What makes you want a romantic relationship?


I am in my late twenties. I’ve been in 3 intimate/romantic relationships; however, two were long-distance (and also when I was a teenager) and the third was shitty and didn’t last long. The third one was 5 years ago.

I haven’t been interested in relationships and yet, I also would like to have a family. I’m trying to figure out how to resolve this internal conflict. I’ve gone on dates. I’ve spent some time on apps, but I keep finding that after a few days of back and forth I forget to respond.

I’ve tried being patient - trusting that my interest in relationships will develop as I heal and learn that a) I’m not a horrible person that people should stay away from and b) connection can be exhausting and scary yes, but it’s also a good thing (or something along those lines). However, that is taking forever and I’m now starting to wonder whether it’s worth waiting (30s are looming) - maybe I need to take a more active approach. Rip the bandaid off and just do it. I’m not sure.

(I’ve considered whether I might be asexual, and I don’t actually think I am …. though I do think my sexuality has been turned off for a while.)

Anybody else have this issue? Did you get through/past it?
What draws you to seek out intimate/romantic relationships? Have you always wanted to be in a relationship? Did the desire “turn on” at some point?
Though these questions are somewhat targeted, I’m interested in hearing anything you’re willing to share in this general topic area.
the only thing in the world which has ever made me want a romantic relationship is the constant pressure to do so. it's everywhere! ! ! it's everywhere! ! !

then i notice the stunning divorce rate that seems to accompany romantic relationships. . . have i noticed that the more romantic the beginnings, the more traumatic the breakup? the last wedding i attended had all the bridezilla trappings, including the table where a bookie was taking bets on when the breakup would occur.

when i was eligible for dating. i refused to do so. a dutch treat outing was the closest i ever came to dating. my spouse and i found one another over the natural course of each of us building lives we were happy to call our own. 43 years later, we still haven't had our first date. date night? ? ? thanks, but no thanks. we're still going dutch treat.

my motto is that love is not looking deeply into each other's eyes. love is looking deeply in the same direction.

for what it's worth
contemporary romance came of age around the turn of the 20th century. 100 years later, i use the industrial world's divorce rate as proof that it was a stunning failure as a social experiment.
my relationship with hubby kind of snuck up on me. We were friends first, and things just kind of progressed from there. Neither one of us really realized we were in a "relationship" for a long time. I moved, he came with, and he's still here sooooo....

I think the friend thing is the major part people skip over when they are "looking for love"
Love and passion are erratic and messy and fun but not stable. You have to have a solid friendship to fall back on when things go south - and things will always go south at least once in a while. When you get to that point where you want to knock them upside the head for just the stupid day to day stuff, love won't save you regardless of what the movies say.

Having a deep understanding of each other, wanting to stay together, willing to give up the drama or the being right, wanting to keep your companion because he/she/they make you happy at the end of the day? That is what keeps you together.

Plus people underestimate the amount of work it takes to have a relationship last. One of the smartest things I ever heard was from a marriage counselor who said "every 5 to 7 years you are going to hate each other, so plan for that now, while you still like each other." And she was right...about every 6 years we start fighting over stupid shit and it starts to escalate and then we remember what she said and laugh about it -annnd drop into a marriage counselors office for a tune up.

I asked - why don't people know this? And she said that when people hit that first mark they give up and divorce, so they never get a chance to learn it's a normal part of being together.

hope that helps!
a) I’m not a horrible person that people should stay away from and
There might be degrees of this, but if I had waited until I had processed this I would still be processing this.

I met E and had at that point (aged 26) decided that I am a f*CK up in relationships and I don't deserve them, so I am just going to have sex with people. And then I met E. And pretended that's all she was to me. Until we had date after date after date after date.....and here we are 19 years later.

Do you want to be in a relationship?
Does having children have to come from being in a relationship if that isn't what you want?

With desire, I think that changes anyway. Or at least I think it does. It's not a static thing?
I am aromantic and polyamorous, but not asexual. I've had sex in ways that work for me (where I retain control over the entire situation, and it is set up that way from the beginning, using apps to hook up and communicate guidelines and boundaries beforehand) but having tried my hand at a romantic relationship I am quite convinced it's not something I want nor need.

