Definitions of romance are certainly varied and differ according to male and female interpretations. I often hear the words: I don’t know how to be romantic in my counseling practice with couples. Hearing this makes me wonder what happened from the initial romantic encounter to the current day picture.
By definition, “Romance is the pleasurable feeling of excitement and mystery associated with love.” Focus on the words pleasurable, excitement and mystery for a moment. Who wouldn’t want that?
So what might ruin a romance for a couple? Here are 5 things that might be the culprits.
- Not expressing love and affection. Often in a relationship, people get accustomed to thinking things but not sharing. You might think loving thoughts of your spouse or significant other but you just don’t tell. Remember when you were falling in love and full of romantic words. Get them out again, and openly speak of your feelings of affection. Leave romantic notes for each other, send thoughtful texts or even put it down on paper and mail it. If you feel it, say it.
- Not making time for each other. This is a big one for many couples. Life gets filled with responsibilities: work, kids, appointments, house cleaning, and grocery shopping…..the list is endless. The most common excuse I hear is “we don’t have time to go out on a date”. If it matters, you will find the time. Get creative with your time management and learn to block out time for your partner and make the things you do together already more romantic. That trip to the grocery store can become quite interesting if you try.
- Not doing little things for each other anymore. Maybe you used to send cards, bring flowers, text loving thoughts, complement each other, hug frequently and blow a kiss across the room. Why did you stop? Maybe you have fallen into the trap of taking your relationships for granted and just assumed it would always last. Reframe that idea and realize that couples need to work at keeping the romance alive.
- Not having your own interests and pursuing them. Being needy or clingy can often become unattractive to your partner. When you dated you had things to talk about and share. You enjoyed sharing who you were and what you enjoyed. You had different interests and ideas which your partner found interesting or intriguing. You were a bit mysterious and exciting. Your interests and hobbies do not need to end once you become a couple. Find that again and see how romance and conversation build.
- Not keeping up your physical appearance. When you started dating you were attracted to your partner’s physical appearance. Psychology Today tells us that ” caring for our physical appearance and the health of romantic relationships is actually stronger than we realize and plays a clear role in long-term partner satisfaction. Somewhat surprisingly, they matter most in the first seven years of a relationship and become less important over time”. Partners expect each other to change over time but making an attempt to stay attractive to our partner says we not only care for our own health and appearance but that we want to remain attractive to them as well. When you were dating you always tried to look your best.
The bottom line is romance takes work. Keeping the mystery and intrigue alive is worth it. Being married doesn’t mean you stop trying. Continue to date each other and do the little things that attracted you to each other in the first place. Hold hands, hug, complement one another, stay playful, and open to each other. Communicate often and look for opportunities to turn everyday activities into something romantic.