Romance movies depict hopeless romantics as living in a fantasy world, but in reality, what they want is not so far off from what everybody wants: to fall in love. Being a hopeless romantic is not inherently hopeless, as plenty of hopeless romantics do find the love they’ve always dreamed of. But hopeless romantics should be aware of the dangers of giving their hearts so freely and openly to partners who won’t do the same for them in return.
What Is a Hopeless Romantic?
A hopeless romantic is someone who continues to believe in love, no matter the struggles they might have experienced in the past. They choose to see the positive in relationships over the negative, believing wholeheartedly that love conquers all.
“A hopeless romantic is someone who is more susceptible to falling in love and gets carried away in their romantic feelings,” says Bree Jenkins, dating coach and licensed therapist. “Usually, they will dream and fantasize about people they like, give a lot of energy to romantic pursuits, and have a deep desire for love and partnership. They typically wear rose-colored glasses when it comes to potential love.”
Meet the Expert
Bree Jenkins is CEO and founder of The Gathered Life and The Diamond Dating League, a dating course to help individuals gain the confidence, communication skills, and self-awareness to attract healthy love. Based in Westwood, California, she’s a licensed marriage and family therapist and dating coach with over 12 years of clinical experience.
How do you know if you’re a hopeless romantic? Jenkins explains all the signs to look out for if you think you might be a hopeless romantic and how to avoid the most common pitfalls without giving up on love.
1. Your Romances Ignite Quickly and Burn Out Fast
The flames of passion burn bright immediately upon meeting a new romantic partner, but after a relatively short amount of time, the romance either ends in flames or fizzles out completely. Hopeless romantics get burned often, but that doesn’t stop them from chasing the light.
2. You Have One-Sided Relationships
Hopeless romantics tend to give a lot in relationships, both emotionally, physically, time, and energetically. “Often this can be to their detriment, as they may feel many of their partners don't have the same level of giving and affection in return,” says Jenkins. Hopeless romantics are so completely enraptured by their own emotions that they ignore or fail to take into consideration how their partner feels about their relationship. When the give-and-take is uneven, hopeless romantics may fall into despair, believing that they’re not enough or not worthy of their partner’s love and affection. Hopeless romantics might double down on their gestures of love, believing that if they are persistent enough, they will eventually win their partner’s love. For some partners, these acts of grand giving can feel suffocating and stifling.
3. You Have an Overly Optimistic View of Love
Hopeless romantics love to look on the bright side of life. Often, this personality trait is what attracts romantic partners initially. “Hopeless romantics usually see the best in new people and may find connections and commonality in people easily,” says Jenkins. “These perceived connections lead them to weave a tale of fatedness and start to emotionally invest in their potential partners.”
4. You Ignore Red Flags
Eternal optimists, as hopeless romantics often are, tend to reject or completely ignore any warning signs that their idea or expectations of a relationship are not being met. “They generally ignore behavior that doesn't fit the perspective of how a new love interest impresses them,” says Jenkins. “They may dismiss red flags and subtle ways a person is not as invested in them.”
Perfect relationships don’t exist, and ignoring a problem doesn’t make it go away. If you’re unhappy in your relationship, speak up and talk to your partner about how you feel and any proposed solutions. Conflict resolution in relationships might be hard at first, but the right partner will want to work things out and grow together.
5. You’re Obsessed With All Things Romance
Hopeless romantics tend to lean into romance in multiple ways, whether following love and wedding accounts on social media, watching romance shows, reading romance novels, or becoming heavily invested in romantic plotlines, art, and music. “Usually, hopeless romantics have a positive or happier disposition, as this optimistic perspective is what leads them to wear rose-colored glasses in romance,” says Jenkins. “They believe in love and fairy tales, they can have youthful energy, are great cheerleaders and supporters of those they love.”
6. You Lead With Your Emotions
Hopeless romantics think with their heart instead of their head. They feel everything deeply and wear their heart on their sleeve, which can sometimes be a good thing, but this can work against hopeless romantics when reality doesn’t live up to their emotionally heightened expectations. Riding this roller coaster of joyful highs and disappointing lows can be incredibly emotionally draining.
7. You Tend to Idealize Your Partner
Hopeless romantics have an idealized, one-dimensional view of relationships and dating. They might even fall in lust or love with someone without even really knowing them because they’re in love with the idea of a person—not the actual person. “They should clarify and write down their deal breakers and needs BEFORE meeting a shiny new person, so when things happen, they can have a reference point made when they weren't under the glow of lust or new interest,” says Jenkins.
8. You Have a Martyr Complex
This idealized view of relationships and their partner can lead to hopeless romantics acting like a martyr in relationships—believing that they must continually give in order to receive love, that their only value is in what they provide for their partner, or that they must suffer in order to be rewarded in love. A martyr feels powerless to change themselves, which leaves them totally at the mercy of other people’s behavior.
9. You Daydream About Love
Hopeless romantics tend to live in a fantasy world when it comes to dating. They might spend all their time and energy thinking about love and relationships because they enjoy how it makes them feel. It’s important to realize that these are just daydreams and not reality, which can often be even more interesting and entertaining than living in a fantasy world. “A hopeless romantic should date multiple people when they're single to keep their attention from over-focusing on one person to project all of their love fantasy and energy,” says Jenkins. “They should keep a balance of being with friends and busy with work and hobbies before allowing romance to overtake their mental space.”
10. You Have Few Long-Term Relationships
If you have an idealized view of love, you might also be picky with who you decide to share that love with. Because your standards are so high, few partners rarely get past the threshold. “A romantic is more discriminating and may only have giving and amorous behaviors to a select few people, but aren't as likely to do those behaviors outside of an exclusive or committed relationship,” says Jenkins.
11. You Spend All Your Time With a New Partner
When you do find someone, you make the most of it by spending all your time with your partner to the point where you ignore your hobbies and friends. Hopeless romantics become quickly obsessed with their new relationship and dive headfirst into their partner’s interests and activities. Remember to take it slow, keep up your individual commitments and passions, and allow the relationship to unfold and strengthen over time. Avoid jumping the gun and going all in with someone else at the expense of yourself. “Let things build slowly,” says Jenkins. “Hopeless romantics should NOT deep dive into social media and post their new partner and interests on their page.”