Bookish Pet Peeve #2: Insta-love and Love Triangles

I’m really weird when it comes to romance. Maybe it’s because I grew up in a conservative family, but I’ve always shied away from anything that is heavily romantic. Kissing scenes in movies? I cover my eyes. Any signs of sparks flying? I leave the room on some excuse.

So when I encounter romance in novels, I definitely get awkward. It’s one of the reasons that I avoid novels where romance is the primary genre. However, you can’t escape romance; it literally finds its way into every book, including novels that don’t feature romance as the primary genre. Now, I can handle romance if it’s done right. For example, I loved the romance in Strange the Dreamer, which had great progression and depth to it. But often, this is not the case.

More common are the insta-love and love triangle moments. And I despise those.

Let’s start with insta-love. For those who don’t know what this is, it’s basically the moment where the main characters meet and instantly fall in love. What makes this so unappealing is that there is absolutely no depth. There is no gradual buildup where the characters get to know each other and slowly love each other. They simply look at each other and that’s that. This is such a simplistic view of the complex and deep interaction that results in love, that I just can’t take it seriously.

I mean really, YOU JUST MET THIS PERSON! How can you love them already?!

Love is a beautiful thing. So many cultures around the world have spent years describing love and the way it makes a person feel. There are poems and songs dedicated to love. And here comes this insta-love story that reduces this complex thing into something that is just not as emotional. It fails to capture the depth of the connection between the people involved. And connection is EVERYTHING when it comes to a story. Readers form bonds with the characters … but if we can’t believe in their love, then it breaks that bond.

My other pet peeve when it comes to romance is the love triangle. IT IS LITERALLY EVERYWHERE AND IT NEEDS TO STOP. You’ve got this great book with lots of action and an interesting plot and then BAM, the author hits you with two romantic leads and your plucky protagonist is now all wishy-washy and can’t figure out what to do. Everything that the author has done to make me love the protagonist and the book has just gone down the drain. The entire story now becomes about resolving this love issue and everything else takes a back seat.

My personal opinion is that not all books need romance in them. Platonic relationships exist for a reason, and if a writer needs to put a romance in because they need that little “something” to add to their story, then it should be done right. It should fit with the characters’ personalities and not weaken them. It should also be given the time to develop, just like the plot and ambitions of the characters get the time they need to develop. If you’re not willing to do that, then just let go of the romance.

Because no one wants to read more insta-love and cliche love triangles anymore. Portray love in all its beauty and complexity. Make it believable. Do it justice. Because love is a wonderful thing.

Any thoughts on insta-love? Are you a fan of this?

Do you think novels can be just as good without the love triangle factor? Or are love triangles something you look forward to?

What do you think about the way romance is portrayed in books?

0 thoughts on “Bookish Pet Peeve #2: Insta-love and Love Triangles

  1. Not really a fan of insta-love, neither love triangles, it’s emotionally draining and confusing. It just loose the potential of a great sub plot and overall storyline. So, no to me! 😉

    1. Yes, I’ve noticed that they both lower the quality of the original storyline! If I see either one of these things in a book, my rating automatically goes below 5 stars.

  2. Not much of a fan of insta-love (in some circumstances I can barely tolerate it) but it’s love-triangles that I HATE. I really dislike how it’s usually someone leading another person on the whole time and it’s honestly so annoying. I also think it’s an unnecessary trope like just choose one person and stick with them, it shouldn’t be that hard. Great discussion!

    1. Exactly! It bothers me the most when it happens in a book that is so good and packed with action and then suddenly all the protagonist can do is go between the two love interests….

    2. Exactly! It bothers me the most when it happens in a book that is so good and packed with action and then suddenly all the protagonist can do is go between the two love interests! I’m glad you liked the discussion post!

    1. Yup, they are pretty sucky! I remember when I first encountered them as a child and I couldn’t help but feel puzzled for why everyone seemed to love to use them in their books and why people couldn’t get enough of them! I still don’t get it now LOL

  3. ARGH love triangles bring us such rage. Couldn’t agree more! Though we are ashamed to say that we sometimes we like insta-love as a good palate cleanser after an emotional book !

    1. Honestly, I totally get it because sometimes you just need a little bit of romance to get the story going! I love when the two characters who are supposed to fall for each other hate each other in the beginning and bicker all of the time. I know it’s overused but I just can’t help it!

  4. I LOVED this post, Vee! I entirely agree with you. Love has been taken from an amazing thing and dumbed down to physical attraction…and nothing else. Love and infatuation are not the same, but that’s what books seem to be pushing onto readers from all angles!

    1. And it’s really perplexing for me because a lot of teens are reading these books and thinking that this is what love is and it really isn’t what it’s made out to be in these books! That’s why I just skip all of the romance scenes nowadays.

      1. I totally hear you. This is the exact topic that I rant about. I try to be fair, but this is such a terrible message for teens to read and think is the norm!

          1. Exactly! A huge reason I review YA is because I have a daughter! She’s not even 2 but she adores reading. So, this is one way I can monitor what trends are happening in the book realm to know what’s good for her to read and not to read!

  5. I am a huge fan of romance novels, it’s the shelf with the most number of books on my Goodreads account. But I agree, insta love is boring.. I like the friends to lovers trope with a bit of slow burn.. There is nothing better than a relationship based on a deep bond of friendship..
    But I actually like love triangles – only when they are done well.. I need a reason for the triangle to exist and I prefer if I love all 3 characters.. I love the angst… but it is definitely an overused trope which is added just to bring unnecessary drama to the plot..

    1. I think that since you read romance novels, you might encounter better developed love triangles. I don’t read romance so when I encounter romantic content in a fantasy or science fiction book, I find that it’s usually just thrown in there and not developed very well. Whenever I’ve read a romance novel, I find that any trope they use usually works quite well!
      I love the friends to lovers trope, too! It’s just so sweet!

      1. I agree with you, the way the action and adventure plot works in sci-fi fantasy, romance doesn’t because it’s usually not well developed… dedicated romance novels definitely have more thought out romance…
        And best friends to lovers is truly the sweetest kind of romance…
        I don’t think I’ve really encountered a lot of good love triangles, also coz I don’t seek them out much.. they can be stressful sometimes and I already cry enough when there’s just one couple 😜😜😜

        1. Aww that is so cute! I love that you connect so much with the characters and the romance in your novels! I tend to like any love triangles in a Kinsella book… they’re funny and I always find I prefer one person over the other as the primary love interest

Leave a Reply