Profiles of the Emotionally Unavailable: Romeo

piggybackRomeo is the dream partner.

He (or she, in the case of Romiette) is the ultimate romantic. You begin dating Romeo and he is attentive, sweet, and devoted. He spends time learning all about you and assures you that he is in love with you. You are the most amazing woman he has ever met — the only one for him. You can’t help but to be swept into the fantastic web of romance he has created around and about you, and picture yourself with Romeo forever.

Then, after a few weeks or months, Romeo becomes less and less available. He doesn’t come around as often, doesn’t call, and responds to your calls at the last possible moment. He becomes more distant, that is, if he doesn’t disappear completely. You may later discover he has been seeing someone new. You are devastated.

Say hello to Romeo

Romeo, or Romiette, is a person who loves the romance –and nothing else– of relationships. The term was first used by psychologist Bryn Collins in her book Emotionally Unavailable. Romeos begin relationships strong, stronger than most, but lose steam as time goes on. Romeo is one of the most dangerous types of emotionally unavailable partners because everyone believes his love is sincere. Including him.

Put simply, Romeo is a romance junkie. He loves the excitement and thrill of romance, which is more likely to occur at the beginning of a relationship. But what he doesn’t like is the steady, stable affection of a long-term relationship. He is hooked on is luv  — that exciting, passionate feeling that comes with a new romance, not Love — the deeper and truer feelings that arise with time. Unlike luv, Love is not always exciting and grand, and is way too emotionally complex for Romeo.

Say goodbye to Romeo

The minute Romeo senses the familiarity and regularity of mature, realistic Love, he begins to look for an exit. And, often, a new romance that will bring those feelings of luv back.

Romeo doesn’t mean to be cruel. But he doesn’t really love you or anyone else. What he loves is the intensity of luv; its highs and lows and constant fireworks. No matter how romantic and sweet he may be, Romeo is emotionally unavailable and doesn’t build true, long-lasting connections.

Why, Romeo?

emotionally-unavailable-partnerRomeo behaves the way he does because he doesn’t feel more subtle emotions. He is at a numbed, sufficient state of being most of the time. The only emotions Romeo feels are the large, shocking emotions, such as the emotion of luv which occurs at the outset of a new relationship.

When luv transforms into Love –which it inevitably must– Romeo begins to lose the connection. Since Love is more subtle and intricate, not dramatic and sparkly like luv, he can’t really feel it. Although his feelings are evolving, he thinks his feelings are disappearing. So he looks for opportunities to bring the intensity and excitement back. Often times that involves finding a new luv, and leaving you, the old luv, behind.

Juliet, who?

If you can bring intensity into your relationship with Romeo, it may be able to last longer. Mystery, drama, deep despair, all captivate Romeo because they give something to figure out and conquer; the thrill of the chase. But eventually, when you are too familiar, you are no longer exciting to Romeo. He might stay in the relationship with you, physically, but he is not there emotionally.

Romeo’s behavior hurts but it has nothing to do with you. It has to do with his emotional disconnect with himself which prevents him from ever truly emotionally connecting with anyone else. There is nothing you can do to change Romeo. Romeo has to reconnect with those lost emotions or he will drift forever, always searching for the next, exciting luv to wake him up.

Have you ever been involved with a Romeo or Romiette? Are you a Romeo?

See also:

  • Profiles of the Emotionally Unavailable:
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20 thoughts on “Profiles of the Emotionally Unavailable: Romeo

  1. I think most recently divorced guys are like this. 😉

    I think back to every “involvement” I had with a Romeo type, and he had been divorced in the past year.

    Yeah, I know I keep bringing that up. It’s my soapbox dating issue!

  2. Bunny, you know the divorcees better than I do, so I’ll take your word for it. 🙂

    However, Romeo doesn’t become Romeo due to failed relationships… his original approach to relationships is like this.

  3. Timely, post. This is one of the big reasons why women must proceed with caution when dating and don’t get carried away and start have sex too early in the relationship. I was just reading on Evan Katz’ blog about why men disappear. (Good dating site info) Passion only last 18 -24 months in relationships and I think that is where the players and Romeos come in. They are chasing that passion which will never last. Once it dies down, they are gone. Just like parenting, there are no lessons taught in school on the different stages of love.

  4. Sandy,

    “Passion only last 18 -24 months in relationships”

    …What?! That long?

    LOL.

    Seriously, that’s a good amount of time. Two years? From what I’ve experienced and seen, the early stages of passion begin to fade way before that. Within the first year, if not in the first few months…

    Oh, you must be talking about the honeymoon phase? I get it. But with Romeo, you’d probably never see the honeymoon phase all the way through. 🙂

  5. This is one of the big reasons why women must proceed with caution when dating and don’t get carried away and start have sex too early in the relationship.

    Eh. I don’t think having sex has anything to do with it. Romeo will leave pretty soon, regardless of sex. In a way, sex and a few weeks of romance is all you can have from him. Which makes him a perfect partner for a summer/vacation romance.

    The problem is, how to recognize a Romeo, as the opposite of a guy who is truly into you?

  6. Mira,

    “Romeo will leave pretty soon, regardless of sex.”

    This is true — Romeo will leave soon enough. But if you’re the type that becomes attached after intimacy, which is many/most people, waiting could certainly help. At least you’ll feel less used when Romeo eventually drops you.

    “The problem is, how to recognize a Romeo, as the opposite of a guy who is truly into you?”

    Unfortunately, Romeo is best recognized after the fact (I speak from experience…).

