You’ve definitely come across cute tropes that have turned your heart into mush. From the ‘enemies to lovers’ trope, and ‘friends to lovers’, to ‘soul mates’ trope. You’ve probably read some of the crazy tropes too, but what about cringeworthy tropes that are just overplayed or simply disturbing? Here’s our list of 4 cringeworthy tropes in romance novels that’ll definitely make you wince with disgust.
Trigger warning: This article discusses some difficult and potentially triggering topics like non-consensual sex, abusive relationships, painful sex, and other such topics that are often present in adult romance. This is only meant to highlight the nature of these tropes.
1. Abusive partner/kidnapper
Redeeming the abuser arc is anything but sexy. Not only do these tropes romanticize the idea of blurring the lines of consent but also romanticize the abuser. Oh and then they both fall in love because she’s the only one who understands him and can heal him. Okay, this might come as a surprise to some but steamy hot romance is possible with an assertive and kind partner. Also, I don’t know who needs to hear this, rape is not romance!
2. Painful bloody virgin sex
Three words to describe this trope, inaccurate, overplayed and cringe. Why is virgin sex always painted as a horror show and painful? Authors often write it as if the hymen is a sheet of flesh to be torn and pierced. Besides, if the main character’s lover was just a decent human being, the chances of painful bloody sex would be slim to none. And this appeals to whom? Why even include it if it isn’t fun for either party.
3. I love you even though I just met you
There are a couple of things that this could honestly be. Infatuation, desire, or even lust. But come on love? Really? ‘Love at first sight’ is so overused and unrealistic! It makes absolutely no sense and it is childish at this point. Sure there was a time when this had some appeal, not anymore though. Cringe! There are definitely more interesting tropes!
4. Damsel in distress
For some reason, authors keep using naive when what they actually mean is a stupid girl. A powerful, alpha male falls for a woman whose personality is as plain as flour. She usually demonstrates little to no agency or competence and it usually involves the male convincing (read manipulating) her into believing that he actually knows what’s better for her and he needs her to submit to her completely. While it honestly is not healthy, it is also super cliched.
Of course, there are other cringeworthy tropes in romance novels but all of it eventually boils down to a matter of preference. Do you agree that these tropes are cringy or do you still enjoy some of them? Are there any you’d like to add to this list? We’d love to hear!
And in case you’re someone who likes to explore something different, check out these crazy romance genres and tropes!