Caught In Between

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.

3 thoughts on “Caught In Between

  1. I really appreciate this article. Thank you for describing your experience. I appreciate this partly because I find myself in a similar place, only without the relationship. I only recently learned about asexuality and that I finally had a word that described me. I also have been trying to understand where I fit on the aromantic spectrum, especially given that I really want to be in a partnered relationship, but I don’t know how to describe what I hope to find. It wouldn’t be an asexual romantic relationship, but it would be… what? And then, because whatever those leanings are, they lean in a hetero direction, if I did find myself in a relationship, it could be taken for a heteronormative sexual, romantic relationship, and I don’t know how I feel about that. Anyway, thank you for giving words to the lostness you feel, and I hope that you are able to create a new “found” space for yourself!

  2. ^^ Your whole first paragraph. And some of the second paragraph too. Basically no-framework thing and the whole post and what. Just. Yes.
    …may be more articulate later. Basically, thanks for this.

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