What To Do With a Good Man Who Is Not Romantic

What To Do With a Good Man Who Is Not Romantic

It’s incredible how much of our behavior is determined by how we are raised.

I grew up in a family where my Mom made big deal about every holiday.

It wasn’t enough to say “I love you.” It wasn’t enough to give a card. It wasn’t enough to buy a thoughtful gift. You had to do ALL of them for EVERY holiday – birthdays, anniversaries, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, you name it.

As a result, I was brought up with the de facto mindset that this is how you treat women on special occasions. I never questioned it. As a result, I’ve been fortunate that, for whatever my considerable flaws (know-it-all, tactless, oversharer, impatient), being a thoughtful and generous husband is not one of them.

It doesn’t mean they’re bad. It doesn’t mean they’re cheap. It doesn’t mean they’re selfish. It just means that the grand romantic gesture is not a part of their vocabulary.

But lots of men didn’t get that memo. It doesn’t mean they’re bad. It doesn’t mean they’re cheap. It doesn’t mean they’re selfish. It just means that the grand romantic gesture is not a part of their vocabulary. They don’t want people making a big fuss about their birthdays and they don’t want to make a big fuss about yours.

It would be nice to say that he “should” go the extra mile “if he really loved you,” but as we all know, it’s not that simple to rewire your personality. Victoria Fedden, to her credit, realized this, in her piece for YourTango/The Good Men Project.

“At one point, my resentment grew so great that I began to dread birthdays, holidays and anniversaries because I knew I was going to be let down. One year, after yet another birthday disappointment, I finally realized that something had to change — and that something was me…

I mistakenly viewed television-style romance as concrete proof of true love. I believed that all men could be moved to extreme romantic measures if they really loved their lady. I didn’t measure up to some mysterious standard, I thought, and so I was never “good enough” for a proposal on the banks of the Seine. I came to believe that I must be unlovable. This belief became so ingrained that I began to view the world through a lens of unworthiness where every event, every little instance, became the proof I was looking for that I lacked the spark that would make a man shower me with treats and surprises. This couldn’t be farther from the truth.”

I think this is really powerful. All you have to do is look in the comments section below and see how many women and men blame the opposite sex for everything.

Looking internally about what you can do differently is SO much more effective than complaining that the world is not the way you want it to be.

Women are hypergamous and are always trying to date “up”!

Men are so interested in sex!

Women want men for their money!

Men are selfish for dating you if they don’t want to marry you!

These all have a basis in truth, but they’re not the whole truth – not by a long shot. Furthermore, complaining about it doesn’t change a thing. Are men going to complain their way into telling women that they should not care about money? Are women going to shame men into only having sex if, and only if, marriage is in the future? No and no.

This is why looking internally about what you can do differently is SO much more effective than complaining that the world is not the way you want it to be.

Writes Fedden, “I stopped looking for evidence that I was unlovable and started to focus on all the little, lovely things my husband does every single day to express his love for me — making me breakfast on the weekends, running a hot bath for me each night, working hard for our family, making future plans for us, texting me from work to see how I am, encouraging me and supporting me while I pursue my dreams, and never complaining when I want a girls’ night. The list is endless because my husband constantly expresses his love, even if it’s highly unlikely that he will ever compose sexy riddles or shock me with a whirlwind trip to South Africa for a glam safari.”

That’s right. And while I might be prone to over-the-top birthday fiestas for my wife, that’s not really the best measure of our love. Our marriage works because I make her feel safe, heard, and understood every day, and if you have a guy like that, do your best to appreciate what he does for you, instead of focusing on what he doesn’t.

Your thoughts, below, are appreciated.

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  1. 1

    Another important note for both men and women is, if you have one of those people in your life who are very romantic and like to surprise you with sweet things no matter the occasion, it is vital that you actually appreciate these gestures.

    I dated a women in the past who talked about liking romance and loving it when a guy did sweet things for her. For her birthday I couldn’t be in town, so I had flowers and a book she had been looking for delivered to her. I never even got a thank you or heard one word about it since, and that was several months ago.

    I don’t want to make her feel guilty for it, but I put effort into that gesture and an acknowledgement would have been nice. Mind you, she’s acknowledged a Christmas gift I gave her when I was actually around, so it’s possible she simply forgot to bring her birthday gift up in conversation with me.

    Nonetheless, please make sure that you try your best to appreciate these gestures.

    I’ve heard some people go on and on about how they want someone to be more giving, but when they finally are given more, they don’t care for it.

    Constantly taking sweet gestures for granted, intentionally or unintentionally, can leave your partner feeling unappreciated.

    However, I guess some people are too giving and that can get tiresome. It seems it works for both humans and other animals, that they most appreciate the person who gives intermittently. Not too much, not too little.

    1. 1.1

      Sorry, my English needs some work still, I meant to say “I have been dating a woman,” not “I dated a women in the past.”

    2. 1.2

      This is when you ask: did you like your birthday gifts? She better gush after that! Not cool to forget to say t.y. for such greatness. Being under appreciated kills love.

    3. 1.3

      You might want to check that she actually got the delivery! Mess ups happen all the time, and this could be just one big misunderstanding.

      1. 1.3.1

        It’s possible I suppose, but it seems unlikely since the companies notified me that the deliveries had been completed.

    4. 1.4

      Ask her did she get it .. This could be a misunderstanding

    5. 1.5

      The first thing I wondered about after reading your post was how often are you sending gifts in place of being there for her?

