Monday, April 15, 2013

Guest post: What’s the big deal about being in love?

By Michele Gorman

Do you have to be in love for a relationship to last a lifetime? Or is loving your best friend enough?

That’s not a question I expected to ask when I moved to Hong Kong on sabbatical four years ago to research my second book, Misfortune Cookie. I certainly didn’t expect to end up trying to answer it.

You see, I can count on just three fingers the number of times I’ve been “in love”. When I say in love, I mean head-over-heels, floating on cloud nine, superciliously, insufferably in love. I was a teenager when it first happened. I was at the sensible end of my twenties the second time. Before, after, and in between, I went out with men that I liked very much. Several I even quite loved.

But I wasn’t in love.

Did that matter? For years it didn’t. And then I went to Hong Kong. Maybe it was the jetlag. Maybe it was because I’d stepped out of my normal, comfortable life. I still don’t know why, exactly. But the question hit me. And just as quickly, so did the answer. Yes. To me, it mattered very much.

So when I returned from Hong Kong I disassembled my old life, and set about building a new one. It wasn’t easy. It was uncomfortable and scary. I had no idea whether what I wanted even existed. And it was in those months that the idea for Bella Summer Takes a Chance began to form, centred around the question: how much is enough in our lives? At what point should be we content with what we have in love, and life and work, and how much are we willing to lose in pursuit of our ideal? Bella didn’t know the answers when the book began. Neither did I. She and her three friends figured out their answers before I did.

But then, when the dust had settled and my new life was solidly in place, I met a man. He wasn’t like anyone I’d ever gone out with before. He didn’t tick the boxes on the list of criteria I’d held in such high regard. He was unexpected, and I fell in love with him. Head-over-heels, floating on cloud nine, superciliously, insufferably in love. On our three-year anniversary, with the snow falling outside as we napped on a four-poster bed in a 16th century stately home, he asked me to marry him.

So do you have to be in love for a relationship to last a lifetime? I don’t know – I haven’t yet lived a lifetime with my fiancée – but I’d like to believe that when you take a chance and walk down an unfamiliar road to see what’s around that next corner, though it might not be what you expect, it’s exactly what you’ve been looking for.

Bella Summer Takes a Chance (reviewed here) is out now in paperback and all eBook formats.

When is enough not enough?
Bella's career and relationship are her life's foundationwear: not glamorous and perhaps a bit binding, but supportive enough... until she realizes that they are not enough. Her life is sagging badly. She's never been in love with her boyfriend, despite a decade together. And somehow she stopped being a musician-with-a-day-job and became a consultant-who-was-musical. So she takes a terrifying leap of faith, leaving her relationship and resolving to follow her musical dreams no matter what.

But the life you walk away from doesn't always let you walk away.

With a wonderfully warm and witty cast of friends, all navigating between their ideals and the realities they face, together they'll find out what love and compromise really mean in this empowering tale about grasping life with both hands.

Michele Gorman is the best-selling author of Single in the City, Misfortune Cookie, and Bella Summer Takes a Chance. Her holiday novella, The Twelve Days to Christmas, is part of her Single in the City series. Born and raised in the US, Michele has lived in London for 15 years. You can find her on Twitter, Facebook or her website. If you'd like her to sign an eBook for yourself or as a gift, just pop a request through on Kindlegraph.

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