I am a romantic, demi-romantic.
On the surface, that statement doesn’t make sense. But, the fact is: I love, love. I binge read romantic web comics and books, fawn over sweet animes, and consume rom-coms by the dozen. Far from being afraid or disgusted by romance, I am addicted to it. I just don’t experience it the same way other people do. And this can cause some problems in my dating life.
I learned not to expect butterflies.
As a demiromantic, the excitement and thrill I see my friends and loved ones experience when they go on first dates isn’t something I can relate to. That bolt of lightening they feel when they meet someone new just doesn’t happen for me. I have had the butterflies before, but they are firmly wrapped in their cocoons for the first few months (to years) of dating someone. If I believed the media I consumed, I would be forced to assume that the lack of an immediate spark meant a lack of compatibility. After years of trying and failing to find love (or at least romantic attraction) at first sight, I learned to give myself time for the butterflies to emerge.
Managing my own expectations isn’t enough.
I’ve had years to adjust to my slower romance cycle. I know my process is different: I have to meet someone, connect with them platonically, connect with them sexually, connect with them emotionally, and THEN I might finally develop a romantic attraction. The time and effort it takes for this to occur is a lot to ask of a potential partner. It’s only natural that someone who is considering me as a potential partner understands what they are signing up for. They need to understand that investing in me romantically my not pay dividends.
Dating is always a risk.
Relationships are complicated, and they don’t always turn out the way we want them to. But we enter relationships hoping for the best. We understand the risk involved, but gamble on the outcome anyway. The problem is, my stock is riskier than most. What if we date for months, and they fall for me, but I still don’t have feelings for them? How would that feel? Could they handle that? What if I never fall in love with them? Would it mean I wasted all their time and emotional energy?
I love love too much to play games..
Love is precious and powerful, and emotions are strong but fragile. I try to be fair caring in my relationships, as much as I can be. I also encourage my partners to diversify their portfolio by dating other people (ethically, and consensually) and warn them about my timeline. I am honest with myself and my partners about my feelings, and try to keep them honest about theirs. If I feel feelings develop, I let them know. But, if I don’t think it will happen, or they grow tired of waiting, I let them go with grace.
I don’t fear being alone as much as I fear being deceptive.