Definition of Aromanticism
What is aromanticism?
Aromanticism is the lack of romantic attraction. An aromantic person does not experience or feel romantic attraction toward other people.
What is romantic attraction?
Unfortunately, there is no single, agreed-upon definition for romantic attraction. At its most basic, romantic attraction has two components. One is the crush or initial infatuation. The other is a desire to form a long term romantic relationship with another person.
What is a romantic relationship?
Like romantic attraction, this can be hard to define. Ask twenty people what this means, and you will get twenty different responses. Many of the responses will include sex; however, sex is not a necessary component of a romantic relationship. With such a varied definition for romantic attraction, it seems most simple to say that you are in a romantic relationship if you and your partner (or partners) agree you are in one.
At the very least, romantic relationships include a high level of commitment and are generally exclusive to the members of the relationship (which may be more than two in the case of polyamorous relationships). Romantic relationships usually include a high amount of physical contact such as hugging, kissing, and cuddling, but this is not a requirement. Additionally, not every relationship which includes these activities is automatically romantic in nature.
What is a crush?
A crush is a powerful infatuation or obsession with another person that often leads to a desire to form a romantic relationship with them. Some possible symptoms of a crush are listed below:
- Vision getting slightly blurred or room seeming brighter when the person is around
- Obsessive thinking about the person when they aren’t around disproportionate to the amount of time actually spent in their company
- Feelings of possessiveness or exclusivity, which often lead to the thought that the person should belong to you, and you have feelings of sadness or jealousy if they have another romantic partner or interest
- An intense desire to compliment the person or flirt with them
- Any of the symptoms listed for having a squish below
What is a squish?
A squish is the strong desire to get to know a person better. The term “squish” originated as a joke referring to the feeling as a less intense crush. A squish can appear very much like a crush to aromantic people, which causes a lot of confusion. Some possible symptoms common to both crushes and squishes are as follows:
- Enjoying talking to or being around a specific person
- Warm, fuzzy, or excited feelings around that person
- Finding the person’s interests or talents endearing
- Feeling a desire to spend more time with the person, either alone or with a group
- Attraction to the person’s characteristics, such as sense of humor or intelligence, and enjoying hearing their viewpoints on various things
- When the person walks into the room, you seem to focus on them and want to be near them
- The person’s flaws are endearing
Does that mean aromantics don’t love anyone, not even their family?
No. There are many different kinds of love, including familial love and platonic love. Aromantic people may still experience these kinds of love, even if they don’t experience romantic love.
Can aromantics get into long-term relationships?
While aromantics don’t desire a typical romantic relationship, they may enjoy many other types of relationships. Although friendships can be long-term, there is a type of platonic relationship that involves a greater deal of commitment and/or emotional intimacy than a typical friendship. Some terms for this are queer-platonic (often abbreviated QPR), companionship, or partnership. This relationship can take various forms. It may take the form of roommates that share house duties, cooking, and meals; however, not all partners live together. The partners may even share a bed or enjoy sex with each other. They might make important life decisions together. No matter what form the relationship takes, the common factor is that the partners feel a special bond to one another.
Is it possible for an aromantic to get into a long-term relationship with a romantic person?
Mixed relationships between romantic and aromantic people are possible. If boundaries and needs are agreed upon, then both parties may find mutual benefit in the relationship.
Can aromantics get married?
This depends on the person. Some people may choose to marry a person they are close to emotionally, even if the bond isn’t necessarily romantic.
Aromanticism and Sex
How do aromanticism and asexuality relate? Do aromantics participate in sex?
Aromanticism–the lack of romantic attraction–refers to a romantic orientation, while asexuality–the lack of sexual attraction–refers to a sexual orientation. They are mutually independent, resulting in aromantic people of all sexual orientations. A person can be heteroromantic and asexual, meaning they feel romantic feelings toward the opposite gender, but do not experience sexual desire. Or a person could be aromantic and homosexual, which means they don’t feel romantic attraction towards anyone, but do experience sexual desire towards those of their own gender. The 2014 AVEN Community Census reports that only 19% of asexuals are aromantic. There is no clear data on the percentage of aromantics who are also asexual.
The Grey Area of Romanticism
What about people who are either confused or don’t feel fully aromantic or romantic?
The term for this is grey-romantic (or greyromantic or grayromantic). There are many terms that fall into the grey-romantic spectrum, such as lithromantic, cupioromantic, and wtfromantic.
What is grey-romanticism?
Grey-romanticism is a very broad term that covers a wide variety of experiences, such as the following:
- Feels romantic attraction less intensely than romantic people
- Feels romantic attraction very rarely, perhaps having a handful of crushes in a lifetime
- Lacks the desire for a romantic relationship but experiences crushes similar to romantic people
- Desires a romantic relationship but feels no romantic attraction towards anyone (cupioromantic)
- Uncertain about the meaning of romance or feels that romantic orientation doesn’t apply at all (wtfromantic/quiromantic)
- Romantic attraction fades when romantic feelings are reciprocated (lithromantic/aporomantic)
- Feels romantic attraction only after knowing a person for a very long time (demiromantic)
- Romantic attraction fades and returns seemingly randomly