Tag: asexual relationships

Risk & Courage, Disappointment & Resilience, Everything Changing & Me Catching Up (Part 2 of 3)

This is part 2 of a three-part series of blog posts I have been writing for the June 2016 Carnival of Aces. Please check out part 1 here, first. Sorry parts 2 & 3 came late, once it was (is) already July. I expected to be able to finish in June but… ended up not.


So you know that feeling, when you look at the Carnival of Aces being about Resiliency, and all you can think about is about how the biggest things where you’ve needed strength, and to be able to “bounce back”, in your life, have had nothing at all to do with your asexuality?

Like just how little your mother being abusive intersects with the fact that she isn’t aro nor ace and you always were those things but didn’t know it back when she was in your life? And you’ve had to become someone who simply doesn’t care about not having a mother in your life, despite other people’s attempts to make you care, and how resilient you had to be to shield yourself from how that would’ve made you feel.

Or how the days, when you think back on your life, that were the worst days of your life, the most painful, the most stressful, had literally nothing to do with asexuality? Most of those days happened years before I’d learn that asexuality was a thing, let alone fully come to accept that it was who I was.

Well, I certainly know that feeling.

But you know… I gave it some time, and the more I thought about it, the more I realized just how resilient I’ve had to be in some ways that are directly related to my asexuality.

And how complicated and confusing it all can be at times.

Continue reading “Risk & Courage, Disappointment & Resilience, Everything Changing & Me Catching Up (Part 2 of 3)”

Risk & Courage, Disappointment & Resilience, Everything Changing & Me Catching Up (Part 1 of 3)

This is a post written for the June 2016 Carnival of Aces, which was themed around “Resiliency”.  

I split this post up into 3 parts to make for better ease of reading, and also because I wrote them pretty far apart lol. I wrote in separate chunks. Part 2 is here, and part 3 here.


This long, 3-part post itself involves me taking some pretty big risks, putting myself out there in multiple ways I haven’t yet on this blog.

But a huge theme of this post will be risks I’ve taken especially in the past year or so, and the risks I continue to take, how my life has in the past year been much more categorized than in years prior by… purposefully making myself vulnerable, because hopefully, in the end, the rewards would be worth the risks I was taking. Because, as I remember Coyote spelling out in a blog post back in April,

When you take an emotional risk and aren’t punished for it — when your trust is validated, instead of your vulnerability exploited — that can make for a very rewarding experience.

That resonated SO powerfully with me.

 And if you’ve ever had a vulnerable experience that ended positively, I think it’s fairly easy to understand.  Sometimes you have to take a risk in order to see your judgement validated.

I have taken more risks recently. And a lot of them have to do with my asexuality in  some way or another. It felt like the only alternative options were to be almost completely closed off from true friendship with new people. It has felt like it would be so positive to take the risk that to not take it would leave me festering in negative feelings like regret, and like no one understands me, and…

Well first, a note: I haven’t entered a post in the Carnival of Aces since March, meaning I skipped two months worth of the carnival. I also haven’t blogged about asexuality or related issues at ALL since that post of mine in March. XD I have left lengthy comments on other people’s posts since then, but… my own blog here? It’s been quiet over in this neck of the virtual woods.

I almost entered a blog post in the carnival for April though; the beginning of my post today is going to be what was saved in my drafts from my unfinished entry for that, because while it would fit April’s theme, it also fits June’s theme of Resiliency.

Continue reading “Risk & Courage, Disappointment & Resilience, Everything Changing & Me Catching Up (Part 1 of 3)”

My Queerplatonic Relationship: Ask us anything!

So coming up in about a week will be the four month “anniversary” (4th monthiversary) of me and Robert* deciding to officially become queerplatonic partners!

I asked him if he’d be interested in doing a thing for my blog where we interview each other and post some answers for my readers. He said he would be up for that!

And then I suggested that maybe my followers would have some questions for both of us (or in a few cases, for one or the other person). Robert thought that was a good idea, asking you guys to help us.

That means you guys, my readers, coming up with questions that the two of us in this relationship will answer (unless for whatever reason we decide we don’t want to answer – no promises on answering every question we get.).

You may pose questions just for him, especially if it’s a question where you already know how I’d answer because of my previous blogging, you can ask a question just for me, or you can ask a question that both of us will try to answer.

For basic information, I identify as both wtfromantic & aromantic, and I am asexual. I’m 26 years old, cis-female.

