Why Romance Is Almost Dead. And Will Never Be Resurrected

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Since I came to the Netherlands I’ve started noticing the fade of romance. I’m not talking about love, but about romantic gestures. From the small ones like holding hands and kissing on the street to bigger ones, that transcend love but influence every bit of its romantic manifestation. Like how couples go on separate holidays or even don’t live together.

My conclusion is that romance is almost dead, barely hanging on a small thread of hope, which is kept alive by a bunch of misfits like myself, who believe that love is like a Christmas tree: no matter how big and beautiful the tree, it is not magical until we put some lights on.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not talking only about big romantic gestures like riding in a horse-drawn carriage in a park or booking the entire astronomical observatory because your girlfriend likes to look at the stars (oh boy and what a starry night that was…), but the small things that brighten our days like leaving a little love note in the wallet, or sneaking the favorite desert in the bag before you go to work of just a call in the middle of the day saying “I’ve been thinking about you”.

Now that we got that one thing straight, let’s look at the biggest enemies of the poor old romance:

  1. Independence-ship.

It’s not quite the opposite, but a fierce enemy of the “relationship”. Today’s society values independence and self-reliance more than in any other times. It’s all about doing it yourself, proving your own autonomy, learning to live and experience things alone. When all the attention is focused on yourself, it’s hard to believe that another person can complete you. Or that your partner can be your half. So why would you go the extra mile for a person that is just… accompanying you through life and is not seen as an extension of you? You are already self-sufficient.

  1. Increased competition.

From all the other areas of life that we need to achieve in. Like education, career, parenting, maintaining a social life, nurturing our hobbies. If 50 years ago, the awareness on the areas that we need to develop was probably limited to 4 or 5, now the personal development models refer to at least 8 areas of life that need to be balanced.

This is the model that I’ve learnt in my coaching course, which clearly states that romance is just a “slice” of who we are as a whole. So when there is so much to think about, how can we give a higher amount of attention to romantic gestures?

Wheel of Life

Wheel of Life


  1. Artificial intimacy.

For me, the 2 most intimate activities that a couple can share are sex and actually sleeping together.

That casual sex practice is growing bigger and bigger is no surprise to anybody. Oh, did I just say I couldn’t see people showing signs of affection in public lately? I forgot the most important display of it: drunk people in clubs throwing themselves all over each other. Although I studied psychology and I can very well understand, objectively, why people feel the need to have casual sexual encounters, I get sad every time I witness this. It’s still hard to comprehend how people can so easily disregard any emotional connection and create an artificial intimacy with a complete stranger. How can you invite a stranger into your home, let him or her touch you and see you in circumstances that you are normally reluctant to show to your closest friends? I guess that emotionally I don’t belong to these times.

But what was a surprise for me is that even sleeping in the same bed is not considered a couple’s activity anymore. Until reading this article the other week, to me sleeping was extremely intimate. It is the moment when you are most vulnerable. Actually allowing somebody to sleep with you is an act of trust and real affection. And to actually feel the presence of the loved one even when you sleep seemed like the most romantic thing in the world. This is why reading that, although we fall asleep next to each other we sleep in fact alone, was one of the last drops in a glass full of proofs that romance is dying.

  1. No role models.

How can the future generation learn romantic gestures? If they don’t see it in the behavior of the parents or in the society? If couples don’t hold hands anymore, but just walk next to each other, like 2 individualities that choose the same path, how will children know what little sparkles of love look like? From the movies? Those movies that are regarded as “cheesy”?..

In 50 years, will we still call these “the most romantic scenes” or just “scenes that refer to an old-fashioned practice that ceased to exist due to its lack of relevance in the modern time?”

John Cusack in “Say anything”, holding a radio over his head to play "In Your Eyes" for his girlfriend. They're broken up, both in pain, and the Peter Gabriel's song was the one they had first made love to.

John Cusack in “Say anything”, holding a ghetto blaster over his head to play “In Your Eyes” for Diane Court. They’re broken up, both in pain, and Peter Gabriel’s song is the one they had first made love to.

Amelie playing a romantic game with the man she’s in love with, leaving him messages and collage of pictures from the photo booth.


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Julie is the editor of XpatGirls.com. She's a Romanian girl, stranded in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

For how long, she doesn't know yet. But what she does know is communication and psychology. already a bachelor in psychology, she is now also preparing to be a life coach. This is due to her genuine interest in people and the every day joy to be there for those who have questions about themselves. Working in communication for the last 4 years has helped her pursue the life-long dream of writing. But her secret love was and will always be painting, along with piano and shoes, because yes, every girl has her thing.

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