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How to know if you’re cupioromantic: meaning  & relationships

Robyn Exton

May 04, 2023

How to know if you’re cupioromantic: meaning  & relationships

Over the last 40 years, we’ve done a lot of great work by evolving our language to represent the many different genders and sexualities. Every day, this is helping members of our community feel seen, represented, and like they’re able to explore who they are with more guidance and affirmation than ever before. 

One of the terms we’ve added and embraced into our lexicon is cupioromantic

Cupioromantics, by definition, are people who are interested in romantic relationships but do not experience romantic attraction.

Do you feel like this might be you? We’ll break down signs for what you might expect if you’re cupioromantic. 

This article will help you if you’re struggling to figure out what you’re feeling when it comes to romantic relationships, or if you want to support a cupioromantic person in your life. And of course, if you’re feeling proud, you might want to start donning pride with the colors of the several cupioromantic flags, too.

So let’s discuss what cupioromantic means, its relationship with aromanticism and asexuality, and its implications when it comes to relationships.

Origins of cupioromanticism

First things first: how do you even pronounce cupioromantic? It’s easy, like pronouncing the letters Q, P, and O, then “romantic”: “Q P O – romantic,”

Now that that’s covered, uncovering the origins of cupioromanticism as a term is not as easy. Like many new micro-labels that reflect romantic and sexual orientations, it probably originated in online circles in the 2010s, with one of its pride flags only being designed as recently as 2020. 

Just because it’s a new term doesn’t make the experience of cupioromanticism any less valid, though. 

The term “cupio” comes from the Latin word for “desire” or “wish for.” This prefix and suffix combination of “cupioromantic” reflects the idea of being in a romantic relationship or experiencing romantic feelings, but they may not actually feel that attraction that they so desire toward another person or other people. 

Source: Modern Met

What is cupioromanticism?

Cupioromanticism is a romantic orientation — which is separate from sexual orientation — where a person desires romantic attraction or a romantic relationship but does not feel that attraction to others – AKA the yearning and longing is there for the romantic aspects of a partnership, like closeness, but don’t feel these things for other people. 

What’s the difference between sexual and romantic orientations?

Sexual and romantic orientation are two different things. 

  • Romantic orientation
  • Sexual orientation

Often romantic attraction can be conflated with “-sexual” suffixes in everyday use. For example: “I’m bisexual” can refer to someone who enjoys sexual encounters with other people regardless of gender, and who may also experience romantic attraction to them, as well. 

Many people are perfectly happy with using this one suffix to explain their entire experience with attraction to others.

For others, this may not be enough, and having the language to describe their experiences is a powerful tool to reclaim pride and answer questions they may have had for a long time. So having separate “-romantic” and “-sexual” suffixes is very helpful in this case.

Cupioromantic can be closely tied with the terms “aromantic” and “asexual,” which refer to the lack of attraction. Asexuals, for example, feel little to no sexual attraction. As you may have guessed, aromantics feel little to no romantic attraction. So you can say that cupioromantics are aromantics who desire romantic relationships, but are unable to feel that attraction.

Am I cupioromantic?

If you’re wondering if you’re cupioromantic, a good first question to ask yourself is: why do you want a romantic relationship?

 If your answer is somewhere along the lines of, “Well, everyone says I should find a true romance, a love for the ages, like in all the movies and songs,” then it’s probably worth thinking about whether you are cupioromantic.

Being cupioromantic is a unique and valid experience that many people may not fully understand. 

For those who identify as cupioromantic, it can be difficult to navigate relationships and social situations when others don’t fully understand their feelings or desires. But that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve love and support! 

Here are some other questions to ask yourself if you’re trying to figure out if you’re cupioromantic: 

  • You don’t really get crushes, or you’ve had very few
  • You theoretically see yourself in a romantic relationship but
  • The thought of romantic gestures repulses you, or make you feel hesitant

Source: Study Finds

Misconceptions about cupioromanticism

What’s it like to be a cupioromantic? 

A quick forum search shows that people feel frustrated that others don’t really understand them, but also feel a sense of relief to find that they’re not alone.

Regardless, we should all strive to dispel myths and misconceptions about cupioromanticism. Below are some questions people often ask about cupioromanticism.

Is cupioromanticism the same as being asexual?

While some cupioromantic individuals may also identify as asexual, the two terms are not interchangeable. Asexuality refers to a lack of sexual attraction, while cupioromanticism refers specifically to romantic attraction and desire.

Can a cupioromantic fall in love?

No, because cupioromantics don’t feel romantic attraction, they cannot fall in love (romantically.) 

Can a cupioromantic be in a relationship?

Cupioromantics, like asexuals and aromantics, can absolutely be in relationships. That relationship may not have the same trappings as a typical romantic relationship. 

Sex educator, Dainis Graveris, says, “cupioromantic people may still crave or desire romance. Some are even open to being in a romantic relationship. That’s why cupioromanticism falls under the romance-favorable umbrella. They can be into the idea of loving someone and being loved.” 

The key is communication of desires and needs, and everyone being on the same page about what can be provided emotionally and physically in the relationship.

Show your pride with the cupioromantic flag

It’s time to get familiar with the cupioromantic flag. There are a few iterations, with the one shown above designed by an anonymous 

DeviantArt user in 2020. It shows four horizontal stripes, the top one being gray, the second purple, the third white, and the fourth pink. 

It’s difficult to pinpoint the meaning of each color, but because of the relationship with cupioromantic and aromantic identities, it’s safe to assume that the white reflects platonic love and friendship.

Support your loved ones who are cupioromantic

If you’re cupioromantic and want to educate someone on what your experience is like, feel free to share this article with them. Part of having supportive partners and friends is communicating and educating yourself and others about each others’ lived experiences. 

If you aren’t cupioromantic but know someone who is, let them know that they are supported and that, no matter what, their experiences are valid.

Robyn Exton

Robyn is the CEO & Founder of HER. Find her on Twitter.

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