Robert is aromantic and gray-asexual, 27-years-old, and cis-male.

I look forward to seeing what questions you might pose for us to potentially answer in the comments below!

Alternatively, if you wish to ask a question more anonymously than in the comments, feel free to email me the question(s) at pemk7@aol.com and I will keep your identity private, no one besides you and me has to know you asked.

 


* Robert is not his actual name. He chose this name, when I asked him to provide an alias for my blog. 😉

I was not a mirror

I was just recently revisiting Siggy’s “You don’t need to be a mirror” post on The Asexual Agenda.

He posted it in January 2015, so about 1 year & 2 months ago. It has had a pretty significant impact on my thoughts ever since he first wrote it, and it took me 4 more months before I’d write this and I still wish more people talked about these issues.

epochryphal’s thoughts on paper/stone dynamics have always fascinated me; cos writing had been my introduction to the entire concept and if I’m being honest, really whenever co brings it up is still my only time reading anything about stone/paper stuff, but especially cos comment on this post is important to me, because it helps conceptualize what I went through with my boyfriend at the time when I was experimenting sexually with him, and even at the time prior to that when I was considering it.

I was, at the time, inexplicably less comfortable with touching my boyfriend in sexual ways than I was with being touched by him, although it ALL made me uncomfortable, and it was confounded by the fact that he explicitly had told me his strongest desires and fantasies consisted mainly of what I guess are called “stone” tendencies.

I thought I’d be “indifferent” to sex until I tried it. When I tried it, almost instantly I realized I was “sex-averse”. I had, prior to giving it a try, thought that “of course,” since I wanted to make my boyfriend happy, I would enjoy the experience of being able to be the person to make him happy. (I also hoped maybe, just maybe, I might finally experience arousal, that what had never happened before would happen and I’d actually physically react to a sexual situation.) But I should’ve trusted my own instinctual negative reaction as soon as my boyfriend had admitted he found me sexy weeks prior. (I instead felt confused and torn by my own emotions, and tried to talk myself into feeling flattered.)

Sex is so different than anything else, and analogies only go so far lol. I can be a good person who cares about my boyfriend’s happiness, while still having these kinds of personal boundaries and aversions to sex.

Just like “An asexual’s body is perfectly functional. It reacts to touch just like anyone else’s…” isn’t actually something that helps someone like ME at all when I see it in visibility/education/ace 101 materials, the phrasing Siggy captured in this blog post, “Why would asexuals ever want to have sex?  Well, some people like pleasing their partners.” is just as harmful to someone like me. Because no one had ever pointed out, explicitly, to me the logical next step of “More importantly, what does it mean to not like pleasing your partner?”, and I was left with just this confused mess of feelings, of learning that sometimes aces “compromise” and/or “enjoy” sex even when that sex only makes their partner and not themselves happy. But as soon as I tried to do that, fully intending to make my partner happy through sex, the moment it was happening all I could think was “ah I actively dislike this experience, I don’t enjoy making my partner happy in this kind of way at all, I’m not feeling any kind of pleasure from making my partner happy. I really wish I was, but I’m not.”

I do know what it’s like to feel a rush of excitement from, as cinderace mentioned in their comment, giving someone a gift that they really enjoy. I know what it feels like to see someone else be happy and to just be happy FOR them, no real reason other than empathy kind of. There’s a reason why people talk about “infectious” laughter or happiness.

But it’s just not true that sex is that simple. It’s just not true that “Some people enjoy pleasing their partner” (while all the other people, the aces who don’t have sex, just don’t enjoy making their partner happy). And I’m really happy that Siggy brought this up a little over a year ago – that he brought it to the forefront of my mind – because it is so relevant to my life. Because yeah, I wish I could’ve enjoyed pleasing my partner in that way, but it’s really a lot more complicated than that. I ultimately broke up with my boyfriend because I really wanted him to be happy, and I knew, given his stone tendencies, how the only way for him to truly be fully happy was to be in a sexual relationship with a woman who really, intrinsically had those kinds of sexual desires. Someone who wouldn’t be doing stuff just for his sexual benefit, because the only real thing he wanted to be doing was something for my (or her) sexual benefit! Ah what an obstacle course we were having trouble navigating.

I wish I had known what I know now back when I was going through all that.

I wish I’d had more of a road-map.

