I’ve always taken offense to being called a hopeless romantic. The term itself doesn’t necessarily have a negative connotation and when my friends have teased me about my (maybe unhealthy) addiction to romance and love stories, they didn’t mean anything malicious or demeaning.
But for someone who considers herself pretty damn positive and optimistic about well, everything, the word ‘hopeless’ makes me feel like I’d settle for anything in a relationship if someone was super-kind to me and brought me flowers. The reality is that I’m more hopeful than hopeless, and actually, I raise the bar on being in love, not lower it.
I’m also not the only one. Licensed marriage and family psychotherapist, Esther Boykin tells Bustle there’s a big difference between a hopeful and hopeless single. "Unlike a hopeless romantic, hopeful romantics blend an optimistic romantic outlook on love with realistic expectations," she says. "Hopeful romantics believe love is a beautiful, amazing experience that will come to them in time.”
This approach to dating might what you're looking for because you’re searching for something more romantic and less practical, but in the end, a hopeless romantic is very clear about what he or she wants and what he or she values. Here’s how they do things differently and actually find the love they love so much:
1. They’re OK With Waiting....
… so much that they might find it romantic. I can’t tell you how many letters I’ve written to my future husband without ever meeting him. Though there are moments when I’m anxious about ever finding the type of love I want, because I actually trust it will happen, I’m not willing to just be in any type of relationship to pass the time. I’d rather wait for the spark. “Romantics look for excitement, passion, and sentimental moments. In dating they can be open to a wider range of potential partners but they can also hold those potential mates to a higher standard before making a commitment,” Boykin says.
2. They May Get A Little Too Excited About First Dates
My friends have helped me to calm down before going on a new first date with a new guy countless times. Because of my romantic imagination, I can idealize the next six months of our could-be relationship before I actually hear the dude’s voice for the first time. Hopeful romantics linger on words and can sometimes get carried away with what might happen before seeing what’s meant to happen. Why? Boykin explains that hopeful romantics love love so much that it keeps them enthusiastic about dating, each and every single time they go out.
3. They Choose to Maintain Hope
Even people who don’t identify as romantic will get caught up in the wonders of a new love: everything is the first time, you’re building memories every single day and you’re opening yourself up to someone you can’t get enough of. While some might find themselves becoming bitter when it doesn’t work out, the beauty of a hopeful romantic is their ability to maintain hope. “A hopeful romantic can be a great attitude for finding love,” Boykin says. “Dating is often an exhausting and frustrating process over time but for romantics the ebb, and flow of deep emotion is enthralling.”
4. They Understand The Value Of A Happy Relationship
Not everyone needs to have gestures, flowers, love letters and all of the romantic moments to fall in love. But regardless of how you express and need to receive love, if you’re not with someone who can meet your needs, then you won't feel valued and appreciated within a relationship.
Boykin says that because hopeful romantics are very clear about what they want — and the type of person they want it with — they will put a lot of effort to make sure their relationship or marriage is healthy. “Unlike those who may be jaded or disillusioned by love, hopeful romantics believe that love is an imperfect but valuable human experience," she says. "As such, they are willing to put in the work to create a healthy and lasting future. And because they are hopeful but not hopeless, they have the ability to assess when it's time to work and when it's time to move on.”
5. They Love Hard
And not only in relationships: a hopeful romantic will love everyone in their life with intensity, dedication, and passion. They’re often the friend of your group who will go out of their way to make sure everyone feels super special… even if it’s just a random Tuesday or they had a bad week at work. While Boykin says they can be a joy to be in a relationship (or friend) with, it can also be well, a little intense. The key is finding someone who won’t be overwhelmed by the extreme connection, and will give them the say love in return.
6. They Bring Out The Optimist In Everyone
If you’re going through a bad breakup, it’s the hopeless romantic that you want by your side. They’re the one who will remind you to never lose hope, to fight for the type of love and relationship you want, and to never settle for less than what brings you the happiness you deserve. Even when they get down, Boykin says it doesn’t last too long. Why? Because they simply, just can’t give up on love. They believe in it too much.
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