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The problem i have is that getting aromantics to define romantic attraction us like telling a person who was blind from birth to define what vision is. It just doesn't work.   It reminds me

This may end up being bloody, but it has to be done at some point. We, as a forum dedicated to aromanticism, need to settle on a definition of romantic attraction. Soon we'll be designing pages for th

The problem is, 'romantic attraction' is the same as, for example, describing a colour: although it is a thing which can and does exist it can only be described through things other than itself. For c

On 4/9/2016 at 2:45 AM, Tal Shi'ar said:


Not necessarily, this is even a sorta grey murky area for me as well. That's the tricky thing about being in the grey area: you might have some faint romo traits, but not enough to relate to being romantic. Sometimes that can get confusing.  There's always going to be some doubt on which end you are, what you feel, how you think you'd go with relationships etc. It's like a romo limbo of sorts, for me at least.

This is exactly where I'm at. I've had numerous "romantic relationships," but I've come to realize that what I largely felt was friendship combined with some sort of sexual attraction. Any romantic feelings I had were fairly short lived and not all that dissimilar to how I feel about a close friendship (of which I've only had maybe two outside of relationships).

If I had to define romantic relationships both from what I've experienced from the people I was in them with and what I've observed from romantic couples I've known I would say it is like a friendship, but deeper. Every single person I've known who has been in romantic love (and this happens when I have an initial crush on someone) describes that rush and tingle you get in your chest when that person is around you, calls you, interacts with you in any way. It is a feeling that is really only reserved for romantic feelings, I get a similar feeling in my stomach for intense sexual desire, but they are different. I think there is also a sense of leading towards a bonded future together. Meaning marriage, or a marriage like intention to stay together, the possibility of shared children, pets, and assets. No, not every romantic relationship has this, but even polyamorous relationships have that in common, they are rarely just about friendship and or sex, they include an intention towards a loving future.

On the contrary, at least for me, a platonic friend (sexual or not) is someone I may want to be around, I may even chose to move to be closer to them, we may live together, etc., but they don't give me that tingle of love and I have no intentions of sharing a child, pet, bank account or anything else with them.

I think it's folly to try and define a romantic relationship without at least talking about love. Sure I can love my brother, I can love my friend, I can even love my dog, but it is different than being in-love and feeling like that other person is a literal part of me. I most closely identify as grey romantic and a bit lithromantic, so I think I basically understand what romantic relationships entail, but I'm not sure I've ever been part of one for longer than a couple of weeks, from what I've witnessed romantic relationships will wax and wane with respect to those feelings over time, but they all come back to those in-love feelings. 

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On 07/04/2016 at 9:02 PM, Natkat said:

I think like we say transgender is people who did not fit into the gender they where asigned at birth/at what sociaty expected from them. Being aromantic spectrum mean not to identify within the amatonormative norm on how we are suposed to do romance.

This makes allot of sense.

 

I generally define it by 'the things that people do in a rom-com' or whether I feel like the people are monogomous to each other in the things they do- but then this gets complicated by Poly relationships!

 

Some of the things I personally would define as inherantly romantic-

- Kissing on the mouth (unless in a culture where this is a standard greeting)

- Kissing with tongue/etc

- Sharing the same bedroom/bed (not just sharing for a night or so)

- Being 'faithful' to one another (unless in an open/poly relationship)

- Giving gifts/letters/sentiment that implys romantic love (valentines cards that aren't stated as platonic)

- Calling them your partner/lover/bf/gf

- Getting married/Civil partnership/Other ceremonial promise to stay together

 

I suppose I see romantic attraction as the desire to do these things with someone, and to have them love you more than anyone else

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For me feeling romantic attraction is the capability of falling in love with someone. As and aromantic person I am fully capable of loving someone, but I will never be able to fall IN love with someone. That's the way I see it and that's what kind of helped me realise im aro. I also define a romantic relationship as two people who are  IN love with eachother.

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I see romance being more about feeling and motivation, rather than actions.
 

On 12/05/2017 at 0:39 PM, SamwiseLovesLife said:

I generally define it by 'the things that people do in a rom-com' or whether I feel like the people are monogomous to each other in the things they do- but then this gets complicated by Poly relationships!

I don't think it's quite that simple, given that there are monogamous aros, but allos do often seem to struggle a lot with non-monogamous relationships.

