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Topic: Reading romances and your love life?

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Subject: Reading romances and your love life?
Date Posted: 4/21/2008 1:50 PM ET
Member Since: 1/5/2008
Posts: 140
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So, it doesn't seem like too many people share as personal things on this group - but in the past few months it feels like I've gotten to know a lot of you.  My husband and I just separated last week, and it's been really painful. I'd guess 3/4 of my TBR books are romances, and I'm just not sure if I have the heart to read them now.

It makes me start thinking about the books I read and how it contrasts with the romance I've found in real life.  In romances, most of the heroes are flawed - but it's usually pride, stubbornness or fear that makes them hesitate about falling in love.  But in the end, they're most often still prickly, but a changed, happier man by letting love into their life.  What about the heroines?  They’re also usually headstrong – maybe they’re a spinster or a woman that’s been hurt in the past.  But magically they find each other and everything is better because of it – they both become better people.   It may be idealized, but in most stories they always end up together.

It’s starting to make me really question if it possible in the real world?

Date Posted: 4/21/2008 1:56 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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All I can do is speak for myself.  I'm a VERY happily married romance addict.  My life with my hubby doesn't read like a romance novel though, and I'd have my head examined if I ever expected it to.  We've both made mistakes that I'd never tolerate from the H&H and still consider their story a "keeper":P  Life tends to be a little more nitty-gritty, and as tough as I find the process of hanging with some books to the HEA, I only wish real life were that easy.  The thing I most often want to shout at the H&H is that they need to COMMUNICATE, DAMMIT!  That was my biggest, and hardest, real life lesson in making a relationship work.  Of course, if they were always able to do that, about half the romances out there would be over at chapter 3:P

Last Edited on: 4/21/08 1:58 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/21/2008 1:58 PM ET
Member Since: 7/25/2005
Posts: 25,129
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Here's a {{{{{HUG}}}}} for you.

Speaking of my own experience, when my first husband and I split up I loved reading romances because I wanted to know that love really could exist--even if only in the pages of a book.  Plus reading about someone else, took me out of my own situation. 

I'm also the kind that used to play all the saddest songs (I Ain't Missing You At All [John Waite] was one I played a lot back then) I could find so I could cry out all my feelings.

I know you're going through a very rough time right now.  Don't give up on love.  If you ever need a shoulder, just send a PM.


Date Posted: 4/21/2008 2:03 PM ET
Member Since: 12/7/2006
Posts: 1,099
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(((HUGS))) Valerie.  I'm single and often wonder if my love of romance has affected my ability to find a romantic relationship with a man.  As I have horrible luck finding someone to date.  I do believe it's possible to find love as I see plenty of people who have it - I just wonder if I'm destined to only read about happily ever after and not experience it.

Date Posted: 4/21/2008 2:15 PM ET
Member Since: 10/24/2007
Posts: 1,313
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If anyone here can say their life reads like a romance novel, I'd be surprised (and jealous, lol!).  I'm sorry you're going through a rough time.  I'm happily married, but sometimes reading romances makes me wonder if I'm with the right guy.  But then I have to stop myself and remember that these books are just fiction.  Real life takes a lot more work and not everything is going to end with sunshine and roses.

Date Posted: 4/21/2008 2:17 PM ET
Member Since: 11/16/2007
Posts: 165
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been married almost 22 yrs and while we are happy now its not been a bed of roses. And I don't think anybody out there can say their marriage is perfect.  But it takes 2 that are both willing to work at it. But I read before I met my hubby and have read through the good times and bad. I've gone through times when I didn't read much romance and was reading biographies and true crime (LOL hubby is fine by the way).

Date Posted: 4/21/2008 2:26 PM ET
Member Since: 1/11/2007
Posts: 1,646
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Somtimes it works out that way.  I've been married 25 years, but my life hasn't been quite the romance novel.  You have to rember that love is idealized in a romance novel, so the author intentionally leaves out a lot of the bad stuff that happens in real life.  Maybe that's why they're such a great escape!  Wouldn't it be great if our lives were like romance novels?  I'd be a writer for sure!


If you want to listen to a great relationship breakup album, try Jackson Browne's "I'm Alive."  Written after his breakup with Darryl Hannah; he completely lays bare his soul in it and it's the most astounding album I've ever heard! The man is a poet, no doubt and great music too.  The Song "Sky Blue and Black" Always makes me cry.  Couldn't resist posting the lyrics.


