Today we had the wonderful chance to catch up with Alex Crook, a proud aromantic activist. For some of you reading this today aromanticism might be a new concept, which is OK, as Alex has all the answers for us.
What is aromanticism?
In its simplest terms, an aromantic is someone who doesn’t experience romantic attraction. There is obviously a lot more nuance to that and everyone’s story is different. Basically, I don’t experience any sort of romantic attraction at all. There is a whole spectrum of it - some people experience no romantic attraction, some who experience attraction in circumstances, and there are some people who identify as ‘Aro’ because their relationship with romance doesn’t align with what society sees. So they may feel romantic attraction, but it’s not in a recognisable form. And some people just have no interest in the whole thing.
What is the difference between aromanticism and asexuality?
It depends on how you look at them. The idea of aro grew out of asexuality, and that’s where people first started to explore it. These days, it is separate, and on separate spectrums. Asexuality is the absence of sexual attraction, whereas aromanticism is the absence of romantic attraction. So an aromantic person can identify with many sexual orientations… there just isn’t any romantic attraction.
I tend to view the Ace/Aro communities as siblings, or cousins. They started with the same beginnings and they grew up together, but now they’re a little apart. They're beginning to have a separate history, and different needs and things to accomplish. I have very fond feelings of the ace community. I identified as ace for a little while on my journey to aromanticism. So, I still feel a little connected – but not everyone feels that way. There are a lot of Aros who have no connection with them. But on some level, there’s still a lot of stuff that connects them together.
How did you come to identify with aromanticism?
It was a long one, I’ve been through a few identity crises. Originally, I thought just bi, then aro/bi, then I found out about asexuality…I just kept questioning and I got to a point where I just didn’t have an answer – and I didn’t care. Aromanticism is really what I feel best describes me.
Do aromantic people get into relationships?
I’m actually in a relationship! I have my partner who is wonderful. From the outside it looks romantic, but it's slightly different, which works for us. We are polyamorous, we like making friends and connections. We're both on Tinder. Joining Tinder was just fun, interacting with other people. I didn’t think much of it, but it was fun! It’s nice forming connections with people.
Our relationship is very much like a friendship. I like to call it an affectionate relationship – we have a connection, but it’s not romantic. We have lived together for almost a year now, and I am quite lucky to have her.
Biggest misconception about Aromanticism?
The biggest is that we are cold people. Most people see aromanticism and not having romantic connections as being cold and heartless. It’s just a certain type of feeling that some of us happen to not have. Some of the aromantic people I know are the warmest, loveliest people you’ll ever meet. There is a whole emotional gauntlet, and romantic love is not the only way to love.”
Thank you for sharing your story with us Alex.