 

On 12/05/2017 at 0:39 PM, SamwiseLovesLife said:

Some of the things I personally would define as inherantly romantic-

- Kissing on the mouth (unless in a culture where this is a standard greeting)

- Kissing with tongue/etc

I don't see these as intrinsically romantic. Instead as things I enjoy where romantic coding is a serious problem.

 

On 12/05/2017 at 0:39 PM, SamwiseLovesLife said:

- Sharing the same bedroom/bed (not just sharing for a night or so)

I also don't see this as intrinsically romantic, though it dosn't interest me in slightest.
 

On 12/05/2017 at 0:39 PM, SamwiseLovesLife said:

- Being 'faithful' to one another (unless in an open/poly relationship)

This appears to be good match with romantic attraction, but some aros appear to want the same.
 

On 12/05/2017 at 0:39 PM, SamwiseLovesLife said:

- Giving gifts/letters/sentiment that implys romantic love (valentines cards that aren't stated as platonic)

Sort of agree, though more find these things silly.

 

On 12/05/2017 at 0:39 PM, SamwiseLovesLife said:

- Calling them your partner/lover/bf/gf

- Getting married/Civil partnership/Other ceremonial promise to stay together

I'd say it's more the desire to be in a couple (or triad, quad, etc).
To want to be seen as that and to merge lives/identities/finances/etc.

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12 hours ago, Mark said:

I'd say it's more the desire to be in a couple (or triad, quad, etc).
To want to be seen as that and to merge lives/identities/finances/etc.

Yes, which sounds like a nice thing, but sort of stifling? I've never met a person that I would want to become one with for my whole life rather than free beings

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58 minutes ago, SamwiseLovesLife said:

Yes, which sounds like a nice thing, but sort of stifling? I've never met a person that I would want to become one with for my whole life rather than free beings

 

"After a while it got up and went to make a pot of coffee." -- from a short story about a romantic couple who decide literally to become one as an expression of their love.

 

(Although I realize that this could seem offensive to conjoined people.)

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Someone suggested we should ask gray-aros to find out what "romo" attraction could be described and feels like. I'll try to give my perspective as a "dark-gray" demi-romantic. Please note that I am brainstorming here.


First off, I agree that it might be useful to differentiate between different kinds of love, and to distinguish loving someone from falling and being _in_ love. The greeks had multiple words which can be translated as "love", so that word alone is pretty ambiguous. Then again, _romantic_ love is a bit more specific ofc. But it might be helpful to make clear in any "official" definition that aros are indeed capable of feeling non-romantic kinds of love, so as to not feed any stereotype of a lack of empathy or similar.


I'd say I was _in_ love precisely once. It was in a context where I had _a lot_ of time to cultivate trust through exchanges online before ever even meeting up, which when it finally happened were some of the most intense experiences I have felt. Sadly I have not been able to replicate those feelings with anyone else so far. And I was in other relationships since, albeit complicated ones because my aro "tendencies" lead to a bit of an identity crisis that I'm still working out.


So what does being _in_ love feel like? One quote on the subject that keeps amusing me is the following from the book The Ethical Slut:


"Look at the lyrics of popular songs, or read some classical poetry: the phrases we choose to describe romantic love don’t really sound all that pleasant. Crazy in love, love hurts, obsession, heartbreak … these are all descriptions of mental or physical illness.


The thing that gets called romantic love in this culture seems to be a heady cocktail of lust and adrenaline, sparked by uncertainty, insecurity, perhaps even anger or danger. The chills up the spine that we recognize as passion are, in fact, the same physical phenomenon as hair rising up on a cat's back and are caused by the fight-or-flight response.


This kind of love can be thrilling and overwhelming and sometimes a hell of a lot of fun, but it is not the only 'real' kind of love, nor is it always a good basis for an ongoing relationship. Yet as George Bernard Shaw famously remarked, 'When two people are under the influence of the most violent, most insane, most delusive, and most transient of passions, they are required to swear that they will remain in that excited, abnormal, and exhausting condition continuously until death do them part.'"


But is falling and being in love the same as experiencing romantic attraction? I'm not sure. I guess more or less? Is having sex the same as experiencing sexual attraction? We know there are people who identify as asexual but still enjoy the sensations of partnered sexual stimulation (defined as cupiosexual, and altho I have seen some controversy about that subject on AVEN at least, it does seem to be accepted "officially" by large parts of the ace community). But it is difficult to define romantic attraction in terms of behaviour, just as it is difficult to do so with sexual orientation. Asexuals might have sex, like homosexhals might have heterosexual sex(?), or vice versa(?). Aros might still want to engage in any of the actions typically regarded as romantic: Spend time with a squish in a queerplatonic relationship and enjoy any kind of physical intimacy and sensation.


