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In the old days, romance was all about making a “smart match”, about getting married at the right age and having kids, and living a life pressed out in a template that practically everyone seemed to be following. These days, however, dating and modern romance is all about actively and consistently choosing your partner, even when it feels difficult to do. Sometimes, choosing your partner means bringing something different (think the highest quality butt plugs you can find online, or an adrenaline-fuelled adventure, to name a few examples) into the relationship to bring back the spark when it gets lost among the chaos of everyday life. Sometimes, choosing your partner means going to couples’ therapy together to work through the issues in the relationship. Sometimes, choosing your partner means opting out of going out on a Friday night with friends, in favour of staying in with them. And sometimes, choosing your partner is about just being there, even when it feels difficult to be.

Partnership is not easy – anyone that says it is, is lying to you. We all have moments where it feels like we are in the honeymoon phase with our partners, like everything is perfect and nothing can bring us down. These moments are great, of course, but they are also part in parcel with the moments that challenge you to work on strengthening your foundations as a couple, rather than letting them crumble under the weight of the inevitable stressors that come around. A romantic relationship today is all about choosing your partner, even when they make you want to pull your hair out and scream at the top of your lungs. No matter who you are, no matter what you do for a living, or where in the world you live, you will have your moments. So, it is important to remember that your chosen partner will have their moments as well. It is the difficult moments that define a relationship, one way or the other.

At the end of the day, there is no such thing as the perfect relationship, and this is where people are realising their mistake. Rather than painstakingly working towards demanding and requiring perfection on all fronts, dating and romance should be about embracing every part of one’s partner, because you want the same from them. If you do not care about what the person you are sharing your life is doing with their energy and time, then it is time to take a step back and reassess. Are you with the right person? Why do you not seem to care? Asking these questions can help to work out the kinks, or it can help you to cement your belief that you made the right choice in pulling back. Either way, you have made yet another choice, and it will prove to be the most defining choice of the entire relationship.

In this digital world, where temptation is more readily available than ever, and we are bound to encounter these temptations throughout our lives, the choices we make are more important than ever. Big romantic gestures are one thing, but is choosing your partner in a world of challenge and temptation not the grandest romantic gesture there is in all the world? We all want to feel accepted, heard, understood, and valued, and modern romance is all about allowing everyone to feel all these ideals, as well as extend the same courtesies to their partners. Nobody wants to be with someone who clearly is not interested in choosing them, in putting in the effort and time to invest and nurture the evolving relationship, so why should anyone except their partner to be with someone like that? Choose not only your partner, but to respect your partner on all terms – that is the epitome of modern romance in motion.

Relationships are hard work, and romance takes effort and time. There is a lot to be said about the overwhelming power of knowing that the person you choose, is choosing you back. There is nothing more uncomfortable or awkward than feeling like you are on uneven ground with the person that you are supposed to be in sync with. Modern romance is all about choosing your partner every single day. If you do not, that is a choice in itself, and change if necessary. At the end of the day, above all else, modern romance is all in the details, and the details centre around the effort, energy, and time that you and your partner are both willing and able to put into nourishing the relationship. If modern romance is about choosing your partner, then dating is all about finding someone that you want to choose, even (and especially) when it is more challenging than usual to do so.

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