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Hopeless Romantic: What It Means, 28 Signs You’re One & the Big Struggles

Worrying you might be a hopeless romantic? Learn what it is, how to go from hopeless to hopeful romantic, and overcome the biggest struggles of being one.

hopeless romantic

We often hear the term “hopeless romantic” and assume that it’s something cute and sentimental. In some ways it is, but when you break it down, you can easily see that a hopeless romantic will continually be unlucky in love.

Why? Because they simply expect too much from love and relationships. It’s also likely that they attract the wrong people and go all in when they should remain balanced.

If you consider yourself a hopeless romantic, don’t despair. Your open heart and love of all things hearts and flowers isn’t a negative trait. It shows that you’re a loving person and there’s never anything wrong with that.

But, you need to find a balance. [Read: Scary signs of codependency in your relationship]

What is a hopeless romantic?

Due to their hopeful nature, critics see the hopeless romantic’s indulgence in romance and positivity as a case of hopelessness. Their goals and expectations seem unrealistic in normal situations, but that doesn’t deter them from hoping that their dreams will come true, anyway.

It’s ironic how they’re so full of hope, yet they’re dubbed as hopeless, right? But true to form, a hopeless romantic won’t even let that get them down. The truth is, they believe that everyone is a hopeless romantic, at least at heart, anyway. So what does it really mean to be a hopeless romantic?

They are not just idealistic when it comes to romantic expressions of love, though. They also tend to have idealistic views about life in general. They see the world in rose-colored glasses. Hopeless romantics are innate and eternal optimists. No matter how grumpy or cynical they get, they always return to what their hearts and minds know – that the best is yet to come.

Cynics think of them as fools in love. They’re considered hopeless because it always seems like there’s no way that they can get their idea of a once-in-a-lifetime fairy tale ending that they’re hoping for, where they believe that one day they will live happily ever after. [Read: How to find love – the secret law of attraction]

Does this sound like you?

What does a hopeless romantic expect out of a relationship?

Love, and a lot of it.

Hopeless romantics have extremely high standards when it comes to romance. Some are content with simple expressions of love and gestures. While others prefer to raise the bar against other romantics by asking for something unique and performed with extreme effort.

It’s understandable that someone would ask for either of these. However, they both have one very important thing in common: there’s no guarantee that you’ll get it.

Sure, your romantic partner may be the type who goes for stuff like that, but there are plenty of other romantics who won’t get what they’re looking for. [Read: How to manage your expectations in a relationship]

Of course, we’re all familiar with a few common hopeless romantic gestures:

1. Sending flowers

2. Writing love poems

3. Creating mixtapes

4. Buying gifts for no special occasion [Read: 67 sweet yet small romantic gestures that show love in the biggest way]

Why it’s a red flag

Critics have a bit of a point, though. They’re not far off when they say some romantics are hopeless, because there are times when the search for true love doesn’t yield anything. Unfortunately, it’s their high expectations that might be to blame.

While they continue to look for “The One” and that one big gesture that can make or break their relationship, they’re overlooking the fact that “The One” may be a flawed individual who’s already in their life.

Hopeless romantics can, indeed, paint a pretty picture of the life they want, but they’re a bit lax on the concept of going out and getting it.

Remember, an epic romance doesn’t just fall from the sky. It’s planted in the ground and taken care of until it finally blooms. Sadly, the most hopeless of romantics can’t be convinced of that, especially when they’re already deep into their search for true love. [Read: How to find the one by changing the way you see things]

Why it’s a good thing

If you’re reading this as a hopeless romantic and wondering how you’re going to change your mindset, wait a second. There is a good side to all of this.

Another group of researchers decided to conduct a study on the results of having high standards in a relationship. According to the results, having high standards for a potential partner is a good thing, but only if you are both willing to work on achieving those standards.

The best part about being a hopeless romantic is that you’re probably a great catch. A hopeless romantic knows what they want and is usually willing to give just as much *and maybe even more* to the person they love. After all, there’s nothing wrong with desiring a fulfilling relationship with someone else.

And it’s not just their love interest. Their family, friends, and co-workers can often feel the seemingly endless supply of love and appreciation the hopeless romantic has to share. [Read: The types of love you’ll experience in your lifetime]

Is there a happily ever after for hopeless romantics?

It’s easy to actually envy and pity hopeless romantics at the same time. We can envy them because of their idealized view of relationships, which lets them look on the bright side and see the best in everyone and everything. They know what they want and they don’t compromise on their beliefs.

Unfortunately, that is also why we might also pity them. Some hopeless romantics don’t know when to stop searching for something unattainable. Because of the media’s portrayal of relationship destiny, a lot of hopeless romantics end up wishing for something pre-planned by someone else.

Hopeless romantics are looking in the right direction, but their hearts and minds can sometimes lead them down the wrong path.

