Is It Normal For Guys to Recycle Romantic Lines to Every Girlfriend?

Is It Normal For Guys to Recycle Romantic Lines to Every Girlfriend

Today I was helping my boyfriend of 3 years move some stuff out of his old house and into his new one, and I was in charge of this massive pile of junk that needed to be sorted into what to keep and what to throw out. Since we differ on what we think is trash (I would’ve thrown most of the paper stuff away that he wanted to keep) I ended up having to look at through each item and ask him if he wanted it thrown away or not. I stumbled across old journal entries he had written about his exes and old notes he kept from his exes. I admit I was bad and ended up reading them instead of just glancing at them and asking if he wanted to keep them, but my curiosity got the better of me on this one. Now, I’m not mad that he kept them (not too mad anyways) seeing as he probably just forgot that he had them. What bothered me was that I noticed, 1. Everything romantic he’s said to me were things that he had said about all his exes as well, i.e., each of us conformed to his body so perfectly, like we were made to fit in his arms. (Kinda takes the magic and thoughtfulness out of the statement if he’s said it to everyone.) And 2. I’m not the first person he has seriously talked about marriage to. Talking about marriage isn’t bad, but he wanted every girlfriend he ever had to be his wife. Seemed a little extreme to me.

So what I’m wondering is, is it just a guy thing to “reuse” romantic sayings so often like that? Does it not occur to a guy that that might be a just a little bit…scuzzy? (Can’t think of a better word right now.)

Also, if he’s wanted to marry EVERY girlfriend he’s ever had, could that be a kinda of red flag regarding whether he ACTUALLY wants to marry because he loves me, or just wants someone to be with because of insecurity and being scared of being alone?

Your input is greatly valued.

I love questions like this, although most women rarely enjoy my answers. 🙂

My calculus as a dating coach is really quite simple. When you complain about a man’s behavior, I ask myself, “Would I do that? And if so, how would I be able to explain it?” Given that I am an educated, ethical, sensitive, monogamous, married man who exalts his wife and prioritizes his family, I have to think there are some other guys like me out there who may be similarly misunderstood.

Instead of making him wrong, how about you attempt to understand how this could have happened.

But before I go defending your boyfriend, I want to try a different tack, Heather: try switching the roles in your letter. Your boyfriend writes to me. After three years together, he was helping you move and found a pile of junk. He happened to look through your junk and happened to “stumble” on a series of open pages that show that not only do you have a bunch of ex-boyfriend memorabilia, but, sure enough, you used some of the same catchphrases in correspondence with said ex-boyfriends. What does it all mean?

Well, if you did that really quickly, you’d probably realize:

    1. If you’ve been his girlfriend for three years and are helping him move, he probably has a LOT more invested in you than he does this box of memories.

    2. It’s not very cool for your boyfriend to snoop on your private stuff.

    3. It’s definitely not very cool for him to read your private stuff in detail.

    4. It’s completely unacceptable for him to pick a fight about something he shouldn’t have been reading based on his own insecurity.

In other words, the best way to avoid conflict, in general, is empathy. Instead of making him wrong, how about you attempt to understand how this could have happened. This is where I will insert myself.

I have a box in my office closet with virtually every letter I’ve ever received (including love letters). Yeah, I’m nostalgic. Yeah, I’m a hoarder. But really, what I am is a writer. I like to save my memories, even if I never know when I’m going to dredge them up again. I have a folder in my email with all my online dating correspondence. I have a Word document with a list of everyone I’ve kissed. My wife knows all of this and is not threatened by it. Why should she be? She’s my WIFE.

As far as the actual phraseology that he used in his letters, I think you’re being willfully blind about the nature of passion and the “in love” feeling. Put it this way, I probably said more over-the-top romantic things to my girlfriend at age 16 than I ever have to my wife. That doesn’t diminish my current relationship; it just means that when you’re an insecure, lustful, inexperience bundle of emotions who is in love for the first time, you’re probably going to lay it on very thick.

And, in fact, every time you feel that “in love” feeling (which always seems to end or disappoint) you’re going to lay it on thick again.

You’re not dating a guy who is going to spend an excess amount of time trying to reinvent his catchphrases on your behalf — particularly because you should have no right to know what he said to women in his past.

