Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The Kiss of Destruction

Things I dislike about (not really) love triangles

You all know that I don't like love triangles. But it's also hard for me to read about situations that give off the feeling of a love triangle, even when it's not really one.  

One of them is the Decoy Boy, which I've talked about before, another is what I like to call the Kiss of Destruction, which I wanted to discuss today. 


The moment in a building romance when one of the characters in the almost-maybe-you-can't-wait couple tries to push the other away by kissing+ someone else. As a result, it's usually the moment where the romantic interests realize they REALLY do like each other. SURPRISE!! 


A few reasons why the Kiss of Destruction bothers me: 

1) Whether the love interest is caught or not, this part of the book just hurts me so much. Sharp pain and agony. I hate seeing characters kiss the wrong person! It is not something I'll ever be comfortable reading. 

2) In many cases, the guy (or girl) is caught mid action and immediately stops and apologizes. Then they're very quickly forgiven. However, I'm always left wondering what would have happened if he/she hadn't gotten caught? How far would the person have taken it? 

3) It calls into question this guy's attachment to the heroine (or vice versa/depending on who does the kissing). I struggle to trust him/her again. If the person so easily strayed when his/her love interest isn't around, how can I trust in this relationship?  

4) Why does the love interest need to kiss someone else to realize they're really into the person they're hurting? That is backwards logic. Stop it. 

Even though a Kiss of Destruction is painful for me, and I don't enjoy it at all, I do think it has been successfully utilized in a few stories. Successfully, in that I've been able to work though it and still love a book. 

For me, what is essential to making a KoD work is that it's treated like a Big Deal. That all the emotions and hurt it brings up are confronted head on, and that it's not fixed right away. I also want to see true remorse (and I'm not opposed to groveling). 

I just can't take it when: The perpetrator of the KoD is caught and immediately apologizes. Or just gets defensive, because they and the love interest who discovered them weren't really together. Then in the same scene the person is forgiven and becomes perfectly faithful. I want to see anger and hurt and confusion on the part of the person who's been hurt. Those are all emotions that I'd be feeling if it happened to me, and that I am feeling on behalf of the character who discovers the transgression. Often, I have to step away from a story for a while before I can face my emotions (and the character) again. 

 Situations where characters successfully worked through a KoD:

(I'm about to discuss 3 specific scenarios. Don't read on if you don't want to be SPOILED about them)

1) Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell - This is one of the first instances of the KoD where I remember feeling like the author handled the situation exactly like I would have taken it. Even though it's a small moment and the two weren't a couple yet, I felt exactly as Cath did at the time. It also happens early in the book, and we get to see she and her love interest rebuild and create a healthy relationship slowly over time. Later, they even talk through what happened in that scene (he didn't realize she was there), which I appreciated so much. 

2) I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios - This was a bad one. The person wasn't caught mid act, so we saw the entire transgression though, which is worse, but also better because we aren't left wondering any what ifs. It also completely ruins the relationship between the guy and the girl and they have to rebuild it over time. Although the KoD was one of the hardest I've read, this book was one of the times where I felt it was successfully handled. 

3) Under A Painted Sky by Stacey Lee - In this situation the person was caught mid act, and it HURT SO MUCH. But, what I appreciated the most about this book is how seriously it was handled. The heroine who discovers the guy, is very very upset and it takes weeks for them to rebuild any sort of friendship, let alone the possibility of more. He also apologizes big time. I was able to go out of the book feeling confident in them as a couple, because of how it was handled. 

I have had this post written for at least 6 months but never published it. Partially, because I wanted to write out some examples of books where the KoD didn't work. But those are to painful for me to relive, or I avoided reading them. The Truth About Us, I'll Give You The Sun, Siege and Storm, The Lynburn Legacy, all have examples of the KoD that were, in my opinion, unsatisfactorily handled. Although I did end up loving 2 of those books/series despite this. 

