In a generation of dating apps, meeting over social media and ‘Netflix and chill’, some might say that romance is dead. But, is it? According to eHarmony’s 2018 Happiness Index (a survey on love and relationships in America with over 2,000 participants), millennials are the most romantic generation of all. Perhaps the younger generation simply show their affection in different ways. Together with Angelic Diamonds, retailers of engagement rings, we take a look at how displays of love and romantic gestures have changed over time.
You might’ve heard your parents or grandparents talk about when they first got together — they went on a few cinema dates, perhaps attended a dance and went out for dinner before deciding that they were in relationship. There were no dating apps to help start up a conversation and no option to ‘ghost’ someone by not returning their texts — in fact, you might think that it was much more romantic back then. But, the older generation had their dating sites in the form of lonely hearts ads (the first one being published in 1695) and it’s likely that people still had the experience of being stood up. So, maybe it wasn’t that different after all.
Perhaps it’s the way that younger people define and recognise romance that makes them seem less affectionate than the generation before them.
When asked, all Britons agreed that the top five romantic gestures were: holding hands (46%), cuddling (44%), giving a surprise gift (43%), a romantic walk (32%) and giving flowers (31%). When different age groups were asked about their opinions on historically chivalrous acts, differences became clear. A huge 93% of over-45s believed there was still a place for them in the 21st century, whereas 37% of 18-24 year olds disagreed. In particular, ordering for someone at a restaurant was frowned upon and taking off a hat when entering a room was also considered outdated.
Romantic gestures by age
Historic chivalrous acts aren’t the only thing that the generations disagree on when it comes to romance. They also express their love in different ways:
- 18-24 years: 90% say that they hold hands when they’re out for a walk, 70% make sure that they go on date nights together, and 68% enjoy making romantic gestures such as writing love notes.
- 25-34 years: 79% enjoy making romantic gestures — more than any other generation.
- 35-44 years: 15% less likely to go on date nights than older millennials. Holding hands during walks was the most common romantic gesture among this age group.
- 45-54 years: less likely to buy their partner small gifts between birthdays and more likely to hold hands during a walk.
- 55-64 years: 59% like to go on a date night and 49% enjoy making romantic gestures.
- 65+ years: over 50% like to go on date nights and 40% like making romantic gestures. They were the least likely to buy gifts for partners outside of birthdays.
Everyone agreed that it was important to let their other half know how much they mean to them, with 68% of people across all age groups admitting that they say “I love you” daily and 65% kissing on the mouth for a second or two every day.
Looking for love?
So, aside from following the romantic trend among your age group for finding a significant other, what else should you do if you’re searching for love?
Don’t be afraid to show your romantic side. One study revealed that 76% of Britons would enjoy having more romance in their lives but 57% said that they didn’t make romantic gestures because they didn’t want to be seen as cheesy! It might depend on where you live, too. If you live in the capital, definitely pull some romance out of the bag to woo your other half — an astounding 86% of Londoners said that they’d appreciate more romance in their lives.
Similarly, when dating site, Zoosk, conducted a study of 9,000 of its users, it discovered that when users call themselves a ‘romantic’ on their profile, their matches increase by 24% above the average match count. And, when the phrase ‘hopeless romantic’ was said, matches were boosted by 38%.
When deciding on a date, don’t think you have to splash out at an expensive restaurant to impress. Three-quarters of people surveyed in one study said that ‘snuggling in front of the fireplace’ is the most romantic date, followed by ‘candle-lit dinners’ (58%) and a ‘picnic in the park’ (45%).
Anything to avoid? People voted that mobile phone addiction, in particular at the dinner table (49%), was the biggest passion-killer. Closely followed by bad personal hygiene (45%) and rudeness (33%). So, no Snapchat or Instagram posts over dinner!
As we can see, the definition of romance has changed over time. But, this doesn’t mean that we’re any less romantic in ourselves — we simply have different ways of showing it. So, don’t be afraid to let your soft side show and display some affection.