My Aromanticism (Part One)

The following is a collection of reader submitted narratives. They detail personal stories, thoughts, and feelings about identifying on the aromantic spectrum. Apart from general grammar edits, these submissions have been published as submitted, and as such be aware of discussions of romance and sex. This is the first instalment of three. 

Being aro gives me a home in our community, in the way I can loudly profess my love for my friends who understand that it's not romantic, in the knowing of myself and who I am.
- Anon

Being aro is being doubted by everyone and the fact that I am aro easily being forgotten by others, and sometimes me. Being aro means the only way to connect to others is by online, not even LGBT centers have anyone like you. Being aro feels like the most natural thing in the world, but means everyone worries you'll be "lonely" (newsflash not everyone wants children).
- Anon

My aromantic identity is freeing, it allows me to build self-acceptance about a part of my queer identity that I had been in denial about for nearly my whole life. Being aro lets me find my own path in life, now I know about amatonormativity and I can unlearn all the harmful societal norms I was taught, I can have relationships on my own terms. I can feel relief about how I don't need a romantic relationship, and feel excited about the possibility of a queerplatonic one. I can feel more confident and more secure in my queerness. Realising that I'm aro has allowed me to understand why I feel disconnected from parts of society, and helped me to find a community where I feel welcomed.
- Cadence

Being aromantic has helped me differentiate between platonic feelings and the feelings I have for my squishes. It also alleviates a lot of tension about relationships I had in fifth and sixth grade, though I always get pretty exhausted when romance is inescapable.
- aro-allovera

My aromanticism, asexuality, and nonbinary identity are all deeply tied together as my queer identity. I'm queer because of all three, but especially my romantic orientation. Though I put more emphasis on my aromanticism, it's inextricable from my other identifiers.
- Harlow Heckman

Being aro makes me happy, but the society that puts a premium on romance makes me uncomfortable. I wish I didn’t have to have a reason to not want people to set me up with dates or pressure me into giving them a name of a person I like. I just want to be me, without hesitation.
- Jenny

 Being aromantic, I don't ever tell my friends I love them because I'm terrified they'll take it as a romantic statement and it'll ruin our friendship. I do love them, and I find it infuriating that romantic relationships are valued above platonic ones in today's society.
- Taylor

I struggle with identifying romantic feelings/attraction and differentiating it from other 'flavors' (ex. platonic), so my "aromanticism" is more of an overlap in not prioritizing romantic relationships in the sense of amatonormativity. There are quite a few well circulated aro narratives that aren't personally applicable, but I'm still 'too aro' to really fit in elsewhere.
- Quioromantic & Greyro

Been a great experience, I finally feel like it's the identity I was missing, i just feel myself now. Had a few cuddle buddies previously and still looking now, it's great to now realise it was the affection I loved and not my partner. 
- Anon

I am gray-romantic and romantic attraction is rare for me.  In between romantic attractions, I don't feel my life is missing anything.  The roughest part is that people want to focus on my relationship status as my sense of being instead of all the other interesting things about me.
- Anon

Embracing aromanticism brought a sense of relief and freedom from societal expectations that were like a looming threat on the horizon, but it also put into perspective just how alienated I had felt all this time and would likely always feel to a degree. It's walking a tightrope, but the friendships and community I've found make it worth it. 
- Elsen

My aromanticism is basically a lack of anxiety. Feeling pressured to date and feeling a societal obligation to fall in love and get married freaks me out. When I force myself to go on dates or try to get into a relationship, I always feel extremely stressed out and anxious. Then, when I break it off or stop forcing myself, I feel immense relief.
- Anon

I feel like I am more connected with my feelings for myself and others. It has opened up my eyes for what a healthy relationship should look like, whether it be romantic, queerplatonic, family or friends. Everyone deserves respect for themselves and their feelings. I have also learned that I too deserve to be treated with respect and my feelings are valid, whether they are present or not.
- Sossa

