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Making Bad Romance Choices

I’ve noticed a trend with my two most recent contemporary romance novels. My lead characters chose to get involved with the wrong man for the wrong reasons. This got me to thinking. Why do we do this in real life? Granted, I’m not a mental health professional. I’m simply a person who’s made my fair share of romantic blunders and later asked myself what the hell was I thinking? So, based on my own experiences, here is why I think we make bad choices.


I think loneliness is a big factor. I’ve known people who are terrified at the prospect of being alone. They’ll do anything to avoid it, including getting into, or staying in, a bad relationship. Their rationale is, “At least I’m not alone.”

Unfortunately, there’s another kind of loneliness. It’s the loneliness that comes from being with the wrong person. Having experienced both kinds of loneliness myself, I’ll take the former over the latter any day. If I want to meet new people I can take a class, go on a trip somewhere, or do other things I enjoy doing. In fact, doing the things we enjoy doing is a great way to meet people with common interests. However, being stuck with the wrong person is stifling. It can suck the joy right out of your life. 

Loneliness was the catalyst in The Scandal when Lauren has a one-night stand with Cal.  Lauren is so wrapped up in her career that she doesn’t have time for a man. Cal uses it to his advantage to manipulate and seduce her, and Lauren allows it to happen. Her bad decision will soon come back to haunt her. I believe this often happens in real life as well.

Youthful Inexperience

Jenna, one of the main characters my upcoming contemporary romance novel Rivalry, is a thirty-something childless divorcee. She was married, briefly, right out of high school. As she recounts the story to a friend, she talks about how she now understands that the person you’re in love with at eighteen isn’t necessarily the same person you’re in love with when you’re in your twenties. Of course there are some who do marry their high school sweetheart, but from what I’ve seen, such marriages are rare. 

Being on the Rebound

One of the most vulnerable times in our lives has to be when we are grieving a loss. Whether it’s the loss of a job, the death of a loved one, a divorce or the break up of a romantic relationship, our defenses are down. As a result, we are more likely to trust the wrong people, and perhaps rush into a rebound relationship with the wrong person. I wrote about this in Aquamarine

Tonya meets George a few months after catching her fiancé in the act with another woman. He soon convinces her to have a “rebound” relationship with him. However, unbeknownst to Tonya, George has his own agenda, and she soon realizes she’s a kept woman. 

Of course, there is a lot more to these storylines than what I’ve mentioned here. My point is that I write romance because I like to delve into the human condition and try to understand why, good or bad, we make the choices we make. I sometimes wish I had a magic crystal ball that would tell me if the choices I’m making are good or bad, but so far I’ve not found one. I guess all we can do is make the best decisions we can, based on our knowledge at the time. 

Marina Martindale

The Scandal is available on Amazon,, and with other online booksellersAquamarine is also available on Amazon, and with other online booksellers

The author of this post is a real human being. Marina’s Journal does not include content generated by AI (Artificial Intelligence) software of any kind.

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Posted in Marina's Novels, Writing