HEA…one of the basic requirements of romance writing. If the characters don’t end up happily united, with the implication they will stay that way for the rest of their lives, it ain’t a romance novel. It may be an excellent book — I’ve read many moving stories that do not end up with the hero and heroine together, but it’s a different genre.
Why do we so desperately want the hero and heroine to find their Happy Ever After in our favorite romances? My theory is that this is part of the fantasy involved in the genre. Compared to staying together, the wonderful and improbably gallant adventures featured in romances are cake. You have to outwit a drug lord? No biggie. Your sweetie has just come down with the Black Plague and you have to nurse him back to health? Easy peasy. I’ve been married 24 years, so I think I can speak with experience here.
Try tactfully changing the conversation before your oblivious spouse tells your uptight boss that story of how he and his friends mooned their college library while spelling out ‘Merry Christmas’ on their butts. Or coming to terms with the fact that your disinterest in housekeeping drives your honey up the wall. And no fictional plague victim has ever decided to ‘help’ his nurse by reorganizing the kitchen while she was out for an evening.
On the other hand, romances end fairly early in the lives of their characters, while skin is unlined and libidos are strong. We don’t get to see them enjoy the little discoveries that keep a relationship fresh. And after 24 years, some things are better than ever. We both have more lines in our faces than we like, and we might fall asleep on the couch instead of making out on it. But once we’ve rested up, my husband and I get to slip between the sheets with someone who’s had years to find out just we like.
Let’s just say a good time is guaranteed 🙂