Romantic relationships

3 minutes

Learning objectives

After completing this unit, you will be able to:

  • Describe what romantic relationships can look like for ace and aro people.
  • Define polyamory and identify reasons ace and aro people may participate in polyamorous relationships.

Ace people in romantic relationships

Many ace people experience romantic attraction and desire romantic relationships, and the relationships they form can take shape in many different ways. Like with any other relationship, those that ace people form may be brief, lifelong, or anything in between.

Asexuality is still relatively unknown, and the ace community is rather young, so few opportunities exist for ace people to meet one another. Because of this, it can be difficult, though not impossible, for ace people to find partners who are also ace and who have a compatible personality. Often, ace people will form romantic relationships with people who do not identify as ace, and these relationships can be incredibly successful and fulfilling.

Regardless of the sexual orientations involved, all relationships require some level of communication and negotiation. For ace people dating non-ace people, there may be an added conversation about sexual activity, but this extra facet does not necessarily make these relationships more challenging. Ace people may choose to have sex with their partners or may choose not to; this decision is ultimately dependent on their comfort level with sex and their level of desire for sexual activity.

Aro people in romantic relationships

Since aro people experience a lack of romantic attraction towards others, it is natural that most aro people are not looking for a romantic relationship. However, some aro people do choose to be in romantic relationships for a variety of reasons.

Because aromanticism is a spectrum, some aro people might still feel some type or level of romantic attraction. Grayromantic or demiromantic people may form romantic relationships with the people that they feel romantic attraction towards.

As long as the aro person in question does not experience romance-repulsion — a feeling of disgust at romantic gestures or at being in a romantic relationship — they may be comfortable with having a romantic relationship despite not feeling romantic attraction. In some cases, an aro person may realize their aromantic identity while in a romantic relationship, and they may not want to end the relationship because they care for their partner in other non-romantic ways. In other cases, an aro person might choose to start a romantic relationship with a person they care about for much the same reasons.

Polyamory

Polyamory is a relationship style where a person seeks romantic, sexual, or otherwise significant relationships with multiple people at a time. This relationship style is different from cheating because all parties consent to their partners being involved with or seeking additional partnerships.

Some ace and aro people find that these types of relationships can remove some of the pressures to be sexual or romantic by allowing their partners to seek sexual or romantic gratification from others. Polyamory can take many different forms including open relationships, where partners are free to explore additional relationships, and closed relationships, where a set of people are all involved with one another.

Further reading