Can it really be true??
It is quite possible, virtual folk, because it seems I have again hit with extreme force one of the main issues in a story which causes me to stumble each. and. every. single. damn. time. This is the theme of infidelity.
It doesn’t matter how thoughtfully and convincingly it’s dealt with (eg Chris Owen’s Bareback) or how the addition of a third person in a relationship can be successfully resolved in a story (eg Katrina Strauss’ Blue Ruin 2), I really – to the infinity power – hate it; even the hint of it.
Case in point *AND SPOILERS*…
I was reading this the other day; picked it up because I’d read some good reviews about it. I was enjoying it (lots of lol moments that had the kittens running to see what was up) right up until the very end when red lights started flashing and a barrier came down. Infidelity… bloody hell it.
Yeah, yeah; he doesn’t go through with it. Yet, he was ready to throw his whole future away on some pie-in-the-sky dream. I know, I know. It’s a major part of the story and of the character as he, despite his concerns, takes that big leap of faith, but still… it just made me so friggin angry. *sigh*
Needless to say that this book has gone on to my ‘mixed feelings’ shelf.
If you’ve read it, did you have a similar reaction? Or perhaps you don’t have my, umm, “issues” (translation from Kris: blatant bias) with infidelity? Maybe it’s something else that gets your goat?
depends? I did like Bareback, but only because I liked how it was resolved. I know people say that cheating happens in real life and so authors have to put it in books…but really, if I wanted that much reality, I’d read a newspaper rather than a FICTIONAL book. Guys don’t drip like leaky faucets or fuck for hours either, but that makes it into stories, doesn’t it? why pick and choose the level of ‘reality’?
Oh baby, I had the same issues. Not sure its infidelity as a rule but in the case in point, it ruined the book for me. I was killing myself laughing up until about page 120 and then it was WTF?!?!?!?! The guy is totally in love with you, offers you half of his business and basically on the eve of your wedding (if you will) you see a total stranger who you “think” looks like someone from your dreams so you have to follow him to find out if maybe he’s better. FU asshole. So yeah, he realizes its not better but what if the guy had been nice? He would have dumped his man for a freaking dream. What if he starts dreaming about another guy in a few years and sees him in the mall? Is he going to go and see if that’s the better deal than what he got? It REALLY pissed me off. HE did, not the concept of infidelity. And then he wants to tell the BF what he did? Ummm, you want your ass kicked to the curb? You deserve it and the BF should have fallen in love with his best friend, the guy wouldn’t go chasing after total strangers.
Ummm. Sorry. Rant over. That book left me with such mixed feelings because I LOVED the first part and the last 20 pages I hated. To go from liking a character a lot to being disgusted by him is not good. I’m not a “fan” of infidelity, but I can deal with it if I have to and its done well. Thankfully its not something I’ve come across much.
My bugaboo is religious themes where the one guy dumps his BF because he’s convinced that its wrong for religious reasons. Even if he comes to his senses and recants and they end up HEA, I can NOT get past the first betrayal (for me it is). I know Emmy loved Runaway Star but it was a DNF for me for that reason. No matter how much I liked the first part I couldn’t get past it. I nearly had palpitations over Hard Fall in fear of the same thing, luckily it was not what I feared. Maybe because I’m a heathen non-believer I just CAN’T deal with that kind of thing when I read.
Sorry so long, ranty day.
*who wanted to rip the PA right outta that cheating bastard in “Bareback”*
*ditto to Blue’s – as much as she loved him – nipple ring*
Reality, my arse! I just read a short where the chick had to be trained to take monster cock and then all of a sudden she could keep at it all hours of the day and night without any sign of lube, etc. Yeah, right. Can anyone say ouch??
So, cheating happens in RL and so authors HAVE to do it?? What kind of argument is that for God’s sake?? Hello.. are we or are we not reading romantic fiction?! Grrrr.
Well, aren’t we a bunch of Ranty McRanters today. 😉
I did have a few other issues with the book (eg interfering so-called friend), but agree it was pretty funny in a slapstick kind of a way. That ending though… *mutter, mutter*
Religion?? I’m not sure if this is a huge one for me cos I kinda think that these belief systems are one of the biggest hurdles faced by GLBT and many other people so I can take it to a point – the point being that if I wanted to watch it disintegrate into total fundie fucktardiness I would just tune into the news. Also, I MUST still have my HFN or HEA in the end.
