Am I Aromantic? How To Find Out
Sex and romance are often considered part and parcel of what it means to be human. Think about it – we have thousands of films, movies, and books about romantic love. Love songs fill up the music charts every day. We have an entire holiday, Valentine’s Day, dedicated to celebrating romance. And we treat proposals and weddings like these special, magical moments. And yet, for a percentage of the population, these things just aren’t that interesting.
People who are aromantic, or aro, experience little to no romantic attraction. Because we live in a romance-obsessed world, aromantic people often feel misunderstood and lonely, unable to feel romantic with others or even connect with friends and loved ones who desire romance and relationships.
If you’ve ever felt the same way, this article is for you. Here, we offer up a quick guide to anyone who has ever asked themselves, “Am I aromantic?”
What Does It Mean To Be Aromantic?
According to the aromantic-spectrum organization AUREA, the term “aromantic” means “someone who experiences little to no romantic attraction”.
Just like sexual orientations, we all have what is called a romantic orientation. While sexual orientation describes who we’re attracted to or how romantic orientations describe how people experience romantic attraction.
Aromanticism, like asexuality, is believed to exist on a spectrum. Some aromantic people may have no desire for romanticism or relationships whatsoever. Others may develop romantic feelings from time to time but have no desire to act on them. And others still may want to pursue romantic relationships but may feel uncomfortable with certain romantic gestures.
Here are some of the identities that fall under the aromantic spectrum:
- Greyromantic: People who rarely feel romantic attraction or romantic connection with others.
- Demiromantic: People who can only be romantically attracted to others once they develop a deep emotional connection.
- Lithromantic or akoiromantic: People who can fall in love, but don’t wish to have their feelings reciprocated.
- Cupioromantic: People who identify as aromantic but still wish to have a romantic partner.
Aromantic Vs Asexual: What’s The Difference?
Sexual orientation and romantic orientation are often conflated, but these two aspects of our identities are actually independent of one another. In simpler terms, who you’re attracted to sexually doesn’t necessarily reflect who you’re attracted to romantically.
So for example, a person who is bisexual and homoromantic can feel sexual attraction for people of the same and opposite gender but only wish to pursue a romantic relationship with people of the same sex.
As such, being aromantic doesn’t automatically mean that you’re asexual as well. People who identify as asexual have little to no interest in or desire for sex. But there are also plenty of romantic asexuals who can and want to fall in love and be in committed relationships with other people. On the flipside, aromantic sexual people may not want to be romantic with others but may feel sexually attracted to other people and want to enter purely sexual relationships.
There are, however, also aromantic asexual people, or people who do not desire sex or enjoy sex, nor wish to enter a relationship with another person.
Common Myths About Aromanticism
As mentioned, a lot of aromantic people tend to feel misunderstood by the general public. Most of us grow up thinking that everyone needs to fall in love and maintain a relationship to be happy. If you don’t (or don’t want to) have a partner, then you must be miserable, right? For aromantics, romantic love isn’t a necessary component for a happy life.
Aside from this, there are a myriad of other myths surrounding aromanticism, including:
Myth #1: Aromantics Are Incapable Of Love
Just because aromantics don’t desire romantic love, it doesn’t mean that they don’t have feelings altogether. Aromantic people are capable of experiencing deep love for their family and their pets, as well as feel platonic love for their best friend. Just because aromantics don’t wish to pursue a committed romantic relationship, it doesn’t mean that they don’t desire intimacy, emotional connection, and other relationships with people they value.
Myth #2: Aromantics Are Just Afraid Of Entering A Commitment Relationship
Aromanticism isn’t just a matter of fearing commitment, and this is proven by the existence of queerplatonic relationships or QPR. These are “committed, non-romantic relationships” that some aros maintain. Such relationships are different for everyone and can be experienced between best friends or friends who have sexual relationships with one another. Some QPRs even exist for financial reasons!
Like romantic relationships, QPRs can involve (non-sexual) intimacy and deep emotional connections, cohabitation, and even long-term commitments.
Myth #3: Aromantics Don’t Enjoy Romantic Content
While some aromantic individuals may not be interested in romantic movies, books, and songs, others may even find comfort in these types of media. Aromantics can either be romance positive, romance indifferent, or romance repulsed, and that affects how they perceive and react to outright displays of romance.
Myth #4: Aromantics Just “Haven’t Found The Right Person Yet”
In the same way that no amount of sexual experiences with men will make a lesbian woman straight, aromantic people don’t need to find “the one” to “change”. That’s because there is nothing wrong with being aromantic, and it’s not a thing that should be changed.
Am I Aromantic? How Do I Find Out?
No two aromantic people are the same, much in the same way that gay, lesbian, bisexual, and asexual people experience sexuality to varying degrees. With that being said, it can be rather challenging to figure out whether or not you might be aromantic, especially if what you feel doesn’t fit into the cut-and-dry definition of aromanticism.
You can easily find an “Am I Aromantic?” quiz or “Am I Aromantic?” test to fill out on the internet, but note that since there isn’t a lot of research and data on aromanticism yet, the accuracy of these quizzes is still debatable.
Still, you can take a cue from other aromantics’ experiences to figure out whether you share the same thoughts and feelings.
One of the best resources for information on aromanticism is the volunteer-based non-profit AUREA, or the Aromantic-Spectrum Union for Recognition, Education, and Advocacy. On its website, AUREA lists several aro-specific and aro-inclusive in-person groups and communities in the US and around the world.
Why Am I Aromantic?
As mentioned, there isn’t a ton of data on aromanticism at the moment. In fact, Them.us notes that there are no formal studies that are specifically focused on aromanticism. So if you’re looking for an answer to this question, you may have to wait a little longer.
But remember that aromantic people have existed all throughout history, just like LGBTQIA+ people have. As we learn more about the different ways that people identify, we are starting to see that human sexuality and attraction are more complex and diverse than we originally thought.
There is nothing wrong with identifying as an aromantic person, wanting to maintain purely platonic relationships, and being averse to romantic media. Those are your own feelings, and they’re completely valid!