[Ad – this is a commissioned post.] What is romance to a woman or man – and especially to parents – who have been in a relationship for a long time? As we approach Valentine’s Day, I have to confess that after a decade together, Dan and I do little (if anything) to mark the day. It’s not that we don’t appreciate one another – in some ways it’s actually the opposite. Using a consumer-driven date in the calendar to direct us as to when we should celebrate the relationship which is pivotal to our lives and gave us our family seems so…contrived.
And it undermines what we have.
I may not do so in an overblown way, but I appreciate my husband every single day. I’ve mentioned a few times the mental health issues I’ve faced over the years and the demons I continue to fight – and I know I’m a nightmare to live with. When I was a fragile, broken girl, Dan saw me through the facade I work tirelessly to hide behind, and pieced me back together. I’m thankful for him every day.
What is Romance to a Woman?
The importance of romance in a relationship is indisputable, but what does romance actually look like for a woman who has little time to enjoy the frivolities of traditional romantic gestures?
Most of the time Dan knows what I need better than I do myself. He regularly comes home from work and sends me upstairs for a bath. That’s one of the single most beneficial things he could ever do for me and he doesn’t wait for Valentine’s! He also, from time to time and for no reason at all, surprises me with flowers or chocolates, just because. And he’s the best gift-giver on special occasions too.
So he absolutely can be romantic, but what means most to me is the time he gives me to take a breath and just be me. That’s what romance means to this woman.
As I sit writing this post, I’m in a bustling cafe and despite despising noise, I’m the most relaxed I’ve been all week: I love my girls fiercely but I need the time to fill my cup. When you’re a parent to young children (and particularly high needs, nursing toddlers), having an opportunity to switch off mentally from being Mum, and physically from being used as a climbing frame – that autonomy is the best present you can receive.
One of my favourite times of day is the twilight hour or two during which the house is still and silent when everybody is tucked up in bed and sleeping peacefully – except me. That’s my precious time to read.
Dan often reads for a while beside me too, but when he turns his light out I enjoy another hour or so of solitude. Usually, I lose myself in fiction; sometimes I need to work or catch up on messages from friends; occasionally I’ll be researching an interesting topic which has captured my attention in the news. I love reading, it’s my happy place.
The Romance of Reading
When I was approached by Readly I knew immediately that their product would be perfect for both Dan and I: a digital magazine subscription we can both use (up to five profiles per household). And though it may not be traditionally romantic, because of our mutual love of reading and typical lack of time, on-the-go reading is actually a very considerate gift for us.
One of the best features Readly offers is that you can download up to 500 magazines to be read offline – perfect for when you’re travelling. With over 650 UK titles and more than 3000 magazines, the options are extensive.
If, like us, you prefer to shun traditional hearts and flowers for Valentine’s Day, why not consider a truly thoughtful treat for your significant other: the gift of escapism, with a vast array of magazines to read?