I am perplexed by how a romance story can be considered, you know, ROMANTIC, when the “hero” acts like a total d-bag the entire way through the narrative – including displaying jealously towards his unborn child. HIS OWN FREAKING KID. I am FAR from the perfect mother, but I have never begrudged one ounce of the affection my husband shows our boys. To me, jealously of one’s child signals a very dangerous and immature psyche that you do NOT want around children.
And I’m not just speaking out of my butt here. I grew up with a father who was jealous of my sister and I our whole lives. Guess what, he was an indifferent father at best. At worst, he was selfish and emotionally damaging to us. And he jettisoned us as soon as he had the opportunity.
Why can’t romances celebrate the good and positive ways men behave (bravery, self-sacrifice, affection, intelligence, gentleness, determination) without including all the douche-baggery stuff (possessiveness, irrational behavior, uncommunicativeness, cruelty, lying, physical intimidation, must I go on?). Patricia Briggs and Sharon Shinn (among others) have got a good handle on romantic heroes who are both strong and sensible; protective but not crazy possessive.
Don’t get me wrong. Alpha males are all well and good. And I love a little dominance in my romance heroes. When alpha male characters are done right, they can be sexy and swoon-worthy. When done wrong, they are basically criminals. CRIMINALS! Think about it, if a man acted the way many romantic heroes do, they’d be thrown in jail for stalking and have a restraining order on their asses so fast it would make their heads spin.
Bottom line, if the only way you can make your male hero emotionally complex is by making him a psychotic pseudo-rapist/stalker, you need to go back to school and relearn your character development lessons. Word!