My “wtfromantic” identity label has become very significant to me…

Queenie of Aces just wrote a new post on Prioritizing Identity, and a wonderful conversation has been happening in the comments too.

This post is a response to that. I branch off to one specific part of the discussion though, and don’t talk much about the whole… um… “Are Aces Queer” discussion or some of the other things in the post. But I might leave a comment on that post to address one of the other sides of the discussion.

Queenie mentions:

…you can divide aces into four groups:

  • Group 1: Aces who consider their romantic orientation more important than their sexual orientation.

  • Group 2: Aces who consider their sexual orientation more important than their romantic orientation.

  • Group 3: Aces who consider their sexual and romantic orientations equally important or who prioritize different orientations at different times.

  • Group 4: Aces who don’t identify with a romantic orientation and thus consider this whole categorization system boring and pointless.

And there is a lot more in the post worth reading but I figured quoting at the very last this small part here was necessary, because I would like to refer back to “Group 4” or whatever and you be able to quickly and easily scroll back up and understand which group I am talking about.

As someone who on the surface is a Group 4 person, “Aces who don’t identify with a romantic orientation and thus consider this whole categorization system boring and pointless”, I wouldn’t quite agree with the second half of the statement. I mean… yes, I don’t identify with a romantic orientation, but…

I find the whole categorization system to be so many things, but NOT boring and NOT pointless. I find it amazing and wonderful, I find it enlightening and it seems useful to a lot of people and because of that in some ways useful to me too, but at the same time confusing, frustrating, and inadequate for me, myself. I find it fascinating and worth discussing more. I like the system, I mainly have positive feelings toward it, and really, all of the confusion and frustration I feel is more pointed at myself for not fitting into it quite right. The system itself seems pretty great because without it I feel like we’d all be SO LOST lol and even if I don’t fit in it quite perfect, having the system is so much better than having nothing.

But because it’s so hard for me to find my place in it, to figure out the difference between romance and non-romance, I definitely find myself falling more in Group 2 and just calling myself asexual and not worrying too much about my romantic orientation for practical purposes. My asexuality is a clearer part of my identity, so it’s easier to focus on. You physically *can’t* focus eyes on the foggy, blurry, unfocused mess of a romantic orientation that is “maybe heteroromantic, or maybe bi or panromantic, but maybe just aromantic”. It’s too vague or self-contradictory and you don’t even know what you’re looking at. So you focus on the asexuality, the clear simplicity of that, especially when you’re like me – a non-libidoist, not even close to gray type of ace who is pretty sure she’s averse to sex too and plans to remain celibate for the rest of her life. Asexuality becomes kind of “cut and dry”.

But THEN AGAIN, there are times when I almost feel like I’m in Group 1, when the fact that I am wtfromantic matters a lot to me, where the fact that I am asexual is a given, a background “yeah, you and I know that about my identity, let’s move on” type of thing. My asexuality can, sometimes, become a practical non-factor, because for those moments what matters to me is: “What even is my goal in life? Am I looking for a boyfriend? Should I delete my stupid OkCupid profile because I’m aromantic anyway?” When I’m at an ace-meetup (I’ve only been to two of these, ever, and both within the past 2 months, FYI) of course I’m ace, we all are, so it’s our romantic orientations that make us different and suddenly I feel kind of weird – or at least “special”, lol – when person after person is completely secure in being aromantic or one young woman thought they were a lesbian before realizing they were ace and I am met with wide eyes and a bit of surprise when I explain that I actually did online dating… with (*gasp*) 3 different guys… and even the people who talk of heteronormative experiences, of dating (or in one guy’s case, marrying) the “opposite” gender, etc. don’t actively identify as heteroromantic, and I don’t want to identify as heteroromantic either, it feels important to me to express that I am actually currently identifying as wtfromantic – as not necessarily aromantic, but not definitively hetero-romantic.

