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Was it all fake? Am I lying to myself?

  • Thread starter Romantic and Aromantic Orientations
  • Start date

Romantic and Aromantic Orientations

I've been in a deep spiral of anxiety and depression over my sexuality and romantic attraction for many months now. I've been deeply contemplating whether I'm asexual and/or aromantic and it's deeply distressing to me (on both accounts). My life has totally fallen apart, physically and mentally. I haven't been cooking or exercising for months and was recently diagnosed as pre-diabetic, which I think was directly related. I've also been struggling with feeling like my life isn't worth living and after a medication mixup recently, my therapist actually recommended outpatient hospitalization. I seemed to be better after getting back on my medicine and we put that on the back burner, but I got really upset again tonight about the possibility of being unable to enjoy a romantic/sexual relationship.

I've had what I thought were crushes and a desire to be in a relationship and never questioned them much for a while but lately I've been all in doubt. I've been wondering if I'm lying to myself and in denial and my so-called desire to be in a relationship is just amatonormativity. And tonight I thought maybe my crushes were actually squishes I thought were romantic? If I'm questioning them, how could they be real?

(I wrote about the closest I come to sexual attraction here.)

I had one crush in middle school that I did a bit of fantasizing about being in a relationship with... can't remember how strong or real that felt.

The most definite evidence of romantic attraction I have is an infatuation in high school. I only had one crush. I don't think I consciously chose him? A teacher used to joke about us dating so maybe that planted a delusion. Idk.

He was a boy in my grade that I hadn't really known until I felt this maybe crush and actively worked to get closer to him. I definitely considered it an actual crush at the time and felt differently about him than anyone else. I was so excited whenever he noticed me. I had some really stupid moments like fantasizing about him texting me when he didn't have my number and getting upset when I was at prom and I was with my friends instead of being his date. I got jealous of all of his girlfriends. When he approached me and asked me to be in the extracurricular he led, I was so excited that he had asked ME and wondered if that was the start of something more (not really). When he was asked in a truth or dare at a party what his favorite part of a woman was (oh high school) he said stomachs and I literally started applying lotion to mine every night JUST IN CASE.

Things actually seemed to be moving towards some sort of a relationship when we went to college (even though it was separate colleges!). We messaged each other all the time and things got explicitly flirty. We talked about having sex even (I can't remember many details...). One night he confessed that he would have asked me out if that damn teacher hadn't teased us so much. I was on cloud nine that night! I had daydreams of him coming to visit him and our first kiss. I envisioned us getting married and our kids. I had a dream about us getting married one night and it was like the most excited I've ever been about a dream.

So idk, maybe some of that makes me sound silly to doubt? But... one night he invited me over to try things out. I was so excited before but... it was such a letdown. When he first suggested making out I think I went "oh god!" and felt terrified. He later just kissed me and it was physically nice but emotionally I felt nothing... just awkward. No butterflies, no amazing feelings... just super awkward. We just did some kissing and touching and then I went home and he basically never talked to me again. I stopped fantasizing about him.

Now for the really bad part... I'm 28 now and that's the most I have. No relationships, nothing physical beyond that. I've online dated on and off for the last four years or so and gotten nowhere but anxiousville. I also tried dating a couple of girls and managed about four dates with one... but no romantic feelings. She asked me what my physical boundaries were (like hand holding and kissing) and I just instantly got that OH GOD feeling again. The closest I got other than that was the last guy I saw... we chatted for a while and then spent like a week with two in-person dates and a virtual one. I was doing great and pretty excited (even was up too excited to sleep at the prospect that maybe I might finally get sex!! because he was really great about me telling him I'd never done it). But then on our third date I was nervous. We went on a walk and held hands and I liked that but then during the conversation something just flipped and I was like "... he is annoying as hell omg." And that was that and I felt so defeated.

The most I've had otherwise was just excitement at the possibility of dating someone a few times. I had this one guy I was talking to online who triggered some excitement switch in my brain and I was like "YES!" and felt so capable of a relationship that I was looking at wedding stuff (yikes... but usually I feel too sad and uncomfortable to enjoy that stuff).

There was one guy literally in the first few days of college who I went out with (didn't realize it was a date at first YIKES). I remember liking the idea of it a bit? Like I thought about holding his hand when we were walking after our date and I got the warm fuzzies when I purposefully thought about us dating... but something kicked in and I was like "nope" and ended it. There was at least one other guy who tried to date me that year and I was freaked out! Like actually avoiding him.

So there's a definite draw to TRYING for a relationship but there's so much anxiety and discomfort in reality and I don't know if it's my mental issues or if it's actual dislike of romance and aromanticism. I've been really scrutinizing whether I want a relationship lately and it's so hard to imagine and pretty foreign and uncomfortable... but when I dig into it the pieces sound amazing. Someone who is my default person to do stuff with, someone to snuggle on the couch with and take vacations with. Someone to actually find me beautiful and think even my chest and implants after my double mastectomy are beautiful. Someone I connect with deeply emotionally and trust enough to try sex (and please God enjoy it!!). Someone to build a life with and have babies with.

In all my web searching trying to find out if I feel anything real and can have any romance or sex and am capable of the actual feelings I read descriptions about what it feels like to really be in love. What it feels like to have that chemistry and want to kiss someone. And I SOB. It sounds so amazing. I read someone describe being in love as coming home and I just... Jesus. That peace sounds amazing.

I've been having strong fantasies about love and sex with a fictional character for like a year now and omg, in my dreams it's amazing. But I question that too! Like am I just envisioning myself as a fictional character with this man? I go on dates sometimes and am just like I just want him!

I stopped consuming anything fictional that might have romance because it makes me sad. God it's all so cruel. I feel like my life is not worth living if it's going to be a lifetime of watching people get this and never actually be capable of those feelings. What a damn gift romantic (and sexual!) attraction is and why the hell is this me. It all feels so definite, that my worst case scenario must be possible and romance for me will be... staring into the void. That I'll never be comfortable, never get to enjoy romance or sex. People on Reddit say "ace people can still enjoy sex! aro people can still enjoy romance!" and like... sure? But Jesus Christ what a barrier to jump. Wouldn't the most enjoyment you'd be capable of be basically what a gay man feels dating and sleeping with a woman? How is that not terrible and massively unfair?

I have this feeling that's calmer and less desperate than the others when I'm wracking my brain that I'm in denial and lying to myself and I'm just desperate to be normal and I only tell myself I want this stuff because society says I do. But I keep fighting and begging my friends and my therapist and strangers on the Internet to find me a way out of this. Please let it not be true. Please don't let me be incapable of these feelings. I keep dating, I keep dreaming about my fictional husband. I keep sobbing and losing my mind. If I manage to feel capable of a relationship it calms me for a bit and then the doubt throws it self back at me. I can get myself to believe that if I keep trying and keep dating MAYBE I can get it but... I keep going back to doubt and sadness.

Am I lying to myself? Am I lying to the people I try to date? Do I just have to cope and accept and find some way to live with this?

Sorry for the novel, I know this is ridiculous, I know no one cares, I know I'm obsessed, I know I'm sick. But I'm in so much pain and I keep searching for my peace and my answers and... some way to experience these beautiful things.