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. 31

    “…do your best to appreciate what he does for you, instead of focusing on what he doesn’t”

    What if it’s not enough for a woman who wants surprises and romance added to her life? What if she needed more than just looking at the good BASIC characteristics in a man and appreciate them? What is the solution of such issue?

  2. 32

    My boyfriends not romantic at all. He’s a good man but he doesn’t do anything for me. In our two year relationship he brought my flowers once and a present from him is a chocolate bar (I’ve gotten twice). He didn’t even get me a birthday present. Things like that have gotten to me but is it really fair to say I’m expecting too much? He loves me and I do love him but I don’t know what to say. I feel like it’s always me pulling my share and his half too. It’d be nice to be appreciated a little.

    1. 32.1
      Jenny F.

      Besides muttering “I love you” when he hangs up after a call, my partner never and I may never, talks about his feelings for me or about our relationship, has never told me he’s happy I am in his life or anything similar, never tells me I look nice or that I’m pretty, or notices me when I am ready for a night out with him. I feel invisible.


      Also, he doesn’t believe in celebrating birthdays or holidays.  I think their phony. No gifts, not even a card.


      After reading “The 5 Love Languages” I bought “The 5 Love Languages for Men” for him. He has not read half of the book; it sits on his nightstand to this day. When I tell him how much I need to hear these intimate words from him, his response is that he does love me but that he shows with deeds not words, that deeds are more important. We do nice things for each other. I have expressed how in love I feel but he refuses to use words to express his love. He claims that words are meaningless.

      1. 32.1.1

        I married a man like this. One word – torture. You are already unhappy. He sees no value in making you feel special.  He thinks his mere presence should be enough for you.  Believe me, after 20 years of somebody ignoring your birthdays, mothers days, anniversaries etc and basically believing because ‘they come home to you every night’ – that you should be happy ‘with what you get’ – you will be miserable.  It is better to be alone than lonely with someone who hold no value in honouring you or the relationship.

  3. 33

    Why is it that ‘romantic’ is defined in the field of ‘romantic gestures’?

    Isn’t romantic just a little more than giving flowers or chocolate on Valentine’s Day….? Isn’t it much more an actual personality/dispositional trait?

    For example, my boyfriend could give me flowers but it would depend on the way in which they are given which portrays whether it is actually a romantic gesture or not – flowers or not, he could look into my eyes, smile gently (etc etc) and it would be more romantic than if he gave me flowers and didn’t do any such thing.

    I was looking around on the internet trying to find solace regarding the absolute lack of romance in this particular man’s personality, and all I come across is whether or not he partakes in capitalist-driven holidays?!

  4. 34
    Damaris Scalzi

    I read this and felt optimism, then as I read on; I felt disappointed. I appreciate your insight for sure, however I realize that the least things I should be experiencing in my marriage; I don’t possess. I don’t feel safe, heard or understood. He’s not at all romantic or sensitive toward me. He’s a good man in life as far as provider and Father, he’s just not as connected to me as I believe he should be. Praying and waiting for 18 years and I’m lonely and discouraged but not giving up hope.

    1. 34.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Praying and waiting isn’t a relationship strategy. If you are content, stay in the relationship. If you are not, find another relationship instead of asking God to make your husband into a different person.

  5. 35

    I truly understand everything that everyone above me has said, I love my husband dearly and he always tells me he loves me.  I would like a wee bit of the movie romance once in a blue moon as I am a dreamer and that is what I would like my husband to recognize in me.  He is a great man, he makes me feel safe, he is strong , he shares all the responsibility of raising a family and we have lots of similar interests and enjoyments.  Just once in a while I would like to be acknowledged for being a frivolous romantic who likes to dream.

  6. 36

    A little disappointed by this: i was hoping for you to discuss what to do if you don’t feel heard or understood.

  7. 37

    What To Do With a Good Man Who Is Not Romantic

    I never really understood this being romantic malarkey – but then, I’m not a particularly good man either. You see, I went to a dreadful all-boys school – full of grunting macho lads who thought that not wiping one’s manhood on the curtains after having sex was the height of romance.

