9 Signs You May Be Demiromantic

Couple walking in the park

Verywell / Zoe Hansen

Demiromantic is a term for a type of romantic attraction that falls on the aromantic spectrum. If you have ever felt like you didn't seem to fall in romantic love as easily as other people or if you rarely experience romantic feelings for other people, there's a chance that demiromantic might be an identity label that suits you.

While the exact origins of the term are not known, it first appeared online in 2011 on the The Asexual Visibility & Education Network (AVEN) website. Since then, the term has gained greater recognition.

The prefix “demi” in the term demiromantic is derived from the Latin word “dimedius," meaning "half.” It suggests that demiromantics are romantic part of the time in some situations.

When a person identifies as demiromantic, it means that they only experience romantic feelings for someone after they first form a strong emotional bond with that person. It is important to recognize that not all people experience romantic attraction in the same way. Nor is romantic attraction synonymous with sexual attraction.

In the case of demiromanticism, someone will only feel romantic feelings for someone after they have built a strong connection and know the other person very well. Because of this, they often experience no romantic feelings at all until they are able to forge that meaningful mental bond with another person.

If you are wondering whether you might be demiromantic, this article explores some of the top signs you might want to consider.

How to Know If You’re Demiromantic

If you think that you might be demiromantic, there are a few signs that this romantic orientation might describe you:

  • You don't fall in love often. While it might seem like all of your friends are starting new relationships all the time, you rarely find yourself falling in love with other people.
  • You rarely experience crushes. While you might feel sexually attracted to other people, you don’t have romantic crushes very often. And when you do, they are often on people that you know very well.
  • You only fall for people who are close friends. When you do experience romantic attraction, it often involves developing feelings for a friend you’ve known for a long time. In fact, the more you get to know them, the more deeply you feel about them.
  • You've never experienced love at first sight. You might see people as attractive or appealing, but that doesn’t mean that you experience feelings of love immediately. In order to feel romantically toward someone, you have to get to know them far beyond appearances and the surface level.
  • Your relationships tend to move slowly. Because it takes time to build real emotional bonds that lead to romantic feelings, a demiromantics relationship often progresses at a slower pace. 
  • You feel sexually attracted to people without romantic feelings. Many people who are demiromantic still feel sexually attracted to people and can have any sexual orientation. They might engage in physical relationships without experiencing romantic feelings for their partners.
  • You don't have a lot of past romantic relationships. Because demiromantic people don’t experience romantic feelings as often, they may find that they have far fewer romantic relationships than their peers.
  • It takes time for you to trust and open up to someone. Building emotional intimacy takes time and effort. Such feelings may develop slowly and you may find that it takes time to disclose things about yourself to another person, at least until you know them well and begin to feel comfortable. It’s only after you start to build this trust and intimacy that romantic feelings start to emerge.
  • You prefer deep, long-term relationships over brief flings. Because people who are demiromantic often start relationships built on existing friendships, their romantic relationships are often long-lasting.

The Split Attraction Model

In order to understand what it means to be demiromantic, it can be helpful to learn a bit about the split attraction model. This concept suggests that romantic attraction and sexual attraction are two distinct aspects of a person's orientation.

Sometimes people's romantic feelings are aligned with their sexual feelings, but that is not always the case.

For example, people can be asexual but still have romantic feelings, and aromantic people can still have sexual feelings. In the case of demiromanticism, people do experience romance, but only in certain instances when they feel a close connection to another person. They may experience sexual attraction without romantic attraction, or they may not experience sexual attraction at all.

Where Demiromantic Falls on the Sexuality Spectrum

There are a number of terms that are similar or related to demiromantic, but that have important differences. It can be helpful to consider where demiromanticism falls on the sexuality spectrum to better understand what it means.

For example, aromantic is a term used to describe a person who does not experience romantic attraction to other people at all. This does not mean that they don't feel sexual attraction but instead indicates that they never develop romantic feelings. 

Not everyone’s experience is the same, however, which is why demiromanticism is considered part of the aromantic spectrum. This spectrum includes aromantic, aroflux, demiromantic, grayromantic, lithoromantic, and recipromantic identities.

Identity Terms to Know

  • Aromantic: People who do not experience romantic attraction. 
  • Aroflux: People who experience fluctuations between no romantic attraction and romantic attraction.
  • Lithromantic: People who experience romantic attraction only when it is unreciprocated.
  • Recipromantic: People who only experience romantic attraction after they know that another person is also romantically attracted to them.

Alloromantic, on the other hand, indicates that a person does experience romantic attraction. It is an umbrella term that encompasses a range of romantic attractions, including opposite-gender, same-gender, all-gender, or both-gender attractions.

Are Demiromantic and Demisexual the Same?

It is important to note that being demiromantic and demisexual are not the same thing, although they can be related and occur together. The two exist on different spectrums; demiromanticism refers to romantic attraction while demisexuality refers to sexual attraction. 

Similar to demiromanticism, people who are demisexual need to feel an emotional connection with another person in order to be sexually attracted to them.

