Then there's the historical romances like Jane Austen's books. She taught us all to believe in that glorious happily ever after - the one that we just can't give up on. Even a hundred years ago women wanted the same things. They wanted an alpha man type - their very own Mr Darcy!
And yet in reality, when we remove ourselves from our books how often do any of us find that guy? How hard is it to find a guy with the right balance? Brooding but not moody. Dominating but not my master. Passionate but not fake. Arrogant but secretly shy. Proud but willing to be weak. Demanding but giving too. The books we read haven't really changed at all. The problem is they give us this false expectation that guys really are exactly the way we imagine them to be. I'm a romantic in my books and a realist in real life. I date but very rarely find what I'm looking for - you could say my expectations are too high but truth is I just don't believe in settling.
I want to believe in Happily Ever Afters. The books I've been reading my whole life tell me it's possible but the older and wiser and probably more cynical I get the more I realise it just doesn't seem likely. That's why as much as my books will always have a HEA my characters will have to fight for it, perhaps even earn it because love is hard. It's a lot harder than we make it look inside the pages of a book.
I'd love the books we read and write to reflect the generation writing them but I fear we haven't really changed but maybe that's because each and every one of us still have the same basic human needs; safety, security, food... love. And perhaps that will never change. I just wish it was as easy to fall in love with the guys in the real world as it is to fall in love with the ones in my novels.