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Do Rom-Coms Spoil Our Love Lives?

According to relationship experts at Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh, romantic comedies give people unrealistic ideas about love and sex, and cause them to "fail to communicate with their partner." Here's more:

Psychologists at the family and personal relationships laboratory at the university studied 40 top box office hits between 1995 and 2005, and identified common themes which they believed were unrealistic.

The university's Dr Bjarne Holmes said: "Marriage counselors often see couples who believe that sex should always be perfect, and if someone is meant to be with you then they will know what you want without you needing to communicate it. We now have some emerging evidence that suggests popular media play a role in perpetuating these ideas in people's minds. The problem is that while most of us know that the idea of a perfect relationship is unrealistic, some of us are still more influenced by media portrayals than we realize."

Do you think this is true? Is real-life romance a big ol' letdown? Sure, lots of people like the idea of a perfect man or "happily ever after," but does that mean we're all unable to separate fantasy from reality?

Also, have you ever had an experience that could have been right out of a romantic movie (think John Cusack holding up a boom box)?


Join The Conversation
RussianMeghan RussianMeghan 8 years
I remember thinking at the end of Juno (a movie that I love by the way- does it count as a romantic comedy?), that's so sweet, but what the movie doesn't show is them drifting apart, fighting, and breaking up a year later. :'(
RussianMeghan RussianMeghan 8 years
I don't watch rom coms- I guess I'm safe :)
Cris1192 Cris1192 8 years
They so do!! The only one I've ever seen with an even slightly realistic idea of what love really is was the break-up.
Isista Isista 8 years
I'm sure they do ruin some relationships, seeing as common sense seems to be lacking nowadays. I hope that smart women and men know that movies are just that: MOVIES, and should not be a basis for what real relationships are about.
JoeDrunk JoeDrunk 8 years
Whoever said up there that the problem is porn, is completely wrong. The reason porn even exists is because there is a void of sexual frustration that exists because, for the most part, man wants way more sex than woman is willing to provide. Break the DVD? You will only be breaking your relationship with your man to pieces. You should ask us why we are driven to such desperation. Open up with us, let us know how we can turn you on. It won't happen with these silly romantic movies, that is pure fantasy-land. And to the person who said I don't know how to please - I would be happy to show you how skilled I am. But if you're not happy, then enlighten me - I am willing to learn!
reesiecup reesiecup 8 years
i think everything affects us on a subconscious level somehow. movies, books, and shows idealizing the "one," everlasting love, the perfect relationship etc. can potentially to turn people who've had failed relationships (of any kind) a little cynical at least for a little bit. somewhere along the lines of growing out of my awkward teen years, i realized that happiness and love is defined differently for everyone. since the revelation, i abandoned the pursuit for conventional "perfection" in most aspects of my life. i don't think i could ever be content otherwise. needless to say, i find these movies highly entertaining!
Aimes24 Aimes24 8 years
This article just shows it takes some maturity in dating and marraige relationships. One thing I couldn't agree with more that has been mentioned previously several times is that pornography, selfishness, and other problems in the world affect relationships a whole lot more than romantic comedies. The culprit is selfishness in relationships. I think romantic comedies are healthy for people to enjoy, and see people do fall in love, and love is meant to be wonderful. If you don't have the common sense that shows romatic comedies don't include real life problems and trials then I guess romantic comedies could set up unrealistic expectations in a relationship. I met my husband at a formal valentines day dance activity almost 4 years ago, and we married a little over 3 years ago, and since then our lives have been both a mixture of real hard trials, hard decisions- but the smallest little kind things make our relationship stronger and healthier. And yes when we can share each others joy and acheivements, it is like a romantic comedy. The biggest thing is having the same goals and being physically attracted to each other.
Benzie Benzie 8 years
doesn't matter. it's not affecting anything or any type of relationship. so don't blame the movies. blame the people. we should blame the people because why are they taking fantasy and letting it control their own lives. ps. remember movies are only supposed to be for a viewers entertainment, so don't make it real. xx
betagirlm betagirlm 8 years
Not true for us... Like a bottle of champagne and a junior high love song, foreplay dust sprinkled around the room. There are several movies that are a pretty sure thing for me=us and its easy, Redbox is a buck a day and he can relax with a beer while the sex comes to him. Lazy yes, effective yes. With a 3 year old and starting a new business I wake up a little with the humor and still get to finish folding laundry.