*and with that Kris contradicts herself about reality in romance and flashes off ninja style before anyone notices*
I hate infidelity in books. Seriously hate it but have read books where it’s been done in a..shall we say…ok manner. Did I still hate it? oh yeah.
And yes, Kris…you’re still a prude! lol
See, I knew someone would tell me I’d turned into Super Prude.
*Must think of ways to dispell rumours… not to mention getting rid of my new habit of asterisk speech. No fucking idea what that’s all about.*
Oh, don’t get me started on the best friend. I didn’t like her at all. Although again, until the end I was okay with her. She HOPED he’d sleep with the guy and fuck up his relationship because no other sane person on earth would be her friend. Gee, wonder why? Ever notice the common thread in your shitty relationships is you?
I HATE infidelity in books as much as I HATE it in real life!!!!!
Kris, I agree with your comment about the newspaper, lol, I want a story not a a news report.
Gimme the impossibly handsome sexy smart funny rich super hot stud muffin lovers, I want them together and HAPPY by the end of the book. I DON’T want some other ass getting in the way (unless it’s a menage)!!!!!!!!
I loved Bareback so much but it about killed me as much as it did Jake when Tor cheated. OMG did I hate that!!!!!!
As for the religion and the annoying “fag hag” best friend, don’t really like them but I can deal with them.
*member of the Ranty McRanters Club*
“Ever notice the common thread in your shitty relationships is you?”
I’m assuming you’re directing that at the so-far-from-being-a-friend-it-is-not-funny rather than me because that would be rude – not to mention a sad inditement on your self. *snort*
Hail, fellow infidelity hater! Well met, Ranty McRanter friend! *g*
“I DON’T want some other ass getting in the way (unless it’s a menage)!!!!!!!!”
Ditto, Lily. Only ‘literal menage arses when all parties are agreed’ are appreciated.
When Jake treated Tor like the cheap fuck that he was and then even more bad stuff happened to Tor were you like me, Lily, shouting “ha! you get what you deserve, you cheating SLUT!” Granted Tor redeemed himself in the second book, but still!!!
Darlin’, of course I meant that bitch Finn. Not you my sweet. My taste in friends is impeccable.
Kris you are so correct. Cheap SLUT is just one of the things I called Tor. The Bastard broke my heart along with Jake’s and it was VERY hard to forgive, and I’ve NEVER forgotten.
Yes, he did suffer for it and eventually redeemed himself BUT he did bring it all upon himself, the freaking cheating SLUT!!
*who may forgive but never forgets!!*
That plot element doesn’t particularly bother me, depending on the context and how it plays out.
Now, twincest… Oh, man, press my gag button and run! I will never, ever be able to understand how anybody can find incestuous relationships titillating — on any level or in any way. That’s just some sick shit, period.
<>if I wanted to watch it disintegrate into total fundie fucktardiness I would just tune into the news<>Damn, don’t get me started on THAT all over again!
Tam: I thought that must be the case; not only with regard to your impeccable taste in friends, but given my awesomeness.
Lily: You wouldn’t be Irish or Slav, would you?? Me, I’m a mutt. So I come by my hot temper and ability to hold a grudge honestly (boy, do I!). LOL. We’ll hold that grudge against Tor together. You take first shift.
K Z: I think I’m actually more bothered by infidelity than I am about twincest.
I read a book earlier in the year where the squicky factor re: twincest was somewhat lessened by the author’s attempt to develop the theme of being halves of the same soul, etc, etc. In that book, I was actually more disturbed by the r/ship between a brother and sister than I was by the one between the twins.
Yes, I saw your post about what happened with American Idol. Even while I was shaking my head, part of me was not surprised given the way that the fundies financially backed the campaign against GLBT marriage in the US recently. I’m afraid that my country mining town heritage will start to come out in full force if I start in on bigots so I think I’ll stop right now.
“You wouldn’t be Irish or Slav, would you??”
Lol Kris, it’s my hot-blooded Latin side. Although in my mind I’m 100% American I was born in Cuba but emigrated when I was only 7 years old. I guess even after 40 years here my “roots” show 😀
As Liz Lemon would say, “That’s a dealbreaker!”
Hate infidelity in RL and in fiction. Turns me right off a character. As much as I don’t mind character flaws, that’s too much of one.
