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Do you believe in love?
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Retrograde



Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 458

PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 1:29 pm    Post subject: Do you believe in love? Reply with quote

I've recently been wondering what attracts people to romance, and what kinds of people are attracted to the genre. Even though i'm sure my judgements are untrue, I guess I always thought of romance readers as idealists who believe in true love, happily-ever-after, and soul mates. I personally don't believe in all of that and have zero interest in commitment or intimacy of the nature we find in these books. I read romances for the same reason I'm such a fan of the paranormal/sci-fi genre (be it books, movies, or tv shows) - it's all fantasy to me. When i'm reading a romance, I know that it isn't real, and probably could never be real - I guess you could either call it cynicism or realism depending on your point of view. But the fantasy element is still there, and it becomes comforting and familiar, which probably accounts for my attraction to the genre. But i'm more interested in what your perceptions are of the "reality" of romantic love.

Last edited by Retrograde on Tue Jun 03, 2008 3:07 pm; edited 1 time in total
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bbmedos



Joined: 26 Sep 2007
Posts: 274
Location: Western Kentucky, USA

PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 2:08 pm    Post subject: Re: Do you believe in love? Reply with quote

Retrograde wrote:
I've recently been wondering what attracts people to romance, and what kinds of people are attracted to the genre. Even though i'm sure my judgements are untrue, I guess I always thought of romance readers as idealists who believe in true love, happily-ever-after, and soul mates. I personally don't believe in all of that and have zero interest in commitment or intimacy of the nature we find in these books. I read romances for the same reason I'm such a fan of the paranormal/sci-fi genre (be it books, movies, or tv shows) - it's all fantasy to me. When i'm reading a romance, I know that it isn't real, and probably could never be real - I guess you could either call it cynicism or realism depending on your point of view. But the fantasy element if still there, and it becomes comforting and familiar, which probably accounts for my attraction to the genre. But i'm more interested in what your perceptions are of the "reality" of romantic love.


I suspect that readers will range all across the board in their responses on this one. I know I do even within myself on any given day or read to be honest. I'm not sure it's so much that I do or don't believe in, say, soulmates, for example, in real life, as much as not believing in everything the word evokes every single time people use it.

One thing I am truly suspect of is the concept that anyone could recognize their "soulmate" on sight and, yet, I get just as misty-eyed as anyone else over those stories of couples who've been together fifty or sixty years or more and call each other soulmates. I believe them. Why? Because they've obviously worked at it. So, I guess to me being a "soulmate" isn't about an automatic, instantaneous fit but a slow process over time. Gotta grind those edges off so those two halves can actually fit together tightly, ya know? Very Happy

With fiction, it's the authors that make me believe the pair are going to be successful in that process that convince us of the potential for a HEA. It doesn't even take a lot, depending on the story, but they do have to show some hint that they're working at it. Why? Because regardless of the fact that in real life I don't expect everyone to have soulmates, an author is crafting the world of the story and has the ability to fit those two halves together, whether they are called soulmates or not. They should at least try to do a good job of it.

So, do I believe or not? You tell me. Wink
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Linda in sw va



Joined: 27 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 3:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, I absolutely believe in love and happily ever after! My parents have been married going on 50 years now so I had great role models growing up. They only knew each other 2 weeks before they married - they said people around them thought it would never last but they knew when they met that this was it.

I've been happily married for 16 years now come this July and feel very blessed to have found such a wonderful man to share my life with.

Does that mean I think romance novels are 'realistic' - not really. They have their roots in reality but involve lots of fantasy elements with such larger than life characters and scenarios. I read them for entertainment value - and because I love reading about a hunky hero. :)

Linda
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MrsFairfax



Joined: 27 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 4:42 pm    Post subject: Re: Do you believe in love? Reply with quote

bbmedos wrote:

So, I guess to me being a "soulmate" isn't about an automatic, instantaneous fit but a slow process over time. Gotta grind those edges off so those two halves can actually fit together tightly, ya know? Very Happy


Having just celebrated my 15th anniversary, I'd say that's an incredibly apt analogy!

I haven't read a huge number of romances that I thought really dealt with love. They tend to be about infatuation and lust. Those are nice, and provide a fun emotional kick to read about, but real love is a lot more complex and messy. Commitment is a decision, not something that happens to you. That's not all that romantic in the fantasy sense, but it's more realistic.

My parents celebrated their 57th anniversary two weeks before my mom died. Dad's lost without his other half. My sister's been married 39 years, and like Linda's parents they knew each other two weeks before the wedding. They knew literally at first sight. Apparently they were right.

