Author: luvtheheaven

Crying Over A Fictional Kiss

This is my submission for the September 2019 Carnival of Aros, hosted by aceofarrows, on the theme of “Aromanticism and Fiction”. The Call for Submissions was here. I’ve also cross-posted this to my tumblr if you want to reblog it or anything.

Content Note: discussion of varied kissing experiences, including my kissing-aversion. Let me know if I should’ve warned for something else.

Also… I’m not sure how much of what I am focusing on is about my (gray-)aromanticism and how much is my asexuality… it’s hard to really categorize some of this into one or the other category. But I know this is meant to be aro-centric and if you stick with this post I’ll make sure it ties back to aromanticism.


Last month, I listened to the audiobook version of Alice Isn’t Dead by Joseph Fink.

Potential spoilers are in this blog post below by the way, so you have been forewarned. I’ll try to minimize the spoilers (and I’m not spoiling the ending or anything). I’ll also mention, later in the post, details from over halfway through the book All the Wrong Places by Ann Gallagher, and a few details from The Flash (2014 TV series) season 2 and the Veronica Mars 2014 film and 2019 revival for a season 4.

I loved the audiobook of Alice Isn’t Dead. I found it really compelling. I have heard the podcast was probably a better way to first be introduced to the story, but I instead only consumed this fictional tale in its book form, because my asexual meetup group had decided to read it for its book club. It’s a story with a lesbian married couple at its heart—a romance.

Keisha is the main character. Her wife, Alice, went missing and was presumed dead before the start of the story. When Keisha first sees Alice in this story, Keisha is so angry about the depth of grief she’s been in, grief which is all Alice’s fault due to the circumstance of Alice faking her own death and then… they passionately kiss. And I kinda felt like I was triggered by the way the kiss was used in this work of fiction. I don’t know how else to describe it. I had a visceral negative reaction to it.

This is the paragraph:

Keisha could have hit her. Could have killed her, honestly. Let Alice finally actually be dead if she wanted to be dead that badly. But what she did instead was pull her toward her, and their lips met, and it could have been the day they met, could have been the day they got married, could have been any weekday evening before she disappeared. Keisha felt love, right where she had left it, and kissed Alice so hard that it hurt both of them, because what she really wanted to do was to find her way into Alice’s chest and live there among the bones and blood. She wanted them to be one person, but also to be two people; she wanted so many things, most of them contradictory. She pushed Alice away.

I just said I loved this book. I swear, I really truly did. There was so much I loved about this book, the #ownvoices portrayal of anxiety with a ton of depth (and kinda turning it into a superpower without minimizing how hard it is to live that way), the way the horror played out, the characters, and even the way the romance was written. (I’m usually a pretty big fan of romance in fiction even though I’m not alloromantic. I enjoy romantic arcs, and I even feel shipper type feelings a fair amount of the time.)

But also, listening to this audiobook in my car on a drive home late on a Sunday night, hearing about kissing, and how through kissing a character (whom I could otherwise actually emotionally- and personality-wise relate to quite a bit) was feeling a strong positive sensation of love coming rushing into her… it made me cry. I shed real, actual tears. I got distracted by my own thoughts and angst and had to pause the book and switch to playing music on the radio for a little while. I had to rewind it later because I’d missed parts of what came next. I was just. Not in the right headspace for this romantic kissing situation. Not at all.

The timing was partially to blame. I heard this moment in the book while I was driving home from a day spent with the person I’m dating, Asher. (Asher is the pseudonym I use on this blog for my alterous partner.) We had, just that evening, explored if maybe my kissing-averse self might be able to handle closed-mouth chaste kissing on the mouth, but first I had gotten confused and thought I was agreeing to trying open-mouthed kissing for the first time in nearly 6 years. I had indeed agreed on a previous night that I’d try that too, but when we’d get to trying a number of things had still been unclear. But I knew making out would be a thing we tried at least once… eventually.

Continue reading “Crying Over A Fictional Kiss”

Hi, I’m a Polyamorous Asexual Atheist (etc.)

This is a belated submission for the August 2019 Carnival of Aces, which was being hosted by The Demi Deviant, who happens to be my partner “Asher” referenced below, and has the theme of “Deviant Identities”. The Call for Submissions is here.


I’m not very familiar with the reclaiming of the pejorative “deviant” actually, but per the call for submissions, if it means “any identities that are counter-culture, taboo, misunderstood, frowned upon, marginalized, or otherwise not mainstream,” beyond being asexual I suppose I have a few.

Before I get to what I am, I’ll quickly cover what I’m not.

