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Bonus Post: Love the one you’re with?

When authors talk about themes in romances, one that often comes up is: You can't choose who you love. Much of the conflict in a novel can come from the fact that the hero or heroine (or both) doesn't want to love the other, but they can't help it.

But sometimes the opposite is true. Just as we can't stop ourselves from falling in love with someone, I don't believe we can force love or attraction that we don't feel either.

When I was sixteen, I went on a date with a guy I worked with. He was nice and interesting, a couple years older than me–always exciting–and I was flattered that he'd ask me out. I hadn't been harboring a crush or anything, but, hey, you never know, right?

He only had a motorcycle, so for this double date, he surprised me by renting a Ford Taurus–complete with CD player!–to ferry the four of us around for the night. It was fun. We ate at a fancy Italian restaurant, and my aging mind forgets if we went to a movie or what.

But at the end of the night when he dropped me off, I didn't feel any differently than I had at the beginning. I enjoyed his company, but I wasn't interested in a romantic relationship.

The next time I went to work, I heard that he was upset because he spent all of that money and didn't even get a good night kiss. Dubious logic to be sure. It's not like I was a paid escort. And I hadn't expected a big-money evening.

We could have ridden in his friend's car. Or mine.

I'm sure he was trying to impress me, but the bottom line is that I couldn't force myself to be attracted to him. No matter what he did.

Have you ever experienced an attraction you didn't want? Or not been able to summon feelings for a person you thought you should want?

This post is simulcast over at the Romance Magicians blog.

Tell your friends!


  1. Reply

    I am HORRIBLY attracted to men who need “fixing”. It seriously borders on ridiculousness. All of my relationships (except my current one) have been with men who I thought, if I could just love them enough, they would be nicer / happier / more content / more fulfilled. I even seem to be attracted to these sorts of people as friends. There’s something in me that just wants to love them until they’re better.

    That SO doesn’t work.

    My husband is so blissfully well adjusted and I couldn’t love him more. I am so happy that I chose a partner who doesn’t sap me of energy, but any time there’s a person who has been hurt into meanness (real life, TV, movies), there’s a part of me that still wants to help them get past it.

    The particular behavior of mine has led to a number of disagreements with my husband, and has even affected my career choice. It doesn’t just cover humans, but pets too. I can’t work for shelters (I’m in nonprofits), or even visit them because we’d end up with a pack of animals.

    I agree that you can’t help who you love, but I firmly believe that you can influence it quite a lot. When I was ready to be in a relationship with someone less needy, I found someone who fit my new criteria.

    • Reply

      Oh, wow, Kali. That definitely falls under the category of loving someone you don’t want to. 😉 I agree that you can influence your choices. Not long after I decided what I really wanted in a relationship, I met my husband.

      I wanted to be friends with someone before we got involved, and that’s exactly what happened. And he met all of my important criteria, even though I only consciously realized it after I was head over heels. =)

      I’m glad you found someone you can be in a healthy relationship with!

  2. Reply

    P.S. Is that your new professional photo? It’s lovely. You look a bit ethereal with all your blonde hair in the light. How did the shoot go?

    • Reply

      Yes, that’s my pro photo. I think it turned out pretty well. It at least looks like me. 😉 I had an studio shot that had a better smile, but I liked the natural, airy feel of this one.


      • Reply

        My experience with the Taurus includes among others, a major breakdown in the middle of a NYC freeway during rush hour…. I hated that car………

        • Reply

          Ha, I get it, Tony. We had a used Taurus for a few years. Got it fully loaded with really low miles from the original owner, but by the end there, I couldn’t stand it.

          I’ve had a few “fun” breakdowns in my time in very inopportune places. Never good.

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