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What Is a Hopeless Romantic? 12 Signs You Might Be One

Do you dream of grand romantic gestures and yearn for fairytale moments when you date? If so, you might be a hopeless romantic. 

This term often conjures images of someone perpetually in love with love itself. But what does it truly mean to be a hopeless romantic? 

In this article, we’ll go over the key signs of being a hopeless romantic. Then, we’ll talk about this personality trait’s amazing benefits and pitfalls to watch for. Lastly, we’ll give you some tips to succeed as a hopeless romantic. 

What is a Hopeless Romantic?

A “hopeless romantic” is a person who holds idealistic and often unrealistic expectations about romance. They tend to believe in soulmates, love at first sight, and the idea that love conquers all. Hopeless romantics often cherish grand romantic gestures and the notion of a perfect, enduring love found in fairy tales and movies. 

While this perspective emphasizes the beauty and intensity of emotions in romantic relationships, it can sometimes lead to disappointment when real-life relationships do not match one’s idealized view.

However, being a hopeless romantic also means you might be deeply passionate, have a loving heart, and have the capacity for deep emotional connection.

12 Signs You Might Be a Hopeless Romantic

Are you wondering if you are a hopeless romantic?

Below are all the key traits of a hopeless romantic. See how many you resonate with.

Belief in love at first sight

Hopeless romantics often believe they can feel long-lasting love right when they meet someone. They might even rule out a potential relationship if it doesn’t have an immediate spark.

Some studies suggest we can discern our physical attraction to others within 100 milliseconds. However, these studies don’t suggest one way or the other if initial attraction predicts long-term relationship health.

Attachment to romantic media

For hopeless romantics, movies, songs, and books about love are like food. Whether it’s The Notebook or Can’t Help Falling in Love, hopeless romantics seek out romance media, and it shapes their expectations and dreams of romance.

Longing for a soulmate

Hopeless romantics have a strong belief in a destined soulmate. They are often in search of that one person who perfectly complements them. For some, this can cause an unwillingness to embrace all relationships’ inevitable messiness and imperfection. 

Desire for grand romantic experiences

Hopeless romantics often dream of grand romantic gestures. For them, a low-key relationship anniversary is a laughable idea. Dates should be magical, and anniversaries should be planned months in advance.

Seeing love as life’s central experience

For them, love isn’t just a part of life; it’s the core of their existence. Everything revolves around the pursuit and experience of romantic love. Career successes or spiritual evolution mean nothing if a loving partner doesn’t share them. This mindset can also cause hopeless romantics to feel miserable unless they are in a relationship.

Endless optimism about love

Past heartaches or disappointments will not deter a hopeless romantic. No matter how many times their heart has shattered, they will pick up the pieces and open themselves again to each new partner in their eternally optimistic pursuit of finding true love.

Belief that “true love” will solve all of life’s problems

If you are a hopeless romantic, you might suspect that finding “the one” will resolve any other stresses, challenges, or disappointments. This is often the main narrative of rom-coms and something you may have taken to heart.

Deep emotional sensitivity

Romantics often feel emotions deeply. They experience love, crushes, heartache, and heartbreak more intensely than others. For them, these emotions are profound and often poetic.  

Blocking out warning signs

Because hopeless romantics want everlasting love, they might pedestal the other person and ignore potential issues in their relationship. This is especially true early in relationships when they are experiencing the honeymoon phase.

Passionate but short-lived romances

A hopeless romantic might rush into a relationship based on initial attraction, sometimes overlooking long-term compatibility. Hopeless romantics also often conflate the honeymoon phase with love. So when the excitement of the new relationship wears off, they may disappear to find it elsewhere.

Intense focus on new relationships

If you are a hopeless romantic, your new relationships might consume significant time and attention. The obsession feels so good but can come at the expense of other areas of your life. 

It’s also possible that a new relationship will feel so good you might forgo your authenticity to try to “make it work.”

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Obsession with wedding fantasies

Another hallmark of hopeless romantics is that they often fantasize about their wedding day. They might envision it in great detail, often as a pinnacle of their life, regardless of their current relationship status.

Benefits and Dangers of Being a Hopeless Romantic

Being a hopeless romantic brings many beautiful gifts into life but comes with its dangers. If you are a hopeless romantic, see if you can continue to embrace the benefits and look out for the pitfalls.

Top 3 Benefits of Being a Hopeless Romantic

  1. You can feel connections very deeply.

As a hopeless romantic, you possess the unique ability to feel connections on a profound level. Part of the reason relationships are so important to you is likely because you have such big feelings and hearts!

Your emotional depth allows you to experience love and intimacy in a deeply fulfilling and intense way. And you can create memorable moments and passionate relationships.

