Romance Is Not Necessarily Love

In romantic depictions of love, cute little images of cherubs and cupids abound. But Cupid, in his real incarnation, is not so sweet and cuddly. His arrows can create deep and lasting wounds, and can strike you blind and irrational in a heartbeat. A few disaster-filled run-ins with Cupid’s dart and you can readily believe that love will never work for you.

Even if you take responsibility for your own life in most ways and successfully handle most work and social situations, when it comes to intimate relationships you may feel helpless and out of control. You may find yourself inexplicably obsessing on someone who isn’t available or interested, or even feeling so needy and helpless that you are unable to protect yourself when you are criticized, abused or degraded. It’s a very painful experience when a romantic relationship with the partner whom you hope and expect will provide you with love, joy and fulfillment of our dreams turns into a miserable, disappointing and dismal failure.

A Dependent Image of Love

When it comes to love, it’s easy to forget how to think clearly, because we have all been bombarded with images that imply love and dependency are the same thing:

• Lovers should depend on each other to supply their needs, to take care of them and “make it better”,

• Lovers should need each other “You are my happiness, I’d die without you”

• Lovers are incomplete without each other, and that two should “become one”-losing their individual personalities, friends, interests and opinions in the process.

This dependent image of love has been reinforced for generations of songs, poetry, plays, books, movies and television soap operas that have celebrated a dependent model of romantic relationships that contains neediness, desperation and the idea that only love (from a perfect partner) can make life better. This “ideal lover” is supposed to:

• Love you no matter how unreasonable you are,

• Always be there when you want or need him or her,

• Always know exactly how to sooth your hurts,

• Always know (and be prepared to give you) precisely what you want (even if you’re not sure yourself), and

• Put your needs before his or her own needs.

This “romantic” image of love sounds good, but although it seems exciting and fulfilling at first, such a relationship cannot flourish. Since no one else can ever care for you as well as you can yourself (they can’t know your needs and wants as well as you do, they can’t tell what their care-taking feels like to you, and they also have their hands full with their own needs), one or both of you will wind up feeling ripped off, used, neglected, unloved, and generally dissatisfied.

The romantic ideal creates dysfunctional relationships, in which the ground rules are:

• You can’t talk about it (it might upset the other person),

• It’s hopeless (since you can’t talk about it, you can’t solve it together), and

• We’re both helpless (we can’t control our own behavior, or outbursts of anger, or make effective choices).

Partner as Parent

In part, we have unrealistic fantasies about love because our first experience (and basic model) of intimate relationships was with parents who took care of us as children (and perhaps did not encourage us to become self-sufficient and responsible); or with parents who were not fully there to take care of us (as we knew they should).

While, on the surface, we are looking for someone we can enjoy and have fun with, our dependent, romantic inner self is secretly searching for a substitute for a parent-someone who will take care of us make our old wounds better, care about our feelings, and accept us for who we are. If you, like so many people, come from a family where you suffered rejection or abandonment at an early age, when you begin to search for a romantic partner, all too often, you find a substitute parent who is like the real parent who let you down, and you wind up repeating the old, subconscious patterns.

If you and your partner are fighting over silly things, if one or both of you suddenly “blows up” or gets angry and the other one doesn’t understand why, or if you feel very unsatisfied and restless in your relationship, consider that one or both of you may have some confusion about the difference between parental love, and love between equal partners.

A Mature Model of Love

When you let go of the dependent, childish view of love, and use the more adult model, you’ll get a different picture of familial love. Mature love is mutually caring, mutually giving and mutually responsible, without the dependent, needy or controlling imbalance of power present in the child/parent model. When you take responsibility for making love mutually satisfying, and expect equal maturity, responsibility and respect from your partner, you increase your power to receive and give love at full capacity, while retaining your self-esteem and sense of competence.

For more understanding of this, read ” When Love is Kind: Mutuality in Relationships

Adapted from: Lovestyles: How to Celebrate Your Differences (Kindle and Paperback)

Crafting the Love Scene in a Romance Novel

Writing a love scene isn’t something you should just drop into your novel or story just because you wish to class it as a romance. A love scene needs to be woven in so intricately that it appears seamless. If you go to a book store and pick up a romance novel, you should be able to tell from the first few pages the following things:

a. That it’s a romance by the words and phrases used.

b. The heat level. Whether it’s a sweet or inspirational novel with little or no sex; a Harlequin Mills and Boon Modern Romance [with a moderate amount of love making scenes], or one of their more steamy lines such as Blaze; or highly erotic such as the Black Lace books, or Accent Press.

c. If it has sexual tension. Even in the sweet or inspirational novels, if it is a romance there should be some sort of sexual tension going on, otherwise it is simply not a romance. Even if we do not get beyond the bedroom door, there needs to be some sort of chemistry between the hero and heroine for it to be classed as romance.

A love scene is not:

a. Two characters behaving against their character traits just to get a bit of lovemaking on the page.

b. A device used to fill up pages. That would be cheating the reader.

A love scene should only be used if:

a. It’s crucial to the plot

b. It moves the story along

c. It reflects the characters’ motivations.

If a love scene can be removed from your novel without it affecting the plot, then it wasn’t really needed in the first place.

When writing a love scene the setting needs to compliment the characters’ emotions. The characters’ senses need to be sharpened and heightened for a love making scene.

A love scene should:

Tell the reader something more about the characters. Maybe it’s a time when a sense of humour comes into play. Or maybe it highlights their fears. After all, the two strongest emotions are said to be love and fear, with fear being the stronger of the two. So perhaps one of the characters fears falling in love or fears losing that love. Those kinds of things can provide the conflict to propel your plot forward.

Ways to Bring Back The Romance in Your Love Life

Finding a love is rather simple for many. However, keeping that love is the real and ultimate test of truth. Intimacy in a relationship bubbles from romance, and it take the effort of both the partner to keep the romance alive.

For some people, the fear of falling out of love begins when they note a lack of romance. Unfortunately what they fail to do is put in a little effort and bring back the romance into their love life. Appreciating each other’s character is a key element. You and your partner may have several things that you like and have in common.

You can always point out things you do not like in your partner, or simply accept the flaw and move on with them. Nobody is born perfect isn’t it? Make sure you are not focusing on fishing out the wrongs in your partner but on the positive things making each other a better person, focusing on the right things to cherish.

Communication helps to foster a good relationship. Long talks about life and plans, investments, adventures will help cement the romance. Sharing is caring, never shut the doors of communication.

It is also good to talk and reminisce about the past, the fun time and even those tough times that you both went through. Avoid making your conversation a topic that centers about you and what you want or like, but more of what your partners would like or want yet directing it to have you included in them.

The one thing that may kill the romance is arguments. The worse of it is taking the argument to bed with you, which means you both go to bed mad and aggravating the situation. Just resolve all your issues before you go to sleep.

Silence is also an alternative, but not all the way to the bed. You should take time to say or show that you still love and care before sleeping. A good way of keeping the romance burning is by letting the evening be a moment for both to unwind and enjoy each others company.

Show each other love through simple expressions such as a cuddle. It is a solid way of building a firm foundation for the love you share. Most of the silly yet cute things that you did when you started dating are the fuels that will keep the romance alive. These are the things that most people tend to overlook.

Hold hands when watching your favourite movie, or surprise dances when you hear music that you both love, exchanging unexpected kisses and other silly little things are great expression of love that will work wonders, igniting the romance.

Life is too short for arguments, spread the love around.