I freely admit to being a hopeless romantic in the very traditional sense of the word. Perhaps this is why I’m attracted to romance novels, historical in particular. The hero and heroine overcome a slew of obstacles only to end up standing at the alter … and with a baby or two in the epilogue.
That’s how I like to read it. That’s how I like to live it.
Not so much my friends, however. In the past two years, roughly 70% of my husband’s and my contemporaries have gotten a divorce. Obviously the experience has been wretched for our friends, but it is also having a poisonous effect on me as my idealistic naïveté where happily ever after is concerned is taking repeated kicks to the ass.
What is going on? Splitting up assets and custody hearings do not a happy ending make. What’s more, I’m beginning to wonder if maybe I’m setting myself up for a major depression if I keep applying what happens in romancelandia to the real world. Or maybe love conquering all is simply taking a roundabout circuit I don’t yet recognize.
As it turns out, many of my girlfriends have recently grown up to find themselves married to men who were so emotionally stunted, even a plant couldn’t subsist in their care. Two of my best girls are leaving their husbands with the hope that genuine love is still out there. But they’re also waiting patiently. Maybe they need to rest while their battle scars fade, but I suspect it’s also a growing sense of maturity that is making them pause. They’ve both realized they have to love themselves first. They have to be whole enough to be able give such a love before they can get such a love. They know—and this is a very un-romance book thought—that happiness comes from within first and love is simply the precious opportunity to share it.
So yes, I want everyone at the alter … but I’m slowly beginning to realize a wedding can include just one party.
Becky, do you take this woman, Becky, to be your lawfully wedded wife?
So how about you? Has reading/writing romance ever altered your take on reality? How are you able to rationalize real world suffering with your happily ever after point of view?