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Romance is confusing

It is a good thing that I am rooted in a marriage at this stage in my life, 'cause I'm not sure I'd be able to pull off a relationship from scratch at this point.

Too many contraditions about how men and women deal with one another, contradictions that I used to be blissfully ignorant to have surfaced in recent years. And I'm just enough of a curmudgeon that if I had to start over now, there'd be no serious dating with an eye toward settling down for a long time, if ever again.

Anyway, I'm rambling on 'cause the 2008 Harlequin Romance Report just came out. And the report says that while trust and honesty are considered must-have traits in a significant other by 41% of men and 51% of women, the same group surveyed admitted that they'd snooped in their significant other's stuff - like read his emails, read her text messages, and sifted through old letters they'd saved from past relationships.

So you must have honesty, but you don't mind digging through your man or woman's crap to look for dirt? Hmmm.

There's more. Sixty-three percent of men and women said that lying sometimes is OK, depending on circumstances. I'm less cynical about that revelation though, 'cause you just have to be an idiot if your fat wife asks you if she's fat and you say yes. For the record, Mrs. B is just as slim and fit now as she was when we met. So no, she's never asked me that question. She has asked me about meals, outfits, and hairdos before...and I've told the truth every time. Hee hee hee! But seriously, no woman can tell me with a straight face that when your shy, clumsy boyfriend reluctantly joins you on the dance floor and then asks if he's doing OK you tell him no. You tell him he's more footloose than Kevin Bacon and more twinkel-toed than John Travolta, and you tell that lie with a smile.

Anyway, the report also said that most adults - 73% of women and 72% of men - believe that confession is romantic.

That one shocks me. Yeah, yeah, my grandmother used to say that confession was good for the soul. I get the spiritual and philosophical logic behind that phrase. But when you throw romance in the mix, people, at least guys, tend not to think with their, um, minds. And speaking for guys...other guys, not me, some folks will lie until their pants are literally on fire in order to preserve a sexual liaison. Why ruin potential boom-chicka-wah-wah with a confession of past bad behavior? According to the report, most people who said confession was a romantic thing to do, said it simply made them feel better about themselves. I'm impressed. Conscience is more powerful than desire.

Anyway, for the few folks who regretted confessing, their reasons were that their confessions (to having more past sexual partners than previously admitted, to being attracted to another person, to revealing way too much detail about a past relationship, and to confessing under the influence of booze) hurt their partners' feelings.

This is all too much work. Glad I'm married.


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I'm much, much older than you and just started dating again. You're right, it's a lot of work and some days I just don't think it's worth it. But then at other times............

Say it

My honey and I can honestly say we trust the other person to snoop. We forget to put stuff on the calendar, or that we've made appts, signed the kids up for something, pta meetings... you name it, we forget it and rely on the other to find it!

James B.

Jack, I admire your fortitude. Still don't know if I could do it. Of course, I shouldn't even speculate along those lines 'cause I'm content.

Say It, that's different. That's actually kind of cool what you guys do, 'cause clearly you both know each other so well that you know the other can be forgetful. So you check behind one another. But I'll bet neither of you snoops with the intention of digging up dirt.

The Sarcasticynic

James, you and I must be reading different reports. You say, "the report also said that most adults - 73% of women and 72% of men - believe that confession is romantic."

But the report, under the heading "Confessions are romantic," states, "72% of men and 73% of women actually felt better after making a confession."

It seems to me that the romanticism of "feeling better after making a confession" is another Harlequin fantasy.

Karmyn R

Doesn't every relationship come to a point where they bring up the "how many have you been with" question? By the time you are married - that question just doesn't matter anymore.

So - I am assuming that this survey is about un-married couples, because if you need to be snooping in your marriage then there is a trust-issue going on.

Say It

lol, we do not snoop to dig up dirt. There is plenty to mock without doing that!!

years ago I sent my honey to CA to see his college sweetheart after some they refound each other through their alumni. All my girls said I was insane. I figured, if he had it in him to be a cheater, lets get it over with and move on. And if he just needed to put old skeletons to rest, let him. She died of cancer within the year. That skeleton is sleeping tight. :)


Confession is romantic??? Hmmm, it certainly feels cleansing, but I'm gonna have to disagree about romantic.

