Sometimes, as an asexual person, it feels like I am constantly stuck in between, in some sort of liminal space that doesn’t seem to have a destination on either side.
I’m stuck between straight and queer, because although queer has felt right to me for as long as I’ve known of its existence, that idea of attraction on which queerness seems to be based just doesn’t apply to me. It was easy hanging onto queer while I was an aromantic ace and happily non-partnered. Now I’m still an aromantic ace, but one in a relationship that to an outsider probably looks just like a heteronormative, romantic-sexual one. Sometimes I’m not sure where that leaves me, and I’m adrift between being more comfortable as queer and feeling appropriative at the same time.
I feel like I exist somewhere in between single and partnered, but don’t have any other terminology to grab onto. I have one foot in single but don’t like the term because it implies looking, wanting, waiting for a romantic relationship to come by and transform me into something better and more complete. The other foot lies in the domain of partnered, but without cohabitation, without romance and dating, without sex, without many of the adornments of what most people see as a primary relationship. In that in between space, I have to justify being in love, assert the value of my relationship again and again, embark on endless explanations and answer endless questions (or feel like a fraud and a liar when I let people just assume as they wish).
In the ace community, I feel torn between experiences. I’m not the aromantic ace who has never been in a relationship anymore. Sometimes I toy with the idea of romantic attraction and romantic relationships, but calling myself heteroromantic just feels inaccurate and wrong. I can’t say that my relationship is just like a normative romantic relationship without the sex. Neither can I say that I’m a relationship anarchist or polyamorous or am only interested in a certain kind of relationship, because I have no underlying framework of wanting or seeking relationships. In the relationship I stumbled into, I’m a pioneer, but one without a map or a compass or any sense of where I’m going.
I exist somewhere in the space between identities, relationship structures and other sexual or romantic categories. Sometimes being adrift in that space can feel incredibly freeing. And sometimes, that same space can constrict to make me feel incredibly lost.