But even if it was a bit late, it is nice to finally have a way to conceptualize the confusing territory I had navigated without-any-guide before. I love being able to look back on my life and finally have just the right lens to look through. To finally be able to really see it clearly – or at least, more clearly, than I could before.

Aromantic People in Romantic Relationships

This is a reply to Saavok’s post “Aro-Relationships”: https://aceofspadessite.wordpress.com/2016/01/18/aro-relationships/

(Originally this was gonna be just in the comments on that post, but then I realized I was writing an essay, so… :P)


When asexual people talk about being in a sexual relationship regardless of being ace, there are a lot of different things that come up.

  • Being asexual spectrum “only” means a lack of sexual attraction to their partner, or sometimes even only “limited” or “lower levels” of sexual attraction. They still have desire for sex. They might even have attraction.
  • Having no desire for sex doesn’t mean they don’t “feel good” when touched in sexual ways
  • They don’t get anything out of sex except for the fact that their partner gets a lot out of it, and this serves to bring the two people closer together/feel emotionally more intimate too, or otherwise is a kind thing to do for their partner
  • The sex is a negative thing for them. They didn’t feel like/realize not having sex ever while in a relationship is an option, and that’s why they’re having it. Or they were under the impression that their partner is “sacrificing” by having sex so rarely, and they feel like they owe it to their partner to have sex sometimes. (Especially common for aces who don’t know they are asexual, who may not have even heard of asexuality, but also happens elsewhere too.) Perhaps they know how important sex is to their partner, so they try to have it, but their partner feels unloved when they have sex

But a sexual relationship is a more clear thing to define than a romantic relationship. It literally means a relationship where sex is happening. Sex may have some discrepancies of what it means, but it’s not that broad of a category.

What does a romantic relationship even mean? No one really can define it, despite people certainly trying to. A relationship where “romance” is happening? A relationship where people are feeling romantic feelings/strong feelings of infatuation and/or being “in love”? Or a relationship where a certain set of criteria are being met? Like in a sexual relationship, where people having sex is the criteria that makes it sexual, in a romantic relationship, is it the commitment to exclusivity? What about polyamorous people and where do they fall into it? Is it just the commitment to the other person, regardless of exclusivity? What about queerplatonic relationships then? Is it the kissing? Is it the hand-holding?

Continue reading “Aromantic People in Romantic Relationships”

I was curious, so I chose to have sex! Then, my curiosity was satiated. I decided never to have sex again.

[Content Note: the following blog post is NSFW and contains very explicit descriptions of sexual situations. I also discuss menstruation/ovulation briefly.]

Elizabeth over at Prismatic Entanglements is collecting as many different articles related to the topic of respectfully approaching sex with asexual people as people are willing to write. In order to do my own small part to help, I’m sharing my experiences below. It is a response to this Tentative Revisions post she put up, and I definitely recommend you read onlyfragments’ post which was also written for this purpose as well. She discusses her journey toward where she is now: enjoying a sexual relationship with her girlfriend. It’s a very different post than what I am writing, below.


I’m a 25-year-old woman, and by one of the most common definitions of the term, I am a virgin. However, I have consented to sexual experiences at two different points in my life – about 1 week apart from one another. I was naked with my boyfriend both times, and he was wonderfully respectful of my boundaries. For weeks prior to us taking off our clothes together, we’d had conversations, mainly over texting, where he’d told me his fantasies, and asked me about mine. I’d told him I had never in my life had a sexual fantasy, honestly. I… wasn’t even sure what I was supposed to be fantasizing about. He knew I’d never seen porn but had read some erotic fanfiction. He of course had seen porn. Again most of these conversations were via text, but we did have a few “real life” conversations too about these topics, and others. It was easier, in some ways, to talk about sexual topics via texting, though. It helped with some of the awkwardness and embarassingness.

We’d talked in person about how I wasn’t “into” the making out with tongue we’d been doing since our first week of dating, and how I thought I might be asexual but I was curious to try more things and see if maybe I’d like other things instead. We also talked about what his experience of kissing me/making out with me had been like, and he’d admitted to me that he had “gotten hard” while we had been cuddling… so by the time we were doing sexual things, getting naked together, we continued to have a very healthy approach to the whole situation. He was careful to keep checking in with me, and to stop touching me when I mentioned that it was beginning to feel uncomfortable. He wanted to be able to provide me pleasure. He had already told me, before the day where we first took off our clothes, that he thought he might already be in love with me. I appreciated him so much, was so grateful he cared so much about me, and I cared about him and his happiness too.

