Dating and romantic relationships are often perceived as desirable personal goals for every individual. However, not everyone needs a relationship, and it is normal. Some of those people are called aromantics. This article goes into detail about aromanticism and explores ways in which it affects relationships.
Who can be considered aromantic?
Aromantic people do not experience romantic attraction and interest in romantic relationships. Aromantics typically do not have feelings of passion or intense desire for another individual. While it is common for people to “fall” in love and “lose” their heads at the beginning of a romantic relationship, this usually does not happen to aromantics.
Aromanticism is also often referred to as “aro,” which is its abbreviated form. In addition, the letter “A” stands for aromanticism in the LGBTQIA+ acronym. Alloromanticism is the opposite of aromanticism. It refers to the strong desire for a romantic relationship.
While the exact data for aromantic people is not known just yet, some studies suggest that around 1% identify as asexual, and 25% of them are also aromantic.
Characteristics of Aromanticism
There are no strict characteristics of aromanticism, as everyone’s experience with aromantic feelings can be different. While some people may have no desire for a sexual and romantic relationship, others can experience these feelings but in a very subtle way. Likewise, there is no standardized definition of romance and aromanticism, as these concepts can be very individual for each person.
Some signs you may be aromantic include:
- You rarely experience feelings of romantic attraction
- You don’t feel a need for a romantic relationship to feel “complete.”
- You never had a “crush” on someone
- You can’t relate to romantic stories or don’t like watching romantic movies
Being aromantic does not mean that you can’t feel love. You still can experience intense feelings of closeness to family and friends. In addition, some research suggests that some aromantic people still need sex.
What Does Aromantic Feel Like?
Aside from the usual signs we’ve described above, being aromantic can also include the following:
- You don’t know what “butterflies” in the stomach feel like. So even if you think you like someone, you don’t usually experience nervousness around that person.
- You are a sincere and loyal friend. You typically feel “love” for your friends and family and can empathize with them. However, you can’t relate to feelings of romanticism.
- You feel sexual attraction but not romantic. You can enjoy sex and feel the need for it, but you don’t become emotionally attached to a particular person even if you’ve had sex.
- The concept of marriage seems weird to you. In this case, you do not feel the need to celebrate the event of marriage between the two people.
- You do not seek romantic relationships, and you feel “complete” on your own.
- “Friends with benefits” seems like a good option to you
- You enjoy being single. You find that people around you always push you to find a partner, and you don’t understand why this is necessary.
- You are not interested in another people’s love life.
- Valentine’s day hype seems weird to you.
- You have trouble telling the difference between romance and friendship.
Can You Be Aromantic and Want a Relationship?
This is a typical confusion among non-aromantics since they assume that all aromantic people are not interested in having a relationship. However, while some aromantics prefer to stay away from relationships, as we mentioned above, other aromantic people enjoy sex and can have relationships based on that.
Aromantics might not share the idea of a traditional relationship, but they still can be in one.
Are you Aromantic or Emotionally Unavailable?
If some of the things mentioned above resonated with you or noticed some of the signs in your behaviour, you might be aromantic. An emotionally unavailable person is not the same as an aromantic person. The former refers to a person who typically avoids contact and does not like to share their feelings.
Below are some signs of emotionally unavailable people:
- They do not like commitments. Whenever they plan a meeting with someone, they might feel excited for some time, but as the meeting approaches, they do not feel comfortable.
- They like to keep their options open. Emotionally unavailable people do not want to commit to one single relationship and settle down. They feel uncomfortable committing to a long-term relationship, so they continue going on dates.
- They worry about “losing” themselves in a relationship, as they like to do things their way and don’t want to change to fit someone else’s expectations.
- They are not too fast to trust someone. Emotionally unavailable people prefer to keep their emotions to themselves so no one can use them against them.
Aromanticism vs. Asexuality
How is aromanticism different from asexuality?
As you already know by this point, aromantic people can be asexual, too, but these are not synonyms. Asexuality commonly involves a lack of sexual attraction and interest. Some asexual people can still want romance but not sex. It can be vice versa for aromantic people – they can desire sex, but not romance.
Aromanticism is a part of the asexual spectrum identities. Other identities of the aromantic spectrum include:
- Gray-romantic or gray-sexual. These two terms refer to people in the middle between sexual and asexual & romantic and aromantic. They can experience certain sexual and romantic feelings but only in certain situations.
- Demisexual and demiromantic. These people can experience sexual or romantic feelings only after forming an emotional bond with that person.
- Lithromantic or akoiromantic. These individuals can feel romantic feelings towards others, but they don’t want to be loved back. If the sentiments of romanticism are returned, their emotions fade.
- Recipromantic or reciprosexual. These people can only experience romantic and sexual feelings towards other people if they know that they are mutual.
How Aromanticism Affects Relationships
We know that aromantic people can still be a part of an intimate relationship. Yet, these relationships can be different from what the majority considers a traditional relationship. Aromantic people can still marry and have children. However, their relationships may involve the display of affection and desire to have sex.
However, such relationships might be based on a more platonic sense of love rather than romantic feelings towards a partner.