I’m an ace who is not, as part of my identity, kinky. Being kinky is one of the suggested identities you could have in the Call for Submissions, and while I’ve met a fair number of kinky aces, I myself do not feel deep inside of myself a very strong desire to try any of the various activities often included under a kink umbrella. That being said…

My partner is kinky, and I’ve been considering if I might be open to trying a couple forms of nonsexual kink with them. I also went with them to a queer night at a kink clubhouse.

Continue reading “Hi, I’m a Polyamorous Asexual Atheist (etc.)”

luvtheheaven’s Gray-Aro Narrative

shades-of-grayro on tumblr asked for submissions of experiences/narratives of what it’s like for individual people to be grayromantic.

I decided to write up a long post that will also serve as my belated submission to the Carnival of Aros this past month of August 2019, which had a theme of “Relationships” and is being hosted by assignedgothatbirth on The Aro Anarchist. The call for submissions was here. (This post of mine has been cross-posted to my tumblr as well.)

I think it fits this carnival because I cover what it’s been like dating-while-aro throughout this post, cover my relationship to a term like queerplatonic, etc. I cover a lot throughout this post, a fair amount of which has to do with various relationships? Hopefully you all think it fits enough. I didn’t have time to write my own separate blog post for the carnival this month even though I wanted to. My writing inspiration just took me down this path.


 

I identify as gray-aro and gray-panromantic, alongside my sex-averse asexual identity, and prefer the term “gray-aro” over “grayro”, probably because I appreciate how it emphasizes how close to aromantic I am.

 

Lately I’ve been wondering if I’m only pan-alterous and pan-demi-sensual, rather than gray-panromantic. That would mean, in my case, that I’m capable of alterous attraction to people of any gender, and capable of developing a desire to touch and hug people of any gender—but in this case of “sensual attraction” it only develops after a strong emotional connection with the person. I don’t think I really have any attraction that’s actually romantic at all, ever. Unless my alterous attraction is partially romantic, which is certainly a way you can define alterous. I find it extremely complicated/confusing to define and it’s why I liked the “WTFromantic” labels for years and relate strongly to other similar labels like quoiromantic and platoniromantic. It just took me a long time to figure that out, to learn alterous terminology, etc. Even if I decide romantic attraction isn’t something I feel, my (a)romantic orientation is still gray because of reasons other than romantic attraction. The gray in gray-aro still needs to be there because of who I date and who I feel other types of attraction toward (types of attraction that are often a part of romantic attraction in other people’s experiences of those attractions).

 

And for more context, I’m a white 29-year-old cis woman in the USA, who grew up in a relatively conservative town. I assumed I was straight until I was well into age 23, then for a few more months thought I was heteroromantic asexual. I was 24 when I started to realize I wasn’t heteroromantic and started to consider that I might be pan or might indeed be aro.

 

During times when I can’t use too many words to describe my identity (for fear people will judge me for listing too many terms, for fear people won’t take the time to try to understand all of them, or just because certain website bios have very limited space available), I emphasize being aro-spec over being pan anything. Sometimes I phrase it “gray-aro” and other times I like the even more vague “aro-spec” (where I’m trying to express that I’m somewhere on the aromantic spectrum but you’ll have to ask me to find out where exactly).

 

I can’t really tell sometimes which of my experiences are related to being sex-averse asexual vs which are my gray-aromanticism, and plenty of things could also be a result of something else entirely and neither of the two.

 

But some of my experiences are:

Continue reading “luvtheheaven’s Gray-Aro Narrative”

A Journey Toward Two Happy Homes

This is my submission for the July 2019 Carnival of Aces, which had the theme of “Home”. The Call for Submissions was here.


I have been living in the same town with my dad and brother since before I graduated high school, barring the times I was 450 miles away at college, or the times my brother was 20 miles away at his college, and also taking into account that my senior year of high school I lived with my grandmother 70 miles away during the weekdays. But I kept returning “home” to my dad’s. To this town. To this place, where my brother and I were both finally safe and free from my abusive mother starting when I was 17-years old, and he was 15.

It didn’t feel natural to call it my “home” instantaneously the moment I moved all my stuff in and slept there every night of the week for a summer. I had been visiting my dad on weekends since I was 10 years old, sleeping one night a week in his apartment building, but my “home” was still my house with my abusive mother. Even when I lived for months in a row with my dad after I stopped living with my mom, it was hard to break the habit of calling this space “my dad’s house” instead of just… “my house”. It was just… a new house that the three of us moved to almost at the same time, and where we happened to live.