Still… despite all of this… I ended up breaking up with him within a few weeks of all of this. I broke up with him because he wanted to lose his virginity in the traditional heteronormative penis-in-vagina (PIV) way, preferably in the forseeable future, and it may have taken me a while but eventually I figured out that I did not want to be that person for him. I decided that I was sure I never wanted to actually have intercourse, or even ever be naked with anyone again.

After what had been months of anguishing over whether or not I was asexual and hoping I wasn’t, I embraced my sexual orientation. I decided I was sex-averse on the same day I decided yes, I was asexual. I kind of equated the two. I’m not sure why, but at the time I didn’t want to officially call myself asexual if I wasn’t sex-averse.

Also on that same day that I officially decided once and for all that I was asexual, I broke up with my wonderful, loving, sweet boyfriend. I wished him only the best, and that he could find a new romantic partner who this time would be much more compatible with him, sexually-speaking.

Allow me to backtrack.

I’m a 25-year-old white cis-woman from the USA, and by many definitions of the word, I am a virgin. I’ve never had penetrative sex with a man. I’ve never had oral sex with anybody. I’ve never been intimate in a physical way with a woman, nor with any non-binary person. I’ve never even experienced an orgasm. I’ve barely tried masturbating.

Continue reading “I was curious, so I chose to have sex! Then, my curiosity was satiated. I decided never to have sex again.”

My Doubts about Not Wanting to Have Sex (and my journey through the depths of Scarleteen’s sex-positive sex-ed website)

Glossary:  Please note that I use terms like sex-repulsed, sex-averse, asexual, demisexual, allosexual, sex-positivity, AVEN, ace, and more in the post. Feel free to comment if you’re confused about any term, or search Google for a definition of it and hopefully you’ll find the answer you need. I may be bad about making this post fully accessible to a broader audience, because I’m mainly writing it with the ace-community in mind. However if you’re in the broader population and reading my post, thank you, and I hope you get something out of my asexual perspective and maybe even learn something in the process.


Content Note: I decide to talk in-depth about my (relatively limited) masturbation & sexual experiences here, so you may consider this NSFW and/or just uncomfortable to read if you’re sex-repulsed. I figure since it’s my own blog, I shouldn’t be too afraid to share, though. And I feel like details probably help explain my perspective in a way that vague terms probably couldn’t.

Another note: I link to quite a few Scarleteen pages throughout this post, and if you don’t want to get sucked into a Wikipedia-like or TV Tropes-like “death spiral”, proceed with caution. 😛 Most pages have links to other pages and… lol. This blog post of mine also has a ridiculous number of links, so don’t feel obligated to click them all.

Before I ended my first-and-only romantic relationship (over the fact that I felt me and my partner were sexually incompatible), I remember seeing posts on AVEN that asked, “How do you know you’re asexual if you’re a virgin?” and answers like, “people know they’re gay without having sex first, same thing”. I remember seeing people embracing “being virgins forever” and various things.

I knew not having sex was an option before I’d gotten naked with my boyfriend. But at the same time… I felt very compelled to try sex, or something closer to sex than “just kissing”.

I felt like I couldn’t be sure of my new suspected sexual orientation (asexual), because while it’s often supposedly “obvious” that you’re feeling gay feelings once you get your first crush, that sounded different than what my experience of being asexual was like. Nothing felt “obvious” to me.

I felt a lot of pressure (both internal and external pressure) to have sex, in order to make sure I was really asexual. Or at least really a sex-averse asexual. Because while I suspected sex was not and would never be “my thing”, if there was even a small chance I was wrong, I didn’t want to prematurely swear off sex forever.

I couldn’t help but keep thinking that I should maybe see if I could like sex enough with my boyfriend to “make him happy” even if I was asexual. This, in retrospect, is a pretty unhealthy mindset to be in. Too much “should”, too much disregarding my own feelings in favor of someone else’s, etc. Continue reading “My Doubts about Not Wanting to Have Sex (and my journey through the depths of Scarleteen’s sex-positive sex-ed website)”

Let me try to talk about my “non-normative” relationships “failing”

By the way, I just changed my theme of my whole blog because the previous look was really not working for me, especially the layout of the comments. Hopefully this theme works better for both me and all of you.

