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Your romantic orientation can be different from your sexual orientation

Your romantic orientation can be different from your sexual orientation

Charlie Mathers identifies as a demiromantic bisexual

Figuring out my sexuality to begin with was a rollercoaster.

There were tears and there were many late nights sat questioning my identity.

So, after all this turmoil, one would think that’d be it for me.

After coming out to my friends as bisexual when I was 14, and then to my family when I was 18, I had hoped that was it!

Apparently life wasn’t quite done with me yet.

While I’ve always been very comfortable with my bisexuality, it just didn’t seem to fit quite right with how I felt romantically.

It’s quite hard to describe really.

I always felt like my romantic attractions worked differently to my sexual attractions.

Romantic orientations specifically are spoken about far less than sexualities though, so I always just kind of dealt with it.

I thought that I was just a love-hating negative nancy.

It turns out, that’s not the case.

It’s only in the last two years I think I’ve grasped the concept of romantic orientations.

I know now that I’m a demiromantic bisexual woman.

In the depths of the internet, I came across an analogy I feel might help people understand it a little more.

Imagine a person being a piece of pizza.

The analogy goes: ‘It is like a person who has never had any interest in pizza at all, until they come across one particular pizza after smelling it for long enough, then they realized that they are hungry for that particular slice of pizza.’

Demiromantic is the romantic counterpart to demisexual – Meaning someone who does not experience sexual attraction until they know the other person.

When explaining demiromanticism to people, I say ‘I don’t really have the ability to have feelings for someone until I really know them.’

I don’t get giddy on a first date. I don’t have that third date crisis of ‘I really really like them.’

I’m always met with the same responses – ‘Same’ or ‘That’s just normal isn’t it.’

Every time, I’m forced to rethink myself. I have a horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach. I question who I am all over again.

An experience this year helped me reaffirm my demiromantic identity to myself however.

He was an attractive guy with whom I’d been flirting with for a while. The one and only time we’ve properly met in person was when I met up with him to hook up.

After, we briefly hung out in his hotel room while he showered. We had a laugh. And then parted ways.

Identity erasure

When updating my friends on the gossip, I would share the story and talk about how much fun I’d had after. The guy and I had made jokes and laughed and got along relatively well.

Friends would always ask me ‘Awww, do you think you have a crush on him?’ or ‘You have feelings for him don’t you?’

While he is a lovely guy and I have nothing but positive things to say about him, I know I don’t have romantic feelings for him.

Why? Because I don’t know him.

It’s like romantic feelings are a thermometer.

Some people’s crush thermometer might start at zero and warm up from there.

I have to know the person and get to 40 on the thermometer before I even think about considering it a crush.

It’s like the romantic switch in my head isn’t flicked on until I know someone’s entire family history.

I’d been best friends with my girlfriend for a number of years before we began dating.

I remember a previous unrequited crush. The more I really got to know the inner workings of the guy, the harder and harder I fell for him.

Very rarely will I talk about my romantic orientation, compared to how happy I am to talk about being bisexual.

And the reason is, because I’m scared of being invalidated! The few times I have tried to talk about it, it’s been swept under the rug.

Bisexual people face enough erasure as it is. While I’m prepared to fight that, I don’t quite know yet if I’m ready for another battle.

The longer I spend looking at the differences in my romantic and my sexual orientations though, the more sure about it I am.

The types of people I’m sexually attracted to in comparison to the types of people I might fall for, can be very different.

I’m still learning though.

Experiencing being bisexual and demiromantic is interesting, to say the least. I’m getting there though. Slowly, but surely.

And that’s why I now feeling comfortable to come out as demiromantic. I guess you could say this was my coming out part two.

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