…and then I’m writing a fanfic where I’m making a girl have asexual experiences a lot like mine, and I need to tag it on AO3, and I don’t know whether to tag it aromantic or not and I spend way more time actually thinking about that stupid thing than I should… and yeah my wtfromantic identity (and my character’s) end up mattering a lot in my life, and I basically feel like I am in Group 1, where I don’t even know how to end my fanfiction story, because what does my character even want?

When reading Queenie’s post just now, that one that this whole post is basically just a reply to, I noticed when she discussed the Group 4 aces that she linked to 3 tumblr discussions that I clicked on and read and I ended up in an internet-death-spiral of reading other people’s tumblr comments on these same posts as the whole thing is a bunch of people reblogging reblogs and adding their own comments along the way. And I found the discussion facsinating. One of the most fascinating things that I found indirectly because of this “Prioritizing identity” post of Queenie’s just now was where Sciatrix questioned:

*Are* people thinking of “wtfromantic” as a distinct identity?

And I looked at that and thought… I think yes, yes I actually have been, lately. I’ve been thinking of myself as a wtfromantic asexual and feeling comfortable in that label.

When I read The Ace Theist’s post recently, “Re: Greyness 301”, and also the linked/heavily referenced original Greyness 301 post I left the first comment. The Ace Theist and Cor had been talking about grey-asexuality. Grayness in terms of sexual attraction and stuff. They talk about how confusing and messy it is. I never wanted to call myself a “gray-romantic” before reading that post, but when reading it and seeing how well their descriptions of “greyness” in regards to sexual orientation fit my whole relationship with romantic orientation so well. Other people (Queenie, yes her again lol, and also Ace in Translation) agreed with me after that in the comments that they also related as gray-romantics.

I have been strongly identifying as wtfromantic over gray-romantic because I think the “wtf” accurately expresses so much that the gray doesn’t. Gray implies some middle ground, halfway points, etc… it implies a lot of things to me that I don’t think I am. Maybe I have been wrong to assume that gray means any of those things. But “WTF” expresses more of where I’m at – confusion, frustration, etc.

I’m not sure I have a good stopping point for this post, so I’m gonna stop right here. I’m going to end by saying I am pretty comfortable in the wtfromantic identity label for now. And it has been for months and months. I do think of it as BOTH a distinct romantic orientation label and a non-romantic orientation at the same time, somehow. I think it somehow is a good final answer, as I’m not sure things will ever get more clear/less confusing for me… but it’s also a state of being in perpetual questioning – which means the chance for answers to maybe be found, one day. It is what it is, and I, personally, am happy to have found it.

For people who came to my blog searching for the term “wtfromantic”, consider reading this post: about search terms that have brought people to my blog. Also, consider reading various other posts of mine, as I write about this topic fairly often.

27 thoughts on “My “wtfromantic” identity label has become very significant to me…

  1. I think you may have misunderstood me; by “this categorization system,” I was referring to dividing people up by whether they prioritize their sexual or romantic orientation more, NOT romantic orientation as a categorization system.

    Also, I’m surprised you didn’t go for Group 3, since it seems like you occasionally belong to Group 1 and occasionally belong to Group 2. Is there a particular reason you weren’t inclined to go for Group 3?

    Also also, for the record, there are definitely some people who think wtfromanticism is a type of greyromanticism. (There are also people who think it is not.) So you could always be both, if you don’t want to choose one over the other.


    1. I only thought you had talked about “romantic orientation as a categorization system” briefly, in passing, as the second half of your definition of Group #4… I thought you were saying people in Group 4 found the romantic orientation categorization system boring and pointless when you said “Aces who don’t identify with a romantic orientation and thus consider this whole categorization system boring and pointless.” But you’re right, I guess I misunderstood you if you meant THESE 4 Groups, THIS categorization system is what Group 4 people find boring and pointless. Well I don’t think I find THIS particular categorization boring and pointless either, lol… but… yeah. Okay.

