Reader Curious about Romance writes:
I have a question which arose while chatting to a friend going through a separation. One of the issues which has come up in our conversations is that he claims his wife hates romance and has “killed it for him.” He also says she hates being complimented. My thinking — the resistance to compliments leads me to think that she has self-worth issues and that may be why romance makes her uncomfortable as she doesn’t feel like she deserves it? Then I thought — maybe that’s just me applying my own perspective to it too much because from my point of view how could a woman not like romance even a little, right? Perhaps there are women out there who don’t like it at all and she’s one of those with no issues? But surely every women likes to be made to feel special — that’s what romance is, isn’t it? What are your thoughts on this?
Since this is your friend I will tread lightly. No, I won’t, actually. I hear guys say this kind of stuff in counseling a lot, and yeah, okay, I empathize that they feel that way. I know it would suck to want to be romantic and have no outlet. But here is the other side of that coin, from what I have seen; all or none of these may apply, but it’s my hunch that at least one is the case….
1. This guy ONLY does romance. As in, he doesn’t do anything actually useful. She asks him to do laundry and somehow it doesn’t get done. She asks him to mail the bills and oopsie he forgot. But then he grabs her to dance when a song comes on the radio. Yippee skippy. She forgot her dancing shoes somewhere in between the laundry room and the mailbox.
2. He’s one of those guys that thinks that romance equals instant sex. So yes he plans a date night, but then he’s all up on her when she is exhausted afterwards. No raincheck for Mr. Romance. Doesn’t she know how lucky she is?
3. He complains about no romance, but in reality, a romantic would not have gone for him. Only a practical and pragmatic woman thinks that a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants guy is charming. (And mostly the big romantic guys are otherwise irresponsible. See Sex and the City, and also any relationship you can think of in your friend group.) Because romantic, whimsical women go for the stable guys who are fascinated by their intensity and passionate nature. This is one way that opposites do attract. Get two hard core romantics together and nobody is around to balance a checkbook or remember that you put the water on to boil for pasta before you started making love in the kitchen.
4. He is forgetting how her practicality compensated for his weaknesses. It is probable that, throughout the marriage, she planned everything, she bought birthday gifts for his mom, she cleaned up his vomit when he drank too much, and overall she acted like his Mommy. And Mommy doesn’t feel romantic.
Anyway, that’s the flip side of this dynamic. Maybe she does have low self esteem, but it takes two to tango. There is something he was doing that wasn’t bringing out her romantic side, and/or she never had one to begin with but during courtship, she humored him more because she thought he was cute and that he would become more helpful/practical/less whiny as he matured. Maybe he should have read The 5 Love Languages and figured out his wife’s love language instead of complaining that it isn’t the love language that he would prefer.
Till we meet again, I remain, The Blogapist Who Likes Romance Too But Thinks That a Guy Who Tells a Female Friend That His Wife “Killed Romance” For Him May Be a Tad Dramatic Slash Trying To Get Pity Sex From You.
This post was originally published here on Dr. Psych Mom. Follow Dr. Rodman on Dr. Psych Mom, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. Order her book, How to Talk to Your Kids about Your Divorce: Healthy, Effective Communication Techniques for Your Changing Family.
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