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Romance for Dummies

Let’s face it. When it comes to romance, some people seem to have all the right moves, while others are more romantically challenged. If you happen to fall into the latter category, don’t worry. There is hope.

The following are 10 simple suggestions to help kick-start your R.Q., a.k.a. your romance quotient:

1. Communication is Key

The #1 rule when it comes to romance is this: listen! By listening to — and paying attention to — your sweetie’s wants, needs, and desires, you’ll gain a better understanding of what rocks your love’s world. For example, if your date’s been talking about a particular book he’d like to read or a vacation that she’s been dying to take, those are romantic cues for you to act on.

Pick up that book or, better yet, book a romantic weekend away (if and when it’s appropriate). By simply paying attention to what’s going on in your cutie’s world, you’ll be that much closer to rocking your romantic life.

2. Make your Date a Priority

Contrary to popular belief, romance is NOT dead. In fact, the best way to introduce it into your next date is to take a look at your current list of priorities and possibly give it a subtle shift. For example, if you’re a busy working professional, it’s all too easy to put your career at the top of your priorities.

However, by making your potential partner a priority, you show him or her just how thoughtful you really are. Examples of gallant gestures that’ll clue your cutie in to the fact that you’re a romance rock star include such simple acts as regularly setting aside time during the day to talk on the phone, not bringing your BlackBerry on your next date, and paying special attention to your date’s needs when you do spend time together. The simple act of being thoughtful can and will go a long way in rocking your romantic life.

3. Spontaneity Rules

Another way to infuse romance into your dating life is to embrace spontaneity. Go ahead, do the unexpected! Grab and twirl your love to the beat of a street corner musician’s song. Show up on your date’s doorstep unannounced with flowers and wine. Scrap plans for a night on the town in favor of ordering takeout food when you’re both in need of some quality quiet time together. By embracing the art of spontaneity, you celebrate your inner romantic, not to mention rock your date’s world.

4. Laughter + Romance = a Great Date

Nothing brings two people closer together quite like laughter. So if you’re looking to rock your romantic life, introduce humor into the equation. When in doubt about your own ability to make your partner laugh, take your date to a funny play, movie, or other comedic event. Afterward, you’ll have plenty to laugh and talk about. Plus, by lightening up, you just might stoke the romantic fires of your budding relationship.

5. True Romance is Priceless

Anyone with a million-dollar bank account can wine, dine, and woo someone. But true romance doesn’t have to cost a thing. If you’re on a budget, there are plenty of affordable and free ways to win over the object of your desire. From a simple serenade to a heartfelt love note to a moonlit stroll arm in arm, showing your sweetie your sensitive side is a far more meaningful romantic act than showering your date with money, expensive gifts, or a flashy experience.

6. Compliment, Compliment, Compliment!

When in doubt, a compliment goes a long way. After all, who doesn’t like to hear something nice about themselves? And it doesn’t have to be mushy or gushy. Your compliment can be as simple as telling your date how fantastic her perfume smells, how terrific he looks under the stars, or how much you’re enjoying her company. The point is to make your compliment genuine and fitting in the moment.

7. Give your Date Plenty of Space

As much as we all enjoy being wooed, there IS such a thing as romance overkill. The key to avoid going overboard lies in giving your date plenty of attention when you’re together, but also giving him or her space when you’re apart. That doesn’t mean that you never call (especially if you said you would). But you don’t call 20 times a day. You don’t suck up all of your sweetie’s free time. You still have a life of your own. And you give your partner plenty of space to enjoy his or her own life. As the old saying goes, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” Create a little space between you and your date, and the romance will most likely heat up in no time.

8. Master the art of Mood, Location, and Ambience

The key to setting the perfect romantic scene lies in the subtle details. If you become a master at creating a sultry mood in the perfect location, surrounded by all the right details, you exponentially increase your chances of romantic success. But remember — romance should never be generic. What woos one person will fizzle with another. Be sure to pay attention to your date’s likes and dislikes, and then incorporate them into every detail of your romantic scene.

9. Practice makes Perfect

Like the old saying goes, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” If and when you encounter a romantic roadblock (or an all-out dating disaster), don’t give up. Remember that romance takes practice. Give yourself permission to try new things, and accept if and when they don’t net the desired romantic results. Communicate with your date to find out what went wrong and how to remedy the situation next time. Then pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and give romance another try.

10. Keep romance Alive

Once you’ve wooed the object of your desire and have won him or her over, the romance doesn’t stop there. In fact, in a healthy relationship, romance never dies. You owe it to yourself, your partner, and your happily-ever-after future to keep the spark alive for as long as your relationship’s alive.

When in doubt, review all 10 tips for rocking your romantic life. Mix it up! Avoid becoming predictable. And above all, pay attention to and listen to your partner’s ever-evolving wants, needs, and desires. In doing so, you’ll keep your cutie happy while rocking your own romantic needs.