Do you feel completely bewildered when your friends and family talk excitedly about falling in love? Do you shudder at the thought of reading a romance book or watching a romantic comedy? Does the thought of going on a blind date, or having a partner move into your home, fill you with more horror than you would like to admit to?
If so, there’s a chance you may be aromantic, or aro.
If you are questioning whether or not you are aro, it’s probably sensible to start with a definition. One website describes it like this:
An aromantic person is an individual who does not experience romantic love or attraction, although this does not preclude them from feeling other forms of love or attraction, such as platonic love. Keep in mind, aromanticisim is a spectrum, so people may experience different forms of attraction, but still consider themselves to be aromantic.
Aromantics may be interested in relationships without romance involved, such as platonic life partnerships. Platonic, for lack of better definition, is like friendship.
Aromantics may feel sexual attraction or be on the asexuality spectrum. Being aromantic does not determine sexuality but can impact a person’s ability to act on their sexuality.
Aromantic is sometimes abbreviated as “aro”. And aromanticism is the noun that refers to aromantics.
If that resonates with you, you need to start finding out more. There are many sub-categories of aromanticism so, if the broad definition doesn’t feel quite right, read descriptions of those, which are more specific, to see if any of those click with you.
Read, read, read. Find out everything you can and see whether it seems to fit your life.
It could also be really useful to talk with someone, especially someone who has an understanding of what being aromantic means. You could even break the ice by giving them an article to read first, then explain that you think this is affecting you.
The prospect of this conversation might feel awful to you, but having people on side is vital to our self-esteem and self-acceptance. Like with most ‘comings out’, there will be fear and anxiety, but it might well feel important to you to know that there are people who know who you truly are.
Of course, you don’t need to tell anybody yet – or tell anybody at all. It’s entirely up to you to work out what feels safest.
If, after reading and talking and reading and talking some more, you decide that you are aromantic, you can start to explore what this means for you. You will be able to start to make decisions about how you want your future and your relationships (platonic or romantic or sexual) to look, and this is empowering, wherever you are in your process of self-discovery.