Friday, September 20, 2013

After the passion, then what? Where Romance books stop.

  The second — or third — stages of romance are the ones no romance books talk about. Of course not: it’s the exhilarating first stage we prefer; the one that lifts us above life’s petty problems; the one that has us floating through blissful blue heavens; the one that has us believing we’re living out the perfect passion with the perfect mate in the perfect relationship. Not only that, the positive feelings we’ve been receiving from our lover give us the feeling we’re pretty well perfect too.

  Of course the feelings of passionate love do lose their strength over time. Passionate love only lasts for two or three years because all the chemicals responsible for that sheer euphoric madness are no longer being produced in excess. Suddenly we begin to see that our lover isn’t perfect at all, and that those images of perfection we projected in the euphoric stage had very little to do with reality. Now there’s no haze of passion to hide the truth. Fantasy love is over. If a relationship is going to continue, to develop into true love, here’s where we begin. 
  With conflict: it’s a necessary part of learning about one another. And compromise. And acceptance of weaknesses, differences. Of course we’ll still idealize our lover, and the more we do, the stronger our relationship will be. And if we’re also willing to cherish and respect, we’ll have all pleasures of loyalty, unconditional love and acceptance. Not only that: we’ll also have romance and tenderness. It’s all up to us.

  In this excerpt from my romance, All About Charming Alice, one of Alice’s nosy neighbors, Mick, is giving her — rather original — advice about going for the long haul.

   Mick’s eyes, watery blue, were watching her steadily. “Distance ain’t no reason.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Alice asked testily. She didn’t want to talk about this, did she? Not with Mick Fletcher of all people. Still, talking about things seemed to take a little hopelessness out of the situation. Just mentioning Jace’s name, as painful as it was, made him seem to be a little closer, as if he’d just slipped out of the room for a moment or two.

“Thought distance made a difference once upon a time. When I met Harry Breem back in fifty-four. He were from down Three Stones way. Lived in a beat-up old trailer with no more cash to his name than fleas to a glass of milk. Earned just about enough to keep hisself in cheap socks an’ boxer shorts by catching rats.”
“You . . . you liked him?” Alice wasn’t certain she was standing on firm ground in this exchange.
“Liked him!” Mick snorted. “Fair went mad over the man. No way I was gonna live down in Three Stones though. What with my daughter up here and all.”
      “What happened?” Curiosity was getting the better of her.
      “Died, he did. That’s what.”
 “Oh. I’m sorry, Mick.” Alice was embarrassed.
“Nothing to be sorry about,” said Mick gruffly. “Harry was hitting ninety by then, and we’d had a good run of years together. Still, sometimes I wish I’d gone down there to live with him every day, like. Wouldn’t have seemed so romantic that way. Not when you got pots to wash day in and day out with cold barrel water, and all them dead rats lying around.” She took another slug of beer.
Alice looked down at the floor. She didn’t want Mick to know she was damping down the wild urge to laugh. “I suppose dead rats do chill out the atmosphere somewhat,” she finally managed to mutter.
“On a daily basis, they do. Sure enough.” Mick grinned her smile of crooked fangs. “Things like place don’t make no difference, not when you really love someone and they love you right back. Don’t get caught up on silly ideas, girl. Life just ain’t long enough.”

J. Arlene Culiner, author of All About Charming Alice, (Crimson Romance) was born in New York, raised in Toronto, and has spent most of her life in England, Germany, Holland, Turkey, France, Greece, Hungary and the Sahara. She now resides in a 300-year-old former inn in a French village of no real interest. Much to everyone’s dismay, she protects all living creatures—especially spiders—and her wild (or wildlife) garden is a classified butterfly and bird reserve.
Romance web site:
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  1. I love this post, Arlene, possibly because my soon-to-be-released book deals with the same issue - the secret to long term relationships, not a plethora of rats lying about. Yes, so much written or said about "love" has to do with only the first stage and there's never enough attention paid to what to do once that wears off. All About Charming Alice looks like a terrific read! Congratulations.

  2. Thanks, Heather. Yes, we should mention the after-zing stage more in our books. Perhaps if we do so, there will be less disillusion in the real world. Glad to see you've taken up the cause. Good luck with your newest book.


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