  2. 2

    Absolutely true. Something came to mind immediately: five languages of love. That was quite an enlightening read. I think it would be a wonderful idea and a tremendously life-changing skill to learn how to “speak” all of them to avoid underappreciating a good partner, friend or family member.

  3. 3

    Very often, ‘romance’ and romantic gestures are viewed quite differently between the genders. Like most men, I struggle with coming up with romantic gestures that a woman would truly appreciate. I do manage to accomplish it most times, but can be a real source of stress. It really shouldn’t be. I think that the media has done a lot of disservice by showing wildly extravagant romantic gestures (see Bachelor/Bachelorette) costing tens of thousands of dollars and I suspect that shows like this have skewed some women’s expectations. My GF does a pretty good job of being romantic but here’s the key: she expresses it with little things on a regular basis (makes morning coffee for me, texts me loving IM’s during the day, etc). Heck, she even says *gasp* she APPRECIATES me. I don’t miss the significance of this. I’ve always had a tendency to focus on regular small gestures but most all other women I’ve been involved with didn’t value these things. They always focused on B-days’, V-day and X-mas and put so much weight on these days. And instead of appreciating the near-daily small things I did, they really only noticed when I DIDN’T do something one day. It left the impression of ‘entitlement’ and ‘expectation’ instead of any real appreciation for me or my efforts. Go figure. But no loss really. I finally found a nice lady who immigrated here from Europe and she doesn’t have those bad habits I see so often with women who were born/raised here. The American girls could certainly take a cue from these gals.

    1. 3.1
      Merrill Phillips

      You wonder about romantic gestures that women appreciate?  I’ll tell you — it does not have to be complicated guys. It’s not rocket science here. First one – Step out and watch a sunset together, then grab her hand and embrace and then kiss her.  Second one — as she walks by you at home or in your or her apartment, grab her hand and ask her what she’s up to or going to, then after a few minutes, smile and release her hsnd.  Third one — If she is doing dishes or standing in the kitchen waiting for a meal to get done, come up behind her, put your hands on her shoulder to start with and run them slowly down her arm (hopefully, its sleeveless). Then, kiss her on the cheek or behind the neck and give s little sueeze.  Oh, so romantic.  Fourth one — if you are both talking face to face, slowly bring your hand over her forehead and brush the hair back. Yes, whether it needs it or not.  Fifth one –  grab her gently out of nowhere and give her the most passionate, slow, meaningful kiss you can muster.  In a restaurant, if her hands are on the table, reach across the table near the wall side and hold her hand for a few minutes while you are talking.  Is it snowing — beautifully?  Step outside with your lady love and after a minute or two, put your arms around her and kiss her.  Got the message, guys?  It’s not difficult.  If my husband did any of these, I would hop right into bed with him and give him the best time of his life.  Any of these would light a fire in my furnace.


      1. 3.1.1

        I really need this in my relationship

      2. 3.1.2

        These are amazing tips!! I think t hete needs to be a Dr show that focuses on this! What women and men need. Great pointers!

      3. 3.1.3

        You couldn’t be more right! I dont want gifts or grand gestures. Just simple romance.

      4. 3.1.4

        100 million times YES…….That IS all it takes guys !!!

      5. 3.1.5

        So true, but the man has to truly value his woman to make the effort.

  4. 4

    It’s hard to escape and keep it real with social media and television providing unrealistic expectations on how to recognize holidays and sentiments towards are loved ones.  My family over the past few years has adopted a new mind set in regards to this.  It’s all about the “time” we spend with one another, no matter what we’re doing, or whether it’s a holiday or not.  Nothing else matters than being together.  No expectations.  We know it’s real.

  5. 5

    A small bouquet of flowers (they can be purchased at the grocery checkout) should be adequate for most occasions. Extravagance is oversold and takes away from the sentiment….I thought of you and I know you like flowers…. simple and romantic. I used to make cookies for my boyfriends, but being older, they are usually pre-diabetic NOW, so they can’t eat them. HA!

  6. 6

    I have never cared one way or the other about “romantic” except physical affection.  A hug after a hard day trumps roses for me.  And it is free!

  7. 7

    make that *romantic gestures*

  8. 8

    This is a nice article to read. But i think it’s how your mother, Evan, acted, that should be the example. I guess she had all this enthusiasm even though your Dad wasn’t participating a lot? At least you dont mention him…. So when your man dont do anything romantic, do it yourself? Should he learn this way?

  9. 9

    I did have a boyfriend who was not so romantic.

    So did my own thing – bought flowers for the house and candles and some great music.

    He ended up really loving those gestures.

    We did not stay together – but at least, the next woman might enjoy it! (Like he does)

  10. 10

    I, too, read this thinking of The Five Love Languages.  Perhaps, just as valuable as learning to appreciate the way your SO shows love, is being willing to vocalize what works for you.  My primary love language is quality time, and although I could intellectually understand that a man was trying to show he loved me by giving gifts, acts of service, words of affirmation, and physical affection, if I couldn’t get him to spend time on me giving me his undivided attention, it would eventually wear me down and I’d look elsewhere.  Fortunately for me, my top love languages are quality time and physical affection, and I’m in a very easy relationship with a man whose top love languages are physical affection and quality time.  Lucky me.

  11. 11

    What’s Romantic?  It’s different for everyone, and That Love Languages book should be required reading.

    My ex-husband’s language is Gifts.  He is great at giving lavish gifts, but ironically, if the gift he receives isn’t to his standards (and he’s very picky), he is the WORST present-receiver ever.  My oldest daughter is 20 now, and also frustrated that he wants gifts, and yet never likes anything she gets him (because she’s only 20 – she can’t afford anything good enough for him).

