How Adopting an Asexual and Aromantic Identity Has Made Me More Resilient

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.

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11 thoughts on “How Adopting an Asexual and Aromantic Identity Has Made Me More Resilient

  1. Yes to all that. Additionally, asexuality made my network bigger, because I found a few new RL-friends via meetups.

  2. I like this, and I want to quote this tomorrow! But I think there are some typos in the part I want to quote:

    “Before I took on an asexual identity, people often made comments about sex and/or romance which felt uncomfortable with, but I did not understand why I was uncomfortable. Now, I understand that they have a very different perspective than most people do on sex and romance, and that explains a lot of the dissonance I feel between my thoughts and other people’s thoughts on sex and romance.”

  3. Yeah I love this so much too, and relate completely – it’s helped my life to identify as asexual in quite a few ways, including what Carmilla said in terms of making new friends via real life my local asexual meetup group. But I too noticed the pretty huge typos in the part Elizabeth mentioned – it didn’t really make sense the way you wrote it, so you probably want to fix that if you can.

  4. Pingback: Components of Resilience: Affect Management & Positive Frameworks | Prismatic Entanglements

  5. Pingback: Risk & Courage, Disappointment & Resilience, Everything Changing & Me Catching Up (Part 1 of 3) – From Fandom to Family: Sharing my many thoughts

  6. Sorry for the reply on an old post. I relate to how adopting an asexual identity helps create resilience. I wasted so much time and effort trying to fit myself into a shape I was never going to fit into. Accepting my asexuality frees me to pursue the actual relationships that are actually possible, and also gives me the freedom to focus on those other aspects of my life that are healing, like my spirituality and my writing.

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