What I like – the breakup

Continuing the theme of focusing on the positive in the m/m genre today’s post about what I like is going to focus on *gasp* the breakup! I know this is slightly controversial because in romance, no one wants a breakup. We want happy endings with imaginary roses falling constantly and this love that will never, ever end and sex that never quits (hopefully graphic with rippled abs).

However when I’m reading a very angsty, very intense romance …I love the breakup. I confess. I love it when the tension is so thick and the couple just can’t go on for whatever reason. We’ll just assume it’s not a stupid reason and it’s actually well done. That moment is one of my absolute favorites in a book. Sometimes I shed a tear.

You see I *know* they’re going to make up. I know without a shadow of a doubt they’ll be ok, make up and live happily ever after with the most intense, passionate love that ever existed (and only exists in fiction). Since I know that and can rely on that, then I can feel free to delve into the fictionalize drama and intensity.

That is one of the main reasons I love romance. I can feel free to invest in the book, the characters, the situation and get upset at the tension. I can get involved with the characters because I know it’ll all be alright at the end. Otherwise I walk away depressed from such an investment and while I read those books often, I like the consistency and yes, predictability, of a happy ending in romance.

While I can’t have a steady diet of these angst ridden, intense romances, there is no question I do love them. The breakup, that tipping point of the tension is a huge reason why.

So what about anyone else? Do you love a breakup in romances or hate them?

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20 thoughts on “What I like – the breakup

  1. Lori Toland says:

    I think for any good romance, you have to give the reader a feeling there is no hope for this couple. They will be apart for the rest if their lives, it was the one true romance they could both have and no one else will ever do.

    Then they get together and has a smexy good time. Win and happy all around ๐Ÿ˜€ in other words, I agree.

    • I’m not sure that a good romance means the couple has no hope at one point. I do admit that I like that particular device when used well. It makes the reunion more dramatic and affecting – IMO. I think it’s the tension more than the feeling of no hope. You need a reason to keep reading. If the couple are meant to be on the second page, there’s only so much smexing that will hold your interest.

      The tension/breakup is an easy and tried way to keep that going. Ahhh drama.. love it!

      • When doing that particular plot device wrong, it’s quite annoying. I agree wholeheartedly.

        I should say instead it makes them getting back together that much more satisfying to the degree there is no hope. Does that make sense? ๐Ÿ™‚

        • Now that I’ll totally agree with. When you think there’s no way these two can work things out and then the story pulls you around and *makes* it work. That’s incredibly moving and very satisfying. Makes you believe that one true love may just work!

  2. Tam says:

    Hmm. Not a huge fan of the break-up (unless the one guy is totally an ass) but what annoys me when it happens is Guy A kicks Guy B to the curb (with good reason I say) and then a day and a half later Guy B pulls his head out of his ass, buys him tulips and it’s over. WTF? No no no. You must make Guy B suffer. Sure you’re going to get back together, I do read romance as a genre, but I want them to have to work for it. Don’t wrap it all up in a tidy bow within 24 hours. Then it’s just an annoyance.

    Your post made me smile. Very funny.

    • I do agree that the make up is equally important. I often get annoyed if the guy who got dumped takes the ass back too easily. No way! He broke up with you, ass has to *work* for you to take his dick back. It ain’t that easy! So you’re right, that’s a quick way to have me flinging the book across the room – metaphorically speaking.

      I wonder if it’s the cliche that women are more vindictive. Is it possible that men just don’t hold a grudge? hmm.. nah.

  3. I have to agree, Kassa. When done well with all the good reasons a good break up in an angsty story can play on the heart like no other theme. But the reasons have to be good, and realistic. I’m also with Tam that, if one of the guys has broken the other’s heart by leaving, then there’s some definite grovelling needed by the idiot who left. Otherwise the other guy looks weak.

    And yes, it works because it’s romance and we know that we are safe to invest our emotions in the situation because all will be well in the end.

    • I’m glad I’m not the only one that loves a good breakup. It makes it easier to sink into the story, invest in it and feel like you’re really involved in the story. I do agree it has to be done well because the flip side to this is done poorly and this whole trope becomes a book killer. It’s tricky but the pay off is great if the story pulls it off.

  4. Yes, the breakup handled well (as Tam and Jen pointed out with appropriate time and evolution towards reconciliation) shows incredible skill on the author’s part. It’s awesome to see that done well.

    • Yes! It’s a definite skill and it’s also why I tend to appreciate those books more than others. It’s a gamble in a book since it could go so wrong. I’m not against the “big misunderstanding” in theory, I just want it to make sense and be realistic. Those things happen and are realistic but it has to be handled in a way that makes sense and is believable.

      It’s a definite skill and also takes some courage on the part of authors to go there. Handled poorly or more so, received poorly by readers and the big breakup could turn into a story killer.

  5. I love a breakup. Like they say, you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. I’m just editing a break up in my WIP right now. The one who did the breaking up is being made to suffer appropriately. ๐Ÿ˜€

  6. Yes, I like a break-up handled well, so long as I have the reassurance that I am reading a story with a happy ending! There’s a lot I can cope with when I know it will work out in the end, and as long as the characters behave in a realistic manner.

  7. I totally agree. I just generally assume if the book is labeled romance (or from a romance publisher) then it’ll have a happy ending. I’ve been burned by that granted – romance publishers having books that are NOT romance – but it’s a safe bet on the whole. I much prefer those stories than say general literature when you invest and the people usually end up dead or emotionally battered.

  8. I hate it. (I am an anxious reader.) But I do recognize it as an important story element, if well done. Regularly Scheduled Life by KA Mitchell comes to mind.

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