Forms of attraction and a lack thereof can only be defined in terms of personal experience. Now, we might argue about the universality of human experience and the adequacy of human language in capturing it, but then again we don't want to waste all of our time on deconstructions. For me personally, there is a qualitative difference between loving a friend and being in love romantically. We might again argue about romance being a cultural construct and the universality of that, but arguing about an aromantic experience in the first place also implies romance as a valid category.


I haven't read this whole thread yet, so I'm sure I will repeat what has been said already. Romantic attraction usually involves feelings of jealousy, but we have learned from poly communities that those cannot be a prerequisite and have more to do with individual insecurities. Most people experience romantic attraction moreso during the beginning and first phases of a relationship. The usual trope is that people can fall in love rather quickly; whether "love at first sight" is mere infatuation and in how far that is different from being in love I cannot tell, but there are certainly people who fall in love quite fast and relatively often. But then again, for gray-/demiromantics that can be very different as well.


Thinking about aro relationships now, I see some parallels to solo poly descriptions of desire. Perhaps defining factors might be found around the idea of the "relationship escalator", the desire to cultivate an increasingly intimate bond with the object (focus, receiver) of romantic attraction. Of course most solo polys aren't aromantic(?), but I feel like a definition of romantic feelings boils down to something like that. Polyamorous people in general do spread their focus of romantic desire on multiple people, but from reading and listening to many of their stories, and even just because of limits in time and space, their romantic attraction at any given moment is usually concerned with one partner at a time and periods of meeting and getting to know new partners are described as special and especially romantic ("new relationship energy").


That's all I got for right now. 🙃

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  • 3 weeks later...

@zəl This is really enlightening, thank you!

 

On 27/05/2017 at 9:16 AM, zəl said:

"Look at the lyrics of popular songs, or read some classical poetry: the phrases we choose to describe romantic love don’t really sound all that pleasant. Crazy in love, love hurts, obsession, heartbreak … these are all descriptions of mental or physical illness.


The thing that gets called romantic love in this culture seems to be a heady cocktail of lust and adrenaline, sparked by uncertainty, insecurity, perhaps even anger or danger. The chills up the spine that we recognize as passion are, in fact, the same physical phenomenon as hair rising up on a cat's back and are caused by the fight-or-flight response.


This kind of love can be thrilling and overwhelming and sometimes a hell of a lot of fun, but it is not the only 'real' kind of love, nor is it always a good basis for an ongoing relationship. Yet as George Bernard Shaw famously remarked, 'When two people are under the influence of the most violent, most insane, most delusive, and most transient of passions, they are required to swear that they will remain in that excited, abnormal, and exhausting condition continuously until death do them part.'"

I agree with George Bernard Shaw, this sound both insane and unrealistic to maintain. But then (as an Aro person) I find life-long monogamy a hard concept to get my head around.

 

On 27/05/2017 at 9:16 AM, zəl said:

But it is difficult to define romantic attraction in terms of behaviour, just as it is difficult to do so with sexual orientation. Asexuals might have sex, like homosexhals might have heterosexual sex(?), or vice versa(?). Aros might still want to engage in any of the actions typically regarded as romantic: Spend time with a squish in a queerplatonic relationship and enjoy any kind of physical intimacy and sensation.

This makes sense, I as an Aro person would love a QPR but romantically coded things make me uncomfortable.

 

On 27/05/2017 at 9:16 AM, zəl said:

Romantic attraction usually involves feelings of jealousy, but we have learned from poly communities that those cannot be a prerequisite and have more to do with individual insecurities.

I never understood jealousy, If you don't trust your partner then surely you shouldn't be with them?

 

On 27/05/2017 at 9:16 AM, zəl said:

The usual trope is that people can fall in love rather quickly; whether "love at first sight" is mere infatuation and in how far that is different from being in love I cannot tell, but there are certainly people who fall in love quite fast and relatively often. But then again, for gray-/demiromantics that can be very different as well.

I always found this hard to believe..

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I agree with romantic attraction being desire and intent rather than actions. I hold hands, kiss, hug, share a bed with other people for weeks at a time without feeling romantic towards them. 

