This is a preview. The full article appears in Neil's book: Love, Sex and Staying Warm: Creating a Vital Relationship

Here’s a snap quiz in honor of Valentine’s Day. When women use the term romance, what do they mean? What does romance mean to most women? And when men use the term romance, what does romance mean to them?

Before you read what I’m about to say, answer the above questions first.

One gender (women) will get the answers to the above questions right, and the other gender (men) will have to think for a while about the questions, and then maybe will or maybe won’t get the answers correct.

Men tend to define romance sexually. Women more commonly define romance as words and behaviors that represent that they are loved, cherished, valued, respected and desired. Although there is some carryover between the two definitions, they’re still not the same. Men define romance as the prelude to sex, and women define romance as one of the expressions of love.

So pay attention, gentlemen, because when women feel loved, cherished, valued, respected and desired, they tend to show their appreciation sexually. Are you following me?

In order for romance to stay alive, you have to keep it alive—it doesn’t stay strong by itself. A relationship between once-close lovers will drift apart if both of you don’t put effort into keeping the connection, the closeness, the friendliness and the eroticism alive. So in honor of Valentine’s Day, permit me to address the question of how to romance a woman:

  • When you think of nurturing a child, most of us knows what that means. But when I ask people about how they nurture their spouse or intimate partner, they frequently give me blank stares, as if they don’t quite know what nurturing an adult consists of. Here are some common nurturing behaviors most adults crave: cuddling, being told they are loved, sincere compliments, great food, empathy, compassion, friendship, kindness, expressing an interest in me and how I’m feeling, going out on a date and affection that doesn’t have an expectation attached to it.
  • Frequently we expect our relationships to be positive, loving and responsive while we act upset, angry, rude or demanding. But people lose respect for those who are rude, inconsiderate or disrespectful. So no belittling or disrespectful comments or behaviors—to your lady or to anyone else. Always act gentlemanly and respectful.
  • Be emotionally safe. This means you must remove your reactivity, defensiveness, anger, hostility, sarcasm, name-calling and negativity from all communication with your valentine. Being emotionally safe also means that you will refrain from withdrawing in order to get what you want, or from threatening the stability of the relationship.

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