What is Aromantic?


“So I understand that aromantic means you do not experience romantic attraction. I guess I am unclear on what romantic attraction is. Like I have heard people say they are aromantic because they don’t like valentines day, hand holding or hallmark style cheesy romance. Okay, but that fits tons of people I know.

I also don’t get romantic coding. I went on three dates with a guy before I knew we were dating! People point out subtext and am like, I literately did that for my best friend last week.

Like what is the difference between a romantic person who is in a long term committed relationship and an aromantic person who is in a long term committed monogamous sexual relationship? I get that aromantic is a spectrum and that one answer is not that same for all, I am just trying to understand here. None of my family or friends have told me they are aromantic. TBH most of my understanding on the subject came from @soupernabturel‘s fantastic The Stag and the Hunters Son.

So I read this article on cosmo interviewing three people who identified as aromantic. They didn’t ask the questions I wanted to know like “Do you have strong relationships with people,” “Do you love your best friend,” etc. But the answers these people gave really confused my limited understanding of aromantic. (this is long so I put a cut in for those who want to keep scrolling)

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I already commented that the quoted parts sound like sociopaths claiming to be aromantic, but I wanted to also explain how I feel with relationships.

cut for length

Basically I want a best friend who also wants to have sex with me. That is my ideal relationship.

I also think it might be cool to have a triad where one person is overly romantic so they can take care of the romantic needs of the third person, but all three of us really care about each other and enjoy being with each other.

I’ll perform a lot of romantic gestures if I’m in a relationship with someone who needs/wants it. I don’t want it returned, but when I’m in a relationship, I care about the person and their needs.

For instance, I don’t like snuggling and talking after sex. I want to roll over and sleep. But I’ve been with a few VERY romantic people, and I let them snuggle with me and talk and I try to engage with them as much as possible. I hate romantic dinners and walking hand-in-hand, but if my partner wants it, I’ll do it for them.

The problem comes when people think they can handle a relationship where *I* don’t want that stuff returned.

There was a guy who knew full well I was aromantic, yet he insisted on writing love songs and singing them right to me. Romantic people would go nuts for that but I was extremely uncomfortable, and yet I would’ve written and performed a song for him if that was something he really wanted.

I liken my personal feelings to that of a gray ace, because while they don’t have sexual attraction, some of them don’t mind the sex. I don’t want the romance, but I’ll do it to/for someone else because I care about them.

I’m terrible at subtext and romantic coding myself. Someone has to be REALLY blunt for me to get that they want me. I don’t identify with romantic songs or movies.

Having said all that, being aromantic doesn’t mean being a dick. I care about people. I care about their feelings. I’m not just using people. And I’m noticing a disturbing trend for people who are assholes or even flat out abusive to grab onto the aromantic label and use is as an excuse.

Also, aro is a personal thing. I’ve talked with many aros and we all have different views on things we like/don’t like, will do/won’t do, and how we define our aromanticism.

I didn’t realize I was aro until my early 30s, and the guy I was with at the time was totally smothering me with his over-the-top romantics. It was awful, and for him it was just how expressed his love. I stumbled upon an explanation of aromantics and knew I’d found what was causing problems in all my previous relationships.

Being aromantic makes being with romos hard. And a lot of guys, in particular, think they’re going to love being with an aro girl. A lot of sex, no strings, no romance? YES, they think! And then they get pissed when it doesn’t turn into more.

I’ve experienced that more times than I can count.

But I’m rambling, so I’ll stop now 🙂

reblogged your photo and added:

Do aromantics not cuddle? Just for the physical contact?I doubt I’m aro, but I’m not a very romantic person and I will crawl into my boyfriend’s lap demanding a cuddle after a bad day.

Everybody’s different. I just happen to really not like cuddling unless my partner REALLY likes it or needs it, and then I’ll do it for them.

I’ll do a lot of romantic stuff if my partner really likes it (like kissing for long periods of time, holding hands in public, romantic dinners and dates, flowers, etc.), but if it were totally up to me and they got nothing out of it/didn’t ask for it, I wouldn’t do any of it. I don’t consider myself romance repulsed, especially since I really don’t mind doing it for partners who want it.

I’d rather have a best friend who is also a fuckbuddy.

But I know several aromantics who not only like everything I just listed, but they want to do it even if their partner doesn’t ask for it..

It probably doesn’t help that I have sensory overload issues that make touch sometimes way too overwhelming to even consider it enjoyable.