    Similar to Evans mom, my sister goes completely overboard for her husband and kids for every single occasion.  I don’t even know what Language that is.  It makes me exhausted just hearing about it.  And I wonder, how will any of them be able to appreciate small sweet gestures.

    What’s important to me is just a little fuss.  A little one-on-one time.  A time out from life’s regular schedule to say “let’s mark this day; I’m glad we’re here together for it”.  Which Love Language is that, I wonder.  Quality words? Quality time?

    I guess my point is notice how your loved one express their love and show appreciation!!!

  12. 12

    This subject has been a tough one for me, as I too was brought up in such a way that the every day gestures are what really matters, but that you ALSO acknowledge important days, such as birthdays, Valentine’s Day, and Christmas. I am in a relationship with a man who is about as romantic as an anvil, but is very loving and attentive in a million small ways – impromptu foot massages, bringing me coffee in bed, and the like. I have NEVER received a surprise gift from him, with the one exception of early in our relationship he got me a small compost bin for the kitchen…lol. Never a $5 bunch of flowers from the store or anything like that. On my 50th birthday, which was really important to me, he took the day off work to go to the beach with me, but no gift, no card, no dinner… nothing. He knew how important that day was to me. Frankly, it really hurt, and I told him so. He said, “Wasn’t spending the day with you enough?” He was brought up in a family that didn’t really acknowledge birthdays or any other “special” days. I personally think it is important that if your partner fully knows that a day like a birthday is important to you, they should at least acknowledge that with an extra-special gesture. It doesn’t take much time or money, but it means the world that they respect your view enough to acknowledge it with a little something extra that really conveys that the way you feel about a life event or special day is important to YOU. 

    1. 12.1
      Karmic Equation

      I’m sorry Malia. Your post is quite one-sided.

      You were hurt so your bf was wrong.

      But he gave you what HE was used to giving. Why can’t YOU appreciate that?

      Why does he have to change to give you what you want instead of you changing to accept that what you want is not important to him?

      There’s two ways to resolve a problem. It’s not always on the guy to change. Sometimes the woman should.

      If this is that big of an issue for you, break up with him and let him find someone who WILL appreciate what he DOES do instead being with someone who only sees what he DOESN’T do.

      If you’ve got 80% of what makes you happy. Let go of the need to get the other 20%. Be happy with the 80%. Forget or overlook the 20% instead of focusing it.

      1. 12.1.1

        I thought the same thing, he took the day off to be with her and went to the beach, but she expected so much more of a materialistic gift. I’ve been with my husband for 25 years and he’s not romantic but that’s just him and something I’ve accepted through the years.


      2. 12.1.2

        Listen Up! If you really want a wonderful relationship, then it is very simple

        Do it Gods Way! First be grounded in truth!

        Second, change yourself to be the best you can be in all areas of where you are at the moment. Be good with yourself, happy with who you are and grounded!

        Then, you begin to love that person with everything you have, according to Their Needs, without any fear and without any expectations!

        Loving someone with Godly love is loving with their best interest in mind and yours lastly.

        If you do this, with love and joy in your heart, towards a person with any kind of depth and kindness, then you will find that there will evolve proper moments of expressing your needs when that person is open to really hearing it and wanting to reciprocate!

        The absolute best relationships are Two  Committed Servants, that are constantly trying to out serve each other!

        I promise you, Gods Way Never Fails! Can you change yourself with the help of the Holy Spirit to have a Self-Less Heart?

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          If you knew how many single people were praying to God for a man and leading desperately ineffective love lives, maybe you’d have a different response.

      3. 12.1.3
        Equal and Fair

        I find fault with this response because I also perceive one-sidedness when men speak of not getting enough sex. However, there is more understanding for men who feel as if they are due physical intimacy. Their expectations of women being “at the ready” to deliver sex are equally portrayed in the media and are not viewed as unrealistic. However, women who expect emotional fulfillment from their relationships must suffer from unrealistic expectations and are asked to be satisfied with what they receive. Dare I say, “Men should also reflect on whether they suffer from the same unrealistic expectations for the frequency and type of sex and should be satisfied with what they receive.”

        @Malia – stand your ground or you will surrender your happinness. Love is based on the reciprocity of satisfaction.

        1. Rose


    2. 12.2
      Kirsty Barclay

      Unlike the other responses I get where you’re coming from. I don’t think you are being shallow to expect more of a gift on your 50th birthday than his company. You have a right to feel hurt. Hurt that he didn’t put in the effort that most normal people would. It was thoughtless of him. Relationships are give and take. If all it takes is $5 petrol station flowers, or some wild ones picked from the side of the road, it is a simple thing to do to keep your partner happy – whether that is you “personality” or not doesn’t make a difference. Personally I wouldn’t waste another of your birthdays on him. Go on a hot date with a girlfriend instead. That way you get a fancy dinner, spoilt and she will probably smell nice and have awesome conversation too.


    3. 12.3

      You have just described my husband to a T! I feel your frustration! I really do appreciate the small daily gestures of love….but I have told my husband that my love language is gifts and I’d love to receive impromptu flowers (multiple times) and he NEVER gives me any gifts, it baffles me!  When my husband tells me things he appreciates and loves, I jump to do those things/provide them for him. It makes me want to stop doing those romantic gestures for him, because it hurts when I bake him a cake on every birthday but I’m always stuck purchasing my own birthday cake. I don’t need some TV grand gesture of romance; just an average bouquet of flowers on Valentine’s Day without having to ask for them. It’s the thought behind the gesture that speaks “I was thinking of you & wanted you to feel loved, because I know this is how you receive love because you told me that”

  13. 13

    You think “he took the day off work to go to the beach with me” is “nothing” because he didn’t buy you a “gift, card, or dinner”?    You don’t think “impromptu foot massages” and “coffee in bed” are romantic??  Wow.     It seems like you are saying his gestures only count if he surprises you with money spent.   He sounds romantic to me, but with your reaction to his loving gestures, it probably won’t be long until he’s not too interested in taking time off work to be with you, rubbing your feet, bringing you coffee, or those other million loving things you say he does for you.

