In Portuguese (and in Spanish) the verb "to be" can be translated in two ways: ser and estar.
Ser is a permanent state of being. Estar is a temporary one.
I am [sou] Brazilian.
I am [estou] hungy.
It is assumed that when you're a normal, functioning adult, singledom falls into the estar category. Singledom is merely a temporary inconvenience as your ser state is to be -- or long to be -- partnered.
So what happens when you otherwise look and act like a functioning adult but you're consistently single?
When the thought of a relationship is pleasant enough, but when you're actually confronted with the longing eyes of someone that craves you (and not in the sexual way), you're overcome with a wave of dread?
When you've had a string of truly excellent men show interest in you, and no matter how diversely and completely excellent they are, the familiar panic hits?
When you've contemplated dating women, but it hasn't provided any answers because you're generally (aesthetically, sexually) attracted to men?
Obviously, you just haven't met the right person yet.
Or maybe you have relationship issues.
Or perhaps you're hurt in some way - and here the two options are: you're either recovering from heartbreak, or you're damaged (hopefully not irreparably) from some childhood trauma.
Those are the only Three Acceptable Explanations.
You could say you're busy working on other stuff -- "doing you," as the kids say -- but others will hum knowingly in the certainty that in reality your singledom falls into one of the Three Acceptable Explanations.
And if your issue falls into the Three Acceptable Explanations, there are all sorts of ways you can fix yourself to improve your chances of partnering.
You can practice yoga, meditate, and try to get right with yourself.
You can go to therapy and tear apart your whole life, looking for whatever could've caused you to turn out this way. Perhaps your shrink can administer PTSD-specific therapies involving darting crazy eyes from side to side, ad infinitum.
You can turn to the esoteric and visit bodytalk practitioners, shamans, hypnotherapists and - as a last resort - astrologers.
You can buy (and read) self-help books & rules guides.
You can (and should!) date any way, via whatever app you can.
What if all of that just makes you feel worse? And what if you suspect that there's nothing actually wrong with you? That maybe you're just fundamentally different from everyone else?
You take to Googling in the middle of the night, that's what happens.
I was 31 years old before I learned that the romantic spectrum was a thing -- that, just as people experience different degrees and directions of sexual attraction, people also experience different degrees and directions of romantic attraction. This romantic attraction may, or it may not coincide with sexual attraction.
I learned that there are words that allow me to describe my dread, my panic, my lack of butterflies; definitions that can serve as shields when the arrow-remedies to combat the Three Acceptable Explanations are flung; a community of people that is understanding, not dismissive, and open minded.
The moment I discovered aromanticism, I found a framework to make sense of the 15 years of my dating life. All the pain, all the hurt, all the internalized slut-shaming, all the self-judgement when I thought I must've not been following the rules correctly enough, when in reality the rules just didn't apply to me....
...because I'm different.
Not inhuman. Not worse. Not sad. Not lonely. Not worthy of pitty.
Because this is my ser state.
Sempre fui, e sempre serei.