TV Romance Can Ruin Real-Life Relationships

September 30, 2012
TV romance can be dangerous

It turns out that couples, who frequently watch television and are heavily invested in fictional romance, are jeopardizing the status of their own real-life romantic relationships.

To this conclusion came a new research by experts at Albion College in Michigan, who claim that the more are individuals addicted to the box and believe in TV portrayals of romantic stories, the less likely they are to be committed to their own relationships. According to the authors, the goal of their study was to help couples realize what impact television viewing can have on their personal lives.

Dr. Jeremy Osborn, who authored the research, said that during this study he realized that individuals who believe the unrealistic on-screen portrayals are actually less committed to their partners and think that their alternatives to their partner are relatively attractive. Dr. Osborn expressed a hope that people would read this article and take much closer look at their own relationships as well as the relationships of people around them. People should realize how realistic are their expectations for their partner or spouse and where did those expectations come from.

For the purposes of the research, the scientists involved nearly 400 married individuals and surveyed them in regards with their relationship satisfaction, expectations and commitment. The couples were also asked about their belief in TV portrayals of love stories, fictional romances and how often they watched television. In order to indicate their acceptance of on-screen romantic relationships as truths, the couples were asked to rate their agreement with statements such as: "TV presents romantic relationships as they really are in life;" and "TV helps me understand what I can expect from my own romantic relationships." Romantic television shows included reality shows such as "The Hills" and "Bachelor;" soap operas like "Days of Our Lives;" and romantic movies such as "Pretty Woman," "The Notebook" and "Sleepless in Seattle."

The results revealed that individuals who expressed higher belief in fiction romance were less likely to be committed to their real-life relationships and more likely to be drawn to alternatives to their partner or spouse. (Alternatives included another partner or staying single.) In addition, the more people believed in the television romantic relationships, the higher they believed their actual relationship costs were. Relationship "costs" included loss of personal freedom and loss of time as well as their partner's unattractive qualities.

Nowadays we all live in a society that continuously immerses itself in media images from both television and the Internet, however the majority of people do not even realize to what extent those images are impacting their lives, Dr. Osborne said in a press release. The rate of failed marriages in the United States is not decreasing, and it is critical that people start understanding and sensing those factors which are contributing to the failure of so many relationships, the expert concluded.

The results of the research were published in September, 2012 issue of the journal Mass Communication and Society.

Tags: Relationships

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