Many folks are numb and struggle to open their hearts to others. But as a hopeless romantic, you could likely teach a seminar on how to do these things.

  1. You probably make your partners feel very special

Elaborate dates. Bubble baths with rose petals. Thoughtful surprises.

Hopeless romantics live for the feeling of making their partners feel special, valued, and cherished.

Your desire to express your love so deeply makes for strong bonds and the ability to genuinely improve another person’s life. This is a beautiful gift you have to give!

  1. You likely have an optimistic outlook on love.

No matter how many heartbreaks you’ve faced, as a hopeless romantic, you are likely willing to get back in the ring repeatedly.

Your unwavering optimism about love is contagious. You likely approach relationships with hope and a belief in the enduring power of love, which can inspire you and your partners to open up to each other and give the relationship your all.

After getting hurt, many people struggle to let another person in again. But this is where you shine. You value opening your heart to another person too much to let it close for good.

Top 4 Dangers of Being a Hopeless Romantic

  1. You can mistake the honeymoon period for sustaining love

Psychologists have a term called “limerance,” more colloquially known as “the honeymoon phase.” This is a distinct stage in a relationship that usually lasts a few months and up to two years. When we are in the honeymoon phase, dopamine-rich areas of our brain are more active, making us feel blissful.

There’s nothing wrong with experiencing and basking in these feelings. But it’s important to note that being in a honeymoon phase does not mean everlasting love. 

When folks are in this stage, they will likely overlook red flags and project a perfect image onto the other person. But these feelings will eventually fade, and you will be left with the real person and the real relationship.

When this happens, it is not a time to feel disappointed but to celebrate! The fading of these euphoric feelings doesn’t mean you’ve fallen out of love; it means things are getting real.

Now, you have to learn how to fall in love over and over and over again. But if you can’t get through the downs, lulls, and tense periods of a relationship, then “everlasting love” will escape your grasp.

  1. You might be more willing to leave a relationship when it’s hard

As we just covered, the honeymoon feelings will eventually wear off. But will you stick around and learn how to make things work?

Psychologists discovered that people either hold “destiny” or “growth” beliefs about relationships. Destiny beliefs are where people think that relationships are “meant to be” or not. Growth beliefs are where people think that relationships require ongoing communication and getting through hardship to work.

Researchers have found that growth in beliefs about relationships leads to self-reported greater relationship well-being. On some level, this makes sense. If you think a relationship is meant to be or not, you might disappear when things get tough. People who ghost others are more likely to hold destiny beliefs.

  1. You might put your happiness outside of yourself.

Netflix released a disturbing documentary called Escaping Twin Flames. It’s about a cult that preys on people’s desperate hope to find their soulmate. Many hopeless romantics believe they have a soulmate, or “the one” to complete them.

Whether or not soul mates exist is a worldview question that we all may decide for ourselves. But there is a danger in believing that someone else will complete you. Such a belief implies that your happiness and meaning will always be outside your control until you find that person; your well-being becomes dependent on them instead of resting on a sense that you are enough on your own.

This type of thinking can be a slippery slope into disempowerment and desperation.

  1. You might fall into the “happily ever after” trap.

Nearly every romance movie ends once the two main characters decide to date. There is an implicit assumption that since they overcame the obstacles to start dating, all will be well and easy from there on out—that they will be madly in love for the rest of their lives, and all other life stressors will fade away.

Unfortunately, this Hollywood narrative doesn’t match reality. Maintaining a relationship requires energy, effort, and skill. Dating is when the relationship starts, not when it ends!

If you’re seeking a long-term relationship, there will be hundreds, if not thousands, of conflicts to navigate. As well as endless periods of boredom and plenty of doubt. If you can’t communicate through those troughs and valleys together, it doesn’t matter how amazing your passion is or how much fun you have together.

5 Tips to Survive as a Hopeless Romantic

Here are some tips to help you steer clear of the aforementioned pitfalls.

Assume imperfection

No matter how perfect, picture-esque and magical things seem at first, assume that imperfections will come pouring in!

For a hopeless romantic, it can be easy to think that the other person’s imperfections will always be endearing. But usually, we see sharp edges as soft early in a relationship. And as time passes, we notice how prickly those edges are.

For example, maybe your partner doesn’t like philosophical conversations as much as you do. Perhaps these deep conversations are very important for you, but early on in the relationship, you justify the situation by thinking, “I love how my partner’s simplicity balances me out!” But will you always feel that way?

Or maybe when you feel upset, they aren’t able to help you feel safe. But you justify it early on as “This will be a great growth opportunity for me to create safety for myself!” Is that actually true?

You can live with many imperfections in a relationship. But some imperfections are like small cracks early in a relationship that widen over time into huge gorges. The earlier you can spot these imperfections, the better you’ll be equipped to deal with them. 