Jackson Browne - Sky Blue And Black Lyrics


In the calling out to one another

Of the lovers up and down the strand

In the sound of the waves and the cries

Of the seagulls circling the sand

In the fragments of the songs

Carried down the wind from some radio

In the murmuring of the city in the distance

Ominous and low

I hear the sound of the world where we played

And the far too simple beauty

Of the promises we made

If you ever need holding

Call my name, I'll be there

If you ever need holding

And no holding back, I'll see you through

Sky blue and black

Where the touch of the lover ends

And the soul of the friend begins

There's a need to be separate and a need to be one


And a struggle neither wins

Where you gave me the world I was in

And a place I could make a stand

I could never see how you doubted me

When I'd let go of your hand

Yeah, and I was much younger then

And I must have thought that I would know

If things were going to end


And the heavens were rolling

Like a wheel on a track

And our sky was unfolding

And it'll never fold back

Sky blue and black

And I'd have fought the world for you

If I thought that you wanted me to

Or put aside what was true or untrue

If I'd known that's what you needed

What you needed me to do


But the moment has passed by me now

To have put away my pride

And just come through for you somehow

If you ever need holding

Call my name, I'll be there

If you ever need holding

And no holding back, I'll see you through


You're the color of the sky

Reflected in each store-front window pane

You're the whispering and the sighing

Of my tires in the rain

You're the hidden cost and the thing that's lost

In everything I do

Yeah and I'll never stop looking for you

In the sunlight and the shadows

And the faces on the avenue

That's the way love is

That's the way love is

That's the way love is

Sky blue and black



I love the line that begins "if you ever need holding..." Oops didn't post so well; text wrapped. 

Last Edited on: 4/21/08 2:39 PM ET - Total times edited: 3
Date Posted: 4/21/2008 2:34 PM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2006
Posts: 6,436
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I'm so sorry, honey.  My all time favorite break-up reading, btw, is Sex Tips for Girls by Cynthia Heimel.

The thing about romances is that most of them focus almost exclusively on the courtship aspect of the relationship, and that's really such a small thing over the long haul.  And such a *rarefied* time in a relationship, too, when people are their most interested and excited and trying so hard.  I'm enjoying the "in death" books now because it's unusual and interesting to see a marriage over time, with a more realistic portrait of people who have to adjust to each other and sometimes really piss each other off.  Of course, they still get it on fifteen times a day, because it's still romance. ;-)

No one would write a romance about my husband and me, but we've been together 22 years and are still madly in love, at least most of the time.  We fall out of love sometimes, but we always fall back in. That's something else most romances leave out.

Last Edited on: 4/21/08 3:53 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/21/2008 2:51 PM ET
Member Since: 8/12/2006
Posts: 1,012
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My husband and I had a very romantic, romance novelesque courtship, if you will.  But, it was all due to circumstances, as we lived in different countries at the time and flew to romantic places just to be together.  I still have people tell me that our pre-married life would make a great romance novel.

However, that romance novel type of relationship is pretty much over now that we are married and have our second child on the way this July.  We are very very happy, but the romance novel isn't realistic.  Let's just say the romance novel ended with us ending up together, but they really never tell you what happens after that when real life happens. 
Best wishes to you during this difficult time.  I have many friends who have found a second chance at happiness later in life and couldn't be happier. 


Date Posted: 4/21/2008 3:02 PM ET
Member Since: 9/24/2007
Posts: 453
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Right now I'm reading "Distant Shores" by Kristin Hannah.  So far it's really interesting because it's about a couple in their 40's who still care about each other, and "love" each other, but have really disconnected and can't figure out why they're not happy.   Actually it's really about the h trying to figure out what she wants after the kids go off to college- she can't figure out what her passions are. 

I can't remember if this was in the book or an article in "O" but there was the phrase "mid-wife crisis".  This refers to a mid-marriage crisis that a woman experiences.  You always hear about men having mid-life crisis but I'd never heard that term before!

Hugs to you sweetie-


Date Posted: 4/21/2008 3:49 PM ET
Member Since: 10/19/2007
Posts: 1,028
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Funny, but romance novels have always made me appreciate my husband more.  When I'm reading a book where the story revolves around normal everyday life and the two people come together, it makes me happy that I have that satisfaction at the end of the day.......a warm, strong, body with a mind that's centered around my needs and taking care of me and making my life whole.  Sharing children and everyday simplicities.

Then again, there are days when I'd like to hit him over the head with a frying pan.....if I cooked.

Good luck to you Valerie  :)    Life leads us.  Go towards it with your head up and smile on your face.  You never know what's around the corner.  And as long as you have your health....you have everything.

