I’m just putting the finishing touches to the final scene of my book, and it’s occurred to me how different my characters are at the end of the story compared to how they are at the beginning. I realised these changes (which were all positive) were brought about by each other and their emerging relationship.
Does this happen in real life, or do we sometimes change each other for the worse? Is it right to try to change our partners at all, or does this mean we’re forgetting why we fell in love in the first place?
Perhaps some of us enjoy the challenge of trying to create the ‘perfect partner’ by changing them according to our preferences – ooh dear, that doesn’t sound like it would result in a fairy tale ending!
It most likely wouldn’t. Remember what happened to the creature Victor Frankenstein created? Not to mention poor Rocky in the Rocky Horror Picture Show, who was manufactured by Dr Frank-N-Furter. These beings, made according to their creators’ visions, both ended up coming to a rather sticky end. As did their creators, actually, which is probably a warning signal for anyone who fancies moulding their partner to fit their preferences.
It’s inevitable that if we spend so much time with another human being, that experience will change us. If it’s a healthy relationship these changes should, in theory, be for the better. There is no doubt that my husband has changed me over the years, although I don’t think for a second he planned to. His laid back nature has tamed my fiery one and made me more tolerant and cooler-headed, thank goodness! My optimistic outlook compared to his tendencies to see the glass half empty have, I believe, made him less like of a grump – I can’t bear grumps!
In my book the heroine makes the hero face up to his doubts about himself. Failing to do this in the past have meant he hasn’t found real happiness. For her the result of meeting him is that she discovers the power of her own abilities and a new found confidence.
All good stuff. But what about these relationships, and I think we all know someone like this that we want to shake sense into, – where one partner at least seems to spend all their time hoping that their other half will become trustworthy / romantic / caring / considerate / fashionable / hard-working / better at DIY / thinner / get a boob job, etc. etc. (delete as appropriate)?
Well, to be frank, they’re probably doomed.
Personally, I couldn’t bear a romance that didn’t have a happy end, and that goes for real life too. If you spend all your time wishing your other half was something they’re clearly not, that happy end is going to be very difficult to find.
Once I make the decision to read a book I don’t like to give up on it, even if it’s disappointing me after the first few chapters. But sometimes you just have to admit it’s not what you hoped it, and revisit the shelf in the pursuit of that happy end you were seeking.