What Is A Hopeless Romantic? Exploring The Definition And Traits

Updated May 12, 2023by Regain Editorial Team

Do you believe that love can conquer any obstacles? Do you idealize a fairytale-style romance and become upset when your relationships don’t measure up to your high standards? You may be a hopeless romantic. Read on to explore the personality and behavior characteristics of people often considered hopeless romantics and how therapy can help you develop healthy relationship expectations. 

What Is A Hopeless Romantic?

Are you addicted to love? Studies show that people can literally become addicted to romantic love. When do you cross the line between someone who maintains an idealized version of attachment and someone who is a hopeless romantic chasing an unattainable relationship standard only found in fiction? Many people define a hopeless romantic as someone who always believes in love, no matter how many negative experiences they’ve had in past relationships. They may ignore “red flags” in favor of the oxytocin rush of a new relationship and the endless optimism that their perfect mate is out there somewhere.

Is Love At First Sight Real?

According to researchers at the Cleveland Clinic, love at first sight is a real phenomenon—it’s just not always really love. While you may experience intense longing and physical attraction to someone when you first see them, it may not translate into a long-term connection and romantic relationship.  

Anyone Can Be A Hopeless Romantic

While many may consider being a hopeless romantic something that primarily affects women, believing in love is not bound by gender, sexual orientation, or anything else. Anyone can be a hopeless romantic or experience those feelings on a spectrum, balancing idealism with reality. 

Have You Been Called A Hopeless Romantic?

Hopeless Romantic Test

Researchers at Psychology Today developed a Hopeless Romantic Test to help you gauge whether you are waiting for a fairytale romance. 

Understanding What Makes Someone A Homeless Romantic

If you’ve recently started a relationship with a hopeless romantic, it may help to understand the psychology behind why they might act and believe as they do. 

They Openly Show Their Emotions

You may notice they aren't afraid to wear their heart on their sleeve, showing emotions without reservation. They may be incredibly in tune with their feelings and not afraid to show when something moves them, whether it's a heartfelt movie or a touching commercial. 

They’ve Had Their Dream Wedding Planned Since Childhood

In the eyes of a hopeless romantic, a wedding is the ultimate culmination of a successful romance. You may learn that they have incredibly opinionated ideas about the perfect wedding and have had the day planned down to the last detail for years. 

Unshakable Belief In Love, Soul Mates, And “The One”

No matter how many failed relationships they've been through, hopeless romantics maintain an unshakable belief that love can conquer all obstacles if they can just find "the One.” Hopeless romantics may also give up on relationships when encountering frequent conflicts, believing the match wasn’t “meant to be.” Assuming they are destined to find their perfect match in a soul mate is a common belief among hopeless romantics. 

They Adore The Little Things That Show Love

The small gestures that show you were thinking of them or wanted to make their day better—like bringing flowers "just because," dropping off their favorite coffee, or even simply texting on your lunch break to ask how their day’s going may mean a great deal to a hopeless romantic.  

They Dream Of Grand, Romantic Gestures

While they may place more value on the small, everyday things you do to make them happy, hopeless romantics may still swoon over grand romantic gestures like those they’ve seen in their favorite books and movies about love. 

They Love Romantic Song, Poems, And Movies

You may notice they have a tendency to choose entertainment with a prominent love theme. Hopeless romantics generally believe in love above all else, so it makes sense that they'd gravitate toward media that reinforces the happily-ever-after side of storytelling. 

“In an era when hook-up culture so normalized, being a hopeless romantic who wants the love stories you see in media is feeling more and more unrealistic.” — Queen’s University Journal

They Often Value Emotional Intimacy Over Sex

A hopeless romantic may see more value in a deep, meaningful emotional connection with someone than they do in a purely physical connection with only sex. In a relationship, you may find that they feel emotional intimacy is the most essential part of a romantic bond. 

They Make Their Partner A Priority In Their Life

Hopeless romantics may idolize their partners, ignoring warning signs to put them on a pedestal as they work toward their ideal relationship. They will often make their partners a priority in their lives and dedicate their time and energy to making their partners happy. They may also exaggerate your happiness as a couple on social media because they want others to believe they are happy and in love. 

They Celebrate Small Anniversaries

You may think it's silly to celebrate a two-week anniversary or to mark each month you’re together with a celebration, but a hopeless romantic may be so excited about relationship milestones they can’t help themselves. 

They May Have Unrealistic Or Excessively High Standards

Spending so much time imagining the perfect relationship may give hopeless romantics impossibly high standards that real partners can’t meet. The ideal romance rarely exists outside of fiction, but that may not stop hopeless romantics from forming unrealistic expectations. 

They Quickly Become Invested In New Relationships

Hopeless romantics may quickly move through the early stages of a relationship because they are eager to establish an emotional connection with their new partner. However, getting serious before their partner is ready can be counterproductive, instead pushing them away. 

They Take Breakups Especially Hard

Breakups and failed romances are tough on hopeless romantics. They often throw themselves into each relationship with their whole heart, which can make it hurt more when things don’t work out. 

They Feel Incredibly Lonely When Not In A Relationship

Hopeless romantics glorify love, so it makes sense that they don't usually enjoy being single. They may become overly lonely when they don't have a romantic partner, which can negatively affect their mood, self-confidence, and overall attitude. 

Hopeless Romantic Vs. Hopeful Romantic: What’s The Difference?

As discussed above, a hopeless romantic may have an idealized idea about love that doesn't necessarily reflect realistic expectations for a romantic partner. They may believe in destiny, true love, and that love can overcome all challenges, often ignoring negative aspects of the relationship with blind optimism. 

By contrast, a hopeful romantic has a healthier balance of idealism and realism regarding love and relationships. They may be optimistic about love but prepared to face the harsh reality if something isn’t working. They often find healthy, practical ways to prioritize love but realize it takes effort and communication on both sides to make a successful relationship work. 

Drawbacks To Being A Hopeless Romantic

  • You may ignore red flags early in a relationship for the sake of positive feelings. 
  • Unrealistic expectations may make it hard to maintain a healthy relationship.
  • You may move quickly in relationships, devoting all your time and energy early on while your partner isn’t as invested yet. 

How Therapy Can Help Develop Realistic Romance Expectations

Many hopeless romantics may build up an ideal version of the “perfect relationship” in their minds, and when real-world connections don’t measure up, they may react negatively. If you’re a hopeless romantic, consider working with a licensed therapist online through a relationship-focused virtual therapy platform like Regain. Therapy can help you examine your relationship beliefs and reshape unhealthy ideas and habits. You may also learn communication skills to relate to others better and coping skills to help you manage stress. Parents and guardians seeking ways to support their children through the turbulent adolescent years can secure online therapy for kids from 12 to 19 at TeenCounseling. 

Recent research shows that patients achieve similar outcomes with online and face-to-face therapy. Many patients reported that virtual treatment is often more cost-effective and involves shorter wait times before speaking with a therapist. The physical separation from the therapist of teletherapy makes sharing intimate personal details easier, and online therapy platforms provide access to a vast selection of mental healthcare providers. If you don’t find someone you feel comfortable with who fits your personality and needs, connecting with another therapist is simple. 

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Have You Been Called A Hopeless Romantic?

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