ESCAPE FROM BAD ROMANCE (Part 3)
Want to escape from bad romance?
Perhaps I can help. I’m not referring to books! I’m talking about actual romance. We began this discussion in Part 1 (April 29, 2020) and Part 2 (June 24, 2020). Over the next few blog posts, I’m going to share an amazing discovery I made through writing. (I’m Raz Steel—my degree is in Philosophy, I’ve been writing most of my life, and teaching writing for more than ten years.)
Storytelling is a tool. As a professional writer, it’s a tool of habit for me. Applied one way, it entertains an audience. But what if I could show you how storytelling applied another way could break you out of a pattern of failing real-world romance?
You don’t have to be a writer to use this tool. You don’t have to write at all. My process could be just as effective for a non-writer. In Part 1, I suggested that what allowed me to create the perfect story-romance in my recently published romantic comedy PASS THE KRYPTONITE was my understanding of not one character but both romantic characters.
This suggested that the success of real-world romance depends on my understanding of myself and my partner.
Changing your thoughts isn’t enough to change your romantic reality. Understand yourself, change your thoughts, and empathize with your partner.
Most romance writers and readers are women. If you’re a woman reading this essay, you probably already have a firm grasp on who you are, what you want, and why you want it. You already know about change your thoughts, change your reality.
What’s missing is, “How the hell do I empathize with a guy?”
I have a different perspective. I am a guy. It was incredibly difficult for me to learn how to empathize with a woman. But so rewarding!
For me, marriage failed. For one of the characters in PTK, romance failed. That character wallowed in self-pity and the pain of having someone reach down their throat, rip out their heart, throw it on the ground, and then stomp on it.
Mirrored my feelings precisely.
My character escaped. Why couldn’t I? How did my character manage it?
By understanding the only way to achieve the intimate relationship they wanted was to open themselves up again to that same kind of vulnerability.
Another PTK character’s engagement failed. They had reached down someone’s throat . . . Not deliberately trying to hurt anyone. Sometimes, relationships just don’t work out. That character empathized with their ex-partner though.
Part 2 is about realizing the characters in PASS THE KRYPTONITE (as well as my other novels) are emotional risk takers! What an incredible revelation.
Why did the characters find these actions necessary? One character, because they realized they needed to be an emotional risk taker, and the other character, because they realized their partner wasn’t an emotional risk taker.
Flipped a switch for me.
I had to suck it up to do the same. Not only did I need to become and remain an emotional risk taker, but now I understood a fundamental aspect of a potential romantic partner.
Okay. For those of you who also do that, we’re all on a good path. My idea of romance doesn’t need to match your idea of romance. My idea of romance needs to match my partner’s.
That’s the first thing to look for then in a potential partner, isn’t it? An emotional risk taker. I need to understand my idea of romance to recognize it in a partner. I want the ultimate intimacies of emotion and intellect and passion.
Just like you can’t achieve that level of intimacy without the risk, neither can he.
And if he’s not willing/able to take that risk, he ain’t your guy.
What if he has tons of other wonderful qualities? Yeah? Without this essential ingredient, you don’t achieve the romantic intimacy you want.
Can you make chocolate chip cookies without the chocolate chips? (You can, but then they’re not actually chocolate chip cookies, are they?)
(Part 4 of ESCAPE FROM BAD ROMANCE will appear on August 19, 2020)
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