Writing Tip 01: Writing Realistic Relationships.

I’ll begin with a bit of a rant.

A big problem I find in reading stories with relationships, particularly on Wattpad, is that they aren’t very realistic and therefore difficult to invest in. Some of the problems I’ve come across:

  1. Two people fall absolutely, devoutly in love faster than three day old pizza takes to heat up.
  2. A man is unnecessarily overprotective to the point of domestic abuse and the woman finds this romantic.
  3. The couple is perfect. They have no flaws, or disagreements. They have as many dimensions as The Simpsons.

Now how many relationships do you see like this in real life that aren’t shallow, violent or doomed for failure? None. (Feel free to mention your cousin’s dog’s brother’s mum and her boyfriend if you want to disagree.)

Now, with my (in)expert opinion, I will try to offer some tips on setting up realistic relationships in your stories.

Feelings take time to develop

Sure, there’s always that one weirdo who falls head over heels the moment he sees a gal, but for it to be reciprocated in such a way is unusual, and if it is, I call LUST. It’s cool for someone to start the relationship in their story this way, but I want to see ramifications -such as lack of compatibility – before the end!

Love isn’t always even

One person often loves the other more than is reciprocated, and that’s okay. It’s fine for one person to declare feelings to the other person before the second person is ready. It’s fine for one to dote on the other more than is returned. It’s fine for the person who loves more to wonder if/why they do love the other more, just as it’s fine for them not to care and to be confident in that adoration.

Overprotective is NOT romantic

You heard me. I said OVERprotective, not just protective. If you take a punch to the face for your girl to save hers the beating, that’s cool. Telling her she can’t wear a mini skirt to a nightclub because other dudes might take a looksie, that’s not cool. And it’s definitely not romantic.

Unfortunately, some women who get caught in these situations cannot see past the man. If this happens in a story, I expect her mother, friends and brothers to be telling her how it really is. They’re not stuck in the abusive relationship. They can SEE what’s going on and they better stand up and try and fix it. Not everyone loves an asshole.

Couples are symmetrical. NOT!

Couples who don’t fight? I call bullshit. Even if they don’t scream at each other, I would expect all couples to disagree on something, whether it be how the socks are folded, or if they have kids before they turn thirty or they don’t want to run with the same Alpha anymore. Disagreeing is okay, it shows that two people who are together are also individuals. In a story it gives them depth and something to work towards to strengthen their bond.

So there you go. Things that bother me when reading about couples and tips that may help you with yours in a tight spot. If you think there are other things that would make a couple more realistic, let me know. x

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4 thoughts on “Writing Tip 01: Writing Realistic Relationships.

  1. haha, this blog post is exactly what I needed, I am a horror/thriller writer and I struggle writing relationships… I even have a blog post about my struggles… this makes sense, couples not being perfect, its more realistic… but when I write couple parts I use it as a way to change from the dark mood to a lighter so they normally having happier moments which do mostly come off as cliché, maybe some more mundane activites would help… thank you

    1. Glad you found it helpful Kylen. I imagine writing horror would require they lightheartedness of relationships. You could always add depth by having them bicker over something mundane, such as one keeps making coffee the wrong way. Still lighthearted and funny, but something that couples in real life often do 🙂

  2. I feel this! There’s so much more to people than their physical chemistry (which is NOT romance!) Couples fight. Always will. It’s normal. It might be big or small like you said, because by working through the disagreements the relationships grow stronger and the couple matures and changes, and that’s important character development.

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