Addicted to Love?

By Poison Ivy,

Are you? Addicted to love, wanting to live in the world of romance every day?

In the world of romance, problems may be huge, but there is always a strong, competent hero to solve them. Maybe he’ll cut through all opposition with a Scottish claymore. Maybe he’ll pierce his opponent with the brilliantly executed thrust of an epée in a duel. Or maybe he’ll make his dramatic checkmate move in a corporate boardroom, or on the floor of the U.S. Senate, or piloting a secret agency helicopter. Wherever a romance heroine faces danger, the hero is nearby, soon to arrive to save her, Or, in our newly more equal urban fantasy world, to help her save the day. Strong heroines, weak heroines, and everyday heroines, they’re all ideal women to romance heroes. These amazing men love us. Wow.

Do you need some of this every day, just to get through your day? Just a peek at the new book, maybe just one chapter, only a little more…. oops, where did the hours go?

If that’s you, then you’re addicted to love. You need that high of dipping into a world in which good things happen to good people, justice triumphs, wrongs are righted, ambitions are fulfilled, love is rewarded with love returned, lost relatives are found, cranky relatives are softened, babies are born perfect, and kids of all ages pass through their annoying phases and start doing their chores. And where, most of all, there is a special someone who loves the heroine wholeheartedly, who of course is you. At least for as long as you’re existing in the world of the book.

This is not a dangerous addiction, not exactly. Luxuriating in the world of romance doesn’t mean you’re not firmly based in reality. It’s not a waste of your time, either, although I have met people who think all fiction is a waste of time. They’re wrong, of course. Entering the world of romance is refreshing, invigorating, and most of all life-affirming. Yes, I know that some romances are full of tears and misery, and others rife with dripping blood and challenging power dynamics amongst otherworldly creatures. And some romances just seem incredibly frivolous. Regardless, romances have happy endings, and that’s the point. In a romance, a problem will be articulated, lived through, and resolved. The reader (that’s you) is left with a rosy inner glow, a certainty that everything can work out for the best, that people will communicate, and that the world is basically a good place.

These are important certainties to have, because it is mostly attitude that affects our experience of day-to-day life. The more positive we are, the more positively the world responds to us. Many people are going through tough times in our society at any given moment, and it’s easy to look around the world and see lots of reasons to feel hopeless. Reading a romance reinforces optimism. Reading a romance will not make you sit in the front parlor waiting for a knight in shining armor to ride up to the door and fix your life. Instead, because reading a romance shows you that many seemingly impossible odds can be beaten, to some degree it’s a primer on how to motivate yourself to act. Or to keep on acting. Because life is going to be happy after all.

Of course you might say this is hogwash. Such a quaint old American term for nonsense. But think about it for a minute. The world inside a romance looks and feels like the real world, only the issues are clearer, and so are the solutions. They aren’t much different in spirit from the stories of real-life individuals that are peppered throughout self-help or self-improvement nonfiction books. But in a romance, you follow the story intimately, getting to experience the problems and the solutions (and let’s face it, the great sex, too) as if the heroine is you. Given that, it’s not surprising that when the happy ending occurs, the reader of a romance feels happy, too.

It’s not so bad to be addicted to love.