And, just as certain novelists have repetitive phrasing (See E.L. James in 50 Shades of Grey: “Oh crap” or “My inner goddess”), doesn’t it stand to reason that men might return to the same verbiage when they’re in the midst of a potentially life-changing relationship? Doesn’t it stand to reason that, in that moment, he’ll also want to talk about marriage? Doesn’t it stand to reason that he’ll still trot out the same moves in bed that worked for the last girlfriend?

So, let’s not be too precious here.

You’re not dating a blank slate. You’re not dating a virgin. You’re not dating a guy who is going to spend an excess amount of time trying to reinvent his catchphrases on your behalf — particularly because you should have no right to know what he said to women in his past.

In short, this is much ado about nothing. If I were you, I’d let it go without a mention, because if anyone has a right to get angry, it’s your boyfriend, for having a girlfriend who reads his private journals.

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  1. 21

    I also noticed an answer to her calmly-asked question was not fully addressed by the writer. She wasn’t just bitching about not getting creative new lines, she saw that he was seeing them all as future wives & wondering if he is just insecure. It could be a real possibility because I’ve seen this before!!! That being said… he’s stuck around 3 yrs & of course he saw them as future wives because that’s what dating is for, for some people- to try people out to find a spouse. In the end, I can reasonably see why she’d feel so unimportant & feel seen just like one more replaceable person. Her feelings are reasonable.

  2. 22

    I’d like to say that after a life time of marriage six children , my husband cheated with a hooker the age of our oldest a child. Has an affair for 18 months. Told her ever line he ever told me. Kicked me out of my own home. No job no car no incOme. Then let me back in when she dumped him for someone old enough to be her his father. So I beg to differ on your judgement. I forgave my husband. But I will never believe another term of endearment.

  3. 23

    I agree that being called the same pet name and being told the same lines makes one feel very un-special.   Yes, there are a   limited number of words, however there is definitely a way to make things special for each person.   To me, re-using lines is like giving each person the same gift for their birthday. Yes a scarf does fit everyone but that doesn’t mean that everyone wants a scarf or that the scarf is a great gift for them.

    Keeping all of those momentos of exes is a little weird to me as well, especially since they have been together for three years. My feeling is that if these sentiments were so important to the boyfriend, he wouldn’t need to hold on to all these scraps of paper and such, he would just be able to remember them in his own mind, privately.    If he couldn’t remember them, then I guess they really didn’t mean that much.

  4. 24

    “Is It Normal For Guys to Recycle Romantic Lines to Every Girlfriend?”

    In a word, yes. If you ever hear a woman say, “I bet you say that to all the girls“, then   you can be pretty sure that he probably does!

    Of course, a chap should try to tailor it a bit to suit the situation. For example one wouldn’t say, “I love your big blue eyes and the way your long blonde hair flows so gracefully in the wind“, if the new lass is a brown-eyed brunette with fairly short hair. And a smart guy definitely won’t leave his old love letters lying around where the new lass can find them!

    As one gets older and has more relationships, one hones the patter a bit – i.e. one tries to learn the art of saying the corniest crap with a relatively straight face. But in principle, everything that works is recycled. After all, why re-invent the proverbial wheel? 😉

  5. 25

    I can tell you first hand that recycling DOES go too far. My husband had a “special” phrase put in my wedding band that ended up being far from special. Very recycled as it turned out. That hurt. If it makes me insecure I’ll take that…but I challenge anyone not to be a bit hurt under the circumstances. There are definitely only so many ways to express “love”, but when you’re using very cheesy, contrived phrases over and over it’s lame. I’m not going to bash anyone for feeling how they feel-we’re not all super heroes in the emotional intelligence department. If she’s hurt or feels less than special that’s okay. She’s human. I’ve been there.

  6. 26

    I’m fine with recycling the romance. Heck if it worked once, why not try it again. I think the part that I’m curious about is wanting to marry every girl you’ve dated. My ex actually proposed to every girl he dated, even used the same ring and the relationship would only be a couple of months old. He would literally start a new relationship before the old one ended. At least this guy is taking his time and been with her three years.

