Prove what? We all know romance heroes are monogamous. They have to be. It comes with the job description. Right?
Well, recent news of Arnold Schwartzenegger's infidelity brought back memories of Hugh Grant, Ryan Phillipe, Tiger Woods and Jesse James' wandering wands (to name just a few). Depressing. And look at their wives! We're talking attractive, accomplished women...better looking than the guys, if you ask me. Now, I don't want to open a can of worms here. I don't want to get into the evolutionary psychology of men and how 'spreading their seed' is genetically ingrained in them. Give me a break. Are we forgetting the key word 'evolved' here? Are men really going to reach back to their neanderthal ancestors to grasp for excuses? I can argue right back that expenditure of energy plays a vital role in survival (evolutionarily and ecologically speaking)...and we don't spend energy in the same way these days. It's called technology. Oh, and there's that higher education thing too, but I digress. I'll get off my soapbox.
What I really want to talk about is how a writer can prove that their hero won't ever cheat on their heroine. Okay. Prove is a strong word, and it may be hard to wipe out all doubt, but how do we leave a reader believing that the hero won't sway years after they close the book? Specifically, what actions or words on the hero's part show that he's one of an elite group of one-woman men? Simply saying that he declared his undying love, or he proposed marriage, or he saved her life isn't enough. What are the little actions throughout the story that make the hero trustworthy? Is it that he is a loner, so he's unlikely to go 'looking' in the future? Is it that he visits his parents a lot and is very family oriented? Or maybe it's the way he's loyal to his dog. Does that translate to his woman? Perhaps it's in the dialogue that takes place when the heroine is off the page. It could be that one sentence in the book where he declines a female advance, or confides something to a guy friend. Or does profession have anything to do with it? We've all heard about how men with high power or fame seem to think they are entitled to more than one bed. Seriously here. It could be something as little as his evening routine or how he was raised.
What do you think? I'd love to open the floor up here. Can you think of specific examples (action or dialogue) in romances where you just knew that hero would be faithful long after the babies are born, the wife gains weight, money gets tight, and the teenagers bring on even more stress? BTW, this is why I love a series where I can get a glimpse of previous H/H and see how they're still strong.