Last week Mandi from Smexy Books blogged about how she can't stand emotional and physical cheating in romances. Specifically when the character doing the cheating is still with their significant other for the majority of the book. I know a lot of romance readers who can't stand cheating and I totally get it. Cheating is terrible in real life, so why should someone be ok with it in a story? And there are definitely situations in which a character should come clean about their cheating sooner than they do.
But the truth is, cheating in romance doesn't really bother me if it's done right. I actually kind of like it, specifically when the heroine is the one cheating. I like reading about women who can independently realize that their relationship is not fulfilling and they want (and deserve!) something better for themselves. A great example of this is Tear You Apart by Megan Hart, a book that I've praised enough (but it's so good!) but I've never really talked about the cheating element in depth. The heroine is unhappily married with grown children and is starting to realize how much of a boring idiot her husband is. He isn't abusive, but he's unappreciative and just so dull. Meanwhile, she has an interesting career, divides her time between two cities and has a nice circle of friends. So she cheats, and she cheats for several weeks before she tells her husband. I don't want to spoil anything, but things don't work out the way things normally go in these types of situations (in romancelandia, at least). There's no HEA so it's technically not a romance, but the ending was still very satisfying for me.
A romance with cheating that I enjoyed is Just One Night by Kyra Davis. In this story, heroine Kasie leads a very structured life. She has a good job, a practical fiance who her parents approve of, and she's an all-around responsible adult. But she's bored and she feels suffocated, so she does a very irresponsible thing and has a one night stand with a man in Vegas. I love stories where the heroine realizes her life is boring as hell and decides to do something about it. And Kasie's fiance turns out to be not such a great guy — he's an emotionally manipulative twerp who ends up seeking revenge, so he wasn't a character I could sympathize with.
With both of these stories, cheating is not just a device used to bring the hero and heroine together so they can reach their HEA. These books are about infidelity — it's a central theme (there's even a nod to it on the covers) that, in my opinion, should be explored. And if it's not your cup of tea, that's ok!
Do you think cheating in romance is ever ok? Are there romances with cheating you've enjoyed? Let me know!