Date Posted: 4/21/2008 5:14 PM ET
Member Since: 7/25/2005
Posts: 25,129
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I've often said I'd love to read a romance novel that starts 10 years after the couple has been married.  Three kids with measles, a car and washing machine that are due to quit any day,  a dog that isn't housebroken and not quite enough money to make it all work right.

Give me a couple where he's losing his hair and she hasn't gotten her figure back after the last baby and they're both too tired at night to do more than mumble "Goodnight and I love you."

Then give me the romance!  Show me how they make it work.  It would be the best selling romance novel ever!

Date Posted: 4/21/2008 7:01 PM ET
Member Since: 12/6/2006
Posts: 623
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Everyone's answered you so well, Valerie.  My marriage was not a HEA, nor my subsequent relationships.   (Had to do with my choices, mostly, I think.)  Here's what I've found ... though I never thought it could be true, being single has been wonderful.  My son, my family, friends, rescue-friends --- all have made my life a lovely thing to live.  But it took a good while to get here.  If ever a relationship comes again, I won't let the books I read guide me, cause hell's fire, we'd all be married to gorgeous, hunkified, caring, sex-gods if we did.

I wish you the strength and humor to get through to wherever your HEA is.


Just thought of something -- one of my favorite "there's hope" books is Open House by Elizabeth Berg.  Actually one of my all time most favorite.  When you feel like it, I hope you'll read it.

Last Edited on: 4/21/08 7:03 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/21/2008 7:20 PM ET
Member Since: 2/24/2006
Posts: 5,498
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Valerie I'm so sorry.  BIG HUGS!  

My first marriage ended after 4 years..we were both too young and it was all about "me", for both of us. 

My 2nd (and last I promise you) marriage is wonderful, but it hasn't always been that way.  We've been married 14 years but the first 7 or 8 had all the aspects of a romance with highs, lows, near separations and misunderstandings.  I can't tell you EXACTLY what changed other than us getting older (I'm 39, he's 43).  As a matter of fact, the last year has been unbelievably happy.  I think I'm happier the longer I'm married to him.  Its not so much about romance (although we have that) anymore but shared goals, companionship and trust and mutual respect.  I can't EVER imagine having this with my first husband - ever.

Don't give up.  That's my advice.


Date Posted: 4/21/2008 11:23 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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I read romance for the escapism and know going in that it's unlikely to happen in real life.

I have to say though I can sympathize with not having the hear to read them when your having relationship troubles. My husband and I have been having a very rocky time lately and have talked about seperating.  We are giving it another go though and it looks like my daughter and I will be transferring with him this summer to see if we can keep it together.  I haven't felt like reading many romances lately.  I've been drifting more into mysteries.  I'm still reading some romance but not as much as before.  I'll probably get back into them but I need a break from them for now. 

Date Posted: 4/22/2008 7:14 AM ET
Member Since: 1/11/2007
Posts: 1,646
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It's good to hear that things seem to have stabilized a little for you.  Hope they work out the way you want.  Men can be such shits!

Date Posted: 4/22/2008 7:43 AM ET
Member Since: 8/21/2005
Posts: 989
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I'm so sorry about your recent seperation.

I agree with the others, i think for me the romance books bring back that giddy First-in- love feelings that we all miss in the daily routine of our lives. Romance books leave out the everyday stresses, job losses, health scares and bills to pay, i guess that is why we love to read them so much. Hang in there girl, while it might not seem like it now, this might turn out to be the best thing in your life.

Date Posted: 4/22/2008 12:19 PM ET
Member Since: 1/5/2008
Posts: 140
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thank you everyone for your kind wishes and good thought..  you are wise women who have learned a lot in your lives and i thank you for sharing your experiences.   it is reassuring to know that some of you have found lasting happiness (depsite some turmoil) with your partners .Since this will be my second marriage that's not working out I was starting to wonder how possible it is in the current world.

Mary - I am sorry to hear things are rough now in your life and  sincerly hope you can work things out.

Date Posted: 4/22/2008 1:45 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 14,634
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Valerie,so sorry. :-(  I'm afraid I'm with Susan though...no  one in my life and looks like it's likely to stay that way but not sure sometimes if that's :-( like I think it is or really :-) since I don't have these sad things like fights and breakups.

I've always liked reading romance..sometimes just for a happy story or romantic suspense to combine action (whch I never get in my dull bored life!), m ystery(which I've liked since childhood) and romance(which I never get either)..erotic romance (hee hee 'nuff said there since don't get that stuff either LOL)

I don't expect a real relationship to go like a romance novel though..the romance novels let you think HEA is happily-ever-after but you don't see that in the book itself. I think most of us have been with a man and thought the same thing as the beginning/ending of a romance - 'this is  love and will last no matter what' but instead of it ending that way in real life like it does in the book, there's another page or two that comes up.

