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Dating From the Inside Out
by Susan S. Davis

The Art of Romance

It is no secret that romance, in and of itself, seems to be a dying art in our current culture. Everything from the women’s movement, to technology, has been blamed for the demise of romance, as it used to be.

In recent anonymous surveys, conducted by various relationship websites of approximately 10,000 men and women, ninety-five percent of those responding wanted to know how to keep romance alive throughout a relationship and marriage. Singles and couples have reported that it's been romance that was the most desired, as well as the most illusive of all relationship experiences, more than good communication, or even sex and family in general.


So just what is romance? Romance is an idealism for many, the basic definition being a relationship between two lovers. Most know it when they see it. Others yearn for it when it's absent. However, describing it is not as easy as it may seem. That is because romance, largely based upon emotion, means different things to people.

In the dating world, romance is a necessity, especially in the beginning of any relationship. Experiencing romance can be a feeling of being transported, or moved by an extraordinary feeling, often in almost another dimension. Through the special feeling, an extension beyond everyday sense of self, into a level of serenity based on unity and wholeness, provoking a spiritual connection occurs. Often, the separateness that is so much the usual part of daily life disappears. Though it may be fleeting, the feeling can be so strong, as to create an extraordinary effect on the senses, such that memory retains it for days, and sometimes, even years.

It is no surprise, then, that romance is so sought after. Muses have been recognized as having had many connections to "romantic" feelings, inspiration and motivation. The origin of the word "romantic" has been linked to the term "of Roman influence" - in the same way one might use "Hellenic" to mean "Greek influence."

The etymology of "music" comes from "muse": "music is the art of the Muses." At the time that "music" connoted a much larger subset of "the arts" than the understanding of the other elements of the arts, in ancient Greece, "music" could refer to poetry, dance, recitation, music, instruments, as well as certain scientific endeavors, such as math and science. Frequently set as an equal partner against athletics, art in education was often divided along the broad lines of elementary school and a liberal arts curriculum. Music was a highly symbolic term to encompass many abstract concepts, as opposed to concrete/practical activities such as gymnastics, or specific techniques to manipulate the world.

Suffice to say that “muse" could be appropriate for any categorization of a relationship characterized by a strong influence transmitted from one person to another. According to many, a “muse" is any link to someone who inspires. In classical mythology, a romantic relationship has been attributed to the goddess or the power regarded as inspiring a poet, artist, thinker, or the like, the defining aspect of which is often a form of relationship itself.

Often, romantic connotations of a relationship between goddess and mortal, involves a form of muse relationship. In mythology, forms of love and romance included Eros as a biological urge, Agape as “love thy neighbor as thyself,” essentially a form of spiritual love, and Amour, a person-to-person experience akin to “love at first sight.” In a "romantic" relationship, one may, most certainly, find someone else inspiring without being romantically involved/interested. However, there is no denying the connection between art and romance. One might even surmise, that they are often so related, that they almost can depend upon each other in certain situations.

When it comes to modern day romance, some impassioned lovers still declare their feelings, lavishing each other with gifts, attention and flattery, flowers, poetry or love songs. The reality is that the notion of chivalric love that has dominated the western experience of it since the 12th Century, particularly at the beginning of a relationship, usually diminishes or dies completely at some point. Unless there is active involvement by one or more of the parties involved, after chivalry dies, people must continue to demonstrate their love in more meaningful ways, in order to make the romance and relationship last.

As much as we might like it to be otherwise, many relationships that begin on a romantic level, can just as easily become unromantic, as the advent of a long term relationship beckons. This is partly evidenced by the fact that half of marriages in our present day, end in divorce. The reality is that romantic love doesn’t always have a fairy tale ending. When a relationship is based upon real love, rather than merely erotic love, or sexual gratification, the “love” is authentic, and, therefore, more likely to evoke longevity.

Genuine love isn’t something that is typically “fallen” into, but rather, something that exists already inside of us. It seems like the most loving relationships, are devised of people who have the ability to extend love to others, to neighbors and strangers. That way, even when the romance fades, couples who possess love in their hearts, are fully capable of surviving and thriving together, for the long haul.

It is important to remember, that as it is possible to feel deep love for children, parents, and friends without "falling in love,” it is also possible and necessary for us to extend that same deep love, to those well beyond our circle. When all is said and done, as part of humanity, we are all part of single relationships, in a global village.

The “art of romance,” is essentially, the ability to use it to enhance a relationship. Almost everyone has experienced various forms of art as an aphrodisiac. This could be why going on a date usually involves partaking in some form of art. It makes us feel good, gives us something to talk about, ponder, explore and experience. Indulging in any form of art, from paintings and drawings, to music, film, writing and even comedy, will not only enhance romance, but will also make life more enriched, fun and rewarding.

Susan S. Davis is a published book author and writer, currently doing research for a romantic screenplay she is writing. Her Dating From The Inside Out column is published every Tuesday.

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