Love in reality mostly sucks and marriages end in divorce (or should if the miserable married folks know what’s good for them) and that’s why so many female readers take refuge in the fantasy world of the romance novel.
Now, I’m the first to admit that I know of enough couples who tried and discovered for them there was no happy end. For reasons that are as human as humanity itself, they can’t make their relationship work. That’s one of the realities of life. Sometimes it could have been differently, sometimes it couldn’t. It’s not what they tell you in the happy-ever-afters, but that’s how it often is.
There’s also that other reality, just as real and just as true. The reality, that tells of couples who somehow along the way learn that being married -without or without the certificates, because marriage, more than anything, is a state of mind- has its own set of rules. Most of the happily long-time partnered people I know aren’t exactly rich and Hollywood beautiful. I bet very few of them are happy and in love all the time.
When my wife went through more than one long, dark spells of depression, she seriously offered me my freedom. I said thanks for the offer, but I rather stay if you don’t mind. When I went through breast cancer treatment, she cooked the family meals (and she never cooks, ever, for any reason and hasn’t done so for over 30 years) And together we faced the ugly realities when our children didn’t develop quite as we’d hoped they would.
No, love isn’t a miracle cure for depression, sometimes it’s boring old medication. Cancer can sometimes be cured, but always at a price. Children can surprise you in a way you never thought possible and one day you see both of them off to university, only to learn (proud mum warning) that both of them are getting better results than the majority of their fellow students.
I know for sure that many romance readers and writers can tell a story that looks remarkably like ours. Simply people who face life and make the best of what they have.
The story of real people, of real love is a continuing one. And I for one am curious what happens next.
And the happy end? Some stories continue just a little longer.