Romantic Fiction, Reality Shaping and The Work

Reiki_62

The Force is Strong With This One
So after re-reading Laura's intro to this thread I see that the idea here is not necessarily to find meaning within the books, but to put one's self in an emotional/mental frame of mind to be able to gain/ accept/seek out knowledge. I can appreciate that idea as I have become so bogged down with the covid situation, vaccines (will not take ever), election fraud, etc that it is hard to even function normally anymore. I purchased two more books and will just simply read and allow the book take me away instead of seeking out meaning within the book. I didn't necessarily do this with the first two books but even so I enjoyed the distraction they offered. Looking forward to more!
 

lilies

The Living Force
Recently finished 'The Legend of the Four Soldiers' series by Elizabeth Hoyt, where she describes war trauma and deep emotional issues. Currently reading the The Ravenels series by Lisa Kleypas, where even deeper, profound life issues are touched and dealt with. Kleypas brings up such serious existential questions, that I had to stop and gawk and ponder, because I had no answer. Most of the issues she brings up I never experienced, those are way over my head.

Characters in those books encountering various profound difficulties in life caused in me an increasing number of painful life reviews [relived shocks]. Where I desperately imagined fixing past events, beginning from 5 years old as a child, then onward, trying to repair the emotional damage I have done to others as a result of my past ignorance and errors.. These life reviews got so frequent recently, that they blew the lid off, resulting in an emotional bankruptcy, which brought things sharply into focus. My appalling stance toward life and society, my negative traits. How far I'm from an Obyvatel.

Suddenly I saw my utter uselessness in life:
- "How I became such a useless eater, a parasite!
How I'm unable to progress in life. Unlike other diligently working people, who have real jobs and enjoy their material rewards. How I became a socially unfit, incompetent, impotent idiot, having no chance for financial survival.
How I'm existentially hanging by a thread, very near to leading a hand-to-mouth existence. In danger of becoming a bum. All my efforts are so weak, because I only managed to heap up a mountain of failures. Which is why my life is at the bottom of a trash-pit, where I truly belong.. on to the trash. I became a hedonist, a nothing person."

This realization of my real worth, - a complete nullity - brought things into sharp focus. I pinpointed what I need to do, if I want to avoid a life-catastrophe in the future: a fear of becoming a bum.

Having arrived at this lowest point in life gave me refreshing energy. I realized, my only chance is to continue and finish my Magnum Opus with renewed vigor. Its just.. is taking way too long! I'm probably not alone with the feeling of "magnum opuses taking too long". :)

Finally I accepted that reading Balogh and the other high 'Reaction Potential' authors, like Kerrigan Byrne, is the key to advancement. Then confessing here, what internal issues surfaced and how I'm dealing with them.

Started reading Tangled, from Balogh. Right at the beginning of the story husbands and bachelors are going to war and the worrying women are facing intense uncertainty. Immediately a slow acid burning sensation began flowing all over me, like standing under a shower of bleach. Probably caused by anchestor-memories connected to WW1 and WW2 with a high chance, since everybody got involved in those times. As well as my past life feelings, facing the war reality as a male.
 

Anthony

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
One thing that I think is helpful, after reading several of the series, is to try and approach each book with an attitude of openness and freshness, like I'm just starting this reading project anew and don't know what lies ahead. It makes it more interesting, and I think it even helps me to see things that I would have otherwise missed.
 

Yupo

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I am going through some books. Right now I'm on the Westcott series by Mary Balogh. Lots of layers of the onion are peeling away for me about mistakes I've made, also multi-generational trauma on both sides of my family. Lots of tears. I know there are no do overs, but I miss my sister and I miss my ex. Enough about that.

