I have a very serious subject I would like to talk about today. It’s cheating in MM romance stories, and what counts as cheating, and why it angers so many readers.
And please understand, I do not approve of cheating. I have been cheated on. It hurt me terribly. So rest assured of that.
1) I found a source that stated that 17% of divorces happen because of infidelity. This same source says that as much as 70% of men have admitted to cheating on their wives. Other sources say similar things. I read a book about gay relationships years ago and it said that it is the rare gay relationship where by the seventh year, one partner has slept with another man.
My ex cheating on me was devastating, but after the first few times, I forgave him. We promised each other for better or for worse. His cheating was certainly “for worse.” I wanted to fix us. Sadly, in my case, there was no fixing us.
Which is why I find a fascinating subject is stories where a partner cheats, for whatever reason, and the two of them work through it and get what I didn’t. A happily ever after.
(please note, luckily with the man who came after him, I certainly got my happily ever after!)
The fact is, a lot of men cheat. It can be for whatever reason. It can be the case of some villains in my story where they just don’t give a shit about their lover. But in most cases it happens for very human reasons. Maybe the lovers have been having a really bad patch and one turns to someone else for a human touch. And then feels crappy about it. Or maybe it’s a drunken night and he wakes up in bed with this guy and is like, “Oh no! What have I done???”
For me, this makes interesting stories. How a guy makes a mistake and because they love each other, they find a way to move past it and love each other forever.
I’ve discovered that if I even talk about writing something like this, publishers advise against it. Readers advise against it. There will be people who won’t even think of reading it.
I would love reader’s thoughts.
2) I find that so often in MM love stories, from the cute meet on, in chapter one, if one of the two characters has sex with another man it upsets readers, and I would like to know why.
Now if the two men have promised fidelity, I get it. I lived with a cheater for years and when I would start reading a gay novel and one of them was a cheater I found I often couldn’t even finish it. It struck way too close to the pain deep in my heart. It hurt hurt hurt.
But if the two men haven’t yet committed themselves to each other? If they met and maybe fooled around but hadn’t realized that they really like each other? I mean, in my single days, one day did not a commitment make!I would love people’s thoughts on this, I really would. Why does it upset people so much? Are readers wanting a fairy tale vs realism?
One of my favorite of my short stories has two men meet who have other lovers…and in the process of the story going by, they realize they love each other. Readers were upset that they continued to have sex with their lovers after they met!
I would love readers thoughts on this.
3) And I get surprised at just what readers think constitutes cheating.
In one of my novels, a character who is terrified of falling in love–falls in love. It scares him so bad he runs, hits the road, leaves. While on the road he has anonymous sex with a stranger. This lead him into realizing that he can’t have one night stands anymore. He’s been spoiled by love and has to go back to the one he loves. But some readers were very upset. They stated this cheating, even though the two men were no longer together!
Or how about that man is cheating on a wife. He doesn’t want to. But he is realizing he is gay and he can’t stay away from a man he meets and falls in love with. This is SO real! This is SO that story of how so many men come out. For whatever reason they married a woman. Maybe it was religion. Maybe his family. Maybe he felt he had no other choice. He resisted his homosexuality for years…and then one day it happened. The inevitable. I find reader’s can’t even stand this! Even though it is so real. Even if I make him feel horrible about cheating. I would love to write this kind of book but reader’s feelings are so strong on the matter and I would really like to understand.
Or maybe a man is living in a stagnant relationship and finds his life changed when he meets another guy. If I have them so much as kiss, people hit the ceiling.
So I again would love to hear people’s thoughts on this.
WHY is anything that even smacks of cheating so verboten with readers? SO taboo. SO hated!
Why is it a trigger with so many readers?
Please help a writer understand!
And PLEASE leave your answers here instead of various posts on Facebook so that I will have them in one place.
Hugs and love,