In Love?

I’ve been reading a new book this week – a romance – and once again, I’m a little disappointed with one minor detail. Or major, depending on how you view things. It’s sort of a pet peeve that I’ve mentioned in the past. The two main characters have declared their love for each other. That in and of itself is not the problem. The problem is they’ve only known each other for about three weeks. They met at the beginning of the book, there were some serious fireworks, and poof! They’re in a relationship. That’s also fine. Fast forward three weeks and they’re in love. In love? Really?

OK, like I mentioned before. I don’t have a problem with love at first sight. That’s not exactly what happened here in this novel, but it’s close enough. It’s just that I don’t find it realistic. I know some people claim it happens to them and that’s great, but I don’t buy it. In books and stories, I find it mildly to very distracting. Instead of enjoying the romance for what it is, I’m annoyed that they’re professing true and everlasting love after a day or a few days.

I know I’ve written it into one of my stories. Hmm. Maybe a couple. A Pair of Ice Skates is one example and even then, the romantic leads were all but inseparable for about a month before saying the words. In On Thin Ice, those two characters also confessed love for each other soon after ending up in bed together. That was a different situation though, where they’d been lifelong friends before trying a relationship. For the most part, I try to keep those three little words out of the story until it seems to be reasonable for the characters to say it.

I read the parts where people admit they’re in love with someone they’ve barely known. Inevitably that’s followed with some kind of dramatic blow-up or revelations of secrets that have been kept. I understand it in the context of most stories – it’s a writing tool, one I employ myself. However, when I’m reading sometimes, I find the quick I love you’s to be distracting. I suppose one could argue that you don’t read for realism. And I don’t. I read to escape, just like anyone else. I’m not a book snob, only reading what’s critically acclaimed or on Oprah’s Book Club list. I read romance, historical fiction, science fiction, fantasy, everything. I guess it comes down to me not being in the right frame of mind to accept the love at first sight thing. Or love in three weeks.

The main thing that bothers me about the quick I love you, is that it always seems to come before some great revelation that changes everything for the couple. Now, if you were really in love with someone, wouldn’t you love them because you know everything about them? If you really loved someone, wouldn’t they know everything about you? All the crap you keep hidden from the general public and your family? 🙂 To me, it’s not true love until you know all that stuff, until you know the questionable things someone has done or thought, until you’ve revealed the same about yourself to them. Maybe I’m just being naive in thinking that you can share all that with someone and still have their love. Maybe I’m right. Maybe not. Maybe I’m lucky enough to have found someone who loves me, including all my quirks and tiny madnesses, and I think everyone should have the same.

In the stories, so often, these people are confessing love and making plans for the future before they know all that stuff about the other person. So when the big shocker is exposed, they suddenly think they were wrong about loving them. Well, I hate to break it to you, but real love isn’t just sex and cuddling and quiet, romantic moments. Love is stronger than that and much more messy. It’s often loud, unruly and never, ever the way you planned it.

On that note, (the me-sounding-like-a-romance-cynic note) I’m going to leave you reading your romances and wondering if you can buy into the whole ‘I love you… Maybe… Let me get back to you at the end of the book…’ Let me know what you think or what common, often used romance novel mechanics that tick you off.

I am going to maybe bake something else, have some lunch, read a bit, maybe write, or whatever I can fit into my afternoon before the big game. That’s right, today is the 100th Grey Cup, the championship game of the CFL and one of the oldest championships in professional sport today. And MY Stampeders are in the game.

GO STAMPS, GO!!

Take care and happy reading.

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5 Comments

Filed under Writing

5 responses to “In Love?