I came across something this morning that may or may not belong here. I will ask moderators to remove it if inappropriate. On SOTT there was a story about an earthquake swarm around the Salton Sea.
Because of the location, I was instantly reminded of the film Inland Empire. It is a strange, dark film that I've seen several times but have never been able to understand. I always felt like I needed to keep seeing it until I got it, though. So this morning, I decided to read up on interpretations of the film. I looked at only one, which I will link below. (warning: dark subject ahead) This reviewer's final interpretation is about being able to experience the pain and trauma through the story, so we don't have to learn her hard lessons the hard way ourselves. I thought it would be good to share it, or at least share the idea. Deep stuff. The mind is a many layered thing.
Of special note is a clear illustration of how evil ('the phantom' character) is looking for a way (an opening) to enter into the story/script/action. Wow.

 
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Yupo

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I am going through some books. Right now I'm on the Westcott series by Mary Balogh. Lots of layers of the onion are peeling away for me about mistakes I've made, also multi-generational trauma on both sides of my family. Lots of tears. I know there are no do overs, but I miss my sister and I miss my ex. Enough about that.

I came across something this morning that may or may not belong here. I will ask moderators to remove it if inappropriate. On SOTT there was a story about an earthquake swarm around the Salton Sea.
Because of the location, I was instantly reminded of the film Inland Empire. It is a strange, dark film that I've seen several times but have never been able to understand. I always felt like I needed to keep seeing it until I got it, though. So this morning, I decided to read up on interpretations of the film. I looked at only one, which I will link below. (warning: dark subject ahead) This reviewer's final interpretation is about being able to experience the pain and trauma through the story, so we don't have to learn her hard lessons the hard way ourselves. I thought it would be good to share it, or at least share the idea. Deep stuff. The mind is a many layered thing.
Of special note is a clear illustration of how evil ('the phantom' character) is looking for a way (an opening) to enter into the story/script/action. Wow.

We can learn so much about ourselves, and do so much good in the world (not to mention procreate) through our romantic relationships. These lessons will be easier without the evil phantom attaching itself to our scripts. I think this is where The 10 Commandments come in. By avoiding dishonesty, adultery, etc, our lives can be much less complicated. So many of the romantic stories we are reading concern the painful aftereffects of misunderstandings, failed communications (due to pride), mistreatments and worse. It does seem like current Western culture wants to demolish the idea that adherence to these commandments is a good idea.
 

seek10

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
We could add a column to the list for "emotional intensity/possible triggering" level and make it 1, 2 or 3, with 3 being intense and can possibly trigger.

Based on the suggestion, I updated the site for entering "Emotional Intensity/Possible Trigger" Level for each book ( I called it "Book Intensity Level " for display purposes). I posted the details in other thread. If multiple are submitted for the same book, latest will be shown in Google Sheet and the site etc. But one can see the history of changes in the report.
In order to document the "emotional intensity/possible triggering" level ( aka "Book Intensity Level" in the form) for each book, I made some changes to the site.
  • I created 2 new pages in the website for setting the Book Intensity level and a report where you can check history of changes.
    • Book settings page: Enter the details like forum name, author name and optional series Name and click the "Show Books". It will show the books and their current Book Intensity Level. If you decide to change the level, you can click the blue + button to change it. If updated status doesn't show up in the refreshed page, you can refresh the book or page again to see it.
      • you can also add the users to the application. Hover over red + button at the bottom right corner to see the options. ( Also can be done with the existing google form).
      • you can also add translated book names to the application using this page ( Also can be done with the existing google form)
      • navigation bar of the site is moved to left.

Please let me know if you have any issues or questions.
I put some decent tooltip's on each field for ease of usage.
 

iamthatis

Jedi Council Member
FOTCM Member
I was thinking about the recent discussion about the near-Puritan mindset that a lot of us (including myself) adopted in response to the hypersexualization rampaging around us. It's taken a good long while for me to forgive myself for that. For a long time, I saw myself through the culture's eyes - a sexually repressed prude. There was a lot of shame there. Then came the need to prove myself, and all of the mistakes that followed. Not that the relationships I had were all shipwrecks - that would be the narrative inculcated by negative imprinting, whereby we can be attuned only to recall the bad things, and forget the good. Each relationship had many moments of care, tenderness and connection, as well as strife. So I've been looking back in a more nuanced way.

