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5 Strategies for the Romantically Challenged


5 Strategies for the Romantically Challenged

Are you “romantically challenged”? You might be, if you check your email seconds after making love. Or you’d prefer a gym membership to a candlelit dinner. While there’s nothing wrong with being practical, there’s always a risk that you won’t live up to your partner’s expectations this Valentine’s Day. Not to worry. Here are some strategies I developed for the romantically challenged:

Make it personal

A simple handwritten note telling your partner why you’d still choose him/her if you had to do it all over again expresses your true feelings much better than a store-bought bouquet.

Make it “touching.”

Saying “I love you” is nice. Kissing, holding, and cuddling is much nicer. Even if you’re not romantic, everyone needs and responds to the loving touch of a partner.

Fill a need

If mushy romanticism isn’t for you, surprise your partner with something he/she really needs. Get his car detailed. Replace her tattered briefcase. Such thoughtfulness is a turn-on and shows you really care.

Spend some time

Don’t think of Valentine’s Day as a commercial holiday created to sell chocolate and flowers. Think of it as a day to spend quality time with your loved one. It can be as elaborate as booking a night in a local B&B, or as simple as snuggling up on the couch to watch a movie.

Talk it up

Want to know the most romantic thing you can do this Valentine’s Day? Have a 10-minute conversation with your partner about anything besides kids, work, money, or domestic responsibilities. My long-term study of married couples found that the “10 Minute Rule,” practiced daily, increases intimacy, bonding, and happiness.



Research professor Terri Orbuch PhD, known as The Love Doctor, is director of the longest-running study of married couples, ongoing since 1986 and funded by the NIH. A practicing marriage and relationship therapist for more than 20 years, she is a popular love advisor on radio, TV, and, most recently seen on NBC’s Today, and a popular blogger for Huffington Post and Psychology Today. Hew newest book is 5 Simple Steps to Take Your Marriage from Good to Great (Random House). You can find out more about her at
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