(cn: bullying, abuse, sex, ableism and misogyny)
In this post I would like to talk a bit more about my asexuality and how discovering it changed my view on relationships. I didn’t really talk about it in my previous post however I would like to expand on it as I feel it was worth discussing.
I used to think that entering a relationship was the key to me being happy. This was because I believed that I could experience a lot of things NTs do because my partner would take me with them to events like parties and holidays. Furthermore, as I was their partner I would be included in what they do by default. Relationships are a two way straight and couples are often seen as a pair in society. You do not invite one without the other. I believed I would be ignored by my peers even more if this wasn’t the case.
Like a lot of autistic people, I struggled a lot with friendships as a teen. I felt that the only friendships where I genuinely felt wanted were mostly by people I thought liked me more than a friend. Most people ignored me or were fake friends and this included people I liked. It was upsetting and meant I was vulnerable to bullying and abuse.
I have noticed how there is emphasis on not offending the partner of someone who is neurotypical. If I was just a friend people will see that as a green light to abuse and bully me. But if I was someone’s partner they’d respect me as they don’t want to offend their friend. They would essentially be fake and suppress their true feelings just to please their friend. Or even worse turn on their friend thus offending us both. Disability and neurodiversity are both stigmatised by neurotypical society thus either the NT would be socially excluded or would be praised for choosing to go out with an “undateable burden” or anything similar that dehumanises the disabled/ND partner.
How it came across to me back then was that to these people, my feelings never really mattered. It always felt forced and awkward because other people came across to me as “Oh, [crush] likes Subtle. Now we actually have to include him in things.” Sometimes these people would turn out to be genuine but often when the crush went south we simply reverted back to being acquaintances. So not everybody is like this but the majority of people are and that is sad. The ironic thing is I saw relationships as the key to experiencing more things and being socially accepted yet I simply wasn’t ready to handle dating as I could never handle courting any of my high school crushes.
I had already started to move away from this line of thinking as I got older. This is because I’m going to university and have started making a success of myself on my own while hardly ever having crushes on anybody else. Basically, I realised that I didn’t need a relationship to be happy or experience new things. I needed to focus on friendships and developing my knowledge and skills. Doing so would make me more attractive to somebody else and gives them a reason to want to be with me.
I do believe that my beliefs during my school years were largely shaped by how my peers interacted with me especially as I had craved their attention and approval like a lot of teens do. Once I had moved away from a socially toxic environment I would begin to see things differently. The revelations became more complicated when I realised I was asexual recently.
What I then realised that when I thought I was allosexual, I had thought I was entitled to a relationship with someone else especially women. This is because I thought that a committed relationship was what was socially expected of everybody in society (I wasn’t aware that aro/ace people existed at the time). Furthermore, I thought that if I could gain their attention and loyalty early on, there would be a smaller chance of issues arising later on (mostly with regards to sex) due to society being heteronormative and sexualised.
I’m reluctant to admit this however I also feel that this is common with many men and is partly why many men have problems regulating their behaviour with women. I knew a domestic abuser and some of his beliefs that he had included that women are objects and that they are subservient to him. While this is an extreme example I think a lot of allosexual men have absorbed this message of entitlement – just not to the same extent. I have also struggled with boundaries towards women in the past (as I mentioned in my last post) however this is something that I am getting better at.
I don’t know how I came to these conclusions when I was allosexual. However, I do think that my immaturity and inexperience meant I was missing key aspects of the relationship puzzle (ie. Personality, emotional compatibility). I think this may also be why a lot of women tend to date men that are older than them. This is because they know that most men their age aren’t on their maturity level and men older than them may look past their physical aspects and look at them more as a person. What I’ve noticed is that many allosexual men focus mainly on physical/sexual attraction and thus this breeds beliefs of entitlement. Hence, other men have ignorant opinions about relationships too.
As someone who is sex-repulsed, I can tell you now that it is not something I would be willing to try outside of conceiving a child. Nor do I consider the sexual aspect as a primary factor when I assess whether somebody would make a good partner. What I look for nowadays would focus more on personality, emotional connectivity and authenticity. I’m also a lot more willing to look past the physical appearance of somebody now that sex is out of the picture. This is thanks to maturity, making genuine friendships through my time at university as well as realising my asexuality. I would wager that had I not realised I was asexual this would not have happened as soon as it did if it even happened at all.
I never knew that such a revelation would change my perspective on things so deeply. It is important to grow and develop as a person and I still don’t believe I am fully there as attraction can change over time. It’s amazing how things change over time. Hopefully you (the reader) have gained something from my rambling.
That’s all for today.