The Evolution of Romance

(Published in Missy/Ink’s 14th issue about Romance)

Romance is not dead or lost. It has evolved into something more subtle and we are just missing the cues. Big gestures of flowers, chocolate and surprise getaways have not vanished or lost their appeal, they have just become the big moments that no longer have to be every moment. The smaller romantic gestures are just as important, if not more, but somehow they are overlooked and dismissed.

When flowers are sent to you at work or school it’s surprising and romantic, but so are the little notes that are left in your schoolbooks or the notes on the fridge hidden in your grocery list. Romance between two people is an emotional connection or memory. It does not have to be a huge one. (This is a little unclear, a huge what? Gesture?)

Who is to say a relaxing night at home watching a movie or even playing video games with your loved one is not romantic? The connection you make with each other cuddling while laughing so hard you have to pause the movie to take a breath or holding them tight while you cry during those heartfelt goodbyes is more rewarding and meaningful than you would think. While you’re watching that movie and cuddling you’re not just physically getting closer to your partner, you’re also doing it with the release of oxytocin. Oxytocin is a chemical that your brain releases during certain intimate moments and is known for its happy qualities. It is a huge factor in how we bond with each other and can be released in small amounts with hugs, kisses and even sex. Cuddling does not just release oxytocin. It can release stress as you feel the warmth, comfort and safeness from being together.

While yelling at the screen and playing video games might not give you that warm, bonding feeling – working together as a team can create a different aspect of romance. As you are gunning down that alien or defending your flag, you are creating a bond of trust and companionship. You would not think playing a video game would create trust, but you trust them to watch your back or to cover you as you reload. Working together creates memories that will last and will remind you why you love them so much as they slur that one funny comment at the TV or as you get the winning kill. Celebrating and even loosing together can create a feeling of being a unit and being close with each other and that is really what romance is in the end.

There are smaller moments that get passed by and overlooked over time. When they look into your eyes and just smile because they see the beautiful person that they fell in love with or even just holding hands walking down the street. The gestures are small, but it does not make them any less significant. Even those little things that are just for the two of you; a hand motion or an inside joke, romance can be found in all of it. A kiss on the cheek can be just that, a kiss on the cheek, but it can also be heartfelt and filled with love.

Relationships change over time, they move from new and exciting to comfortable and laid back, but it does not mean that romance and passion is gone or has lessoned. It has just become more subtle and intimate. At the beginning everything is new and you just can not stop touching each other regardless of who sees or where you are. Those moments where you sneak a graze of their body and the feeling you get when it happens does not have to go away. You can still find them in your third month, third year or even after you have been together for thirty years. It just evolves. Instead of stealing those touches of newly acquainted love, you’re stealing loving caresses. It can be just the simple moments of catching the other stealing glances while your deep in thought or while you’re just being yourself. It can even be found when you both reach for the remote and your hands touch, the feel of their skin will bring back memories and feelings of love.

You do not have to touch for romance to be evident. The days where they bring you a blanket without you asking them to because they see you on the couch chattering, or they order fast food so you do not have to cook. Those moments show they care and they are thinking about you. When they let you pick what’s on TV, even though they know you’re going to pick something they hate or when they leave the radio on for you to belt out your favourite song, when normally they would change the station. Those instants are often lost in the hustle and bustle of life. They are the moments you forget about and take for granted and are sometimes the most important.

Going to fancy restaurants and getting dressed up is great once in a while. It feels good to be out with your partner, but who ever said fancy was the only way to have a romantic dinner? When if even all you have is peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, you can still make it romantic as long as you are with each other. You can turn your phones off and you can tell each other about your day or even about a dream you had the previous night. The closeness you will feel while your phones are off is priceless. Being with each other for even just 15 minutes of the day, just the two of you, will surprise you.

The surprise of roses and boxes of chocolate on Valentine’s Day are wonderful, but sometimes they feel forced and unnatural. The real surprises are when you come home and the house is clean and there are fresh flowers on the table and the smell of dinner cooking. This can be more meaningful than a last minute stop to the variety store on a day you’re forced to be romantic. Romance should not be forced and pushed into one close nit bubble. There are many ways to be romantic and different levels that do not need much effort at all. With technology at our fingertips we have become detached from the people in front of us. It is making relationships seem cold and less real because most of it is over a computer or a phone screen. But, even those moments can be brought to life with simple gestures.

The text in the middle of the day of ‘I saw this and it made me think of you’ or even just a photo of the face you both make when something is funny or an inside joke can warm up a conversation through a piece of technology making moments more romantic and warm and less sterile and emotionless.

Romance does not have to be the predominant factor everyday and pushed in every second we are with each other, but it is easy to forget when the small moments happen. When we fight or disagree or they do that one thing that you just can not stand everything becomes lost or bypassed and those are the things we take for granted. Kisses on the forehead and smiles across the room become overlooked and seen as trivial when we are only thinking of the big picture.

To be a romantic person is not something you are good or bad at, it is just something you feel. Every relationship is different and there are different levels of romance for each one. One relationship might have a couple of big moments; where as in other relationships there are many little instances and a couple big ones spread out with time. No matter the amount or size of the romantic gestures or moments we have with each other they are still there even if we don’t notice them.

Romance does not just have to be at home, you can go on date nights and have fun with friends or with each other and the romance will just flow with the night. You can go out to the movies and share popcorn as your hands graze each other reaching for the last kernels or sharing a drink and they bend the straw for you so its easier for you to drink in the dark. Even letting you pick the movie when they really want to watch something else has a romantic aspect to it. The little things give those epic big gestures mean that much more because they are meaningful and thought out. The big moments come from all those small gestures building up to the surprise vacations, the ‘just ‘cause’ pieces of jewelry and all of the big moments that make you go WOW!

Romance is everywhere it just needs to be redefined and noticed in our short attention spanned, go big or go home society.

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