Do We Romanticize Romance In Books? | DISCUSSION

I must admit, I do love me some good, heart-tingling romance that makes me swoon when I’m reading a book (honestly though, I live for swoonworthy romances). However, there have been times where I’ve seen people complain about romance, with everything from the frustrations of insta-love and love triangles, to romances that just don’t seem realistic.
And while we all love a good romance, sometimes I wonder… Are books promoting romance too much? Are the books we read today romanticizing love and romance in a way that makes us, in our everyday lives, strive for something that is purely fictional? (but lets be honest, we wouldn’t want to read romance any other way, would we?)

We all love a good romance in a story. I mean, who wouldn’t? But the reality is, not all the romance we read in books is something we can attain in real life. Lately I’ve been questioning how books portray romance and whether having a romance situation in every book we read is a good thing, or a bad thing. It’s obvious that we all enjoy it, and I definitely think romance adds that little something extra to a novel. 

Why I Like Romance In Books

I don’t have a boyfriend or any existence of a love life, so reading about two characters falling in love is a real treat for me. I thrive on it and absorb it as if I’m part of the romance too (so basically, I’m like a poor little third wheel). I love the thrill that comes from being introduced to characters and watching them slowly fall for one another! Ugh, it makes my fingers tingle. 

And believe it or not, I adore love triangles because they create so much angst! Of course, if you’re gonna do a love triangle, it’s got to be done well. It’s got to be written with obvious sense. Sometimes love triangles are done in such a way that I don’t understand why it even exists or what the point of it is. But, I digress.

Sometimes when a book doesn’t have a romance as an element in the story, I am left feeling a little empty. (Maybe I’m just a little obsessed with romance, but hey, don’t judge me!). Sometimes I read in anticipation for the protagonist to slowly fall for the handsome male companion by her side but then it  never happens *cry*. But usually, I hardly ever feel the absence of a romance because other aspects of the novel do a great job at dominating in it’s absence, which is flipping awesome. 

And THAT’S where my question comes in. Is it possible that novels nowadays tend to throw in a romance just for the heck of it? And are we romanticizing romance in novels too much? So much that it forms unrealistic dreams and expectations within our heads?

 Love triangles aren’t so pretty in real life

Now, I don’t know this from actual EXPERIENCE, but I do know that real-life love triangles can be hell. They’re confusing and heartbreaking and sometimes you can end up with no one at all. In so many novels we read today, there are a throng of different styles of love triangles. One of the biggest is the protagonist being in love with her best friend and another boy (preferably the ‘outsider’ or the ‘bad boy’). We as readers are found to be conflicted, possibly swooning for both, or yelling at the protagonist to stop being STUPID AND PICK (seriously, how hard is it to pick?). What ends up being the case with these kinds of love triangles is, that (SPOILERS) the protagonist ends up picking her beloved bad boy but in the process, also keeping her friendship with her best friend. definitely don’t think this would be the case in real life. 

If only that boy would look at me and realize I’m his one true love! (I mean, it happens in books, why can’t it happen to me?)

Insta-love is probably the most frustrating book trope in relation to romance that there is. However, I think forbidden love could come pretty close. The fact that two people can catch each other’s eyes and feel a spark of connection and almost immediately realise they love each other is ridiculous! And I will admit, it makes me wish I could experience this in my own life. (Every time I see a pretty boy who catches my eye, I’m silently begging: please love me). We as bookworms are frustrated with this trope for it’s ridiculousness and the fact that it’s profoundly unrealistic

Is it just me who makes a list of all the swoon worthy qualities of a fictional male that I want to find in my boyfriend-to-be? Not to mention, making a list of all the best things that come with being in a relationship…

I think one of the biggest things books do to us is romanticize romance to a point where we strive for that same flawless relationship that our favourite fictional characters have. Even worse, they wire into our brains the most unattainable expectation for our significant other that he/she is going to find very hard to meet. If you could see the list of fictional boyfriends I have and the list of characteristics that make up my perfect male specimen, you’d know how crazy ridiculous it is. THANK YOU BOOKS FOR DOING THIS TO ME. 


Well, I think I’ve said my fair share of this discussion! But now I’d like to take the discussion to YOU, my delightful, lovable bookworms who have SO MUCH to say. So tell me, do you think books are romanticizing the idea of romance? Do you think novels are tending to throw in a romance just for the heck of it? Please please, don’t be shy! 

Tell me what you think in the comments! 

