Can Romantic Comedies Ruin Your Love Life?


Absolutely, at least according to so-called "relationship experts" an obscure Scottish university. It seems they have this crazy idea that the relationships portrayed in most romantic comedies aren't entirely realistic, and might serve to set up false expectations in people regarding their non-cinematic relationships, setting an unattainable standard for coupleship that inevitably leads to disappointment.

They found fans of films such as Runaway Bride and Notting Hill often fail to communicate with their partner. Many held the view if someone is meant to be with you, then they should know what you want without you telling them. 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.

Some of those themes include:

"¢ Sex should always be perfect
"¢ Love at first sight is the ideal
"¢ Love is predestined
"¢ Awesome relationships don't require work

Folks who subscribe to such views, the study implies, are actually less likely to sustain meaningful love relationships throughout their life. I guess that means that the stereotype of the lonely girl watching Roman Holiday alone on New Year's Eve in her PJs is self-perpetuating; it's not mean ol' reality forcing her to take refuge in the fantasy of the movies, but the movies' fantasy-world that alienates us from the real world.

As part of the project, 100 student volunteers were asked to watch the 2001 romantic comedy Serendipity, while a further 100 watched a David Lynch drama. Students watching the romantic film were later found to be more likely to believe in fate and destiny.

They seem to be suggesting that David Lynch movies are the opposite of romantic comedies. If that's true, wouldn't that have some effect on your attitude toward romance, as well?