 

Queenie of Aces recently posted over at The Asexual Agenda a post entitled, Why don’t we talk about non-normative relationships failing?. I enjoyed reading the whole thing, as well as the comment section. I mainly agree with points made over there and I highly recommend reading it and maybe you can even join the discussion. This is my contribution to it. It’s ridiculously long when originally I had intended to make it relatively short (whoops… major fail, lmao!!), it’s a bit ramble-y, and it goes a bit all over the place because I tend to get overly wordy when I write these things at 3:00 in the morning. I’m sorry. 😛

Queenie said in the post,

There are a number of accepted narratives for mixed relationships failing: “I didn’t want sex and he did, so we broke up,” “once I realized I was asexual I broke up with her because I knew she’d be happier with a non-ace,”

– etc, etc, and both of those first two examples describe perfectly how/why my boyfriend and I broke up.

Sciatrix mentioned in the comments:

I don’t think that the expectation of an inevitable end is the thing that causes break-ups to be relatively painless. I think it’s a combination of other things, including levels of mutual respect for each other, how well everyone saw the breakup coming,

etc and my boyfriend and I (yes, I guess it was a normative romantic relationship, but bear with me and I’ll get to my sorta-non-normative relationships at the end) had both of those 2 things. We saw the break-up coming, we respect one another, we had open and honest communication throughout our relationship including as I tried to determine if asexuality fit me and I discussed everything with him – and he discussed everything with me.

As Captain Heartless alluded to in the comment section over there, I too don’t really see my “Normative” romantic relationship with my boyfriend as a failure. It was a success. I got to have someone to call a boyfriend. I got to try just enough kissing and sensual touching and sexual-ish things that I realized what I do and don’t want for my future, and I feel confident about my asexuality now in a way that I don’t think I’d feel if it wasn’t for being with him.

But it’s more than that. I really do like him a lot as a person. I want to still be friends with him, and we “broke up” saying that we could still be friends. Nevertheless, we broke up and then didn’t contact one another. At all. For a month. But then… a month after we broke up, my uncle committed suicide (at the museum my now ex-boyfriend’s mother worked at), and I’d remembered telling my boyfriend about one of my uncle’s previous suicide attempts while we were dating, so I decided to text him about his death. I explained what my family and I were going through. He was nice to me.

But then we spent 5 whole months… completely not in each other’s worlds. Not talking. At all.

Still, I decided at this point that I was wondering if he’d be actually graduating from college this year as planned, because if he was I thought maybe I could send him a congratulations card or something, so I got up the courage to email him. I asked him if he’d tried dating anyone. I asked him about his life. We’ve emailed back and forth a couple of times since then. Not much, but a bit. He replied the day after I’d emailed him and said he’d been thinking about me too. He says he wants to be friends. I think we might actually, sort of, still be friends. Not close friends, but friends. Maybe we can get closer in the future, or maybe we’ll drift apart. Are we now in the “non-normative” relationship territory? I don’t know. Does being friends with your ex-boyfriend count? Or is it simply a friendship? Regardless, I don’t think our relationship has ended. Not yet. It’s still… something. Some vague almost-friends type of thing. It might be sort of a failure if we never talk again. But it’s not a particularly “awful failure”, as far as “failed relationships” go.

And honestly, I’m not even so sure my romantic relationship with my boyfriend was EVER “normal”, since I feared I might be asexual ever since our very first kiss and told him as such as soon as we’d kissed that first time. (And yes, I turned out to actually be asexual in the end). We never ended up having “Actual sex”. We barely had sexual experiences together. We were almost a non-sexual romance. We didn’t kiss that often. We mainly talked about all sorts of things just like I kinda do with my dad and brother, except he was a brand new person in my life so it was a lot of learning about each other all at once. We discussed deep philosophical things. We discussed his sexual fantasies and my lack of them. We discussed all sorts of things, our families, etc. He taught me how to play Magic the Gathering. I brought him over to meet my dad and cook him one of my favorite meals. I met his mom and ate dinner at his house. We cuddled while watching lots of TV. It was close to a friendship in many ways. But we did try getting naked together twice. We did cuddle which I don’t do with my friends. I don’t like kissing so we really did avoid it most of the time, but we did try it multiple times which again, I don’t do with friends. Was it ever a “normative” romantic relationship? I don’t know. Is any relationship fully “normal” anyway? We’re all different. So what’s the difference between a non-normative relationship and a normative one, anyway?

