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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Queen's U chapter.

Conversations surrounding love and relationships have changed with the progression of technology, altering our requirements in a relationship. Dating apps and social media have turned the discourse of romantic love into something very casual and invulnerable, lowering the expectations in relationships and making it more difficult to form genuine connections. Society has normalized nonchalant affection in relationships with discussions of “unrealistic expectations”, causing neglect in the level of effort and care needed to nurture a relationship. While some may have a skewed perception of romantic love, most individuals do not have “unrealistic expectations”, they just want someone who shows their affection in meaningful ways. This disconnect between expectations and reality has led many to settle into unfulfilling relationships, convinced they are asking for too much when in reality these “unrealistic” expectations should be the bare minimum.

Many ‘hopeless romantics’ I know have never been in a serious relationship or they have settled into relationships where they give more emotional effort than they receive. While the romance displayed in books, TV shows, and movies can perpetuate an exaggerated depiction of love, creating a disconnect in real-world dating, nearly all romance media shares a common element: The display of affection in subtle yet meaningful ways is something that is easily adaptable to real-world dating. The way that people show and receive affection is very important to the success of a relationship and having a mutual understanding of each other’s needs or expectations can make all the difference. Most people do not expect grand, over-the-top professions of love to feel cared for; instead, they want their partners to show up consistently in little ways.

Quiet and attentive love is about remembering small, seemingly insignificant details about your partner that demonstrate how much you listen to and value them as a person. Simple acts of affection show the thoughtfulness that is lacking in many modern relationships. It is about wanting someone to care enough to pay attention to the little things without you having to ask them to. A common example of this is never asking for flowers in a relationship but hoping to receive them anyways. The significance is not about the flowers themselves, but rather the thought put into choosing a bouquet you think your partner will like and the intention to surprise them with a small gesture of your affection. These bare minimum “unrealistic expectations” are not about expecting too much of your partner but needing to be shown they care for you actively through small demonstrations. It may be cliché to emphasize that it’s the little things that count, but personally, I believe it is the small consistent acts of affection that strengthen a relationship.

It is hard to generate a connection like this if it does not come naturally, because you cannot force attentiveness. A large part of this attentive display of love comes from doing things without being asked—if you have to ask for the small things, it removes the sentiment of caring enough to remember. This praise for thoughtful, silent love is not to diminish grand-gesture acts of love, which can also be very effective in displaying care for your partner. It is about having a balance between consistency and grand romance, and subtle gestures are often overlooked. Silent attentiveness deserves more recognition in discourse for love and relationships, and should be perceived more as a required minimum rather than a bonus. When determining your standards, remember: it is not unrealistic if you would do it for someone else!

Macayla Preeper

Queen's U '24

Queen's University | Fourth Year, Sociology Major Her Campus Co-Chair Executive