10 Supposedly Romantic Gestures That Are Actually Cringeworthy

Grand romantic gestures can make or break a relationship and I’m not quite sure why. If you’re into cheesy, over-the-top, lovey-dovey moments with your S.O. then I’m not here to rain on your parade, but these 10 “romantic” gestures are actually the worst.

  1. Marriage proposals Marriage is one of the most important decisions of a person’s life, and the fact that most people make the call in a split second over champagne and roses at a fancy restaurant is truly absurd. I take longer to decide which laundry detergent to buy than most people take to accept a marriage proposal. It’s no wonder nearly half of marriages in the US end in divorce. Maybe if people actually talked about it extensively rather than continuing to buy into the archaic bended knee fantasy, the rate would be lower.
  2. Declaring your love on social media If you want to update your relationship status, go for it. But please, for the love of all that is decent in the world, do not post partner appreciation posts every other day and comment on every single photo your partner shares. No one cares. If you really want to tell your girlfriend she’s the light of your life and the best thing that ever happened to you, turn your face in her direction and say it to her. It’s that easy. Don’t force me to be a part of your private life.
  3. Showing up unannounced to their work/house/parents’ house Everyone likes an occasional surprise, but I think we can all agree that not all surprises are created equal. Flowers are great; unexpected appearances at your partner’s workplace when they’re in the middle of their day, not so much. No matter how romantic that seems in theory, the amount of awkwardness and general discomfort it will cause might just ruin your relationship.
  4. Telling someone they look gorgeous when they know they don’t While it’s usually pretty nice to be told you look good, if I’m mid-period, hungover, and running on five hours of sleep, I will kill you if you tell me I look beautiful. No one is stupid enough to believe that. If you insist on telling someone they look great when they know they don’t, how will they ever be able to trust you when you actually mean it?
  5. Shower sex, hot tub sex, anything-involving-water sex Look, it’s a very sexy concept, I get it. Who doesn’t like literal steam when they’re getting down with their significant other? But water has an unfortunate habit of undoing the effects of whatever lubricant you may be using, making any kind of penetration difficult and usually pretty painful. Then there’s the high probability of accidental drowning by blowjob. It’s really not worth it.
  6. Pretend to love their favorite hobby This never works. If your partner is obsessed with hockey and you try to act like you absolutely love sitting around watching guys dressed as Michelin men whack around a tiny object for hours when you actually hate it, it will come back to haunt you. Either you’ll end up spending your entire relationship going to games and watching it on TV because your partner thinks it’s one of the things that brings you together—or more likely, they’ll just feel hurt and stupid when they find out that you’ve been faking it. Just be honest, guys. That’s romantic.
  7. Investment in Valentine’s Day You may as well be saying, “Yes, my love, I know I’m a crappy partner most of the time and I always forget to do small random acts of love for you, but hey! It’s all good because I got you this life-size bear with hearts for eyes!” As a general rule, the couples who make the biggest deal out of Valentine’s Day are the ones who are the least romantic and invested in their relationship the other 364 days of the year. It’s a dead giveaway.
  8. The whole tattoo thing I really hope this is obvious, but for the sake of absolute clarity: please have the self-respect and perspective to not get a tattoo that has anything whatsoever to do with your partner. Life is unpredictable. Feelings change. Soulmates aren’t guaranteed to last forever. Aesthetic preferences transform over time. Don’t waste your money and your skin on something you are guaranteed to regret.
  9. Writing them a song Unless you have a Grammy, do not write your significant other a song. There is nothing less romantic than having to sit through a clumsily played and inelegantly worded love song written about you and pretend to love it. It’s hard enough to be encouraging about attempts at musicianship when it’s just a cover of someone else’s songs. It’s almost unbearable to be the “inspiration” for a truly unfortunate piece of music.
  10. Saying “I love you” too much Before you accuse me of being the Grinch who stole romance, let me be clear: “I love you” might be the most life-altering and beautiful three words in the English language. But don’t overuse them. The only time you should say “I love you” is when you really mean it. It’s so easy to just toss it off like it’s no big deal, like a kiss on the cheek, but if you do that, eventually it doesn’t mean anything at all anymore.
Rose Nolan is a writer and editor from Austin, TX who focuses on all things female and fabulous. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Theater from the University of Surrey and a Master's Degree in Law from the University of Law. She’s been writing professional since 2015 and, in addition to her work for Bolde, she’s also written for Ranker and Mashed. She's published articles on topics ranging from travel, higher education, women's lifestyle, law, food, celebrities, and more.