Aromantic (commonly shortened to Aro) is an orientation prefix defined by little to no romantic attraction, the prefix A- meaning "not" or "a lack of" in Greek. It is also an umbrella term for romantic orientations that are defined by minimal attraction. Due to the orientation inherently lacking attraction to all genders, the varying a- spectrum orientations tend to be more distinct than those that experience attraction (also known as allo-).
Being aromantic does not mean that one is unable to experience sexual attraction. An aromantic individual can have any sexual orientation. They may identify with a sexual orientation in addition to the label of aromantic to specify who they're interested in sexually, if anyone. For example, a heterosexual aromantic individual is sexually attracted to individuals of a different gender, but is not romantically attracted to them. Some aromantics are also asexual (aroace), meaning they do not feel sexual attraction as well. Not all aromantics identify with a sexual orientation, some identify primarily or only as aromantic (non-SAM aro/aro neu).
Romantic dispositions among aromantic individuals can vary. Some aromantics may still have or seek or a romantic relationship despite not feeling romantic attraction to anyone (cupioromantic). This could be for many reasons, such as their own pleasure, state benefits, household aid, etc. For some individuals, attraction is not an important aspect to having a romantic relationship. Other aromantics may be repulsed by the concept of romance, either as a concept applicable to themselves or in general. Terms like romance-repulsed, romance-indifferent, romance-favorable, or romance-ambivalent are commonly used to describe these feelings.
A common misconception is that all aromantics lack emotions, lack the ability to form social connections, and are "loveless". In reality many aros are capable of feeling love- platonic love such as that between a mother and child or best friends. Aromantics can also meet their emotional needs through queerplatonic, platonic, or other non-romantic relationships. On the other hand, some aromantics may not experience platonic love or attraction, and may identify as aplatonic. Others may not desire partners of any kind, and may identify as nonamorous. Some aromantics embrace the loveless label and reject the idea that love is necessary for happiness.
Due to the ambiguous nature of romantic attraction it can sometimes be difficult to identify when one is aromantic. Romantic attraction is sometimes defined by the actions that one takes during a relationship, such as holding hands, kissing, or cuddling. However, none of these activities alone necessarily indicate romantic attraction. These actively are only considered romantic if one personally considers them romantic in nature and does them with romantic intent. An aromantic individual might enjoy some or all of these activities in non-romantic contexts, but does not like them in romantic context. Because of this some queerplatonic relationships or close friendships can sometimes resemble or be mistaken for a romantic relationship; with the difference being that in a queerplatonic relationship the participants agree that it is non-romantic, and in a romantic relationship the participants agree that it is romantic in nature. Therefore, the nature of a relationship is best defined by the intentions of the participants. If one or any partners feels romantic attraction and all partners agree to a romantic context, then the relationship is considered romantic.
The various definitions of romantic attraction can make it difficult to identify when one is aromantic, especially when one has trouble distinguishing between romantic feelings and platonic feelings. If this is the case one might identify as platoniromantic, idemromantic, nebularomantic, sensualarian or quoiromantic.
The term aromantic was first coined in an AVEN thread titled 'Relationship Definitions' in June 2005. While this is not the first use of the split attraction model it is one of the first mentions of the term aromantic. After this there is very little mention of aromanticism until 2010, when aromanticism begin to gain a community on AVEN.
