Let’s get this straight – I’m not a very romantic person. Looking back, I don’t think I’ve ever been. I got my first boyfriend when I was sixteen and we were in an unusually serious and committed relationship for three and a half years. He used to buy me flowers and gifts and I never felt like that meant anything to me. Don’t get me wrong, I understood the importance of the gesture but for me as an individual it didn’t do squat. I loved him and would’ve done anything for him during the time we were together, but I simply couldn’t wrap my head around the romance part as anything other than performance.
When I was in my mid-twenties, I had a long distance relationship with a woman in the States. She was more like me, not too fond of sugary romantic gestures, and I figured maybe that had been the problem the first time around. My partner hadn’t matched my own expectations and what else can you expect for your first relationship? Still, the long distance nature of this made me reflect more on what I actually feel about things and eventually I came to a conclusion: I’m aromantic.
An aromantic is a person who experiences little or no romantic attraction to others. Where romantic people have an emotional need to be with another person in a romantic relationship, aromantics are often satisfied with friendships and other non-romantic relationships.
I told my partner at the time this, hoping to find some support or understanding but instead she took it the wrong way, feeling like she was somehow made less if I loved her the same as I love my mom. We broke up six months later.
There seems to be this misconception that being aromantic is similar to psychopathy, that there’s a lack of empathy and emotion for other people. This is not true. I love people deeply. I do nice things for my friends, my family, my current partner. I just don’t emotionally understand the point of flowers and candy, or similar romantic gestures. I can’t relate to how people act when they’re infatuated with someone because I only get crushes or squishes or whatever you want to call them and they usually boil down to excitement over finding a person I click with.
Yesterday I told my current partner that I love him and I felt the need to preface it with how it’s not meant with hidden meaning or romantic intent. I just love him, like I love my mom or my best friend of 16 years and if that’s not enough? Then that’s not a person I need in my life. Love is more than romantic exception. You don’t have to be extraordinary to be loved.