Why Your Favorite Chick Flick Might Be Ruining Your Love Life


Do chick flicks alter the female view of relationships?

We all know that romantic comedies aren't exactly realistic portrayals of real-life relationships. But have you ever wondered if watching chick flicks with your girlfriends could hurt your love life?

If you've ever wondered if these "love" films might be giving women weird ideas when it comes to the kind of behavior they should expect of a man, then the answer, according to experts, is yes. 

In the YourTango Experts video above, relationship experts Charles J. Orlando and Lisa Steadman agree that even the best rom-coms absolutely do affect your love life in not-so-good ways — which is sad news for everyone who's a fan! 

There are tons of negative stereotypes and expectations regarding women in relationships that are portrayed on the silver screen, and these can really impact your non-film love life in terrible and unexpected ways. 

But what is it that even the best romantic comedies have so wrong? A lot, actually.

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Many times in female-oriented romantic films, there is a requirement for women to put up with untold amounts of problems from her dashing male love interest. Some of these are minor, but some can be relatively large and damaging.

Maybe our leading lady has to deal with a man’s distance, aloofness, or inability to commit to her. It might even go so far as to suggest she must put up with a man-child who can’t make up his mind about whether he wants to grow up and be responsible.

Often, these leading male characters are hot and cold, leading their female love interest to believe that they can and will do what needs to be done to strengthen the relationship. But as the plots often go, these men rarely actually do anything at all.


Women in these films are almost always well-off — with jobs they love, cute little apartments in downtown New York they can somehow afford without a roommate, have a supportive set of amazing friends, and an idea of what they want out of life. They're driven, hard-working, and dedicated. You envy them, despite the gaping hole of "singledom" that seems to mar their otherwise amazing lives.

Yet, the moment they meet their potential love interest, they are somehow willing to sacrifice one or all of these important aspects of their lives in order to be with this man.

And that's a major red flag.

Many times, says Charles Orlando, these women will attempt to meet the male protagonist where he is in his life, even if it means giving up on their dreams or career goals. And very often, our bad boy love interest doesn’t need to even do anything to get the girl except the bare minimum — showing interest in her or expressing desire for her.

His livelihood, happiness, and dreams all remain intact, as our main female character wonders if she should move cross country in order to be with him. So not OK!

Even more damaging? The male character who lies in wait, only revealing his feelings for a woman when she’s deeply embroiled in a different romance. She may even end up waiting years for the male protagonist to declare his love before finally moving on — only for the male love interest to suddenly realize that he simply can’t be without her and that he's actually head-over-heels in love with her. 

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He might even make a last ditch effort to admit his feelings for her when she’s getting ready to go down the aisle, or worse — while she’s standing at the altar.

In real life, this would be unbearably awful; yet, in films, we end up rooting for him — a home-wrecker of another name. He loves her, right? So they should be together! The wedding that her family and future in-laws have just spent tens of thousands of dollars on be damned! He’s in love with her.

And the weak set up for these relationship fantasies doesn’t stop there.

What about the bad boy or philandering playboy that our leading lady needs to just suffer through enough abuse from in order to realize that he’s really a tender, misunderstood guy with a heart of gold underneath? Or that when a man gives her some bitter and calculating back and forth banter, it’s really just seductive wordplay? 

The suggestion that a man's harsh exterior must be chipped away in order to reveal the diamond in the rough is all very acceptable in this genre.

But when women try to replicate romantic comedies in real life, they're quickly going to find that life does not imitate art.

So before you go on thinking that you want to have a guy like someone out of your fave chick flick, take a good hard look at it one more time, because our experts believe that those lovey-dovey plot lines might be playing with the female psyche and teaching you some terrible lessons in love!

Watch the YourTango video above to find out which movie to choose for your next girls' night out— and what not to look for in your romantic life!

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Charles J. Orlando and Lisa Steadman are love and relationship experts who work diligently to help people get the best out of their romantic lives together. If you have a question for them, contact our experts here! They're here to help and they'd love to speak with you.