Recently, my friend and fellow sex blogger, Storm Elliott of Vanilla Free Sex, let me pick her brain about a new self-discovery she’s had: she is aromantic. She wrote Another Coming Out: Aromantic shortly after coming to the conclusion that the term made sense for her. If you are unfamiliar with the term, you’re not alone: it seems to be an under represented orientation even though it’s estimated that there are nearly a million people who identify as aromantic in the US alone.
I wrote about my husband being asexual, a term that is not synonymous with aromantic, though people often confuse and conflate them. There is plenty of over lap; a person can be both, but neither necessarily involves the other. To be aromantic means you do not experience romantic attraction, whereas asexual is not experiencing sexual attraction. As always, these concepts exist on a spectrum, both having numerous subcategories. Regardless of whether they are familiar or common, they are valid.
Here’s what Storm had to say!
VF: When did you realize you were aromantic? Was it all at once or did you come to an understanding over time?
SE: I realized shortly before I came out as aromantic on my blog in August of this year at the age of 47. When I started reading about aromanticism it immediately struck a chord. I did some reflecting on my current and past views of romantic relationships. I thought about how I have felt about people I have had relationships with realizing that there was a reason that I didn’t feel certain ways about people. It took a bit to sink in that I am aromantic. I am still processing how I feel about it.
How would you describe aromanticism to someone who had never heard the term before? And how do you feel about the term/label “aromantic”?
Someone who is aromantic feels little to no romantic attraction. I personally tend to embrace labels. Though I think the term could be misleading since someone who is aromantic can still engage in romantic behaviors. It’s about feelings not actions.
You’ve shared your aromantic news on your blog, is it something you’re ‘out’ about offline as well?
I did tell my sister who didn’t comment at all or ask any questions. I made the declaration and gave a quick definition. She did not respond so I changed the subject. As far as other family members I don’t see the need. I haven’t started dating again, but once I do I will disclose it to potential partners.
Some corners of the internet hotly debate whether aromantics fit under the LGBTQIA+ umbrella, what is your stance?
I do not feel that the A stands for aromantic. We would have to include all romantic orientations if that were the case.
What is the biggest misconception you have heard/read about aromantic people?
I can see how some people would think aromantics are cold, unemotional, or unloving. That is not the case. I feel love deeply for friends and family. I just don’t typically feel romantic love for partners. I have experienced romantic attractions in the past but it is not typical for me nor is it something I am seeking.
How does aromanticism work in terms of dating?
I only recently realized that I am aromantic so I have yet to face the stigma of it in the dating scene. I imagine it is going to be difficult. I don’t want to mislead anyone so it is something I will either put on my dating profile or disclose very early on to potential partners so that we can determine if it is something they can deal with. I will need to be clear that I have no desire to jump on the relationship escalator. I imagine it will take a lot of educating potential partners who are unfamiliar with aromanticism which could get tiring.
What kinds of resources would you recommend for aromantic dating connections? Do these resources even exist?
After doing a quick search I was unable to find anything specifically for aro people. There were a few resources and dating sites for ace people. Someone needs to invent a dating app that is aro-inclusive!
In your opinion, what are the most important things to know about dating an aromantic person?
Keep your expectations in check. Don’t think that you can “win them over” and make them into something they are not. To think that you will be the exception will only lead to disappointment. We are not broken or someone that needs to be fixed. Communicate about what a potential developing connection might look like as this will differ from person to person. For instance, I myself have no desire to ever cohabitate.
Lastly, what words of wisdom do you have for someone on their aromantic journey?
You are not broken. Don’t let anyone make you think otherwise. You don’t have to fit into a box of what aro looks like. You are uniquely you.