I would describe being aromantic as being ‘okay’ rather than ‘great’.
That said, knowing that I am aromantic is great.
I was luckier than many of my aro peers. To the extent that my high school years were difficult, it was mostly for reasons unrelated to being aro.
When I first entered high school, I had figured that I would develop a romantic crush on someone (who I expected to be male), and would at least try to get romantic with them. After my first year of high school I thought it was odd that it did not happen. It was even more odd that by the time I graduated from high school I had to interpret my feelings through some pretty contorted lenses to consider myself to have had any romantic crushes at all, and even if those crushes were romantic (which, at this point, I don’t believe they were), I clearly had not responded the way my peers would to such feelings.
In high school, I was able to deflect a lot of pressure with the idea that I was a ‘late bloomer’. I could also tell myself that I was too busy to deal with romance. And I loved some specific examples of romantic poetry, so I obviously could experience romance, right?
In my first couple years of college, I was just so busy, I did not even have time to think about whether or not I had romantic feelings, let alone actually pursue a romance.
(Though really, in the deep recesses of my mind, I did wonder. But because these were the deep recesses of my mind, I was not really processing my intuitive observations of myself).
The ideas ‘I’m just a late bloomer’ and ‘I’m so busy’ did not just deflect pressure, they also delayed me checking in with my real (lack of) romantic feelings.
As time went by, the ‘late bloomer’ idea became less and less convincing, and I’m not sure how much longer I could have held onto that idea if I had not learned about aromanticism. In my third year of college, I also became less busy, so ‘I’m too busy’ also became less convincing.
Fortunately, I started delving into asexuality resources in my later college years, and though aro resources were very, very slim at that time, at least the asexuality community had already noticed that aromanticism was a thing. (If want to know what types of ace resources I was looking at during my college years, you can check out this old linkspam about even older blogs). It took me years (i.e. not until after I left college) for me to finally conclude that I was aromantic, but at least I knew that aromanticsm was a possibility.
If I had not even had a vague sense that aromanticism was a possibility and that aromantic people really were out there in the world, I don’t know what I would have done. I haven’t lived in that particular alternate universe. But I can imagine that, once ‘I’m a late bloomer’ and ‘I’m too busy’ wore thin, if I did not know of the possibility of aromanticism, things could have gotten worse.
And it’s great to know that I’m aromantic because that means I’m not wasting my time and energy on figuring out why I don’t feel romantic feelings towards other people and why I’m not trying to pursue romance in my life, and instead I am MOVING ON to things I actually want to do, like blogging.
It’s great to know that aromanticism is a thing and that there is no reason for me to engage in romance if I am not inclined that way, it is great to know that yes, I am aromantic, and it is great to be able to focus on things which really do have personal meaning for me.