What Is Aromantic And What Does It Mean For Relationships?

Medically reviewed by Andrea Brant, LMHC
Updated April 24, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

The term aromantic is defined as a person who experiences no romantic attraction. For aromantic individuals, exploring the world of romantic and sexual attraction can be confusing. Many people and cultures put a heavy emphasis on romantic partnerships. However, aromantic and asexual identities exist on the sexuality spectrum. For many individuals in the aromantic community, a healthy relationship is not one that requires or constitutes romance. 

If you think you may be aromantic, there are multiple ways you can find and sustain satisfying relationships.

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It is possible to love someone without being attracted to them?

Understanding an aromantic person

A person who is aromantic does not feel romantic feelings towards 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 gestures or activities that are commonly considered romantic acts or romantic situations in specific circumstances. However, these actions are unlikely to prompt romantic feelings in them.

Note that romantic and sexual orientation is different from romantic and sexual attraction; we’ll talk about sexual identities including 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 platonic 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 relationships.

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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 someone who experiences romantic attraction may be 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 relationships and the aromantic spectrum

As noted, like sexuality, romantic interest can be experienced on a spectrum. Because sexuality and romance are not the same thing, how they can be experienced together is part of 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 feel 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.”
It is possible to love someone without being attracted to them?

Aromanticism and romantic attraction

What distinguishes romantic love versus non-romantic love 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.

Counselor reviews

"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."


If you identify with some of the characteristics of aromanticism, you may wish to call yourself aromantic. Being an aromantic person is a label like any other, and you are not required to label yourself in any way. That said, sometimes a label makes it easier to explain your preferences to others. It can also help you find like-minded individuals.

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.

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