What exactly is a hopeless romantic, and should you worry if you are one?
Is it always a terrible thing to be a hopeless romantic? It doesn’t seem so bad to be romantic, and a lot of people like a little romance in their lives, so when does romance go from being loving to hopeless?
There’s a fine line between being a romantic and being a hopeless romantic. It’s always good to have a sense of reality, no matter how much you believe in love.
Being a romantic might be a good thing, but there’s a reason a hopeless romantic has that label.
So, if you are a hopeless romantic, should you be concerned? Is there anything you can do to change the way you feel?
If you aren’t sure, keep reading to find out if you really are a hopeless romantic or how to spot one, and whether it’s something to be worried about or not.
What is a hopeless romantic?
A hopeless romantic is someone who believes in love above all else. They are unshakable in their belief that love is out there for everyone, and that they just haven’t found it for themselves yet.
No matter what struggles a hopeless romantic might go through in their pursuit of love or how many relationship setbacks they might endure, they’re certain that their fairy-tale prince or princess is out there somewhere, just waiting to fall in love with them.
But they aren’t looking for just any relationship—they’re looking for “the one,” the type of relationship romance novels are made of and rom-coms are inspired by.
They live their life searching for their perfect match while daydreaming about what their happily-ever-after will look like.
They also fall in love hard and fast. They want candles and roses, love knots and compliments, because they’re a hopeless romantic at heart.
16 Signs Of A Hopeless Romantic
Now you know what a hopeless romantic is, but how do you know if you are one or if you’ve come across someone who is?
Read on for some of the obvious signs that you’ve got a hopeless romantic in your life, or if you need some help realizing that it’s you.
1. They stay in one-sided relationships.
A hopeless romantic refuses to believe that their relationship might not be everything they want it to be.
Because of this, they’re willing to go the extra mile to try to stay with someone even though the relationship isn’t right for them.
They’ll be the one taking the weight of the relationship on their shoulders, putting in the effort to meet all their partner’s needs, even if they don’t get the same treatment in return.
The fact that their partner doesn’t seem to be interested in creating an equal relationship isn’t a worry for a hopeless romantic if they believe this is the person for them. Instead, it’s just a sign to them that they need to do more to keep their partner interested.
They might be the one giving everything to keep the spark alive, but from their partner’s and an onlooker’s perspective, they’re fighting a losing battle in a one-sided relationship.
They might eventually see that, against all their beliefs, this isn’t the relationship they thought it would be, but until then, they’ll do everything they can to hold it together.
2. They ignore red flags.
Breakups don’t factor into the plans of a hopeless romantic. They don’t want to think that the person they’re with isn’t everything they thought they were and that they aren’t destined to be together like they’d hoped.
That’s why a hopeless romantic will generally ignore any red flags from their partner and make excuses for their partner’s bad behavior.
They don’t want to believe that their dream of a perfect relationship isn’t their reality, and they’ll stay in a bad relationship far too long before they give in to the truth.
3. They get caught up in the romance.
Romance—it’s the first thing a hopeless romantic thinks about when it comes to a relationship.
A hopeless romantic isn’t thinking about the practicality of being with someone or even about what it could be like to be with a person long term.
They only care about how they’re feeling in the moment and they allow themselves to get caught up in the romance and passion of it all.
Practicality is the death of romance. A hopeless romantic wants candlelight dinners, red roses in the bedroom, and Prince Charming riding in on his white horse.
They aren’t going to listen if you tell them to be realistic or to follow their head rather than their heart. They’re too busy being won over by love, affection, and above all passion—they won’t focus on anything else.
4. They have impossibly high standards.
A hopeless romantic will make excuses for their partner while they try to keep the relationship together, but that doesn’t mean their partner has it easy.
A hopeless romantic may ignore red flags, but they also have the highest standards when it comes to being shown love and affection.
Some might say they expect too much from a partner, setting standards that are impossible for most people to live up to and therefore making it harder to find their perfect match.
The most important thing to them is to be wooed and to live out their fantasy of being in an all-consuming, passionate relationship.
They want to live the stuff of fairy tales, and they expect their partner to consistently shower them with displays of love and affection, with one big romantic gesture never being enough.
5. They have intense relationships.
When romance is your main focus, a relationship can get very intense, very quickly.
A hopeless romantic will read into every gesture, looking for it to mean something and be a sign that this relationship offers true love.
You’ll catch them daydreaming about their relationship, letting their imagination run wild, and getting overly attached very quickly because of it.
They want the Hollywood love story—they don’t want to wait around for a relationship to develop at its own natural pace.
They want the drama and excitement they think comes with finding their soulmate, making any relationship they get into intense for everyone involved.
