Are romance and love the same thing?

Love: I chose stability & against romance

Photo by Jeruel Sanchez / EyeEm
There are quite a few people out there who are afraid of committing to a partner - there could still be someone out there who would be a better fit for us. In the end, we all fall in love with people who are not perfect. 30-year-old Susan * lives in London and will soon get engaged to a man who doesn't even meet half the criteria that she actually sets for the perfect partner. Despite, he is the person with whom she can imagine growing old. We asked her to talk to us about fantasy in love and the reality of a partnership. And why commit yourself doesn't always mean that you could actually have something better. Christiana Bedei kept the minutes.
When I met my future fiancé five years ago, I didn't really waste a thought on him. And certainly not the two of us together. There was no magic between us, nor did I have butterflies in my stomach. We had the same circle of friends at university and flirted a bit with each other, but he was much more interested in me than I was in him. I just played around a bit and watched how things were developing and at some point we slept together.
To be honest, he wasn't exactly my type. He probably wouldn't have had a chance with me on a dating app, least of all with his serious nature and everything. In general, I was just 25 and looking for a partner who was the male version of myself. I imagined my future boyfriend and I would listen to the same music, go to the same events, and do things together all the time. This man was pretty much the opposite of that. To this day we honestly don't have that much in common.
Somehow, what started out as a harmless one-night stand naturally became a relationship I wasn't sure of for a long time. Many people around me asked me if I believed that the two of us was such a good idea. I couldn't really answer that at the time. And I was also terrified of hurting him because I wasn't sure I could reciprocate the feelings he felt for me.
Like all new and unexpected situations, this one was quite unsettling. But I was also glad that what we had didn't compare to the ups and downs of my last relationship, so I wanted to try. It felt comfortable, but at the same time incredibly normal. Where was that crazy, romantic head-over-head passion? Shouldn't love feel differently? Interestingly, while I was constantly questioning my feelings, I never questioned my expectations. For about a year I stressed myself with all these thoughts. But then I realized that while this wasn't the relationship I had imagined, it was the relationship I wanted. And that's still the case today. I'm not interested in looking for anything else, or looking for someone else. Because even if it's not super exciting all the time, what we have is enough. And we sincerely love each other.
Sure, our lives wouldn't be the right kind of romantic comedy, and I'm pretty sure some people out there will find us extremely boring, but we care for each other and treat each other with respect and honesty. It is not a problem for me that I have traded a little passion for support and have chosen someone who is there when I need them. For a long time I stopped chasing after any fantasies and sparks that would eventually disappear anyway. It is much more important to me to build a sustainable future with someone whom I trust and whom I can come home to in the evening and be myself. Even if I've had a bad day, looking tired, and feeling annoyed. But I had to learn that first. I had to actively retrain my brain and separate emotional roller coaster rides from real feelings.
In many relationships in my circle of friends there seems to be a constant ups and downs, eternal arguments, separations and reunions. Plus, in the age of the dating app, we all seem to be getting even more picky. I mean, these apps are based on the concept of filtering the people out of a pool of people who we are not convinced of at first sight. I understand that dating can be exciting, but I really don't feel like it. I didn't take the first guy who was interested in me just to stop looking. Still, I'm glad that now in my thirties I no longer have to spend the night or have strange dates with strangers. It's not that I feel pressure or hear a biological clock ticking, because I don't even want to have children. I just want to master my everyday life in peace and quiet, see my partner in the evening and go to sleep with him. That's all. And I'm ready to keep doing this for the rest of my life. Does that sound terribly average and maybe even unromantic? Well, we don't do particularly romantic things anyway.
We don't plan dates, nor do we buy expensive gifts for each other. In five years of relationship he has bought me flowers once or twice. When it's my birthday, I just tell him what I want, because that's easier. Maybe others find it funny that after all this time with me he still doesn't know what I could want, but we have very different tastes and, to be honest, I don't mind either. I know he loves me If you've been with someone long enough, you'll recognize their wrongdoings anyway, that's just the way it is.
The only question is: where is the limit? Do you know what makes you happy and what you need? I decided for stability and against a fairytale love. That's why I'm with someone who is also my best friend. Our relationship is full of trust, honesty and respect for one another, we feel enough love for one another to build a life together. This is where I should be and who I should be with. Anything else would be out of the question for me.
* Name changed by the editor