Family life

The virtues of an unromantic relationship

By Liza Finlay

The virtues of an unromantic relationship

The virtues of an unromantic relationship

Redefining romance

You know, romance isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. If I were to make a list of the qualities correlated with successful marriage, romance isn’t at the top — nowhere close. Why? Because our notions of romance have been shaped by Hollywood, and it's time to reframe them. We need to get real.
 
The successful couples I see in my practice share predictable qualities. Their marriages are marked by pragmatism, personal responsibility and precise communication — qualities typically touted as the antithesis of romance. So, I’m going to boldly make the following proclamation: There are virtues to the unromantic partnership. "Unromance” is the new romance. And what does the “unromance” look like? Let’s break it down.
 

The virtues of an unromantic relationshipPhoto: urilux/iStockphoto

Sex: Plan it

In the unromance, sex is planned. Sound boring? Lacking in spontaneity? Maybe. But couples who plan sex the way they plan carpooling see a lot more action. What’s more, that regularity breeds familiarity — a closeness they can both count on (in and out of the bedroom). 

Psst! You also tell your partner what you want in bed. Getting your sexual needs met? There’s nothing hotter.

Read more: Sex lives of Canadian parents>

The virtues of an unromantic relationshipPhoto: Marilyn Nieves/iStockphoto

Say exactly what you want

In the unromance, you tell your partner precisely what you want, including what you want him to do and say. Absolutely no mind reading required!

Examples:
“I don’t want you to fix the problem I’m having with my co-worker; I just want you to listen, ask questions and point out all the positives in how I’m handling this.”

“I’d like some time alone with you. I’d love it if you would book a sitter, make a reservation somewhere and take me on a date.”

Read more: Relationships: Are they really...just friends?>

 
 

The virtues of an unromantic relationshipPhoto: Troels Graugaard/iStockphoto

Choose your own gifts

In the unromance, you don’t wait for him to buy you that thoughtful but oh-so-terrible gift you will never use. Instead, you pick it out, put it on hold and point your partner to the precise location of the store. Better yet, you buy it for yourself. Sure, you give up surprises, but you also give up the sour resentment that comes when he (constantly, perpetually) gets it wrong.

The virtues of an unromantic relationshipPhoto: Mediaphotos/iStockphoto

Fight the good fight

In the “unromance” you fight. But, you fight the good fight. The earmark of a healthy, happy marriage is not if you argue, but how you argue. In successful marriages, conflict is characterized not by criticism, but by heartfelt communication that ends with problem solving and resolution. 

Read more: 5 good ways to argue>

The virtues of an unromantic relationshipPhoto: Marcus Clackson/iStockphoto

Unromance works

Overall, the unromance requires planning, personal accountability and proficient communication. It’s characterized not just by loving, but also by taking care of each other. While it may not sound sexy, it works.

The virtues of an unromantic relationshipPhoto: Ana Abejon/iStockphoto

More relationship tips

The virtues of an unromantic relationship

Romance isn't all its cracked up to be. In this week's column, Liza Finlay shares the virtues of "unromance" and how to make it work for you and your partner.

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