Harlequin, one of the biggest romance publishers in the world, recently conducted a survey to find out how people in 2023 feel about love, relationships and—of course—happily ever afters.
The results were interesting, and they shed some light on why my biggest pet peeve in romance novels bothers me so much.
According to the survey, “The majority (57%) of unmarried Americans say they don’t feel pressured to be married or in a committed relationship. Among Americans who are currently single, exactly half (50%) are prioritizing themselves and spending time with friends over finding a partner.”
Honestly, I was so happy to see this stat! Every now and then, I read a romance novel that leaves a terrible taste in my mouth, because it implies that, without a man, a woman’s life can’t be complete.
God doesn’t call all of us to marriage, and that’s okay! It’s entirely possible to have a full, fulfilling life without a romantic partner. And romance novels where the heroine has to sacrifice her wants, needs and dreams for the future in order to snag a man are the ones that make me want to throw them across the room!
Yes, relationships take compromise. And God calls us to be sacrificial. But if the hero and heroine have wildly different goals, priorities and visions for the future, they don’t belong together!
Although it’s true that romance novels need to have a lot of conflict to keep them interesting, in my humble opinion, the conflict should never be resolved by one of the main characters giving up everything for the other person.
Because that, in my mind, is definitely not the recipe for a book—or a life—that ends happily ever after.
So there you have it: my biggest pet peeve in romance novels. What’s your #1 pet peeve?