A person can be demiromantic and demisexual. People who are demiromantic can also be of any sexual orientation, including gay, lesbian, bisexual, and pansexual

Grayromantic vs. Demiromantic

Grayromantic is another similar term that shares some common features with demiromantic. While demiromantic involves only experiencing romantic attraction once an emotional bond is in place, grayromanticism is an umbrella term that describes rarely experiencing romantic attraction.

A person who is grayromantic isn't aromantic, but they don't place a great deal of emphasis on romance in their life.

Tips for Navigating a Demiromantic Relationship

When it comes to relationships, the things that make a demiromantic person fall in love involve building close connections with a potential partner. “Like any relationship, open compassionate communication is key,” explains Natalie Hoskins, PhD, Assistant Professor of Communication Studies at Middle Tennessee State University.

So what else might a demiromantic person look for in a relationship? 

  • Quality time with their partner
  • Shared interests
  • Deep, authentic conversations
  • Feeling understood and connected
  • Emotional intimacy
  • Open communication

Communication matters because people in relationships rarely perceive things in the same way, regardless of their romantic or sexual identities, explains Hoskins, a communication scholar who studies gender, health communication, and interpersonal wellness. “Individuals bring immense differences into relationships, such as beliefs, values, and temperaments,” she says.

Because people perceive and process information differently, taking the time to talk to your partner and see things from their perspective is essential.

Natalie Hoskins, PhD, Assistant Professor of Communication Studies at Middle Tennessee State University

It is paramount that relationship partners engage openly in dialogue about each other’s feelings and desires and regularly check in to see if each other’s needs are being met.

— Natalie Hoskins, PhD, Assistant Professor of Communication Studies at Middle Tennessee State University

When it comes to demiromantic relationships, building friendships and spending time getting to know one another are also important. What may start as a platonic friendship may eventually lead to romantic feelings once a sense of closeness has been established. 

It is also important to note that it may take more time for someone who is demiromantic to start to feel these romantic feelings. Because they tend not to emphasize romance, it may take a bit longer to decide if what they are feeling is a close friendship or something more amorous. 

But that doesn't mean that demiromantic people should feel pressured to look for romance in their friendships if that’s not what they are feeling. Many friendships remain platonic and feelings of romance may never develop no matter how close of a bond you may form.

How to Be Supportive of Demiromantics

If you are in a relationship with someone who is demiromantic, it is important to take steps to understand your partner’s needs and how they may differ from your own. 

“Normative beliefs about romance and sexuality influence our interactions, such that partners who are not demiromantic may struggle to understand their demiromantic partner’s needs,” Hoskins says.

If you know someone who is demiromantic, whether they are your partner, a friend, or a family member, there are things you can do to offer your support.

  • Learn more: Listen to what the demiromantic people in your life have to say. While their experience might not be the same as yours, listen to their perspective without judgment and focus on learning more about their unique experiences with attraction and romantic relationships. It can also be helpful to educate yourself more about different identity terms, including asexual, aromantic, graysexual, and polyamorous.
  • Offer validation: Because we live in a world that is often so focused on a specific approach to romantic relationships, demiromantic people may feel ignored, invalidated, and misunderstood. You can help by listening and letting them know that their feelings and experiences are valid.
  • Use appropriate language: Remember that demiromantic people can have all different types of sexual orientations and gender identities. Strive to use the correct language and pronouns when talking to your friend or partner. Try not to make assumptions about someone's feelings or experiences. If you aren't sure, share your own pronouns and then ask what the other person uses.
  • Be an ally: Don't be afraid to speak out against discrimination against demiromantic people and other marginalized sexual minorities. Letting people know that they have your support can be an important source of strength.
  • Respect people's boundaries: While you might be curious about other people's lives and experiences, remember that they are not obligated to educate you or share those intimate parts of their lives with you. Show respect for their boundaries and their privacy. Because demiromantic people tend not to prioritize romance, remember that they may be less interested in discussing it with others as well.

The most important thing you can do is be supportive. Each person is the expert in their identity. Your role is to show acceptance and support for who they are.

Natalie Hoskins, PhD, Assistant Professor of Communication Studies at Middle Tennessee State University

Demiromantic partners tend to need greater emotional intimacy to achieve romantic or sexual intimacy, but every individual is unique. Careful consideration of individual needs and respect for differences will go a long way to increasing relationship satisfaction and success.

— Natalie Hoskins, PhD, Assistant Professor of Communication Studies at Middle Tennessee State University

Where to Learn More

If you are interested in learning more about what it means to be demiromantic, or you want to explore other romantic or sexual identities, you may find the following resources helpful:

It's important to remember you can still have long-lasting, meaningful romantic relationships if you are demiromantic. Romance might not be your top priority and you might not feel an instant connection with another person. Instead, it may be something that you develop for another person over time, which can lead to a lasting connection.

If you are seeking support for issues with coming out, relationships, bullying, self-harm, and more, contact the LGBT National Hotline at 1-888-843-4564 for one-to-one peer support.

For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.

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Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Kendra Cherry, MSEd
Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."