I have a theory about who loves and who hates insta-love. I have been reading romance novels of various sub-genres (contemporary, paranormal, teen, etc.) since I was about twelve years old. My theory is entirely based on my own personal preferences and how they’ve changed over the years.
Insta-Love – just to set the definition – is when the hero/heroine in a story take one look at each other and fall instantly in love. There’s no need for them know anything about each other because their connection is just so strong.
Here’s where my theory kicks in. I think as girls – especially watching pretty much every Disney movie ever made – we fell in love with the idea of love-at-first-sight. It just seems so romantic that the man of your dreams would see you across a crowded room and know instantly that you’re the girl of his. He’d whisk you away to live happily ever after. But what they don’t show in those movies is what happens next. What do they talk about? Does the Prince get sick of Cinderella constantly cleaning the castle? Does Eric have to stop eating seafood (which he loves) so that his little mermaid isn’t sad? What do they even talk about?
I think that as we grow older and mature and experience relationships in all their myriad of forms, we realize just how unrealistic insta-love is in the real world. Can it happen? Sure. I’ve had one, maybe two friends go that path. But the stats are pretty low for it to happen at all, and even lower for the relationship to succeed. However, remember that romances suspend reality. So can a good writer make insta-love romantic? I still think yes. But it does require readers to let go of all the relationships that didn’t work out and go on faith that this one will.
My own personal preference when I read romance of any kind is that I want the connection to be built. Can there be instant attraction/lust? Absolutely. And it can be very yummy! But after that, let’s see those characters interact, get to know each other, “get” each other, respect each other, and so forth. That kind of connection can make the instant attraction even hotter.
The only way I see these days of getting around the insta-love issue is going the “true mate” or “fated love” route. And I have to admit I’m still a sucker for this. Fate/the universe/the powers-that-be have given some kind of sign that these two people are meant to be. What I love about this though goes back to the connection building. I love to see how those two people react to being forced together and how they develop that connection. It typically ends up being a fun progression to watch!
So, now that I’ve spouted my own opinion – and hopefully not offended too many people – what are your thoughts? Are you an insta-love hater or lover? And why?