I was both surprised and pleased to learn that I am living in the most romantic city in America! Where is this love utopia, you ask? It’s none other than Greensboro, North Carolina.
According to a national survey released by the movie rental chain, Redbox, the residents of Greensboro rented a higher percentage of romantic comedies than any other city in America, earning it top billing for America’s most romantic city of 2010. Unfortunately, I am not privy to the methodological or statistical details of this work, but as a relationships researcher, this piqued my curiosity. Could it be that the members of my community are significantly more romantic than individuals from other geographic areas? Is it the “Southern Charm” or the good manners that are still celebrated in this region that led to a greater passion for passion? I wouldn’t say that has been my particular dating experience (speaking from a strictly professional perspective, of course). Or, could it be that my neighbors and fellow North Carolinians are seeking to fill a romantic void by renting movies that provide the passionate themes their everyday lives are missing? I leave that judgment to you and future research, but one thing I will say is that romance is GOOD and that we could probably all use a little more of it in our relationship lives!
Researchers have shown that partners in established relationships begin to take each other for granted1 and for those who are married, acts of kindness and expressions of affection drop by half within two years of taking your vows.2,3 While I’m not suggesting that it’s time for you to stand outside your lover’s window with a boombox hoisted over your head, it might not hurt for us to take a cue from our favorite flicks and remember to cherish and celebrate our romantic partners. So whether it’s the simple act of saying “thank you” for all of the benefits your partner bestows on you,4 or taking the time to share in a new experience (particularly ones that are novel and exciting),5 putting in the effort is well worth the time, as it will likely lead to increases in both satisfaction and stability!
If you are curious whether you are living in one of the most or least romantic cities in America, check out the results here. Just to give you a sneak peak...Buffalo, NY and Detroit, MI ranked among Redbox’s top ten most romantic cities, whereas Las Vegas, NV and Tuscon, AZ ranked among the bottom ten.
1Miller, R. S. (2001). Breaches of propriety. In R. M. Kowalski (Ed.), Behaving badly: Aversive behaviors in interpersonal relationships (pp.29-58). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
2Huston, T. L., Caughlin, J. P., Houts, R. M., Smith, S. E., & George, L. J. (2001). The connubial crucible: Newlywed years as predictors of marital delight, distress, and divorce. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 80, 237-252.
3Kurdek, L. A. (1999). The nature and predictors of the trajectory of change in marital quality for husbands and wives over the first 10 years of marriage. Developmental Psychology, 35, 1283-1296.
4Algoe, S. B., Gable. S. L., & Maisel, N. C. (2010). It’s the little things: Everyday gratitude as a booster shot for romantic relationships. Personal Relationships, 17, 217-233.
5Aron, A., Norman, C. C., Aron, E. N., McKenna, C., & Heyman, R. E. (2000). Couples’ shared participation in novel and arousing activities and experienced relationship quality. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 78, 273-284.
Dr. Sadie Leder - Science of Relationships articles | Website/CV
Dr. Leder's research focuses on how people balance their desires for closeness and protection against rejection, specifically during partner selection, goal negotiation within established romantic relationships, and the experience of romantic love, hurt feelings, and relationship rekindling.