Category: personal

Some Bullet Points – luvtheheaven’s Aro Thoughts On Music

This is my (late) submission for the Carnival of Aros in July 2020 hosted by Zazz. The Call for Submissions was here, and the theme was “Music”.

I forgot to write a coherent post on this theme while there was still time in the month, and now it’s 3 AM in my time zone on August 1st and I’m just now starting the post. But here is something because I did really want to participate.

My bullet points idea was short one sentence things and then I wrote this mess below. Lol oh well.

  • Music is something that often conveys emotions, and connecting strongly to certain emotions expressed in swelling instrumentals or passionately sung lines is a way that some aromantic people can prove to both themselves and to others just how emotional they are as human beings.
    • Conversely, not relating or caring about extremely emotional music is stigmatized and people are even dehumanized sometimes for not appreciating certain musical things, whether the person is aro or not. Music is not as universal as many would like to believe.
    • Not relating to romantic songs, not feeling those feelings, could be a good sign you’re aro
  • Amatonormativity is perhaps more strongly evident in the songs on a typical radio station or playing in the shopping mall than almost anywhere else in life, although fictional stories in movies, television, entire libraries and bookstores do compete. But musical lyrics are often harder to curate your life around avoiding the specifics of when they are played in public even, and reminders of specific amatonormative ideas are not just prevalent but truly pervasive.
    • Taylor Swift just came out with a new album, and the first song on it is “The 1”, which by using the numeral digit instead of the word “One” is differentiating it in part from SO MANY other songs you could find on iTunes called “The One”. Although at least one other artist already has one using the numeral and calling it “The 1” as well. There is a monogamous romantic ideal of “The One” you’ll get a happily ever after with that people keep writing songs about – I wish these artists would name the songs over a more unique phrase or couple of words in their songs lol.
      • I feel like an imposter/fraud at being an aro when I relate to songs like this. The lyrics are about “And if my wishes came true / It would’ve been you” kind of stuff, about someone you wanted to be “The one”, and I’ve had that twice now in my life. First with my former queerplatonic partner I call Robert on this blog, then with my more recent alterous partner who I use the pseudonym Asher for. I wished each of them could have been the person I built a life with as a co-parenting partner, and it’s… not romantic to me but it’s still clearly a romantic-adjacent idea.
    • I’m frustrated by how often kissing comes up in the lyrics to songs, because for me it’s the one main “romantic” actions that people engage in, in a way that fills them with positive emotions, that I just cannot relate to because of my orientation(s) and aversions. I can twist a lot of lyrics into a platonic or alterous kind of love that works for what I can experience. But when I’ve tried kissing, it’s been upsetting and extremely uncomfortable and lessens the intimacy I feel between me and the person who was interested in kissing, and I never miss with longing what it was like to kiss someone, etc. It reminds me how different I am from the rest of the allo world more than most things do when I hear lyrics about kissing, which I do hear more often than lyrics about explicitly sexual things, because of my taste in musical artists and what they tend to focus on.
    • There often feels like a frustratingly low percentage of songs on certain topics. For instance: why do people sing about the deaths of loved ones so infrequently that many grievers find themselves re-interpreting some breakup songs as about bereavement? Yes, there are quite a lot of songs about grief, but percentage-wise it feels like so little.
      • There are not enough songs about cutting abusive parents out of your life, so for the past 12+ years I’ve tended to relate to breakup songs in the not-intended way of many lyrics applying to cutting my mom out of my life, or relating to the anger I would feel towards her as someone who treated me poorly and I’m glad it’s my past now.
      • Relatedly, most of the songs about abusive relationships I would come across, such as “No Love” by Simple Plan, “99 Biker Friends” by Bowling For Soup, and “Face Down” by The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus were all very heteronormative stories of romantic partner-abuse, even “Jar of Hearts” by Christina Perri mentions the abusive/hurtful person being someone she once “kissed” on a regular basis, but where are the songs about abuse occurring in other types of relationship dynamics?
        • I can think of about two songs that are pretty clearly about abusive parents in my mind, although the implication is not actually all that explicit – “Numb” by Linkin Park and “Just Like You” by Three Days Grace. I also love how non-specific Taylor Swift’s “Tell Me Why” song is on who the abuser is, so it could easily fit a non-romantic dynamic too.
    • It’s not just each individual song that contributes to amatonormativity. It’s them all together to form a societal “norm” of what the vast majority feels and wants and experiences. The stories told in these songs collectively explain what common threads are, and cause young aros who don’t yet know they’re aro to assume this will be their future, because they aren’t hearing songs on the radio about the experience of being aro.
    • There are also countless songs that incorporate amatonormative generalizations into the lyrics.
      • “Everybody” by Ingrid Michaelson claims: “Everybody, everybody wants to love / Everybody, everybody wants to be loved”, continuing into the bridge:
        Oh, everybody knows the love
        Everybody holds the love
        Everybody folds for love
        Everybody feels the love
        Everybody steals the love
        Everybody heals with love

