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Is this male character's behaviour plausible? Do you like the sound of him?

(6 Posts)
foxtiger Sat 19-Oct-19 20:39:01

I'm working on a story in which a man aged about 30 (who is not the main character) has had an unhappy experience with a woman. They were sort of on-off boyfriend and girlfriend. She would probably have said friends with benefits but he would have liked to mean more her than that. He eventually found out she had someone else and was just stringing him along. The other man also found out and behaved aggressively towards him, causing him to stay away from that area for a while.

My instinct is that the reason this character didn't push the woman to commit herself to him was because he knew, as a man, it was important not to pressurise or guilt trip a woman into doing anything she didn't want to do. Possibly his mother (who is a more significant character and, I hope, a very likeable woman) had taught him that as a teenager.

I think we can all agree that that is how a man ought to think. But if you came across a man with that attitude in a novel, would you think it was unrealistic? Would it put you off him as a character?

This is only a sub plot so in some ways it's not that important but it's just not coming together for me. I like this character, but I don't want him to be unrealistically perfect.

peanutbutterkid Sat 19-Oct-19 20:44:42

I think it's more likely the man lacked confidence to think that any woman wanted him, that he should be grateful for the crumbs of affection she threw his way even if he hoped for more. Obviously in the man competition stakes he might not be the whole package a woman hoped for. And yeah, you can throw in he had anxiety about not seeming like a jerk and hoping that by being a tolerant gentleman that she would eventually see him as the superior fellow, better than the other show off arrogant insensitive (drive a fast car have an amazing body high salary movie star looks) types.

That I would find believable.

Dd may be currently stringing a fellow along in this kind of way, I hope not. But I gave her a little lecture about it...

SittingAround1 Sat 19-Oct-19 21:00:01

I would also say it sounds like he doesn't have much confidence in himself with women. Possibly a bit shy. Unlikely to have a sister.
He'd be better off finding another woman who appreciated him.

Did he let the woman know he was interested or was he just hoping she'd realise ?

CakeAndGin Sat 19-Oct-19 21:10:54

I imagine if you want his mother to be a more likeable character she would have taught him not to pressure a woman into more than she wants but that he also needs to speak up about what he actually wants. Speaking up and saying he was interested in the woman isn’t the same as pressuring her. So he either needed to learn that lesson and grow a back bone. Or as PPs said he didn’t have the confidence to say to the woman that he wanted more, either because he knew she wasn’t that interested but he was too infatuated or because he had self confidence issues.

foxtiger Sat 19-Oct-19 23:55:55

Thanks everyone; some great ideas there which would fit in quite well with the storyline I've got planned for this character.

Oddly enough I did write him with brothers, though not because of this particular plot point. It sounds as if I was unconsciously thinking along the right lines. And yes, he will meet someone more compatible and they will admit to each other how they feel, so the lesson will be learned. The repercussions of the "other man" being on the warpath will be more significant, but I will tie up this guy's love life in the end.

LastSamurai Sun 20-Oct-19 20:55:33

I think he sounds rather wet and self-deluding. Is he actually trying to convince himself he’s being noble by not forming a committed relationship with this woman, when in fact it’s her who doesn’t want to? She sounds like she has far more power in the relationship, so I’m not sure the reader could see the guy asking for commitment as some kind of undue pressure. I mean, there’s a difference between pressuring someone into sex/marriage and saying ‘Actually, I’d like us to be boyfriend and girlfriend.’

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