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Love: From the Perspective of the Unromantic

A personal essay about the shifting expectations of girlhood and romance

By Bri CraigPublished 2 months ago Updated 2 months ago 4 min read
Top Story - March 2024
Love: From the Perspective of the Unromantic
Photo by isco on Unsplash

When reduced down to stereotypes, I've noticed that there is a harsh gender line regarding experiences of love and romance. Women are expected to have a stronger connection to and capacity for love. Love seems to play a more central role in a woman's expected life's narrative (i.e., fall in love, get married, have children). For men, love seems more often regarded as a secondary aspect to the narrative (i.e., achieve an aspiration, secure a wife along the way). I think this is part of the reason why girlhood gets lumped with romanticism in a way that boyhood never seems to be.

I don't want to denounce the beauty of girlhood and romanticism: there are wonderful aspects of this communion of love. I can still smile at a group of giggling girls with blushed cheeks and bashful glances across the school yard. There's a certain exceptional closeness that seems to arise in the aftermath of a breakup, three movies in and a pint of ice cream down.

But when we conflate gender roles and romanticism, there's bound to be folks who feel tertiary to the experience of love, whether that means they feel too romantic or not romantic enough compared to how they are "supposed to feel." So although I don't believe there's anything wrong with young girls bubbling over boy bands and future wedding plans, the stereotypes left me feeling a bit misplaced as a young girl who had no interest in romance.

I was chronically unromantic, and if I had been a boy, this would have perhaps been left alone. However, since I grew up as a girl, I found myself playing pretend a lot when it came to the passions of love. Even in elementary school, I understood that there was an expectation of how I was suppose to act about boys. When talking about girlhood crushes, I found myself picking out someone with nice hair or a soft personality, but feeling rather indifferent to them otherwise. I learned how to participate in conversations about future weddings and the woes of not having a boyfriend. As I grew older, I listened to my friends regale me of their latest passions, and in kindness, they eventually picked up on my penchant for avoiding rom-coms and boyfriend questions. I thought that maybe I was a late bloomer and that when I "grew-up" I would be seized by the wonderful rollercoaster of womanhood and dating and romance.

But that never happened.

I'm married now, though.

(Did you expect that?)

Being unromantic does not mean I was incapable of loving someone.

But I thought it did for a while. There was a time I sat on the bathroom floor and apologized to my (future) husband that I would never be able to love him in the way I thought that he deserved. I've always struggled to express affection in words, I avoided holding hands or public displays of affection, and I pushed back on many gestures of romance. He rubbed my back and laughed away my concerns.

"But you bring me snacks during the workday."

And in those words, a certain truth began to peek through. Love was not a culmination of grand gestures or sunset walks. Love was not a blushing crush across the schoolyard. Love was not rose petals and candlelight.

Love looks different for so many people, and for me, love was putting out afternoon snacks. Love was the quiet evenings we spent reading separate books. Love was the way I teased him and the way we laughed. This love was so much quieter than what I expected, and it bloomed from bringing someone else joy and being brought joy in return.

I'm still horribly and chronically unromantic. I often avoid writing about love, and I still don't have any interest in rom-coms. I still wiggle my hand out from my husband's hand - but we laugh about it now. He loves me despite my bluntness and candor. I love him, despite my tongue's apparent inability to say the words, "I love you," often enough.

Marriage for me, was not a rose-colored concept, but a practical realization that this person meant a hell of a lot to me, and I wanted to legally be able to support and protect him (And hey, tax benefits are nice). I often get a bit shy about admitting to this, as I never wanted to sound like I was devaluing my own relationship. Because the truth is that in him, I've found a certain comfort and acceptance in continual companionship. He makes me laugh, and I enjoy having him around. I find joy in cultivating and maintaining deep friendships and relationships. I've found someone who I can be myself with - even my unromantic self.

I am unromantic, but I am not without the capacity to love.

My love just looks a little different than the love I imagined as a little girl.

But I think she would like my version better.


About the Creator

Bri Craig

Bri Craig (she/her) is a variety pack writer. She enjoys writing poetry, webcomic features, humor, short stories, and personal anecdotes. Basically, neither of us will ever know what will be posted next!

Let's connect! More about me here.

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Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

  2. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

  3. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  1. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  2. On-point and relevant

    Writing reflected the title & theme

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Comments (14)

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  • Esala Gunathilake25 days ago

    Congratulations on the top story!

  • Bri, your open analysis of love is enlightening and realistic. It's a lovely reminder that clichés about love aren't always true and that love may take many different shapes.

  • Babs Iversonabout a month ago

    Fabulously written!!! Congratulations on Top Story!!!♥️♥️💕

  • Rachel Deemingabout a month ago

    I think this is one of the romantic and true things that I have read about love. Snacks are romantic. Everyone thinks it's in the grand gestures but I say "Bollocks!" to that. It is in the little things. It is in the being there. It is in the every day. Sounds to me like you are romantic but quietly so and that sounds mighty good to me.

  • A. Lenaeabout a month ago

    That last line made me want to stand up and clap! Yes! This is so elegant and candid, so honest, and I enjoyed every bit of it. Firstly, you are so skilled at bringing your voice into play right away; I heard you immediately and felt safe in your narrative. Secondly, what a delightful and refreshing take on love that you beautifully described. When girls are often taught that their interest in boys is what makes they themselves interesting, they place so much weight on the grand gesture of it all. But the day to day camaraderie is actually true romance. You rocked this - what a stellar entry.

  • Jasmine Aguilarabout a month ago

    Thank you for sharing! Definitely needed and can relate so much to this. I've never been much of a romantic myself.

  • Lamar Wigginsabout a month ago

    I love how you are able to go in the depths of your mind to find the words to describe what love is for you. Self-reflecting is the best way to interpret for us the reasons 'why'! Excellent entry!

  • Jeremy Whiteabout a month ago

    Congrats on top story. I am aromantic so I understand completely.

  • Anna about a month ago

    Congrats on Top Story!🥳🥳🥳

  • Atomic Historianabout a month ago

    It comes out in different ways than are expected or wanted, but I feel that I’m the antithesis to you in terms of stereotypes. Even when I was a kid, I knew I wanted kids and a wife. Actually, if things had gone as I had planned in my teens, I would be retiring this year from my current job to be a stay at home dad. But life doesn’t work out how we expect

  • Chloe Gilholyabout a month ago

    This was a lovely self-reflection. It made me think when I was younger, I always felt there was something wrong with me because romance and boyfriends didn't interest me because they were nothing like how it was portrayed in the media.

  • Catherine Dorian2 months ago

    Bri, your self-reflection is a model for young women everywhere. I myself wonder how much of my obsession with love as a teenager was due to my actually wanting love (or even understanding what it meant, given that I had not, at the ages of 13 and older, really felt it yet) or just wanting to prove to my friend circle that I was capable of getting a boyfriend. To what extent are girls actually romantic, and to what extent are we romanticized? Your love with your husband sounds so delightfully unbothered. The kind of love that says, "I've got you. Let's read books on the couch."

  • Shirley Belk2 months ago

    Bri, I relate. You expressed this beautifully.

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