If the world were black and white – two people would fall in love, get married, have children, and live happily ever after. And interestingly, this notion is the opposite of aromanticism (known as ‘amatonormativity’: the belief that a monogamous relationship is the key to happiness).
But the world isn’t black and white.
In fact, the colorful swirls of individuals on this planet make for a culturally diverse and beautiful place. And as we continue to grow and learn, we understand that there are many different kinds of humans that inhabit the earth.
So today, we’re going to take a closer look the term, aromantic.
What does it mean to be aromantic?
An aromantic relationship is also commonly known as ‘queerplatonic’, which is a partnership more intimate than friendship but not romantic in nature. Aromantic people simply do not develop romantic feelings for others.
This, in no way, means that an aromantic individual cannot form strong bonds or have emotional capabilities however. In fact, aromantic people can be in successful relationships and friendships while holding feelings of love, empathy, and connection.
They too have the ability to feel joy and excitement for others who are in romantic relationships. The difference is that aromantic individuals merely don’t experience nor require romantic attachments for themselves.
Aromantic individuals can however feel sexual attractions, and it’s important to note that being aromantic and asexual are two different things.
What does it mean to be asexual?
Can an aromantic person be asexual?
Yes. A person who is aromantic can also be asexual. In actuality, a high number of people who identify as aromantic also identify as asexual.
Adversely, one could identify as only aromantic or only asexual.
With that, and according to the Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN), there are four different groups when it comes to aromantic and asexual individuals.
- Romantic Sexuals – Those who experience romantic and sexual attraction to one or more orientations.
- Romantic Asexuals – Those who experiences romantic feelings yet hold no desire for sexual connection.
- Aromantic Sexual – Those who do not experience romantic feelings but do feel the desire for sexual connection.
- Aromantic Asexual – Those who do not experience romantic feelings nor sexual attraction to others.
What is it like dating an aromantic person?
For hopeless romantics, the feeling of butterflies and excitement while engaging in couple-like behavior, such as holding hands, is what drives their relationships. They can easily spend every moment with their partner and feel a sense of longing when they’re away from them.
Those who are aromantic however, don’t experience those feelings. These individuals don’t yearn for a partner day and night and are happy to spend only a portion of their time with a partner, if they choose to have one.
Oftentimes, aromantic individuals are satisfied with friendship, and are happy and content with the love and connection they receive from their family, friends, and pets.
Aromanticism is a spectrum
There are many different forms of aromanticism, namely:
- Demiromantic: Romantic feelings may develop after forming an emotional bond with another.
- Lithromantic: Experiencing romantic feelings for another without needing those feelings reciprocated, or losing interest when romantic feelings are reciprocated.
- Gray-aromatic: Developing romantic feelings at all is highly unlikely.
- Quoiromantic: The inability to differentiate between romantic and platonic relationships.
- Cupioromantic: An aromantic who still seeks romantic relationships.
Common misconceptions of aromantic individuals
Aromantic people lack empathy: Untrue. Aromantic people feel deeply and are kind and loving. They have healthy relationships with family members and friends, and while they do not crave romantic relationships for themselves, they have the ability to empathize and feel joy with those who do.
Aromantic people just haven’t met ‘the one’: Untrue. Those who are aromantic do not choose to be this way after a bad breakup, having many failed dating experiences, or feeling the inability to commit.
Having said that, when we have an appreciation for individuality, that what makes us all unique, two beautiful concepts are bound to follow – understanding and compassion.
There is no wrong way to be, so embrace the different colors of the world, and what makes you – you! You’ll be a lot happier for it.