Aromanticism can be really hard to figure out, especially since we’re often not sure what “romantic attraction” is supposed to be, so I made a list of things I’ve often seen in myself and other aromantic-spectrum people.
These are just generalizations. They won’t apply to every aromantic-spectrum person; and some non-aromantic people will have some of these things, too. Some of the list items are contradictory. Having any of the experiences listed below is not proof that you’re aromantic, nor are you any less aromantic if few of them apply to you. But if you’ve been trying to figure out your romantic orientation, and a lot of these sound really familiar to you…then it may mean something.
I also made a list of words relevant to aro-spectrum people in case that helps.
- When you discovered the word “aromantic,” it felt like something finally clicked into place for you.
- Identifying as aromantic makes you feel relieved, free, happy, or more like yourself.
- When you discovered the concept of a “squish” suddenly a lot of things made more sense to you.
- You have trouble telling the difference between romantic and friendly feelings.
- You’ve never had a crush on someone, or fallen in love.
- You’re not sure if you’ve ever had a crush on someone or fallen in love.
- You have trouble telling the difference between a crush and a squish, or between romantic and aesthetic/sexual/sensual attraction.
- You have doubted whether crushes or love really exist, or if they’re just cultural constructs.
- You find romance boring, annoying or upsetting when it appears in fiction, even if it’s written well.
- You once thought that having a crush on someone meant you admired them or really wanted to be their friend.
- You thought crushes were something you consciously decided to have, and selected an acquaintance or celebrity to be your crush, because everyone else was doing it.
- You forgot which acquaintance or celebrity you were supposed to have a crush on.
- If you’re not asexual, a “friends with benefits” relationship sounds ideal to you.
- You have trouble relating, or feeling involved, when your friends discuss their romantic relationships or romantic feelings.
- Falling in love doesn’t seem very exciting to you.
- You don’t understand why other people make such a big deal out of having crushes or falling in love.
- You don’t understand why people do ridiculous, irrational or over-the-top things in the name of love.
- You don’t understand why finding someone sexually/aesthetically attractive would lead you to want a committed relationship with them.
- Or, maybe you sort of understand those things in an abstract way, but you can’t really relate to them.
- You have never had a romantic relationship - not because you couldn’t get one, but because you just never really bothered to try, or you liked being single better.
- When a romantic relationship gets serious, it makes you feel cold, distant or uncomfortable.
- Getting a romantic partner feels more like fulfilling an obligation, or something you’re supposed to do, than something you’re really enthusiastic about.
- Your romantic partners always seem to be way more into the lovey-dovey stuff than you are.
- A likable person suggests having a romantic relationship with you, and you’re indifferent to it - you’re open to trying it, but you won’t get disappointed without it. Other people may find your indifference bizarre or think you’re giving off mixed messages.
- You have felt guilty about not loving your romantic partner as much as they loved you, even though you sincerely cared about them and wanted to love them back.
- You have felt suffocated, repressed or tense in a romantic relationship, even though you really liked your partner and they hadn’t done anything wrong.
- When your last romantic relationship ended, you felt relieved and free more than you felt sad, even if your partner broke it off, and even if you liked them very much as a person.
- You’re more excited by making a new best friend than by falling in love.
- You wouldn’t mind marrying your best friend and spending your life with them, even though you’re not in love with them.
- You’d rather spend Friday night having a sleepover party with your buddies than going out on a date.
- You want a best friend much more than you want a romantic relationship.
- It’s not so much the idea of being single forever that bothers you, so much as being alone or unwanted.
- You are either oblivious to other people flirting with you, or feel uncomfortable or threatened by it.
- You are sometimes perceived as flirtatious when you only meant to be friendly.
- You live in a large community and see or meet hundreds of people around your age every year, but none of them have ever stirred romantic feelings in you.
- You recognize whether something is romantic or not by comparing it to other gestures, words and signals that your culture has taught you are romantic, rather than “feeling” the romance of it intuitively.
- When you say or do romantic things, it feels like you’re following a script or copying romantic things you’ve seen elsewhere, rather than something spontaneous and natural to you.
- When thinking about what sort of person you’d want to date, your criteria are identical to what you would want from a best friend.
- The main benefit you get from a romantic relationship is either platonic, sensual, sexual, or a combination of those; the romantic aspect is okay but it’s not really the part you like most.
- You have trouble imagining romantic activities that you would enjoy, unless those activities are also fun or interesting for you on a platonic or intellectual level.
- You feel like your closest friends and/or queerplatonic partners are better at fulfilling your emotional needs than romantic partners would be.
- You would rather be huggy, cuddly or emotionally intimate with all of your friends instead of reserving your intimacy for just one person.
- You would rather have a queerplatonic relationship than a typical romantic relationship.
- You don’t feel as if you’re missing anything in your life right now; having a romantic partner might be nice, but you don’t need it or seek it out.
- The idea of being single forever sounds awesome to you.
- You enjoy gestures and activities that are traditionally labeled “romantic,” but at no point during them do you actually feel attracted to whoever you’re with.
- You don’t enoy gestures and activities that are traditionally labeled romantic, either because the romance aspect bothers you, or because all of them are just plain unappealing to you.
- You avoid going places where people are likely to flirt with you, such as bars, parties, nightclubs, and concerts.
- You’re not sure why other people enjoy romantic stories; you usually just find the lead characters to be annoying, boring or dysfunctional.
- You like the idea of having a big wedding celebration more than the idea of actually marrying someone.
Feel free to add your own.
# i literally said oh shit out loud
# i relate to almost all of them
# i'm distraught
fictional couples who are on a permanent last name basis
fictional couples who only ever use each other’s title or rank
fictional couples who then use each other’s first names in times of high stress or really intimate, heartwarming moments
Just to be clear, I do often use “dude” as a “gender-neutral” term, especially when I’m excited, but if that ever makes you uncomfortable or you feel I’m not respecting your gender, you can tell me to stop because me getting to use a certain word is not even close to being as important as you being comfortable around me, okay?
This is a good attitude to have about the word “dude”