When I Realized I Am Aromantic
A Brief Foray Into My Thoughts, Feelings, and the Puzzling Lack of Relief or Worry
Never have I ever felt a fluttering in my tummy relating to another human being. Never have I ever looked at other couples and felt a gaping wound at my side, as if realizing I was without an important limb everyone else had. I've honestly just...never really felt inclined to date anyone. I've never even had a crush. I'm twenty-two-years-old and have never once dated and, though it's never bothered me, the solo act, I have often wondered why I wasn't feeling the urge for it. Why did I never call up my friends, bemoaning a lack of significant other with which to cuddle and snuggle and lose myself in romantic overtures with?
Well as it turns out I'm aromantic.
The Accidental Discovery
Several months ago I was on Facebook and a friend of mine had a post detailing the many different kinds of pride flags and their colors. I looked through them without much thought other than to appreciate the cartoon avatars the particular artist had assigned to each flag and the use of the flag's colors. I'm an aesthetics junkie, what can I say? Anyway, I was looking at the usual suspects; the rainbow flag, asexual flag, pansexual... but then I saw a new one that I had never seen before. Demisexual. There was a little explanation about it, along with a little quip from the character to help explain it. Intrigued further, I decided to google it and the very first result to pop up belonged to a web page that I am now very fond of: AVENwiki.
The Research Binge
This wasn't just a simple case of, "Oh this is new, let me look it up for all of five minutes and then go about my way!" No, oh no, this was research that took me up to two weeks to get even a basic understanding of this new spectrum — to understand that there was actually a huge network and world underneath the umbrella of asexuality! Then it was another month of just figuring out where I fit. However, for sake of word count, I'm just going to summarize the important information. So first I looked up demisexual. According to AVENwiki, a demisexual is one who doesn't feel sexual attraction to a person unless they've formed a strong and lasting bond with them. This is so much more than a 'getting to know you' first date and takes more than a couple times of hanging out or texting to get. This is a true, strong emotional connection built upon a trust given only to the closest and dearest in order for any sort of arousal to even begin. I thought this sounded something like myself, but not quite. I was curious to see if this went any further.
When I was done looking at this, I went further and clicked on the link to take my to the different kinds of romantic orientations. It was so strange and yet so wonderful to see that people weren't just thoroughly exploring the different sexual orientations, but the different kinds of love a person could feel. It was here that I saw for the very first time, the term "aromantic" and "demiromantic." I looked up and read through all the other types first, just for pleasure of learning, but eventually I had to wind up at aromantic. It was here that I felt, for the first time, that I was on to something big with this. Aromantics, according to the AVENwiki, are those who experience little to no romantic attraction, while demiromantics are very similar to demisexuals in that it requires a powerful emotional connection to begin forming a romantic connection. This does not mean that as an aromantic you are incapable of connecting with people on deep personal levels. Being demiromantic doesn't mean you're hard to get or too picky. Please keep in mind that your romantic orientation has nothing to do with your sexual orientation and it is perfectly reasonable to assume that, though you might be aromantic, you can still be sexual, or you could be asexual. Same goes with any other combination of the two, because every person is different and there is no impossible orientation combination.
Well I had quite a bit to chew on. The two terms that came closest to being true to me were demiromantic and aromantic. What did I truly fall under though? Was I just someone who needed a deep emotional connection before deciding to date? Did I just not have a need for romantic ties? There are some quizzes you can take. I took five. They said both results, which didn't really help me much. I had to examine my life, what I have and haven't done. Middle school was the time when everyone dove right into relationships and the drama that came with hormonal pre-teens dealing in relationships as serious as they could conceive of. I was only interested in manga, anime, and the off-kilter music your other socially awkward friends could find on YouTube. When high school started, I asked my older half-sister how to kiss. I could expect to have one in high school right? This information would be useful to know. Wrong. I still focused on just school, just anime (oh, Naruto updates every Wednesday were HYPED), and just trying to get into college. By the time I actually got to college, I never even thought about the possibility of a relationship, because I was determined to make friends who could go to Universal Studios with me and watch the fireworks at Magic Kingdom on the beaches of the Polynesian Resort. I was tired, working part-time and studying full-time, hungry, and I wanted out of college badly. When friends asked me if I was interested in anyone, or would I ever get into a relationship, I just said, "I've never wanted to. All the time it takes to date, I could sleep. Or watch American Horror Story."
Suddenly I had my answer.
I hadn't felt anything close to romantic attraction before. I doubt I ever will. The greatest feeling of love I've ever had is for my family. My mother, father, and little brother. And I know certainly that I could never love someone else more than my family. The closest thing to the love I feel for them, is the love I've felt for friends I've let so close to me that I've entertained them in my home, fed them, and laughed with them in the comfort of my private space. These friends I've known for months, had shared my fears and joys, my hopes and dreams with. I'm a private person, but I've felt strong emotional connections, and yet not once have I looked at any of my friends and thought, "if they said they'd like to pursue a relationship with me then I wouldn't object." The thought of a romantic relationship just never seems to enter the equation for me.
The realization that I am aromantic was not an "aha!" moment. There was no stunned pause, no gasp of discovery or even a fist pump to the heavens. It was a shifting inside of me, and it didn't fill me with relief as such. It was like suddenly going from the first day of class in the beginning of the semester to reaching the review day before the final and having all that knowledge come together and connect. It wasn't abnormal of me to not wish for a romantic partner. It all just...made sense. Nor was I worried. I've never been a person to care about societal expectations and I knew my family wouldn't overreact when I told them. I had friends who wouldn't respond in juvenile and cruel fashions. What would happen in twenty or thirty years from now wasn't a worry for the present. Now when people ask me why I don't date or if I want to find a guy/girl, I just very breezily reply, "Well no, I'm aromantic. But I would very much like new friends." And when they reply with the question, "What's that?"
Oh, am I happy to explain.
So Let's Get to the Reason You Read This Article
Chances are you didn't read this just for laughs. There was something in the title that made you want to read. No, you're not that interested in my personal life. But you are interested in my journey to discovering a part of myself, aren't you? You were curious about aromanticism, or about someone's exploration into their self to realize some truth. Are you in the search for truth about yourself? Did you read my story hoping to find some similar traits or thoughts, some actions or feelings? If you're unsure about your feelings, your orientations, then I really do advise you to engage in some good old-fashioned fishing on Google. Right now, you're not meant to worry about what the knowledge could do to you or your relationships with friends, family, or any significant others you may have. For now, this is just for you and your sake. Telling the world can come later. If you choose to that is. The most important thing here is whether or not it feels right to you.