01 October, 2016

Hate to Love in #RomanceNovels

After having read at least a handful of Romance novels in at least three different sub-genres that all utilized the Hate Turns to Love trope, I started to wonder about the reality of such an occurrence.

Which is odd coming from me because I don't read (or write) Romance for the reality factor, but bear with me.

You've likely come across at least one story in a Romance where the H and h start out loathing one another (use of the word Hate inserted here) and fight like crazy through 3/4 of the book before eventually calling a truce and getting busy between the sheets.

I've read at least two Regency's where the H and h don't waste any time in that regard yet continue to bicker, argue, fight, and loathe one another 3/4 of the way through the story before finally calming down and acting civil.

It's crazy!

I've also watched even more Asian dramas that utilize this hate-start trope, so I feel somewhat expert on the topic and I don't care for it as a view any more than I do as a read.

Which got me to thinking about the Why of it all, and especially since I keep telling myself (and you) that I don't like to read reality-based Romance novels.

If this type of behavior can be or even is considered realistic, that is.

My research on the topic of going from hatred to love in the human species proved fruitless.

All of it derived online as well, but no links here because of its insignificance and (let's be honest) the misunderstood responses to the question:

is it possible to switch emotional gears and go from despising someone to hopping in bed with them.

Most Hate to Love articles dealt with the spiritual or religious aspect, which has zero to do with my topic of discussion (irrelevant).

The rest came from forum-type responses with answers like hated broccoli and love it now to hated boys at 8 but love them now at 15 (insignificant).

Some responded with having hated someone because of a misconception (which is close enough to what a Romance novel trope employs) but all were family-oriented and not Girl Meets Boy.

One article discussed the Thin Line theory and showed that it has more relevance than we might assume.

One went in-depth with the two emotions as being separate and not about how one emotion overcomes the other.

Another showed how easy it is to overcome hatred and another that said it is just as easy to overcome love (bad break-up therapy).

I also refused to let myself be confused with obsessive or domineering forms of relationship emotions and concentrated on the realistic, non-psychotic forms instead.

There just wasn't much to discover about actual hatred turning into actual love.

So, I went the obvious route and posted a query to my Facebook neighbors, asking if they had ever, or knew someone who had ever truly hated someone and then fell madly in love with that person.

A whopping 19 responses came back (which I'm not knocking, believe me) and a majority of them said No, never happened, or No, don't know anyone that ever happened to.

The two who did say Yes, it happened to me, or Yes, I know someone who did that, their explanations didn't quite coincide with my question.

Like with the forum responses, one answer related to a hated father for decades and then suddenly an epiphany occurred and now they love him.

The other said he wasn't particularly fond of his spouse when they first met but as they got to know one another their first impression dimmed and voila!

Which is closest to the Romance Novel trope theory, but not what can be called true Hate to make it a satisfactory response for the hypothesis.

No one I surveyed said they experienced the Romance Novel scenario of knowing a guy who sold her little brother drugs until he became an addict and eventually died so she went after said pusher to kill him, but then her feelings got in the way and soon she was in bed with said pusher.

And, yes, I just made that up (but, if it IS someone's story in reality, a thousand pardons!)

Were it a real Romance novel scenario, there would have to be a redeeming quality about the pusher for the h to fall in love, right?

Like, H has since found Jesus, or H was a drug abuser himself until he cleaned up his act, or H is actually a doppelganger for the real pusher.

Hate is as strong an emotion as Love, but according to one of the articles I browsed, Hate is much more powerful in words, thoughts, and actions than Love could ever dream of being expressed by a human.

I believe this to be true.

I won't argue that at least some of you have read at least one Romance novel that teeters on the brink of going over the line and into questionable territory regarding the behavior and mindset of at least one of the two leads.

Okay, maybe more than one time when you had to question the author's judgment or even mentality to have written a character the way they did.

Just not every time the H becomes expressive or loses himself in his budding emotions, which is far more realistic than wishing someone was dead one minute and then wanting to have sex with them the next.

My thinking is that it is easier to go from pure Love to absolute Hate and is more common than pure Hatred turning into Pure Love.

