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Old 02-19-2013, 04:24 AM   #1
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creepy romance?

Just curious: what creeps you out when it comes to romance in YA? I know there are popular things, such as LI being adult or "I was watching you sleep even though we met only yesterday". But what else does that?
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Old 02-19-2013, 04:57 AM   #2
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Lack of respect for boundaries, especially if the target of affection has explicitly set some.
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Is that all I am to you people?! Just the girl with the whip?!
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Old 02-19-2013, 05:01 AM   #3
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I don't know if it is creepy or what the word is, but I get tired of female MC's who are supposed to be a hero and they think they are ugly and plain, or that their love interest would never possibly like them, and just sort of get carried through the story in spite of themselves. I've heard of the unlikely hero, but eventually they are supposed to step up their game and take charge, but so many female MCs just get swept along, then get shoved on stage to make the kill shot.
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Old 02-19-2013, 05:11 AM   #4
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A controlling LI. Especially when the LI is a guy. He makes all the decisions for the FMC. What she wears, what she eats, what friends she gets to see. It's creepy. Especially when it's played off that "he knows what is best for her" because she's too stupid to think for herself.
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Old 02-19-2013, 05:16 AM   #5
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When the love interest treats the main character like a 1940s housewife with no opinion of their own. That creeps me out. Characters categorized as "appropriate" love interests when they have psychotic, abusive tendencies and everyone is A-OK with that. I can handle abusive and psychotic characters as long as everyone (including the character themself) isn't in denial about it and doesn't make excuses about it.

Like if a male love interest overreacts about the main female character's decision or actions by scaring her through screaming and manhandling then the main female character or everyone else around her says/thinks, "Oh, he just did that because he was worried about you. He cares about you." That is very creepy.
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Old 02-19-2013, 05:21 AM   #6
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LIs that are stalkers. LIs that are verbally abusive or violent. LIs that terrify the MC. LIs like Patch in Hush, Hush...
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Old 02-19-2013, 05:27 AM   #7
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Everything that's already been said. And any whiff of codependency on top of that. IDK, I had some friends that got really clingy with their SO-of-the-week real fast, to the point they were never ever apart and neither person had an identity outside of the relationship and it always gave me the jibblies.
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Old 02-19-2013, 05:35 AM   #8
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Kind of what KateSmash said, but what's super creepy to me is when a character becomes so obsessed with the love interest that she (it could be a he, but for sake of avoiding the he/she bit, let's grab a gender and stick with it) starts basing her entire life and personality off of him and what she views as the ideal girlfriend for him. Sort of like a fangirl blinded by her obsession to the point that she loses herself completely.

The extra creep factor is when the love interest acts as an enabler and encourages the behavior.

And like others have said, some of the creepiest ones are when a main character is trapped in a relationship that is damaging/controlling/abusive, and either she or the people around her don't take it seriously and instead act like it's cute and that it's not a big deal because it's TWOO WUV (saw a license plate like that the other day minus the space). Gets my creeper sense tingling.
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Old 02-19-2013, 06:01 AM   #9
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Also, cheaters. I don't find cheating romantic at all. I don't care if the dude's in a bad relationship or in a bad place or whatever. Have the courage and decency to break up with your girlfriend before moving on to the next girl.
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Old 02-19-2013, 08:43 AM   #10
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A controlling LI. Especially when the LI is a guy. He makes all the decisions for the FMC. What she wears, what she eats, what friends she gets to see. It's creepy. Especially when it's played off that "he knows what is best for her" because she's too stupid to think for herself.
This -- especially when things are done before the LI even consults the MC. For example, LI asks MC if she wants to come to fancy event for rich people where she'll feel uncomfortable or intimidated. MC expresses apprehension, and LI replies smoothly, "I already bought you *this* super-expensive dress and *these* designer shoes and made an appointment for you at *this* fancy salon." As if her compliance is mandatory and expected. Like he just assumes she'll consent. Drives me bonkers.

Luckily it doesn't happen too much in real life :P
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Old 02-19-2013, 09:12 AM   #11
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When the LI commits an act of violence in the name of MC's "honor." Like in Beautiful Disaster when the LI punches another guy for hitting on his girlfriend.
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Old 02-19-2013, 09:30 AM   #12
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Using one's physical presence/strength to keep someone from doing what they want to do (like standing in their way, holding onto their arm, restraining them). Not in a sense of actually protecting them from immediate harm, like keeping them from running into a busy street or something, but like they want to go somewhere, see someone, be elsewhere, and the person physically blocks or restrains them. I have big issues with that.

