There is one question that gets thrown at me at every single family dinner: “So, do you have a boyfriend yet?”. Apart from the fact that they’re assuming I’m straight and that they’ve tried interrogating me about this a quite annoying amount of times in the past few months, I suppose that’s a fair enough thing to ask.
But whenever I tell them no, they make a face as if I’ve just declared that my beloved guinea pig has passed away, not that I’m not seeing anyone. After giving me a pitiful look, they usually proceed to telling me things like “Why’s that? You’re such a pretty girl!”, “I’m sure there’s a perfect man for you out there somewhere” or “Well, I started dating when I was 14, but without boy trouble you can at least focus on your A-Levels!”, which are reactions I still don’t really understand. Why do they pity me for being single? Haven’t they considered that I might not even want a relationship?
A few weeks ago, I read a book called “Hold Me Closer” by David Levithan and came across a passage that really got me thinking.
Lynda: “Don’t get trapped into thinking people are halves instead of wholes.”
Tiny: “People are halves?”
Lynda: “They’re not trying to sell it on you yet, but believe me, they will. The idea that two is the ideal, and that one is only good as half of two. You are not a half, and you should never treat someone else like a half. Agreed?”
And this is exactly what bugs me so much. Until not long ago, I constantly felt like I was doing something wrong for not dating anyone, even though I was pretty sure I didn’t even feel ready for a relationship. It’s like there’s a checklist for experiences people expect you to make as a teenager, and going out with people is on top of that list. Of course I knew that I don’t have to do any of the things society expects from me if I don’t want to, but I still felt like not being able to tick off that box made me different from everyone else, and not in a good way.
I agree that romantic love can be a pretty wonderful thing, but if we let the desire to find the ideal partner determine our entire life, we’ll probably miss out on many other things that are just as great. You can literally find love anywhere: In friendship, in nature, in a beautiful painting or poem, in a book, in a warm cup of your favourite tea. Having a romantic relationship isn’t required to live a fulfilled life and I don’t know if I believe in soulmates, but if they exist, I’m pretty sure they could just as well be platonic.
What I’m saying is that if you feel like you need some time to figure things out yourself before you start thinking about being with someone else, maybe don’t want a relationship at all or think that you might be on the asexual or aromantic spectrum, that’s completely valid, regardless of what society tells you.
You don’t need anyone to complete you, cause you are already a whole. And a pretty amazing one at that.
This is something I’ve wanted to write about for quite a while and I still feel like there’s a lot more to add, but I guess you get the general idea. I’d be very interested in hearing about your experiences with this issue, so do leave a comment and tell me what you think! 🙂
(If you wanna find out more about the asexual/ aromantic spectrum and the different orientations, feel free to ask me or check out asexuality.org or asexualityarchive.com for more information. It’s very important that we educate each other on this, cause the fact that my autocorrect just changed aromantic to romantic is only the least relevant reason why a lot more awareness is needed!)