My Relationship With Romcoms

'When Harry Met Sally' or 'When I met distorted and unrealistic representations of love'?

Now that I have officially graduated, the majority of my time has been spent searching for job opportunities (the goal being to earn enough money to fulfil my dreams of travelling in the future).  All my days have been blurring into one as I dedicate hours trying to convince employers that I am perfect for X role, only to sell myself as something completely different in my next covering letter. It doesn’t matter that I’ve only just recovered from the all-engrossing and tiring world that was University. No, I am expected to market myself as an accomplished woman who possesses thirty qualifications and at least ten years’ worth of work experience just to be considered for an entry-level role. It has been exhausting.

That being said, the spare time I have managed to find has left me to indulge in a certain guilty pleasure of mine – romcoms. After a busy day, there seems to be something so satisfying about seeing ‘best friends’ amalgamate into ‘soul mates’, or dorky teenagers ending up with the girls ‘of their dreams’. In those fifteen minutes where the happy ending runs its course, when that fuzzy feeling inflames your chest as the lead whispers his final ‘I love you’ and rides off into the sunset, nothing seems to be able to dampen your spirits. And yet, whenever those violin strings roll into the credits, I always find myself feeling dissatisfied.

Why am I not as happy as they are? Is there something wrong with my relationship? Should I be trying to recreate that with someone else? Is there just something wrong with me? Those are a fraction of the questions that spiral in my head every time the screen fades to black.  What brought me so much joy and expectation for my future love life as a little girl has now only brought on insecurity and destructive thoughts as a grown woman. Because however much someone might try to point out that the romance portrayed in romcoms is real and I’ve just been unfortunate in that I haven’t experienced it yet, I can’t help but feel that these films actually misrepresent what love is all about.

Just in the last few weeks, for example, I’ve witnessed many romcoms that focus on two people meeting and creating chemistry with each other, only to end up together in the end. That is all well and good, but when it comes to love, that’s actually only the first step on an extremely long ladder. That excitement of meeting a handsome stranger’s eyes for the first time is bound to end if you are actually going to settle into a long-term and serious relationship – something romcoms never highlight. Also, just because the characters’ love stories seem to be interesting all the time, that doesn’t mean your love life can be too. Experiencing real love is all about going through hard and even boring moments at times because there is no way that humans can be active and entertaining all the time. There is a reason why we sleep, after all!

I know that these seem like obvious points to make, but you’ll be surprised how easy it is to forget these things when contemplating the story-line you were just engrossed in for approximately an hour and a half. But that’s when you have to remind yourself how short these films are. Romcoms are edited in a way to show all the flashy and glamorous parts of love. They aren’t there as a means of a comparison for what your own relationship is like because love is not something to experience for an hour or two. Real love is for life.

So if like me, you ever find yourself wishing you had ‘movie magic love’ in your life, remember that there is no point. Why want a happy ending that can only satisfy you for ten minutes, when you can work on and nurture a relationship that can thrill you for life?

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