In the wonderful world of romantic comedies, a shy girl meets an outgoing guy in a seemingly random place out of nowhere.
They fall in love.
They fight and break up.
They get back together, and they live happily ever after.
Is this a true representation of how relationships supposedly work?
It likely is not, and it could very well prevent true love in real life.
A recent study was conducted by researchers at Heriot Watt University on forty romantic comedies made between 1995 and 2005.
According to the findings:
“Relationship counselors often face common misconceptions in their clients- that if your partner truly loves you they’d know what you need without you communicating it, that your soulmate is predestined” ( Harrell 1).
The researchers found that the same issues were occurring in most of the films as well.
If a producer were to pitch the idea of a movie about a normal couple with normal jobs doing normal things, it probably would not sell. However, the enhanced portrayal of love in these movies should not serve as an outline for how our romances should play out in real life.
In Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs, for example, Klosterman discusses the notion that some women may fall in love with a certain actor from a romantic film. What the women do not realize, though, is that they are only in love with the fictional character, not the actor.
He used one of his past girlfriends as an example. She allegedly loved John Cusack more than she loved him. Chuck went on to say,
“They don’t love John Cusack. They love Lloyd Dobler. When they see Mr. Cusack, they are still seeing the optimistic, charmingly loquacious teenager he played in Say Anything” ( Klosterman 2-3).
The moral of the Rom-Com:
If heterosexual women compare every man they date to their favorite romantic movie character, their actual relationships will not measure up.
It would be in our best interest to let go of the celebrity crushes and understand that these films are for entertainment only. Then, and only then, can we open our respective doors to true love.