I feel like not many people know about aromanticism, so here is a short guide.
What it means: Aromanticism refers to the inability to feel romantic attraction towards others. Someone who does not feel romantic attraction to others is called an ‘aromantic’. ‘Aro’ is a popular abbreviation.
What it doesn’t mean: Asexual. Many people think that aromantics are automatically asexual. This is not necessarily the case. Aromantic people can still feel sexual attraction to others, and be heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, pansexual etc. the same as anyone else.
So you’re just heartless, then? NO. This is a common misconception. Aromantics are just as capable of love as anyone else, they just don’t feel ROMANTIC love. They in fact often develop stronger platonic bonds than most people, since they rely more heavily on friendship for emotional fulfilment. Some aromantic people even have platonic life partners, and they are capable of loving one another just as much as spouses do. Some people refer to these relationships as queerplatonic relationships, which involve making the same level of dedication to a platonic life partner as someone else would to a husband or wife. There’s just no romance involved.
So you’ve never had a crush? Correct, though some aromantic people do experiences squishes - the desire to be in a platonic relationship, i.e. friends, with someone. Squishes are not specific to aromantic people - most people experience them.
They can’t ever have real sex though, right? Wrong. A lot of people imply that sex isn’t ‘real’ unless the people involved are in love, which is ridiculous. Furthermore, it is very possible to love someone a great deal without being in love with them, in the romantic sense.
Wow, that sounds good - no more relationship stress! I think i’ll become aromantic. You can’t. Aromanticism is not a choice. It’s as inbuilt as any other form of romanticism or sexuality. You can choose to abstain from relationships, but you cannot choose to be aromantic.
Someone will come along and change your mind. You’ll grow out of it. Would you say that to a gay person? I certainly hope not, because that would be awfully homophobic. Again, I say: aromanticism is not a choice.
Don’t you want children, then? Many aromantic people (though not myself) want children. Some will have them with platonic life partners. Others will adopt. The two are not interconnected.
How do I know if I’m aromantic? Romanticism and sexuality are very personal, and there’s no way of knowing for sure. I’ve never felt romantic attraction towards anyone or had any desire for a romantic relationship, so it’s always been clear to me, but for others, it’s more complicated. It’s something that you have to figure out for yourself.