There are several forms of romantic orientations which have previously been described by myself, however, I would like to inform you of one that is personal to me, the “alterous” attraction. It is personal as it is my own orientation, though it may be difficult to describe I will do my best so that you understand what it is like to feel this way. If anyone of you wish to know more about any other orientation, you can always write to me, but it won’t be in the form of a first-hand experience like it will be with the alterous orientation.
Anyway, let’s dive into it. An alterous orientated person is someone who has an attraction best described as wanting emotional closeness without necessarily being (at all or entirely) platonic and or romantic. It is used in the place of romantic or platonic (so say “bi-alterous” instead of “bi-romantic”).
Someone can be both alterous and romantic or platonic, they may also experience varying degrees of attraction, and ultimately feel discomfort and unease in calling it wholly romantic or platonic. In my opinion there is also a great sense of inaccuracy in calling it so.
It’s part of the Aromantic Spectrum.
But what does alterous really mean? It basically means that any relationship is based heavily on the emotional value, but not in the same way platonic or romantic relationships are. Please note though that I am not saying that alterous relationships are better than any other other. No relationship is better. One type may be more important to you, but ultimately that doesn’t make it better than someone else’s relationship.
I’m only referring to how alterous relationships are based. For instance, you would base a romantic relationship on closeness, emotional closeness, romantic gestures and other elements. Those of us alterous orientated base our relationships mainly on emotional closeness, not because we choose so, but because that is how we are programmed. The most we feel is the emotional closeness. That is most important to us, and stuff like romantic gestures don’t have to be.
Actually, I have heard some alterous aces say that it could actually be taken as a seventh type of attraction (see my article on ‘Types of Attraction’ (I assume you will put a link here)), with which I could almost agree, were it not so similar to emotional attraction. Furthermore, we get enough criticism for all our terminology already. I don’t see a need to add it to the list to make it even more complicated.
So what is my experience with it and what is my alterous orientation? I consider myself poly-alterous, since there are multiple genders I can like. But the truth is, I am also considering the possibility of me being demi or grey. Grey because it happens to me on a fairly rare basis. In my twenty-four years of life I fell in love once. And demi because I do have to know that someone. Like it did my first time, when I felt a strong connection very early on in the relationship. And that connection only got stronger with time. Never before did I feel so at ease with someone and could talk so easily with them.
Honestly, it can be rather confusing. Just how many times have I asked myself what is it I really want? Am I perhaps aromantic? The thing is, it may fluctuate and go more to the aromantic side. That may be the reason why it is so damn confusing, not to mention that it is hard to identify my own feelings.
At any rate, I can fall in love, and I did once. In retrospect I see that the emotional closeness was the most important to me. As for the physical element, well, it doesn’t exactly help that I may actually be asensual. I am not particularly fond of people touching me, but all in all I get almost nothing out of it. But for a special someone I would do the sensual stuff and sometimes want it too. But only with a very special someone. Though, it’s not necessarily that important to me. The deep emotional bond and dependency is.
Now, it is not like a friendship. You don’t need such a strong bond in a friendship, not even between best friends. Nor do I get those feelings of friendship. The thing is, I am slightly limited in that department, as well as others. Even if I try to feel it, I don’t have any such bond. I can like people and stick with them, but I still don’t feel it. It’s just something I can’t do.
Now, other people can and do have these feelings, but it’s still not the same. Just to rule out the argument that it’s just with people like me.
So yes, the emotional bond is the most important to me. A deep bond. And I would like it to be kind of dependent, which I guess may sound strange from someone like me, but I feel that way. I was like that in the past relationship.
I hope this made sense. I also hope that this is / was enlightening for you, and that you can better understand what it means to be alterous.