    1. 13.1

      That was my first thought too-how are foot massages et al not romantic?


      My boyfriend was unromantic. No impromptu anything. It wasn’t about money, it was about the fact that he never used endearments like baby or honey or ever said he appreciates me. He never even said he loved me, unless I said it first. He thought it was ridiculous. I was willing to compromise but not to this degree. I think it is fair to have certain expectations of tenderness and affection.

  14. 14

    I don’t care for the “romance” stuff but I would describe myself as thoughtful and I think my friends would say I am a good gift giver.   I will remember your birthday and your Mom’s birthday and I will buy you a gift that you will love without you ever telling me you want it, but that’s not unique to my dating life that’s how I am.   I am not one for the sappy over the top romance and the times I have been with men that acted like that I found it to be a bit much.  I think men need to be thoughtful and people in relationships in general.  Thoughtful entails within it if your girlfriend is telling you you are not being romantic enough then step it up.  But ladies you may need to tell this man specifically want to do and you may also need to have realistic expectations that do not come from all those Hallmark movies you were watching over the holidays.  That’s not real life and those men don’t exist.  I had a thoughtful ex once who did things like scheduled a massage for me on the anniversary of my Dad’s death which he knew was a tough day for me, or bought me my favorite candy to work when I was feeling sick.  Are these grand romantic gestures no.  But to me this is romance!

  15. 15

    Romance?  Hugs and kisses and take a nice walk with a no drama conversation. Thanks.  Although I will personally admit that a bunch of wildflowers on my birthday would make an exceptional “awww, you remembered!” moment.

  16. 16

    Positive reinforcement. Just accept and appreciate the person for who they are and the good they do for you. Plain and simple

  17. 17

    I was with a guy for three years who was not romantic at all. I admit I am a sucker for Valentines Day and feel a bit sad and lonely when other friends would brag about the nice bracelet, or dinner, or dress or something they received. Valentines Day was important to me and still is. I accepted he didn’t care about valentines day and we did nothing. Every valentines day for three years we did nothing except treat it like a normal day. There’s no need to get into specifics of the relationship but he generally wasn’t romantic point blank period even throughout the whole three years. No foot rubs, no back rubs, no dinners. I always cooked. But I had an std and he was willing to date me even after I told him. So I decided I should just be lucky enough that anyone would even want me right? So I stayed with him and I stayed unhappy, and although I was in a relationship. I was lonely and longed for romance. But I reminded myself that I should be lucky I even have a partner. After three years I broke up with him. He was hurt but it needed to be done. I know now that I really don’t care if I have an std. I would rather be lonely then unhappy. I like nice dinners whether home cooked or at a restaurant. I like to get dress up and look pretty for Valentines Day or birthdays, wear sweet smelling perfume, and have a great night. Doesn’t even matter if it’s a night home. But after forcing myself to believe that I didn’t deserve any of those things because I should just be happy that someone is even willing to date me I gave up my happiness and a part of me. I feel for those out there that Valentines Day isn’t about you. It’s supposed to be about love and happiness. So find love and happiness within yourself. IF gifts, and flowers are that important to you. Simply tell him. If not buy them for yourself. Don’t make yourself unhappy.

    1. 17.1

      Great comment.  If you aren’t happy, it’s better to be by yourself.  Everyone deserves to be happy.

    2. 17.2
      Drew Curic

      I love your summary and am in the EXACT situation. It’s either make the guy happy and listen to all his self-centered explanations why he won’t show and/or give compassionate or romantic gestures towards me — OR — to break up and find a really good man who thinks about his partner too. Seems easy, right?

      It’s always us sane, normal and empathetic people who keep getting strung along JUST WAITING FOR THAT ONE MOMENT! where we see the jerk change and suddenly appreciate us. Will they? No. But we wait and hope over and over because they keep us just close enough to their toxic orbit. We need to break free.

  18. 18

    I’m sorry Malia.  This makes me sad for you.  I don’t think you expect too much as some commenters suggest. You sound quite even-handed in your explanation of what is important to you. It’s nice that he took time for your birthday, but I still think it is thoughtless of him not to get you at least a card for your big day. It might not be important to him, but it is to you, and that should matter to him too. Such a small gesture could make you so happy, but he didn’t do it anyway, and that’s a shame.


    1. 18.1

      Very respectfully and well said! I agree.

  19. 19

    Some women complain because a man doesn’t do the little things: foot rubs, cooking meals or helping around the house. Some women complain because he doesn’t do big things like flowers or gifts. Some women complain because their man doesn’t appreciate anything special they might do for him.

    I’m here because my husband does NONE of those. It’s like living in a romance vacuum. He works. He sits on the internet or watches TV. And he makes plans to get out of the house as often as possible. But he still expects sex. Someone above said “being under appreciated kills love.” That was an “aha” moment for me, for sure.

