Hi guys! It’s Natasha. I have been busy working on my book and am writing a new post for PMS that unlike most of the posts I write, is taking me some time. I’m still feeling my way through what inspired it. So, I asked my dear friend Lorelle, to write another guest post on something I used to be: A hopeless romantic. Lorelle has written many guests posts and I am so happy to have her back. Lorelle, take it away…
Before I started to write this, I was thinking about how many songs are about love. Falling in love. Losing love. Breaking your heart over love. Hating over love. Wanting love. Crushed from love. Then there are the Instagram posts. The memes (oh, the memes!). Images that portray passion. Sex. Love in action. Crushed hearts. Hearts recalibrating after a breakup. Twists and turns along the path of healing. Overtones of anger and hurt. All of this, in images and some with text.
Movies are the best at showing us hopeless romantics in action. We respond emotionally to all of these. We idealize romance and want it to be a daily staple in our life. There is even a song and a movie named exactly the same thing: Hopeless Romantic. However, there are no romantic images anywhere of a couple changing a toilet roll. Nor are there any of a couple doing their tax returns, servicing the car, or loading the dishwasher. Grocery shopping, none. Messing the sheets yes, washing them, no.
This got me thinking. I realized I am not much of a romantic at all. I am a practical soul. I have a huge heart and I love to give and be loved, but I am not good at PDA’s, receiving poetry, random flower deliveries, and long, romantic stares that melt me into a puddle. Eh. I am not into this at all. I said to Natasha, “Maybe I shouldn’t be writing this post? I am not much of a romantic!”
What do I think of Valentines Day? Not a lot. I think love is best celebrated on a daily basis. Not some pressurized event where you have to prove your love by coming up with surprises. Besides, it’s more of a ploy to get people to spend money. And many have been broken hearted over not getting something. And many more are broken-hearted when they aren’t in a relationship and V Day seems to highlight that (which Natasha has already written about – because we shouldn’t be defining ourselves by a single day and what it represents). We are whole, regardless of whether we got a dozen roses and a candlelit dinner. We are lovable, regardless of that one day in February.
And if you do love and value these things, there’s nothing wrong with that, as long as they aren’t your gold standard. Because if that is the litmus test for you, an absence of these things might suggest to you that you aren’t being loved in the way you think we should be loved. Or you may think that you aren’t lovable.
Wedding days are 100 percent romantic – marriage is not. Yes, it can be full of happiness, love, and intimacy, but its’ really about growing together and sharing life as a couple. And all that goes along with that. Which is (often) not romantic.
So what exactly is a hopeless romantic all about?
Some traits are:
- Rose colored glasses.
- Romantic notions about life.
- Overly sentimental.
- Overly idealistic.
- The proverbial eternal optimist.
If you have been hurt in love but are determined to go on and find the love of your life, I actually don’t think that is being a hopeless romantic. I think that’s knowing you are worth being loved and that you also have love to give. That’s a great thing.
But, if you think you are a hopeless romantic and it isn’t serving you well… Read the following. I hope they help you navigate the sea of love out there – love songs, memes and all.
1. Look for patterns – not isolated actions and words.
We know this one, it’s a hot topic here on PMS. Small romantic deeds don’t necessarily add up to someone being worth investing your time into. Watch out for huge declarations of love and showy displays that match it. Think steady, slow, and consistent. This is what you want. Not mind-blowing, ostentatious, contrived, or manufactured events and gifts to impress not only you, but everyone else you know. Love doesn’t have to be loud or impressive to be real.
2. Life is about the small things.
The little daily things. When someone is there for you through the mundane, the boring, and the necessary… They are the ones worth your time.
The ones who say they love everything about you, talk a big game, promise you lots of wonderful things, but are frequently not available and rarely deliver… These people are not really who they appear to be. They are good at the hard sell, but you will end up buying a lemon. And it is not your job to spend years trying to turn it into lemonade. Next!
It is precious. It heals and it shows you consistency. Remember: People don’t change. They reveal themselves. Over time. Time is your trusted friend in all matters concerning love. So, as romantic as it seems to have met your perfect match, if things are running hard and fast, do the same, but in the opposite direction. Do NOT rush into sharing a home, becoming engaged or married. This is a massive red flag (NEON light actually) and we are not starring in a movie, we are starring in real life. Our own lives. Forget the ‘faster than the speed of light’ kind who tell you they love you after two weeks. That isn’t love. It’s a red flag.
4. Real love is about sharing life. It’s never about partaking in a transaction (wrapped in romance) in which you can own, use, or manipulate someone.
Be careful of those who seem to love what you can offer them. You are not a pin-up model to make someone feel great because you are walking beside them. You are not there to upgrade someone’s lifestyle, housing or social circle. Look out for those who say things like “you make me happy” because that is a huge responsibility – to be accountable for someone else’s happiness.
It might feed your ego when you hear these words, but it isn’t very romantic or healthy at all. We choose to be happy within ourselves. True, there are people in our lives who we enjoy being around and add to the happiness of our lives, but anyone (you included) who looks at another and feels that this person is who ‘makes them happy’ – you are setting yourself up for failure. Whenever they are not feeling happy, you will be at fault. And as great as everything was at the start, things will start moving downwards at an even faster pace. Be very careful about idealizing another, idolizing another, or expecting them to constantly keep your bucket full. This isn’t realistic. It’s enmeshment. And it is a recipe for a broken heart.