  1. Slone

    You bring up good points and I agree with most of them. I believe in lust at first sight not love; love takes time and it should not be taken so lightly. The only thing I don’t agree with is the whole “can’t love someone without knowing everything about them” bit. Can you honestly say that you know every little thing about the person you love? How they got that faint scar on the top of their foot? Why they have a little habit or a certain pattern of doing things? Yes, you may know about the little scar or habit but the how or why’s could elude you.
    I have used that dreaded “L” word in my current relationship, but it wasn’t something that I hopped into after a few days. No, it took three months before I could even think about it. But if I waited until I knew every nook and cranny of his personality and past, I don’t think I would ever be able to say that. The novelty and wonder that I think relationships need so as not to become stale would be gone by that point. Yes, he does there will come a time where I know more about him than I don’t know but I will continue to look forward to finding out more things about him.

  2. Lady Falcon

    Yeah, I’m not a fan or am even sure I believe in love at first sight unless its the first time I see that smile of Gerard Butler’s….it gets me every dang time I see it and always catches me off guard. Lust at first sight – heck yeah – and often, lol, and I enjoy that feeling so very much and revel in it. Seek it out. Ok, maybe Butler’s smile is a lust thing. 😉 Love at first sight might be closer to the feeling I had when I slid behind the wheel of a 6 speed GTO with black leather seats and it was a forever kind of love the first time I shifted from second to third and felt the power of that beautiful engine as it powered those wheels through that long deep curve near my home.

    I didn’t tell my husband that I loved him till after we had a crisis moment and during the crisis we realized how we felt about each other. We met in 1996 and became friends that started dating and our crisis was about 8 months later in 1997. We started living together in 1999 and we were married in 2001. I married my best friend and he married his. I think friendship and communication are two of the most necessary characteristics in a happy relationship of any kind.

  3. M

    Love at first sight or grow to love? They are both beautiful, and can be credible in fiction. Just like there are no two snowflakes that are the same, the process of love is not the same for everyone. We rarely speak in romance of the different types of love, but I think at the early stages of a relationship they can all be confused.

    I know that love at first sight can happen. I wouldn’t believe love at first sight happened at all, except it did happen in front of me. Two friends were just struck by lightening attraction right in front of me. They were very young, and 25 years later, 3 children and more than a few miles on the car they are still stupid in love.

    That’s not the way it happened to me, but I’m pretty slow to warm-up, I had a very conservative, formal childhood. By contrast they had parents that were cuddly and played on the floor, showered them with hugs. I think they were open to the possibility. Even with my love, he was professed his love to me by our 3 date. It took me months. There is probably some natural bell curve that we all fall into our place in the continuity of “time to fall in love”.

    Each character/person has their story. I think in writing a relationship that there have to be sufficient clues or evidence that leads them to be in love. They can be quick indicators… like someone who says “bless you” when she sneezes (See movie Reality Bites, 1994) or it could be the one who provides nourishment and consistently is there, or camaraderie of a common enemy. As a writer you are giving the reader the context. It’s a challenge to open the audience up to the possibility of instant love or slow grown. I hope you don’t shy away from writing a love a first sight story or a characters with different reaction times to falling in love.

    I admire the challenge of writing adult literature. There are members of the audience who want to get to the action quickly. Which love at first sight is the fastest path. I don’t think that is your goal. Really, the best part of the story is in how the relationship develops and how the main characters experience each other. There is great crisis in one character professing love before the other. I hope you pursue the line of… “maybe, I’ll get back to you”

    We rarely speak in romance of the different types of love, but I think at the early stages of a relationship the 4 different types of love: Eros, Philia, Agape, & Storge can all manifest as love. Strong Philia can push one to Eros… think of a good brother’s best friend plot line. I think you could use a plot line to resolve the different types of love to find out if it is the passionate, long lived or a lusty compulsion.

    I hope that my commentary is well received. Thank you for continuing to write. I look forward to reading your latest experiments in falling in love.

    • Lady Falcon

      M, you made some good points and I agree love is like a snowflake or one might say that love is as unique and varied as the human race. I like your phrase ‘stupid in love’. lol. I’ve heard that somewhere and liked it then too.

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