Discussion Post: Romance Tropes That Work for Me
ROMANCE TROPES THAT WORK FOR ME
If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you’ve probably seen me mention on more than one occasion that I don’t typically read or enjoy romance books. I’ve tried them in the past and they’re just not my thing. I have no idea why, but if I had to hazard a guess, I’d say it probably springs from my childhood. My parents got divorced when I was ten and their relationship for years before that was absolutely horrible. I can only recall actually seeing them kiss one time and it was such a shock to see them actually being affectionate with one another, I remember that I actually stood there gaping at them for the longest time. Screaming and yelling was the norm, so much so that when they finally told my sister and I that they were divorcing, I remember being ecstatic about it and couldn’t pack my suitcase fast enough. I love both of my parents dearly but they were clearly just not a good fit.
So yeah, that’s way too much information about me, but as you can see, my relationship views were negatively shaped at a pretty early age. And I don’t know if that experience has made me the way I am, but when I read most romances, I just find them so unrealistic that I can’t even enjoy the story. Insta-love is the number one offender and will almost always get an eye roll out of me, lol.
I also want to add that I mean no disrespect to everyone out there who loves romance novels. This is definitely one of those ‘It’s me, not you and not the books themselves either” situations.
With all of that said, however, that doesn’t mean that I hate all romance. I’m not sitting here like Grumpy Cat or the Grinch wishing for all of the fictional characters I read about to be miserable and alone. In fact, there are several romance tropes that I very much enjoy. And the key to all of them is simple…I find each of these kinds of relationship to be incredibly realistic. Today I’m sharing not just the tropes I love, but also some of my favorite reads from each.
ENEMIES TO LOVERS
The Enemies to Lovers trope is probably my favorite just because, as I said, I find it so realistic. I also love that the chemistry is always so intense, whether they’re on the hate end of the spectrum or the love end. Sparks are always going to fly, and there’s usually some guaranteed barbed banter that it super entertaining.
BEST FRIENDS TO LOVERS
A close second favorite is Best Friends to Lovers. I just think this trope is so sweet. I love it because the couple obviously has a long history together if they’re best friends. That friendship bond guarantees that there will be chemistry even if things get a bit awkward when they start to realize their feelings for each other have moved past the friendship stage. And that awkwardness makes it all the more realistic for me because it’s a situation that I can easily envision playing out.
FAKE RELATIONSHIP TO LOVERS
When it’s well written, I think the Fake Relationship to Lovers can be one of the most fun tropes out there. The idea that you start off trying to fool someone else only to realize that the joke is on you always amuses me.
SECOND CHANCE AT LOVE
This is another favorite for me because, even though I’m telling you I don’t like romance, I’m actually a romantic at heart, especially if it involves someone getting a second chance at love. We all make mistakes and/or sometimes circumstances that we can’t control get in the way of what could have been a great relationship, so I find second chance stories very reassuring. It’s nice to know people can find their way back to each other.
STAR CROSSED/FORBIDDEN/ENEMY LOVE
When this trope is well written, it’s also a favorite of mine. I guess it goes back to my days in high school reading Romeo and Juliet, but there’s just something that really appeals to me about two people trying to be together even when they know they shouldn’t because they’re supposed to be sworn enemies.
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So, what are some of your favorite romance tropes?
I don’t know if I’ll ever read the book, but the Netflix movie of To All the Boys I’ve loved Before is just utterly adorable and you’re right, it is such a fun trope! It’s an interesting discussion Suzanne, bc I don’t often like romance, but I never really thought about what makes me like the ones in the books I do read, if that makes sense .
I just finished watching To All the Boys I’ve loved Before and thought they did such a good job with it.
I’m a lot like you – I don’t particularly care for a lot of romance in my books. But I don’t mind it as long as it feels realistic. Most romances are just too over the top or melodramatic for me. But I do enjoy the star-crossed lovers trope – you can’t help the family you’re born into or where you’re born! I liked the way the fake relationship played out in The Hunger Games, as well.
Right? I can’t stand when things get too melodramatic. It feels like a soap opera.
