Romance is one of the key parts of a relationship. It’s typically what sparks the relationship in the beginning, and when done properly, it keeps the relationship going. Furthermore, it becomes one of the most important characteristics of a healthy relationship.
However, romance often seems insanely complicated. When you watch Hollywood romance movies or read romantic novels, romance is depicted as a series of “meet-cute” scenes and grand gestures.
Don’t get us wrong, everyone likes when those things actually happen, but the truth is, real romance is a lot simpler than that. You don’t need to catch your partner at the last second boarding their flight and propose. You don’t need to spend a fortune taking them on your first date together in a hot air balloon with fireworks spelling their name in the sky just beneath you. You don’t need to have an acapella group sing their praises in a crammed restaurant before you tell them you love them for the first time.
The grandeur and theater of it all are fun to watch, and we’d be lying if we said we wouldn’t faint with excitement if our partners went above and beyond the realm of reality to woo us, but there are many small, easy things you can do that will ramp up the romance in your relationship in realistic and meaningful ways.
Here’s our guide on how to be romantic; without all the fluffy stuff you see in the movies. As you will see, small and simple steps can make a huge difference.
1: Present Small, Meaningful Gifts
When most people think of gifts in a relationship, they often think of trying to buy their partner the world, and then some. After all, if it’s not big and flashy like a $15000 diamond ring, it certainly won’t knock the person’s socks off, will it?
Well, actually the little things can blossom into some of the best romance.
Maybe your partner enjoys a certain type of trinket; such as miniature carousels. You’re going on a business trip for the weekend out of the country, and you spot a carousel that uniquely portrays the cultural elements of the area. It’s not a big gift, but you pick it up on your way back to the plane, have it wrapped, and present it to your partner when they pick you up from the airport.
This type of small gift does more than just give them something they’ll like. It shows them you understand their interests, and it proves you were thinking of them while you were away. Knowing that the person you care about is thinking of you and bothering to truly understand you is one of the most romantic things you can experience.
Too often, it becomes easier to go through the motions and live by a routine. The vast majority of humans do this without even realizing it. However, this is one of the fastest ways to kill romance.
Instead, a bit of spontaneity and focusing on your partner can build a sense of romance and brighten up both of your lives a bit simultaneously.
Next time you’re sitting around thinking of what to do on a Saturday evening you both have off, don’t settle for the same takeout dinner in front of the TV you always do. Reach over –gently and affectionately- grab your partner by the hand, and tell them you’re going to try something new tonight.
Let’s clear something up first. You don’t even have to do anything fancy or expensive. If you live in the city, maybe take an evening stroll and stop by that obscure pizzeria you pass every day but never went to. Explore the crevices of your area and try the new comedy club in town with a few drinks, or find out why so many people are lined up to get in the local performance theater. Heck, if you want to, get your beloved takeout and drive down to the pier for a meal under the stars.
Whatever it is, make it something new that you can experience together.
A break from the monotony of life can be exactly what you need to spark romance without going overboard. It shows you’re interested in making memories with your partner, rather than just coasting through life. A small change to routine has the potential of transforming your relationship.
3: Doing the Little Things
Sometimes, the least romantic things can spark some romance when timed right. Let’s say you and your partner work long hours to support the household, whether you have children or not, and your partner constantly struggles with one of their tasks, such as doing the dishes.
Perhaps you get off work an hour early for whatever reason, you get home, and you look over at the pile of dishes your partner is typically responsible for while you do laundry or whatnot. Instead of leaving the dishes there for them to come home and stress over, use your spare time to finish your task and complete theirs.
You see, even though this is not ‘romantic’ as such, it does show you pay attention to what they do. If you want to make it a bit more romantic, take the time to welcome them home with a freshly prepared meal and a dinner set for two.
By doing something small but meaningful like this, you’ve considered their struggles, actively reduced their stress, and provided them with a welcome reprieve that doubles as romantic bonding time you two can use to relax and talk.
Of course, this isn’t an outline of what you should do. You can adjust this approach to meet your specific situation. The point is that you do something small that acknowledges your partner, makes their life easier, and shows them gratitude while bringing you both closer together.
You know what your partner would appreciate, so use that knowledge to your advantage.
4: Focus Your Attention
In most relationships, your partner wants one thing more than gifts, experiences, and other gestures; they want your attention.
This is because it makes them feel loved and truly cared for. It makes them feel as if they’re important to you, and everybody enjoys that.
Doing this isn’t difficult, either. First, there are some everyday things you can do.
