5 Subtle Signs You're Lithromantic & Prefer Unrequited Love

Love is a spectrum.

woman dancing by herself Leszek Glasner / shutterstock

Have you ever found yourself crushing on someone hard, and then when they start to return your feelings, your romantic impulses fade? Maybe you love the idea of "love," but have no actual desire to act on those feelings in a physical or romantic way.

If this sounds like your experience, then you may be a lithromantic, or someone who prefers unreciprocated love.

Lithromantic — or akoiromantic — is a romantic orientation on the aromantic spectrum.

Lithromantics experience romantic feelings, have crushes, and maybe flirt with their romantic interests, but then they’ll flee if the romantic interest is returned from the other person.


Lithromantics don’t actually want a romantic relationship despite having romantic feelings.

RELATED: I Thought I Was A Hopeless Romantic — Turns Out I'm Demisexual

It’s important to note that romantic orientation is not the same as sexual orientation. One can have any sort of romantic orientation and any sort of sexual orientation, the two are not mutually exclusive.


The key to lithromantics is that they don’t want reciprocation of their feelings; they're perfectly comfortable with unrequited feelings. Their discomfort comes when their romantic interest also shows a romantic interest in them.

Do you wonder if you're lithromantic but aren't sure?

Here are 5 subtle signs you might be a lithromantic.

1. The idea of a romantic relationship repulses you.

Although you may experience romantic feelings, the idea of someone returning those feelings or entering a romantic relationship with the person makes you want to run for the hills.

Even bearing witness to a romantic relationship that you are not involved in can make you uncomfortable.


The ideas of intimacy, physical touching, or forever love just don’t appeal to you, that’s not something that you want for yourself. The idea of a romantic relationship may even scare you.

Perhaps you’ve witnessed unsuccessful relationships in your past and don’t want to go through that pain. You're much more comfortable with friendships than romantic partnerships no matter how you feel about the person(s) in your life.

RELATED: Being Asexual Or Aromantic Doesn't Mean You're Broken

2. You have crushes on fictional characters.

When you fear reciprocated romantic feelings, fictional characters may be the perfect outlet for you.

Because they cannot feel anything toward you in return, let alone at all, having romantic feelings for fictional characters can feel safe. There is no danger of a relationship or heartbreak, so you can fantasize all you want about them without it going any further.


You feel like you can really intimately know the character because you get to read all about their backstory, their trials, their growth, even their internal thoughts, and feelings, but a relationship is out of the question which is perfect for a lithromantic.

This is not to say that everyone who feels emotionally attached to their favorite fictional characters is lithromantic, but lithromantics may have these feelings more commonly, and sometimes it's the only romance that they experience.

3. You keep your romantic feelings hidden.

Lithromantics may flirt, but they usually try to keep their true feelings hidden.

Because the fear comes with romantic reciprocation, lithromantics don’t want their crushes to know how they really feel. If the other person doesn’t know about the romantic interest, then there's no possibility of pursuit or it developing into a romantic relationship.


Lithromantics may not tell their purely platonic about their crushes either for fear that their friends may try to set them up or tell the romantic interest about their feelings.

Keeping your cards close to your chest means that you’ll never have to deal with the consequences of your feelings being out in the open.

4. You may get flustered talking to your crush.

Although nervousness when talking to someone you have a romantic interest in is common no matter your romantic orientation, for most the nervousness comes from a fear of the feelings not being reciprocated.

However, for a lithromantic, that nervousness stems from a fear of the feelings being reciprocated.


When you don’t want any sort of romantic relationship to develop, talking — which can lead to intimacy and mutual love — can be much more daunting even if you’ve spoken to that person a thousand times before.

You may become avoidant of the person long before they have the chance to return your feelings because you don’t want to give them that chance.

5. Your romantic feelings tend to fade over time.

Whether it’s because you can’t talk to the person you have feelings for, or if you fled from them once they started to feel the same way as you, losing romantic interest is a common occurrence.


You don’t feel like romantic relationships can have longevity in the first place, and your inconsistent feelings can be proof of that idea.

Unrequited love cannot last forever. It's unsustainable for anyone for no matter the reasons, so your feelings come and go for varying periods of time. The only consistency is that those feelings go away eventually.

You may have even tried a romantic relationship despite your fears, but the anxiety remains killing the relationship all the same as if you never let it begin in the first place.

RELATED: Being Asexual Or Aromantic Doesn't Mean You're Broken

Colleen Fogarty is a writer who covers self-care, astrology, and relationship topics.