Aromantic: What it is and why we need to see more of it in stories and books

You might have heard about the term aromantic. It’s, as the word says, someone or something that lacks romanticism.

For individuals that means they don’t feel any romantic attraction towards others. That doesn’t mean they can’t feel love or care for others, but it doesn’t take the form of romantic love or being in love.

Contrary to popular belief, we are still able to have relationships with someone else, living together and spending life together with someone. But the feeling between the aromantic person and the other is not one of romantic love, but something else.

In today’s society, it can be difficult to explain those feelings, and most often it’s considered being platonic (by those who are not aromantic), but love can take many shapes and platonic love is not the opposite of romantic. Instead, we propose that love is a three-dimensional spectrum and our language today lacks many of the points on that map.

We, Igor-Melissa and Lynx have an aromantic relationship between most of our genders. It takes the form of a deep love for each other, but we’ve never fallen in love, not even from the beginning. For us, it’s been more of a feeling that “we want to be with each other”.

Other aromantic individuals put their love and care in the people around them, doing volunteer work or working with elders or children. There’s no one way of being aromantic, in the same way as there is no one way of being alloromantic or heterosexual. Aromantic people can still have sexual feelings, wanting to have sex with someone and enjoy it. Just as an alloromantic person can be asexual. The only thing that ties aromantic individuals together is the lack of romantic attraction towards someone else, and even that can take different forms.

We’ve written what happens when you lack representation and don’t see yourself in stories and also why seeing yourself in stories is important. And the same goes for aromantic individuals and representation.

We are bombarded with what love should look like, not only from a heterosexual point of view but from a love point of view. What should we feel, what those feelings should do to us and how we should act and react to those. Romantic comedies and love in books are all around us, in normative as well as in LGBT stories, and it can be difficult to separate yourself from them, thinking instead that you are wrong and that there is something wrong with what and how you feel.

Many aromantic folx don’t find a word for what they are until they are older because of the lack of representation and lack of aromantic characters in both normative and LGBT stories. During that time, they might have forced themselves into a romantic relationship, thinking that’s how it should be or avoided it all together not understanding why they can’t find what others have.

And that is upsetting, not only because you don’t get to live the life that is yours, but also because you are excluded from the stories you have around us. Excluded from the world that is around you.

Our queer books center around aromantic relationships and most of the main characters are aromantic. And it was through the stories and the characters that we started to understand what we felt. It was through telling the stories that we understood there was a name for what we are, aromantic. And it’s our wish that other aromantics can find a home in those books as well, seeing themselves represented in the stories and understanding their experience a bit more.

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