Friday, August 14, 2009

Are romantic comedies ruining our romantic relationships

I hate to admit this but I must confess that I am a hopeless romantic, a sucker for any movie or TV show with a romantic edge to it. It is this attribute in me, I believe, that has totally warped my idea of how to hold onto a successful romantic relationship. This theory then leads me to ponder this question… do you think the “romance” we see in the movies and on television can really exist in our lives or does movie screen romance place unachievable expectations on real life romance? In other words, do we expect our lives and relationships to be like those of the characters we see in the media, and if we do, does this mean we are setting ourselves up for failure?

Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn, Richard Gere and Julia Roberts, Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan, pure romance, the kind of romance that looks good, knows what to do and says the right things, the kind of romance where sex just happens without planning or communication. These are the kinds of partnerships that put the pressure on “normal” people, not paid actors, to have successful romantic relationships. But the reality of it is, these romantic relationships can’t really sustain the test of time? Or can they?

I believe we should be able to have successful romantic relationships, but the kicker is we have to be realistic about the expectations that are involved. Very rarely do the sparks fly immediately, very rarely is there an instant connection…more often than not romantic expectations are developed over time by two people. Movies do a great job of allowing us to believe that the excitement of a new relationship last forever and that committed love exists from the moment people meet, but the truth of the matter is these qualities usually take years to develop between two people. I honestly don’t know how I really feel about this…should I feel manipulated or pissed about it? I don’t know. I do know I loved those few movie moment romantic experiences that I have had in my life, but seriously, can I really blame these romantic comedies for my past and present relationship mishaps?

I would be lying if I said I didn’t watch these movies with the secret desire to someday find a man like that or with the thought that somehow my marriage will be as wonderful as that. But what I have come to realize is that these movies always seem to be all about the beginning of the relationship and then stops after the couple states their undying love for each other. Where are they five or ten years later? They end up exactly where we want them to end up, in this fantasy world we have created for them in our heads. We, women especially, tend to dream up the awesome, often unrealistic endings to these movies…ones that we would want out of our own relationships.

But if you look at it from the other side, do we really want to see movies about realistic relationships? No, that would be boring and in the end it wouldn’t really take us away from our own problems. Realistic relationships aren’t good for the movies, but they can be good in real life. But they take work! Lots of work! Lots of work from both people involved.

So my advice is this, if you are lucky enough to experience those few “movie romantic moments” in your life…don’t hold on to them to tight and don’t expect them all of the time. Because if you do, I believe that your disappointment will just get in the way of your real life.

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