I think romance novels are death to normal, real relationships. You start thinking all that action, adventure and passion is the norm in the real world. You start to look for a man with romance novel hero traits. As a woman who started reading romance in her teens I didn't realize I was doing this until my early twenties. If the guy wasn't exciting and romance novel like I didn't want him.
This is part of a message a reader posted on a message board recently. I found it to be interesting and quite likely true for some readers.
Since I seem be reading romance almost exclusively, this is something I find myself dealing with quite often too. Am I always able to tell the difference? This year my husband and I will have been married for 31 years. He is about as far removed from the heroes in the romance books as possible. One of his big beefs about me reading romance is that he thinks I expect him to act like “those guys in the books you read”. When he says this as long as I can think “Am not”, I feel safe reading romance.
First off, I am always aware that the heroes in romance books are not real. They are figments of the author’s imagination. Women write the majority of romance books so it only makes sense that the women authors would project what they would find appealing in a guy into their stories. That’s what makes them good. They are exactly what a number of us would want ‘cause they express what women look for. Do I wish my husband would act like the heroes in romance books? Well, he just wouldn’t – he’s a guy. He is from the planet Mars, whereas the imaginary heroes in books are from the imaginary planet of imaginary Venus.
On top of that, if I were to expect him to act like the hero from a romance novel than it is only right that he would expect me to act like the heroine out of romance novel. And THAT is not going to happen. I’m older than most of them, I’m more reubenesque than most of them, I’m more selfish than most of them. At this point in my life I’m suffering from both PMS and hot flashes. Sex is something I still enjoy but I certainly don’t require it the way I once used too. All in all, I’m just not romance heroine kind of a girl.
I love my husband more today, than I did when we first got married, not because he is romance material – but more I think because he’s not. His flaws make him more special because then I am allowed my own flaws.
Because he makes mistakes, I feel better when I make them.
The last grand romantic gesture he made was to buy central air conditioning for the house near the end of June. We’ve lived in the same house without it for over 20 years. The hot weather doesn’t really bother him so he would be quite fine without it. But he got if for me. I never asked for it, it was always too expensive. And I never really let on how much the summer heat bothers me – at least I don’t think I did. But he knew and believe me, I silently thank him every day this summer. This was something far more special than anything a silly ole romance hero would do.
So I think that maybe for her, the poster needed to take a break from romance and maybe I will someday if my expectations get out of whack. But for now anyway, I’m still able to differentiate between a made up romance hero who sprung from a fertile imagination and my own personal hero.