Timbini Timbini 8 years
So, I read this article and chuckled; my first thought being to write, "I'm very realistic, I'd marry a woman that looks like any Playboy Playmate, no particular look." I love irony. But then I started reading the comments and what I find startling is the number people who actually believe this is a widely experienced problem. I'm sure there are some who are influenced in unrealistic ways by a variety of film genres, but to state that Hollywood is ruining relationships? Puh-leeze! You know what's unrealistic? Trying to live up to the fantasies we are told to uphold as the "right" ways to liv, especially when it comes to relationships; that we are by natural design monogamous animals, that a supernatural being created us in his own image with the male as the head of the household and we should follow the rules codified in religious texts that were first written in the Iron Age. All the married people I know realize relationships can be difficult sometimes; the husband isn't going to walk through the door with roses every night and the wife isn't going to be a nymphomaniac in bed every night. And those are just the broad strokes. With each couple there are myriad of other clichés that don't apply. If someone bases his or her romantic life on movies like Ten Things I Hate About You or Sleepless in Seattle, that's a sign to move on. Also, not all romantic comedies follow one — or even two — plot formulas, there are many; not all Hollywood movies about romance and relationships depict unrealistic expectations of love, romance and relationships, not even all romantic comedies. The influence of Hollywood is vastly over-stated.
abeautifulmind abeautifulmind 8 years
#104, Ceine, you have wisdom beyond your 'young teenage' years. Good to see some teenagers actually paying attention in school and using that knowledge in everyday life. Sad to hear you have friends who totally fall into the 'romcom trap', if you will... sad to see the human mind ensnared by such simple-minded sentiments that are meant to befall the close-minded and narrow-minded. Certainly, one who believes in these romcom's total premise must be at least semi-narrow-minded. Such a narrow scope on life... as someone else stated in this forum, these movies make women seem like 'finding love' is all women do, w/o thinking or anything logical. Sad portrayal to be sure...
DriggsK DriggsK 8 years
LOL...well, 'I' both Agree- & - DisAgree, I can definitely "agree with most ALL that has been said or 'comments added' per This, but I can also 'Totally DisAGree' with the real, true "main basis and Root" of the Problem and 'areas associated to/with or caused by or in regard to the Subject matter in question, etc...(lol) ALL is True (or 'has much Truch & Valifity', etc.), which is or has /coud be stated or shared in This regard! But....the real, true, and probably Most accurate Truth is...(or should Be probably)...that ALL, or most All...."problems, events, circunstances, situations, etc...WhatEver...hapen or 'come about & are Due to'....lack-of or very Insufficient amounts & degrees of Peoples...."SELF....Self-Awareness 7 Knowledge (True, Deep, Thorough Knowledge that Is), IN and OF and In Regard to ThemSelves!, and/or Also...or much less...'Others'...especiallty IF...If and When there Are "vast or major differences in /or between Them (the 'parties involved or confcerned) and the 'Other Person' ...or part or group, etc...IN areas or matters /concerns regarding..."CLass diferences or 'distinctions', Race or Cultures (yes, Still today, sadly!), 'Financial & Economic' areas & things (sadly again!), 'Families & 'Famiy differences' Unique to the Situation or 'the parties concerned', 'Religion & religious issues' (sadly again, especially HERE!), the 'List of Things 7 Areas...just Can GO ON Forever...seemingly!! (and. IT 'does In Many Peoples Lives' & family's, sadly!); GEE...but..IT..."It ALL....Starts With YOU...YOU and the Othere Pereson (or Party)...and That IS "where IT must be "originally & Otherwise Started from"...YOU...and Then "the Other Person or Party in addition, etc.... and Even...Even "when One "honestly, truthfully & Sincerely Tries...and evcen Often 'does His/her very Best...with Great "efforts & hard working a IT", etc.. IT is 'still Often....Too Often...just or Simply...NOT Enough' It's Best even; as IT...and ALL (most Generally speaking-All)...ALL "takeas a Lot of had Work and Effort, and SINERE "trying and trying again"....and the Whole Time...many, many areas & things are Also "needed or required to be Learned and/or Acquired By ONE-SELF and by Each make It ALL....eventually Work YOU "wishes, wanted, or desired"! Minimum! SO...It is My own peresonal...and otherwise "learned, some taught or Learned the hard way!, Observed, witnessed, Thinking & 'thought about', Sincerely cared for & concerned over, highly Interested IN, and otherwise Desired have tries, 'am Still trying & attempting to/for, and to 1 day have or Acquire....Better or 'what It takes' to successful as I can Be (or Become) the area or concern regarding 'Love & Romance' on a Peresonal Level, etc....But IT "takes Thinking" and effort and work...of a Personal Nature....Always. (actually...IF...If YOU take notice...or 'observe more Closely', etc... YOU will See of Find that Most All...or the Vast Majority of "wha comes from Most Peoples 'mouths and/or heads'...Is...usually But the "1st or 2nd-3rd at Most usually!