61 thoughts on “Do We Romanticize Romance In Books? | DISCUSSION

  1. Pingback: BPC Week 3: Bloggers I Would Love To Have A Discusson With | Fiddler Blue

  2. Fantastic Post Josie! Most of the books in my Read shelf are romantic reads. I always enjoy reading YA and NA books with romance in it and it’s the major thing that I always look forward to in a book. I hate insta-love but I do love well executed triangles, cute romances and forbidden romance cause they are more exciting to read. I also read some few interesting books with no romance and I’ve quite enjoyed reading them but I hate when the authors throw in a unnecessary romance just for the heck of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. i like romance in my books as well, and sometimes when it doesn’t happen I do feel a bit empty… maybe because I’m also living vicariously through these characters 😛
    Love triangles can be fun, though mostly predictable. But I do think that most books I’ve read recently don’t romanticize love that much, well, at least the guy who gets the girl is highly flawed and that seems more real… of course, it can happen that we love said character so much that we overlook their flaws…

    great topic 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hands down, I think books are romanticizing romance – but it doeskin mean that the real life romances cant live up to our fantasy expectations. I love romance novels, well, not those kind of romance novels – but the ones where the books are about the struggles of first love or finding the person you are meant to be with. I am a huge romantic at heart, I fully believe that there is one person out there for everyone and it is just a matter of finding them. Seeing that belief played out in a book is beautiful to me. There are some times where it is just over the top and almost complete idiocy, but I also think that is part of falling so deeply in love. Book romanticize some parts of romance – finding your true love in high school, amazing sex the first time, perfect dates, zero fights – but anyone with common sense should be able to distinguish the fictional from the reality.

    I do believe that books have created some unfair standards, at least when it comes to the perfect guy. Who knows? Maybe the perfect mix of Edward Cullen, Jace Wayland, and Jem Cairstairs actually exists – but I doubt it.

    I do think that some books throw in romance just for the heck of things, especially the ones with love triangles that are introduced in the second book. Now, I don’t mind the occasional love triangle now and then, some of them are so perfectly heartbreaking and wonderful (Infernal Devices and Iron Fey),but otherwise, I think authors throw in a love triangle simply because they see other books doing the same thing with a lot of success.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh I totally agree with you on the falling in love for the first time aspect. I love reading about those types of romances and seeing the struggles of first love and such. Just like you, I’m a hopeless romantic aswell!

      Oh, Samantha, what a perfect combination of males! If only that kind of man exists! As you said, who knows!

      Oh my gosh, yes I’m currently reading Clockwork Prince and gosh, this love triangle. I can already feel it’s one that I will enjoy. But exactly, authors tend to throw it in for the heck of it.

      Thank you for stopping by! xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Great blog post!!! This has made be think so much about the romance that books have today.. I am currently reading The Throne Of Glass series and I’m actually finding the love triangle to really frustrating as I find myself swooning for both characters in Rowan and Chaol!!! I truly wouldn’t be able to pick between them!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! Oh, you’re reading my favourite series of all time! Yay! Do you mean the love triangle between Chaol and Dorian? I don’t think Rowan comes in until Heir of Fire! But I totally get what you mean, I could NOT decide who I liked better with Celaena, I loved Dorian and Chaol equally!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well, in Throne of Glass I wasn’t actually very keen on Dorian and Celaena getting together I really wanted Celaena and Chaol to get together and they finally did in Crown Of Midnight I was really happy until it was CRUSHED!!!! Then in Heir of Fire I knew that Rowan would be a new character as I heard about it and I actually find that I can see a little bit of Choal’s character inside of him but I didn’t particularly like him at the begging of Heir of Fire as I REALLY WANTED CHOAL AND CELAENA TO GET TOGETHER…But I’m still reading the book and i’m to like Rowan now!! But I know that Chaol’s feelings haven’t changed for Celaena even though Celaena has sorta got over him! I really can’t wait to read the rest of Heir Of Fire and the rest of the series!!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I was exactly the same as you! I wanted Chaol and Celaena to be together forever but after reading Heir of Fire and Queen of Shadows, Rowan and she are my ultimate ship forever 😍 Read quickly because Queen of Shadows is AMAZING! So many Rowaelin scenes that will make you squeal 💜

        Liked by 1 person

  6. You know, you’re totally right about the love triangle thing. Love triangles in real life are messy. LIKE SUPER DUPER MEGA ULTRA MESSY. It has led to some tragic circumstances even, because with love triangles, jealousy and possessiveness also occur. Yes in books, a lot of us “giggle” and even relish the angst that comes with it, but in real life, the angst that happens IS NOT COOL AT ALL. It’s emotionally taxing and draining and just awful. Really makes you think how this should be portrayed in YA………. and it’s giving me book ideas too hahahaha

    Faye at The Social Potato

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes! Although I’ve never experienced it personally it is sure to be a huge problem and a big conflict. And thinking about this and this entire topic makes me think of book ideas too! We need some genuine portrayals of romance and relationships in books. Even if they end up in tragedy!

