Romantic films influence relationship expectations
16 December 2008
Romantic comedies are giving people unrealistic expectations about how their love life should be.
That is according to a study by psychologists at the Family and Personal Relationships Laboratory at Edinburgh's Heriot-Watt University.
The group looked at 40 romantic films from 1995 to 2005 and concluded that these films often left people with an idealised view of love and relationships.
Dr Bjarne Holmes was reported in Pressandjournal.co.uk as saying: "The problem is that while most of us know the idea of a perfect relationship is unrealistic, some of us are still more influenced by media portrayals than we realise."
Dr Holmes explained that couples who see relationship counselors will often believe that sex should be perfect all the time and that couples should be able to know what one another wants without communicating it.
The doctor then suggested that there was mounting evidence to suggest that popular media was perpetuating such myths in people's minds.
Films that the study looked at included You've Got Mail, Maid in Manhattan, The Wedding Planner and While You Were Sleeping.
One of the researchers who worked on the study, Kimberly Johnson, said that while films are capable of capturing the thrill that new relationships can bring, they also bought with them unrealistic expectations.
Ms Johnson explained that films intimate that "trust and committed love" are instantaneous and happen at first sight.
However, she warned that those qualities are things that usually take time to develop.
The study also cites another issue related to the romantic genre of television and films, which is that they often portray intimate relationships between characters that are physically beautiful.
According to the study this can also have an affect on people's expectations and what they look for physically from their partner.