Have you ever found yourself crushing on someone hard, and then when they start to return your feelings, your romantic impulses fade? Maybe you love the idea of “love,” but you have no actual desire to act on those feelings in a physical or romantic way. If this sounds like your experience, then you may be a lithromantic – someone who prefers unreciprocated love.
Lithromantic — or akoiromantic — is a romantic orientation on the aromantic spectrum.
Lithromantics experience romantic feelings, have crushes, and maybe even flirt with their love interests, but then they’ll flee if the other person shows interest in them.
Do you wonder if you’re lithromantic? Here are 5 subtle signs that you might be lithromantic:
1. The idea of a romantic relationship repulses you.
Although you may experience romantic feelings, the idea of someone returning those feelings makes you want to run. Even witnessing a romantic relationship that you are not involved in can make you uncomfortable.
The ideas of intimacy, physical touching, or forever love just don’t appeal to you. The idea of a romantic relationship may even scare you.
2. You have crushes on fictional characters.
When you fear reciprocated romantic feelings, crushing on fictional characters may be the perfect outlet for you.
Because they cannot feel anything toward you in return, let alone at all, fictional characters can feel like “safe” love interests. There is no danger of a relationship if your love interest doesn’t actually exist, so you can fantasize all you want about them without going any further.
Not everyone who feels emotionally attached to their favorite fictional characters is lithromantic, but lithromantics commonly have these feelings.
3. You hide your romantic feelings.
Lithromantics may flirt, but they usually try to hide their true feelings.
Because the fear comes with romantic reciprocation, lithromantics don’t want their crushes to know how they really feel. If the crush doesn’t even know that they’re a crush, they can’t pursue a romantic relationship.
Lithromantics may not tell their platonic friends about their crushes, either, for fear that their friends may try to set them up or tell the love interest about their feelings.
4. You may get flustered when you talk to your crush.
Although being nervous around a crush is common no matter your romantic orientation, for most, the nervousness comes from a fear that the other person won’t reciprocate their feelings.
However, for a lithromantic, that nervousness stems from a fear that others will reciprocate their feelings.
When you don’t want any sort of romantic relationship to develop, talking — which can lead to intimacy and mutual love — can be much more daunting even if you’ve spoken to that person a thousand times before.
5. Your romantic feelings tend to fade over time.
Whether you can’t talk to someone you have feelings for or you fled from someone who reciprocated your feelings, you’re not alone in quickly losing romantic interest in others.
You don’t feel like romantic relationships can last long, and you may use your inconsistent feelings as proof.
You may have even tried a romantic relationship despite your fears, but the anxiety remains, killing the relationship as if you never let it begin in the first place.
Whether you suspect you’re a lithromantic or the term is completely new to you, these five signs can tell you whether or not you have this romantic orientation. As a lithromantic, you’ll learn a lot about yourself and come to understand why you fear reciprocal love.