What It Really Means, 6 Signs & More
Cupioromantic describes a person who desires a romantic relationship but doesn’t experience romantic attraction to others, according to sexologist Carol Queen, Ph.D. Also sometimes called kalosromantic, it’s considered a micro-label under the aromantic umbrella, which refers to people who have little to no romantic attraction toward others. Cupioromantic folks are often romance-favorable, but this isn’t always the case.
To understand the cupioromantic experience, it’s important to first understand that there’s a difference between sexual orientation and romantic orientation. They can co-exist, but they’re not the same, Queen explains. Sexual orientation focuses on who you find sexually attractive (heterosexual, bisexual, etc.). Additionally, a person can also be asexual, wherein they experience little to no sexual attraction to others at all. Romantic orientation focuses on who you feel romantically interested in (heteromantic, biromantic, etc.). A person can also experience little to no romantic attraction to others at all, known as aromantic.
Cupioromanticism is a romantic orientation, which deals with romantic attraction—the driving desire to be romantically involved with someone you like. Queen says people often think someone must experience romantic attraction or romantic desire for another person in order to be in or seek a romantic relationship, but this is a misconception. That’s where cupioromanticism comes in.
“There are certainly plenty of discordant relationships on this axis—one partner romantically loves/desires the other, the other one is part of the relationship but doesn’t feel the same way,” Queen explains. “Sometimes a relationship changes into a configuration like this over time (one person’s romantic feelings fade, the other’s do not). Sometimes they start out this way in the first place.”
Licensed therapist Rachel Wright, LMFT, notes that some people do take issue with the specific term cupioromantic. “Many people do not like this term, saying it represents conformity with amatonormativity, which is the view that romantic relationships are more favorable than other types of relationships,” she explains.