When we kicked off the month of August (it’s still Romance Awareness Month!), we did so with a little bit of research about romance, and the place that it occupies in romantic relationships. After gathering information from over 2,000 Couple users, we took a little time to explore the insights that actual users shared with us about their relationships. What we found was surprising: when men and women experience romance, that they experience it in incredibly different ways.
When it comes to romance, there’s one gesture above all that is immediately front and center: gift-giving. In fact, many relationship milestones and holidays are marked by giving jewelry, flowers, or even a little something naughty (we’re looking at you, Good Vibrations!). Media and popular culture also focus on the gesture of gift-giving as the most important way to convey romance to a lover. Whether we’re being bombarded with celebrity gossip or the never-ending diamond commercials every. single. holiday (we know what letter “kiss” starts out with, already!), the message is loud and clear: the bigger and spendier the display of affection, the more romantic it is perceived to be. This also helps explain the frenzied paparazzi attention that surrounds extravagant and expensive celebrity gifts like of Elizabeth Taylor’s legendary jewel collection, Jay-Z’s $2 million Bugatti birthday present from Beyonce, or Justin Bieber’s renting the Staples Center for a night out with Selena (remember when? Nope, me neither!).
The gesture of romantic gifting is so deeply rooted into dating and romance that many would believe that romance comes only in small blue packages from a certain American jeweler tied with a pretty white bow. But there have to be more meaningful gestures than exchanging gifts with a partner… right?
According to the experts– now we’re talking about you!– gifts are the least romantic gesture one can make in a relationship. Overall, a very small percentage of the men and women who participated in our survey preferred receiving gifts as a romantic gesture. While women were three times more likely to prefer gifts than
men, it was overwhelmingly obvious that there are more important things that lovers want from one another: affection and quality time.
Data showed that women primarily experience romance through shared experiences– namely, through spending quality time with their partner.
When we looked at the responses from women on the topic of romance, one thing was obvious: romance, according to women, was best conveyed by spending quality time with a partner. In comparison to men, 22% more of women were more likely to consider spending time together a romantic gesture. Whether that time was a romantic hike, a candlelit dinner, or just a few hours away from everyday distractions, women enjoy the experience of one-on-one time with a partner beyond all others.
A large percent of the men we surveyed preferred quality time too, but another form of one-on-one romance was a dude-favorite… getting physical. Whether it entails kissing, hugging, cuddling, or something infinitely more infinite (and lacking in clothing), guys display romance through the medium of physical affection. A quick glance at the data shows that 20% more men than women indicated that physical touch was how they experienced romance.
If by now you find yourself asking, “What does it all mean?!”… there’s no need to panic. At the end of the day, what is most important is to remember that while what works for you and what works for your partner might be two entirely different things, communication can bridge the differences between how you experience romance. When we asked couples who the most romantic person in their relationship might be, men and women both thought that they were the more romantic partner in charge of driving the love train of their relationship. If you truly, sincerely want to romance your partner the most important thing is this: listen to his or her needs, and to demonstrate time and time again that they are being heard, respected, and understood.