What is Aromantic? Am I Aromantic?

Updated on June 16, 2017
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After years in the LGBT community, Jorge knows a few things about being gay or bi. Or maybe he just likes to pretend he does.

What Does Aromantic Mean?

The vast majority of people put a lot of effort into finding a romantic partner. For some, their whole life revolves around maintaining their romantic relationships, and they feel lonely without this connection.

By contrast, aromantic people can't be bothered with this nonsense. When someone is aromantic, it means that they don't experience romantic feelings or romantic attraction towards other people.

If this is unfathomable to you, then you're probably not aromantic. On the other hand, if you feel like you can relate and have finally found a word to describe you, then you might be aromantic. You are not the only one, either!

If you can't relate to other people having a romantic moment, you might be aromantic.
If you can't relate to other people having a romantic moment, you might be aromantic.

Aromantic vs Asexual

What is the difference between asexual and aromantic, then? If someone doesn't desire people romantically, wouldn't that make them asexual?

Not necessarily. A person can be aromantic, but not asexual. This means that they have sexual desire, but they have no romantic desire. While some people view these as one in the same, most folks can probably understand that these two things are distinct.

In practice, this sort of tendency can take many forms. Maybe the aromantic person doesn't like cuddling and kissing, but likes to have sex. Maybe they avoid getting into romantic relationships and spend their time and energy on their friendships instead.

Asexual people by contrast can and often do have romantic feelings, they just lack sexual desire.

Can Aromantic People Still Want Relationships?

Yes. Just as asexual people might have a physical relationship with someone for reasons other than physical desire, there could be a multitude of reasons aromantic people might get into a romantic relationship, even if they have no romantic feelings for their partner.

It's not just aromantics, either. There are lots of reasons why people get into relationships besides the obvious desire to be with a person romantically. You've probably heard of people getting together for companionship, for financial stability, or maybe even due to more sinister motives like codependency.

Most aromantic people do have a desire for interpersonal intimacy just like anyone else--they just don't have romantic desire. They view their close relationships as friendships, even if they may have a physical component.

The asexual flag.
The asexual flag.

Am I Aromantic?

Only you know for sure, of course. The subject of romance and orientation is so abstract, that sometimes these labels become meaningless. For example, before you can determine if you are aromantic, you have to ask yourself:

  • What is romance?
  • What is romantic desire?
  • What is sexual desire?
  • Where do you draw the line between the two?
  • If you desire to have a romantic relationship for any reason, does this automatically mean that you have romantic desire by definition?
  • Is your relationship not romantic and you just never noticed?

As you can see, it's very subjective. Every person is going to have a slightly different view and a different definition, so it's basically not worth quibbling about it or getting into arguments on the Internet. If you think that you're aromantic based on the standard criteria mentioned before, then that's what works for you.

It can be helpful to consider these general signs, though:

  • You have no interest in romance at all. You don't like to do romantic things, read romantic stories, or listen about the romantic lives of your friends.
  • You have no desire to pair bond with another person, such as through a marriage.
  • You don't mind being single. You prefer it this way.
  • You can't imagine yourself having a romantic partner.
  • You have never felt irrationally infatuated with someone.

You can also take the short aromantic quiz below to give you an idea of where you stand.

Again, this is not cut and dry. Everyone is going to be a bit different. Don't treat the label as something that defines you--just something that can describe a small part of yourself more clearly.

Aromantic Quiz

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Aromantic people can still feel strong bonds, they just won't be romantic in nature. As a result, people like this often value friendships more.
Aromantic people can still feel strong bonds, they just won't be romantic in nature. As a result, people like this often value friendships more.

Other Terms

Now, you may find that the word "aromantic" is often paired with other terms. This can get kind of confusing or complicated if you've never been exposed to this sort of jargon, so let's go over a few of the common ones below:

What Does Aromantic Asexual Mean?

We talked above about aromantic vs asexual, and how these are two different concepts. Though they are different, a person can indeed be both at the same time. This would make them aromantic asexual.

In short, an aromantic asexual person is someone who has no romantic desire along with no sexual desire. Often, these people avoid romantic and physical relationships with others altogether, but this is not always the case. They just don't feel the desire like most people do.

What Does Aromantic Pansexual Mean?

If a person is an aromantic pansexual, it simply means that they have no romantic desire, but are physically attracted to people of all genders. Remember that aromantic people can still have sexual desire.

Just to clarify, pansexual differs from bisexual in that a pansexual person can be attracted to people who have a gender other than male or female.

What Does Aromantic Demisexual Mean?

Demisexual describes someone who only feels sexual attraction towards people that they have some kind of emotional bond with first. So an aromantic demisexual would be someone who does not experience romantic desire at all, but who can experience sexual desire if they have an emotional connection with someone.

Sometimes navigating all these terms and trying to figure out your orientation is like making your way through a winding maze.
Sometimes navigating all these terms and trying to figure out your orientation is like making your way through a winding maze.

Does It Matter That You're Aromantic?

"Am I aromantic?"

"What does aromantic even mean?"

"Am I also asexual?"

If you've wandered over to this article, you're probably asking yourself a million questions.

Another question you might be asking yourself is this: Does it matter?

How will being aromantic change your life?

Probably, it won't. If you are really aromantic, then you were like this before you found out that there was a label for it. Try not to stress about it too much. Labels can help us name things for easy reference, sure, but don't let them get in the way of your living an authentic life.

Maybe you've never felt romantic desire, and perhaps you never will. Maybe you just haven't felt it yet, but one day when you're 87 years old, you will suddenly feel the stirring of romantic love in your heart. Who can really say?

Life is a constantly changing thing, and you will likely change with it in a multitude of ways, so stay curious and don't let pre-determined notions define you too much.

In the meantime, with all the time you will save not wasting hours of your life on romance like other people, do something productive that will make the world a better place!

The Aromantic Poll

Are you aromantic?

See results

© 2017 Jorge Vamos


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    • profile image

      Ayelet Enisman 9 months ago

      I was confused for a long time, because I have crushed (They're platonic, but I kept confusing them as romantic ones) and I want a life partner (or more), but it feels to me like my sister or close friends do.

    • dashingscorpio profile image

      dashingscorpio 9 months ago

      Lots of people are "aromantic' but they don't call it that.

      Most "aromantics' are (men).

      The primary difference between romantic desire and sexual desire is you don't have to be taught sexual arousal. The body naturally responds to vision, touch, and various stimulation.

      Romance on the other hand is taught to us via romance novels, movies, poetry, and so forth. Women are taught to value token gifts given to them from men ( roses, candy, balloon, & jewelry) in addition to gestures like kneeling on one knee to propose, surprise getaways, love notes, or anything requiring some thought to please them without getting their direct input.

      Trust me if (men) could cancel Valentine's Day there would a whole lot less dinner reservations, roses purchased, and chocolates given away on February 14th. It's been said:

      "Men give love in order to get sex and women give sex in order to get love." Maybe that's an oversimplification but it does appear that (women) are more into romantic gestures than men are.

      Essentially being "romantic' is nothing more than going out of your way to please one's mate or make them happy without being asked. If you are one who enjoys delighting someone with surprises you're "naturally romantic" and if you're not then it's something you have to work on (if) your mate desires it.