    1. 19.1

      Hi TES. The way you and your husband are sounds a lot like my parents. I see my mom doing all the cleaning, cooking, and preparing my dad meals even when he comes home late at night. Just like your husband, my dad doesn’t do foot rubs, cooking and cleaning. He doesn’t do those big things either like giving flowers or gifts (at least not anymore) to my mom. My dad also always spends a lot of time away from the house. (We are Muslims so my dad would choose to pray at the mosque 5 times in a day for at least an hour each time, eventhough he can do it at home). Whenever he IS at home, he also busies himself on the internet or watching tv, never spending time with my mom. As you may be able to relate, my mother is unhappy. Most of the time, I feel that she is lonely and depressed. The only times when i see my mom happy is when her children are at home, or when I take them out for grocery shopping and a nice lunch/dinner. The way my father is makes my mom bitter towards him. As much as she tries to hide it in front of her children, as a 23-year old who is in a long-term loving relationship, I can see how full of resentment my mom is towards my dad. I also see how dysfunctional their relationship is now that I am older.

      Although it is easy to say that my dad is in the wrong here, there are also a lot of things that my mom does which i believe lead to my dad’s behaviours. For example, my mom tends to ‘question’ or comment on the things my dad does in even the simplest, smallest things. Such as the way he drives, where he parks, the clothes/trousers he wear, how he eats, even the way he walks! (She would say that my dad walks too slow). My mom also has a tendency to walk faster and as a result leaves my dad behind when in a supermarket. My dad is 66 btw, thus he walks slowly. My dad always has to catch-up and when he tells her to slow down a little, my mom would reply that he’s the one who’s walking to slow. Now, this is just one of the MANY examples of how my mom might feel is nothing wrong but which makes my dad feel so much disrespected by his own wife. Imagine how much better my dad would feel if my mom instead of telling my dad how slow he is, to just listen to him, slow down at his pace, and enjoy grocery shopping together? And maybe whenever my dad drives, to just relax and not tell my dad how to drive ‘better’. My point is that sometimes, there are things that we do which may be innocent to us, but cause a lot of hurt and eventually resentment on others. My dad being my dad, he doesn’t talk about how hurt he is, but instead does things like preferring to be on his internet than spending time with his wife.

      Also, another point that I would like to make which the other responses above have mentioned, is that when your good-intentions are left unappreciated, more likely than not, you will not see it being given/done to you anymore. My dad has actually tried to help with the household chore. He helped washed his own dishes. However, as he’s not so used to it, his washing was not v.clean (at least not to my mom’s standard). My mother responsed with a sigh, and comment on how unclean it is. This may just be enough to make my dad feel discouraged to help with the dishes and feel not good enough.

      The way i see this is that it is a vicious cycle. Mom complains for dad not helping, dad helps, mom complains about how he does things, dad feels disrespected and feels discouraged to help again, mom becomes bitter because dad only helps 1 time and not more, dad retreats and withdraws from mom’s unhapiness, mom becomes even more resentful.

      My advice to you is that instead of being bitter and resentful about your husband, be the first to break the cycle. Hug and kiss him, and tell him how much you appreciate and love him. Appreciate that he works and brings money to you, thank him for that. The most important thing is to give a lot of genuine compassion, because it might just be that that he feels lacking from you.


  20. 20

    This is a really good topic to discuss. Not only was I made more self aware, but it was told in a way that was relatable. My concern is this: people receive and give love differently. I’m sure some will roll their eyes when I mention Gary Chapman’s 5 Love Languages book, but it has opened my eyes and it surely will open yours too.

    I think instead of focusing so much on the “extravagance” of holidays or important times in your life, you should try to understand how your partner receives and shows love most consistently. This can happen through observation and through a conversation. This book helped me understand my friendships, familial dynamics and even romantic relationships. I’m a giver of gifts and affirmation through written cards and things and I didn’t understand for the longest why people weren’t as “thoughtful.” Quality time is how I best receive love. If you look hard enough you can see someone’s  love through quality time, service, affirmation, gifts and/or physical touch. I hope this helped.

    Lastly, whenever I read something from Evan’s blog or advice in general, I must take off my blinders. If I get upset or defensive, it often means I need to adhere to the advice.



  21. 21

    But when you and your partner havent done anything alone in literally 2 years its s problem….i NEVER get any “special” treatment and im not talking about gifts. Im talking about foot rubs or a dinner out WITHOUT the chikdten. I have an awesome man but some form of romance keeps the fire burning..i dont care what anyone says

  22. 22

    Honestly I just think most men are selfish period. I’ve been in relationships where I’ve done sweet things only to have them barely glossed over, I usually always go the extra mile just to make sure that they’re happy and if they’re sad I try to cheer them up, but I have never once gotten that same treatment. Yet and still these are the same men who always complain about oh my exes never did this, they never treated me right but when they finally get someone to treat them right they turn around and treat her like mess

    1. 22.1
      Drew Curic

      You nailed it! My guy has a horror story for each of his two past exes and I show up completely different. I care, I cook, I clean, I appreciate and am romantic.

      Guess what?! My guy doesn’t do any of that and the romantic vacuum is incredible. He wants me to join him everywhere, but has left me often on my own — OR — never introduces me to people he just starts talking to (this lasted 10 minutes one time… I just stood in silence and nothing, not even a mention of me RIGHT THERE).

      I do believe past behaviors are indicators of the future… my guy is HOT. Somehow, he’s single when I met him… I assumed the other guys WERE crazy for cheating on him and whatnot, but now I get what they felt… it’s this hot guy whose looks started to mean nothing after a little while and they were left with a shell who just looks pretty, but cares only about himself. These people need to be left ASAP if you are a good, positive person and don’t want your “Cup Is Half Full” personality to be emptied out by a lesser personality.

