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I hate you/I love you, belligerent sexual tension, trash-talking romance

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blackcat777

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I wanted to get a conversation going about the, "I hate you, I hate your guts, but mmm your kisses are so good" kind of romance. ;)

Do you like these dynamics? Dislike? Good in small doses? Are there times when it's off-putting? Do you have a favorite book where this kind of dynamic was executed really well?

I'm experimenting with it currently and having tons of fun. It's so easy to ratchet up the tension, and I think it's hilarious to craft scenes where it's impossible to tell if two people are about to fight or fuck. I think the internal struggle with revulsion--especially if it's a revulsion rooted in something that mirrors the character's own self--is fantastic conflict, with potential for a sweet payoff at the end. I think the psychology of how disgust and arousal can overlap is a fascinating subject in general.

I don't like these kinds of romances so much when the payoff NEVER comes, or if there's too much abuse between partners (more serial anime than actual books are coming to mind).
 

amergina

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I adore a good Enemies to Lovers romance. It's all about the internal conflict, really, and the discovery of why they *shouldn't* hate the other MC. The sexual chemistry helps, but I like seeing those (wrong) opinions chipped away at and the characters grow as a result of what they've learned. And fall in love and all that.
 

Roxxsmom

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Enemies to lovers can work for me if the underlying rationale for the initial antipathy makes sense, as does the eventual discovery of commonalities and mutual respect (and not just raw attraction as a basis for the change). I definitely want it to be something other than simply "he's a smug asshole and/or "she's a stuck-up or spoiled bitch, but they have so much chemistry!"
 

Jan74

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I just finished novel 1 Tormentor Mine...I'm undecided if I'm going to purchase the 2nd part. But I did enjoy the first novel and this is a woman who was tortured in the beginning chapters because of something her husband had done. During her interrogation her torturer becomes attracted to her and it goes from there. She really struggles through the novel with her thoughts about him and how she could have any feelings for a man who hurt her and killed her husband. A man she hated in the beginning. I think the author did a really great job of realistically battling the love to hate emotions.

So sometimes I like it...there are times when people can genuinely not like each other however that doesn't mean there isn't an attraction there or sexual chemistry.
 

taraesque

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I'm going to go against the grain and say I don't actually like it. There is a lot out there these days about being able to be mentally healthy, and getting rid of toxic relationships. I would postulate that if you hate someone, there is a probably a reason why, and your mind is telling you to stay away because they just might not be good for you.

Also, I worry about long term relationships. If you have to fight that hard just to start a relationship, how is it going to fare down the line? The book usually ends with happy ever after, but if you in real life start thinking "Wow this relationship is just like that book I read, and soon we won't hate each other, and will love each other", then I'd be willing to bet that real life relationship doesn't have the best chances.
 

blackcat777

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I'm going to go against the grain and say I don't actually like it. There is a lot out there these days about being able to be mentally healthy, and getting rid of toxic relationships. I would postulate that if you hate someone, there is a probably a reason why, and your mind is telling you to stay away because they just might not be good for you.

Also, I worry about long term relationships. If you have to fight that hard just to start a relationship, how is it going to fare down the line? The book usually ends with happy ever after, but if you in real life start thinking "Wow this relationship is just like that book I read, and soon we won't hate each other, and will love each other", then I'd be willing to bet that real life relationship doesn't have the best chances.

Very interesting point.

I think anger has a lot of erotic potential, but how it is channeled will absolutely determine the course of the story and health of the relationship. Do two characters have a verbal blowout that is cathartic, they end up learning something about each other, and then have wild monkey make up sex? Or does it turn into abuse - in which case, I'd want to see the other partner get the heck out of dodge.

I have a soft spot for fights that start because one partner is secretly sensitive about something. Anger serves a function when it's breaking down walls, but not when it's breaking down a person's self-esteem or well-being.
 
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Melanii

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I like it. I have a pair of characters that I'm experimenting with this.

In my story, they DO initially dislike each other, but mostly over dumb reasons. And then they start getting a kick of riling the other up, or pushing them to their limits.

Something like that.
 

Elizabeth George's book Write Away