the few that is sometimes told to help our newer or still questioning members that there is an end, and that it’s okay to take a while to find yourself.
I feel so lucky that my story has been able to help people on their journey and my heart is warm from the love I’ve received for sharing my story. It’s also why I’m sharing my story here. If I can help someone feel less confused with themselves, then taking the time to write this will have been worth it. To everyone reading this in the same situation I was in just a few years back, I wish you all the luck and love I have on your journey and know that there will be those that love you waiting on the other side.
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