There are many types of relationships. A relationship is an event involving mutual dealings between people, parties or countries.  There are business relationships.  There are family relationships. There are relationships between platonic friends.  A popular relationship that many have an interest in, is the romantic relationship.

People find an attraction to another person and want that attraction to develop into something more than just a platonic  or casual acquaintance.  They want a romantic relationship.

What Is Romance?

Ah, yes!  Romance.  We hear about it many times.  We read stories about it in romance novels.  We're exposed to a screenwriter's definition of it in a movie.  We hear people talk about it in their own lives as well as others.  What is it?  What is this thing called romance?

Romantic RelationshipCredit: Microsoft Clip Art ImagesWhat is interesting about the subject of romance, is that when I ask people, what is their definition of romance, I get many different answers.  Some, even take it personally, as if it is none of my business as to what their notion is about romance.  I intuitive feel that they don't have a clue, or that they fear embarrassment with an incorrect answer.

Typically, people's definition of romance, or of being romantic, involves some sort of action.  Actions like giving gifts of flowers, candy, perfume are common answers.  Other definitions are more general, like being sweet, being kind and gentle.  Still, others usually mention a scene or setting of what is romantic.  Dinner for two at a romantic place, or perhaps more intimate things in a more intimate place are typical.

LoveCredit: Microsoft Clip Art ImageThen there is the "L" word.  Some, if not many, have a difficult time saying the word love.  One would think that being in love is an element if it's a romantic relationship.  Not necessary so, as we shall define.

Quick History of Romance

Romance, as you may know it, has not been around as long as you may think.  Through movies, television and books, authors took exaggerated creative license with history in their story line.  Historically, when and how romance was part of any relationship has been mostly nonexistent from when we traditionally think of it. 

Biblical times give us some clues about romance.  There are many differences in the way men and women had relationships then, in respect to our modern times.  The biblical languages even had different forms for the types of love.  Some forms were not associated with the types of romance we think of today.God Speed!Credit: God Speed! by Edmund Blair Leighton, 1900

It wasn't until the middle ages, about the 12th century, when knighthood and chivalry began to flourish that romance, as we traditionally know it, evolved.  The Knight's Code of Chivalry was a moral and honorable system.   Knights were honor bound to protect others who can not protect themselves, such as widows, children, and elders.  Women, in particular, were the subject of many court troubadour's songs and poetry.  Knights sacrificing themselves for women and women paying homage to their gallant man who comes along and saves her from all sorts of evils. The scenarios were endless for romantic stories. 

What's a Romantic Relationship?

Psychologist tell us that there are three elements to a romantic relationship.  All three elements are necessary.  If not the three elements, then it is not a romantic relationship.

  • The first element is that you must like the person.
  • The second element is that you must respect the person.
  • The third element is that there is a sexual attraction.

Now, let's think about these three elements very closely and in-depth. It is to your advantage to take some time and really give this some thought.

In a relationship there could be permutations of the three elements.  You can have just one of the elements.  You can have any combination of two of the elements.  But, until you have all three, it is not a romantic relationship.

Let's look at the different possibilities.   Sex comes to mind to most people as what makes a romantic relationship.  Sex is necessary, but sex without liking the person or about respecting the person is just plain pure lust.  We see this scenario all the time.

A man has sex with a prostitute.  He may not even like her.  He probably doesn't respect her and would not want to introduce her to his mother and father.  But, he does have sex with her.  That is not a romantic relationship.

Same thing with a woman.  Many women have sex with men they don't like or even respect.  There many pathological reasons why.  She still does it anyway.

A person may respect another person, such as that person's status or place in society but not like them.  Perhaps they don't like their personality or the way they look, or mannerisms.  Yet they still have sex with them.  Again, this happens all of time.

Then there are many people who like a person very well.  He or she is very affable.  They are outgoing, warm, humorous.  In fact everyone likes the person.  However, he or she has some dirty little secrets.  Maybe he or she is a cheater in business or with their spouse.  He or she is a con artist or has values that are difficult to respect.  Yet, people will have sex with that person anyway.

The Three Elements Must Be Mutual

Intuitively, you probably knew about the three elements all along.  It really makes sense.  You must like, respect and have some sort of sexual desire in order for a romantic relationship. But many people forget that the three elements are mutual.  Both partners have to enjoy the same three elements.

The best use of this knowledge is enlightenment of self.  Use it as a checklist on the next relationship that you want, if it is a romantic one.  Check the other person out.  Ask them directly if they really like you and respect you.  Sex?  You will know about that at some point.  You don't have to have sex.  You just need to want  sex with the other person.Walking on the beachCredit: Microsoft clip artBe true to yourself.  Sit back.  Take some time by yourself and think.  Really think about these elements.  If most are honest with themselves, it is a good way of judging the worth, in time and effort, of pursuing or continuing a relationship that they really don't want.

The Psychology of Romantic Love: Romantic Love in an Anti-Romantic Age
Amazon Price: Buy Now
(price as of Jul 7, 2016)
Tons of books on Romantic Love. I found this book one of the best and most informative. Brings to light the history and truth about Romantic Love and what is behind it. It will be of great benefit to many. Nathaniel Branden is an authority on the subject. He has a touching story about his own tragedy with a romantic relationship and how he recovered. Read it.