Love and Media

My friend Owen send me this article which totally confirmed what I’ve been feeling and thinking for years: media consumptions messes up your love life. The article basically states that viewing romantic movies makes you have unrealistic expectations about your own romantic relationships. The sad thing is that it’s true. I’ve had this happen to me multiple times, but always remained fairly ‘grounded’ because of my extremely grounded better half.

The article explains the results of research conducted by the Heriot-Watt University who found that viewers of romantic movies or TV think that “if someone is meant to be with you, then they should know what you want without you telling them.” It took me years to find out on my own that to achieve the relationship I wanted, I had to be brutally honest with Daan and explain my desires. Communication truly is the key to a healthy relationship.

In the article is a link to a questionnaire that everyone (if you are over eightteen) can fill in, about relationships, yourself and media. I’ve just willingly offered myself as a research subject, I love those questionnaires and you can win ₤500! Their questions range from what you view each week, to important questions about relationships in general.

This questionnaire was developed by the Family and Personal relationships Laboratory at the Heriot-Watt University. On their website they state that they employ “rigorous scientific methodology to the study of how and why human bonds sometimes fail, what the consequences are, and how our society in turn can promote healthy attachments, healthy attitudes and relationship beliefs, and healthy interpersonal interaction.”

Why doesn’t the media convey what a relationship is truly like? For instance, I think it’s very romantic to eat dinner at the table with my partner every evening and to do the dishes afterwards. Or to snuggle up to him on the couch while watching a silly programme on TV. It’s the little things, the normal things that give me comfort and make me feel like I’m in heaven and totally happy with our relationship. It would probably make for extremely boring TV.

A couple of months ago I finally got the entire collection of Sex and The City on DVD and watched all the episodes over the time of a few weeks, I got really insecure about my relationship. And for what? Because in that show women are insecure. They’re looking for incredibly unrealistic romance and that makes me go up to Daan and ask: why don’t you ever do something like that for me? What’s wrong with us? It makes me constantly doubt my own relationship, while in fact there’s nothing wrong.

Yet these shows clearly have no effect whatsoever on Daan. Men and women are very different in some ways, they’ll never be the same. In the questionnaire they asked me if men and women have the same basic emotional needs and I answered with a definite no. Why? Because as Daan says, three days in the month I’ll be horrible harmonic bubble of rage and sweetness changing from minute to minute. I can’t help it. We both have very different emotional needs, mine change every few days, his stay the same. That doesn’t mean that men and women are completely different and can never understand each other, it just takes some effort.

I read in A New Earth that true love is acceptance. I never thought of love that way and I agree full heartedly with it, but find it difficult to live by this notion of love. After 8 years and constant communication I still want to change things and have my insecurities about my relationship, but they’re exactly that: my own insecurities with myself. Before I can accept him, I should accept myself fully and that’s a process that will continue my entire life.

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