How RomComs Hurt My Relationship

Growing up I always enjoyed romantic comedies and novels- they’re light and fluffy, always have a good ending and are full of the romance that as women we so desire. Over the years of growing in my Catholic faith, I decided to put an end to the romantic comedy movie watching, or at least began watching them with discretion (because truly, there are some great Christian-themed romantic comedies!). I started realizing that the love they portray are not always realistic, they are full of fantasy and portray love as magic, without sacrifice or dying to self. Romantic comedies always show what we call “the honeymoon” stage of a relationship, the fancy dinners and blissful walks under the stars, but don’t show the hardships that may come once this stage is over. They may include the climax, where the relationship goes haywire for some time, but they don’t show the nitty gritty once the excitement is over. I always wondered once the movie was over, what comes next? How would their relationship continue?

In their book A Billion Wicked Thoughts, Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam write: “Romance novels rarely have a sequel. Once the hero and heroine are joined in love or matrimony, they get their Happily-Ever-After, presumably with a bevy of children and domestic bliss. Further adventures would violate the female fantasy of true, committed, eternal love.”

There came a time where I noticed that it was possible for romantic comedies to truly taint a relationship. And that was mine. I happened to have a conversation with the guy I was dating about romantic comedies. He shared that romantic comedies were his favourite genre, and he did not feel that there was a problem with them as they always have a happy ending. Despite my views, we agreed to watch several of these movies together. Throughout our relationship, I began to notice the effect they were having on his view on love, on his view of our relationship and how these movies played a part in why our relationship did not work out. Our relationship looked much like a fantasy. It was blissful and there were a lot of fireworks (real and metaphorical). But like any relationship, the romance and late night conversations slowly come to an end, the fireworks stopped and our love was tested. I realized that he fell in love with idea of love that romantic comedies portray but was not willing to work for true love, the love that Jesus demonstrated on the cross. He was not willing to commit but shared that perhaps one day, we could reconnect and live happily ever after (sound like a common rom-com theme? I would say so!). Let’s keep in mind that our God is a romantic God, and he wants us to have love stories that are full of beautiful romance- and there is absolutely nothing wrong with romance. It only becomes a problem when that becomes the foundation of a relationship.

We can see some non-commital or over-romanticized relationships in–The Lucky One, The Vow, and Friends with Benefits. But for a moment, let’s look at Friends with Benefits: Friends one moment, and sexual partners at night. There is no clear distinction or intention of where the relationship is going. The couple likes to call themselves single, but simultaneously are attached to each other, almost addicted. There is lust and sexual intimacy not rooted in a marital committed relationship, masking it behind the word “friends”.

If we’re called to marriage, God wants us to have lives that are romantic as “the Vow” or even more! But unfortunately, rom coms not only show us that love is easy, they show us that we should settle or enter into relationships that demand little to no commitment. God wants us to find a future partner that will stand by our side in sickness and in health. He wants us to find a spouse that is willing to commit in good times and in bad. He will only reveal this person to us if we are willing to trust, wait and choose not to settle for what may seem the “perfect” match.

It is worth asking ourselves: Is what I’m watching or reading leading me to contentment with future spouse or away? Will this movie or novel make me one with my future spouse or is it an eroticized version of my own desires?