Aromanticism: A Primer

It is Arospec Awareness Week 2020. The one week a year where Arospec alignments get spotlighted and awareness is well raised. To that end, I have prepared a little handy guide to the various definitions and nuances to aromanticism.

Definitions: Alignment definitions can and do overlap but the distinctions matter to some people (myself included) and that’s ok. Also, I am just covering more common terms here. There are tons more names for the unique ways people’s aromanticism expresses itself.

  1. Aromantic (Aro:) At it’s most basic Aromantic means someone who does not feel romantic attraction.
  2. Demiromantic (DemiAro:) A person who only feels romantic attractions after forming an emotional bond with someone over a good length of time (That’s Me!)
  3. Greyromantic (GreyAro:) A Person who feels romantic attraction rarely, or weakly
  4. Frayromantic: A Person who only feels romantic attractions to those they are unfamiliar with (opposite of Demiromantic)
  5. Akoiromantic/Lithromantic: Someone who feels romantic attractions until said attractions are reciprocated
  6. Recipromantic: Someone who feels romantic attraction for somebody only after they know the person in question feels that way about them.
  7. Apothiromantic: An easier way to say that one is Romance Repulsed
  8. Arospec: The Aromantic Spectrum
  9. AroAce: An Aromantic Asexual (can be modified in lots of ways eg DemiaroAce)
  10. Alloromantic (Allo:) A Non-Arospec person.
  11. Queer/Quasiplatonic Relationships: Relationships that are not romantic but share several elements with romantic relationships.
  12. Squish: A Platonic Crush (“I want to be their friend really badly”)
  13. Swish: An Aesthetic Crush (a nonsexual/romantic way of expressing fondness for appearance deeper than just liking it)
  14. Lush: A sensual crush (Strong desire to say hug someone)
  15. Zucchini: An individual in a QPP

Amatonormativity: Coined by Professor Elizabeth Brake of Arizona State University, Amatonormativity is “the assumption that a central, exclusive, amorous relationship is normal for humans, in that it is a universally shared goal, and that such a relationship is normative, in the sense that it should be aimed at in preference to other relationship types,” Essentially it means that Aromantics should either buck up and join relationships we (probably) don’t want or just accept that our preferred relationships are inherently less important. This assumption bears itself out in many ways on a daily basis. For example, anytime a friend or family member tells you “You’ll find someone to settle down with don’t worry!” that’s Amatonormativity in action. Amatonormativity also promotes unhealthy relationships where couples will rely almost exclusively on their romantic partner for all emotional support and encourage them to downplay or abandon all other relationships. (Abusers take advantage of this to cut their victims off from support all the time.)

Exclusionists: Exclusionists (exclus for short) are people in the greater LGBTQIAA+ community who do not think that Arospec and Acespec people are part of the community. They often gatekeep and kick us out of queer spaces. Reminder: The two As stand for Aromantic and Asexual, we’ve been here since the beginning.

Split Attractions: Aromantic is just a romantic orientation. There’s a whole world of sexual attractions out there and Aromantics aren’t exclusively Aroromantic Asexuals. For example, I am Demiromantic Pansexual. I only feel romance after a long bond if formed but I feel sexual attraction quickly and regardless of gender. Also if someone is AroAce they don’t have to be equivalent forms of both. A Greysexual can still be Apothiromantic for example.

Common Misconceptions and other Bullshit we hear all the time:

  • “You just haven’t met the right person yet:” We have met the right person. It is us
  • “You aren’t complete until you have that special someone!” I’m sorry what? Do you Allos just walk around as literal fractions of humans? What of the poor Polyamorous people?
  • “Ugh, they Friendzoned me :(“ And what pray tell is wrong with having a friend?
  • “Why won’t you love me!?” Hey, I never said I didn’t love you. I just said I don’t romantically love you.
  • “Aromantics must hate romance” Not always true. Some are Apothiromantic but not all are. Hating what you don’t feel is not a given.
  • “Aromantics never enter romantic relationships” First; attraction does not equal action. Second Demiromantics and others exist and are Aromantics.

Sources the two main websites outside of my own knowledge I picked for this article are https://arospecawarenessweek.tumblr.com/glossary and https://everydayfeminism.com/2016/04/amatonormativity-expectations/