Am I aromantic?
Just as with asexuality, it can be difficult to know if you are aromantic or not because, if you are aromantic, it requires you to pin down a feeling that you don't personally experience. But even on top of that, for most people it's much harder to pin down whether they are aromantic compared to whether they are asexual. This is because romanticism is a significantly more nebulous concept than sexual attraction. However – again, just as with asexuality – just because you might not be able to come up with a definite, satisfying answer doesn't mean you've wasted your time thinking about it. At the end of the day, the aromanticism movement is about recognising what each of us really wants out of the relationships in our lives and feeling like we can pursue that without being obligated to act in a certain way because of whatever preconceived notions about romanticism.
An aromantic is someone who doesn't feel romantic attraction. You can read The a-spectra for a description of what romantic attraction is. Romantic attraction often interacts and overlaps with many other kinds of attraction, including sexual attraction (for allosexuals), aesthetic attraction, sensual attraction, platonic attraction, and so on. However, romantic attraction is not in itself any of these particular kinds of attraction. In other words, all of the following are compatible with aromanticim.
- Wanting to have sex with someone / sexual attraction;
- enjoying the way someone looks;
- wanting to cuddle / be physical with someone;
- feeling a strong urge to befriend someone;
- feeling like you don't want to be alone in life.
If you think you may be aromantic you may want to read Experiences, which has first-hand descriptions of what romanticism feels like.
If you only experience romantic attraction rarely or under specific circumstances, then you may be grey-aromantic. You may wish to consult Grey-asexuality. Though the page is written primarily in respect of allosexuality / asexuality, many if not all of the concepts can be simply translated to alloromanticism / aromanticism.
Just like asexuality, there are some common experiences that may indicate you are aromantic which you can read below. Of course, these experiences are not universal and shouldn't be used as strict criteria, but they can help build up a picture of what it might be like to be aromantic.
Perhaps you have felt one of the following.
- Finding people aesthetically or sexually appealing, but that's as far as that feeling goes;
- the idea of romancing someone never occurring to you on its own;
- finding conversations about romance especially boring;
- finding yourself consistently not initiating or suggesting romantic gestures with your partners;
- deciding that you would 'put up' with romance because it seems like a requirement to have an intimate relationship;
- performing romantic gestures for others but it feeling like it's an obligation or just something you like to do to make someone else happy;
- feeling your ideal relationship would be one that doesn't include romantic gestures;
- going through with romantic gestures but 'not getting what all the fuss is about';
- being repulsed by the idea of romance;
- pursuing romance as an intellectual curiosity rather than due to attraction;
- feeling like you could go the rest of your life without romance just fine;
- liking the idea of marrying / spending your life with a good friend without any romantic feelings attached;
- knowing what counts as romantic based on what you think other people would say, rather than knowing what feelings it would evoke in yourself;
- never having a crush or not being sure if you have;
- not having fallen in love before or not being sure if you have;
- the concept of squishes resonating with you (see The a-spectra);
- trying to 'force' yourself to have a crush, or thinking that crushes were something that people generally chose to have;
- (for allosexuals) a friends-with-benefits relationship sounding ideal to you;
Perhaps the actions of others have seemed strange to you in one of the following ways.
- Wondering why everyone else seems to find romance so interesting, and hence feeling like the odd one out;
- finding yourself unable to relate to others when they talk about crushes or falling in love;
- having trouble knowing / understanding what the difference is between friendly and romantic feelings;
- being confused when other people's fantasies include romance;
- forgetting or not realising that other people think about romance;
- finding flirting confusing or failing to even notice it;
- not understanding why people would want to inject romance into a platonic or sexual relationship;
- not understanding why people connect the idea of sex or aesthetic attraction with forming a long-term (emotionally) intimate relationship;
- not seeing why people act as if sex implies a romantic relationship;
- not understanding why kissing is seen as romantic;
- at some point you've doubted if romance is a real thing or feeling like everyone must just be going along with it;
- not getting why people talk about love so much, why there is so much art dedicated to it, and so on;
- finding (the preoccupation with) romance in fiction random, out of place, or uninteresting.
Perhaps you've been mistaken in one of the following ways.
- Thinking that everyone is exaggerating or ironic or being 'immature' about romance and that really they all see it the same way you do;
- not understanding / thinking it's a joke when people say they would have a romantic relationship with a certain stranger (especially when based only on appearances);
- thinking you're just a late bloomer (or picky) and waiting for the moment that romantic attraction comes to you but it never does;
- feeling aesthetic, platonic, or sexual attraction and mistakenly labelling it romantic attraction.