Jen On: Cheaters, Kick’em to the curb! Or Not??

Recently I have seen a very crazy trend in my romance novels.  It is not a trend I am fond of nor one that I like to read about.  Cheating.  It seems that every third book I pick up these days has some sort of cheating in it.  Why?  Isn’t cheating the antithesis of romance?  I like to read about the beauty of a true connection or love between two people not the ugliness of one person hurting another.  Yes, I am a realist and I know cheating happens.  I have been known to read some dark, disturbing books- it is not all sunshine and rainbows all the time.  But the plots I keep seeing are starting to make me wonder where we are heading.  Below are some books that I have come across.

Knight and Play by Kitty French–  You can check on my review on this book here.    Knight and Play seems to be a case of two wrongs make a right.  Our heroine’s husband is cheating on her so she feels it is ok to cheat back.  The hero, which I assume is Lucien, is fully aware she is married and has had bad experiences with cheating in the past.  At some point I questioned whether those bad experiences should have made him shy away from cheating but I guess the opposite happened.  I was very uncomfortable about the heroine being married.  Most books the cheating is done on a boyfriend/girlfriend level but not so here.  Knight and Play ended with a certain confrontation between lover and husband that should be interesting.

The Stranger (Just One Night) by Kyra Davis– In the first part of this serial Kasie is freaked about a potential proposal from her boyfriend so she has a one night stand with Robert but it doesn’t end there.  He pursues her back in her real life and she does not resist.  What skeezed me out so much about this book is that Kasie is having sexual situations with both men at the same time.  For some reason beyond me, she will not leave her boyfriend but cannot quit sexing it up with Robert.  The Stranger ends with a crazy twist that might make me read the next book.  Might.

Thoughtless by S.C. Stephens–  The heroine made me nutty in this book.  From everything we first know her and her boyfriend are devoted to each other.  He is described as almost perfect yet she cheats on him?  Emotionally and physically?

Kiera’s boyfriend, Denny, has been everything she’s ever wanted: loving, tender and endlessly devoted to her

Um, why?  If you are that connected to someone why the cheating?  How do you go from one love of your life to oops, look at that…I have another one!!?

Undeniable by Madeline SheehanUndeniable has stirred up a pretty big hornets nest recently.  This book has some pretty awful, gut wrenching cheating yet people slobber over it.  They rave.  They can’t get enough of Deuce.  He cheats on her while she is pregnant with his baby.  While she is possibly miscarrying his baby he is in between another woman’s legs.

I wonder where we will draw the cheating line.  Each of the books I mentioned have pretty extreme cases of cheating. biggie.  Sleep with both of them…not an issue.  Soul mate…hey I can find another.  Pregnant with my child…dime a dozen.  I, for one, do not like what I am seeing.

What about you?  Have you read some of these books?  Come across your own cheating story?  How do you feel about your romance novels including cheating?


  1. janeth says

    I guess they’re trying to be real… A lot of people think that nowadays the rule is everyone cheats on each other and the key is to keep it quiet enough so the other person doesn’t feel “disrespected” by you making it too obvious… (and obviously you have to get used to that fact if you want to be in a relationship)
    I, on the other hand, feel it’s the opposite…. but in a world where every men I know is a monta cacho (cheater) and women allow this, you either believe it and get use to it… or read a lot of romantic books!! jajaja

    • says

      If I wanted real I would read non-fiction but I get what you are saying. I don’t think I could ever get used to someone cheating on me.

  2. says

    I don’t like cheating in my romance. At all. I don’t even like it when one of the main characters sleep with someone else while starting a relationship with the other… even if they haven’t progressed to the love stage yet.

    And Undeniable… I haven’t read because I heard of the pregnant cheating and in my mind cheating’s bad.. cheating on your significant other while she’s preggers with your baby is unforgiveable.

    I’ve always thought romance isn’t just about love, it’s also about friendship and trust. You can’t trust someone once they’ve cheated. So how can an H/h have a believable HEA when one has cheated on the other?