For a lot of people, the term “home” is associated with a feeling of comfort, safety, or even “sanctuary”. And “home” also is associated with memories, usually pleasant ones, or of history and the story of your life. This is the place where significant moments in your life happened. In that way, it makes sense that a new house I just had moved into in 2007 was not a “home” for me yet. I had loving family, sure, in my dad and my brother, but the place was not exactly home. It was too new, if nothing else.

The song “Sometimes You Can’t Make it On Your Own” by U2 reflects on Bono’s tense relationship he had with his father most of his life, and the line:

A house doesn’t make a home

definitely evokes something powerful. Less intense but still thought provoking is this silly Yahoo Answer:

A house is just a house whether made from wood, metal or stone. A home is a state of the house which required sentient creatures living and interacting.

Ever heard of a haunted home? ^_^

I went off to college and at some point did start occasionally, without thinking, calling my dorm room “home” in the sense of “I’m going home” from class/the dining hall, which when I realized I’d done it felt weird. However, doing that was somehow easier than calling other people’s homes “mine”, like my grandmother’s or my dad’s. There was a sense I had on some level that no my dorm room wasn’t home, and my dad’s I visited for winter and summer holidays was, but I had to break a particular habit that was more ingrained about the language of “my dad’s house”.

I think emotionally when I said “my dad’s house” it felt like “home” in many ways though.

Continue reading “A Journey Toward Two Happy Homes”

“The Five Love Languages”—Round Up of Posts submitted to the April 2019 Carnival of Aces

Edit: My apologies to SoulRiser and Vesper for leaving out their submissions the first time this was posted and having to edit it in later! (Especially Vesper’s which was even later…)

Thank you to all those who participated in the April 2019 Carnival of Aces! The Call for Submissions was here. The Masterpost for that explains what the Carnival of Aces is can be found here: https://asexualagenda.wordpress.com/a-carnival-of-aces-masterpost/ and it looks like there are no future hosts lined up for this current month of May 2019, or for any future months. Please consider volunteering. Even if the topic has been done before it’s nice to get fresh perspectives. Even if you’ve hosted multiple times before, they welcome repeat hosts! Etc.

Without further ado, here are the submissions from this past month!

  1. Ettina wrote The Science of Five Love Languages, and an excerpt that sums up a lot of what Ettina covered is:

Unfortunately, although Chapman’s initial theory and writings have emphasized love languages in the context of many kinds of relationships, the empirical research overwhelmingly focuses on romantic relationships between heterosexual individuals. I would very much like to see research on the love languages in the contexts of queer relationships and non-romantic relationships, including parent-child relationships.

2. Next, Lib wrote The Languages of Luv, where this aromantic ace explains:

I’ll admit the title is me being just tad facetious because this topic physically pains me. As an aromantic I get major hebee jebees when people start tossing around words with romantic connotations particularly when the required reading for this topic is based on a book called “The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate” (Thank you Wikipedia), but I’m going to suppress my baser instincts that are screaming at me to run for the hills and try to form a rational, and hopefully relatable, opinion on the “Languages of Honest Affection” (there, I fixed the title in my brain so I can stop freaking out over the L* word, *shudders*).

3. After that Perfect Number contributed What My Marriage Is Actually About (It’s Not Sex And It’s Not Jesus), and she put forth a lot of sweet examples of the love inside her marriage.

It’s about communication. About knowing each other so well, because we’ve lived together for so long, that we’ve both developed all kinds of little habits that complement each other. And actually, none of this is really “what marriage is about”- none of this was caused by us getting a marriage license and having a wedding. Instead, it’s because we’re in a long-term, loving, committed relationship. And as the amount of time we’ve been together increases, we gradually come to know each other more and more.

4. Blue Ice-Tea wrote Why Love Languages Matter, which unpacks a lot including:

As someone with a high need for affection but little interest in sex, I’m glad a language exists to help me articulate that need. True, I would always have said, “I like spending time with my friends”, just as I would always have said, “I’m not much interested in sex”. But having a specific terminology gives me an extra feeling of validation. It’s nice to be able to say, “Quality time is my love-language”, just as it’s nice to be able to say, “I’m on the asexual spectrum.”

For another, love languages are a reminder of the Platinum Rule: “Do unto others as they would be done by.” Not everyone likes to be shown affection in the same way. For me, touch is way up on my list of preferred love languages; gifts are right at the bottom. It’s good for the people close to me to know that presents do little for me but that I’m constantly craving hugs. Conversely, it’s good for me to remember that this may not be true of them. Some people are very touch-averse but love receiving gifts. It’s important that I respect this and express my affection for them in the ways they like to receive it.

