5 Reasons Romance Movies Are Ruining Your Expectations Of Love

Watching the latest rom-com and thinking, "Why not me?"

How Romantic Movies & Love Stories Are Ruining Healthy Relationships Expectations Hian Oliveira via Unsplash

We often look to romantic movies to show us a glimpse of what it's like to be in love and in a relationship.

Over the course of our lives, we are exposed to thousands of ideas and love stories about the various ways relationships should really go. It’s subtle, but over time, our expectations of what real and healthy relationships look like changed by what we see on the big and small screen.

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Many ideas put across in romance movies are really screwed up, as you’re already aware. (Cinderella, anyone?)

But, movie love and romance falls short to the real thing.

Here are 4 reasons why romantic movies don't show the reality of love in your relationship (so you should stop comparing).

1. You don't always look physically perfect

Real people don't usually have (as many) professionals to help with their hair, makeup, and attitude.

Unless their bad hair day is pivotal to the script somehow, actors don’t go through the movie looking like they have a beaver’s nest mounted on their head. They don’t often have bad moods, runny eyeliner, or unfortunate hairstyles.


As we’re all aware, unrealistic standards of what one should look like, be like and act like at all times are presented constantly in the media.

Even "reality" shows are carefully scripted and presented so the people look, talk, and act a certain way. Not really "reality" at all — just more entertainment — but presented to be what these people are really like at all times.

At least the movies don’t tell us "This is reality" and then dress people up to the nines and present unrealistic standards of beauty.

(I’m looking at you, "Real" Housewives. Does everyone don cloven platforms and get a fresh blow-out to go to the grocery store? Every…single…time? Not that I’ve noticed. Maybe I’m hanging out in the wrong places.)


It’s easy to look at these images and think, "Well if only I looked like that, it would be easy to get a boyfriend." This association happens from an early age without any careful consideration of what adult men really want, or what they’re actually attracted to.

Since the perfect looking movie heroine seems to attract the perfect looking movie hero and they fall perfectly in love, it’s really easy to start thinking, "Oh, that’s all I need."

2. Real relationships have more acts

Movies show us only a snapshot of what happens in a relationship. They leave out the part where you just picked up his dirty socks for the 3857th time and still want to go to Rio but still can’t afford it.

Since you and I both know that two hours of laundry and dirty socks aren’t exactly Oscar material, the media only shows us the interesting parts of a love story. The part where the lovely couple meets, falls in love instantly, and have perfection (with odd movie-type challenges) every day until the two hours are up, is so much more common.


Real relationships don’t always involve perfect closure or perfect anything, for that matter. There is so much more mundane detail in real life because we have much more time to fill.

Real relationships can get really boring. Most of the time, there isn’t much drama in a good relationship. Drama in a real relationship often equals crappy times and tears. Aren’t crappy times and tears exactly what you’re trying to avoid?

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3. Real people don't have professional scripts

Have you ever blurted out something ridiculous and agonized over it for hours afterwards? You know what I mean here.


In real life, couples don’t get to press the delete key on their computer when their dialogue sucks. You don’t get to rewind when you say something insulting or that your partner didn’t understand.

4. Real people can't call "Cut!" and repeat the scene when things go wrong

The more heated the situation, the more likely you are to lose control of what’s happening. Not so for the movie director who can simply start the whole scene over until it goes right.

You can’t undo things in real life and re-compose the scene. If you screw up, things stay that way until you fix them the real way.

5. Real people are...real

Actors have the luxury of returning to their real lives after acting out the script. They don’t go home and dwell on the dumb thing they said to their husband or ruin everything by getting drunk and acting desperate.


We don’t see the preparation that they had to go through to get to the emotional level where they can maintain a good relationship. They get to simply put their character to bed and move on with their real lives.

Unless it’s part of the movie, actors don’t have to "evolve" to be better people before they meet the right person. In real life, evolution is often completely necessary to have the relationship you want.

While it’s tempting, stop comparing your relationship to the fake and temporary environments presented in the media. Like anything artificial, "movie love" just doesn’t quite measure up to the real thing.

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Elizabeth Stone is an author, love coach and founder of Attract The One. If you keep failing at dead-end relationships with men who dump, ghost and disrespect you, get a free copy of her book, Why Men Lose Interest and daily email series here.