    Anyway, roll the clock forward a few decades and I’m with this lovely girl – heart of gold, legs that go on forever and an absolutely delightful bottom. But every year she has a birthday. Problem is that not merely do I have to remember her birthday, she also expects me to celebrate it by “doing something romantic” too. She’s a half-German Hungarian and strictly entre-nous, she’s a bit of an old bossy boots sometimes.

    So this year, I reluctantly agreed to sit through all three Bridget Jones films, back-to-back. Some sort of “date night” nonsense she’d read about on the Internet, apparently. Fortunately, I managed to sneak a litre bottle of reasonably-decent Scotch past her, so I could take the occasional snifter when she was suitably absorbed in her movies. This deadened the pain a bit, but it was still utter  purgatory. Eventually the ordeal finally came to an end. Just as the last credits rolled off the screen, she-that-must-be-obeyed turned to me and asked, “Colin Firth is so romantic – can’t you think of something romantic to say to me?”

    So I scratched my head, took another nip of my Famous Grouse and replied, “You have your faults, but you’re not as annoying as Renée Zellweger.”

    Now, I’m not 100% sure, but I’m guessing that was probably the wrong answer. She grabbed my bottle of Scotch, stomped-off upstairs and hid it somewhere – whilst muttering something unprintable about me in Hungarian. And to make matters worse, it was my last bottle too!

    Ah well, back to the proverbial drawing board, I guess… 😉

  8. 38

    I grew up in a family of men, my mother died when I was 3, my dad didn’t remarry, I had 2 brothers. I can tell you expectations on men are far lower. Most people thought my dad amazing for not abandoning us and becoming an alcoholic. And let’s face it raising 3 kids single handily is not easy neither is loosing your wife. When my partner forgets his mother’s birthday her passive aggressive anger is aimed at me, as I’m a woman and somehow it’s my job to remember birthdays. My partner says, oh she doesn’t mind when I mention he’s forgotten again, but she really does. He forgets his grandchildrens birthday then doesn’t even send a late gift with a belated birthday card. It’s not about romance, it’s about being thoughtful. And women have much more pressure on them from society to be the thoughtful ones who look after relationships and ensure no ones forgotten. I didn’t have a mother, my dad forgot our birthdays, which my brothers are more angry about than me, not because they want to be romanced, they feel it sends a little signal saying “I remembered, you’re important and I love you”. I think my dad loved us to bits, but he couldn’t love us in the way we needed to be loved. We didn’t have a great role model, but we all decided to be different to him. Me and my brothers. They never forget my birthday and alaways are available on that day. Today is my birthday and I’m going out with friends and my brother because my partner forgot to ask for an early shift for that day so he’ll be working late today. I know he loves me and shows me that love in many ways. He’s not perfect and he’s not always thoughtful, he would gain from developing that side, not just for me but in his children and grandchildren – because they might remember him as grandad who never forgot my birthday instead of grandad who never remembered me.

  9. 39
    Maureen Taylor

    My husband of 31 years bought me a gift 30 years ago, he went out and carefully selected a red pen and a black one. Lovingly wrapped them to place under the xmas tree, and was shocked when I cried after opening them. I said “thank you honey” trying not to ruin our day, he later said he thought I would like them because I pay the bills. I also do the dishes but I don’t want a dish rack lol!

    He hasn’t bought me another gift since, no birthday, xmas, anniversary, valentines,  he said I am your gift and I love you dearly. You have control of my money so you can have what ever you want. Go and buy yourself something and pick a nice card, leave it on the table and I will write a message in it. I would prefer he picked the gift but he’s practical not romantic, he’d probably buy me a washing machine or vacuum cleaner. So I agreed, I buy myself things a romantic man would buy. Jewellery, a dress, fragrance, I’ve even bought a gift voucher to have a salon treatment. My heart skips a beat every time I read the card because they are heartfelt and beautiful messages. So on every occasion the anticipation and excitement is in the cards message and I always say thank you sweetheart for letting me have my beautiful (whatever it is at the time)?

