I once told a friend how aromanticism taught me how to see that there were different types of love, not just platonic but also familial and romantic. There was this moment, I remember, of me saying: “Being aromantic is like seeing the world in black and white—but understanding, now, how many shades of grey there are.”
The biggest grin grew on my face then, to finally explain my world. Though I do not see the world in the colors that many people in this world do, I saw many others, and they, too, are beautiful.
You see, the thing about aromanticism is that because of my lack of romantic attraction, the different types of attraction there are become apparent to me. The following are some types of attraction I’ve been able to put names to, the first two being ones I do not feel:
Not to mention the fact that I’ve been able to see the different parts of romantic relationships. I see that they combine many different types of emotions, attractions, and bonds. I’ve been able to see how some people confuse different feelings for romantic feelings, and how it’s easy to think of these lumps of emotions to be romantic or platonic. The thing is that romance is experienced differently by everyone, just as different genders and sexualities are. There aren’t any check-lists of certain requirements you can check off of in order to see if something is romantic or not, you just know.
And even then, we can put micro labels on certain feelings that make up romance. What I mean by this is that say you have a mix of colors that becomes brown. Brown is romance, but I can see the purples and blues, reds and yellows, greens and pinks that make up the different parts of romance.
It’s hard to explain, but aromanticism has helped me see that love comes in different colors and that they vary from person to person even more. Just as I am aromantic but also polyamorous, I feel love for my partners in a way that is different from how they feel love for me. It’s like different love languages. The expression and feelings may vary, but the intimacy and love are still there. Romance isn’t everything, it’s just a piece of the human experience that, even then, isn’t all that universal!
*Alterous attraction is neither inherently sexual nor romantic but can be made up of either, both, or neither. It is the want to intimately know someone.
**While the experience of Queer-Platonic attraction is widespread and very different, Queer-Platonic is described by the LGBTQIA Wiki as blurring the line between romantic attraction and platonic attraction. It involves going past the typical western boundaries of friendships.
Keep your head up, the sun still rises!
Kalei (Mandy) Neon