"Happily ever after" does not mean there will not be days when you can't bear the sight of your "loved one." Even when the edges fit pretty well there can be friction. But a couple of sore spots don't mean we're not still two halves of a wonderful whole.
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Tee



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 6:32 pm    Post subject: Re: Do you believe in love? Reply with quote

MrsFairfax wrote:
I haven't read a huge number of romances that I thought really dealt with love. They tend to be about infatuation and lust. Those are nice, and provide a fun emotional kick to read about, but real love is a lot more complex and messy. Commitment is a decision, not something that happens to you. That's not all that romantic in the fantasy sense, but it's more realistic.

I liked how you phrased that, MrsFairfax--"real love is a lot more complex and messy." That kind of says a lot. Also that "commitment is a decision." I think that particular thought has been lost on a lot of this generation. That's really sad. There can be little staying power in a marriage without true commitment. That's not to say that some marriages don't have very serious issues that need to be confronted, but in some marriages the commitment is not there or very weak.
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Lynda X



Joined: 05 Apr 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 7:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You all are talking about marriages, not love in romance books. Almost all romances end in marriage, and except for quick epilogues, that's it. Romance books are not interested (nor am I, usually) with the hard work after the wedding. It's fantasy vs. reality.
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bbmedos



Joined: 26 Sep 2007
Posts: 274
Location: Western Kentucky, USA

PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 8:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lynda X wrote:
You all are talking about marriages, not love in romance books. Almost all romances end in marriage, and except for quick epilogues, that's it. Romance books are not interested (nor am I, usually) with the hard work after the wedding. It's fantasy vs. reality.


No, actually, we're talking about the foundation for that old happily-ever-after, which isn't necessarily the same thing. They don't have to get married to have the HEA. I submit that a fairy tale romance in, say, the classic Cinderella style has only a "promise" of a HEA. Does it truly have the foundation for one, though? Has the couple actually spent enough time together, rubbing those rough edges off to prove to the reader that they really can make that HEA work in the long term?

There was a point were romances followed that more traditional formula more than they did any other. Nowadays we have them spending a lot more time together. We also get the hero's point-of-view. Even in those romances that Retrograde was talking about that have other elements featured in them the couples tend to spend a lot more time working on the relationship than they used to. Creating that foundation.

Sometimes the author makes us believe. Sometimes they don't. The way I look at it, no matter how much the settings and situations are built on fantasy and imagination, the emotions and interactions better be realistic and recognizable or I'm not going to believe.

Of course, since we all bring our own experiences to the table, mileage varies. Wink
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MrsFairfax



Joined: 27 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 9:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lynda X wrote:
You all are talking about marriages, not love in romance books. Almost all romances end in marriage, and except for quick epilogues, that's it. Romance books are not interested (nor am I, usually) with the hard work after the wedding. It's fantasy vs. reality.


Retrograde asked for opinions about the reality of romantic love. That's what makes the hard work after the wedding worth it. It's just that "the reality of romantic love" is a bit different from "the fantasy of romantic love."
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dick



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 9:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think all the opinions expressed in this thread are right. There IS such a thing as instantaneous attraction, in my thinking. In exactly the same way a person can see a book, a car, a house and have to have it, one can see a man or woman and have the same reaction. Whether they manage to "get" the thing, is another question, but that doesn't really affect the instantaneousness nor the attraction. And sure love requires commitment. That's the entire point of it, isn't it? To my way of thinking, love is something we all know when we see it or feel it. To expain it may be impossible, because it's all the things that have been mentioned in this thread.

Does romance fiction get it right? In a lot of ways yes, although everything about it is heightened and exaggerated a bit in romance fiction. And don't we do the same thing? To get "romantic" love in real life--whatever that is--we have to do exactly what romance authors do. We have to set aside and ignore all the mundane things, light the candles, go back to wooing.
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xina



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 11:01 am    Post subject: Re: Do you believe in love? Reply with quote

Retrograde wrote:
I've recently been wondering what attracts people to romance, and what kinds of people are attracted to the genre. Even though i'm sure my judgements are untrue, I guess I always thought of romance readers as idealists who believe in true love, happily-ever-after, and soul mates. I personally don't believe in all of that and have zero interest in commitment or intimacy of the nature we find in these books. I read romances for the same reason I'm such a fan of the paranormal/sci-fi genre (be it books, movies, or tv shows) - it's all fantasy to me. When i'm reading a romance, I know that it isn't real, and probably could never be real - I guess you could either call it cynicism or realism depending on your point of view. But the fantasy element is still there, and it becomes comforting and familiar, which probably accounts for my attraction to the genre. But i'm more interested in what your perceptions are of the "reality" of romantic love.






