Many of you may have seen the definition for nonromantic relationships. If you clicked on it, wondering what that might be or even how that's remotely possible, you might have learned that a relationship like this is mostly something that partners keep just between themselves. It's an emotional attachment that embodies the concepts of a traditional (and therefore sexual) relationship, but never really goes there.

You may also have connected the term to asexuality, which you can read about here. The truth of the matter, though, is that this is something of a misnomer. While nonromanticism is fairly common, aromanticism, its asexual counterpart, is in a league all on its own.

Let's Just Be Friends

What is aromanticism? It is important to distinguish it if we want to try to understand it. The answer is really quite simple: Nonromantic relationships carry an implication. Perhaps the relationship in question still involves sex, but it's a casual affair such as with the conventional fling, one where there isn't enough time for romantic feelings to really bloom.

Aromantic relationships do not fit into this particular mold.

Aromanticism is one of the Fifty Shades of Purple, a part of the asexual spectrum where sex is completely cut out of the question based on a simple desire to not engage in it. Yet, rather than feeling a romantic desire that is expressed in ways other than sex, such as nuzzling, cuddling and hand holding, aromantics want nothing to do with any of that. They largely do not see the appeal of a strong romantic connection and take pleasure just from being around others. Aromantics, truly, are folks who are OK with “just being friends.”

And to think you might have thought that being in the friend zone was bad news for everybody.

Clearing Up the Mist

That's not to say that aromantics are cold-hearted people who don't even attempt to go to first base. Far from it. Asexuality is, after all, a spectrum. There are some aromantics who do take joy from cuddling and other traditional means of asexual affection.

However, this is where the line is truly blurred between aromantic relationships and nonromantic relationships. You see, folks in nonromantic relationships can sometimes aspire to have those feelings evolve so that it becomes a romantic relationship with all the bells and whistles and bodily functions that accompany it. With aromantics, the relationship typically remains platonic.

Think you might be aromantic? I have found that there is one large similarity among the aromantics I have met: They are far from antisocial and are truly quite approachable. One might even say that they are the most outgoing members of the asexual community if only because they actively seek new platonic relationships and friends to satisfy that need. When it comes to their place in the spectrum, they are truly quite unique.

The best kind of friend might just be one without any other motive than just being friends. It's the friend zone in the best way possible.