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Will I Be Single Forever?

"Can Love Exist Without Romance?"

This question is from a Group Therapy post in our TrèsSugar Community. Add your advice in the comments!

My longest relationship lasted for two years and was a long distance one. My boyfriend was handsome, a family man who treated his best friends like brothers, and who loved taking care of me in every way possible. We were both finishing university and though we didn’t have much money, we tried our best to travel and see each other. The feeling of growing up together was great but there was no romance — there were no romantic gestures or anything that swept me off my feet. At times I even felt he treated me like one more of his "brothers" and I called him out on it on more than one occasion; he also never gave me things I wanted but gave me things he thought I should want, and so as sad as it made me I had to end it.

After him, I dated another guy for four months. This guy was completely different; he was also handsome, but not much into family, and he was wealthy. I wasn’t "growing up" with him, but in a way it was good and again, we weren’t exactly romantic. I didn’t end it because of that; it had only been four months so I was hoping time would give him the comfort of being more romantic. In the end he wasn’t a good man, so I walked away.


Those were my last two meaningful relationships and the last one ended over a year ago. Now at 27 I have no prospects, no crush, nobody trying to woo me, nobody pursuing me, not even a silly text message from a guy friend pretending to like me. I don’t even have a face to daydream about.

Keep reading for the rest of this reader's dilemma.

This past year I tried everything to change that, I started online dating and basically became a serial dater up to the point where going on dates was no longer fun or exciting. I also tried going out with different crowds, leaving my comfort zone, and going to places I would’ve never even considered; I felt like I tried it all and I’m still here completely alone and lonely. I’m starting to feel like maybe my relationship expectations are a little bit unrealistic. I’m kind of a hopeless romantic and I love romantic gestures — from something small, like dedicating a love song to something elaborate like running down the rain just to see you. I love it all and I truly felt incomplete when my past relationships couldn't give that to me. I broke up with good men because that was missing in my life. I began to consider going back to my first ex, whom has mentioned more than once that he misses me, and though at times I feel like I miss him too, that he’ll be a great husband, and a fun-loving father to our children, I also sometimes feel like I’m considering him out of loneliness.

I don’t know how — and if — this is ever going to happen for me. I see it happening to everyone around me — I am literally the only one of my girlfriends that is single — but I’m still here with nothing. Is this romantic mindset ruining my perceptions of reality? Am I just living in a cloud waiting for a prince charming that doesn’t exist? Is my concept of love and relationships narrow minded?

I never wanted to be dependent on a boyfriend, but this lack of love and romance is bringing a melancholy tone to my life that has begun to overshadow all the good things that have been happening to me. So all I want is to hear other people’s experiences and see if I can understand whether you can be in love without romance? Am I setting the bar too high?

Have a dilemma of your own? Post it anonymously on Group Therapy for advice, and check out what else is happening in the TrèsSugar Community.

