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Thoughts on Romance Novels and Keeping a Realistic Perspective On Love as a Teen

Many years ago, Taylor Swift was asked in an interview about why she wrote so many romantic songs as a teenager. In her response, she mentioned that she read too many romance novels at that time and didn’t have a realistic perspective on love.

When I heard that, I felt conflicted. I am not everyone, but I thought there were more teenage girls that knew that romance novels are not real life. Real love isn’t always as dreamy as a romance novel. When I was in high school, I saw too many of my female classmate that read romance novels and began pursue relationships based off it. Since they dated boys from our high school, I also got to hear about the gossip and rumors about what the relationship actually was like. Sometimes, I would even get to see how volatile the relationship would be.

This is also why I didn’t want to date anyone from my high school. I was able to graduate without dating anyone, which I felt conflicted about. Today, I am happy I decided to do this. The reason is because out of all the girls in the school, I seemed to emit the most hopeless romanic aura to the boys. Since there were many boys in my high school that wanted to date girls like me because we were the easiest to be with. We wanted to find “The One” and keep him for the rest of our lives. The sad thing is the girls in my high school also wouldn’t say no to doing things they shouldn’t have. Some did this because they wanted to. Some did it in order to keep their boyfriend’s attention and to make sure they don’t leave them.

Even though I am happy I didn’t date anyone from high school today, it was so prevalent throughout the school that I wondered if it was a good idea. After high school, so many of my classmates continued dating and searching for the kind of romance they wanted in books. They also continued to make the same decisions in high school as well. Since this way of dating continued well after high school, guys familiar with my high school and the kind of relationships women in the school had with their boyfriends expected me to be exactly like them. And that’s why I questioned if my interpretation of romance was right.

Today, I can say I was right. At that time, I was fighting peer pressure and the stress of being a teenager in a place where teenagers were allowed to do things they wouldn’t be able to any other high school. (I’m not just talking about relationships either) I really didn’t like high school. The romance problems didn’t help either. Still, I made the hard choice to avoid these relationships in order to save my life and my heart for the real one true love I am meant for. Even if it means I had to wait many more years to find him!

This decision has paid off for me. I may not have kids, but I don’t have the worries other girls from my school have today. I don’t need to worry about ex husbands and boyfriends. I don’t need to worry about custody battles and child support payments. I don’t need to worry about being a single parent. Not everyone had to face these problems due to mistakes made with their relationships in high school, but there are many who did and still do today. And yet, I read romance novels. So what happened to me and why didn’t it happen to anyone else?!

To be honest, I don’t know. I don’t know what happened that made me choose the path for love I did that didn’t happen to them. Many of the girls know about the stories of women that had children in high school and would do whatever it took to make their boyfriends stay. They were also warned against expecting real life love to be just like a romance novel. Some, like myself, had relatives that didn’t yield to the warnings and thought before they acted. They pay the price to this day.

When I was a teenager, I knew that my family wasn’t perfect. I also knew if I wanted to move away from the small town I lived in, I would need to be careful not the jeopardize my plans to move away and stay away permanently. These plans were ruined for some of my relatives due to their choices. I didn’t want to end up like them, so it made me more motivated to look at the guys available at my school with a different set of eyes with different expectations. I believed if I found a guy that had the same plans I did, was equally as motivated as me to move away, and had other expectations for love that are similar if not the same as mine, then I’d defiantly want to try to date them. Yet, they weren’t there. Or if they were there, I didn’t know about their plans.

Back then, romance novels didn’t reflect real life like some do today. For me, reading romance novels was like watching or reading a fantasy or fairy tale movie or book. Magic in the film isn’t real. Neither are the dragons, fairies, elves, and other mythical creatures in the movies. Yet, the story is really entertaining and I enjoy watching it. Sometimes, the stories include morals that I sometimes want to hear. For romance novels, reading them was escapism.

Even though I enjoyed reading them, I also knew the people in the books were not realistic. Sometimes, when the author would talk about a sixteen year old girl and her thoughts, I would roll my eyes and think sarcastic comments. It also helped I was sixteen at the time and no female teenager I knew back then acted like that. Knowing romance novels were not real made me happy, but its lack of realistic character representation was also something I scoffed at. Even to this day, I still find myself scoffing at modern day romance novels for the same exact reasons.

So, if you want to read romance novels, don’t worry. I won’t laugh or mock you. Since I am a romance novel reader myself, so I should laugh and mock myself first. As much as I know it’s not real, I still read them. It’s still a great escape from reality to a world where love does exist and will end up happily ever after in the end. (Well, at least in the books I choose to read) Even if you didn’t have the same experience in high school and didn’t make the same choices I did for the reasons I did, reading romance novels is not the catch all reason for why teenage girls made foolish choices with their love life. It is a story. It isn’t real life. And to put so much value and worth into having a relationship just like them sets someone up for disaster and even missing the best story of all: A real life love story that is all your own.

Well, that’s all for now! Thank you for reading!

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