Twenty years after high school I had a brief reunion with my teenage sweetheart, Sue. During our conversation, Sue reflected back over her life and said to me, “Steve, you’re the most romantic man I ever met.”

That compliment stuck with me for many years without much afterthought until recently. What I realize now is that being a romantic man is something that is largely overrated by women in today’s mainstream culture. For sensitive women looking for real love, a man with a romantic personality but who is lacking in true heart emotions is one of the worst kinds of guys to get involved with.

Here’s why.

In my Writer’s Digest award-winning relationship book, Men Are Like Fish: What Every Woman Needs To Know About Catching A Man, I briefly described the following five ingredients of a desirable male love partner:

Talent: Physical appearance, intelligence/common sense, money/wealth/success

Game: Sense of humor, confidence/personal power, conversational skill/charm

Heart: Emotional warmth/kindness, ability to listen/understand, sense of gratitude/appreciation

Character: Responsibility/maturity, ability to handle adversity, honesty/integrity

Fit: Shared human values, compatible lifestyle habits, harmonious personalities, matching relationship goals

A truly romantic man is one who combines the ingredients of “Game” and “Heart” to win over the affections of a woman he desires. When this man also possesses abundant “Talent” along with the general impression of strong “Character” and good “Fit,” you have the kind of guy that any woman would find attractive at first glance. But what most women don’t realize is that it’s possible to meet a man with lots of “Game” but with little or no “Heart” or “Character.”

I should know because that’s the kind of guy I used to be.

Growing up when I did being romantic was mainly about having the confidence and style to impress the heck out of women. My unconsciously role model at the time was the fictional movie character, James Bond 007 played by Sean Connery. His combination of good looks, athletic physique, stylish clothes, high self-confidence, fearlessness, charm, and intelligence made him irresistible to women on the Big Screen.

But in actuality, the James Bond character was also a cold-blooded killer and compulsive womanizer. Being “romantic” was just part of his personality. To possess the kind-heart, compassion, warmth, tenderness, gratitude, trust, and love of a genuine relationship partner would make him completely ineffective as a secret agent.

So while being romantic is a desirable quality to have in a man, it doesn’t make for a good love partner unless the man also possesses the finer qualities of a good heart. The romantic man with no heart is the most deceptive yet confident guy that a woman will ever meet. He will also be the kind of man that a woman will naturally grow to resent eventually.

On the other hand, the lesser-romantic man with a big heart is the saddest guy from a male perspective. This is the man who needs to learn the art of romance and develop the high self-esteem to go along with it. Otherwise, he’s the guy who gets passed over by the majority of women these days even though he possesses the genuine kind of love to give and share. As long as the truly loving man isn’t a clueless romantic dead-weight, he will be a love partner that a woman will come to love and respect over time.


A smart sensitive woman should beware of romantic men whose behavior is personality-driven rather than that which comes from the genuine spirit within. She should wisely invest her heart in potential love partners who have respect for all human beings and understand that love is naturally attracted into the lives of those who give generously with kindness, compassion, warmth, gratitude, and trust.