People have different styles of loving. Some, for example, focus on pleasing others, some are self-centered game players, some focus on love as a deep friendship, and some, those often called "hopeless romantics," look for love that focuses on passion, grand romantic gestures, and intense closeness. If you are not hopeless romantic, but are in a relationship with one, you may feel that the relationship is doomed to failure. In fact, if you are willing to make a little extra effort, your relationship with this person can not only survive your differences, but can be very fulfilling for both you and your partner. These instructions will provide a starting point for making your relationship with a hopeless romantic work.
1. Understand your differences.
Psychologists have identified at least three different primary "love styles" based on friendship, passion, and game playing. Some suggest there may be as many six different ways of experiencing the condition of being in love, and that most people experience love as a blend of two or more of these. Spend some time thinking about what love means to you, and what it means to your partner.
- Psychologist John Lee argues that there are six love styles: eros (romantic/passionate love), Ludos (love as a game), Storge (love as deep friendship), Pragma (love as a useful arrangement), Mania (love as obsession), and Agape (love as selflessness).Think about which style or styles best fit you, and which best fit your partner.
- If your partner is a romantic but you are not, that doesn't mean you love your partner less, it just means you experience love differently.
- Understanding and appreciating your differences is important in any romantic relationship.
2. Try to relate.
Try to put yourself in your partner's place, and understand their way of seeing things.
- If you and your partner have different approaches to communicating your feelings, consider whether your way of communicating is getting the message across.
- For you, mowing the lawn or doing some other chore for your partner might be a way of saying "I love you," but consider your partner's perspective: is he or she receiving that message from your actions?
- Your needs are valid, but so are your partner's, so it's important to consider whether or not you're communicating your feelings in a way she or he understands.
- Your partner will probably make an extra effort to remember what you like, to do fun, spontaneous things with you, and to cheer you up when you are feeling sad.
- Additionally, most of the time, the primary thing your partner will want in return is to be loved by you. They are also likely to focus on the the things they like about you.
- None of this means you don't have to do anything nice in return, but it does mean you are lucky enough to have a partner who really enjoys being with you and wants you to feel the same.
- This is especially important when dating a hopeless romantic. He or she will likely try to do lots of things to make you feel happy and loved. If you don't appreciate this, your partner will eventually move on.
- This can be as simple as telling your partner how much you appreciate the things they do for you, especially after they have done something particularly nice.
- Be open about your feelings, without ascribing blame. Phrases like "I feel," I'd like it if," "I really want," and so forth are great because they promote openness without the blame that comes with a phrase like "you make me feel."
- Ask for space if you need it. Some people need more time alone than others, and there's nothing wrong with that. Be gentle, but direct in explaining this. As you do this though, it's a good idea to let you partner know that this isn't about them, it's about your needs. Reaffirm your commitment to the relationship as you ask for space.
- Let your partner know that it's okay to express his or her emotions, too. Tell her or him that their feelings are important to you.
- When your partner talks, really listen, don't just wait your turn to talk. This means making eye-contact, trying to put aside distracting thoughts, and checking in from time to time to make sure you are getting the message your partner is trying to communicate.
- Look for a compromise. If your partner's idea of a great evening is a moonlight walk on the beach, and yours is going to museum together, look for a solution in which you both can get what you want, even if it means you don't always get what you want.
- In these negotiations with your partner, be attentive and accommodating to the needs and feelings they communicate to you. If your partner is feeling insecure or under-appreciated, this will help them to feel loved and valued.
- If you've hurt your hopelessly romantic partner's feelings, say you're sorry. Even if you didn't mean to do anything wrong, or don't think you did, you can still apologize for hurting them.
6. Go the extra mile.
Once in a while, make the extra effort to sweep your partner off their feel with a bigger romantic gesture.
- Even if it's not the most important part of a relationship to you, its important to be romantic sometimes. Not only will your hopelessly romantic partner treasure these gestures, it will serve as a great reminder to both you that you value the relationship and find your partner exciting to be with.
- For example, make plans for dinner at a romantic restaurant, or plan a special vacation together. If you don't have time for long trip, just go away for a weekend or even an evening to a nearby wine district or a cute bed and breakfast.
- Make your partner something. Write a poem or a song or make a piece of art inspired by your hopeless romantic partner. If you aren't artistically inclined, use photographs of the two of you to make a card or a calendar, or even just get one framed.
- Cook a special dinner of your partners' favorite foods, and serve it by candlelight. It may not be original, but don't mistake a classic for a cliché.
- Give your partner a massage. You can buy a professional massage, or give them one yourself. There are many books that can show you some basic techniques. You can light some candles to make it extra romantic.