If you’re looking for love and hoping to find your personal Prince Charming, you may be setting yourself up for disappointment if you end up falling for a guy who’s just not into romance. That doesn’t mean things won’t work, but it does mean you’ll have to put in a little extra work if want to be happy in the relationship. If you have an unromantic boyfriend, here’s what could be behind his approach to love and how to cope.
Why you have an unromantic boyfriend
- Most guys aren’t raised to be demonstrative with their feelings. It’s not necessarily his fault that he’s not into grand, sweeping gestures and proclamations of his undying love for you. It’s likely just not how he was raised. “Lots of … guys didn’t get that memo. It doesn’t mean they’re bad. It doesn’t mean they’re cheap. It doesn’t mean they’re selfish. It just means that the grand romantic gesture is not a part of their love language,” explains dating coach Evan Marc Katz. “They don’t want people making a big fuss about their birthdays and they don’t want to make a big fuss about yours.”
- Just because women want romance doesn’t mean men do. Because men tend to view love and relationships from a different lens than women and romance may not come naturally to them, it’s likely that they don’t feel like it’s a necessary part of a happy relationship. That doesn’t mean that your unromantic boyfriend should just expect you to get over it, but you also can’t (and shouldn’t) expect him to change his entire personality just to suit your desires.
- He’s afraid to be vulnerable. Being romantic means letting your guard down enough to be sweet and kinda corny. Given that men are taught that emotions aren’t particularly masculine, they’d have to feel pretty safe and secure in order to even consider going there. It shouldn’t be difficult, especially if you’re supportive and loving and have been together a long time.
- He’s losing romantic interest. While this isn’t the most common motivation for an unromantic boyfriend, it could be that your relationship was hot and heavy for a while but faded into something a bit too comfortable and almost platonic. “True lovers are also friends,” Alison Blackman, a relationship expert and editor-in-chief of Advice Sisters, tells Bustle. “It’s difficult, maybe impossible to keep sexual excitement at the same fevered pitch it might have been at the very start of a relationship. But if there are no shared moments, no shared interests, and no physical touching at all, the relationship has changed course.”
What you can do about it
- Be honest about what you want. Your boyfriend isn’t a mind reader. He doesn’t know you want him to take you out for candlelit dinners or surprise you with flowers every once in a while. Tell him what you have in mind so he knows where your head’s at and he might become a little more thoughtful.
- Don’t nag or guilt him into it. If he’s not romantic, he’s not romantic. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t care about you or can’t grow into a guy who’s a little more open to it, but nagging him isn’t going to get you there. He’ll either tune you out or begin resenting you, which won’t help.
- Never compare him to your ex or any other, more romantic guy you know. While this is obvious, even the best of us fall into this trap. When you compare him to other guys, the message you’re sending him is that there’s someone out there doing a better job at relationships than he is. It’ll be a critical blow to his ego, not a way to open his heart up to romance.
- Take the initiative in planning romantic surprises. Just because your partner doesn’t have a romantic bone in his body doesn’t mean you can’t be romantic yourself and show him how it’s done. Lead by example and he might just realize that romance is a beautiful thing.
- Start looking for it where you least expect it. Whether it’s going for a hike, attending a concert, or eating out, finding an activity that you both love and spending time doing it together will help strengthen your relationship. It’ll also lead you to realize an important fact: romance can be found in unlikely places, as long as you do it together.
- Be prepared to compromise. An unromantic boyfriend should still be met halfway. Does he have a sports event to attend and he wants you to go with him? Attend it even if you don’t understand a thing about it. Does he want you to spend the time with him while he plays video games? Cheer him on and prepare some snacks. He’ll surely appreciate you making an effort for him. This way, when it’s your turn to ask for a romantic date, he won’t think twice about saying yes.