5. Controlled Abandon wrote Gift giving: How it does and does not work as a love language for me which is a very personal post with lots of examples, and the post ends with:

I scored lowest for physical touch, which I think reflects my difficulty in figuring out how non-romantic, non-sexual physical touch works more than anything else. I’d really like there to be more physical touch in my life. The few times I’ve managed it (putting my arm around a friend, sitting close together on the couch, etc.) it has felt really good in a “humans are social creatures” sort of way. Most of the time, though, it just makes me antsy, because I can’t quite figure out how to be sure I’m not sending the wrong signals, or even when touch is appropriate or not. Culturally, physical touch (beyond handshakes and brief hugs) between adults who aren’t in a Relationship isn’t something we really do in North America, so it’s difficult. But I’d really like to figure it out.

6. SoulRiser submitted The Five Love Languages, and why I’m grateful for cats, which includes some interesting personal analysis comparing human relationships to the author’s relationship with cats. (I’m glad animal companionship was brought into this discussion.) This is one interesting comparison:

This may be because my parents absolutely lovedoing things for me, and always have. All sorts of things, including things that didn’t need to be done at all. I know it makes them feel good to do things for me, so I kind of allow it, but I’m not really comfortable with it….

…I don’t mind doing things for cats though, I’ll gladly feed them and make sure they’re as healthy as possible, and they’ll happily do all sorts of random weird nonsensical shit to make my life more interesting and make me laugh a lot.

7. Vesper submitted “love languages”?? communication tool., which was a very interesting personal post on how unexpectedly useful having the idea of the love languages turned out to be for their relationship with their partner.

Two excerpts:

i remember scoffing at the concept of “love languages” itself, however. no offense to those who find such things helpful, but the cynic & skeptic in me can’t help but scoff at self-help books in general—even more so when the subject matter is mental health, relationships and / or “love”. whether theory or research-based or not, the notion of there being five (specifically five) love languages and online tests that can help tell you what yours are was little different to me than the trendy, user-made personality quizzes of the early 00’s—which, for the record, is also how i view other theory / research-based tests, such as 16personalities.com, and the MBTI. regardless of my cynicism and skepticism, however, my curiosity did eventually win out. again. and in January 2018 i revisited the idea of ‘love languages’, trepidatiously sending the test link to my partner of but a mere week at the time.

and

during the course of our relationship thus far, we occasionally come back to the topic of these five ‘love languages’ when discussing random things. sometimes it’s just in the form of an offhanded observation or comment during conversations, like Caspian noticing how my busy lifestyle combined with the timezone difference of me being in Japan & them in the US made them hyperaware of just how important Quality Time is to them, for example. sometimes it was just me mentally taking notice of how my inability to help Caspian out with even the most mundane of things when they get home from a hard day at work, my inability to share food with them when they had none, etc etc—and how, for me, i guess so-called Acts of Service really is something that i like to do for loved ones, even though it would have never occurred to me that that was a thing that mattered to me prior to this.

8. demiandproud submitted two posts. First Christian Love, Queerly Considered, which analyzes conceptions of love in interesting ways, and one excerpt is:

Cis/heteronormative: whether queer people are accepted depends on whether they are thought to be loved and accepted by God. If one considers God’s love to be unconditional and people’s deeds less important, then the Christian (community) is likely to be very inclusive. If God is considered harsh; if certain behaviour or identities are considered to constitute a rejection of God, then the Christian (community) will reject those people.

Personally, the love I consider good based on my faith is equal, consensual and with a more communal focus than commonly found in the Western world.

I would be monogamous towards my partner, but mostly because that fits how I love, I’d hesitate to say others should be as well. I have found my love towards friends and family, philia and storge, to be truer reflections of God’s love for humans than what I felt when I dated, a chaste incarnation of eros.

I hate the near-obsession with marriage and ‘family focus’ I find in my current church. I consider churches that exclude queer people wrong because I very much believe God’s love to be unconditional.

After that she wrote Christian Love, Queerly Expressed, which includes moments like this regarding “Physical Affection”:

Adjusting my behaviour has made me aware of how much both affectionate touch and respecting people’s boundaries can be appreciated. Some friends complimented me for becoming a bit more sensitive. I’ve also personally benefited. Since touch is my “native” love language, it’s made it easier to express it, easier to know when I should and should not. Easier, also, to say no to others when they cross my boundaries and I am uncomfortable. It’s been a boon in my desire to show friends and family affection.

And this regarding “Quality Time”:

Communal: I have found quality time to be a powerful weapon when it comes to showing acceptance and rejection. Being asexual around my family has meant an increased acceptance over time, even when it was scary in the beginning. Also, I’ve come to see people suddenly not wishing to spend time as the surest sign something’s up.

