I discovered this morning that undisclosed third parties have been pestering my mother about why neither I nor my sister are dating. At the respective ages of 23 and 19, so the logic goes, we MUST surely desire romantic relationships (and by extension, sex). And since these people are seeing no evidence that we’ve pursued such relationships, they feel inclined–even duty bound–to find out what’s wrong.
There are a number of things wrong in this situation, and none of them have to do with my own and my sister’s choices not to date at this time. First, there’s the presumption that everyone should or would know about our relationship statuses, which strikes me as a bit invasive, not to mention heteronormative. (I believe that some of these questions are from extended family members whose only information comes from our answers to the “met any nice boys lately?” question, which doesn’t necessarily rule out us dating non-boys.) But more to the point, it’s incredibly amatonormative. What exactly is wrong with a nonamorous lifestyle? Why should anyone be that concerned about whether or not I date? Yet the mere thought that I might simply choose not to date anyone throws people into a tizzy.
My mother assures us that she tells people “It’s not that they’re not interested, they’re just too busy with their education.” She’s trying to be kind with that. I suspect she’s also protecting herself from the too-bizarre possibility that maybe we just don’t want to. I’ve said that I’m not that interested, but I still don’t think she gets it–she thinks I just don’t want the difficulty and the drama. Which, I suppose, is true, and a perfectly valid reason for nonamory. But it’s conversations like these that remind me that one of these days I’ll have to have a second coming-out if I don’t want to be hounded to death about my lack of relationship prospects. My parents know I’m bi. My mother still expects me to date men. They don’t know that I’m on the aro and ace spectra, or even what those things are. And that conversation will be hard enough without distant relatives and family friends concern-trolling my parents about my life choices.
Have you had trouble with people’s reactions to your relationship status and history? How do you prefer to deal with them? Tell me about it in the comments!