- Appreciate even the smallest gesture. It may take time for your boyfriend to process your romantic needs. So, it’s important to be patient with him in the meantime. Let him know how you appreciate all his efforts, big or small. That way, he’ll know he’s on the right track. After all, there’s nothing worse than feeling as if you’re being taken for granted. “When was the last time you paid your other half a compliment? Or, did something special for them as a surprise? If you get too comfortable, it’s natural to feel unappreciated,” says relationship expert James Preece.
- Continue to let him know how much you love him. Romantic or not, you’re with your boyfriend because you love him. So, make sure he knows it’s unconditional. If he feels the same about you, he’ll be more than happy to try a bit more romance. It’s all about the simple hope of seeing you smile.
- Understand that he may never change. If the lack of romance is a dealbreaker for you, that’s something you need to think about. This is true especially if he’s not really willing to budge. In the end, relationships are about more than flowers and candlelit dinners, but if you want that and it’s not on offer, you may need to look elsewhere.
- Ask yourself if this is a dealbreaker. Yes, it’s OK to dump a guy for not being romantic enough. Just know that traits like these are really hard to change. Some women don’t care for the spontaneous flowers or “just thinking about you” notes and they’d probably love to date your boyfriend. But if that stuff is what you need in a relationship, be honest with yourself. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with craving romance, and there’s a better fit out there who’ll love to treat you like the queen you are.
- Witness how his mom and dad interact. A lot of times, these behaviors are learned. If his dad and mom have a similarly dry dynamic, he probably thinks this is totally normal. If that’s the case, he may need a little bit of guidance. If he tries to make it seem like you’re being high maintenance, gently remind him that every relationship is different. Just don’t let him try and make you feel bad for needing a bit more romance in your life.
- Try and identify the other ways he shows love. It may not be with romantic gestures, but it could be other small actions you don’t even think about. Does he always make sure you’ve got plenty of fresh towels when you stay over? Does he cook breakfast for you when you’ve had a long night? Maybe he just knows not to call or text during a specific time of the night since he knows your favorite show is on. It might not be a personalized poem or a bouquet of daisies. However, these are small acts that should make you feel really good.
- Try not to make yourself feel even worse while talking to friends. You probably have some friends in some fresh relationships who want to gossip about all the romantic ways they’ve been courted. Obviously, your relationship didn’t start the same way, but hearing about other people in romantic situations may make you feel like you’re alone, or that your boyfriend simply doesn’t care. Remember that relationships are built on a lot more than gestures. Their guys may shower them with roses and fancy nights out, but it doesn’t mean they’re better boyfriends.
- Make sure to practice self-care. It’s not a guy’s responsibility to pamper you. You need to do that for yourself on occasion. That means that if you’ve had a long day, you need to be prepped to have a face mask and a large glass of wine ready. Expecting your guy to give you a sensual one-hour massage based on the kindness of his heart will just lead to disappointment. You know that’s not the kind of guy he is. Thus, those expectations need to be dropped if you want to continue forward.
- Figure out if this affects your sex life. Romance and sex go hand-in-hand. If your guy is refusing to go out on fancy dates, that’s one thing, but if every sexual experience is bland and unsatisfying, that’s another. Sex drives that don’t match will lead to disaster down the road, so that’s an issue that’s worth trying to fix before resentment really hits. If an unromantic boyfriend doesn’t get you in the mood, that can become a real problem.
- Communicate about it before it turns into a fight. A lack of romance may eventually lead to an explosive fight. Don’t keep your thoughts and feelings on the matter to yourself. Even though you’ll never morph him into a Romeo, maybe he’ll at least try to work some more romantic gestures into his routine if he knows how much it means to you.
- Remember why you started dating him in the first place. There had to be some reason why you agreed to be exclusive. Maybe it’s his killer sense of humor or the fact that he always shows kindness to the people around him. These are his best attributes and the things that set him aside from everyone else out there. Remember, no guy is perfect, and if lacking a natural sense of romance is the only thing missing, you’re pretty lucky. An unromantic boyfriend isn’t the end of the world. Promise.