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Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Life is Not a Romance Story

During the recent holiday season we were overwhelmed with romantic movies on TV. Cable networks such as Lifetime and Hallmark kept the folks who make Kleenex working double shifts. The stories followed the same basic pattern: boy meets girl, boy lusts after girl, girl doesn’t really like boy (or so she tells herself), boy gives up on girl, girl decides she can’t live without boy, boy and girl live happily ever after.

This is an accurate depiction of life, right? WRONG!!!

On the heels of this, and just in time for the New Year, I’ve read many bits of pseudo-wisdom telling you how to jumpstart your love life in 2016. My experience has taught me that most of this advice isn’t worth much. To wit:

“Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” – I was once in a long-distance relationship and I can state with certainty that this isn’t true. Yes, all the phone calls were peppered with “I love you” and “You’re my one and only,” but they didn’t include “Can we cut this short? My coffee date will be here any minute and I don’t want him to catch me talking to you on the phone!” Of course, this often goes both ways, so I can’t be judgmental.

“A faint heart will never win out.” – This is supposed to mean that if you love someone, tell them how you feel. It isn’t supposed to matter if they feel the same about you, just get up the nerve to tell them! In a romance story, this is usually where the woman swoons and falls into the strong arms of the hero. In reality, this is great advice if you want to ruin a good friendship. Take it from me--wearing your heart on your sleeve only guarantees that the object of your desire will barbecue it and serve it to you for dinner.

“Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”— I could shoot Erich Segal for popularizing this notion. Show me someone in a relationship who doesn’t grovel once in a while and I’ll show you two people headed for The Big Split. Love is a lot of give and take, on both sides. That means that someone will have to swallow their pride and utter those two fateful words. I’ve even been known to say “I’m sorry I called your mother a real downer who sucks the life out of a room just by walking into it. That was very insensitive to the other sociopaths in the world.” That apology didn’t go over too well, for some reason.

“Time heals all wounds.” – If you’re talking about the paper cut you got while addressing Christmas cards, this is accurate. If you’re referring to something you did wrong in a relationship, think again. People have better memories than computers when they want to remind you of something, like the time they caught you having an innocent conversation with the cute waitress at Applebee’s. Or the time you forgot their birthday or your wedding anniversary. Or the time…oh, well, you get the idea.

“If you love something, set it free.”—Not sure how this fits unless you’re a divorce lawyer, but I read it in an advice column. Was Dearest Abby trying to say that you should let your one true love fly the coop in hopes that someday they’ll return to you? You’d have better odds playing Powerball.

“When it’s right, you’ll know it.”—Finally, one I can agree with! There’s no greater feeling in the world than realizing you’ve found the one person you want to spend the rest of your life with, someone you can make as happy as they make you. When two personalities click, it’s like seeing a thousand sunsets over the Florida Keys—each night is different, bringing something beautiful and exciting.

I think this explains the continuing popularity of romance novels. We all wish it could be like it is in the story, where two people end up as life mates. If you’re lucky, you’ve found that person. If you haven’t, there’s one more bit of advice I’d like to pass on.

“If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with.”

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Tim Smith is an award-winning, bestselling author whose books range from mystery/thrillers to contemporary erotic romance. His website is www.timsmithauthor.com.

1 comment:

Fiona McGier said...

Love it! I look forward to your blog every month, Tim, because your voice is so distinctive and you always include humor in your salient observations about life.

Re:never saying you're sorry? My parents fought constantly, and one of my dad's sayings was that he could "forgive, but not forget." Sigh. So he'd remind you of things you did to hurt/piss him off, even 30+ years ago, and the look on his face was just as upset as the day he discovered your egregious behavior. Not a good way to engender loving feelings with your family.

Yeah, the only one I can agree with is that you will know when it's the right person. I kissed a whole lotta frogs before I found my prince, and I'd have married him after a week. It took him almost 3 years to realize what I'd known from the start. But I wasn't going anywhere, so I waited until it occurred to him that we were right for each other. We've been together over 30 years, so we were both right.