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What is the Aromantic Spectrum?

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Feb 25, 2022

What is the Aromantic Spectrum?
  • From the moment we are born, it feels like ideas of romance are pushed into our heads. Talks of getting married and being a “heartbreaker” seem to fill popular media and our minds. For some queer people it can already be daunting to deal with the heteronormative ways of society, so what about those who feel little or no romantic feelings?

    For those who lack romantic feelings, you may fit on the Aromantic spectrum. There are many different forms of Aromanticism, from people who feel no romantic feelings and have no desire to have romantic relationships, to people who only feel romantic feelings if it’s reciprocated. Learning more about the Aromantic identities can help to explain the feelings that you’re having.

    What Does it Mean to be Aromantic?

    Aromanticism is a romantic orientation that most commonly describes people who experience little to no romantic attraction to others. It also describes someone whose experience of romance is disconnected from normative societal expectations to feeling repulsed by romance or being uninterested in romantic relationships.

    You may feel that this feeling applies to you, or partially applies. This is why it’s important to be aware of the different identities on the spectrum.

    The Aromantic Spectrum

    There are many identities under the Aromantic spectrum. Let’s learn about some of the more common ones:

    • Aegoromantic: Those who enjoy the concept of romance but do not have a desire to participate in romantic activities.
    • Aroflux: People who experience their romantic orientation as fluctuating between experiencing and not experiencing romantic attraction, or that attraction is being experienced to alternating or changing degrees.
    • Autoromantic: Someone who doesn’t desire romantic activities with others but enjoys being romantically intimate with themselves.
    • Cupioromantic: Describes those who do not experience attraction but desire a romantic relationship.
    • Demiromantic: Also known as Demisexual. Used to describe people who don’t experience romantic attraction until they form a deep emotional connection with someone. This connection can be sexual or platonic.
    • Grayromantic: People who feel very low amounts of romantic attraction, rarely feel romantic attraction, only feel romantic attraction under specific circumstances, or are unsure if they experience romantic attraction.
    • Lithoromantic: Those who experience romantic attraction but don’t want it to be reciprocated.
    • Quoiromantic: Someone unable to tell the difference between different kinds of attraction, being unsure about experiencing romantic attraction or not, and/or not feeling romantic attractions are relevant to one’s self.
    • Recipromantic: Only experience romantic attraction after knowing that the other person is romantically attracted to them, or reciprocated.

    This list doesn’t cover the full range of identities on the spectrum but can be a great starting point for identifying the feelings you’re experiencing.

    Am I on the Aromantic Spectrum?

    When it comes to determining whether you’re on the Aromantic spectrum, it’s important to understand feelings of romantic love. Romantic love often involves feelings of passion, intense desire for closeness, and emotional intimacy. Initial feelings of romantic love can be strong and overwhelming, even distracting.

    Often Aromantic people don’t experience these overwhelming romantic feelings, or may not feel them very easily. Many don’t desire to have these feelings, as well. Sometimes being Aromantic and being Asexual can be confused, but they are not synonymous. 

    Aromantic vs. Asexual

    Aromanticism and Asexualism have similar feelings but are different. Some people may be both, but not all. Asexual people typically have a lack of sexual interest or attraction but still desire romance. They still typically will feel romantic feelings toward others.

    Aromantic people may still desire sex but not have romantic feelings for others. The act may still be pleasurable but there’s no emotional connection to the other person.

    Aromantic people may still desire a relationship with another person, even if they don’t have romantic feelings.

    Aromantic People Still Want Relationships

    Although Aromantic people may not feel romantic feelings in the societally expected way, many Aromantic people still desire to be in relationships for a variety of reasons.

    An Aromantic person may want a relationship because…

    • Some pursue relationships to give or receive affection and care. They can still desire intimacy, commitment, and emotional support.
    • Some relationships can be based on shared interests, mutual respect, or emotional closeness. These relationships may feel more platonic than romantic.
    • Some also enter into relationships because they have a desire for a family or children.

    Ways to Support Aromantic People

    It can be challenging to have feelings that are different than societal norms. Supporting Aromantic people is an important part of bringing awareness and normalizing this identity. 

    Be an ally by:

    1. Hearing the experiences of Aromantic People. Listen to the stories and struggles that are discussed. Be willing to learn and educate yourself, as well as, hear ways in which you may perpetuate bigotry.
    2. Show respect. Being respectful of the identities and feelings of Aromantic people is very important. You may not feel similar or understand where they’re coming from, but it’s crucial to still provide a safe space for them to express their feelings.
    3. Understand that everyone is different. Even within the queer identity, there are many different ways to feel and express love. Not everyone feels or desires romance and that’s perfectly okay. It doesn’t mean that anything is wrong or someone is doing something wrong, they simply see things in a different way than you may.
    4. Educate yourself on some identities on the Aromantic Spectrum. Part of understanding is being aware of different terms and identities on the Aromantic spectrum. Being able to have an understanding helps with normalizing Aromantic identities.

    Learn More with HER

    HER is a great place to connect with awesome queer people, including some who identify as Aromantic. You’ll be sure to meet and connect with a variety of people who share your experiences. You may even meet your special person or new members of your chosen family. Find your community of open-minded people on HER today!

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    Alexandra hails from Boston, MA but is currently living in the DC Area. She's passionate about social justice, self-care, spirituality, and watching documentaries. She's no stranger to telling her story through writing and has written for a variety of freelance publications. You can find her on Instagram at @lexlexlexlexlex__.

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