WE'RE taught that the ideal romance story involves butterflies at first glance, then being wooed by the perfect guy or girl, won over, and then living happily ever after. But Dr Nancy Mramor Kajuth, health and media psychologist and award-winning author of Get Reel: Produce Your Own Life, has found that romantic comedies and movies are unconsciously influencing our expectations for relationships and oftentimes result in couples giving up control on what they really want in the relationship.
Dr Kajuth, who resides in Pittsburgh and has worked in media for over 25 years, told All Woman that romance movies give a false impression of love, and while she doesn't have a problem with people watching them, she said it is paramount that they are able to separate themselves from the myths that are perpetuated in the media regarding love and relationships.
"The stories these movies are depicting need to be much more interesting than real life, otherwise people will not watch the shows," she said.
"Romantic TV shows are far from the truth than what they would be in a real relationship and they unconsciously influence our expectations for relationships. People on the screen are much more clever, much more skilled at communication, friendlier, and have much better, more intimate lives. If you watch the movies on TV and believe that's how it should be, then you are going to rate your partner by how funny they are, how smart they are, how clever they are, how sexy they are, because what you see on the screen is someone who is very desirable, very interesting, and then you look at your partner and they don't measure up."
She said it's therefore important that people learn to differentiate r-e-e-l, which is on the screen, and r-e-a-l, which is real life.
"People often get them confused and have these expectations about their relationships, and their relationships never live up to them," she said.
In the book, which is available on Amazon.com, Dr Kajuth empowers readers to take control of their lives by breaking free from the hypnotic trance that TV, movies and the Internet can create, and begin creating their own love lives by setting the intentions each partner wants for the relationship.
"In the movies there's typically a romantic myth about love that it has to be very difficult, it has to be complicated, it has to be difficult to achieve, the relationship has to have obstacles, and there has to be this long quest for the relationship to actually work out. They do that to develop a plot to the movie," she said.
"So you have to create this illusion that love is difficult, that love requires longing and unmet needs and people getting in the way, and before you can actually be with your partner, the illusion is that love has to be complicated and if a person buys into that, if the relationship turns out to be smooth and easy, to them it doesn't feel like love, because they bought into love as they see it on the screen."
Dr Kajuth added that the book helps people to watch their favourite shows without being influenced.
"So you're consciously seeing what they portray and you can decide if it's really good for you or not," she said.
"I expose what the myths are [for] people... to start viewing their favourite TV shows from a distance. Start asking yourself, "What are some of the messages that are here? What are some of the things about the characters and love that are represented here?" Sit back with open eyes and ask yourself, "What are they telling me about love?" she said.
She also has a website realconciousliving.com, that provides information on 'conscious living', which she explained is living in the moment, paying attention to your life, living authentically and being true to your real self.