Like many aromantics, I live with this constant feeling that something HUGE is missing, a big hole in my soul. What is missing though? When I have conversations around that with friends, they immediately reply that what is missing is a partner and that what I long for can ONLY be provided by a romantic partner.
I found a Facebook group for single people. While a handful of members seem to be aromantic, the majority do seem to want a romantic partner at some point in their life, Yet, when asked what they desired more in their single life, none of them said they actually would prefer to not be single. In just a few hours, close to 50 people from around the world shared what was truly missing in their life.
Here is what stood out to me.
Energy, Freedom and Money
Many single people feel physically drained. Having to run 100% of errands, keep your house clean, find time to go out to socialize (since you don’t have a partner at home) becomes very taxing. Some also talked about the need to work more or have more than one job to meet financial obligations. Single people on that group lacked ENERGY.
Because of these additional responsibilities, single people felt stressed out and trapped. They wish they had the freedom to live their life in a different way or to make different choices. Without a partner to support them, they felt like maybe changing jobs was too risky after all, maybe getting a mortgage was a bad idea, maybe going back to school was not going to be possible after all. They felt like they did not have the same FREEDOM when it comes to important life decisions.
All of this is connected to money. Single people felt like it was impossible to compete with people that lived on 2 incomes. Between paying more for holidays, and often having to pay rent with their sole income, singles found it very difficult to function. One person even said she should not have to pay the same for garbage collection as she properly produced 1/8 of the garbage that standard family did, yet they paid the same fee. On a sole salary and with limited hours to get everything done in 24 hours, singles felt like MONEY was missing.
Sex, Intimacy, Physical Connections
Of course many singles on that Facebook thread talked about the fact that it was getting harder and harder with age to be emotionally and physically intimate with people around them as that was usually reserved for romantic partners only. They felt left behind and with in dire need of INTIMACY.
Respect, Fairness and Justice, Recognition of Discrimination and not Feeling Out of Place
Many singles in that group felt like they could not truly connect with friends and coworkers. They felt like people around them were completely obsessed with their relationships that it leaves no place for them. They also witness incredible amounts of discrimination in all areas of life. One person said she craved “Supportive government regulations and services in all aspects regarding single people (fairness and justice)”. Overall, many of the singles on that group felt like what was missing was RESPECT and FAIRNESS.
Community, Being Included and Having Available Friends
Many singles felt completely isolated. It is difficult for them to find friends that will be more than acquaintances. They feel like they would be so much happier if they could belong to a community of other singles. They sometimes feel left out or think they were not invited somewhere because they would have attended alone (e.g. double dates). When they really need someone to be present in their life. They want to be INCLUDED.
Perhaps things will change over time but our shared understanding is that it is far more likely for aromantics to have to learn to live without what is missing as opposed to finding a way to change your situation. Change, in this case, is reliant on others and concepts like amatonormativity and matrimania make it near impossible for them to even consider change, which penalizes singles and aromantics alike.