How To Cope With An Unromantic Boyfriend

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. 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 be patient with him in the meantime. Let him know how you appreciate all his efforts, big or small, and 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 with 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 long and hard about, 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.

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