Friday, January 13, 2012
What makes a real HEA so elusive?
As a romance writer, I love the fantasy of happily ever after, or at least happily for now. Sometimes, though, it bothers me to see the stark reality of broken romances that began with all the hope in the world for a lifetime of love and commitment.
What's the culprit that puts so many relationships on the rocks? Is it modern society or human frailty, or vision at the beginning through starry eyes and rose-colored glasses that don't let the parties recognize potential problems?
Take this fictional, fractured relationship that's too much like ones that happen every day. Why did it go wrong? Was it that they were too young, too irresponsible? Were they in too much of a hurry to leap into a relationship before knowing each other well enough to form an accurate picture of what the future might bring?
There's a young man, hot for good sex but also for romance. He works hard, parties hard as well. He's stalled in a dead-end job by the sick economy--but he makes enough to enjoy the good life with his friends...and scope out chicks in upscale watering holes.
Add the chick--a hot looking babe with a body that won't stop and a taste for good times that meshes with the guy's. She works--not a career but a stopgap, as somebody else has always picked up the majority of her tabs. Recently dumped by another guy, she's living temporarily with family members--until her new guy asks her to share his place.
Fun, games and big plans for a future ensue. All is well--until she ends up pregnant. Big responsibility. Even bigger for the prospective dad who loves the chick enough to stick around but who handles the added stress by partying more than she's able to in her condition.
Add a much loved baby to mix. Chick wants to be a full time mom. Guy agrees, even though he realizes the financial strain is going to intensify. He begins noticing the chick isn't much of a housekeeper, which bugs him since he has practically doubled his hours at work to pay bills, many of which are ones she had before they met. She hates the time he spends unwinding with coworkers. He resents the money she spends, shopping and making long trips in a car that's not exactly roadworthy.
Boom! That car--hers before they met, with a huge, high-interest note--breaks down again and again, making the financial situation worse. They break up and she runs back to former boyfriend/meal ticket halfway across the country, taking baby. He follows, having no choice but to move or lose contact with his child. Nobody is particularly happy.
What could have made this romance resolve itself happily? The failure may have had something to do with both parties equating hot sex and fun partying with friendship and compatibility, don't you think? I do. This is partly a sign of the times, I guess, but I think it's more a guy thinking he'd found his fantasy lover and a chick jumping on what she thought was a better meal ticket than the one who'd just dumped her.
As I see it, both fictional parties jumped into a relationship without knowing each other beyond the superficial--a relationship between strangers that's more often than not doomed to failure.
Check next month for the antithesis to this story, the way a good fictional friend who has known the fictional guy since childhood gives them a much better chance for a real HEA ending--and check out my current Ellora's Cave Quickie, MUTUAL FANTASY, for a contemporary erotic romance that will warm your heart as well as heating your blood!