Pop media does not always portray realistic relationships. Most romantic stories are written to make viewers empathetic, but are often just made-up fantasies. Sure, you might see a boy chasing after a girl in a subway, like they do in movies; but unlike in movies, they don’t usually end with a kiss. In real life, it ends with a restraining order against the guy. That’s just one thing that romantic movies get wrong about relationships.

Another example is how there always has to be a third party, a rival for true love, a love triangle. Romantic movies introduce such characters in order to add tension and conflict (which I understand are needed to tell an engaging story), but most real-life relationships are already beset by common problems such as debt, bills, and whose turn is it to take out the trash. Not all real-life relationships have a love triangle, and if some do, then it’s usually resolved during the courtship stage.

Speaking of debt and bills, why is it that there’s always a difference in status between the couple? Like how the guy is a rich, pampered descendant of a Welsh royal—King Arthur himself even—and the girl is just from down the corner of Edison, New Jersey, or vice versa. It just adds more fantasy to the story.

But despite all of my gripes about what romantic movies get wrong about relationships, I still enjoy watching them. I have fun rooting for the guy chasing for the girl in the subway. I celebrate when the guy triumphs over the rival and wins the girl’s hand. I swoon when the man of lordly caliber sweeps the pauper girl off of her feet and marries her despite the gap in their station. I enjoy romantic movies for what they are—made-up fantasies.

Do you have any suggestions on good romantic movies that portray relationships realistically? Let me know.

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