This is a summary of some of the topics discussed in the “Planning for the Future as an Aromantic” session at the 2017 SF Asexuality Unconference.
One of the first topics was the decision of whether or not to live alone, and how to live with others, if that’s what’s wanted. The traditional progression of a romantic relationship often involves moving in with a romantic partner, but aromantic people don’t follow that script.
Many of the people did not want did not want to live with others. They’d done the roommate thing in the past and didn’t like it, preferring to be on their own. Others wanted roommates or living with friends. Economic considerations also came into play, with some people unable to afford to live alone, despite their preferences.
There was a question about whether or not it would be worth disclosing your aroness/aceness to prospective roommates. Some might prefer that you “won’t be bringing people home all the time”, or it might be a way to weed out incompatible roommates.
Some people talked about becoming the Single Aunt or Uncle, and what that would mean. Primarily, that would be the expectation that because you’re not “tied down” by a partner or children, that you’re able to drop everything to take care of your parents as they age. There was also a comment about becoming an ATM for nieces and nephews. On the flipside, the Single Aunt or Uncle did provide a template for living alone for some of us, and some people like the idea of being the cool single uncle or aunt.
Things like emergency contacts, insurance beneficiaries, and medical decision makers came up. For many people, that would be their current long-term partner. But who is it for a permanently single aro? Many in the session mentioned listing their parents, but were aware that was not a permanent long term solution. There was talk about health care directives and living wills and other things like that, but there was a concern about how to let people know that you have such a thing. Do you awkwardly blast out a Google Docs link to everyone you know? Do you keep it in a lockbox in your closet where it will be discovered long after your wishes have already been ignored? It was also brought up that it might not even matter, as things like living wills and healthcare directives are often ignored, even when they’re known. The concept of a “Designated Person” was mentioned. A Designated Person would be a person who can make decisions on your behalf and who will act according to your interest.
Parenting was discussed. Some of the aros in the group expressed an interest in potentially becoming parents, but acknowledged difficulties. Adopting can be challenging when single. There were concerns about raising a child alone. Coparenting arrangements were brought up, but finding a suitable coparent can be difficult.
Dying alone was a concern. Whether that’s actually dying alone and wondering how long it’ll be before someone notices, or just going through the aging process. One person mentioned that they’re planning to choose a good retirement home while they’re still healthy, so they’ll be where they want to be, instead of ending up where they’re sent when they no longer have a choice.
Becoming a partner in a poly group was suggested. It could be more stable than random roommates, and can fill many of the holes mentioned above. However, it’s not for everyone.
Intentional ace/aro housing communities were talked about. There can be a house or an apartment building or something where we can live alone, together.
And on a final note, and less serious than some of the topics above, what’s the deal with a +1 at a work party? In theory, it’s just a “+1”, so why is it so discouraged to bring a friend or a relative? Why are +1s exclusively expected to be romantic partners?
Ahhh I cannot tell you how much joy I just got about the idea of intentional aro/ace housing communities! This is exactly what I want for myself!
There wasn’t a lot of talk about *how* to make that happen, though. It’s probably worth deeper exploration. In particular, I would be worried about it running afoul of housing discrimination laws, as ironic as that sounds.
I know there’s a co-housing program for LGBT+ elders in Spain (the Vivir Contigo program of the 26 de Diciembre Foundation, as seen in https://youtu.be/rG20Us5inck) and similar ones in other countries, because of how common it is for older queer folks to live isolated and/or in poverty.
SAGE seems to be working on something like that (http://www.sageusa.org/lgbthousing/ ), so an idea would be to talk with them about aro/ace inclusion.
Ah, I was trying to explain to my mother what the prefix in both words asexual & aromantic mean. The prefix (a) means without. (a)sexual: without desire for sex. (a)romantic: without desire for romance.
She just basically said that it was too complicated to understand & it was in one ear and out the other. She asked me why I’d want her to know.
“who doesn’t?” sometimes I think because something is interesting to me, that it will be to her too. “it’s fascinating!”
But her expression told me that she didn’t want to know and didn’t want to try to remember anyway. I was bummed.
I was sleeping over at her house and after I crawled into bed, I heard her in her bedroom talking about going to bed without any pjs. Why would she want me to know that?
I just made a joke about it, “you’re (a)pjs.”
“what?” she asked, not getting my inside joke.
I was about to explain that she was without pjs. But before I said anything, I heard her laughing. She did get it!
I wish we had more times like this where we understand each other & laugh about it.
But in my senior years, if I’m unable to take care of myself, I wouldn’t mind living in a care center. Everyone else in my family says they’d never want to go into a place like that, but I really don’t mind.