Rom-Com Tropes That Actually Make For Good Relationship Advice!September 6, 2018
CREDIT TO: Relationship Advice From Romantic Comedies BY: ASKMEN EDITORS
For years it was assumed that Hollywood romcoms gave viewers unrealistic beliefs about relationships. But research in the 2010s countered that, suggesting that most romcoms conveyed the hard work required in relationships and gave couples a low-stakes way to talk about relationship issues.
But can the actual events in romantic movies help you in your real love life? There are some obvious ones to avoid, such as lying about your identity, showing up unannounced, marrying a stranger in Vegas, or building an entire relationship under a false identity. But beyond that, these flicks have better advice to offer than you might expect. We’ll lay out some of the surprisingly viable ideas.
Take Your Partner To Your Favorite Place
(La La Land, Call Me By Your Name)
Whether it’s Timothee Chalamet’s secret swimming spot or Ryan Gosling’s observatory, visits to one character’s favorite location in the city are often the moments that make their love interest (and the audience) fall for them. Sharing a special spot not only introduces your partner to an interesting place they can grow to cherish themselves, it also tells them something about who you are, how you like to be, and what you value.
Move Cities For Your Relationship
A Homes.com survey determined that 70% of people who moved for a relationship were happy with the move. Although about a fourth of the relationships ended quickly, many movers still found themselves falling in love with the city — or someone new in it.
Confess Your Love To A Platonic Friend
The driving force of many on-screen romances is the angst of wondering whether an unrequited crush will end up being requited after all. But we can only find out if one of the protagonists steps up and confesses their love. Of course it works in the movies, but are they just giving us that happy ending to compensate for all the times we lose out on it irl?
A paper published in 2016 suggested there was evidence that as a long as a friend thinks you’re objectively desirable but doesn’t personally desire you, you increase the odds of them reciprocating your crush if you believe there’s a chance. The idea is that if you think someone likes you back, the resulting increase in your flirtatious behaviour toward them increases the chances they’ll be spurred to consider you in that way. But be warned: if they don’t think you’re generally an appealing partner, seeing your interest turn toward them will put them off, not turn them on.
Confess Your Lies Before It’s Too Late
(pretty much every romcom, romance, fish out of water movie, cartoon, etc)
In almost every romantic comedy, there comes a point where one protagonist has to admit to the other that their relationship started under at least a few false pretenses. They might have started dating their partner as a dare. They might not actually be their partner’s comatose brother’s fiancee. But even if you actually are your partner’s comatose brother’s fiancee, if there’s some secret eating away at you it will only build as the relationship goes on. The betrayal will seem worse the longer you’ve hidden it, and the physical effects of stress — from nausea to headaches to muscle pain — will wear on you. Some transgressions may not be forgivable, but as every romantic film tells us, a real relationship has to be built on mutual trust and forthrightness if it’s going to last.
Give Your Partner A Gift Based On Their Biggest Interest
(Fever Pitch, 10 Things I Hate About You)
While you should never try to buy someone’s love, a thoughtful gift shows you know and understand a person and care about them meeting their goals. That goes double if your partner has more interests and personality traits than a character in a 100-minute movie, of course, but that should just give you more ideas.
Kiss In The Rain
One of the most iconic emblems of movie romance is the kiss in the rain. There’s the iconic upside-down kiss from Spider-Man, the famous Notebook cover — a few buckets of water on set can all but guarantee a coveted MTV Movie Awards Best Kiss Award. On the flip side, though, the scene of walking dejectedly in the rain when things fall apart is just as frequent too. Your granny might tell you to get out of the storm before you catch a chill, but time in the rain can do a body good. You’ll be breathing air that’s both cleaner and more calming thanks to the petrichor scent — a mix of soil bacteria, plant oils, and ozone. We’ll stop short of recommending you spend your time in the rain hanging upside down from a fire escape in an alley while you have a mask over your eyes, though.
Write About Your Relationship
(Bridget Jones, How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days, Sleepless in Seattle, Frasier, S.I.T.C.)
In romcoms, protagonists are more likely to be writers than any other profession. Journalists, novelists, columnists — giving a character a writing job creates an easy excuse for them to sum up and publicly release their feelings about their relationship by the end of the film. Whether it’s Bridget Jones’s diary, a faux-Cosmo article about how to lose a guy in 10 days, or the weekly dispatches of Sex and the City’s Carrie and Frasier’s Frasier, writing at work was the way our heroes worked through their love lives in front of us.
In an early-2000s study (I know that’s pretty old at this point, but hey, so are most of these movies), people who were told to regularly write down their deepest thoughts about their relationship were likelier to be in it at the end of the study. Reflecting and gathering thoughts stimulated positive communication. We’re not so sure about the part where you put you and your partner’s business out there for thousands to read, though.
Take A Vacation With Your New Love
When it comes to trips, the journey there can be as stressful as the destination is relaxing. It’s hard enough to organize flights, connections, timing, public transit, money, meals, and other logistics when you’re with a family member you’ve known your whole life (or just by yourself, who you’ve also known your whole life). So going through that with a new partner seems like a recipe for disaster. That mixture of drama and dysfunction with fun and frivolity is exactly what drives romantic comedies, so it’s no wonder that so many feature impromptu couples vacations for people who still barely know each other.
But is that concept really as ill-advised as risky as it seems? In this Telegraph panel, some experts say you should only take trips that last one day per month you’ve been together. But others argue that the crucible of dealing with both fun activities and stressful, unexpected situations can tell you much more about your compatibility than another week at home. If your new beau can handle not only you but various travel hassles patiently, all day and night, that could prove she’s a keeper. Maybe the couple that vacays together stays together.
Take A Vacation After A Breakup
(Forgetting Sarah Marshall, How Stella Got Her Groove Back)
What do you do when you planned a couples vacation and abruptly break up before departure day? Even if the couple’s part is no more, the vacation part doesn’t have to be lost. Traveling after a breakup can remove you from the familiar places and patterns that become crushing reminders of the person and normal routine you’ve lost. But it can also reintroduce you to who you can be out in the world, and introduce you to exciting new people, places, and possibilities. Just make sure your ex isn’t also keeping their half of the trip going — we don’t want you living your life THAT much like a romcom.