-lol- STEP in a truly Sound, Good, 'Thinking or Thoughtful' Mental or Intelleligent Process (and usually 'greatly Emotional in Nature and Based!!), and quite Often is Also "of Personal or SELF 'motivation or interest' and NOT necessarily In or For BOTH Persons interest or Best Concerns, etc....and as I was getting to...IS almost always...Simply the Beginning or early Steps in WHat "should the very Least!....a '12 Step Process or Program'..(pardon the Comparison to '12 Step Programs', but IS True HERE...IN & Of ALL Places that IT Should BE Applied'!!< etc,lol);...But...IT simply Is NOT...Not usualy Doneand usually "absent" at or IN "some major Area or Point of the Relationship...IF...If NOT In Many "ways & areas".... (In Fact....ALL..."All in This World"...Is Mostly DUE To "This Great Fault & Weakness....and State of Man (& Man's Nature, sadly!!) and Man Kind"...In General, etc.... BUT...CAN and "should BE Changed"...'ASAP'!!!) **and, THEN...Then "after ALL THIS....One must Learn and BE Willing To "communicate...and Communicate More effectively ('including & defintely meaning Also with More & Greater SINCERENESS, Honesty, ETHICS, Truth, Honor, Integrity, UNderstanding, Care & Concern, Truth & Forthrightness, Feelings & Generosity, as well as Heart-Mind-Sould felt and Meant....Communication") of a NEW and Better-Greater Means and Ability", etc...OK "Have a great, SAFE, & Nice "HOLIDAYS SEASON" and hopefuly a much better and Nicer "NEW YEAR" n' 2009!!! Sincerely, 'MrSUBconscious'....(Wednesday, 12/17/08)) ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
abeautifulmind abeautifulmind 8 years
See, I can never be married/in a relationship... I was in a relationship for oever 9 years, and it just didn't go well. My 'significant other' had major issues stemming from her childhood that involved people treating her in horrible ways... things I won't even get into. So... she had issues with sex, and all things to do with it. Also, she had issues with being capable of saying 'I love you', or really any show of affection toward me... or her kids for that matter, well, her son anyhow, she tells our beautiful daughter she loves her quite often thankfully... I feel bad for her 12 yr old son though (from another man). Her son and I still play online games together, as we get along great. My daughter is the love of my life... it's too bad her mother and I can't see eye to eye on basically anything, or she'd still have a mom and dad together, which was the way I wanted it. Sucks so bad. I'm such an easy going person too, always willing to figuratively 'bend' to anyone's whims/wishes... yet she was so stubborn and unwilling to ever show 'love' to me in any way shape or form. Sure, I felt terribly bad for the way she was brought up, and the things that happened to her as a kid, but that should not affect MY relationship in such a negative way in the long run. She should have sought counseling... not that that is a 'cure all', but it would have been a start. Oh well, it's over, and now I must move on... just not with women (or men, I'm not gay). I just feel that relationships aren't for me. Not saying I'm 'only into sex now' either... I just mean, no women for me... period. Women are great, on TV, movies, shows, in public, any place... as long as they aren't in a relationship with me. Funny too, cause my only examples are my parents, who've been successfully married for 39 years, and my grandparents, who've died recently were married for over 64 years. Go figure... I just don't think (sure this is negative) that any 'love' is out there for me... oh well. Move on, nothing to see here!
AquaLuvBug AquaLuvBug 8 years
OK, one more, I can't believe someone actually wrote "rediculous;" are you a complete idiot? Also to the ranter on the Porn topic....only idiots fall for the rom com fantasy and only idiots think porn is real. So you take out the idiots and that leaves the rest of us, the normal, good-spelling, porn watching population. I like porn, it's fun sometimes. It's a way of having that fantasy, which is healthy to a relationship.
rmantic24 rmantic24 8 years
I was always looking for something romantic when i was a teen. I used to love those romantic comedies. People have high expectations when it comes to romance and they fail to see the part of life that is the most important: happiness. Happiness is above all the most important thing. The way he loves you and would do anything for you is the most romantic thing ever. All the flowers, jewelery, and candy in the world cannot out do that. We all have unrealistic expectations. We have to communicate with our partner about what we desire. Also, arguing in a relationship is pointless. You have to be able to talk rationally about it otherwise you just hurt the other person, and that can hurt your relationship. You can have romance in your life without having your expectations ruined. I wouldn't say my marriage is perfect, but it comes close.
abeautifulmind abeautifulmind 8 years
Oh, and another thing... what is defined as love differs from person to person, just as what is 'romantic' differs from person to person... I've noticed that most romcoms are pretty much the same banal tripe each and every time, so predictable, so boring. Yes, being that it is terribly predictable, makes it oh-so-boring. STill some movies, like Legend and A Beautiful Mind, take romance to a whole 'nother level... a level of beauty, and imagination. Take them home tonight... revel in their brilliance. Netflix, Blockbuster, the net... however you get these movies, get em. If you've watched them, you know what I mean. Each to his/her own...
