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Infidelity in Romance
Lucy Silag - Book Country Community Manager
Posted: Wednesday, December 17, 2014 5:05 PM
Joined: 6/7/2013
Posts: 1359

Lots of people say that infidelity is off-limits in romance books. Do you folks agree? One of my favorite romance series is Book Country member Jessica Hawkins's Cityscape series, where the happily married heroine, Olivia Germaine, falls for another guy. I found the infidelity interesting--and scandalous--but it didn't make me dislike the book or the character. I felt it added a layer of complexity to the story. Since I follow Jessica on Facebook and Twitter, I know she's got lots of fans who agree.


Would you ever write about cheating lovers? Why or why not?

Posted: Wednesday, December 17, 2014 6:54 PM
Joined: 3/13/2014
Posts: 27

I would and have written about infidelity but it is usually in the context of the spouse being a big jerk, ie abusive or something horrible that almost gives the person the "right" to cheat. And as I think about it, usually the infidelity is more psychological until the marriage breaks up or at least a separation has begun.


I think it depends on the context.

Posted: Thursday, December 18, 2014 10:17 AM
Joined: 9/17/2013
Posts: 104

The hero of my WIP is a serial monogamist, never with more than one partner at a time, but he is in truth cheating on the heroine who he will eventually let back into his life. The heroine, for her part, is an experienced woman also, though she intends to get together with the hero someday. Both are guilty of infidelity of a sort. I'm not writing just about infidelity; it's a part of a larger story.


If it's sounds like there's no perfect people in the book, I think that's right. The other three main characters are worse in many ways than the male and female leads. I didn't set out to write about perfect people.


In my day job I've had to investigate all manner of improper workplace behavior including sexual dalliances between coworkers. Stuff happens. Sometimes it's intentional. People have a range of rationalizations for this behavior. We should be able to write about it, but in a way that doesn't "make (the reader) dislike the book or the character."



Jean Marie
Posted: Tuesday, December 23, 2014 4:01 PM
Joined: 10/22/2014
Posts: 28

If it's pertinent to the story, to move it forward, it ought to go in.  IMO.
Posted: Thursday, March 5, 2015 12:21 PM
Joined: 2/14/2015
Posts: 16

I have a new self pubbed series out that has a fair bit of "infidelity" in it (between boyfriend/girlfriends particularly) and found it to flow very naturally out of the characters and their personalities. I have taken a lot of hits over it, including a particularly nasty email (!) from an obvious "non-fan." I have included it in books before though and honestly find it to add a bit realism to my books. But I don't appeal to hard core traditional romance readers, while non-romance readers see the "R word" attached to my books and turn up their noses. Unbelievably frustrating. But if I encounter it in a book, any book (and I read across genres) I don't automatically reject the book because of it.
Posted: Thursday, May 21, 2015 12:44 AM
Joined: 11/13/2012
Posts: 13

Wow, thanks for the mention, Lucy! It was such a fascinating topic to explore. Yes, I got (and still get) push back on the topic choice, but that's one of the things I love about self-pub—I can go there if I want. I think research is important when dealing with a subject that can be a trigger for some people. I tried to spend as much time in Bill's head (her husband) as Olivia's. It was, like someone mentioned, so hard not to turn him into a villain. It would've made things easier. But I thought it helped with the angst factor that he was actually an alright guy. He's just not the the right one for her. Despite the no-no subject, readers have received it pretty well! I think it hinges on how you go about it.
Lucy Silag - Book Country Director
Posted: Thursday, May 21, 2015 3:31 PM
Joined: 6/7/2013
Posts: 1359

Yes, I thought it was interesting in the Cityscape series how Bill never becomes truly awful--he is just so not right for Olivia. But also, that's not apparent from the get-go, which I liked. At first, they seem fine, but then when you meet Dylan and his family and see him and Olivia together, you can see that the depth of their relationship is just so much more.


Jessica--what pushback have you gotten about it from fans and readers?




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