Heroes should be a little of both, but how do you strike that balance? I suppose the key factor here is instinct. Does he know when to hold back and draw the heroine to him? Will he recognize when she wants him to pin her against the wall and devour her right then and there? My, my, I certainly hope so.
Lover is such a complicated word, with facets, both subtle and brilliant. Our hero needs to embody all of them - tough order I know, but he's just the man to do it. He's got the moves, he's got the patience, and oh baby, he's got the passion. What he doesn't have - yet - is the woman he wants.
Will he get his girl? It wouldn't be a romance if he didn't - the happily ever after is required. Is he someone we would root for? There's the bigger question. The man needs to be as complicated as the word lover.
We need to see through this gem to understand him; his past, his hopes and dreams, even his setbacks. He can't be emotionally distant and inscrutable, not if we want him to succeed. As a passionate soul, he's going to experience anger, take us along when he suffers pain, and share what's in his head and heart with us when making love. For that reason, we can allow that he might get angry, even furious with the heroine. But he will never be cold, callous, or physically violent with her. If there is fallout between our couple, we need to understand his response was justified, mistakenly, or not. The severity of his reaction to a setback will directly relate to his level of emotional investment. The more he feels, the more he's going to feel the pain, the loss, or the disappointment.
Can they pull through and repair the damage? Will their difficulties ultimately strengthen their bond to each other? Why not find out?
Love is complicated, but happy endings are sublime.