Honestly, the most non-normative my relationships have ever been is that I’ve felt like I’ve been very close friends with people I’ve never met in real life, who I only knew through a shared hobby of vidding and through online messaging back and forth. When I started to form friendships with these “online friends”, I didn’t even realize what was happening. I didn’t realize that a select few of them would be people I’d grow extremely close to, who I’d bond with, who I’d share very personal stories about my life troubles with, whose real first names would be just as memorable to me as their usernames, who I’d end up talking about to my dad and brother in real life. I mentioned that I told my ex-boyfriend about when my uncle killed himself? Um, I actually told my closest online friends first, though. It was only natural to tell at least the one I’m closest to. She was very understanding and had lost someone to suicide before too, and I already had known that because like I said, we’re close!! She’d talked to me about it when it had happened in her life. I realize that these relationships are non-normative because they are my best friends in my life, yet I feel afraid to mention them to anyone other than my dad and my brother, for fear these other people in my life wouldn’t understand. I fear everyone around me thinks of online-friendships as “not real” and the fact that I don’t even know what most of them look like, the fact that I don’t know or remember most of their last names, that I don’t plan to ever meet any of them in real life…. that these facts will all negate my friendships as “legitimate” in these people’s minds. Sometimes I try to downplay how important these friendships are in my own life, because I know if I did ever get married (which I realize is a lot less likely than I once thought it would be, now that I realize I’m wtfromantic and asexual) I couldn’t invite them to my wedding. I realize if they get married I can’t be invited. If they die I can’t go to their funerals. A very morbid thought, I know. But it’s crossed my mind. Etc. I think the other thing is I’m mainly friends with these people because of a shared passion for vidding and/or just fandom stuff in general, and all of the other stuff came later, but if they ever decide to stop vidding then we might completely stop talking to each other. And I’m prepared for that. It’s okay if I don’t stay close with my fandom friends after they’re not “fangirls” anymore. It’s happened to me before! And this is probably the BEST example I can think of of how my non-normative relationships have failed. Let me explain.

You know how you’re friends with someone in elementary school, but then your family (or their family) moves to another town/state/country and you’re simply “not friends” anymore? (Or this can happen with high school friends once some of you go off to college or whatever, etc. It can happen with work colleagues once you no longer work together anymore. It can happen a number of ways.) And sometimes you were more just friendly acquaintances with this person… but other times you really did share your heart and soul with them, you knew everything about them, you knew their families even, you hung out frequently outside of school/work, etc. Yet you just stop being friends. You might get a “goodbye” moment before they move away. You might not. Oftentimes you don’t even get that. Oftentimes you never see it coming. You thought you’d stay friends but neither one of you is the first one to call/text/email/Facebook message the other, to ask to meet up again, to do whatever you’d have needed to do to stay friends. And then years pass, and before you realized it they just used to be your friend.

This is basically what has happened to me with a few of my online friends. The person I confided in when I felt very alone the first week of my freshman year of college? One of the few people who really knew all the details of the ridiculous stuff my abusive mother was putting my family through? One of the few online friends I had where I knew not only her first name but also details about her family and her life and everything? I called her my “best online friend” or “best YouTube friend” for a period of time – years, I think it lasted – but a new person has that title in my life now. Really, both my current best online friend and this past one I’m remembering were not only my best friends online, but also in life. I didn’t have a closer friend in “Real life” and I still don’t. My online friends are who I feel closest to, other than my dad and my brother who get put into the “Family” category rather than “Best friend” anyway. This “best friend” and I drifted apart slowly, without realizing it. It’s different with online friends, it’s easier to do, it’s just her slowly stopping being in the online spaces we both frequented nearly as often because her real life started to get in the way. It’s us slowly having less in common because vidding stopped “being her life” even when it still consumed pretty much all of mine. It’s a combination of a lot of things, and it’s sort of a relationship that “simply ended” rather than “failed”.

