Multiple previous answers:
As Rigibson said, there are other answers to this question on the site. In short, roses have many symbolic meaning, depending on the color and growth stage of the rose.
Since roses are beautiful but also thorny, they are thought to be a symbol of the two sides of love.
I noticed the previous answers deal primarily with when roses became associated with romance, as opposed to why. Roses were considered to be the flower of Aphrodite, Isis and Venus, the respective Egyptian, Greek, and Roman goddesses of love. It became associated with love when Aphrodite gave a rose to her son, Eros (Cupid). It’s been associated with love ever since, from Shakespeare’s “a rose by any other name” to the most popular flower on Valentine’s day.
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