What women really want for Valentines Day

Holding red roses and engagement ring. Romance. Proposal. Generic image.
Holding red roses and engagement ring. Romance. Proposal. Generic image.

HOLD her hand. Run her a bath. Share your umbrella. Grand romantic gestures have their place, but these are the little things that keep romance alive.

A survey has found most women yearn for more romance, but it's not the long-stemmed roses on Valentines' Day or a balcony serenade that they have in mind.

It is little things such as being cooked a meal, leaving the veranda light on if they're out late, or being reminded of a happy memory of a time together.

But for most, the romance drains from the gesture if it involves social media, so beware of posting a romantic picture or wishing partners a happy Valentine's Day online.

The survey respondents were experts in romance - all 1000-odd were Mills and Boon readers, and 85 per cent were women - and almost all wanted more of it in their lives.

Anne Hollonds, who has decades of experience in relationship counselling, said small, daily acts of romance made marriages stronger than an annual grand gesture.

Research has found couples that focus on small, positive interactions, such as a kiss when they farewell and greet each other, are more likely to have strong marriages.

"It's the small interactions, how you talk to each other, how you acknowledge each other," she said.

"The small things do matter, and we need to pay attention. If we know we have had some negative interactions lately, we need to shift the vibe a bit, and make the effort."

Ms Hollonds particularly liked the example of leaving the porch light on. "It shows that the person is not just thinking about themselves, they are thinking about you.

Clare Connelly is a romantic novelist for Dare, published by Mills & Boon. Picture by Matt Turner.
Clare Connelly is a romantic novelist for Dare, published by Mills & Boon. Picture by Matt Turner.

"They are putting themselves in your shoes. If they are prepared to do that, then it's symbolic of other things they are doing."

The research was released by publishers Mills & Boon, who are known internationally for their romantic fiction, to mark the release of their new DARE range of novels.

They feature more confident women and raunchier scenes, but love is still at the heart of it, said publishing executive Jo Grant.

"Super-sexy editorial is not a new thing, but with DARE we have given it the Mills & Boon Series treatment," she said. "Super-sexy, explicit reads, with really hot heroes and empowered heroines who know their mind and sexuality but always with a compelling romance and a happy ending guaranteed.

"DARE is the perfect entry into reading romance, and particularly Mills & Boon, for those younger readers who think 'it's not for them'. The language, attitudes, power dynamics between the characters are firmly 21st century - and did I mention the hot sex?!"

Topics:  lifestyle romance valentines day

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