|Afamilial||Counterpart||Experiences little or no familial attraction.||The familial counterpart of aromanticism.|
|Alloromantic||Opposite||An individual that experiences romantic attraction.||It is the opposite of aromantic.|
|Analterous||Counterpart||Experiences little or no alterous attraction.||The alterous counterpart of aromanticism.|
|Aroace||Similar||Experiences little or no romantic nor sexual attraction.||Also combines asexuality.|
|Aplatonic||Counterpart||Experiences little or no platonic attraction.||The platonic counterpart of aromanticism.|
|Aqueerplatonic||Counterpart||Experiences little or no queerplatonic attraction.||The queerplatonic counterpart of aromanticism|
|Asensual||Counterpart||Experiences little or no sensual attraction.||The sensual counterpart of aromanticism.|
|Asexual||Counterpart||Experiences little or no sexual attraction.||The sexual counterpart of aromanticism.|
Prefixes and Suffixes
|Label||Prefix / Suffix||Flag||Description||Creator(s)|
|Aroflirt||-Flirt||||Aromantic but still desires to engage in flirtatious behaviour.||b-e-b-b-l-e|
|Knows one is arospec, but unsure if one has ever experienced romantic attraction.citation needed||Crayonpuppy.x|
|Arojump||-Jump||||Normally alloromantic, but occasionally experiences sudden and intense periods of aromanticism.||luigis-mogai-mansion|
|Arolink||-Link||||An individual whose aromanticism is an intrinsic part of their identity and affects all parts of themselves.||pokemania|
|Aromid||-Mid||||Strictly aromantic but partially asexual.||star-allos|
|Normally aromantic, but occasionally experiences sudden and intense romantic attraction for a short period of time.citation needed||Unknown|
|Arovague||-Vague||||Aromanticism partially influenced by one's neurodivergence.||transboy-lou|
|Arovoid||-Void||||Experiences no orientations except aromanticism.||aromagpie|
|Nebularo||Nebula-||||Cannot distinguish romantic and platonic attraction due to neurodivergency.||space-revolutionary|
Flags and Symbols
The first proposed aromantic/aromantic spectrum flag was published by the National Coalition for Aromantic Visibilitycitation needed in the early 2010s after a vote from a small number of users, including the mods of Tumblr blog lithromantic and their friends. The flag has four stripes: Green representing the opposite of red (the most commonly associated romance colour), yellow representing queerplatonic relationships, orange representing lithromantics, and black representing greyromantics as well as alloromantics who reject normative romantic culture.
According to the creator, other flags were circulating as well, and there was not yet an "official" flag.
The flag was later changed because it wasn't voted on by the larger community, left out some arospec identities, closely resembled the Rastafarian flag, and had a stripe including alloromantics.
The second proposed aromantic flag created by Cameron Whimsy was a five-striped flag. The stripes were as follows: Dark green and light green representing the spectrum of aromantic identities, yellow representing friendship, and grey and black representing the spectrum of sexual identities in the aromantic community. The yellow stripe was later changed to white due to it causing sensory problems for certain individuals. The meaning of the stripes was kept the same during the redesign.
A shortened aromantic flag was created by RavenFire803 on June 30, 2021.citation needed
Another aromantic flag was coined by Cryptocrew at Hayden000s request on January 16th of 2021 and was first published on a post one day later. The yellow flower represents platonic love or alterous/queerplatonic and desires, dark green represents lack of romantic attraction, light green represents the greyromantic spectrum, the black represents a disconnect or disinterest in romantic acts, the upside-down white hearts represent community and how aromantic individuals can love, just not how others may expect them to.citation needed
There are several other symbols used to represent aromantics and aromantic love:
- An arrow, due to aromantic often being shortened to aro, which is pronounced the same way.
- Spades, because it's the opposite of hearts.
- A white ring on the middle finger of their left hand (the opposite hand of the black asexual ring).
- A green heart, representing non-romantic love.
- A yellow rose, which represents platonic love.
- An aardvark, an older, lesser-used symbol that seems to have originated from a meme.
- Pineapples, which have the same colour scheme as the alloaro flag.
- "a-" Wiktionary, https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/a-#Catalan. Accessed on 21 Jan, 2023.
- Howard , Madeline. "What It Means To Be Aromantic, According To Relationship Experts & Aromantics" Women's Health, 26 Apr, 2022, https://www.womenshealthmag.com/relationships/a26116061/aromantic-definition-sexuality-meaning/.
- Levens , Ali. "The SAM: Splitting the Difference Between Romantic and Sexual Orientations" Pepperdine Graphic, 3 May, 2020, https://pepperdine-graphic.com/the-sam-splitting-the-difference-between-romantic-and-sexual-orientations/.
- "FAQ" Aromanticism, https://www.aromanticism.org/en/faq#can-aromantics-love. Accessed on 22 Jan, 2023.
- K.A.. "I Am Not Voldemort: An Essay on Love and Amatonormativity" Aro Worlds, 16 Jul, 2019, https://web.archive.org/web/20220318214216/https://aroworlds.com/2019/07/16/i-am-not-voldemort-an-essay-on-love-and-amatonormativity/.
