Asexual but not Aromantic: Unpacking the Marriage Pact 💒👬💓


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Who got super stressed reading that just now?

There are about ten things in the world that make the small, light brown hairs stand up on the back of my neck. One of them is mere mention of the word marriage. Not because I don’t want it, but because I want it, and genuinely believe it won’t happen.

Finding an emotionally available person, who you could be sexually compatible with, to even go on a date with seems to require: careful vetting, countless hours of Tinder swiping, and a detailed map discovered in an ancient Egyptian tomb.

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While in search of the aforementioned tomb, I stumbled upon the concept to flip modern coupling on its head: “cuff” your friends outsource the sex.

At first, my heteronormativity conditioned brained couldn’t wrap around the concept. I had to see it in action. Enter the roommates.

Two of my five roommates (tragic I know) are best friends who identify together as an “asexual but not aromantic” relationship. They are both heterosexual women who do not have a sexual desire for each other or other women but maintain the emotionally supportive element present in a “traditional” relationship.

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Here’s the equation: (Two best friends + emotional support - sexual chemistry) + outside sexual satisfaction for both partners = A Healthy Relationship?

In other words, two friends who love each other in almost every way but outsource the sex.

I was astounded.

I asked them how it worked and they simply responded “we love each other, we just outsource the sex. It just works.”

Up close, you have 10,000 follow up questions. How could this work? Can we not have it all anymore? What happened to normal? What is normal anymore anyways? However, I invite you to take a step back and look at some pillars of modern societal values as we know it, like “Sex and The City.”

Charlotte York, the show’s resident Park Avenue, once posed the concept: "Maybe we can be each other's soul mates. And then we can let men be just these great, nice guys to have fun with."

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I’m not sure how that landed with you, but hearing that for the first time landed like an Acme Anvil on my head.

It’s profound. Think about it. We live with our friends, we laugh with our friends, and we love our friends. Friends can get you through the hardest times in your life and are often at the epicenter of some of your best.

Replace the word friend with “boyfriend” or “girlfriend,” or simply “partner” and that is the basis of a strong coupling.

Who said “having it all” meant having it all in one place?

Intimacy and sexual expression are integral parts of any relationship, but can often be the things that make a relationship messy.

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Some people are compatible sexually and emotional while some are just compatible in one way and others might be compatible in neither. While we have been socialized to believe that everyone can and will find “the one” who is our perfect lover, perfect friend, perfect confidant, etc., what if we find our perfect few?

Do we expect our “perfect one” to be too many?

In business, a manager will delegate responsibility to employees to make sure the whole objective is accomplished. We don’t expect a manager of a restaurant to also be the head chef, host, waiter, and busboy.

Is it fair to expect a partner to be the arm candy, lover, therapist, shoulder-to-lean on, and provider?

One person, no matter how determined, cannot be everything to one person. If you are everything to someone elsewhere, where does that leave you? Enter the discourse and steady slope to an uncoupling.

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Everyone jokes about having marriage pacts, a promise to wed your friend if neither are married by a certain time. You joke, you write the contract on a cocktail napkin, and even make a Pinterest board, all the while saying that it will never happen and your prince or princess is waiting for you somewhere.

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If you unpack the pact, you see that at the end of the day, it’s two friends seeking security from one another. It’s as if that marriage pact, knowing that no matter what happens, gives you the courage to seek out love somewhere else. What if instead of using the pact to leave the pack, you go into what’s behind your motives for making it in the first place?

If your friend can provide you with that level of security, shouldn’t they be the one you come home to? Wouldn’t life be so much easier if the person you come back to is your best friend and only your best friend; not your lover, not your therapist, just your friend.

Could the separation of sex and state be the answer to the often fruitless quest for “The One?” Can keeping our life partners and sex partners on separate ends of the scale provide balance to your life? Is it possible that a marriage pact between friends can save you from packing your bags and leaving?

Asexual but not Aromantic: absence of sex together with the presence of love for each other.

Credit: Giphy


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