Having Nurse Betty-like faith in television romances, according to a particularly cynical new study probably carried out by classicists who want once and for all to defeat their romanticist rivals, will make people less committed to their real-life relationships because, when you really think about it, no real-life relationship will ever be half as fulfilling as what Zack Morris and Kelly Kapowski share with each other.
The study, led by Jeremy Osborn of Albion College, surveyed 392 married individuals about their relationship satisfaction, expectations of commitment, and abiding credulity when it came to scripted television romances in which both parties fall in love because their doing so makes for good entertainment. Participants who had a higher belief in TV romances were more likely to consider alternatives such as finding someone with better quips or being blithely single to their current arrangements.
A strong belief in TV romances also tended to make participates to place higher value on their relationship "costs" — sacrificed personal freedom, the unattractiveness of their current partner — than people who live in the flavorless real world. Believing that their relationship costs had more value, explained Osborn, is probably why people who believed in television romances didn't take that extra step and outright report dissatisfaction with their current relationships:
People with higher belief in television portrayals might see their relationships as more costly than their lower belief counterparts do, but because they also expected higher costs they are no less satisfied.
It's not that these television romantics are less satisfied overall in their relationships, but they seem to consider alternatives more often, thus making their own love lives as convoluted and melodramatic as TV romances. In other words, obsessing over whether Meredith and McDreamy will permanently co-mingle their bodies in network television bliss can make a person overly analytical when it comes to real-life relationships. Television romances might prove to people that relationships should be costly, and that a dull or lethargic partner is the television-equivalent of a doctor/lawyer who has resolved never to love again after his first wife died of malaria while the couple was fighting an oppressive African warlord. See? Television teaches us all kinds of applicable life lessons.
Belief in TV Romances Could Hurt Your Love Life [LiveScience]
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