  7. 27

    im not fine with the recycling romance lol. i was with my ex 5 years and no commitment. i left. when he would say things remotely ‘romantic’ it was like he was reading from a book…it was cringey and ungenuine. i seen straight through that. No doubt he will try it on the next one and hopefully shes as astute as me in this arena. Its lazy datingm geez find something original guys

  8. 28

    Alright dude, this is just sad. As in your response. I get the whole let’s be empathetic thing but you’re totally excusing lazy male actions as just “oh that’s just how guys are” while fully condemning a thing that is inherent to girls. We snoop, ok?  It’s not always the best idea but it’s a girl thing and if you’re going to excuse pure male laziness and unoriginality I’m afraid you’re gonna have to excuse the snooping as well. After all, that’s true empathy, right?  Secondly I would not personally care if my boyfriend read old things between myself and others simply because I do understand that people are just curious. I also make a point to not copy every single thing I say to my boyfriends. I’m sure some things repeat but that’s not what she’s saying. She’s saying EVERYTHING. Makes a girl wonder if any of it is even real. We want to be special, more special to guys than the girls in the past and if we’re not then we want to know. We deserve to know. God knows y’all would take issue with not being the top “stud” in your girls life. I don’t think people should have secrets from each other unless they both agree on it. All it does is cause problems eventually. And for gods sake if we ask DONT LIE about it. We will find out. We are not brain dead to things around us like many guys are and we will notice and then snoop and find out eventually.  Maybe instead of judging what we females do, you males should try getting off your lazy behinds and up your games a little. If a girl is worth it you’ll do it, if not then she should move on to a man who does deem her worthy.  

  9. 29

    No sadder than excusing guys lazy ass behavior as just a thing guys do.   What’s the difference in what I said and what you said?     Such a great comeback, by the way..   I’m really told off.  

  10. 30

    I don’t think his words are catch phrases or recycled by any means. I think these are things we truly feel in a relationship at the time. When I have been with someone and in love or thought I was in love I felt I fit perfectly in their arms, perfectly on their chest and this curved spot that was made just for my head to rest and that I was the only girl that could ever fit that way. We would take that big sigh and and at that moment we both felt that way. I felt safe and   they told me I would always be safe with them. Do I feel that way with my current partner, I sure do! Is it different this time, absolutely. I’m a different person, their arms around me feel completely different, I still feel safe but with a different person in a different way so I do not see them as catch phrases or recycled.

  11. 31

    Tbh. I don’t believe a word guys say anyway. They trot the L word out there at the slightest hint that they might get a shortcut to what they want. It’s all bs. Watch what he is actually DOING. And don’t give him anything he doesn’t put real effort toward achieving and maintaining.

  12. 32

    She has every right to know about his past, just as he does. That’s what happens when you meet someone you want to make a commitment to. Love is not keeping a list of your former partners. Love is not reminiscing of past relationships. That’s settling and disrespecting your current relationship. A guy who keeps that stuff doesn’t want to move on. You may be the “now”, but you’re also not the last.

    So many simps here. Grow up. Be respectful. Figure out what love actually is. And a little hint: it’s not thinking about anyone other than your partner. The OP probably doesn’t have that kind of stuff from previous boyfriends, and if her current bf is special to her, she’s not recycling feelings or words. So many people just go through the motions because they have to be in a relationship. This hurts people who truly know what love is and wants that future spouse. All today’s society focuses on is sex and self-pleasure. Well, screw that selfishness and immaturity. If you truly love someone, you leave everything in the past because they’re the only one that matters. This dude making the response is an ass.

    My response to the poor girl asking for advice: He doesn’t know what love is. He just loves the idea of being in love. He’s given so much away to so many others (a major issue of casual dating), that he can’t even save much for yourself. He probably jumped from one relationship to another not really thinking or reflecting about what he could change. Better people learn from their mistakes. People are too comfortable being in a relationship and are so afraid of being alone that their poor significant others get recycled lines and half assed “I love you’s”. His behavior is clearly that of a pattern. Just going through the movements and you’re not special. You’ve been together for 3 years and he’s still your bf and not fiancé or husband. If someone truly loves you, they don’t wait long for that ultimate commitment. Wanna know why? Because they KNOW they’re in love and that you’re the ONE. Everyone who waits is just waiting for something better. But you actually deserve just that… something better. And you know it.

  13. 33

    This is such a biased opinion from a man. But that is just my opinion tho.

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