One of the interesting things that we sometimes see in the beginning of some romance novels is the bad romantic partner. He’s the guy who doesn’t appreciate the heroine. He doesn’t get her, often treats her bad, and she, at some point, realizes that he’s not the one.
Sometimes she has to meet our hero to see that the bad guy is, in fact, a bad guy. Sometimes she realizes it on her own, after she’s had enough of his poor treatment. There is some last straw event where she just says: I’m out.
These feel cliche, and maybe they are a little bit, but the truth is, the bad guy is sometimes needed. Sometimes, it takes having someone treat you in a way that you don’t want to be treated, to realize just how much that doesn’t work. While I don’t advocate hooking up with a bad dude to get that experience, I do think it can sometimes provide the clarity that’s needed to realize what you want.
It’s sort of like when you take a job, think it might be a good fit, and it goes OK. And you do it for a while and think it’s fine, but then you see the cracks–the crazy hours, the toxic boss–and realize you have to get out. That you never want to work at a place like this again. And while the experience isn’t great, you learn from it what you don’t want. You learn to see warning signs–things you missed when you signed on for this job. And when you moved forward, you find a job that is a better fit. Something that is more in the sweetspot of what you want and are a good fit with.
Certainly, I wouldn’t wish a bad relationship on anyone. If you find a good one from the getgo, or continually get good ones, kudos. But, for those who got a bad apple, don’t worry. It’s typically a good learning experience. [And bad apple is different from psycho or abusive stalker type. No one should have to go through that.]
I think some of the best heroines are those who’ve come through the fire of bad guys, and know they’re worth more. And then they find it. A lot of the heroines of my fairy tales are more relationship novices. But, I have to say that one thing I like about Nikki (from the short Nikki and Mike) –as well as Tina, from Winner Takes All–is that they’ve seen the bad guys and know they don’t want them. They start with that notion that they’re worth more than half-assed, and their confidence grows. And then they start to visualize what they want and grab it. And that’s a good thing. That’s something I want for all the folks out there.