(404) 874-8536 johnballew@gmail.com

Enhancing romance

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A candlelit table for two at the best table in a fancy restaurant.  Champagne.  Soft music.  Tender words.  The essence of romance, right?

Maybe, but romance can mean many things.  “Sexual attraction, suitable conditions for lovemaking, fascination and enthusiasm” are a few of the definitions in my dictionary.  The trouble is, while many of us enjoy lovemaking we’re often a bit bewildered about how to actually be romantic.  The word can seem old-fashioned and strange; it makes us think of flowers, boxes of chocolates, and syrupy romance novels.  Not our style, we think.

Romance is one of the things that make life with a boyfriend different from life with, well, a friend.  There’s a spark, a certain way of being with someone.  Romance is a type of fun that is the fuel that keeps a relationship running.  It’s more than simply being special; it’s a particular way of being special.

Romance does not necessarily mean spending a lot of money on someone.  (It especially doesn’t mean spending lots of money on something he doesn’t really want just to try to impress him!)  Think of romance as a way of letting your guy know how important he is to you.  Romance comes from the heart.  It can involve great big things, but romance can just as easily be the sum of lots of little things done with care and attention.

Valentine’s Day has been designated as the official romantic holiday in our culture.  Everything seems done up in pink and red; there are hearts everywhere you look.  There are ads and sales all over the place inviting you to open your wallet and show you care.

Forgetting Valentine’s Day is a sure way to look like an unromantic jerk, but don’t any holiday be the only time you exercise your romance muscles.  Let your boyfriend know that he’s important to you 365 days a year.

When was the last time you wrote your guy a love letter or bought him a romantic little card?  Admit it:  you like it when he sends you one.  (Email doesn’t count for as much; and those tacky virtual greeting cards hardly count at all.)  Taking time to put your thoughts down on paper in your own handwriting says that you are taking the time to do something just for him.

Little love notes hidden around the house can be a wonderful way to show you are thinking of him – especially if you hide them where he will find them when you aren’t around.  Rick, a consultant who travels a lot with his work, often puts a little love note in his partner’s underwear drawer before leaving on a business trip, for instance.  “You don’t need to be flowery and poetic,” he says, “although you could try that, too.  Even a Post-It note on the pillow is a nice little gesture.”

Partners who have been together long enough that they no longer think of themselves as dating might try implementing “love nights” once or twice a week.  Put it on the calendar and don’t let anything interfere – no work demands, no family obligations.  Let your boyfriend know that he is your number one priority.  Take turns telling each other what the other guy has done in the past week that has made you feel special, to feel loved by him.  Communicating this sort of love is important nourishment for a relationship, especially when you are both busy people.

You might also take time to let the other person know other ways he might communicate his love to you.  Important:  don’t be critical of one another.  Nothing spoils a mood faster than feeling criticized.

If you and your guy are busy people, a quiet getaway together can be an invitation to a passionate weekend.  Don’t wait for that vacation you’ve been putting off!  There are gay bed-and-breakfasts all over the world; check one out.  Or think about what your boyfriend might like to do. Does he like to ski?  Think about a trip to some snowy mountain that would allow him to hit the slopes.  (And then there are those quiet evenings in front of the fireplace together.)   Does he need time to relax after too much travel or time at work?  Maybe a weekend at a cabin would fit the bill.

Many hotels offer inexpensive weekend getaway specials.  You might even pretend to be a tourist in your own town.  (Don’t phone home to check your answering machine for messages!)  Better yet, see how much of the weekend the two of you could spend together naked.

When you’ve got his undivided attention, try new ways of being physically intimate together.  Maybe get it together to offer one another a pedicure and foot massage.  Get some special lotion or scented oil and take your time.  It might become a part of your monthly schedule.  Or ask him – in a playfully seductive voice – to teach you exactly how he likes to be kissed.  Get lots of practice in to make sure you’ve got it right.

Look for ways to make your lovemaking special.  Joe still talks about the time Randy cooked dinner for him and then excused himself for a few minutes – to light 50 little candles in his bedroom.  “It was really dramatic and just took my breath away,” Joe recalled.  “Everyone looks good by candle light.  And it made me feel very special for him to go to all that planning and trouble!”

Remember that the key here is to make clear to your boyfriend that he has your undivided attention.  You feel like a lucky guy to have him in your life, and that nothing is more important than he is.  Combine that with playfulness and some creativity, and you are well on your way to being the most romantic boyfriend he’s ever had.

About John

I have been  licensed by the State of Georgia as a professional counselor for more than 25 years.  My areas of specialty are relationships, intimacy, sexuality, anxiety and depression.  My passion is helping people build happier lives and stronger relationships. 

I know it isn’t always easy to talk about problems.  My approach to counseling is nonjudgmental and compassionate.  If you have questions, I welcome the opportunity to talk with you about working together.

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Whether you've worked with a therapist before or are exploring counseling for the first time, you probably have questions.  It is important to have the information you need to make a good decision when selecting a therapist.  I welcome your questions -- about your specific situation, about me or about my approach to therapy. Making things better can start with an email, or you can call me at (404) 874-8536.