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This February 14, you can forget the flowers and chuck the chocolates – our new survey has revealed what people really want for Valentine’s Day: handwritten love letters. What’s more, far from being a dying art, 88% say they’ve written heartfelt love letters in the past, and Australians are still far more likely to treasure a handwritten letter than a love text.¹
Sealed with a kiss: Australians are smitten with love letters
It’s official: even in this technological age, love letters are still one of Australia’s most-loved romantic gestures. In fact, in our recent survey of 400 Aussies, love letters were revealed as the gift-most-wanted for Valentine’s Day 2017. More than half of those surveyed – 57% – said that their dream present would be a heartfelt love letter or poem; which means that love letters are a more desired gift than being taken to a fine restaurant (chosen by 29%) or getting flowers and chocolates (picked by 9%).
- Want further ideas for February 14th? Try our best Valentine’s Day ideas here!
What’s more, Australians don’t just want to get love letters, they’re giving them too: 82% of those in the survey said that they believe love letters to be a vital part of a happy relationship, with 75% of men and a whopping 89% of women stating that they’ve written some form of love letter in the past.
The greatest love letters in history
So what makes a love letter so special? Perhaps history can tell us. We asked those in the survey to vote on their favourite love letters of all time, and we’ve collected the best below. They’re the perfect addition to any Valentine’s Day celebrations.
- Need more romance this Valentine’s Day? Try our playlist of the world’s 25 most romantic love songs
Not only are these letters beautiful, they’re the perfect inspiration if you’re thinking of writing something heartfelt of your own. Flick though our slideshow and feel the romance!
- Desire a really dreamy Valentine’s Day at home? Try our romantic dinner ideas!
#1 Johnny Cash’s life-long love
“We get old and get used to each other. We think alike. We read each other’s minds. We know what the other one wants without asking. Sometimes we irritate each other a little bit. Maybe sometimes take each other for granted. But once in a while, like today, I meditate on it and realize how lucky I am to share my life with the greatest woman I ever met.”
– Johnny Cash (to June Carter Cash)
With 39% of the vote, Johnny’s appreciation of his June is Australia’s most beloved love letter.
#2 Eleanor Roosevelt’s secret love
‘’Ah, how good it was to hear your voice. It was so inadequate to try and tell you what it meant. Funny was that I couldn’t say je t’aime and je t’adore as I longed to do, but always remember that I am saying it, that I go to sleep thinking of you.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt
Eleanor Roosevelt’s tribute to love that burns strongly even when not spoken out loud gained 14% of the vote
#3 Ernest Hemingway’s unrequited love
“I can’t say how every time I ever put my arms around you I felt that I was home. Nor too many things. But we were always cheerful and jokers together…”
– Ernest Hemingway to Marlene Dietrich
Ernest’s unrequited yet relatable pining for the glamorous, unattainable Marlene Dietrich just narrowly missed out on the #2 spot – it came third, with 13% of the vote, showing that even the love that comes from friendship can have its own romance.
#4 John Keats’ absorbing love
“My love has made me selfish. I cannot exist without you — I am forgetful of every thing but seeing you again — my Life seems to stop there — I see no further. You have absorb’d me.”
– John Keats
Sometimes your feelings strike you like lightning. Whether this consuming affection is love or infatuation isn’t always clear – but what is clear is that 12% of Australians love this quote. At #4, it’s Keats.
#5 Richard Burton’s fervent love
”My blind eyes are desperately waiting for the sight of you. You don’t realise of course, E.B., how fascinatingly beautiful you have always been, and how strangely you have acquired an added and special and dangerous loveliness.”
– Richard Burton to Elizabeth Taylor
Their love may have been infamously tumultuous, but their passion is obvious. Richard and Liz take the #5 spot and 11% of the vote
#6 Napoleon Bonaparte’s passionate love
‘’Since I left you, I have been constantly depressed. My happiness is to be near you. Incessantly I live over in my memory your caresses, your tears, your affectionate solicitude. The charms of the incomparable Josephine kindle continually a burning and a glowing flame in my heart…”
– Napoleon Bonaparte
True love still burns bright at a distance, and Napoleon’s memories of his beloved Josephine were warm enough to earn 9% of the vote and a 6th place finish.
#7 Frida Kahlo’s overwhelming love
‘’Truth is, so great, that I wouldn’t like to speak, or sleep, or listen, or love. To feel myself trapped, with no fear of blood, outside time and magic, within your own fear, and your great anguish, and within the very beating of your heart.”
– Frida Kahlo
It may be the greatest love letter for just 4% of Australians, but nonetheless, Frida Kahlo’s ode to her Diego is an incredibly evocative piece of writing.
How to write a love letter
Feeling inspired after those beautiful words? It might be time to join the busy ranks of Aussie letter writers. Before you do, however, it’s important to remember a few of the factors that go into crafting the perfect love letter:
1. Write from the heart
Don’t fret about finding endlessly creative ways to say I love you – a great love letter doesn’t have to be all polished prose. In fact, 73% of survey respondents said that they actually preferred raw passion to poetic writing, indicating that a letter written straight from the heart is more special than one that focuses on evocative imagery.
2. Honesty really is the best policy
Similarly, only 8% of Australians think that beautiful writing is the most important part of a romantic letter. Honesty is far more valued: more than four in five people (77%) say that honesty is the most important thing to try for. Flattery falls flat too – only 3% of Aussies like being schmoozed.
3. Use pen and paper
The medium matters when writing to your beloved: 56% of Australians say that handwritten, paper letters are the most romantic. That said, love texts are on the rise, especially with younger Australians; 16% of respondents under the age of 35 said SMSs were the most romantic, compared to just 3% of over 35s.
4. Send your love letter only once you’re already dating
It’s also important to pay attention to when in the relationship you send your love letters. 78% of Australian men and 88% of women indicated that they’d prefer to only get letters from someone they were already dating – meaning that the 22% of men and 12% of women who admitted that they would use a love letter to express interest in someone before dating them would be best to err on the side of patience!
5. Know that the recipient might just treasure it forever
One final tip: if you do write your sweetie a love note, know that it might stick around. Indeed, Australians are likely to treasure their love letters, sometimes forever: 75% of men and 89% of women think that it’s perfectly acceptable to keep love letters from an old flame. What’s more, 47% of men and 65% of women think it’s fine to keep old letters even when you’re with someone new.
Do you want to meet someone to exchange love letters with? EliteSingles can help – register with us today!
EliteSingles editorial, January 2017
Do you have tips for writing the perfect love letter? Or know of a famous romantic letter that didn’t make our shortlist? Let us know! You can tell us in the comments below, say hi on Facebook or Twitter, or drop us a line at [email protected]
1. All survey results based on an EliteSingles’ Love Letters’ study, January 2017. Sample size: 400 Australian singles.