And if romance isn't the same for everyone, can there be a common thread? My first guess is that the thrill of a new romance, no matter how different for each of us, is well...thrilling. Very exciting, good, validating stuff: huzzah! you are a worthwhile human being deserving of being the apple of someone's eye. And of course all the good stuff that goes with it in the first few months; finding out your common likes; the physical attraction thing; having a lot of attention paid to you, imagining a whole new future in front of you, etc.
As I am still somewhat the newlywed (1st anniversary coming up in August) I'm also learning that as your relationship grows and ages, so do your romantic notions. I mean, some things we still think are great, like date nights out to a high-end restaurant. But things that we discover together are even better (cocktails on the veranda of the Accomac Inn, for instance...his was a Lavender Martini; mine was a Pear Cosmo during one of the last Indian Summer days last fall). And escaping the stresses of our new day-to-day routine are also really welcome (an night away can be a wonderful thing). But so can "escaping" to our back patio with a glass of wine, and ignoring our routine chores for half an hour, and talking to each other without interruption.
But I can't help wondering what we'll feel like in 10, 20 and 30 years? What will romance be like in my 70's or 80's? (Please resist the temptation to insert jokes of dentures soaking in glasses.)
So, what is romance? And, depending on where in the game you are, what is more romantic: the lovely dinner you have when things are going well; or the reassuring bear hug followed by taking out the garbage, when your evening's really stressed?