As an aromantic person, defined as a person who experiences no romantic attraction, exploring the world of relationships can be confusing. Many people and cultures put a heavy emphasis on romantic partnering. However, healthy relationships don't necessarily require romance.
If you think you may be aromantic, there are multiple ways you can find and sustain satisfying relationships.
Understanding An Aromantic Person
A person who is aromantic does not experience romantic attraction to other individuals. Whereas many people experience an emotional need to be in a romantic relationship, aromantics are emotionally satisfied without this kind of partnership. It's certainly possible for an aromantic person to enjoy activities that are commonly considered romantic. However, these actions are unlikely to prompt romantic feelings in them.
Note that romantic attraction is different from sexual attraction; we’ll talk about aromantic bisexual, aromantic heterosexual, aromantic asexual, and the aromantic spectrum later.
Aromantic people may feel overwhelmed by the pressure to express themselves romantically. They might describe their partners as clingy or needy, and self-identify as someone who is independent, a loner, or may even self-identify as aromantic. Aromanticism is a spectrum; some people feel only occasional romantic attraction while others feel none at all. Being aromantic is not a mental disorder or a “treatable” condition. It is simply another way of being human.
Even though they don't seek out romantic partnerships, aromantic people can still experience love. Love and affection can appear in many different forms and in different types of relationships. All people, regardless of romantic attachment styles, have multiple types of relationships in their lives, including family, friends, colleagues, and sexual partners.
What Aromantic Is Not
Being aromantic does not mean that a person is unfeeling or incapable of love. It also does not necessarily mean they are asocial or antisocial. Some aromantics are antisocial, just like some people who desire romantic relationships are antisocial.
Being aromantic does not mean that a person doesn't want to be around other people or has no social needs, nor does it mean that they're uncomfortable around others. These different social experiences are separate from the identity of being an aromantic person.
Various Styles Of Romantic Experience And The Aromantic Spectrum
It is possible for a person who identifies as aromantic to experience some romantic attraction at some point in their life, just like a person who primarily identifies as homosexual can experience attraction to someone of the opposite sex without changing their overall sexual orientation. Because this basically means that any kind of romance can be paired with any kind of sexuality, we’ll stick to the most common combinations.
Here, we’ll be talking about people who are aromantic but still experience sexual attraction – a concept that may seem off-putting to some readers. While many aromantics are also asexual, this is not always the case. Many of us tend to think of sexual attraction as a strictly romantic endeavor, but that’s not always the case, either. And that’s okay, as long as both partners understand and consent to their relationship.
Here are some orientations associated with aromanticism.
- If you only desire romantic relationships with people of the opposite gender, regardless of which gender(s) you are sexually attracted to, you are probably heteroromantic.
- Similar to being heteroromantic, if you are homoromantic, you can be sexually attracted to multiple genders. Your romantic desire, however, is aimed at people of the same gender as yourself.
- Biromantic people can feel a romantic attachment to people of either sex or both sexes.
- Bisexual aromantic people may not be interested in romantic relationships but can experience sexual attraction to people of either gender.
- A demiromantic is someone who only feels romantic attraction after they have formed a close emotional bond with someone else. This is different from someone with a romantic orientation because the romantic may experience attraction before creating a close bond. Romantic attraction without emotional closeness is basically what it means to have a "crush."
- Aromantic asexual people are interested in neither romance nor sex. Again, that doesn’t mean that they live their lives under rocks. Aromantic asexual people can – and do – form strong and lasting “platonic relationships.”
Aromantic Is Not One Size Fits All
What distinguishes romantic versus non-romantic feelings and behaviors can vary between individuals and cultures. The degree of physical intimacy, for instance, is often different in friendships and romantic relationships. Romantic partners are more likely to hold hands and cuddle.
Aromantics may not care for physical affection, or they may enjoy hugging their friends or holding someone's hand. Regardless of whether they intend to form a romantic bond with someone, most humans are wired to seek physical connection with others in some form. The amount of physical affection a person enjoys varies between individuals of all romantic orientations.
Be careful not to assume that an aromantic person does not require emotional support or community. They may simply fulfill those needs differently from people who acquire much of their support from a romantic partner. Aromantics are more likely to seek emotional attachments and support from friends rather than partners, and they may even develop especially close relationships with specific friends.
How Being Aromantic Affects Friendships And Other Relationships
Aromantic people can and do form bonds of attachment with others in ways that are not romantic, such as platonic or familial relationships. An aromantic person may also desire to live with another person or to have a long-term living arrangement with a close friend. Not all aromantics want to be alone or live alone, though some do.
Some, however, explicitly want relationships or friendships that involve living together. They just don't feel romantic attraction toward their roommate. Although they may not feel romantic attraction toward this person, they are still likely to be selective about the people in their lives, particularly a roommate.
Some aromantics prefer to have a primary partner. This may be the person they lean on most for emotional support, and it may be the person with whom they live. They may or may not have sex with this partner, even though romantic affection is likely absent from this relationship.
