What Cheesy Romance Novels Have Taught Me About Love

It’s easy to judge romance novels, but they’re so much more than just brainless stories with shirtless guys on the cover. When you read a ton of love stories in a short amount of time, you start to pick up some common themes not only about story structure, but about how we actually love people. Here’s what cheesy romance novels have taught me about love:

  1. The movies are real. OK, not every rom-com is telling the complete truth about how first dates and relationships actually happen. You’re probably not going to kiss someone in the rain for the first time or have every moment be absolutely perfect. But you probably will experience some form of romance in your life, even if it’s just a handful of small, sweet moments. Romance novels are all about those moments because characters usually don’t even get together until the final pages.
  2. Obstacles exist. If there’s one thing that movies and romance novels have in common, it’s the fact that the couple is torn apart by circumstances seemingly beyond their control – by obstacles, if you will. If you’re shaking your head right now, think about how many self-imposed obstacles you put on your own love life. You think you’re too busy to go on dates so you stay single. You’re scared to open up so you don’t tell your boyfriend how much he actually means to you. Sound familiar? I thought so.
  3. When we like someone, they frustrate us. Debbie’s characters are pretty adorable. They always meet-cute, sometimes when volunteering or stuck in some situation, and without fail, they kind of hate each other. They get on each other’s nerves, fight like cats and dogs, and refuse to admit how much they actually want to be with each other. I’ve definitely been pretty frustrated by the people I’ve dated and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one. It’s only when we like someone and have something to lose that we care about how annoying their behavior is. Otherwise, we would just shrug it off and move on.
  4. Communication is super key. Another typical plotline of any romance novel? Missed connections and miscommunication. If the characters would just say what they mean, it would be so much easier. Wait… we do that too. It’s not easy to confess your feelings but the alternative is so frustrating, you might as well be honest and let the chips fall where they may.
  5. You still need to have a life. Debbie’s women are so awesome because they have jobs and or/ kids – basically, they have complete, full lives before they meet the person they’re meant to be with. They’re never damsels in distress and they never think that love is the solution to any problem. So inspiring.
  6. You have to believe in magic. Whether it’s an angel making a love connection or a single mom volunteering to build a house for her and her daughter and meeting an amazing man, Debbie’s stories are all about magic. Without it, what’s the point of living? Even if you’re the most cynical realist out there, you still have to admit that our lives need to have a little sparkle or we get bored. Don’t give up on all the good things that your future has in store for you, even if you can’t see it right now.
  7. It’s never too late. We tend to put a timeline on love. We want to get married by 30 (maybe it’s been pushed up to a more realistic 35 now) and start building a life with someone ASAP. In romance novels, though, that timeline doesn’t exist. The women are perpetually single until they fall for someone, which is pretty realistic. They don’t lose hope because they didn’t meet their soulmate at 20. So that gives me hope and teaches me to stop pressuring myself so much.
  8. You have to feel something. Sure, all those lovey-dovey descriptions of first kisses and sweep-off-your-feet moments can be groan-inducing. There’s something to them, though. If I don’t feel anything on a first date, I have no problem going with my gut and moving on. You can’t force love or even like.
  9. Plans change. When romance novel characters make plans at the beginning of a story, they always change them by the end. They have no problem moving across the country for the person they love or changing jobs. While we don’t want to give up the things and people that we love just because we’re in a new relationship, it’s still important to value the person you’re with and not put them on the back-burner just because you have dreams.
  10. We all want love. In Debbie’s latest Christmas novel, Dashing Through The Snow, Ashley and Dash end up driving from California to Seattle together since they can’t get a flight and there’s only one rental car available. Neither believes they can actually begin a relationship… and then, surprise surprise, they change their minds. I totally believe this is true of all of us – even those of us that are happily single. What is life without love, anyway?
Aya Tsintziras is a freelance lifestyle writer and editor from Toronto, Canada. In addition to writing about dating and relationships for Bolde, she also writes about movies, TV, and video games for ScreenRant and GameRant. She has a Political Science degree from the University of Toronto and a Masters of Journalism from Ryerson University. You can find her on Twitter @ayatsintziras and on Instagram @aya.tsintziras.