      Thank you for stopping by Faye, it means a lot 💗

      Like

  7. I’m totally with you. I think I could be addicted to romance for all the same reasons that you are.
    But I will say that yes, relationships in books are too perfect. The most major issue in them is usually due to a triangle or a miscommunication of some sort. Real relationships (not that I would know) take a lot more work. We probably do have too-high standards because of the love interests in them-I wouldn’t have it any other way-because why else do we read fiction? I’m sure in the real world there’s someone out there for everyone so I don’t think dreaming of our own ‘perfection’ is such a bad thing.
    Really interesting discussion 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I usually prefer that there are some romance elements in books but there are things that I find to be unrealistic. I love reading contemporaries, especially fluffy romances, but they’re all a little too happily ever after for me (my lonely heart still loves reading them though). One thing that I really dislike is insta-love. I can understand like… instant interest? I mean, I’ve met people before and been a little bit infatuated from the start… but the insta-love that’s portrayed in YA books just don’t seem realistic to me, especially because they always end up together in the end. Surely, they can’t be that great from start to finish.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I’m totally with you, my heart loves a romance 😄
      I definitely do not like or accept insta love in any novel. It just doesn’t sit well, and feels really clumsy. Insta interest or lust I can understand though.
      Yeah I’ve had the same experience! I think you can only love someone after learning about them and slowly developing a relationship together!
      Thank you for stopping by!! 😊😘

      Liked by 1 person

  9. This is such a fantastic discussion. I’ve wondered about this too, though unlike you, I’m not the biggest romance fan. I seriously hate when authors throw in a romance just for the heck of it – even if there’s no need for it. Insta-love is also another thing I REALLY hate. Love triangles… it depends. Haha, I actually had a friend once who was in… let’s say, a love triangle. I don’t now how it turned out, but I felt as if I was in one of those angsty novels. XD

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s frustrating when a romance is present in a novel and it doesn’t seem to have any purpose and even worse when it starts to dominate the story for no reason!
      Wow, secretly I want to experience or see a love triangle in real life.. Hehe 😁

      Like

  10. I love this topic Josie! I feel that I have difficulties relating to romance in YA due to the lack of focus on ongoing relationships. There’s plenty of people finding one another and falling in love, but we don’t get to see how they deal with the relationship once they get together. It leaves a forever after feeling that is totally unrealistic in real life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad you like it Aentee! You’re spot on with that. Books focus on the first stages of a relationship and usually fail to show all the other things, the deeper more serious parts of a relationship. It’s like books tend to show only the tip of the romance iceberg!

      Like

  11. I really like this topic ! Well, I think the books are giving us too high expectations, indeed. But as you said, we wouldn’t want to read it another way. And about love triangles let’s be honest it can seem appealing but would be a hell to live.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. This is so interesting. I really enjoy romance, too, especially in fantasy or other genres (including contemporary) where the main focus of the story isn’t the romance- it’s just enough but not too much. I actually don’t like love triangles because of the angst they create. But maybe that is just me not wanting them to hurt each other, but a lot of the times love triangles leave me feeling frustrated about the main character involved for making bad decisions or one of the romantic interests for being nasty!!! I do, however, love the slow-burners and I’m a bit of a sucker for a swoon-worthy fantasy character….. (ahem…. Sarah J. Maas…. ahem)…. although I think there needs to be more books with swoon-worthy girls….. hmm, I guess Manon would work… I’m all about inclusion 😉 Interesting topic. It made me laugh when I saw the title because I thought ‘today must be the day for discussion posts’ because I had just posted one this morning… I’m off to see if my prediction is correct and then to do my homework…. Nice discussion!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Romance in fantasy is my absolutely favourite!
      I think it depends on you as a person whether you enjoy love triangles or not. Like me, I love them! I love the angst and the deciding who the main character should really be with!

