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Dangers in Reading Romantic Novels

Updated on February 6, 2014

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Dangers in Reading Romantic Novel

Many readers enjoy reading a good romantic novel; however, dangers lurk within their pages for the unwary. Real life seldom runs like the lives of the characters in the pages of a romantic novel. In romantic novels, the heroine eventually gets her man and all the heroes are dashing, handsome, attentive and exciting and the heroines are beautiful, accomplished and charming.

In real life, the hero in your personal romance may leave dirty underclothes on the floor or ignore you while he watches football on the television or your particular heroine nags you about taking out the rubbish bins, looks like the wreck of the Hesperus first thing in the morning and leaves cupboard doors open. The World as ordained in fictional romances is tidy and controlled unlike the real World, which is chaotic and affected by the life situations in which couples find themselves; an altogether messier experience. However, you can avoid those dangers quite easily by ensuring that you or youngsters under your care do not concentrate solely on romantic novels for reading matter or that when you do indulge in a romantic read you do so with a large pinch of salt.

Particular Dangers to Teenagers

There are special dangers for young teenage girls in reading too many romantic novels. Teenagers have little life experience and might believe that real life is like that portrayed in romances. They do not realize that you cannot order life in the same way that a writer controls the characters within a novel. There are dangers too, in that in thinking that real life is a romantic novel, that young girls may find themselves in harmful or dangerous situations because they misunderstand the complexity of human relations.

There are several ways to counter the dangers that romantic novels pose to teenagers. Encourage a wide range of reading, if a child is reading only romantic novels there may be some difficulty in that child’s life. Discuss romantic novels and their false assumptions with your teenager. Identify the differences between the fictional and real Worlds. Also advance the thought that real life is far more interesting and exciting, in all its complexity, than the one dimensional world advanced in romantic novels.

Dangers to older readers

You might believe that reading romantic novels only poses danger to naïve youngsters but there are dangers for older readers too. Just as a diet composed of a single foodstuff would affect your physical health and well-being, a reading diet consisting of romantic novels could affect your emotional well-being. The rarified worlds represented in slushy novels could lead you to have unrealistic expectations of your own romantic life. You may become dissatisfied when your partner or spouse does not behave like the hero or heroine in your favourite novels. Such dissatisfaction can lead to relationship break-up or divorce. It can also lead to a tendency to escape real life and miss opportunities or chances, to enliven your real romantic life, or to enjoy your own real life.

Romantic novels give readers of all ages unrealistic expectations and the impression that love is a series of grand romantic gestures, whereas it is the tiny, seemingly insignificant things, that your boyfriend, girlfriend, partner or spouse does every day, which make love and relationships truly romantic and fulfilling. Simple things, like your significant other cooking your favourite meal because s/he knows that you have had a difficult day or a disappointment or always putting spiders out of doors, because s/he knows that you are terrified by them, when added together over time, are far more romantic than occasional grand romantic gestures from someone whom, at other times, is inconsiderate of their partner’s well-being, comfort, health, and feelings. Real life is not a romantic novel, it is far more complex, but for all that, it is infinitely more interesting, varied, and fulfilling than anything written in any romantic novel. Readers should treat romantic novels as though they were fairy stories, enjoyable, great for a few hours escapism, but having little in common with real life and love.


Submit a Comment
  • annart profile image

    Ann Carr 

    5 years ago from SW England

    I love a good romantic read but usually prefer something a little more challenging. Fortunately, we have Jane Austen's romance which is peppered with a good dose of realism and observation on life and character; she definitely tells us that looks aren't everything (e.g. Wickham in Pride & Prejudice, or Willoughby and Sense & Sensibility).

    Schools also deal with a range a reading so hopefully youngsters will realise that life is usually anything but romantic.

    Great ideas here though, well-presented, making for an interesting, occasionally amusing, read. Ann

  • Harvest Moon profile image

    Harvest Moon 

    5 years ago from Earth

    While I do agree that basing one's romantic expectations on romance novels can be (somewhat) silly, I've read many a romance in which the heroes and heroines were anything but romantic ideals. Like most things fun, reading romances should be enjoyed thoroughly, but in moderation and with a clear picture of how their plots differ from certain aspects of reality. That does not mean, however, that young women should not hold their beaus to a higher romantic standard - men SHOULD aspire to be heroes, just as women SHOULD aspire to be heroines. No book can tell us what we want - but romance novels can certainly help us discover what human characteristics are truly important to us.

  • sujaya venkatesh profile image

    sujaya venkatesh 

    5 years ago

    good guidance for guys n girls col


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