In media and society, I’ve also found that seeing how much time and space there is for queer people is the best measure to gage acceptance. For example, some churches say queer people may attend but that they cannot be themselves while in church and won’t have a space in heaven. Disney claims to be an ally but only shows half a second of men dancing with each other in Beauty and the Beast. Marvel didn’t think Valkyrie’s bisexuality deserved screentime. On the flipside, Doctor Who makes Bill, a queer character, a companion for a whole season, has bit parts as well as recurring supporting roles for gay and lesbian people, single as well as married.

Individual: I’ve learned to make time to love my demisexual self. At the start of 2019, I resolved to have at least one ‘queer’ day every month, in which I read an LGBTQ+ book or go to a queer space or engage in an activity that speaks to my demisexual or panromantic identity. Each one feels like a spa day and leaves me refreshed for another month’s worth of heteronormativity. When I come up against queerphobia, my self-care is planning an extra date with myself.

etc!

9. Finally I, luvtheheaven, have also submitted some posts. I wrote 3 parts to mine.

Personal Life Reflections Part 1, and My Takeaways From Reading Some Of The Love Languages Books

Things That Frustrated Me While Reading Some Of The Love Languages Books

Personal Life Reflections Part 2, and Musings On Compatibility, Attraction, and Love Languages

And things I covered were varied but included:

As a thoughtful listener to these audiobooks, I started to hypothesize a bit about what makes a person value certain love languages so highly, however, and thought back a lot especially on my own experiences as a child. I felt deeply loved by my dad. My mother was abusive and I didn’t “feel loved” by her in the way feeling loved is defined in this book. Although I also reject the notion that she “didn’t love me”. (See my Gaslighting and Love blog post.)

and

There was also one part of the marriage book that was horrible with the compulsory sexuality/sex-normativity… I believe it stated that people are almost NEVER sexually incompatible, and everyone loves sex in the same way, they just need to feel loved first, with the love languages used effectively, and otherwise all men are compatible with all women and everything is easy and happy. He implied that sex is obviously important to everyone. And to the woman in what seemed to clearly be an abusive marriage to me, he insisted she initiate sex even when she didn’t want to, with no concept of consent brought up. Just. Make the other person feel loved as much as possible, in as many ways as possible, until it works and they start loving you back. It was… creepy and wrong.

and

For all the original Love Languages books’ faults, and there are a lot (see my previous post), one thing that I think most aces would actually really appreciate is how sex is very clearly not tied to love in the books, even in the marriage-specific book. Author Gary Chapman says problematic stuff about sex, for sure, but he also says if the only Physical Touch you go out of your way to give or receive is sexual, then Physical Touch is clearly not your primary love language. Other touch is kind of given priority in terms of what “counts” as Gary Chapman actually separates out sex and other touch, much like the ace community separated out Sexual Desire/Behavior from Sensual Desire/Behavior, defining “Sensual” as non-sexual touch. It’s an interesting way to look at a lot of this.

So… check out everyone’s posts, and leave them comments! I hope you enjoyed reading what people had to say for this Carnival of Aces topic. Thanks again to everyone who participated!

Personal Life Reflections Part 2, and Musings On Compatibility, Attraction, and Love Languages

Hi everybody! I hosted the Carnival of Aces in April 2019. This is part 3 of 3 of my submission.


So after I posted the Call for Submissions for this carnival theme on The Five Love Languages, I ended up reading 3 of the books and having so many thoughts that I’m writing 3 blog posts on the subject. This is part 3 of 3. I know it says part 2 in the title but it’s actually part 3 total, just part 2 of the personal life reflections… Sorry if that’s too confusing!

Part 1 was here. Part 2 was here.