- "How To Recognize And Understand Romantic Attraction" Betterhelp, BetterHelp Editorial Team, 10 Jan, 2023, https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/relations/what-is-romantic-attraction-how-to-recognize-and-better-understand-it/.
- "Relationship Definitions" The AVEN, Orbit, 29 Jun, 2005, https://web.archive.org/web/20220429102759/https://www.asexuality.org/en/topic/9433-relationship-definitions/.
- "Aroflirt" Tumblr, b-e-b-b-l-e, 9 Mar, 2022, https://b-e-b-b-l-e.tumblr.com/post/694408817819189248/aroflirt.
- "aroflux: similar to genderflux" Tumblr, aromanticaardvark, 25 Jul, 2014, https://web.archive.org/web/20230626160550/https://www.tumblr.com/aromanticaardvark/92742126325/mogai-archive-aceflux-similar-to-genderflux-in. Archived on 26 Jun, 2023.
- "Aro-jump" Tumblr, luigis-mogai-mansion, 20 May, 2020, https://web.archive.org/web/20220120220220/https://luigis-mogai-mansion.tumblr.com/post/618617450841489408/new-aroacearoace-terms.
- "🔗 Arolinken/Arolink ::" Tumblr, pokemania, 20 Sep, 2021, https://web.archive.org/web/20230621213109/https://www.tumblr.com/pokemania/662817947357773824/flag-without-symbol-without-spikes-and-symbol. Archived on 21 Jun, 2023.
- "Hello aspecs who aren’t strictly aro and/or ace!" Tumblr, star-allos, 21 Nov, 2019, https://web.archive.org/web/20220226144711/https://star-allos.tumblr.com/post/189204961946/yeah-i-think-labels-cause-more-problems-than.
- "Acevague and Arovague" Tumblr, pride-color-schemes, 22 Jan, 2017, https://web.archive.org/web/20220120154545/https://pride-color-schemes.tumblr.com/post/156211900305/acevague-and-arovague.
- "Arovoid" DeviantArt, Pride-Flags, 23 Apr, 2021, https://web.archive.org/web/20220626102632/https://www.deviantart.com/pride-flags/art/Arovoid-872880042.
- "Nebularomantic" Tumblr, can-i-hide-in-you, 6 Aug, 2014, https://www.tumblr.com/can-i-hide-in-you/93934380226/nebularomantic-definition-similar-to.
- "Simplified Nebula- flags!" Tumblr, libragender, 30 Jun, 2020, https://libragender.tumblr.com/post/622398318735196160/simplified-nebula-flags-nebularo-nebularoace.
- "The icon you're using, is that the official pride colors for lithros? :)" Tumblr, lithromantic, 9 Nov, 2013, https://web.archive.org/web/20230625002808/https://www.tumblr.com/lithromantic/66435960207/the-icon-youre-using-is-that-the-official-pride. Archived on 25 Jun, 2023.
- "Aromantic Flag – All You Need To Know" Evolve, 4 Sep, 2022, https://evolveinc.io/lgbtq/lgbtq-flags-symbols/aromantic-flag-all-you-need-to-know/.
- "what's an aromantic spade?" Tumblr, aromanticaardvark, 7 Aug, 2014, https://www.tumblr.com/aromanticaardvark/93996888177/whats-an-aromantic-spade.
- "AROMANTIC RING?!" The AVEN, DuddyRene, 30 Mar, 2015, https://www.asexuality.org/en/topic/116225-aromantic-ring/.
- "orphilan asked:" Tumblr, https://www.tumblr.com/heartless-aro/search/Aromantic%20symbols%20. Accessed on 5 Apr, 2023.
- "Anonymous asked:" Tumblr, Aromantic Spectrum Awareness Week, https://arospecawarenessweek.tumblr.com/post/116147143412/hello-quick-question-why-are-aardvarks-an. Accessed on 22 Jan, 2023.
- "Aromantic Symbols" Tumblr, legally-x, https://www.tumblr.com/legally-x/635105454596472832/i-think-aromantic-symbols-are-cool-and-deserve-to. Accessed on 5 Apr, 2023.