Differences Between Sentimental and Romantic

You can be both sentimental and romantic.
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Have you ever felt sentimental? Or romantic? Or, maybe you've felt sentimental about being romantic. It's funny how different feelings can shade into one another so much that they become almost indistinguishable.

1 What Sentimental and Romantic Mean

Webster defines "sentimental" as relating to emotions rather than reason and "romantic" as relating to love between two people. These definitions, however, miss the essence of the emotions.

2 The Sentimentalist Longs

Feeling sentimental carries an edge of nostalgia, a coursing of emotion that has brushed off the negative, focusing instead on the "glow" of an experience. It's like remembering your best friend in 5th grade or your favorite teacher from high school without remembering the arguments or homework that came with them. There is a fondness to feeling sentimental and a mild emotional longing for what once was.

Sentimentalism is a softer, more inward emotion that can apply to any experience. Feeling sentimental is also a mood booster, according to a recent study at Loyola University. Loyola psychologist Fred Bryant says in the Psychology Today article, "Nostalgia: Sweet Remembrance" by Marina Krakovsky, that reminiscing can give you "a sense of being rooted, a sense of meaning and purpose -- instead of being blown around by the whims of everyday life."

3 The Romantic Loves

On the other hand, romantic feelings are oriented more toward the present. Being romantic carries the connotation of tangible action. You can certainly feel romantic, but the feeling invariably carries an expression of the feeling. The feeling itself is a more heightened, intense experience -- like the wonderful rush of breathless anticipation when you are first falling in love.

Sherry L. Huckabee graduated from the University of Miami School of Law. Although much of her career has been in the law, her BA in psychology has also served her well through raising birth, step and adopted children, and in endeavors including managing, teaching and traveling. She writes regularly on law, health, yoga, fitness, relationships, psychology and travel.