I recently finished Anne Gracie's Devil Riders.

In the ravages of the Spanish theatre of the Napoleonic Wars, Bella hid away in a convent of nuns and other hidden girls for eight years. It wasn't pleasant, but at the time it was necessary to protect her from falling into the clutches of her meat-headed cousin Ramon. It was about survival with one's virtue intact.

In thinking about my own past, I realized that I escaped into the convent (or monastery) of my own interior for many years. It wasn't pleasant, but I was doing something similar. Surviving, definitely repressing, confused, and biding my time until an emergence finally happened.

In many of these books, we see characters who have put up walls or put on masks. This results in all kinds of bizarre and negative behaviour. It would be easy enough to look at their behaviour and judge them by their covers, the depth of their pain and suffering is revealed time and time again. It is much more difficult, and much more honest and valuable, to understand that we don't know who is standing in front of us, unless we move away from a suspicious sort of mind, loaded down with preconceived notions, mired in past hurt, and towards one of openness, curiosity and questioning... of course, with the warnings about psychopaths and petty tyrants still intact. And then that same mindset can be applied to oneself - moving some suspicion and self-judgment to curiosity and self-questioning. The walls and masks can be seen as okay, hallmarks of a Soul in struggle, looking for love.

This was most expressed so darn well in the last book of the Survivor's Club.
We find George, Duke of Stanbrook, exiting his own 'internal covenant' for the first time since his wife died so long ago. The same with Dora Debbins. They meet, as it were, on the path down from their respective lonely mountains, and find a pretty darn magical connection. But even then, a part of them still has a foot in the door of their loneliness, holding onto painful memories despite the unification and healing they each hold out to each other. I was humbled by Dora's patience and her love for George. She didn't force George to talk about his deceased son, Julian, Julian's mother, his wife, her suicide - an of it. She simply asked, and after his initial refusal to talk, she held him gently, making the choice to enjoy what was good in their togetherness, and knew he would tell her when he was ready. And then he did. And how amazing that was! The level of trust and acceptance in this book was breathtaking.

So even in the context of a romantic relationship, the healing takes time and patience. It's not a case of instant miracles, it's a struggle. But a brave and beautiful one. So now, the masks I've worn, and the walls I've lived in - that's okay. Those were the props and set of my lessons at that time. There's an acceptance of that. And a forgiveness of myself for being a scared kid and not knowing what to do in a world gone mad. So I know a little more about myself now. And because of that, I can love myself a little more, too.
 

Lucius

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I have read the first romance, I have to say I am surprised by the lightness of Caroline Linden's pen "Wagers of Sin - My Once Upon a Time Prince" I did an upd in the form.

The book took me quite a long time to read due to my many travels. I find myself thinking quite often about the characters in the book, their situations, and feeling myself into some of the situations that were in the book. I am surprised when you approach it with the Awareness that you can relive emotions from previous karmic incarnations based on experiences and situations of main characters.

I also noticed that I work through situations in my life differently, thinking about positive situations or negative challenges that the main characters had. Approach to being a gentleman and a man, responsibility for actions and words. It is like "learning by positive role models" which are very few in human relationships nowadays. I noticed that I even dreamt about situations from the book, in my life, as if a small "switch" was switched. - During a given situation, I unconsciously recall situations from the book relating to my life or a given situation.

What's interesting, the last 50 pages I felt like I was on a marathon, both reading and imagining the place, scenery, position of the characters, etc. Works very positively for creativity and visualization in the head/thoughts.

I'm currently reading the second book and Laura's new book.

Thank you for this thread and the motivation to take on another project! 🙏
 

Andrian

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
In the last couple of weeks I've finished reading the Merridew sisters series by Anne Gracie and the Huxtable Quintet by Mary Balogh.