Affection essentially repulses me, I feel like I am "obligated" to return it as a favor or series of exchanges, and the other person is almost always much more invested in this than I am, then they become resentful and the guilt-tripping starts. Deep platonic friendship is about what I am capable of providing, and I can say that I love my friends, but my conception of "love" is different than the average person's idea of romantic love.

If someone were to become close to me they would need to be capable of understanding these things. I am not interested in sex in the same way as everyone else, so we probably wouldn't have it. I also don't care if you love or f*ck other people, as long as I continue to be an important part of your life and the same efforts are shown to care for/look after our "connection."

(Which, honestly, is less of a factor - I can go weeks between contacts if necessary.)
I've never had so much as a date, let alone a relationship. I've always wanted a loving partnership and a family, but not a clue how you actually 'get' that. I can't stand myself, so it's hard to see how anyone else would want to be anywhere near me. I have this huge sense of obligation to not mess anyone up, which to me means staying out the way of everyone 'just in case'.The older I get the less likely I know I'll achieve this pipe dream, but it's a nice fantasy. I would need to at least believe I was 'worthy', of being someone's partner, which is just laughable to me at the minute. If anyone did end up coming slightly close no doubt I'd snap at them anyway!
What draws you to seek out intimate/romantic relationships?
I’m curious what romance is? I think I know, but I’m not sure. I was listening about Nietzsche last night and the podcaster said that Nietzsche saw asceticism as romantic and that he rejected romanticism. (Even though he himself was sometimes classified as a romantic).

The reason asceticism was seen as romantic by him is because it rejected the world and was seen as a kind of savior from the world for the person practicing it. Buddhism and Christianity have this same aspect of world rejection and salvation through some aspect of the religion. (I am getting to my point.)

Nietzsche’s point is that if humans see themselves as beastly animals who are subject to all the same forces and wills as nature then they will not be suffering so much when shit happens because they will understand that it is typical. (Still getting to my point.)

So my takeaway 🤓 is that romance is a (false) expectation that an individual (or group of individuals for romantic polyamory) will remove the beastly aspect of the world for me and help me transcend nature into a spiritual realm of like a mini heaven/nirvana.

Platonic friendship would be something like finding an ideal friend without the sexual aspect. Sex without romance would be (for me) tapping onto the biological rewards of sex without romantic world-rejecting idealism.

For me? I am drawn to romance. When I was married I tried my very hardest to make our relationship fit into the world-rejecting transcendental realm. When that ended I rejected romance and love as manipulative bullshit. I wanted aromantic polyamory. But I couldn’t make that work for me or I wasn’t strong enough.

I want romance again but I more than anything want the platonic friend thing first. I haven’t figured out how to marry those two. I’m figuring out how to make friends and I’m figuring out how to go on first dates. That’s as far as I’ve gotten.

Why do I want romance? Because the world can be shitty. Nietzsche says just accept it and realize that despite its shittiness you are here doing all this wonderful stuff, in the middle of it. And I still feel pained by it. Maybe I need to work on that? Not sure. Maybe I would worry less if I accepted the shittiness and if I worried less that might open me up to more connections with people that I could be intimate with.

Notice I didn’t talk about intimacy at all? I’m not sure if romance and intimacy are connected? If they are I’m not sure how. I do enjoy pondering this stuff, so much appreciation for the thread.
What draws you to seek out intimate/romantic relationships? Have you always wanted to be in a relationship? Did the desire “turn on” at some point?
Though these questions are somewhat targeted, I’m interested in hearing anything you’re willing to share in this general topic area.

Initially? Hormones. Thrumming libido is a very difficult thing to ignore. Especially with no outlet.

Initially, ditto, expectations. The generally held idea by the kids/teens I was around that if one wanted passion, partnership, etc.? One also “had” to have romance, be dating, etc.