James B.

Sarc, I don't know. I don't see how confessing could be romantic, 'cause it could get you smacked. Then again you may be in to getting smacked, so that could be romantic. But I digress. I get the romantic angle, I think, 'cause maybe the person you're confessing to will find you sexier 'cause in the interest of doing the right thin, you risked your relationship to tell the truth.

Karmyn, I got the impression it was aimed at the unmarried also. I agree with you, for the same reasons. But I didn't see that whole unmarried thing confirmed anywhere in the report's synopsis.

Say It, I gotta give it to you. That's trust to give your spouse your blessing for him to go catch up with an old flame. And considering her health issue, very magnanimous of you too.

Los, I agree with you. I just don't see the romance in it. I see the cleansing feeling, but not the romance, unless it involves a make-up session. But see my comment to Sarcasticynic for my theory on why the Harlequin folks might've gleaned romance from the survey respondents' answers.


My wife and I had this discussion before we got married. We agreed to try to be faithful to each other. We also admitted that we were human, and that it was better to not let the other know and just be discrete if it had to be. We simply decided not to hurt each other, and we extended that to fighting aout issues and not trying to verbally club each other to death. The only unreasonable requirement was made by me. I still insist that I get to predecease her since she has a brother and sisters. I'm holding her to that too. I have NO plans to date again.

James B.

Monty, interesting agreement you guys have - I mean on not letting the other know in the event of an indescretion. As for your requirement about predeceasing your wife, it made me chuckle, 'cause my parents have been bickering over that one for years. I still don't think they've agreed on who gets to "leave" first.


no way you read the 2008 Harlequin Romance Report. (I didn't even know there was such a thing.)

James B.

Pamela, I am a journalist. And as such I sacrifice myself for the reading public. Sometimes I sacrifice my torso, other times my fingers through excess typing. This time I sacrificed my eyes and my brain. I read it. Not every single page. But I read much of it, till my brain started trickling out of my ears.


You are so lucky you don't have to date nowadays. Seems honesty is nothing more than a bargaining chip in a big game of power play, at least among the women I dated. Maybe I just have bad choosing skills.


I would be so lost if I had to be in the dating scene again. Altho after over 25 with the same man, if there were to ever be another (and I HOPE and PRAY not) there wouldn't be much to confess to. Married, kids, grandson. No real serious drama and liking it that way.
As a side note: The concert was sooooo much fun!!!! We had a blast.

Hope you and the Mrs. have a nice holiday weekend. Peace.

James B.

Dre, I feel your pain. I made horrible choices, and then finally just lucked out one of those times. Seriously, if not for that stroke of luck I'd have quit dating already. I wouldn't have quit my pursuit of females, but I'd damned sure have quit dating. My choices used to be so bad, that my buddies jokingly called me "Captain Save a..." from the song of the same name.

Mary, I hear ya. I'm not as far along in the marriage thing. But the results of that Harlequin study were crazy to me. Every question/answer was contradictory to the next!


Confession is romantic? I call bullshit. That sounds like one of those answers people put on surveys or give to researchers because they think it's the 'right' thing to say, not because it's the truth.

The word "confession" by definition implies a revelation the speaker isn't proud of, something s/he needs forgiveness for. Why give someone a weapon to use later? Because that's what always happens -- confessions provide ammunition when the relationship goes sour.

Nuh uh. My past is in my past. Unless it affects my/our present, that's where it's staying.

I'm firmly in the camp of "don't ask 'cause I ain't tellin'."

And don't even get me started on the 'numbers' conversation.




But the results of that Harlequin study were crazy to me. Every question/answer was contradictory to the next!

Unfortunately that seems to be how too many people think these days - if they think at all. Contradictory ideas all held in the same head. Mine would explode!

As for Confession being 'Romantic'. Hah! Call me old-fashioned but it seems much more romantic to me to stick with the one person, exclusively. Or at least one at a time!

Having been out of the 'dating game' for 30 years (27 of 'em married) I hope never to have to re-enter it.

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