This is for the June 2016 Carnival of Aces: Resiliency
A really long time ago, I believed that I was going to eventually end up in a sexual/romantic relationship, and that it was just a matter of meeting the right person. Over time, I gradually realized that it was a) not happening and b) there was more to why it was not happening than not meeting the ‘right person’.
I was luckier than some people in that this was never a great source of distress in my life. However, I did make some half-hearted attempts to try to meet the kind of person who would at least be someone I’d be interested in trying sex/romance with. Identifying as asexual put an end to that (it was years later that I started identifying as aromantic).
What would have happened if I had not identified as asexual when I did? I don’t know. I don’t regret the (futile) attempts I made to get any kind of romance/sex in my life, but I don’t think I would have benefited from further attempts, so I think it’s just as well that I stopped when I did. Just this alone – to cease trying to bring sex and romance in my life – increased my personal resiliency, since it allowed me to focus more on things which did a lot more to develop myself as a person.
My identity also helps me deal with how other people react to the lack of sex and romance in my life. Before I took on an asexual identity, people often made comments about sex and/or romance which I felt uncomfortable with. But I did not understand why I was uncomfortable. Now, I understand that I have a very different perspective than most people do on sex and romance. That explains a lot of the dissonance I feel between my thoughts and other people’s thoughts on these things. Whatever people think of me, my perspective on my own sexless life is 100% valid. That makes me more resilient in the face of ignorant remarks made by other people.
And finally, I know, thanks to other asexual and aromantic people who have discussed their identities, that I am not alone. I don’t know why people feel a need to find themselves in others in order to feel like it’s okay for them to be themselves, but that is how human nature is, and I am not an exception. Knowing that it’s not just me gives me an additional bit of psychological resilience.
For more about what I have to say about asexuality and resilience, I suggest this old post about living in Taiwan as an asexual.