The aspec community has a couple regular writing events, the Carnival of Aces and the Carnival of Aros, where a host blogger gets to pick a theme for the month, and other people who wish to participate all write posts around that theme. This month’s Carnival of Aros’ theme is “Stability,” and something the host said in the explanation prompted some thoughts, so I decided to participate this month. (That’s why I posted this on the 30th instead of April 1st, for those paying attention to the dates in the archives :P.)
Specifically, this line got me thinking: “One of the things I have heard argued about romance and about marriage in particular is that it has benefits for stability, both for the relationship as well as for society, raising children, etc.” (roboticanary). I found this fact interesting, because I feel like the opposite is true in some ways.
Relationships are messy. You have to find the right person, which may mean dating around a bit first depending on you and your life, and breaking up with people along the way. Interpersonal conflict in your relationship can cause high levels of stress. If a relationship is toxic but you insist on staying together for the sake of kids you’ve already had, maintaining that relationship may inflict more instability on the kids than if you ended it. Tons of people cheat on their partners (possibly a result of polyamorous people being pressured into monogamous relationships).
In contrast, as a non-dating aro, and also an ace who avoids sex – I can’t separate being aro and being ace in this context – I avoid all that mess. I don’t have to deal with the awkwardness and emotional roller coaster of dating; I don’t worry about getting STDs or whether taking my birth control 4 hours late one day will put me at risk of pregnancy; I don’t have to figure out where the line being doing my share of relationship work and disrespecting my own boundaries is; I don’t have to put up with having another person in my business all the time.
(I was in a relationship before realizing I was ace/aro, by the way, so that is written with some personal experience of the alloromantic (and allosexual) world.)
Many aros don’t like getting “I wish I was aro, life would be so much easier” from their alloromantic friends, because it often dismisses or ignores the arophobia people have to put up with; which is a completely valid perspective of course. However, I personally agree with that sentiment: my life is way easier for being aro (and ace). While everyone else is trying to negotiate awkwardness and emotional roller coasters and relationship-related stress, I’m just always over here vibin’ with my homework, my writing, and probably a slice of cake if it’s the weekend :). My relationship-related stress is more along the lines of “How much can I bug my flatmates about cleaning the communal kitchen without just pissing them off?” I feel quite stable on my own, and trying to force romance into it would only serve to destabilize my life.
Of course, like many things I write, this is my own experience and story. I’m writing this as a middle-class, white woman with a fantastic, supportive family, AND I have an unusual degree of emotional stability compared to a lot of people, due to personality traits or my being autistic or something. I can’t in good faith say being aspec is THE cause of my stability. But all the same, I can’t separate being aspec from my mental stability either. To whatever degree, being free of that whole dating (and sex) aspect of life does make everything easier for me.
Thoughts, opinions, disagreements? Feel free to drop them in the comments!