Aromatics or Aromantic individuals are people that might find forging romantic and emotional bonds very challenging. It’s a romantic orientation as normal as the conventional one. Usually, aromantic folks prefer to forge a relationship where there are no romantic expectations involved. In some cases, they’re more inclined towards the sexual and friendly aspect of a partnership rather than the romantic one. Aromantics also identify as Aro or Aroace. It’s a concept that’s been around for centuries but quite recently earned a label.
Before we proceed with the discourse, there’s one thing that needs to be said. Coming out as an aromantic is a very personal decision. There’s no pressure on you to make the people around you more aware of your romantic orientation. Take your time to process what you’ve realized. It’s an anxiety-inducing experience. So, keep it a secret until you fail totally safe to disclose it.
Asexuality Vs Aromanticism: What’s The Difference?
Yes, you heard it right, there’s a difference between being asexual and aromantic. The concepts for both seem quite similar. As a result, people tend to conclude that they’re both the same thing. Even though some aromantic people are also asexual, it doesn’t promise that every aromantic person is the same in this regard. As discussed earlier people who identify as aromantic tend to show zero interest in romance. Thus it’s all about sexual attraction in some cases. Additionally, sex becomes a physical phenomenon for them rather than an emotional one. On the contrary, asexual folks do show a keen interest in romance but sex isn’t something they find attractive.
To understand the major difference between both, you’ve got to first differentiate between romance and sex. That’s the core concept that can create a line between both concepts for you. Aromantic folks can have sexual contact with someone else, no strings attached or with the lack of any romantic feelings towards them. Meanwhile, people that sexually identify as asexual can get romantically involved with someone else but don’t show any need for sexual passion. Concluding the discourse, a person who identifies as both asexual and aromantic would experience neither sexual desire nor romantic passion for another person.
Are You Aromantic?: 7 Ways To Take A Hint
Of course, it’s hard to figure out sexuality for most people. Some people even view it as a fluid concept that’s not meant to be labeled, which makes the whole process even more complicated. There’s no steadfast way to figure out whether you’re aromantic or not. Yet, you can always take a look at past experiences and current preferences to put things together. Here are some things that can be noted to make an assumption about yourself;
- If you’re aromantic you’ve probably never been that impacted by romance in general. This includes reaction to the mass media you’ve consumed through your whole life and the romantic elements being projected right next to you by others. A good Nicholas Sparks film can force anyone to reach for the tissues. Whether it’s the critically ill heroine and dedicated hero’s love in A walk to remember or Allie & Noah’s unfathomable romantic passion in The Notebook. Ask yourself, did you ever find the romance element interesting while watching all of these romance classics? Was the element of non-platonic affection ever attractive to you? If the answer’s no you can deduce that you’re probably aromantic.
- Even while you were in a relationship, you felt like you were forcing yourself to be romantic. For sure, your lack of interest in a partner can also be a reason behind this. Yet, Aromantics fail to make romantic gestures willingly. Some even report that being in a romantic relationship used to feel very suffocating and forced. You might’ve looked at romantic gestures as an obligation rather than something you sincerely wanted to do to please yourself.
- Your whole life you established the definition of romance according to other people’s accounts. You went along with their definition because you were never actually able to discover it through your own experiences in romantic relationships.
- The argument isn’t just limited to film and mass media, you can take a look at yourself as a budding teenager who was once surrounded by other teenagers gushing over boyfriends/girlfriends. If you really are aromantic, you probably weren’t in a rush to go out on conventionally cute romantic dates or doing all the romantic things most couples like to do in that stage of their lives.
- Individuals that identify as aromantic usually don’t have crushes on anyone. Having a crush is a common thing for most folks that aren’t aromantic, but it’s absolutely not a common occurrence for those with zero interest in romance. So, even though you appreciate the physical attributes or personality of another person, you probably don’t find yourself pining for them.
- The lack of relatability could be the biggest hint. When all your gal pals reunite and discuss details regarding their romantic life, you probably find yourself hanging on by a thread. As an aromantic, you’ll probably find this discussion regarding their love lives unreasonable and nonsensical. Don’t worry, it does not mean that you don’t think their experiences have any value. It just means that their experiences don’t coincide with the way you view your life. You’ll probably always have a hunch that you don’t need another man/woman and romance to complete you. You’ve always been complete.
