sex and the citythis is Charlotte York, how I Met Your Motheris Ted Mosby, and The Big Bang TheoryRaj Koothrappali are a few examples of the hopeless romantics we know and love (no pun intended). Hopeless romantics love love, and when they fall, they fall hard, which comes with its fair share of pitfalls. Curious to know if you’re a hopeless romantic? Dr Darcy Sterling, a New York-based relationship therapist and host of E! of the network famous bachelorand Dr. Joanne Fredericklicensed mental health counselor and author of Copeologyexplain what it means to be a hopeless romantic, whether it’s healthy to always be hopeful, and the main differences between a hopeless romantic and a hopeful romantic.
What does it mean to be a hopeless romantic?
“A hopeless romantic is someone who remains optimistic about the possibility of love, even after being heartbroken,” says Dr. Sterling. “They never become this jaded adult who sees the world through a skeptical lens.”
Dr Frederick adds that the relentless optimism of a hopeless romantic means that he is on an eternal quest to live out his own great cinematic love story with happily ever after and is probably planning and imagining his wedding from dream from an early age. “Hopeless romantics enjoy being in love and think love should have fairytale qualities,” she says. “They probably believe in love at first sight and wait for that perfect partner who will one day take them away, living in constant hope that their ideal love story will eventually unfold.”
What are examples of a hopeless romantic?
Falling in love very quickly is a telltale sign of a hopeless romantic. “They fall quickly and hard in love with the attractive new follower or suitor on a dating app and get wrapped up in learning all about them,” says Dr. Frederick.
Dr Sterling adds that this excitement for a potential new partner starts even before there is a concrete reason to imagine a future together. This may turn off the person they are just starting to date, as it may seem too intense. And, says Dr. Sterling, that over-enthusiasm ends up disappointing and devastating a hopeless romantic if the relationship doesn’t last.
For a hopeless romantic, however, a one-sided relationship is not a breakup, quite the contrary. Dr. Frederick says the lack of reciprocated feelings fuels a hopeless romantic, setting him on a mission to win her love. If there is some reciprocity, Dr. Sterling says a hopeless romantic will cringe at even the smallest thoughtful gesture from a romantic partner.
That said, Dr. Frederick notes that while hopeless romantics tend to idolize their love interests, it’s usually not because they love the person per se, but rather the sentiment. “Hopeless romantics are more likely to jump into spontaneous scenarios just to feel the love they crave,” she says.
Is it healthy to be a hopeless romantic?
So, is being a hopeless romantic good or bad? The short answer is that it depends. According to Dr. Sterling, everyone is heartbroken at some point, and hoping to find love is indeed a healthy thing. Not having hope, she says, won’t prevent you from hurting yourself in the future.
On the other hand, Dr. Frederick says that a hopeless romantic’s unrealistic outlook on love can lead to unhealthy behaviors such as settling for less than one deserves or being relentless in making a relationship work. although it’s clearly not a good fit. “You can be so determined to see your partner in a good light that you ignore any warning signs on their part,” says Dr. Frederick. “It can trap a hopeless romantic in an unhealthy and potentially abusive relationship.”
Additionally, Dr. Sterling adds that hopeless romantics overestimate being in a relationship, which can make being single difficult to tolerate.
Hopeless romantics may also struggle to sustain long-term relationships. “While it’s perfectly normal to indulge in the idea of a single fairytale love, it can actually prevent you from forming a deep, lasting connection,” says Dr. Frederick. “Rather than working on the conflicts that come to light, they quickly stop, taking it as a sign that things aren’t meant to be. This makes it nearly impossible to learn the skills needed to maintain a healthy relationship.
The difference between a hopeless romantic and a hopeful romantic
The biggest difference between a desperate and one optimistic romantic is their point of view. You may still believe in relationship fate, but you are more realistic. As Dr. Frederick explains, “Being hopefully romantic allows you to look at relationships in a healthier way, realizing that you can learn to grow with the person rather than forcing yourself to stay together no matter what. or compatibility.”
For example, Dr. Frederick says that a hopeless romantic may view conflict in a relationship as a mistake. In contrast, a hopeful romantic sees it as a challenge to overcome that can strengthen the relationship.
In other words, Dr. Sterling is saying that a hopeful romantic is hopeful but not blind to the evidence that a partner is not for you. “You’re grounded in reality and ready to see the truth in people,” she says.
The good news is that it is possible to go from a hopeless romantic to a hopeful romantic. To do this, Dr. Sterling recommends learning from each breakup, applying them to future relationships, and remembering to pace yourself when dating someone new. Therapy, she adds, can also help you better understand your relationship patterns and learn how to heal them.
And perhaps most importantly, Dr. Frederick says that working on falling in love with yourself creates a strong foundation for building a fulfilling relationship with someone else. “People often spend their lives looking for the perfect partner, but the real love story is to cherish each other,” she says.
Darcy SterlingPhD, Registered Clinical Social Worker
Joanne FrederickPhD, Licensed Mental Health Counselor