If I want my partners to date other people because I only want half a partner, does that make me polyamorous, or the anti-poly?
I asked this question on social media and I got some likes and laugh reacts, but no one actually answered my question. The thing was, I was being about 80% serious (the other 20% was definitely a joke). In the past, I have encouraged the people I date to date other people, because I couldn’t be sure that I would develop true, romantic feelings for them. I couldn’t be sure I would actually fall in love, and I didn’t think it was far to keep them waiting around for me to make up my mind. Most people want love, connection, and romance. I couldn’t promise any of that beyond friendship and sex- so I encouraged them to look for it other places. I need a lot of alone time and personal space, and I take a lot of time to let people in. So, with all this in mind, I figured that dating people who dated other people was the perfect solution. And indeed, for several years, it has been.
Being Demiromantic doesn’t mean I’m heartless.
A common misunderstanding about people who are asexual or aromantic is that we are heartless and cannot love. Another is that we are antisocial and hate people. Hopefully by now all of these stereotypes are breaking down, because we are still people. We still do need connections with other human beings, whether that includes romantic partnerships or not. The differences lie in the ways we form and maintain these relationships. For me, I have been in love and have had relationships. I even considered getting married before! The issue is that I fall in love so rarely, and it takes such a long time to develop romantic feelings, that most people (understandably) don’t want to take the risk that I may never love them at all.
Dating another Demi never crossed my mind.
To be fair, I didn’t even realize I was demiromantic until recently. I knew about asexuality, but I had never heard of the romantic spectrum. I always assumed that I was just weird or damaged for not being able to fall in love quickly. I didn’t realize that there were other people like me, and that there was nothing wrong with us. The idea of dating someone else like me hadn’t occurred to me. When you assume you aren’t worth dating, you don’t imagine how dating someone else like you might be beneficial. I would literally warn people on the first and second date that they should keep their other options open, since I couldn’t promise anything. Imagine my surprise when I went on a date last fall and they said “Yeah, I get it. I’m a demi too.”
How Dating a Demi is Different?
We have been seeing each other for over 6 months, but still don’t consider ourselves a couple. We have gone on dates, gone to weddings, and even keep toiletries at each other’s houses- but we aren’t “together”. This is something that greatly confuses my family and his friends- as in many aspects we appear to be more of a couple than some married people. The thing is, we aren’t committed to each other and still casually date other people. We also don’t pretend to be in love, and don’t feel pressured to fall in love. Without love and commitment, why would we consider ourselves a couple?
Some people ask what makes our relationship different from friendship. This, I admit, is where things become complicated. It is hard to put in words that it feels different, and it looks different, but it’s not “love” in traditional sense. I don’t feel for him the way I felt for the person I almost married; that love was deep and emotional- consuming and co-dependent to a level I couldn’t recreate (nor would I ever want to). I don’t feel passion or lust, but I do feel a certain level of attraction and affection that is different than the feelings of companionship and platonic love I feel for my friends. When I asked him, he said the same; it isn’t love, but maybe one day it could be? Unlike my past dating experiences, there is no pressure to figure it out right now. We both know that feelings cannot be forced.
Will we stay together or make it official?
I have no idea. I do miss passion and lust. I do miss the feeling of being in love, and I don’t know if it will happen with him. I also know I can’t try to force it to happen with him, or anyone else. Maybe we will decide that our mutual contentment with one another is enough, and that compatibility is a good enough reason to make things official. Or, maybe we will decide the opposite and end it. Or perhaps we will continue on as we have been. The point is, for the first time I don’t feel pressured to force feelings. I don’t feel the need to try to push my partner toward other people, or try to avoid the awkward “I don’t feel that way yet” conversation I’ve already had a million times. No, I still don’t love him. I am not even sure if I am romantically attracted to him “that way” or if I ever will be. But, it is nice to know that with him, that doesn’t matter.