Likewise, doing all of the above but in a more roundabout an manipulative way. Using guilt trips, having other people "watch" them, etc.

Negging. Negging is creepy. If you're unfamiliar with the term, it's when someone hits on you/flirts with you/speaks to you in a way that tries to "knock you down a peg" by using an insult wrapped in what could be considered a compliment. For instance: "You're pretty. I bet more people would like you if you weren't such a know-it-all." or "You know, a lot of people want to date me. Lucky for you, I'm not interested in them. [So doesn't that make you feel special and imply you should be grateful when I want to date you?]"
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Old 02-19-2013, 09:43 AM   #13
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Using one's physical presence/strength to keep someone from doing what they want to do (like standing in their way, holding onto their arm, restraining them). Not in a sense of actually protecting them from immediate harm, like keeping them from running into a busy street or something, but like they want to go somewhere, see someone, be elsewhere, and the person physically blocks or restrains them. I have big issues with that.

Likewise, doing all of the above but in a more roundabout an manipulative way. Using guilt trips, having other people "watch" them, etc.

Negging. Negging is creepy. If you're unfamiliar with the term, it's when someone hits on you/flirts with you/speaks to you in a way that tries to "knock you down a peg" by using an insult wrapped in what could be considered a compliment. For instance: "You're pretty. I bet more people would like you if you weren't such a know-it-all." or "You know, a lot of people want to date me. Lucky for you, I'm not interested in them. [So doesn't that make you feel special and imply you should be grateful when I want to date you?]"


Any sort of PUA tactic in general creeps me out. Especially if you joined the community to learn it.

Also, gaslighting is scary as hell.
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Is that all I am to you people?! Just the girl with the whip?!
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Old 02-19-2013, 10:49 AM   #14
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This entire thread is starting to sound like every bad but popular YA book I've read in the past year that made me cringe in thought of how many YA readers are lapping these kinds of relationships up like chocolate. Also reminding me quite clearly of discussions about abuse cases in my nursing classes. The real world is a creepy place to live in sometimes.

Also, thought of another creeper trope I read recently. It's the type where the LI (usually male) is so much older than the girl (like 100 years plus) that almost every excuse for his jerk behavior is because he's older and more experienced and knows better, so he gets away doing whatever he wants and practically running the girl's life and decisions. And she has to ask him permission to do things or sexually manipulate him to agree with her decision. It gets old. Really fast.
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Old 02-19-2013, 10:51 AM   #15
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This -- especially when things are done before the LI even consults the MC. For example, LI asks MC if she wants to come to fancy event for rich people where she'll feel uncomfortable or intimidated. MC expresses apprehension, and LI replies smoothly, "I already bought you *this* super-expensive dress and *these* designer shoes and made an appointment for you at *this* fancy salon." As if her compliance is mandatory and expected. Like he just assumes she'll consent. Drives me bonkers.

Luckily it doesn't happen too much in real life :P
Oh this! It happens all the time, too. Same with buying plane tickets or just buying super expensive things that makes a person feel obligated to come along. I think the LI's wealth is often used as an excuse to ignore the FMC's autonomy.

The only time I've used it, it was specifically because the LI was a controlling, violent dickbag.
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Old 02-19-2013, 11:35 AM   #16
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Incest definitley would creep me out. I was thinking the other day how there's really no unique love story lines anymore. And that the only one that hasn't been done is incest. Well, lo and behold I found a book where the LI's are brother and sister.

It sounds like a good book, but I don't think I could get past the creep factor to read it. That'd be too disturbing, and that's saying something because I love disturbing books.
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Old 02-19-2013, 12:15 PM   #17
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Incest definitley would creep me out. I was thinking the other day how there's really no unique love story lines anymore. And that the only one that hasn't been done is incest. Well, lo and behold I found a book where the LI's are brother and sister.

It sounds like a good book, but I don't think I could get past the creep factor to read it. That'd be too disturbing, and that's saying something because I love disturbing books.
I assume you're talking about FORBIDDEN. I read it. I generally liked it, but thought it was way overwritten.

It definitely wasn't creepy because the build up was slow. But then again, I don't have a brother.

