So, what is your definition of an aromantic? If it is the standard one, it refers to someone who does not experience romantic attraction to others. And this applies whether that aromantic is gay, lesbian, bi, trans, or any other identity on the LGBTQ+ spectrum. In fact, there are aromantics within the straight community too.
But lumping all aromantics into a tight space is not reality. In truth, some aromantics do feel romantic attachments at some points in their lives; some had romantic feelings in the past but some emotional issues or traumas have caused them to change; and of course, some aromantics have never had romantic feelings or attachments to others. They fall on a spectrum, not in a single spot.
If you are making the decision to date an aromantic, you need to know the facts, so that you can adjust your expectations. Let’s unpack the facts.
This is an important distinction to make in all relationships, not just those with aromantics.
When people have a romantic relationship, they long to be with each other in all sorts of environments; they want to share their goals, their innermost thoughts and feelings, and their personal lives. And they want to spend a lot of time together outside of the bedroom.
This relationship is based only on what happens between the sheets. The top priority for these couples is sex. They may have light conversations; they may phone or text when they are apart, but those conversations usually revolve around their next meetup or sex talk. These relationships can be exciting and fun, but they are not the stuff of which long-term partnerships are formed. There are lots of people who do not want commitments, and they can have these kinds of relationships all of their lives.
So, going into a dating relationship with an aromantic, you should already know that there may not be a romantic attachment or at least one that is as romantic as with others you have dated. So, you should be prepared to adjust your expectations. Here is what you can expect:
Aromantics can and do enjoy sex just like any other straight or queer folx
Aromantics do care about other people and have close friends and platonic relationships
Aromantics can be thoughtful and will do nice things for you
Do not expect physical romantic gestures inside or outside of the bedroom
Aromantics do marry and have children and do develop bonds with family members.
In dating situations, “friends with benefits” is a common choice for aromantics
If you are used to dating relationships that involve romance and affection, then dating an aromantic can be frustrating. You may have romantic feelings and emotional attachment but that will not be mutual. Lose the notion that there is something wrong with you that has caused this.
First, do a bit of research so that you can understand aromanticism and the wide spectrum on which these individuals fall.
If you really like your aromantic partner, even love them, and you want to continue in this relationship, then you will need to focus on all of the other positives in that relationship:
Do you have lots of common interests that you can talk about or that can drive the things you do together? Are you both athletic? Do you both love animals? Are you into the same types of art and music? Plan your dates around these mutual interests
Communicate a lot. You need to ask your aromantic partner what they consider to be romantic or not. What types of physical gestures and words are okay and what turns them off. Likewise, you need to be honest about your needs. This will allow compromises that will keep the relationship going.
Are your personalities compatible? Do you laugh at the same things? Are your political beliefs the same? If one of you is a parent, are your ideas of parenting close? These things become more and more important as a relationship matures.
Only you and your aromantic dating partner can decide if such a relationship will work. Both of you will have to balance your very different notions of romance and affection against the other things that are great about the relationship. If you can both find that balance and be content, chances are you can foster and nurture a long-term relationship. At the same time, you need to be honest with yourself and that partner. If you are not fulfilled, then it’s time to move on.
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