Being aro

At least in the online spaces, it is not a secret that I am aromantic. After all, both on Discord and on Fediverse, I have a very visible aromantic pride flag on my profile picture, and I explicitly write out that I am aro in the short intro about me on my main page. I haven't really went into much detail yet when it comes to this, though – I did say some stuff on some Discord server, but these words are pretty damn ephemeral, and I still were figuring myself out back then even if I knew I was aro. I want my words about this to be more persistent and more well-thought than that. I want these words to be able to help out people who want to figure out themselves and who want to understand more about others.

So... what is aromanticism?

Well... as the name suggests, it is a romantic orientation that is characterized by experiencing little to none romantic attraction. This should not be confused with asexualism, which in turn is experiencing little to none sexual attraction. Yep – romantic attraction and sexual attraction are two different things that do not have to match. You can for example be homoromantic heterosexual, panromantic asexual, and so on. Any combination is possible, even if it might be rare.

When it comes to me, I am aromantic heterosexual. I do get that standard neuron activation when I am looking at hot girls – ergo, I am sexually atracted to them – but I do not really feel something deeper. I do not experience romantic attraction at all.

At this point I would try to explain what romantic attraction is – but that would require me to know how it feels... and since my brain does not know the emotion of romantic love, I have no clue what it is. I tried to ask around when I was still figuring out what aromanticism means for me – but the answers I got were somewhat varied. All I know is that romantic relationship is far more emotionally intense than a platonic one – and I assume it is one of these things that when you feel it you know it. That naturally brings this post to an obvious question...

How did I learn that I was aromantic?

Before I answer this question, I have to say, the timeline of events will be somewhat intentionally vague. Part of this is due to the imperfections of my memory, making summarizing the stuff from last 10 years or so a bit difficult to do so accurately. Part of this is still just my wish to retain reasonable amount of privacy. I do wish to keep my real life and internet identities somewhat separate after all.

Having said this, it is time to begin my story... And I feel the best place to start for me is my high school years.

Back then, I was going by train to school, along with a few acquaintances of mine. One of these folks was a pretty darn cool girl – one that I was vibing with. It soon came to the point where I was considering whether this was love or not. After all, I was a boy, she was a girl, and she was important to me... And yet, I didn't feel any pressure from within myself to get, erm, closer to her.

Eventually, she left for a year for a studen exchange program trip. And then I began to realize things. I wondered whether I am someone broken, since I felt like I was unable to love. I tried to explain to myself that it is my subconscious that was blocking this cause I felt like I have no time for love. After all, I did have to deal with schoolwork, extracurricular stuff, and a bit of burnout on top of that.

Some time later, when I was a bit older, I was randomly browsing through the internet and landed on some LGBT wiki. I don't remember what exactly I was looking for back then, probably some non-binary label that I had no clue what it was back then. As it is the case with wikis, I obviously clicked around through some links... and it was that moment when I first encountered the terms of romantic attraction and aromanticism. I did not pay too much attention to this, though – not at this point, at least.

Fast forward a little bit further, during my university years I was interacting more and more with various queer people – mostly online, but still. I was at the point of my life where I was slowly but surely shedding my ignorance and internalized bigotry. I was more and more understanding of various gender and sexual identities. I was opening my mind towards what makes different people, erm, different from each other. And eventually I've stumbled upon some stuff about aromanticism again – it was something related to Aromantic Awareness Week on Twitter if I recall correctly. This piqued my interest considerably, and I started reading about aromanticism. And from this point onward, the metaphorical gears in my head started turning. A few months later I started calling myself aromantic, even though I still had a lot of doubts about myself at that point. Sure, these doubts weren't anything strong and well-formed, but they were still there.

Eventually, I have posted something about aromanticism on one server. This sparked a discussion on what is aromanticism, what is the aromantic spectrum, and the questions on how am I sure that I am aro. It was, well, difficult for me, considering I still had quite a bit of doubt in myself... doubt that wasn't helped by certain people on this server entering the discussion in bad faith, and me not having enough experience to notice it back then.

As I moved forward in life, I was slowly gaining confidence in me being aromantic. After all, I haven't seen nor felt any evidence to the contary. And finally I reached the point where things got calmer. I (mostly) finished the degree, I had a reasonably solid job, and I left that arguably radioactive Discord server I mentioned above. This gave me a time to think, to collect myself (university was fucking unreasonably stressful), and to focus a bit more on actually understanding myself. However, I didn't get any immediate conclusions back then – I was just stuck at the point of trying to figure out why I know I am aro. I do think that I was still seeking that concrete proof... proof that I couldn't find yet. That would have to wait, until the arguable collapse of Twitter.

Now, why does this event matter for this story? Simple – it was an impulse for me to join the Fediverse. I have chosen the Mastodon instance as my entry point, and slowly began to find more and more people to follow – most of them predictably queer. And reading about various queer experiences there – whether trans, gay, ace, and so on – opened my mind quite a bit. Even if these experiences are completely different to mine, they still showed me that despite all the preconcieved cultural notions, despite all the lies and misinformation coming from multiple angles, the queer experiences are real and valid. And while I was already at the point where I wasn't going to deny others their gender, their orientation – but my resolve about this wasn't yet there, and this has changed. This in turn bolstered my confidence in me being aromantic.

Finally, the last few months over which I was writing this blogpost were calm enough for me to be able to think more deeply about myself. I was able to reflect more on my past. I was able to reflect on my experiences, on my feelings of brokeness – and fully confirmed that I am right about this one thing. I am aromantic.

Pain points

There are still a few pains of me related to me being aromantic – some of them minor, some of them less minor. I've still got to explain this thing to my parents – which will be a bit of an ordeal – but don't worry, it's not because they ain't gonna accept this. It's just cause they might have a bit harder of a time to wrap their heads around this.

I also still struggle a bit with the sense of belonging – I very much do not fit cisheteronormative spaces, but it also doesn't exactly feel I fit into the queer spaces? It is a bit hard to explain to be honest, but it does kinda sometimes feel like aros are getting forgotten or lumped together with aces, despite aromaticism and asexualism being two separate, abeit not mutually exlusive things.

This comes right into my third pain point – the fact that aromanticism is relatively unknown and incomprehensible to most. Romantic love is considered by many as one of the fundamental emotions – making it really fucking hard to imagine world without such an emotion. And aromantics struggle to explain the lack of romantic feelings – because how do you explain lack of something you don't know jackshit about?

The last pain point about this is extremely minor and kinda silly – I ain't gonna be able to write romance like ever. If I would attempt to do so, I would end up writing a deep platonic relationship at best 😅.


It is really hard for me to come up with a suitable conclusion, a suitable ending to this post here. I really hope that this blogpost that I've been working on over the course of the last few months will be helpful to at least one person out there, whether they are aro or not. I will keep bearing the aromantic pride flag in the online spaces to hopefully raise awareness passively – and I will try to do some stuff actively too, whether it is sharing links to materials on aromanticism and so on.

...And speaking of links, if you want to learn more about aromanticism, I have to drop this link in particular:

This is a knowledgebase containing really good information about aromanticism, various flavors of it, aromantic experiences and links to various aro communities.

And if you want to ask specifically me anything about aromanticism... well, you can message me at on Fediverse – or, if you have the connection to me through Discord, you can also ask me there.

Happy Pride Month, everyone.