egyptianmonk egyptianmonk 8 years
This is why I just don't watch movies anymore, any. Romance or no. However....If you see things a certain way, then, it's not going to be that hard to find someone else who see things similarly, or at least somewhat similarly. Some women believe it or not don't really need or want romance, they need money to support the many babies they want to make. In fact, to them, that could be what's romantic. I mean, think about it. Romantic candle lit dinner at nice restaurant. All that cost $$$$$. Which means, the man proves he is worth $$$$$$ and more than capable of becoming her provider and her childrens' provider. When you really think about it, romance really isn't that romantic at all, or at least the common stuff that is shown in the movies. It's really just about mating rituals and science. We're like animals in many ways. And I think that's exactly why we want to dream up some fantasy soulmate. Because....we're human beings. Not animals. We don't want to live or die in a world that is just full of "psuedo-civilized animal breeders" running all over the world wildly. We want to believe that we're more than just that in this life. We want to die knowing that our life meant something, whether that be our deeds in our career, community or in our love life, with someone that validates our existence here on this very small planet in a very large, unfathomably huge universe that does everything in it's power to make us feel all the more insignificant.
flowerwhite flowerwhite 8 years
I do not believe in romantic comedies. or any kind of romantic movie ,because they show only the good things and hide the bad things, love does not mean only , saying beautiful words, or whatever, I think, the love means, is to be able to help your partner especially if he or she needs help. Sex is not only always makes your partner happy, we should know as there are times to sleep, play, study, eat and worship our creator, there is also time for sex. We have 24 hours a day, so do you think we should spend our times in love and sex, if this true, no one will work, go to school or university, or any kind of job. I think, it is better to know, how to respect your partner, and to explain everything about you and him/her especially if they came from different beliefs, as Muslim girl, I am not ready to date any man, when I decide to marry, he should come to my parents house and ask them to marry me, in this case, we could not accept or reject him until we ask about him, when we be sure that he is good man. Then he will come with his family and make everything is formal. Sure, this does not mean that we will happy after marriage 100%, maybe we will face some problems, so. He and I will try to help each other to solve them. Forgetting and forgiveness is the good ways to build well-established and happy life. I will share you two articles, the first one about How to Make your Wife Happy And the other about How to Make your Husband Happy
Nina-Pierce Nina-Pierce 8 years
Can I just say ... I want to marry Don. Okay, he's married, I'm married. Still, who doesn't want a guy who's a hopeless romantic and believes in soul mates? LOL! No, I don't think romantic comedies change people's perceptions of reality. I'm married 24 years to my high school sweetheart and I love him with all my heart. Let's just say he's not the most romantic guy on the planet. It doesn't mean I'm not his everything. So reading or watching a good romance is just *sigh* sweet and makes my heart go pitter-patter. And yes, I know it's not reality, but a gal can fantasize ... right?
rmantic24 rmantic24 8 years
I met and married my husband after knowing him for a week. We just knew it was right. Life can be like a romantic comedy, you just have to find your other puzzle piece. I found mine and we are totally happy.
lokiluck lokiluck 8 years
I'd say this was ridicules, and that anyone with an ounce of common sense would be able to tell the difference between movies and reality. but then again I've thought that lots of things were common sense, but people continually prove me wrong. like the thousands of people I see every month who drive up to the store I work at in hummers and brand new mustangs and buy candy and soda with food stamps. or the people I know who use credit cards and buy $400 purses and shoes even though they are already deep in debt.I could go on. I think that the problem isn't the movies, its the people. I don't doubt that its true, I think its because of many different reasons that some people process movies into false views of reality, selfishness, insecurity, arrogance, depression, stress, a need for something you think is missing. lots of things, basically I think most basically healthy people (I mean mentally and emotionally) can differentiate, its when we're chronically unhappy, or confused, or just don't know any better and are trying to change that that we lock on to false realities that movies provide.
I just had to reply I couldn't help it..... BS is rampant in our society and the media leads the way. Children are raised on TV and gossip talk amongst themselves (ignorance with an opinion). Although it isn't true in all cases it is an issue that people don't grow out of as they mature causing major hurdles to people they come in contact with. Thus, storybook romance and unrealistic ideas about "How" things should be become embedded in people. In the end it's reality that becomes the fantasy and simplicity that becomes alien in thought....until it is too late for a relationship.
msdemiurge msdemiurge 8 years
Dang it, it cut of my comment on your post... I'll message you it later. At any rate, astute observation on your part.
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