    However, there are certain signs I’ve picked up that might tip you off that you’re dealing with a Romeo:

    — Likes romance and talking about you, but dislikes discussing their own feelings

    — Is uncomfortable with too much repetition — wants things to be spontaneous and different

    — Shows or tells you that they are not in touch with their emotions

    — Has several prior relationships that began strong and dwindled within a short period of time

    — Has great interest in a hobby/activity for a period of time, then soon forgets all about for the next great interest. Rinse, repeat

    Essentially, you have to look for two things — how in touch with their emotions they are and whether they are consistent. Romeo does not understand emotions (his or those of others) and he loathes regularity and consistency of any sort. Another thing is if they are hooked on “excitement” — sometimes Romeo syndrome is part of a larger tendency to want to be thrilled and have fantastical experiences.

  7. Holy cow, I guess I’m a romiette because I love the flattery, the flowers but once I hear “l love you”, I can’t run fast enough. The only difference is that I’m definitely in touch with my feelings and I do finish projects that I start. It’s just that I can’t picture myself being anyone’s wife or girlfriend at the moment. I’ve even been engaged to be married and once that “high” wore off, I was out that freaking door. Of course, there were other variables that led to my hasty retreat. I hope you ladies don’t jump down my throat for admitting this and….

    I’m actually going to do a post about why I’ve chosen to stay single for now because I realize that I got a lot of stuff to clean up.

  8. You have just described my ex. He was incredibly intense in the beginning but I was luke warm. I wanted to proceed with caution but he insisted on me meeting his Mom and Dad. He struck up a friendship with my Mom and I was still reluctant. After a while I began to feel genuine deep feelings for him and he started to pull away. I couldn’t understand how someone that claimed to be so in love could just pull away.
    How do you determine the difference between a genuine great love or a fake romeo in the beginning.

  9. Udara,

    You? Et tu? You’re a Romiette?

    *weeps*

    Just kidding. 😉

    Actually, if you’re in touch with your emotions, you’re not a Romiette. Romeo and Romiettes are emotionally unavailable — to themselves, and other people. They’re not even really sure what emotions are, on a smaller scale. That’s why they chase those bigger feelings.

    Maybe you’re an Avoidant type or Anxious-Avoidant? There is probably a connection between the avoidant attachment style and Romeo/Romiette syndrome. But every avoidant is not going to be a Romiette and vice versa.

    Or maybe you’re just not ready right now? It happens.

  10. Eloquence,

    Thanks. 🙂

    SS,

    “You have just described my ex…After a while I began to feel genuine deep feelings for him and he started to pull away. I couldn’t understand how someone that claimed to be so in love could just pull away.”

    Indeed.

    That’s what so puzzling about Romeo/Romiette. Most people, when their words, action, behavior show that they are in love, actually are in love and continue to feel that way for a long time. But not Romeo.

    It’s puzzling for Romeo as well. He thinks he’s in love too! So he’s not trying to fool you. But the reality is that he is confusing those strong, initial feelings for a deeper, truer love.

    “How do you determine the difference between a genuine great love or a fake romeo in the beginning.”

    Did you read this comment above? I mentioned some of the warning signs of a Romeo there.

  11. Great post….i wonder would people who exhibit this even be able to realistically tell themselves that they are this way. Not to pick on Udara, but her partners would probably dub her one while she would not. No one wants to label themselves negatively, like how someone will DO racist things but never think of themselves as a racist or act like an assclown but always think of themselves as a “good guy” (or the “nice guy” that you posted about earlier)

  12. Hi vonnie,

    I don’t know if they would. Acknowledging something like this would take some emotional awareness, which Romeo particularly lacks. But they might be able to tell just by checking off the behavors — “Yes, I do this,” “No, I don’t do that.”

    As mentioned before, Romeos aren’t purposely mean and some even get really sad knowing that they hurt people by their actions. If it’s a Romeo who doesn’t want to see himself as “bad” though, then yes, he would try his hardest not to acknowledge his Romeo syndrome.

    Udara isn’t a Romiette. She’s just a little claustrophobic. Lol! 🙂

  13. ::hands on hips and right foot tapping on the floor::

    Avoidant! Claustrophobic! Well I never! : P

    But Alee, you hit it on the head, I’m simply not ready for any type of commitment and I now realize this. So, this is why I’m pulling back and staying by myself. That’s as deep as it gets. You really gave me a great idea for a new post. I love intelligent conversation, please keep it up.

  14. Udara,

    Ha. You’re still young and have plenty of time for commitment, so don’t worry about your claustrophobia ( 😉 ). You should still check out the Avoidant article though… Just in case. 🙂

  15. Romeos, to me, have a habit of laying it on thick too much and too fast at the beginning, and that’s a warning sign of a guy who may not be in it for the long run.

  16. changingmoods,

    That is spot on. Most people are not able to sustain a high level of intensity for very long. So if someone is bring the heat early on, you should be weary (especially if they are not consistent in other areas of life).

  17. You explain exactly the man in a book I’m reading called “Men Who Can’t Love: How to Recognize a Commitment Phobic Man Before He Breaks Your Heart.” You’re right–it’s best to stay far away from these men, but many times, you don’t know you’re being played until you’re caught up in the whirlwind too. What I like about this book is that he gives women specific clues–markers–of this type so they have a fighting chance. Wish it was around when I was dating. It would have saved me a whole heck of a lot of heartbreak.

  18. Christelyn,

    ‘You explain exactly the man in a book I’m reading called “Men Who Can’t Love: How to Recognize a Commitment Phobic Man Before He Breaks Your Heart.” What I like about this book is that he gives women specific clues–markers–of this type ‘

    That sounds like an interesting book. Might have to check it out.

    But I hesitate to classify Romeo as a commitment-phobe (even though he certainly isn’t fond of consistency). I think Romeos would be okay with some form of commitment if commitment came with luv. However, since luv eventually dies down, Romeo’s commitment to the relationship also does. So maybe he’s more commitment-incompatible? …yeah, that works. 🙂

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