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What Romance Means to Men vs. Women

A couple who knows what is romance, hugging in the sun in a field.

Romance is one of those things that everybody wants even if they don’t admit it. Whether it’s spontaneous flowers, date nights, or genuine appreciation, a person’s romantic preferences can vary by their expectations, what their relationship is like, what they’re used to, and even whether they’re a man or a woman.

While people prefer different things when it comes to romance, both men and women see romance differently. Here are just some of those ways.

When it comes to romance and gift giving…
Men prefer focused attention, praise, and respect, while women find acts of service and gifts more romantic.

“Men are traditionally providers and while this stereotype is changing it still informs the love languages of many men. Men are more comfortable receiving gratitude than they are at displaying it,” says Amy North, a relationship coach and author of the best-selling Devotion System and Text Chemistry Programs.

“A woman can gain big romantic points with a man by being understanding and appreciating his gifts,” says Elizabeth Stone, a bestselling author, relationship coach, and founder of “Appreciation activates masculine energyso a woman can win by consistently showing she notices and adores all he does for her.”

When it comes to actually wanting romance…
Woman are open about saying they want romance and men often say they don’t care about romance, but they actually do.

“Traditional gender roles mean women are more able to be open about their desire for romance but men are interested in being wined and dined just like women are,” says North. “For those women who want more romance in their life, I often recommend taking the first step. Show your partner that you can be romantic and he’s more likely to return the favor.”

“Men tend to find it romantic when they’re appreciated for their body or sexuality,” says dating coach, Nicole Moore. “This happens for men way less than it does for women.”

When it comes to communicating about what’s romantic…
“A common refrain from women is that they’re sick of complaining about the lack of romance in their relationship. While men are often looking to be told what to do in terms of romance, for many women the emotional labor required to ask completely negates the romance itself,” says North.

In other words, women don’t want to have to ask their man to do something romantic, they want them to just do it. However in a man’s head, if he’s not being told what to do or what she wants, he may think she doesn’t want romance or that she’s happy with the way things are.

Another common way men and women misunderstand each other when it

When it comes to the consistency of romance…
comes to romance, is how often they’d like it to be a part of a relationship. It’s common for a man to do something big, then lean back for a while because he’s satisfied with his effort. For women, this can fall short.

Women often want romance all the time and see romance as an integral part of showing love, whereas many men only use it to make up for bad behavior.

“Giving your partner flowers when you’ve screwed up does not count as romance in the eyes of many women, no matter how lavish and expensive,” says North. Women love the routine ‘just because’ romantic gestures.

“To a woman, romance is much more about procedure, volume and consistent effort. For example, if a man were to bring his girlfriend one flower (or something small she likes) every day, it would feel much more romantic to her than a dozen roses one day and nothing for the next 11 days,” adds Stone.

Understanding what your partner things of as romantic, can make a big difference in your interactions together so don’t be afraid to ask them. Likewise, if you’re not feeling the love or are looking to mix it up, let your partner know! Don’t leave the other person guessing, or expect them to read your mind. Romance works both ways, and can be one of the most fun and rewarding aspects of your relationship, if you let it.

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