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The reality behind romantic comedy

Some experts warn romantic comedies can create unrealistic expectations for relationships

It’s the break of dawn and John Cusack, playing a fit teenage hunk wearing a trenchcoat and high tops, holds up a ghetto blaster, and blasts Peter Gabriel’s In Your Eyes into the air and his crush’s bedroom.

This scene from Cameron Crowe’s Say Anything is so romantic it immediately melted hearts across the continent; but it’s also just a touch unrealistic. Any woman who’s been waiting since 1989 for her knight in shining armour to come along and pull this stunt, might be waiting a very long time.

But, some experts warn romantic comedies can create unrealistic expectations for relationships. Kateryna Spiwak, a Toronto-based dating coach, says flicks like this usually end up with the couple living “happily ever after” and suggest that no more work is required to maintain the relationship — that love conquers all.”

There’s also the suggestion that there’s such thing as “the perfect man” — someone who will effortlessly meet all your needs simply by virtue of being with you, she said.

Referencing this Friday’s movie release He’s Just Not That Into You, based on bestselling self-help book of the same name, Spiwak said it’s good for women (and men) to know some of the signs of a bad relationship, but it’s also important to remember that every situation is different and not to follow anyone’s “rules” too strictly. Just don’t fall into the trap of thinking you’re going to just find the “perfect” person and not have to work at it, she said.

Researchers at Heriot Watt University in Scotland had similar views on romantic comedies in a recent study that showed how “rom-coms” can spoil real-life relationships.

Echoing Spiwak’s thoughts, Dr. Bjorne Holmes, director of research at the school’s family and personal relationships lab, said people who watch romantic comedies are mistakenly led to believe that the “right” person will come along and know exactly what you want without having to ask.

 
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