Are you a hopeful or hopeless romantic? Here's how to tell

From how you deal with first dates to whether you settle in relationships

Young couple with their arms around each other walking down street - stock photo
(Image credit: Getty Image / Stephen Zeigler)

Relationships can be difficult especially when you find yourself navigating dating trends like situationships and cookie jarring. However, understanding what kind of romantic you are in your relationship may help the whole process. So, we asked the experts, what’s the difference between a hopeful or hopeless romantic?

Condomsuk's relationship expert, James Thomas explains that both romantics believe that love is the most important thing, and while a hopeful will be optimistic about wanting to find love, they are realistic and will not jump headfirst into a relationship.

A hopeless romantic, however, will often have unrealistic expectations of their relationship and of love. They will dive heart first—because as Thomas explains they “love being in love.”

Figuring out if you are a hopeful or hopeless romantic may help you find a relationship or partner who is right for you and can also help you avoid the pitfalls of modern relationships. Thankfully James has five ways to help us figure it out…

Tender embrace between a couple

(Image credit: Getty Images / Bobbi Lockyer/Refinery29 Australia - We Are Many Image Gallery)

1.  Do you put too much pressure on first dates? 

Though it’s normal to be a mix of apprehensive and optimistic before a first date, Thomas explains that a hopeless will put far too much pressure on the date to be perfect. They want that movie-esque first date, full of cliches, which may often lead to a "loss of chemistry."

A hopeful romantic will go into the date optimistic but see it more as an adventure and opportunity to find love rather than love at first sight situation. Though both will get their hopes up, and often have to deal with disappointing over the date not going well—as we all do

2. Do you settle? 

Thomas explains that when it comes to relationships, a hopeless romantic loves being in love and committed, often meaning they will overlook red flags. 

A hopeful on the other hand will not settle for anything less than the love they hope for—if their partner doesn’t share their hope and faith in love, they will walk away.

"A hopeful romantic will not be with someone who does not wholeheartedly love and appreciate them."

James Thomas

3. Are grand gestures everything?

TV and film—like the best Romcoms on Netflix—can often give us unrealistic expectations about dates, proposals, surprise parties, and weddings, and they are likely to have a big impact on the hopeless romantics among us. They will want grand gestures, and to be made to feel special, often prioritizing the moment over the actual meaning.

Thomas explains they, “often put too much focus on expensive, material gifts, and use this feeling of instant gratification to overlook real problems in their relationship that need to be addressed.”

Hopefuls, of course, would love a grand gesture, but also understand that it’s not often realistic and then find comfort in the everyday relationship moments. They don’t romanticize drama nor excuse bad behavior for a bouquet of flowers and a declaration of love.

Young Couple Cuddling Looking Romantic - stock photo

(Image credit: Getty Images / Savana Ogburn / Refinery29 for Getty Images)

4. Does it all come back to fate?

As the saying goes, fate works in mysterious ways, and a hopeless romantic will swear by this—they will want to wait for fate to intervene, for their lover to be sent to them but a series of cosmic events.

A hopeful doesn’t wait for fate, they will take charge, they will want to go out and meet people and go on dates.

5. Are you always comparing your relationship?

Thomas says: "It's important to have a realistic view of your relationship. Hopeful romantics try not to assume that other relationships are better or worse.”

But Hopeless romantics often compare their relationship to one's on social media and in movies, often being left disappointed because their relationship doesn’t seem as picturesque.

He continues: “This can cause them to lose sight of their partner's good qualities and become upset in their search for an unattainable relationship.”

Naomi Jamieson
Lifestyle News Writer

Naomi is a Lifestyle News Writer with the Women's Lifestyle team, where she covers everything from entertainment to fashion and beauty, as well as TikTok trends for Woman&Home, after previously writing for My Imperfect Life and GoodTo. Interestingly though, Naomi actually has a background in design, having studied illustration at Plymouth University but lept into the media world in 2020, after always having a passion for writing and earned her Gold Standard diploma in Journalism with the NCTJ.

Before working for Future Publishing’s Lifestyle News team, she worked in the Ad production team. Here she wrote and designed adverts on all sorts of things, which then went into print magazines across all genres. Now, when she isn’t writing articles on celebs, fashion trends, or the newest shows on Netflix, you can find her drinking copious cups of coffee, drawing and probably online shopping.