Your man isn’t romantic enough, are you to blame?

© by rooymans2000

I’m generally drawn to bloggers who give me a reason to think and force me to question my own perspectives. Rants lambasting a husband for leaving the seat up again, reflections on the heartwarming nature of a child’s poo, or commentary on the character of your stuffed deer head rarely spark my cerebral engine. I  much prefer to swim at the deep end of the psychological pool.

In a recent thought-provoking post Marrie, the author of Dirty in Public, came to the defense of men everywhere regarding the fickle notion of romance and how us dudes aren’t as unromantic as Cosmopolitan might claim. She summarized her observation brilliantly:

“I think that a man’s ability to express his love to a woman should not be limited by women to only include the idealistic female interpretation. Emotional closeness and intimacy is a shared experience that should appreciate the different perspectives of those involved; not be dictated by only one.”

As I began to meditate on this nugget of wisdom I thought back on my past relationships and how this idea of romance fit.

I was never considered a romantic – whatever that means. The fact is, on more than one occasion I was told the exact opposite and over time this became such a common theme I started believing I was forever to remain the failed idealist, which led me to eventually ask ‘why even bother?’ I consistently struggled with what ‘romantic’ should look like? Was it a never-ending stream of candlelit dinners and prepared baths replete with floating candles and rose petals, or masseuse quality foot massages using lavender fragranced lotions and CVS quality heart-shaped boxes of chocolate? My teachers (the romantic comedy) seemed to include these or similar deeds as the male character executed his obligatory screw up and proceeded to waste the next 60 minutes of my life performing mind-numbing stunts of romanticism in an attempt to woo his lost love back. Did I need to act emotionally retarded and turn into an a-hole in order to be romantic?

Thinking about the romance in those relationships, through the lense of Marrie’s post, one question kept coming back over and over:

“How romantic where these women towards me?” 

And it was that thought what prompted my response to her article:“Women’s ideas about romance have been garnered through years of indoctrination by Disney, Lifetime TV, and romance novels. What these same women fail to grasp is the commonality among each of those mediums – they are made up stories. No, Romeo and Juliet didn’t actually happen.

The knight in shining armor they want so desperately would be a major disappointment if they knew how those men in the 15th century actually were. Only after a literary makeover do they become the Don Juan of a woman’s fantasies.

Lastly, and I’m just going to say this, it’s easier for a woman to complain about her man’s “lack of romance” than it is to look in the mirror and realize she is no more romantic than the man she criticizes.”

© by Identity Photogr@phy

I’m just wondering at what point it became the man’s sole responsibility to keep the romance in a relationship? And why is it when said romance fizzles it’s immediately the man’s fault and when was romance only defined by a trail of flowers leading to her bubble bath, surprise get-a-ways to Tahiti, or reservations for an afternoon at the spa? In other words, when did romance become so one sided?

Most women’s expectations of romance have become far too Danielle Steele and too little USA Today. Which leads to a complete fail when the average guy’s feeble attempts at romance are stacked up against fictional scripts, scene retakes, and literary edits. And for the record, men of the real world don’t have a white stallion parked in the garage and I’ve yet to find a tailor specializing in shiny armor.

Romantic acts can happen absent candlelight and bouquets.

Whether we’d like to believe it or not men want and need to be romanced as much as any woman –  and for the same reasons. And regardless of what Hollywood insists romance for a man is far more than the mere physical, though that’s surely a bonus. But in the final analysis the most romantic thing a couple can do together  – is be together. And contrary to popular belief romantic acts can and do happen absent candlelight and bouquets.

Like everything else in life perceptions change over time and that includes our idea of romance. What might have been romantic in our 20’s seems like a waste of time and money in our 40’s. There was a time when staying up drinking and talking into until the sun came up would have been romantic – now I’m good with a cup of coffee and a solid eight hours.

Romance will disappear when it’s restricted to one partner’s unique interpretation, because the other’s efforts get ignored since they don’t fit into a preconceived notion. Is it any less romantic if he  fills up your car unexpectedly, sits beside you as you watch DWTS, or pays you a surprise visit at lunch? Or does it only count if it’s part of Glamour Magazine’s “Romantic things your man should be doing!”? Unfortunately,  romance has become less about the intent and more about the end result.

But romance happens every day, we just have to know where to look.


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37 responses to Your man isn’t romantic enough, are you to blame?

  1. Ricky G

    Haven’t commented lately Kyle, Just wanted to remind you that I  enjoy your posts and your perspectives. Also it is no chore for me to sit next to a woman a watch DWTS, I actually watch it anyway. Wait, did I just admit that? No I’m sure I didn’t. Hope all is well with you and yours and the kids.

  2. I whole heartily agree. The women I work with are always like “what are you planning for Valentine’s Day?” or “Where are you taking Marianne for your anniversary?”. I have always asked myself why is this solely the man’s duty? 