Image Source: Thinkstock
henna-red henna-red 5 years
Let's not forget that "romantic" means different things to men and women, and different things to different people at different times in their lives. A man helping me with my chores, by cooking a meal or washing the dishes, by surprising me with a brushes off car in the middle of a blizzard....things that make my life easier, that I didn't ask for and that he just....that's romantic as hell! Those are the actions of someone who cares, who pays attention, and who offers freely. Romantic isn't just about sweet notes, and flowers. The most romantic date I was ever on was shooting at a local range, then a ride on the back of his bike through the rocky mountains in the beautiful fall colors, ending at a great restaurant with complementary apps from the chef, and a wonderful meal. I have to admit that the ride home with my overfilled belly sliding down on the seat wasn't quite so romantic, but still.....romantic is different things to different people at different times.
ChrissyLee ChrissyLee 5 years
I don't think your expectations are ruining your love life, it's your desperation. I'm sure you've heard this before but love tends to find you when you're not looking.  27 is not too old to still be single, don't settle just because everyone else around you is coupled up.  Stop looking and change the focus of your life to something that revolves more around you.  When the right guy comes along he probably won't be what you're looking for, and that will turn out to be a good thing.  
steph1234 steph1234 5 years
So actually I don't feel I'm missing out on anything because he doesn't "live up" to the mainstream tv and movie idea of 'love'. It sounds like you need to realize that, that stuff isn't necessarily reality and that there are much more important qualities that you should look for. That's where media has really done our society and families an injustice. Media paints this pretty, perfect, romantic picture of relationships...and then society thinks that's reality....and then unrealistic expectations are made and people are disappointed to find out life is not like the movies.
steph1234 steph1234 5 years
To answer your question frankly...yes, yes you are setting the bar too high. Now, I'm not saying there are no good men out there who are romantic....But those are few and far between (especially if you want a man who is actually masculine). The qualities that you listed....great family man, great husband, fun-loving father, caring....those are the qualities that are important in a marriage, and those are the qualities that will help make a marriage last(along with commitment and honesty on both parts). Romance is so fleeting....My husband and I have been married 10+ years. I too, am a hopeless romantic, husband is NOT romantic....AT ALL!!!! But, that's ok, because he is an awesome, caring, supportive, trustworthy, husband and a very caring, compassionate, sweet father to our children. He is a great provider and a great leader in our home. He is self-less and is willing to put us all first, before himself. I count myself very blessed because of all that. He's funny, we still joke and play around and have fun together.
henna-red henna-red 5 years
Hey hopeless romantic....just wanted to say I mispoke abut the book not having strategies or ways to deal with the doesn, I just haven't got that far in yet. Check it out, it's very revealing, very educational.
henna-red henna-red 5 years
So, Bubbles has been recommending a book, He's Scared, She's Scared, by Socol and Carter, available at Amazon. I'm about half way through, just been reading about passive avoidance, and I've got to tell you there are women whose stories pretty much reflect yours, exactly. Passive avoidance refers to a strategy that people (more women, but some men also,) utilize to avoid commitment. You speak of being afraid of being dependent on a boyfriend, but your post says that both significant relationships were with guys who took good care of you, and it seems like that was important to you, something you valued. Other things I talk about this thing happening to your friends, to all these people around doesn't happen to you. If you wait for life to happen, you wait forever. Life is an action verb, it is whatever we make it to be. Romance is a part of love, a part of life....not visa versa. Romance is something that sparks love, that highlights and underlines' isn't the definition and purpose of love. And the purpose of romance is not to help you build your self esteem, or to feel complete. You need self esteem and self confidence to find a great guy, and to build a happy, healthy relationship. You seem to be leaving an awful lot up to the guy. You are just as capable of instigating and creating romance as a's not like romance is a biological imperative for one sex or another. You say you "had to let him go." You didn't "have" to let him go, you chose to let him go. The issue is that he was offering you something that you're actually afraid of for whatever reason...comittment. All of the things you describe....the crush, the persuit, the wooing, silly texts, the dreaming about....those things aren't love, romance isn't the definition of love and it certainly isn't the stable base of a good relationship. Everything you describe...the long distance, the lack of romance and excitement...a very unrealistic expectation of what a love relationship is...all of those things make it impossible for you to have any kind of serious relationship. As missmary says, love isn't a romance novel, it isn't what happens on tv or in an hour and 20 minutes in a movie. No one lives in the middle of a romance. Even your friends who are getting married are dealing with stress, and inlaws and combining budgets, and learning how to live together. It's not just some never ending love's also burping and farting and picking up the laundry and watching the game on tv and spending those no shower days with greasy hair and baggy sweats just grumping around the house, and understanding that we ALL have those's part of life. You've set yourself up for failure....your expectations seem to come out of a fairytale...and that is a way to passively protect yourself from doing something you're afraid of....depending on a boyfriend. I recommend the book. It's very enlightening. The authors aren't therapists, they don't teach you how to address these issues, but they certainly help you to recognize the issue, which gives you a basis for addressing them. I would say that you need to take a very good look at yourself, your expectations, and your self sabotaging behaviors before you attempt any kind of reconciliation. I mean, your ex is your ex....he isn't going to morph into some "prince". And darling, the prince just doesn't exist. Anywhere. That's why it's called a fairytale. So before you get yourself into a situation that you will end up running from again, get yourself some objective help with understanding why you ran the first time. Some help with addressing your commitment fear before you put yourself and this fellow through exactly the same thing. good luck to you
missmaryb missmaryb 5 years
Here's the thing about's wonderful, intoxicating, you can't sleep at night, you feel like the most special girl in the world. So let's say this kind of guy sweeps you off your feet and you get married. A year passes, then 5, then 10, you have a couple of kids, busy careers, carpools, meetings, etc...I can almost guarantee, sister, that the hearts and flowers are long gone. No man or woman can sustain that stuff forever. Long-lasting relationships survive because of trust, good communication and mutual respect...not because of roses and love songs. That's not to say that you don't deserve a little of that, especially at the beginning. But life doesn't mirror tv and the movies. You should choose a man who possesses the qualities you admire in guy like, let's say...your ex :) You say he's loyal, a family man, would make a great father. Sounds like a keeper to me! As far as the romance, I guess that's something you're going to have to come to terms with if you go back to him. He may not be running through the rain to see you, but is he there for you when something goes wrong? Does he care what happens to you and does he cheer you on when things are going well for you? Does he treat you with respect? Those are the things that matter at the end of the day. Good luck.
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