Can Romance Last?
Valentine’s Day, some might say, is the most romantic day of the year. Others might call it a “greeting card holiday” that pressures people into artificial expressions of love. (And some may find that their opinion changes depending on their relationship status on any given February 14th.)
Indeed, the holiday seems to have a way of temporarily intensifying our feelings about love: the romantics among us get mushier than usual, while the skeptics get even more cynical. But what could these reactions reveal about our deeper beliefs about love and romance – as well as our personality types?
We asked our readers to agree or disagree with the statement, “You think that romantic feelings do not last for very long.” Just 40% agreed overall, suggesting that most of our community feels relatively optimistic about the longevity of romance – perhaps not all are convinced of the notion of true, everlasting love, but most believe that romance can be more than passionate affairs that fizzle out almost as quickly as they ignite. The data made one thing quite clear: Thinking personality types (48% agreeing) were the most skeptical about long-lasting romance, while Feeling types (32%) were the most hopeful.
Hold on to your hearts as we take a closer look at the data to see which personality types wax a bit more cynical and which are the most romantic believers.
Analysts (51% agreeing)
For some Analysts, especially those who have been jilted in love, the Thinking personality trait may have the effect of making them cynical and emotionally detached. For many others, it may simply be a matter of trying to be more rational and realistic about their expectations for romance. There is certainly plenty of statistical evidence that romance often doesn’t last – high divorce rates, for starters – and Analysts are never ones to romanticize that which can be emotionally difficult, like making a relationship work.
That said, it’s important to emphasize that, with an overall agreement rate of 51%, Analysts were evenly divided on this topic, suggesting that even the most dispassionate, rational, calculated thinkers are actually quite open to the possibility of lasting romance.
Turbulent Architects (INTJ-T) agreed with our statement more than any other personality type (59%). Architects are planners, highly strategic individuals who like to know exactly where things are going. But romance is rarely predictable, and it’s usually not guided by logic or reason, which can be a bit scary for these rational personalities – especially those with Turbulent Identities, who can be prone to self-doubt and constant questioning. On top of that, romantic gestures and traditional expressions of love are often unappealing to Architects, which doesn’t exactly help them keep romantic flames burning.
Despite having a reputation for being flighty and averse to commitment (thanks to their Prospecting personality trait), Explorers agreed with our statement at a much lower rate than Analysts.
Explorers’ sense of adventure may make them more optimistic about lasting romance. Creative and spontaneous, Explorers thrive on diverse, exciting challenges, which can make them (and their partners) feel that anything is possible. At the same time, their Observant trait keeps them grounded in reality and aware that it takes effort to make relationships last.
Diplomats and Sentinels (34% and 33%)
Diplomats and Sentinels agreed at similar rates, but these personality types probably have somewhat different takes on the endurance of romance. Diplomats, guided by their core Intuitive and Feeling traits, can be prone to starry-eyed idealism, which may predispose them to a stronger belief in the power and longevity of romance. But they are also willing to put in the emotional work that is necessary for a relationship not just to last, but to thrive.
Sentinels, as Observant, Judging personality types, are all about commitment, tradition, and stability. They often won’t enter into a romantic relationship unless they see potential for it to develop into something serious, and while they’re practical enough to understand that things don’t always turn out that way, they maintain a strong belief that romantic feelings can indeed last a long time. Sentinels are in it for the long haul, and even if the most passionate phase of a romance does fade away, they believe that love only grows into something deeper and more meaningful over time.
Assertive Consuls (ESFJ-A), the personality type least likely to agree with our statement (20%), exemplify this attitude. Concerned with the needs and feelings of others, Consuls are caring, loyal, and committed – and they expect the same in return. Assertive Consuls are especially confident in their relationship skills, and they have a healthy sense of fun that can keep romance interesting.
Constant Improvement and Confident Individualism (43% and 39% agreeing)
Introverts (42%) agreed at higher rates than Extraverts (34%) that romantic feelings don’t last for very long – although the Constant Improvers and Confident Individualists who agreed were still in the minority. Introverts spend a lot of time in their own inner world, which can be isolating. Those who agreed with our statement may find it harder to reach out and connect with others – and, thus, harder to work through the rocky points of relationships. It’s tempting for Introverts to think, “I’m better off alone anyway.”
As Turbulent personalities, Constant Improvers struggle with this impulse the most, as they are often plagued by doubt and lower self-esteem. They can’t help but worry about all the things that could go wrong in a relationship – especially their own personal flaws and failures – and as a result, many have lower confidence in the stability and duration of romance.
Confident Individualists, on the other hand, are Assertive personality types who tend to feel more secure and confident in everything, including romance. Their Introversion might not give them the greatest optimism when it comes to interpersonal relationships, but they don’t doubt their own efforts as much as Constant Improvers do.
Social Engagement and People Mastery (37% and 30%)
Social Engagers and People Masters were more inclined to believe that romantic feelings can last for a long time. These Extraverted personalities seek social contact, invest time and attention in their relationships, and receive significant and diverse rewards from their emotional connections to people. This likely strengthens their belief in the power of relationships in general and romance in particular.
Social Engagers are more skeptical than People Masters, however, because of their Turbulent personality trait. Their desire to connect with others gives them some degree of confidence, but sensitivity to other people’s opinions and emotional turbulence can make it hard for some to stay positive about romance.
Assertive People Masters have the most faith in the enduring nature of romance. Their personal confidence and strong communication skills are attractive qualities as well as valuable resources when it comes to maintaining healthy relationships and lively romances. They also may not worry as much as other personality types about a romance coming to an end – it may be painful, but they know they’ll survive and move on.
Can romance really last? Our views on this question likely have a lot to do with our personal experiences. Erstwhile romantics can become hardened by one too many heartbreaks, and even the firmest of skeptics can have a change of heart.
But as this study shows, how we answer this question also has to do with our personality type. Individuals with the Thinking, Introverted, and Turbulent traits tend to be the most skeptical of lasting romance, but the majority of our community expressed hope and optimism.
Romance can fizzle or fade for any number of reasons, even if we don’t always understand why and often despite our sincerest efforts. Perhaps the best we can do is recognize that a fiery romance that settles into a deeper love – even if it doesn’t last a lifetime – is rare and precious, and not to be taken for granted.
What do you think? Is romance just a short-lived passion, or something more enduring? Let us know in the comments below!