By Definition I Count as Aplatonic, but I’m Not Loveless

NOTE: While it is not blatantly obvious, this post was written from a place alloarophobia. It has been left up in the interest of not concealing my past mistakes. All of my issues with the Aro Community are a product of my own narrow-mindedness not any issues with the community itself.

Back in February I wrote a post about how I wasn’t sure if I was aplatonic or not, which actually made the Asexual Agenda linkspam (I don’t know if any of the rest of you saw that coming, but I sure as hell didn’t). Since then I’ve continued thinking about the subject and I have some further thoughts I would like to share. To some extent is this being written because I’m paranoid about misleading people? Yes, it is, why do you ask? Is this also an exercise in definition untangling because I’m a Tumblr ace and I like this sort of thing? Yes, it also is.

Firstly, Definition One (no platonic attraction) Aplatonicism. When I wrote the last post, I said I didn’t know if I experienced platonic attraction because I didn’t find the concept useful. I’ve thought about it a bit since then and if we’re defining platonic attraction as getting squishes then I probably don’t experience it. Well…either that or I do get squishes and just mistake them for crushes, which definitely a possibility given how awful I am at telling if I’m experiencing romantic attraction.1

You might be thinking; hey, that helps you decide whether you’re aplatonic, Em! Congratulations! But you’d be wrong.

You see, I’m not loveless.

To my understanding of the discussion, the general consensus is that aplatonic aroaces are the truly loveless ones and that they are hurt by statements about love being important/powerful regardless of the type. But I do have all sorts of positive, fluffy feelings about platonic love. Non-romantic/sexual forms of love are incredibly important to me. My reaction to the end of Frozen was cathartic glee about how Anna’s familial love to Elsa was more powerful than her romantic/sexual love for Hans, not a feeling of being erased by the message about love saving the day (see footnote #9, if the link doesn’t go there for you).

Obviously, something confusing is going on here.

I mentioned in passing earlier this week that I technically count as aplatonic but that I don’t think of myself as loveless “so much as having a lifelong track record of failing to preform platonic relationships in ways which others interpret as me being uncaring, selfish or unwilling to put in the work.” I also (probably) don’t get squishes and I’d say I’m non-partnering if I wasn’t afraid that my mom is right when she says that people who say they’re happy alone always find partners faster than people who want partners do.2

It’s like the universe threw a bunch of aplatonic things and a bunch of alloplatonic things into one person and then crossed it’s fingers and hoped that I wouldn’t notice. I noticed.

One possible explanation is that I’ve got a lot of internalized issues to work through regarding platonic love and that once I do I’ll think of myself as loveless. That doesn’t feel right to me, and I honestly hope that’s not the reason. I do, in fact, like liking platonic love.

I suppose part of the problem might be that I don’t often make a hard distinction between family love and friendship love. Perhaps, I’m saying “but I love” because I love my family and that’s an entirely different thing than the sort of love that I would need to be alloplatonic.

Or maybe it’s an issue of the common definitions of the term. Last time I mentioned that I was probably grayplatonic by the coiner’s definition of the term (feeling like you love your friends). I made that decision based on the number of friends that I’ve actually described myself as loving, but I’m not convinced that’s the same as saying that I don’t love the rest of my friends. I very definitely could be alloplatonic by the coiner’s definition.

So basically, I’m at an impasse here. Either all aplatonic aroaces are loveless and therefore I’m not aplatonic despite meeting the common definitions of the term, or I am aplatonic and aplatonic aroaces are not inherently loveless and can, in fact, care deeply about platonic love. I’m not sure if what I’ve just written is a demonstration of an issue similar to assuming all aces are sex-repulsed or a demonstration of the common definitions of aplatonic being flawed.3 No matter which it is, things are still inconclusive on the “am I aplatonic?” front.

1 In case you were wondering, this issue right here is the reason I don’t find platonic attraction a useful concept; all it does it add another axis to angst about. Probably I should do myself a favor and stop thinking about aplatonicism at all, but I’m intrigued by this now.

2 So if I say I don’t want a partner I’m more likely to end up in a relationship than I would if I said nothing at. Yes, I’m aware that’s an illogical fear.

3 I’m leery of this statement because I think it comes too close to arguing that the Aro Community’s definitions of aplatonic are invalid because they’re not the same definitions as the coiner used. I think that terminology is defined by the people who use it, so given the sheer number of people using the Aro Community’s definitions of aplatonic, the argument that those definitions are invalid doesn’t hold water.

4 thoughts on “By Definition I Count as Aplatonic, but I’m Not Loveless

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  1. Either all aplatonic aroaces are loveless and therefore I’m not aplatonic despite meeting the common definitions of the term, or I am aplatonic and aplatonic aroaces are not inherently loveless and can, in fact, care deeply about platonic love.

    I can’t speak for everyone, but I certainly don’t see “aplatonic” and “loveless” as being inherently connected or equivalent terms. (For example, I’m loveless, but I also get squished and don’t feel connected to aplatonicism.) So, I’m leaning more towards the latter than the former.

    the general consensus is that aplatonic aroaces are the truly loveless ones and that they are hurt by positive statements about love regardless of the type

    I’m a little surprised by this, since I’ve never seen either of these takes (“loveless people are hurt by any positive statement about love” and “aplatonicism implies lovelessness”) in the circles I frequent. Could you say more about this? (For context, my discussions about lovelessness are greatly informed by this essay

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve always gotten the impression that aplatonic aroace and loveless aroace are talking about the same thing. I used to joke about being a loveless ace where by loveless I meant “aro” but I was informed that discussions surrounding the term loveless tended to be about the whole “There are other kinds of love, so aros still love!” thing.

      That said, it’s definitely possible that my impression of the discussions around aplatonicism are inaccurate; my experiences with the Aro Community were not positive and I likely only saw the community at it’s worst.

      (For context, my discussions about lovelessness are greatly informed by this essay

      Which essay? The link goes to my post.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I was informed that discussions surrounding the term loveless tended to be about the whole “There are other kinds of love, so aros still love!” thing.

        Yeah, that (and the adjacent “some aros aren’t comfortable with being coerced into associating themselves with love”) is what I mean when I use the word “loveless”.

        Which essay?

        Whoops, that’ll teach me not to handcraft HTML on mobile. https://aroworlds.com/2019/07/16/i-am-not-voldemort-an-essay-on-love-and-amatonormativity/

        Liked by 1 person

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