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No idea if I'm alloaro, just had a bad relationship, or if any of it even matters

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Sorry if this is in the wrong section, it's my first time using this site, I can delete and move this somewhere else if needed. Also please bear with me and point it out if I say something out of pocket, I'm clueless as to what might be rude or offensive since I'm not very involved in a-spec conversation on or offline.

What's bothering me lately is reflecting on my relationship with my ex. We dated for a year and some change, and we broke up almost a year ago. I was definitely sexually attracted to him. I loved his companionship and I loved him as a person like I would a friend, and I assumed that all added up to be romance. But throughout the relationship, I'd sometimes be struck with this feeling that he was not a romantic partner, just a really close friend I happened to be sexually attracted to, and that felt like small moments of sobering clarity.

I am realizing now that I don't know whether I have ever really experienced romantic attraction. Like most other people in my life, I want to find a life partner and get married and maybe have kids, but I feel kind of ambivalent about the idea of the nonsexual romantic aspects of dating at the same time?? Like going on dates and moving in together. But I've read online that aromantic people often say they don't feel the desire to kiss, hold hands, cuddle, or things like that, and I do. And I still feel physically attracted to people. I'm just questioning now if this all really means I'm still alloromantic and just had a bad relationship, and I haven't found the right person yet. I don't know if my desire to start a relationship with a person I'm attracted to is purely sexually or emotionally motivated, or actually romantic. I have no idea how to tell it all apart.

I've identified as queer for a long time both in terms of gender and sexuality. My identity has gone through some changes over the years, but I never really thought of myself as being on the ace or aro spectrum, so I have no idea what any of this means, nor the language to really describe it. I know I'm still young, I'm 22, but this is making me feel 13 again, lol.

Normally if I'm conflicted or confused about my queerness, I just let it pass, but this time it's really bothering me. I'm finding myself thinking aphobic / arophobic things about myself that I would never think of or say to other people, and I think that means I need to hear from other perspectives. 

Sorry this was so long, I hope this made any sense at all. I would also love to hear from any alloaro people how they figured out their identity.

Edited by likeheaven
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So, im going to start this by saying the only person that can decide whether you are somewhere on the aro spectrum is you. Having said that, wanting to do things that are romantically coded (kissing, holding hands etc) is not an indicater of anything really, other than you enjoy those things. A lot of what you have said could apply to me. I have had several relationships where I assumed I was in love with the other person, because they were a good freind and I was sexually attracted to them, and that means romance right? After talking to alloromantic people, apparently not, apparently being romantically in love is something different. You know all those songs people write about being in love? Apparently they come from experience and arent exaggerated. That was news to me.

I have enjoyed dates, but I have enjoyed them in the same way I enjoy hanging out with other friends. Its just we did different things, it just didnt really feel that different. I wouldnt mind having someone to settle down with, but mainly thats because being able to split the bills and chores would be nice, plus sex is nice. Overall, "settling down" would be fine I guess, its not a priority for me and never has been.

I am fast approching 40, and realistically if I had been born 20 or 30 years before I was I probably would never have found out I was Aro. There was no real reason to believe I was anything other than a heterosexual white male. But when people talked about being in love, or when I heard one of those songs describing it, it never really resonated. I never knew what they were talking about. Then I read some of the experiences of Aro people, and they did resonate. At one point when reading someones experience I found myself thinking "That doesnt mean you're aromantic, because I do that, and i'm not!" Then I caught myself, and started wondering if maybe, just maybe I was wrong and they were right. Maybe the experience they were talking about that I could relate to could mean I might be aromantic.

I enjoy romantically coded actions. I enjoy a good love story. My favourite anime/manga is one called Oh My Goddess, which is literally a love story. I like going on dates. I have had relationships in which I was quite happy. I have literally no idea what people are talking about when they describe being in love.

I hope that helps.

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Hey and welcome to the forum!


I totally get where you're coming from, I had a very similar experience. I was dating my ex and assumed I was in love because of the romantic coded things we did, and the fact I enjoyed those things. I was also sexually attracted to them. When I sat down to reflect on my emotions, I realized that I feel the same love for my family as I do my friends and my ex. I couldn't distinguish between those feelings of love. They were all the same to me. I knew something was wrong which lead me to looking into this community. Ultimately I've decided I fall somewhere on the aromatic spectrum but not the asexual spectrum. Put another way, I don't feel romantic love while still experiencing sexual attraction. 

I initially had to recognize that romantic attraction and sexual attraction are not one in the same. They often overlap (both in terms of if you are attracted to someone or if you are not) but they are still separate. Once I recognized that, I was better able to grasp and recognize that my feelings of love are not inherently romantic. Sure I love people but I love everyone in the same way. I've talked to some of my alloromantic friends and family and they have described feeling different "loves" for different people in their life. Hearing these emotions expressed has helped me come to terms with the fact that there isn't something wrong with me, I just experience the world differently. 

Resolving my identities in myself has been a challenge and I'm not close to being finished. What's been helping me the most so far is recognizing that regardless of how I feel I know I'm not alone. This community writ large is here as I explore my feelings of aromaticism. I also know that I am not the only aromantic allosexual in the world. There are people who have similar experiences that I do. 

Regardless of what you decide for yourself you aren't alone, and being on the aro spectrum while still experiencing sexual attraction is valid. Only you can decide if you are aromantic or not.

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