I also think I’ve had non-normative relationships with some of my family members, depending on what non-normative is. Is it normal to not even feel a little bit of “love” toward your own mother? For as long as I can remember, I have not wanted to say “I love you too” to her regardless of who many times she says “I love you” to me. I have not wanted to tell people “I love her”, not even in the “I love her, but she was abusive to me” kind of sentence. No. I don’t. I don’t love her. It’s that simple. My relationship with her is a huge “failure”, seeing as she was abusive to me and most of what is described as common in “sexual-romantic” domestic abuse can easily apply to the non-sexual, non-romantic relationship with my mother. She did not sexually abuse me in any way, but she did abuse me. I can EASILY see, because of my experiences, how aces in “Friendships” of any kind, queerplatonic partnerships, non-sexual romances, whatever kind of relationships might be able to be in abusive, destructive, awful relationships with people that are painful and confusing and non-ideal because um… yeah. I was in a non-romantic, non-sexual relationship that was abusive, awful, horrible, etc. I was trapped in it for years, not sure it could count as abuse if I didn’t have actual broken bones, if it was just my mother and not a man doing the things that made me terrified all the time that she’d get mad at me, etc. I can understand anyone, asexual or allosexual, being in an abusive friendship with someone and being confused if friendships can even be abusive, because our society had me thinking abuse had to fall into a narrow set of boxes too, like that men abused their wives, children, or step-children and no other types of abuse dynamics existed, despite the fact that I was in one of them, and that yes, ex-wives can abuse their ex-husbands (like my mother did with my dad), friends can abuse friends (yes, it can happen), and oh so many other types of relationships too (yes every type of relationship, not just romantic or familial, has the potential to be abusive).

I think I’m closer with my dad than most people are with their dads, especially most girls with their dads, partially because we both have very limited social lives and love lives. He’s been helping me buy dresses and bras and pads/tampons/menstrual cups… etc… just helping me be a cisgirl for as long as I can remember since I never really had a mom (uh, see above) and people have… noticed that he’s out of place in those kinds of situations. We talk about more than most people ever feel comfortable talking about with their parents. Really nothing is off limits in terms of conversation. I’m not afraid to discuss anything with him, even things I’m afraid to talk about with other people. I don’t feel like he has secrets from me, either. In that case I have a non-normative relationship with my dad. And him with me. We live together and have been for 2 years, ever since I graduated college – just the two of us. But our relationship isn’t going to fail. I might stop living with him, might stop talking to him quite as often, might find one topic I don’t want to discuss with him one day or something but it’d just make our relationship change slightly. I know nothing will ever cause our relationship to actually “end” other than one of our deaths, and I can’t imagine considering this non-normative relationship a “Failure”, if you know what I mean. My relationship with my brother is relatively similar. It’s changed over time but we’ll always be there for each other, and I think we’ll always have this very strong level of trust and emotional/intellectual intimacy. Even if we don’t talk for months, we still are very close as far as siblings go. And because we’ve discussed philosophy so much, feminism, asexuality, etc… I can’t imagine him ever betraying me or hurting me in such a way that would end up causing me to label our relationship a “Failure”. I’ll try to let you all know if I am proven wrong, though. 😛

In general, I think for me the only way a relationship could really feel like a failure is if suddenly and unexpectedly I lose a person who was a very important person in my life. It has to be jarring. It has to leave me feeling betrayed or full of regret or something. And honestly… that’s never happened to me. I’ve slowly drifted apart from various people. I’ve kept a relationship with someone but our relationship itself has changed. I’ve cut out my mother from my life when I never wanted her there in the first place and it wasn’t a relationship that could fail on MY end because it was never MY responsibility to make that work, never my goal, and well I never went into the relationship in the first place with any plans/hopes (I was just born into it). Just like I don’t consider my relationship with my dad to be a “success” either. It’s more complicated than that. It’s just a very good relationship I’m in.

I think, instead that the only relationship I’d really call a success or a failure is the one I had with my boyfriend. Because I went into it hoping to get something out of it. Because when I enter friendships (online type or not, either way), it happens more unexpectedly and very organically and so without the hopes/dreams/plans attached to the beginning of the relationship, how can the end of the relationship (or lack of an ending) be really accurately called a “failure” (or a “success”)?

I think I’ve had a really lucky time with relationships, a really happy life so far. I think none of my relationships are failures or too messy  or anything. Maybe I’m just being an optimist. Maybe I’m glossing over things in my mind. Maybe some of the relationships I’m in are too one-sided and a friend or family member doesn’t love me as much as I love them and maybe that is or isn’t healthy. I don’t know. But I feel at peace with my life right now. I don’t feel lonely. I don’t feel like I wish someone wasn’t in my life that is in it. I don’t desperately miss someone who doesn’t miss me.

So maybe I “failed” at talking about my non-normative relationships “failing”. I’m sorry. I tried. 😉