the aromantic spectrum
last edited: 10th of july, 2020
DISCLAIMER: this carrd was made to educate others on the aromantic spectrum and its terms. the experiences mentioned here are my own alongside ones common in the community. keep in mind not every aro person experiences what i mention here - the community is vast and there are many things i either do not have enough information on or feel i could sufficiently describe.
please direct questions or submit anecdotes to arospectrum on tumblr. both will be used to improve the information on this carrd.
so what is the aromantic spectrum?
the aromantic spectrum describes people who experience a lack of romantic attraction, in one way or another. aromantic people can experience no romantic attraction at all, though that is not always the case. some people either feel little romantic attraction or have attraction that fluctuates. we refer to the latter as gray-romantic.
romantic attraction is hard to define, and may differ between people, but is commonly thought to include crushes, the desire to form a romantic relationship, and typical activities related to romance such as kissing, going on dates, etc. aro people often lack this, or have a complicated relationship with it.
people identify as aromantic for many reasons. these include, but are not limited to:
↣ not feeling any romantic attraction
↣ rarely feeling romantic attraction
↣ being unable to differentiate between platonic and romantic
↣ finding romance undesirable or being aversed to it
terms used to describe attitude towards romance include romance-repulsed, romance-neutral, romance-positive, among others.
a common misconception is that all aromantic people are also asexual.
this is absolutely not true.
a lot of aromantic people, whether gray aro or not, can feel other types of attraction. while aroaces (people who are both aromantic and asexual) are common, they are not the only type of aro.
sexual and romantic attraction are different. allo generally refers to someone who experiences sexual attraction, so alloaro describes someone who is also aromantic.
some aros don't even use the split-attraction model. there are many reasons for this, such as:
↣ feeling that sexual attraction is unimportant, whether they experience it or not
↣ choosing to prioritise their romantic attraction
↣ feeling as if they are between allo or ace
↣ feeling uncomfortable discussing their sexual attraction
↣ having no use for sexuality labels
a variety of terms can be used to describe these aros, including neu aro, non-sam aro, just aro, etc
whilst the ace and aro communities seem connected in the aspectrum, there's a lot of ignorance and lack of care between the two. most notably, when discussing non-aroace aros. if you are on the asexual spectrum, please don't forget aros in general aspec discussions, positivity posts and the like. also, keep in mind that not all aros are also ace. be careful to not overstep in aro-specific discussions.
so we've talked about the arospectrum in general, but what about the more specific orientations within it?
here's a list of common identities and their definitions.
a catch-all term often used as an identity itself. it is also synonymous to "arospec" as some people choose to keep their identity more simple in general conversations.
by its lonesome, it often means entirely lacking romantic attraction.
only experiencing romantic attraction after developing an emotional connection with someone.
this does not mean needing to know someone before starting a relationship - it means being unsure if you feel romantic attraction towards someone until you get very close to them. a distinction often made is lack of crushes towards people, or a sudden "spark" of attraction late into a friendship.
a fluctuating identity that has a few different definitions. usually, it means either switching between other arospec identities such as demiro, aro, etc or sometimes being aromantic and sometimes being alloro.
being unsure if you experience romantic attraction or not, finding it inaccessible or nonsensical, being unable to find another term, etc
it's an extremely broad term with plenty of definitions, so i'd suggest looking into it personally!
idemromantic + platoniromantic
terms related to quoiromantic, which mean being unable to distinguish between platonic and romantic attraction. the difference between the two is that with idemro, personal distinctions are still made based on factors beside attraction, such as emotional connection, behaviour, etc.
and far more! whenever you encounter a more specific identity it's likely there is info out there for it, so educate yourself, keep an open mind and do your best to respect it!
queerplatonic relationships refer to a type of close relationship that defies the idea of romance, and at its core, is rooted within a platonic relationship. it is particularly broad and can differ between people. the term for a partner of a qpr is a queerplatonic partner, or a qpp. a relationship between two qpps can have both platonic and romantic elements, or stay strictly platonic. once again, it depends between people.
whilst qprs originated in the aspec community, anybody can have a queerplatonic partner.
aplatonic is a term that usually describes a lack of want for a qpr.
how do i know if i'm aro?
realising you're aro can be difficult. it can take a lot of juggling between labels, and plenty of people don't know they're aro from day one.
there are a few experiences often mentioned. a lot of aros mention never experiencing crushes whilst others their age often did. some also picked who they'd crush on. some forced themselves into relationships because of pressure, and not because they really wanted to be in one. many also didn't realise their lack of attraction was odd, and simply found it normal.
it's very variable, and can get particularly complicated depending on who you are. things like comphet can affect finding out if you're aro or not. many people often point to gender or expression as an indicator for differentiation between that and amatonormativity.
in the end, it's your choice to identify as aro and see if it sticks. and if it doesn't, that's that! changing your label as you realise things about yourself is fine. please just continue to be respectful of other aspecs!
here's a list of misconceptions and questions often directed towards aro people, or aspecs in general. this will be added to. this page is an effort to clear up miscellaneous questions/ideas people have about us.
another helpful resource to look into is aromanticism.org's faq.
all aro people are romance-repulsed, or don't know what romance is
not at all! some aros still seek out relationships and are romance-positive. romantic relationships are not exclusive to gray aros. aro people are also fully aware of how relationships work, they simply lack a desire to be a part of one.
alloaros are predatory or dangerous
alloaros simply lack romantic attraction, and they are not inherently predatory. that assumption is arophobic and is rooted in homophobic stereotypes.
"aspec" refers to the autism spectrum
there are plenty of reasons why this isn't true. aspec originated within aromantic and asexual communities and the majority of autistic people don't use this term for autism anyway. it is also incorrect on a linguistic level as autism derives from the greek term "autos", meaning a possible term would actually be "autospectrum". the prefix "a-" would imply "not/or without" so turns out, saying aspec means autistic is ableist as all hell.
"allo" and "alloro" are slurs
allo and similar terms simply describe someone's attraction, and mean not ace or aro. they are essentially the aspec equivalent to cis. some people choose to use the words zedsexual and zedromantic as the original term is contradictory in other languages, sounds too clinical, etc.
just keep in mind allo is only an identifier - no ill will is intended if someone is called allo.
aromantic people are emotionless, or are incapable of loving
not necessarily. we simply don't feel romantic attraction. we can still find value and 'love' in other types of relationships, such as platonic, if we want to. our emotions don't correlate with our attraction.
thank you for taking your time to read this. i hope it helped clear up some ideas relating to aromanticism.
i will again state information here can be improved upon by giving your experiences with aromanticism over on the arospectrum blog. i am partiularly looking for information on alloaro experiences and qprs, as i feel they could be expanded upon some more here.
and again, thank you for reading.