 

as I understand romantic attraction, in the most general way, from my David Attenborough-like observations of couples:

An attraction fixated on another person with the desire to become a partnered unit and have the bonding union acknowledged by others. When the attraction is returned and the relationship persued, the individuals involved are especially nice to each other and focus their attention on each other to the possible detriment of other previously established relationships. (I find that last bit is not something that happens with new friendships) 

 

extra points if you read this in your head with David Attenborough's voice!

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5 hours ago, Apathetic Echidna said:

extra points if you read this in your head with David Attenborough's voice!

Haha, that's exactly what I did :D

 

Not sure about the "especially nice to each other" part though. Sure, sometimes. But sometimes a fair amount of manipulation and deception can also be involved, it seems to me (plus incentives to exaggerate positives and downplay negatives, with respect to both subject and object of romantic infatuation)

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5 hours ago, NullVector said:

Not sure about the "especially nice to each other" part though. Sure, sometimes. But sometimes a fair amount of manipulation and deception can also be involved, it seems to me (plus incentives to exaggerate positives and downplay negatives, with respect to both subject and object of romantic infatuation)

yeah, this is much better. By nice I should have said shallow nice, though it can be truly nice. I just remember being with a friend and their partner and the conversation turned to driving and my friend goes "I remember driving you (the partner) everywhere you wanted the first week we started dating because I wanted you to think I was nice so you would like me as much as I like you"

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14 hours ago, Apathetic Echidna said:

as I understand romantic attraction, in the most general way, from my David Attenborough-like observations of couples:

An attraction fixated on another person with the desire to become a partnered unit and have the bonding union acknowledged by others.

IMHO the idea of merging is a distinctive sign of the romantic couple relationship and lifestyle.
 With "others" including corporate entities such as businesses and the state. Hence the co-option of marriage and its associated industries
 

14 hours ago, Apathetic Echidna said:

 When the attraction is returned and the relationship persued, the individuals involved are especially nice to each other and focus their attention on each other to the possible detriment of other previously established relationships. (I find that last bit is not something that happens with new friendships.)

With the individuals involved typically not seeing this loss of other relationships as being a problem. Often showing enormous faith that a romantic relationship with someone they hardly know will be an effective replacement for friends (and family).
 

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  • 1 month later...

regarding some of the recent comments, speaking for myself.

 

When I enjoy kissing, it is distinctly a sexual experience. when kissing "feels romantic" I dislike it. kissing I would personally not consider inherently romantic, but the most common forms of a couple kissing I see as romantic. The "sexual" kissing I enjoy is really just making out  tbh. and it's been years since I was enjoying that kind of kissing in-action - since then my expression of sexual attraction has changed, so I can't tell if I'd be into it still.

 

 

regarding romantic feelings -

falling in love is something that I did not realize I was experiencing until I slowly came to admit to myself that I experienced it. but now that I've identified it, in knowing that some people do not experience it, it's obvious to me when I am in-love, and when I am not. it's frustrating when I am not in-love tho because a part of me wants to fall in-love with someone, and this ends up giving me a lot of anxiety.

 

I would interpret the phrases such as "crazy in love" and "love hurts" to not at all refer to the actual romantic aspect of the experience, but instead, the anxieties that often arise because of it. to me when I am in-love I just... feel.. attracted... to them... I MAY have thoughts about wanting to be with them but really that is not constant. but a strong feeling of vague interest in them is pretty easy to experience just by looking or thinking about them. what drives me crazy is, wanting to DO something about those feelings. it is like a tension which - if I am allowed to enjoy the feelings by interacting romantically with my partner or date, it is a wonderful and good and healthy feeling. but, if I have to contain it to myself, because the person does not appreciate my attraction to them - this is when it hurts, when I suffer, when I have a ton of anxiety, when I become desperate to try to figure out HOW to even interact with them at all without smothering them with romantic interest. And the more I hold my feelings quiet, the more and more this suffering intensifies.

 

To think back to the people from my past who are in my past, there is suffering there too, a longing for what was to still be, and it hurts. I also get this feeling with lost friends, but with a romantic attraction there is also the feeling which I had to identify as romantic - in fact, it was looking to my past that led me to discover that I felt romantic feelings at all, and then experiencing them again for a friend that made me confirm that I do feel romantic feelings. but, being in love with someone who does not return the feelings, for me is 10x worse than pining for something from the past. in the later, I can clearly see there is nothing I can do to even interact with the person, so there is no compounding of the anxiety - it only stays constant, tho it hurts, it does not intensify. when I am interacting with someone however, and cannot express my love for them, that is when it royally sucks. it is just too much to handle.