There are some similar elements between both series like the strong bond between the siblings that helps them cope better with their life lessons. The importance of a family, a community in one's life, caring, loving and supporting each through life thus helping each other to learn the lessons they've come here to learn.

The beautiful thing is that in the following stories as in others that I've read there is always a Divine presence in the main characters life that guides them through life challenges, sometimes even through very painful and harsh challenges that are necessary for the heroes to face and overcome in order to grow. Even if when the heroes are facing the said challenges aren't able to recognize them for what they truly are, that is, an opportunity from the DCM to help one learn, grow and become stronger and eventually his true self.

Though in real life, many of us when are facing tough challenges in life are so immersed in self pity, self importance having our mind and heart blind and dumbfounded that we see such challenges as punishment from the Universe, as something that we don't deserve, haven't we suffered enough already? It's not an easy thing to see great challenges in your life as an opportunity for you to learn from and grow, it's not easy, in fact I'd say it's impossible if one is under the spell of the predator mind.

In the end I think everyone reaches the point where they're able to recognize all the life experiences for what they are, opportunities to learn and grow.

Edit: typo
 

Laura

Administrator
Administrator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
I have had a few problems with some of the novels sounding very American. Of course I have no problems with American English per se, but well, I’m a fussy person, and it bothers me when the characters say things like “hell yes”, “you son of a bitch”, “let’s do this” or “how’s that working for you?” Sometimes my fantasy world is somewhat rigid and strict rules have to be applied by. Even in movies it bothers me when they don’t lock their car doors. Aleta Edwards talks about this rigidity in Fear of the Abyss, as many here already know. For this reason I only managed the first Bridgerton novel. By the end of it, in my mind’s eye, all the regency costumes had fallen off the characters, and the women were wearing mini skirts, the men wife beaters. It’s kind of a problem which is holding me back from completing the list. :-[

Initially, historical inaccuracies bothered me a LOT, even historically inaccurate dialog. In fact, it still steps on my nerves now and then.

However, early on, I encountered a book that was written pretty badly, but the story was everything. I continued to read and just thought about the fact that the author might very well be channeling something, but was not a very clear channel and her own pre-sets were being imposed on the story. And then I thought, what if the person who is able to tap into some story in the ether that is very similar to one of my own experiences and I reject reading it because her language is seriously flawed?

For example, Grace Burrowes is a mess, historically speaking. I do NOT like her snippy/snappy style of writing and very often, I am really turned off by her attempts to work modern day issues into historical contexts. But a few of her books really have great stories and one gets the impression that she is getting this storyline from somewhere not inside herself even if she gives it her "riff on life" treatment.

So, I just want to emphasize that it is the STORY, the dynamic, that matters most. Some authors are better than others at keeping close to the historical line. It DOES grate on my nerves when they go way offline in that respect, but as long as the story is useful, I am now able to overlook it most of the time.

And, of course, when my historical purity nerves are totally frayed, I just re-read some of Georgette Heyer's work.
 

Alejo

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
I finished Someone to Wed by Mary Balogh and I wanted to share a few thoughts on it.

The story itself is quite good, it moves the Wescott series forward in very interesting ways and it left me with a few interesting impressions that I will be discussing in the spoiler section. As the series progresses things feel a lot more rewarding as they happen and the network of people that the main characters have access to is expanded and better known to the reader, and that is a joy to get through.

The story begins with a wedding proposal from Wren to Alexander, he needs money and she wants to wed someone, and she's rich. But she is a recluse due to a birthmark on the side of her face that has shut her in for almost her entire life. She has no friends, nor any contact beyond the professional, the story moves on as one would expect but in very beautiful ways that are also rather painful to go through.

Through the story concepts of narcissistic wounds are explored extraordinarily. It made me think of the importance of others in our lives, and not just brutally honest others, but others who want the best for us. if honesty comes from that place, it's constructive, if it comes from other places it can be traumatic.