6. They don’t have relationships that last.
The intensity a hopeless romantic brings to their love life means that their relationships often can’t stand the test of time.
They fall in love fast and expect a lot from their partner in terms of showing affection. For a lot of people, this might be too much to handle.
Not everyone can take the intensity of a hopeless romantic, which means it’s not easy for them to have long-term relationships.
Even when they do find a partner, they tend to ignore signs that the relationship is faltering, rather than work through any issues.
If they ignore problems for too long, the relationship will be unsalvageable, and the couple will inevitably part ways.
Love alone is not enough to make a relationship work, and by ignoring the practicalities of keeping a relationship together, a hopeless romantic will either find themselves with the wrong person or in a partnership that doesn’t have the future they were hoping for.
7. They think they must suffer for love.
What’s more romantic than suffering for the person you love? It’s the storyline we see in so many rom-coms: the heartbroken lover, martyring themselves for the person they love.
Hopeless romantics see martyrdom as the ultimate show of devotion and are ready to be the one to suffer for the sake of love.
That doesn’t mean they’d stay in a relationship where they’d actually get hurt, but they’ll naturally be willing to give up more than most to keep their relationship together.
They won’t think rationally about a situation, and they aren’t always interested in building an equal partnership. For the sake of their fairy-tale ending, they’re willing to put their needs aside if it means they’ll have the happily-ever-after they want so badly.
8. They daydream about their relationship.
Hopeless romantics are obsessed with the fantasy of a romantic relationship. It’s what takes up most of their time and energy as they look for any opportunity to turn meeting someone into something more.
They love to dream about the possibility of meeting their soulmate, and if they allow their imagination to run free, the smallest gesture can turn into the beginning of a perfect love story.
For a hopeless romantic, any situation could be the setting of their meet-cute. But if they don’t come across anyone fitting their criteria, then you’ll find them taking the opportunity to imagine what it would be like if they did.
If their fairy-tale romance isn’t happening yet in real life, then their daydreaming will have to do until it does.
9. They form attachments quickly.
Because hopeless romantics are unshakable in their quest for love, and they tend to fantasize about their relationship, they’ll often form strong attachments very quickly.
They’re so ready to fall in love that it doesn’t take much for them to fall for anyone, hoping this is the start of the romance they know they’re destined for.
Forming attachments so quickly can mean that the relationship burns out just as fast. When the honeymoon phase ends, their partner may realize they aren’t on the same page or feel that things are moving too quickly for them to commit the way a hopeless romantic expects them to.
10. They idealize their partner.
A hopeless romantic will often imagine their partner to be more of a perfect fit for them than they really are.
When a relationship moves too quickly, there isn’t enough time for a couple to get to know one another.
The downside of a hopeless romantic daydreaming about the perfect relationship can be that they form a stronger attachment to who they want their partner to be rather than who the person really is.
Their fantasies might be based on someone real, but they won’t take into account the fact that this person has faults and opinions of their own.
In an attempt to mold the relationship into the one they want, a hopeless romantic will start convincing themselves that their partner is the person that they imagine them to be. They’ll ignore the signs that suggest otherwise and focus only on the positives of their relationship.
They’ll idealize their partner, believing that they can do no wrong, until they realize that, in reality, their partner isn’t living up to their expectations.
11. They are driven by their emotions.
For a hopeless romantic, life is not about following their head—it’s about following their heart.
They don’t want to believe in rationality or practicality; they want to be overcome with emotion and passion, and they put their faith in love.
It’s much more romantic to say that you followed your heart—after all, no famous love story ever began with a person weighing up the pros and cons of a relationship.
While a hopeless romantic will quickly follow their heart and their emotions into a relationship, they’ll leave one just as fast.
If they aren’t getting the fairy tale they expected from their partner, they won’t think rationally and consider giving the relationship more time. Instead, they’ll cut their losses and move on to find their next Mr. or Mrs. Right.
12. They are optimistic about love.
A hopeless romantic isn’t the type of person to get down if they haven’t found “the one” just yet.
They are eternal optimists when it comes to love. They trust that their soulmate is out there waiting to find them, and they just haven’t met them yet.
Their whole life is centered around finding their true match. Any bumps along the way will just add to the romance of their love story when they finally do find “the one.”
They are true believers in love and that there is one person out there destined for them. They trust that nothing will keep them from finding love, so there’s no need to give up on it.
They may be heartbroken after a breakup or frustrated by not having met their match yet, but they have the patience to wait. Their belief that one day they will find love is strong enough to keep them going.
