Being Aromantic on Valentine's day

Around this time last year, there was a wonderful article  published called "An Introduction to Asexuality and Aromantism: Valentine's Day" by Hanna van Belle, Emily Cole, and Anonymous - I would definitely recommend. It does a wonderful job breaking down the different areas and distinctions on the spectrums.

For those who want a quick review through, asexuality is the lack of sexual attraction while aromastim is the lack of romantic attraction (not the lack of any love at all, just not romantic love). This can be challenging on a daily basis, but even more so around Valentine's day. Romance fills the air; the color pink becomes pervasive and it feels like everyone is trying to partner up.

Ever heard of the term “friendzone”? It is a pretty common term - I hate it. The problem with this term is that it creates the concept that a romantic relationship is "endgame", that everyone should strive for, and if your relationship with someone is not romantic then the relationship is somehow less valid. It doesn’t matter how long you have been friends with the person, if you don’t want to kiss them and date them, your feelings don’t matter. It doesn't mean they are lesser than someone who does feel those feelings.

This is something pervasive in our society, the idea that romance is the final goal, that one person should be your everything and that nothing else matters. How many times have you read a novel which ends with two characters sacrificing everything to be together, breaking all the rules and ruining lives along the way (it's not just Romeo and Juliet). It can be incredibly hard to live with those feelings - the bubbles in the stomach - the thoughts -the longings - just don’t come. This can make just living in the United States hard, it can be incredibly invalidating when the friendships that mean so much are looked at like they do not matter, like they are somehow lesser for not being romantic. 

As one can imagine, being either asexual or aromantic can make Valentine's Day (and the time leading up to it) a very trying time. Existing in the United States can be hard; we sexualize everything (if you don’t believe me on hyper-sexualsation, listen to basically any pop song - it's typically about sex, breaking up, or - if you are very lucky - both). It’s something to keep in mind. Valentine's day is seen as the holiday of love and, in true United States fashion, the love focused on is romanatic. I think this a pity. This Valentine's Day, maybe do something for your friends as well. Valentine's day is supposed to be a holiday of love, maybe you aren't aromantic, that's no reason to not tell your friends how much you love them or how much they mean to you. If you are, the same applies. This Valentine's day, let's try to honor all positive, important relationships - not just the romantic ones.