Aromantic couple give an eye-opening explanation of what intimacy and romance means to them

Lisa Burscheidt (L) and Samantha Marcus (R) aromatic folk in an 'opt-in, opt-out relationship'. (PinkNews)

In a society clogged with televised dating shows and celebrity weddings, it can be difficult for some to imagine a purely platonic existence.

But for those who are aromantic, an individual who experiences little or no romantic attraction to others, this is a daily reality.

When people are pelted with Instagram-worthy wedding proposals and anything written by Nora Ephron on the daily, the pressure to express romance in a certain way can be exhausting.

Romantic love is just one flavour of love, and aromantic folk experience bonds of one and respect with whomever they choose.

Lisa and Samantha spoke to PinkNews about their “opt-out relationship” they have fostered together, what intimacy means to them and what identifying as aromantic means.

Lisa: I am an aromantic, asexual genderqueer person.

Samatha: I’m Lisa’s partner, my pronouns are she and her, and I am aromantic, queer! There, I’m queer.

We’ve been friends for six, seven years and together for two. It’s an odd boundary.

Lisa: Really odd because there wasn’t this moment of or this phase even of: ‘I’m falling in love with this person’. You know, yes feelings changed, but all that happened was they became like, the friendship became more intense. That’s how I would describe it.

Samantha: And both of us separately decided that would be quite nice to have someone to at least have affectionate physical contact with.

We didn’t like that in order to be able to have like the necessary human affection that we all like having, we had to be partnered with this person who was supposed to be above all others.

So we agreed that we would absolutely cuddle each other to death and it will be great.

Lisa: We also did like a whole checklist of these are things I’m comfortable with and these are things that I am not comfortable. Holding hands, kissing in public.

If you say romantic relationship, it’s kind of like this package deal. Like it comes with all these different things that people expect from a romantic partner.

Samantha: We have an opt-in relationship, rather than an opt-out relationship, I think is the way to put it.

My previous relationships – and there’s only been a few of them – I was still presuming that I was a romantic person. And that, at some point, romantic feelings would happen to me.

They kept on never happening and I kept thinking about the concept, or this society’s current concept of romance, and kept going: ‘This is so not me.’

Aromantic people in relationships, the top line is friends, and that feeling is as expansive and as powerful and you wish as well for your friends as you would for a romantic partner and you want their happiness as much as you would for a romantic partner and you get joy from their joys, and you suffer from their suffers as much as you would with a romantic partner.

It’s just that there’s no need to separate romantic partner from friend.