Bella Vida Therapy

Molly Papp, MS, MPH, CSAT, LMFT #88196

Bella Vida Therapy

Molly Papp, LMFT

You deserve a beautiful life

Sex, intimacy, and relationship therapy

How Movies Lie About Relationships

When I was an awkward teenage girl, I was addicted to "rom-coms," aka romantic comedies. They showed dating as so much fun! First you'd meet a drop-dead gorgeous guy who saw past your shy exterior and asked you out on a date. Then you'd spend all day and night laughing and drinking wine at fancy restaurants with perfect outfits while you stared into each others eyes. Flash forward to a few dates later with passionate kissing, love-making and breakfast in bed. 
It all seemed so carefree and exciting. But it also was (and is) a fantasy. When I actually began dating for real, I realized that all the rom-com movies I had watched had brainwashed me into thinking that relationships were all about champagne and looking good. The reality is a lot messier. But also deeper and more beautiful. To help out all of those out there still struggling with finding "The One" (another lie), I've compiled a list of ways movies/books/media tricks us into falling for the fantasy.

1. No one makes out at 6am before brushing their teeth or using the restroom. Morning breath is real and unfortunately gross for everyone.

2. People usually take turns paying after the relationship has turned to "exclusive" status. Sorry ladies, but expecting him to pay 100% is just not fair. It's 2016, not 1950.

3. Real couples fight, talk about it (aka healthy communication), and then make-up. They usually don't fight and then either have passionate make-up sex or break up for good without ever talking about the problem.

4. People have body odor, pit stains, lipstick on their teeth, dandruff, dry skin, stains on their clothes, and a million other body-related normal things. Actors and actresses have a team of 100 people to make sure they look perfect before they go on-screen. The rest of us are bound to have embarrassing things happen to us on a date.

5. Women have periods. And have to pee a lot usually too. So do men! And they fart and stink up the bathroom as well. Let's face it, life is messy and gross sometimes. 

6. Romantic comedies almost always have a happy ending. In real life, the majority of our romantic relationships will end. But all of those failed relationships teach us how to act, what we like (and don't), and above all, make us really appreciate when we do find a good match.

7. Real people are not plastic-surgery perfected supermodels. Real people have curves, rolls, body hair, cellulite, stretch marks, moles, and all sorts of 'blemishes.' Letting go of that search for the most handsome man or most beautiful woman is all part of realizing the superficial fantasy is standing in your way of finding someone you can actually laugh with and are attracted to.

8. Unlike "The Bachelor," in relationships people talk about practical things and their dreams. Sometimes you'll have a 20-minute conversation with your wife about what diapers are the best brand to buy or whose turn it is to do the dishes. Other times you'll cry together about your dad who passed away or the time you lost your beloved family pet. Movies and TV show us pretty people who spend that time gazing into each others eyes and talking about how much they both LOVE kittens and Mexican food- wow a perfect match! (insert sarcasm here) No wonder those 'relationships' end after the 6-week contract minimum, or after the credits end.

This list could go on and on, but what I want to pass on is something I wish I had learned when I was that lonely, date-less 16-year old: real people have faults and that's okay. It's even a good thing! I love laughing at how my husband and I both would rather watch Netflix and eat leftovers than go out. I love his so-called flaws, because they make mine okay too. Acceptance is what is real love is about, not perfection. And that's much better than a perfect Hollywood ending.