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True Romance: Is There Such a Thing?

Growing up with fairytales, hallmark holidays and romantic movies – at a very young age, we formed a picture of what romance...

Written by Amy C · 2 min read >
Image of locks on a bridge, used on blog about true romance

Growing up with fairytales, hallmark holidays and romantic movies – at a very young age, we formed a picture of what romance and love should look like.

Flowers, chocolates, massages, anniversary celebrations, gifts…. those are all gestures that in North America, we generally equate to as “romantic”. As women, we like to do these things – often pleasers; we buy thoughtful gifts, participate in loving and caring actions, and articulate our feelings and adoration for our partner. While we say we do it all out of love and expect nothing in return, let’s be completely honest with ourselves, many times we find ourselves disappointed because the same gesture is not returned.

We find ourselves in situations where suddenly, you find yourself complaining or nagging and tired of doing “so much” and not getting the appreciation and tokens of love in return. And sometimes, we nag and complain so much until we run the man to the ground because they feel they can never please you, that no matter what they do, it’s never good enough. I definitely admit to doing this. Feeling shorted, taken advantage of and hurt that my partner didn’t do the small things that made me feel “loved”.

But then I realized, if I was always feeling this, perhaps the issue wasn’t the lack of true romance I was receiving, but more like how I was perceiving. First of all, no one asked me to do those “nice, thoughtful” things. But I them regardless, often out of a place of love, but sometimes wanting something in return. Whether that something be a reaction or reciprocity, I found myself feeling drained. My minds started to build a story that my partner didn’t care, appreciate or love me enough. However, this was never the case and merely a perception I created in my head.

There are different languages of love, five primary languages to be exact, according to the book, The Five Love Languages. The book discusses how love is communicated in five primary ways: quality time, gifts, acts of service, words of affirmation and physical touch. While we may express love in each of the five ways, we all have one primary love language, and that love language is how we show love to others and how we receive love. What’s important to understand is your partner’s love language, which may not necessarily be the same as yours.

It’s not that your partner doesn’t love you because he doesn’t buy you flowers or  profess his love with a heart-warming sonnet. He just shows love in a different way, one that he learned as a child, and his communication of love may be very different from how you communicate it.

For example, I may communicate love with gifts – thoughtful tokens and suprises, but my partner may communicate love by performing acts of service – from helping me with my car troubles to assembling my new shelving unit. There isn’t any right or wrong to the different styles and methods, it’s just different.

I’ve realized that my dissatisfaction and disappointment in my previous relationships had a lot to do with the idea of love and true romance that was created in my head as a young girl, and my reality not matching that picture. And that if I continued seeing “romance” with that lens, I’d continue being unhappy. Adult relationships look a lot different from that pretty, perfect bubble world I imagined – they take work, compromise, go through droughts, go through highs, and also those lows when you feel like you’re too exhausted to keep trying.

Something pretty amazing happens when you make that choice to change your perspective. Instead of dwelling on the things you’re not getting, you become open and see all the things you are getting.  You see and feel the love even when it comes in the most subtle of forms – from a loving gaze, comprises, watching the chick flick he has no interest in, to the daily support and knowing your partner tries everything in their power to make you smile and laugh. You start to realize that those simple day to day things, albeit not wrapped up in pretty packaging or decorated with heart shapes and flowers, are some of the most strongest, sincerest, signs of love one could ask for

Don’t get me wrong, I still am a hopeless romantic, a starry-eyed dreamer who wishes for flowers and love notes. But I’ve also learned that those things don’t necessarily mean love and to not overlook the gestures that may be less obvious and easily overlooked. A partner who makes me laugh, believes in me,  who makes an effort, listens, gives me the biggest, warmest hugs and looks at me like I’m the most special gem in the world – to me, that’s my idea of true romance.

Photo credit:  Nathan Meijer

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Written by Amy C
Amy Chan is the Founder of Renew Breakup Bootcamp, a retreat that takes a scientific and spiritual approach to healing the heart. Marie Claire calls her "A relationship expert whose work is like that of a scientific Carrie Bradshaw" and her company has been featured across national media including Good Morning America, Vogue, Glamour, Nightline along with the front page of The New York Times. Her book, Breakup Bootcamp - The Science of Rewiring Your Heart, published by Harper Collins, will be released Fall 2020. Profile
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10 Replies to “True Romance: Is There Such a Thing?”

  1. this is so true! this just opened my eyes! i cant believe it… its so weird that all of a sudden I just “got it”. Thank you for your blog I love reading it:)

  2. Totally agree with the different way of showing love. But sometime I think it is necessary for the partner to step into each other shoes and give them what they wanted once a while.

    I read your article on 24 newspaper. Loved it. Thanks. Your blog is more detail. =) just go to your blog from now on

  3. Hi Leon,

    I agree – a relationship is about compromise, and every so often, you have to speak your partner’s love language, even if its not necessarily your own. The important thing is not to overlook the daily signs of love that may not be obvious. This could be as simple as your partner agreeing to watch the movie you want to, that they dont have any real interest in, but they watch it with you because it makes you happy. Something so simple can be dismissed as “nothing”, but it’s really a thoughtful and considerate gesture.

    Thanks for reading. The paper only has so much space, so often parts of my article have to be edited out. That’s why my blog has the full article with more details.


  4. Honest and truthful and I love how you share your personal experiences with complete strangers. This type of honesty makes people less apprehensive in opening up. I know my top three love languages and they are different from my partner’s. I remember them and I speak their love language. She loves surprises and acts of services. So I’ll randomly surprise her with an acitivity she would really love on a Sunday or bring her her favorite treats or iron her work clothes while she is getting ready for work. I think every couple should establish their love language in the beginning so there will be less miscontrued messages. Love your blog Amy. Keep ’em coming.

  5. I blame the media for shaping romantic ideals. When I get home and the vacuuming is done, that matters. When I’ve had a hard day and I’m offered a foot rub, that matters. When he reads my mind and brings home take out without me asking, that matters. Like you said Amy, it’s the simple day-to-day things that are the true signs of love. What a fantasic read!

    P.S. Doesn’t stop me wishing he could throw me around the dance floor like Patrick Swayze 😉

  6. I’ve read the Five Love Languages and couldn’t agree more.

    I’ve telling all my friends who are in relationships that sometimes, you just need to take a step back & remember that the person you’re with isn’t you. That they can’t read minds and that they don’t always see/understand/appreciate the same things you do.

    As unromantic as it sounds adult relationships are about managing expectations. Romance, in turn will follow 🙂

    Love your blog Amy!

    1. Daphne, Thanks for your comment. Funny, although I wrote this blog, I find it difficult to remember this, and have compassion. I was actually just on a rant with my sister about why men don’t do more romantic gestures like buy flowers – your comment actually snapped me back to perspective.

      Thanks for reading.

  7. Totally agree with the different way of showing love. But sometime I think it is necessary for the partner to step into each other shoes and give them what they wanted once a while. I read your article on 24 newspaper. Loved it. Thanks. Your blog is more detail. =) just go to your blog from now on

  8. So glad I came across this article. I was beginning to become resentful of my boyfriend. He has never bought me flowers or chocolates or anything yet I surprise him with little things all the time. I thought he didn’t care, but he shows his caring in other ways. I will try to read this article often, but every once in a while my mind drifts to “if he cared, he would do these things because it means something to me” … how do I get out of this frame of mind? I don’t think I’m a princess, I don’t like to feel entitled, I just want what a lot of other ladies want.

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