Another related situation to the KoD that makes me as much - or more insane - is when one member of a committed couple kisses another person who is NOT their love interest, with little or no consequences. Sometimes it's not ever discovered or mentioned again. Bella kissing Jacob after she got engaged to Edward in Eclipse, Adrian letting Nina kiss her while Sydney was missing in Silver Shadows, and Rachel letting Harris kiss her in Every Move (right before she goes and sleeps with Mycroftare three examples that make my BLODD BOIL. 

Does this bother anyone else?

Am I the only person who says down with the Kiss of Destruction? 

I might have to add this to my anti-love triangle platform. 


  1. I'm really in love with this post. Not only does it make me cringe but I want to skip a page or two. There are times I'm all for it since the character won't stop thinking about it and I'm all for it. Then we have the aftermath and where they one up to it or don't even discuses it. Thank you so much for bring this up!

  2. I agree - KoD is really there just to stir up drama. There also seems to be some unwritten rule that if the character has kissed the KoD person before (like Bella and Jacob) they get a pass.

    I'm watching a TV show where a girl is in a relationship. Her old boyfriend shows up in town. She tells new boyfriend she's "confused" (always a bad sign but committed to him. She tells old boyfriend sorry, she's committed to new boyfriend. Old boyfriend asks for a "goodbye kiss" and instead of standing her ground, she gives in. Of course this causes endless drama...

    Fun Triangle post, as always..
    Jen @ YA Romantics

    1. I hate those kisses! Like, are we supposed to think the person is some sort of hero/heroine for kissing the other person, are we supposed to feel sorry for this other person? Its the same with the "I've always been in love with you and I might die today, can I have one kiss from you" Like, GTF lol. Xxx

  3. I agree completely. When I read those situations, I feel like it says a lot about a weak character, espeically when s/he is easily forgiven by the injured party (ah, sure, no big deal. I understand you're confused and you needed to kiss another person to realize that you loved me. Don't concern yourself about my feelings. I don't have any.) OR the other scenario is that is becomes what the books is about and and it's like they build their love off this kiss and it doesn't do much for me. I'd rather NOT read it.

  4. The KoD is usually just a gimmick to reach the dark moment and then turn things around so I hate them.

    I do have to agree about I'll Meet You There. That HURT me but it felt true to the characters and necessary to the development of the relationship. I remember it sticking in my mind for days but I wasn't angry and I got it.

    Karen @For What It's Worth

  5. Yes! I hate this so, so, so much. I 99% of the time avoid books where I know this happens or I 99% of the time stop reading a book if it happens. I know I could never be with someone who kissed someone while we were becoming something, so I can't enjoy a book where that happens. I get too emotionally involved in books and the characters feelings become my feelings. It hurts me so much reading about something like that happening. I can't enjoy or root for a couple after it.

    Fangirl is one of the very, very few books that I managed to deal with but it was very hard. You know I hate I'll Meet You There with the fire of a thousand suns because of what happened lol. I still get stabby when I think about it. . I didn't know about Under a Painted Sky, but I will definitely be avoiding now!

    Great post girl! Xxx

  6. YES YES YES! I could not agree with this more and I absolutely love the use of the term Kiss of Destruction!! No matter the circumstances, it ALWAYS makes me question the attachment/intention of the person doing the kissing that is really supposed to be with the other love interest! Especially with guys, I'm afraid. I agree re: Fangirl handling this one well. I haven't read I'll Meet You There yet. Great post!!

  7. Ah, I love this post :D Thank you so much for sharing Lauren. <3 Hugs. You are amazing. And yessss. I hate this kiss too. Ugh. But aw, Siege and Storm. I loved that book. But my heart hurts if I think about it too much :p So trying not to, lol :D But.. well.. I don't agree with you about one of these books :\ See, I'll Meet You There. I read it. I haaaaaaated it. Like really hated it. Didn't get the romance at all :\ And that kissing thing you talk about? IT WAS THE WORST. I would never be okay with that. Never ever. And just. Ugh. I did not think it was okay, lol :D But I'm glad you weren't too bothered with it. <3 Hugs. Anyway. Loved this post sweetie :)


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