This post below has more to do with asexuality and aromanticism than the previous two parts did.
For all the original Love Languages books’ faults, and there are a lot (see my previous post), one thing that I think most aces would actually really appreciate is how sex is very clearly not tied to love in the books, even in the marriage-specific book. Author Gary Chapman says problematic stuff about sex, for sure, but he also says if the only Physical Touch you go out of your way to give or receive is sexual, then Physical Touch is clearly not your primary love language. Other touch is kind of given priority in terms of what “counts” as Gary Chapman actually separates out sex and other touch, much like the ace community separated out Sexual Desire/Behavior from Sensual Desire/Behavior, defining “Sensual” as non-sexual touch.  It’s an interesting way to look at a lot of this.
Also, from the aromanticism side of things, Gary Chapman doesn’t actually say or imply anything is “only true for romance” that isn’t also true for non-romantic dynamics, other than when he tries to explain about the “in love experience” and “infatuation period” based on what the audiobooks only cite as “research” [so I have no clue how sources are cited in the actual book]… But when it came to love, the theorizing was impressively inclusive of the forms of love aromantic people also usually experience and even of the spectrum of human experience from co-workers and college roommates to siblings to adult’s dynamics with parents, love as on a spectrum where even if love stops being a good word for it and maybe “appreciation” is better, it flows seamlessly from love to appreciation in these books and all of it is still important.
There is something oddly validating about the marriage counselor who “invented” the love languages terminology and system having so much to potentially offer in his system even to nonamorous aromantic people?
And the idea of the love languages and these books around them also have so much to offer to sex-repulsed or sex-indifferent asexuals as well! His advice would work well for aces and aros, in spite of his bigotry and what I believe might be a partnership with hate groups like Focus on the Family (or at least I know FotF endorses him based on this image exising). (I know that groups like these have brought about deaths of gay and trans people, I do not say they are a hate group lightly.)
Even if it was unintentional, sometimes I want to take inclusion wherever I can see it. Wherever I can squint and find it!
But enough about that…
Let’s bring this post to the things I said I’d talk about in my title for this post – Compatibility and Attraction.

Continue reading “Personal Life Reflections Part 2, and Musings On Compatibility, Attraction, and Love Languages”

Things That Frustrated Me While Reading Some Of The Love Languages Books

Hi everybody! I hosted the Carnival of Aces in April 2019. This is part 2 of 3 of my submission.


So after I posted the Call for Submissions for this carnival theme on The Five Love Languages, I ended up reading 3 of the books and having so many thoughts that I’m writing 3 blog posts on the subject. This is part 2 of 3. Part 1 was here.

This post is about the reasons to be critical of the books, and the author, and the way the love languages are presented. I think there is a lot of wisdom actually to be found in the pages of those books, and the books promote plenty of things I think are generally positive.

The book also tiptoes around a few other topics and implies things by omission that make me wildly uncomfortable, and a few times even actively state certain things that I flat-out disagree with.

I wish I’d been taking notes while listening to those 3 audiobooks but instead I’m just gonna go from memory and outline some of the major things I remember not liking.

As one reviewer said in 2012,

This book is about 25% heavy-handed religious rhetoric, 25% folksy nonsense, and 25% outright B.S. But the remaining 25% is genuinely insightful, interesting, and helpful. If you’re willing to dig through the muddy presentation, there are some wonderful nuggets of wisdom.

and I’d mainly agree that that.

The religious rhetoric is the easiest to get out of the way first. Throughout the books he uses examples of people who have used his love languages to great success, over and over, and maybe 50%, maybe 25% of the time in the examples he mentions that these are very religious Christian people whose spirituality is important to them, and loving Jesus inspires them to want their marriage to work. Or something really close to that. I don’t know, that’s how it sounded to my atheist ears. There was no diversity or specificity of even different Christian sects, just this “yay don’t you think Christians are the best and relate more to these people the more I tell you I hosted Church Singles events at my home and this guy came to that,” or whatever. As an author he will bring it up too much, to make it clear he only really values Christians as people whose relationships deserve improving by having better love communication. And he’ll start quoting the bible to justify certain advice of his at a few random times throughout the books. As someone who does not believe the bible is true, it’s just a part of the book I’m waiting to be over when I was listening to these audiobooks.

He says at some point in the books when it comes to dating and marriage that people need to be churchgoers to the same degree and equally spiritual to be compatible. He says, if I recall correctly, that beyond the love languages you also need to have core features of compatibility and this is an example. He emphasizes the very religious and what they need, but subtly reinforced the thought that atheists would get along with each other, that other religions should stick together. He seemed to have no concept or thought for interfaith marriages or the thought of different levels of spirituality sometimes working okay.

I clearly don’t agree at all with any of the Christianity he tries to infuse throughout this.

And in less explicit and overt ways, his Christianity clearly influences the rest of what I disagree with so strongly. So let’s move on to all that.

He is extremely amatonormative, heteronormative, and “old fashioned” in ways that make me uncomfortable. He posits Divorce as Always Bad and anything you can do to avoid it as good, including subtly endorsing withstanding abuse and trying to victim-blame and insisting someone act more loving toward someone who is not loving at all to try to “test” his theory. He cites some supposed research that having sex before or outside of marriage is horrible, cites research that cohabitation before or instead of marriage leads to more abuse or other unhappiness, and implies men and women are made to be happy together in a marriage. He even implies arranged marriages and avoiding dating altogether would be better, but settles for the reality of American and Western society where dating is a common thing. It’s jarring to read books where the author feels so confident in these types of conclusions.