- Sometimes people tend to establish a romantic inclination towards the people they sleep with. Yet, you’ve not been able to create an emotional bond with the person you’ve frequently had sex with. Thus, you might’ve preferred the “friends with benefits” setting. It involves sex with zero emotional advances which are exactly what you desire from another person.
Things You Should Know About The Aromantic Spectrum
Like any other aromantic person, you might find it harder to label yourself. Sometimes there are a few things that seem more common to you as compared to another member of the community. That’s the thing, sexual and romantic orientations are extremely personal. Thus they vary from person to person. If you’re sure about your status as an aromantic but some things vary in your case you might be on the aromantic spectrum. You can identify as one or more than one label stated down below. Your identity is valid so don’t let anyone school you into submission. You can label yourself as the following labels in the aromantic spectrum;
- Cupioromantic: An aromantic person who can feel romantic attraction in a few cases but usually desire a romantic relationship even when he/she isn’t romantically attracted.
- Gray-aromantic: A person who can experience romantic attraction sometimes but only under specific circumstances.
- Quoiromantic: An aromantic person that lacks the ability to differentiate between romantic or platonic attraction and advances.
- Aceflux: A person whose romantic and aromantic tendencies alter over time.
- Lithromantic: A person who only experiences romantic attraction when the other person isn’t romantically attracted towards them. A Lithromantic person would probably lose romantic attraction towards a person once they return their romantic affection.
- Demiromantic: A person who requires an emotional bond to forge romantic attraction.
- Reciprosexual/Recipromantic: A person who’s only romantically attracted to a person that shows romantic attraction towards them first.
Some Common Myths Regarding Aromantics
- They are scared of commitment or forging lifelong partnerships like marriage
- They’re cold and robotic when it comes to mutual interactions
- Ace folks are just confused
- All Aromantics despise signs of physical intimacy; holding hands, hugging, etc.
- Aroace doesn’t love their parents, friends, pets, etc.
- They’re not empathetic so they are unable to show support
- All Aromantics change their romantic orientation later on and it’s just a temporary thing
How To Interact With An Aromantic Individual?
Let’s be real for a quick second. A person identifying as an aromantic is choosing an unconventional path to sexual identity in a wide scale of things. Thus people’s lack of awareness can make them an easy target for mocking and discouragement. Here’s how you can make sure that an aromantic friend, family member, or partner feels safe around you;
- Don’t make any assumptions regarding their sexuality. Just because you are able to experience romantic feelings for your partner doesn’t mean that an aromantic person lacks something that you have. There’s no element of “lacking” involved. Thus you shouldn’t be assuming that an aromantic person might be extremely cold with no regard for affection in general. Aromantic folks do experience affection and can show it towards other platonic relationships like friends and family. They can show empathy and provide support like everyone else. Additionally, aromantic folks have equal chances of enjoying a fulfilling married life with another partner. Thus avoid making rude assumptions at all costs.
- Avoid making any remarks that might show your lack of awareness. Some people tend to completely disregard this sexuality and make statements like “oh you’ll find the right person one day”. This shows blatant disregard for an aromantic person’s orientation. It’s a sign of visibly pushing your views over another person.
- Sleeping around without a lack of romantic connection does not mean that you can assassinate an aromantic person’s character. It’s an inclination that needs to be respected just much as yours does.
- If you have a family member or friends who has recently come out with information about their romantic orientation give them some time. Wait for them to talk to you until they’re completely ready to share things. It’s a personal matter that you shouldn’t be coercing them to discuss.
- If you are sexually involved with an aromantic partner do not coerce them into making romantic advances. They might’ve already shared their status as an aromantic person and you might not get your fair share of affection for them. Find someone who’s more inclined towards what you want instead of forcing an aromantic sexual partner to oblige with your views.
The societal pressure over non-conventional romantic and sexual orientations is very much obvious. Talk to a therapist if you’re finding things harder to process. Treating the matter at hand as a hush-hush topic can place an immense weight over the shoulders of an aromantic individual. If you’re aromantic, there’s absolutely no need to submit to what others desire from you. You’re right about the things you’ve concluded from your experiences and choices. We’re sharing some helpful resources that can further help you in identifying your identity and becoming aware of the vocabulary as an aromantic. Make sure you lean on the resources down below and shoot your questions towards other members of the community while exploring this new renaissance!
- AROMANTIC-SPECTRUM UNION FOR RECOGNITION, EDUCATION, AND ADVOCACY
- The Asexual & Aromantic Community and Education (AACE) Club