1. Laura Mae.
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    Laura Mae. Member

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    A man in love.

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Laura Mae., May 26, 2011.

    As a woman, I would like the insight of some guys on here as to what it feels like when a man is in love. I'm trying to articulate my MMC realising he's in love, but I want it to be authentic and having him go all weak at the knees doesn't seem realistic. He's in his late thirties, and has never really been in love before. In my story he is quiet, emotionally shy yet bold in situations where he does not need to show his feelings. He travels a lot, being a sailor, and "has a woman at every port", although he is not emotionally attached to any of them, it's just fun and pleasure for a man who is yet to find his real woman. How can I show his realisation without making him randomly blurt out he loves her?

    The woman he falls in love with is his friend, and they have an emotionally close relationship, but these emotions aren't often shown, they feel close when talking but neither will reveal their feelings. They tend to "spar" with each other, subtly flirting, a lot of banter, a lot of teasing and taking the p*ss. How can I go from this to a deeper, more emotional kind of love? Thanks in advance guys (and girls) :)
     
  2. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    My first though was that a sailor who has a woman in every port isn't very likely to be a quiet, emotionally shy type. There seems to be a conflict of character types there. Not the answer you were fishing for, I know, but its hard imagining how such a type of person would act when in love, because it's a type of person I've never met.
     
  3. Laura Mae.
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    Laura Mae. Member

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    He's not "shy" in the typical sense, he's shy when a situation involves his emotions. Sleeping with women on his travels doesn't involve his emotions, so he feels safe. When his emotions come into play he gets nervous, he doesn't like to show his emotions as he thinks it makes him look weak or something. Sorry if I wasn't clear in my first post
     
  4. teacherayala
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    teacherayala Contributing Member

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    Well, I think that the first conflict needs to happen as he is confronted by her sensuality and realizes that he would like to sleep with her. Then, there has to be an epiphany that he can't necessarily act upon his urges in the same way that he would with his "women in every port," an acknowledgement that something is different this time around. He might even compensate by pursuing one of these generic women, only to find that it's not nearly as exciting as it used to be because he's distracted by the one he actually loves.

    (Not that you should listen to me. I'm a woman, not a man, and most likely in the same boat you are.)

    However, I think you should take some inspiration from your profile pic. House is a good example of a guy who doesn't fall in the love in a weak-in-the-knees way. He's gruff, a bit rude, and tries not to show weakness. Actual love might seem like a weakness in that regard. He might pick fights or even sabotage the relationship at first out of fear of vulnerability. Maybe your sailor is like that as well to a certain degree. He might like the sailor's life because he equates it with freedom, the ability to go wherever and do anything, and the prospect of love just throws a monkeywrench in the whole process. Maybe he fights with himself because he sees it as a loss of freedom. Maybe he does something selfish in order to flout his attitude that she shouldn't matter to the way he lives his life and she ends up having to confront him with his own selfishness...

    Just some ideas.
     
  5. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    Symptoms of falling in love with your female friend:

    -Extreme happiness at every bit of contact (verbal or non-) that you have with them.
    -Thinking of them (clothed or non-) brings about a huge, genuine grin of happiness, perhaps with a slight mischievous touch.
    -You can comfortably share silence with them, just studying their face.

    There are others, but I'm sure you can derive them from that. I'll add that my experience with love, as a man, gives more meaning to the thought of the woman than the physical nature of the woman. So there's more emphasis on "thinking of them clothed" than on "thinking of them naked", et cetera.

    I'll also say that I don't think many men will fall in love with a woman they flirt with or have "banter" with. That's the sort of woman you don't fall in love with. That's the sort of woman that you have a friendship with, then it moves to lust and a physical relationship, then you realise you don't love them and you think, "Crap, I need to back out," and you worry because you know they're happy being with you, but you know it's not real, so you have to end it and it becomes awkward between you for a while.

    I know because it happened to me recently. I had a friend of the exact variety you described, and I thought the flirting was harmless until we started getting touchy feely and we made out and now things are awkward because I had to tell her that although I don't regret it, I had previously told myself that I didn't want it to happen, and I just wanted to be friends.

    The thing with love (for men I know, at least) is that you fall for their mind and their sheer, pure existence.

    So yeah. Hope that helped.
     
  6. Laura Mae.
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    Laura Mae. Member

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    Thanks so much people! Your input has really helped, I've now got more of an idea of how I can tackle this.