Wren's mother is an extremely vain person, and her version of honesty was to describe her blemish as an abnormality that was enough to want to send her to an institution. Wren's mother's character is depicted a bit like a caricature, but it illustrates the point amazingly I would say, the extremely self centered vain individual who holds physical beauty to such a degree that is blind to actual beauty, who seeks pleasure rather than joy, admiration rather than friendship. Someone for whom the world was a mirror to validate her own ideas of herself. Wonderfully done by Balogh.

Wren's mother is the typical devouring mother archetype and her honesty comes from that place, her words could be technically true but her intentions caused tremendous trauma in Wren, who wasn't able to overcome it until she discovered love from several places in Alexander and his family. It made me think that how others see us depends greatly on ourselves and not just on what we look like, how we behave and who we are to them.

Wren's difficulty was also very nicely done, and her overcoming her issues was also explored nicely, in ways that are terribly moving. Wren found love through care and physical validation, but I think context matters. Just like with honesty, care and affection can be void of value and empty, or they can be constructive and a person might take honesty or care in one way, like Wren's mother to build herself, or like Wren to liberate herself.

How we do what we do matters, intent really matters.

The other idea I was left with is how these wounds, valid and painful and unjust as they may be. Can really make us extremely self centered, for all she suffered Wren was very self centered, even her initial marriage proposal was a self serving business deal. And I think this is one of those very tricky aspects of ourselves to navigate. This is one of those places where most of our justifications come from.

This is why I think navigating out of those behavioral issues is key for growth and for closing generational cycles of hurt. You end up owning the wounds done unto you and passing them unto others and feeling justified all the while. And as depicted in Someone to Wed, it takes courage to dare to behave against all your programs and defense mechanisms.

If Wren hadn't changed, she would have turned into her mother, maybe not vain but convinced that not looking "perfect" was enough of a reason to hide and would have passed that on to the future. Her daring to be wrong was enough o kick start the change.

I enjoyed the story very much, it made me think about my own life quite a bit. Now, Someone to Care is next!

Edit: Grammar
 

mkrnhr

SuperModerator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
The nice thing about Someone to Wed is that it encapsulates many aspects of knowing others and the self without being focused in only one aspect in particular. There are many situations and scenes that quite emotional and memorable and even some interaction with "side characters" can be meaningful without being distracting from the main line of force of the story.

Being actually in a different series (the middle of Marry in Scarlet), the overall atmosphere can be different from a series to another, with diffeernt families and circumstances, but there is a core quality to the beings and interaction beteween beings that stands out every time. Of course some things about the period can be annoying, even cringeworthy, like the incessant parade of debutantes in the balls of the "ton", and some attitudes of the cardboard people in that environment, but what really matters in the end is how the characters with something inside and often, groups of such characters navigate all the absurdity of their time to stay true to their inner nature.
 
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Mari

Dagobah Resident
FOTCM Member
After I´ve read the new C´s session, I´ve dropped everything so I can finish Elisa Braden´s Rescued from Ruin Series

The series follows the Huxley family and friends (or friends to be ;-)). It is a warm and loving family, who serves as a real anchor for many people.

The general tone of the series is - sex, a lot if it. So, a bit of a warning for those who feel uncomfortable with those scenes. But, it was never impulsive and out of the marriage.
It was a bond that brought couples together and resolved many issues.
I.e. I liked how heroine in Book 9 handled the hero and "used" sex as a tool to open him up and help him to know himself and see himself.
In general Eloisa describes sex scenes in very detail with all the fine emotions characters are experiencing.
I liked that very much, and didn´t find it disturbing or unsettling, quite the opposite.

There were also mysteries, murders, plots, the whole package. I found the series quite good and the development of the characters was portrayed really well.
As I´m writing, I realised that the series has 2 sequels to finish up the stories and I can´t wait to read those too.

