umm.. so i am an 19 year year girl (well, i feel like as girl now) but i am kind of juggling between genderfluid and bigender, not sure which one i am more comfortable with. Soooo, i wanted to know how one would know if they are Asexual or Aromantic or both.. i am..., i don't know i tried talking to people and i am so confused and scared but i feel like i might just be both but i am kind of dangling. I don't anyone to explain me the difference between liking someone platonically and romantically. i really don't understand what exactly liking someone means. I can't differentiate between the feeling of admiring and crush. I used to think i had a crush on certain few people but when i talked to my friends that how do you know you have a crush... the definitions never matched mine, like when i get out of body and look at it from third perspective it feels like that was just admiration or something... so, yeah i wanna understand the difference between platonic and romantic feelings so i can finally find myself in the chaos and proudly show it to people because currently i am scared lost and hiding in shadows.
Firstly, no pressure on the whole gender thing! We can assure you that finding the right label for yourself is lower on the priority list for most people, as compared to being comfortable in your body. Sometimes, we can get lost in the jargon of words that put us in boxes. While these words can be helpful in contextualizing our experience alongside those of others, we find it useful to remember that those categories are just a tool. If you don’t find the tool useful, maybe you don’t have to use it right now. You don’t have to figure out your gender identity for anyone but your own self, and you can take as much time as you want!
While the same can be said for attraction as well, we understand why you feel the need decipher your romantic interests. As a start, we want you to think about how we are socialized to talk about attraction. Since most (all?) of us were brought up “straight” and expected to be attracted to the opposite gender, many queer people have to unlearn certain aspects of language, such as straight flirting, and figure out new ways to communicate more authentically. We would encourage you to think about how much of your friends’ language is just a reproduction of how they learnt how to talk about crushes and romance. Depending on the language’s inherent limitation, our friends and our ability to express ourselves, and our friends and our ability to be honest about our emotions, there could be many factors that are making you question the legitimacy of your feelings.
For some people, romantic attraction is completely different from platonic attraction which is different from sexual attraction, i.e., you could be in love with someone who you don’t want to have sex with, and you have friends separate from that . For others, romantic attraction and sexual attraction are inherently linked, i.e., you need to be sexually attracted to everyone you are romantically interested, and you have friends separate from that. And for some others, romantic, platonic and sexual attraction are just not that separate. These three come in all combinations, in our experience!
To help you figure out what works for you, we want you to answer the following questions about the people you “crush” on/ “admire” and your relationship to them. Does their presence make your day better? Do you want to spend more time with them? Do you wish you knew them better? What would your day look like if you ended up hanging out? Do you have any physical response to their proximity to you?
You don’t have to have satisfactory answers immediately to stop hiding. And we hope you would seek out media (books, talks, articles, etc.) produced by asexual and aromantic people about their experiences further understand if your experience more closely aligns with them. Either way, just because you do or do not fall under those neatly assigned labels, we want you to know that there is nothing wrong with you. No one has love and attraction all figured out - that’s why we still write fiction about it, conduct research on it, make it into reality shows, portray its many forms in movies, and discuss it with our friends. At a moment like this, it is important to remember that if you are getting overwhelmed by the different boxes you could fit into, to take a step back and take a deep breath. You are not alone, so don’t be scared.
The Second Puberty