This is the first part of my new series of interviews about lesser-known labels for gender, sexual and romantic minorities. I've decided to interview myself, to provide an example of the format I'm planning to use for these interviews and to highlight why I identify as cupioromantic.
What do you identify as?
I identify as cisgender female, sex-repulsed nonlibinist asexual and aromantic/cupioromantic.
What does cupioromantic mean to you?
Cupioromantic means I feel a strong desire for a romantic relationship, despite not actually experiencing romantic attraction. In my case, it's a mix of wanting someone I can cuddle, not wanting to be alone once my parents die and my brother (probably) finds a partner, and wanting to be someone's first priority in life.
Does cupioromantic have any synonyms or overlapping terms? What umbrella terms include cupioromantic?
To my knowledge, there are no synonyms for cupioromantic, except possibly romance-favourable aromantic. Personally, I feel that cupioromantic is a type of aromantic identity.
Why do you identify as cupioromantic rather than as a synonym or umbrella term?
Aromantic people are pretty varied in their willingness to have a romantic relationship, just as asexuals vary in their willingness to have sex. I know aromantic people who are strongly romance-repulsed and wouldn't be able to handle a romantic relationship even if they tried to make it work (as some have). There are also aromantic people who would be OK with a romance, but aren't really bothered by not having one.
Even though I don't feel romantic attraction, my desire for a romance is very real and significant to me. In addition, I like having a term that describes my overall attitude towards romance rather than only one particular aspect of it. This is the same reason I describe myself as sex-repulsed and nonlibinist, to locate myself precisely among the wide variations in how asexuals feel about sex.
I don't describe myself as romance-favourable aromantic for two reasons. First, it's more of a mouthful, and second, I don't feel it properly captures the fact that I long for a romantic relationship rather than just feeling like I'd probably enjoy one.
Are you out as cupioromantic? How did you come out, and what response have you gotten?
Only to my family and online. Most people I know don't separate romantic and sexual orientations, so I just call myself asexual.
My parents and I are extremely close, and they've basically known what's going on through every step of my questioning, for both asexuality and cupioromanticism. They're very supportive, although they had some trouble understanding the difference between romance without sex and friendship. (Then again, so did I.) I'm not sure they entirely get what I want from a relationship. My brother gets it more, because he watches a lot of anime and I told him I basically want a nakama.
What would your ideal relationship look like?
It would look like being #1 in someone's eyes, and having them live with me and cuddle me and spend a lot of time with me. If I had to move, it would look like them visiting as often as they can while making plans so we can live together again. This person would be an equal partner in raising my child or children and would be considered their parent. We would not kiss or have sex, though, and probably wouldn't sleep together, though I might want to sleep in the same room with them. I could see this person being male, female, or nonbinary, though I'd prefer a female. We might marry, because of the legal benefits and because I like the idea of us publicly declaring our commitment to each other. But it wouldn't be a typical marriage.
Have you ever had sexual, romantic or queerplatonic relationships, and how did being cupioromantic affect them?
I haven't, no. The closest I've come is having creepy pushy guys come on to me, and me running away as fast as I can. I feel that being sex-repulsed asexual has impacted those interactions more than being cupioromantic, because they were pretty clearly interested in me sexually and didn't believe that I could be asexual when I told them.
As for QPRs, the closest I've had would probably be the strong bond between me and my brother. We're extremely close and he's definitely my best friend and has been for most of my life, even though he's 8 years younger than me. If he doesn't decide to marry anyone, I could see us living together and co-parenting. Obviously I'd never marry him, but I'd be willing to do everything else I described in my 'ideal relationship' above with my brother.
Do you experience any romantic attraction? What does romantic attraction mean to you?
I define romantic attraction as limerence
, and no, I don't experience it personally.
I do experience something that may or may not be some form of platonic attraction. Basically, when I'm with someone I care about, I'll suddenly feel intensely drawn to them and overwhelmed by how wonderful they are and how amazing it is that something so wonderful could actually exist. I have physical reaction to this feeling, too - it makes me feel shaky and weak in the knees, and sometimes my chest will ache. I feel like there's a line connecting my heart to theirs. When I feel this way, I want to hug and squeeze them and never let go. This feeling comes over me abruptly, and fades in around 5 seconds or so, though I might feel it again later.
The first time I remember feeling this way was towards my brother, when he was 2 and I was 10. I've also felt this way towards my cats, children I've played with or volunteered with, and my closest friends. Usually we've already formed a bit of a bond first and I feel like I know who they are as an individual.
What do you think about The Thinking Asexual's claim that cupioromantic individuals are aromantic people suffering from internalized amatonormativity?
That doesn't apply at all to me. In fact, I've long assumed that being asexual means I'll never have a partner, and I'm pretty sure I can live with that if I don't meet the right person. I really don't think my desire for romance is created by some desire to be 'normal', and in fact a big part of me would prefer if I had no desire for any kind of romantic relationship, because I'd feel less lonely.
As for the idea of having a queerplatonic partner or very close friend instead, sure. My ideal relationship can be called pretty much anything - if it meets the criteria I described above, I'll be happy. To me, I think if you want a QPR and you're not romance repulsed, you'll probably enjoy a romantic relationship just as much. I don't see how it's so crucial to separate those out as separate things, unless you're romance-repulsed.
I also don't get what's wrong with the idea of being an aromantic person who'd like a relationship with someone who's romantically attracted to them. As long as the other person understands that my feelings are different but no less real, and feels that I can meet their emotional needs regardless, and is willing to respect my boundaries, I don't see a problem with an allo/aro mixed relationship. I don't think mixed relationships are inherently exploitative or problematic, although they certainly can be if the lines of communication aren't kept open.
I'd also like to note that saying I'm cupioromantic in no way implies that I think I'm any better than other aromantic people. I don't think my worth as a person is in any way affected by my attitude towards romance.
Would you be open to questions about cupioromanticism?
I would. You can post any questions as comments on this blog, or else message me on one of the forums I'm active on. (I'm Ettina on almost every forum I have an account on.) Be aware that I might take a long time to answer, depending on when I see your message and whatever else is going on in my life.
If you're interested in learning more about cupioromantic identity, you can also check out Cupiosexual-Cupioromantic on Tumblr.