Aromantic Spectrum Awareness Week

by Tranquilla Golden-Taylor

Aromantic Spectrum Awareness Week

As I am still getting familiar with all the terminology for the LGBTQ+ population, aromanticism is definitely a new one for me. At first glance, I understood it to be a person who lacks interest in romantic relationships for whatever reason, be it preference or need, but that now poses the question of what is classified as romance. To get to the bottom of this, I took a deep dive into articles, peer-review journals, and even asked some amazing people to define and elaborate on what it means to be aromantic.

So, what is aromanticism?

Aromanticism is an orientation in which an individual does not experience romantic attraction. It has nothing to do with their sexuality, they’re just not romantic. So, skip the romcoms and the PDA, they’re just there for the fun. No seriously, aromantic persons receive joy and love through their loved ones, pets, hobbies, and interests via experiences. They are still capable of giving love and doubling down on commitment, but their expression of love seems a bit more practical vs romanticism, i.e., Raising a family, handling finances, cooking, etc. But there does exist a spectrum in which the experience of aromanticism differs. They are as follows:

  • Demiromantic: Only experiences romantic attraction after forming an emotional bond with someone.

  • Lithromantic or akoiromantic: Experiences romantic attraction without the desire to have it reciprocated, or romantic attraction that fades upon reciprocation.

  • Gray-aromantic: A more general term meaning that someone rarely experiences romantic attraction, or only under specific circumstances.

  • Quoiromantic: Inability to differentiate between romantic and platonic attraction.

  • Cupioromantic: Someone who is aromantic but still desires a romantic relationship.

Different strokes for different folks, right? As a Marriage & Family Therapist, I can see how this can both strengthen and hinder relationships as bonds are made stronger through the commitment persons form with one another. However, one can make an argument that romance keeps the flame alive. I think the takeaway from all of this is communication. Simply letting your partner in on how you express love can save a lot of tears in the long run. It’s important to note that aromantic is not the same as asexual. The two are often mistaken for one another though the latter delves into a person’s lack of desire to engage in sexual activity. Though they sometimes run hand in hand, don’t mistake them for each other. Sex and the way we express romance are two completely different things.

This has definitely caused me to re-evaluate my own perspective on relationships and to even consider more of what I want moving forward. Depending on the day, you can get multiple answers out of me, but demiromantic and cupioromantic just seem to speak to me… so I definitely feel I’m on that spectrum somewhere. It’s been an awakening; thought-provoking to say the least.

Aromantic Spectrum Awareness Week is conveniently snuggled into the week after Valentine’s Day from February 21-27th this year. This year, I want each of you to challenge yourself to express your love and gratitude for your loved ones without the cheesy displays of affection. No long Facebook posts or cute pictures on Instagram. Be creative and find a new way to express yourself to your honey.

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