You don’t get your happy ending in a straight line. You have to go through this extremely confusing maze of emotions and jump through the various obstacles that couples face. Only then will you be able to get your fairytale ending. [Read: Signs you’re compatible with the one you’re dating]

Warning signs you’re a hopeless romantic in a culture obsessed with hookups

We’ve broken down the struggle and delight of being a hopeless romantic, but let’s make it more personal now. Let’s talk about the challenges you’ve probably encountered as a hopeless romantic yourself.

If you don’t know if you’re a hopeless romantic, check out for these signs you might be one.

1. You constantly find yourself dating the wrong person

Remember the person introduced to you a few weeks ago? You initially found them to be very attractive, but they turned out to be a total jerk. As a hopeless romantic, finding real love seems to be your ideal goal.

But the silver lining here is that dating the wrong people teaches you what works and what doesn’t. [Read: 16 common relationship tips that actually ruin your love life]

2. You have an overly optimistic view of love

Perhaps you grew up watching Disney movies, it’s one big mistake every hopeless romantic makes early in life. But hopeless romantics always hold some sort of an ideal dream to strive toward.

Many hopeless romantics want their romance to be like Disney movies or even those cheesy romantic flicks. It rarely works out that way. Even so, they still choose to see the positive in relationships over the negative ones. [Read: Famous movies that teach really bad lessons about love]

3. Love becomes too much of an ideal and less of a reality

One of the most frustrating things about being a hopeless romantic is once you fall into a relationship, your ideals die altogether. While you tend to romanticize the situation you are in, you are blinded to the harsher truths of the relationship.

Many people perceive you as a martyr and call you foolish. Many hopeless romantics find themselves trapped in relationships that are either abusive or are clearly going nowhere because they stubbornly stick to their ideals. [Read: Does true love exist? Signs that might make you a believer]

4. You might dread the thought of dating

The dating game is a hard game to play especially when you find yourself to be a hopeless romantic. The rules of dating have changed so much that it’s super confusing.

What happens when the person you date turns hot and then suddenly cold, or disappears after just one date?

These days, more people want a no-strings-attached relationship than pursue a serious commitment. This conflicts with the hopeless romantic’s ideals who are all about serious relationships and commitment. [Read: How to get over dating anxiety]

5. You feel you have so much love to give that it scares you

When hopeless romantics find themselves in a new relationship, they’re the more affectionate ones in the union.

Hopeless romantics never run short of romantic gestures and sweet nothings. They do anything and give everything for the love of their lives. They give so much of themselves that they lose themselves in the process. [Read: Big reasons why loving someone too much actually kills the love]

6. You go through a period of being alone

After fighting yet another losing battle, hopeless romantics often experience a period of loneliness before deciding to get back into the game. It’s a repeating cycle that many hopeless romantics find themselves in.

7. You’re most often attracted to emotionally unavailable people

The attraction of a hopeless romantic to emotionally unavailable people is dangerous. It often leaves the more vulnerable hopeless romantic frustrated and scarred for life.

You might find yourselves fighting a losing battle trying to win the emotionally unavailable person’s affection, often to no avail. [Read: Love lessons I learned from a 7-year relationship]

8. You often develop feelings for almost anyone given your ideal love

They’re in love with the concept of love and find themselves head over heels for anyone they get close to or share a bond with. Oftentimes, these feelings are quiet and unrequited, and they fall in love fast and hard.

9. People think you’re picky

When it comes to the dating pool, many people often think hopeless romantics are rather picky. This is why many find the hopeless romantics to be too lofty with their ideals and have too high standards.

Many hopeless romantics often face a hard time choosing their dates because they already have this idea in their head which too often is out of touch with reality. [Read: How to stop obsessing about that one perfect date]

10. You refuse to give up on love

If there is one thing that drives hopeless romantics to stand up and try again, it is the concept and the ideal of finding genuine and lasting love.

Maybe a relationship you held dear failed and scarred you, but that does not mean you should give up on love altogether. Thus, they still believe in the idea of perfect romantic love. Hopeless romantics consider love to be far too precious of a thing to give up on.

11. Your romances ignite quickly and burn out fast

The hopeless romantic wants to jump past the “getting to know you” stage and straight into the “totally in love” stage. This can mean that romantics burst into flames quickly and then burn out just as fast. [Read: Relationship moving too fast? 19 signs and how to slow the hell down]

12. You believe in love at first sight

Most hopeless romantics are in love with the idea of someone falling in love at first sight. It’s the ideal romantic dream, isn’t it?

The truth is, love at first sight isn’t possible. You can fall in lust with someone at first sight, but it takes time to get to know someone and then fall in love.

13. You ignore red flags

Most hopeless romantics are so keen to be in love with someone and have that wonderful relationship they dream of that they’re willing to overlook red flags.

Being prone to falling for emotionally unavailable types doesn’t help with this issue. As such, you might find yourself willing to ignore any warning signs that things aren’t meant to be, just to say you’re in love. Remember, ignoring a problem won’t make it go away. [Read: 34 big relationship red flags that most people completely ignore early on]

14. You’re obsessed with all things romance

Whether it’s romance movies, novels, or couples’ influencers on social media, you adore it and you can’t get enough. You love feeding into the romantic narrative in your head.

