Romantic novels usually have good-looking, super-rich, male protagonists, who are on their toes to woo their lady love. With a too-good-to-be-true love story, it can become difficult to escape this fiction world and come back to reality. But do such novels influence the expectations a woman has from her partner?
“All romantic novels end the same way, but it’s the process of getting there that provides all the enjoyment.“
― Candice Hern, A Proper Companion
…He grasped her, while she was doing the dishes, and planted a kiss on her cheek, …..
Day dreaming? How many of us start day dreaming when we’re reading a romantic novel?
Aww, isn’t he so romantic? I wish my boyfriend was like that.
Does this sound familiar? Ladies, we all start drooling over the perfect love story, which eventually has a happy ending, and the romance survives despite all odds. Romantic novels glorify a rose-tinted romance that we all dream of. Often, fantasy is used as an escape from reality. The perfect couple is willing to die for each other, deeply in love with each other―we often become teary-eyed reading the perfect love story, assuming that everyone is going to eventually live happily ever after, but do they really? And in case, if a love story does not end in the way it should have, we secretly wish, we could strangle the author.
Good looks, blessed with all the riches in the world, women often fall head over heels in love with the charming protagonists of most romantic novels. In the novel, ‘The Great Gatsby’, our dear hero goes to great lengths simply to woo his lady love. She is married, yet, he still harbors the dream of making her fall in love with him.
Well, we all know that reality is a tad different. (Tad? Really?) Yeah, books can be our best friends, yet, you will never realize when you start seeking emotional support from these fictional knights in shining armor. That makes romantic novels so popular, because we seek a similar fairy tale love story in our lives through these books.
Can Romantic Novels Have a Negative Impact on the Psychology of Women?
Are romantic novels addictive? Yes, they are, you wouldn’t want to put that book down, once you start reading. And even after you finish one, you will definitely crave for another good romantic novel.
Dreaming Fairytale Romance
Leading psychologists are of the opinion that romantic novels can have a huge impact on the psychology of women; sometimes, making it unhealthy for relationships. Fairy tale romances foster high expectations in women from their partners. Some women expect them to be their ideal ‘prince charming’. Yes, when we live in a world of fantasy, we cease to exist in the real world.
Susan Quilliam, a relationship psychologist, states that women tend to use these novels as escape routes, and later feel bad for not having the ideal love life. They ignore the fact that reality may be different, and you cannot ‘romanticize’ all things.
Impact of Novels
It can also be a bit dissuading and disheartening, especially if someone has just been out of a bad relationship. Moreover, some situations or incidences described in the novel may remind someone of their dissatisfaction, or lack of an emotional anchor. It could also build up a bit of insecurity in their hearts.
Probably, these may hold true when women were not exposed to the outside world. Whether they fail to distinguish between fantasy and fiction, might not be true these days. Fantasy is meant to entertain and break the monotony, and fans sure know that reality is different. These days, novels portray more of reality, with breakups, extra-marital affairs, single parenting, have all been included. While most women read them for entertainment, some might fall victims to unrealistic expectations.
Well, in the end, it is acceptable as long as it does not hurt anybody and indulged in for plain fun. Again, it might not be correct to say that it is only women who prefer to read, or for that matter, even write romantic novels. There are some male authors who write romantic novels under female pen names.
But admit it ladies, don’t you feel a little jealous of the beautiful proposal that the male protagonist makes to his lady love? Well, that’s the beauty of it. Whatever be the case, romantic novels will continue to adorn our bookshelves and keep entertaining us. And yes, we are unapologetic about loving them. After all, what is the harm in keeping happy thoughts in our mind? As long as your partner does not get jealous of the character whom you have a crush on. Yes, it might not mean that women are not sensible and mature enough to know the difference between reality and fairy tales. But, this is certainly a point of debate, and some might beg to differ.
Responding to Compliments
The crux is: If readers can exercise rational and differentiate between real and fiction, these novels won’t prove harmful to any relationship. Just do not expect any fairy tale romance where your partner will shower you with compliments everyday, bring flowers, and pursue you incessantly.
The same way that you cannot be all decked up and look perfectly beautiful like the female protagonists in the novels all the time, your partner is human too. Unrealistic expectations would impact your marriage negatively, that too without you realizing it.
Though, for me, nothing can beat the joy of reading a romantic novel on a rainy day, savoring that cup of hot coffee.