    As for what you said about not falling for a woman like the woman in my story, I think its not so much flirtation that happens between them. It is more confusing, they make points, retort, much like an argument. What they say is not generally flirtatious, its more argumentative and its as if they're having a verbal battle with each other. They are both very strong willed individuals, she's particularly stubborn, and on the surface it does not look like they are flirting.

    But thanks again people :)
     
  7. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, as a man I think it sounded dead right. Especially the part about fear of attachment, rather than fear of abandonment. Of course, not all men are like that, but someone free-spirited and self-reliant would be. Fighting off his emotions by sleeping with someone random could make for a brilliant scene, where the one he resists to love continues to appear in his head during the act.
     
  8. StrangerWithNoName
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    StrangerWithNoName Longobard duke

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    It doesn't work like that, and in the unlikely event that a man doesn't feel emotionally involved with these women in every port, even if they are prostitutes, the changes are that he suffers of some kind of personality disturb...
     
  9. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    You're saying it's not possible for a man to sleep with a woman, without feeling any emotional involvement?
     
  10. Laura Mae.
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    Laura Mae. Member

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    Ok I respect all of your opinions, but when I say he doesn't feel emotionally involved with them, I mean he doesn't feel anything in terms of emotions. He doesn't care about them, he doesn't feel any kind of emotional obligation towards them. To be blunt, he just f*cks them and is done with it. It's purely pleasure based, there's no feelings, he doesn't feel guilty about it or anything like that.
     
  11. StrangerWithNoName
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    StrangerWithNoName Longobard duke

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    Yes, unlike he's a candidate for a serial killer position.
     
  12. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    So you think if a man (or a woman) sleeps with another person without any emotional involvement at all, he's disturbed and mentally ill? Really? Or are you being sarcastic? (seriously asking)
     
  13. StrangerWithNoName
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    StrangerWithNoName Longobard duke

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    Yes, I'm serious. When you have sex with a woman there's always some emotional involvement, you may ask the professionals of the sectors and the requests of their customers.
     
  14. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    There may be emotional involvement but I don't believe it has to be directed at that person. Just my opinion of course.
     
  15. StrangerWithNoName
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    StrangerWithNoName Longobard duke

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    On that we agree, my point was that if there is no emotional involvement at all there's something very wrong in the psyche of that person. The emotional involvement may have not be directed to the person, but that's pretty common.:D
     
  16. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    Oh, alright then, lol. I think that's what she meant though. That there was no emotion towards the person :p
     
  17. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    Semantics, then.

    In any case, the MC here could -- whether emotionally involved with the random woman, or not -- very well use her as a distraction from this unwanted feeling of love for someone else.
     
  18. Sundae
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    Sundae Contributing Member

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    I disagree with having him notice her sensuality, and then realizing that he wants to pursue her, and then actually attempting to pursue her etc., etc.

    Mainly because this is extremely formulaic and has been done to death and is one of the easiest formulas abused by romance writers in my opinion. Another reason is that if not done correctly, you're mixing lust with love and even though that's fine in the beginning, in pursing that direction, you have to make sure that you build up the "love" aspect so that in the end, it is clear the love is stronger than the lust.

    I really hate when authors introduce their male MC to their lead female MC and the first thoughts in the male MC's mind is "I would love to **** her." There is more to a relationship than sex and starting off with sexual thoughts often is a ploy when you have nothing else to go on.

    You already have the biggest part of their relationship down. They're friends, so moving them to an actual relationship should occur naturally because that's how love works.

    Love isn't formulaic so having "love' follow a formula to me is injustice to the whole concept of love really. There is a saying: "you don't choose the one you love" and it's the same thing. Love is spontaneous, it's magical, it's happens when you least expect it, it GROWS deeper over time, and it's out of your control... etc., etc., and to me when distinguishing lust from sex, those are the themes that should be followed.

    Since they are already friends, I think the biggest thing you can do is provide clues to the reader with subtlety. You don't even have to have MC know that he's falling for her until he's deep in there. A brush of a hand, a touch lasting longer than it needs to be. He naturally does more for her than he does for other people and neither of them realize it. Given a choice of hanging out with a friend or hanging out with her, he chooses her. Contrast what is different with her from he had in his other relationships. Have him slowly see her as being very attractive. And from there... build sexual tension.
     
  19. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    While I agree with a fair amount of what Sundae has said, I also have to say that it's been done before too. It could have also started with them hating each other and then throwing them together somehow where they have to deal with each other and come to realize - no... wait that's been done too. Or you could have them meet eyes across a smoky room and - nope that's DEFINITELY been done. WAIT! He could save her from some guy that's mauling her like - uh-uh. She could save HIM! ... err.. I've seen that too. :(

    The point is it's not the formula, it's the emotion and the characters themselves. It's how you write it, whether or not you make it believable. You can make just about anything plausible and believable if you just write it well. I don't see anything wrong with the idea that's already going.
     
