Being romantic is about expressing love and dedication in a way that’s intentional, unmistakable, and deeply affectionate. It often involves dramatic or passionate gestures, though smaller actions that indicate enduring affection can also be romantic.
The word romantic stems from the Latin word Romanus or Romanicus, which literally meant “Roman” or “from Rome.” Throughout the Middle Ages, the old French adopted the word romanz, meaning “of the Roman vernacular,” to describe both a specific type of Latin speech as well as the literature written in that vernacular style—which generally featured tales of knights, chivalry, and passion. Over time, the word “romance” began to become associated with dramatic love stories in general.
That’s part of why romance today is often associated with over-the-top gestures between lovers. “Being romantic involves creating a sense of passion, anticipation, and excitement within a relationship,” clinical psychologist Carla Marie Manly, Ph.D., tells mbg. “Romantic partners don’t need to be a specific personality type; they can be introverts, ambiverts, or extroverts. A romantic partner, however, does need to be attentive, thoughtful, willing, creative, and considerate of [their] partner’s secret (and not-so-secret) longings.”