How To Know If You Are Aromantic
If any of this information strikes a chord with you, you may be wondering if you're aromatic.
One place to start is with a test called the Kinsey Test. These tests give you prompts and a range of responses to try to ascertain your sexual orientation. It’s not just for the asexual or aromantic person – it runs (just about) the whole gamut.
To learn more about being aromatic you may also want to join online communities for aromantic people. Tumblr and other social media sites have many aromantic blogs, forums, and accounts to follow, which are great places for discussing aromanticism with others.
Online Help For Navigating Aromantic Feelings
If you want help exploring your feelings about being aromatic, you can reach out to a professional counselor. They can offer an unbiased, non-judgmental space for you to express yourself and think about your identity.
Being aromantic is completely natural, but it may affect the way you think about intimacy, communication, and identity. A professional counselor is equipped to help you navigate this exploration. Many people may feel more comfortable speaking with an online therapist compared to a face-to-face therapist. Online therapy platforms like BetterHelp make it easier to attend therapy at times convenient for your schedule; additionally, you can attend a session from the comfort of your own home. If you and your partner are experiencing relationship challenges, you both can attend an online therapy session from different locations.
Many people have found support in online counseling for couples therapy. In a recent study, 30 couples ranging in age from 21 to 69 years old were randomly sorted into face-to-face or online conferencing groups for couples therapy. Over six sessions, each couple took part in an intervention delivered either face-to-face or online. The results of this study show improvements in relationship satisfaction, mental health, and other positive outcomes at three months follow-up for both face-to-face and online cohorts.
Curious to learn more? You may read below for reviews of BetterHelp counselors from people who have sought support for navigating their relationships.
"In one session Douglas has helped me realize and find a way to break a pattern that I've been having for the last few weeks and probably lifelong. This is going to help me improve my relationships and my life will be more fulfilling. I'm glad I got to talk to Douglas, I can sense he is a great professional."
"Rosemary respectfully listens to me. In between my long explanations, she always finds a way to navigate me to what really matters. She is able to distinguish what is really the point of focus and we work on that. I have realized a lot of things about myself and my challenges already. I would recommend Rosemary to anyone."
Remember that being aromantic is not a mental health problem of any kind. It is not something you need to "fix," even if dominant cultural messages tell you that romantic relationships are the norm or the ultimate goal. You are free to set your own goals and to live in a way that makes you happy. Take the first step by reaching out to a licensed online counselor at BetterHelp.
What are signs of being aromantic?
Some signs of being aromantic include, an overall disinterest in romantic relationships, no sense fulfillment from being in or imagining yourself in a romantic relationship, and a lack of connection between sexual desire and romantic feelings.
Is it possible to be aromantic but not asexual?
Yes. While asexuality and aromanticism have some similar traits, someone who is aromantic will likely feel sexual attraction, with little to no romantic desire involved. Asexuality is generally characterized by a disinterest in sexual relationships, though romantic attraction to others may still occur.
Am I asexual or aromantic?
Romantic and sexual attraction both exist on a wide spectrum. The terms aromantic and asexual are considered sexual identities that encompass a variety of characteristics. While your romantic and sexual orientation are based entirely on your own feelings, it can be helpful to know about aromantic and asexual characteristics to better explore your personal identity and preference.
Can aromantics still fall in love?
Yes. While romantic situations or romantic partnerships may not be considered an active interest or priority, individuals in the aromantic community can still feel romantic feelings or experience romantic love.
Do aromantic people get turned on?
Yes. Someone who identifies as aromantic will likely experience sexual attraction or desire, though they may not necessarily associate arousal and intercourse with being romantically attracted, or forming an emotional bond with an individual.
Why do I have no desire to date?
There are a wide variety of reasons you may not have an interest in dating. While an overall lack of desire to date is a common sign of being aromantic or asexual, it may come as the result of prioritizing personal goals, growth, or healing after a difficult relationship.
Am I aromantic or cupioromantic?
Determining whether you are aromantic or cupioromantic involves developing an understanding of your personal romantic inclinations. Where aromantic individuals experience little to no romantic attraction, cupioromantics desire romantic relationships despite not feeling the attraction themselves.
Can aromantic people want to kiss?
Yes. Aromantic people may enjoy physical affection or closeness for a variety of reasons, such as emotional intimacy, physical intimacy, or comfort.
Do aromantics develop crushes?
While connections with others tend to be more platonic in nature, aromantics may form close bonds with people that are distinctly different from romantic attractions. Though aromantics typically don't experience traditional crushes or intense infatuation, they may seek non-traditional partnerships such as queerplatonic relationships.
How do you date an aromantic?
Dating an aromantic individual involves open communication and a mutual understanding of their emotional landscape. Establishing clear boundaries and discussing expectations openly is generally crucial for developing or maintaining a fulfilling relationship with an aromantic individual.
- Previous Article
- Next Article