A while back I was scrolling through Facebook and came across this question: “Do you think romantic love is necessary? Beneficial? Important? (In life in general). Why or why not?” Many responded with a variety of comments across the spectrum. I could not respond. In fact, I was confused. You see, I am an impossible romantic. I go on Date Nights with my hubby (just because—it does not have to be Valentine’s Day), and watch movies like the 1989 film When Harry Met Sally (for you millenials out there, I guess I’m aging myself a little). You must know, I have watched that film a zillion times and could watch it a zillion times more! Suffice to say, I was emotionally triggered when I read that post. Once I calmed down, however, I began thinking about it more. To even begin to answer the question, one has to first know the difference between sex, attraction, and romance. Then, one has to know oneself enough to recognize one’s own values related to relationships.
We Love Confusing Sex & Romance! But, They Are All Different.
Sex is the actual action that leads to physical pleasure, and often, lust. Some people only ever care about sex. Once attraction takes place (that magnetism towards someone else), all they can think about is lust and the high that comes with the heightened sense of physical pleasure. And, why not? Sometimes, that is exactly what the doctor ordered! Hey, I’m the first to admit I appreciate a good f@ck!
Romance, however, goes beyond physical pleasure. Romance is defined as a love story, courtship, or the mystery and adventure associated with a developing love, according to the Free-Merriam Dictionary. I’d like to suggest that romance does not have to end at the “honey-moon” period of a relationship. If you are a hopeless romantic, you make a concerted choice to keep romance in your life throughout the course of your relationship.
Personally, I associate romance with the quality of the interaction and the environment: an ordinary dinner turns into a Date Night with wine, music, and candle-light; a messy, plain bedroom turns into a romantic sanctuary or love-nest for the special couple. All it takes is spritzing some aromatic mists/essences in the air, lowering the lighting, adding some sensual music, and placing chocolates and champagne on the bed. To those ooh-ing and ahh-ing right now, you obviously have the romantic gene and might want to “feed” it.
Is Romance Really Necessary?
Something is actually wrong with this question. What is necessary? Eating, sleeping, and drinking fluids are necessary. For something to be necessary, it has to play a significant part in our survival. As social beings, even degrees of attachment, connection, and bonding are necessary. On the other hand, if you refuse to honor an important value, I imagine you’d feel pretty unhappy and unsatisfied in your life. Ultimately, then, romance is only necessary if it is a value to you in your relationships.
It Depends. What are YOU Looking for?
What are you looking for? A one-night stand? A casual relationship? A long-term relationship? Friends-with-benefits? A romantic partner? A life-partner? Multiple-partnered relationships? And, within the more long-term relationship types, do you get excited at the prospect of romance? Or, is that just not your style? I probably do not have to tell you that the types of relationship styles, structures, and needs are endless nowadays. And, if you are more career-oriented, you may not care for a long-term relationship or a romantic partner. Maybe you just want companionship and awesome sex once in a while. Maybe you are into those hook-up applications you can get on your smartphone these days. Perhaps, one night of action is all you need to get through the rest of the week. On the other hand, if you are one of those people who yearn for a man to sweep you off your feet, take you dancing, and attend to your every fantasy and desire—well, obviously romance is a greater need for you. In this case, please don’t settle for a “less than ideal” situation because you don’t think you can find what you are looking for. You manage your work-life and your school-life. Why not find a way to manage and prioritize your love life, and all that it encompasses, too?
So is romance necessary for happiness? I guess it depends on who you ask. It might be for some and not for others. One way or the other, it is important to determine what your relationship values include and to recognize what you want out of your partnerships and sex life. Ultimately, listen to your own inner wisdom and intuition, and learn to unconditionally honor and regard yourself—above all else.