Do you spend more weekends watching TV than you care to admit? Maybe, you forgo foreplay with the Mrs. or Mr. to catch the latest episode of Game of Thrones. If, forever alone, is the story of your life not just a pop culture catch phrase, you have a problem. And, its called television.
A study of 392 married individuals by psychologist Jeremy Osborn, of Albion College in Michigan, showed that the more people believe in unrealistic portrayals of romance on TV, the less likely they were to be committed to real-life partners.
In other words, TV romances to women is like Internet porn to men: unrealistic, unattainable and unfulfilling. I would agree that shows like the Bachelorette have taken pining over the perfect man to another level, while shows like Family Guy are taking boys and men into a whole other direction. Young girls and women want cliche over-the- top romantic gestures and friends to gawk that “he went to Jared” and men want a sandwich. No, really, just a sandwich, hold the feelings, communication and expectations. See how things can turn ugly?
Osborn, whom I will assume based on pure speculation and my own imagination was dumped by a former love for a True Blood type, thus prompting this study, went on to say that, “In this study I found that people who believe the unrealistic portrayals on TV are actually less committed to their spouses and think their alternatives to their spouse are relatively attractive.”
Wait a minute. What does he mean by alternatives? Office coworker? Best friend? Neighbor? Bowl of ice cream? Dancing with the Stars? My mind just races with possibilities. If I were a man the alternatives would probably start and end with … you guessed it … a sandwich.
Though unclear on the possible “alternatives,” the study not only examined the effects of TV romances but that of romantic movies and these romantic movies are THE romantic movies of all time.
Pretty Woman, The Notebook and Sleepless in Seattle are some of the juggernauts of chick flicks: Reformed hooker and tycoon, opposites attract have crazy sex in rain and die of old age in each others’ arms and a widower learns to love again thanks to a stranger across the country. [Thank you Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks for ushering in internet dating and the aftermath we now know as "catfish with Sleepless in Seattle and You've Got Mail]
So what can we learn and apply from this study for better chances at healthy lasting relationships? To take inventory of our poor choices, actions and unreasonable demands? Nah. Personal accountability is no fun.
Let’s just blame the media like we do everything else. Oh and Disney, lets blame Walt Disney because THAT’S where it all started, in the young impressionable minds of little girls. But, that is for another time, another post.
In the meantime, let us point fingers at Julia Roberts, Ryan Gosling and Meg Ryan. Or, in my case Amelie, or more recently, Bradley Cooper in Silver Linings ((deeper sigh)). If you are too far gone, it may not be too late to rectify the relationship wrongs implanted by media for the sake of your children. But, do so quickly, before your daughter introduces you to her vampire boyfriend.
For other insights not as funny as mine visit: Commitment Harder for Those Who Watch TV Romances Study Claims or The Daily Mail.