If your girlfriend's addicted to romantic-comedy movies, chances are she'll likely expect you to act like a leading man in your real-life romance. That can be put your relationship with her in peril, psychologists say.
"The idealism and dream of a woman, how they wanted to be treated and loved by their partners, oftentimes can be fulfilled in romantic episodes shown in movies," says Dr. Cely Magpantay, a psychologist at St. Luke's Medical Center in Quezon City. "These can be cascaded to reality, and in effect makes women set high expectations [in their relationships]."
Dr. Joy-Alvi R. Arañas, counseling psychologist at St. Joseph Village in Bacoor City, agrees, explaining that frequent exposure to rom-com could push her to adapt idealized notions about relationships that can be tough to live up to in real life.
"Rom-com movies somehow encourage a fan to keep her hopes high as they usually portray positivity with a favorable ending. On the other hand, viewers may set unrealistic expectations in the relationship," Dr. Arañas says.
Dr. Magpantay adds that some women even become frustrated about not having their own happily ever after. Once they see that their romantic lives are far from what they expect it to be, they end up becoming "pessimistic about love."
Most mainstream rom-coms also depict couples falling instantly in love and promoting the idea of fate. Dr. Magpantay argues that relationships do not depend on just mere chance and destiny, they are nurtured through a conscious effort that involves building social networks or interaction.
"Relationships take time to build and it's important to nurture the interaction or interest you both have in common," she says. "There are no shortcuts. Its foundation is built on common interests and friendship, and leads to more intimate moments that bring about lasting love."
Most women also tend to get enamored with the beautiful love stories they see on TV, causing them to believe in a world where happy endings come easily while forgetting that it takes effort and hard work to have a happy and successful relationship.
"Since some plots and characters are very idealistic, it often results in a perfect partnership. It overlooks the everyday dynamics that create imperfect, unpredictable outcomes in real life. It's a constant decision to be with the person inspite of all the shortcomings and struggles you have in your relationship."
When you start noticing that your girlfriend's rom-com addiction starts creating unrealistic expectations for you, Dr. Arañas recommends keeping an open communication. He says it's the best way to express both of your feelings, desires, ideas, wants, and expectations.
"Open communication may be achieved by being honest, finding the right time, carefully choosing your words, and showing respect for one another. It is best to emphasize in the course of communication the value of keeping the relationship, despite the conflict brought about by the girlfriend's rom-com attachment," Dr. Arañas says.
Adds Dr. Magpantay: "Woman sometimes lack details and they're constantly in search of the definite relationship they wanted from a man. The more you express to her your expectation, the more she will be grounded on her love. She will not be fantasizing or idealizing romantic episodes because she can know what to expect."
If you can, refrain from taking her to romantic movies regularly. The best thing you can do, Dr. Magpantay suggests, is to make her feel satisfied with your relationship. Surprise her always with your thoughtfulness and make her feel loved any chance you get.
"If they are showered with small love gestures every day and small doses of affection and attention from their loved one, they will not be too hooked on the idealism perpetuated by romantic movies. She needs to feel satisfied with her real-life relationship, to the point that she will likely find the need to reciprocate what's been given to her."
Dr. Cely D. Magpantay, PhD, RP, RPm is a licensed clinical psychologist and psychometrician. She caters to different psychological services like neuropsychological, personality, forensic, and behavioral assessments, and psychotherapy and counseling for children, adults, and families.
Dr. Joy-Alvi R. Arañas is a clinical psychologist from Pathways Counseling and Assessment Center. For consultation, you can visit him at 718 Sunday Street St. Joseph Village, Panapaan, City of Bacoor, Cavite.