A question for all the romance readers out there...

Hey fam,

For all of you romance fanatics out there, how do you feel about cheating in your books? Does it ruin the book for you? Do you find it more interesting?

What if there’s no cheating, but your hero or heroine has a sexual or romantic history with an ex? How have you dealt with cheating in your own books?

So curious to hear your thoughts. Thanks for being a great community <3

xoxo
Fiona

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I think that very much depends on the person reading. I personally find myself having a hard time feeling sympathy for a cheating couple because no matter how soul-matey they are, they are still trashing a commitment they made to someone else . That’s betrayal in it’s simplest form. I would find it much more appealing if they found themselves attracted to someone, then take the steps to break up with/divorce their current relationship and then pursue a relationship. If they find they can’t break up with their original partner for whatever reason, then that person needs to serious re-evaluate their current relationship, and either make it work through counseling and re-commitment, or start working towards ending the relationship.

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I’m a firm believer of “once a cheater, always a cheater” and that’s never steered me wrong before because the cheaters I know are repeat offenders. I can’t get invested in a book if a character is cheating because he or she already is showing a history of disrespect toward their romantic partners.

I figure you’d generally have a romantic history with an ex if they’re your ex… unless I’m missing something here. Do you mean what if a character had sexual relations with an ex? It’s an ex. It holds no bearing to any new relationships aside from discussing STI’s and the like.

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Everyone cheats in my books I don’t forgive it but some work past it some move on depends on the why and how but my character Rue is a serial cheater she doesn’t end one relationship before starting another.

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It depends on the both the MC’s values and the author’s way of writing it out. Cheating is something that adds depth into the story, whether it is positive or negative, but can easily wither away into nothingness if the author, for instance, does not address the complications and emotions that arise from the betrayal in a relationship, or if the MC just simply brushes it off as if it’s nothing (unless it’s a major character flaw/personality). I personally do not have a problem with romance stories adding the cheating stuff, but I just want it to play out naturally and in such a way where it’s logical (and not sudden, basically). In fact, by adding cheating into the story, it brings a more realistic view into it, but it has to be put in there properly. Not every romantic relationship is pure fluff / rainbows and unicorns.

In regards to a character having sexual/romantic history with another person, once again that is fine and also better, in a way. Again, more realistic. There are many stories here where the MC has never had a relationship (nothing bad about it though) but I feel like we need more stories that involve MCs that have had such relationships already.

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It’s all about the story - if it’s a suitable curveball, if it works for the story, fits the character to be the cheater or the cheated - then yes - use it.

It’s like a car chase scene in a film:

  • I wouldn’t expect to see a car chase in a movie like “A League Of Their Own”, but…
  • (if I were one of those dolts who wears a flat-billed ballcap that covers the tops of his ears, and shuffles around in sport sandals, and calls everyone “bro” - and I watched “The Fast and The Furious” trash?) Then yes, I would want car chases.

There are “A League Of Their Own”-level romances where cheating doesn’t work. And there are “Fast & Ridiculous” films where cheating is exactly what the reader signed up for - they expect that kind of thing and it’s a crime not to give it to them.

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Yup :point_up_2::point_up_2::point_up_2:

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It all depends on the setting and who the characters are. I’m okay with reading cheating as long as it isn’t repetitive. I guess it’s fine to put it in your story two or three times but any more than that I’d probably stop reading. The thing about cheating is you have to portray it correctly. If the MC walks in on their partner cheating, they’re bound to have a sense of distrust or they may even break up. Yes, sometimes the MC may just ignore it, but either way cheating is bound to have a everlasting effect on their relationship. (A tip I wish someone had given me is if you’re going to put cheating in your book it’s best to show, not tell. Most of the time it doesn’t hit the readers very hard if a character says, “I cheated on you.” However, if you put in a flashback scene or a part where the MC walks in on their partner cheating on them it’s bound to make the readers react more.)

If the MC has a sexual or romantic history with an ex I’d use it to either create more drama, or the character could compare the relationship they had with their ex to the one they’re in now.

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For me, definitely, I don’t like reading about cheating… when my favorite hero cheats on his girlfriend/boyfriend… it does ruin the story for me :confused:
I just cannot stand it.

