Cheaters Never Win


Many times the discussion of romance dealbreakers comes up; for some people, it’s sleeping with someone else while the romance is building (not a dealbreaker for me; I just call that ‘being an entitled man.’).

For most of us, and why we carry the stigma of romance as long as anyone remembers the phrase ‘bodice-ripper,’ it’s rape.

For me (in addition to the rape, obviously), it’s adultery. It’s funny, I haven’t really thought of it before–after all, I am a “Risky” Regency, and not usually conservative in my views. But the other night, my husband and I were watching a 1966 movie called Grand Prix starring James Garner, Eva Marie Saint and Yves Montand, among others. It was about the Formula 1 racing circuit, and my husband recalled loving it when young because of the racing footage.

We joined it midway, and there’s this romance going on between Garner and a woman who, it turns out, is married to another driver, a Scot who’s recovering from a race accident. Huh. Made me uncomfortable to see it all out there in the open, but whatever. Then Montand’s character is madly in love with Saint’s only, it turns out, he’s already married to another stunning blonde (man had a type, is all I’m saying).

“So,” I said, turning to my husband, “this movie is all about adultery.” I didn’t hate the film, but I didn’t like it that everyone seemed okay with the cheating. If that plot line had been in a romance story? Whoa, there would’ve been SUCH a kerfuffle.

‘Course, I’m a hypocrite, because one of my favorite series is Julia Spencer-Fleming‘s Clare Fergusson and Russ Van Alstyne series. But there the characters know, and suffer for, what they’re doing.

I guess the difference for me is knowing that the characters are aware of their actions, and are making choices, not just falling into things because it’s convenient. Another example is one of my all-time favorite books, Jane Eyre. Rochester, of course, knew full well what he was attempting to do–but his love for Jane made him choose to live with damnation. I kinda respected that when I first read it, and still admire Rochester for choosing love over propriety (some would say morality, and that is a valid word, also).

Okay, so not a dealbreaker precisely, but if the hero or heroine is somewhat insouciant about their cheating–no matter how valid the reason–I’m not gonna like them.

We’ve all discussed the usual dealbreakers; do you have any unusual ones?

Megan

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