It Goes Both Ways: Why Everyone Can Be Romantic


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Being a male blogger who discusses how men can be better in life and in love comes with its ups and downs – like anything else in life I suppose. One of the major criticisms I receive most often, though, is how I make it sound like romance and relationships are one-sided when I speak about male conduct.


Obviously, no one-sided relationship will last for very long. Just because my brand focuses on how men should act, doesn’t discount the equal responsibilities of women to pull their weight when on a team as well. Similarly, if someone writes about apples, that doesn’t mean oranges don’t exist or aren’t important – it just means they write about apples.

That being said, I do believe that men can [and should] be better for the women in our lives. We can be more romantic, put in more effort, be more caring and empathetic…but on a more generic level, I do often discuss how I believe men should pay for dates. At least, the first few.

I remember a conversation I had once where a man asked me what he can expect to get in return from a woman if he is paying for dinner, and other things, all the time.

The short answer is: Nothing. If you do nice things for anyone (not just women) for the sake of something in return then you’re missing the point.

True romance isn’t about money. It’s not an action you perform. It’s not a date. True romance is a feeling. It’s a personality. It’s who you are. Either you’re romantic, or you’re not.

Your ability to be romantic has nothing to do with the size of your bankroll – and everything to do with how thoughtful and creative you are willing to be in order to make your partner happy.


True romance is doing small things for each other that you wouldn’t do for anyone else – because they’re based solely on his or her personality. Things you know they love. It doesn’t have to be paying for dinner or opening a door or pulling out a chair. It doesn’t have to be taking him or her to a show. What my girlfriend considers romantic, yours may not, and vice versa. There is no template for being romantic.

It’s the things nobody else would notice. It’s in the way you walk with someone, touch someone, or kiss them.

And, both men and women can be equally romantic in this sense.

It’s not always the big actions. Sometimes it’s the small details. It’s an otherwise everyday, mundane occurrence suddenly lit on fire by the extra care and love that was put into it.

If over time it continues to be one-sided from either side, then this is a clear red flag and you need to evaluate your relationship. But don’t forget another red flag is performing acts of kindness simply for the idea of being rewarded for it.

Always remember, no successful relationship was ever built on the premise of “what’s in it for me?”


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  1. LINDA DAVIS on June 24, 2015 at 10:20 am

    FYI – When I pull this up to read, the words are transposed on top of each other, unreadable. Great articles! Thank you.

    Linda S. Davis


    Date: Wed, 24 Jun 2015 13:51:25 +0000 To:

  2. Peter Smith on June 24, 2015 at 2:55 pm

    …no[sic.] successful relationship was ever built on the premise of “what’s in it for me?”

    You’re sure of that James? You’ve done your history research?

    • Amanda on June 24, 2015 at 8:03 pm

      Relationships that ARE about “what’s in it for me ” are not even categorized as SUCCESSFUL unless you are referring to a late night hit. It’s NOT rocket science to figure that out. The two words successful and relationships are seen in the 2% percent group.Not many people have the ability or insight to be a part of either one. If anyone questions the accuracy of this concept, it obviously tells me they have not been in the dating since the 18th century .

  3. Nancy Cokinda on June 24, 2015 at 4:10 pm

    James, another well-stated and important explanation of relationships. Why do so many young people think that this is about “keeping score”? A very twisted concept of “give to get” has inflicted the American culture. Regardless of how it was learned, it needs to be unlearned, in order for people to engage with each other. True intimacy is not about keeping score, or “What have you done for me lately?” Maybe that’s why so many engage in “internet dating”—where you can create a personality and pretend to have a relationship with another human being. Or post selfies on social media: my favorite—the totally posed staring off into space photo. ” Am I not cool?” Followed by the Greek Chorus of 100 “likes.” “You’re so awesome!” I’d rather see a photo of you playing with your dog. Your dog is real, and genuine. He can teach humans much about genuine relationships.

  4. […] Originally appeared at James Michael Sama’s blog […]

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