How Television Affects Real-Life Romance

Photo: ITF Photo: ITF

Meredith and McDreamy. Ross and Rachel. Carrie and Mr. Big. They’re the couples we love to obsess about, even though their romances exist only on TV. After all, we were there for the dramatic breakups, heartwarming makeups, and every scripted detail in between.

But the addiction we have to TV characters and their rocky romantic lives may affect our own personal relationships, according to a new report in Mass Communication and Society. Researchers from Albion College surveyed over 390 married couples on their current relationship commitment, satisfaction, and expectations in correlation to their beliefs in the reality of made-for-TV love stories–and discovered that the more an individual believes in fictional television romances, the less likely he or she is to be happy in their own love life.

“I found that people who believe the unrealistic portrayals on TV are actually less committed to their spouses and think their alternatives to their spouse are relatively attractive,” said Jeremy Osborn, Ph.D, lead researcher and assistant professor at Albion College. Osborn also stressed the importance of evaluating the reality of your expectations and discovering where those expectations came from.

While we (grudgingly) accept that every relationship won’t measure up to Ali and Noah’s à la The Notebook, we still have high expectations for our own loves. And research or not, we don’t plan on putting an end to our obsession with Joey and Pacey’s Dawson’s Creek storyline.

Do you think TV affects your real-life romance? What is the one TV couple that you can’t get enough of?

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