I grew up reading my mom’s Harlequin romances and Barbara Cartland books (which sort of dates me, I guess!) So I have a soft spot for romance, although these days I’d just as soon read a book WITHOUT it. But it doesn’t usually bother me. I love the tropes you’ve listed, especially enemies to lovers😁
Right? Enemies to lovers is so great when it’s well written!
I don’t normally care for fake relationship to real, but I did like how it turned out in To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before especially in the movie. 🙂
The movie was so well done. I loved it!
I’m not a romance fan, either. I have no idea why. Maybe the will-they-get-together plotline doesn’t have high enough stakes for me. Out of all the tropes, best friends to lovers is my favorite. I like when the characters have a bond before they become lovers.
I love that bond too. Best friends to lovers is probably the most realistic trope in my opinion.
What a great article, Suzanne:). So long as it’s done well, I am a sucker for the long, lingering look across the room that leave you panting for air and wanting to climb over everyone’s head to get to talk to him/her… Because that is how my first husband and I met. Though I do think it’s something that happens more frequently with youngsters than us once we get older and cagier…
I love that you and your hubby met that way! But, oh yes, I’ve definitely gotten much cagier as I’ve gotten older.
I also tend to find romances too unrealistic (which I feel like always makes me sound like a cynic, but it’s not that I don’t believe a good relationship is possible, it’s just some of the tropes that really bother me, I think), so I usually go for books where romance is a subplot. But I also like enemies to lovers and friends to lover and second chance! I feel like second chance has the potential for some good angst 😉
I definitely prefer the romance as a subtle subplot rather than something that is central to the story.
My parents were exactly the same. Not compatible is putting it mildly lol- they divorced when I was 18, so I was older, but my sister was younger. Anyway I do like a good enemies to lovers story (I need to read Starry Eyes)! And Second chance at Love is another- I love those! Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid was sort of like that, and the movie Serendipity is a favorite of mine too.
I still need to read Maybe in Another Life but I’ve heard good things about it.
Yup your story is just like mine! I was 11 and I remember being ecstatic too! I live these tropes too! Especially BFF to lovers the story of my hubby and I 😊❤️
Awww, that’s so sweet that you and your hubby got together that way 🙂
It’s interesting because my parents fought and divorced when I was young (although I was 15 when it happened) and during that time I DEVOURED nothing but historical romance during that period. I wanted a perfect romance that I couldn’t get from any family members.
My absolute fave tropes are enemies to lovers, star-crosses, and fake dating!
Fake dating is so much fun!
I am all about the romances! So with that, I love all these tropes. I do think Fake relationships one is one of my favorites if done right. Love the examples you gave too!
Fake relationships are so much fun. I just watched To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before and thought that was a perfect example.
I am going to be honest, there are so few tropes I don’t like. Teacher-student in YA is a NOPE for me. I also don’t like person and their best friend’s parent. These are really the only two I have DNFed in the past. A fauxmance-romance is always fantastic, because it’s a lot of fun seeing what they think makes their romance look real. Friends-To-More and second chance romances are always really awesome for me, because the hero and heroine have all that history, and you can skip over the getting-to-know you part and get straight to it. Hate-to-love is usually fun too, but I don’t think I have read too many forbidden romances, other than the ton of stepbrother romances I have read, LOL.
I think I come across most of the forbidden romances I enjoy in fantasy/sci-fi so that definitely makes sense since you read mostly contemporary. 🙂
Suzanne, thanks for sharing. It’s always nice to know more about the blogger, even if it’s not the easiest things to know. I’m from a slightly strange family myself – divorced parents and I was actually raised by my grandparents. I didn’t get to see a lot of affection or love really while I was growing up. My grandparents weren’t the stereotypical type!
Anyways, I also am not a huge fan of pure romance books but I don’t mind when there’s a good plot behind them. Probably why I love fantasy with romance as a side element. To Kill a Kingdom had a wonderful romance and so did 6oC! I loved them both.
I also enjoyed Gentleman’s Guide!
I really would like to read The Kiss Quotient and To All the Boys now.
Forbidden Love is another trope that I adore! Ahh, some great ones!
Thanks for the recs!
I agree with you. I definitely find romance more enjoyable if it’s secondary to another storyline than when it’s front and center.
Fake relationship to lovers is one of my very favorites. I don’t know why, but I’m a sucker for this trope!
It’s such a fun one!