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Scheduling Love: Can Romance Survive?

Six possible behaviors you can implement for lasting love.

Romance, in its most classic form, requires the availability of spontaneity and timelessness to flourish. To contain the beauty of its natural process, it must have time—unpredictable time and uncertainty—to blossom.

Instead, many people are living their lives in a multi-tasking swirl of social processes, career aspirations, family needs, internal growth, and maintaining physical and emotional health. An over-engaged life, depending on time management and current options, literally renders romantic undertakings virtually impossible.

More and more of my male and female patients are talking about this dilemma. They miss the subtle interactions, promises, and illusive behaviors that make romantic seduction desirable. Yet, they cannot find a way to integrate these nuances within the lives they’ve chosen.

Because of limited time restraints and fewer options, most people resort to dating apps. It’s like hiring a broker to prioritize your obligations, and a middleman to do your sorting for you. Romance has a hard enough time bucking the barriers of two people. Add a relationship broker, and it is nearly impossible. There are not enough Cyranos in the world to do it right.

How can there be any chance for true romance to survive? And is there any way you can be part of that triumph?


You can’t change the crazy rhythm and unpredictability of modern-day pairing rituals, but you can change the way you participate.

What are the behaviors that define you as a romantic human? How can you signal what is still possible, despite overloaded agendas?

Here are just six possible behaviors you can implement.

One: Rewrite Your Prior Romantic Script

Most of you have a romantic script. Depending on the generation, there may be differences, but the process of joyful and mutual seduction and eventual union have not changed. The problem: You no longer have the opportunity in this busy and preoccupied dating world to implement them.

With multiple interruptions, wide gaps in possible connection, stereotypes as the primary selection tools, and no guarantee that people are who they truly are, your original romantic script will no longer work. Even two people who want a truly romantic connection must plan how to make room for love, the antithesis of what is needed to thrive.

Two: Keep Your Romantic Rhythm Intact

Classic romantic seduction has its own unique rhythm. It is not rushed, nor pressured. Its allure comes from the anticipated pleasure—maybe yes, maybe no—that evolves. You can broadcast this more easily if you remember how unromantic it is to be in the company of someone who is too pushy, or when your own anxiety drives you to make something happen that is not ripe to happen, nor should be.

Three: Be a Romantic Person in All Areas of Your Life

Redefine romance as a savoir-faire, live and let live; it's a love of life’s complications, an attitude that flows throughout all your interactions. Romance is not about mushy cards or swashbuckling sacrifice. It is a way of being that makes life meaningful to both partners, facing whatever comes with courage and mutual support.

Who are the most romantic people you’ve known personally? Who are your favorite media heroes and heroines? You may notice that they do not display hunger, anxiety, or neediness. Yet, they are not, nor try to be, unaffected by tragedy or controlled by ego. They can, and do, ask for and appreciate help when needed. Their coffers are filled with mirth and mischief and they know when they are appropriate but also how to focus appropriately on situations that require somber awareness and complete availability.

Four: Don't Ask Questions, Make Statements

Because of current dating pressures, people want to get to know a potential partner much too rapidly. They often ask inappropriately timed and superficial questions about career status, family, past relationships, food preferences, and more. Checking the boxes as quickly as possible, they want to know if future interest is warranted based on those answers.

A potential partner tells you at the end of a first date: "I have never opened up to a stranger the way I just did." You have likely practiced romance whether you knew it or not. You have more than likely attended raptly, showed focused interest, were authentically interested in the person, and encouraged them to talk about themselves.

You froze those moments and made them meaningful in and of themselves. There's a difference between in wording here:
“Where did you go to college.”
“I’d love to know how you deal with disappointment.”

Five: Dance Alone Until You Have a Partner

Because being romantic is not something you turn on only when practicing certain behaviors, you need to be thought of, and seen, as a romantic person, in whatever you are doing. You are both deeply serious and focused while simultaneously being playful and looking at life with a mischievous eye. Your responses to joy and sorrow are similar. You are totally authentic in whatever you are experiencing, but absolutely displaying that you will be returning shortly to the way you must live your life, to continue loving it.

Six: Invitation Rather Than Coercion

“Come love life with me, but only if you are drawn to that invitation.” That's how romantic people invite others to live, love, pray, laugh, and cry with them. When you are on the other end of a romantic person, you remember how delightful it is to be invited to join an already lovely environment where you are welcome and accepted to be yourself.

More from Randi Gunther Ph.D.
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