I’m not sure if I’m alone in this, but as an aromantic person, I wish my romantic friends understood the emotional labor it takes for me to lend an ear to their dating woes and to provide sound romantic relationship advice when I have no solid basis for understanding said relationships in the first place.
I tend to approach dating advice from a humanistic point of view, rather than a romantic one. That is, I’m more concerned with relationship outcomes and the physical and emotional impact of relationships than the romantic value and excitement of a relationship. That’s mostly because I am aromantic.
I appreciate that people think of me when they’re in need, but at the same time nothing makes me want to tune out more than issues related to romance. It takes tremendous effort for me to stay engaged in a conversation involving the needs of romantic people, which might make me sound like a bad person.
At the same time, I don’t think romantic people really consider the impact this has on aromantic people. I cannot speak for every aromantic person. However, we all have our own boundaries and needs. For aromantics, that could mean that discussing romance is an exhausting activity with little to no pay off.
I do care about the well-being and safety of my friends, but I don’t often care about their romantic pursuits. I am genuinely happy for them finding fulfilling relationships, but I am not emotionally invested in the details of their romances. I do want to support my friend, but not at the expense of my own well-being.
The most difficult part comes down to giving relationship advice to friends whose partners or potentially partners present aromantic behavior. I want to gently remind them that not everyone experiences romantic feelings the same way that they do, but then amatonormativity rears its ugly head from said friends.
The amount of times I’ve heard a friend describe a partner or potential partner as emotionally constipated is distressing, along with friends describing said persons as a potentially abusive because they wont open up to them or engage in romantic behavior … all the while ignoring their own impact on others…
All of this being said, I think it’s okay as an aromantic person – or any person really – to step back and say that you’re not comfortable or you’re not the right person to talk to about romance. It’s not your job to empathize with romantic feelings for your friends’ sakes when you can’t feel it in the first place.