5. Don’t ‘fall in love with love’ for the sake of it. The love you feel at the beginning of a relationship is about endorphins and oxytocin. You are on a literal high.
Over time, 3-12 months, they change and lower back down to their pre- romance levels. This. Is. Normal. This. Is. Healthy.
Some people, however, think when this happens that the relationship is dwindling. It’s not, it’s just moving into a more steady, reliable and realistic love. If you find yourself often disappointed in love, feeling that things start off great but then fade into boring after a few months, pay attention to this one. It’s very important.
6. Romance and passion are wonderful components that add depth and quality to an already healthy relationship.
But if that is all you’ve got, things will burn out quickly (refer back to number 5). You don’t want a relationship that is like lighting a match – quickly lit, burning strong, but gone in a hot minute. Romance and passion fade over time, but they co-exist in a long term healthy relationship because they are pieces in the puzzle, but not the whole picture by themselves. Slow burning, constant warmth is the goal here. Not gasoline-ignited infernos. Huge difference. Don’t set yourself up to get burnt.
7. Divorce statistics are numbers that tell a story about patterns.
Second and third marriages fail at an alarming 67 and 73 percent. We have a view that ‘falling in love’ is like a fairytale. First marriages are broken fairytales. We often put broken relationships down to a mismatch of partner. But remember to also look at yourself. We all play a role in a relationship. If you just blame another for things not working out, you are not taking responsibility for your part. Don’t give your power away. Look at the way you operate too. Or else, guess what? The pattern will keep reappearing in future relationships. With different people. Check your boundaries (are you giving too much, getting too little?). Check your expectations (what do you want from this person? What do they want?). Are these things clearly understood?
Put some time into this one, as it will keep you safe. Learn from other people’s mistakes. Stats exist for a reason. Don’t become one of them.
8. Communication is everything.
Sometimes, we are hearing a lot of what we want to hear. This can be incredibly intoxicating. Romantic. We feel loved and appreciated like never before. But look for the substance in it. If it is just compliments, promises, and creating a glossier version of your current life, what you are hearing is a red flag flapping in the breeze. There is nothing romantic about a broken heart, so listen carefully. Hear the message. And look for depth. Love cannot exist in sweet words alone. If it sounds too good to be true, it is.
Despite saying I am not especially romantic in my views, I am a positive and optimistic person and I think it helps us see the light in dark situations and teaches us to find the silver lining. But you need to temper it with realistic expectations. If you have unhealthy expectations in life and love, you can end up being disappointed many more times than you need to be. In love, you need to know who you are first before you really get to know another. If you are very in tune with yourself, you will know what your deal breakers are and not waste time looking through rose-colored glasses. Don’t imagine what isn’t there will magically appear. Stay grounded.
10. There is nothing wrong with romance.
There is nothing wrong with hope. We all want to be loved and cared for. There are three great things in life that make a difference: Someone to love, someone to love you and a sense of humor. But don’t try too hard. Don’t idealize too much.
If your ideal guy is dark, tall and handsome and a blue-eyed, blonde, 5 foot six guy with a kind heart comes into your life, you just might miss him.
Keep a level of serendipity in your life. Live your life, being the best version of you. Allow others to see that, feel that and watch you glow and grow as you walk your path. I know I said I am not a romantic, but I do believe in love. Don’t spin stories in your head of how you think it might be or look. Instead, focus on being YOU, and let love appear when you least expect it.
Hopeless romantic or not, we can all agree on one thing: Being loved for who we are, faults and all, is a wonderful thing – to aspire to and to experience. Relationships are a huge and important part of life. They are also often the most problematic for us to work out.
If we are honest, we can see ourselves in our relationships. They mirror the way we operate and what we want.
You can ride your white horse but remember… There is no Prince Charming out there, even if it seems so. You are actually looking for Prince Normal. He’s your man. Flawed but lovable. Interesting but agenda-less. Able to give and to receive. Able to communicate and knows what he wants. Is strong enough to show his boundaries. Wants to know who you are and enjoys being with you. Loves you for who you are, flaws and all. Wants to build with you, a future of shared goals and happiness. Trustworthy. Practical. (men are definitely, as a rule, more practical than women and this is an underrated trait). And there will be times he will be romantic too, and passion will exist as well. Except with him, you no longer equate passion with attaining anything that is in limited supply.
But he’s there in a deeper way. An everyday reliable way. A steady way. A consistent way. You might not always agree, but he will accept that, and you will work through your differences. He buys you a caramel latte because that’s what you love the most, and he knows you like satin pillowcases, so your hair stays smooth. He remembers your friends’ names, picks you up from the airport and shows you respect at home and in front of others. When you are sick, he’s kind and picks up your medicine.
He might not believe in splashing out on expensive gifts all the time, but he bought you that silk scarf you loved as a birthday present. Maybe he isn’t as thoughtful, poetic or idealistic as you might romanticize he could be, but when you need to flush and there’s a full roll of toilet paper there… well…that might not be romantic but you definitely aren’t in a hopeless situation either…
I will be answering all the comments below. Would love to hear your thoughts.
+ If you need further and more personalized help, please look into working with Natasha here.