He never once acknowledges that anyone might be queer or LGBTQ+ in any way. He talks about men and women dating over and over. I did try again to take the love languages test as a female person who was married and older than I am, just as an experiement, and the language did not assume husband but did say “partner” over and over which was impressively inclusive, but even so. The books over and over show straight couples or straight couples raising kids. It did address that sometimes parents are single parents and tried to help single parents be the best loving parent they can be most of the time, didn’t get too harsh on attitudes towards single parents as far as I can recall. It did say divorced parents often make this, this, or this mistake and fail to communicate love effectively. But it didn’t go as horribly far as it might’ve.

He discusses the “in love experience” in a way I think to some degree even aromantic people would appreciate as an analysis of how those people who experience it end up feeling and behaving for an average of 2 years before those feelings fade and “companionate love” takes over. But he does not acknowledge the thought of an ace or aro spectrum of course, and implies all people are alloromantic allosexual and not just that, but heteromantic heterosexual.

He also explicitly says open marriages are horrible and doesn’t really address polyamory in any other way, but is extremely pro-monogamy to the point of saying research backs up the harm of open marriages, if I recall correctly. He also discusses affairs a little, and the excitement of the “in love experience” and infatuation period but I believe is trying to help save marriages at all costs including in these situations, which I wished would’ve approached it from more angles. It’s okay that marriage is still on the table, but not the “at all costs” approach.

The biggest thing that frustrated me was when he did bring up abuse briefly and then forgot he mentioned it, I think it was in the Singles book as the only place he mentioned parents can be abusive, and one moment in the Children book he mentioned sexual abuse from strangers including pastors etc, but he claimed it was outside the scope of that Children book and wouldn’t be addressed there. In the Singles book he was explaining that children who had been abused by parents might grow into adults… but then proceeded to imply that no matter how bad your relationship as an adult with your parents, you should try to speak more love languages and repair your relationship. As a person who’s gone No Contact with an abusive mother, it was really frustrating to listen to those parts of the audiobooks. I know that what he was suggesting would not always just work. This counselor has SUCH confirmation bias toward his pet theory. It’s ridiculous.

There was also one part of the marriage book that was horrible with the compulsory sexuality/sex-normativity… I believe it stated that people are almost NEVER sexually incompatible, and everyone loves sex in the same way, they just need to feel loved first, with the love languages used effectively, and otherwise all men are compatible with all women and everything is easy and happy. He implied that sex is obviously important to everyone. And to the woman in what seemed to clearly be an abusive marriage to me, he insisted she initiate sex even when she didn’t want to, with no concept of consent brought up. Just. Make the other person feel loved as much as possible, in as many ways as possible, until it works and they start loving you back. It was… creepy and wrong.

Not sure what else I should be criticizing in these books, but this is all I remember at the moment. Sorry if I forgot something big.

 

 

Personal Life Reflections Part 1, and My Takeaways From Reading Some Of The Love Languages Books

Hi everybody! I hosted the Carnival of Aces in April 2019. This is part 1 of 3 of my submission.


So after I posted the Call for Submissions for this carnival theme on The Five Love Languages, the thought crossed my mind that if I’m hosting a whole Carnival of Aces on the topic I should probably dive deeper into the source of the ideas. And then I got kinda carried away.

I decided to write three posts on the topic of The Five Love Languages. I had a lot to say.

The first post, below, doesn’t have to do with asexuality—but this post was inspired by me having chosen the topic for the Carnival of Aces, and it provides good context for my thoughts that will be touched upon in parts 2 and 3. Parts 2 and 3 will be much more relevant to asexuality (& aromanticism). However, of course in all 3 parts I am writing from my own perspective which is always influenced by me being ace but in terms of drawing direct connections that will be few and far between.

Holding tightly to my worldviews that I knew would clash with a super heteronormative/amatonormative and Christian book, knowing not to take things too seriously like Myers-Briggs personality types that still can be fun as a tool or game but aren’t scientifically sound, keeping my own ideology in mind and feeling braced for almost anything and unsure what I’d find, I listened to the audiobook version of the original The Five Love Languages book for married couples.

After that, I still craved exposure to some of the other books I knew existed for a more fleshed out perspective and found myself having listened to not just one but actually three audiobooks. Yeah I definitely got extremely carried away.

But I have takeaways, if you bear with me!