The problem is that these types of media simply keep the unrealistic view of romance burning.

15. You often plan your wedding

As a hopeless romantic, it’s very likely that you’ve got a clear view in your head of what you want your wedding to look like. You might be nowhere near actually getting married, but you know what you want and how it’s going to be. [Read: Rushed relationship – 25 signs and fixes to slow down]

16. You lead with your emotions, rather than your head

As someone who is so emotionally led, they’re more likely to make emotionally-based decisions. It’s important to look at facts and logic when making choices.

While their heart might be telling them to do something they really like the sound of, it’s vital that they stop, assess reality, and make a balanced decision.

17. You tend to idolize your love interest

Most hopeless romantics tend to get their “one perfect partner” on a pedestal and overlook every negative trait they have. While it’s good to accept the good and bad about a person, you have to remember that everyone has a bad side. [Read: 21 secret signs of a bad relationship that signal a bad future ahead]

18. You adore small gestures of love from your partner

A thoughtful gesture, no matter how small, sets your heart alight and makes your day. This isn’t a bad thing since the small things really are the best, especially when they come from your partner.

However, when you don’t get these small gestures on a regular basis, it might lead you to think something is wrong. The reality is likely to be that nothing is wrong – romance can’t be a 24/7 thing.

19. You have a Martyr Complex

Martyr Complex is when you believe that in order to be rewarded in love, you have to suffer first. Perhaps your partner has cheated on you and while you know that you should probably leave, you decide to stick it out because you believe the good stuff will come.

The truth is that while love is hard, it shouldn’t hurt, and it should involve betrayal and true pain. [Read: Unreciprocated love – 25 ways to move on when love isn’t returned]

20. You spend all of your time with your partner

Hopeless romantics usually pour their entire being into their new partner. They lose themselves but they also lose their connections too.

Perhaps you choose to ignore your regular hobbies or spend less time with your friends.

21. Love bombing is a frequent occurrence

Hopeless romantic love to love bomb. This means that you do everything possible for your partner’s sake, simply because you want them to love you as much as possible. You also want to become the person they want you to be.

By reading that, you can see how it is unhealthy. [Read: Love bombing – 21 signs someone is manipulating you to fall hard in love]

22. You might feel lonely or incomplete when you’re single

When you’re not in a relationship, how do you feel? Probably a little lost, alone, or incomplete. This is a common issue that hopeless romantics get. They need a partner to feel complete.

23. You have an anxious attachment style

This type of attachment style is punctuated by a need for validation, attention, and affection. When you don’t get these things, you’re out of sorts and you may act negatively.

Basically, you need the love of another person to feel whole and it can lead you toward acting clingy and suffocating your partner. [Read: Attachment styles theory]

How to stop seeing through rose-colored glasses

While there is nothing wrong with having a love of all things romantic and wanting the best in your love life, you do have to find that key balance. If you believe you’re too into the whole hopeless romantic deal and you want to find a little even ground, it’s possible for you to do that.

However, you cannot simply change your ways overnight. Firstly, you need to understand how being a hopeless romantic can be a double-edged sword. It doesn’t mean you should change who you are or lose your faith in love.

But, it does mean becoming a little more realistic about relationships and finding love. [Read: How to find love and learn to be open to all that life has to offer]

1. Start being more observant

Start looking for red flags. This doesn’t mean always assuming the worst, but simply being more observant of what is going on around you. Ask yourself what you would tell a friend if they were seeing the same things.

2. Communicate with your partner

Communication makes the relationship stronger.

Sometimes we think we can read minds or we jump to conclusions. These are major problems that can cause a relationship to end prematurely.

Talk to your partner about how you feel and what’s going on. Be sure to listen to what they say and don’t just hear what you want to hear. [Read: How to communicate in a relationship]

3. Understand that relationships have phases

It’s easy to panic when the initial honeymoon phase ends and a more relaxed phase begins. This can cause a hopeless romantic to go into damage limitation mode.

It’s not possible to stay in that loved up bubble all the time. Long-term relationships go through stages and all of that is normal.

4. Remember that everyone loves in different ways

Just because you’re all about love and romance, that doesn’t mean your partner will be. Everyone has a different love language and you may simply need to look at how they express their love to you in different ways. [Read: Words of affirmation – how to use them and 20 examples to say it right]

5. See bumps in the road as learning curves

All relationships have problems and it’s perfectly normal but it doesn’t mean they’re doomed to fail. Whenever something doesn’t go your way, see it as an opportunity to learn the skills necessary to make the relationship last.

With a little time and effort, you can learn to strike the balance and move toward a hopefully romantic status instead.

[Read: When will I find love? 25 secrets that will help you find the one]

Perhaps the world needs more hopeless romantics to not give up on their ideals. Love is beautiful and scary, but finding love, the real kind, is worth the wait. 

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Vinod Srinivas Serai
Vin Serai
Vin Serai is the founder of LovePanky.com, and has delved deep into the working of love and relationships for almost two decades. Having dipped his feet in almo...