What It Really Means To Be Aromantic

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Did you ever wonder what the world would be like if people didn’t fall in love?

It may seem kind of trippy to think of a world where there were no famous love stories like Romeo and Juliet. But for people who are aromantic, placing less (if any) importance on romantic notions may actually feel a whole lot more comfortable.

What does 'aromantic' mean?

People who are aromantic experience little to no romantic attraction or develop feelings of romantic love for others, as opposed to people who are alloromantic, i.e., those who do experience romantic attraction. It's important to distinguish that being aromatic is not the same as being asexual.

Being aromantic does not mean you are broken, and it doesn't mean you are incapable of loving anyone. People who identify as aromantic have experience their emotions differently.

RELATED: Are You Asexual? 15 Signs You Might Be Somewhere On The Asexuality Spectrum

Like other romantic and sexual orientations, aromanticism exists on a spectrum. So, someone who is aromantic might feel some level of romantic attraction to some people under certain circumstances. However, most call themselves aromantic because they don't feel any romantic connection or attraction to people.

Aromantic individuals are rare, but they are real — and if this definition sounds familiar to you, there's a chance you could be one of them.

What's the difference between being asexual and being aromantic?

What does it mean to be aromantic? To understand that, let's start with learning what the word means itself.

The word aromantic comes from the prefix a-, meaning "not," and romantic, therefore meaning a non-romantic person who doesn't ever experience romantic attraction to anyone. However, they could experience a sensual and sexual attraction to someone, as those two attractions can be different.

A person who is asexual is different because they don't experience any sexual attraction to other people and some despise sex, while others enjoy sex. Just because they aren't sexually attracted to someone, doesn't mean they can't enjoy romantic partners.

Some view aromanticism as a form of asexuality. However, romantic orientation and sexual orientation are two separate concepts. While you could be both, being asexual does not necessarily mean you are aromantic, and being aromantic does not necessarily mean you are asexual.

Sexually, even though being an aromantic person means you aren't physically attracted to someone, you can still be sexually attracted to them and have a relationship, just not with any romance. And you can still feel platonic love, like you do for friends and family.

An aromantic person's romantic orientation can also differ from who they are sexually attracted to.

This can be hard for some people, as having sex and being physically attracted to someone might go hand and hand. But this sort of relationship would be good for someone who doesn't catch romantic feelings from sex, as sex is just seen as sex and not romance.

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Can people who are aromantic have relationships?

There is often confusion that just because someone is aromantic means they don't like love and romance, but that's not the case. An aromantic person could enjoy sex, but just not feel any romantic feelings about their partner, which is a hard thing to adjust to if you're a person who cares a lot about physical and romantic attraction.

Aromantic people might have queerplatonic relationships more often, as those relationships aren't romantic in nature and don't fit the traditional idea of a romantic relationship.

There's no real evidence that being aromantic is innate, but is being aromantic a choice? Some do believe they were born like that. Others think they might have realized over time that they just aren't romantic or don't like being romantic, and they chose to call themselves aromantic.

So, it's not a choice to be aromantic, but it's a choice to call yourself aromantic and identifying as such if you truly believe you are.

Another popular term used is identifying with being a demiromantic. What is a demiromantic?

A person who is demiromantic is someone who cannot develop romantic feelings for someone until they know them well and have a strong connection and intimacy in their relationship. There needs to be an emotional connection before the person starts to feel romantic attraction.

How do I know if I'm aromantic? Well, you can tell if you're aromantic if you have trouble when trying to tell the difference between feelings of romance and friendship. But the most obvious sign is that you have never had a crush or fallen in love with anyone.

There's no scientific way to "test" for aromanticism, but if the following signs sound familiar, there's a chance you may identify as aromantic.

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Am I aromantic?

If these 13 signs sound true for you, you might feel comfortable identifying as aromantic.

1. You've never had a crush on anyone.

When you were in high school, everyone else was talking about who was crushing on who. It was a time when everyone had a crush.

You, on the other hand? You didn’t crush on anyone. You couldn’t figure out why; it just never happened. Even after high school, nothing quite felt like the “butterflies in your stomach” other people had.

2. The whole concept of weddings baffles you.

For most women, planning a wedding and seeing all the little details come together is the most romantic thing you could imagine. Heck, if you’re like me, you have dreamed about a perfect wedding for ages.

A person who’s aromantic, on the other hand, will not see the appeal. If anything, they’ll just see it as another party.

3. Relationships aren’t your thing.

By definition, people who are aromantic do not want relationships of a romantic type, as romance makes you feel uncomfortable.

If you’re aromantic, others may have pursued you romantically, but you would always turn them down simply because it’s not something that you understand or care to pursue.

4. You know what it's like to feel platonic love, but you don’t have a desire for romantic love.

Don’t get me wrong — people who are aromantic can feel love. They may feel the kind of love platonic relationships like best friends have, or the feeling of love that occurs between a parent and child.

However, feelings of romantic love don’t usually arise for them.

5. You don't find yourself romantically attracted to people.

People who are aromantic may feel sexually attracted to someone, but an aromantic person is unlikely to feel romantically attracted to someone, even if they have a sexual relationship.

One study within the asexual community found that approximately 25.9 percent of people who identify as asexual also identify as aromantic. In contrast, only 4.9 percent of people who identified as non-Aces (non-asexual respondents) identified as aromantic.

6. You may want to be in a relationship, but probably not for romantic reasons.

Some aromantic people do want to be in relationships. But even then, they don’t usually have the same reasons for wanting to couple up as other people would.

They may choose to be in a relationship for financial reasons, to have a best friend to live with and talk to, or because they want to have a family and raise children.

7. You may feel sexual attraction, but you don't typically feel romantic emotions alongside it.

Contrary to popular belief, some aromantic people do experience sexual attraction to others and have fairly active sex lives. They are aromantic, though, because they do not experience romantic attraction to people the way most others do.

8. The most intense attraction you experience is a 'squish.'

Crushes are the desire to spend time with someone romantically, and, in most cases, sexually. Squishes, on the other hand, are the desire to befriend someone and just spend time with a certain person platonically.

9. Romance novels, rom-coms, and love songs don’t appeal to you.

When you’re aromantic, you can’t get into things like Harlequin novels because they simply don’t resonate with you at all. You don’t understand the feelings that romantic media discusses and, therefore, won’t have the same kind of interest that other women would have for it.

10. You prefer being single.

Being perennially single might be an awful thing for romantics like myself, but for aromantics, it’s really not that bad.

In fact, most aromantic people prefer to be single for the long-term and don't buy into amatonormativity, "the assumption that the traditional view of romantic relationships... is the highest form of satisfaction one can achieve in life."

11. Though you feel you should be upset about the fact you've never fallen in love, you’re actually pretty okay with it.

Aromantic people never fall in love because they’re just not “built that way.” They also don’t really desire the chance to fall in love.

Sound like you? Because of the way that mainstream culture talks about love, you might feel like you should feel embarrassed or ashamed of it, but don’t be. You’re aromantic, and that’s perfectly alright!

12. Listening to other people talk about their love lives bores you.

Romantic stories or juicy gossip about people’s love lives just doesn’t appeal to those who are aromantic. They just don’t relate to the feelings other people have.

13. When you heard the term 'aromantic,' something just clicked.

Did the term alone just describe what you’ve been feeling for the longest time? If so, you may be aromantic.

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Ossiana Tepfenhart is a writer based out of Red Bank, New Jersey. She writes primarily about lifestyle, food, finance, and relationships.