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  • Writer's pictureJerry Brook

Relationship Accessories

What are you wearing in your relationships? And no, I’m not talking about clothes or bling.

Contrary to popular belief, “romantic” is not a relationship type. Romance is only one of many accessories that one puts on while they are in an intimate relationship, and just like accessories, these accoutrements can be removed and changed on a regular basis.

Simply put, you can’t be romantic all the time within your relationship.

Taken in this context, defining an intimate relationship in these terms is false and misleading. And why is that a bad thing, you may ask? Well, to start with, it sets us up with false, unreasonable, and unsustainable expectations.

And, no, it isn’t unromantic to characterize an intimate relationship in more standard terms. Instead, it is honest, which, by the way, imbues the relationship with even more value.

The thing about romance …

When you say “romance” or “romantic,” you probably aren’t even using the correct context of these words at all.

Did you know that the proper definition of the word romance (according to is:

  • A work of fiction, or narrative prose that depicts heroic or fantastic exploits or pageantry, usually set in a historical or imaginary context.

  • An imaginative world that might be depicted in such stories.

  • A medieval narrative of allegorical heroism, possibly written in a Romance language or dialectic treatment.

  • Supernatural occurrences.

  • An entirely fictitious yarn; make-believe, exaggerated, or fanciful.

Some other fun synonyms for romance include

  • Story

  • Fiction

  • Falsehood

  • Fable

  • Allure

  • Fascination

  • Exoticism

Not at all what you imagined? Maybe you were thinking it meant something like: loving, caring, or passionate.

I certainly wouldn’t want to be in a relationship that is a baseless, made-up story that is usually full of exaggeration or fanciful invention – would you?

I know that some of you are actually saying “yes” to that, so be careful what you wish for.

So, in other words, romance is a fairy tale, and not at all based in reality.

Some intimate relationships will have a romantic element – and by that I mean they have an emotionally connected, passionate, element to them. However, not all intimate relationships will. Of the ones that do, those aspects certainly aren’t the only important elements.

Relationships are multi-dimensional

People tend to make this same mistake with their other relationship types as well. They greatly over-simplify these relationships and describe them in a single light, when in fact all relationships are multidimensional.

The reality is that if your relationships were so singly-focused, you would get bored with them pretty quickly. You would need multiple relationships, or people, to fulfill all of the different emotions, circumstances, and situations that you will undoubtedly find yourself in.

Would you describe your outfit or your style by a single accessory? For most people, this is something that changes frequently, depending on their mood.

So, why then do you describe your relationships in such simple and one-dimensional terms?

How are some of the ways that you define and describe your family relationships, your friendships, or your business relationships? Do these labels really properly identify the workings and significance of the relationship?

Relationship Accessories Challenge

This week’s challenge is to reevaluate how you define your various relationships. Make a list of all of your relationships, and write down the adjectives that truly describe and define each of them.

Here is a list of descriptive terms to get you started:

  • Affectionate

  • Caring

  • Flirty

  • Intimate

  • Kind

  • Passionate

  • Playful

  • Reserved

  • Sentimental

  • Serious

  • Stoic

  • Sexy

  • Romantic

  • … et cetera.

Good luck with the exercise! I hope it will be both fun and illuminating.

Good Together: your guide to healthy, happy relationships

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