The editor of the MiddlesexMD newsletter, who somehow knows these things, tells me that August is Romance Awareness Month.
According to an online poll by Zoosk, which calls itself a “romantic social network,” couples enjoy more romance than single people. Without getting too fussy about the details, according to the Zoosk survey, 79 percent of people in couples say that their partner is romantic while only 41 percent of single people say the same (presumably of their current interest?).
And even though the vast majority (78 percent) of those polled consider romance important in a relationship, only 20 percent of single people are happy with the romance in their lives compared to 59 percent of the coupled folks.
(Just to be clear, neither single people nor couples considered taking out the garbage romantic—so don’t try to make that count.)
In honor of Romance Awareness Month, maybe it’s time to take stock of the romance in your life. Are you stuck in a rut? A little rusty when it comes to new ways to woo your honey? Or maybe you haven’t thought about romance in a long, long time.
Romance might be considered a nuisance and a bother by some long-term couples. Romance is for newlyweds. What’s the point? He (or she) knows I love him (or her).
Maybe. But we frail human creatures still need reassurance from time to time. And saying the words out loud keeps our own emotional machinery in good working order, too. I’m betting that couples who manage to stay sexy and in love over the years are very good at romance. You know the couples I’m talking about. They hold hands; they enjoy being together; they touch; they make eye contact.
Romance can be as simple as a little squeeze or an “I love you” before bed. In fact, couples in the Zoosk survey actually preferred a hug and a kiss to dinner by candlelight (41 to 39 percent), while the singles prefer the dinner to the kiss (44 to 32 percent).
The tricky thing about romance is that it requires you to really know your partner in order to anticipate the unique things that will please him or her. Roses and chocolate might completely miss the mark while fresh coffee in the morning might be the most sensitive, loving and, yes, romantic, gesture imaginable. There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to romance.
Romance is all about acts of thoughtfulness and caring that is uniquely targeted toward the person you love. It’s about going a little out of your way for no reason at all, except that you care.
Done right, romance communicates to your partner that he or she is uniquely loved, and that leads to a sense of intimacy and caring in return. (And maybe to sex.)
This is the stuff that keeps a relationship tender and vital. While romance can be sexy, it isn’t about sex; it’s about expressing your love without ulterior motive or expectation of return in a manner that that only your partner will appreciate.
August may be Romance Awareness Month, but there are eleven more months to practice in.
Let’s get started!
Dr. Barb DePree, M.D., has been a gynecologist and women’s health provider for almost 30 years and a menopause care specialist for the past ten.