*Here’s where I stick out my neck to have it chewed off*
If someone is married or in a committed relationship then I don’t like infidelity in my books UNLESS the relationship is on the rocks and both partners are thinking of calling it quits. Then the infidelity is symptomatic of something fundamentally wrong in that relationship.
Sometimes there are other factors (such as sham marriages/engagements which don’t bother me. Also those men who are in denial or in the closet and trying to keep up a het front don’t bother me.
The infidelity in Blue Ruin 2 didn’t bother me, firstly because Derek is meh and secondly, I felt that it was understandable given Blue’s age and the former feelings he had for Cameron. In the end he chose with his heart which made it OK for me.
Finally, these are men, and let’s face it sometimes men think with their dicks. People make mistakes, if it’s a one off hand or blow job in the bathroom of a club then that is OK as long as they are made to pay for it later. Consistantly going behind a loved one’s back is not OK.
*ducks and runs for cover*.
Jen: Don’t panic. LOL I’m actually more like you. The book in question drove me squirrely because he was actually checking to see if a total stranger might be better than the guy he’d just committed to giving up his business and moving across the country for. It wasn’t a quick BJ in the airport bathroom, he questioned whether maybe there was something better he just hadn’t found yet. THAT was what bugged me more than if it had been a drunken grope in a bar. To purposely seek out another man to see if something with him would be hotter or have a deeper connection than with the guy you are with? Ummm, you’re not ready if you’re not 100% sure. For me the emotional infidelity is worse than a one-off physical encounter.
Twincest? I’ve never read JUST twins but with a third I can deal with it in a fantasy world. If I ever came across it in real life I’d be squicked out big time.
For the record, I’m not a fan of infidelity, either, and I don’t think you’re a prude anymore than I think I’m a prude!
As for why those moments of tempations appear in Blue Ruin, I write the characters and situations as they honestly play out in my mind while I simply act as conduit. With that being said, I do reel the Muse in before the characters cross that unforgivable point of no return. I do think that Derek and Blue deal with it better than many real life couples (for instance, Blue stopping before things truly get out of hand, while Derek gives him another chance) hence where the “fantasy” element comes into play, personally, for me. Then again, I’ve always been a fan of soap operas as much as I am romance, and to me, true romance is not so much the HEA but showing a couple *maintain* that HEA in the long run.
That’s just me, though. I’m not saying all readers have to be on board with everything I write. and honestly I’ve been pleasantly surprised that so many have stayed on board with Derek and Blue through thick and thin. I’m just letting you know I didn’t purposely write Blue suffering a moment of temptation to upset my readers, but rather show how obstacles can be overcome when two people commit to one another “for better or for worse.” I can’t speak for other authors, but I’d venture that at least a few of them aren’t purposely inserting infidelity into their romance to usurp the genre, either. I will say that if a character flat out *cheats*, and then goes back and *cheats again*, I’d be none too happy, yet I do recall a Danielle Steele novel I read years ago where the primary relationship of the book resulted from, guess what, the lead female cheating on her previous partner because he was a jerk.
The fourth BR installment, which I’ve recently drafted shows The Boys dealing with much more mundane external challenges, like conflicting schedules, parents, and serial killers — you know, the usual crap — while they also share their first bonafide, cooperative threesome. What can I say, they’re learning as they go. 😉
<>dealing with much more mundane external challenges, like conflicting schedules, parents, and serial killers — you know, the usual crap — <>You know, serial killers are really the biggest challenge I face on a day-to-day basis. Sure there is getting my kid to lessons on time and buying last minute birthday present, but those serial killers are a bitch to deal with. LOL You are very funny.
*member of the Ranty McRanters Club*<>Can I apply for membership??
I think all has been said. I don’t like it!
As Emmy said, there’s reality and there’s reality I want to read about. So, like Kris, infidelity isn’t something I enjoy reading about…but I’m not sure how I feel about the Menage situation. And since I write paranormal and some of my characters are pretty old, it only complicates the matter. What I do know is that I don’t like cheaters. If you’re currently involved with someone and you’re in a committed, monogamous relationship with him/her, a relationship with someone else is cheating. That’s just mho of course.
Ingrid, welcome to the club, your membership kit is on the way 🙂
<>I’m afraid that my country mining town heritage will start to come out in full force if I start in on bigots so I think I’ll stop right now.<>Imagine a good portion of a nation full of ’em. Parts of the USA are like boot camps for fundies. (Yeah, I gotta stop, too. This week has brought me way too close to obsessive mode.)