    He has never left the house without say I love you, with a peck on the cheek and a big warm hug, he does the same when he comes home. He may not be a romantic gift giver but to me he is romantic in every other way.

    Recognising what makes him tick and accepting that he loves you by not eliminating the little things he does, is half the battle. I never look over my shoulder at what my friends get or my sisters get because our husbands are very different. I look at the measure of the man and his cup runneth over.


  10. 40

    My bf is really great we laugh and we are very good friends, is kind of new though. the thing is in 2 occasions I have expressed my feelings to him saying like “you are the most special person I have met” or “i am so happy with you” and this times he has been distracted, on the phone playing something and it has hurt my feelings, because im really opening up and then nothing. it just makes me sad. i don’t know how should i feel, am I being dramatic? I read the post about taking the 80% that is good and not focusing in the bad and thats what i partly think but then again why do  i fell like it doesn’t matter tooo much to him. we have both said I love you and i do think is mutual.

  11. 41
    Anna Y Moss

    I used to work for a call center for florists. Not everyone who sends flowers is sincerely romantic…or exclusively romantic if you know what i mean. Lol.

  12. 42


    Very well said my dear,

    I also have a boyfriend for 3 years now and being romantic is out of his vocabulary. On our first year on a valentines day he just greeted me happy valentines and I was stunned with a very fake smile acting like I am all good receiving nothing, where in fact he’s the only person I am expecting to give me some flowers or chocolates cause I told him I have a sweet tooth, but he did nothing. He doesn’t care. Then I cried without him knowing. Sometimes you really set these level of expectations and boils you down for nothing

    I’m not asking for extravagance here, it is the small things, the gratitude that matters and for me it is so important that you feel valued and appreciated.

    I cooked for him, surprise him on his birthday trying to show him things that this is how you surprise a person. Guess what it was unsuccessful (laughs).  He said that I am so demanding and I should love him the way he see things. And this breaks my heart.

    He is a very good man, but when it comes to these things.. I get disappointed. And you can’t blame me..  This is how I feel. I told him I am sad. But for the next 2 years he did the same thing.. Nothing..

    I am not saying that you should give me this and that.. Im not that type of girl I have a broad mind that I can understand that not everyone is perfect but Guys, remember.. If a person can’t do small things for you on a very special day that only happens once a year in our lives what more on bigger things?

    And now I am having second thoughts about this relationship. See? It is really the small things that you do.. You have to remember, this is not a one sided relationship. You have to make each other happy for God’s sake! Spice up the relationship and do something about it. Ask each other what you like and just don’t tell them you love them in words

    Show it with your actions, and yes that’s what you call a five letter word EFFORT.

  13. 43

    I went through this very same train of thought not too long ago…I have a very wonderful, hardworking man in my life that does little things to make me happy.. I realized that every man is different in the way they exspress themselves and show love , I had to rethink my own interpretation of what I was used to and have come to expect… once I did that, I freed myself of self doubt and worry, which has allowed me to be more accepting and understanding in our relationship .

  14. 44
    P. Huebner

    This is ridiculous. Men are far more narcissistic , selfish, and emotionally disabled.  Women are more advanced in intimacy and love.  Women are nurturing and caring, and most men just care about sex and making money.  The world caters to caveman and objectifies women in social media, porno, and television.  This contributes to the culture of rape, sex trafficking, domestic violence. Men are not capable of loving a woman as a woman love a man.  Women are fed the story book lies, and false love stories that say that someday they will find their Prince Charming when he doesn’t exist. No wonder there are so many lonely, disenchanted women in this world. What women need to do is find their inner Goddess, that was taken away from us, by men and religion.

    If a men are so interested in the world and women are not, we would not have both men and women scientists, mathematicians  and every other world related thing that men do.  Except for sports, because of wage inequality, women are prevented from making large sums of money for playing sports. Woman are powerful human beings, demonized by people that make up terms for woman’s sensitivity, beauty, and intelligence.

    Self love is important and the ability to stand on your own to make your live better is all one needs to be happy.

    Buy yourself the damn flowers, and chocolate, and just know that the pickings are slim, but there are good men out there.

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