When I was a little girl I always thought that when I fell in love it would be a life changing experience. I never had the notion that when you love someone it does not necessarily mean that you will be with them forever or that they will love you back. The idea of unconditional love was so romantic I was determined and sure I would find it.
As I got a little older, I realized things were not as simple and serendipitous as I thought falling in love would be. However, the times when I did fall in love I was often showered with flowers, romantic walks near the water and loving words that melted my heart. Then I got a little older and those things started to disappear. The magic seems to happen less and there appears to be less of it around.
It has come to a point now in my late 20s that it’s not the over the top romantic gestures that make my heart flutter but rather a simple act of kindness or an effort to put the time in to call. I’ve heard spouses who are married mirroring the same thoughts where vacuuming the house is their idea of a romantic gesture from their partner. In fact, when someone is gushy in any way I get an “eek” factor that makes me squirm.
For some people being over romantic and cheesy is a sign of fake emotion. But is it? Are we becoming less romantic as we get older? When it comes to romance we often see women as the romantic ones while men are often the romancer. Contrary to that popular belief, men are actually more romantic than women but will usually hold it in their hearts rather than show it with grand gestures. A survey of 3,000 men showed that men often take longer than do women to get over lost loves.
Another reason that we may feel that there is less romance in our lives is because of technology, which allows us to find out any information we want on someone. Not long ago, we had to meet people in person to find out about them. That face to face interaction actually stimulates parts of the brain that allows strong attachment to occur.
A recent study also showed that 70 per cent of women would prefer a handwritten letter over digital communication. Romance may not be dead but what constitutes romance has changed. My generation is stuck between traditional ideologies of romance and a new age kind of romance.
So what is the cause for the squirmy feeling when it comes to gushy over the top romance? One possibility is that we have been conditioned to think that showing too much interest in the beginning of a relationship is going to make us seem overwhelming, obsessive and desperate. Society does not reward those who don’t hold back when it comes to showing just how much someone means to them. As a result, many people often play the elusive and indifferent role when they begin to date. The realists in us all know that talk is cheap and actions speak louder than words.
The realist in me will always be prepared for the worst while the optimistic side will expect the best. Perhaps all of us can only simply be ourselves and those who are bold enough to hold a mirror up to us and show us we are truly valuable are the ones to hold onto.
Some unknown person once said: “Never ignore those who love, care and miss you because one day you may wake up and realize that you lost the moon while counting the stars.”
Tip: Surprise your partner and handwrite a post-it note reminder of a beautiful moment you shared together.
Amy Yew is a researcher and therapist. Tell us what you think and submit any questions you have to email@example.com. You can also tweet your thoughts on Twitter @AmyYew.