The idea for this type of blog post has come to me, but I’ve always pushed it aside. I think a part of me thought I might be making a big deal out of nothing. However, this blog is about a part of my identity, and after talking with a friend, I realized just how much I have to say. This blog is about my experiences being aromantic: a romantic orientation meaning that I don’t fall in romantic love. Please keep in mind that there are far different experiences other aromantic people have- I do not speak for everyone in the community, I’m merely one person. I hope this post can help spread awareness, and maybe help someone.
The aromantic pride flag
Discovery and Representation
For a long time, I didn’t know what I was. I wanted a label, but all I knew was that I wasn’t straight. It felt wrong to be called straight. I had no idea how to describe what I was, or that being aromantic was a thing- aromantic representation runs extremely thin, and aromantic expression in media is even thinner. Even now, I only find either of those two things when I’m searching for it. There was nothing in my daily life to bring the aromantic label to light.
I tried many different labels.
“I don’t like men- does that make me a lesbian? Am I lesbian? Or maybe I’m pansexual- maybe I can love everyone, and that makes it harder to find love. Maybe I’m bisexual, and I just haven’t found the right one.”
All of them felt wrong to me, but it was all I had. I had to be something, right? I think the longest label I chose was pansexual, but I distinctly remember being uncomfortable with it.
I don’t remember the video, but I found the word aromantic in a youtube comment. I looked up the word and studied its definition. For me, it was like someone clicked on a light, flushing away the chattering shadows of, “Am I? Am? Am I? Am I?” here, in this label, I found something that felt right. Comfortable, like a reassuring blanket. I found tales of experiences similar to my own, and things started making so much more sense. “Aromantic. That’s me! I am aromantic!” I was lucky to have such an experience.
There was a phase after that, after I came out to my friends, where I referenced being aromantic so much. I was consuming everything I could about it, I was so happy.
But, outside of the aromantic community, there was barely anything that represented being aromantic. Even in the LGBTQ+ community itself, there wasn’t a whole lot. (there’s more there now, thankfully.) The ace-specs know the term much better, but it still makes me feel unknown. Off the top of my head, I can only think of one character in large media that’s obviously aromantic, Kusuo Saiki, (king) and he’s aromantic-asexual. That’s very valid, shout out to all the aro-aces, the aces, everyone else on the spectrum. I love that there’s at least some representation for the community. However, throughout indie media and larger media, I’ve realized there’s so much more ace representation, and then less but still more, aro-ace representation than only aro representation. I want representation for everyone, but by everyone I mean everyone. If there was more aromantic characters in media, people would better understand what it means to be aromantic, and what comes with it. You can be aromantic but not asexual, you can be asexual but not aromantic, you can be both, you can be other things on the spectrum. (Demiromantic, aegosexual, etc.) If there was more representation, it would make coming out so much easier. It’s hard explain something people know nothing about, and it’s hard to find spaces where you feel welcome. Even in the LGBTQ+ community itself, there’s still people who don’t understand being aromantic, pity being aromantic, or try to wipe it off the radar. Which actually brings me to my next point…
The Pitying of The Aromantic Community
My friend theorized that the reason there’s so little aro representation is because being single is seen as unfulfilling and saddening. In reality, many people, even outside of the aromantic community, don’t need to be in a romantic relationship to be happy or fulfilled. There are other forms of love, and for me, romantic love is less fulfilling than platonic love. Platonic love is the type of love you have with friends and family, and it can be just as strong as romantic love, just… not. You can confide in, cuddle with, and spend half of your time with a platonic friend. Strong bonds aren’t always romantic.
In the past, I dated someone for maybe a year. He was of the opposite gender. He asked me out, and I didn’t know how to respond. I liked spending time with him, and he was a boy, so that meant I liked him, right? I said yes.
When I say nothing changed for me in the relationship, I mean nothing changed. He called me his girlfriend, he got me gifts, we went on dates, and it was fun! But I didn’t realize that all I was feeling was just friendship. There was no change in feelings on my side. Going on dates and getting gifts was because I wanted to spend time with him and thought that was how relationships worked. I feel bad thinking back on it; it feels like I was deceiving him unknowingly. It feels so obvious looking back on it, too. I don’t think the reaction to someone telling you “I think I have a crush on your boyfriend…” is, “Oh. Okay?” And I don’t think you’re supposed to feel weird and anxious saying your boyfriend is your boyfriend.
I did not see him as my boyfriend, I saw him as a boy friend, and I didn’t know.
The time I spend with my friends as friends feels so much more fulfilling than any time with my ex-boyfriend as a romantic partner. Movie dates where I’m wondering how to make romantic relationships work cannot compare to giggling with friends at the back of a comic-con. Those romantic “I love you”’s only filled me with discomfort I tried to deny, while my heart blooms when me and my friends tell each other “I love you guys,” platonically.
I am not sad being unable to feel romantic love. What does make me sad is when people say, “You don’t fall in love? I’m so sorry. That sounds horrible.” What does make me sad is when people frame it like I’m missing out on some great experience. Romantic relationships may be great for them, but they aren’t great for me. What does make me sad is when people think being aromantic means I’m emotionless, and unable to feel empathy or any type of love.
The Denial of the Aromantic Community’s Existence
I know it can be hard to comprehend, especially when someone doesn’t know the term. Some people need an explanation, and I’m happy to provide them with that. Some people still don’t respect it, though, and some people completely deny its existence. So many people deny its existence.
“You’ll find the right person one day.”
“You just need more time!”
“You’re young, it just hasn’t happened yet.”
Yes, I’m young. Maybe one day I’ll realize I’m not aromantic and change my label, which is completely fine. But right now I feel aromantic, belong in this label, and don’t ever see it changing in the future. the most tiring things to hear are variants of the quotes above. They’re so invalidating. Who even is the ‘right person?’ What if the right person is one of my friends? In that case, what if I’ve already found them? It feels like I’ve already found the right person in my friends, as friends.
This experience isn’t exclusive to me. Many other aromantics get told the same thing. There are so, so many of us, and despite what others say, we exist. We are valid.
My Opinion on Romance
Because I’m aromantic, most people assume I don’t like romance, such as in movies or books or other couples in real life. While it’s very real for a aromantic person to be repulsed by all romance (on a spectrum), personally, I adore romance! I really love fictional ships, and other people being together doesn’t bother me. Reading good, cute romance makes me elated. Though, I have to admit- the way people describe romance sounds horrifying sometimes. Like, you think about one person all of the time and feel horribly sad when they’re gone? You dream about that person and can’t help but admire them silently, hoping your intense feelings are returned? You get into relationships in high school, knowing there’s a very slim chance they’ll lead anywhere more? Don’t even get me started on relationship drama. Why is there so much relationship drama?!
I could never. Great for all the romantics out there, but also man. I am glad I don’t have to deal with that. I’m fine with my lovey-dovey fanfiction and media.
If you got this far, then yay! This post was longer than I realized while writing it. I hope you learned new things, and if you have any questions, I have no problem answering. Have a nice day!