Question of the Week: July 11th, 2017.

How do you think your asexuality will affect you in old age?

Being asexual is going to have a huge impact on what me old age looks like.  Even before I realised I was ace, I knew I didn’t want to get married and have babies.  I liked partners, but I never felt that desire to move in with them or build a life together.

And I realise that this is going to change the kind of supports that I have in place when I’m elderly.  I have a good relationship with my siblings, and they are enough younger than me that I always joke with them that they need to look after me when they get old, but beyond that there is always the little part of me that hopes that they have children I get along with.  Cause you know what?  Getting old without family can really suck.

The upside though, is that chosen family is totally a thing.  One of my favourite memories of working as a nurse is seeing a patient get cared for by his best friend and her partner.  It stuck with me because I had such a strong sense of ‘that will be me’.   And I see so many other people in alternative caring arrangements as they get old.  A group of my friends are buying a house together because they want to share house together, and many other people seem to have this as an ideal.

I don’t know what my life is going to look like when I’m old, but being ace has made me value the non-traditional relationships in my life, and I think that things are going to be okay.

About astarlia

Astarlia is proud of herself for only having volunteered for..... okay if you have to stop and count it's probably too many things isn't it? She is passionate about nerd culture, disability and mental health, alternative relationships, sexuality, and young adult fiction.
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8 Responses to Question of the Week: July 11th, 2017.

  1. TreePeony says:

    Actually, this is the only thing I’m worried about re: my aro aceness. I’m very close with my immediate family and get along splendidly with my sister (who, like the OP’s, is much younger than me). But this can always change once she gets married, and of course she has to prioritise her own family over me. Sometimes I wonder whether I oughtn’t to just bite the bullet, get married and have kids, but then I realise that even if I do these things, none of which I’ve ever wanted to do, there’s no guarantee that my marriage will last, my husband won’t predecease me, or that my kids won’t move abroad (as per the rising trend in my country). So for now I’ve decided against it, though not without some reservations. (And my parents constantly telling me how much I’ll regret this when I’m old and infirm doesn’t help)

    As for found family — that sounds wonderful, as I’ve always had a strong yearning for a QPL-type relationship, but realistically speaking I find it extremely far-fetched, to the point of impossibility. I’m 26 now and have never had a single true friend: only casual acquaintances who drift out of touch the moment they become busy with work, “meet someone” and/or move to a different town. Well, I suppose I’ll keep looking. Positivity is important, and who knows what the future holds?

  2. Rivers says:

    Yeah, I can definitely see my life going in many different directions. Family is personally not an option for me, so that’s semi-worrying, but I still have good options.

    I am really opting to find some kind of shared-living arrangement with a partner of some non-marriage related kind. My ideal would be getting a house with my current qpp, but I think it’s somewhat unrealistic as a permanent thing since she wants to have a more traditional family in the long run (our relationship does not have that kind of end goal right now). So there’s that. But I also think it’s very possible that I could find another person that I could bond with who would become a permanent partner, and I am perfectly open to having a poly relationship.

  3. I.C. says:

    As someone who is aroace, mentally ill and not looking for a life partner, I often find my future quite scary. I have my immediate family at the moment, but, as mentioned above, I can’t exactly count on them to stay with me forever. My mental illness also makes it very difficult for me to make friends with people, so I often find myself falling to the wayside when it comes to other people making commitments to me. This is particularly worrying since I really need some sort of support network for later in my life, both for my illness and just old age in general. So yeah…not really the most positive subject for me.
    Marriage and kids isn’t exactly an option, and while I love the idea of found family, it’s difficult for me to picture that actually working in the context of my life. Still, you have to be positive about these things, so perhaps I’ll be able to make more genuine connections with others in the future.

  4. Rachel says:

    Being aro ace, I imagine growing old will be a problem when it comes to external support. I have my immediate family, but when I’m elderly, I’ll likely only have my brother left to me. One of my reasons for wanting kids is to increase my chances of a support network later in life. The kids part is a problem in of itself, being a disabled woman who doesn’t like her odds of finding a suitable partner and doesn’t especially want to chance it.

    I’ve occasionally acted as an external support network for elderly neighbors without any children or immediate family, and I honestly kind of hated doing it. While their need for socialization is legitimate, my lack of desire to be another person’s primary source of social engagement is just as legitimate. I don’t want to replicate that with someone else in the future.

  5. luvtheheaven says:

    “One of my favourite memories of working as a”… did you mean “nurse”, maybe?
    The more I look at what a lot of widows and widowers go through, surprisingly often people who don’t have kids, and sometimes other people who get to old age unmarried, I stop thinking of this as a very exclusively aroace problem. These people are often allosexual but can have the same practical problems as many aroaces. Even with kids, the question of how to live your life to its fullest during your senior years is complex and our society pushes for an ideal of “growing old together” with a spouse when a lot of what is needed is acceptance that at some point, the elderly need ways to make brand new friendships, friendships with the potential to grow pretty strong, where you don’t only meet up outside of the home at a once a week or once a month event.

    I think in old age my asexuality will affect me somewhat less than it will in my middle age and younger. For now I expect my asexuality will make my dreams of (adoptive) parenthood much more complicated and difficult to achieve, especially for as long as I remain holding out hope for a co-parent.

    I also expect asexuality meetup groups might always continue to be a part of my life, possibly even in my old age – perhaps especially in old age. 😛 I could imagine no matter where I might move to, trying to help make an in-person asexual community thrive the best I can, and there’s no age-limit for that? Currently ace meetup groups have limited numbers of attendees over age 40, let alone in their, say, 60s or 70s. But I expect as people my own age get older, the makeup of these communities might change somewhat, and I’m really interested to be along for the ride.

    • Sara K. says:

      As you said, this isn’t just an ace or an aro issue. In fact, lesbians and gays have already been dealing with this issue for a long time, and I think it is worthwhile for aces and aros to look at how the LGBT community has succeeded or failed to take care of LGBT elders (who often no longer have ties to their family of origin and/or are unmarried).

    • astarlia says:

      yeeeeeeessssss. i am the worst at proofreading. <3<3<3

  6. ettina says:

    This scares me. Especially since I’m also autistic and have difficulty with self-care.

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