  23. 23

    I’m the type of girl that loves romantic thing. I know my bf loves me but I would appreciate if he would show it more often. I’ve told him that I wish he were more romantic and all he does is feel sad or even cry because he says he forgets to do it, but it’s frustrating because sometimes I feel like he’s bored of me or doesn’t get the excitement to do those things for me.

  24. 24

    Wow.  I don’t get foot massages, breakfast in bed, a wildflower from the side of the road, a post-it note, nothing. I don’t care about expensive gifts.  Those are easy.  You can’t buy love.  It should be thoughtful and personal.  I collect silly fridge magnets and my bf travels a lot.  I have yet to get one but hear all about the breweries the coworkers visit at the end of the day.  Quite simply, I’m not a priority.  All the thoughtful sweet things I did were unappreciated and even criticized.  May be time to move on..

  25. 25

    Oh boy, i was brought the same way, love was expressed in words, actions, gift etc… And dating a man who never celebrated a birthday for 36 years, no routine, no ” i love you” from parents, no romance. I still have a hard time focusing on the little things because i am still craving the romance and routine. This is so hard and i completely understand your point, just need strength tonget there.  I took him to Puerto Rico for his birthday and it seems as it was a ” oh tx” moment. Mine is coming up and i just want to travel so i may use my absence as a way to protect myself from the disappointment. I don’t know where to go from here.

  26. 26
    Tiro SA

    Love me in a way that you know how. Allow me to love you in a way that I know how.

    There is a misconception that men are emotionally selfish, the truth is human being are emotionally selfish. We do things with the expectation that we will receivein the same measure.

    One of the reasons so many women get crashed romantically is because they set a level of expectation that aligned to the mainstream example of romance and not to their partners. A sure fire route to disappointment.


    1. 26.1

      So the answer is that we (the romantics) lower our expectations, accept the fact that needs will not be met, or that our needs are unreasonable, warped to begin with….  And then we’ll be happy?

      Thanks anyway, I’ll take a cabin in the woods or travel the world on my own.   Go ahead though, accept the fact that your spouse, chosen life partner and mother of your child is not romantic, accept that you will not have needs met but that you love your spouse for who they are and what they are able to bring to the table… and then watch them cheat on you for a year and leave you for someone else.

      Do not go without challenging your partner to meet your needs.   Very specifically, very directly.

      1. 26.1.1
        Drew Curic

        Such a good post! I too love when we [romantics] are told ‘everyone is different’ and WE need to accept that. No, no I will not. The fact that someone ELSE cannot express emotions and passion and compassion does not indicate that I — the romantic — wants too much.

        It indicates that people will small, self-centered hearts can find one another while I continue to seek a person whose heart has room to grow and include my own.

        Seriously, how dare people settle for less and then tell those who have a lot of Love to give that we are expecting too much while they’ve lowered their expectations and now live happily ever after.

  27. 27
    Elizabeth K

    I can agree with this completely.

    I was with a guy for 6.5years who was the most romantic man I knew, I adored it! Little unexpected gifts, Compliments and being showered in love constantly… We got engaged and planned our happily ever after… 6 months before the wedding he cheated on me with my best friend/bridesmaid called of the wedding and relationship on Christmas Eve and made it out that I wasn’t good enough instead of the truth.


    2 years on I’m in a relationship with a guy the complete opposite- romance isn’t his thing but respect, trust, happiness and love are overflowing…

  28. 28

    So I’ve been with my husband for 12 years. He is not a romantic guy. But he also doesn’t do much of the little things either. Reading some of the things above, I would kill for a text during the day just to see how myou day is going. I would kill for an “I love you ” other than in response to me saying it first. I would be grateful for some house work to be done or a hug or kiss unprovoked. I don’t need the big gestures. But to have him tell me that he loves me so much and that I’m the only person for him would be amazing!

    1. 28.1
      Drew Curic

      My heart hurts when I read this. Are you afraid to ask for even one of those simple gestures? We do inherently open the door to dissapointment if we ask for One Simple Little Thing and then don’t get it (that little thing becomes THE BIGGEST THING by simply being withheld).

  29. 29

    I’ve read every comment here – the sympathizers, the criticizers.

    Everybody listen:

    It all boils down to this. YOU should strive to meet your partner’s relationship needs in every way, and your PARTNER should strive to meet yours in every way. Sometimes you both will slack or mess up. That’s ok.

    The point is that you never tell your partner that their needs are silly or too idealistic, and your partner should never tell you the same.

    To the people who have accepted lack: No. Your partner is apparently ok with your sadness and frustration and that is NOT an ok quality in a partner.

    To those who criticize: It is NOT your job to determine what someone else’s love needs are. If you are doing this to your partner, you need to stop. If you are not willing to meet your partner’s love needs, then you need to move on and find someone whose needs more align with what you are willing to give. It is NOT ok to continually, consciously make another human being sad while claiming to love them. Just NO.

    Lady with the beach birthday: Your man is being selfish and tying to control your views of love. Withholding a simple card IS cruel. Period. The foot rubs, etc, do NOT make up for it, because all that is on his terms, not yours. If a card makes you feel loved, he just needs to get you a card, not try to convince you to change your very belief system.

    Man who married a foreigner: So glad that you found someone who loves the way you love. Your success does not give you a right to criticize an entire country full of women, just because your level of romance didn’t measure up in a past relationship.

