Gender, sexuality, and preferences all span across a spectrum, and one point somewhere on that range is demiromance. A demiromantic can be described as someone who only feels romantic feelings after they build a strong bond or connection with someone. But while someone who is demiromantic experiences attraction, they don't actively seek it.
"The major difference for someone who is demiromantic is not that it’s a feeling that comes and goes with different people, but an actual absence of any feeling around romanticism until they get deeply mentally connected to a partner," says Courtney D’Allaird, assistant director of the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center at the University at Albany.
"In this way, demiromantics can see that it is the specific conditions that lead to romantic feelings for them," they add. Someone's gender has little (if not nothing) to do with the attraction developed.
The difference between demiromantic and aromantic, asexual, and demisexual
While both terms are on the same side of the spectrum, they're not the same thing. Being aromantic means that you don't experience romantic attraction to others at all (which is different from asexuality, which means that you don't experience sexual attraction), while people who are demiromantic do experience those feelings of romance and attraction.
Identifying as demisexual means that you may be capable of sexual attraction, but only in specific circumstances.
What identifying as demiromantic looks like
Because each individual's romantic life is, well, individual, being demiromantic can look different for everyone. D’Allaird elaborates: "Demiromantic is a huge spectrum of experiences. For one example, you might never feel romantic emotions for people or you might not find romantic things like movies or hotels to be appealing personally or with someone you have started dating." Traditional romantic gestures might not have the same effect on someone who is demiromantic, or they might only start to be interested in those things after getting to know the person.
And because romance is so well represented in popular culture, someone who identifies as demiromantic might feel unsure about their needs and desires. D’Allaird says that demiromantics may feel self-doubt about their value in relationships, and may worry that a partner won't like them because they aren't romantic enough.
How to support friends or partners who identify as demiromantic
The main thing that you can do is respect their identity and feelings: "Recognize that someone who is demi-sexual hasn’t just 'not found the right person' or just doesn’t know themselves," says D’Allaird. Believe them—especially if you're dating a demiromantic. Don't push or expect them to suddenly change. Accepting someone for who they is everything that matters.
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