Heart-shaped chocolates? Horse-drawn carriages and moonlight walks under the stars? Or your partner doing the washing up unprompted? We all have different perceptions of what “romance” means, as do the experts.
“Cultural idealism aside, romance at its heart is about the desire for affection with your partner, usually through thoughtful gestures that aim to foster togetherness and elicit a positive and loving response,” says Dr. Jacqui Gabb, Professor of Sociology and Intimacy at The Open University and Chief Relationships Office at Paired.
“In our ‘Enduring Love?’ study, we found that it was often everyday interactions that were far more appreciated by couples than grandiose gestures. It’s these small, daily romantic gestures that help sustain healthy, loving relationships way beyond Valentine’s Day.”
“Romance can be a huge or small gesture. It can be buying a candy bar when you run into a store, opening a door, grabbing an arm when it’s icy, flowers or a candlelit dinner. Either a lot of thought to make it special, or no thought, but an act of pure love.”
“Enjoying a private moment together: silence under the stars, a slow dance or holding hands through the park … some kind of intimate moment.”
“Doing something loving and thoughtful for no reason.”
“Romance is about keeping the flame alive. Surprises, adventures and always looking to impress your partner and showing how much you care.”
“Feeling happy and inspired because of another person. A fun game that changes your lives for the better and creates fun memories.”
“Romance means a lot. It’s an expression of your bond. To do something loving and thoughtful for your partner. To surprise them and make them feel special, cherished and adorned. Reminding them that they matter to you and are valued. The care and love is deeper than just being best friends. Romance is expressing your feelings and enjoying being in love.”
“I love the rosey things and grand gestures, but nothing is more romantic than feeling comfortable and understood consistently. I have wanted that all my life.”
“Something thoughtful given or done for the other person. Sweeping them off their feet with a surprise they didn’t see coming. Wanting to hold them and not let go. Quality time spent immersed in each other, just them, nothing else and no-one else.”
“Detangling my jewellery for me.”
“To bring something extra warm and loving and hopefully sexy into the every day.”
“Sharing your fears and dreams and admitting I don’t know anything about relationships.”
“When she gives me ice cream when I don’t ask for it.”
“Being spontaneous, fun and flirty!”
“Romance is the little things to me. It’s the little things that shows me he genuinely cares, even if it doesn't work out entirely. It’s easy to do grand gestures, but it’s those tiny micro expressions, the mannerisms, the inflections in his voice that show me his true love.”
“Living my life for my wife, and striving to always do right by her.”
“Romance to me is something that a person steps into with both feet forward, never looking back, but letting their body relax and being completely themselves without fear of judgment from the people that matter most."