    To all: Express very explicitly, YOUR love needs. If your partner refuses to meet those needs, or even worse, belittles your needs, leave! They are either being selfish or controlling – neither of which is good. Also, you need to be willing to meet their love needs too (this does not include love ‘needs’ such as “don’t bother me with your love needs” mmm-k?)

    1. 29.1

      AAAAA to the MEN!!!! YES! Couldn’t have said it better myself! So many people commenting on here don’t get it. They don’t get that a relationship isn’t about THEM individually (if it is, they’re better off single)…a relationship is about BOTH people. If you don’t care that your actions (or lack of) hurt your significant other, well, maybe you shouldn’t be in a relationship. If a woman knows that something really makes her man happy, and doesn’t do it…don’t be surprised when he withdrawals from you, or outright finds someone else who will. Same for a man. If he knows that his woman likes something or that holidays are a big thing for her, and he CHOOSES to not care, not to do anything, that’s his choice…so is where to spend the next several holidays…all by himself. If you aren’t even willing to TRY and meet each others needs out of love and respect, then WHY are you with them?? Go find someone who’s willing to settle for less (like the foreign girl). From the comments on this blog, there are plenty out there!

  30. 30

    Below is what every man needs to know and why every man needs to understand that romance is a never ending circle of nowhere and why women have an unquenchable thirst for it. Women aren’t romantic they love having romance done to them, look carefully and you’ll see through the the mirage.
    Female solipsism
    Women conflate histrionics with characteristic depth, because to women, depth is defined by interweaving hues of diverse emotional experience and how they relate to one another rather than an understanding of the abstract. Conversely, man defines depth by struggle, knowledge and a capacity for the abstract thought necessary to think critically.
    The masculine does not view the incessant cataloguing and processing of one’s emotional history to be particularly interesting or deep. However, this propensity is an intrinsic fundamental of the solipsistic rationalisation process native to women. It is this process by which women build their self-perception. Naturally, the flaw of this process is the dominance of the catalogued emotional narrative and an absence of introspection in regard to it.
    The distinction between introspection and solipsism lies in that introspection assumes the external world is the root, attempting to understand where the individual fits in relation to said world. Solipsism assumes the individual is the root, and attempts to understand how the external world fits in with relation to the self. “What I think” becomes “I think that made me feel because…” And so whilst a woman considers it enlightenment to explore every nuance of her emotional palette, men view such fixation as nothing more than infantile self-absorption.
    Antithetically, what man views as immature behaviour, woman perceives as mature. To a woman there is nothing more interesting and mature than “understanding herself.” Whilst man desires to understand the world, a woman desires to understand herself. When a woman declares “she needs to find herself,” other than riding a train of exotic men to accomplish the task, what she means to communicate is “I’m leaving to seek nuanced emotional experiences I haven’t felt before.” Eliciting the further unspoken implication “…and I don’t think you can provide those experiences.”
    By nature of solipsism, women deem the abstract obtuse and the solipsistic reasonable, whilst man, the contrary; the solipsistic obtuse and the abstract, reasonable. Within the sexual differences into what constitutes human depth, we merely scratch the surface in elucidating how distinct the psychological perceptions of men and women are.
    Free a woman of material dependence, and any polite sensibility or sense of self-constraint flees in an unending pursuit of new emotional luxury. When surviving is no longer an issue, the pursuit of rich and nuanced emotional experiences come to the forefront of a woman’s wants.
    Really, a woman’s need for resources is nothing more than an unwelcome interruption of her primary psychological drive, emotional self-discovery. And so the gratitude of a desperate woman provides the perfect guise for solipsistic selfishness, it will make her seem like a good woman; one who cares for others more than herself. But the mere act of provisioning shifts her priorities, for she must no longer behave deferentially to have her material needs met.
    Her pursuit of intense emotion is only paused by the urgency of her material needs, it is never vanquished. No wonder then that a woman’s directive is to first seek out a man who can provide, only to later seek a man who can induce emotional intensity should the prior be incapable, or no longer capable of providing it. The boring sycophantic domesticated male is a necessity of bated breath for the woman without wealth, but truly it is the detached, ever alluring, but never quite attainable alpha she truly longs for.
    Romance and sex, as distinct as they are, are the culminating opiates of emotional experience, fear and power but the aphrodisiac to wetten the feminine emotional appetite. Therefore in the pursual of unending solipsistic self-discovery, it seems only natural that women would be most permanently drawn to such things, for their ability to provide the most compelling fantastical emotion is unchallenged. It is female nature to learn about herself via the emotional roller coaster, so what better way is there for a woman to research herself other than to pursue romance?
    The fixation with romance is not solely part of her biological imperative to produce offspring, but likewise a window into the feminine soul, the need to indulge her most visceral emotivity. And this inclination refuses to cease even when a woman has reproduced countless times. This suggests its presence within the feminine is not a clear-cut evolutionary psychological benefit we can deduce to be a simple manifestation of woman’s biological need to seek out optimum genetic material. Because if it were, a craving for romance, the opiate of solipsism, would diminish if not vanish in women who have birthed multiple children. Instead, we note its persevering intrinsicality.
    A 60-year-old woman with 5 children is no less solipsistic and longing for romance than a 20-year-old with zero. She may be less optimistic of the endeavour, but nevertheless it is something she shall crave should she lack it. And I think it not that romance is a solipsistic determiner for commitment and provisioning; as the most sought after romance is always that which is unabashedly obsessed with the woman, not any children she has. Likewise for good measure, such romance is forbidden, often sexually depraved and absent the mundanity of everyday life. Indeed then, the pursuit of emotional intensity is a goal unto itself, one that surpasses all else. Female solipsism goes far beyond a woman’s role as a mother, and if too pervasive, actually undermines her capacity in this role.
