Chances are you never thought you needed to be rescued from romance. In fact, you probably feel you need more romance in your life, not less.

The truth is that most hearts are broken in the painful difference between the possibility of real romance, and the insistence on the fantasy of romance — with the real thing taking the loss.

Recovering from romantic fantasy is based on your willingness to accept who you and your partner are — without deceit, without drama, without all of the false puffery so many of us put around our images of love, relationship and intimacy. Recovering from romantic fantasy does not mean living without it. It means you will have, perhaps for the first time in your life, the chance to experience reality-based romance that is meaningful, fulfilling, passionate, and can actually help create a relationship you can trust and delight in.

This kind of romance — real romance — can fill your soul with the feeling and knowledge that you are loved for who you are, just as you are, and it can inspire you to love deeply and fully in return.

What can you expect should you decide to recover from swept-away romantic fantasy?

Here\’s an example. Judith: One evening, we bought a special pie for a friend, to thank him for a favor he\’d done for us. It was a strawberry-banana cream pie with a collar of sculpted whip cream around the top. Careful not to tip it, Jim set it on the floor of the car behind the driver\’s seat and we made our way home. The day had been particularly difficult for Jim, and he was feeling raw and vulnerable.

When we got home, he picked up the pie and the box caught on the edge of the seat, tumbled over and landed top down. It was that kind of day.

He looked to Judith and timidly said, “Maybe it\’ll be okay.” He opened the box and the pie, of course, was demolished, more like strawberry-banana-cream porridge. Jim slumped. Judith was angry that the pie had fallen and shocked when Jim announced it might have survived intact. She knew better.

How could he not have? But, more importantly, Judith knew Jim was suffering.

Judith understood what he was going through. So, she put my arm around him and told him,
“It\’s a mess, isn\’t it? I\’m so sorry . . . Let\’s get another one later.”

It was a moment of real romance that left both of us feeling whole and human, compassionate and connected, loved and loving.

In contrast to the grandiosity of romantic fantasy, we were just in our garage with a fallen pie, and yet we both experienced a sense of grace and beauty and a special bond of intimacy.

Can you picture yourself sitting around dreaming up a romantic fantasy where a dropped pie leads to heartfelt love?

Most people, being honest, would have to say, “No.” That\’s just not how romance is thought of in our culture. Besides, romantic fantasy always ends up being punitive. It is contemptuous of “fallen pies.” It\’s dismissive of human imperfection, derisive of anything that doesn\’t reach the lofty heights of romantic bliss.

Real romance comes from beyond what you already know. It\’s spontaneous, unrehearsed and open-hearted. It\’s about what\’s happening in the moment, about the attention and affection between two people.

When you\’re open to the heightened awareness of real romance, a vivid, even ecstatic experience can spring from any unexpected moment.

If you try to hold onto it, you cancel your invitation for life to catch you off guard and take you into the deepest places of your heart and soul.

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Excerpted from Judith & Jim\’s first book, The New Intimacy, HCI. To support your relationships, make sure to download Judith & Jim\’s complimentary program “The Power and Profit of Receiving” at www.judithandjim.com/receiving.