Tuesday, April 11, 2006

My Cheatin’ Heart

I’ve been doing some pondering on this since others have blogged about it. My thoughts are nebulous so maybe this will help clear them up some. Then again, maybe not because my thoughts are always cloudy. The cheating hero seems to be a very big NO NO for many readers of romance – a killer – a wallbager. I’m more in the gray area. I don’t like it when the hero cheats, but there maybe – at times – and if it’s well-written, a case for still liking the book. If the hero is turned inside out, upside down, kisses the underside of the shoes the heroine has walked through dog doodoo in – I can forgive him – Maybe. But in real life, statistics don’t seem to bear this out. I have heard a number of different and credible sources lately say that as many as 80% of couples cheat these days. Now that seems to be extremely high to me, but even if it’s skewered about – the end results would still be sadly way too high. So – what gives? Why is it so loathed in romances, yet common in real life?

Well – I have a theory. It might be crackbrained and completely off the wall – but I think readers of romance novels for the most part fall into the 20% who believe and practice monogamy. And why is that you ask? Well – in an odd sort of way, I think romance novels provide an outlet for us. I mean really – who hasn’t when they have been fighting with their partner like cats and dogs and think to themselves I don’t know if I can live with this person one more day, late at night, in the deepest part of their being, been curious what it might be like with someone else? Is there might be someone out there more sympathetic, more understanding? Not anyone in particular – just someone different who isn’t currently driving them nuts! BUT!!! By reading romance novels, we kind of get a glimpse if you will – of what it might be like. And it’s safe. Because it’s not really us who are the heroines – but we can still identify with the heroine. And the heroes are safe because they aren’t real people. They are just made up. Hasn’t there been a time or two when we have lived vicariously through the couple in a romance book? Enough to get it out of our systems, until we patch things up with our own mates, realize they aren’t really so bad and start liking them again?

Anyway – just a thought in passing.

‘til later


Tara Marie said...

I was starting to think I was the only person who falls into the "gray" area. My line is "falling in love", whether it's before marriage or after, in the case of arranged marriage plots.

I'm curious where the people who are adament about faithfulness after the hero and heroine meet fall when it comes to "best friend" plots, and "antagonistic" plots.

I think you're probably right about seeing the possiblities through romance novels. IRL life cheating would ruin my relationship, but then we're already in love and committed to one another.

ames said...

I'm in the gray area as well. Like the crisp look of your blog. :)

Nikki said...

It is so ironic that you are talking about this today. I have been on vacation totally indulging myself with reading. First, I am black or white about cheating in books. I don't want to read that. There are so many good books out there why would I want to read about that. Maybe it is because my Mom and Dad cheated over and over again while I was growing up and it is hard for me to see people do this to each other.

That being said I was reading a new book(I don't want to spoil it) but the hero met the heroine thought she was hot but jumped into bed with someone else! Right at the beginning! I was so upset that I stopped reading the book and my husband noticed and he asked me why (because he knew I have been waiting for this book for a year). I told him why and he laughed at me!

He said "OK tell me this,suppose you just met me, and you went home that night and found Dean(this guitar player who I have a huge crush on) in your bed that you wouldn't take him for a spin?!?!"

Well, that just put me in my place! I would totally have a good time! But, would I end up with Dean or my husband---who can say! Just kidding!!

He was right of course so I picked up the book again and finished it and loved it!!

tara marie -- I love best friend plots!! They are one of my faves. Can't explain why considering my other feelings. Antagonistic plots---I do not usually like. If there is a healthy respect for each other it can be ok. Like the last Michele Albert, One Way Out was good. But Truly, Madly Yours by Rachel Gibson was not.

Megan Frampton said...

I don't have a problem with an unfaithful hero, if it's explained. I really like your explanation of why we read romance novels, too--allowable cheating, and no mess afterwards!

sybil said...

Well as I can't see a hero being unfaithful hero if he has just met the heroine, or really until they are in a relationship - I can handle that fine.

Sex doesn't equal cheating. And I don't believe people are virginal for the most part so sex is sex.

Once the h/h are together... there has to be some serious grovel for me getting over either party screwing another. And when you start the book with cheating a la The Marriage Bed, there has to be a huge light bulb moment where they realize why they were asshats for cheating for me to connect with the other party forgiving them.

The Marriage Bed didn't do that for me. But The Duchess's Next Husband worked for me...

CindyS said...

Hey, we're all lucky! We get to fall in love over and over and over again and still hold onto our husbands!

It's only as I have gotten older that I went from 'absolutely no friggin' way' to 'mmmm, maybe'.

I'm in the unique position of being best friends with my hubby's first wife. She cheated many times. In fact, she had other serious relationships while married. Through talking about what was going on and who the men were and stuff I began to understand that it had nothing to do with Bob (not that Bob would have felt better about it then - remember, I wasn't around then) and everything to do with her background, the way she was brought up (her father cheated on her mother and it was well known to everyone - not only that but Sue's mom used to say that even thoughts of another man would be cheating and a sin - talk about mind bending - if that's the case, I'm going to hell for sure!) and the circumstances that surrounded her during that time.

I always figured once a cheater, always a cheater but Sue has been married to her second husband (who isn't a looker and Sue can admit that) for 10 years and has told me that she would never cheat again because of what it would do to her (even though it would devastate her husband - I could totally see him forgiving her though) spiritually and emotionally and especially what it would do to her kids.

So even though I don't like it and I'm not sure I want to read about it, I think I would give the book a try - Sybil mentions the Marriage Bed and I think that might be Dain so I have that in the TBR pile.


Kristie (J) said...

There was a book I read years ago by Elizabeth Stuart (a medieval) where the husband cheated for the flimsiet of reasons. He did a good grovel and then saw how much it devastated his wife - I liked that book. Another one that comes to mind is a Kat Martin book, Gypsy Lover, where he's headed out the door to visit an ex-mistress when he sees how much he is hearting the heroine - liked that one too. And of course then there's Lady Gallant by Suzanne Robinson. That's another one where the hero suffers great remorse for cheating. I think that's the key - like Sybil says. If the light bulb goes on and the hero really regrets what he's doing, the book can be salvagable.