But, how UN-Romantic is that?

Makes for a mighty terrific antagonist's personality, though.

It is also true that people use words ineffectively or without real thought so their use of love or hate can be throwing off the scientific data somewhat.

I Love Chocolate is about as common a phrase as I Hate Racism.

Yet, we don't have sex with chocolate bars (at least I hope we don't) and we don't hunt down the deplorable 'noun' with a butcher knife.

The term Heartfelt likely sprang up from the common occurrence of meeting someone who sparks emotional triggers: heart palpitations, sweaty palms, and/or the rapid pulse.

Yet it is actually the brain (not the heart) that is triggered by what the eye sees, causing the brain to light up, and the body (in this case, blood flow) then responds.

And yes, it will also trigger the hormonal alarms in our reproductive organs.

We refer to this as love, love at first sight, true love, and so on.

None of which are actually true, but this is part of the lackadaisical word-use issue.

When you truly Hate someone (or some thing), the triggers are much more visceral and include memory, thought, and mood.

Hate will also elicit a blood-flow response.

And, yes, it is physically possible to 'see red' due to excess blood flow.

However, the reproductive area will not be triggered (unless you suffer some psychotic malady, but that isn't why I'm here today).

So, we have a case for LUST at first sight being plausible, and most of us will probably agree that it can and may lead to Love.

It is proven scientifically that the body responds similarly to Love and Hate.

Yet feelings of Hate tend to outweigh or overpower those of Love.

We are more likely to sympathize with Hate than we can or do about Love.

Sadly, if an author permits her H to verbally and behaviorally express his Love for the h, the reader is likely to accuse her of being out-of-touch with so-called reality and think that the H is a stalker, overly obsessive, and even a trifle terrifying.

But if the antagonist is a mass-murderer with mommy issues, the reader might want to sympathize on some level.

It isn't as common a practice in reality to switch Hatred for Love the way some Romance novels would like us to believe.

It is actually NOT based on realistic occurrence but make-believe, used specifically to add spice to the plot.

The excitement involved in reading about two people who don't see eye to eye right away (not Hate), go through a series of mishaps and blunders (because they're stubborn), and then that special something happens to open their eyes for the very first time (they mature) -- that is a great reason to want to read (and write) Romance novels.

So, why don't I buy it a majority of the time that I read (or watch) it in any Romance novel?

I'm thinking it has everything to do with the word Hate and not much else.

My definition is probably much stronger and maybe a bit more accurate than it is for others.

Hate = Death Wish

Hate = Dead to Me

Hate = Eternally Nobody

Hate = Be Damned

Hate = Voodoo Doll Curse

Hate = See You in Hell

None of the Hate You/Love You scenarios I've read had ever defined their H/h relationship that way, though.

I go out of my way to avoid those I despise, detest, abhor, and don't admire one bit in real life.

If I attend a get-together and that person shows up, I will make any excuse to leave.

Unless I receive a heart-felt confession or sincere apology, which isn't ever as likely to occur as it does in a Romance novel, then there is zero reason for me to occupy the same air space with someone I don't care to occupy anything with at all.

That is my reality and probably why I can't wrap my head around Hate Turning to Love in a Romance novel.

Either it is TOO realistic for my taste or too Implausible to be taken seriously.

Better still, because of my stubborn (and probably even childish) way of dealing with people I despise, I don't want my ugly reality cropping up in a Romance novel to spoil all the fun.

Misunderstandings are okay (this isn't hate).

Bad first impressions are okay (this isn't hate, either).

Believing a lie until the truth is revealed is okay (no hatred involved).

Receiving a sincere apology is okay (lessens the feeling of hatred).

Truly Hating someone (wishing them dead for whatever reason) and then later Truly Loving that same person (for whatever reason), not so much.

Am I spoiling my own form of a good time by 'relating' too much to the story?


Which just proves my point about not wanting to read realistic drama in a Romance novel and knowing that others don't perceive the act of Hate the same way that I do.

Or, I should learn how to adjust my thinking when others misuse/abuse a powerful word like HATE.

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