        And I, before I knew I was aro (over a decade ago actually), vidded this song for Valentine’s Day because it felt super romantic to me. I still don’t feel like this is really the kind of song where you could re-interpret love intended to be non-romantic, although maybe that’s just my bias of what my video was:

        Regardless, I think even re-interpreting generously the love described as possibly as platonic, claiming that “everybody” knows this love excludes people who don’t feel things they describe as “love” for their friends or family, some aplatonic people, etc.

      • I love the song “Moonlight” by Thriving Ivory, as another example. I feel like I still relate in my way I experience longing for partnership etc when they include the lyrics:
        See we’re all looking
        For something, for someone
        For anything. For anyone
        But I’m, I’m still looking for you

        And yet they do strike me as amatonormative nonetheless, like everyone is seeking a partner when that’s not true.

      • “Gotta Be Somebody” by Nickelback starts off right away with the opening lyrics:

        This time I wonder what it feels like
        To find the one in this life
        The one we all dream of

        As if “we all” dream of “the one”, and the song continues to discuss “the one that I’ll spend forever with”, making the bold claims that:

        “nobody wants to go it on their own” throughout the choruses.

      • Obviously there are countless songs like these. These songs convinced me I would relate one day because they so confidently discuss “everybody”. I really wasn’t prepared for the fact that some people might be exceptions to these rules and not want the same things or feel the same attractions etc.
  • Being both aro and ace opens my eyes to the amatonormativity in music even if I’m possibly aegoromantic (often feeling excited by romantic narratives even if I don’t feel romantic myself, enjoying “shipping” in fandoms, etc), even if I do date and partner with people, even if I relate more to romantic songs than many aros do – I’m still more aware of the amatonormativity than I probably would be if this wasn’t my identity. It affects how I listen to music so much so that I was considering years ago starting a series of blog posts on discussing the lyrics to songs from a gray-aro ace perspective, because I think about it with such a high percentage of songs I listen to.
  • I think there are more songs that aren’t about romance than people realize, because even songs meant to be about friendship, or a Christian love for God, or familial, etc our amatonormative culture tends to hear as romantic, but part of that is intentionally vague lyrics about “love” in many cases because of marketability. Like it’s a self-fulfilling cycle of too many songs about romance and people being afraid non-romance songs won’t do well.

I probably have a lot of other thoughts and feelings on music but… This is what I’ve got for you at now 4 AM on a Friday night/Saturday morning lol.

Sometimes I wish I never had stopped practicing playing a musical instrument. I’ve played guitar, and piano. I also sung in school choruses 6 separate years of my life plus an all-county middle school chorus, and sung in a couple middle school musicals. Most of this has nothing to do with my aromanticism or my asexuality, as far as I’m aware.

I edit fanvideos and have for about 14 years now. I have written already on ways it might intersect with my asexuality, but the two part post also applies to my aromanticism.

Please let me know if you have thoughts, comments, curiosities, etc after reading this post today. Thanks!

 

Going Through Thoughts After My Mom’s Death [a poem] (+ link to see slideshow)

Hi, it is now after midnight in my timezone, but it was Saturday, June 27th, 2020, which would’ve been my mom’s 58th birthday and which seemed like a good day to power through and finish writing the poem I started the first week in February.

If you’d like to see the memorial slideshow I made for my mom, please download it here: https://we.tl/t-hrXOdqfRUu for the next 7 days, or comment below if you missed the deadline and the link expired, I’ll upload it again. I’d rather have a link like that for people to use if they really are curious to see it, than to not share it at all. And yet this seems better than a streaming link.

I followed advice I found via Googling to use her own handwriting from the backs of photos and scan those too for the slideshow, to caption photos so people can tell who they’re looking at, etc.

I discuss the slideshow in my poem below, a poem I started writing while I was still in the process of creating the slideshow. So without further ado, this is a start to some of my thoughts in the aftermath of my mother’s death.


