I’ve noticed a trend with my two most recent contemporary romance novels. My lead characters chose to get involved with the wrong man for the wrong reasons. This got me to thinking. Why do we do this in real life?
I think loneliness is a big factor. I’ve known people, both men and women, who are terrified at the prospect of being alone. They’ll do anything to avoid it, including getting into, or staying in, a bad relationship. Their rationale is, “Well, at least I’m not alone.”
Unfortunately, there is another kind of loneliness. It’s the loneliness which comes being with the wrong person. Having experienced both kinds of loneliness myself, I’ll take the former over the latter any day. If I want to meet new people I can take a class, go on a trip somewhere, or do other things I enjoy doing. In fact, doing the things we enjoy doing is a great way to meet people with common interests. However, being stuck with the wrong person is stifling. It can suck the joy right out of your life.
Loneliness was the catalyst in The Scandal when Lauren has a one-night stand with Cal. Lauren is so wrapped up in her career that she doesn’t have time for a man. Cal uses it to his advantage to manipulate and seduce her, and Lauren allows it to happen. Later on her bad decision will come back to haunt her. I believe this often happens in real life as well.
Being on the Rebound
The most vulnerable time in our lives is when we are grieving a loss. Whether it’s the loss of a job, the death of a close friend or family member, a divorce or the break up of a romantic relationship, our defenses are down. As a result, we are more likely to trust the wrong people, and perhaps rush blindly into a relationship with the wrong person. I wrote about this in Aquamarine.
Tonya meets George a few months after she caught her fiancé in the act with another woman. George soon convinces her to have a “rebound” relationship with him. However, unbeknownst to Tonya, George has his own agenda, and she soon discovers she’s a kept woman.
Of course, there is more to both storylines than what I’ve mentioned here. My point is that I write romance because I like to delve into the human condition and try to understand why, good or bad, we make the choices we make. I sometimes wish I had a magic crystal ball that would tell me if the choices I’m making are good or bad, but so far I’ve not found one. I guess all we can do is make the best decisions we can, based on our knowledge at the time.