      And I guess you’re right. I kind of *am* in Group 3. Which you said you were in too, right? I suppose I was looking at this all from a perspective of starting out thinking I fit nicely into groups 4 and 2, so then I jumped to realizing at times Group 1 is where I’m at… which basically just means I’m in Group 3, duh. Whoops. Silly me for passing over that in my realization process. Lol. This makes me feel like I’m talking in circles and confusing everyone, including myself, but yes… you’re right.

      And thanks for the final comment too. 😉 I think I kind of do consider myself both already, judging my the comment I left on Ace Theist’s Re: Greyness 301 post.


    2. For the record: I’m glad you addressed/brought up Group 4, because as I started reading your post I thought, “Well this group-you-in-by-your-romantic-orientation mandate doesn’t even work on me from the get-go, since I’m not even sure what my romantic orientation is,” but! Then you covered that, and I was happy.


  2. I’m glad you’ve found a label that you’re happy with. (:

    “I have been strongly identifying as wtfromantic over gray-romantic because I think the ‘wtf’ accurately expresses so much that the gray doesn’t. Gray implies some middle ground, halfway points, etc… it implies a lot of things to me that I don’t think I am. Maybe I have been wrong to assume that gray means any of those things. But ‘WTF’ expresses more of where I’m at – confusion, frustration, etc.”

    I think gray’s broad enough to include a lot of things — and hypothetically, a wtfsexual person would have every right to consider themselves gray-a as well if they wanted. But also, I consider myself distinctly *not* wtfsexual (specifically) because I *do* know what I’m closest to, in terms of sexual orientation, and that’s asexuality, whereas for both me and you, it’s still unclear which romantic orientation is closest, and I think prefixes like wtf and quoi help to express that particular situation.


  3. I had a hard time picking a group too I suppose if I had to chose one it would be group 3 as both matter to me and are both big parts of myself. I know I’m asexual but I don’t have a clear idea of my romantic orientation, as all I’ve decided is that I’m probably not hetroromantic. But I haven’t decided if this means I’m aromantic or not so either wtfromantic or grey would probably fit for me at the moment.
    I had a realisation when you talked about your writing though, I too write fanfiction and I realised I’m having the same problem you are. I’m writing an asexual character using my own experiences as reference too, but my own experiences with asexuality is mixed with my romantic orientation. I’m not even sure what my character wants or what to label the tag! It shouldn’t mater, to me personally it doesn’t, but there’s that pressure to make a label or in this case to tag correctly.


    1. Yeah! 😉 Glad to see I’m not the only one feeling these things. Thanks so much for the comment. By the way, I’m curious – what fandom were you writing ace fanfiction for? 😛 If you feel like sharing. My particular story I just referenced was a Switched at Birth one, actually.


      1. So far it’s just been for the Sherlock fandom, but also trying to write original characters too. 🙂 I haven’t watched Switched at Birth.


  4. I feel so much the same way as you, right down to feeling like my romantic orientation is a mess, and that I also struggle to figure out that distinction between romance and non-romance. I identify with asexuality more strongly, because it’s much more clear. In my comment on Queenie’s original post, I said I identify as gray-romantic because it seemed like the simplest option, but I wonder if wtfromantic fits better? There are times I’ve felt lost, and still do, because I’ve seen so many others specify their romantic orientation, and feel confident in that label, but I’m frustrated that I can’t. I’m uncertain whether I actually experience romantic attraction or not.


  5. I kind of feel the same in that Group 4 is the most obvious thing I fit into – having identified as aromantic, romantic, and wtfromantic over the past year before giving up on picking a label (though wtfromantic is probably closest if I had to choose). But I still feel that the way I am intimate with people is more important to me than my asexuality – which to me feels like its more just saying what I am not. But then I’ve no idea what intimacy falls under for me or where the line is between platonic and romantic. So all I know is that something is more important to me than my sexual orientation and that something may or may not be my romantic orientation.

    Maybe we need a Group 5 for everyone too confused to fit in any of the other groups :p


  6. “But “WTF” expresses more of where I’m at – confusion, frustration, etc.” <— This is exactly why I like the term as well, it's just so expressive!

    Liked by 1 person

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