Interesting is that we are currently in book 7 of the Wave (in the reading workshop) and then to see when reading i.e. book 9 how every memory of earl‘s mother describes his psychopathic mother.
It was so chilly to read that.
The level of psychopathy and evil that was described in this series and also descriptions of heroes, who we come to see as "souls in struggle", can be followed and seen side by side through the whole series.

The Wave and these books come hand in hand, imo, and I‘m so glad that I found the courage to join the reading project.
Re-reading the Wave and these romance books gives me such greater depths and I find it quite an interesting overlap how both reading projects came at pretty much the same time.

Also i.e. when reading Eloisa’s book 8 (I believe) her heroine puts memories in boxes, the same method as described in The Narcissistic Family book.

Hannah in book 10 describing her detachment, like multiple personality disorder; it was such a real description, my heart wept for her...
I also don't recall such a damaged character in the books I've read so far. What is more heartbreaking, Jonas was almost equally damaged.
Usually we read about one damaged person and one with issues, but generally one with "only" issues helps another and in the end they resolve their problems helping each other to overcome themselves. Here I found both of the heroes really damaged.

These romance novels are a gems of practical implementation of what was read and I find it fascinating.

Also I liked the end of the series. Usually before there were some small gatherings, where we remembered the characters we followed through the books, but here they all were more or less engaged in the last story and this last book left me with a big pressure in the chest, never mind all ended well.
One can see that, like in Balogh´s novels, all of these characters will have to work on themselves for the rest of their lives in order to preserve their happiness.
 

Yupo

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Initially, historical inaccuracies bothered me a LOT, even historically inaccurate dialog. In fact, it still steps on my nerves now and then.

However, early on, I encountered a book that was written pretty badly, but the story was everything. I continued to read and just thought about the fact that the author might very well be channeling something, but was not a very clear channel and her own pre-sets were being imposed on the story. And then I thought, what if the person who is able to tap into some story in the ether that is very similar to one of my own experiences and I reject reading it because her language is seriously flawed?

For example, Grace Burrowes is a mess, historically speaking. I do NOT like her snippy/snappy style of writing and very often, I am really turned off by her attempts to work modern day issues into historical contexts. But a few of her books really have great stories and one gets the impression that she is getting this storyline from somewhere not inside herself even if she gives it her "riff on life" treatment.

So, I just want to emphasize that it is the STORY, the dynamic, that matters most. Some authors are better than others at keeping close to the historical line. It DOES grate on my nerves when they go way offline in that respect, but as long as the story is useful, I am now able to overlook it most of the time.

And, of course, when my historical purity nerves are totally frayed, I just re-read some of Georgette Heyer's work.
I have some of the same issues in reading. There's a Westcott series novel with a bit about some unwanted yarn donated to an orphanage. Color was an aggressive purple. Purple was a very rare and expensive dye in those days. Yarn was generally spun in small batches. I can't imagine a bright purple yarn being created, let alone given away. Otherwise, the story was lovely.
 

Mari

Dagobah Resident
FOTCM Member
I liked your post @Neil because it was imo honest and I see your points.

But :-) I would say:

I'm an only child and was never particularly close to my cousins, so sibling interaction is nonexistent. I've had close friends, but nothing I would categorize as "love," per se. Parental love I experience as a sense of duty, i.e. I should be there for someone who was there for me.
Have you tried i.e. Julia Quinn or Elisa Braden series? Those are series about loving families. With those you might get the vision of loving family and relationships..?