      SARAH J MAAS IS THE QUEEN OF SWOON WORTHY MALES. I love all of her male characters 😍 Rowan and Aedion and Rhysand are my babes.
      And of course swoon worthy girls must be including 😁

      Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed it. I love when I look through blogs for the day and I see that people are doing the same type of blog posts as me! It happened once with my book polygamist discussion post. 😄

      Like

      • Oooh, that sounds interesting, I think I’ll go and have a look at that discussion. Yeah, for me love triangles (unless they’re done in a way where the main character doesn’t make stupid decisions that hurt them or the love interests, then I like them) I find them too stressful 🙂 I loved Rowan, Rhysand and Aedion….. they’re amazing.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Well said (or written in this case), Josie! I might have a few unrealistic fantasies like wishing a few fictional boys were real, but, hey, bibliophiles sometimes just need to get away from their reality so they can come back with some perspective and a fresh outlook on life. 😀
    Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Such a great choice of topic, Josie! I really love a little romance in books, and I read a lot of contemporary romances where it’s basically the whole story focused on love and other cute things to get excited about. I don’t only read that, haha, but once in a while, I really enjoy it! 🙂
    I have to say, I agree with you about books giving us high hopes in real life. They definitely did the trick for me, and sometimes, you just expect things from your significant other, or simply from falling in love, and the whole relationship…but well, life doesn’t happen this way! It’s a little bothering, sometimes, I’d really love to read about all complications that makes a love life what it really is. But well, books are for dreaming, too, so, why not 😀
    I don’t believe in insta-love happening in real-life, there’s such a thing as instant connexion, or as instant lust, but not really love at first sight. And, if it happens for some people, it’s like 1% of the population! So it’s a little bothering when that always happens in books. Falling in love takes time and conversations and getting to know the person inside, I really love to read THAT precisely in books! 😀
    Well, after all, books are for dreaming and getting away, so even if some things are bothering about romances, I’d say I’m pretty content anyway. Reading romances leave me dreamy, and, in real life, I know that there’s a perfect person for everyone, even if he or she isn’t really as perfect as some book character 🙂
    Wow, sorry for the long comment, haha! Great discussion! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Marie! I’m so glad you took an interest in this spontaneous topic of mine! I’m glad you agree. It is quite a frustrating thing that books give us these high expectations, however, I also am on both sides of the coin because, as you mentioned, books are for dreaming and I love being able to savor the romance and just dream about being in a relationship like that (particularly, daydreaming about being in a relationship with certain Fae males *cough* Aedion *cough* Rowan).
      I love that books give us that element of dreaminess. I feel like books are just such a blessing because who knows? Maybe the romance in books is really what it’s supposed to be like in real life and it’s just been altered by our society!

      And please don’t apologize for the long comment! I love it when I receive long comments like this! 🙂 xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

      • You’re so right, Josie. There’s always a part of truth in a book, whether it’s fantasy or contemporary, we can always find some elements to relate to. So I agree with you in that romance should, and can be in real life like it is, in books; It just takes work and we shouldn’t let ourselves e disappointed because of what society shows us nowadays 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  15. You totally got my feelings spot-on! Romance is something I’ve come to expect from basically any YA novel—not that I’m complaining! Romance in novels can be quite satisfying, a treat, as you say, since I have no semblance of a love life of my own, LOL. I love the feeling of falling for the characters and watching their romance grow, which is one of the reasons why I’m not completely sold on insta-love, per say. I only wish it were true for me, though! 😉

    Also, the majority of books definitely romanticize romance, I would say, which in turn may give readers some pretty high standards for their own love life. But I don’t think I’d have it any other way—after all, fiction is kind of our release from reality, no? I’d be extremely sad if my book boyfriends suddenly were portrayed as the normal boys we have in real life, haha! 😛
    Amazing topic as always, Josie! 🙂
    ~Analee ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh I think we all wish we could have what some of our favourite characters have, am I right?! 😉

      And Analee, you’re totally right. We read books to explore a world different from our own, no matter how outrageous and crazy it is, like fantasy novels! And I agree, I read books for the romance, no matter how romanticized or unrealistically wonderful it is! And I definitely wouldn’t want it to change!

      Thank you for stopping by 😘

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Book romances make my life so complicated haha. Why can’t my boyfriend turn out to be a super hot werewolf right? Just kidding. Kind of. 😉 Wouldn’t it be great though if those book romances were real?