 

 

 

I am sorry that I cannot provide any info on what romantic attraction feels like. That is not something which is possible to do. I can only describe what I feel - but those descriptions are, "intense" and "warmth" and "love" and "interest" and none of these things are reserved for romance. I feel all of those things for other things. just, the only thing that helped me to figure it out for my experience, was to compare my feelings for people over and over and over again, slowly being better able to identify the difference, to the point that I was sure there WAS one but not sure WHAT that difference was, until I came to suspect that difference was romantic, until I came to confirm it. And this was only possible because I still feel romantically towards 3 of my 5 crushes. so when I think of them, I feel in the now the romantic feelings. if there were no current feelings to observe, I doubt I could've done that process to any conclusion. and even as it is, I'm still unsure - I was worried I was developing romantic feelings for someone, and couldn't be sure what I was feeling until I saw her and talked to her in-person. that, now that I know what I feel, it is easier for me to say "you just know what it is when you feel it" because that is exactly how I know. I just do. it feels like romantic attraction. it is like touching a dry material blindly and knowing that it is fur and not a carpet, despite the fact that it is thick and course and stiff. you've felt this pelt before and identify the animal exactly, and know it isn't any carpet you've felt. It feels unique to our brain, our brain has learned to identify that it is different. but the reality is, I had to learn to identify it at all.

 

 

oh also, I don't get the whole "merging" or "as one" thing a lot of people get. I do agree that it tends to be a common romantic message, but I don't believe it's a universal sentiment for all romantics, since well, I don't share it.

 

tho I do want to be close with the person and spend a lot of time with them, but well, this is not reserved for my romantic feelings. I guess it tends to be more intense with romantic feelings.

 

 

also - personally, I do in fact believe that romantic feelings are better and superior to platonic ones. I am sorry that this is my oppinion about my feelings. I would think it's weird however, to make some claim that this is true for all people, especially knowing about aromantic. necessarily, since an aromantic does not feel romantic feelings, romantic feelings are in fact less than platonic ones - I mean after all, they are zero. hehe.

 

 

last regarding the bed - I would not claim that sharing a bed is necssarily romantic, but bed-sharing certainly brings romantic anxiety to me - I do not like sharing a bed unless it is literally my partner. I could under some circumstances do it however - especially if there is a lot more people than appropriate sleeping surfaces. I do not believe I'd find sharing a room to be romantic however. there are some ways to share a room romantically of course :P but without explicitly attempting to make it romantic, two people sharing a room is just a pair of roomates. it's nonromantic by my impression of it.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Had this realization after talking with @Dodecahedron314 on Discord:

 

As someone who just experienced romance for the first time as a greyro, I feel that romance is less about what you do with someone, but more about how you feel with someone.

 

The major difference I've noticed between romantic and platonic feelings is ego. I feel like there's much more ego involved in romance--it's all about how me and my crush can fit into each other's lives. In friendship, I feel my ego is less present. I just want my friend/squish to be happy, not necessarily in a way that's dependent on how we fit into each other's lives. For example, I've noticed that I can have a squish, and not desire a queerplatonic relationship. But when I have a crush, I desire a romantic relationship, and I feel like I won't be satisfied unless I'm in a romantic relationship with my crush.


Why is a romantic relationship so desirable in the case of a crush, for me? Because of the benefit of couples privilege. First off, it's socially acceptable to publicly be affectionate with someone, romantically, than platonically. And when I have a crush, I want my affection towards them to be socially recognized and legitimized. But more importantly, I want my crush to recognize and legitimize my affection, specifically through a romantic relationship, because it formally acknowledges that I have a special role in their life. 

 

How does this differ from a queerplatonic relationship? Again, lack of ego. My interactions and displays of affection for my queerplatonic partner, are less about us recognizing that we are special to each other, and more about recognizing the specialness of the bond we share. 

 

Bonus: How does this differ from a special interest (for my neurodivergent aros)?