But back to the infidelity issue, I tend to think like Jenre…and maybe give even more allowance. For me, it’s all a matter of characters, context, and execution. Frankly, I’d rather see an infidelity subplot with compelling characters than a true-blue relationship between a couple of effing Ken dolls.
Plastic, I don’t like.
Lily & Ingrid: As we have representaives from a number of countries and diverse cultural backgrounds, it would seem that our little club is on it's way. 😉
Sean: It's a big turn off for me, too. I hate it so much in RL that coming across it in fiction… well, it's a struggle and usually one I immediately give up on unless it's a book I'm really enjoying such as those mentioned in the post.
Jen: Consider yourself chomped! LOL. I’m firmly in the camp that can’t stand any kind of physical or emotional infidelity. Having said that, there have been a few stories where the issue/struggle forms a major part of the plot which I have enjoyed; however, these have related to a sham marriage or engagement where the m/f are fully aware that it is just a front and there are no hurt feelings. Otherwise… nope.
I think part of my issue is that there is absolutely no f’ing way I would forgive someone who did this so I find it quite (understatement of the year) difficult to believe it when a couple might kiss and make up (altho possibly not as easily resolved as that).
Tam: I skimmed this entire section. It just pissed me off so badly. All I wanted to know in the end was what he ended up deciding.
Katrina: I would obviously be lying if I said the temptation Blue faced in BR2 didn’t kill me. I think I struggled with it as much as Blue did. 🙂
This will sound patronising so apols beforehand – As I said in the original post, I thought the situation with Cameron was successfully resolved through Derek’s and Blue’s discussions and the final ‘negotiation’. The main reasons why it was convincing for me was because I could see the d/s relationship allowing a third within a set rules and that Blue’s and Derek’s committment to each other did shine through in the end – and was even stronger.
So, after all that, can I tell you how honestly delighted I was that Cameron was not in BR3. LOL. I also saw the hints of an ‘all parties agreed’ threesome in BR3and am looking forward to the next installment.
Serial killers aside *g*, infidelity is obviously a way of bringing conflict into story in romance fiction. I realise that authors aren’t trying to deliberately piss me off (I’m not that paranoid… yet), but it is something that I have strong feelings about and I wanted to see if other readers struggled with it as I do. Needless to say, it’s been an interesting discussion and it’s helped me get my own thoughts together about how this theme can sometimes be dealt with in a way that does work for me as a reader; albeit a reader with mixed feelings.
Selena: The comment you made re: menage is interesting because I’ve realised that my feelings about ‘reality’ in fiction, in particular romance, is a bit like a seesaw.
On the one hand there are certain things that I can accept, but on the other there are some situtaions that I really, REALLY prefer not to read about. That (in a roundabout way) leads me to menage, which I have no problems with as long as all parties agree and understand what is happening beforehand. My problems arise when a ‘true’ polygamous relationship develops, but is only dealt with superficially with no exploration of feelings like jealousy, etc.
I guess this is all highlighting the fact that for me as a reader the key thing is the believability factor. I’m willing to be convinced even when it’s a theme I personally don’t like.
K Z: “Plastic, I don’t like.”
Oh, so much I could say, but am seriously holding myself back.
As I said to Selena, I’ve come to the conclusion that I definitely hate the infidelity theme in stories with a passion, but I can be convinced… sometimes…
Kris, I take it then you won’t want to read my next book: <>WereKangas That Cheat On Each Other<>?
Well, Sean, I won’t even go there if it’s Jerry Springer-style cos I hate that crap. However, a doco along the lines of ‘the mating habits of’ – kind of David Attenborough-ish – is another matter.
Obviously I’m going to have to read Bareback at some point 😉
I must admit I have yet to read a book that includes infidelity..but I I have a feeling it would lead to a WTF moment! I don’t get infidelity…particularly the kind when it just happens because you are overcome by lust….
“Bareback” is a good story, Orannia, but… well, you’ve been warned! Also, prepare yourself for coming across infidelity in m/m. It does get dealt with more than it does in m/m romance.
Hmmm, isn’t that interesting… I wonder why?? Perhaps this is where Jen’s comment about guys thinking with their dicks comes in. O_O I’m so punny.