In this episode of In The Know: Walks of Life, a 24-year-old woman shares her outlook on love and dating, specifically how growing up as a Black woman in a predominantly white neighborhood has impacted her approach to relationships, as well as her ultimate conclusion to prioritize platonic love over romantic love for the time being.
“I feel like I’m a little lost in life. I feel like people talk about your mid-twenties like this time in life where you have things figured out, or at least you’re figuring things out,” says the subject. “And I’m not doing any of that.”
The subject shares that while she has friends, she isn’t forming any new “genuine” connections. “I think I’m just staying in friendships because I’m comfortable in them,” she shares. Romantic relationships in particular are heavy on the subject’s mind, as she just told her friends that she identifies with aromanticism and asexuality, and is working on figuring out where she lies on the spectrum of those two orientations.
“I identify as demisexual, and I guess demiromantic,” she says. “I can have romantic connections, I can be intimate with people in that way—I just really need to connect with them and know them.”
She shares that for a long time she thought she wasn’t interested in romance at all, which had a strong impact on her life because, as she puts it, “people feel like romance and intimacy is kind of the end-all-be-all.” She feels that the media portrays romantic relationships as having priority over platonic relationships, which isn’t a notion that the subject agrees with.
“If my friends need me I’ll be there and I wouldn’t put a romantic connection over that,” she says. “Because I feel like treating your friends [like crap] is normalized.” To the subject, it’s become “kind of uncool to care,” in romantic relationships, which has also played into her feeling aromantic and asexual.
Growing up in an immigrant family, the subject notes that though she “wasn’t allowed to date” as a teenager, she still faces pressure to get married, have kids, and make lifelong connections in her twenties. “I don’t even have the tools to do so because you never let me date,” she says. “So how can I start dating now?”
The subject also shares that her race was another factor that impacted her dating life, since she grew up in a predominantly white neighborhood. “People don’t take into account that I live with people who definitely did not want to date me simply because of the fact that I was Black,” she says.
She also shares that she was considered plus-sized when she was younger, which to her, was another reason for people to ignore her romantically. “I’m putting my best foot forward and I’m being denied because of the color of my skin and sometimes because of my weight,” shares the subject.
Looking ahead, the subject has someone that she’s interested in romantically, but is worried that they won’t be interested because of “all of those things.” She’s also worried that the experience won’t meet her expectations, which would shut her down to romantic relationships. “If it doesn’t work out then it doesn’t work out, and I probably won’t try again for a long time because it just takes a lot out of me,” she says.
The subject wants to figure out her identity within the asexual spectrum, while also not limiting herself to a label and putting herself in a box. She also understands that despite the pressure to have everything figured out, she can use her twenties to continue to grow as a person and find her own approach to relationships. “Life is a constant growth,” she says. “And that’s what I love about it.”
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