Preserving romance

Hilary Smith

Hilary Smith is a writer with Relationships Aotearoa and an experienced counsellor.

It's true. It's blind. It's romance. And it lasts about a minute and a half.

You want someone to love you. No question. But someone who spots your finer qualities, and loves them, can be depressingly elusive. As for stumbling on someone who appreciates you on a bad hair day, that can be a really tall order.

So when you do find someone, it's your glossy best you aim to display. That's romance for you. The delightful blurring effect of the rose coloured lens. The candlelight feels delicious and cosy. It softens the distinctive features that make both of you the people you are.

After a while you start to feel this tension. Romance is yummy and you want to hold on to it. But there is more to you than is on show. When your unique, individual style gets a look in will it snuff out the candlelight?

If you need to squash some bits of you to keep basking in that rosy glow, how good does the romance feel? What happens when some of those warty bits slip the leash and make themselves startlingly obvious?

The pressure builds. It pushes you from romance to something else. You find your feet more often on the ground. Growing familiarity begins to replace novelty and excitement. Your focus becomes sharp and clear.

Sometimes a good clear look is all it takes for a relationship to shut up shop. Sometimes the relationship was all about feeling the romantic buzz and when that goes so does the reason for the relationship.

Sometimes romance lays great foundations for love. You just need to figure out how to build on them. You wanted someone to love you. You thought this new partner was a real cracker, but now you wonder if they're a fizzer instead. If you feel square one getting closer you might want to ask yourself just how keen you are to really love someone else?

Loving someone takes courage. The best dressed, best behaved self they show you first is relatively simple to enjoy. It might be a whole lot harder to keep your heart open when the face you see is scared or pompous or critical.

Daring to acknowledge and accept all that your partner offers moves you both into uncharted territory. You encourage them while they explore. Your support helps transform their inner map. They'll discover some of their buried treasures. Some of their scary ‘there be dragons' spots become less alarming and more known.

You learn to be the kind of person who can support this particular partner really well. You discover talents in yourself you never knew you had. Some of your own dragons might just disappear or transform in the process.

This is when you get the best chance to really enjoy romance. When you've got the hang of being open with yourselves and each other, you don't have to hide or worry or impress. You trust each other. Your partner knows you stretch yourself when they need something hard for you to offer. You know that they dig deep for you as well.

Treasure that early flush of romance. Try to preserve it as it is, and you'll pickle it. Let it grow, and it will keep on sprouting when your relationship is due for a little spring.

If you would like help to build on your romance, contact Relationship Services on 0800 RELATE (0800 735 283) or your local office which is listed in the telephone directory. Or visit us at

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  • Zanny says
    Romance is the most important part of a relationship, especially when you have children. Plan a "date night" or weekend away every three months or more often if you can afford to.

    Even if you stay in a hotel in the town you live in and go out to dinner and the movie, it is the special time with just each other that counts.

    I can recommend - Jody organises the most fantastic romance packages to suit any budget.

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