A freelance writer and bargain hunter with wanderlust, recently moved to Perth from Brisbane.
Romance Rules: Throw Them Out the Door
Movies like "He's Not That Into You" imply that there are specific rules people have to follow to attract their other half and to create romance in a budding or long-term relationship. With Valentine's Day coming up, some people would already be researching on some of these latest "dos and dont's" which is reflected in the popularity of romance advice books. And that is one thing love is not; it is not something you can concoct from a stringent modern structure in a self-help book.
Instead, follow some of the age-old guidelines your parents and grandparents would have passed on to you. If you want to bump up your romance a notch, don't get your advice while sitting on a couch. Instead, get it straight from the horse's mouth by really listening to the other person. Spend time and develop tolerance; develop behavioural traits to make the other person feel special.
Your other half would have their own likes and dislikes and that is what romance is about. Doing something personal, something surprising or even something you dislike doing or out of your comfort zone just to show you care. For example, if you dislike going out for outdoor activities but know that your partner does, simply organising and voluntarily showing up will show how much you care. Tempting as it is, buying an activity for your loved one and expecting them to go alone is not romantic and is only a half-hearted attempt. Telling them that you are only going for their benefit will not cut it either.
Buying something personal will prove that you have been listening and will win you major brownie points. If, however you realise that you have not been listening at all and Valentine's Day is looming near, acknowledge that you will start learning to listen and make a last ditch attempt to ask those nearest and dearest to her or him like close friends and family. You can even be cryptic and make your other half guess what the present is based on your memories together. If all else fails, take the time to create a collage of your precious memories. If it is a new relationship, create a collage of future memories you want to have together and that will create anticipation in the relationship.
2) Spend time, not just money
Research has shown that people remember time spent together, not luxury items or things. But it is quite common for people to rush out to buy chocolates, teddy bears, flowers, jewellery and other cliché items on Valentine's Day. More often than not, your other half will be happy if you care enough about them to take a whole day off and dedicate it to spending time together. You don't even have to do anything expensive; a walk in the park, a day out on the ferry or a fun night ice-skating can create the romantic mood as long as you give her/him your full attention. Constantly monitoring your phone and checking messages do not count. If you have kids, organising a babysitter so you can have alone time together will do wonders too.
If you are worried about costs, just celebrate it a day earlier or a day later. Treat Valentine's Day as a personal alarm clock, reminding you to show your loved ones you care but you don't need to celebrate it on the day itself. Critics of Valentine's Day often claim that you don't need a special day and that you should treat your loved ones with care every day of the year but how realistic is that? The sole reason for special days like birthdays, weddings, anniversaries and Christmas is for people to feel special and do something extraordinary.
Sometimes when you are in a relationship, you need to plead selective blindness and close one eye to the other person's faults. Valentine's Day is such a day. It may take a lot of effort, but try to keep your tongue in place and be tolerant on this special day.
Another key is acceptance. Showing your partner that you accept her/him into your family and group of friends is a sign of trust and that you intend to keep them in your life long-term.
And there you go. Simple steps to ensure a lasting relationship without the need for analysing who should make the first move (it should always be you, because the only person you can control is yourself), what carat of diamonds you need to buy or how many roses will make her happy.