We all are familiar the different types of “love”: platonic, heterosexual, bisexual, homosexual, pansexual, etc. But many often exclude the possibility that being aromantic or asexual is one of them.
Love is everywhere. You grow up with it on television. You read about it in books. You start dreaming about it sometime in puberty. You hear about it every single day of your life. People who lack that desire are depicted as twisted or deprived: they’re either the villains bent on world destruction (like He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named) or someone who has not yet met that special someone (like Batman before Catwoman). People seem to forget that there ARE people in this world who have no desire to experience the “joys” of a relationship.
I am one of them.
Let me clarify. Aromantic is the lack of romantic attraction towards anyone (this is not the same as admiration or respect). Asexual is the lack of physical attraction (it does not mean you are like an amoeba and can reproduce by self-replication). You can be one and not the other, or you can be both. I happen to be both.
And I am not the only one. Do I feel deprived? No. Like I am missing something in life? Absolutely not!
Now the question is why? Why would anyone prefer a life without love?
It could just be because people like me don’t understand what it is like. Growing up, I was a loner (*insert gasp*). But that does not mean I never observed. I have seen what love does to people – and it did not seem “worth it.” I did once try to fall in love – most aromantics will. But about 30 seconds later, I had better things to do with my life.
It could be because I have about as much emotional capacity as a pencil. Note I have Alexithymia, a condition where the brain does not properly recognize nor process emotion resulting in a highly logic-driven person – they are sometimes called human robots. I do not get the concept of favoring one person over another; I cannot even join a fandom. The bright side is that though I’m able to love someone, I am not exactly capable of hating them either.
Then again, I could be aromantic because my “robot” nature has been bashed so many times. When someone tells you that because of your personality “people do not want to be around you,” or “people like you are the reasons why relationships fail and society is going downhill” – you kind of give up and settle with being alone for the rest of your life. But, I only got these comments in the past 3 years. I offically declared I would never date when I was 11.
But what about being asexual? The generally attributed causes can be hormonal (low libido/testosterone), sexual abuse as a child (“first exposure”), or just outright disgust (loosely “trauma”). You can use what card you like. People have. For me, none apply. But I understand. It is hard to see asxeualism as something “that can happen.” I often have to clarify that I am not gay when I tell people I have no interest in females. Note though, it has been estimated that 1% of all adults are asexual. Just in the US, that is about 25 million people. So yes, it does happen.
How can I live a life without love? Easy – I just do. It is not the kind of thing you really think about. Is it depressing? No. I have had people actually tell me that they wished they were the same. Relationships in general are pretty difficult, so not having to stress over them certainly makes life a lot easier. Many aromantic/asexual stories I know of only go to further reflect this (you can read them at asexuality.org). Is it better? There is nothing to compare because I cannot relate to an alternative. Kind of like how a right-handed person does not know what it is like to be a lefty. I do not understand the “ability to fall in love” just as some do not understand my “ability not to.” But that is what makes life interesting. It at least makes a great table conversation.