Sometimes happily ever after takes more than 90 minutes

Every week, we anxiously await our favorite reality television shows such as “The Bachelor,” “Temptation Island” and “Married at First Sight,” anticipating the endless amounts of love, heartbreak and anything else that can fall under the category of drama. That is what we as viewers look forward to the most — the drama.

TV shows about “real life” relationships are extremely entertaining and addicting to watch because of the drama that we are hooked on, but issues arise when the viewers attempt to replicate what they see on television, and infuse those practices into their personal relationships with their significant other.

“The Bachelor,” for example, which runs every Monday night for the duration of its season, draws the attention of 15 percent of adults between the ages of 18 and 34, according to CNN. Every Monday night, 15 percent of middle aged adults spend two hours watching 30 women battle for the heart of one man. Think about how ridiculous that is.

I must admit; I am a part of that percentage. It is almost impossible to not become emotionally attached to your favorite contestant, but it is important to remember to leave the drama to the TV stars, and stay in tune with reality. TV relationships are not realistic; therefore, they should not be idolized.

Reality television shows like “The Bachelor,” that are more of a competition for love than entirely fictional,  are far less guilty of creating unrealistic expectations for relationships than romance movies such as “The Notebook,” “A Walk to Remember” or any other Nicholas Sparks film that is almost impossible to watch without crying. As idealistic as it would be for a significant other to come into your life at the most perfect time, sweep you off your feet, cure all of your issues in a few minutes and then you two live happily ever after, it just does not work that way.

Television couples are often idolized as perfect, even though no one truly knows what the perfect relationship entails. It is different for each couple, but “chick flick” relationships should not be the aspiration.

Can you honestly say you have never fallen in love with a television couple? I cannot. I have gone as far as to say I live vicariously through their relationship, but the issue that presents itself is that we end up falling harder for the couples on TV than our own relationships.

We expect our significant other to treat us like we are living in a movie. Meanwhile, movies last two hours, real relationships can last a lifetime. Within a few hours we see all of the love, heartbreak and excitement that a viewer needs to feel connected in some way. Real life relationships take months, if not years, to build the bond that is presented in a 90-minute film. When you think of it like that, it is completely unrealistic, yet we can still make the mistake of setting our standards too high because of how love is framed in movies.

On top of the effort that needs to be put into a relationship for it to be healthy enough to last, no one should expect their significant other to have the wealth of Christian Grey, the charm of Troy Bolton and the dance moves of Magic Mike all wrapped up into one singular person. Those unrealistic expectations are set by the relationships we see on television.

We constantly find ourselves saying, “chivalry is dead” or “why are all the good ones taken,” but in all reality, if you are waiting on Liam Hemsworth to walk through the door, you are waiting on something that is never going to happen. Setting your standards high is not bad by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, you should never settle for less than what makes you happy, but you cannot expect to live out a movie in your relationship.

Relationships are hard. There are going to be ups and downs with many tears, both good and bad, but at the end of the day relationships take hard work and a whole lot of patience; much more patience than a 90-minute film. Television and movies alike, rely on the audience to root for the relationship and the romance that comes along with it. It is only human nature to want love to prevail, but we cannot carry those expectations found on TV into our own personal relationships.

Real relationships are rarely love at first sight, and if yours is, you are very lucky. Relationships are built on a strong friendship that will last throughout the years. Television makes room to assume that love is wild, passionate and irresistible at all times, when in all reality sometimes love is not fun. The saying “love hurts” is in perfect context, because relationships are not all sunshine and rainbows all of the time.  

But when you find that special person, even though they might not be Ryan Gosling or Channing Tatum, your unrealistic expectations of what a relationship should be like will be thrown out the window and your life just might feel “movie perfect.”