I talk all the time about how I find romance superfluous, I hate romance, and how I am romancephobic. But I have never really explained what I mean by that or what goes through my head when I read books where there is romance I don't like or if romance is a big role in the plot or character development. So awhile ago I did a post about the Five Stages of Bookish Grief when it comes to solving twists and I thought, what better way to explain my thoughts about romance then by telling you the five stages of grief.
But first there is one distinction I want to make. You can not ship the ship and not be romancephobic but still go through the stages of grief. I'm sure everyone has come across a romantic pairing that the didn't like or a romantic trope they don't like. That is often when you go through these stages of grief. But if you are generally romancephobic, you go through these stages regularly and they are even more heightened. But I'm sure we have all been through this at some point if you didn't like that particular relationship. Right? Anyway, the stages.
What To Do Next: Just keep reading. If you're "romancephobic" then denial is a really great place to be. Pretending that this isn't a big deal will help prevent you from moving on to different stages of grief where you don't want to live.
What to Do Next: Take a cold shower yourself. So maybe your ship didn't sail or maybe the character is more concerned about romance but you getting all worked up about it is not going to solve anything. Here is where I like to think about the things I do like within the book. Really anything to not think about how much I hate the romance. And then I like to compartmentalize and move right back to denial.
In the betrayal phase you're now longer angry at the characters you're annoyed at the writer. I know it's not fair to them but that's what you're thinking. There's a lot of comparisons that happen here. You're starting to think all about tropes and how ridiculous it is that there is another love triangle or another example of instalove or another good girl loving a bad boy. How cliche! Eye roll. You're annoyed that author for not being more creative. Don't they know you hate instalove? Why didn't they give you a slowburn you could get behind? Why did they even need to have romance? You wouldn't have missed it if there was no romance.
What to Do Next: Stop whining and keep reading. Just because it didn't work out the way you were thinking doesn't mean that you should feel so betrayed. Tropes exist and are popular for a reason. It didn't work for you but it's not over sometimes these things work themselves out. Trust the writer to make a good story. Otherwise you're going to have to compartmentalize and return to denial.
What to Do Next: Suck it up and keep reading. I know that right now it feels like the biggest travesty that you don't like the fact that there is romance or who the character chose but again, there is nothing you can do about it. Just like when you were in anger you are going to need to focus on the things you did like about the book. Or focus on other ships. I sometimes ignore the main ship for secondary characters whose relationships I do support. Or maybe try to compartmentalize and return to denial.
What to Do Next: Compartmentalize and live in denial. Honestly that's usually how I reach acceptance if I didn't like the romance. It's going to happen, it happened, I'm not going to like it but if I pay any attention to it at all I will let it ruin a perfectly great book for me. Whatever, I'm romancephobic and I'm okay with that.
So This is Bad, Right?
I mean, I have in fact accepted that this is just how I am. But one of the things I will say about being romancephobic is that when I do find a ship that I like, boy will I fall hard for it. It's not very common for me to be so on-board with a romance that I want to talk about it, give it a ship name, or find fan art but when that does happen I am ecstatic. Like it's almost annoying to people probably because I won't shut up about how much I ship it. For me it's about quality over quantity and I'm okay with that.
How about you? Are you romancephobic? Or are you romancephilic? How do you deal with it when you don't ship something in a book? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!