I’m a sucker for romance. I love movies where boy meets girl, boy loses girl and, against all odds, they find their way back to each other. Or films about star-crossed lovers, as in Bridges of Madison County, who return to their separate lives forever changed.
In real life, though, I have learned to be wary of my own longing to be swept away. It’s fun being pursued by an ardent admirer and flattering to be wined and dined in style. But after a few months I ask myself if all this attention leads to anything more than a romp (or two) in bed.
In spite of changing times men are still the hunters – they like to give chase and use all their wiles to win the women they desire. They may want to develop a long-term relationship but sometimes it’s the thrill of the chase they enjoy most of all.
Women, on the other hand, can be lured by romance itself. We want the whole fantasy usually in the form of an attractive, charismatic man who is more successful than us – and that includes “happily ever after.”
In a new relationship we believe a man when he claims to miss us and how he’ll do anything to keep us in his life. If we are physically intimate with him, those potent love chemicals (like pheromones) kick in, making him even more desirable. We offer him our bodies and our hearts. If things have moved too quickly, we may find that the man we are starting to love is no knight. If he wears armour, it is to protect himself, and as complications arise he may very well jump on his horse and ride away.
I find that it takes at least six months to get to know someone. In courtship a man will show you what he assumes you want to see and will do everything in his power to keep your interest. It is difficult for you to judge how sincere he really is.
Here are a few ways to tell if your romance will last:
1. What his actions say
The proof is not in what he SAYS but in what he DOES. Does he call when he says he will? Is he punctual? He may say that he loves you, but does he give you importance in his life– or do things like watching football with the boys get a higher priority?
Too many women make excuses for their men and accept bad behaviour. The truth is, his actions always speak for him. You just need to listen.
2. He pays attention to you
Does he recall how you take your coffee, know your favourite cuisine, and just where you need your back rubbed? Is he quick to offer assistance when you need help or do you have to ask him repeatedly before he steps in? A man who really cares about you will use every opportunity to show it.
3. Who is the focus of conversation?
Do your conversations usually center around him and his concerns? An interested man wants to know everything about you, from how your day went to what is currently on your mind. Does he sound bored or disinterested when you discuss your work or relationship problems? Not a good sign!
Beware, too, of someone who puts you down to build himself up. No matter how “helpful” he appears, pay attention to how his comments make you feel.
4. How he treats others
How does he treat his co-workers, family members, or a stranger asking for directions? Pay particular attention to how he speaks to people who are serving him, such as a waitress in a restaurant. Is he polite or arrogant and condescending? Ouch! This is his true character peeking through.
5. You consider him your friend
Is he only a lover? Or can you turn to him when you need a shoulder to lean on? Romance with friendship at its core has a much greater chance for success.
In the grips of romance, it is easy to be lured by extravagant outings or gifts. However, a man who constantly tries to impress is usually insecure and unable to connect at a deeper level. One day the novelty of getting to know each other will fade and you will be left with each other. What becomes important is how likable your man really is and how honestly you can communicate with each other.
For me romance can only last if I perceive my partner as a confident and considerate person whom I can trust. He must prove that he cares by his actions, whether he calls just to hear the sound of my voice or makes time for me in his hectic schedule.
With the right man, I feel loved and appreciated – and that’s fertile ground for romance.
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