What Is an Aromantic Person and How Are They Characterized?
“I can’t imagine how you can live without love”, “being romantic is what spices up a relationship”… these are some of the phrases that an aromantic person faces on a daily basis.
In a world where romanticism is overrated, aromantics are labeled as “cold”, “robots” or “capricious”. But is this true? Of course, it isn’t. Being aromantic has nothing to do with whimsy or going against the system. This is a natural orientation that’s as valid as any other. Let’s take a closer look.
What does it mean to be aromantic?
Experts on the subject mention that being aromantic is an orientation – not a sexual orientation, but a romantic orientation. It has nothing to do with refusing to give flowers or to walk hand in hand in the moonlight. (This may be an aspect, but it’s not essential).
An aromantic person is one who just has no interest in doing so and feels no need or desire to have a romantic relationship with another or other people. They are not motivated to establish that kind of connection or bond with others.
Returning to the previous example, it’s important to keep in mind that the fact of celebrating Valentine’s Day or giving chocolates is a social and cultural construct that’s used to categorize certain gestures as “romantic”. However, they are not directly linked to “aromanticism”.
This has a spectrum of options; among them are “demi-romantic” people, who relate romantically as long as there is a previous link, and “gray aromantic” people, who can become attracted if certain conditions are present.
Are being aromantic and asexual the same thing?
No, they are not the same thing. As we discussed, both terms are orientations, but one is romantic and the other is sexual. An asexual person does not experience sexual attraction. At this point, it will be necessary to differentiate from other situations such as abstinence. The latter is a choice, while asexuality is not. There’s simply no sexual attraction.
When it comes to activism, many people claim both terms and emphasize that they should be given more visibility. They say that they are socially “penalized” just for not being interested in living a life of romantic comedy or for not fitting in a society they call “sex-centric”.
Even, in the case of asexuality, they almost always have to face pathologizing comments such as “surely there must be a drug for that”. Hypoactive sexual desire disorder is one of the classifications that “make asexuality sick”.
Finally, in relation to asexuality, the Network for Education and Visibility of Asexuality (AVEN) has been working for its positive visibility since 2001. You can find information, experiences, and resources there.
Find out more here: How to Start a Conversation About Your Sexual Desires
What is an aromantic relationship like?
Depending on the type of relationship, it can be like any other. For example, between friends, it can be one of affection, affection, listening, or complicity. However, that does not make them romantic.
It’s very common to hear that aromantic people are like that because they have problems socializing. However, this is not true. An aromantic can have friends and be a fun person. Regarding having a partner or not, and how the type of relationship will be, they simply establish agreements with their partner.
On the other hand, there’s also a “squish”, which is a type of infatuation without romance or sex. The desire is to have an intense relationship with another person. For example, this may occur when an aromantic person feels an affective attraction stronger than that of a friendship.
Clarifications about aromantic people
Clearly, as a concept emerges, so does an associated myth. Here are some clarifications based on the most common confusions or mistaken beliefs.
Being aromantic does not mean your are a cold person
It’s often thought that aromantic people don’t experience feelings, that they’re “hard as a rock”, and that they are not moved by anything. All of this is incorrect.
Not being interested in a romantic relationship does not mean that they can’t have feelings or feel love for other people (for example their friends, love between siblings, etc).
Avoid confusing being aromantic with the myths of romantic love
For a long time, we were taught that all people have a “better half” that it is only possible to feel love for one person and that love can do anything, among other ideas.
These are the so-called myths of romantic love that, in many cases, are responsible for frustrations in relationships. What happens is that we lose focus on the idea that love is a bond, something that’s built on a daily basis and that involves effort.
Through these myths, love is evaluated in terms of romanticism, while the foundation of any love bond is care and respect. Therefore, when a couple or a relationship does not fit with this idea of “romanticized love”, many people start to feel uneasy.
Can you be aromantic and like love stories?
Yes, both cases are not incompatible, since you can like the romantic genre in entertainment. Also, being aromantic means that you’re not interested in making a romantic connection with someone, but that doesn’t mean you can’t listen to your friend when she tells you about hers. You just don’t project yourself onto that story.
Is an aromantic person this way because they had childhood trauma?
This is absolutely false. There’s no correlation between a happy childhood and being aromantic or not. This is an explanation based on a myth, similar to the one that was held for a while about homosexuality – that homosexual people had suffered abuse in their childhood.
As a matter of respect, we must be very careful with such myths, as they’re offensive and encourage misinformation and prejudice.
In addition, it validates only one way of loving or feeling attraction towards other people, when in reality there are multiple ways of experiencing relationships, sexuality, and love.
Find out more: Adults Who Have Never Had a Partner: Is This Normal?
Aromanticism exists and is natural
We’ve spent so much time listening to limited explanations about the best way to love, how to have relationships, casual and non-casual sex, and countless other topics.
Many of them have led us to dissatisfaction for not knowing what label to use, self-oppression, and trying to conform to normative parameters about relationships, among other things.
Gay, lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, asexual, arromantic, homoromantic, hetero-romantic, heteroromantic…It doesn’t matter; there are countless orientations and all of them are equally valid and deserve respect and their own place in society.
None of them bothers or hurts other people. The most important thing is to take care of people and allow them their freedom of expression. Although concepts help us to clarify situations, these can’t function as limitations.
Perhaps, in some aspects, it’s time to theorize less about what you are and what you are not, and let some things flow a little more, as long as it’s done in an environment of clarity, respect, and responsibility between all parties involved.It might interest you...