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Great choice of topic Josie! ❤
    I completely agree on all of this. I love romance in books, but I suppose we are romanticizing it too much sometimes.
    I've not been in a love triangle myself, but friends have been and it was not pretty. The friendship weirdly survived, but I don't think that that happens very often (in my case there were two girls who were best friends, one of them had a boyfriend and then the other one "stole" that boyfriend – I still don't know why they stayed friends after that sort of betrayal).
    Also, I don't think insta-love exists in real life, however, insta-lust I sort of get. You can feel very attracted to a person from the get go, but I don't think that it runs that deep and creates as much of a connection as is portrayed in books.
    There are so many amazing characters in books, I can relate to wanting someone like that in real life. I think some people are even as lucky to find someone like that (I just have to think about how perfect Tahereh Mafi and Ransom Riggs are together). I just don't know where to meet those people, but in the end no one is perfect. You just have to find the person that is right for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. This is a great discussion! Congrats on the topic choice, Josie 🙂 Fantastic as always.
    Now, what I think about this, as well as you do, is that this huge presence of romance in the books we read has both positive and negative sides. I am what people call hopeless romantic, and I NEED romance in a book to enjoy the story (generally). Said that, I also think that this constant contact with such powerful love stories makes me unconsciously expect that sort of romance from real life. Which is not bad, but unfortunately not realistic in most of the cases. I am in a happy relationship, but I still swoon over big romantic gestures, forbidden lovestories or even love triangles. However, I had to learn to draw the line between what is realistic and what is not, I should not expect those sizzling actions the hero does from my love interest because, for starters, the world books draw is a bit more complicated than mine. Still, I am a romantic so I believe love makes the world better, and I am absolutely certain that insta-love (and insta-lust), love at first sight and all that jazz exists. So, it’s not so bad romanticizing romance, I think it’s even a beautiful thing to think about, but every once in a while we should keep in mind that love doesn’t need to be necessarily epic since the beginning, and that it can grow from something more ordinary 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I absolutely love this! First off I am so glad that you enjoyed this topic and also so glad that it motivated this brilliant comment!
      I definitely agree with you on your side. I’m a huge hopeless romantic, so I usually fall for the smallest of romances. As for love at first sight, it’s a concept I’m still unsure about as of now. However, I do HOPE it exists!
      You make an EXCELLENT point!

      Thank you for stopping by! 😀 xoxo

      Like

  19. Great topic Josie. I think that most of the times, depends on your personality whether you enjoy romance in books or not. I mean ok, I am not really complaining about my love life cause it’s spicy, bittersweet and sometimes really good but I still enjoy romance like an addict. I think it really has to do with how you see romance. I love love. I love to see people happy and in love and when I read a book I expect love to be a huge part of it.
    And no, you’re absolutely not the only one making lists. I only have five book boyfriends but they’re so precious to me! ❤ All five of them make it hard for me to choose my next boyfriend because of the expectations. But well… someday maybe, if I'm lucky I will totally find my Aiden!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m definitely with you on that. I LOVE love too, it’s a beautiful, fabulous thing. I also believe that books romanticizing love is wonderful because it gives us something to dream about but at the same time, it can be crushing for us when we discover what love is really like, as you said with your own love life.

      And my book boyfriends list is only continuing to grow! But I love them all to death. 😀

      Thank you for stopping by. xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Ooohh I like this topic, Josie. Admittedly, I’m not a fan of chick flicks or romantic comedies, nor do I read chick lit or romance novels, BUT I love a healthy dose of romance in my fantasy novels. The slow-to-build-up type of love, the one that takes ages to get somewhere. I just feel like it’s more realistic and exciting. It’s the thrill behind every meaningful stare, the concealed blushes, and awkward conversations that makes me feel giddy. I think it appealed to me more because that’s also what I like in my real life relationship, so unconsciously I crave for a similar thing in books. I’m okay without romance in a story, but I do get what you mean when you say you feel dismayed when you know there’s a spark in there but it doesn’t lead into something! I get that a lot, haha!
    A pet peeve of mine is insta love, because it feels…shallow? I can understand having a crush on someone because they look hot, but to declare undying love for someone and taking a bullet for them is a bit ridiculous XD I also don’t mind love triangles, heart wrenching as they are, I just try not to read too many because it gets tiring after a while. I like fictional couples who are steadfast and loyal to each other, like Tris and Four from Divergent. Or those whose relationship is tested in ways besides a third party, like Ruby and Liam from the Darkest Minds.
    And I’m sure “the one” is just waiting around the corner for you! 🙂 I remember I made a list of all characters I like who seem to be boyfriend material, but my husband was not even close to any of them, haha!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your lovely comment! I agree that some of my FAVOURITE romances come from those in the fantasy books I read (Fantasy is basically all I ever read, to be perfectly honest). I’m a sucker for the slow-burn romances that come with fantasy novels and some others and I find myself really falling for those the hardest!
      I definitely agree with your preferences for fictional couples! They are the best kinds.

      And you’re so sweet! Thank you! 😀 Oh wow, I guess we never truly now what we really want until it’s right in our face. 🙂 xoxo

      Like

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