    • says

      I’ve always thought romance isn’t just about love, it’s also about friendship and trust

      Exactly. And I hate that sick feeling I get in my stomach when reading that someone is cheating. Why would I want to read about that betrayal?

  3. Mandi says

    Not a fan of cheating…It’s not a total deal breaker – I guess it depends on who it’s written. In Broken by Megan Hart, the heroine emotionally cheats on her husband…but I think Hart wrote it and the consequences of it so well.

    In The Mighty Storm there is cheating, and while i got annoyed, it wasn’t enough for me to stop reading the book.

    But there have been times I refuse to read further once cheating happens. I don’t want the entire book to be centered around the betrayal. It’s too depressing

    • says

      The Mighty Storm has cheating? Hmm, I was wanting to read that one soon. I didn’t know that.

      I think Megan Hart can get away with most things because she simply writes them so well.

  4. says

    I don’t like cheating in my romance novels, it makes me feel sick. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned is never say never. There are other things in romance I thought would be a total deal breaker but because of the way it was handled I was ok with it. That said, cheating sucks and this is not a trend I hope to see continue.

      • says

        Broken by Megan Hart. It’s not that I was OK with it. In fact I quit the book the minute I realized there was an emotional affair going on. But I ended up going back to it because I had read other books by the author and liked them a lot. I felt like the story was realistic in that it was heart wrenching like infidelity is. And at the end of it I didn’t feel like the couple was set in their HEA. It felt like they had a long road to go. So I guess not a typical romance novel but still an amazing book with romance and cheating that I really enjoyed.

        • says

          Like I said, I think Megan Hart can get away with writing about anything. I wish I could read her books. They just break me emotionally though. I tried.

  5. Cara says

    Dude, I’ve *been* cheated on. Infidelity is not romantic, it’s awful. And I can’t take seriously any story that tries to throw it in a glamorous or romantic light. People get hurt, and there’s no basis of trust for *anyone* involved – the cheated-on, the cheater, or the other person. How is lying and a lack of trust romantic?

    (And FWIW, my husband and I worked it out. It’s taken a TON of work, but we’re in a much better and more realistic place now. So obviously cheating isn’t a total deal-breaker for me – but don’t f’ing trying and tell me it’s anything more than what it is – lying and cheating and breaking trust. Ugh.)

  6. Rebe says

    Cheating is such a deal breaker for me! I can’t stand it, especially if a couple is married. Even if one partner is horrible, I have a hard time accepting cheating.

  7. sara says

    Please not in a romance novel! I know it can be done well but I still don’t want to read about it. I even struggled with the BDB series where there was some emotional betrayal (Zadist & Phury’s stories), though it was done well. I think I especially love my contemporaries to be sweet and fluffy so there’s no room for cheating in my world. I probably would never buy or read another book from an author that threw in a surprise ‘cheating’ thread in a book.

    • says

      I would almost question if emotional cheating is worse than physical cheating? To me, it might be.

      Remind me what they did, please?

      • silverdezz says

        i think physical cheating is worse…because you already act on it….on the verge of breaking the relationship

        emotional cheating …u haven;t act on it yet…it’s just deep inside you….so i don;t think u can condemn that person for having that emotion/thought…

        this reminds of me of Last night (that movie featuring Keira Knightly) discussing about a couple where one commit emotional cheating (in love with her past love) while other commit physical cheating (still in love with his spouse)

      • sara says

        If I recall correctly, Phury tried to lose his virginity to a whore when he was already emotionally involved with whatsherface. Bella, I think, catches Zadist feeding on a human in a fit of self-loathing. Someone correctly if I’m remembering wrong. Those betrayals cut really deep and still bother me, though I thought they were handled well.