Going Through Thoughts After My Mom’s Death

Going through shots for a memorial slideshow
Many of two toddlers and their youthful glow
Christmas morning, playtime, in others’ arms, etcetera
But I’m looking for the woman behind the camera

Her love for her children wasn’t a ruse
But laws aren’t equipped to prevent all types of abuse
In another life, she might’ve been a good mom
Might’ve been equipped with patience, joy, and calm

So evident in the pictures is her affection
Toward unexpected people, the flash in their direction
She photographed her husband long after they separated
Sisters, brothers, those to whom she was related

She held onto images mailed from an in-law or a friend
Occasionally she herself appeared, her smile not pretend
It certainly is not the part of her I remember best
I recall her as always bitter, angry, and depressed

Continue reading “Going Through Thoughts After My Mom’s Death [a poem] (+ link to see slideshow)”

Life Upheavals and Developments (Part 2)

This post is continued from Part 1. Please read Part 1 first.

When I broke up with Asher, I also moved out immediately. However, the first bed bug treatment was happening in a week, and I needed to work very hard on trying to make sure the apartment complex didn’t file for eviction or anything drastic because of us not being prepared. Despite over 90% of the work to be done involving Asher’s stuff, it was my problem, I had to figure out how to handle it.

Friday of that week, only two days after breaking up with Asher, I received a Corrective Action email from my supervisor for my productivity having begun to suffer over the course of the past three or so weeks at work.

I ended up bringing my dad, my brother, and two friends over to see the apartment for the sake of helping with tons of physical labor of moving stuff around, taking things out to the dumpsters (the apartment being on the 3rd floor with no elevator), taking tons of clothing and linens to laundromats, taking many storage bins to a new storage unit over multiple car trips, etc. We did most of the work over the course of 2 weekend days, Christmas Eve, and still weren’t finished and had to keep working hard on Christmas Day.

Asher and I cooperated during this time, although Asher’s new partner was extremely angry at me and wouldn’t speak to me and it was a whole… dramatic thing. Asher and I stayed in contact and tried to figure out if there was any way we could be just friends but still in each other’s lives, or to get back together as a different type of polyamorous partner with no intention to be nesting partners (to be living together), no intention any longer to raise kids together one day, etc. We navigated a lot of complicated emotions and painful conversations.

My friends and family talked me into the fact that if it was at all posssible to terminate the lease early, I should not keep paying for the entirety of the remaining 9+ months I would not be living there. I discussed with Asher, who would’ve preferred to keep living there, but in the end we were able to terminate the 1 year lease fairly easily, with a minimal monetary penalty, all things considered. We gave our 30 day notice on January 2nd. Asher began to work toward finding a place (i.e. a room) to move in alongside their partner they’d been dating since September, in large part because the two of them could much more easily afford a place together, but also because they did want to live together.

That same day, at 10:30 PM, I received a phone call from the police, where I was informed that my estranged, abusive mother had been found dead in her home. My brother and I were next of kin because she was not married, and we had to decide what to do with her body and everything relating to her estate. She was renting a home, so we needed to empty it so that the landlord could rent it to the next tenant.

Over the course of January, I needed to prepare to present on sessions relating to asexuality and aromanticism at the Creating Change conference, for the third year in row, as the slideshows and plans were not even yet formulated. Meanwhile, I needed to figure out the practicalities in the wake of my mother’s death, and I was under more scrutiny at work, and it was all a lot.

Continue reading “Life Upheavals and Developments (Part 2)”

Life Upheavals and Developments (Part 1)

I moved in with my partner less than a week after my last blog post, the one called Crying Over A Fictional Kiss that I wrote for the Carnival of Aros and posted on the last day of September 2019. 

A week or so before we moved in together, Asher (my partner) met another person they had begun to date. Asher and I are polyamorous and Asher and this new partner were beginning to really hit it off.

I haven’t been able to bring myself to finish a blog post since then, but I really wanted to update all of my followers on a few things briefly even if I haven’t written a full blog post yet on any of these specific topics, some of which do really deserve their own posts. This draft for just quick updates was something I started and thought I’d post in February, before the COVID-19 pandemic really reached my part of the USA, before that was even on my radar as a topic that would consume everything. This post has nearly nothing to do with COVID-19.

Starting the very first weekend we were in our new apartment, Asher’s new partner slept over in the queen? king? (I can’t remember) bed in the master bedroom, while I’d sleep in the second bedroom in a twin bed on days said new partner was over. During the weekdays, I’d sleep in the queen bed with Asher. Asher’s partner usually stayed Sunday overnight and only left Monday during the day.

Here’s a rudimentary illustration:

illustration for blog post (bedrooms, Asher, Emily)

In early December, possibly end of November, I started a blog post that I haven’t touched since the morning of December 10th entitled Hopes and Dreams for Life with My Partner, Snags in the Plans and Changing Course?? My Uncertain Future. The post already is a thousand words long.

Continue reading “Life Upheavals and Developments (Part 1)”

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”

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”

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)”