In Holly Peterson’s delicious new novel The Idea of Him, a woman discovers that the man she married isn’t quite the prince she thought he was. Peterson, whose first book was the 2007 bestseller The Manny, tells PEOPLE why that theme resonated.
“My love life has been messy at best. One reason: I often fall for the idea of someone long hair on a man, a beat-up vintage Jeep or a French accent will get me hooked no matter who the person is,” the 49-year-old says.
“I got divorced semi-recently and have spent time trying to figure out what propels people to love, to convince themselves this is the one or – harder to admit – this actually wasn’t the one.
The former contributing editor at Newsweek and ABC News producer, continues, “Problem is, somewhere down the line we look at our partner across the chicken and broccoli at dinner and wonder, ‘Do I even like this person? Or did I just like the idea of being with him?’ Being on our own is terrifying, one reason we stay put, even if we know deep down he isn’t right for us.”
She says the key is to find someone who has similar interests and who you actually enjoy spending time with.
“We forget that the most important staying power to any relationship is this: Find a mate who is your best friend, someone you want to share every book, movie, play and binge-worthy TV series with. Someone you want to talk to before and after sex. Stick with real intimacy and get those silly ideas out of your head.”