When you are single and dating, and meeting a plethora of people that, quite frankly, make you all but give up on humanity, it’s easy at times to believe that the ideal person for you may not exist. I speak to so many  women – all amazing in their own way – who believe that love and romance are only the stuff of fairy tales or Hollywood rom-coms. (I admit at times my life has resembled Bridget Jones’s Diary… and He’s just not that into you…but whose life hasn’t? ).

 Every now and then however, we are reminded that these things are not the stuff of folk lore and that true love can come knocking when you least expect. 

I have a beautiful friend that I’ve known from childhood – beautiful in mind, body and spirit – who like many of us on the other side of 40 has had her shares of romantic ups and downs. An 18 year marriage that ended after an affair (him, not her) left such an indelible mark. How can such a thing not? 

She, like most of us finding ourselves suddenly single, eventually started dating. It’s hard to risk your heart but if you don’t take chances, how will you ever know love?

Fast forward beyond loves lived and list, to now. She ended a relationship with someone who simply couldn’t support her through a very life changing and traumatic time. All the energy she could muster was needed to nurture her own soul whilst she was grieving. 

I’m a huge believer in fate. Only weeks after finding the strength to end a relationship that was deminishing her, someone contacted her via Facebook when her face kept cropping up under “people you might know”. (Awhile ago I wrote in a post that I didn’t know any couples that met via FB though I strongly suspected people were hooking up on FB…Now I stand corrected). 

So what started as a random invitation to dinner quickly evolved into a lovely, mutual, nurturing  relationship. They enjoy spending time together, they talk at length about anything and everything. Seriously – they talk for hours. They laugh. All the time. He’s interested in all aspects of her life and vice versa. 

If though you were in any doubt that good men are out there or that romance exists, he did this. He called her up and said “pack an overnight bag honey for the weekend. I’m taking you somewhere”. 

As we sipped Expresso martinis, she explained that she had not one clue as to what was happening but she had excitedly packed her bag.  He picked her up (and has a latte waiting in the car. It’s the little things that let us know they care) and took her to a five star hotel in Melbourne. Arriving before check in time, he had already booked her a full body massage and treatment in the day spa. (Oh my god! That in itself would have been incredible!). When she emerged from this glorious feast of indulgence, her skin tingling, he took her to lunch where they ate seafood and drank champagne. 

 After they checked in (I hope they had wild sex right then and there but totally forgot to ask that!), they got ready for a night out. She had no idea where they were going.  He took her to a Cabernet show where they drank and ate, laughed and kissed. Sigh and swoon. It’s the amount of thought and effort that went into this weekend away that is so touching. She didn’t have to think of anything beyond packing that bag. He wanted to spoil her and show her how amazing he feels she is. 

This beautiful woman deserves so much love and romance, kindness and care, and in he walked. Straight into her life at a time when she certainly wasn’t expecting it. Or looking for it. It’s all just clicked into place. It’s easy. She’s falling in love and feels safe that His heart is on the same page and they value each other. She’s in no hurry and not stressing about the future, because she feels safe that there is one. It just feels right. 

 I have another friend whom I adore that recently fell in love with someone she actually wasn’t sure initially was the one. They both were guarding their hearts when they met. Interestingly both were from similar traditional and conservative European backgrounds. 

She wasn’t sure he was her type. He wasn’t sure she’d be open to the idea of starting a family. She was outgoing, spiritual and larger than life. He was far more conservative and quiet. Still, the dates went from one to the next. Then it happened. This gorgeous diva of a woman went to a party with him, where she met many of his adoring friends, and he did something quite unexpected. 

This quiet Greek man walked onto the dance floor and damn! It turns out he could bust a move. For her it was the light bulb moment. Not because he could dance but because she saw in him a zest for life, a sense of his own self, and the ability to just let go and have fun.  

They haven’t looked back. Four months later they are now planning to move in together. They have met each other’s traditional Greek parents and she blushes when she speaks of him. It’s beautiful. Though divorced and single for some time, she sees a future with this lovely man. She sees the possibility of marriage and a family. He tells her he sees the same future.   He cooks for her and she cleans for him. They buy each other presents. They are both thoughtful and considerate. They surprise one another. It’s easy and beautiful. She has let down her guard and let him in. They have both fully embraced the possibilities of a life shared together. They banter about a big fat Greek wedding and  a honeymoon in The mother country.  

They make each other laugh. They’ve embraced each other friends and family. He consistently sends her adoring text messages throughout the day, and she him. They talk on the phone. They are affectionate with each other, alone and in public. 

 It’s all the small things that won her over. He listens, and asks questions about her day.  He spends time with her niece and nephew who mean the world to her. He makes her breakfast or runs a bath after a long day.  He looks lovingly into her eyes when they make love and connects with her both emotionally and physically which has allowed her to feel secure where before she would have run.   It has, she says, all just felt so easy. So right. She hadn’t felt that with anyone else. He treats her like a goddess and in return, she treats him like a king.  They both feel safe in the knowledge that they will catch each other should the other fall. 

My heart is warmed by these amazing and recent examples of love and romance. It’s easy to be cynical sometimes in life, especially when writing about tales of on line dating disasters in a world of crazy technology where human interaction seems secondary. 

Romance is for a lot of women about feeling valued, understood and cared about. Though some women say they don’t care about romance, I don’t know any that are impervious to it. We all like to feel appreciated, thought about and worthy of someone else’s time and consideration (this goes for guys too!). 

Inherently a lot of women are givers or nurturers. So when someone we love steps outside of the ordinary to surprise, or instigate a moment of romance, it’s a beautiful thing. 

It’s not always grand gestures. It could be as simple as buying her a latte and the paper on a cold morning or cleaning the house or changing the sheets when she’s been working her arse off. It could be cooking dinner and pouring her a glass of wine. Telling her you appreciate the things she does. Telling her that you think she’s hot when she wears this, or that. Light some candles – give her a massage, or a foot rub.    Sure it could also be buying her a gift “just because” rather than a special occasion. Knowing what perfume she wears, or what her favourite flowers are says you care about her. 

Surprising her with tickets to a theatre show or gold class tickets or a hotel suite when she least expects it. It could be taking he away for a weekend which tells her you value time with her, that you want to laugh and talk with her, and get naked with her. 

It could be a surprise dinner which ends with salacious kisses in laneways. 

I’m a romantic. I admit it. I, for example,  for Valentine’s Day spent many days writing little notes about what I loved about the producer. I wrote them on pink post-it notes which I then arranged on our bathroom mirror in the shape of a heart. Each day he read one or two and took them down. I wrote so many that it look some time but every day he was reminded of what I valued about him, loved about him and what I thought was special about him.  We are all deserving of love and a little bit of romance. It’s good for the soul and fills the heart. Life is short as it sadly is all too eager to show us. Romancing the person you love requires some thought and effort but not too much. It’s really just saying “in this moment it’s all about you”. 

Sometimes when you least expect it, true romance and love may just find you as it has my beautiful friends.