Spoiler

In the case of a special interest, ego is present, but in a different way. Imagine if you got to be in a universe with your favourite fictional character. You'd want them to like you, or include you as a sidekick on their adventures, or just generally share their exciting life with you. But deep down, you perceive them as a character, who has a fixed history and personality that you can study and accumulate a database of facts on. You're not thinking about how you two can fit into each other's lives--you're thinking, how can I get closer to you, so that I can expand my knowledge of you even further? You might even identify with your special interest, and not logically understand why they aren't as fixated on you, as you are on them. After all, you've invested so much in building your database on them--you obviously care about them. But you'll eventually need to recognize that caring about someone as an interest, is different than caring about someone as a person. And hopefully, you'll be able to interact with your special interest in a way that honours their autonomy.

 

 

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idk, some of the things you say sound about right but maybe you're a little too deep. or maybe i misunderstand what you mean by ego. but if it's ego, that's an individual experience for you. I think it might be common, but it isn't itself a necessary aspect for a person to be romantic.

 

hopefully this doesn't sound super critical or anything :unsure:

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  • 3 months later...

It's a big problem - as some of you wrote in the start of this thread - that it is hard to define what a "romantic relationship" really is.
If you look at Wikipedia, the definition is pretty vague:

"Romance is the expressive and pleasurable feeling from an emotional attraction towards another person. This feeling is associated with, but does not necessitate, sexual attraction. For most people it is eros rather than agape, philia, or familial love .

In the context of romantic love relationships, romance usually implies an expression of one's strong romantic love, or one's deep and strong emotional desires to connect with another person intimately or romantically. Historically, the term "romance" originates with the medieval ideal of chivalry as set out in its chivalric romance literature."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romance_(love)

(If someone else have quoted this, please bear with me - I haven't read the whole tread)

In the article on Wikipedia, there are lots and lots of different approaches to the meaning of "Romance" depending on point of view and context.

 

It is interesting that the idea of "romantic love" originates from  the 'courtley love' in 13th - 14th century France.
It was part of the culture and a "Code of Conduct" for the knights, and a token of their passionate devotion and loyalty to a noble wonan .. she was meant to be admired, respected and obeyed, .. but it was most ceartainly not supposed to end up in any sort of physical involvement ...

 

One might say that "Romantic Love" today also is a "Code of Conduct" in our culture, regarding 'courtship' - and a whole lot of rituals and unspoken social rules as well, of which many seem to date back to the rituals of 'Courtley Love'.
Besides, Romantic Love' today is also an ideal - or almost mandatory - for the emotional life and the relationships of a 'healthy' adult.

 

What "romantic love" is, is not defined by a complete set of clear rules, but instead communicated through stories, songs, movies, ...
There is a wide spread consensus about what it is (though many people in relationships get in passionate rows about it because the rules aren't so clear after all :D )

Being aromantic might mean that you somehow don't 'grasp' - or don't fit into - that concensus .. you simply don't really understand something which is self evident to everybody in our culture's mainstream.

 

I partly agree with the 'rules' of "Roantic Relationships" that SamwiseLovesLife wrote:

 

On 12/5/2017 at 1:39 PM, SamwiseLovesLife said:

I generally define it by 'the things that people do in a rom-com' or whether I feel like the people are monogomous to each other in the things they do- but then this gets complicated by Poly relationships!

 

Some of the things I personally would define as inherantly romantic-

- Kissing on the mouth (unless in a culture where this is a standard greeting)

- Kissing with tongue/etc

- Sharing the same bedroom/bed (not just sharing for a night or so)

- Being 'faithful' to one another (unless in an open/poly relationship)

- Giving gifts/letters/sentiment that implys romantic love (valentines cards that aren't stated as platonic)

- Calling them your partner/lover/bf/gf

- Getting married/Civil partnership/Other ceremonial promise to stay together

 

I suppose I see romantic attraction as the desire to do these things with someone, and to have them love you more than anyone else

 

.. in particular about the 'being faithful' , 'giving gifts', 'cerimonial to stay together', and that you expect your partner to 'love you more than anyone else' ...

('Kissing on the mouth' and 'kissing with tongue' are in my mind much more sexual and erotic, than it is romantic - but it is included in the romantic norms, an romantic 'fundamentalists' would like it only to take place in a romatic context ...

I think as I am allosexual - and have pretty intense erotic feelings - I could explain some of the romantic emotions and romantic behaviour - they are erotic or sexual, but not necessarily romantic ...
For those of you who a are asexual as well as aromantic, it may be hard to know the difference ...