When you come home from work and see your partner waiting for you, don’t walk past them to kick your shoes off and turn on the TV. Stop, greet them, and call them by the pet name you have for them. Ask them about their day and truly pay attention. Give them a kiss or an embrace, and then focus on your need for relaxation. You’ve been on your feet for at least eight hours. You can handle just a few more minutes before you start relaxing.
Before bed, don’t give them a quick goodnight and rollover. Stay up for another fifteen minutes. Non-sexually, massage their body and talk to them about whatever comes to mind. Have a two-way conversation where you share your experiences, desires, or worries.
This is sensual and soothing without having a main focus on physical interaction. It allows you both to have time to communicate meaningfully when you’re most at peace.
Then there are often-ignored common things you can do to show this focused attention.
First, you can remove distractions when you’re trying to bond. There is nothing worse than appearing to be distracted by something else at this time.
Let’s say you go on a dinner date, and your partner sits on their phone the entire time scrolling on Facebook or texting friends. That would probably frustrate you quite a bit and kill any romance there could have been. Well, when you do that, even if you just have the phone on the table and occasionally check a text or look over at it, it does the same thing. Every time you break from the conversation to focus on a distraction, such as your phone, your partner’s immersion in the situation is cut off.
To be more romantic, all you need to do is prevent this.
When you go out, leave your phone on vibrate in your pocket or purse, turn your smartwatch volume off and don’t glance at it constantly like you’re dying to leave, and generally get rid of any other distractions to focus on your partner as you planned. This achieves the same things as the other examples given; it shows that you value them and provides you both with opportunities to communicate romantically without interruption.
5: Plan a Date Night Surprise
We get it. Life is complicated, and it’s often hard to find a few hours of free time without being so exhausted you just want to lounge on the couch the whole time. However, we need to stress that it’s necessary to find that free time and plan a proper date night every once in a while. Not only can you use the relaxing break, but your partner needs that sort of proactive approach as a reminder that they mean so much to you.
This doesn’t need to be the fanciest thing you’ve ever done, and it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg either. You just need to put in the effort to ensure your partner has a good time and knows you spent more than two minutes putting it all together. Oh, and make sure you enjoy it as well.
While planning, give yourself a responsible budget that won’t create financial stress in the relationship and focus on a three-pronged approach; the meal, entertainment, and romance.
Consider the types of foods your partner likes, whatever they may be. Find a place you either know they love or one that’s new and will create a unique experience for the two of you. Oh, but avoid a place where they may feel forced to eat something they have no interest in.
Placing the meal at the front of the schedule ensures you’ll both have full stomachs and won’t be distracted by hunger while you’re trying to enjoy the rest of the night. It’s a great way to kick the night off with lighter conversations. Just don’t overdo it and cause any gastric problems. That is certainly not romantic!
For entertainment, it’s a good idea to take a bit of risk with this one.
Maybe your partner has wanted to see a new movie, or there’s some sort of performance in the area. Perhaps it’s a comedy club or concert house you have never gone to?
Go to a place that provides entertainment that is new and exciting. It allows you to experience something new together. Just make sure it matches the tone of everything else. Going to a 3 Michelin Star restaurant with informal clothing, and then going to a low-budget comedy club can create a major disconnect in the experience. You won’t have many opportunities to communicate romantically during this part, but it’s a period that loosens you up and gives you plenty of room to talk for the grand finale.
Finally, you can get to the romance.
This is the part when you want to get away from all that buzz and chatter of the public to simply embrace each other’s presence and show appreciation for each other. Consider walking home from the entertainment you went to, if you live close enough, or stopping by a park or other out-of-the-way spot with a good atmosphere on the way home. Take some time, and talk to your partner.
If you live together, this whole experience probably isn’t something you do often, and you might feel stagnant. If you’re not planning these experiences during the dating phase, you miss out on some important bonding opportunities.
You don’t need to do this every week. Feel free to vegetate after a hard week every once in a while, or just settle down and enjoy being around each other. However, you should aim to do this fairly regularly. Each time provides not only a sense of romance but also a sense of excitement that often fades from longer relationships.
How to be Romantic Conclusion: The Key is Caring
If you haven’t noticed, 99% of this requires little more than showing your partner you care in meaningful ways. It has nothing to do with grand gestures or nonsensical Rom-Com rehashes. Why is that?
Because that’s what a relationship is about, and it’s what your partner seeks.
Your partner wants to know they’re loved, and few things are more romantic than going out of your way to show them that; even when it’s something small, easy, and wallet-friendly.
If you take into account some of these suggestions when thinking about how to be romantic, or come up with your own based on the groundwork set here, you’ll experience the romance you’re looking for naturally and more realistically. Listen to our advice, improve your relationship, and finally – improve your life!
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