H for Honesty
Many romance novels revolve around one theme: One of the protagonists is keeping a secret from the other. Often that is the sole cause for why the love story ends tragically, why they fight (before getting back together for a happy end) or the cause for why they don’t want to fall in love with the other person in the first place. Sometimes I find myself frustrated by how small said secret is or how easily it could have been found out. At other times I see how far-fetching the consequences of telling a lie or hiding the truth can be for the protagonists. And then I inevitably ask myself whether a relationship could ever work without honesty. Aren’t love and honesty linked inextricably? Can you even speak of real love if one of the couple isn’t honest?
The following might be useful for developing characters and plot lines (not only in romance novels):
What might cause a person in love not to be honest?
- fear of being rejected
- the secret is dangerous / the truth will hurt
- it’s not their own secret but they’ve sworn to keep it
- can’t find the right moment / never get the chance to speak about it
- previous bad reactions to the revealed information have harmed them
- one lie leads to another
- someone blackmails them into lying
- they find it of small importance / don’t even realize there’s a misunderstanding
- they take revenge for the other one lying to them
If you read my latest romance novel "Saved in Sri Lanka", you'll see what consequences keeping something secret can have, and why someone might feel it's necessary.
In the end, though, I firmly believe that honesty is the only way. If you really love someone, they deserve the truth. Reveal the secret or truth as soon as possible because otherwise the mosquito that whines in your ear but can be swatted away turns into a huge elephant that takes up the whole room and pushes the two people in love further and further apart. The longer you wait, the deeper the hurt because you’ll make the other person feel that you don’t trust them or that you hide much more from them.
I’m signing off for today with some powerful HONESTY quotes.