Rom-coms have made us ‘happy-ever-after addicts’

Hollywood romantic comedies give an unrealistic portrayal of relationships and can destroy peoples’ love lives, according to scientists.

Researchers concluded that watching countless romantic comedies left couples questioning why their own relationships didn’t match up to the onscreen romances they desired.

A poll of 1,000 adults found that almost half said ‘rom-coms’ had ruined their view of an ideal relationship.


One in four respondents in the Australian survey said they were all of a sudden expected to know what their partner was thinking.

And one in five said their other half now expected gifts and flowers ‘just because’.

Dr Gabrielle Morrissey, who led the research, warned that 90 minutes in the cinema can ruin life for weeks, months or even years afterwards.


She commented: “It seems our love of rom-coms is turning us into a nation of ‘happy-ever-after addicts’ but the warm and fuzzy feeling they provide can adversely influence our view of real relationships.

“Real relationships take work and true love requires more than fireworks.”

The findings echo a separate study conducted by researchers at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh.


Researchers said that romantic comedies, such as Notting Hill and Sleepless in Seattle, often portrayed an idealistic view of the ‘perfect’ relationship, blurring the reality of the need to invest time and energy.

Dr Bjarne Holmes, who led the research, concluded that couples often failed to communicate effectively after watching rom-coms including You’ve Got Mail, Maid in Manhattan and The Wedding Planner.

He said a common theme which ran through the films included the idea of a pre-destined “soul mate” who should know us instinctively so well they could “almost read our minds”.


Dr Holmes said: “Marriage counsellors often see couples who believe that sex should always be perfect, and if someone is meant to be with you then they will know what you want without you needing to communicate it.”

He went on to warn: “We now have some emerging evidence that suggests popular media play a role in perpetuating these ideas in people’s minds.

“The problem is that while most of us know that the idea of a perfect relationship is unrealistic, some of us are still more influenced by media portrayals than we realise.”

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