  8. LethalLovely says

    I abhor cheating. I’ve never cheated in RL and when a previous boyfriend cheated on me, I completely cut him out of my life, no pass GO, no collect $200. I think that allowing someone into your body is an intimacy that should be cherished, so I’ve shied away from many books because of the infidelity. I’m able to forgive a lot of things but thus far, cheating isn’t one of them.

    That being said, there are exceptions. The one that I immediately comes to mind when I think of cheating in romances is ****SPOILER*****

    Kat Martin’s “Perfect Sin.” The hero in that book cheated on his wife after she had a miscarriage. A lot of people were turned off and I was too initially. But then I had to sit back and think about it. The heroine was so depressed and numb after losing their child that she completely cut him off emotionally and physically. She didn’t realize (or maybe she didn’t care) that he was in pain too. That he’d lost a child too. So he attempted to find solace in another woman’s arms. What he did was wrong. He knew that he handled the situation poorly. And he groveled. He groveled and begged and tried his best to make his betrayal up to her and eventually they admitted that they’d failed each other and reconciled. And I believed that they could in fact get pass it, so that made PS an exception.

    ***SPOILER ENDED******

    Other than those few exceptions, NO. As Jen said, if I wanted real in my romances, I’d watch the fucking news.

    • says

      Ah, see even that story breaks my heart. How do you trust someone that betrays you at your weakest moment? Even if it was your weakest moment too?

      • LethalLovely says

        I concur, Jen. When I read PS, I was 16 and I HATED HATED HATED the hero for what he did. But I’ve reread it 4 or 5 times since then and around the 3rd time, I started to understand the situation better and was able to empathize with the hero and I stopped seeing him as a Angel who fell from grace and more as a real flesh and blood man who made mistakes. He fucked up, completely and utterly. I can’t say if that happened to me, I’d be able to forgive my significant other. But in PS, it worked for me.

  9. silverdezz says

    I have a strong dislike in cheating. Everytime I pick up a new book, I even go to read goodreads summary just to make sure there is no cheating at all. This is how extreme I am… I can’t stand it. I can’t forgive it….because it leaves such a strong aftertaste to me. In my pov, there’s no point of reading a relationship if 1 cheated on another

    cheating = no trust =no respect = no love….

    what’s the point of building a relationship over that. A waste of my time to read them if u ask me. I hate H justify their cheating by a moment of weakness (tragedy, drunk..etc)…it doen’t mean it’s ok and irritate me more how they keep ranting how much they are in love after their cheating…

    Even separation doesn;t mean it’s ok to cheat unless it’s a divorce (a clean break) _ but a lot of these scenerio occur in Harquin (so i read goodreads just to make sure)

  10. AH says

    I actually liked The Stranger *ducks* – in a way, she wasn’t really emotionally involved in her relationship – she describes kissing her man like kissing a baked potato. She seemed to have settled for her man, or was unable to break it off. (i don’t condone cheating – really – finish one thing before you start a new thing). Her fling treated her how she imagined a lover would. Since The Stranger is a 3 part novella, I’m giving it a chance, especially with the cliffie ending.

    I do recall a major snafu when Shadowflame came out. I understand people’s frustration with that book because the earlier relationship was never introduced. That book really felt like a betrayal.

    • says

      Shadowflame came to mind too because people were downright pissed about that book. But since it was a bit older I didn’t mention it.

      I didn’t think The Stranger was horrible and because of the end I will read the next one but I still don’t like the cheating.

  11. Betsy says

    After my husband of 20 years cheated with his high school girlfriend I had to stop reading romances novels. They just pissed me off and made me feel even worse. During that time my husband was seriously ill and I was working overtime to support our family. I was devastated. When I began to read again it was the BDB that helped heal my soul. I then began to look for a book that showed a marriage ravaged by infidelity and a subsequent healing if that relationship. I wanted some validation of my choice to try to work it out for the sake of our kids. I haven’t found such a book, but I will keep looking. I want to know, even if it is only on fiction, that it is possible to be happy again.

