What I’ve Learned from Being a Hopeless Romantic

229A7870Madison Bickham Photography

Ugh, I’m already annoyed at the title. But after years of loving and losing, I think it’s time for a diagnosis: I’m a hopeless romantic.

Admittedly, I’ve been deep in denial most of my life. I remember once I read this article to a first date about hopeless romantics, specifically Ted Mosby (the ultimate, in my opinion). My date turned to me and chuckled, “so you’re a romantic then?” to which I stammered, “of course not!” followed by nervous laughter. I’m killer in the dating world you guys.

It’s been long since then, but the inevitable still stands. I’m a hopeless romantic.
(Thank you for indulging my repetition, I’m still admitting it to all parts of myself)

I could sit here and blame media, then go on a long rant about how we need to be better active consumers… which will lead to further explanation that the love stories we see are in fact NOT real, but fabrications created out of perfectly curated circumstance in order to maximize box office sales blah blah blah…

But I won’t do that. (lucky for you)

I’m actually going to take this an entirely different direction. One that you (or any annoying date) may not expect.


I am a hopeless romantic, and I’m not sorry about it.

Woooaaaahhh. So now you’re thinking, “okay so she understands the fantasy that romance cultivates, and she’s actually CHOOSING to be ignorant?”

Naw my friend, I’m choosing to accept it.

I should never have to apologize for seeing the world better than it is, even if only a small part. Pessimists (or realists, as they like to call themselves) always scoff at this ability to construct hope out of any situation.

So here’s how it plays out. I’ll meet someone, go on a date (or two), watch a few pieces fall together, then watch as my mind runs wild.

Time and time again, this path has led to embarrassment. Then at the end of these attempted relationships (or whatever), I always kick myself for being so damn delusional. I mean, shouldn’t I know by now that I can’t construct a fulfilled future?


“I have fallen in love more times than I care to count with the highest potential of a man, rather than the man himself… Many times in romance, I have been a victim of my own optimism.” -Elizabeth Gilbert


It should be no surprise that I’ve endured a lot of heartache. Don’t get me wrong, I brought multitudes of it upon myself, but I can’t help that hope is part of my nature.

Let me paint a picture for those of you with the lingering crinkle in your brow: Every man that has entered my life (no matter how briefly) has occupied a room in my heart. We’ll decorate the walls with posters of concerts we attended, and stacked pillows into forts to play house as long as we want. No matter how much fun I think we’re having, at some point the fun comes to a screeching halt. When they’re gone, I stare confused at the ceiling, asking what I could’ve done to keep them occupied longer…

I analyze every detail, discounting myself and my worth. But then, like clockwork, something magical happens. The door bursts open to reveal yet another door! I giggle like a child and skip across the hall to invite my new suitor into the next room. But these walls are bare. Time to get decorating I suppose!

It’s gone on like this for as long as I can remember. These past few years it’s gotten to the point where I’m almost keen to ask “how long do you plan on staying?” before even opening the door. “No matter,” my inner dialogue plays, “it’s always nice to have company.”

Sounds kind of depressing huh? Well consider this. As obvious as this recurring situation may be, my heart has never quit on me. No, not even close. I will be at the end of my rope and convinced love isn’t real, when low and behold, here comes another door. No matter how many times my heart is broken, it will always be capable of more love. My heart knows no bounds. THAT is a superpower.

Don’t get me wrong, accepting this part of myself doesn’t mean I’m seeking opportunities to be broken. I mean, baseball players don’t throw themselves at 90 mph speed pitches just to get to first base (wow, that analogy is actually super applicable here).

No, this acceptance has made me stronger. Want to know why? Because now I know how it works. I’ve finally spent enough time tending to a heart covered in stitches and scars to understand it’s mechanics. My relentless optimism is not a hindrance to wholeness, it’s the key.

The world may not be as shiny as I see it, but that doesn’t mean a rose-colored view is wrong. What’s important is that hopeless romantics understand their perspective on reality, and use it to their advantage.

For me, it’s been in discovering that finding love doesn’t push you across the finish line. Living and loving with your whole heart does. And that, that you can do today! And it doesn’t take the approval of the schmuck across from you cheaping out on dates or plans. This is a power you can cultivate all on your own!

So decorate your hall with twinkling lights and scented candles! Open the doors and invite the gifts each room has given you. Guard yourself with strong walls, but never hide the key. This is your home, and no one can take that away from you.


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