What kind of feelings should I feel to be truly human ?

I identify myself as aromantic. I know it’s a weird word but it’s also a word that I like very much. It’s a word that helps me to figure out what I feel. Or rather, what I don’t feel.

This word accounts for the fact that I don’t fall in love.

It accounts for the fact that I don’t really know what is it all about when someone talk to me about romantic feelings. Because I don’t feel them. I never feel them. I don’t have crushes. I don’t know what it is to have one’s breath taken away or to have one’s mind engrossed in the thoughts of your love one. And that’s it, that’s how it is. Deal with it, as we say.

Let’s be specific here : I don’t have a negative attitude toward romantic stuffs. I don’t have anything against people who are in love. I don’t have anything against romantic feelings. I don’t have anything against small and usually heart-shaped pink objects. Nothing at all.

But what I do have a problem with, is a certain idea of romantic love. An idea that everyone seem to agree with. An idea that everybody knows. An unanimously acclaimed idea.

In fact, it’s more a story that an idea, a story of romantic love. And we cannot help but to tell that story, again, and again, and again. Up to the point of nausea.

This story tells you that (heterosexual) romantic love is this experience without which you cannot really accomplish yourself as a human being. It’s also through this story that you learn that the real goal of your life is to find a partner with which you’ll engage in a long and everlasting romantic relationship.

And it’s not over. Do you know why this experience of love is of such great importance to become a « real » person ? It is because it is through this experience that you will express the innermost aspect of your self, your real self. Let’s be clear : without this experience, you cannot know who you are and what is the meaning of your life, without it, you cannot experience happiness. No less.

You want to know something ? This is a really boring story. First, there’s a lot to say about the heterosexism and the monosexism in this (it is ONE man and ONE woman) but it has already been done and by better writers than me, so I’ll say no more.

But beyond that : what is your place in this script when you don’t feel love ? Or when you can’t have access to this kind of relationships ? Is there something planned ?

If I don’t feel any romantic feelings, does it mean that what I feel has less value ? Does it mean that the really important feelings are out of my reach ?

Does it mean that I miss the meaning of my life ? Does it mean that my relationships are of less importance ? Am I less human ?

How am I to explain to the person I have a relationship with that I feel love, even if it’s not romantic love ? And what word am I to use, given the fact that there is none ? How am I to explain that our relationship is indeed important, even if it’s not romantic ?

I’m wondering : what kind of feelings should I feel to be truly human ?

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French version

About Baptiste

I blog here or here and tweet here.
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4 Responses to What kind of feelings should I feel to be truly human ?

  1. Almulhida says:

    Timely. I was just writing something that touched on this. I used to identify as aromantic in the past, and though I’ve gone from viewing all of romance with some puzzlement (and a negative attitude, honestly) to experiencing it, I don’t feel like I’ve gained something that I wouldn’t want to let go of. I don’t feel like I’ve gained some indispensable part of what I need to be happy, or attained a new height of well-being, or discovered that I was lacking in humanity before. Though I very deeply enjoyed my relationship, I’m not broken up over the possibility of never finding anyone romantically interesting again.

    It’s incredibly dehumanizing to see time and time again humanity defined in a way that either excludes me, or excludes who I used to be. A long time ago I read something by a father of an autistic child who bemoaned the fact that his son would never experience the things “that make us human,” verbatim, listing romance (and prom, astoundingly enough) as one of these (it’s an iffy assumption in the first place, but there’s a whole ‘nother kettle of fish in that one). I was gobsmacked that he was implicitly calling his own son subhuman. I wonder if anyone ever expressed to him that his son could be happy with or without romance; that it’s not, as I feel, necessary in any sense, but I’m pretty sure the answer to that is no. I have never seen that sentiment expressed myself.

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  4. Jim says:

    Romantic love (I suppose it’s passion) is not a way to found the meaning of life (why should life have a meaning anyway?), neither to know what you are (not more then so many experiences and this knowledge is so changeable and uncertain anyway) neither a path of happiness., it’s just a kind of monomania by which you give a lot of value to someone and both to his and your life, but in a way you are like in a prison confined in that great value you dedicate to. That’s just my feeling about it. Have a good day. Jim

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