Boundaries in Aromanticism

Lollie | she/her | aromantic lesbian

Nathan
Hi!

Lollie
Hello, my name is Lollie, she/her pronouns, and I identify as aro.

Nathan
Nice! So what does that mean to you?

Lollie
Just that I – don’t seek out romance, as something that I need in my life. And I – I relate to others differently, and I don’t really have the capacity for kind of, relationships that we’re all socialised to want.

Nathan
Yeah. So how do you differentiate between the sort of the relationships that you want – or I guess, like feel yourself forming, and the ones that you just… don’t?

Lollie
Well I don’t – I don’t really know. It’s different levels of intimacy, I guess, and it’s connecting with people without intentions. So things like sexual connection, and just enjoying being with someone. Things like, you know, sex and friendship, and they have overlaps but there’s a whole other, kind of, dimension to romantic relationships that I don’t really get, or have any desire for.

Nathan
Yeah.

Lollie
I just feel like people talk about being in relationships with others and having this thing with another person, and it doesn’t resonate with me. And I don’t have a clear definition of what that is, because there are some things that you think of as typically romantic that I don’t actually have any problem with.

Nathan
Like?

Lollie
Like… I don’t know, candlelit dinners, or hugs, or even the idea of living with someone, or sleeping with someone. But it’s about what you define as romantic, I suppose.

Nathan
Yeah. So is it more about what you would do that other people define as romantic, or your own boundaries, or what you feel is romantic and that you don’t like?

Lollie
[pause] I don’t know, I think it’s a bit of both. Because I’ve had –  there are things that I’ll do with close friends that are fine, for me. But it’s the idea of going out and meeting someone, and then that person wants those things straight away. Like, the repulsion is there –

Nathan
Yeah.

Lollie
– but then sometimes when I’m not really thinking about it, that kind of intimacy is fine. So I suppose it’s a disconnect between like, what I want and how it’s supposed to be, if that makes sense.

Nathan
Yeah, yeah. So – you’ve talked a bit about like, the expectations society has with romance, and romantic connection, and that being the centre of your life.

Lollie
Mhmm.

Nathan
Do you want to talk a bit about how that affects you, about how you view that when that doesn’t apply to you?

Lollie
It makes me feel really quite lonely. It’s like – I feel aware that people look at me as though I’m missing something. Like, when you’re single it kind of means not in a relationship yet. Like you haven’t got this thing that you’re supposed to have.

Nathan
Yeah.

Lollie
And if you don’t have it, there’s something wrong with you. Nobody looks at me and thinks “she’s made a conscious choice to not be in a relationship”.

It’s always that “oh, she’s lonely – she’s a loner, she spends too much time at home and nobody wants her”.

I don’t feel respected or legitimate or like I can just say “I’ve no desire to have a partner, and I’m quite happy with my life the way it is”. Because I’m expected to eventually partner up.

Nathan
Mhmm. Like what you’re happy with is seen as a temporary state?

Lollie
Mhmm.

Nathan
Yeah. That makes a lot of sense.

Lollie
Oh, I’m glad! [laughs] I’m glad it does!

[both laugh]

[pause]

Nathan
Do you have anything else that you wanna kind of touch on?

Lollie
I suppose family – family is a big thing. The idea of what a family looks like, I think – especially in the queer community, we feel like we’ve made a lot of progress, and we have, with what a family can look like. But there’s still the nuclear template and your success, and your legitimacy as a family unit is judged by how well you fit into that template. There’s no kind of anarchy. There’s nothing progressive about it, when you’re still two parents, child and a dog, in a house, and theres no-one else –

[Nathan laughs lightly]

– like, where’s the radicalisation, where’s the community? Why can’t it just be a totally different shape?

Nathan
So what could family anarchy look like for you?

Lollie
Well for me – I wouldn’t wanna wait until I’ve found that mythic other half, in order to have a child, because that might never happen for me. So, to be able to have a baby that was mine and someone else’s, but that someone else not be a partner in any kind of romantic sense, would be the ideal, as far as I’m concerned.

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