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Romantic Things People Do

Sometimes it’s hard to draw a line between what’s romantic and what’s been taken a little too far when abusive relationships are romanticised even on TV. With social media, we often interpret modern day relationships on a superficial level, thinking that all we see online reflects reality.

From a young age, we were taught that the boy who picks on us just doesn’t know how to express his affections. As we grow older, guys who fight over women are heroic. We read poems about people longing for the one that got away and trending articles of the most extravagant public proposals as if one must splurge to prove his/her love. But are these gestures of love truly romantic as they seem? Here are 13 things people do that could be borderline creepy/toxic instead.

1. Proposals in public places

If your SO is the type of girl who loves attention and you know a flashy public proposal will make her scream yes, then by all means, go ahead. But be 100% sure that’s what they want and that they actually see themselves marrying you. I cannot emphasise how important it is to have discussed the idea of marriage before proposing. People who haven’t talked about marriage with their SO before deciding to pop the question in a public space might be indirectly “trapping” their partners into saying yes. Imagine rejecting a man whom you DON’T want to marry and being the bad guy in front of a crowd of mall shoppers. Tragic.

2. Relentlessly pursuing a girl after she rejects you

For some unknown reason, there are entire rom-coms built solely on this premise. Guys, when a girl says no, she means no. Of course, there’ll always be exceptions with girls who are determined to play hard to get. However, the general consensus is that rejection is final. When you pull over-the-top gestures in the name of “love”, chances are you won’t end up with a girlfriend, just a restraining order.

3. Men physically fighting over a woman

One of the most mind-boggling things is why women think men fighting over them is romantic in any way. While it may seem like a symbol of their undying and unwavering love for you, it’s more for the men to prove that they’re physically better than someone else. It’s just an ego thing. No man should “fight” over you as if you were a prize to be won.

4. Your SO being excessively jealous of your interactions with the opposite gender

While it may seem cute to you at first, as they want you to only want them, jealousy can quickly destroy a relationship when insecurities start breeding. If they start asking you to cut off your friendships with people of the opposite gender, they’re creeping into the territory of being controlling. If your SO trusts you, they’d encourage your friendships, not stifle them.

5. “If a boy picks on you, he likes you”

Growing up, it’s common for parents to tell you that if a boy picks on you, he likes you, because he doesn’t know how to appropriately express his feelings. Although their intentions may have been just to make you feel better, it leaves impressionable young girls with the wrong idea of how love should be expressed.

6. “No one will ever love you like I love you”

What seems like a passionate proclamation of love is a major red flag in disguise. If your SO says this, he or she is most likely trying to emotionally manipulate you into staying in an unhealthy relationship. Because humans crave love and naturally tend towards comfortable situations, you’ll feel compelled to stay. People who truly love you won’t feel the need to compare their love to others because they already know the worth of their love.

7. “Love at first sight”

Love stems from understanding, mutual respect, and a genuine appreciation for another person. Call me a sceptic, but “love” at first sight is usually lust. When we first meet someone new, the only way we can assess them is through their appearance. While lust at first sight can gradually lead to actual love, to blithely proclaim love at first sight is merely wishful thinking.

8. Romanticised abusive/toxic relationships in the media

Toxic/abusive relationships are the worst. Yet somehow, they’re romanticised as tropes for rom-coms and TV shows such as Chuck and Blair from Gossip Girl, or Ross and Rachel from Friends. The intensity of the lows make the highs of the relationship feel like you’re invincible. Some people get addicted to this dizzying never-ending cycle, and it’s hard to break out of it. If someone abuses you and tries to compensate via elaborate romantic gestures, that’s not romance. That’s someone knowing they messed up, and trying to cover it up with insincere sweet words and gestures.

9. “Waiting” for someone 

Again, another classic rom-com trope. This scenario usually occurs when one party wants to discover the world beyond the relationship, and the other party, too desperate and in love to accept reality, declares that they’d wait for the other. It’s unfair to assume that someone will wait for you to “find yourself”. If you’re the one waiting, accept that the person chose freedom over being with you. If you’re the one asking them to wait, let them go. You don’t deserve them.

10. Excessive social media validation of their relationship

If you’re adamant about sharing a pic of bae every #MCM or #WCW, as well as every monthsary and date night, it might be overkill. We get it, you love your SO, but relationships are between two people and not your 500 Instagram followers. An occasional couple picture is cute, but when you feel like you need to constantly share your relationship with the world, take a step back and reevaluate. “But I mean, did it really happen if we didn’t take a picture??” Yes, yes it did.

11. Possessiveness

While it is important to be proud of who you’re dating and be happy that you’re with them, possessiveness takes it to a whole other unnecessary level. When your SO tries to monopolise all your time and make it so that the only person in your life is them, that’s crossing a line. A couple is comprised of two separate people building a life together, who build on each other’s happiness and are not the sole source of happiness for the other. Make time for each other, but also ensure you have your own lives.

12. Getting together with somebody because you think you can “fix” or “change” them

When we first get into relationships, we tend to be idealistic and infatuation is usually enough to propel a relationship for a few months. Maybe it’s the mummy instincts and how you feel compelled to “teach” this man what’s right, but tbh that’s a dumb idea. He’s old enough to settle his own problems.

13. Putting someone on a pedestal

If you’re in love with a glorified, self-constructed image of a person instead of who they are, you’re bound to get disappointed. Although it may seem as if you only see the good in them, you’re projecting your fantasies onto them and they may feel responsible for living up to your ideals. To love someone is to love them for both the good and the bad, not just the shiny facade everyone else sees.

Things People Do For Love

Let’s face it—we’ve done narcissistic/manipulative things but sometimes we just need a little reminder to not end up romanticising these red flags at the start.