Romance

Written by Rhiann McNally
Imagery by Haley Kigbo


Famous romance literary pioneer, Elinor Glyn once wrote “Romance is the glamour which turns the dust of everyday life into a golden haze. ” But in 2017, many are questioning whether romance still exists. We asked our readers what they thought of romance in the digital age, why is romance important, and if it’s truly dead, who killed it?


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Life without romance is like food without seasoning. Bland.
— Neutral.love reader

According to respondents to our little survey, the most sparkling quality of romance is that it brings happiness and shows you care. “It helps to create and bring a lot of happiness and the feeling of being really loved,” one respondent told us.

To some romance is fun and fulfilling, to others it is an essential part of a relationship. “Just caring for each other is great”, said one caring individual. “It makes you feel good within yourself. You feel wanted, you feel desired and everyone wants that,” another said.

Although, some admitted to finding it a little much (“I think a bit of romance never hurt anyone but it can be a bit over the top and sickening”), one reader expressed the importance of romance with a line deserving of the embroidery treatment: “Life without romance is like food without seasoning. Bland.”

One reader told us, “Romance is important in the little things you do for your partner. It's important because it keeps the relationship intimate and positive. And it shows that you still know what will make your partner happy.”

Most of the survey respondents are currently in a long-term relationship (Over a year), 36 percent are married, with the majority having gotten hitched in the last one to five years. About 18 percent of respondents are single, with only half that actively dating. Nine percent are currently in the honeymoon period of a new relationship.

When asked whether people are less romantic than they used to be the majority, at 60 percent, agreed, while 20 percent ticked the box stating that people are still romantic. The remaining 20 percent of respondents explained their thoughts further. The overarching theme of these responses is that romance is just a different beast these days. One person told us that it’s a bit of a yes and a bit of a no. “There’s been a decline in people thinking it necessary, but that’s usually that highly stylised and performative ‘romance’ of yesteryears.”

Many think pieces have blamed Millennials for killing off everything from fabric softener to diamonds, so we couldn’t resist asking if romance is dead, who’s to blame? Millennials did not rate a mention, (neither did Feminism). The remaining choices are contained within this helpful graph:

 Editor’s Note: Graph is not actually that helpful

Editor’s Note: Graph is not actually that helpful

Many of our survey respondents added nuance to the simplistic survey options. While we didn’t expect children of divorce to cite this option as much as they did, a few elaborated on their choice. One said that they were disillusioned with everything. “Cynicism is the go these days it appears people are afraid to get too deep and feel too deeply because there is this stink of impermanence and wasted effort everywhere.”

Another lamented the influence familial situations can have on relationships. “I blame this generation's parents. They fucked up our views. Divorce, domestics, it's hard for some to believe in love and romance because of them.”

Some respondents abstained from the survey options and gave their own summations of the current state of romance.  “I think people relate romance to how much money they can spend on you. True romance is nothing to do with that ... Romance should be about listening to your partner and being aware of their needs and wanting to show them they are loved,” adding that romance shouldn’t be an occasional thing, it should be an everyday thing.

Another respondent told us that the social rules of dating have changed. “Technology causes disconnection in relationships - there’s less physical communication and touch.”


....Having more stress reduces the desire to be romantic.
— Neutral.love reader

Singles rated the romance in the dating scene as about 50/50, with the level of romance in dating ranging from 25 to 69 percent. People in relationships were asked whether they still get romantic with their partners, or if the romance has somewhat fizzled. Unfortunately, the majority attested to being a bit romance deprived.

“Fizzled. He used to but now not much. I think because of life issues. Having more stress reduces the desire to be romantic.” Another respondent also put the lack of romance down to life issues. “He does, but we don't have the disposable income we had when we were in our early twenties. Now we have four different kinds of insurance and can't afford to make grand gestures of love.” Others expressed a little frustration with partners who don’t value romance as much as they do. “I’ve never been in a relationship where a partner has taken it upon themselves to do anything romantic, that has always been my doing or prompting.”

There were a few who still get their romance on, “Still does. He might bring me little sentimental gifts. Take me out for dinner somewhere nice. Or he'll take me somewhere that is meaningful for the two of us.” Another told us, “My partner does do romantic things for me. He will cook me his special nachos when he knows I don't want to cook. He sends me videos of dogs getting stuck in doors with big sticks. And in the middle of the night when I can't sleep he rubs my back.”

But what it all seems to come down to is that romance is subjective, as one of our respondents told keenly pointed out. “For me, if my partner thoughtfully brings me something he thought I would need without me asking him to do it, that's pretty romantic. And yes, he does it.”

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So what does it take to sweep our readers off their feet?

  • Take them on a cute picnic somewhere relaxing and provide them with many fine cheeses. Cheese is a speed way to a person's heart. (Our hearts fluttered)
  • A surprise day trip anywhere, a hike somewhere beautiful, or really anything one on one, out and about, no distractions.
  • Chivalry, flowers, romantic dinner with candles, deep conversation, all the cliché crap.
  • Clean the house. (PREACH!)
  • Giving a lot of attention. I like to know I am desired and wanted.
  • Just be there and be supportive, no soppy shit.