August 19, 2015

“Unbelievable” Romance in Real Life

I'm a couple days late with this post, which also isn't the post I originally intended to share this week (about Print on Demand providers). That post is coming still, but I have a good excuse for the delay! I was on the other side of the country, at the wedding of a close friend.

Photo credit: Sugar Daze / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND
I'd like to share the real-life story of this couple, because of how it relates to the romance genre. (Yes, weddings are romantic, but as you'll see I mean more than that.)

He liked this girl right away, so at a party hosted by mutual friends, He bravely made his way over to try his hand. She completely dismissed him, and since He believed her to be entirely out of his league, He accepted that and let it go. (As She later told me, She had actually been entirely oblivious to his attempt, as her mind was in a very different place with work stress that night.)

A couple years later, through mutual friends, He subtly maneuvered it so that they would once again be at the same party. Despite other relationships, He hadn't forgotten her and wanted to try again. Once again: no luck.

He then moved to the other side of the country.

A few years later, the two of them attended a wedding weekend of mutual friends. Both single, both in the right frame of mind, they finally hit it off. He approached and tried his hardest to make an impression, and She was impressed. That wedding happened at some cabins in the woods, and they spent the whole night talking (with some not talking mixed in). I've heard this story from both sides now, and it's fascinating how hard He tried...while She actually gave him nothing but positive signals that He completely missed.

Of course, none of this changed that they now lived thousands of miles away. At another wedding the following day, He got some advice from that groom, a former professor (who had met his wife on a plane ride!). The wise professor pointed out that, had he himself not taken the chance on this woman he'd been seated beside on their short connecting flight, he wouldn't have been getting married that day. With this encouragement, my friend took a chance on reaching out and starting a relationship with this girl that had been on his mind for years, despite all the distance and false starts.

With many Skype calls and trips across the country, following long and frank and intense conversations about how they saw their lives, and despite some pushback from concerned love ones, within a few months they were engaged. And their wedding this past Sunday was beautiful.

So often, romance as a genre is criticized for its lack of believability. "Relationships don't work that way," we're told, and we're setting "unrealistic expectations" for those seeking love in real life.

But, as you can see, romance in real life is absolutely possible! Despite the challenges, this couple lived a real-life romance, though I'm sure when He was rejected twice it didn't feel that way. There's nothing unrealistic about a couple that hits it off one night doing what's necessary to make their relationship work, or of choosing not to wait some socially acceptable time to spend their lives together. And how wonderful that this relationship was encouraged by another couple, whose relationship would be considered "too unrealistic" by critics of the romance genre!

Real people live extraordinary stories to find their happily ever afters — and that's precisely what I love about this genre that reminds us that exceptional romance is entirely possible in our own lives.

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