I came to the romance genre late, but even before that, I was seeking out books with romantic elements included in the story. I guess in that way, I am a hopeless romantic because I like romantic movies, love my share of love songs. I'm a bit cynical about romantic commercials on TV where the man is all drooling all over the woman with a ring box in his hand...but I digress. Anyway...I grew up in a home where my mother and father were completely in love, totally devoted to each other to this day, and they are both in their '90's. I have seen them give equally to the other and while they did argue on occasion, they have always enjoyed one another's company...laughing, flirting (yes) and even holding hands in public...still. I've yet to see a better marriage, including my own. I am not nearly as patient as either of them, but I'm happy to have lived in a home with such a loving relationship. I suppose that may have influenced my love of romance, I don't know. I do love to read about the initial attraction and the chase interests me too. I realize much of the romance genre and women's fiction is written through the eyes of a woman and I know.... because of that, the woman writing it may be a romantic too, like me. Sometimes, at the end of the book, I think that the featured couples may not last, may divorce, may not be happy for ever and ever, but I really don't want to know that. The happy ending is fine with me, and that is probably what attracts me to the genre.
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willaful



Joined: 02 Jan 2008
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 12:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I absolutely believe in love. My husband and I have been together 22 years, more than half our lives, and we are still twitterpated about each other, albeit not every second of every day. Laughing
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WandaSue



Joined: 29 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 2:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do I believe in romantic "love"?

Yes.

I believe in GIVING it, and RECEIVING it.

If it doesn't go both ways, it isn't "love", IMO, but obsession.

It takes work, believe me. Nothing valuable comes without a price, and the price of maintaining a deeply romantic love is putting your partner ahead of yourself. If you both do it, then the rest is gravy.
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MMcA



Joined: 26 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 6:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I guess I always thought of romance readers as idealists who believe in true love, happily-ever-after, and soul mates.


I think romantic love is real - absolutely. And I think love at first sight is real, because it happened to me. If by soul mates they mean that there's only one right person for someone, that idea seems ludicrous, because you'd never meet them - and I'm slightly baffled as to what 'true love' might be.
[This love has been expertly forged, by expert forgers. It is False Love and therefore worthless!] I think love is just a state you're in - can't be true, any more than hunger can be true.

Happily-Ever-After - I belive people can be happy together over a lifetime, and not regret the choice they made. Does that qualify? I don't believe you're continually happy throughout a relationship, and I think Mrs Fairfax was right when she talks about the importance of deciding to be together. Not just initially - I'm also thinking about when difficult things happen, and you battle through together. (But then, when you get to that, it's where the romantic love - not ends, but a different sort of love overtakes it.)
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Elizabeth Rolls



Joined: 26 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 7:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
No, actually, we're talking about the foundation for that old happily-ever-after, which isn't necessarily the same thing. They don't have to get married to have the HEA. I submit that a fairy tale romance in, say, the classic Cinderella style has only a "promise" of a HEA. Does it truly have the foundation for one, though? Has the couple actually spent enough time together, rubbing those rough edges off to prove to the reader that they really can make that HEA work in the long term?


This is why of all the fairytales, Beauty and the Beast is my favourite. They do spend time together and develop a relationship. I'm not saying I don't believe Cinderella and her Prince will be happy. I'm sure they will. But in B&B we get to see the relationship develop. And with most of the others, HE rescues HER from whatever. Here it's flipped around. I love that too.

Elizabeth
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Laura V



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2008 3:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I do believe in believe in true love and happily-ever-after, but it depends how you define them. I don't think the love will stay the same at all times. Every so often a relationship will go through difficult times when you don't feel quite as happy, for example, so I'd define "true love" as love which lasts till death does you part, through sickness and in health etc. And everyone's got to die so no-one literally gets a "happily-ever-after."

WandaSue wrote:

It takes work, believe me. Nothing valuable comes without a price, and the price of maintaining a deeply romantic love is putting your partner ahead of yourself. If you both do it, then the rest is gravy.


I don't think my relationship is "deeply romantic" but then, neither of us would describe ourselves as "deeply romantic" people, so maybe that's why I don't think of a relationship as "work", or something that one has to work on. I do think it's important to talk about how both of you feel about things and work out compromises which you can both be comfortable with. I see that as an interesting challenge, though, not "work" and it's not something we need to do on a very frequent or regular basis.

On the "soul-mates" thing, I don't believe it literally, but if it means meeting someone, talking to them and feeling as though you connect emotionally and really understand each other, then yes, I believe in that. I don't know about "love at first sight" but I'm sure there's attraction at first sight and you can sometimes tell quite a bit about a person by the way they move, sound, smell, dress etc, even at first sight.

As with all these things, different people will define the terms in different ways, because each of us is different and has had different experiences.
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