    • Jen says

      I am sorry this is a difficult subject. I hope I didn’t offend you. That was not my intention.

      • Betsy says

        You absolutely did not offend me! My point was that there is a market for romance books that show the healing of a marriage after infidelity. A story that shows how you go from HEA to just plain old happy. I do read for escapism but I also read for the chance to look at things through someone else’s eyes. Great topic! Thanks for posting!

  12. says

    I read this fanfiction a year or two ago (amazing by the way) and it contained cheating. I usually shy away from it but this was an alternate-reality (read medieval) story. The heir to the throne and his wife could not conceive and he needed an heir. He took a servant basically to provide an heir and was miserable the whole time as was his wife. He felt it was the same as physically harming his wife when he went to the servant and made it clear he could only visit the servant once or twice a month over the guilt.

    I found it difficult to read through but the outrage of other fans was so extreme I was amazed. I followed the rage and the threats to quit reading on the author’s blog as it unfolded. The author found it interesting that was the thread which outraged her readers (she tends to push some boundaries).

    I continued reading it and kept praying to see a resolution I liked but many stopped because of the cheating. I find in some stories the situation seems a bit plausible. It was absolutely necessary for a kingdom to produce and heir and in this case he did not want to lose his wife.

    Many books do not use an angle that is completely acceptable if you take into consideration history or society. In some cases it works and in others it acts as “the big misunderstanding” portion of the story. I tend to avoid it but sometimes…it works for the story.

    • Jen says

      That almost sounds like a plausible storyline but why would I want to read about the hero having sex with another woman? Reminds me of Sinful by Charlotte Featherstone. Boy did that book make me angry.

      I can see what you are saying though.

      • says

        In the story the reader is not privy to the actual scene of cheating just the before and after effects. The before follows his unwillingness to sleep with the servant and the wife’s devastation when she sends him. The after is him becoming physically ill at doing so and refusing to speak of it with his wife. Watching their joint reactions to something they both found to be horrible but necessary was intriguing. She tried to be strong while he tried to do his duty but his anguish was the most interesting.

        One of the major issues they faced during this time was his unwillingness to sleep with his wife because he couldn’t stand the thought of making her touch him. It was interesting to see him oblivious to the fact she wanted the connection while he was doing something so horrible.

        I really loved the story but I could understand why some people found it distasteful.

        • Jordan says

          I read that story as well! Although it was difficult to read, after thinking about the story and the situation, I came to think about the situation differently. “Cheating” to me implies betrayal AND sneaking around behind the partner’s back, whereas in this story, all parties were in the know and agreed to what had to happen including the servant even though they hated it. So while I got squicky emotions from reading it, the actions themselves were pretty much selfless from everyone involved. I am glad that all of the try-to-get-the-servant-preggo times happened off screen – I don’t think I could have read that!

        • Laura says

          Ashley, is there anyway you can/willing to give me a link, name or other information as to this story line?
          I don’t enjoy cheating story’s as a normal read, but this just captured my need to read.
          Please if possible. Thank YOU very much.

  13. Ducky says

    In general I don’t like to read romances with cheating themes. I know cheating is very common in real life relationships but I read romances mostly for escapism. In particular though there have been a few romances with cheating in it I have read and enjoyed. Like Megan Hart’s Broken and Tempted.

  14. Jordan says

    I am with you 100%! I pretty much avoid those kinds of books like the plague. I love KA stuff, especially Motorcycle Man, and kept hearing ravings over Undeniable. Thank goodness I read the summary first on Goodreads. One of the main reasons I read romance is because the devotion and respect between partners is such a beautiful things to see develop! So… no cheating books for me!

  15. toney holbrooks says

    I looove the angst when someone cheats ….then realizes what they had and has to grovel !!! Sweet Fluffy Romance Books are sooooo BORING .. I am secure in my marriage and have found people who like the “Fluff: books are afraid there spouse will cheat ,so they will not read a book that has this theme !!!!