In my own book, I just didn’t include cheating at all. There could be temptations, but they never cross the line.

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Personally, if there is cheating and it isn’t a “look how stupid the person is for ruining their/someone’s perfectly good relationship” I’m probably going to put it down. I don’t like cheating or “bad boys” or any of that stuff - it isn’t for me.

That said not everyone is me and I’m almost 100% sure there are people who love reading about cheating. It certainly can add some DRAMA.

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I think, in the end, adding something like adultry in any positive light is going to immediatley alientate readers.

If the reader is meant to love to hate the MC, then it can work just fine. If we are meant to cheer on and support the MC, and they are cheating, then there will always be a large chunk of readers that get turned off by the book.

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Quite simply: yes. If I’m meant to be cheering for this couple, and they cheat on each other or on someone that they’re supposed to be in a loving, committed relationship with, it’s an absolute no-go for me. I can’t root for them anymore. Harsh, but true. I can’t get over it.

I don’t think this is a problem! Lots of people have history with many different people, so this doesn’t turn me away from books unless they’re not completely over their ex and there’s lots of emotional cheating or instability over it

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To be honest…yes. If the main character cheats, it ruins a book for me. Especially for modern-day media.

I excused a lot of the cheating drama back in the day (One Tree Hill, for instance), because at the time it was like, what the hell, everyone on the show’s a cheater, who cares? It was a subplot used for more cheap drama, and I hated it, but I excused it because I didn’t know better and I didn’t understand the emotional, damaging repercussions it could have in real life.

Now? Now I will click away the second an author tries to justify that behavior.

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Hi everyone, this is my first interaction here!

So, what about cheating? I despise it in the real world, I strongly believe that if you cheat you don’t love and you don’t care enough about the other person (both your companion and the person with whom your cheating on your significant other).

When it comes to fiction, it is not that I like to read about cheating, but I’m interested in character development. If someone writes about cheating, I appreciate seeing why does that character cheats, where it is that coming from and where is the character going with that behavior. I don’t like plain stories, where everyone is “good” and everything is “beautiful”. Sometimes our characters are not “nice people” and that’s ok :wink:

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Hey Everyone! I don’t prefer reading or writing about cheating…maybe because I have been cheated on before but it just breaks my heart! :heart:

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I guess I’m the only one who’s going to agree or rather, say that YES. Characters cheating on each other makes a book interesting for me, now that I have it aside let’s make more sense here. Shall we?

In these days cheating is as common as global warming, every other couple has done this. It is REAL, there’s barely a chance that you’ll stay in love with one person all your life. Same goes to the character, falling out of love is easier than falling in love.

Now what spoils it? Characters coming to each other without any conflict, emotional trauma, and discussion. This is where the actual, real trope goes wrong. Getting back with the person who basically chose someone else over you damns you emotionally, the self esteem flies out of the window.

I don’t understand how people can even make the cheaters get accepted so easily, with barely zero efforts from their end. Just like @laura945 said, it needs to be written in a way that it makes sense.

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Hey Everyone! I don’t prefer reading or writing about cheating…maybe because I have been cheated on before but it just breaks my heart! :heart:

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Totally agree that it’s betrayal in its simplest form. TBH, I haven’t read any books where the characters go through counseling and think about re-commitment. Maybe there’s something there…

This is so good to hear! I get different opinions from people when I ask. When characters cheat, it makes the story more interesting, but it’s tough to have it make sense. In my first book, I avoided cheating just because I didn’t know how to work it into the plot!

I’m thinking about adding some more “intrigue” into my next book though.

I was referring to the way I think people should handle a situation in real life mostly. I can’t think of any instances where they used other means to put a relationship back together after having cheated in a book, for sure. It would interesting to see if that could work in a book. Most of the time if the cheating couple are the focus of the book, then the author has a stake in making that relationship look like its working and will give any reason to make it work, otherwise there’s no story.

In addition to that, I think the reason cheating books can be popular is because there is that saying “Forbidden fruit is always the sweetest.” because there’s something naughty and exciting about doing something you’re not supposed to.