Is TV Romance Bad for Your Relationship?

You spend your evening watching The Notebook (again). You swoon over Ryan Gosling’s various bearded states. You ugly-cry through most of it. You fantasize about having your own big romance. And then your husband gets home, leaves his dirty socks in the middle of the room, and spends the next few hours scratching his balls on the couch. You wear a muumuu to bed and have erotic dreams about hiring a divorce lawyer.

Step away from the television.

If you find yourself comparing your relationship and partner to movie and TV romance, it might be time to take a little break… from the TV, not your relationship. A recent study found that the more one believes in the portrayals of romance in movies and on television shows, the less likely they are to be committed to their actual relationship.

The study surveyed 392 married people about their belief in the portrayal of romantic relationships in TV shows and movies, their viewing frequency, and their relationship satisfaction, expectations, and commitment. The researchers found that study participants who had a higher belief in on-screen romance, responding positively to statements like “Television helps me understand what I can expect from my romantic relationships,” were less likely to be committed to their current relationship, and more likely to be drawn to either being single or finding a new partner. These people also rated their expected and actual relationship costs highly—things like the loss of their personal freedom and time, along with their partner’s less desirable traits.

The study, published in the journal Mass Communication and Society, could shed some light on the the rate of marriage failure in the United States, says study author Jeremy Osborn. Though it may be just one factor, Osborn states “We live in a society that perpetually immerses itself in media images from both TV and the Web, but most people have no sense of the ways those images are impacting them.”

If you think you’ve been comparing your real-life relationship to TV romances—and your relationship is coming up short—why not try a romance movie fast? (Don’t worry, they’ll still be there when you come back!) At the very least, make an effort to bring yourself back to reality after your regularly scheduled programming. Romantic gestures tend to go over really well in movies—but in reality, some dude standing outside your window holding a boom box is kind of creepy. I mean, where did he get a boom box in 2012?!

I’m Boycotting the Hollywood “Meet-Cute” Story
9 Myths About Soul Mate Relationships
Do You Snoop Through Your Partner’s Phone?


Maggie Kearns
Maggie Kearns4 years ago


Lepidopter Phoenyx

If you're looking to a sitcom to provide a model for your personal relationships, you're doomed before you start. If you can't grasp the difference between real people dealing with real issues and actors delivering lines written in a script, then you aren't suited for a real-life relationship.

Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson5 years ago

we all make comparisons. I accept my man as he is. we watch movies together and snuggle and enjoy the people we ARE.

Victoria P.
Victoria P5 years ago

TV and movies are not reality no matter what area of life you're talking about. How about crime shows that resolve satisfactorily in less than an hour? Or sitcoms where everyone has a snappy comeback at just the right moment. Or dramas where the all of life's issues are answered in the time it takes most of us to figure out we have an issue? If you take TV and movies as your example of how to live any aspect of your life, it will be "bad" for you. It's just entertainment folks. All of it, not just the romance.

Colleen Prinssen
Colleen Prinssen5 years ago

Mari G. because it is realistic fantasty. no dragons and stuff.

Mari Garcia
Mari Garcia5 years ago

Why do so many people have a hard time accepting things shown in media is based on fantasy?

Holli C.
Past Member 5 years ago

well ironically none of the examples are from TV. They are movies and movies do not have as much influence on ppl's life's as TV does. But I digress, I do believe that TV has a bad influence on relationships. TV shows portray marriage couples as having boring or non existent sex, the husband is a fool and treated as such, kids have no respect for either parent, sex is only good unless it is associated with adultery or single ppl, having kids is a requirement to the point of an insane compulsion, including fetish behavior, degrading behavior, bringing other ppl into the bed and women have to be willing to do anything or anyone to keep their husbands interested sexually. Bullshit. No woman wants their husband to sleep with other women or to view them as dumb and incompetent. If you do not respect someone then you cannot love them and their is nothing respectable about talking down to your husband or being willing to sleep with anyone or acting like a damn fool to have a kid so you can be like everyone else.

Robert O.
Robert O5 years ago

It could be since all though the situations are partially based on some level of reality, they are also exaggerated for entertainment value.

Colleen Prinssen
Colleen Prinssen5 years ago

so if you don't have a guy who bring you home a pick me up treat from being sick and feeling like you are entraped in a void of nothingness. you throw him away and get a better one right? because that is terrible.

Sheri P.
Sheri P5 years ago

so true....but my S.O. really could do a little more in the relationship.