13. They prioritize love over everything else.
Love, for a hopeless romantic, tops the list when they’re looking at qualities in a relationship.
Unless there’s that romantic spark and they’re being swept off their feet, then the relationship is a no-go.
A hopeless romantic doesn’t believe a relationship can exist without love. For the rest of us, as much as we might be looking for love, we might also be willing to wait for that affection and sexual attraction to grow if everything else about our partner aligns with what we were hoping for.
There might not be that magnetic pull to someone right away, but you’ll still give them a chance if they make you happy in other ways, and then love might start to develop.
For a hopeless romantic, love and passion come first. If they aren’t feeling the romance, no matter how much of a catch someone might be and how much potential there might be for a relationship to turn into something wonderful, they won’t wait around to find out what could flourish.
14. They believe in love at first sight.
What’s more romantic than locking eyes with someone across a room and knowing, in that second, that they are the person for you?
It’s a common theme in romances, and hopeless romantics believe it could happen to them at any moment too.
For most people, love at first sight is a sweet idea that should be left in fiction rather than looked for in their every day. For many, love isn’t something that can just be felt instantly; it needs time to develop as you get to know a person and become more emotionally open to them.
With a hopeless romantic, love at first sight is the pinnacle of the romantic meeting. They believe that when it’s right with someone, you know it, making love at first sight a tangible reality.
15. They struggle to respect boundaries.
You may be able to tell that you’re around a hopeless romantic by the way they struggle to maintain boundaries in a relationship.
They won’t be disrespectful of their partner’s space on purpose, but they’re just so in love that they want to be with their partner all the time.
They don’t want separate “me time”; their favorite way to spend their time is together with their partner.
They see no problem in knowing everything about their partner’s life or having access to everything they do because they’re willing to open up their lives in the same way.
In their eyes, they’ve met their other half, and they see no reason for space from each other or personal boundaries. They believe what’s mine is yours and that any time spent together is always better than time spent apart.
This can be intense for a partner of a hopeless romantic, and although nothing is meant in a controlling or malicious way, their expectation to be involved in every aspect of your life can be too much for some to handle.
16. They think they need a relationship to be happy.
A lot of people grow up expecting to be in a relationship eventually, but for some, it just doesn’t happen.
It could be that they’ve struggled to make past relationships work or a bad breakup has put them off trying again with someone new. For a variety of reasons, some people find that being happy and single is preferable to being in a relationship.
For a hopeless romantic, this isn’t an option. Their true happiness relies on finding a partner. In fact, it’s intrinsically linked with being in a relationship, and they don’t believe they’ll be complete without one.
A relationship is all they think about and all they want for themselves because they believe it’s their destiny to be with someone they love.
They don’t want to create a happy single life for themselves—they want to find their perfect match. Their unshakable belief that “the one” is out there somewhere means that they won’t give up trying to find them anytime soon.
Is it unhealthy to be a hopeless romantic?
If you think you are a hopeless romantic or know someone who is, should you be worried about it?
“Hopeless” doesn’t sound like it’s a good thing, but you can’t always choose how you see the world, and it’s not always easy to change your way of thinking.
As with most things, moderation is key. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying romance and believing in love. Both can make life more exciting and enriching, especially when you find the right person to share these experiences with and spoil with romantic gestures.
But pinning all your hopes on finding your soulmate and setting your expectations so high that they’re impossible for any partner to meet will cause more harm than good to your dating life.
Be romantic, but be mindful too. Think about how other people might receive your attention and what their expectations of a relationship might be.
Relationships are mostly about compromise, so as much as your partner loves you and enjoys being with you, they might just need you to cool off the romance and give them some space from time to time.
As a hopeless romantic, when your actions are mostly driven by your emotions, try to take a breath and think before you say or do something that you could regret. You can still be spontaneous, but learn to recognize when it’s time to dive in and when it could be better to hang back.
Being a hopeless romantic only becomes unhealthy when it damages yourself or your relationships. The minute your attention becomes overwhelming for a partner, or you recognize that you’re blocking your own happiness because you don’t ever give a “normal” relationship a chance, then your predisposition to romance becomes a roadblock to your future happiness.
You can be romantic without being hopeless. Try to recognize when you’re getting too caught up in your imagination and unrealistic expectations, then find a way to ground yourself.
It might be that you remind yourself of everything great about the person you’re dating, even if they aren’t a prince from a fairy tale. It could also mean giving yourself a wake-up call: maybe the person you think you like seems more alive to you in your head than in real life.
Don’t give up your life for love, but don’t give up on romance either. Remember that there’s more to life than endlessly searching for a partner, and try your best to focus on the “romantic” part of life and less on the “hopeless” part.