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10 hours ago, Old Goat said:

It's a big problem - as some of you wrote in the start of this thread - that it is hard to define what a "romantic relationship" really is.
If you look at Wikipedia, the definition is pretty vague:

"Romance is the expressive and pleasurable feeling from an emotional attraction towards another person. This feeling is associated with, but does not necessitate, sexual attraction. For most people it is eros rather than agape, philia, or familial love .

In the context of romantic love relationships, romance usually implies an expression of one's strong romantic love, or one's deep and strong emotional desires to connect with another person intimately or romantically. Historically, the term "romance" originates with the medieval ideal of chivalry as set out in its chivalric romance literature."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romance_(love)

Interestingly the Wikipedia article on eros describes it as 'passionate' or 'romantic' rather than 'sexual'. Which is almost heading in the direction of a circular definition.
There's also mention of 'mania' which is a separate Classical Greek type of love.
Even though romance appears to have co-opted a lot of erotic language and iconography I don't think that eros is that big a part of it.
Since the kind of romantic relationships alloromantic asexuals seek are very similar to those of alloromantic allosexuals.
 

10 hours ago, Old Goat said:

It is interesting that the idea of "romantic love" originates from  the 'courtley love' in 13th - 14th century France.

It was part of the culture and a "Code of Conduct" for the knights, and a token of their passionate devotion and loyalty to a noble wonan .. she was meant to be admired, respected and obeyed, .. but it was most ceartainly not supposed to end up in any sort of physical involvement ...

This is also something which would only have involved a minority of people.

 

10 hours ago, Old Goat said:

One might say that "Romantic Love" today also is a "Code of Conduct" in our culture, regarding 'courtship' - and a whole lot of rituals and unspoken social rules as well, of which many seem to date back to the rituals of 'Courtley Love'.

There's even terms like 'courtship' and 'courting'. Even parts of modern romantic love which do date back that far may have been highly 'mutated' from their original form.
 

10 hours ago, Old Goat said:

One might say that "Romantic Love" today also is a "Code of Conduct" in our culture, regarding 'courtship' - and a whole lot of rituals and unspoken social rules as well, of which many seem to date back to the rituals of 'Courtley Love'.

Besides, Romantic Love' today is also an ideal - or almost mandatory - for the emotional life and the relationships of a 'healthy' adult.

The idea of romance being for everyone does appear to be relatively recent, from around Victorian times.
There's also the way in which a great many social activities have become exclusive to romantic relationships.

 

10 hours ago, Old Goat said:

What "romantic love" is, is not defined by a complete set of clear rules, but instead communicated through stories, songs, movies, ...

There is a wide spread consensus about what it is (though many people in relationships get in passionate rows about it because the rules aren't so clear after all :D )

There is also a strong element of tradition. Even where these are actually recent :)

 

10 hours ago, Old Goat said:

Being aromantic might mean that you somehow don't 'grasp' - or don't fit into - that concensus .. you simply don't really understand something which is self evident to everybody in our culture's mainstream.

Which in more diverse (and less normative) cultures might be little or no issue. Since much of Western culture is set up with the assumption of romance and couples. Kind of the way that Saudi Arabia is set up for Wahhabists.

 

11 hours ago, Old Goat said:

('Kissing on the mouth' and 'kissing with tongue' are in my mind much more sexual and erotic, than it is romantic - but it is included in the romantic norms, an romantic 'fundamentalists' would like it only to take place in a romatic context ...

There seems huge opposition, on the part of alloromantics, to even the idea of doing these and other romantic coded things, outside of a romantic relationship.

 

11 hours ago, Old Goat said:

I think as I am allosexual - and have pretty intense erotic feelings - I could explain some of the romantic emotions and romantic behaviour - they are erotic or sexual, but not necessarily romantic ...
For those of you who a are asexual as well as aromantic, it may be hard to know the difference ...

It tends to be easier for varioriented people to separate 'sexual' and 'romantic', than it is for perioriented. people.
 

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On 4/7/2016 at 9:22 PM, Blue Phoenix Ace said:

It may seem foolish, but perhaps we can all ask our romantic friends to describe what romantic attraction means to them.