FORTUNATELY, however, I came of age in a very sexually open culture. Sport sex, f*ckbuddies, 3somes-4somes-Moresomes, were all just as common (if not more common) than people pairing off to date exclusively. Ditto, cross-sex friendships, platonic-partnerships, etc. were standard. So the whole “You have to BE in a relationship if you want ABC?” Pfft. Kicked to the curb, right quick.

So the relationships I DID choose to be in? Were amaaaaaazing. Because they had to be, to in any way, appeal more than what I already had. My standards were sky f*cking high, on every level, in very short order. Great lovers, badass friends, ✨ stellar ✨ relationships. In pretty much that order. Except for married/dating people I pretty much made friends by sleeping with them, first. If they were still interesting after that? We MIGHT become friends &/or f*ckbuddies. There had to be sooooooo much more to both the person themselves, and we together, than sex & friendship & the fact that we’d die/kill for each other… before I’d even entertain the notion of dating them.

Until my first abusive relationship, followed almost immediately by an abusive marriage. 😵 Grrrrrr. Brick wall, bang head.
Presently? Experience.

- Even in a bad relationship I am a waaaaaay better person, living a much better life, when I’m NOT single.
- Great relationships, however, are synergistic. 1+1=5
= I had hoped, in the beginning, that the only reason I sucked so badly at being single was for want of practice. I’d never done it, after all. Sadly? Nope. I just suck at it, and am a waaaaay better person when I’m with someone.

I’m someone who, from 17 to getting divorced at 31 was nearly never single-single (I didn’t sleep alone, by personal preference; So whether it was f*ckbuddies, flings, or serious relationships? I was nearly never “alone / single / on my own / whatever we want to call it” …for longer than a few hours to a few days.

After I got divorced I made a very difficult/serious decision to NOT get into any kind of relationship (no matter how casual) for 5+ years. For 2 reasons;

Firstly? To break the whole DV stats thing (jumping out of one abuseivd relationship right back into into another. The stats wiggle around some depending on several factors, but for my specific set of circumstances? Female, married, kids… The numbers read

- Less than 2 years single nearly all are right back in abusive relationsjips
- At 2 years roughly half go abusive and half healthy
- More than 5 years nearly all are in healthy relationships

I’ve only been in 2 abusive relationships, 1 right after the other, but that was 2 too many! No more! Finis! Basta! Nyet, nope, not gonna do it. Hard limit. I am not the kind of person who defies the odds. If there’s a statistic? Snort. I am the kind of person who is right smack dab in the middle of it. A 50/50 chance? Or snowflakes chance in hell? f*ck that noise.

Secondly, because single moms are Pedo-Prey. I’d already saddled my kid with a terrible father, there was no way on earth I was going to subject him to more assholes in his life.
Always wanted? Nope.

- Before a certain point in puberty I DGAF about it.
- Before trauma, when I had everything I wanted, but had yet to meet someone who rose to the next level.
- After trauma, when I was running wild, or running from the world (I went back of beyond / went bush a few times) I actively avoided them for giant (to me) swaths of time. IE a few weeks/months. Until I’d unf*cked my head/heart enough to come back to the world.
- During severe Illness, injury, & depression… DGAF to active avoidance.

I very desperately wanted to be in a relationship during the 5 years I was on hiatus. It was an incrediably difficult time for me, especially in the beginning when my standards were so looooooooow all I “required” in a partner was arms. Seriously. More than anything else in the whole world all I desired? Was to be held. OMFG. 😖 How stoooooopd is that?!? Have arms? Apply today! FFS. Fortunately, I’m pretty durn good at the whole selfcontrol thing, most of the time. So no matter how much I wanted to be in a relationship, I’d decided other things were more important than what I wanted, and I held the line. As time went by, and I could actually see how low my standards had sunk to? I had proof positive to help back that up.
One of the smartest things I ever heard was from a marriage counselor who said "every 5 to 7 years you are going to hate each other, so plan for that now, while you still like each other."

I know SO MANY people who got married in their 20s and divorced after 7 years. They are on their 2nd marriages now and I’m still single.