What Does Aromantic Mean?

Human feelings, emotions, and attraction are complex. Despite what pop culture used to make us believe up until recently, not everyone is skinny and straight, and not everyone shows the same feelings in certain situations. One of the orientations that often gets dismissed is aromantic. Find out more about them with Flure!

What is aromantic?

Aromantic (or aro) people are unable to form romantic attraction towards someone. They have feelings in general and are able to form loving relationships, though. Interestingly, someone who is aromantic can feel sexual and platonic attraction, but not romantic one.
It’s important to remember that aromanticism is a spectrum, and while some of its representatives have never ever felt romantic towards anyone, others may have experienced these feelings at some point in their lives, but it’s no longer the case for them.

Signs you are aromantic

There is a variety of aromanticism, but the majority of those who fall under that category share the following signs.
  1. No romantic attraction. The aromantic part of the population doesn’t fall in love in a traditional way. They do not develop romantic feelings, neither do they seek or want to develop them.
  2. There is no crushing into someone and having butterflies in your stomach.
  3. You can’t relate to romantic stories from your friends, acquaintances, and pop cultural references.
  4. There is a strong preference for non-romantic relationships, such as friendships.
Finally, one sign that is a strong indicator of someone being aromantic is if they feel a sense of relief upon discovery of the term aromantic. Suddenly everything clicks for them, and the world makes sense. If you have similar sensations – there’s a good chance you’re aromantic.

Aromantic vs asexual

Aromanticism is not the same as asexuality. Asexual people don’t feel sexual attraction but can want a romantic relationship, whereas aromantic people do not have romantic feelings, but can still desire someone sexually. People of all orientations and genders can be aromantic or asexual.

Allosexual vs alloromantic vs aromantic

Allosexual individuals are simply people who experience sexual attraction. They can feel it and do not deny it when the desire comes. Alloromantics are those who can experience romantic attractions. Both can want sex and romance. An aromantic person, in turn, can desire sex but they’re not after romantic feelings.

Am I aromantic?

If you’ve looked up the meeting of the term aromantic, and wonder if that’s you, here are some questions you can ask yourself to start the self-discovery journey.
  • Do I feel romantic attraction to someone? Have I ever felt it before?
  • What do I feel when I think about other couples?
  • How do I feel about finding a romantic partner myself?
  • What are my relationship preferences?
  • What relationships are a priority for me?
  • Do I like or long for romantic gestures?
  • Does seeing romantic stories on TV or the internet interest me?
Figuring out what you want, who you like, and who you are is not easy. It takes a great deal of effort, strength, curiosity, and perseverance. Although the world is changing, and we are much more used to and understanding different genders and orientations, the US still remains a rather conservative country.
That’s why you don’t see much conversation about aromanticism, and it can feel alienating and confusing. Make sure to give yourself time and not rush things or blame yourself for not knowing what you want. Seek out support, whether from your close circle or local LGBTQ+ communities, and you’ll get there, we promise!

Misconceptions about aromantic people

Just like any concept that doesn’t fit the societal norm, aromanticism is prone to misunderstandings and misconceptions. Here are the main ones.
  • There is something wrong with aromantic people. This is probably the most toxic misconception because it puts aromantic folks on the spot and gives everyone the license to judge. There’s, obviously, nothing wrong with aromantic orientation.
  • They hate romance. Similarly to how some think that child-free people all hate children, they assume that someone who’s aromantic must be anti-romance. In reality, it’s not the case 9.8 times out of 10. Surely, someone might really hate romances and everything to do with them, but this is just their personal preference and not the symptom of the entire orientation. Plus, as we discussed earlier, there are individuals on the aromantic spectrum who have had romantic feelings in the past.
  • Aromantics don’t feel emotions. Again, not true. Aromantics can feel platonic feelings and they can also desire someone sexually.
  • They’re just afraid of commitment. Aromantic people can commit to the relationship they have in their lives, despite not having romantic feelings.
  • They’ll change their mind once they find the right person. People who say that are the same people who claim that people will change their minds about having kids and that bisexual and pansexual people are just going through “a phase”. Ugh. Very annoying, and definitely not true.
  • You can’t touch, hug, or kiss aromantics. Again, it can be the case on an individual level, but overall aromantic people are just as longing for all these things. After all, we hug and touch our friends and family without feeling romantic feelings towards them, so there’s nothing new in this concept.

Challenges of being aromantic

There are different types of challenges that the Flure team discovered associated with being aromantic. Here they are, and we hope you won’t have to deal with any of them!
  1. Finding the right partner can be tricky. Aromantic people struggle to find someone compatible with them who would understand what they want and also meet their needs and preferences. Not everyone is ready to be with someone who doesn’t develop romantic feelings, and with the stigma that’s going on around all “non-traditional” orientations, it’s hard to open up again and again.
  2. Misrepresentation and misunderstanding can be totally accidental and not malicious, but still hurtful. Many people still don’t know that aromanticism is a thing, and they struggle with fully comprehending it. This will change with time when we get more resources on this orientation, and when it becomes a more popular topic in the public space, but there’s still a long way to go.
  3. The constant pressure to seek romantic relationships. Imagine you’re not interested in eating apples. Never had, never will, and you’re certain about it. Yet, you go through almost daily pressure to try apples, listen to how great they are for you, and how much you’ll love them. This would drive anyone insane, and it’s such an innocent thing as trying a fruit. Now imagine someone pressures you to go on dates when you have absolutely no desire to do so. This can be very traumatizing over the years.
  4. Feeling different and like you never fit in. Human beings as a species want to be a part of a community. Belonging to a group is critical for our mental and often physical state. Aromantic people are often deprived of it which lowers their quality of life.
  5. Dealing with social expectations is also tricky, especially if one’s immediate surroundings are rather close-minded.
  6. Self-doubt is a big challenge for many aromantics because they don’t see people like them a lot, and they don’t hear about them much either. Live like that for several years, and you might really start to question yourself, whether it’s all in your head and you actually are romantically interested, but just haven’t found the right person yet.

Tips for dating aromantic people

Aromantic people feel a lot of pressure from the outside world to conform to the norms. Humans are expected to fall in love, form romantic attractions, and make grand gestures and sacrifices for someone they fancy. This can be a lot even for someone who does enjoy romances, and for aromantic people, it can feel like having to put on a show in the fear of being ridiculed and discriminated against.
Does this mean that aromantic people avoid relationships altogether? Not really. Some form couples because they appreciate each other’s company, shared values, lifestyle, and plans for the future. Just because romantic feelings aren’t involved, doesn’t mean that such bonds aren’t real or meaningful. In fact, being with someone you can trust, someone who fully understands you and cares for your well-being is incredibly important, especially in these times when the loneliness epidemic is booming. Those who are engaged in aromatic relationships can demonstrate their affection through the same love languages that you can witness from a romantic couple.
So, the answer to the question of whether aromantic people can date, – yes, they can. It might look different than what you’re used to seeing on TV, but it’s perfectly valid and real.