People can argue that romance has changed, especially since the surge of online dating to find love, but others say romance is nothing more than a positive feeling or quality associated with love — something that is timeless.
“Usually there’s a air of mystery or unexpectedness or out of the ordinary about it, so of course, this can change over time as people and environments change,” says relationship expert Natasha Sharma of NKS Therapy in Toronto.
“In the past, it may have been considered romantic to surprise your love with flowers, or to write a poem for someone. Today, taking the time to hand write a love note or call someone up in the middle of the day just to ‘hi’ might be considered romantic.”
And it’s natural for the romance, however you define it, to change overtime in a relationship, she continues.
“Initially when we are dating someone new, we are psychologically and biologically trying to ‘secure them’ so to speak,” she says. “We do this by wooing them, often with more frequent romantic gestures. Once a feeling of safety and security is established emotionally, the wooing frequency may come down.”
And all of this is OK, she adds, because grand gestures and unexpected gifts don’t have to happen for couples to stay interested in each other.
WATCH: Relationship advice from Jessica O’Reilly
“Romance can happen in very small but impactful ways throughout relationships. At times bigger, and perhaps more often in smaller ways.”
And if you do feel like the romance is missing, don’t give up on your relationship. Sharma says there are plenty of ways to bring back the spark you may have been feeling earlier in your relationship. Below, Sharma shares six ways to be more romantic with your partner, whatever stage your relationship is in.
Know what you find romantic
Everything about romance is personal, Sharma says. “Flowers may be romantic to one person, and cheesy to another. Know what intrigues and mystifies you, so you can let your partner in on it, and recognize the feeling when you feel it.”
And if you’re the type of person who doesn’t like to be surprised with romantic gestures, let your partner know.
What does your partner love?
At the same time, you also need to figure out what your partner finds romantic.
“You need to know so that you can execute regularly what you know intrigues him or her,” she says. “Don’t do something simply because it’s known to be romantic in books, TV, and movies or with your friends; find out what does it for them.”
Don’t pressure yourself
Being romantic often comes with the pressure to do something grand. And since most of us live online, there also tends to be pressure to outdo other couples — don’t fall for this.
“Being romantic can be super simple and need last only a few seconds, but can have an impact that lasts for hours or even days,” Sharma says.
The best kinds of romantic gestures are spontaneous. “Consider grabbing your sweetheart for a long unexpected kiss. Or grab their hand in the middle of the street. Whatever you do, make sure it’s something that wouldn’t make your partner feel self-conscious or uncomfortable.”
Don’t overshare, even with your partner. “Leave some things up to the imagination or better yet, a mystery altogether,” she says.
Another important part of romance is the intimacy of it, so if you do have big plans up your sleeve, keep it between you and your partner.
Try something new
Often we think the romance fades because we can only do so much of one thing, Sharma says, so try something new.
“Make sure you’re constantly learning and growing as a person … so you have new things to share with your sweetie.”
Take up a new skill, cook them dinner, take them on a romantic getaway or send them a romantic text.
Just be yourself
Just be yourself and don’t try to force yourself into being a romantic partner all the time, she says.
“There’s nothing less romantic than someone who’s not comfortable with exactly who they are, and isn’t willing to have a laugh at themselves once in awhile.”