Are You A 'Greyromantic'? Here's How To Tell

It's hard to escape the messaging of romance in our day-to-day lives. All we have to do is turn on the TV, walk down a street framed by billboards, or pick up a book. The time to celebrate all that's lovey-dovey isn't reserved for Valentine's Day anymore. It's everywhere, all the time. In a climate such as this, identifying as someone who is out of the usual understanding of being romantic could be challenging. Society can still feel very much binary and black and white, and what you're accustomed to hearing about most would be platonic vs. romantic relationships. Even in marriages and long-term relationships, the need to have romance could be construed as make or break. 

You may have heard of the term "asexual," which refers to people who don't feel sexual attraction for those of any gender. Perhaps you've also heard of the term "aromantic," which although a spectrum (as is asexuality), refers to a person's romantic orientation as opposed to their sexual one. Being aromatic means that you don't experience the conventional butterflies-in-the-stomach sensations associated with romance as others do for anyone. 

If you're thinking, "Well, that sounds familiar but it's not 100% accurate of me," you might want to read on. Everything about romantic orientation exists on a spectrum. What if you do feel romantic attraction but only very little of it and not too often? You might be greyromantic. 

Being greyromantic means you feel little to no romantic attraction to others

Greyromantic is one type of attraction on the spectrum of being aromantic. If you find yourself wondering why your feelings of romance are infrequent, why they appear only under some conditions, or why they aren't as intense as your friend who can't seem to stop gushing over their new-found crush, you might be greyromantic. 

New York-based psychotherapist and coach Tarynn Dier told Women's Health that just because someone identifies as greyromantic, it doesn't mean they don't feel any sexual desire. "It also doesn't impact one's ability to have friendships, feel empathetic, or care for people. They will likely just relate to relationships in different, more alternative ways," she explained. 

As sex educator and author Lucie Fielding told Cosmopolitan, people often assume that romantic connection and sexual intimacy go hand-in-hand and that if this weren't the case, you should be having doubts about your relationship. But this simply isn't true. "Sometimes, the people we are romantically attracted to are different than the people we are sexually attracted to," said Fielding. 

Your experience surrounding romance could feel alienating

Sex therapist Claudia Johnson told Cosmopolitan that it's important to understand that there's nothing wrong with you if you don't feel overwhelming feelings of romance or have little to no moments in your life when you can recall feeling romantic attraction toward someone, whatever their gender. The entire experience can feel isolating especially in a society that celebrates love through a romance-tinted lens. But Johnson added, "What a frickin' treat it is to know that something doesn't resonate with you and that's not part of what feels good."

As a greyromantic, you might find yourself having sexual thoughts about someone you met or are in a relationship with but you don't sit and think about them in a romantic fashion. At other times, you might feel a sense of romance toward someone but you don't want to pursue a relationship with them. Perhaps there's not much of a difference between your romantic connections and your platonic ones. Movies and books with romantic messaging don't do much if anything for you. 

The important thing to remember is that being greyromantic in no way hampers your ability to have a successful relationship. Love and romance don't always have to go together, despite what society tells us. Psychotherapist and sex therapist Dulcinea Alex Pitagora shared with Women's Health that "identifying as greyromantic is a way [for someone] to communicate to potential partners that they do not fit into normative relationship model trajectory."