    Another thing that has always baffled me is the birth gift. When I ask why a birth gift, they always respond “because she is giving you a child”. I don’t get it. 

    Another great article.  

  3. Anonymous

    Great post.  Dead on.  Success or failure in an important relationship (especially a marriage) depends on both people.  Both sides need to look inward.  Especially the victim.  We who are single – we are all single for a reason.  

  4. How timely this blog is.  I was just discussing this topic with the new guy I am dating.  I told him I didn’t feel it should always be a guys responsibility to plan dates and take care of the check every now and then.  He was surprised at this notion.  I think some women feel a sense of entitlement that they should be bestowed all the gifts in the relationship and I think that is so wrong.  As for push presents that blows my mind that women feel like they deserve a gift for having a baby.  The baby is the gift.  I had twins so I remember everyone in the hospital giving my ex a lot of “so what kind of gift are you going to get your wife?”  I believe it takes two people carving out time to make their partner feel special. 
    Great post!

  5. I enjoyed this post.  I have long ago accepted that romance is not flowers leading to the bubble bath.  Okay … I don’t have running water, but still!  I find it very romantic when my DH goes into the store to grab something and comes back and gives me a chocolate covered cherry.  Not a whole box, just one.  That tells me he was thinking of me.  I love that!

  6. Exceptional content here- so real!  Perhaps you missed your calling as a relationship counselor?  

    For fun, I looked up “romantic” on… Definition #2 says, “fanciful; impractical; unrealistic”

  7. I just couldn’t agree more!  Another great post!

    I get so tired of whining women about their men.
    Another “favorite” is when women say, “they should know what i want….or they should know what I think.”
    Really they are mind readers now? How can any human live up to that expectation?
    My husband knows because I tell him. Ex: my birthday is a big deal to me. Birthdays mean nothing to him. But because he knows they mean a lot to me he makes a fuss. To me that is romantic in it’s own way. He listened to me – (I told him this in a funny story on our first date 24 yrs ago)

    My hubby enjoys romance as much as I do. And each person has a different picture of what that is. So start communicating, save the bitching and talk to your mate. It’s easy.
    Then surprise him for a change.
    You’d be surprise how great a relationship can be when it goes both ways.

  8. Not a fan of Danielle Steele type romance. I prefer that a guy be able to talk about his favorite book than have knowledge of where to buy flowers.  I agree that relationships require effort (whether romance or anything else) from both parties. In my relationships it’s best that he know that most romantic notions are lost on me so he doesnt expect them from me either.

    Great post. Still hope I win Chopper Couture.

  9. I think push presents are the most ridiculous things ever! It’s a nice gesture if a man gets the mother of his newborn something sweet like a card, recognizing the hard work she went through during labor. But to get her a car or a Gucci bag because she’s having his baby? CRAZY! Like a comment above says, it’s those entitled women. 

    Great post! I’ve dated guys who have done the typical Hollywood romantic things for me and I was very uncomfortable. To me, romance is showing the other person you’re thinking about them or you appreciate them. When we spoon on the couch while watching a movie, that’s romantic. When he sends me an email in the middle of the day telling me he loves me and he hopes I’m having a great day, that’s romantic. It’s the little things I find romantic. And it’s something that needs to be done from both parties, not just the man. Men want to feel loved and appreciated too! 

  10. Random Girl

    I got called out for this big time when I was married. I, for some reason, had bought into the entitlement mindset and despite his efforts, I put forth very little of my own. It was only after it all fell apart and we were being honest about why it happened that he gave me that little reality check that he too appreciated effort and planning and romance coming from my direction. I am a smart girl but for some reason, I was clueless on that concept. I know better now and my guy is spoiled because I want to do it, not because he expects it. At least I can learn from my mistakes… 

  11. Lori

    I think romance is taking responsibility… and for most of the women I know, who are the keepers of the family schedule and juggling children and work and household responsibilities (and yes, I believe that women do more in these areas of scheduling the carpet cleaners and dentist appointments, etc)… all they want is the men to plan something for them.  I fell into planning everything in our marriage and it sucked.  I never wanted control, I wanted partnership, and to me that’s what romance is.

  12. I really enjoyed this post A LOT. I get criticized by people because they think I do too much. What they don’t understand, is I feel romance and showing how much you care about someone is a two way street. I often hear, “It’s the MAN’S JOB to do all the romance.” If this were true men and women wouldn’t grow to resent each other, because one or both stop being romantic or caring. And like you said, WHAT defines romance? To each person it is different, and sadly some women do feel entitled to the things romantic movies and shows portray. People in general are highly influenced by what the media pushes onto society.

