“I’ve been identifying as asexual for over a year now and my parents have gotten to a place where they just… kinda accept that they can’t change my mind. My problem is that I’ve been on a few dates with a great guy whom I know my parents will like, and I REALLY want to tell them about him, but I’m 96% sure they’ll say something like "See? You aren’t really asexual after all!” What should I do?"
- Question submitted by Anonymous and answered by Kara Kratcha as part of Everyone Is Gay: Second Opinions
I think the best thing to do in this situation is to provide your parents with a little more information about what asexuality is and what it is not. Of course, this approach assumes that you have a relationship with your parents in which you can communicate openly and respectfully. That’s not always the case, so I’ll provide some other options after I walk you through this conversation under ideal circumstances.
It seems like your parents are a little confused about the difference between asexuality and aromanticism. Asexuality is the sexual orientation of a person who does not feel sexual attraction to people of any gender. Aromanticism is the romantic orientation of a person who does not feel romantic attraction to people of any gender. Some asexual people are also aromantic, but they aren’t the same thing. Figuring out what romantic attraction even is can be difficult, and explaining it to someone else can be even more difficult, so you can check out the AVEN wiki page on romantic attraction if you want to read more before introducing this concept to your parents. You could also share with them this piece I wrote for The Parents Project that explains asexuality to parents!
Based on your question, I’m assuming that you are not aromantic. If that is the case, you can explain to your parents that asexuality and aromanticism don’t always go together. Tell them that in your case, you don’t experience sexual attraction but you are attracted to the guy you’ve been dating in other ways, including romantically. Here is a useful chart about different kinds of attraction from Tumblr user cannibal-rainbow. While attraction is often way messier and more complicated than any chart makes it seem, working with these definitions might help you and your parents communicate about what you’re experiencing and how you can identify as asexual and still enjoy going on dates with this guy. If you do identify as aromantic, you can still have a slightly modified version of this conversation. Explain that you do not experience sexual or romantic attraction, but this guy is important to you and you would like them to meet him.
If that doesn’t get the point across, you could try asking your parents if their relationship is based entirely on sexual attraction. I’m guessing they’ll say no. Ask them what they like about each other and their relationship. Explain that you also want those kinds of things out of a relationship, or tell them specifically what you like about the guy you’ve been seeing and the relationship you have with him.
If these kinds of conversations aren’t feasible within the relationship you have with your parents, you can try a couple of other things. First, try a truncated version of the above conversation. Say, “Parents, a new person has come into my life and become important to me. Can we all have dinner together some time?” This leaves the nature of your relationship ambiguous, which leaves your parents to make their own assumptions. Alternatively, you could just casually bring him over to your house like nothing’s up. However, I don’t think these are the ideal approaches to this situation. I tend to think that more communication is better, but it sounds like your parents may have invalidated your identity and experiences in the past. You might feel more comfortable having a shorter conversation or no conversation at all, and that’s okay.
Whatever happens, remember that you define your identity, your experiences, and your relationships. Hopefully your parents respect what you have to tell them immediately, but you don’t need their validation to keep being who you are. You’re great, and I believe in you!
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