  20. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    This last part sounds implausible to me. Like in those cheesy film where she take off her nerdy glasses and he suddenly sees that she has beautiful eyes.

    While love can grow from almost any emotional starting point, lust -- or chemistry -- is more blunt. It's either there or not. It might fade, or get worn out, but if it isn't there from the beginning I doubt there's much hope of it appearing.
     
  21. Sundae
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    Sundae Contributing Member

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    Yeah. emotions and feelings should be a given and that really applies to any book in any genre. The thing is, you have to be able to get your readers emotionally involved/attached to your characters just as your two MC become emotionally attached to each other.


    LOL... didn't mean it like that and that's one of those popular plots I despise where a girl has to change or radically transform for the guy to notice her.

    What I mainly meant is that there does have to be a shift at some point... and that's why I push subtlety when you have two characters that start off as friends. They've been friends for a while I assume, so something needs to start shifting little by little to where the guy doesn't just look at her as a friend, but someone he wants to be with.

    I don't have enough background information to give a clear cut way than just helpful hints. Is it unrequited love between friends? Is it where they're both clueless? Is that one knows they like the other, and another doesn't? Will it be bantering/arguing/anger at each other that masks a clear tension of deeper feelings. I don't know.

    The thing with friendship is that you can't just have them be clear cut friends one day and the next day be in love. If you're wanting to show them go from friends to lovers... there has to be a gradual shift where they're relationship is changing and to me, subtly is the best option.

    Which gives me another idea as far as the whole debate of your MC being emotionally "shy." If he's he's emotionally shy, having him emotionally vested when he can usually control his emotions is another option. Though, that's generic too.

    Best option: It's a wrap of all the ideas in this thread. :p
     
  22. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, I noticed how you opposed the idea of him finding her attractive from day one, but I think if a man is going to get involved with -- and fall in love with -- a woman who was previously a friend, he must already have sized her up back when they met. All men I know do that -- if she's in any way potentially attractive to him, he'll notice it very quickly. However, they might meet under circumstances where he supresses it -- perhaps she has a boyfriend at the time?
     
  23. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    Now I don't oppose the idea of him finding her attractive from day one, but even if he didn't, are you saying it's not plausible for him to find her attractive later on? I ask only because I'm genuinely curious if it's different for men than it is for women (cause you know, I'm not one and I really don't know)? I know that I have been in meaningful relationships with men that initially I really didn't find physically attractive at all. For lack of a better term, they uhhhh... grew on me, lol. I know women are more emotional than men are, but I've found, for me, looks don't mean a damned thing to me, personally. I'm not just saying that either. It's actually true.
     
  24. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah, I think the cliche holds true. I'm not talking about love or affection, but when it comes to physical attraction, men make up their mind very fast -- like it's an automated 'hot or not' process in the back of the mind.
     
  25. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    No, no... I understand that (we do that too, lol) but can men change their mind. Like can that go away and they don't see a woman like that anymore? I'm not asking this well. Bear with me while I look like an ass...

    Okay, in middle school I was a cheerleader and that whole nauseating deal (for less than a year cause sorry to all you "GO WILDCATS! people out there, but it was annoying). The jocks liked me (cause ummm... they were supposed to?) but they annoyed me really and I didn't really fit in anyway cause I was straight A's and liked to read and stuff, I just wanted extra curriculars and whatnot to get out of the house. So anywho... there was this new kid who was ginormous (tall and a little husky) and had really bad skin, and he was color blind so his clothes NEVER matched. He was really anti-social and rude to people because people were rude to him, lol. I got stuck as his partner for an assignment and we became friends and he grew on me, you know? He was the sweetest, funniest, kindest, craziest person I knew. I got a lot of crap for dating him, but it didn't matter. Nearly every relationship I've been in since has been that way, not all, but most. The "pretty boys" (no offense to any who may be out there) while lovely to look at, tend to annoy me once I get to know them. I base relationships on personality since middle school. I can look beyond bad hair, bad skin, teeth, etc. What does it matter, really? People will think things? They do that anyway. I'm just curious if men do this too or if physical is a must I guess? I've dated hot guys too that had great personalities, I just think it's a little harder to find. (sorry for the after school special to explain myself, lol)
     

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