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The Secrets of True Romance

Lighting Candles + Dimming the Lights + Marvin Gaye = Romance. Right? Wrong. We have the secrets to true romance.

So you’ve bought her roses, champagne, chocolates and jewelry, and she still says you’re not a romantic. So why? Well, while you’ve been living out a Hallmark moment, she’s been waiting for real signs of romance, and they can’t be found at your local mall.

The good news is, to truly be a romantic doesn’t have to cost you a dime. The bad? It’ll cost you your time – only it will be worth every minute. Here are six ways to show her that you’ve got what it takes.


Up there with “strange noises” and “unusual smells,” a woman’s biggest complaint about her partner is that he just doesn’t listen to what she has to say. Whether she’s had a difficult day at the office, is having trouble with her best friend or just wants to talk about a TV show she enjoyed, all she wants is for you to make the appropriate gestures so she knows you’re engaged with the topic.

So turn the Tivo off, unplug your iPod, put down the sports pages and tune in to your girl. Ask for more details, remember the names of her work colleagues and try and come up with some helpful suggestions and observations of your own. Get genuinely engaged with her world, because good communication leads to intimacy.


While a romantic dinner at a fine restaurant is always a nice treat, combining a good meal with more of an effort on your part is even tastier. Anyone can pick up the phone and make a reservation, but how many men will shop for ingredients, plan a meal and cook it from scratch while their partners put their feet up?

If you need recipe ideas, you can check online at sites like and If you’re not an expert, start slow and easy – it’s the gesture that counts as much as, if not more than, the food. Add some wine and candles, and Don Quixote will start looking like a slacker by comparison. They say certain foods are aphrodisiac: a home-cooked meal from a loving partner makes it twice as sexy.


Getting a horse-drawn carriage to transport a handwritten letter penned in your best calligraphic hand is clearly a thing of the past. And while many believe its replacements – emails and text messages – have taken away the art and intimacy of communication, their immediacy brings many advantages.

So if you know your girlfriend is having, say, an important meeting at midday, an email telling her you’re thinking of her at 11:50 will really give her a boost. Text her a quick “good luck” moments before, say, a dental appointment. Even if she has nothing important going on that day, an instant “just thinking of you” or “I love you” will really hit the spot. The point is, let her know that she’s present in your mind, even when work and life is keeping you apart.


In our busy lives it’s easy to fall into a routine, but little kills off romance more than predictability. This is why you have to bring a few surprises to the party, and again it doesn’t have to be anything too grand – though if a new Mercedes is in your budget, it’s not going to hurt.

If you know she’s had a stressful day, just run her a bath for when she gets home, and maybe offer a shoulder rub. If she hasn’t seen her close friends for a while, why not arrange a mini surprise party at home or at a local bar? If you’ve had no time to get out and see a show or a movie, try renting one of her favorites to enjoy at home.

And if you really want to impress her, why not put those shelves together that have been lying around for a few months – BEFORE she asks again?

Whatever it is that you know will float her boat, do it for her when she least expects it.


Old-fashioned manners may have disappeared along with hats and suspenders, but a nod to the golden years can go a long way in these fast-paced times. So yes, most cars have a controller that will pop the locks open, but why not open the car door for her? Similarly, open the heavy doors to a department store and let her step inside first, and pull her chair from the table before settling down for a meal. And once at the table, notice how she’s done her hair, or her new shirt, or simply tell her how she’s looking beautiful.

Sometimes it’s the simplest gestures that go the furthest and mean the most.


It’s no secret that men like to snuggle too, but often it’s a sign that they’re ready for something a little…stronger. However, physical intimacy is about a lot more than just sex, and you can show that you love her physically without making love to her. It could be something as simple as holding hands, and while her hand’s in yours, give it an occasional squeeze or gently stroke her palm with your thumb. If you’re watching TV at home together, cuddle up on the sofa. If her hair’s mussed up, softly pat it down. When you walk into a room, put your hand on the small of her back.

They’re tiny gestures, but together they show that you’re connecting, that you’re truly together and that you care, and that deep down you’re the romantic she’d love you to be.