I'm not willing to put a woman up on a pedestal and build my life around her, but that's not the impression I got from the books. The main thing I got out of it is that you have to talk about everything, even if it hurts or scares the crap out of you.
Well, not quite; if you can see, both heroes and heroines are perfectly aware of all good and bad aspects of their loved ones.
Nevertheless each of them puts the other one on the pedestal -they love each other good and bad aspects. There are several books where the heroine was in love and then he turned out to be not quite the man portraited. She still loved him. I wouldn't say that only men worship their wives - it goes both ways - they both love each other as they are and not as some distant god/goddess on a pedestal.

what I get from perusing various swamp threads and stories here and there about people's relationships is that they are primairily a negative experience.
A lot of mods and admins strike me as "hopelessly single;"
I read books because I expect to go out and actually do something with the knowledge gained therein. This is why I became interested in esoteric books, I figured with the Wave and the closing of the Grand Cycle and the transition to 4D, some of that stuff would be useful to know one day.
I don´t know relationship status of the moderators or most of the people on this forum for that matter, but I don´t think that many of them refuse or don´t want relationship.
I think that they are aware of the feeding mechanisms and all of the things discussed here in the forum in general, so when you know such things, it is not likely that the people would simply go in and out of relationships and experimentations. That doesn´t mean that people don´t want to have a partner. BUT it is also difficult to find one if one don´t talk to the people and/or dismiss the idea completely.

Here I would attach Ch28 of the Wave where this particular dynamic is described.
As Laura says in the chapter
When Ark entered my life, it was at a point that I no longer felt the need for a partner. That had been burned out of me by suffering. I was content to be alone in truth rather than with anyone where there was the slightest compromise of truth on either side. I didn’t want to be with anyone who had to make any “adjustments” to “get along” with me, and I didn’t want to make any adjustments to get along with anyone else. I just simply wanted to be me, as I was, in full Truth. And since, at that point, I had concluded that there was no possibility of such a perfect union in this reality, I decided that I must be this alone. And then, the Ark appeared.

Similar thing happened to me over 20 years ago; ever since I knew myself and have grown big enough to "know" about love, I always wanted somebody to love.
My all friends were in relationships and in love; I wanted the same. Always the same. To give my love to somebody, to have him and hold him until happily ever after.
After a while, I realized that won´t come. I din´t know about the C´s or anything at this point. So I planned my future, my college and started to think about what to do with my life and decided I won´t look for love anymore and to concentrate on my career. Love was a closed topic. I realized I won´t find what I´m looking for and that was that.
After a few months, a man came into my world.
We are now 20 years together. We had 10 good years and now we are having 10 really bad years. Currently I´m in the process of figuring out if he is an agent or soul in struggle because, with him, I can´t tell the difference any more.
People change, but not that much. The true nature is there so I have to see if I failed to see it from the start or is his true nature masked behind years of hurting each other.
He is also very ill and barely moves properly which adds to his behavior. So there is a whole bouquet of reasons why I´m still in this relationship.
I believe I'm a capable person, nevermind what anybody calls me; I can and I do provide for my family on my own and I´ve proved that. So I don´t need a man in my life. Or do I....?
If I would be left single again, I also wouldn´t seek another relationship. But that doesn't mean that I wouldn´t like to have one.
I also don´t think that the descriptions of the sexual act are exaggerated that much (most of the time). If one is willing and able to give and receive love - that's pretty much what happens and much more. That's why I don´t find sexual scenes disturbing or uncomfortable - to me, they are more longing for the past times...
Nevertheless, my post only confirms your statement that most relationships here are bad or struggling.
And that´s true. Even in romance novels, they all struggle. Compromise. It's even more difficult when one is aware of the dynamics and the other is not.

This is so beautifully put by @iamthatis so I´ll just quote him/her for the end.
So even in the context of a romantic relationship, the healing takes time and patience. It's not a case of instant miracles, it's a struggle. But a brave and beautiful one. So now, the masks I've worn, and the walls I've lived in - that's okay. Those were the props and set of my lessons at that time. There's an acceptance of that. And a forgiveness of myself for being a scared kid and not knowing what to do in a world gone mad. So I know a little more about myself now. And because of that, I can love myself a little more, too.

So, all the books in the world won´t give one the experience and the lesson - whatever the lesson might be.

I don´t know... Maybe I said too much and discouraged people... Those were my thoughts when reading the last couple of pages of the thread...
 
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