Twincest would freak me out but I'm thinking we won't see that in YA. Like ever.
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Old 02-19-2013, 04:03 PM   #18
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Hot man =/= must be good on the inside! "Oh, I know he's trying to kill me but I CAN CHANGE HIM!"

It annoys me when I read about girls with no sense of self-preservation, who fail to kick a bad dude in the balls and run away simply because he happens to be a bit attractive.

I was trying to subvert this trope in my current WIP by making the main character pay for her hormone-fuelled stupidity, but I hated her too much for it.
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Old 02-19-2013, 05:08 PM   #19
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I have to echo everyone in this thread.

Patch was quite insane and a sociopath. To see the MC lose her crap over him annoyed me to no end. What is especially disturbing is that many of these male MC's display the behavior of abusers without the physical assault. I don't like it. If it's a dark story,then I can accept that and root for the MC to either bust a cap in his ass or save herself in some kind of way. But in a romance novel,no. Just,no.

One of my writer friends wrote a story about a girl who is NOT here for the male character's crazy and she kicks his ass. I quite liked it.

I do NOT like it when female MCs basically bows down to the LI and becomes wholly focused on him,with no life and friends of her own. It is annoying when the MC cannot do anything without the LI and cannot defend herself whatsoever.

I give the side eye of death to this kind of stuff.
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Old 02-19-2013, 05:38 PM   #20
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Everything in this thread so far.

Also, falling in love super fast. It isn’t as creepy as everything else in here, but to me it’s just... ugh.
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Old 02-19-2013, 05:45 PM   #21
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For me, it's all about portrayal -- I'll happily read a book with a controlling, manipulative love interest if the creepiness is acknowledged. Flawed, damaged and even dangerous* relationships are fun to read.

On the other hand, if this behavior is framed as positive, it creeps me out and I'll put the book down.

(*Thinking of supernatural creatures or fictional psychopaths here, not realistic/contemporary stories. Too much realism just makes me feel depressed about it all.)
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Old 02-19-2013, 06:05 PM   #22
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For me, it's all about portrayal -- I'll happily read a book with a controlling, manipulative love interest if the creepiness is acknowledged. Flawed, damaged and even dangerous* relationships are fun to read.

On the other hand, if this behavior is framed as positive, it creeps me out and I’ll put the book down.
Oh yes. Very much so
Unfortunately, I think that lately these sorts of things are being put in a positive light.
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Old 02-19-2013, 06:23 PM   #23
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Any scenario in which the character's actions revolve around "X will leave (or worse) me if I do Y." Unless Y involves cheating on the person or breaking a law without sufficient reason to do so, the character's actions shouldn't be determined by their fear of being dumped on a whim.

  • The stalker guy.
  • The one who tries to restrict his girlfriend's movements or limit her interaction with others.
  • The one who declares his actions are actually "protective" rather than "controlling."
  • The one who relabels his girlfriend, either by refusing to use the name everyone else uses or giving her another "nickname" even though she asks him not to (in a serious way, not in a joking way), or worse, the guy who only refers to the girl in reference to himself.("This is my girlfriend. My girlfriend says. Ask my girlfriend, etc -- never using a name, only a possessive.) I knew someone on the receiving end of this, and it's seriously creepy to hear the person stripped of their individuality to the point they don't even realize they've stopped using their own name as an identifier.
  • The person who is constantly threatening to leave if they don't get their way.
All of these are behavior modifiers, making the person on the receiving end basically no more than an animal to be trained to meet the needs of the person in charge.
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Old 02-19-2013, 06:30 PM   #24
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When the MC is initially not interested but the LI relentlessly pursues them and slowly breaks down their resistance until the MC finally agrees to go out with them. This persistance is portrayed as romantic, but it's really just scary to me.
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Old 02-19-2013, 06:50 PM   #25
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LIs that terrify the MC.
Wow, I never knew they even existed.
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Like if a male love interest overreacts about the main female character's decision or actions by scaring her through screaming and manhandling then the main female character or everyone else around her says/thinks, "Oh, he just did that because he was worried about you. He cares about you." That is very creepy.
You know what I find amazing about it--and not in a good way?
That, yes, no one ever seems to see it. It's like all the characters wear colored glasses. MC never just says/thinks: okay, so he's a violent, loud guy who tends to raise hell when things don't go his way. She thinks: oh, he's so sweet and caring.
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