Spotting imperfections doesn’t mean you need to break up. It just gives you a more accurate perception of the person and the relationship so that you can address them healthily together.

Action Step: Write out your answer to the following question: If you had to guess, what would you say are three imperfections in the other person that might get on your nerves down the road?

Train your communication skills.

Love and passion alone won’t lead to a healthy relationship. But communication skills will! The better you are with conflict, the more healthy your relationships will be. Building these skills will help you get through bumps in the road.

Action Step: Check out non-violent communication for a helpful framework on how to communicate skillfully.  

Learn your attachment style.

Attachment theory is a psychological model that suggests that early life experiences with caregivers shape an individual’s ability to form secure or insecure relationships in adulthood.

Most people have one of the following attachment styles:

  • Anxious attachment where they constantly need their partner’s approval and reassurance and always want more closeness
  • Avoidant attachment, where they constantly want more space from their partner and struggle to be vulnerable
  • Fearful attachment is when they toggle between anxious and avoidant. They might crave closeness but run away when they get it.

For many folks, their attachment pattern plays out through their romantic beliefs.

Avoidant folks might hold high hopes for a soulmate but use that as an excuse to reject every possible partner who inevitably falls short of the perfect love story.

Anxious folks might feel like their self-worth is wrapped up in their partner’s attention and mistake this for “true love.”

Action Step: Figure out what your attachment style is with this attachment quiz. Then, ask yourself how your attachment patterns interact with your romantic ideals. 

Learn to spot red flags.

It’s hard to see red flags while you’re wearing rose-colored glasses. Stay aware of potential issues. Not every romantic interest is a soulmate, and it’s important to acknowledge when a relationship might not be healthy.

Does this relationship resemble any unhealthy patterns or toxic relationships from the past? Are your friends wary of your new connection? Just be aware!

Action Step: Write out all your dealbreakers. What traits might another person possess that you think would lead to an unhealthy relationship? Draw upon your past relationship experience to craft your list. 

Then, whenever you consider dating someone new, make sure they pass your dealbreakers test.

Be aware of honeymoon energy

Earlier, we talked about the term limerence (i.e., honeymoon phase).

It’s a magical experience to be in a new relationship and to feel infatuated with the other person. Enjoy the pleasure! But also hold these feelings carefully.

The honeymoon period usually lasts for a few months but can last as long as two years.

Keep these in mind:

  • Early infatuation ≠ secure love
  • Passionate connection ≠ long-term potential
  • Intense romance ≠ relationship compatibility

This isn’t to say that infatuation, passion, and intensity are bad. They are wonderful feelings. But be careful not to make them something they’re not.

Action Step: Take a few minutes to clarify your top 5-10 values. You can use this list to help you. When you meet a new person, ask yourself early on if their values line up with yours reasonably well. If so, there could be potential for a long-term connection. If not, be aware that the relationship might not have legs.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Being a Hopeless Romantic

What is the opposite of a hopeless romantic?

The opposite of a hopeless romantic is often someone who is a realist or pragmatist in love. This person tends to have a more grounded and practical approach to relationships, focusing on realistic expectations and logical outcomes rather than idealistic or fairytale notions of romance. Taken too far, this person might be cynical and overlook the meaning and power of love.

How do you stop being a hopeless romantic?

To stop being a hopeless romantic, it’s important to start setting realistic expectations in relationships and appreciate the beauty of imperfection. Embrace practical aspects of love and work on balancing your emotional desires with rational considerations, recognizing that true love involves compromise and growth. Also be careful from putting too much stock into first dates, and be willing to see how connections mature over time.

How do you know if you’re a hopeless romantic?

You know you’re a hopeless romantic if you deeply resonate with the idea of grand romantic gestures and behavior, believe in love at first sight, and long for a soulmate. Your love life is likely influenced by romantic media, and you might tend to overlook practical aspects of relationships in favor of emotional intensity and idealization.

Takeaways on Being a Hopeless Romantic

If you are a hopeless romantic, make sure not to lose your magic! You likely have a huge heart, lots of feelings, and the ability to give profound love to your partners.

But being a hopeless romantic does come with some pitfalls. So watch out for these: 

  • Mistaking honeymoon for long-term love: Early relationship bliss often masks real challenges and doesn’t ensure lasting love.
  • Quitting in tough times: Believing in destiny can lead to leaving a relationship when challenges arise instead of working through them.
  • Relying on others for happiness: Thinking a soulmate will bring happiness can lead to dependency and a lack of self-fulfillment.
  • Believing in ‘happily ever after’: Expecting effortless perfection in love overlooks the need for continuous effort and communication.

Best of luck in your romantic journey 💕And if you’re interested in how long-term romantic relationships tend to develop, check out this article on the Four Stages of a Relationship.

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