I recently ran a thought experiment: is being aromantic like being an only child? Since I am an only child and aromantic, I think I’m qualified to answer the question.
As an only child, I do not have any biological siblings, and while I might conceivably form sibling-like adult relationships, the boat of having a childhood history attached to such relationships has already sailed. While it is conceivable that I could still form a deep romantic bond with somebody, at this point, I consider that to be quite unlikely. Therefore, I consider both ‘sisterhood’ and ‘romantic bond’ long gone from my deck of cards.
Obviously, I didn’t control how many siblings I had, whereas I at least have influence over whether or not I have romantic partners. But do I really control it? I cannot control whether or not I fall in romantic love with someone, and if I’m not romantically in love with someone, is it a true romantic bond?
What do I wish for more, a sibling or a romantic partner?
I’ve made my peace with both my lack of siblings and lack of romantic partners, but if a genie could grant me one – and only one – I would pick a sibling. Perhaps it’s because I didn’t choose to be siblingless, and maybe if I really *did* have a sibling, I would wish that sibling away.
What do I get more flack for?
Being aromantic. Definitely.
That’s not to say that I get zero flack for being an only child. There are people who pity me because I don’t have any siblings, and I hear about people saying that all only children are spoiled brats, and so on. But I get less as an adult than I did as a kid, and there are enough well-known only children in the world that it’s not considered particularly strange.
The flack I feel for being aromantic is exponentially greater.
It is almost certainly partially due to aromanticism being much, much, much less understood than only-childhood. However, at least in American society, much less importance is attached to sibling-sibling relationships than romantic relationships, so by lacking romantic relationships, I am breaking the social norms much harder than by lacking sibling relationships.
A lot more people think my life must be empty and meaningless because I lack romantic relationships than because I lack sibling relationships, even though I see no objective reason for romantic relationships to be more important for sibling relationships.
Is it a useful example?
Most people in American society understand that life can be full, interesting, and meaningful without siblings. Does substituting ‘siblings’ with ‘romantic partners’ help people understand how being aromantic can be okay too?