It is no secret that men and women often feel as though they’re from different planets. There are often times when we feel as if we are completely different species. Yet, there are times when we are so connected romantically and sexually that we forget how disconnected we felt during those other times.
Fiancé and I are no exception.
We have taken a decision to start working on our communication inside and outside of the bedroom. We have always been on different planets as far as what we want romantically. I am the quintessential girl who grew up watching the Rom Coms of my generation. The ones where the guy woos the girl with flowers, a mix CD (mix tape for those non-millennials) and pours his heart out after he realized he can’t live without her. I grew up trying to create those moments with the grand gestures I thought were romantic and showed love.
Mostly, I think I was trying to prove that I was in love.
These gestures showed that I had a catch. I tried so long with my former boyfriend to formulate and create those moments of romance. I set them up for him and all he had to do was re-create them. I think that is one of the reasons we broke up. I was trying to make him something he wasn’t. So when I met my fiancé, I stopped communicating what I thought was romantic and rolled with the punches, afraid to assert myself too much and scare him off or worse, have him laugh at me. So, I kept myself quiet.
My silence bought me happiness. I fell in love with an amazing man who had his own brand of romance. I fell into his idea of romance and fell hard for the man with the chicken nuggets and marathons of “Yes Dear” and “How I Met Your Mother”. Sweatpants and snuggling was our brand of romance. We went out in public with our friends and we smiled at each other and we’d kiss occasionally. We were the perfect twenty year old couple.
We grew together in our comfort and started talking about marriage. I was still prescribing to his brand of romance, even in the bedroom. Granted, we were young and inexperienced but we thought we were perfect together, doing the same thing over and over. It was amazing how content one can get and throw away what they want.
When we moved in together this past year, we had to adjust to many things, yet our romance and bedroom life stayed the same. It wasn’t until a month ago that we opened up to each other about what we want sexually when I started to realize I sacrificed my “Rom Com Romance” for adopted another idea of Romance.
Fiancé and I started out by listing and describing what we wanted in the bedroom. It wasn’t until we got past the nitty gritty of the root of our problem and what we want that I realized I want romance. I want candles and flowers. I want to be surprised and seduced. I want to be wooed. When I told him, he was taken back. I had prescribed for so long to a different idea of romance such as sweat pants and cuddling that I never realized I was missing my idea of romance. I didn’t communicate. I didn’t communicate well enough. I should never have put my needs and wants on hold to satisfy a different idea of romance. I should never have painted fiancé with the same brush as my other mistake. (Update: I did find a playlist on his phone that had a list of romantic songs for me… I’ll take a playlist instead of a mix CD.)
What I thought fiancé’s idea of romance was is having his favorite dinner and a movie with the lights off. My frustration was mounting. I didn’t know how to change the rut we had fallen into. I had a hard enough time communicating what I wanted sexually, but for some reason communicating what I found romantic was a hell of a lot harder. I was more embarrassed to tell him about the romance than the sex. To me, romance is more intimate because it targets a different part of your relationship. It targets your connection on a different level. I also knew that romance via candles, wine, flowers and making dinner was a stretch for him. My fear of him laughing at me trumped wanting to talk to him.
For most women (and I know I am painting with a very broad brush here), romance is the candles, the flowers, the soft music and dinner and dessert planned by the one you love. So my question led me to ask, what is romantic for men? What do men find romantic? In the spirit of our attempt to communicate better, I asked. Over dinner one night, I asked. Of course, like most men (again, broad generalization here) he answered the way he thought I wanted him to. Hearts, flowers and candles. You have to understand, fiancé is not a hearts, flowers and candles kind of man. As I write this, he is playing Battlefield on his PlayStation and laughing along with his best friend. He is not Mr. Romance. So when I prompted him to give me directions about what he found romantic, he had no answer. Lingerie isn’t romance, it’s more like foreplay. If he couldn’t answer me, and I couldn’t answer me, I would have to turn to the next reliable sources, the groomsmen in our upcoming wedding and some of our oldest friends.
We have been together for seven and a half years and have grown up and grown with each other. What was romance, a snuggle and a movie is what I thought was “romance” at twenty. Now, at twenty eight, I find my definition of romance as something wildly different. I am sure that if you ask me again in another eight years after we have children, my idea of romance will be even more different than it is today. I think that is the puzzling part of romance. Romance is different for everyone. Not just genders, or sexualities or even ages. Romance is different for each person and the person they’re with. I am a different me than I was with my former boyfriend, and a different me than I was with my fiancé at the beginning of our relationship. Romance changes as people change.
Not only for the purposes of this post, but for my own curiosity, I polled the groomsmen in my upcoming wedding and some of my oldest friends. I came to the conclusion that men and women are radically different. (Gasp! Shock!) Women need romance to feel special, to be seduced. Men do not need romance; they are virtually ready to go when the mood strikes. Men engage in romance for the good of their relationship with the women they love. Men (again, broad generalization) are not romantic people. They don’t need romantic acts or crave them like women do. Romance makes women happy.
I challenge you, COMMUNICATE with your significant other. Talk to them about the tough stuff. Talk to them about the uncomfortable topics and the things you’re afraid they’ll laugh at. Even if they do, at least you said what you wanted to say and you communicated. Laughter is their form of communication because they may not be able to verbalize their response. Keep at it, communicating is difficult to pick up, but it is worth it in the end.
The cost of not communicating could be your relationship.