I know this is a very serious topic and all but I followed your advice and asked a friend and they said "when you see a cat" and I think that is very valid

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I spent about a decade defining a romantic interest as "a friend I want to have sex with" before I figured out that that definitely isn't what other people would call "romantic attraction" 😂

 

In the five-ish years since then I've asked a lot of friends (and even some strangers!) how they would define or explain the difference between romantic love and other kinds of love, and literally nobody has been able to give me a clear answer. The most recent response I got from a friend was, "Well, haven't you ever met someone that you wanted to get to know better, to spend more time with?" and I was like, "Well, yeah... all of my friends." After that he told me he'd have a think and see if he could come up with a better answer for me... I'll let you know if he does.

 

One consistent thing in the answers I've gotten is that everybody tells me that there's definitely a difference of feeling. That it's not just that you want to share your life with a person, or engage in behaviours/actions that are typically or culturally seen as romantic - but that romantic attraction is a qualitatively different emotion to other kinds of love. (Whereas my experience is that love is love is love; I might feel more of it or less of it for different people, but it's all the same emotion.)

 

On 10/14/2017 at 11:56 PM, cute kitty Meow! Mewo! said:

When I enjoy kissing, it is distinctly a sexual experience. when kissing "feels romantic" I dislike it. kissing I would personally not consider inherently romantic, but the most common forms of a couple kissing I see as romantic. The "sexual" kissing I enjoy is really just making out  tbh.

Huh, I've never actually thought about this but I'm the same. I'm 110% into kissing when it's leading up to or during sex, but other than that I don't like it.

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I've been reflecting a lot about this this past year and here are my thoughts :

From what I've experienced (being an aro) , heard and read here, the only parameter that for me can really help differentiate romantic attraction from any other type of attraction (friendly, sexual etc...) would be the "obsessive" quality this type of attraction has, how much place and time it's seems to take up in someone mind and therefore as Omitef said above (and I find this really interesting) how much the "ego" is involved. So here is my attempt of definition :

 

A romantic attraction might be defined as the experience of an (intense) desire of wanting emotional intimacy as well as potentially other types of intimacy with someone.

Those different types of intimacy may or may not include :

- physical /sexual intimacy

- "in-the-moment" intimacy (wanting to be in the same space at the same time and share the same experiences as someone)

- intellectual intimacy (wanting to share ideas)

- and maybe other types of proximity that I am not thinking about right now

 

Romantic attraction can be distinguished of other types of attraction by :

-the intensity of the desire to share an emotional bond and maybe other types of intimacies

-and/or the variety of intimacies you want to have with someone (generally more than one)

 

I know it's still a little unprecise but I think it does an ok job at accommodating things like asexuality and polyamory (because it's not necessarily exclusive to one person). And how the "intensity" is manifested (and that can differ completely from person to person) could explain why some alloromantic people (but far from all) experience feelings like jealousy.

 

In the light of the previous definition I would define aromanticism as :

 

The ability (or not) to feel desire for emotional intimacy and other kinds of intimacies with people but not in an intensity and/or variety enough that could be qualified (by each person) as romantic.

 

I think that overall this could use a little help to be put in words that sounds better in English (I thought about it in French mainly, so it might not have translated particularly well). One of the problems that I had is with the expression "desire of wanting intimacy" that I thought up as a need you feel but not necessarily a choice or a want, and I don't know if it's understood that way... ?
So I would like to know what you guys think about it, if it fails to define romantic attraction and aromanticism, if it matches your experiences, if it could be bettered etc etc...

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@Thaa Yeah, I think you're onto something :)

 

I think with strongly 'romantic' types, there is a tendency to

  1. want all those 'intimacies' to be present in a single person (or perhaps two or three people, in the case of poly-amorous allo-romantics)
  2. want all the intimacies present in that person(s) (a.k.a. romantic partner(s)) to also be at a greater level of intensity than they are for their friends (with whom not all the intimacies would be there at once - and those that were there at all would be expected to be more 'dilute')

 

Whereas a strongly aromantic person wouldn't particularly care how the numbers and intensities  of different 'intimacies' were distributed amongst their friends and/or sexual partners. For example, they might have strong sexual intimacy with one person but weak "in the moment" intimacy (outside of the sex act) and weak intellectual intimacy. With another person, they might have far stronger intellectual and "in the moment" intimacy, but no sexual intimacy whatsoever. And so on. And the aromatic person would be totally fine with this, whereas the strongly  romantic person might see it as a problematic form of 'emotional cheating' (as they would tend to want all the intimacies to be both present together and strongest with their romantic partner(s)).

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