It's been 10 whole years since The Notebook hit theaters and made people expect way more romance in their lives than what the were getting. To be fair, a lot of its main fan base was still in high school, maybe even junior high, when it came out, so anything was more romantic than awkwardly holding sweating hands through the hallway.
But now you have a great resource to consult for what a significant other would want, hidden in this very DVD, or LaserDisc. Don't waste your time trying to figure out a person based on their individuality and personality, it's all right here, buddy: Ryan Gosling's Guide to Saving Your Relationship: The Notebook Edition.
Change everything about yourself.
Face it, finding someone to love you for who you are is a pretty big feat. You showing your true colors isn't quite as successful as a male peacock opening his tail up in majestic glory; it's more like trying to show her your Magic the Gathering battle deck. Fake it till you make it.
If you're going to say something, if you just can't stop it from coming out of your mouth, and you feel the instant regret drain your face of color and a knot of fear form in your stomach, apologize. Just apologize and apologize forever. Let "I'm sorry," become the two most important words in your vocabulary. Keep them locked and loaded behind your teeth so you can shoot them out at 681 mph.
She is going to say weird stuff. Go with it.
If she says she's a bird, just say you are, too. Having things in common and agreeing on things is a wonderful strength in a relationship. Obviously if she wants to start dressing up as a bird, or like, explore the furry world, go to conventions, and maybe hook up in a full fursona costume, you've got to ask yourself how far you're willing to go.
"If you're into it, I'm into it."
Threaten certain death until she agrees to continue dating you.
"Never let go," is from Titanic, but it fits here too. Never let go of your relationship, or the bar that your delicate flesh-body is hanging from.
Say those three words.
Wait, no, not those three words.
"Improbable" relationships are romantic, but it's probably not that big of a deal.
He was a heterosexual white Christian male, she was a heterosexual white Christian female, and their struggles were insurmountable. Just kidding, literally nobody in society will say those two being together is sinful or an abomination. Like, chill out. Opposite sides of the tracks do not a star-crossed love make. Unless it's whities like Romeo and Juliet, your cousins probably aren't trying to kill one another. Worse comes to worst, your in-laws have nothing to say at Christmas dinner.
Fight all the time.
You know how you think your upstairs neighbors just really need to break up already? They throw plates, they curse, they fight with each other at all hours of the night—they're basically just awful human beings. Truth is, they're the most in love. If you aren't fighting, constantly, with your significant other, how can they know that you care? Your neighbors, who you have often called the police on, are the greatest love story ever told.
Ask her to dance.
Just all the time. Constantly. Especially when there's no music. Ask her to dance when she's happy, interrupt her important final project presentation that she needs to ace to get her degree, ask her to dance when she's mad at you, when she's consoling a coworker over the loss of a family member, when she's breaking up with you—just keep asking her to dance. It's so romantic.
It's never over. Ever.
You guys will never break up. It's never over. She's acting like she's moved on but you know she's just making your love story more interesting. Something to tell the kids. Sure, she set a wedding date with another guy, but deep down you know you're still together. You show up at her work, outside her apartment, and you always seem to know where she's going shopping with her friends. You even started working weekends at her favorite coffee shop. You tell your parents that she's busy with work and can't come to family dinners. It's love!
Nothing says romance like dying at exactly the same time.
Spoiler alert, they do, years later. And if you don't cry about that, you're probably heartless. But, anyway, planning a same-time death with your girlfriend is a great bonding experience. Wait, is that a suicide pact? Um...
Hope Schreiber is a freelance writer and she did, like a real human lady and not an intergalactic space alien, cry for 30 minutes after watching The Notebook. She tweets here.
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