Is romance really dead? Long gone are the movie-like scenes of two strangers whose eyes meet across a crowded room, of a couple sharing one chocolate shake with two straws, or of lovers snuggled up in front of a roaring fire waxing poetic. Now it’s turned into stalking people on Facebook, chugging a couple of Redbulls and meeting up virtually in a Google Hangout. Not really romantic.
Technology is at the top of the most wanted list as romance’s killer, but there are a few other things to consider. The way we meet and communicate are nothing like the old days. We have all kinds of gadgets to communicate through but are we really using them wisely? Romance, as we knew it may be over, but it’s not really dead. Let’s take a look at the usual suspects.
Shopping for love online
Dating sites frequently get blamed for the lack of romance in dating. There are a number of complaints aimed at online dating ranging from the dishonest behavior of online daters to too many choices. Here are a few thoughts about the positives and negatives of online dating.
There are good people online. According to online dating naysayers, chance meetings have been replaced with bulk emails from horny guys playing the odds, super picky women who shoot most if not all advances down and everyone lies. That is not how all online daters behave. There are people posting profiles online that are genuine in their search, are honest in their profiles and do go out on great dates and find love. It’s up to the user to use caution and the tools available to make sure they stay safe online.
“We met online” just doesn’t sound romantic. Online dating does remove the element of meeting by chance. From a romantic point of view, chance meetings are one of the key moments in any romantic story, movie or book, the quirkier and more random the better. As a result, many people feel it’s a requirement for the beginning of any real relationship. Without that magical happenstance meeting you remove the romance. Some people even lie about meeting online because they are embarrassed about it. I have never felt that the way I meet a partner is the most important thing, the relationship itself is.
Background check for your heart. Technology does allow you to do extensive research on a person’s background, often before you ever meet them. Background checks are a great way to make sure that you avoid any major issues before they start. But it’s also important not to do so much research that there is nothing left to discover about your date. Cover you bases and make sure they aren’t an ax murderer, but after that leave a bit of mystery to discover.
Too many choices. Another complaint is that because there are so many choices available to online daters, they simply won’t commit. Instead of putting their best foot forward, they really just phone it in. They have 5 more dates lined up in their inbox if you don’t work out. No one has to work very hard and be romantic or thoughtful because the options for someone new are so plentiful. What those serial first daters fail to realize is that while there may be many first dates possible, there are only one or two that are really a good match. Be sure that you know what you’re looking for so you don’t pass up the right one for you.
I’ve done my fair share of online dating and even found my husband there. It worked for me for three major reasons:
- I used it only as a tool to meet, not a place to actually have the relationship
- I knew what I wanted, who I was looking for and trusted my gut
- I accepted that there would be jerks and then ignored them
Online dating is certainly not for the meek but the rewards can be great if you know what you want.
Don’t care how I want it now!
People have a very short attention span these days. They want what they want, when they want it and that’s usually right now. We live in a society that encourages instant gratification and that whatever we currently have is not good enough. As a result we rush through everything, never taking the time to savor a relationship, experience or the people in front of us. All of that rushing around looking for that next better experience leaves little time for romance to happen. If we’re always looking for more, better and now the last thing on our minds is going to be slow warm kisses and sweet romantic gestures.
Welcome to the future
Thanks to advances in technology things keep changing at a rapid pace and it’s going to keep happening. Technology has drastically altered what we communicate and how we do it. We have text conversations in abbreviated language that can be easily misinterpreted. We are bombarded by sound bites, internet memes, pithy pinterest sayings, short assaulting videos and intrusive instant chats.
All of those constant but hollow “communications” have become the norm, so much so that long face-to-face conversations feel more like freak random events. When was the last time you sat down and wrote a lengthy hand written letter or had an evening of conversation with anyone that wasn’t interrupted by someone checking their cell phone? With all that constant input, is it any wonder romance has fallen by the wayside? Who has time for that and if they did would they even know how to make it happen?
What is romance?
For most of us our idea of romance comes from movies, books and the things we see around us. We go through our lives collecting ideas along the way that make up our own personal concept of what romantic is. I grew up on films like Pretty in Pink and Say Anything and those movies were stuffed with grand romantic gestures and perfect endings. Those are great notions to entertain, but it’s important that we don’t get so stuck on these movie-perfect versions of romance that we miss it in other forms. Allow your definitions to expand a bit and recognize the real life romance that you might be missing.
So have we really lost that loving feeling?
The path from where we are to our desires has been greatly shortened. We have the expectation that particular things like romance should happen a certain way and now! As a result we have little patience and don’t take the time for romance. But it doesn’t mean that romance has to die.
Here are some tips to keep romance alive:
- Change your definition of what romance looks like. It might not be perfect, like in the movies, but it can be pretty great if you’re paying attention.
- Use technology and online dating as a tool to find love and then make sure that you are having your relationship in real life rather than virtually. Video chats and texts are no replacement for time spent together in person.
- Make the time to really connect with your date or your partner. Be present and turn off the phone when you’re spending time together.
- Have a technology free weekend. Turn off cell phones, don’t use the computer and spend time actually being aware of the here and now. Don’t worry about Facebook updates and checking your texts and emails. I guarantee if you step away from that, you will have time for romance.
- To have a really great relationship you need to spend some time defining for yourself what that means to you. Don’t settle for any warm body. Wait for the right person to compliment your life. Finding love can’t be forced. Be patient, stop rushing through life and make some space for romance.
Cija Black is a love expert, author, blogger, online educator and host of the “Love Bombs” podcast. For more information about Cija, the books, class or podcast, visit modernloveguide.com.