I've got mixed feelings about my aromanticism. Sometimes, I'm glad that I don't have to deal with romance or the issues that come with it, but others I'm scared that all my friends will find a romantic partner and leave me. I wish there were more aros out there that I could befriend.
- Tracy W

In jest: Romance? Nope. Stop that.
In seriousness: My aromanticism is a bit mixed. On one hand I don't want romance in my life. I'm perfectly content with my platonic relationships and would do anything for my friends. On the other hand, I can't help but feel a degree of separation from the world and the people in my life.
- Anon

I'm pretty satisfied without being in any kind of partnership, and I'm happy to keep going on like this without needing to worry about romance. But I'm worried that all my alloromantic friends will abandon me for a romantic partnership someday.
- Anon

To discover aromanticism and to find out one is aromantic is a radical world view change, considering how we grow up believing that we will eventually have to create a nuclear family, that we will find the One. There are many emotions at play here, but ultimately there is relief in knowing that it is fine to be alone.
- Anon

Being aromantic, it's hard to relate to a lot of forms of expression, such as music or fiction, due to the high amount of romantic connotations. I often find myself loving a character or song purely on the basis of an absence of romance associated with it.
- Ash

Ever since I realised I'm aromantic (aged nineteen) I've become more comfortable just living without worrying so much what people think of me, whether people like me like that, when ultimately I don't care. I live for myself. Being aro brings me peace; it's freeing, no matter how quiet it is.
- Anon

Hello, I'm lithromantic. When I tell a friend I'm lithromantic (and inevitably have to explain what it means), said friend will typically have an expression of sympathy and "assure" me that I'll be able to find someone. By definition, I want exactly zero romantic partners. I wrote a college research paper about amatonormativity in our society from a lithromantic/asexual lens, and the only source I could find which mentioned aromanticism was one book published within the past three years. There was one other source which was not credible. I love who I am, but this amatonormative society commonly feels like it's strangling me and shoving (typically poorly-written or foolhardy) romance down my throat.
- Anon

Finally being able to have a word to identify with has helped me with my struggles to have relationships and the romantic love that was missing. It really has given me peace 
- Maxine

My aromanticism is me in a sea of love looking for a life jacket. It's me searching out things to make me happy and sometimes finding them, but more often than not, having them spoiled by the assumption everyone searches for love and it's the only way to be truly happy.
- Anon

I used to think my aromanticism was a curse. I was so, so wrong! There's so much to love about life; romance isn't everything. 
- Zie

My aro experience is thinking for most of my childhood that dating was required, and mistaking friendships with the opposite gender as crushes because I wanted to be normal like everyone else
- Random8jinx

Sometimes being aro is scary. I'm going to watch all my loved ones pair up and take on the world together. How am I ever going to afford the life they'll be able to on a single income? I'm not career driven. I don't want to work myself miserable. I'm content with getting by. But even that is hard in a world built for pairs
- Anon

I wish it were as easy to describe and enforce romantic boundaries as it is sexual ones. People tend to understand the need for sexual limits, but it feels harder to justify feeling uncomfortable with romantic-coded things. I think it's especially because the line between platonic and romantic intimacy is different for different people, whereas the line between sexual and non-sexual intimacy feels somewhat more clear-cut.
- Joseph

I found the realisation that I was Aromantic (and later Asexual as well) very freeing. I no longer went about in life thinking that I was broken, unlovable, wrong or alone. Since realising this, I walk the world as one and have made my peace with myself. I am so much happier and stronger because of it. I grew up thinking that there was only one way, as this is what we are told by the majority of society. There is nothing broken about those of us who are Aro or Ace. We are still surrounded and loved by of communities, our friends and our families. And in my personal experience, good friends are far, far rarer than any romantic partner. They support us in so many ways, creating a space that enables us to be free in ourselves
- Oz

The second piece in this collection will be published on the 18th of October.

Papo Aromantic