    Much unlike man, who searches for understanding in the external world, a woman’s quest for understanding lies within the emotion of the internal word. Women are not so interested in the quirks and qualities of the abstract world in so much as they are ever perplexed by their emotions.
    Where a man’s curiosity lies in how the external world functions and how he can best manipulate it, a woman’s curiosity lies in how her internal world functions and how she can best utilise the external world to manipulate her well-being. Essentially, men are knowledge focused whilst women are self-knowledge focused. Men are curious of the abstract, women are curious of the fluidity and sentiment of the self. Man defines himself in relation to what his observations conclude, woman defines herself in relation to how her observations make her feel.
    Women are near constantly preoccupied with their emotions in response to external stimuli. This inhibits external analysis, focussing it internally. Women will communicate how they felt from memory, eliciting further feelings, leading to word-by-word disseminations of how she believes her feelings define her – as she feels them. And so there is this continuous cycle of feelings eliciting further feelings, which a woman then needs to factor in to her overall view of herself. Only with a conclusion rationalised to be emotively acceptable does she find relief. Such a conclusion is rarely ever THE truth, but rather, HER rationalised, chosen truth. A truth that reconciles negative with positive emotion to bring about an internal balance that is completely unconcerned with the abstraction that is objectivity.
    As such, the solipsism of women appears to be not just a limitation, but an addiction. An addiction man finds psychologically arduous should he find himself in the not so pretty situation of playing therapist to the ever dissatisfied self-discovering woman. When a woman talks about her feelings, she is defining them as they are brought to the surface and expressed. Women need to talk about how they feel, because although their focus is internal, their process is external. As such, they address external problems from the position of their emotions without even so much a hint of desire to remove said emotional filter. This is the core of what we mean by “women are solipsistic.”
    Sanity to man lies in understanding the world, a woman’s sanity lies in understanding herself. A woman who cannot understand herself is fraught with distress, compelled only to seek further self-understanding. Man experiences a similar distress in an inability to understand the world rather than himself, in this we note the similarity yet complete distinctiveness of the sexes. Much unlike the self however, surroundings can be replaced. The self can be influenced, but it is ineludible. As such, a woman cannot escape herself, for she is always herself. The craziest woman is therefore the woman who has no outlet to process her emotions, for her relative sanity is entirely dependent on the process of emoting.
    So despite women being stuck in their heads (or should I say hearts?) they speak loquaciously. To process her emotion there is talking, lots of talking. So why does a man stuck in his head tend to focus outwardly and process his observations inwardly, whilst a woman focuses inwardly but processes her observations outwardly, namely, with voluble chatter?
    It is a most quirky irony that in a quest to comprehend herself, a woman will speak constantly. It is by merit of solipsism and this constant need for emotional self-discovery that every woman considers herself an expert on herself, and as such, is inclined to talk at great length about herself. In terms of attraction, there is nothing a woman loves more than for a newly acquainted man to tell her something she considers true about herself. A man who seems to know a woman on the emotional level without that woman having to express herself exudes his own enchanting intrigue. By being able to communicate with women on this level, man creates his presence within her solipsistic world. “He just, like, totally gets me!”
    This is oft mistaken for narcissism, but should she lack narcissism, such a quality still persists. For not only is self-obsession a product of narcissism, but likewise a product of solipsism. Therefore being that solipsism is intrinsic to women, self-obsession is an unavoidable by-product. Indeed a woman’s most profound hobby is that of her self-interest, chiefly, the catalogued history of emotions she has experienced, how they shape who she is, and which ones are desirable enough to be pursued for re-creation.
    The emotional world is solipsistic, for it is singularly distinct from individual to individual, like a series of unconnected universes existing simultaneously. The abstract world on the other hand is a shared constant, external, one we all operate and cohabit within. To women, there is no distinction between the emotional and the abstract, for she believes the emotional is abstract. Her instinct is that her inner-world is an abstract world she must constantly process and seek to understand via external communication. To men, the inner world is a solipsistic world. Both men and women have an inner emotional world, but men have less interest in processing the nuances of this world and live their lives mentally more in the abstract world.
    Few women play the male game, that is, that depth is a product of hardship, study and self-awareness. To women, self-awareness amounts to nothing more than solipsistic indulgence; this is to experience strong emotion and to then process that emotion via further emoting. The reason women constantly communicate and address their emotion, is because they seek to understand past emotion. And then by understanding past emotion, they experience the sensation of discovery. To experience emotion and process emotion is what a woman considers growth.
    Histrionic solipsism is a female simulacrum for depth. Where genuine struggle is not achieved, it will be manufactured. The modern woman believes experiencing a wide range of emotion is what makes her deep and worldly. Women have a propensity for histrionics, because it is through drama and subsequent emotional reflection that a woman evaluates herself as a person. The female mind is characterised by its solipsistic nature, therefore it stands to reason that women intuit their self-awareness rather than deduce it.
    The emotional narrative on which a woman’s solipsism is predicated is so disjointed in nature, so very non-sequitur to all but her, that an element of the purpose in a woman’s communication of her feelings appears to be a need for her narrative to be externally corroborated. If we assume this principle is true, it further elucidates women’s need to be understood no matter how unintelligible her line of reasoning.

    1. 30.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Fell asleep at “female solipsism.” When it comes from a male solipsist, it loses a little something.

      1. 30.1.1
        Maureen Taylor

        Hallelujah Evan Marc Katz!

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