Are Romantic Movies Killing Your Relationship?

A team of researchers at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh carried out a study involving 40 most popular movies from 1995 to 2005, and hundreds of questionnaire respondents. At the end of the study, the psychologists found that different movies affected the relationships of fans in specific ways.

For example, lovers of the movies ‘You’ve Got Mail’, and ‘The Wedding Planner’ had a hard time communicating with their significant others, usually out of the belief that someone who is meant for you will know what you need without having to tell them.

Of course, that is a flawed idea, but these people held it because they had seen it in movies they deeply connected with.

Movies are great. They are an opportunity for couples to bond and share a common ground. But, at the same time, they can give you unrealistic expectations about your love life, which results in dissatisfaction and frustrations.

The most offending culprit is the romantic comedy genre, rom-coms. Generally, romantic comedies have more room to be unrealistic without seeming, well, unrealistic. But most people still don’t consider this when they fill their minds with ideals from these movies.

Lies typically come in the form of fast developing love and trust where two people meet and in a week are close enough to be each other’s shadow. Then there is the show of unrealistic bliss, unrealistic outcomes to some problems that plague most relationships, and romantic gestures that might not work in real life but seem cute on screen.

The problem is that most people do not consciously take up these ideas. One time they are watching a movie, 90 minutes later their expectations and views have changed without even giving it conscious thought.

One movie which actually illustrates this problem is Don Jon. In the movie, Jon, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, feels his partner Barbara has a warped idea of what a relationship should be like based on the romantic movies she constantly watches.

Jon has no interest in such and seems to have a more realistic approach. However, he is not exactly without blemish. He too is addicted to porn. Just like Barbara expects what she sees in the movies to unfold in real life, Jon also expects to see the action he sees in the movies in his bedroom. Each of these were influenced by the movies they saw, and without any intervention, the relationship would crumble, or the partners would be condemned to an eternity of dissatisfaction.

Some Can Be Realistic

But not all movies are devoid of any realism as far as romance goes. Some do not stray too far from what might be expected in real life, although these are few.

One such movie is 500 Days of Summer. The plot unfolds in a way that most people would not expect. While the ending is happy, very few people would have guessed. In it, Tom Hansen (Gordon-Levitt) falls hard for a workmate, Summer (Zooey Deschanel). But no matter how hard Tom tries, Summer cannot just seem to climb to his frequency. His love goes unreciprocated until the movie ends.

Tom nevertheless finds a partner towards the end, and Summer finds someone she actually loves even though at first she thought there was no such thing as love. The lesson is simple: sometimes it won’t work no matter how hard you try, just as it does not at times in real life. But, on the other hand, you can find love when you least expect it, as Tom did.

But relationships can themselves be movies, with a plot you cannot guess. With online dating, it’s easy to find someone to co-star with. Why not publish a profile and see who you can find?