Secondly, I read (listened to) most of the book the same guy, Gary Chapman, published in partnership with Child Psychologist Ross Campbell about these love languages as applied to Children although I didn’t get through the whole thing although I got fairly close to the end before switching again, and at that point I listened to the entire audiobook of the book he wrote for “Singles” (Basically it’s a catchall book for all relationships you might have that aren’t with a spouse. It covers a little of nearly everything including dating and friendship, roommates, and varied family dynamics (siblings, parents toward children, adult children toward parents), and co-workers. It even repeats stuff from the children book.)

All this gave me a lot of thoughts, some of which were very critical and frustrated, and some much more introspective, philosophical, and intrigued. I have a deeper understanding of what is meant by each of the five categories. I have a deeper understanding too of what the phrase “love language” is supposed to capture.

I will explain some of the MAJOR ISSUES in the books in part 2 of my Blog Post series here, but let’s start on a more positive note.

Continue reading “Personal Life Reflections Part 1, and My Takeaways From Reading Some Of The Love Languages Books”

Yearning For “Queerplatonic” To Be Recognized As Not Romantic (and other scattered thoughts)

This is my entry for the April 2019 Carnival of Aros, which is on the theme of “Coming Out and/ or Being Out as Aromantic Spectrum”. The Call for Submissions is here. It’s crossposted to Tumblr here. For more info on what the Carnival of Aros is or how to volunteer to choose the theme for a future month, check out this link: https://carnivalofaros.wordpress.com/


There is a separate post I could be writing on the origins of the coming out phrase not having to do with closets but rather debutante ball language (and drag balls), and how complex it is to discuss aromanticism in the context of this phrase. I am not writing that post today.

Allow me to clarify really quickly that in my own life, how “out as aro” I am or am not is very complicated and I’m not particularly in any closet, but. I’m also not sure where I am in regards to outness.

Since I haven’t really blogged directly about my place on the aromantic-spectrum in years, I feel the need to establish context before really diving too much into the theme for the Carnival this month, so please be patient as I ramble and try to explain where I come from in this conversation. Also some of these context-establishing sections will likely be sprinkled throughout the post.

In February, during Aromantic Spectrum Awareness Week, I wrote a draft that got past 1,000 words on “Why the Gray-Aro label?” but I never finished it, never published it, and didn’t really like how I had written so many words of context and not yet even answered that question. I felt like I needed to try again. (Maybe skip dwelling on backstory. Jump into the present.)

As an extremely “out” asexual person who isn’t gray at all in my aceness, yet who is hovering somewhere in the gray areas of the aro spectrum, I feel like I’m constantly being asked to place myself (my ace self) into one of only two ill-fitting boxes. #1 Being Alloromantic aka a “Romantic” Asexual, or #2 being Aromantic alongside my asexuality. Most people see things as black or white; one or the other. And maybe I still do too. Even internally, to myself, I jump back and forth—and back again—trying to settle on what I am. Am I fully aro? Can I fit in that box? I often feel like maybe it’d be easier for me.

I never really think I’m fully alloromantic anymore. It’s been 5 years since I’ve wondered if I’m “panromantic”, full stop, no extra modifiers. I feel comfortable saying I’m definitely not. I’m not an alloromantic panromantic.

But I can’t decide if I’m a plain-and-simple aromantic with absolutely no romantic attraction, or if I’m in some other part of the aro spectrum. My identity is blurry rather than solid and easy to categorize. (Thanks! I hate it. 😂)

Continue reading “Yearning For “Queerplatonic” To Be Recognized As Not Romantic (and other scattered thoughts)”

“The Five Love Languages” – the April 2019 Carnival of Aces Call for Submissions

The “Carnival of Aces” is a blogging carnival where each month people are invited to write about a specific topic that is related to asexuality/the ace spectrum in some way. Or creators can participate in other formats including video, poetry, art etc.

Check out the masterpost for more info:

https://asexualagenda.wordpress.com/a-carnival-of-aces-masterpost/

It’s now April 2019, and it is the sixth time that I am hosting the carnival. Before, I hosted select months in 2014, 2015, 2017, and 2018. You can find those in the masterpost.

I was surprised to realize that not that much has been written explicitly on asexuality and this concept of “The Five Love Languages”. Wikipedia explains more but the basic takeway is that most people have a way they communicate love and not all humans have the same way. People can feel like someone they care about isn’t ever expressing their love if the two people in that dynamic have mismatched love languages.

The five are:

  • receiving (and giving) gifts
  • quality time
  • words of affirmation
  • acts of service
  • physical touch

Continue reading ““The Five Love Languages” – the April 2019 Carnival of Aces Call for Submissions”