News that the launch of Kindle – a device that allow people to download books immediately after buying them – has set sales of romantic novels soaring has led to some suggesting that it’s because women can more easily and even secretly feed an addiction to romance and indulge their passion for romantic novels in public without anyone knowing what they are reading.
Romance and love can overlap, but going after romance in a way that an actually block the possibility of real love entering our lives can give us pause for thought. So how could you tell if you are a lover of love itself, or merely hooked on romance? Try this fun quiz and find out. Answer the questions below and add up the number of agree and disagrees and then read your score at the bottom.
When it comes to relationships, I adore the early part when it’s all exciting, but I always seem to lose interest when that bit has burnt out and move on.
I spend a lot of time fantasising about being swept away by someone gorgeous.
I’m often told that I’m really flirtatious.
I would give up anything and everyone for the one I love.
When I’m with someone for a long time I must admit that I start looking around for someone to flirt with when things get a bit stale with my partner.
People have to make sure they keep the romance alive in relationships, or they just can’t last.
I measure how someone feels about me by the kind of romantic gestures they make, like buying me flowers or taking me out for a surprise meal.
I make my partner text or call me and tell me they love me every day.
Let’s be honest – you adore romance and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Romance is a fabulous way to keep the love and passion alive in a long term relationship and provides its own rituals that are actually profound and sacred ways of reconnecting energetically to someone else. Where it can tip out of balance though is where we hunger for those gestures so much that they actually get in the way of what we want or where our version of romance grinds against what someone else feels comfortable about doing. The classic is when we might be with a partner who stalls at buying us flowers but who is always ahead with the practical stuff when we need it, or who won’t hold hands in public but is right there, cooking dinner and telling us to put our feet up if we’re tired or poorly. And the danger is when we feel a bit starved and compelled to start looking elsewhere if we don’t get exactly what we want. I think the thing to do is to lavish yourself with love and spoil yourself with what you hope to get from someone else. Even when I was a lone parent on a student grant I always bought myself a bunch of fresh flowers every week as it fed my soul and satisfied my craving for beauty when I lived in a tiny council flat in London’s Euston. That way, whatever else anyone gives you is a bonus and they might even get a few tips from seeing what you do! Along with that, make sure that all of your romantic gestures are unconditional and that you don’t give with an invisible price tag that says, ‘And where’s mine?’
Maybe you think romance is a waste of time or maybe you have very strong views of what love is all about that don’t contain the kind of hearts and flowers stuff that others seem to think makes the world turn. If you’re totally happy, then all is right in your world and I’m certainly not about to tell you that you need to be any different. But it’s also possible that somewhere along the line you got hurt, let down, somehow disappointed or made to feel bad about wanting someone to show you that they love you in a way that made your heart shut up shop and pushed you over into insisting that you aren’t in to any of that kind of nonsense. Whoever we are, we all have soft, vulnerable centres. Treat yourself with loving, tender care and give yourself the little gestures that matter, whether it’s about buying the biggest fluffiest socks to wear around the house in winter or indulging yourself in a box of chocolate coated cherries that you might buy for someone else’s birthday but never for yourself. Know that you deserve the very best and that it can come your way, not when someone else gives it to you, but when you give it to yourself first and find that the universe rushes to mirror how you treat you. And when someone wants to show you that you mean the world to them, open your heart to receive.
The fact that love comes in many forms and delivers many spiritual lessons is reflected in the pantheons of Gods and Goddesses across all cultures, from the compassionate heart of the Goddess Kuan Yin to the sensual, deeply erotic passions of Ishtar or Aphrodite and even the jealous rages of Hera. Ultimately, love begins with loving ourselves and it also teaches us who we truly are and reveals our strengths that we have and the challenges we may need to overcome in our soul’s journey. Romantic love is just one aspect of love, but remember even birds woo mates through singing their hearts out, displaying their finest plumage, through tiny gifts or spectacular gestures such as building a home they hope to share with their intended. In my book, romance is a way of celebrating the sacred in ourselves and in others.
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