Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Top Ten Dislikes About Fictional Romance

Top 10 Tuesday is a post hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and this week's topic is Top Ten Dislikes About Fictional Romance.

Overall I’d say that I just get kind of tired of the same old same old. It’s funny because I think there’s some merit to why the same characters have been written over and over again, but yet I like some diversity in my books/stories as well. Also, apparently when I was making my list I completely forgot that I could include positives or things I actually like about romance in fiction, so this turned out to be a list of all dislikes. Sorry to be a Debbie Downer.

  1. The tried and true player who will sleep with anyone until he finds the ONE and then magically he’s cured of his tendency to wander.
  2. Characters that have a bad day or are rejected in some way by the object of their affection and then decide that getting drunk is going to make them feel better because they’ll temporarily forget about their problems. Isn’t this like the number one cause of alcoholism? So yes…let’s lead our characters and readers down that path, shall we?
  3. Relationships not built on anything sustainable—only built upon looks or physical attraction.
  4. Ok so this happens in real life just as much as in fiction, but I don’t like when characters retaliate out of hurt. Sure, I think it’s human nature to want someone else to hurt when you’re hurting, especially the actual person who hurt you to begin with. But I think true love conquers that. True love overcomes it. And I’m not talking about true love in the sense of “the perfect relationship” but I mean the feeling of truly wanting good for the object of your love over your own needs/wants/feelings.
  5. Self-sabotage. I’ve never in my real life encountered so many “I’m leaving you for your good” situations as I have in books. Real life couples don’t rarely have this problem.
  6. Because of the nature of books, we don’t get a 100% play by play of these characters lives and often times that includes skipping some of the less interesting but more fundamental aspects of building a relationship.
  7. I’d like to see a bit more forgiveness in romance. We all mess up. Relationships that last are HARD ONGOING WORK. Sometimes things seem too easy for our characters and often times there are far too few examples of a relationship overcoming real trials after the initial “get together” stage.
  8. Because I read so much YA fiction, the “we’re going off to college so we must break up or sacrifice our career dreams and all our plans for the future” conflict is used way too frequently. I’d like to see high school relationships make it. I know that they can. I’ve seen it. Each situation warrants different fears and concerns, but I hate seeing characters that are more concerned about careers than family. Sure, giving up your dreams for a guy isn’t always smart, but is your dream worth it if you’re there alone? I’m just saying that sometimes career isn’t the best choice. Each situation is different, but this conflict is used very often in YA romances.
  9. While I know that you can most certainly love two people at the same time, I don’t think you can love them the same way. I’d like to see love triangles play on this a little better. I hate reading a love triangle where the MC is all “you’re the only one in the world for me” but just throw them in a situation with the other member of the triangle and all thoughts of the other is thrown to the wind.
  10. Love can conquer a multitude of sins, right? True, but love doesn’t always conquer all. There are things and situations that love doesn’t overcome. Sometimes I think that fiction gives the impression that love will always win, but that’s just not always the case. As I said before, long-term relationships are hard work and without both parties working, love can fade. It can also be reborn and renewed, but I don’t know that this is showcased enough.

So what are your top ten likes/dislikes about fictional romance? Let me know!


  1. This is a great list! I've griped over most of these at one point or another, especially love triangles, relationships entirely built on lust and physical attraction, and train wrecks anyone with half a brain can see coming. It's frustrating. :( But I like some of your ideas for different kinds of romances, too, especially the emphasis on forgiveness, hard work and making choices/decisions.

  2. Thanks so much Kel! I love to find other readers who share the same opinions! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  3. Yes! I love your list. I especially agree with your take on love triangles. I think the ones that usually work for me follow what you say. I also agree with your point on forgiveness. This also annoys me in friendships too! Here is my TTT: http://www.rexrobotreviews.com/2015/02/top-ten-tuesday-things-i-likedislike.html

  4. Good and thoughtful list! I dislike triangles, too, but your reason, though I agree with it, is one I hadn't really thought through; I was more hung up on the unreality of how most are written (two hot guys interested in the same girl, who often hasn't been popular with boys before.) And yes, if it seems to me a relationship is built entirely on physical attraction or lust, the author has lost me... which isn't to say that it can't start out with attraction. Absolutely yes on forgiveness, as well as the difficulty thereof.

    I think many romance writers (and writers in other genres as well, especially YA) leave the relationship at the "we-finally-got-together" or "just-married" stage because that's the happy-ever-after point we come to expect from fairy tales when we're young. And that's OK, as long as that's not all you read and how you expect real life to be. I really respect the authors who write about married adults keeping their relationships alive. From the late Anne of Green Gables books to Emily March's Lover's Lane (I think that was the title), well-written books that celebrate the strength of a couple through everyday life or follow them as they rebuild a damaged relationship are as satisfying to me as traditional romance novels.

  5. You have certainly made some thought-provoking observations about romance novels. While I'm not a fan of the genre in general, you have nailed some of the issues that annoy me, like the off-to-college-so-we've-gotta-break-up situation. I know plenty of high school sweethearts who have been married for twenty years. and the Love can conquer all mantra, which clearly is unrealistic. Great list.