The Suspension of Morality: Acceptable Actions of a Character in Fiction vs Reality

The rules of escapism dictate we get to suspend the rules of reality and create our own. Actions we would never tolerate in real life suddenly become acceptable. Read on to discuss it more.

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3 white hands waving small red flags on a gray background

When we read, we escape into a fictional world that allows us to suspend reality’s rules. That also means that some of society’s expectations and laws are “conveniently” ignored. We forgive our favorite character for horrific acts that we would never forgive in real life. Here are some of the actions in fiction that are not acceptable (or legal) in reality.


Dark haired man wearing a black jacket talking on the phone

We’re starting strong with one of the obvious ones! If I had a dollar for every murderous character I was crushing on, my books would all be hardcovers! I know he did it to protect them! It was kill or be killed! Well, whether they are a tattoed fae lord at war or a mafia boss claiming his territory, we have to admit the truth. We suspend not only morality but also the law in favor of swooning over the darkest of characters.

Possessive Tendencies

Brunette man dressed in black wearing a mask on half of his face holding a brunette woman in a white dress

Although possessive alpha males make the book even spicier, we have to wave the red flag on this in real life. I have swooned over many morally grey men making possessive declarations and succumbed to the temptation of their actions by reading on. But to hear someone say these things in real life? I’d be high-tailing it out of there. Excessive jealousy is NOT attractive.


Man with long white hair dressed in black armor with a black crown standing in the shadows staring at a red haired woman in a green dress standing in the sun

Although the thought of being spirited away by our true love is a dream come true, we must call it what it is. A crime. We often forgive the crime in question because he rescued her from a terrible life or they were soulmates. I promise none of those answers would hold up in court. Yes, we romanticize tales like that of Hades and Persephone, but we realize that reality is way darker than any dark romance.

Invasion of Privacy

Brunette man in blue shirt looking between 2 fence posts with a serious expression

I’m not talking about putting your best friend on the job. Beyond a social media sweep lies a complete invasion of privacy. This could mean stalking, monitoring someone on cameras, or hiring a private investigator. All the ingredients necessary for a toxic relationship. The foundation of a healthy relationship is trust, and the preservation of trust requires that we do not engage in any of the above behaviors.


Brunette woman in white dress standing on a chess board after being placed by a hand

It’s ok it was all for love! Yeah, that doesn’t go over so well in reality. Maybe the love interest allowed them to enter danger so they could play hero, or they took advantage of a long-standing debt. Regardless they claim that his long-term manipulation was all so she would fall in love with them. We recommend a speedy exit if you ever receive that confession. This is one long game we’re not willing to play.

It’s ok to admit that the characters we love employ these tactics just remember to leave that love within the pages and curate healthy relationships in real life.

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