    The guy I am dating does romance differently than what a lot of men might consider actual “romance.” He knows my life is busy and stressful, and I find it very romantic that he prods me to talk about my day, my kids, and my feelings. I also think that going to the beach at night to build a bonfire or going for a hike, or a trip to the bookstore, are more romantic than spending a day at the spa or a fancy dinner. And I reciprocate as much as I can – like cooking dinner for him and his mom (who has cancer), so he can take a night off of cooking. Or this past weekend he asked when I was making cupcakes again – so guess who is getting homemade cupcakes brought over tomorrow? It is just as much the woman’s job to work on the romance in a relationship, as it is the man’s. And women who think otherwise end up having resentful partners or spouses. 

  13. Beautiful post! *roaring applause*
    I love how you took the piece a step further by creating a call to action for women. I think that many women would find it extremely challenging to create a romantic evening within the confines her own ideals, let alone the romantic ideals of the man in their life! 
    Romance is the flint in the relationship…the spark lighter. A relationship without fire is a friendship, so to ignore the importance of romance {whatever the individuals definition}  is foolhardy but to place unrealistic expectations or assumptions based on gender is even more so!

  14. I think this just about nails it. I’ve enjoyed reading the comments from the women. A (woman) friend of mine told me once that the most romantic thing she could imagine was going on a hike with a guy who carried the rocks she found for her collection. 

    Whatever it takes. 

  15. Lori, great comments and I couldn’t agree more!!! 

    AND…congrats…YOU are the winner of the Week # 2 Chopper Couture! If you will email me your address and t-shirt size (they fit small) I will send you your very own limited edition Chopper Couture t-shirt!! 


    papa@chopperpapa:twitter .com

  16. I’ve been told I should have been a relationship counselor or an attorney. I have been called a “buddha on a motorcycle” and a relationship guru”…

  17. Jenni, I find it interesting that the women who see romance as the solely the man’s job also complain the most about the lack thereof. I don’t think that’s coincidence. 

  18. You are correct, when the shoe is on the other foot they find it just as difficult if not more so to create romance. Again, great post from you Marrie. 

  19. Agreed, and it’s unfortunate that your story is similar to so many others. Only after it all falls apart does honesty come forth. 

  20. It is the thought that ultimately counts. Why do you not have running water? Is that by choice? 

  21. I think it’s the majority of women who feel this entitlement notion. It isn’t surprising so many women are unhappy. 

  22. Malbecmom

    Romance is showing true appreciation for your partner. Twenty years ago I never liked to mow the lawn, but my late husband loved to.  I appreciated it and would always bring a glass of ice water and lemon to him as we had a large lawn and it took almost an hour to complete.  He used to tell me how his heart would melt when he saw me stroll across the yard, glass in hand.  I didn’t do it to be romantic, I did so as figured he would be thirsty.  But for him, it rung a romantic bell in his soul.

  23. M, As a man I can tell you he certainly would rung his romantic bell. 

    So sorry for his passing. 

  24. Tania

    I am one of those girls…a hopeless romantic (I almost hate to admit it now) but I love watching those romantic films and longing for that in my own life despite the voice in the back of my head whispering it’s not real! But you make very valid points. I agree it shouldn’t be one sided! But I guess I need to stop going for the “bad boys” if I want some romance in my life.

  25. Thoa311

    Sidenote: although my idea of romance isn’t flowers and chocolate or getting swept off my feet by a knight in shining armor. A romantic gesture would just be showing thoughtfulness going both ways

  26. Malbecmom

    @ Tania – there is a wonderful kids’ book called “The Paper Bag Princess” that every woman (and man) should read.  It’s a new spin on the princess getting saved by the prince fairlytale that has been around since  Once Upon A Time.  In this book, the princess has to save the prince from a firebreathing dragon, discovers how shallow the prince really is and in the end, learns she doesn’t need a man to complete her.  

  27. Tania

    Thanks I’ll have to check it out! 😉 I’m actually living my very own fairy tale girl meets prince charming, has baby, prince charming turns into frog, girl leaves, girl and baby live happily ever after together.

  28. Karla S.

    Wonderful post-but if it’s true that the two things that define romance are “time together” and “true appreciation for your partner”–I say, when those things are sometimes absent during the course of a year long relationship, one or two larger gestures go a long way in solidifying the feeling of love and romance. I love this post. Yep, I’m one of those chicks who asked for something my boyfriend can’t deliver–but a relationship should be in balance. I don’t say equal because it’s never the case. But it should be a balance to be successful.

  29. Papa – Author

    “one or two larger gestures go a long way”

    Karla S., that can become a very slippery slope. And it’s where so much relationship frustration comes in. She has one idea of “larger gestures” he has another, and if they aren’t on that same page she gets her feelings hurt and he gets confused.

    Unfortuately, no many women, not to beat a dead horse, here expect the guy to read her mind. “If he really knew me, he would know what I wanted”. Here’s her reality check. Chances are she doesn’t know herself so how should he be expected to know her?

    It isn’t any less romantic if she tells him ideas, points him in the right direction.

    Thanks for stopping by!

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