Mary, sorry you're still going through that mess with your hubby.

Monica, you're too funny! hit him over the head with a frying pan ' - if you cooked! LOL!

Date Posted: 4/29/2008 8:29 AM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2008
Posts: 21
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I started reading romances as a teenager, and always thought that was how I wanted it to be for me.  now at 29, married to my second hubby for 7 years and with 2 kids......well I have to say that we have had enough go on in our short marriage that some people wonder how we have lasted.  My Hubby was WILD when we met, drinking, partying and on probation for something that most women would not have given him a chance for.  We started dating just for fun as I had no intentions of staying in the area for long.  Then I got pregnant with our son and we were married after knowing each other only 6 months.    He has grown so much.  I was 8 months preg with our daughter when our 5 yr old son was diagnosed with Autism.  I left my corperate (bring home the bacon) job to stay home with my kids and my (general construction working) husband really stepped up to make sure that he made enough $ to support our family with out me having to work.     There ARE great men out there, they are sometimes just hiding a little.  :)  and sometimes they just need a little push to truely be great me.


Date Posted: 4/29/2008 9:13 PM ET
Member Since: 1/11/2007
Posts: 1,646
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So sorry about your separation.  Sending lots of hugs your way. 

Perhaps romances are not the right reading choice for you right now.  When trying to distract yourself from troubles, I've found that the important thing is to find a book that you can get really absorbed in.

Do you have any other general fiction books that interest you? If you like historical fiction, I highly recommend The Kite Runner and Snow Flower & the Secret Fan as well as Reading Lolita in Tehran. 

Romances are not meant to be realistic, I think.  They are idealized love stories.  Things never quite work out in real life like they do in books.   The books tend to cover a limited courtship period and take us only through the beginning of the relationship.

I'd like to see a romance (other than the Outlander series) where we revisit the H/H 5 years later  after all sorts of problems have developed.  For example, she's gained weight after her pregnancy, he has a drinking problem and someone has lost their job.  Now that would make for interesting reading, but it probably wouldn't be called a "Romance" per se since it doesn't fit the formula. 



Last Edited on: 4/29/08 9:20 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/30/2008 2:15 AM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2006
Posts: 6,436
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Opal, my littlle boy has autism too. Talk about things that put a strain on a marriage. :-(  And that encourage escapist reading. ;-)

Date Posted: 4/30/2008 10:41 AM ET
Member Since: 2/24/2006
Posts: 5,498
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Opal and Willa - I also have a son with Autism.  We have more in common than we know...


Date Posted: 4/30/2008 1:55 PM ET
Member Since: 9/23/2006
Posts: 527
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First off- I am sorry about your seperation, but no matter the outcome I wish you the absolute best in life. If I could give you a hug and an awesome mug of hot chocolate I would.

I've never been married, and I've been with my boyfriend for about three years. People get a kick out of us because he's a musician in a metal band (among others, the callouses I could tell you about!!) and I'm the quiet book nerd with a weird sense of humor, but somehow it works. Don't tell him he has romance hero hair though, it's down to his butt but it's METAL hair, not Carpathian. Sigh, :)

We do have issues, financially and connected to my health issues and various things he has to deal with.Our relationship isn't perfect, but I'm constantly surprised how strong it is. On our first date we were like injured rabbits... I had a 4 year relationship that I thought would lead to marraige end when the guy told me he lied to me the whole time and literally threw me away. For him it was even worse... his brother had recently committed suicide and his fiance cheated on him with his best friend. We were cooking in his kitchen and I had a seizure, and he caught my head before it hit the ground. When I woke up he was crying over me, and I just thought "Well, this was a one-time date." Three years later we're still together, he's definitely a keeper.

If you think about the endless combination of human emotion and experience, there's no way there's gonig to be a universal outcome for everyone (and those who try to force it end up even more miserable.) In my experience, all we can really do is accept people as human with flaws, but know when to draw the line when it might hurt us. Constant communication is essential, and I find they go even better when it's during a walk in a park or something like that. Romance novels are definitely a wonderful escapism for me (though I can't read then exclusively) but those are created by an author, there's no way people behave that well!

Last Edited on: 4/30/08 2:00 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 4/30/2008 7:21 PM ET
Member Since: 12/6/2006
Posts: 623
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any my darling god-son nephew has asberger's.